And then there were five.

Five teams with unblemished records remain atop the NFL mountain.

Four of those teams (Cincinnati, Denver, Carolina and New England) flexed their muscles on the road to stay unbeaten, while Green Bay held off a late San Diego rally at Lambeau to win over the Chargers. Carolina, Denver and New England survived scares, while the Bengals took Buffalo to the woodshed in upstate New York.

Speaking of blemishes, Detroit became the LAST winless team as they took Chicago to overtime at Ford Field before winning in overtime 37-34. while Atlanta became the first unbeaten team to lose last Thursday night with their 10-point loss to NFC South rival New Orleans.

There’s still a lot of football left on the docket and Thanksgiving’s not even here yet. There is also one Super Bowl rematch this week, as New Orleans travels to Indy to face off against the Colts (Super Bowl XLIV).

The National Football League also makes a trip back across the Big Pond (the Atlantic, for your geography junkies) as Buffalo and Jacksonville play an early game in the Eastern time zone in London’s Wembly Stadium. You might want to set your VCRs if you go to the 9:30 mass Sunday morning.

RODGER THAT: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 255 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 107.7 passer rating in the Packers’ 27-20 win over the Chargers, as he reached 30,000 career passing yards. He got to the mark in 3,652 attempts, the fewest needed to reach 30,000 passing yards in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas held the previous record at 3,695 attempts.

Rodgers reached 30,000 passing yards in his 116th career game, the fourth-fewest games of any player to reach the milestone. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (114), Kurt Warner (114) and Peyton Manning (115) reached 30,000 yards in fewer games. Rodgers’ 116 games include seven contests at the beginning of his career in which he appeared in relief of Brett Farve in a backup role from 2005 to 2007.

The players to reach 30,000 passing yards in the fewest attempts and games played:

PLAYER – NO. OF ATTEMPTS TO REACH 30,000 PASS YARDS
Aaron Rodgers – 3,652
Johnny Unitas – 3,695
Steve Young – 3,716
Kurt Warner – 3,749

PLAYER – NO. OF GAMES TO REACH 30,000 PASS YARDS
Kurt Warner – 114
Dan Marino – 114
Peyton Manning – 115
Aaron Rodgers – 116
Drew Brees – 120

Close games were again the order of the week as 47 of NFL games in the 2015 campaign (51.6%) have been decided by 7 or fewer points.

RED ZONE SCORING

Close games are the norm in the NFL so making the most of your possessions is key. This is especially true when getting into the red zone.

This season, 47 games have been decided by seven points or fewer, tied for the second-most through the first six weeks of a season in NFL history. So the ability to score points – especially inside your opponent’s 20-yard line – is what can separate wins and losses.

​“It’s something we spent a ton of time on this offseason in OTA’s, minicamp and training camp,” says Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer on the team’s red zone execution. “It’s something that’s a focal point of the offense. Being able to run the ball is key because it makes it a lot more difficult to defend down there.”

Six teams have scored at least 110 points in the red zone. Those six clubs – Cincinnati (152 points), Arizona (146), New England (137), Atlanta (120), Green Bay (116) and the New York Jets (110) – have a combined record of 30-4 (.882).

TEAM – RED ZONE POINTS. RECORD
Cincinnati – 152, 6-0
Arizona – 146, 4-2
New England – 137, 5-0
Atlanta – 120, 5-1
Green Bay – 116, 6-0
New York Jets – 110, 4-1
TOTAL: 30-4 (.882)

While coming away with points on any red zone trip is important, teams emphasize the ability to score touchdowns.

“The four-point differential between a touchdown and a field goal is critical in the National Football League,” says NFL Network analyst and former NFL fullback Michael Robinson. “It’s all about inches. The competition is that close.”

Six teams have scored a touchdown on more than two-thirds of their red zone possessions – Pittsburgh (75.0 percent), New England (73.9), the New York Jets (73.7), Atlanta (72.7), Cincinnati (71.4) and Arizona (69.2) – and have combined for a 28-6 (.824) record.

TEAM: RED ZONE POSSESSIONS/RED ZONE TDs, TD PERCENTAGE (RECORD)
Pittsburgh: 16/12, 75.0 (4-2)
New England: 23/17, 73.9 (5-0)
New York Jets: 19/14, 73.7 (4-1)
Atlanta: 22/16, 72.7 (5-1)
Cincinnati: 28/20, 71.4 (6-0)
Arizona: 26/18, 69.2 (4-2)
TOTAL: 28-6 (.824)

“When we have our opportunities, we have to capitalize in the red zone,” says Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, whose 62 touchdown catches inside the red zone are the most among active wide receivers. He told the Arizona Republic, “We have to make sure we don’t turn the football over. When we have opportunities to score touchdowns, we want to put seven points on the board instead of three. The margin of error is a lot less down there in the red zone.”

