Week 5 of the NFL season was filled with exciting come-from-behind victories andthree overtime thrillers. Eleven games were won by a team that trailed at some point during the contest, including four teams who overcame a double-digit deficit.

“Sometimes a win like this means more than just one win,” says Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown, who passed for a franchise-record 457 yards as the Browns overcame a 12-point deficit to win 33-30 in overtime. “I think this win speaks volumes. We talked about being a team that responded. I think we are all in agreement that was a pretty good response.”

SIX AT 4-0: New England defeated Dallas 30-6 on Sunday to improve to 4-0, joining Atlanta, Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver and Green Bay which had all previously started 4-0 in 2015. The Patriots – who had a bye in Week 4 – became the sixth team to start the season 4-0, the most in a season in NFL history.

DIVISIONAL DOMINANCE: Indianapolis defeated AFC South-rival Houston 27-20 on Thursday Night Football in Week 5. The Colts have now won 16 consecutive divisional games, breaking a tie with the 1972-73 Miami Dolphins for the longest streak since 1970. Indianapolis’ active win streak against AFC South opponents began on December 30, 2012, when the Colts earned a 28-16 win against Houston.

The teams with the longest divisional win streaks since 1970:

TEAM / DIVISION, SEASONS (STREAK)
Colts / AFC South, 2012-15 (16)*
Dolphins / AFC East, 1972-73 (15)
Cowboys / NFC East, 1993-94 (14)
Raiders / AFC West, 1975-77 (13)
Titans / AFC Central, 1998-99 (13)
*Active

BLAZING BENGALS: Cincinnati overcame a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit in the team’s 27-24 overtime victory over Seattle.

The Bengals improved to 5-0 for the third time in franchise history (1975, 1988) and first time since 1988 when Cincinnati finished the season 12-4 en route to an appearance in Super Bowl XXIII.

FRANTIC FREEMAN: Atlanta running back DeVonta Freeman rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 25-19 overtime win against Washington. Freeman leads the league with eight rushing touchdowns in 2015.

On Sunday, Freeman became the first player with eight or more rushing touchdowns in his team’s first five games of a season since La Dainian Tomlinson (nine) and Shaun Alexander (eight) each did so in 2005.

OPULENT OCTOBER: Last Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to San Diego to face off against the Chargers and came away 24-20 winners at Qualcomm Stadium. Since 2000, Pittsburgh has a 43-17 (.717) record in October games, the second-best mark in the league in that timespan.

The teams with the best records in the month of October since 2000:

TEAM (WINS-LOSSES, PCT.)
New England (46-16, .742)
Pittsburgh (43-17, .717)
New York Giants (41-19, 683)
Indianapolis (39-19, .672)
Green Bay (37-21, 638)

TREMENDOUS TIGHT ENDS: San Diego tight end Antonio Gates ranks second all-time amongst NFL tight ends with 101 career touchdown catches. Gates had a pair of TD receptions, allowing him to join Tony Gonzalez (111) as the only tight ends in league annals with 100 receiving touchdowns.

The tight ends with the most receiving touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) / REC. TDs
Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta, Kansas City / 111
Antonio Gates – San Diego / 101*
Shannon Sharpe – Baltimore, Denver / 62
Jerry Smith – Washington / 60
Jason Witten – Dallas / 59
* Current

The NFL enters Week 6 following a weekend of close games, including three overtime thrillers and 11 come-from-behind victories. If you like or love comebacks, week five was your week.

“In this league, you have to be able to finish games and play your best football at the end,” says New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who capped a comeback victory over San Francisco last week with a game-winning touchdown pass to Larry Donnell with 21 seconds remaining.

In Week 5, 11 games were won by a team that trailed at some point during the contest, including four teams – Cincinnati (17 points), Chicago (14), Cleveland (12) and Buffalo (10) – who overcame a double-digit deficit.

“Adversity is going to be there all the time,” says Chicago running back Matt Forte, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Jay Cutler with 18 seconds remaining in the Bears’ 18-17 win at Kansas City. Forte told the Chicago Tribune, WBBM-TV, WGN-TV and WGN Radio, “You’ve just got to keep fighting. We talk about that all the time with our team and coach (John) Fox always preaches to us having that mentality to keep fighting. It would have been easy for us to just lay down but we didn’t make excuses out there. We just went out and made plays.”

The 11 games in Week 5 in which the winning team trailed at some point during the contest:

FINAL SCORE (LARGEST DEFICIT)
CINCINNATI 27, Seattle 24 (OT) (17)
Chicago 18, KANSAS CITY 17 (14)
Cleveland 33, BALTIMORE 30 (OT) (12)
Buffalo 14, TENNESSEE 13 (10)
Arizona 42, DETROIT 17 (7)
ATLANTA 25, Washington 19 (OT) (7)
PHILADELPHIA 39, New Orleans 17 (7)
Pittsburgh 24, SAN DIEGO 20 (7)
Denver 16, OAKLAND 10 (4)
NEW YORK GIANTS 30, San Francisco 27 (4)
TAMPA BAY 38, Jacksonville 31 (4)
Home team in CAPS

“It’s a football game and you have to play all four quarters,” says Donnell. “Nobody says it’s going to be easy. It’s a 60-minute game and you’ve got to fight until the end.”

Seven teams – Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Buffalo, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh – were victorious in Week 5 after trailing in the fourth quarter. The Bengals (17 points) and Bears (11) both overcame double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter.

“The game is not over until it’s over,” says Atlanta cornerback Robert Alford, who returned an interception 59 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the team’s overtime victory over Washington. “This team that we have and the coaches that we have, we are always going to grind until the end.”

The seven games in Week 5 in which the winning team trailed during the fourth quarter:
FINAL SCORE (LARGEST 4TH QUARTER DEFICIT)
CINCINNATI 27, Seattle 24 (OT) (17)
Chicago 18, KANSAS CITY 17 (11)
Pittsburgh 24, SAN DIEGO 20 (7)
Buffalo 14, TENNESSEE 13 (6)
Cleveland 33, BALTIMORE 30 (OT) (5)
ATLANTA 25, Washington 19 (OT) (4)
NEW YORK GIANTS 30, San Francisco 27 (4)

Home team in caps

The Falcons, who were one of six remaining undefeated teams before their loss to New Orleans Thursday, are the first team in NFL history to start a season 5-0 with four of those wins coming after trailing at some point in the fourth quarter.

