The games across the Atlantic are over and done with. Some teams are fighting for playoff spots, while others are looking to survive the rest of the year. The NFL has entered the second half of the season and the excitement is building as playoff races tighten.

Week 11 got underway Thursday night when Miami rallied to beat Buffalo and the action continues with an exciting schedule of Sunday games including for the first time in NFL history this late in a season, four games between teams with winning percentages of .667 or better:

Seattle Seahawks (6-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-3), 1 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia Eagles (7-2) at Green Bay Packers (6-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Detroit Lions (7-2) at Arizona Cardinals (8-1), 4:25 p.m. of FOX
New England Patriots (7-2) at Indianapolis Colts (6-3), 8:30 p.m. on NBC

The Sunday slate includes an afternoon matchup between two of the top teams in the NFC, as Arizona hosts Detroit. This season marks the first time the Cardinals have owned the best record in the NFL after nine games since 1966, when they started 7-1-1. The Lions, meanwhile, are 7-2 and off to their best start since 1993.

“We don’t give out any awards after nine games of the season,” says Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell, whose 7-2 start is the best of any head coach in his first season with the franchise since 1931 (Potsy Clark, 8-1). “We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve been playing tough but it’s a long season. It’s a journey and we’re still on that journey.”

Entering Week 11, there are 21 teams either in or within one-and-a-half games of a playoff spot.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: In the third and final installment of the league’s 2014 International Series at London’s Wembley Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-17 behind running back De Marco Murray’s 100 rushing yards. Murray, who has nine 100-yard rushing games in 2014, is the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in nine of his team’s first 10 games in a season.

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant also became the first player with at least 150 receiving yards (158) and two touchdowns in the 11-game history of the NFL International Series in London.

The 11 regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium:
DATE (WEEK) – FINAL SCORE (ATTENDANCE)
November 9, 2014 (10) – Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17 (83,603)
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 8 (84,004)
October 23, 2011 (7) – Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18 (76,981)
October 31, 2010 (8) – San Francisco 24, Denver 6 (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)

HOPE IS ALIVE: Since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, 20 clubs with a losing record after nine games have made the playoffs.

Most recently in 2013, Philadelphia (4-5) and San Diego (4-5) both had losing records through nine games before advancing to the postseason.

The 20 clubs to qualify for the playoffs since 1990 with a losing record through nine games:

YEAR – TEAM (RECORD AFTER NINE GAMES, FINAL RECORD; ADVANCED TO)
1990 – Houston Oilers (4-5, 9-7; Wild Card)
1990 – New Orleans (4-5, 8-8; Wild Card)
1992 – San Diego (4-5, 11-5; Divisional)
1994 – Detroit (4-5, 9-7; Wild Card)
1994 – New England (3-6, 10-6;  Wild Card)
1995 – Detroit (3-6, 10-6; Wild Card)
1995 – San Diego (4-5, 9-7; Wild Card)
1996 – Jacksonville (3-6, 9-7; AFC Championship)
1997 – Detroit (4-5, 9-7; Wild Card)
2001 – Tampa Bay (4-5, 9-7; Wild Card)
2002 – Cleveland (4-5, 9-7; Wild Card)
2002 – New York Jets (4-5, 9-7; Divisional)
2003 – Green Bay (4-5, 10-6; Divisional)
2008 – San Diego (4-5, 8-8; Divisional)
2009 – New York Jets (4-5, 9-7; AFC Championship)
2011 – Denver (4-5, 8-8; Divisional)
2012 – Cincinnati (4-5 10-6; Wild Card)
2012 – Washington (3-6, 10-6; Wild Card)
2013 – Philadelphia (4-5, 10-6; Wild Card)
2013 – San Diego (4-5, 9-7; Divisional)

SUNDAY FUNDAY: This Sunday will feature four games between teams with winning percentages of .667 or better, the first time this has happened this late in a season in NFL history.

The four matchups between teams with .667 or better winning percentages:

NETWORK and TIME (Eastern) – Game (RESULT)
FOX at 1 p.m. – Seattle (6-3) at Kansas City (6-3) (???)
FOX at 4:25 p.m. – Philadelphia (7-2) at Green Bay (6-3) (???)
FOX at 4:25 p.m. – Detroit (7-2) at Arizona (8-1) (???)
NBC at 8:30 p.m. – New England (7-2) at Indianapolis (6-3) (???)

TOM TERRIFIC: New England quarterback Tom Brady has passed for 300 yards in 62 career games, tied with Brett Farve for the fourth-most such games in NFL history.

With at least 300 yards on Sunday Night Football against Indianapolis, Brady can tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (63) for the third-most such games all-time.

The most career 300-yard passing games in NFL history:

PLAYER-CAREER 300-YARD PASSING GAMES
Peyton Manning-89*
Drew Brees-83*
Dan Marino-63
Tom Brady-62*
Brett Favre-62
* Active

TURNAROUND TEAMS: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a game-winning 11-yard touchdown pass to running back Theo Riddick with 29 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Lions’ 20-16 win against Miami. The Lions (7-2; 7-9 in 2013) join the Cleveland Browns (6-3; 4-12 in 2013), Houston Texans (4-5; 2-14 in 2013) and Washington Redskins (3-6; 3-13 in 2013) as the teams to have already matched or surpassed their win totals from last season.

Detroit has also scored the game-winning points inside of the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter to win in regulation in each of its past three games, becoming the first team to do so since the 1994 New York Giants.

The teams that have matched or exceeded their 2013 win totals:
TEAM (2013 RECORD, 2014 RECORD)
Cleveland (4-12, 6-3)
Detroit (7-9, 7-2)
Houston (2-14, 4-5)
Washington (3-13, 3-6)

CATCHING ON: Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas extended his streak of 100+ yard receiving games to six last week with 11 receptions for 108 yards in the Broncos’ 41-17 win over Oakland.

