The second half of the NFL season gets underway this week and the race to the playoffs is in full swing.

Week 10 started on Thursday night when Cleveland bested Cincinnati 24-3 and concludes on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. when Philadelphia hosts Carolina. The NFL also returns to London as Dallas takes on Jacksonville in the third and final installment of the league’s 2014 International Series at Wembley Stadium.

Arizona (7-1) owns the best record in the league following a 28-17 win at Dallas (6-3). This season marks the first time that the Cardinals have had the best record in the NFL outright in November or later since 1966, when they started 7-1-1.

“It feels good,” Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald told the Arizona Republic about the team’s 7-1 start. “But it’s just the beginning of our season. We’ve got the stretch run now. You don’t get anything for a 7-1 start. We’re just halfway through the season. It’s all about the marathon.”

Halfway through the season, almost nothing is clear. There’s still plenty of football left to be played and a lot can happen. So don’t count anyone out. Even teams like Atlanta and the New York Jets can still make the playoffs. There’s a lot of time and games left in the 2014 campaign.

In every season since 1987, at least one team with a .500 or worse record through eight games has advanced to the postseason. Last year, two such teams – Philadelphia (3-5) and San Diego (4-4) – accomplished the feat.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: The NFL returns to London as Dallas takes on the Jacksonville in the third and final installment of the league’s 2014 International Series at Wembley Stadium. The contest marks Jacksonville’s second visit to London for a regular-season game in as many years, while Dallas will play its first regular-season game outside of the United States.

The 10 regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium:

DATE (WEEK) – SCORE (ATTENDANCE)
October 26, 2014 (8) – Detroit 22, Atlanta 21 (83,532)
September 28, 2014 (4) – Miami 38, Oakland 14 (83,436)
October 27, 2013 (8) – San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10 (83,559)
September 29, 2013 (4) – Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27 (83,518)
October 28, 2012 (8) – New England 45, St. Louis 7 (84,004)
October 23, 2011 (7) – Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18 (76,981)
October 31, 2010 (8) – San Francisco 24, Denver 16 (83,941)
October 25, 2009 (7) – New England 35, Tampa Bay 7 (84,254)
October 26, 2008 (8) – New Orleans 37, San Diego 32 (83,226)
October 28, 2007 (8) – New York Giants 13, Miami 10 (81,176)

IT’S HOW YOU FINISH: In every season since 1987, at least one team with a .500 or worse record through eight games has advanced to the postseason. Last year, two such teams – Philadelphia (3-5) and San Diego (4-4) – accomplished the feat.

Over the past six seasons, 14 teams started 4-4 or worse and rebounded to qualify for the playoffs. Seven of those teams, including the 2013 San Diego Chargers, won at least one playoff game.

The teams in the past six seasons (2008-2013) that started the season at .500 or below through eight games and earned a playoff berth:

YEAR – TEAM (RECORD 8 GAMES, FINAL RECORD)(PLAYOFF RESULTS)
2008 – Indianapolis (4-4, 12-4)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2008 – Miami (4-4, 11-5)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2008 – Minnesota (4-4, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2008 – San Diego (3-5, 8-8)(Advanced to Divisional)
2009 – Green Bay (4-4, 11-5)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2009 – New York Jets (4-4, 9-7)(Advanced to AFC Championship)
2009 – Baltimore (4-4, 9-7)(Advanced to Divisional)
2010 – Seattle (4-4, 7-9)(Advanced to Divisional)
2011 – Denver (3-5, 8-8)(Advanced to Divisional)
2012 – Cincinnati (3-5, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2012 – Seattle (4-4, 11-5)(Advanced to Divisional)
2012 – Washington (3-5, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2013 – Philadelphia (3-5, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2013 – San Diego (4-4, 9-7)(Advanced to Divisional)

TURNAROUND TEAMS: Three teams – Cleveland (5-3; 4-12 in 2013), Houston (4-5; 2-14 in 2013) and Washington (3-6; 3-13 in 2013) – have already matched or surpassed their win totals from last season.

In Week 10, two more teams – Buffalo (5-3; 6-10 in 2013) and Detroit (6-2; 7-9 in 2013) – can also match their 2013 win totals.

Looking ahead to Week 11, the Minnesota Vikings (4-5; 5-10-1 in 2013), who have a bye this week, can also join the list.

The teams that have matched or exceeded their 2013 win totals:
TEAM (2013 RECORD, 2014 RECORD – WEEK 10 OPPONENT)
Cleveland (4-12, 5-3 – at Cincinnati)
Houston (2-14, 4-5 – Bye)
Washington (3-13, 3-6 – Bye)
Buffalo (6-10, 5-3 – vs. Kansas City)*
Detroit (7-9, 6-2 – vs. Miami)*
* Need win in Week 10 to match 2013 win total

PASSING FANCY: NFL passers have been historically prolific and proficient in 2014. At the season’s midpoint, the average of 487.8 net passing yards per game is on pace for the highest average of any season in NFL history (471.2 in 2013).

The league-wide passer rating of 91.2 is also on pace for an all-time high (86.0 in 2013), and the average number of touchdown passes per game, 3.43, is on pace for a new all-time record (3.27 in 1948).

BIG BEN: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enters Week 10 after becoming the first player in NFL history with six touchdown passes in back-to-back games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle (1962) as the only players with multiple six-touchdown games in one season.

In his previous three games, Roethlisberger has thrown 14 touchdowns, tied for the second-most touchdown passes through any three-week span in a single season in NFL history (Peyton Manning, 15 touchdowns in 2004).

With four touchdowns this week against the New York Jets, Roethlisberger would set the all-time record for the most touchdown passes in any three-week span in a single season.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a three-week span in a single season in NFL history:
PLAYER – TEAM, SEASON (WEEKS, TDS DURING SPAN)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, 2004 (10-12, 15)
Many tied with 14*
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh, 2014 (8-9, 12)**
*Includes Roethlisberger in previous three weeks (Weeks 7-9, 2014)
**Current two week span

SACK MASTERS: Denver linebacker Von Miller (.92) and defensive end DeMarcus Ware (.84) rank second and fourth, respectively, in sacks per game in since 1982 (minimum 40 games played).

