Week 4. One quarter of the way done for most NFL teams (New England and Tennessee have byes this week) and things got underway with Pittsburgh losing to Baltimore in overtime Thursday night at Heinz Field. Week four draws to a close on Monday night when Detroit travels to the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks to take on Seattle.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: The 2015 International Series begins in Week 4, with the Miami Dolphins hosting the New York Jets at London’s Wembley Stadium in the first divisional contest played in the United Kingdom. It will be the first of three games to be played in London this season. The other two games, which will also be played at Wembley, feature the Buffalo Bills against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 7 (October 25th) and the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Detroit Lions in Week 8 (November 1st).

The International Series has seen some very close contests. In the first 11 games, six have been decided by one score.

The 11 regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium:
DATE (WEEK) Score
November 9, 2014 (10) Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17
October 26, 2014 (8) Detroit 22, ATLANTA 21
September 28, 2014 (4) Miami 38, Oakland 14
October 27, 2013 (8) San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10
September 29, 2013 (4) Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27
October 28, 2012 (8) New England 45, St. Louis 7
October 23, 2011 (7) Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18
October 31, 2010 (8) San Francisco 24, Denver 16
October 25, 2009 (7) New England 35, Tampa Bay 7
October 26, 2008 (8) New Orleans 37, San Diego 32
October 28, 2007 (8) New York Giants 13, Miami 10

FAST STARTERS: The Denver Broncos, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, are off to a 3-0 start this season. Manning’s teams have often started strong as he has led his teams to a 4-0 start an NFL record six times in his career.

When Denver hosts Minnesota in Week 4, Manning looks to earn his seventh 4-0 start and extend his mark for the most in the Super Bowl era.

New England quarterback Ton Bradt and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees are the only other active quarterbacks to have three 4-0 starts to a season. Brady and the 3-0 Patriots will travel to Dallas in Week 5 following their bye week.

The quarterbacks with the most 4-0 starts:

PLAYER (4-0 STARTS TO A SEASON)
Peyton Manning (6)*
Fran Tarkenton (4)
Many tied with 3

* 3-0 through Week 3 in 2015

FLYING FALCON: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones has 34 receptions for 440 yards and four touchdowns this season. His 34 receptions are the most by a player through his team’s first three games to start a season in NFL history.

With seven receptions on Sunday against Houston, Jones would surpass Wes Welker (40) for the most receptions through the first four games of a season in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions through the first four games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEAR; RECEPTIONS)
Wes Welker, New England (2011; 40)
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati (2007; 39)
Many tied with 36
Julio Jones, Atlanta (2015, 34)*
* Through three games

Jones, who is the first player in league annals to record at least 135 receiving yards in each of his team’s first three games, needs 177 receiving yards on Sunday to surpass Wes Welker (616) for the most receiving yards through the first four games of a season.

The players with the most receiving yards through the first four games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEAR; REC. YARDS)
Wes Welker, New England (2011; 616)
Bob Boyd, Los Angeles Rams (1954; 555)
Terry Glenn, New England (1999; 544)
Charley Hennigan, Houston (1963; 543)
Henry Ellard, Washington (1994; 536)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (2015, 440)*
* Through three games

BOOMING BECKHAM: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is set to play in his 16th career game on Sunday. Beckham, through 15 career games, already has the most catches by a player in his first 16 games.

With 20 receiving yards on Sunday at Buffalo, Beckham would surpass Bill Groman (1,593) for the most receiving yards through a player’s first 16 games.

The players with the most receiving yards in their first 16 games to begin a career:

PLAYER (Team, Years; RECEIVING YARDS)
Bill Groman (Houston Oilers, 1960-61; 1,593)
Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants, 2014-15; 1,574)*
Billy Howton (Green Bay, 1952-53; 1,500)
Charley Hennigan (Houston Oilers, 1960-61; 1,426)
Lance Alworth (San Diego, 1962-63; 1,399)
*Through 15 games

With a 100-yard receiving game against Buffalo, Beckham would tie Groman (nine) for the most 100-yard receiving games through a player’s first 16 career games.

The players with the most 100-yard receiving games in their first 16 games to begin a career:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEAR(S); 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES)
Bill Groman, Houston Oilers (1960-61; 9)
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (2014-15, 8)*
Harlon Hill, Chicago (1954-55; 8)
Charley Hennigan, Houston Oilers (1960-61; 7)
Billy Howton, Green Bay (1952-53; 6)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (2011-12; 6)

*Through 15 games

TOP CARDS: The Arizona Cardinals have jumped out to a 3-0 start this season, amassing a league-high 126 points over the first three weeks. The Cardinals have scored 30+ points in each week, including 48 and 47 points in each of the past two weeks.

With 37 points on Sunday against St. Louis, Arizona would surpass the 2002 Oakland Raiders (162) for the fourth-most points scored through the first four games of a season in NFL history.

The teams with the most points scored through the first four games of a season in NFL history:
TEAM – YEAR (POINTS SCORED)
Dallas – 1966 (183)
Denver – 2013 (179)
Chicago Bears – 1941 (175)
Oakland – 2002 (162)
Oakland – 1968 (160)
St. Louis Rams – 2000 (160)
Arizona – 2015 (126)*
* Through three games

FRESH START: Seven teams are undefeated through their first three games of the season – Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay and New England.

While no guarantee of future success, a strong start to the season is a good omen – 75 percent of teams (93 of 124) that started 3-0 since 1990 made the playoffs.

COMPLETE SUCCESS: On Sunday Night Football, Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING completed 31 of 42 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 24-12 win over Detroit. Manning, who has 6,008 career completions, joined BRETT FAVRE (6,300) as the only players to reach 6,000 career completions.

TOM TERRIFIC: New England quarterback TOM BRADY completed 33 of 42 passes (78.6) for 358 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 118.1 passer rating in the Patriots’ 51-17 win over Jacksonville. Brady, who has nine touchdowns without an interception this season, joined Peyton Manning (2010, 2013) and Don Meridith (1966) as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least nine touchdowns with no interceptions in the first three games of a season.