With at least 100 receiving yards on Sunday at St. Louis, Thomas can tie Charley Hennigan and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michale Irvin (seven) for the second-longest streak of 100-yard receiving games in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive 100-yard receiving games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM – YEAR(S) (CONSECUTIVE 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit – 2012 (8)
Michael Irvin, Dallas – 1995 (7)
Charley Hennigan, Houston – 1961 (7)
Demaryius Thomas, Denver – 2014 (6)*
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh – 2010-11 (6)
Isaac Bruce, St. Louis – 1995 (6)
Pat Studstill, Detroit – 1966 (6)
Bill Groman, Houston – 1961 (6)
Raymond Berry, Baltimore – 1960 (6)
* Active streak

YOUNG STEELER: Pittsburgh rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant (Round 4, No. 118 overall) made his NFL debut in Week 7 in the Steelers’ 30-23 win over Houston. Bryant has six touchdown receptions this season – including at least one TD catch in each of his first four career games – the most ever by an NFL player in his first four games.

With a touchdown catch at Tennessee on Monday Night Football, Bryant can tie Billy Howton and Charlie Brown (five) for the most consecutive games with a touchdown reception to start a career in NFL history.

The players with the longest streaks of consecutive games with a touchdown catch to start a career in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM – YEAR(S) (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH TD CATCH TO START CAREER)
Billy Howton, Green Bay – 1952 (5)
Charlie Brown, Washington – 1982 (5)
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh – 2014 (4)*
Steve Lach, Chicago Cardinals – 1942 (4)
Donte’ Stallworth, New Orleans – 2002 (4)
* Active streak

100 POINTS: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri ranks second in the NFL this season with 92 points and is tied with JASON ELAM (16) for the most seasons with at least 100 points scored in NFL history.

With at least eight points against New England on Sunday Night Football, Vinatieri can become the only player in NFL history to score 100 points in 17 different seasons.

The most seasons with 100 or more points scored in NFL history:

PLAYER – MOST SEASONS WITH 100+ POINTS
Adam Vinatieri – 16*
Jason Elam – 16
Gary Anderson – 14
Morten Andersen – 14

* Active

As far as picks go for last week… 10-2 was not bad, which means that for the season, 90-49. There’s still a lot of football left on the docket and no one’s exactly run off with their division titles.

Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville and New York Jets have byes this week and return to action next week. Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New Englandm San Diego and Washington return to action this week. Here are week 11’s Sunday and Monday’s games.

Atlanta (3-6) at Carolina (3-5-1), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 705) Bank of America Stadium. A pair of NFC South rivals meet in the Tar Heel State as Atlanta makes the 246-mile, 4 hour drive up I-85 to take on a struggling Carolina Panthers club.

Atlanta snapped their six-game losing streak in Tampa as they erased a 17-16 deficit to take a 27-17 win over the Bucs. In sweeping the season series with Tampa, they outrushed the Bucs 110-92 and sacked QB Jake McCown four times and picked him off twice, the second coming late in the game as Tampa Bay was rallying to pull closer. Atlanta played turnover-free football while forcing three Tampa Bay miscues in the win to complete the sweep and was 50 perent on third down tries at 6-12, while Tampa Bay was 12-17 and 0-1 on fourth down tries. Supringly, it was Tampa Bay that ruled the clock in the Sunshine State, keeping the ball for 30:12, while Atlanta held it for 29:48.

The Panthers’ woes continued in Philadelphia last Monday night and they fell behind the Eagles quickly and were never able to recover, losing 45-21. The closest Cam Newton’s club would come to Philly would be 10-7 early in the first quarter before chaos ensued. Philadelphia, who led 31-7 at halftime, scored 35 points unchalleged by the Panthers to seal their fate. Even though they held Philadelphia to 37 yards on the ground (Carolina rushed for 102), Newton was sacked nine times and picked off three, including a 34 yard interception return by CB Brandon Fletcher. Carolina was 10-20 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:05, while the Eagles, who had Mark Sanchez under center in place of Nick Foles (collarbone) was 5-15 and 0-1 on third and fourth down tries, holding the ball for 21:55.

“There is still time but the time frame is becoming shorter each week we do not take advantage of our opportunities,” says head coach Ron Rivera. “The Philadelphia game was disappointing andwe are going to have to improve in a number of areas if we hope to finish the season on a strong note.”

The Falcons lead the series 23-15 and have outscored the Panthers 811-728. Carolina has won the last three meetings and swept the series last year, winning in the Big Peach and the Tar Heel State. (Atlanta’s last win in the series came in 2012, when they won in Atlanta by a final of 30-28.)

In the week nine meeting in Charlotte, Atlanta trailed 14-10 at the half before the wheels came off the Falcons’ bus as Carolina came away with a 34-10 win. The Panthers would score their final 20 points of the contest unchallenged as they would hold the Falcons to 78 yards rushing (Carolina ran for 131) and picked off Ryan three times, while Newton threw a pair of interceptions himself.

Carolina was 8-14 on third down tries (1-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:25, while the Falcons were 4-10 and held the ball for 23:35 in the first meeting, which the Panthers won by 24 (they were favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under was 48 1/2, Both clubs missed the over/under, scoring 44 points).