“Good teams find a way to win even when it’s not pretty,” Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We still find a way to get it done. Guys keep competing. Coach (Dan) Quinn says all the time that ‘regardless of the situation, you have to go out there and you have to compete.’”

Teams with efficient quarterbacks have translated those performances into wins.

The top five quarterbacks this season in terms of passer rating (minimum 100 attempts) have led their respective teams to a combined record of 20-4 (.833). The top three leading passers have each led their respective teams to undefeated records in 2015.

New England’s Tom Brady leads the league with a 121.5 passer rating and has the Patriots off to a 4-0 start, while Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (117.4) and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton (115.6) have led the Packers and Bengals to 5-0 starts.

The players with the highest passer rating this season and their corresponding team records (min. 100 attempts):

PLAYER, TEAM – RATING (TEAM RECORD, TEAM WIN PCT.)
Tom Brady, New England Patriots – 121.5 (4-0, 1.000)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – 117.4 (5-0, 1.000)
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals – 115.6 (5-0, 1.000
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals – 114.0 (4-1, .800)
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers – 103.9 (2-3, .400)

Seven teams – Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Buffalo, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh – were victorious in Week 5 after trailing in the fourth quarter. The Bengals (17 points) and Bears (11) both overcame double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter.

“It’s a huge win for us and shows the character of this team,” says Cincinnatiquarterback Andy Dalton, who passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a score as the Bengals overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat Seattle 27-24 in overtime. “It shows the fight of this team. And for us to do that against a really, really good team, to come back in the fourth quarter and win it in overtime, it was huge. It was big for us and I’m so proud of our guys.”

Cincinnati’s comeback was only the third victory in NFL history in which a team erased a fourth-quarter deficit of at least 17 points against a club that played in the previous season’s Super Bowl.

“The game is not over until it’s over,” says Atlanta cornerback Robert Alford, who returned an interception 59 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the team’s overtime victory over Washington. “This team that we have and the coaches that we have, we are always going to grind until the end.”

The Falcons are the first team in NFL history to start a season 5-0 with four of those wins coming after trailing at some point in the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati is now one of the four teams currently sitting atop the NFL with 5-0 records – Cincinnati, Denver and Green Bay. Two other clubs have 4-0 records – Carolina and New England. The NFL record for the most 5-0 teams in a single season is five, which was set in 2009.

“Being 5-0 is just a real clear demonstration of how hard the guys all want to play for one another,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told the Atlanta Journal Constitution after their overtime win over Washington. “We try to stay in the present moment as often as we can so we’ll get right back to work. I think it shows a lot of the character and the toughness of the men in the room. We feel like we’ve got a long way to go in terms of how good we’ll get. It’s still early and we recognize that.”

Week six got underway last Thursday night in the Big Easy as Atlanta lost to New Orleans in an NFC South contest in the Superdome and concludes in the City of Brotherly Love as Eli and the Giants face off against Chip Kelly’s Eagles on Monday night. Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis and Tampa Bay have byes this week, as Carolina, Miami, Minnesota and the New York Jets return from their week off. As for week five, not bad. We went 11-3 and that makes us 53-21 for the season to date. There’s still a lot of football left to play between now and the end of the regular season and most of America has not bought their Halloween candy yet. The Super Bowl celebration took a week off but things resume as three Super Bowl rematches (Baltimore at San Francisco, XLVII; Arizona at Pittsburgh, XLIII and Kansas City at Minnesota, IV) are a part of the week six landscape.

With that, here are Sunday and Monday’s picks.

Cincinnati (5-0) at Buffalo (3-2) 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Unbeaten Cincinnati travels to upstate New York to face off against a Bills team that finds themselves chasing the defending Super Bowl champs in the AFC East.

The Bengals remain one of the league’s unbeatens as they stormed back from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks in overtime 27-24. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes – both to tight end Tyler Eifert – and rushed for one score to lead the comeback.

“It puts us at 5-0,” says Dalton about the win. “We want to stay undefeated. This win shows that we’ve done it in so many different ways. However you can win, that’s what we’ve done so far this year.”

Cincinnati needed to rally late in their contest with the defending NFC champs Seahawks as they trailed 24-7 after 45 minutes of play to pull even and then beat Seattle 27-24 in overtime. Seattle outrushed the Bengals 200-109 as the Seahawks’ Terry Rawls rushed for 169 yards and a TD, while taking over for Marshawn Lynch (knee). Bengals TE Tyler Eifert and QB Andy Dalton connected for a pair of TDs in the contest (Dalton and Seattle QB Russell Wilson were sacked four times and picked off once). Dalton made it a 3-point game with 3:38 left to play in regulation and K Mike Nugent connected on a 31 yard field goal as time expired. Nugent would then become the hero as he connected on a 42-yard field goal with 3:36 left in the extra period. Cincy was 6 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 40:49, while Seattle went 5 of 13, holding the ball for 30:35.

Buffalo trailed by as many as 10 points in its come-from-behind 14-13 win at Tennessee in Week 5. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor rallied the team back as he rushed for a touchdown and threw the game-winning score to wide receiver Chris Hogan with 5:25 remaining in the contest. Tennessee led 10-7 after 45 minutes of play against Buffalo get away from them last week in the Music City and fell to the Bills 14-13. Buffalo took the lead for keeps when Taylor and WR Chris Hogan connected on a 2-yard TD pass with 5:25 left in regulation, which was part of an 8-play, 80-yard drive in the final quarter. Buffalo outrushed the Titans 127-97 and sacked Marriota once, while picking him off twice. Buffalo was 4 of 12 on third down conversions and held the ball for 24:29, while the Titans were 5 of 13 and kept the ball for 35:31.

“Our quarterback has the biggest heart,” says Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan about Taylor. “He’s tough. He’s courageous. He has guts. At the end of the day, he’s the reason we won the game.”

The Bills lead the series 15-11 and they may have outscored the Bengals 654-573 but… Cincy has won the last two meetings, including a 27-24 overtime win in the Buckeye State. Cincinnati outrushed Buffalo 165-130 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the week six contest and Andy Dalton threw three TD passes in the win. The Bengals won the contest in the extra period when K Matt Nugent connected on a 43 yard field goal with 6:44 left in the OT. Cincy led 17-10 at the half before the Bills rallied to tie things up in the final 30 minutes of regulation. The Bengals were 7 of 18 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the ball for 42:52, while the Bills were 8 of 17 and 1 of 2 in the same catagories, holding the pigskin for 25:24.

