t’s week four of play in the National Football League. The 2014 season is less than halfway done and three teams stand unbeaten. Arizona. Cincinnati. Philadelphia. Those three teams remain unblemished in the 2014 campaign.

Sunday is also the first game to be played in London as Miami and Oakland square off at Wembley Stadium. There will be two more contests on the docket before the season comes to an end.

The 2014 International Series is set to get underway in Week 4, with the Oakland Raiders hosting the Miami Dolphins at London’s Wembley Stadium. It will be the first of three games to be played in the United Kingdom this season. The other two games, which will also be played at Wembley, feature the Atlanta Falcons against the Detroit Lions in Week 8 (October 28th) and the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10 (November 9th).

The International Series has seen some very close contests. In the first eight games, five have been decided by one score.

The eight regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium:

DATE (WEEK) FINAL SCORE
October 27, 2013 (8) San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10
September 29, 2013 (4) Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27
October 28, 2012 (8) New England 45, St. Louis 7
October 23, 2011 (7) Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18
October 31, 2010 (8) San Francisco 24, Denver 16
October 25, 2009 (7) New England 25, Tampa Bay 7
October 26, 2008 (8) New Orleans 37, San Diego 32
October 28, 2007 (8) New York Giants 13, Miami 10

As the NFL season enters the quarter mark, three teams remain undefeated – Arizona, Cincinnati and Philadelphia. And since 1990, when the current playoff format was adopted, 75.2 percent of teams (91 of 121) to start 3-0 have qualified for the postseason.

The Cardinals and Eagles have set the pace in the NFC thanks to their resiliency and ability to make big plays in important moments.

“One of the reasons why both teams are undefeated is that they’ve both been able to come from behind,” says NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger. “And they’re both making big plays on both sides of the ball. Ultimately, when its crunch time, these two teams are making big plays at key parts of the game.”

For just the third time in the past 41 seasons (1974, 2012), the Cardinals have started a season 3-0. And with a bye in Week 4, the Cardinals will finish the first month of the season with a perfect record, marking the third time since the 1970 merger that the franchise posted an undefeated record in September (1974, 2012).

“For us to go undefeated in September is a huge step forward,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told the Arizona Republic. “I love the resiliency of our football team and the focus they bring every single day to work.”

Arizona has allowed 45 total points (15.0 per game) through the first three games of the season, tied for the second-fewest in the league (Cincinnati, 33).

“It’s good to be 3-0, but we’re not satisfied because we’re trying to get somewhere,” says Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. “We’re trying to get to the playoffs and the Super Bowl.”

The Cardinals and Bengals are the only two teams who have allowed 17 points or fewer in all three games. It is just the sixth time in franchise history dating back to 1940 – and the first time since 1974 – that the Cardinals have allowed 17 points or fewer in each of the first three games of a season.

“I think the reason the Cardinals have been successful is they’ve been opportunistic on defense,” says NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah. “You have to give Todd Bowles a lot of credit for what the Cardinals have done.”

The Cardinals have played some of their best football in the fourth quarter this season, outscoring opponents 30-0. Arizona has trailed in the second half of all three games, including entering the fourth quarter while behind in each of the team’s first two games. The Cardinals became the first team since 1982 (Green Bay) to start 2-0 after trailing entering the fourth quarter in both games and not allowing a single fourth-quarter point.

“For us to go undefeated in September is a huge step forward,” says Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, whose team enters its Week 4 bye in first place in the NFC West. “I love the resiliency of our football team and the focus they bring every single day to work.”

The chances of making the playoffs after a 3-0 start are good but far from certain. Since 1990, when the current playoff format was adopted, 91 of the 121 teams (75.2 percent) to start 3-0 have qualified for the postseason.

The Cardinals are one of nine teams with a 2-1 record or better that did not make the playoffs last year – Arizona (3-0), Atlanta (2-1), Baltimore (2-1), Buffalo (2-1), Chicago (2-1), Dallas (2-1), Detroit (2-1), Houston (2-1) and Pittsburgh (2-1). And that’s the unpredictability of the NFL. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four clubs made the playoffs each season that were not in the postseason the previous year.

“We set high standards around here and we haven’t met them yet,” says Lions first-year head coach Jim Caldwell about the team’s 2-1 start. “We have lofty goals but our guys certainly take that challenge and are certainly open to it.”

And don’t count out any teams yet. Since 1990, 65 teams with a losing record after the first three games made the playoffs. That includes five teams last season – Carolina, Green Bay, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco. So, entering Week 4, hope is still very much alive for everyone.

“It feels good to get that first win,” says New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz about the team’s 30-17 win over Houston in Week 3. “It feels good to get ourselves motivated. The energy level is high on this team. We’re confident. Everybody feels good and we’re excited to get things going forward.”

“We now understand how to win ballgames,” says Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson. “We know how to finish out the fourth quarter. That’s what it’s all about in this league.”

The teams with the best fourth-quarter point differentials this season:

FOURTH QUARTER STATISTICS FOR 2014 SEASON

TEAM – POINTS SCORED/POINTS ALLOWED/POINT DIFFERENTIAL, RECORD
Arizona – 30/0/+30, 3-0
Philadelphia – 40/14/+26, 3-0
Chicago – 27/6/+21, 2-1

Philadelphia is 3-0 for the first time since 2004 when the Eagles last appeared in the Super Bowl. That season, the club finished 13-3, claimed the NFC East division title, earned the top seed in the conference, won the NFC Championship Game and advanced to Super Bowl XXXIX.