The most TD passes without an INT through a team’s first three games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEAR, MOST TD PASSES W/OUT INT)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013, 12)
Tom Brady, New England (2015, 9)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2010, 9)
Don Meredith, Dallas (1966, 9)
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia (2004, 8)
Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia (1992, 8)
Roman Gabriel, Los Angeles Rams (1969, 8)

CATCHING ON: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 12 catches for 164 yards with two touchdowns in the Falcons’ 39-28 win over Dallas. Jones, who has 34 receptions this season, surpassed Troy Brown (31 in 2002), Clark Gaines (31 in 1980) and Wes Welker (31 in 2011) for the most catches through a team’s first three games of a season.

Seven teams – Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay and New England – remain undefeated as the NFL enters Week 4.

“It’s the kind of start you always want to have,” says Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who leads the AFC in passer rating (121.0), about the team’s 3-0 record. “It says a lot about the people we have on this team. We’re going to keep playing one week at a time but we like where we are right now.”

The chances of making the playoffs after a 3-0 start are good but far from certain. Since 1990, when the current playoff format was adopted, 93 of the 124 teams (75 percent) to start 3-0 have qualified for the postseason.

“It’s hard to win games in this league so any time you can start 3-0, it’s a big deal,” says Panthers center Ryan Kalil.

Atlanta, which missed the postseason a year ago, is the first team in NFL history to start 3-0 after trailing in the fourth quarter of every game. That’s just another example of the unpredictability of the NFL. In fact, since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four clubs made the playoffs each season that were not in the postseason the previous year.

“The sky’s the limit for this team,” says Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, whose 34 receptions are the most by a player in the first three games of a season in NFL history. “We’ve just got to believe and stay together.”

There are 13 teams with a 2-1 record or better – Arizona (3-0), Atlanta (3-0), Buffalo (2-1), Carolina (3-0), Cincinnati (3-0), Dallas (2-1), Denver (3-0), Green Bay (3-0), Minnesota (2-1), New England (3-0), the New York Jets (2-1), Oakland (2-1) and Pittsburgh (2-1) – and five of them did not make the playoffs in 2014 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Minnesota, the Jets and Oakland).

Don’t count out any teams yet. Since 1990, 67 teams with a losing record after the first three games made the playoffs. That includes two teams last season – Green Bay and Indianapolis. Both of those clubs advanced to their Conference Championship Game. So, entering Week 4, hope is still very much alive for everyone.

As the NFL approaches the quarter mark of the season, Week 4 kicked off with Baltimore defeating Pittsburgh Thursday night in overtime 23-20. Also this week, the NFL returns to London for the first of three games this season. For the first time, a game at Wembley Stadium will feature division rivals as the Miami Dolphins clash with the New York Jets (9:30 AM ET, CBS). Week 4 will conclude with a pair of primetime matches as the New Orleans Saints hosts  Dallas Sunday night and 8:30 p.m. on NBC and Detroit visits the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks to face the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN to close out week 4. The 2015 NFL regular-season schedule features 19 Super Bowl rematches as part of the year-long celebration of Super Bowl 50, which will be played on Sunday, February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The Giants will travel to take on the Bills Sunday in a rematch of Super Bowl XXV, won by the Giants 20-19. Rematches are part of the NFL’s On The Fifty platform, designed to link the past 49 Super Bowls with this year’s game and honor the teams, players, coaches, fans and communities that have been a part of those games.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also celebrate Homecomings this week as NFL Legends will return to be honored by their teams and will reconnect with former teammates, club personnel, and fans. The Buccaneers will induct Mike Alstott into the team’s Ring of Honor in Week 4 against Carolina.

Last week was a great week for picks as We went 13-3 in week three, which makes us 33-15. Here are the games for Sunday and Monday in Week 4.

Houston (1-2) at ATLANTA (3-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. The Falcons return to the Big Peach to take on J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans in the Georgia Dome.

For the Texans, running back Alfred Blue rushed for 139 yards with a touchdown and wide receiver De Andre Hopkins had eight catches for 101 yards with a touchdown as the Texans notched their first win of the season last week against Tampa Bay 19-9. The Texans trailed 9-7 at the half before scoring their final 10 points unchallenged in front of the home crowd at NRG Stadium. Houston held Tampa Bay to 57 yards, while rushing for 186 in the 10-point win and went 8 of 18 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 36:16 (Tampa Bay held it for 23:44, while going 1 of 12 on third down conversions).

“I was having fun out there,” Blue told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When you go out there and have fun, you compete and have great games.”

The Falcons are having fun this season as the team has started 3-0 with all three wins coming while trailing in the fourth quarter. Last week, Atlanta scored 25 unanswered points in a 39-28 win at Dallas. The Falcons became the third team in NFL history to have both a rusher with at least 100 yards and three touchdowns (Devonta Freeman, 141 yards and three TDs) and a receiver with at least 150 yards and two touchdowns (Julio Jones, 164 yards and two TDs) in the same game. Jones is off to a record-setting pace as his 34 catches are the most in the first three games of a season in NFL history and he is the only player in league annals to record at least 135 receiving yards in each of his team’s first three games.

“All the plays Julio makes, it just feels normal to him,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told WSB-TV, WXIA-TV, WGCL-TV and WAGA-TV. “He’s just a really unique guy in terms of the way he competes. He’s used to making those special plays and he has all the confidence in the world in that.”

Atlanta rallied twice in the contest against the Tony Romo-less Cowboys before taking the lead for keeps early in the fourth quarter and added another TD to seal the deal after trailing 28-10 at the intermission. The Falcons outrushed Dallas 158-127, while the defense sacked Brad Weeden twice. Atlanta on third down tries went 9 of 14, while holding the ball for 34:13 (Dallas struggled on third down, going 1 of 6 and 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the pigskin for 25:47).