The active players with the most receiving touchdowns and rushing touchdowns inside the red zone:

PLAYER – RECEIVING TDs
Antonio Gates – 77
Larry Fitzgerald – 62
Brandon Marshall – 51
Marques Colston – 47
Rob Gronkowski – 45

PLAYER – RUSHING TDs
Adrian Peterson – 65
Marshawn Lynch – 62
Frank Gore – 52
Arian Foster – 48
Matt Forté – 35

In the NFL, all 16 games on the schedule are critical. But those four division games take on added significance.

“It’s going to turn around pretty quick with these Jets,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the Patriots’ 34-27 win at Indianapolis on Sunday night. “We’re playing for first place this week, so we need everybody ready to go.”

The NFL’s Week 7 schedule, which features five division games, kicked off with an NFC West battle between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.

DIVISION / GAME – DATE and TIME and NETWORK
NFC North / Minnesota at Detroit – Sunday, October 25 at 1 p.m. on FOX
AFC East / New York Jets at New England – Sunday, October 25 at 1 p.m. on CBS
AFC West / Oakland at San Diego – Sunday, October 25 at 4:05 p.m. on CBS
NFC East / Dallas at New York Giants – Sunday, October 25 at 4:25 p.m. on FOX

“I think the significance of your divisional games is well-known and well-stated,” says Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, whose team will host NFC East rival Dallas this Sunday. “I think the excitement of playing within the division is always there.”

The undefeated New England Patriots (5-0) will host the New York Jets (4-1) at 1:00 PM on Sunday afternoon in a crucial AFC East contest. The two club’s combined winning percentage of .900 is the second-highest heading into a game featuring these two teams this late in the season. In 2004, both teams were undefeated coming into their Week 7 meeting in New England, which the Patriots won by a score of 13-7 en route to a 14-2 record and Super Bowl XXXIX title.

“You’ve got to win divisional games to get into the playoffs,” says Jets wide receiver Eric Decker. “Everyone knows New England’s the champions. They’re undefeated right now. They’ve played good football. It’s going to be a challenge for us.”

​No team has proven more adept at winning division games in recent years than New England, which has an NFL-best 25-6 (.806) record in division games over the past five seasons.

The teams with the best division records over the past five seasons (since 2010):

TEAM: DIVISION RECORD (PCT), OVERALL RECORD (PCT)
New England: 25-6-0 (.806), 68-17-0 (.800)
Green Bay: 24-6-1 (.790), 62-23-1 (.727)
Indianapolis: 25-8-0 (.758), 48-38-0 (.558)
Denver: 23-9-0 (.719), 56-30-0 (.651)
Pittsburgh: 20-11-0 (.645), 55-31-0 (.640)

The Patriots’ sustained run of success in and out of the division begins with the head coach-quarterback combination of Belichick and TOM BRADY. Brady has won more division titles than any other starting quarterback in NFL history (12) and Belichick’s .669 career winning percentage against division opponent ranks fourth among NFL head coaches since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger (minimum 60 games). Belichick’s 85 division wins rank fifth during that span and he leads active head coaches in both categories.

The head coaches with the highest winning percentage against division opponents since 1970 (minimum 60 games):

HEAD COACH: TEAM(S), (W-L-T, PCT.)
George Allen: Los Angeles Rams and Washington (42-18-2, .700)
Bud Grant: Minnesota (69-31-1, .688)
Tom Landry: Dallas (101-46-0, .687)
Bill Belichick: Cleveland and New England (85-42-0, .669)
Marty Schottenheimer: Cleveland, Kansas City, San Diego and Washington (95-51-0, .651)
Note: Ties prior to 1972 not included in winning percentage.

The head coaches with the most wins against division opponents since 1970:

HEAD COACH: TEAM(S) (WINS VS. DIVISION OPPONENTS)
Don Shula: Miami (132)
Tom Landry: Dallas (101)
Dan Reeves: Atlanta, Denver and New York Giants (95)
Marty Schottenheimer: Cleveland, Kansas City, San Diego and Washington (95)
Bill Belichick: Cleveland and New England (85)

For the Jets and Patriots, this week’s game is critical to obtaining an early edge in the AFC East. But it can also help build confidence for the rematch to follow on December 27, when they meet in upstate New Jersey in week 16, with the AFC East Title on the line.

“You know ultimately at the end of the day, coming down the stretch you’re going to have to beat those teams in your division,” says NFL Network analyst and former NFL MVP quarterback Kurt Warner. “To go in and beat them early, gain that confidence, get a lead on them, becomes so important. At the end of the day, you just have to win your division. Anytime you can gain that confidence or that edge over those teams, especially early in the season, it’s huge.”