“Our whole motto is one down, one to go,” says Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly. “We’re fortunate right now to be 3-0. The guys should feel really good about themselves but we’ve got to get back to work.”

The Eagles have overcome deficits of at least 10 points in each of the team’s first three games and are the first team in NFL history to start 3-0 when trailing by at least 10 points in all three games. That includes wins in the club’s first two games when Philadelphia trailed by at least 14 points in the second half. The Eagles are the only team in league annals to start 2-0 after trailing by at least 14 points in the second half of each game.

“In this league, you have to win the close ones,” says Philadelphia running back Le Sean McCoy. “That’s what the good teams do. They find ways to win the close ones.”

Philadelphia has scored 101 points (33.7 per game), the second-most in the league (Atlanta, 103), and is the only team in the NFL to score at least 30 points in all three games. Since Kelly took over as the head coach in 2013, the Eagles have scored at least 30 points in a game 11 times and are 9-2 (.818) in those contests.

“We’re a family and we stick together,” says Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who leads the NFL with 978 passing yards. “There’s great camaraderie. We lean on each other instead of blaming each other. That’s what football should be about. You go into work each and every day with these guys. You want to have each other’s backs.”

Philadelphia has scored 74 second-half points – the most in the league – and the club’s +50 point differential after halftime leads the NFL.

“For the Eagles, what they do at halftime is special,” says Jeremiah. “With Chip Kelly and what they’ve been able to do coming out of halftime, the adjustments they make, that to me has been why they’ve been successful.”

The teams with the best second-half point differentials this season:

SECOND HALF STATISTICS FOR 2014 SEASON

TEAM-POINTS SCORED/POINTS ALLOWED/POINT DIFFERENTIAL, RECORD
Philadelphia-74/24/+50, 3-0
Chicago-44/12/+32, 2-1
Dallas-48/20/+28, 2-1
Arizona-44/21/+23, 3-0
Baltimore-45/25/+20, 2-1

2013 was considered by many to be the “Year of the Quarterback.” 2014 is off to a good start as well.

Through Week 3, the league-wide passer rating is 90.6, on pace to be the highest of any season in NFL history. The mark is also the highest of any NFL season through three weeks.

NFL quarterbacks have been particularly effective at avoiding interceptions in 2014, which has helped fuel the record passer rating.

Through Week 3, the league-wide interception percentage is 2.15 percent, the lowest ever at this point in a season and on pace to be the best mark in NFL history for a full year.

“It’s huge to not have negative plays – especially in the passing game,” says Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, who has led the Bengals to a 3-0 start and thrown just one interception in 84 attempts in 2014. “Not giving the other team the ball, it’s been a thing we’ve really prided ourselves on. That’s one of our top goals.”

Teams that avoid interceptions have translated that efficiency into wins. In Week 2 of this season, 15 of the 16 winning teams threw no interceptions, tied for most such games of any week in NFL history (Week 13, 2011).

Since realignment in 2002, NFL teams have a record of 1,705-730-6 (.700) in games in which they threw no interceptions.

“It’s all about the number of possessions,” says NFL Network analyst and former head coach Steve Mariucci about the importance of avoiding interceptions. “It’s about possession time, clock time and the number of chances to score points. If you give the ball away three times a game, that’s three opportunities out of 12 or 13 that you don’t have a chance to score. Plus, you’re providing the other team with a short field.”

The teams with the most games with no interceptions since 2002:

TEAM (GAMES WITH 0 INTs, W-L-T, WIN PCT.)
New England (101, 90-11-0, .891)
Jacksonville (93, 56-37-0, .602)
Philadelphia (89, 64-25-0, .719)
Indianapolis (88, 74-14-0, .841)
Kansas City (87, 52-35-0, .598)
San Diego (84, 65-19-0, .774)
San Francisco (84, 65-18-1, .780)
Baltimore (82, 69-13-0, .841)
Denver (81, 63-18-0, .778)
Tennessee (81, 62-19-0, .765)

LANDMARK WINS: With a victory on Sunday night against New Orleans on NBC at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern), the Dallas Cowboys will earn their 500th total victory. Including playoffs, the Cowboys currently own a 499-374-6 all-time record.

With a victory Sunday against Chicago, the Green Bay Packers will become the second team in NFL history with 700 regular-season wins. Green Bay would join the Bears (732-535-42) as the only teams to accomplish the feat.

The teams with the most regular-season wins in NFL history:

TEAMS (RECORD, WIN PERCENTAGE)
Chicago (732-535-42, .578)
Green Bay (699-539-37, .564)
New York Giants (662-549-33, .547)
Pittsburgh (571-520-20, .523)
Washington (566-548-27, .508)
Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.

IT’S STILL EARLY: In the first three weeks of 2014, 29 of the 32 clubs (90.6 percent) earned one or more wins, including 26 (81.3 percent) which own a 2-1 or 1-2 record. Both are the second-highest such totals in a season through three games since realignment in 2002.