Houston leads the series 2-1 and have outscored the Falcons by a 50-49 margin. Houston won the last meeting  between the clubs in the Lone Star State in 2011 by a final of 17-10, while Atlanta’s only win in the series came in the Big Peach in 2007 by a 26-16 final. The odds makers like the Falcons at home as a 6-point favorite in the Big Peach with a 46 over/under. Houston’s a lot better than their 1-2 record indicates but Atlanta will “RISE UP!” to the occasion at home in the Big Peach and take the win to remain umblemished.

New York Jets (2-1) at Miami (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS in London. A pair of old AFC East rivals meet again with a different twist. They’re taking their act out of town. As in across the pond. As in London. Fish and chips, guvernor? The Dolphins and Jets make their way across the Atlantic in the first of three games in merry old England.

The NFL makes its return to London with the first of three games to be played in the UK this season. For the first time, two division opponents will face off at Wembley Stadium.

Under first-year head coach Tod Bowles, the Jets lead the NFL with 11 takeaways, including four by cornerback Darrelle Revis (three fumble recoveries, one interception), and have surrendered a league-low 41 points (13.7 per game).

“We dissect our opponent each week,” says Revis. “We go through the game plan to try and find ways to create turnovers.”

GangGreen came away from the Meadowlands last Sunday with a 24-17 loss over Philadelphia at Met Life Stadium. Philly led 24-7 at the half before allowing GangGreen to score 10 second half points unchallenged. Philly ran for 123 yards (with RB Ryan Matthews rushing for 108), while holding the Jets to 47 yards and picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick three times. Both the Eagles and GangGreen struggled on third down tries (Philly was 4 of 15, the Jets were 7 of 17) but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 31:49 to the Eagles’ 28:11.

Miami is looking to bounce back from consecutive losses and hope a trip to the UK can help them earn a key division victory.

“We know we’re a better team than we’ve showed,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill told the Miami Herald. “There’s no panic here. But definitely an urgency to get this thing turned around.”

Including contests that were played at the old Orange Bowl and Shea Stadium, the Jets lead the series 51-46-1, while the Dolphins have outscored GangGreen 2,142-2,098. These old rivals split last year’s meetings, with each taking wins in the other’s ballpark.

In week 13, the ‘Fins and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! squared off in the Meadowlands and it was Miami coming out on top 16-13. Miami trailed 13-6 after 45 minutes of action and scored their final 10 points unchallenged to take the win. Although they were held to 74 yards rushing and allowed Jets RB Chris Johnson to run for 105 of their 277 yards, Miami took home the win for their second on the road when trailing in the fourth quarter in the past 50 such occurrences, with the other coming in December of 2013 against Pittsburgh. Both Tannehill and Geno Smith failed to throw a TD pass and were sacked twice, while throwing an interception in the game. Miami on third down conversions went 5 of 13, while GangGreen went 7 of 15. The Jets did manage to win the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 32:35 to Miami’s 27:25.

GangGreen would get revenge in their second meeting, this one in the Sunshine State in week 17, as they would erase a 17-14 halftime deficit to take a 37-24 win, which all but knocked Miami out of the playoff picture. New York would outscore Miami in the second half 23-7 in the final 30 minutes of action for the win, which would be the last for Rex Ryan as Jets head coach. Miami did outrush the Jets 179-104 (Lamar Miller ran for 178 of those yards) but allowed Tannehill to be sacked seven times in the loss at home. Third and foruth down conversions in the second contest? All the charm and charisma of a stale Christmas cookie (Miami was 4 of 13, 0 of 1; the Jets were 6 of 14 and 1 of 2) but the Jets had time on their hands, holding on to the ball for 31:16 to Miami’s 28:44.

Although they won by 3 in the week 13 matchup in the Meadowlands, Miami did not cover the 4 1/2 spread and neither club came anywhere near the 41 1/2 over/under, tallying only 19 points. In week 17, Miami was again favored, this time by 5 1/2 and the Jets covered the spread, winning by 13 and both the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! and ‘Fins covered the 42 over/under in the season finale. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS are favored by 1 with a 41 over/under. GangGreen looks to right their ship across the pond, while the Dolphins would like nothing more than to run New York’s party. Miami covers the win and wins across the Big Pond.

New York Giants (1-2) at Buffalo (2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of former Super Bowl foes meet in upstate New York as the Bills host Eli Manning and the New York Giants along the shore of Lake Erie.

The Giants got their first win of the year with a 32-21 victory over Washington last Thursday night. Wide receivers Rueben Randle (seven catches for 116 yards) and Odell Beckham Jr. (seven catches for 79 yards) each had a touchdown reception for New York. Neither the ‘Skins or Giants breached the 100 yard rushing barrier (Washington had 88 and the Giants were not that far behind at 84) and neither club did anything on third down tries to keep their fan base happy (Washington was 6 of 15, 2 of 3 on fourth down; New York was 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on fourth down) and it would be the G-men winning the ball control battle as well as the game, keeping the pigskin for 31:30 to Washington’s 28:30.

“The win gives us confidence,” says Giants quarterback Eli Manning. “It’s a long season and there’s a lot of football left to play. You’ve got to get one win and just keep it going. Now let’s try to get another and put some things together because I feel like we’ve been playing pretty good football.”

Buffalo improved to 2-1 last week with a 41-14 win at Miami. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 21 of 29 passes (72.4 percent) for 277 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 136.7 passer rating. Buffalo rookie running back Karlos Williams added 110 rushing yards and a touchdown, his third consecutive game with a rushing TD.

“It was very big for us as a team to get this win,” says Taylor. “We went out there and battled together. We fed off of each other’s energy. Collectively, we won that game. We are going to learn from it, get back to work and start moving forward.”