The players with the most sacks per game since 1982 (minimum 40 games played):
PLAYER – GAMES PLAYED (SACKS/SACKS PER GAME)
Aldon Smith – 43 (42.0/0.98)
Von Miller – 48 (44.0/0.92)
Reggie White – 232 (198.0/0.85)
DeMarcus Ware – 149 (125.0/0.84)
Jared Allen – 164 (130.0/0.79)

In their first season as teammates, Miller has posted nine sacks and Ware has eight sacks, becoming just the eighth pair of teammates to post at least eight sacks each through their team’s first eight games.

If Miller and Ware each reach 10 sacks on Sunday at Oakland, they will become just the third pair of teammates to post 10 sacks each through the first nine games of a season since 1982.

The teammates to record 10 sacks each through the first nine games of a season:
SEASON – TEAM, PLAYER-SACKS; PLAYER-SACKS
2000 – Tampa Bay, Warren Sapp-10.5; Marcus Jones-10
1998 – San Francisco, Chris Doleman-11; Roy Barker-10
2014 – Denver, Von Miller-9*; DeMarcus Ware-8*
*Through eight games

Week nine was filled with milestones and trends. Here’s a quick look at some notable trends and milestones through Week 9:

LEAGUE:

•Teams have combined to score 711 touchdowns and have thrown 459 touchdown passes, both of which are the most ever through Week 9. The previous highs were 692 TDs and 415 TD passes last season.

•Passers are also on pace to set NFL records with a combined 91.2 passer rating (86.0 in 2013), 63.1 completion percentage (61.2 in 2007 and 2013) and 487.8 net passing yards per game average (471.2 in 2013).

•The league-wide kickoff-return average of 23.9 yards is on pace to be the highest of any season in NFL history (23.8 in 2011).

TEAMS:

•All four teams in the AFC North – Baltimore (5-4), Cincinnati (5-2-1), Cleveland (5-3) and Pittsburgh (6-3) – have winning records. Only four times previously has a division had all four teams with winning records this late in a season since realignment in 2002.

•The Arizona Cardinals (7-1) own the best record in the league following a 28-17 win at Dallas (6-3). This season marks the first time that the Cardinals have had the best record in the NFL outright in November or later since 1966, when they started 7-1-1.

•Three teams – Cleveland (5-3; 4-12 in 2013), Houston (4-5; 2-14 in 2013) and Washington (3-6; 3-13 in 2013) – have already matched or surpassed their win totals from last season.

•Denver scored 21 points in Week 9 against New England. It was the Broncos’ 29th consecutive regular-season game scoring at least 20 points, breaking the NFL record of 28 consecutive games set by the St. Louis Rams (1999-2000).

PLAYERS:

NUMBER ONE: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown 24 touchdowns this season, surpassing Brett Farve (508) for the most career touchdown passes in NFL history.

The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (MOST CAREER TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, Denver (515)*
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota (508)
Dan Marino – Miami (420)
Tom Brady – New England (381)*
Drew Brees – San Diego, New Orleans (378)*
* Active

Manning passed for 438 yards and two touchdowns against New England in Week 9, his 14th career game with at least 400 yards passing, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (13) for the most such games in NFL history.

TOM TERRIFIC: New England quarterback Tom Brady has passed for 2,392 yards this season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the fifth-most passing yards all-time.

The players with the most career passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (MOST CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota (71,838)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, Denver (67,536)*
Dan Marino – Miami (61,361)
Drew Brees – San Diego, New Orleans (53,605)*
Tom Brady – New England (51,541)*
* Active

Brady earned his 155th victory in his 200th career regular-season start, the most of any starting quarterback through his first 200 regular-season starts in NFL annals.

The most wins by starting quarterbacks through 200 regular-season starts in NFL history:
QUARTERBACK – WINS THROUGH 200 STARTS
Tom Brady – 155
Peyton Manning – 136
Brett Favre – 132
Dan Marino – 125
John Elway – 124

BIG BEN (STRIKES) AGAIN: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes in the Steelers’ 43-23 victory over the Ravens. Roethlisberger, who passed for six touchdowns against Indianapolis last week, is the first player in NFL history with at least six touchdown passes in back-to-back games. He joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. TITTLE (1962) as only players with two six-touchdown games in one season.

Roethlisberger also improved his record to 101-50 (.669) as a starter in the regular season. His 100th victory came in his 150th career start, joining TOM BRADY (116) and Pro Football Hall of Famers JOE MONTANA (108) and TERRY BRADSHAW (102) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to win at least 100 games in their first 150 career starts.

In Week 8, Roethlisberger completed a franchise-record 40 passes for 522 yards with six touchdowns for a 150.6 passer rating. Roethlisberger’s 522 passing yards are tied with BOOMER ESIASON (November 10,1996) for the fourth-most in a game in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most passing yards in a single game in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (DATE, PASSING YARDS)
Norm Van Brocklin – Los Angeles Rams (9/28/1951, 554)
Matt Schaub – Houston Texans (11/18/2012, 527)*
Warren Moon – Houston Oilers (12/16/1990, 527)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers (10/26/2014, 522
Boomer Esiason – Arizona Cardinals (11/10/1996, 522)*
* Overtime game

Roethlisberger is the first player in NFL history with two 500-yard passing games (503 yards vs. Green Bay on December 20, 2009).

GOOD LUCK: Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 354 yards and four touchdowns in the Colts’ 40-24 win against the Giants on Monday Night Football, the seventh consecutive game he has passed for at least 300 yards, tying PEYTON MANNING for the third-longest such streak in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive 300-yard passing games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (YEAR(S)(CONSECUTIVE 300-YARD GAMES)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2011-12)(9)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2013)(9)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2014)(7)*
Peyton Manning – Denver (2012-13)(7)
Steve Young – San Francisco (1998)(6)
Kurt Warner – St. Louis (2000)(6)
Rich Gannon – Oakland (2002)(6)
* Active streak

Luck leads the NFL with 3,085 passing yards this season, joining TOM BRADY, DREW BREES (twice) and Manning as the only players in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards in their team’s first nine games to begin a season.

The players with the most passing yards through their team’s first nine games to begin a season:

PLAYER – TEAM (YEAR-PASSING YARDS THROUGH 9 GAMES)
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013-3,249)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2014-3,085)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2013-3,064)
Tom Brady – New England (2011-3,032)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2011-3,004)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2008-2,985)

QB DASH: Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed for 288 yards with three touchdowns in the Dolphins’ 37-0 shutout victory over San Diego. Tannehill also rushed for 47 yards with a long run of 22 yards and had a rush of at least 20 yards in each of his past four games. Tannehill joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young and Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks with a 20+ yard run in at least four consecutive games in the past 25 years.