The 29 teams with at least one victory through Week 3 is the second-most through three games since realignment in 2002 (30, 2012). If two of the three remaining winless teams – Jacksonville at San Diego, Oakland vs. Miami in London, England and Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh – win this week, 2014 will have the most teams with one or more victories through four games since realignment.

RISING RODGERS: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs 106 passing yards on Sunday against Chicago to reach 25,000 for his career. In his 98th game, Rodgers would become the fourth fastest quarterback to reach the 25,000-yard mark. Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (92), Peyton Manning (97) and Kurt Warner (97) have reached the 25,000-yard mark in the fewest number of games in NFL history.

The fastest players to reach 25,000 career passing yards:

PLAYER, TEAM(S) (# GAMES TO 25,000 YARDS-CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Dan Marino, Miami (92-61,361)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, Denver (97-65,778)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis, New York Giants, Arizona (97-32,344)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (– – 24,894)*

*Through 97 games

Last week featured a rematch of Super Bowl teams from the season prior as Seattle needed overtime in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks to defeat Denver 26-20. The game was the sixth Super Bowl rematch in the following regular season and the first since 1997 (Green Bay vs. New England).

The teams to play in a Super Bowl and play each other in the following regular season:

DATE-SUPER BOWL (RESULT)/; DATE-REGULAR SEASON RESUL
01/11/70 – IV (Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7); 09/20/70 (Minnesota 27, Kansas City 10)
01/09/77 – XI (Oakland 32, Minnesota 14); 12/11/77 (Oakland 35, Minnesota 13)
01/21/79 – XIII (Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31); 10/2879 (Pittsburgh 14, Dallas 3)
01/31/93 – XXVII (Dallas 52, Buffalo 17); 09/12/93 (Buffalo 13, Dallas 10)
01/26/97 – XXXI (Green Bay 35, New England 21); 10/27/97 (Green Bay 28, New England 10)
02/02/14 – XLVIII (Seattle 43, Denver 8); 09/21/14 (Seattle 26, Denver 20 in overtime)

TIGHT CONNECTION: In New England’s 16-9 win over Oakland, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady connected with tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI for the game’s only touchdown. Brady and Gronkowski have now combined for 44 career touchdowns, tying PEYTON MANNING and DALLAS CLARK for the third-most QB-TE touchdowns all-time.

The most touchdown connections between a quarterback-tight end in NFL history:

QUARTERBACK/TIGHT END, TEAM (TD CONNECTIONS)
Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates, San Diego (63)*
Drew Bledsoe/Ben Coates, New England (45)
Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski, New England (44)*
Peyton Manning/Dallas Clark, Indianapolis (44)
Drew Brees/Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (43)*
Sonny Jurgensen/Jerry Smith, Washington (43)
Dan Fouts/Kellen Winslow, San Diego (41)
John Elway/Shannon Sharpe, Denver (41)

AWESOME ANTONIO: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers’ 37-19 win over Carolina on Sunday Night Football. It marked Brown’s 19th consecutive game with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards, tying Laveranues Coles for the most consecutive such games in NFL history. Brown’s streak dates back to Kickoff Weekend last season.

The players with the most consecutive games with 5+ receptions and 50+ receiving yards:
PLAYER-TEAM(S), YEARS (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 5+ REC & 50+ REC YARDS)
Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh, 9/8/2013-present (19)*
Laveranues Coles-New York Jets, Washington, 9/29/2002-10/12/03 (19)
Keyshawn Johnson- Tampa Bay, 12/18/2000-12/16/01 (15)
Herman Moore-Detroit, 11/17/1996-11/2/97 (15)
Herman Moore-Detroit, 10/22/1995-9/29/96 (15)
*Active

Week four also starts the bye week and the first teams with byes that get the weekend off are Arizona, Cincinnati, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle and Cleveland. They go back to work next week. For the rest of the league, it’s back to work. Things got underway last Thursday night as the New York Giants took Washington to the woodshed last Thursday night in Landover by a final of 45-14. For the week, we went 11-5, a big improvement from last week. For the year, we’re 29-19. There’s still a lot of football left and we haven’t even polished off that bag of Halloween candy… yet. As ESPN’s Chris Berman says, “That’s why they play the games.”

Here’s week four.

Atlanta (2-1) at Minnesota (1-2), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 713, TCF Bank Stadium) Atlanta travels to the Twin Cities to take on the Vikings in the Great Outdoors. The Falcons made real quick work of Tampa Bay last Thursday night in the Big Peach, taking a 35-0 lead with them to the half and then outscored the Bucs 21-14 in the second half to win 56-14. Atlanta took advantage of five Tampa Bay turnovers and scored on a turnover when S Kemal Ishmael returned a Josh McGown interception 23 yards for a score. Thursday night was also a night for history as WR/KR Deven Hester returned a Tampa Bay punt back 62 yards for a TD, breaking Deion Sanders’ record for TDs via punt returns. Hester also had a 20-yard TD on a reverse in the win.

Tampa Bay was held to 64 yards on the ground, while the Falcons ran for 144 and QB Matt Ryan threw three TD passes in the game without being intercepted. Atlanta was 8 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 32:39, while the Bucs were 3 of 13 (1 of 1 on fourth down), holding the ball for 27:21.

