The Philadelphia Eagles have the NFL's best record at 8-1 and are considered favourites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl but the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings staked their claims on Sunday.
While the Eagles were on their bye week before taking on the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday, they watched as NFC rivals the Saints, Rams and Vikings posted respective wins over Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans and the Washington Redskins.
All three teams improved to 7-2 and the Saints tied the Eagles with the season's longest winning streak thanks to their seventh successive victory – a 47-10 rout of the Buffalo Bills.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees did not throw a touchdown pass against the Bills, but he did not have to as the Saints ran for six touchdowns.
The Vikings also had an impressive road win as Case Keenum threw four touchdown passes in a 38-30 win over the Redskins.
Keenum was picked twice, but a 21-point second quarter helped the Vikings hold a 28-17 half-time lead. A seven-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright in the third quarter extended the margin and the Vikings held off the Redskins for the win.
Then there are the Rams, who must be taken seriously as their big-play offense continues to roll with a 33-7 win against the Texans.
After sputtering with just three field goals in the first half, the Rams erupted with three touchdowns in the third quarter as Robert Woods had the best game of his career.
Woods, who had just three 100-yard receiving games over the previous four seasons, caught eight passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. The big play was a 94-yard strike from Jared Goff, who threw for 355 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Goff has just one interception over his last four games and now has 16 touchdowns to go with four picks on the season. With seven wins under first-year head coach Sean McVay, the Rams have matched their best single-season win totals under previous coaches Jeff Fisher and Steve Spagnuolo.
SIZZLING SAINTS SCORE SIX RUSHING TDS
The Saints had not had five rushing touchdowns in a game since 1979. They posted a franchise-record six in their rout of the Bills. Mark Ingram led the way with three scores and 131 rushing yards, but even quarterback Brees ran one in from seven yards out.
It was just the 14th time in NFL history, including the postseason, that a team had six or more rushing touchdowns in a game and first since the Patriots had six rushing scores in a 2013 playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts. The Kansas City Chiefs were the last team with a least six rushing scores in a regular-season games, scoring eight times on the ground in a crushing victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
With 215 passing yards against the Dallas Cowboys, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan became the fastest quarterback with 40,000 career passing yards — reaching the mark in 151 games. Ryan (40,073) is the 19th player in NFL history with at least 40,000 passing yards and sits just behind Johnny Unitas (40,239) for 18th on the NFL's all-time passing list.
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had five catches for 97 yards with a touchdown in Pittsburgh's win over the Colts. Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal and had two extra points. It was the first time in NFL history a player under the age of 21 (Smith-Schuster, 20 years old) and a player over the age of 40 (Vinatieri, 44 years old) each scored a point in the same game.
HARRIS SHINES FOR REDSKINS
Redskins receiver Maurice Harris, promoted from the practice squad earlier in the week, made had an incredible touchdown catch for the first score of Washington's loss to the Vikings.
The Jaguars turned a fake punt into a 56-yard Corey Grant touchdown run.
Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams flipped his hips to haul in a perfect pass from Brett Hundley to clinch a win over the Chicago Bears.
The Rams got a 94-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff and Robert Woods in their victory against the Texans.
KEENUM IS A BRIDGEWATER FAN
Keenum on seeing Teddy Bridgewater in uniform on the sideline as his backup: "I may have a Teddy Bridgewater jersey at home. I'm a big fan of his."
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, whose team remain winless, on social media criticism: "Twitter can blow up as far as I'm concerned."
Kyle Shanahan on getting his first win as head coach of the 49ers: "I got that monkey off my back. Now I have to get the second one before that becomes a monkey too."