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: The 2015 International Series resumes in Week 7 with a matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills at London’s Wembley Stadium in the first-ever global live stream of an NFL game.

The NFL and Yahoo! Inc. partnered to deliver the first ever live stream of an NFL game to a global audience on a digital platform. The game will be shown worldwide on a digital platform across devices for free (yahoo.com/nflstream).

This is the second of three games to be played in London this season. In the first game on October 4, the New York Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-14. The third game, which will also be played at Wembley, features the Kansas City Chiefs against the Detroit Lions in Week 8 (November 1st).

The 12 regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium:

DATE – WEEK; FINAL SCORE
October 4, 2015 – 4; New York Jets 27, Miami 14
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 Orlenas 37, San Diego 32
October 28, 2007 – 8; New York Giants 13, Miami 10

PLAY 60: There have been many memorable comeback victories in the NFL so far this season – and it’s only October. Through the first six weeks, 27 of 91 games (29.7 percent) have been decided by a fourth-quarter comeback victory. That puts the 2015 season on pace for the second-highest percentage of games with a fourth-quarter comeback victory since 1970.

The seasons with the highest percentage of fourth-quarter comeback wins since 1970:

SEASON – GAMES (FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACK WINS, PERCENTAGE)
1989 – 224 (70, 31.3)
2013 – 256 (69, 27.0)
2001 – 248 (67, 27.0)
1982 – 126 (33, 26.2)
2008 – 256 (67, 26.2)
2015 –  91 (27, 29.7)*

*Through Week 6

6-0 STARTS: Three teams – Cincinnati, Denver and Green Bay – have reached the 6-0 mark this season and each team has a bye in Week 7. Carolina (5-0) and New England (5-0) aim to join that list this week, as the Panthers host Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football and the Patriots face the New York Jets. In the event you were wondering, the NFL record for the most 6-0 teams in a single season is four, which was set in 2009.

TOM TERRIFIC: New England’s Tom Brady needs 43 passing yards Sunday against the New York Jets to become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to reach 55,000 career passing yards.

In 15 seasons, Brady has 54,957 career passing yards.

The NFL players with the most career passing yards:

PLAYER, YEARS (PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre, 1991-2010 (71,838)
Peyton Manning, 1998-present (71,215)*
Dan Marino, 1983-1999 (61,361)
Drew Brees, 2001-present (57,649)*
Tom Brady, 2000-present (54,957)*
*Active

MATTY ICE: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has 29,917 passing yards in 116 career starts since entering the NFL in 2008.

With 83 passing yards against Tennessee on Sunday, Ryan would reach 30,000 passing yards in his 117th career game and would surpass Drew Brees as the fifth-fastest quarterback to reach the milestone.

The quarterbacks to reach 30,000 career passing yards in the fewest games in NFL
history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); FEWEST GAMES TO REACH 30,000 PASS YARDS
Dan Marino – Miami; 114
Kurt Warner – St. Louis, New York Giants and Arizona: 114
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis: 115
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay: 116
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans: 120
Matt Ryan – Atlanta: 116*
*29,917 passing yards; will play 117th career game on Sunday

ENCORE, ENCORE!: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown for at least 350 yards in three consecutive games, including a single-game team record 503 yards last week. Rivers is one of 17 quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for 500 yards and of those 17, Tom Brady threw for the most yards (423) in the game following his 500-yard performance (September 18, 2011).

With at least 350 yards against Oakland on Sunday, Rivers would surpass New Orleans’ Drew Brees (349) for the second-most passing yards following a 500-yard performance
in NFL history.

​The quarterbacks who have passed for 500 yards in a single game and had the most passing yards the following week:

QUARTERBACK, TEAM (YARDS, OPPONENT, DATE; YARDS NEXT GAME, OPPONENT, DATE)
Tom Brady, New England (517, Miami, 9/12/11; 423, San Diego, 9/18/11)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (510, Cincinnati, 11/19/06; 349, Atlanta, 11/26/06)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (522, Indianapolis, 10/26/14; 340, Baltimore, 11/2/14)
Matt Schaub – Houston Texans (527, Jacksonville, 11/18/12; 315, Detroit, 11/22/12)
Warren Moon – Houston Oilers (527, Kansas City, 12/16/90; 288, Cincinnati, 12/23/90)
Eli Manning – New York Giants (510, Tampa Bay, 9/16/12; 288, Carolina, 9/20/12)
Philip Rivers – San Diego (503, Green Bay, 10/18/15, ???, Oakland, 10/25/15)

RUNNING ROOKIE: St. Louis rookie running back Todd Gurley and the Rams are coming off their bye in Week 6. Gurley rushed for 146 yards (Week 4) and 159 (Week 5) in his first two career starts.