Mionnesota struggled against New Orleans last Sunday in the Big Easy and fell to the Saints 20-9. The Vikings, without Adrian Peterson for a second straigh contest, Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater saw his first action in a NFL contest and was sacked twice in the loss, while the Vikings rushed for only 59 yards on the afternoon. Minnesota was 6 of 15 on third down converesions, while the Saints were 9 of 13. In addition to winning the game, New Orleans won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 33:33, while the Vikes kept it for 26:27.

The Purple Gang leads the series 15-10 and have outscored the Falcons 582-414 but the Falcons have won the last two meetings, including a 24-14 win in the Big Peach in 2011. Minnesota last win over the Falcons came in 2007 in the Metrodome by a fnal of 24-3. ATlanta’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 47. Falcons make it three wins in a row over the Vikes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, covering the 3 and winning in the Twin Cities.

Green Bay (1-2) at Chicago (2-1), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 705, Soldier Field) A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Windy City as Green Bay makes the 3 hour drive south to Chicago to take on Da Bears.

Detroit and Green Bay were tied at 7 after the first 15 minutes of play before the Lions outscored them 12-0 in the last 45 minutes to take a 19-7 loss in the Motor City. Green Bay was held to 76 yards on the ground and Aaron Rodgers was sacked twice in the loss. Green Bay went 4 of 10 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:47, while the Lions roared on third down, going 11 of 18 and kept the ball for 38:13.

Chicago on the other hand, led 17-13 in the Meadowlands last Monday night and then proceeded to outscore the New York Jets 10-6 to win 27-19. Chicago’s offense struggled in the prime time contest, rushing for only 60 yards, while allowing New York to rush for 114 but they did manage to force three turnovers for the win. Da Bears kept the ball for 28:08 and went 7 of 16 on third down tries, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! won the time of possession battle, holding the pigskin for 31:52.

Da Bears lead the series 92-88-6 (which includes contests played at Wrigley Field by Chicago and Milwaukee County Stadium by Green Bay) and have outscored the Packers 3,176-3,107.

The two NFC North foes spilt the season series in 2013 and each won in the other’s ball park last year. Da Bears won the first meeting at Lambeau in week nine, taking a 27-20 win. Chicago led 17-10 at the break in the land of bratwurst and cheese and then held off Green Bay, who played them even in the second half. It was the battle of running backs in the first meeting as Chicago’s Matt Forte and Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy each ran for over 100 yards. Forte ran for 125 and a TD. while Lacy ran for 150 and a TD (Chicago rushed for 171, Green Bay 199).

Both teams struggled on third down tries in the first meeting (Chicago was 6 for 14 and 1 of 1 on fourth down, Green Bay was 1 of 9) and the clock was the ally of Da Bears, who kept it in hibernation for 33:09, while Green Bay held on for 26:51.

That was game one.

Game two was in week 17.

In Chicago.

Game two was for all the marbles.

Game two was winner-take-all, loser go home.

Game two was for the NFC North title in Chicago and while the weather was nice and somewhat balmy in Wisconsin by Green Bay standards (49 degrees at kickoff in Green Bay), it was not the case in the season finale (26 degrees with a wind chill of 14) and it would be Green Bay getting revenge in the Windy City, taking a 33-28 win at Soldier Field. Green Bay trailed 28-27 late in the contest when Aaron Rodgers connected with Randall Cobb on a 48-yard pass with 38 seconds left to play. Once again, Forte rushed for over 100 (110 with a pair of TDs) and once again, both teams broke the century mark on the ground (Green Bay ran for 160, Chicago for 121) and it also wound up being a duel of QBs as Rodgers (318) outpassed Cutler (226) and each would throw a pair of TDs. Each team was also 50 percent on third down tries (Green Bay 9 of 18 and 3 of 3 on fourth down; Chicago 5 of 10) and the Packers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:09 to Chicago’s 24:51.

In the week nine affair in Green Bay, the Packers were favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under was 50 1/2. Chicago won by seven and did not cover the spread and neither team reached the 50 1/2 over/under, scoring only 47. Things were much different in the Windy City in the winner-take-all contest at Soldier Field as the Packers were 5-point winners and covered the 3 1/2 spread and both teams covered the 52 over/under as they combined for 63 points. The Packers in the Windy City are a 1 1/2 point favorite and the over/under is 50. It might be closer than the 1 1/2. The 50? We can live with it. Chicago’s looking for revenge against the Packers but Green Bay’s not going to give it to them. Packers cover the 1 1/2 and win in the Windy City.

Tennessee (1-2) at Indianapolis (1-2), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 710, Lucas Oil Stadium) A pair of 1-2 AFC South foes sqaure off in the Hoosier State as the Colts host the Tennessee Titans. Both teams were on the road last week and the home team came away with a win, while their guests took a loss in the Buckeye State.

Tennessee trailed 26-0 after 45 minutes of play in Cincinnati and were only able to muster seven points in the fourth quarter as they were clawed by the Bengals 33-7. Although Tennessee was able to outrush Cincinnati 149-116, the Titans coughed the ball up twice like a furball (a pair of Jake Locker interceptions) in the loss. Tennessee was 2 of 12 on third down tries (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:16, while the Bengals were 3 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down, holding the ball for 28:44.