The Bills lead the series 6-5 and have outscored the Giants 210-195. Buffalo’s last win in the regular season against their instate rivals came in 2003 when the Bills traveled to the Meadowlands to take a 24-7 decision, while the Giants won the last two meetings, with the last regular season win in the series coming in 2011 in the Meadowland by a final of 27-24.

Then there’s the issue of the Super Bowl in 1990 in Tampa. It was a time when the United States was involved in the Gulf War and America got introduced to Whitney Houston’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Jeff Hoffstetdler took over for an injured Phil Simms and the Giants came away with a 20-19 win in Super Bowl XXV, surving when Scott Norris’ field goal try late in the contest sailed wide right. Giants RB Ottis Anderson was named the game’s MVP in Buffalo’s first attempt to win a Lombardi Trophy. The Bills are favored by 6 in Orchard Park and the over/under comes in at 49. Both teams are not that bad but the Giants are a bit better. Buffalo had best circle the wagons. Giants may not cover the 6 but they win in upstate New York.

Oakland (2-1) at Chicago (0-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The resurging Oakland Raiders travel to the Windy City to face the winless Bears at Soldier Field.

Oakland led Cleveland 17-3 at the half along the shores of Lake Erie and then needed to hold off a late Browns rally to come out 27-20 winners. The Raiders’ Latavius Murray ran for 139 yards (the Silver and Black tallied 155, while holding Cleveland to 39) and the Oakland defense sacked Josh McCown five times. (McCown and Raiders QB David Carr each had a pair of TD passes in the contest). Oakland went 6 of 14 on third down tries in the Buckeye State and kept the ball for 32:29, while the Browns held on to the pigskin for 27:31, while going 8 of 16 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

Chicago went into hibernation on the West Coast against the defending NFC champions, who scored their 26 points against them unchallenged as they shut out Chicago at CenturyLink Field last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. Seahawk RB Thomas Rawls found his inner Walter Payton as he ran for 104 of Seattle’s 159 yards in the home opener, while holding Chicago to 98 yards on the ground and sacking Josh Gruden twice in the process. Neither club did much on third down tries in the contest out west (Chicago was 3 of 13, Seattle was 5 of 16 but 2 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 32:36, while Da Bears kept it for all of 27:24.

The Raiders lead the series 7-6 (which includes contests that were played when the Silver and Black were in Los Angeles) but Chicago has outscored the Raiders 234-229. Oakland’s last win in the series came in 2012 when they won 17-6 in the Windy City in 2007. Oakland’s favored by 2 and the over/under for this one is 44. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Chicago needs to find its way back to prominence in the NFC North, which is not an easy task when Da Bears have to deal with Green Bay. Raiders cover the 2 and take the wind out of Da Bears in Da Windy City.

Kansas City (1-2) at Cincinnati (3-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Kansas City comes off a short week to travel to Cincinnati to face the unbeaten Bengals along the shore of the Ohio River.

A Chiefs rally at Lambeau last Monday night fell short as Kansas City fell to Green Bay 38-28 last Monday night. The Packers tokk a 24-7 at the half and held off a late Chiefs rally in the second half to take the Monday night win. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw for 333 yards and five TDs, while keeping his home interecption-less streak intact, outpacing Alex Smith, who threw for 290 yards and a TD. Green Bay outrushed Kansas City 123-75 and forced a Chiefs turnover in the win. Green Bay was 4 of 11 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries, while Kansas City was 2 of 10 and 2 of 2. The Packers also won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 33:30 to Kansas City’s 26:30. The one bright spot in the 10-point loss at Lambeau for the Chiefs came when Smith and WR Jeremy Maclin connected on a 5-yard TD pass with 56 seconds left in the third for their first TD pass to a WR since 2013.

The Bengals kept themselves unblemished as they rallied to take a 28-24 win over Baltimore last Sunday in Charm City. Cincy took the lead for keeps late in the contest when Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green connected on a 7-yard TD pass with 2:10 left to play in regulation. The Bengals then held off a late Ravens’ rally, stopping their hosts short. Neither club came anywhere near the 100-yard barrier (Cincinnati had 86, while Baltimore had 36) and Dalton outpaced Joe Flacco 383-362 in passing yardage with three TDs passes (including the game winner). The Bengals ruled the roost on third down conversions, going 8 of 15 (Baltimore was 7 of 16) and kept the ball for 30:08 to the Ravens’ 29:52 (Cincy on fourth down was 1 of 2, while Baltimore was 2 of 3).

Cincinnati holds a slim 14-13 lead in the series and have outscored Kansas City 527-494. The Bengals won the last three meetings between the two clubs, including a 28-6 win in Kansas City in 2012 (the Chiefs’ last win in the series came in 2007, when they won at Arrowhead by a final of 27-20. The Bengals are favored by 3 and the over/under is 42 1/2. Chiefs make it close but Bengals live to fight another day by taking the win at home and covering the 3.

Jacksonville (1-2) at Indianapolis (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling 1-2 AFC South teams meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts and Andrew Luck host the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville found themselves getting manhandled by Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions in Foxboro last Sunday, falling to New England 51-17. The Jaguars trailed the Patriots 20-3 at the half and could never really find their way back as they would be held to 57 yards rushing, while New England ran for 125. Blake Bortles did manage to throw for 242 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked twice and picked off in the lopsided loss in western Massachusetts. Suprisingly, the Jaguars were 6 of 12 on third down tries but 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 25:20, while Brady and the Pats were 11 of 14 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 34:40.

The Colts rallied late against Tennessee last Sunday in Nashville and came away with a 35-33 win over the Titans. The Titans made it a 2-point game when FB Jalston Fowler scored on a 1-yard run with 47 seconds left. Tennessee then chose to go for two to tie things up and perhaps send the contest into overtime but Fowler’s run attempt failed as he scrambled to get in but could not. Indy then ran out the clock and took the win out of Music City. Luck and Tennessee rookie QB Marcus Mariota each threw a pair of TDs in the win but both also threw a pair of interceptions. Both teams struggled on third down tries (Indy was 4 of 11, while Tennessee was 4 of 13) but each did well on fourth down tries, finding success on their only try in the contest. Even though they lost by 2, the Titans did win the battle of the clock, keeping the ball for 34:59 to Indy’s 25:01.