The two teams closed the season out in Atlanta and the result was the same as Carolina came away with a 21-20 win. The Panthers erased a 17-14 deficit at the half and held off a late Atlanta rally. Atlanta again was held under 100 yards rushing in the loss at home (76) and Ryan was sacked nine times, despite throwing for 280 yards and a pair of TDs, while Newton threw a pair of TDs and suffered only one sack. The two clubs struggled on third down tries in the second contest, with Carolina going 7-15 and Atlanta 7-16 (the Falcons were 1-1 on fourth down) and the clock favored Atlanta at 34:26 to Carolina’s 25:34.
In the second contest, the Panthers won by 1 (they were favored by 6) and once again, both teams did not reach the over/under (this time, it was 46), combing for 41.

Carolina’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. Carolina and the Panthers are looking to right their ship, Falcons are looking to remain unbeaten in the goofy NFC South. 3-0 becomes 4-0 this week in the Tar Heel State. Falcons make it two in a row and take Carolina and Newton to the woodshed, covering the 1 1/2.

Minnesota (4-5) at Chicago (3-6), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 706) Soldier Field. A pair of NFC North rivals struggling to keep their heads above water in the division meet in the Windy City as a rested Minnesota team travels to Chicago to take on a Bears’ club trying to find its way back at Soldier Field.

The Vikings come off the bye week after their 29-26 win over Washington two weeks ago in the Twin Cities. Minnesota trailed 20-14 after three quarters of play before RB Matt Asiata scored on a 1-yard run with 3:27 left to play and then held off a late Redskins drive that would have given them the lead back. Although they were outrushed 122-100, the Purple Gang did manage to sack Robert Griffin III five times to preserve the win. Minnesota, with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, went 8-15 on third down conversions (0-1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:26, while the Redskins were 6-13 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs, with Washington holding the ball for 29:34.

Chicago suffered through a 55-14 loss in Green Bay that saw them trail 42-0 at halftime. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers picked Chicago’s secondary apart, throwing six TDs with no sacks or interceptions, while Jay Cutler struggled and was sacked three times while being picked off twice and Da Bears rushed for a somewhat dismal 55 yards in the blow-out loss at Lambeau, while Green Bay ran for 132. Da Bears were also dismal on third down tries, going 3-12 (0-4 on fourth) and held the ball for 30:19, while the Packers in the completion of the series sweep with Chicago was 6-13 and 2-2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 29:41.

Minnesota leads the series 54-49-2 and the Purple Gang has outscored Da Bears 2,206-2,057. Minnesota and Chicago split the season series last year and both teams won in their home stadiums.

In week two, the two NFC North foes met in the Windy City and Chicago survived, taking a 31-30 win at Soldier Field. Chicago led 24-21 at the half before the Vikings went on to outscore Chicago 9-7 in the second half. Adrian Peterson outpaced Matt Forte in rushing by a 100-90 yard margin (Chicago outrushed Minnesota 129-123) and Cutler threw three TDs inspite of a pair of interceptions, while Christian Ponder threw a TD and a pick. Da Bears were 7-12 on third down tries, holding the ball for 30:34, while Minnesota was 7-16 (2-2 on fourth down tries) and kept the ball for 29:26.

That was game one.

Game two was in the Great Indoors of the Metrodome in week 13, which was going to draw its final breath and it was a game for the ages as Brad Walsh kicked a 34-yard field goal with 1:43 left in overtime to give the Vikes a 23-20 win. Walsh sent the contest into the extra period with a 30-yarder with 20 seconds left in regulation. Minneosta trailed 20-10 after 45 minutes of play before rallying to tie the contest and then rallied to score the last 13 points of the game unchallenged. Once again, it was Peterson and Forte as the rushing stars (Peterson 211, Forte 120) as both teams breached the 100 yard rushing barrier (Minnesota wound up with 246, Chicago with 135). That was the good news.

The bad?

Ponder was sacked three times and would eventually be replaced by Matt Cassell, while Jake McCown, who was in for Cutler, was sacked four times, despite throwing a pair of TDs. Cassell threw for 243 yards and a TD for the winning Vikings, who were 4-17 on third down tries (3-3 on fourth down). The Vikings held the ball for 39:09, including the overtime, while Chicago kept it for 34:08 and went 2-11 on third down.

Chicago in the week two contest, was favored by 5 1/2 (Da Bears won by 1) and the 42 over/under was passed with ease, as both clubs combined for 61 points. Minnesota won by 3 in week 13 in the Twin Cities, covering the 1 point spread but both clubs barely missed the 49 over/under by 6. The Purple Gang’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. Both teams are struggling. Minnesota’s bad… Chicago’s been worse, which means that you might want to avoid this one like the plague (or your cousin Edna’s corn pudding… that stuff’ll kill Bin Laden!) and watch that “Family Guy” marathon on Comedy Central. Vikings are the lesser evil and they’ll add to the woes of Da Bears, covering the 3 1/2 and taking the win in the Windy City.

Houston (4-5) at Cleveland (6-3), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 711) FirstEnergy Stadium. A pair of AFC teams that improved on their 2013 records meet along the shores of Lake Erie Sunday afternoon. Houston travels to northern Ohio to take on Cleveland in an AFC meeting.

The Texans come off a bye week after their 31-21 loss at home to Philadelphia. In that contest, Houston trailed 17-14 at the half before Philly pulled away, despite knocking Nick Foles (collarbone) out of the contest. LeSean McCoy ran for 117 of the Eagles’ 190 yards, while the Texans ran for 118 and Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked four times in the loss. Houston was 5-13 on third down conversions and 0-1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 27:47, while the Eagles on third and fourth down went 9-16 and 2-2 respectively, holding the ball for 32:13.

Cleveland allowed a first quarter field goal by Cincinnati K Mike Nugent and then procceded to shut out the Bengals at home, taking their instate rivals to task and coming out on top by a final of 24-3. The Browns outrushed the Bengals 170-86 and sacked QB Andy Dalton twice while picking him off three times. Third down tries in the Thursday night affair in Cincy were nothing to write home about (Cleveland was 7-16, the Bengals were 3-17 and 1-1 on fourth down) and the clock was the ally of Cleveland, who held the ball for 35:49 to Cincy’s 24:11.