On the other side of the coin, the Colts took a 30-0 lead in Jacksonville against the Jaguars and galloped to a 44-17 wim in the Sunshine State. Indy forced three Jacksonville turnovers in the contest and Colts QB Andrew Luck threw four TDs with no interceptions and 370 yards. Indy out-rushed Jacksonville 144-105 at EverBank Field and went 8 of 14 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth) and held the pigskin for 37:03, while the Jaguars were 4 of 10, possessing the ball for 22:57.

Including contests that were played when the Titans were in Texas and known as the Houston Oilers, the Colts lead the series 25-13, have outscored Tennessee 952-730 and have won five of the last six contests, including a 2013 series sweep.

In the first meeting in week 11 in the Music City, Indy held off a late Tennessee rally to win 30-27. The Colts trailed 17-6 at the half and outscored the Titans 24-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. The Colts outrushed Tenneseee 137-122 and was 6 of 13 on third down tries (Tennessee was 6 for 11) and held the ball for 32:23 to Tennessee’s 27:37.

The Colts made the sweep of the series offical in Indianapolis two weeks later as they won 22-14. The Titans defense fared a little better, sacking Luck five times in the game and picking him off once but Titans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was picked off three times. Both clubs struggled on third down tries (Tennessee was 6 of 15 and 1 of 1 on fourth down, Indianapolis was 3 of 14, 1 of 1) and the Titans won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 33:55 to Indy’s 26:05.

Indianapolis was a 3-point favorite in the first meeting, a Thursday night affair and the over/under was 42 1/2. The Colts’ 3-point win allowed them to cover the spread and both teams exceeded the over/under as they combined for 57 points. In the second contest in the Hoosier State two weeks later, the oddsmakers liked the Colts as a 4 1/2-point favorite and the over/under in the second meeting was 44 1/2. Indy won by 8, covering the spread but both clubs only scored 36 points, missing the over/under. The oddsmakers like the Colts this week as a 7 1/2 point favorite with a 46 1/2 over/under. This might be one of those games you may want to take a pass on (unless you’re a fan of either team) and watch that “Law & Order/SVU” marathon on USA (go on, admit it, you think Olivia Benson’s hot!) Colts gallop off with this one but they may not cover the 7 1/2.

Carolina (2-1) at Baltimore (2-1), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 708, M&T Bank Stadium) The Panthers make the trip up I-85 to take on the Ravens in Charm City. The Panthers look to right their ship after they were manhandled by Pittsburgh at home last Sunday night.

In their loss to Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger, Carolina stayed close at 9-6 at the half before the wheels came off the bus and were outscored by the Steelers in the second half 28-16. The Panthers were held to 42 yards on the ground and Cam Newton was sacked three times in the primetime Sunday loss. Steeler RBs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrett Blount ran through the Carolina defense for 147 and 118 yards respectively in the 37-19 blowout. Neither club did anything exicting to talk or Tweet about on third down tries as Pittsburgh was 3 of 11, while Carolina was 4 of 12. Both teams did manage to find success on fourth downs, with each completing their only tries of the contest and time was the ally of the Steelers, who kept the ball for 34:39 to Carolina’s 25:21.

The Ravens rallied late in the Buckeye State against the Browns thanks to a 32-yard field goal by Jeff Tucker as the clock ran out, taking a 23-21 win. Batlimore led 10-7 at the half before the Browns took the lead in the third quarter before Baltmore rallied to take the lead and the win. Baltimore held Cleveland to 91 yards on the ground, while they rushed for 160 on the day. Third down tries were problematic for both clubs (Baltimore was 4 of 12, 0 of 1 on fourth down; Cleveland was 5 of 11) and time of posssession favored the Ravens at 30:55 to Cleveland’s 29:05.

Carolina leads the series 3-1 and have outscored Baltimore 81-73. Baltimore’s only win in the series came in 2010 in Charlotte by a final of 37-13, while Carolina won the first three meetings, with their last win over the Ravens coming in 2006 in Baltimore by a 23-21 final. The Ravens are a 2-point favorite and the over/under is a whopping 41. The 2? A bit low. The 41? Makes sense. It is what it is, to paraphrase former Cardinals coach Dennis Green. Ravens cover the 2 in Charm City and send Carolina back to the litter box.

Tampa Bay (0-3) at Pittsburgh (2-1), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 707, Heinz Field) Fresh off a huge blowout win in the Tar Heel State and with their next door neighbors Pirates in the MLB post-season for the second year in a row, there’s a buzz in the air in Pittsburgh and the Steelers hope to keep that buzz alive as they host the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay looks to right its ship as their hopes of a win on the road in the Big Peach were scuttled by the Falcons, who took a 35-0 lead into the intermission and cruised to a 56-14 thrashing Thursday night. The Bucs were held to 64 yards and turned the ball over five times, with the Falcons capitalizing on one of them (Kemal Ishmael’s 23 yard interception). Devin Hester then added injury to insult when he scored on a 20-yard run from scrimmage and a 62-yard punt return to break Deion Sanders’ record for returns. Tampa Bay struggled on third down tries, going 3 of 13 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:21, while the Falcons were 8 for 11 and kept the ball for 32:29.

