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NFL: Week 13 talking points

The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the most impacted teams by injuries this season and it just seems to get worse.

Jimmy Garoppolo, who stepped in as starter when the Niners lost Trey Lance to a season-ending broken right ankle in Week 2, is now done for the year too.

The former Super Bowl quarterback fractured his left foot in Sunday's 33-17 win over the Dolphins and it may have been his last game for the storied San Francisco franchise.

That leaves Mr Irrelevant with the keys to the Niners' offence. That's the unkind term used for any player selected last overall in the draft, which Brock Purdy had the dubious distinction of being when he came out of college earlier this year.

He enjoyed a successful NFL debut in relief for Garoppolo, completing 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception (88.8 rating).

Sterner tests are sure to come for Purdy and the playoff-bound 49ers, but he is going to be helped by one of the NFL's most efficient running games, more offensive playmakers than almost all the other teams, the best defence in football and one of the brightest coaching minds in charge of a team currently - so he stands a chance.

Burrow buries any doubts over Bengals' Super Bowl credentials

It's happening again in Ohio - the Cincinnati Bengals are making another run at the postseason and maybe even a return ticket to the Super Bowl.

After an 0-2 start, the AFC champions have won six of their last seven and have established the sort of momentum that teams strive for at this time of year.

The fact that they have been able to do it while leading wideout Ja'Marr Chase and running back Joe Mixon have missed time with injuries is even more impressive.

Joe Burrow threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 27-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, yet again outduelling Patrick Mahomes.

The 8-4 Bengals are almost certainly the team that Andy Reid's Chiefs, now 9-3, least want to see again in the playoffs.

But Cincy, an 11/2 shot to retain their conference crown, are now in full control of their destiny and will be dangerous once more come January.

Jacobs and Raiders trying to run the tables

Fortunes can turn around pretty quickly in the NFL and they really have for the Las Vegas Raiders in recent times.

Three weeks ago, Josh McDaniels was seemingly on the hot seat after his team occupied last place in the AFC West with a 2-7 record.

But three straight wins have brought them back to the fringes of the AFC playoff picture and an invite to the postseason, for which they are 29/4, could be on the cards if they can run the tables in Las Vegas.

What seemed impossible has been made merely improbable by the Raiders' discovery of an identity that has led to them playing their best football of the season.

Josh Jacobs is now being fed the ball on a much more regular basis and the running back came up big again on Sunday with 144 ground yards and a touchdown in their 27-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Jacobs, 8/13 to be the NFL rushing king, extended his lead over rivals Derrick Henry (5/1) and Nick Chubb (16/5) by moving to 1,303 rushing yards on the season.

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Quarterback-needy teams jostle for draft position

It's Heisman Trophy weekend in New York and four talented college triggermen are on the shortlist for the prestigious award. Next year's draft class looks to be full of quarterbacks, which is good news for a slew of slumping terms in need of a reset at that position.

The Houston Texans lost their seventh straight game on Sunday and appear to be locked in on the number one selection.

The Indianapolis Colts' situation continues to worsen and they will be looking for a young arm to learn from Matt Ryan, whose shelf-life as a reliable NFL starter seems to be nearing its expiry date.

And the New Orleans Saints now look to be too far out of contention - even in the dilapidated NFC South - to raise their game over the final weeks of the season.

There's no suggestion here that the Saints will tank to get a top draft pick, but their fans may be openly wishing for that scenario to play out now.

However, Andy Dalton deserves praise for his performance in Monday night's heartbreaking 17-16 loss to a Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers comeback.

He completed 20 of 28 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown for a 107.6 passer rating and could have had more but for Chris Olave's drop of a well-placed pass on third down which led to a possession-wasting punt.

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