Houston leads the series 4-3, have outscored Cleveland 127-123 and has won the last three meetings in the series, including a 30-12 win in Houston in 2011. Cleveland’s last win in the series came in 2007 along the shores of Lake Erie by a 27-17 final. The Browns are favored by 3 and the over/under comes in at 42. Both teams are a lot better than what they were in 2013 and both are looking to make it into the post-season party. Cleveland makes it interesting but Houston takes the win on the road and covers the 3.

Seattle (6-3) at Kansas City (6-3), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 708) Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs will host the Seahawks in a battle of second-place teams that have hit their respective strides. Seattle posted a franchise-record 350 rushing yards in a 38-17 victory against the Giants, the Seahawks’ third consecutive win. Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch led the way with 140 rushing yards and a career-high four TDs.

“That’s what we’re capable of every week and it finally clicked,” Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy told KIRO-TV and KING-TV. “We were finally all on the same page and we finally played our style of football. You could feel it. We just had an attitude of getting after them and we did. Our tempo was up and it really showed.”

The defending Super Bowl champions erased a 17-14 deficit at the intermission against the Giants in the Pacific Northwest and proceeded to shutout Eli Manning and New York 24-0 in the last 30 minutes of play to take the 38-17 win. The Seahawks rushed for 350 yards in the contest (RB Marshawn Lynch had 140 and four TDs, while QB Russell Wilson chipped in with 107), while holding Big Blue to 54 rushing yards. Both teams did manage to reach the 50 percent plateau on third down conversions (New York was 6-12 and 0-1 on fourth down, while the Seahawks in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks went 7-12 on third down and was perfect in their only fourth down try). The clock was the ally of Seattle, who kept the ball for 33:12 to New York’s 26:48.

Kansas City has rebounded from an 0-2 start to win six of its past seven games, including a 17-13 come-from-behind victory at Buffalo after erasing a 13-3 fourth-quarter deficit last week.

“There’s a certain toughness that it takes to not only play in the NFL, but come back from a deficit like that and our guys showed that today,” says Kansas City head coach Andy Reid. “They showed real grit there that second half.”

The Chiefs rallied from a 13-3 third quarter deficit by taking a 17-13 win over Buffalo in Orchard Park last Sunday. RB Jamaal Charles and QB Alex Smith accounted for the two TDs in the fourth quarter, with Smtih, despite being sacked six times, scoring on an 8-yard run in the fourth that gave them the lead for keeps. Kansas City outrushed Buffalo 127-111 in the win, while going 3-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries and kept the ball for 29:18, while the Bills went 7-16 on third down and 0-1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 30:42.

Kansas City leads the series with the defending Super Bowl champs 32-18 and have outscored the Seahawks 1,185-957. The two teams were divisional rivals in the AFC West until Seattle moved over to the NFC West. Kansas City won the last two meetings, including a 42-24 win in 2012 in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks. Seattle’s last win in the series? 2002, also in Seattle by a final of 39-32. Seattle finds themselves as the underdog in the great Midwest by a point and the over/under’s 42. Both of those numbers make a lot of sense and both teams were in the playoffs last year. That was last year. This is 2014. Kansas City’s going to make it intersting but Seattle comes away with the win in the Midwest, covering the 1.

Cincinnati (5-3-1) at New Orleans (4-5), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 712) Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Andy Dalton vs. Drew Brees. A pair of QBs coming off losses in their home stadiums last week meet in the Big Easy this week

Cincinnati trailed Cleveland 7-3 after one quarter of play at home last Thursday night before the wheels came off the Bengals bus, allowing the Browns to 17 points unchallenged in their 24-3 loss. Cleveland outrushed the Bengals 170-86 in the contest and Dalton was sacked twice and picked off three times in the 21 point loss. Cincy on third down tries were 3-17 (1-1 on fourth) and held on to the ball for 24:11, while the Browns were 7-16 and kept the pigskin for 35:49.

The Saints let a 24-21 lead get away from them in regulation and could have the game won were it not for a Jimmy Graham offensive pass interference penalty at the end of the contest and a Brees fumble in over time and fell to the 49ers 27-24 in the Big Easy. Graham did manage to catch a pair of Brees’ TD passes in the loss to San Francisco. San Francisco managed to rally late in the contest thanks to a 45-yard field goal by K Phil Graham with 45 seconds left in regulation and then a 35 yarder in the overtime that gave them the win. Mark Ingram ran for 120 of the Saints’ 136 (the 49ers had 144) and Brees outpaced Colin Kaepernick 292-210 with three TDs. New Orleans, who turned the ball over three times (including Brees’ fumble that gave San Francisco new life in overtime), went 8-18 on third down tries (2-2 on fourth downs) and held the ball for 36 minutes, while the 49ers were 6-15 and 1-1 on third and fourth down, holding the ball for 33:46 (including the overtime).

The series between the two teams is tied at 6-6 and Cincy has outscored New Orleans 251-224. The last time they met was in 2010 in Cincy and the Saints came away with a 34-30, while the Bengals won in the Big Easy in 2006 by a final of 31-16. The Saints are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. It’s possible that the over/under could be reached by halftime. The 7? A bit on the high side. After all, both teams are in first place in their respective divisions. Is it possible that New Orleans could lose two in a row at home? If the Bengals have their way, the answer’s yes. Cincy may not cover the 7 but they take the win in the Big Easy.