The Bengals in the week six contest were 6-point favorites but won by only 3, thanks to the overtime field goal but both Cincy and Buffalo did manage to cover the 41 1/2 over/under by scoring 51 points. The Bengals are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Buffalo’s much improved under Ryan so far but the Bengals are unbeaten for now and that will not change. Cincy covers the 2 1/2 along the shore of Lake Erie and takes the win in upstate New York.

Denver (5-0) at Cleveland (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The unbeated Broncos travel to upstate Ohio to take on the Cleveland Browns along the shores of Lake Erie.

Denver’s defense had four sacks and forced three turnovers, including a key 74-yard interception-return touchdown by cornerback Chris Harris Jr. in the fourth quarter, as the Broncos won at Oakland 16-10 and improved to 5-0. The Broncos trailed Oakland 7-3 at the half before taking control in the second half, outscoring the Raiders in the final 30 minutes of play by a 13-3 margin. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the Silver and Black won that encounter, outrushing Denver 65-43 and although Peyton Manning did manage to outpace David Carr in passing yardage 266-249, he also threw a pair of interceptions in the contest (Carr was sacked four times, Manning sacked twice). Both clubs struggled on third down tries (Denver was 2 of 13; Oakland was 7 of 16 and 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the clock was the BFF of Oakland at 34:09 to Denver’s 25:51.

“We know somebody is going to make a play,” says Denver safety T.J. Ward about the defense’s mindset. “We’re just racing to be the first one to do it. That’s what happens when you’ve got a lot of guys out there itching to make a play.”

The Browns, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, defeated Baltimore 33-30 in overtime last week. Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown set a club record with 457 passing yards and accounted for three touchdowns – two passing and one rushing.

“Sometimes you get wins that define things for you, that become a turning point,” Browns head coach Mike Pettine told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We’re hoping that was this for us. To find a way to win a game like that, with everything on the line, I can’t tell you how satisfying that is.” The Browns trailed Baltimore 14-9 at the half in Charm City before they went to work, outscoring the Ravens 21-16 in the final 30 minutes of play and took the win on a 32 yard field goal by K Todd Coons with 6:43. Cleveland then held off the Ravens the rest of the way to take the road win. Baltimore’s Justin Forsett ran amok, tallying 121 of the Ravens’ 181 yards (Cleveland was held to 83) and the Baltimore defense did manage to sack McCown four times in the contest. Cleveland was 12 of 19 on third down tries and held the ball for 39:16, while the Ravens had it for 29:01, while going 5 of 14 third down-wise.

The Broncos lead the series 19-5, has outscored the Browns (including games played before they left to go to Baltimore) 588-341 and have won the last 10 meetings, including a 34-12 win in the Mile High City in 2012, while the Browns’ last win in the series came in 1990, also in the Mile High City by a slim 30-29 win. Denver’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Denver’s been struggling but they’ve also been winning. As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Denver covers the 6 and takes the win.

Chicago (2-3) at Detroit (0-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of NFC North rivals trying to catch Green Bay meet in the Motor City this Sunday as Da Bears travel to Detroit to face off against the Lions.

Chicago rallied from being down by 11 points against Kansas City to take the 18-17 win at Arrowhead last Sunday. After trailing 17-3 at the half, Chicago shut out the Chiefs in the second half 15-10 to take the road win and despite being outrushed 117-87, Bears QB Jay Cutler managed to throw a pair of TDs with no interceptions (he was sacked twice). Chicago was 6 of 14 on third down conversions against the Chiefs, who were 5 of 14 on third down (Chicago was 0 of 1 on fourth down tries) and time was on the side of Da Bears, who kept the ball for 33:37 to Kansas City’s 26:23.

Detroit let a 7-0 first quarter lead slip out of their paws against Arizona as the Cardinals rallied to take the 42-17 win at Ford Field. Detroit was outscored 42-10 in the final 45 minutes of play in the Motor City, while they were outrushed by Arizona 187-57 (rookie RB David Johnson led all rushers with 103). Both Arizona and Detroit struggled on third down conversions at Ford Field, as Arizona was 1 of 8, while Detroit was a little better (but not much better), going 8 of 17, 0 of 1 on fourth down. Detroit did manage to rule the clock, holding the ball for 36:32 to Arizona’s 23:28.

Da Bears lead series 96-69-5 and have outscored the Lions 3,287-3,010 (which includes contests that were played when the Lions were in Portsmouth and Da Bears played their home games on the corners of Clark, Addison, Waveland and Sheffield, also known as Wrigley Field). However… Detroit won the last four meeting and swept the series in 2014, taking both games in the series (Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2012, when they took the season series that season).

Detroit hosted Da Bears in the Motor City on Thanksgiving Day in week 13 and they erased a 14-3 first quarter deficit to take a 34-17 win. Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) burned Chicago’s secondary like an over-cooked turkey for 146 yards on 11 catches and a pair of TDs in the Ford Field affair. The rushing game in that first meeting must have overeaten, as neither breached the 100-yard barrier (Chicago ran for a somewhat dismal 13 yards, while the Lions roared to 91) but the Lions did manage to sack Jay Cutler three times, while picking him off twice. Both teams went 5 of 12 on third down tries, with Detroit going 1 of 2 on fourth down tries and the Lions ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 33:25 to Chicago’s 26:35.

They met again in the Windy City in week 16 and while the second meeting was closer, Detroit managed to come out on top by a 20-14 final at Soldier Field. Detroit broke a 7-7 tie at the half and outscored Da Bears 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Although Da Bears rushed better in the second meeting, they were still held under 100 yards (64, with Matt Forte accounting for 55 of those yard), while Detroit had 138. Johnson was once again a thorn in the side of the Chicago secondary, tallying 103 recieving yards on six catches. Third down tries in the second meeting? Detroit was 5 of 13 (2 of 2 on fourth down), while Da Bears were 5 of 15 (1 of 3 on fourth down) and time was the ally of the Lions again, as they kept the ball for 31:56 to Chicago’s 28:04.