Green Bay Packers 23-16 Chicago Bears
New Orleans Saints 47-10 Buffalo Bills
Detroit Lions 38-24 Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers 20-17 Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars 20-17 (OT) Los Angeles Chargers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15-10 New York Jets
Tennessee Titans 24-20 Cincinnati Bengals
Minnesota Vikings 38-30 Washington Redskins
Los Angeles Rams 33-7 Houston Texans
Atlanta Falcons 27-7 Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco 49ers 31-21 New York Giants
New England Patriots 41-16 Denver Broncos
|Celtics capitalise on Thunder meltdown, Harden scores 42 points|
|I wish I could still play with him – Ortiz on Red Sox addition Martinez|
|Warriors target Friday return for Curry against Hawks|
|Red alert: Richard Sherman ´excited´ to be a 49er|
|Romo ready to create ´mental bubble´ ahead of PGA Tour debut|
|LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Bucks as Love returns|
|Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts|
|Rangers´ Perez slaughtered, ate bull that caused broken elbow|
|Bills improve offensive line with Bodine, Newhouse|
|Braves phenom Acuna to start season in minors|
|Chargers add Pouncey on two-year deal|
|Siemian swaps Broncos for Vikings|
|Cavs coach Lue steps away from job due to health reasons|
|Thunder end Raptors´ streak, Davis stars|
|Stars goalie Bishop expected to miss at least two weeks|
|Pistons got absolutely screwed - Van Gundy slams officiating in loss to Trail Blazers|
|LeBron James: Cavs worried about Lue health|
|Australia to host two games against Team USA in 2019|
|Grizzlies snap 19-game losing streak, LeBron´s triple-double lifts Cavs|
|NFL Draft 2018: Jets acquire number three overall pick from Colts|
|UMBC´s March Madness win earns everyone in USA free pizza|
|Markelle Fultz´s return remains a mystery to Brett Brown|
|Thunder claim key win, injury-ravaged Warriors fall to Kings|
|J.J. Watt breaks news of Tyrann Mathieu´s deal with Texans|
|Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount joins Lions|
|Warriors star Durant to miss at least two weeks with rib injury|
|Doc Rivers fined $15,000 for calling officiating ´complete joke´|
|Ravens sign WR Michael Crabtree to three-year deal|
|Vikings sign DT Sheldon Richardson|
|Vikings celebrate Cousins capture as AFC lags behind in NFL ´arms´ race|
|LeBron delivers massive dunk as Cavs fall to Trail Blazers|
|Rivers slams officials after Clippers´ loss to Rockets|
|Hawks´ Schroder: Howard only cares against his former teams|
|Vikings sign Cousins to record contract|
|Redskins sign Smith to contract extension|
|Wizards sneak past Celtics in double OT, Durant leads Warriors|
|Richburg signs multi-year deal with 49ers|
|Bills sign QB McCarron to two-year deal|
|Murcia dump out holders Tenerife to reach last eight|
|Browns tackle Thomas announces retirement|
|Mathieu nearing Cardinals exit|
|Cleveland Browns stalwart Joe Thomas announces retirement|
|Stephen Curry at 30: The numbers behind an illustrious career|
|Breaking down Russell Westbrook´s 100 triple-doubles|
|I´m like fine wine - LeBron James after career-high 14th triple-double|
|Westbrook, Simmons add to triple-double prowess|
|Titans to add another ex-Patriot in RB Lewis|
|Warriors star Curry to miss at least another week|
|Canadiens All-Star defenseman Weber out for season|
|Jets to sign QB Bridgewater to one-year deal|
|Jets set to sign DB Johnson|
|QB McCown signs new Jets deal amid Bridgewater rumours|
|Monaco cruise into BCL last eight in front of Prince Albert II|
|Titans to sign former Patriots CB Malcolm Butler to five-year deal|
|Former Raiders CB Smith to serve year in jail for assault|
|Packers releasing Jordy Nelson, signing Jimmy Graham|
|Cardinals release RB Adrian Peterson|
|QB Sam Bradford expected to sign with Cardinals|
|Danny Amendola set to swap Patriots for Dolphins|
|Kirk Cousins ´likely to sign with Vikings´ after visit|
|Drew Brees staying with Saints in reported two-year, $50m deal|
|Chiefs agree to terms with WR Sammy Watkins|
|Robinson reportedly set to join Bears|
|Keenum expected to sign with Broncos|
|Jake Arrieta pens heartfelt letter to Cubs after joining Phillies|
|Houston top San Antonio as Spurs´ woes continue|
|Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin nets 600th career NHL goal|
|Kirk Cousins pens emotional letter to Redskins fans|
|Dolphins expected to release DT Ndamukong Suh|
|LOOK: Tom Brady offers first glimpse at gashed hand|