Tampa Bay (1-8) at Washington (3-6), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 710) FedEx Field. A pair of struggling NFC teams meet in Landover as both look to break losing streaks.

Tampa Bay led Atlanta briefly at 17-16 early in the fourth quarter when TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught a 1-yard TD pass from Josh McGown with 14:18 left to play. What Seferian-Jenkins did afterward drew the ire and wrath of not only the fans in attendance but the ire and wrath of his head coach Lovie Smith.

Seferian-Jenkins then decided to celebrate the score by using the ball as a prop. That drew Tampa Bay a 15-yard penalty and forced them to kick off from the 20. That was all that Matt Ryan and the Falcons would need to take the lead back for keeps as he and WR Roddy White connected on a 5-yard TD pass with 9:18 left to play. Atlanta then went for two and was successful when WR Harry Douglas caught the conversion pass to make it a 7 point game. After K Matt Bryant nailed his fourth field goal try, Tampa Bay marched down the field one last time but came up short when McCown’s pass was intercepted to end the threat. The Bucs were held to 92 yards rushing (Atlanta tallied 110), McCown found himself being sacked four times and was picked off twice and Tampa Bay turned the ball over three times in the loss at home. On third down tries, Tampa Bay was 12-17 and 0-1 on fourth down (Atlanta was 6-12) and they ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:12 to Atlanta’s 29:48.

The Redskins come back to action from their bye week after their 29-26 loss to Minnesota two weeks ago in the Twin Cities. In the 3-point loss to the Vikings, Washington led 20-14 after three quarters of play before losing the lead thanks to a pair of TDs by RB Matt Asiata in the second half, with the second one giving Minnesota the lead for keeps with 3:27 left to play. Washington got the ball back late in the game and threatened but could not breach their side of the 50 in the closing minutes of the contest. The good news… Washington did outrush Minnesota 122-100. The bad news… Robert Griffin III was sacked five times in the game and threw an interception. Minnesota in the win went 8-15 on third down (0-1 on fourth), while Washington was 6-13 and 0-1 on third and fourth down tries. Time was on the side of Minnesota, who held the ball for 30:26 to Washington’s 29:34.

The Washington-Tampa Bay series is tied at 9-9 and Tampa Bay has outscored Washington by a 344-327 margin. Both teams had their last wins in the series in the other team’s ballpark (Washington’s last win came in Tampa Bay in 2012 by a final of 24-22, while Tampa Bay’s last win came in Landover in 2010 by a 17-16 count). Washington’s favored by 7 and the over/under is 45. These are not exactly great teams to watch (unless you’re a fan of either club), which means you’re much better off watching that “Good Eats” marathon on the Cooking Channel. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Washington adds to the Bucs’ misery and covers the 7 with the win.

Denver (7-2) at St. Louis (3-6), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 713) Edward Jones Dome. Denver travels to the Midwest to take on the Rams in the great indoors of the Edward James Dome.

Denver manhandled Oakland last Sunday afternoon on the West Coast, sending the Raiders to their ninth loss in a row 41-17. While they rushed for 118 yards, the Broncos held Oakland to 30 in the lopsided victory and Peyton Manning threw for 340 yards and five TDs, despite throwing a pair of interceptions. Tied at 3-3 after one quarter, Denver would go on to outscore Oakland 38-10 in the final 45 minutes of play and Julius Thomas and Manning hooked up for a pair of TD passes in the win. Denver with the win was 7-15 on third downs and perfect in their only fourth down try, keeping the ball for 32:22, while the winless Raiders on third down were 5-18 and held the ball for 27:38.

St. Louis fell to 3-6 after they blew a 14-10 lead at the half against Arizona and fell to the Cardinals 31-14. Although they managed to take Carson Palmer out of the contest with a knee injury and outrush the Desert Angry Birds 70-28, Rams QB Austin Davis would find himself being sacked six times and picked off twice in the 17-point loss in the desert. Third down tries? St. Louis was a somewhat dismal 1-10 (1-2 on fourth down) and possessed the ball for 26:40, while Arizona, who outscored St. Louis in the second half 21-0, went 6-15 and held the ball for 33:20.

Including contests when the Rams were in Los Angeles, St. Louis lead sthe series 7-5, have outscored Denver 271-260 and have won the last two contests with the Broncos, including a 36-33 win in Denver in 2010. Denver’s last win over the Rams came in 2002 by a final of 23-16. Denver’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under is at 51. The Rams are a lot better than 3-6 but they’re in a somewhat tough NFC West and need wins to pass Arizona, Seattle and San Francisco. They won’t get one this week against the Peytonicus and Denver. Broncos may not cover the 9 1/2 but they take the win on the road.

San Francisco (5-4) at New York Giants (3-6), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 709) MetLife Stadium. A pair of future Hall of Fame signal callers meet in the Jersey Meadowlands as the Giants return home to face the San Francisco 49ers.

San Francisco and Colin Kaepernick managed to outrush New Orleans 144-136 (the Saints’ Mark Ingram led all rushers with 120 yards but needed a pair of Phil Dawson field goals to tie the contest after they trailed 24-21 late in the game. The football gods shined again on the 49ers in regulation when a TD pass to Jimmy Graham from Drew Brees was waived off after an offensive pass interference penalty that would have ended the game with the home team winning and then again in overtime when the 49ers defense forced a Brees fumble in their second possession of the ball in overtime. San Francisco, who could not make a first down in their first try in the extra period, wasted very little time in their second try with the ball as Dawson nailed a 35 yard field goal for the win on the road. The 49ers were 6-15 on third down conversions, while New Orlens was 8-18. Both clubs were successful on fourth down tries, with San Francisco going 1-1 and New Orleans 2-2 and the clock was the ally of New Orleans at 36 minutes, while the Niners kept the ball for 33:46, including the overtime.