QUICK TO 50: New England tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 105 yards and one touchdown in the Patriots’ 43-21 win against Denver. He recorded his 50th career touchdown catch in his 59th game, tying Randy Moss as the second-fastest players in NFL history to reach 50 career touchdown receptions. Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (54 games) is the only player to reach the milestone in fewer games.

SPECIAL RETURNER: Baltimore wide receiver-kick returner Jacoby Jones had a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown against Pittsburgh in Week 9 on Sunday Night Football. It was his NFL-record third career regular-season touchdown of at least 105 yards. Jones also scored on a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.

CLEVELAND QUINTET: Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns in the Browns’ 22-17 win over the Buccaneers, improving his record as a starter with Cleveland to 8-3. Hoyer joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Otto Graham (1950), Bill Nelsen (1968), Tommy O’Connell (1956-57) and MILT PLUM (1957-58) as the only Browns quarterbacks to win at least eight of his first 11 starts in franchise history.

GREAT CHIEFS: Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has 31 receptions this season and now has 503 career catches, joining tight end Tony Gonzalez (916) as the only players in franchise history with 500 career receptions.

BIG MAC: Philadelphia wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had six catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 31-21 win at Houston. Maclin, who had 12 catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns in Week 8 against Arizona, is the first player in franchise history with at least 150 receiving yards and multiple touchdown catches in back-to-back games in a single season.
BRADY-MANNING XVI: New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns in the Patriots’ 43-21 win against Denver. Brady now has 51,541 career passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the fifth-most passing yards all-time.

Brady earned his 155th victory in his 200th career regular-season start, the most of any starting quarterback through his first 200 regular-season starts in NFL annals.

The game was the first in NFL history to feature opposing starting quarterbacks with at least 150 career regular-season wins each.

The most wins by starting quarterbacks through 200 regular-season starts in NFL history:
QUARTERBACK-WINS THROUGH 200 STARTS
Tom Brady-155
Peyton Manning-136
Brett Favre-132
Dan Marino-125
John Elway-124

TIGHTEN UP I: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 105 yards and one touchdown against Denver. He recorded his 50th career touchdown catch in his 59th game, tying Randy Moss as the second-fastest player in NFL history to reach 50 career TD receptions. Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (54 games) is the only player to reach the milestone in fewer games.

Gronkowski also far surpassed the record for fewest games by a tight end to reach 50 career touchdown catches (ANTONIO GATES, 92 games).

The players to reach 50 touchdown catches in the fewest games in NFL history:
PLAYER-NO. OF GAMES TO REACH 50 TD REC.
Lance Alworth-54
Rob Gronkowski-59
Randy Moss – 59
Jerry Rice – 61
Tommy McDonald – 63

TIGHTEN UP II: Denver tight end Julius Thomas had one touchdown catch against New England and leads the NFL with 10 touchdown receptions, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (1996, 1998) as the only tight ends in franchise history with multiple 10-touchdown seasons.

Thomas is the ninth tight end in NFL history to accomplish the feat and the third to do so in consecutive seasons.

The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 10 receiving touchdowns:
TIGHT END (YEAR(S) (SEASONS WITH 10+ TD REC.)
Antonio Gates (2004-05, 2010) (3)
Tony Gonzalez (1999, 2003, 2008) (3)
Rob Gronkowski (2010-12) (3)
Julius Thomas (2013, 2014) (2)
Dallas Clark (2007, 2009) (2)
Vernon Davis (2009, 2013) (2)
Jimmy Graham (2011, 2013) (2)
Shannon Sharpe (1996, 1998) (2)
Wesley Walls (1996, 1999) (2)

The race to the playoffs intensifies with first place in the division on the line. Earning a division win increases in importance as the AFC North is the only division in the NFL with each team boasting a winning record. Only four times previously has a division had all four teams with winning records this late in a season since realignment in 2002.

The seasons that featured all teams in the same division with a winning record this late in a season since realignment in 2002:

SEASON – WEEK: DIVISION – TEAMS (RECORD)
2002 – Week 16: AFC West – Oakland (10-5), Denver (8-7), Kansas City (8-7), San Diego (8-7)
2008 – Week 16: NFC East – New York Giants (12-3), Dallas (9-6), Philadelphia (8-6), Washington (8-7)
2008 – Week 16: NFC South – Carolina (11-4), Atlanta (10-5), Tampa Bay (9-6), New Orleans (8-7)
2008 – Week 12: AFC East – New York Jets (8-3), New England (7-4), Miami (6-5), Buffalo (6-5)
2014 – Week 9: AFC North – Cincinnati (5-2-1), Pittsburgh (6-3), Cleveland (5-3), Baltimore (5-4)

Week nine was pretty good pick-wise, as we went 10-3 and for the year we’re 87-47. There’s still a lot of football left as we near Thanksgiving and then Christmas (in that order!).

Week 10 byes are Indianapolis, Minnesota, San Diego, Washington, New England and Houston. Here are Sunday (and Monday’s) games in week 10.

Atlanta (2-6) at Tampa Bay (1-7), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 711) Raymond James Stadium. It’s round 2 of the Atlanta-Tampa Bay series and this time, it’s going South. As in South Florida. After a trip across the Atlantic and a bye week, the Falcons make the 457, 7 hour and 41 minute drive down I-75 to take on the struggling Buccaneers.

Atlanta comes off a bye week after their trip across the pond to take on Detroit in London. For three quarters, the Falcons had held Detroit off, leading 21-10 after thee quarters and was threating to take the contest with the Lions when a holding penalty on offense and a defensive holding penalty allowed Detroit to move the ball down the field and give the Lions the 22-21 win on a 48 yard field goal by Mike Prater as the clock reached :00. Atlanta was held 60 yards on the ground and Matt Ryan was outpassed by Matthew Stafford 325-228 in the contest and Detroit ran for 78 yards.

The Bucs made it another close contest in 2014 under Lovie Smith’s leadership but they came out on the short end of a 22-17 loss at Cleveland last Sunday. Tampa Bay had led 17-16 late in the contest when Browns QB Brian Hoyer connected on a 34 yard TD pass with 8:59 left to play in the contest. The Bucs did stop a Browns’ a two-point conversion try as Cleveland was trying to make it a 7-point game. Hoyer and Tampa Bay QB Mike Glennon threw for a pair of TDs as well as a pair of interceptions and sacks in the contest, that saw the Browns rush for only 50 yards, while Tampa Bay had 113. The Bucs were were 4-12 and 0-2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 30:32, while the Browns were 5-14 (1-2 on fourth down tries) and held the ball for 29:28.