In the Thanksgiving Day contest at Ford Field, Detroit managed to cover the 7-point spread, winning by 17. The over/under in the Motor City was 48 and both teams covered that by tallying 51 points. The Lions covered the spread again in the week 16 contest in the Windy City (that spread was 4 1/2 and they won by 6) but this time, neither team covered the 47 1/2 over/under, scoring only 34 points. The Lions are favored again, this time by 3 1/2 with a 44 over/under. Both teams are trying to catch Green Bay in the NFC North and both teams want to knock the Packers off the top of the mountain. Lions will make this one interesting but Da Bears roar out of the Motor City with the win, covering the 3 1/2.

Houston (1-3) at Jacksonville (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Connected by 871 miles and Interstate 10, a pair of struggling AFC South teams meet in the Sunshine State, with both teams coming off losses last week.

Although they trailed Indy 13-10 at the half last Thursday night, the Texans were outscored in the second half 14-10 and lost 23-20. The Colts outrushed Houston 110-82 and forced a pair of Texans turnovers in the win. Both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down tries, while on third downs, the Colts were 3 of 11 and held the ball for 27:33 (Houston was 8 of 16, holding the pigskin for 32:27).

Jacksonville lost their second meeting in the Sunsshine State when they came up short in Tampa Bay and fell to Jameius Winston and the Buccaneers 38-31. Even though they did lose by seven, the Jaguars did manage to outscore Tampa Bay in the second half 18-17 to keep the contest close. The Jaguars found themselves being outrushed by Tampa Bay 183-55 (Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ran for 123 yards and a pair of TDs) and Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles was sacked six times in the loss, despite throwing four TDs. Neither club breached the 50 percent mark on third down conversions (Jacksonville went 2 of 8; Tampa Bay 5 of 11) but the Jaguars found success in their only fourth down try in the contest. As for the clock? It favored Tampa Bay, as they held the ball for 34:41, while the Jaguars held on to the pigskin for 25:19.

Houston holds a 15-11 series lead, have outscored Jacksonville 587-527 and swept last year’s contests (Jacksonville’s last win in the series was in 2013, when they swept the series in that campaign).

In the first meeting in week 14 in the Sunshine State, the Texans wiped out a 13-10 deficit at the intermission to come away 27-13 winners. Houston would go on to score 17 second half points unchallenged at EverBank Stadium, while holding Jacksonville to 74 yards on the ground, while Houston had 169, with RB Arian Foster accounting for 127 with a TD and also sacked Bortles four times. Third down tries? Not a lot to write home or Tweet about. Jacksonville went 5 of 15, while the Texans were 3 of 14 (Houston was successful on fourth down tries, going 2 of 2, while the Jagaurs were 0 of 2) and the Texans ruled the clock in the first meeting, keeping the ball for 32:29 to Jacksonville’s 27:31.

The second meeting closed out the regular season as neither team made the post-season party. The contest was a little closer though but Houston came away 23-17 winners in the Lone Star State. The Texans led 14-10 at the half after traling 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. This time, the Texans barely outrushed Jacksonville 123-121, with Bortles (who was sacked five times) leading the way with 61 yards in the contest that really meant nothing to either team. Houston did a much better job on third down tries in the second contest, going 10 of 18 and held the ball for 39:48, while the Jaguars got a lump of coal and switches in their stocking on third down, going 0 for 11 (1 of 2 on fourth down) ahd kept the ball for 20:12.

Houston covered the 4 1/2 point spread in the week 14 contest in north Florida, winning by 14 but both clubs barely missed the 42 over/under (40 points). In the second contest in Houston at NRG Stadium, although Houston came away with the win, they did not cover the 10 point spread, winning by only 6 and both clubs BARELY missed the 40 1/2 over/under (40 points). The boys and girls in Vegas think this contest is going to be close and have made the Texans the favorites at 1 1/2 points with the over/under at 43. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams have played decent football at times but not great football. Both are trying to catch the Colts and Andrew Luck in hopes of dethroning the defendnig AFC South champs. Houston covers the 1 1/2 in the Sunshine State and wins on the road.

Kansas City (1-3) at Minnesota (2-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. They met in Super Bowl IV and it was Kansas City that was up to date that day. The Vikings host the Chiefs in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, looking to come back from a close loss in the Rockies.

Kansas City let an 11-point lead against Chicago at home get away from them as the Bears rallied to take a 18-17 win at Arrowhead last Sunday. After trailing 17-3 at the half, Chicago shut out the Chiefs in the second half 15-10 to take the road win and despite being outrushed 117-87, Bears QB Jay Cutler managed to throw a pair of TDs with no interceptions (he was sacked twice). Chicago was 6 of 14 on third down conversions against the Chiefs, who were 5 of 14 on third down (Chicago was 0 of 1 on fourth down tries) and time was on the side of Da Bears, who kept the ball for 33:37 to Kansas City’s 26:23.

Minnesota had a bye week after their 23-20 loss to Denver at Sports Authority Field two Sundays ago. Minnesota trailed 13-10 at halftime but were outscored by Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the second half. Minnesota had a chance to tie the contest and send it into overtime but the Vikings’ drive stalled and they would eventually turn the ball over. Denver RB Ronnie Hillman ran for 103 of his team’s 144 (Minnesota ran for 113 yards, with Adrian Peterson rushing for 81) and the Broncos defense managed to sack QB Teddy Bridgewater seven times and force the fumble late in the contest that gave them the win. Denver went 2 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:06, while the Vikings kept it for 33:54 and went 6 of 16 on third downs (both teams had success on fourth down tries; Minnesota was 2 of 2, Denver went 1 of 1).

They’ve met 10 times in regular season play and the Chiefs lead the series 6-4 but the Vikings lead in scoring 225-176. Kansas City won the last two meetings, including a 22-17 win in 2011 at Arrowhead (the Vikings’ last win over Kansas City came in 2003 in the Twin Cities at the Metrodome by a final of 45-20). The very first meeting between the two clubs came in New Orleans in Super Bowl IV and it was Kansas City, under the leadership of Len Dawson and Hank Stram, besting the Vikings under Bud Grant and Fran Tarkenton 23-7 for the Chiefs’ only Super Bowl win. Minnesota’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. While this one’s not a Super Bowl, it could be interesting to watch. Both teams are coming off losses and both are chasing the leaders in their respective divisons (Denver – AFC West; Green Bay – NFC North). Kansas City’s not a bad team but they’ll have problems in the Twin Cities as the Vikings take this one at home and covers the 2.