The Colts hold a commanding 20-8 lead in the series, have outscored Jacksonville 714-525 and have won five of the last six meetings in the series, including sweeping the Jagaurs in the 2014 campaign (Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2012 when the Jaguars suprised the Colts in the Hoosier State by a final of 22-17). In the first meeting in week three in the Sunshine State, Indy took a 30-0 halftime lead and took the Jaguars to the woodshed 44-17 at EverBank Field. Indy outrushed Jacksonville 144-105, while Luck threw four TDs and 370 yards, while Bortles threw a pair of TDs but was picked off twice. Third down tries in the first meeting? Indy was 8 of 14, while Jacksonville was 4 of 10 (the Colts were 0 of 1 on fourth down tries) and the Colts held the ball for 37:03 to Jacksonville’s 22:57.

They would meet again in the Hoosier State in week 12 and the Colts broke a 3-3 first quarter tie and scored their last 20 points in the contest unchallenged to win 23-3 at Lucas Oil Stadium. This time, the Colts held Jacksonville to 80 yards (Indy rushed for 175) and Luck threw for 253 yards and a TD, despite getting sacked five times (Bortles was sacked four times and picked off once). Third down conversions in the second meeting were kind to the Colts, who were 9 of 17. while the Jaguars struggled, going 3 of 12 and 0 of 1 on fourth down. Time favored the Colts again, as Luck and Indy kept the ball for 34:05 to Jacksonville’s 25:55. Jacksonville in the week three contest was favored by 6 1/2 (Indy won by 27, covering the spread with ease) and both clubs blanketed the 46 1/2 over/under, combining for 61 points. In the week 12 matchup in Indy, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the Colts covered the 13 1/2 point spread, winning by 20 but both clubs failed to reach the 50 1/2 over/under, as they would combine for only 26 points.

The Colts are favored by 9 and the over/under is 47 1/2. Both teams are struggling but they’re not that bad. At the same time, if you’re a fan of either team, feel free to watch this one; otherwise, you might want to beg the wife/girlfriend/significant other to take you shopping at Victoria’s Secret. We’ll understand. Colts may not cover the 9 but they win back home again in Indiana.

Carolina (3-0) at Tampa Bay (1-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Jameis Winston faces off against another Heisman winner as Cam Newtwon and the Carolina Panthers travel to the Sunshine State for an NFC South contest in the Sunshine State.

The Panthers won their third game in as many tries at home last Sunday against conference rival New Orleans in Charlotte. Breaking a 10-10 halftime tie, the Panthers outscored the Saints (who were without Drew Brees) in the second half 17-13, while holding New Orleans to 70 yards and picking off backup QB Luke McCown in the process. Meanwhile, Newton threw for 315 yards and a pair of TD passes and scored a rushing TD in front of the home crowd at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina in the 27-22 win went 5 for 11 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 27:16, while the Brees-less Saints won the time of possession battle, holding the pigsking for a whopping 32:44 and going 7 of 12 on third down conversions (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down tries).

Tampa Bay was held to 57 yards in their 19-9 loss at Houston last Sunday, while allowing Texans RB Alfred Blue to rush for 139 yards with a touchdown, while wide receiver De Andre Hopkins had eight catches for 101 yards with a touchdown. The Texans trailed 9-7 at the half before scoring their final 10 points unchallenged in front of the home crowd at NRG Stadium. Houston went 8 of 18 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 36:16 (Tampa Bay held it for 23:44, while going 1 of 12 on third down conversions).

Carolina leads the series 18-11, have outscored the Bucs 620-505 and have won the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Tampa’s last win in the series came in 2012, when they swept that series). In week one in Tampa, Carolina held off a late Tampa Bay rally to win 20-14. The Panthers outrushed Tampa Bay in the Sunshine State 113-102, while Derek Anderson, subbing for Newton, threw for 230 yards and a pair of TDs. Carolina was 6 of 15 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:12, while Tampa Bay went 6 of 12 on third down and possessed the ball for 24:48.

Game two wound up in the Tar Heel State and for Carolina, it was “second verse, same as the first” in week 15 as they once again held off Tampa Bay to come away with a 19-17 win at Bank of America Stadium. This time, Tampa Bay outrushed Carolina 151-121 in the contest and that was a good thing, because neither Anderson or Josh McCown looked anything like Winston or Netwon Heisman-wise, with each man being sacked three times. Carolina in forcing three Tampa Bay turnovers went 5 of 13 on third down (Tampa Bay was 5 of 12) and kept the ball for 37:31 to Tampa Bay’s 22:29.

In the week one affair in the Sunshine State, Tampa Bay was favored by 1 and the over/under was 39. Carolina won by six, allowing them to cover the spread but both Tampa Bay and the Panthers missed the over/under by five. In week 15, although Carolina won the second meeting, they did not cover the 5 1/2 point spread, winning by only 2 and neither team won the over/under battle, scoring only 36 points (the over/under was 43). Carolina’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 40. Newton and Winston won two of the last three Heismans, so this one might be a good one to watch. Carolina’s finer in the Sunshine State and wins this one and covers, even though Tampa Bay will put up a fight against their NFC South rivals.