In their first meeting in the Big Peach, Atlanta led 35-0 at halftime enroute to their 56-14 win over Tampa Bay. The Bucs were held to 64 yards rushing and Mike Glennon was sacked twice in the Thursday night drubbing, while the Falcons ran for 144. Ryan threw for 286 yards and three TDs without an interception in the win. Atlanta took advantage of five Tampa Bay turnovers in the contest, allowing them to capitalize on two of them for 14 points. Atlanta was 8-11 on third down conversions, holding the ball for 32:39, while Tampa Bay went 3-13 on third down (1-1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 27:21.

In the first meeting, Atlanta won by 42 (they were favored by 6 1/2) and both teams covered the 44 1/2 over/under by scoring 70 points. Atlanta’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under this time is 46. Both teams are better than their record would indicate but in the end, Atlanta’s a little better. Falcons break their slide and sweep the series with Tampa Bay, covering the 1 1/2.

Tennessee (2-6) at Baltimore (5-4), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 705) M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore, coming off a huge loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday night, return to Charm City to take on a struggling Tennesee team, mired in the bottom of the AFC South.

The Titans were idle after their 30-16 loss to Houston two weeks ago in the Music City. Tennessee let a 3-0 first quarter lead get away from them as they were outscored by the Texans 30-13 in the last three periods of play. Tennessee was held to 36 yards rushing in the 17-point loss, while allowing Houston’s Arian Foster to run for 151 of the Texans’ 212 two weeks ago, while they turned the ball over twice. Houston was 7-16 on third down tries and the winning Texans kept the ball for 35:22, while Tennessee was 2-12 and 1-2 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 24:38.

Baltimore returns to Charm City after they lost in Pittsburgh in prime time last Sunday 43-23. The Ravens led 3-0 after one quarter of play before Pittsburgh went “angry bird” on their AFC North rivals and took the lead for keeps when WR Martavis Bryant caught an 19 yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter. It was a quarter that saw the Steelers score four TDs, a field goal and a two point conversion in the second quarter. The Ravens did manage to outrush Pittsburgh 63-55 but Joe Flacco was sacked four times, while throwing for 303 yards and a pair of TDs (Roethlisberger? Six TD and 340 yards). Neither the Ravens or Steelers lit up the stat sheet on third down tries (Baltimore was 3-13, Pittsburgh 6-14) but both teams were perfect on fourth down tries, with the Ravens going 2-2 and the Steelers 1-1. The Steelers, in addition to winning the game, won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 31:26, while Baltimore kept it for 28:34.

Tennessee leads the series 9-8 (which includes contests when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers) but Baltimore has outscored the Titans 310-294. Tennessee’s last win over the Ravens came in 2011 in the Music City by a final of 26-13, while Baltimore’s last in the series came in 2006 in Nashville by a 27-26 count. Baltimore comes into the contest in Charm City as a 9 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Ravens may not cover the 9 1/2 but they do win at home in Charm City.

Kansas City (5-3) at Buffalo (5-3), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 706) Ralph Wilson Stadium. Ribs meets Buffalo wings. A pair of 5-3 AFC clubs meet im upstate New York Sunday afternoon as the improved Bills host Kansas City.

Kansas City sent the Jets to their eighth loss in a row at Arrowhead Sunday afternoon 24-10. The Chiefs chased Michael Vick out of the contest after he was sacked three times in the win and never trailed throughout the game. Leading 21-10 at the half, Kansas City outscored GangGreen 3-0 in the final 30 minutes of play, despite being outrushed 139-113. Alex Smith threw for a pair of TD passes and tallied 199 yards with no interceptions. The victors were 8-13 on third down conversions and held the ball for 28:25, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS were 4-12 on third down (2 of 5 on fourth) and kept the ball for 31:35.

Including contests when the Chiefs were in Dallas and known as the Texas, Buffalo leads the 23-18-1 and have outscored Kansas City 919-845. Both clubs did meet last year in upstate New York and the Chiefs came away with a 23-13 win in week nine. (Buffalo’s last win over the Chiefs also came in upstate New York in 2012 by a final of 35-17.) The Chiefs overcame a 10-3 halftime deficit and outscore the Bills 20-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. Chris Spiller’s 116 yards led all rushers, as the Bills outrushed the Chiefs 241-95. Bills backup QB Jeff Tuel threw for a TD but was picked off twice, while Kansas City’s Alex Smtih was sacked twice. Neither club did anything exciting on third down tries (Kansas City was 3-12, while the Bills were 4-13 and 0-2 on fourth down). The Bills did manage to win the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 30:14 to Kansas City’s 29:46.

Kansas City’s 10-point win allowed them to cover the 4 point spread and both clubs tallied 36 points, barely missing the 39 1/2 over/under. The Chiefs are again the favorite in this meeting in upstate New York at 2 points and the over/under’s 41. The 2 makes one think. The 43 makes a lot of sense. Chiefs “wing it” with the 2 and takes the win in upstate New York.

Miami (5-3) at Detroit (6-2), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 707) Ford Field. First-place Detroit will host Miami this week, as the Lions return to the field for the first time since a last-second 22-21 victory against Atlanta at London’s Wembley Stadium in Week 8. Detroit is hopeful that Pro Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who has been battling an ankle injury, will return for the first time since October 5.

“Definitely expect to play,” Johnson told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s huge to see the team go out there and win consistently and to stack up wins. That’s the thing in the NFL. It just makes me look forward more and more to getting back out there with the guys.”

Last week, Miami posted a 37-0 win at home against San Diego, the Dolphins’ largest shutout victory since October 11, 1987 (42-0 vs. Kansas City).

“There aren’t many shutouts,” Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle told the Miami Herald and WSVN-TV. “It’s great when you get in the stadium and things start going positive and that crowd gets behind you, it really makes a difference.”

Miami took San Diego and Philip Rivers to the woodshed in the Sunshine State last week, shutting out the Bolts 37-0. Miami led 20-0 at the half and never looked back, scoring 17 more points in the third quarter unchallenged. Miami held San Diego to 50 yards on the ground, while rushing for 132 of their own. Rivers threw for 138 yards but also threw three picks and was sacked three times, while Tannehill threw for 288 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. Miami, who forced four San Diego turnovers, went 8-14 on third down tries and held on to the football for 36:07, while the Chargers were 3-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth down respectively, keeping the ball for a mere 23:53.