Washington (2-3) at New York Jets (2-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The Redskins limp into the Meadowlands with a 25-19 overtime loss in Atlanta in their ledger, while GangGreen returns from their bye week.

The Eagles led 7-3 at halftime last Sunday in the Georgia Dome against Atlanta and trailed 12-7 when Falcons WR Julio Jones recovered a fumble in the end zone for a 12-7 lead. That lead would not last very long, as the Redskins used a 3-play, 80 yard drive to take the lead back when RB Matt Jones scored from two yards out and would add a 28 yard field goal by Daniel Hopkins with 2:38 left to play.

Atlanta would respond as they would make a Sherman-like march downfield which was capped by a 6 yard run by Devonte Freeman with 24 seconds left and fans at the Georgia Dome thought that would be the end of it. But to paraphrase Al Pacino “just when they thought we were out, they brought us back in” as Washington would have a drive of their own and as the clock struck :00, Hopkins nailed a 52 yard field goal to send the contest into overtime.

Washington would get the ball to start the overtime and would keep the ball for all of six plays and on that sixth play, disaster struck Redskins fans as CB Robert Alford (who earlier in the contest had a pass interference penalty) returned an Cousins pass 59 yards for an interception and the game-winning TD. Atlanta outrushed Washington 176-51 (with Freeman leading all rushers with 153) in the overtime contest, while both Cousins and Falcons QB Matt Ryan each threw a pair of interceptions. Neither club did much on third down tries (Washington was 4 of 12, Atlanta was 6 of 15) but each found success on fourth downs as the Redskins were 1 of 1, while Atlanta was 3 of 3 and the clock favored the victorious Falcons, who kept the ball for 34:56, while the Redskins kept it for 27:49.

GangGreen returns to action from their trip across the Big Pond, facing off against AFC East foe Miami and taking the Dolphins to the woodshed by a 27-14 final. Curtis Ivory ran for 166 of the Jets’ 207 yards in the contest, while Miami was held to 59 yards, with Ryan Tannehill being sacked three times and was picked off twice, despite throwing a pair of TDs. Successful third and fourth down across the pond two weeks ago? About as hard to find as Jimmy Hoffa (the Jets were 6 of 16, while the Dolphins were 0 of 12 and 0 of 4 on fourth down tries) and time was on the side of GangGreen, who kept the ball for 37:23 to Miami’s 22:37.

The Redskins lead the series 8-2 and have outscored the Jets 228-158. They last met in 2011 and the J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! came out on top in Landover 34-19 (Washington’s last win in the series came in 2007 when the Redskins needed overtime in upstate New Jersey to win 23-20. GangGreen’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both teams seem to be better than their records and so far have improved from last year. Washington’s hurting from the overtime loss in the Big Peach last Sunday and it could bite them in upstate New Jersey. J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! may not cover the 5 1/2 but they win in upstate New Jersey.

Arizona (3-1) at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. They met in Super Bowl XLIII and meet again in the Steel City. The Desert Angry Birds travel to Pittsburgh to take on Michael Vick and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Both teams won their contests on the road last week and both rallied from behind to do it. Arizona rallied at Detroit from seven points down to take the 42-17 win at Ford Field. The Cardinals outscored Detroit 42-10 in the final 45 minutes of play in the Motor City, while outrushing the Lions 187-57 (rookie RB David Johnson led all rushers with 103). Despite being sacked twice, Arizona QB Carson Palmer did manage to throw three TDs passes, connecting with all-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald on one of those tosses. Both teams struggled on third down conversions at Ford Field, as Arizona was 1 of 8, while Detroit was a little better (but not much better), going 8 of 17, 0 of 1 on fourth down. Detroit did manage to rule the clock, holding the ball for 36:32 to Arizona’s 23:28.

Pittsburgh escaped with their lives and a 24-20 win over San Diego last Monday night at Qualcomm. Trailing 7-3 a halftime, Pittsburgh and Michael Vick get away from them as the Steelers would eventually rally and score in the final seconds of their Monday night matchup. Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell ran for 111 yards and scored the winning TD as time expired (San Diego ran for 52 in the 4-point loss) and despite being sacked twice, Philip Rivers did manage to throw a pair of TDs (both to TE Antonio Gates) in the loss. Neither club in the Monday night contest breached the 50 percent mark on third down (Pittsburgh was 5 of 14, San Diego was 4 of 14) and neither had a fourth down try. Pittsburgh kept the ball for 26:17 in the ball control battle, while the Chargers kept it for 33:43.

Includling contests that were played when the Cardinals called Chicago home before moving to St. Louis and then westward to Glendale, the Steelers lead the series 32-23-3 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,138-1,079. Pittsburgh won the last regular season meeting, taking a 32-20 win in the desert in 2011, while Arizona last beat the Steelers in the regular season in 2003 in the Steel City by a final of 28-15. They met in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa and Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger came away 27-23 winners, taking their sixth Lombardi trophy. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Steelers as a 4-point favorite and the over/under is 46 1/2. Those numbers make some sense. Arizona looks to get a little revenge at the hands of the Steelers, while Pittsburgh wants to make sure the Desert Angry Bird learn their place. Steelers cover the 4 and win at home.

Miami (1-3) at Tennessee (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of 1-3 teams meet in the Music City as Miami treks to Nasvhille to take on Jake Mariotta and the Tennessee Titans.

The Dolphins took the bye week to regroup after their 27-14 loss to the New York Jets two weeks ago in London. Miami was held to 59 yards rushing and Ryan Tannehill was sacked three times and picked off twice, while New York’s Curtis Martin ran for 166 of his team’s 207 yards in the 13-point loss. Miami struggled on third down tries, going 0 for 12 (0 of 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for a mere 22:37, while the Jets didn’t fare much better, going 6 of 16 and kept the pigskin for 37:23.
The ‘Fins will have a new man at the helm for the time being as Joe Philbin was given his walking papers and tight ends coach Dan Campbell will walk the sidelines as the interim head coach for the rest of the 2015 campaign.