The Steelers manhandled Carolina in Charlotte last Sunday night 28-16. The Steel Curtain was the “Steel Curtain” of old, holding Carolina to 42 yards rushing and sacked Cam Newton three times. Meanwhile, Steeler RBs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrett Blount were the second coming of Franco Harris and Rocky Blier as they ran through the Carolina defense for 147 and 118 yards respectively. Pittsburgh was 3 of 11 on third down conversions in the Sunday night win, while Carolina was not finer, going 4 of 12. Both teams did manage to find success on fourth downs, with each completing their only tries of the contest and time was the ally of the Steelers, who kept the ball for 34:39 to Carolina’s 25:21.

Pittsburgh leads the series 8-1 and the Steelers have outscored Tampa Bay 209-104. The Steelers have won the last four meetings with Tampa Bay, including a 38-13 win in the Sunshine State in 2010. The Bucs’ only win in the series came in 1998 by a 16-3 final, also in Tampa.

Pittsburgh’s a 7 1/2-point favorite in the Steel City and the over/under comes in at 44 1/2. Tampa Bay’s struggling. Pittsburgh’s been hot of late like a steel furnace and Steeler fans hope that trend continues. Whip out those Terrible Towels, Steeler fans. Pittsburgh wins at home and covers the 7 1/2.

Miami (1-2) vs. Oakland (1-2), 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. London) (CBS and DirecTV 711, Wembley Stadium) It’s fish and chips. It’s the changing of the guard. It’s tea time. It’s “God Save The Queen.” It’s the first of three games in London as Miami and Oakland travel across the big pond.

Talk about using your “frequent flyer miles.” The Dolphins and Raiders will meet at London’s Wembley Stadium in the first of three games that will be played in the United Kingdom this season. The contest will mark Miami’s second visit to London for a regular-season game as the Dolphins faced the New York Giants in the inaugural International Series matchup in 2007.

“You’re on an international stage and playing in front of a new group of fans,” Dolphis defensive end Cameron Wake told the Miami Herald. “We have a chance to grow Dolphin Nation.”

The Dolphins trailed Kansas City 17-15 after three quarters of play before the Chiefs scored 17 unchallenged points in the fourth quarter to win 34-15. Miami RB Lamar Miller ran for 108 yards, while Kansas City’s Knile Davis led all rushers with 132 yards on the day. The Chiefs were 9 of 15 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:42, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 26:18 and were 4 of 15 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

The Raiders return to London for the first time since 1990 when they played in a preseason game at the old Wembley Stadium against the New Orleans Saints.

“I never thought in a million years I would have the chance to come back to Wembley Stadium and play a pro sport in front of a home crowd,” says Raiders tackle Menlik Watson, who was born in Manchester, England. “It’s going to be a special moment for me.”

Oakland leads the 16-15-1 (including games that the Raiders played when they were in Los Angeles) and have outscored Miami 645-644 but… Miami has won the last four contests with the Silver and Black. Miami’s last win in the series came in 2012 by a 35-13 final, while Oakland’s last regular season win over the ‘Fins came in 2007 with the Raiders leaving the Sunshine State with a 35-17 victory. Miami is favored by 4 with a 41 over/under. Both teams are looking for redemption and one may find it, even if it means going overseas to do it. Dolphins cover the 4 and win in jolly old England. Please return your trays to the upright position.

Buffalo (2-1) at Houston (2-1), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 709, Reliant Stadium) A pair of 2-1 AFC teams seeking to improve their records from last year. Buffalo and Houston square off in the Lone Star State and both come in with losses under their belts.

The Bills trailed throughout their contest with San Diego in upstate New York and fell to the Chargers 22-10. Buffalo rushed for only 87 yards in the contest, which was not much better than San Diego, who rushed for only 85. Buffalo was 5 of 14 on third down tries (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:26, while the Chargers were 5 of 13 and held the ball for 31:34.

Houston in their 30-17 loss to the Giants in the Meadowlands, trailed throughout the contest at Met Life Stadium and allowed New York RB Rashad Jennings to rush for 176 of their 193 yards in the game (Houston managed as a team to rush for 119 yards). On third down conversions, neither club gave their fans something to cheer about, as the Texans were 2 of 12 (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 27:26, while Big Blue was 4 of 12 (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:34.

the series is even at 3-3 and the Texans have outscored Buffalo 116-106. Houston’s last win in the series came in 2012 at then-Reliant Stadium by a final of 21-9, while Buffalo’s last win against the Texans came in 2006 in Houston by a 24-21 count.

Houston’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Lone Star State and the over/under in this one’s 41. This one won’t be really great but it’ll be entertaining. Houston will have a problem with Buffalo, who “wings” it out of the Lone Star State with the win on the road.

Detroit (2-1) at New York Jets (1-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 706, MetLife Stadium) Detroit and New York. Two teams in different directions. The Lions lead what some would call the toughest divison in the NFL, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! sit tied for third in the AFC East. They meet in the Meadowland and both come into the SUnday affair in upstate New Jersey from different directions.