The Lions rallied from a 21-0 deficit against Atlanta in London two weeks ago, scoring 22 second half points unchallenged, including a 48-yard field goal by K Matt Prater as the clock reached :00 to take the 22-21 win across the Big Pond. Detroit was outrushed by the Falcons at Wembley 78-60 and Stafford outpaced Matt Ryan 325-288 in the contest that saw each team do better than 50 percent on third down tries (Atlanta was 4-8, Detroit was 8-15). Time was the ally of the Lions, who held the ball for 30:55 to Atlanta’s 29:05. Stafford was without the services of Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) two weeks ago in merry old England but they have his services this week in the Motor City.

Miami in the series leads Detroit 7-3 and they have outscored them 282-188. Their last series wins against the other came in the other team’s stadium; Detroit last beat Miami in the Sunshine State in 2010 34-27, while the Dolphins won in the Motor City by a final of 27-10 in 2006. The Lions, in first place in the NFC North, are a 3 point favorite with a 43 1/2 over/under. Detroit makes this one closer than the 3 but Miami comes out of the Motor City with the win.

San Francisco (4-4) at New Orleans (4-4), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 710) Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kaepernick vs. Brees. Gumbo vs. sourdough. A pair of top guns in the NFL meet in the Big Easy as the Saints host San Francisco.

The 49ers stayed even with St. Louis at 10-10 going into the final 15 minutes of play before the Rams got revenge from their earlier loss to San Francisco by coming away with a 13-10 loss in Santa Clara. The Rams managed to break the tie and win thanks to a 39 yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein with 5:25 left to play. San Francisco then marched down the field but the 49ers were stopped short when Kaepernick fumbled in the end zone and recovered by the Rams’ James Laurinaitis. After the play was reviewed, the play was Upheld and San Francisco lost the contest. Neither club rushed for 100 yards in the NFC West affair in northern California (the Rams had 91, San Francisco had 80) and Kaepernick threw for one TD to Anquian Bolden and 237 yards on the day. As far as third down tries… let’s just say that neither club did anything to write, tweet or Facebook status about in the contest. St. Louis… 4-12, San Francisco… 3-12 (it was that bad) and the time of possession favored the 49ers at 32:26 to St. Louis’ 27:34.

New Orleans’ Mark Ingram showed the form that won him the Heisman Trophy, rushing for 100 yards on 30 carries and a pair of TDs in the Saints’ 28-10 win over Carolina last Thursday night. Although they were outrushed by the Panthers 109-105, New Orleans did manage to sack Cam Newton four times in the contest and led 14-0 at the half. Drew Brees threw for 297 yards and a TD and the Saints were 7-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 34:53. Carolina? 6-14 on third down and they kept the ball for 24:42.

Including games played at Keezar Stadium and Tulane Stadium, the 49ers lead the series 46-25-2 and have outscored New Orleans 1,764-1,330. They met last year in the Big Easy and the Saints survived a scare to take a 23-20 win, thanks to a 31 yard field goal by Garrett Hartley as time ran out, with the winning drive taking 6 plays and 47 yards, while burning 1:41 off the clock. The winning kick was the third of the day for Hartley, who pulled to within three with a 21 yarder and then tied the contest up with a 42 yard shot. San Francisco led 17-14 after 15 minutes of play before the Saints rallied to take the win. New Orleans outrushed the 49ers 92-81 in the contest and Brees (one TD) outpaced Kaepernick (two TDs) in passing yardage 305-127 and the Saints sacked Kaepernick three times. As far as third down conversions, both teams were decent but they weren’t great. San Francisco was 6-15, while the Saints were 6-14 and 0-1 on fourth down tries. The clock was the ally of New Orleans at 34:39 (which included the game-winning drive, while San Francisco kept it for 25:21.

New Orleans in the week 11 affair in the Big Easy covered the 3 point spread with their win by 3 but both clubs fell short of the 47 1/2 over/under when they combined to score 43. The Saints are favored again, this time by 5 with a 49 over/under. New Orleans has been up and down of late and that could expose a lot of problems. San Francisco’s trying to circle the wagons in their new digs. 49ers win in the Big Easy but they won’t cover the 5.

Pittsburgh (6-3) at New York Jets (1-8), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 708) MetLife Stadium. A suprisingly hot Pittsburgh travels to upstate New Jersey to face a Jets team that has had trouble taking off after week one and to no one’s suprise, shock, horror or dismay, an embattled Rex Ryan has more questions than answers as he looks to break their eight-game losing streak.

Pittsburgh won at home again last week and flex some major muscle against AFC North rival Baltimore last Sunday night in the Steel City. In avenging an earlier loss to the Ravens, Pittsburgh sacked Joe Flacco four times, while Ben Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards and six TDs. The Steelers took the lead for keeps after trailing 3-0 at the end of the first quarter when WR Martavis Bryant caught a 19-yard TD pass from Roethlisberger in the second quarter, which saw them score 22 points on a pair of TDs, a field goal and a two-point try. Although they were outrushed by the Ravens 63-55, Pittsburgh did manage to force a pair of Baltimore turnovers in the game. Pittsburgh went 6-14 on third down tries (1-1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 31:26, while the Ravens were 3-13 and 2-2 on third and fourth down, holding the ball for 28:34.

GangGreen found a new way to lose, falling for the eight time in a row in Kansas City 24-10. Despite outrushing the Chiefs 129-113, New York could never get off the ground, trailing 21-10 at halftime and were then shut out 3-0 in the final 30 minutes of play. Michael Vick started at QB for GangGreen but was sacked three times in the loss and replaced by Matt Simms, who didn’t fare much better. GangGreen on third and fourth down went 4-12 and 2-5 respectively and actually won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 31:35, while the Chiefs were 8-13 on third down and held the ball for 28:25.

The Steelers lead the series with GangGreen 17-4 and they have outscored them 476-253. 2010 was the last time that New York beat Pittsburgh and they did it in the Steel City, coming away with a 22-17 win. The clubs met last year in the Meadowlands and Pittsburgh won 19-6. The Steelers overcame a 3-0 deficit after 15 minutes of play and outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 19-3 the rest of the contest. New York outrushed the Steelers 83-73 and Geno Smith was sacked three times, while being picked off twice. Roethlisberger threw for a pair of TDs and 264 yards but was also saced three times. Third down tries… Pittsburgh 6-16, GangGreen 3-11. Time of possession? The clock was the ally of the Steelers at 35:49 to New York’s 24:11.