Tennessee let a 10-7 lead after 45 minutes of play against Buffalo get away from them last week in the Music City and fell to the Bills 14-13. Buffalo took the lead for keeps when WR Chris Hogan and QB Tyrod Taylor connected on a 2-yard TD pass with 5:25 left in regulation, which was part of an 8-play, 80-yard drive in the final quarter. Buffalo outrushed the Titans 127-97 and sacked Marriota once, while picking him off twice. Buffalo was 4 of 12 on third down conversions and held the ball for 24:29, while the Titans were 5 of 13 and kept the ball for 35:31.

Including contests that were played when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers, the Dolphins lead the series 18-15 but Tennessee has outscored the ‘Fins 625-612. Tennessee took the last meeting in 2012 37-3 in the Sunshine State, while Miami’s last win in the series also came in Florida, a 29-17 win in 2010. Tennessee’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Campbell will be um-um-good for the Dolphins this week as Miami covers the 1 and takes the win in the Music City.

Carolina (4-0) at Seattle (2-3), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Coming off a bye week, Carolina travels to the Pacific Northwest to square off against the struggling defending NFC champion Seahawks in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks in a late afternoon affair.

The Panthers enter the contest coming off a bye week after a battle of former Heismen winners squared off (Cam Newton vs. Jameis Winston) and Newton came out on top 37-23. Carolina led 13-10 at the half and then managed to pull away from the Bucs, outscoring them in the final 30 minutes of play. Although they were outrushed 141-133 (Bucs RB Doug Martin ran for 106 yards and a TD), Carolina did manage to make life miserable for the rookie QB, sacking him twice and picking him off four times. Carolina forced five Tampa Bay turnovers in the 13-point win, while going 3 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 27:52 (Tampa Bay kept the ball for 32:08 and went 8 of 16 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down).

Seattle let a 24-7 lead after 45 minutes of play slip out of their hands as they would eventually fall to Cincinnati 27-24 in overtime. The Seahawks’ Terry Rawls, taking over for Marshawn Lynch (knee) ran for 169 yards and a TD in the contest as Seattle outrushed the Bengals 200-109. Bengals TE Tyler Eifert and QB Andy Dalton connected for a pair of TDs in the contest (Dalton and Seattle QB Russell Wilson were sacked four times and picked off once). Dalton made it a 3-point game with 3:38 left to play in regulation and K Mike Nugent connected on a 31 yard field goal as time expired. Seattle would get the ball to start the extra period of play but could not produce a score and after punting the ball to the Bengals, Nugent would then become the hero as he connected on a 42-yard field goal with 3:36 left in the extra period. Cincy was 6 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 40:49, while Seattle went 5 of 13, holding the ball for 30:35.

The Seahawks lead series 5-2 and have outscored Carolina 108-98. They met twice last year, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs and Seattle won both meetings.

They met in week eight in the Tar Heel State and Seattle wiped away a 6-3 deficit at halftime to win 13-9. The Seahawks outpaced Carolina in the second half 10-6 and took the win late in the game when Russell Wilson and TE Luke Wilson connected on a 23 yard TD pass with 47 seconds left in regulation. Seattle barely outrushed Carolina 119-115 and Wilson outpaced Cam Newton in passing yardage 199-171 (Newton was sacked three times) in the regular season meeting. Both teams were dismal on third down tries (Seattle was 4 of 11, while Carolina was 2 of 10 and 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the clock actually favored Carolina, who held the pigskin for 31 minutes, while Seattle kept it for 29.

Game two was in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks in the second round of the NFC playoffs and Seattle manhandled Newton and the Panthers 31-17. Leading 14-10 at halftime, Seattle and Carolina played a scoreless third quarter before the Seahawks outpaced Carolina in the final 15 minutes of action for the win. This time, it was Carolina’s turn to lead in rushing, outdoing the Seahawks 132-100 but Wilson outpassed Newton 268-246 with three TD passes and no picks (Newton was sacked twice, throwing two TDs and two interceptions in the contest). Both clubs did much better on third down conversions in the second meeting (Seattle was 7 of 13, while Carolina was 9 of 16, 1 of 1 on fourth down) in the Pacific Northwest and time was on the side of Carolina again, as the Panthers kept the ball for 34:03 to Seattle’s 25:57.

Seattle was favored by 5 1/2 and won by 4 and neither club reached the 44 1/2 over/under, combining for a measly 22. In the playoff meeting in Seattle at CenturyLink Field, Seattle covered the 11, winning by 13 and both teams covered the 40 over/under, scoring 47 points. Seattle’s favored by 7 in the Pacific Northwest and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Carolina’s trying to stay unbeated and keep pace with Atlanta, while the Seahawks are somewhat in surivial mode. Seahawks make it closer than the 7 but Carolina’s finer in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks and remains among the unbeatens.

San Diego (2-3) at Green Bay (5-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Aaron Rodgers and the unbeaten Packers welcome Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers to the land of beer, cheese and bratwurst in a late-afternoon contest at the not-quite frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

The Chargers let a 7-3 halftime lead over Pittsburgh and Michael Vick get away from them as the Steelers would eventually rally and score in the final seconds of their Monday night matchup at Qualcomm, losing 24-20. Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell ran for 111 yards and scored the winning TD as time expired (San Diego ran for 52 in the 4-point loss) and despite being sacked twice, Philip Rivers did manage to throw a pair of TDs (both to TE Antonio Gates) in the loss. Neither club in the Monday night contest breached the 50 percent mark on third down (Pittsburgh was 5 of 14, San Diego was 4 of 14) and neither had a fourth down try. San Diego ruled the clock in the 4-point loss, keeping the ball for 33:43 to Pittsburgh’s 26:17.

The Packers led St. Louis 14-10 at the half before pulling away from the Rams in the second half, scoring their final 10 points of the day without a challenge to take a 24-10 win. In that contest, Green Bay was outrushed by the Rams 191-86 (with Rams rookie RB Todd Gurley rushing for 159 of those yards) and Rodgers’ interception streak at home came to an end, as he would throw a pair of picks but did manage to toss a pair of TD passes in the 10-point win. Neither club did anything to write home about on third down tries (St. Louis 5 of 18, Green Bay 4 of 13) but St. Louis did well on fourth down, going 1 of 1, while the Packers were 0 for 1. Suprisingly, it was not the home team that would rule the clock in this contest, it would be the vistors (St. Louis kept the ball for 33:43 to Green Bay’s 26:17).