Philadelphia (1-2) at Washington (1-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of struggling NFC East rivals meet in Landover this week as Philadelphia takes a train ride to Landover to face the Washington Redskins. There was some concern about this game not being played, due in part to the weather that has been pestering the East coast with Hurricane Joaquin roaming about the Atlantic. The NFL issued a statement Friday, which said “”Our primary concern as it relates to Hurricane Joaquin is the safety of the public, including our fans and clubs. Based on the storm’s current trajectory and the lifting by Governor Hogan of the state of emergency in eight Maryland counties, including Montgomery and Prince George’s County (where FedEx Field is located), we expect to play Sunday’s Philadelphia at Washington game as scheduled on Sunday at 1 p.m. The governor’s office has assured us that based on the current forecast playing the game would have no adverse effect on public safety. We will continue to monitor the storm, stay in contact with the governor’s office and other public authorities and be prepared to adjust the schedule if necessary should the forecast change.” With that, game on.

The Eagles came away from the Meadowlands last Sunday with a 24-17 win over the New York Jets. Philly led 24-7 at the half before allowing GangGreen to score 10 second half points unchallenged. Philly ran for 123 yards (with RB Ryan Matthews rushing for 108), while holding the Jets to 47 yards and picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick three times. Both the Eagles and GangGreen struggled on third down tries (Philly was 4 of 15, the Jets were 7 of 17) but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 31:49 to the Eagles’ 28:11.

They’ve met 159 times in the regular season and the Redskins lead the series 81-73-5 but the Eagles have outscored Washington 3,316-3,139. They split last year’s contests with each winning in their backyards.

Round one… Week three in Philly. Washington trailed 21-20 at halftime and came up short against the Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love 37-34. Neither club rushed for 100 yards in the contest (Washington had 84, Philly 54) and both Nick Foles (325 yards) and Kirk Cousins (427 yards) threw three TDs in the contest. Washington on third down tries in the first contest went 8 of 15 and kept the ball for 34:48 (the ‘Skins were 0 of 1 on fourth down), while the Eagles were 4 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 25:12.

Round two… Week 16 in Landover and a playoff spot for Philly at stake. Philly led 14-10 at halftime and allowed that lead to slip from their talons when K Kai Forbath nailed a 26 yard field goal with five seconds left to play. This time, it was Mark Sanchez going up against Robert Griffin III in the second meeting and Sanchez outpaced Griffin in passing yardage 374-230, with Sanchez throwing two TDs but was sacked three times. Philly in the second meeting on third down tries went 9 of 16 and kept the ball for 32:04, while Washington was a somewhat dismal 2 of 9, holding on to the ball for a mere 27:56.

The Eagles in the week three meeting were 6 1/2 favorites and won by only three but both clubs covered the 51 over/under by 20. In the second meeting, the one which Philly had a chance to seal a playoff spot and could not, the Eagles were favored by 8 and Washington came away with the 3-point win in Landover and both clubs missed the 50 1/2 over/under by 1/2 point. Philly’s favored again, this time by 3 and the over/under’s a whopping 47. For the first three weeks, fans in Washington were saying “HELL, IT’S THE REDSKINS!” Not this week. Get ready to sing “HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!” this weekend. Washington covers the 3 and takes the win in Landover.

Cleveland (1-2) at San Diego (1-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet on the Left Coast as Cleveland travels to San Diego to face the Chargers.

Cleveland trailed Oakland at home 17-3 at the half along the shores of Lake Erie and a late Browns rally fell short as they lost to Oakland 27-20. Cleveland was held 39 yards rushing, while Oakland’s Latavius Murray ran for 139 yards and the Oakland defense managed to sack Josh McCown five times. (McCown and Raiders QB David Carr each had a pair of TD passes in the contest). Oakland went 6 of 14 on third down tries in the Buckeye State and kept the ball for 32:29, while the Browns held on to the pigskin for 27:31, while going 8 of 16 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

San Diego trailed Minnesota 10-7 at the break in the Twin Cities before the Vikings pulled away to the 31-14 win. Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson ran for 126 of the Vikings’ 163 yards, while the Chargers were held to 90 and Philip Rivers was sacked four times in the contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Chargers were 8 of 17 on third down conversions in the Twin Cities (0 of 1 on fourth down tries) and kept the ball for 33:29 to Minnesota’s 26:31 (the Vikings on third down tries? 3 of 9).

The Chargers lead the series 14-8-1 and have outscored the Browns 546-441. The Browns took the last meeting between the two teams in 2012 along the shore of Lake Erie by a 7-6 count, while San Diego’s last win came in 2009, when they left Cleveland with a 30-23 victory. San Diego’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 45. The 45 makes sense. The 10 has us wondering why. These teams are decent but not 10 points good. San Diego stays classy and wins at Qualcomm, even thought they may not cover the 10.

St. Louis (1-2) at Arizona (3-0), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s a NFC West battle in the desert as St. Louis travels to Glendale to face off against the division-leading Cardinals.

The Rams are seeking their second division victory of the season after Week 1’s win over Seattle. St. Louis, led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald (3.5 sacks) and defensive end Robert Quinn (three), is tied for the league lead with 13 sacks. St. Louis enters the contest with a 12-6 loss to Pittsburgh at home under their belts. The Rams trailed the Steelers 9-3 at the half in a game that was delayed for about 35 minutes because the turf at Edward Jones Dome was accidentally set on fire during pre-game introductions. St. Louis did outrush Pittsburgh 71-62 and managed to sack Ben Roethlisberger three times and backup QB Michael Vick twice in the loss, while Nick Foles threw for 197 yards. The Rams were somewhat dismal on third down conversoins, going 2 of 10 and 0 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 27:41. Pittsburgh in the 6-point win went 6 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 32:19.

The Cardinals lead the league with 126 points scored, tied for the fourth-most in NFL history through three games. Last week, in a 47-7 win over San Francisco, Arizona became the first team in 70 years (1945 Green Bay) to return two interceptions for touchdowns (Justin Bethel, 21 yards and Tyrann Mitchell, 33 yards), record a safety and score at least 40 points in a game. Offensively, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (nine catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns) recorded his second consecutive game with at least 100 yards and two touchdowns while running back Chris Johnson had 150 scrimmage yards (110 rushing, 40 receiving) and two TDs. The Desert Angry Birds outrushed San Francisco 139-103 and kept Colin Kaepernick to 67 yards passing, while picking him off four times. As far as third down tries were concerned… neither club reached the 50 percent mark (San Francisco was 4 of 12, Arizona 6 of 13) but the Cards, who had success in their only fourth down try, did manage to rule the clock in the lopsided win, keeping the ball for 36:32 to San Francisco’s 23:28.