Pittsburgh’s a 5 point favorite in upstate New Jersey and the over/under is 45. The Steelers have been playing some really good football. The Jets? Not so good. This one you might want to avoid (unless you’re a fan of either team) and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA (yes, we still think that Ziva headslapping Tony is funny!). Pittsburgh continues GangGreen’s woes and covers the 5.

Dallas (6-3) vs. Jacksonville (1-8), 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. London) (FOX and DirecTV 709) Wembley Stadium, London. The Cowboys and Jaguars will meet at London’s Wembley Stadium in the last of three games to be played in the United Kingdom in 2014. The contest marks Jacksonville’s second visit to London for a regular-season game in as many years, while Dallas will play its first regular-season game outside of the United States.

The Cowboys (6-3) are looking to rebound from a 28-17 loss to the Cardinals (7-1). Quarterback Tony Romo missed the Arizona game with a back injury but traveled with the team to London and hopes to return to the lineup. He has a 24-5 (.828) record as a starter in the month of November, the best winning percentage of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era for the month.

“Tony is certainly on a normal timetable for people who have had this injury,” says Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. “Hopefully he makes progress here in the next couple days.”

The Jaguars are in the second year of a four-year commitment to play one home game each season in London and look forward to returning to Wembley.

“We enjoy it and our players enjoy it,” Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley told the Florida Times-Union and WJXT-TV about the London experience. “Once you experience it, it’s a great atmosphere.”

Dallas, without Romo (who was listed by the Cowboys as probable), led Arizona 10-0 after 15 minutes of play in Arlington before the wheels came off the bus, as the Desert Angry Birds would outscore them 28-7 in their 28-17 loss. Two things happened in Arlington. First, the Cowboys lost their second game in a row at home and secondly, DeMarco Murray’s streak of 100 yard games came to an end at eight as he was held to 79 yards in the contest and WR Dez Bryant was also held in check, catching only two balls for 15 yards and a TD late in the contest. Dallas rushed for only 92 yards (Arizona had 102 in the 11-point loss) and went 3-11 on third down (0-1 on fourth down tries) and kept the ball for 28:32. The Cardinals were 9-15 on third down tries in the win, nesting the ball for 31:28.

The woes of the Jaguars continued in the Buckeye State as Jacksonville fell to Cincinnati 33-23. Jacksonville was outrushed 191-132 (with Cincy’s Jeremy Hill ran for 154 yards and a pair of TDs in the contest (the Bengals had 191, while in suffering their second loss in a row, Jacksonville ran for 132). The winning Bengals in their win at home were 6-13 on third down tries and held the ball for 32:44, while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 27:16 and was 4-12 on third down conversions.

Jacksonville leads the 3-2, has outscored Dallas 123-98 and has won the last two contests, including a 35-17 win at old Cowboys Stadium in 2010, while Dallas’ last win also came in the Lone Star State in 2002 by a final of 21-19. Dallas, who may be without Romo, is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45. With or without Romo, Cowboys get their ducks in a row in merry Olde England and cover the 7.

Denver (6-2) at Oakland (0-8), 4:05 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 712) O.co Coliseum. Forget the records. These two old AFC/AFL rivals meet for the first time in 2014 and both come into the late Sunday afternoon contest with losses under their belts. They don’t like each other and that is the worst kept secret in pro football.

Hatfields vs. McCoys.

Dogs vs. cats.

North vs. South.

Capulets vs. Montagues.

Need we say more?

Denver was manhandled by Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxboro last Sunday afternoon, falling to New England 43-21. Although Manning outpaced Brady in passing yardage 438-333 and threw a pair of TDs, he was also picked off twice in the loss in western Massachusetts. The Broncos trailed 27-7 at the half and could not recover in the 22-point loss to the Pats and were held to 43 yards rushing, while New England had 66. Denver on third down tries? 3-11 (0-4 on fourth down). The Broncos kept the ball for 30:33 to New England’s 29:27, with the Pats going 6-16 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries.

The Silver and Black’s latest woes came at the hands of the defending Super Bowl champs in the Pacific Northwest up I-5 as Seattle held them off and took a 30-24 win. Although they trailed 24-3 at the half, Oakland managed to outscore Seattle 21-6 in the last 30 minutes of play. Once again, it was turnovers (3) that did Oakland in, with QB David Carr accounting for two of them with a pair of interceptions and the Raiders were held to 37 yards on the ground, while Seattle ran for 149. Oakland was 5-15 on third down conversions in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks and kept the ball for 24:54, while the Seahawks were 7-18, holding the ball for 35:06.

Oakland leads the series with Denver 59-46-2 (which includes games played when the Raiders were in Los Angeles) and have outscored the Broncos 2,320-2,170. However…. Denver has won five of the last six meetings, including sweeping the season series in 2013 (Oakland’s last win over Denver came in 2011, when the Silver and Black won in the Mile High City by a final of 23-20).

In the first contest in week three in Denver, the Broncos led 27-7 at half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, taking the Raiders 37-21. Oakland found themselves held to 49 yards on the ground (Denver had 164) and Terrell Pryor was sacked three times, while Manning threw three TDs and 374 yards in front of the home crowd. While Oakland did force Denver to turn the ball over twice, they were 5-12 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and clung to the ball for 24:36. Denver was ruler of third down tries in the first meeting, going 5-9 and kept the ball for 35:24.

Denver made it a clean sweep of their AFC/AFL rivals in week 17, taking a 34-14 win. Oakland was again held under 100 yards rushing, compiling only 64, while the Broncos had 124. Once again, Manning lit up Oakland like his own personal Christmas tree, throwing for 266 yards and four TDs without turning the ball over, while Pryor threw for 207 and a pair of TDs of his own. The Broncos once again ruled third down conversions, going 9-15, while Oakland was 5-13 and 0-1 on fourth down. Denver ruled the clock as well as the day, keeping the ball to themselves for 35:29 to Oakland’s 24:31.