New York and Eli Manning let a 17-14 lead slip out of their hands in the Pacific Northwest last Sunday, falling to Seattle 38-17. The defending Super Bowl champs easily outrushed the Giants 350-54 (with Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch accounting for 140 yards and four TDs and QB Russell Wilson adding 107) and forced a pair of New York turnovers in the contest. New York was 6-12 and 0-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 26:48, while Seattle on third and fourth down went 7-12 and 1-1, holding the ball for 33:12.

The Giants lead the series 15-14 and have outscored San Francisco 579-563. Big Blue’s last win in the series would come in 2012 by a 26-3 final in San Francisco. San Francisco’s last win? In San Francisco at old Candlestick Park in 2011 by a final of 27-20. The 49ers are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both teams have been known to be great one minute and really bad the next and both Jim Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin know they’re on the hot seat in their respective cities. The Giants have lost four in a row and San Francisco wants to make it five. Five it is. 49ers cover the 4 and win on the road in the Jersey Meadowlands.

Oakland (0-9) at San Diego (5-4), 4:05 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 714) Qualcomm Stadium. They met five weeks ago in Oakland and now the stage has moved south along I-5 as the Raiders make the 491-mile, 7-hour trip south to take on the Chargers.

The winless Raiders were held in check by Peyton Manning and the Broncos last Sunday in Oakland, falling to Denver 41-17. Oakland turned the ball over three times, was held to 30 yards rushing (Denver ran for 118) and were outscored in the final three quarters of play 38-14 after the two teams were tied 3-3 after the first quarter of action and the Silver and Black also allowed Manning to throw for 340 yards and five TDs, two of them to WR Julian Thomas in the loss. Oakland was 5-18 on third down tries at O.Co Coliseum and held the ball for 27:38, while Denver was 7-15 and 1-1 on third and fourth downs and kept the ball for 32:22.

San Diego had a bye last Sunday after their 37-0 thumping at the hands of Miami in the Sunshine State. Miami outrushed the Bolts 132-50 and Philip Rivers was picked off three times and sacked three times at Sun Life Stadium, while being outpassed by Ryan Tannehill 288-138. San Diego in the shutout loss went 3-11 on third down tries, 0-1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 23:53. Miami held the ball for 36:07 and went 8-14 and 0-1 on third and fourth down conversions.

They met in week six in Oakland and it was the Chargers coming out on top by a final of 31-28. The Bolts and Raiders entered the first half tied at 14-14 and then outscored the Raiders 17-14 in the second half. San Diego outrushed the Silver and Black 116-114, with the Chargers’ Branden Oliver leading all rushers with 101 and a TD (Oliver’s TD was the game winner with 1:56 left to play) in the first meeting and Rivers outpassed Carr 313-282 (Rivers had three TD passes). Both teams did well on third down tries in the first contest (San Diego was 8-14 and 0-1 on fourth down, Oakland was 8-13) and the clock was the ally of San Diego, who kept the ball for 37:02 to Oakland’s 22:58.

San Diego covered the 7 point spread, winning by 7 and both teams easily passed the 43 over/under, combining for 59 points. This time, the Chargers are favored by 10 and the over/under stands at 44 1/2. If you’re a Raiders’ fan, you might want to watch that “Good Eats” marathon on Food Network instead of this one. Chargers may not cover the 10 but they’ll send Oakland to their 10th loss in a row at home at Qualcomm.

Detroit (7-2) at Arizona (8-1), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 715) University of Phoenix Stadium. Two of the NFC’s top teams will meet as Arizona hosts Detroit on Sunday afternoon. The Lions have scored the game-winning points inside the 2 minute mark of the fourth quarter to win in regulation in each of their past three games, becoming the first team to do so since the 1994 New York Giants.

“I just think that you can sense that they have a lot of poise,” Caldwell told the Detroit Free Press. “They don’t mind a little pressure, they know how to hang in and come from behind. Sixty minutes, whatever it takes, they’re willing to give it.”

Arizona is 8-1 for the first time since 1948 and the third time in franchise history (1925, 1948 and 2014). The Cardinals sealed a 31-14 victory against the Rams with two fourth-quarter defensive touchdowns by cornerbacks Patrick Peterson (30-yard interception return) and Antonio Cromartie (14-yard fumble return). Arizona trailed St. Louis 14-10 at the half in Glendale and then went on to shut out the Rams in the second half 21-0, scoring those final points in the fourth quarter to take a 31-14 win. Although they were outrushed by St. Louis 70-28 and QB Carson Palmer would leave the contest with a knee injury (Palmer will miss the rest of the 2014 season), the Desert Angry Birds did manage to sack Austin Davis six times and pick him off twice to take the win. Not only did both teams fail to breach the 100-yard rushing barrier, neither team did anything to write home or Tweet about on third down tries (St. Louis was 1-10, 1-2 on fourth down; Arizona was 6-15) and time was on the side of Arizona, who held the ball for 33:20 to St. Louis’ 26:40.

“We got into the zone, got the momentum on our side and left it all on the field,” says Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell, who posted two sacks against St. Louis.

Detroit managed to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat last Sunday in the Motor City as Matthew Stafford and RB Theo Riddick connected on an 11 yard TD pass with 29 seconds left to take a 20-16 win at Ford Field. The contest also marked the return of WR Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron), who caught 15 passes for 113 yards and a TD. Detroit led 10-3 at halftime before losing the lead and trailed 13-10 after three quarters. The Lions, still in first place in the NFC North, outrushed Miami 63-50 and sacked Ryan Tannehill three times in the contest, while Stafford was sacked three times also. Detroit went 3-12 on third down conversions at the contest at Ford Field (they were 2-3 on fourth down) and held the ball for 31:34. Miami held the ball for 28:26 and the Dolphins on third down tries were 5-14 in the four-point loss.