“I’ve never played on a team like this with so many offensive threats,” Johnson told the Arizona Republic. “To be able to go out there and contribute, it just feels great.”

Including contests that were played when the Cardinals were in Chicago and then St. Louis before heading west and the Rams were in Cleveland before going to Los Angeles and then to St. Louis, the Desert Angry Birds lead the series 36-34-2, have outscored the Rams 1,407-1,398 and have won three of the last four meetings, including a series sweep in 2014 (St. Louis’ last win came in 2013 in the Gateway City by a final of 27-24).

In the first meeting in week 10, Arizona erased a 14-10 deficit at the half by scoing 21 fourth quarter points unchallenged to win 31-14. Neither club broke or came anywhere near the 100-yard rushing barrier in the contest in Glendale (St. Louis tallied 70, while Arizona had 28) and Rams QB Austin Davis, subbing for the injured Sam Bradford, was sacked six times and picked off twice (Arizona’s Carson Palmer found himself being sacked three times and picked off once). The bright spot for Arizona’s offense was Fitzgerald, who caught nine passes for 112 yards in the contest. St. Louis, who turned the ball over three times in the 17-point loss, went 1 of 10 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries and kept the ball for 26:40, while the Desert Angry Birds kept it in their nest for 33:20 and went 6 of 15 on third down conversions.

In week 15, things went eastward as they met in St. Louis and Arizona managed to erase a 3-0 deficit after the first 15 minutes of play to come away with a 12-6 win in the Show-Me State. The rematch between the divison foes was a workout for the kickers as the contest was touchdown-less. Cardinals K Chandler Catanzaro kicked four field goals in the contest, with his longest coming from 51 yards out. Arizona outrushed St. Louis 143-69 in the second meeting but Fitzgerald was held in check this time, tallying only 30 yards on seven catches. As far as third and fourth down tries in the second contest… not a lot to write home, let alone tweet about (Arizona was 5 of 17; St. Louis was 4 of 15 and 0 of 1 on fourth down) but Arizona did manage to rule the clock, holding the ball for 34:24 to St. Louis’ 25:36.

Arizona won by 17 in the week 10 contest in the desert and covered the 7-point spread and both clubs covered the over/uder of 43 with 45 points. The Rams in the week 15 rematch in St. Louis were favored by 3 1/2 with a 39 1/2 over/under. The Desert Angry Birds did manage to cover the 3 1/2 with the 6-point win but neither team reached the 39 1/2 over/under, scoring only a whopping 18 points. Arizona’s favored by 6 1/2 with a 44 over/under. St. Louis is decent but the Cards are better. Arizona may not cover the 6 1/2 but they take the win at home in the desert.

Minnesota (2-1) at Denver (3-0), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A much improved Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings travel westward to the Rockies to face off against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Sports Au

The Vikings won their second consecutive game with a 31-14 victory over San Diego last week in the Twin Cities at their temporary home at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Peterson rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns, including a 43-yarder. Peterson has 16 career touchdown runs of at least 40 yards, the second-most in NFL history behind only Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (20). Minnesota held the Chargers were held to 90 and Philip Rivers was sacked four times in the contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. San Diego went 8 of 17 on third down conversions in the Twin Cities (0 of 1 on fourth down tries) and kept the ball for 33:29 to Minnesota’s 26:31 (the Vikings on third down tries went 3 of 9).

“I felt good, the body felt good and my mind was in a great place,” Peterson told the Minneapolis Start Tribune and KARE-TV. “I think I’m back.”

Denver improved to 3-0 with a 24-12 win on Sunday night at Detroit. Defensively, the Broncos forced three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) and recorded four sacks. On offense, quarterback Peyton Manning passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns.

“We knew we were playing a team who was going to come out with everything they had,” Manning told the Rocky Mountain News about the win over Detroit. “This is a team that ranked No. 2 in defense last year and they were playing at home for the first time. So for us to go in there and get a win, you can’t discount that.” Denver led Detroit 14-6 at halftime in the Motor City and outlasted the Lions in the second half for the Sunday night win in prime time. Neither club came anywhere near the 100 yard barrier at Ford Field (Denver tallied 41, Detroit had 28) but the Broncos did manage to force three Lions fumbles to restore order. Both clubs went 4 of 12 on third down tries (Denver was 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Lions actually ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:08 to Denver’s 28:52.

Minnesota leads the series 7-6 but the Broncos have outscored the Vikings 293-285 and have won the last two meetings, including a 35-32 win in the Twin Cities in 2011 (Minnesota’s last win in the series came in 2003 at the old Metrodome, taking a 28-20 decision. Denver’s favored by 7 and the over/under comes in at 45. Minnesota’s good but Denver’s better. Broncos may not cover the 7 but they stay unbeaten at home.

Green Bay (3-0) at San Francisco (1-2), 4:25 p.m. FOX and DirecTV 715. The unbeaten Packers travel to the Left Coast to face off against Colin Kaepernick and the struggling 49ers.

Green Bay advanced to their 3-0 mark at home last Monday night against Kansas City at Lambeau, taking a 38-28 win in the land of bratwurst, cheese and beer. Green Bay and Aarron Rodgers led 24-7 at the half and held off a late Chiefs rally in the second half to take the Monday night win. Rodgers threw for 333 yards and five TDs, while keeping his home interecption-less streak intact, outpacing Alex Smith, who threw for 290 yards and a TD. Green Bay outrushed Kansas City 123-75 and forced a Chiefs turnover in the win. Green Bay was 4 of 11 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries, while Kansas City was 2 of 10 and 2 of 2. The Packers also won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 33:30 to Kansas City’s 26:30.