The Lions, in first in the NFC North, outscored Green Bay 12-0 in the final three quarters of play in their 19-7 win. Detroit ran for 115, while holding the Packers to 76 and sacked Aaron Rodgers twice. Detroit did quire well on third down conversions, going 11 of 18 (Green Bay was 4 of 10 and 0 of 1 on fourth down), keeping the ball away from the boys from the land of bratwurst and cheese for 38:13, while the Packers kept it for 21:47.

GangGreen had a tough time against Da Bears last Monday night in the Meadowlands losing to Chicago 27-19. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 17-13 at the half before the wheels came off their bus, as Chicago would outscore them 10-6 in the second half. Even though New York outrushed Chicago 114-60, three turnovers did them in. Neither team did anything Earth-shaking on third down tries (Chicago was 7 of 15, New York 6 of 15 and 1 of 2 on fourth down) and Chicago kept the ball for 28:08 to the Jets’ 31:52.

The series between Detroit and GangGreen is all even at 6-6 but the Jets have outscored Detroit 245-234 and have won the last three meetings. GangGreen’s last win over the Lions came in 2010 at Ford Field in overtime by a final of 23-20. Detroit’s last win in the series? 2000 in old Giants Stadium by a final of 10-7. Detroit’s favored by 1 1/2 with a 44 1/2 over/under. Both clubs have been known to overachieve at times and both can play some decent if not great football. Lions roar over the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the Meadowlands and cover the 1 1/2.

Jacksonville (0-3) at San Diego (2-1), 4:05 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 712, Qualcomm Stadium) They’re separated by 2,430 miles along I-10 and they meet on the Left Coast in a late Sunday afternoon affair in San Diego.

Jacksonville was taken to the woodshed by Indianapolis last Sunday at home, turning the ball over three times in the 44-17 loss to the Colts. The struggling Jaguars were 4 of 10 on third down conversions and held the ball for 22:57, while the Colts under Andrew Luck were 8 of 14 and 1 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 37:03.

The Chargers took a 13-3 lead over Buffalo in upstate New York last Sunday and made it last, coming away with the 22-10 win. Neither team broke the 100-yard rushing barrier (San Diego had 85, while Buffalo didn’t do much better, tallying 87) and third down tries by both clubs were nothing to call home about (San Diego was 5 of 13, Buffalo was 6 of 14 and 0 of 2 on fourth down) in the contest. As far as the clock was concerned, San Diego won the day, keeping the ball for 31:34 to Buffalo’s 28:26.

The Bolts lead the series 4-2, have outscored Jacksonville 172-105 and have won the last three contests, including a 24-6 win last year in Jacksonville. In that week seven contest in the Sunshine State, San Diego led throughout the contest, taking a 14-3 lead with them to the half and never looked back. Not only did the Chargers hold Jacksonville to 78 yards on the ground, they sacked QB Chad Henne six times and picked him off in the contest. San Diego was 7 of 12 on third down tries, while the Jaguars were 3 of 11 and 1 of 3 on fourth down. The Chargers not only won the game, they won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 37:30 to Jacksonville’s 22:30.

The Chargers won by San Diego 18 and were favored by 7. The two teams managed to score only 30 points, missing the 45 1/2 pver/under. San Diego is a 12 1/2-point favorite at Quallcom this week and the over/under is 44 1/2. The Chargers are good but not 12 1/2 good. The Jaguars are not that bad a team but sometimes they play that way. San Diego wins this one but the Jaguars will give them a battle.

Philadelphia (3-0) at San Francisco (1-2), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 714, Levis Stadium) An unbeaten Eagles teams flies out west to take on the suddenly struggling San Francisco 49ers on the West Coast this week in a late afternoon affair at Levis Field.

The Eagles overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat the Washington Redskins 37-34 last week. The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to start 3-0 after trailing by at least 10 points in all three games. Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles threw three touchdowns passes, connecting twice with rookie Jordan Matthew and once with Jeremy Maclin. Washington did manage to outrush Philadelphia in the NFC East slugfest 84-54 and both Foles and Kirk Cousins, filling in for RGIII, each threw three TD passes. Washington was 8 of 15 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:48, while the Eagles were 4 of 11 and held the ball for 25:12.

“Our whole motto is one down, one to go,” says Eagles head coach CHhip Kelly. “We’re fortunate right now to be 3-0. We’ve got to go to work and get ready to go play San Francisco at San Francisco. I don’t think anybody is thinking anything past the San Francisco game because that’s a really good opponent.”

San Francisco is looking to bounce back from a slow start for the second consecutive season. In 2013, the 49ers also started 1-2 and then finished the regular season by winning 11 of their final 13 games. San Francisco advanced to the NFC Championship Game and has played in the conference title game in each of the past three seasons. The 49ers let a 14-6 lead at the half get away from them as the Desert Angry Birds scored 17 second half points unchallenged in the 23-13 loss. Neither team rushed for 100 yards in the game (San Francisco had 82, Arizona had 84) and the 49ers were 6 of 13 on third down conversions (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:20, while Arizona was 8 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down, holding the ball for 27:40.

“Every Sunday is a new Sunday and you have to come to play,” says 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. “That’s part of football. It’s any given Sunday. You have to play football. We have to get ready for the Eagles.”