The Lions lead the series 31-26-5, which includes contests when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth Spartans and the Cardinals played their home games in Chicago and St. Louis before moving westward. Detroit leads Arizona in points 1,124-1,006. However… the Desert Angry Birds have won the last five meetings with the Lions, including a 25-21 win last year in the desert (Detroit’s last win over Arizona came all the way back in 2005 in the Motor City by a final of 29-21.

In the week two contest, the Cards trailed 14-10 at half and 21-16 after three quarters before K Jay Feely connected on a 43 yard field goal to open the fourth quarter and then took the lead for keeps on a 1 yard run by RB Rashard Mendenhal with 1:59 left to play. Neither team managed to breach the 100-yard barrier (Arizona had 87, Detroit had 49) and Stafford outpaced Palmer 278-248 in the contest. Third down tries? Not much to roar or tweet about in the contest in the desert (Detroit was 3-11 and 0-1 on fourth down, while the Desert Angry Birds were 1-11) and the clock favored Arizona, who held the ball for 31:19, while the Liones kept it for 28:41. Arizona covered the 1 1/2 point spread (Detroit was the favorite) and both clubs narrowly missed the 48 over/under, coming in at 46 points.

Arizona’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both teams are a lot better than their 2013 records and there’s a chance that these teams could meet in the post-season. Detroit will make it a lot closer than the 2 1/2 but the Desert Angry Birds prevail at home.

Philadelphia (7-2) at Green Bay (6-3), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 707) Lambeau Field. A pair of contending teams coming off huge wins at home last week meet in the Dairy State as the Eagles travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers at Lambeau.

Philadelphia showed Carolina they would be a force to be dealt with Monday night in the city of Brotherly Love, taking a 31-7 lead with them to the locker room and taking a 45-21 win in prime time. Even though they were held to only 37 yards on the ground, Philly did manage to make life miserable for Cam Newton and the Panthers, sacking him nine times and picking him off three, with one being returned for a TD by CB Bradley Fletcher for 34 yards. Mark Sanchez, filling in for Nick Foles, threw for 332 yards and a pair of TDs without being intercepted in the contest that saw his team lead from start to finish. Philly was 5-15 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:55, while Carolina held it for 38:05 and went 10-20 and 0-1 on third and fourt down conversions.

“It was just a great night,” says Sanchez, who became the first quarterback in Eagles history to pass for 300 yards with a rating of 100 or better in first start with the team. “It was so fun to get back out on the field. It’s good to get back in an environment like this in front of this crowd and in front of all of those players that work so hard during the week.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes, all in the first half, during the Packers’ 55-14 win against the Bears, tying the NFL record for the most TD passes in a half (Daryle Lamonica, October 19, 1969 vs. Buffalo).

“We did a lot of good things on offense,” Rodgers told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We got into a rhythm early. That’s the way you want to play moving into the second half of the season.”

Green Bay added to Chicago’s woes last week at Lambeau last Sunday night, taking Da Bears to Da Woodshed enroute to a 55-14 win. The Pack led 42-0 at the half and were never threatened in the NFC North contest in the land of bratwurst, cheese and beer and forced three Chicago turnovers (2 Jay Cutler interceptions), while sacking him three times. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers had no problems with Chicago’s secondary, throwing six TD passes with no sacks or interceptions and Green Bay outrushed Chicago 132-55 in the win that allowed the Packers to sweep the series. Green Bay on third down tries were 6-13 (2-2 on fourth tries and needed to keep the ball for only 29:41, while Da Bears were 3-12 on third down and 0-4 on fourth down and actually won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 30:19.

The Packers hold a 24-14 lead in the series and have outscore the Eagle 750-626. However… the Eagles won the last meeting between the two clubs last year in the land of bratwurst, cheese and beer in week 10 by a final of 27-13.

In that contest, the Eagles led 10-3 at half and then proceeded to run away from the Packers, outscoring them 17-10 in the second half. LeShaun McCoy ran for 155 of Philly’s 204 (Green Bay was held to 99) and Foles threw three TDs without being intercepted, while Scott Tolzein was picked off twice, filling in for Aaron Rodgers (collerbone). Third down tries? Not much to write home about. Philly was 4-11, Green Bay was 7-16, 1-2 on fourth down. Time was on the side of the Pack at 34:24, while the Eagles held the ball for 25:36.

Green Bay was a 1 1/2 point favorite and the over/under was 47. While both clubs missed the over/under by scoring only 40 points, the Eagles covered the spread, winning by 14. In the late afternoon affair at Lambeau, the Packers are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 57. Given what both teams did last week (they combined to score 100 points), it is possible that the over/under could be reached by halftime. The 4 1/2 sounds a bit high, given that these are two pretty good offenses and this could be a closer contest. Packers do come away with the win at home, even though they might not cover the 4 1/2.

New England (7-2) at Indianapolis (6-3), 8:30 p.m. (NBC) Lucas Oil Stadium. Sunday’s exciting schedule finishes with a primetime battle of first-place AFC teams, as the Colts host the Patriots. Following a 2-2 start, New England has won five games in a row and outscored its opponents by an average of 18.6 points per game during those contests.

“Hopefully we can keep making improvements and we’re a lot better five weeks from now, also,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

Quarterback Andrew Luck, who leads the NFL with 3,085 passing yards, has led the Colts to six wins in their past seven games.

“He’s playing outstanding,” says Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano of Luck, whose active streak of seven consecutive 300-yard passing games is tied for the third-longest in NFL history. “We just need to keep him playing the way he’s playing.” Both teams are coming off byes last week and both teams won their games prior to the bye week.

