Stipe Miocic is the heavyweight champion once again!
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the Lone Star state hosts two of the biggest football teams in the land.
The Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys both lead their respective divisions and are among the most in-form teams in the NFL.
Dallas played host to the New Orleans Saints in front of a massive crowd of 93,004.
The Cowboys defense went to work and Saints quarterback Drew Brees failed to complete his first four passes for the first time in his illustrious career. At half-time Brees has passed for a miserable 31 yards as the Saints trailed 13-0.
Although the Cowboys could not register a second half point, they hung on to win 13-10, keeping New Orleans to their lowest points tally of the season.
The Cowboys lift to 7-5 and stay top of the NFC East.
The star of the Dallas defensive effort was 193cm, 116kg linebacker Leighton Van Der Esch.
Hailing from the small town of Riggings, Idaho, Van Der Esch built up his strength running up and down the mountains near his home. He has made 24 combined tackles in his last three games and we might hear more of his wolf-howl celebration in the coming weeks.
New England Patriots faced a tough test at home against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Patriots led 10-0 before a touchdown by Adam Thielen made the scores 10-7 at the half.
Minnesota levelled, then a 24-yard pass from Tom Brady to Josh Gordon gave the Pats a seven point lead going into the final quarter.
Another touchdown by James Develin sealed a 24-10 victory for the Patriots. Tom Brady passed for 311 yards as New England climbed to 9-3 and all but wrap up the AFC East.
The game of the round was at Pittsburgh where the Steelers hosted the Los Angeles Chargers.
Pittsburgh started on fire, a 46 yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger hitting Antonio Brown setting up a touchdown run for James Conner on the next play.
Conner scored again to put the Steelers ahead 13-0.
Still in the first quarter, the Chargers returned fire with a long touchdown pass from Phil Rivers to Travis Benjamin.
In the final seconds of the first half, a long bomb from Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown to give the Steelers a seemingly comfortable 23-7 lead at the half.
The Chargers hit back when a ball thrown by Rivers ricocheted off two Steelers’ players before spooning up to Keenan Allen in the end zone.
In the final quarter, a spectacular 73 yard punt return from Desmond King levelled the scores before Chargers went ahead thanks to an 18 yard rushed touchdown from Justin Jackson.
With seconds to go, and the scores tied, Chargers’ kicker Michael Badgley missed a field goal but the Steelers had inexplicably given up a penalty for offside. The retaken kick was blocked but another penalty went against the Steelers. On the third try the kick was good, the Chargers winning 33-30.
Up for grabs in the Monday night game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins was second place in the NFC East.
Philadelphia went to an early lead but Washington pulled it back when Adrian Peterson sliced through to score a 90 yard rushing touchdown.
At half time the Eagles led 14-13 and shut out the Redskins in the second half to complete a 28-13 win.
The Eagles join the Redskins at 6-6.
In the Big Apple, New York Giants sprung an upset against an in-form Chicago Bears.
Replacement quarterback Chase Daniel started terribly when his pass was intercepted by Alec Ogletree for a touchdown to the Giants.
The Bears snatched back the lead only for the Giants to take it back through a 49 yard pass to Sterling Shephard from Odell Beckham Jr showing off his quarterback skills.
The Giants blew a ten point lead inside the final 1:13 to send the match to overtime but recovered for a 30-27 win.
Houston Texans beat the Cleveland Browns 29-13. It was the Texans’ ninth win in a row and they hold the longest winning streak of all NFL teams at the moment.
Denver Broncos continued their mini-revival with an impressive 24-10 away win against Cincinnati Bengals. It was their third straight win and brings them to 6-6, still with a chance of making the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Rams took a while to come to grips with the Detroit Lions but eventually triumphed 30-16.
Arizona Cardinals beat Green Bay Packers 20-17 at a chilly Lambeau Field. The Packers reacted to the loss sharply, sacking head coach Mike McCarthy.
Kansas City’s offense shook off a defeat and a bye to post a 40-30 win against the Oakland Raiders.
In other games, Baltimore Ravens beat Atlanta Falcons 26-16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Carolina Panthers 24-17, and Miami Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills 21-17.
The Jacksonville Jaguars halted the Indianapolis Colts’ six win streak with a touchdown-less 6-0 win, Tennessee Titans pipped New York Jets 26-22, and Seattle Seahawks kept their playoff hopes alive with a 43-16 thumping of San Francisco 49ers.
The divisional leaders after week 13 look like this:
AFC: Kansas City(10-2), New England (9-3), Houston (9-3), Pittsburgh (7-4-1)
NFC: LA Rams (11-1), New Orleans (10-2), Chicago (8-4), Dallas (7-5)
The teams in the wildcard places are:
AFC: LA Chargers (9-3), Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
NFC: Seattle (7-5), Minnesota (6-5-1)
Next week features the NFC East showdown between the Eagles and Cowboys as well as the Bears against the Rams.