San Francisco holds a 17-12-1 lead in the series and the Eagles have outscored the 49ers 695-683. The last two meetings between the clubs have been won by the road team. The 49ers came away from the City of Brotherly Love in 2011 with a 24-23 decision, while Philly left their hearts in San Francisco and came away with a 27-24 win in 2010.

The Eagles may be unbeaten but the oddsmakers like the 49ers as a 5 1/2-point favorite with a 50 1/2 over/under. Both numbers make sense. Both teams were playoff teams last year, with the 49ers one play away from keeping Seattle away from the Lombardi trophy. It’ll be closer than the 5 1/2 but the road team wins this one. Eagles take it to the limit and wins on the road, even though they might not cover the spread.

New Orleans (1-2) at Dallas (2-1), 8:30 p.m. (NBC, AT&T Stadium) A pair of future Hall of Fame QB square off in the Lone Star State in a rematch from last season. This time, it’s New Orleans’ turn to face Dallas in Arlington on Sunday night.

The Saints notched their first win of the season in Week 3 with a 20-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Marques Colston, the duo’s 64th career touchdown together which moved them into sixth place in NFL history.

“It’s been rough the past two weeks but we’ve put that behind us and are moving forward,” Saints running back Pierre Thomas told the Mobile Register about the team’s win after an 0-2 start. “Now it’s on to the next one.”

Dallas enters Week 4 seeking the team’s third consecutive win. Last Sunday, the Cowboys erased a 21-0 deficit to come back and defeat the St. Louis Rams 34-31. Dallas running back De Marco Murray rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown – his third consecutive game with at least 100 yards and a score – and linebacker Bruce Carter had a 25-yard interception-return TD late in the fourth quarter.

“You just understand that these games are 60 minutes and they’re not over just because you get off to a bad start,” Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo told the Dallas Morning News. “You just learn that you need to keep grinding.” Both Dallas and St. Louis did well on third down tries in the Show-Me State, with the Cowboys going 5 of 10 and kept the ball for

Dallas leads the series 15-11 and the Cowboys have outscored New Orleans 533-507. However, the boys from the Big Easy have won the last three contests with Dallas, including a 49-17 win in New Orleans last year. 2009 was the last Cowboys win, a 24-17 victory in New Orleans. In last year’s week 10 contest in New Orleans, the Saints led 28-10 at the half and never looked back, while holding Dallas to 89 yards on the ground. Saints RB Mark Ingram ran amok on Dallas, rushing for 145 yards and a TD (New Orleans wound up with 242. New Orleans was 9 of 12 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fouth down) and kept the ball for 39:32, while Dallas kept the ball for 20:28 and struggled on third down tries in the Sunday night affair, going 0 of 9.

Given that it’s Romo at home vs. Brees, it would be stupid to not make this game “Drill Worthy.” For those of you reading for the first time, we present “THE DRILL!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?)

After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s 56 and dates a 41-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

This might be one of the better Sunday night games as the Saints are favored by 3 with a 53 over/under. Both numbers sound about right and both offenses can score at will if they want to. New Orleans will make it interesting but Dallas comes away with the win at home and covers the 3.

New England (2-1) at Kansas City (1-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday night (ESPN, Arrowhead Stadium) New England travels to the great Midwest to take on the Chiefs in a Monday night showdown in Kansas City.

The Patriots have won two in a row, including last week’s 16-9 win over the Oakland Raiders. New England quarterback TOM BRADY notched his 150th career victory as a starting quarterback, joining Brett Farve (186) and Peyton Manning (169) as the only players in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

“It was a grind-it-out kind of game,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told the Boston Globe and the Christian Scientsit Monitor about the team’s Week 3 win. “It was tough, hard fought and came down to a couple of plays in the fourth quarter. We did some things well but not consistently. We just need to do a better job in a lot of areas. We just need to keep working to improve.” New England and Oakland both failed to reach the 100-yard mark (Oakland with 67, New England with 76) and the Pats were 9 of 18 (0 for 1 on fourth down), while Oakland was 5 of 13. The clock favored New England, who held the ball for 31:35, while the Raiders held it for 28:25.

Kansas City defeated the Miami Dolphins 34-15 to give the Chiefs their first victory of the season. Quarterback Alex Smith threw three touchdown passes – including two to running back Joe McKnight – and running back Knile Davis rushed for 132 yards and a score. Kansas City did well on third down conversions, going 9 of 15 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:42, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 26:18 and were 4 of 15 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

“Momentum’s a funny thing,” says Smith. “It’s hard to put your finger on it but certainly this win helps. This is what you’re looking for. This is how you get started.” Kansas City leads the series 16-13-3, which includes contests that were played when the Chiefs were in Dallas and played as the Texans and the Pats played their home games at Fenway Park. Kansas City has also outscored the Pats 755-653 but New England has won the last two meetings, both in Foxboro, with the last contest between the clubs played in 2011 and New England taking a 34-3 win. Kansas City’s last win in the series came in 2005 by a final of 26-16.

New England’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. This could be one of the better Monday night games of the year. Speaking of MNF, New England’s one game below .500 at 22-23 and lost their only primetime contest last year in Carolina, while the Chiefs 22-17 and their last appearance on MNF was in 2012, when they went 0-1. Pats could make this one interesting but Chiefs make everything up to date in Kansas City and pulls off the upset at home.

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