In the first meeting in Denver, a Monday night contest, the Broncos covered the 15 point spread, winning by 16 and both teams easily reached the 49 1/2 over/under by combing to score 58. The second meeting that closed the regular season in northern California saw Denver cover the 12 point spread, winning by 20 but neither the Broncos or Raiders reached the 53 1/2 over/under, tallying only 48 points.  Denver’s favored by 11 1/2 and the over/under’s 49. The Raiders are bad…. really bad. Peyton’s ticked off after the events in Foxboro. Bad time to be a Raider, which means unless you’re a fan of either team, that NCIS marathon looks really good. Broncos may not cover the 11 1/2 but the Peytonicus comes back to life and takes the win in northern California

St. Louis (3-5) at Arizona (7-1), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 713) University of Phoenix Stadium. St. Louis travels to the desert to face the first-place Arizona Cardinals in Glendale in the great indoors.

St. Louis got revenge on Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers last Sunday in Santa Clara, coming away with a 13-10 win over San Francisco. Tied at 10-10 after 45 minutes of play, the Rams took the lead for good on a 39 yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein with 5:25 left to play in the contest. After both clubs traded punts, the 49ers got the ball back one last time and Rams fans held their breaths in the literal and figurative sense as San Francisco marched down the field when they snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat when Colin Kapernick fumbled on the goal line with under 30 seconds left. LB James Laurinaitis recovered the ball in the end zone for an appearant touchback and the play was reviewed by the booth (in the final two minutes of a half, all reviews come from the booth). The play was Upheld, the ruling stood and the Rams ran the clock out for the win. St. Louis outrushed San Francisco 91-80 in the contest and Kaepernick outpaced Austin Davis (two interceptions, TD) in passing yardage 237-105 but the Rams sacked Kaepernick eight times in the game. Davis and WR Kenny Britt connected on a 21 yard TD pass with 64 seconds left in the first half to tie the contest up and the two teams went scoreless in the thrird quarter of action. St. Louis was 4-12 on third down tries, which was a lot better than San Francisco, who was 3-12 and the clock favored San Francisco at 32:26 to St. Louis’ 27:34.

The Desert Angry Birds erased a 10-0 first quarter lead by Dallas, without Tony Romo (back) and outscored the Cowboys 28-7 as they took a 28-17 win in Arlington. Arizona held Dallas to 92 yards rushing (the Cardinals had 102) and ended DeMarco Murray’s streak of rushing for 100 yards at eight games and shut down WR Dez Bryant in the process (Bryant had 2 catches for 15 yards and the lone Dallas TD). Carson Palmer took apart the Dallas seconddary, throwing for 249 yards and three TDs. Arizona was 9-15 on third down tries in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 31:28, while Dallas was 3-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 28:32.

Including contests when the Rams were first in Cleveland before they moved to Los Angeles and then St. Louis and the Cardinals were in the Windy City before moving to St. Louis and then the desert, the series is even at 34-34-2 and the Rams have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,387-1,355 in the 70 contests played. The two teams split the series in 2013 and both teams took wins in their respective home parks.

In week one in St. Louis, the Rams broke a 10-10 tie and outscored Arizona 17-14 to take a 27-24 win on a 48 yard field goal by Zuerlein with 40 seconds left to play. In the season opener for both clubs, Arizona outrushed St. Louis 86-67 but Carson Palmer (327 yards) was the victim of four sacks in the loss. Palmer’s counterpart Sam Bradford threw for 299 yards and a pair of TDs as both men threw an interception in the contest. Arizona was 50 percent on third down conversions in the Great Indoors of St. Louis at 7-14 and held the ball for 31:25, while the Rams were 4-11 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:35.

The Desert Angry Birds got their revenge in Glendale in week 14 and sacrificed the Rams with a 30-10 win. Arizona outrushed St. Louis 107-100 in the second meeting and sacked Kirk Clemens (in for Bradford) four times and picked him off twice, while Palmer threw for 269 yards and a TD without being picked off. Again, Arizona ruled third down tries, going 8-14 in the win and kept the ball for 35:07, while the Rams were a somewhat dismal 3-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs and held the ball for 24:53.

Arizona was favored by 4 1/2 in the season opener in the Gateway City and the over/under was 41 1/2. While both teams did manage to beat the over/under by scoring 51 points, the Rams did not cover the 4 1/2, winning by 3. The Desert Angry Birds covered the 6 1/2 point spread, winning by 20. That was the good news. The bad news was that both teams barely missed the 42 over/under by 2. Arizona’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 43. The Rams are a decent team but not a great team. The Desert Angry Birds are in first place in the NFC West and have the top seed in the playoffs if things were to end this week. Arizona wins in their nest in the desert and covers the 7.

New York Giants (3-5) at Seattle (5-3), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 714) CenturyLink Field. The struggling Giants make their way westward to face the defending Super Bowl champions in the Pacific Northwest.

New York’s latest struggles came at the hands of Andrew Luck and Indianapolis last Monday night in the Meadowlands and it was not a good night for the Giants as they fell to the Colts 40-24. New York trailed 16-3 at halftime and were outscored by Indy 24-21 in the final 30 minutes of play and could never get on track at home. The Giants were outrushed 98-89 and Manning (359 yards) was sacked three times but did manage to throw two TDs, while Luck threw for 354 and four TDs with no interceptions.

The Colts… 5-15 on third down conversions. The Giants? 4-16 and 1-2 on fourth down. The clock was in favored of Seattle at 33:03 to New York’s 26:57.

The defending Super Bowl champs led Oakland 24-10 at half in the Pacific Northwest before holding the Raiders off in the second half to take the 30-24 win in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks. Seattle outrushed Oakland 149-37, despite being outscored in the second half 21-6 and picked off David Carr twice to preserve the win at CenturyLink Field. Seattle was 7-18 on third down tries in the win, holding on to the pigskin for 35:06, while the Raiders were 5-15 and 2-2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 24:54.

The Giants hold a 9-7 lead in the series and have outscored Seattle 374-282. The Seahawks (however) won the last meeting with Big Blue last year in the Meadowlands, shutting them out 23-0. The Seahawks led Eli and the Giants 13-0 and were never threatened by New York, who were held to 25 yards rushing (Seattle had 134) and Manning was picked off five times, in addition to being sacked three times. Neither club did anything to cheer about on third down tries as Seattle was 3-13, while the Giants were a woeful 1-10. The Seahawks held on to the ball in their 23 point win, keeping the ball for 33:58 to New York’s 26:02.

