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WEEK 13: WHAT WE LEARNED

By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — There were some massive shakeups in the balance of power in each conference in last week’s best and worst performances.

Niners make a case as NFC’s best: The midseason slump the 49ers had suddenly seemed like it was ages ago. San Francisco (9-3) absolutely shredded the Eagles, handing Philadelphia only its second loss of the season. So now the 49ers have won four in a row, with the average margin of victory being 21.3 points.

Upstart Texans take a huge step: The Houston Texans chewed up the Denver Broncos, the NFL’s hottest team and one that had forced 16 turnovers during their five-game winning streak.

Both teams were tied at 6-5 and in the muck of the AFC playoff picture. Houston didn’t commit a single turnover and forced Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson into two costly interceptions on Denver’s final two drives of the day for a 22-17 win.

Carolina’s problems run deep: Frankly, they start all the way at the top, with owner David Tepper. Far too often, the impatience of NFL owners leads to instability in coaching staffs and front offices, which can torpedo the chances young players – especially quarterbacks have at success.

In Carolina’s first game with Chris Tabor as interim coach, the offense was more or less the same. In a 21-18 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Panthers (1-11) converted just three of 15 third downs (20%), matching their season low.

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