Week 18 NFL scores, schedule, live updates: No. 1 draft pick in doubt as Texans start strong, Bears stumble

It’s finally Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season, and we’re keeping you updated on all the action and the biggest stories throughout the day. This week’s roster has some amazing matchups and storylines, and we’re here to help you watch it unfold. Check back often to find out everything you need to know.

Program for week 18

Saturday

Chiefs 31, Raiders 13 (Takeaways)
Jaguars 20, Titans 16 (Takeaways)

Sunday

Ravens at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (Game Tracker)
Patriots at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Jets at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Panthers at Saints, 1 p.m. ET (Game Tracker)
Browns at Steelers, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Vikings at Bears, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Texans at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Buccaneers at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Cardinals at 49ers, 4:25 PM ET (preview)
Cowboys at Commanders, 4:25 p.m. ET (preview)
Chargers at Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET (preview)
Rams at Seahawks, 4:25 PM ET (preview)
Giants at Eagles, 4:25 PM ET (preview)
Lions at Packers, 8:20 p.m. ET (preview)

Bills, Pats fight

Every time the Bills have taken a hit, the Patriots have hit back. Case in point: After Dawson Knox’s touchdown put Buffalo back on top, Davante Parker scored on the ensuing possession to set up 14.

Bjørner does (mostly) his job

The Bears understood the mission: lose to the Vikings and lock up no worse than the No. 2 seed in the 2023 NFL Draft. Not only is Justin Fields not playing, but Chicago benched Nathan Peterman for Tim Boyle after three failed drives. And on his second pass, Boyle threw the ball right to the Vikings’ Patrick Peterson, whose interception set up a field goal that put Minnesota up 16-0.

I added “mainly” to the subhead because as I was writing this, Bears rookie Velus Jones Jr. the reverse pitch and somehow stayed in bounds as he hugged the right sideline all the way for the 42-yard touchdown. Fortunately for Chicago, the two-point conversion failed.

Choose six!

I’m sorry Texans fans, but your team is playing good football. Sam Ehlinger clumsily decided to throw the ball while being sacked, and defensive end Jonathan Greenard took full advantage by flipping the ball to himself and rumbling 39 yards for the score.

Bengals all over the Ravens

With the Bengals and Ravens likely to play each other in the wild-card round next week, Baltimore is resting most of its starters and starting Anthony Brown at quarterback. It’s shown, as Brown has thrown two interceptions and the defense has allowed 17 points in just over a quarter of a game.

Pats answer

The Patriots are in the playoffs with a win over the Bills, who didn’t get off to a good start with Buffalo’s kickoff return TD to open the game. But New England responded immediately, as Mac Jones and Co. drove 74 yards in nine plays and tied the game on a two-yard pass from Jones to Jakobi Meyers.

Rookie WR passes for 1,000 yards

Chris Olave, the No. 11 pick in April’s draft, joined former Ohio State teammate Garrett Wilson as the only rookies to pass for 1,000 yards in the 2022 season. The feat came in dramatic fashion when Olave caught the short pass, stopped on a dime — leaving his defender in the dust — and then sprinted the rest of the way for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Saints ahead.

Bad start for Texas

The Texans jumped out to an immediate 10-0 lead, which would normally be fine … except in this scenario. Houston currently has the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and will win the top spot with a loss. But if it ends up beating the Colts and the Vikings defeating the Bears, Chicago will pick first, potentially robbing Houston of the chance to take its No. 1 QB prospect.

Credit to Davis Mills and Brandin Cooks for connecting on an 11-yard touchdown, but that’s not something Texans fans want to see again today.

UNBELIEVABLE!

You just can’t make this up. In the Bills’ first game since Damar Hamlin’s on-track collapse, and with Hamlin watching from the hospitalNyheim Hines took opening kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown! It was the perfect way for Buffalo to start, based on how the last game ended, and for Hamlin to see it only made it all the more incredible.

The QB revolution has arrived in the AFC; NFC veterans hang on

Consider the ages of the starting quarterbacks of the AFC’s six playoff teams entering Week 18 (from youngest to oldest): Trevor Lawrence (23), Justin Herbert (24), Lamar Jackson (26), Joe Burrow (26), Josh Allen (26) and Patrick Mahomes (27).

Average age: 25.3 years old

Now let’s do the NFC: Brock Purdy (23), Jalen Hurts (24), Daniel Jones (25), Dak Prescott (29), Kirk Cousins ​​(34), Tom Brady (45)

Average age: 30.0 years old

Yes, Brady skews the NFC much older, but regardless, the age gap is only going to grow after Sunday’s games. There are three teams each vying for the No. 7 seed in their respective conferences. In the AFC, it’s the Steelers with Kenny Pickett, the Patriots with Mac Jones and the Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa (we know he’s out on Sunday, but he’s the undisputed starter). All three quarterbacks are only 24 years old.

In the NFC, there are the Lions with Jared Goff (28), the Seahawks with Geno Smith (32) and the Packers with Aaron Rodgers (39).

The closest gap there can be between the conferences is 4.6 years; the longest is more than six years!

So, as the road to the Super Bowl begins next week, appreciate both conferences’ playoff runs for different reasons. In the AFC, quarterbacks are either past or in their prime, which should make for some epic showdowns in each round. In the NFC, there are veterans looking to either add to or cement their legacy before the younger signal callers end up taking the spotlight as well. Either way, expect theater heading into Super Bowl LVII.

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