In the week 15 contest in the Meadowlands, Seattle easily covered the 6 1/2 point spread with their 23-point shutout win but both teams missed the 42 over/under as Seattle scored all the points in the contest. Seattle’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. G-Men have been struggling of late and this trip west to the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks won’t help them. Seattle may not cover the 9 1/2 in the Pacific Northwest but they win at home.

Chicago (3-5) at Green Bay (5-3), 8:30 p.m. (NBC) Lambeau Field. They meet again and this time, it’s in the land of cheese and Bratwurst as Green Bay hosts Chicago in prime time. Da Bears are looking for revenge, while the Packers are looking to sweep their second series against Chicago.

Both teams are trying to catch Detroit in the NFC North (NFC Norris, according to ESPN’s Chris Berman) and both teams are coming off bye weeks. One of the NFL’s oldest rivalries will be renewed on Sunday Night Football as the Bears travel to Green Bay to face the Packers. Both teams are coming off their bye weeks as the second half of the season begins.

The Packers have won seven of eight games after byes since head coach Mike McCarthy took over in 2006 and are looking to rebound from a loss at New Orleans in Week 8.

“I know we can make progress,” says Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers. “There are parts we can do better and we will get better.”

The Bears are focused on bringing home a win from their trip to Green Bay as they look forward to playing five of their final seven games at Soldier Field down the stretch.

“The team knows that the most important thing is to get ready for the Packers and that’s what we are thinking about,”  Chicago head coach Marc Trestman told the Chicago Tribune, WBBM-TV and WGN-TV. “Our focus is the Packers and getting ready to play one more game.”

Da Bears fell to Miami 27-14 in the Windy City two weeks ago. Trailing 14-0 at the half and 21-0 after 45 minutes of play, Chicago was held to 52 yards on the ground and Jay Cutler was sacked three times in the 13-point loss, while Miami ran for 137 and Ryan Tannehill threw for 277 yards and three TDs at Soldier Field. Chicago was 5-12 on third down, which was a lot better than Miami, who went 4-11. Both clubs did well on fourth down tries, with the ‘Fins 1-1 and Da Bears 2-3. The clock? It favored Miami, who kept a “vice-like’ grip on the ball for 37:22 to Chicago’s 22:38.

The Packers led Carolina and Cam Newton in check at Lambeau, taking a 38-17 win. Green Bay led 28-3 at the intermission and never looked back, despite being outscored 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. The Pack outrushed Carolina 122-108 and sacked Newton twice, while Rodgers threw for 255 yards and three TDs without an interception (Newton did manage to throw one TD and was picked off once). Carolina was 4-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth down, while the Packers were 4-13 on third down and Carolina ironically won the time of possession battle by holding the ball for 30:11 to Green Bay’s 29:49.

In the first meeting, Green Bay led at the half 21-17 and then shut out Da Bears 17-0 in their 38-17 win in week four at Solider Field. Although they were held to 56 yards and Chicago ran for 235 (with Matt Forte rushing for 122), Rodgers did throw for 302 yards and four TDs, while Cutler threw a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions. Both the Pack and Da Bears did reasonably well on third down tries (Green Bay was 4-8, Chicago 7-11; Da Bears were 2-3 on fourth down) and time of possession went to Da Bears at 36:22 to Green Bay’s 23:38. On Sunday nights, Da Bears are 15-20, while the Packers are 21-6.

Green Bay, favored by 1 1/2, won by 21 and both clubs eclipsed the 50 over/under with 58 points combined. In the second meeting in the land of bratwurst, beer and cheese, the Packers are favored again and this time, it’s by 7 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. While Da Bears have a chance to make some noise in Wisconsin, the Packers make it a clean sweep in the series in the NFC North. Packers cover the 7 on the almost-frozen tundra of Lambeau.

Carolina (3-5-1) at Philadelphia (6-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN) Lincoln Financial Field. Week 10 will finish with an NFC match-up featuring two teams near the top of their respective divisions as the Eagles host the Panthers.

Philadelphia moved past Dallas into first place in the NFC East with a 31-21 win at Houston. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin provided the offensive spark for the Eagles, finishing with 158 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m just going out there and making the most of my opportunities,” says Maclin, who became the first player in franchise history to post at least 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns in consecutive games in the same season. “They’re doing a good job dialing it up for me.”

With seven games still to play and just one win behind first-place New Orleans, Carolina head coach RON RIVERA knows the Panthers are still in position to challenge for the NFC South title.

“We are by no means out of the race,” says Rivera. “We are looking from behind a little bit but we are still in a good situation. Anything is possible. Don’t count us out.”

Carolina outrushed New Orleans 109-105 in their 18-point loss to NFC South rival New Orleans last Thursday night in the Tar Heel State (Saints RB Mark Ingram accounted for 100 of New Orleans’ ground yardage). That’s the good news. The bad news for Panthers fans? Newton was sacked four times and picked off once and Carolina trailed 14-0 at the half. Carolina was 6-14 on third down tries in the Thursday night affair in Charlotte and held the ball for 24:42, while the Saints were 7-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 34:53.

Philly pulled itself back into first place after Dallas’ loss to Arizona and their 31-21 win at Houston Sunday afternoon. The Eagles outrushed Houston 190-118 in the win (RB LeSean McCoy ran for 117) and outscored the Texans 14-7 after leading 17-14 at halftime. Mark Sanchez returned to the NFL after taking over for Nick Foles (broken collarbone) and threw for 202 yards and a pair of TDs in the win. The Eagles were 9-16 on third down tries in their win in the Lone Star State (2-2 on fourth down), while Houston had a problem, going 5-13 and 0-1 in the same category. Time of possiession favored the Eagles, who took it to the limit and held the ball for 32:13 to Houston’s 27:47.

Philly leads the series with Carolina 5-2 and have outscored the Panthers 169-130. Carolina won the last meeting in the series in 2012 as the Panthers came away with a 30-22 win in the City of Brotherly Love, while Philadelphia won their last contest against Carolina in Charlotte in 2009 by final of 38-10. Carolina on Monday night is 7-4, while the Eagles are 28-25 and both won their only Monday night meetings in 2013.

Even without Foles under center (Sanchez will take his spot), the Eagles are favored on Monday night by 6 and the over/under is 48. It’s possible that the over/under could be reached by halftime. Both offenses can move the football almost at will if their game is on. Newton’s good but he’s not quite Super Bowl good. Philly wins in the city of Brotherly Love and covers the 6.

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