Green Bay not only leads the series 9-1 over the Bolts, they’ve outscored the Chargers 315-166 and have won the last six meetings, with the last Packer win coming in 2011 on the West Coast by a final of 45-38 (San Diego’s only win in the series came in the land of cheese, bratwurst and beer in 1984 by a 34-28 count). Green Bay’s a 9 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 49. The 49 makes sense. The 9 1/2 is a bit high (but that’s why they play the games). San Diego makes it closer but Green Bay remains unbeaten, taking the win in the land of cheese, beer and bratwurst.

Baltimore (1-4) at San Francisco (1-4), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of 1-4 teams that met in Super Bowl XLVII meet again, this time in the City by the Bay and this time, only one Harbaugh will roam the sidelines.

Baltimore led The Browns 14-9 at the half in Charm City and then the wheels came off the Ravens bus, as the Browns would outscore the Ravens 21-16 in the final 30 minutes of play in regulation and took the 33-30 win on a 32 yard field goal by K Todd Coons with 6:43 in overtime. Cleveland then held off the Ravens the rest of the way to take the road win. The one bright spot was Baltimore’s Justin Forsett, who ran amok in the contest, tallying 121 of the Ravens’ 181 yards, while Cleveland was held to 83 and the Baltimore defense did manage to sack McCown four times in the contest. Cleveland was 12 of 19 on third down tries and held the ball for 39:16, while the Ravens had it for 29:01, while going 5 of 14 third down-wise.

San Francisco led the Giants 27-23 late in their Sunday night contest in the Meadowlands before letting that lead get away from them when Eli Manning and TE Larry Donnell connected on a 12 yard pass with 21 seconds left to lose 30-27. The 49ers took the lead with 1:45 to play when RB Carlos Hyde scored from 1 yard out before things went haywire for San Francisco.
San Francisco outrushed the Giants 124-84 but Manning outpaced Kapernick in passing yardage for the win. Both clubs did quite well on third down tries (San Francisco was 8 of 14, New York was 9 of 14) and the Giants ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:58 to San Francisco’s 28:02.

Baltimore leads the series 3-1, has outscored the 49ers 89-57 and took the last three meetings in regular season play, including a 16-6 win in Charm City in 2011, while San Francisco won the first meeting, winning in 1996 at Candlestick by a final of 38-20.

They also met in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans and it was the “Harbaugh Bowl” in that contest as the Ravens came away with
the 34-31 win. Ravens QB Joe Flacco was named the game’s MVP in a contest that featured more than brothers going at it, it featured darkness and light. Following a Ravens kickoff return for a TD to open the 2nd half (Baltimore led 21-6 at the half), the Superdome went dark with 13:28 remaining in the 3rd qtr. A power failure at 7:38 p.m. CT caused a 30-minute delay and was not resolved until 8:08 p.m. On the Niners’ next possession, Kaepernick tossed a 31-yd. TD pass to WR Michael Crabtree, making the score 28-13. Baltimore would then go on to hold off the 49ers to take the win. Frank Gore ran for 110 of San Francisco’s 182 yards, while the 49ers held Baltimore to 93 in the contest, with Kaepernick being sacked three times and Flacco throwing three TDs. San Francisco was a somewhat dismal 2 of 9 on third down tries in Super Bowl XLVII (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 27:37, while the Ravens ruled the roost on third down, going 9 of 16 (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:23. Baltimore won that meeting by 3 points (San Francisco was a 3 1/2 point favorite) but did not cover the spread. As far as the 47 1/2 over/under? Both teams covered that with 65 combined points. Baltimore’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Both teams have been playing decent football at times but coming up short at the worst of times. This one you might want to avoid (unless you like one or both of these teams) this one and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA (yes, Ziva head-slapping Tony is funny… painful but funny). Ravens cover the 3 and win on the road.

New England (4-0) at Indianapolis (3-2), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. They meet again and this time, there are some hard feelings. The Patriots and Colts will meet in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game which New England won 45-7 en route to a victory in Super Bowl XLIX. Tom Brady and Andrew Luck meet in the Hoosier State in the Sunday night contest.

Don’t expect Colts fans to give Tom Brady a warm welcome. Expect a somewhat “deflated” greeting.

Brady leads the NFL with a 121.5 passer rating as he has guided New England to a 4-0 start. Last week, he passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns, including a 59-yard score to wide receiver Julian Edleman, as the Patriots won 30-6 at Dallas. New England led the Cowboys 13-3 at the intermisison and then proceeded to pull away in the second half, outscoring Dallas 17-3. New England outrushed Dallas 109-100 in the contest in Arlington and while Brady was sacked five times, he did manage to throw for 275 yards and a pair of TDs without an interception. Both New England and Dallas struggled on third and fourth down tries (the Pats were 3 of 10 and 0 of 1; Dallas was 4 of 14 and 1 of 2) and the clock was on the side of Dallas, who kept the ball for 33:12, while the Pats had it for 26:48.

“That was a big win for us,” says Brady. “Going on the road is never easy. We’ve got to keep it going. It’s a long season. We are four games into it and we’ve got to keep moving forward.”

The Colts have won three in a row, including last week’s 27-20 win at Houston on Thursday night. In that contest, Colt quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, filling in for Andrew Luck, connected with wide receiver Andre Johnson on two touchdown passes and running back Frank Gore rushed for 98 yards with a TD.

“We’ve just got to go out there and execute,” says Gore about the upcoming matchup with New England. “We’ve got to just be one and go play for each other.” Indy led 13-10 at the half last Thursday night and held off Houston in the second half, outscoring the Texans 14-10. The Colts outrushed Houston 110-82 and forced a pair of Texans turnovers in the win. Both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down tries, while on third downs, the Colts were 3 of 11 and held the ball for 27:33 (Houston was 8 of 16, holding the pigskin for 32:27).

New England has a lead in the regular season series of 46-28 and have outscored the Colts 1,801-1,402 (which includes contests the Colts played when they were in Baltimore). They met twice in the 2014 campaign, once in the regular season and once in the post-season.