On the other side of the coin…

San Francisco found themselves trailing Arizona 31-7 at the half and were manhandled by the Cardinals 47-7. Although they did rush for 103 yards in the contest, they watched Arizona become the first team in 70 years (1945 Green Bay) to return two interceptions for touchdowns (Justin Bethel, 21 yards and Tyrann Mitchell, 33 yards), record a safety and score at least 40 points in a game. Offensively, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (nine catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns) recorded his second consecutive game with at least 100 yards and two touchdowns while running back Chris Johnson had 150 scrimmage yards (110 rushing, 40 receiving) and two TDs. The Desert Angry Birds outrushed San Francisco 139-103 and kept Colin Kaepernick to 67 yards passing, while picking him off four times. As far as third down tries were concerned… neither club reached the 50 percent mark (San Francisco was 4 of 12, Arizona 6 of 13) but the Cards, who had success in their only fourth down try, did manage to rule the clock in the lopsided win, keeping the ball for 36:32 to San Francisco’s 23:28.

The Packers are favored by 9 with a 48 over/under. The 49ers have been struggling of late but they’re not 9 points bad. Then again, this is Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay may leave their hearts in San Francisco but they’ll come away with a treat and the win on the road.

Dallas (2-1) at New Orleans (0-3), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The Sunday night contest on the Peacock Network features a pair of teams that did not have their normal signal callers at the helm last Sunday and both teams lost.

Without the sevices of Dez Bryant (broken toe) and Tony Romo (collarbone), Dallas let a 28-10 halftime lead against Atlanta slip out of their grasp as the Falcons scored 28 second-half points unchallenged to fall 38-28 in Arlington. The Cowboys were outrushed by Atlanta  158-127, while backup QB Brad Weeden was sacked twice. Dallas struggled and sputtered on third down conversions, going 1 of 6 (0 of 1 on their only fourth down try) and held the ball for 25:47, while Atlanta on third down tries went 9 of 14, keeping the pigskins for 34:13.

The Saints dropped their third contest in the 2015 campaign, losing 27-22 at Carolina in an NFC South matchup in the Tar Heel State. New Orleans and Carolina were tied 10-10 at the half before being outscored by Cam Newton and the Panthers 17-13 in Charlotte. Newton shredded the Saints like a side of Carolina BBQ for 315 yards and a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD in the win. The Saints were 7 of 12 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State, keeping the ball for 32:44, while Carolina in the 27-22 win went 5 for 11 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 27:16 (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down tries).

Dallas leads the series 16-11, have outscored the Saints 571-524 and won last year’s meeting in the Lone Star State 38-17 (New Orleans’ last win in the series came the year before in the Big Easy by a final of 49-17). In the week four matchup, Dallas RB DeMarco Murray ran for 149 of the Cowboys’ 190 yards in the 21-pont win (New Orleans ran for 104) and Romo threw for 262 yards with three TDs and no interceptions, while Brees threw for 340 with a pair of TDs and an interception.

Even though Romo is out and Brees may be back, 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! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), 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 just turned 56 last June 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?”

New Orleans was favored by 3 and Dallas won by 21. That was the good news. The bad news? The combined 48 points meant they missed the over/under of 53. These two could meet again in the post-season but the Saints have to do some digging to get out of the NFC South cellar, as they look up at Carolina, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. Dallas, meanwhile is the only team in the NFC East that is above the .500 mark. New Orleans is a 3-point favorite in the Big Easy with a 47 over/under. New Orleans is getting long in the tooth and Drew Brees is not getting any younger. Saints make this one interesting but Cowboys recover from their loss to Atlanta in Jerry World and take this in the Big Easy, covering the 3.

Detroit (0-3) at Seattle (1-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. The winless Lions trek across country to face off against the defending NFC champions in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks to close out week four.

Detroit trailed Peyton Manning and Denver 14-6 at halftime in the Motor City and then saw the wheels come off the bus as they fell to the Broncos 24-13 in the Sunday night prime time contest. It was not much of a running game as neither club came anywhere near the 100 yard barrier at Ford Field (Denver tallied 41, Detroit had 28) but the Broncos did manage to force three Lions fumbles to restore order. Both clubs went 4 of 12 on third down tries (Denver was 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Lions actually ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:08 to Denver’s 28:52.

The defending NFC champions scored their 26 points against Da Bears unchallenged as they shut out Chicago at CenturyLink Field last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. Seahawk RB Thomas Rawls ran for 104 of Seattle’s 159 yards in the home opener, while holding Chicago to 98 yards on the ground and sacking Josh Gruden twice in the process. Neither club did much on third down tries in the contest out west (Chicago was 3 of 13, Seattle was 5 of 16 but 2 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 32:36, while Da Bears kept it for all of 27:24.

Including contests that were played at old Tiger Stadium and the Kingdome, Seattle leads the series 7-5, while outscoring the Lions 293-241. Detroit won the last meeting between the clubs in the Motor City by a 28-24 count, while the Seahawks’ last win came in 2009 in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks 32-20. Seattle’s favored by 9 with a 43 over/under. On Monday night, the Lions are 5-10, while Seattle’s 19-11, going 1-0 in their only contest in 2014. Seattle struggled in their first two contests before coming home, while the Lions have not been like Katy Perry and “roared” their way into the NFC North.

Seattle’s favored by 9 at home in the Pacific Northwest and the over/under is 48. The Lions are 13-15-1 on Monday night and went 1-0 in 2014, while the defending NFC champs are 21-8 and also won their only Monday night contest last season. This one may not be one of the better MNF so far, given the records of the teams. Don’t feel too bad if you want to watch “Scorpion,” “NCIS Los Angeles” or “Castle.” We’ll understand. Seattle may not cover the 9 but they win at home in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks.

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