AP

Analysis: Vikings, Bucs, Packers, Colts make big statements

Nov 14, 2022, 4:01 AM | Updated: 5:37 pm

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins passes the ball prior to an NFL football game against th...

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins passes the ball prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

(AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Bust out the victory chains. The Minnesota Vikings proved they’re for real.

After piling up wins against losing teams and backup quarterbacks, the Vikings earned a signature victory on the road against the Buffalo Bills.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jeff Saturday and the Indianapolis Colts also made big statements on Sunday.

The Vikings overcame a 17-point, second-half deficit in a difficult environment to improve to 8-1 with a thrilling, improbable 33-30 overtime win over Josh Allen and the Bills.

There’s no doubting Kirk Cousins anymore. He rallied the Vikings to their fifth win this season when trailing with 2 1/2 minutes or less remaining. Cousins threw for 357 yards, including a 32-yarder on fourth-and-18 to Justin Jefferson, who made an incredible, one-handed snag to keep Minnesota’s final drive of regulation going.

Patrick Peterson sealed the win with an interception in the end zone, and took the gold chains from Cousins for the celebration on the flight home.

The Vikings opened the season with a convincing win over the Packers but were blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles in a Monday night game in Week 2. They’ve won seven in a row since that loss, but their only win over a team with a winning record in that span came against the Miami Dolphins minus Tua Tagovailoa last month.

Beating Allen and the Bills (6-3) on their turf solidifies Minnesota’s status as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Now, the schedule gets tougher for the Vikings. They face the Cowboys (6-3), Patriots (5-4) and Jets (6-3) at home the next three weeks.

Rodgers and the Packers are a long way from thinking about a championship, but they’re not done yet. Trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, vintage Rodgers led the Packers back to a 31-28 overtime win against the Cowboys, which have one of the league’s best defenses.

The Packers (4-6) snapped a five-game losing streak but are still 1 1/2 games behind San Francisco for the third wild-card spot. However, Rodgers may have finally found his go-to receiver. Rookie Christian Watson caught four passes for 107 yards against Dallas, including touchdowns of 58, 39 and 7 yards.

If the Packers find a way to get into the playoffs, they’ll be an opponent that teams don’t want to face because of Rodgers.

Another No. 12 seems to have his team back on track.

A week after Brady led a game-winning drive in the final 42 seconds against the Rams, the Buccaneers showed signs of being the dominant team they’ve been the past two years. Rookie Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette combined for 162 yards rushing and Tampa topped Seattle 21-16 in the first NFL regular-season game in Germany.

The defense overpowered the Seahawks and forced a turnover for the first time since Week 4, and the Buccaneers (5-5) took a one-game lead in the weak NFC South.

If the Buccaneers continue to have success running the ball and the defense keeps playing tough, Brady makes them a threat in January.

The Colts aren’t going anywhere in the competitive AFC, but they’re not a laughingstock either. A turbulent week that began with owner Jim Irsay firing coach Frank Reich and taking intense criticism for hiring former All-Pro center Jeff Saturday to be the interim coach ended with Matt Ryan returning from injury to lead a 25-20 upset win at Las Vegas.

Saturday, who took plenty of heat for taking the job without paying his dues as an assistant coach, proved he’s no joke. The Colts’ struggling offensive line played inspired football, paving the way for 207 yards rushing and allowing just one sack.

If the Colts (4-5-1) keep improving, Saturday could end up keeping the job after the season despite all the criticism.

___

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

3 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

4 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

11 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

12 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

14 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Analysis: Vikings, Bucs, Packers, Colts make big statements