The Pats erased a 7-3 first quarter deficit against Peyton Manning and the Colts in Foxboro, coming away with a 43-21 win. New England went on to outscore the Broncos in the final 45 minutes of play 40-14 for the lopsided win. Although Manning did outpass Brady 438-333, the Pats did manage to pick twice, while Brady threw four TD passes, including a pass to TE Ron Gronkowski and WR Julian Edleman chipped with two, including a 84 yard punt return that all but put the nail in Denver’s coffin. Neither club managed to break the 100-yard rushing barrier (New England did manage to outrush the Broncos 66-43) in the late afternoon in western Massachusetts. The Pats were 6-16 on third down conversions at Gillette Stadium (1-1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:27, while Denver kept the pigskin for 30:33 and went 3-11 and 0-4 on third and fourth downs.

New England leads the series 45-28 (including contests played when the Pats were in Boston and played their home games at Fenway Park and the Colts were in Baltimore) and have outscored the Colts 1,759-1,382. New England’s last regular season win over the Colts came in 2012, when they took a 59-24 win in Foxboro (the two met in the 2013 post-season, also in Foxboro and the Pats came out on top 43-22). Indy’s last win over Brady and the Pats? 2009 in Indy at Lucas Oil by a 35-34 final.

In that playoff contest, New England led 21-12 at the half and then held off the Colts in the secon half, outscoring them in the final 30 minutes of play 22-10. Pats RB LeGarrette Blount ran for 166 of their 234 yards in the contest, while holding Indy to 69 yards rushing and sacked Luck (331 yards)three times and picked him off four times (Brady threw for 198 in the win). New England was 11-18 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 35 minutes, while the Colts held it for 25 minutes and went 6-15 and 1-1 on third and fourth down conversions. The Pats covered the 7 1/2 point spread, winning by 21 and both teams easily covered the 53 1/2 over/under by scoring 65 points combined.

Since it’s Luck vs. Brady, it’s more than likely that this one is “Drill Worthy.” (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?”

Indy’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 58. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Brady vs. Luck. Two future Hall of Fame QBs in the great indoors of Lucas Oil. Colts make it interesting but New England comes out on the road in Indiana and covers the 3 with the win.

Pittsburgh (6-4) at Tennessee (2-7), 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN) LP Field. Week 11’s action concludes with an AFC tilt featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. The Steelers’ offense averaged 41.3 points per game during a three-game winning streak before a 20-13 loss to the Jets last week. But Pittsburgh remains only a half game back of first-place Cleveland.

“Everyone’s right there together,” says defensive end Brett Keisel of the AFC North, which is the first division in which every team is at least two games above .500 at any point in the season since the 1935 NFL Western Division. “We need to assert ourselves.”

The Steelers come into the MNF contest with a 20-17 loss at the hands of the New York Jets in the Meadowlands. Pittsburgh trailed 17-3 at half before they made the contest with GangGreen closer, thanks to a 27-yard field goal by K Sean Suisham and an 80-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to WR Martavis Bryant with 1:16 left to play. Roethlisberger’s streak of multi-TD games came to a halt at the hands of the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! and the Steelers were held to 36 yards on the ground (New York ran for 150) but did manage to sack Michael Vick four times. Pittsburgh on third down tries did reasonably well, going 6-11 (0-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:27, while GangGreen was 6-15 on third down, while keeping the ball for 30:33.

Tennessee will be looking for continued progress from rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger (Round 6, No. 178 overall), who has passed for 478 yards and three touchdowns in two games since being named the starter in Week 8.

“He did some good things today and made some good throws,” Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt told The Tennessean about Mettenberger’s performance at Baltimore. “I think he did a nice job in operating today in this environment, which is not easy.” Baltimore erased a 7-7 tie at the half with the Titans and outscored Tennessee 14-0 in the second half enroute to the 21-7 loss. The Titans were held to 67 yards rushing and Mettenberger was sacked six times, while the Ravens’ Justin Forsett ran for 112 of his team’s 151 yards in the 14-point win in Charm City. Tennessee was 4-12 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 29:13, while the Ravens were 4-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 30:47.

The Steelers lead the series with Tennessee 41-31 (including contests when the Titans played their home games in Houston and were known as the Oilers) and have outscored Tennessee 1,479-1,253. Tennessee won last year’s contest in the Steel City by a 16-9 final in week one. The Texans led by a baseball-like 7-2 score at the half before the Steelers rallied late in the contest to make things interesting when WR Jerricho Cotchery connected on a 4 yard TD pass from Roethlisberger with 1:23 left to play. Tennessee’s scoring came thanks to a 3-yard run by Jake Battle and three Ron Bironas field goals (his longest was 44 yards). The Titans outrushed the Steelers 112-32 in the win in Pittsburgh and sacked Roethlisberger five times in the win, while forcing a pair of turnovers.

Tennessee on third down? 6-15 and 1-1 on fourth down. Pittsburgh? 4-13 and 1-1 on fourth down. Clock? It favored Tennessee, who held the ball for 34:01 to Pittsburgh’s 25:59.

The Titans covered the 7 point spread (Pittsburgh was favored by 7) in the week one contest but neither club came anywhere near the 42 over/under, scoring only 23 points. The Titans on Monday night are 11-9 but have not played on MNF since 2009, when they lost their only appearance in prime time, while the Steelers are now 21-20 after their win over Houston in week seven. Pittsburgh’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under is 47. Both numbers make a lot of sense. While this one might not be a great game to watch, it might be a pretty good one, which means you might want to tape “Scorpion,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Castle.” Steelers cover the 5 1/2 in Music City and come away with the win.

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