First round… week 11 in Indy on a Sunday night. New England led 14-10 at the half in the Hoosier State and then ran roughshod over the Colts, outscoring them 28-10 to win 42-20. The Pats outrushed Indy 244-19 (RB Jonas Gray had 199 of those  yards with 4 TDs) but Luck outpaced Brady in passing yardage 303-257 (each would throw a pair of TDs). New England was 9 of 12 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:21, while Indy kept it for 25:39, going 5 of 13 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Second round… the AFC championship game in Foxboro. That’s where things got a little more intersting as the Pats took Indy to the woodshed, beating them 45-7. That was not the issue. The issue was the footballs that were being used and the Colts would later complain that some of the footballs that were used were, well, a little flat. That did not set well with the Colts, who reported the fact to the NFL. The league, in turn, had an investigation that made Watergate look like a PTA meeting and Brady and the Pats were eventually punished with fines and loss of draft picks. Did things die down from there? No. The powers that be decided to go after Brady and would have had him suspended for five games (if it weren’t for those meddling kids!). Brady and the NFL then went to court and unless you’ve been living under a rock or a cave all this time, you know how things would eventually turn out.

As for the contest that would send the Pats to the Super Bowl to face Seattle, New England once again ran roughshod over Indy, outrushing the Colts 177-83 (LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 of those yards with three TDs) and Brady threw for 226 yards and three TDs, while the New England secondary picked off Luck twice. The Pats were 12 of 18 on third down conversions (2 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 37:49, while the Colts went 3 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 22:11.

In the week 11 contest in the Hoosier State, New England covered the 3-point spread with their 22-point win and the 58 over/under was handled as both teams scored 62 points. New England was favored by 7 in the AFC Championship game and won by 38 but both teams barely missed the over/under of 54 1/2, tallying 52 points. New England’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 56. Both numbers make a lot of sense.

Given the history of some bad blood between these two clubs, to not declare this one “DRILL WORTHY” would be like Bugs Bunny saying NO to carrots. Having said that… (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?” Colts will try to make it personal but in the end, the Pats will deflate their hopes in the Hoosier State. New England may not cover the 7 1/2 but they take the win on the road.

New York Giants (3-2) at Philadelphia (2-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A pair of old NFC East rivals meet in the City of Brotherly Love to close out week six as the Eagles host the first-place Giants in prime time.

The Giants have won three in a row after an 0-2 start and now sit atop the NFC East. In last week’s 30-27 come-from-behind win over San Francisco on Sunday night, quarterback Eli Manning had a franchise-record 41 completions and passed for 441 yards with three touchdowns, including the game-winning score to tight end Larry Donnell with 21 seconds remaining. New York led the 49ers 13-6 at the intermission before San Francisco took the lead at 27-23 when RB Carlos Hyde scored from 2 yards out with 1:45 left to play. San Francisco outrushed the Giants 124-84 but Manning outpaced Kapernick in passing yardage for the win. Both clubs did quite well on third down tries (San Francisco was 8 of 14, New York was 9 of 14) and the Giants ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:58 to San Francisco’s 28:02.

“I am proud of the way that we have fought,” says Manning about the team rebounding from an 0-2 start. Manning has now started 172 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL and in last week’s win. he earned 102nd career win as starter (including playoffs), most in team history. “I am proud of the way that we didn’t get down, didn’t get frustrated and we wanted to change it. We were committed to fixing it and we knew what we had to do. We were playing well, we were doing good things but we had to play better in the fourth quarter. We had to play our best football at those times and these past three weeks, we’ve been able to do that. We’ve been able to finish games and that’s what you have to do in this league – you have to be able to finish games and play your best football at the end.”

Philadelphia defeated New Orleans 39-17 in Week 5 as the Eagles got two passing touchdowns from quarterback Sam Bradford and rushing scores from running backs De Marco Murray and Ryan Mathews.

“Obviously, getting this win is nice,” says Bradford about the victory over New Orleans. “I think the big thing for us and this team is just to build on this. By no means are we where we want to be as a team. But I think this was a step in the right direction. And if we can continue to build on this, hopefully in the upcoming weeks we will be in a better position than we are now.” Philly held New Orleans and Drew Brees to 96 rushing yards, while tallying 186 on the ground and made life less than easy for Brees, as they sacked him five times and picked him off twice. The Eagles were 4 of 11 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth down tries in the City of Brotherly Love and kept the ball for 34:02, while the Saints went 8 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 25:58.

NeW York leads the series 82-76-2, which includes contests that were played by the Giants at Yankee Stadium and have outscored the Eagles 3,069-2,980 but it was Philly that took both meetings last season (New York’s last win in the series came in 2013, when they took a 15-7 win in Philly). They met in week six in Philadelphia and the Eagles shut down and shut out the Giants 27-0 at Lincoln Financial Field. LeShawn McCoy ran for 149 of Philadelphia’s 203, while his team’s defense held Big Blue to 85 yards on the ground and sacked Manning six times in the contest. Neither club did much in the way of third down tries, as New York was 2 of 14 (0 of 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 27:34, while the Eagles held on to it for  32:26, going 4 of 13 on third down conversions.

Game two was in the Meadowlands and for the Eagles, second verse same as the first. This time, it was week 17 and with both teams out of the playoff hunt, it was a much closer contest but it was Philadelphia taking the 34-26 win. The Eagles led 17-16 at the intermission and then held off the Giants in the second half to take the win. Philly outrushed the Giants 164-76 in upstate New Jersey, although Manning threw for 429 yards in a losing effort. Successful third down tries in the second meeting? FUGETABOUTIT! Philly was 7 of 16, while the G-men were 7 of 18 and the clock was the ally of the Giants, who kept the ball for 34:37 to Philadelphia’s 25:23.

Philadelphia’s 27 point win in week six allowed them to cover the 7-point spread with ease but neither team reached the 50 1/2 over/under in the City of Brotherly Love. The second meeting, also a win by the Eagles, saw the Giants favored by 2 1/2 (Philly covered the spread, winning by eight) and this time, both teams covered the over/under of 52 by 12 points. Philadelphia’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 50. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Under the lights of prime time on Monday night, the Giants are 22-35-1, while Philly’s 30-25 (both teams played two MNF games and the Giants were 0-2, while the Eagles were 2-0). Philly will make this one interesting but the Giants come away with the win and maintain first place in the NFC East.

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