With at least 140 rushing yards on Sunday against Cleveland, Gurley would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1983) as the only rookies in NFL history with 140+ rushing yards in three consecutive games.

GREAT TEXAN: Houston wide receiver De Andre Hopkins had 10 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns last week after recording 11 catches for 169 yards in Week 5.

With 10+ catches and 100+ receiving yards on Sunday against Miami, Hopkins would become the fourth player in NFL history with 10+ receptions and 100+ receiving yards in three consecutive games. Detroit’s Calvin Johnson had four such games in 2012 (Week 13-16).

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 10+ catches and 100+ receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – YEAR, TEAM (MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 10+ RECEPTIONS & 100+ REC. YARDS)
Calvin Johnson – 2012, Detroit (4)
Andre Johnson – 2008, Houston (3)
Brett Perriman – 1995, Detroit (3)
DeAndre Hopkins – 2015, Houston (2)*
*Active

CHARLES IN CHARGE: In Week 5, Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson recorded two interceptions against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, bringing his career total to 64.

With an interception against San Diego on Sunday, Woodson would tie Ken Riley
(65) for the fifth-most career interceptions in NFL history. Pro Football Hall
of Famer Paul Krause has the most career INTs with 81.

The players with the most career interceptions in NFL history:

PLAYER: TEAM(S) – MOST CAREER INTERCEPTIONS
Paul Krause: Washington and Minnesota – 81^
Emlen Tunnell: New York Giants and Green Bay – 79^
Rod Woodson: Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore, Oakland – 71^
Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane: Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals and Detroit – 68^
Ken Riley: New England – 65
Charles Woodson: Oakland and Green Bay – 64*
Ed Reed: Baltimore, Houston and New York Jets – 64

*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Woodson (11) also is tied for the second-most interception-return touchdowns in NFL history and with one INT-TD on Sunday, he would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson (12) for the most in NFL history.

As for last week, not bad at 10-4, which makes us 63-27.

The seventh week of the 2015 National Football League season got underway in the wine valley of northern California as Seattle and San Francisco met in Santa Clara Thursday evening and ends in the desert as Arizona hosts Baltimore on Monday night. Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis and Tampa Bay return to action this week from their byes, while Da Bears, Cincinnati, Denver and Green Bay have some time off from action on the gridiron.

Here are this week’s Sunday and Monday picks.

Buffalo (3-2) at Jacksonville (1-4), 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. London), Yahoo! Sports Nationwide (CBS in Buffalo and Jacksonville) It’s Buffalo wings meeting fish and chips as the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars meet in the second game in London. Both teams enter the contest, which will be an early morning start in the Eastern time zone, with losses under their belts.

Buffalo trailed Cincinnati 17-14 at the half at Orchard Park before the Bengals pulled away in the final 30 minutes of play in upstate New York to fall 34-21. Both teams managed to rush for 112 yards in the contest but the Bengals managed to pull away in the second half, outscoring the Bills 17-3 in the second half. The Bengals were 7 of 12 on third down tries, while Buffalo was 5 of 13 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down and both teams kept the ball for 30 minutes.

Jacksonville also found its way to the loss column last Sunday and like the Bills, lost at home, falling to Houston 31-20. Although they trailed 10-7 at the break, the Jaguars’ wheels came off in the second half, as Houston outscored them 21-13 in the final 30 minutes of action. Although Blake Bortles threw three TD passes in the contest, he was also sacked three times and picked off three times as well and the north Florida contest itself was a low-rushing affair, as neither team breached the 100-yard barrier (Houston ran for 95, Jacksonville ran for 83). Houston went 7 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions at EverBank Field, while Jacksonville was 5 of 15 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions. The clock was the ally of Houston, who kept the ball for 30:02 to Jacksonville’s 29:58.

The Bills lead the series 7-5, have outscored Jacksonville 255-244 and have won the last two contests, including taking a 27-20 win in Jacksonville in 2013. Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in upstate New York, along the shores of Lake Erie in 2010 by a final of 36-26. Even though they’re across the Big Pond (the Atlantic Ocean), the Jaguars are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 42. Both numbers make a great deal of sense. Both clubs are better than their records and this one will hopefully be over by the time most of America returns from church. That means you might want to tape this one if you go to the early services. Jacksonville makes it interesting but Buffalo circles the wagons and wins on the other side of the Atlantic.

ATLANTA (5-1) at Tennessee (1-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 707. A once-beaten Atlanta team travels to Music City to sqaure off against Jake Mariotta and the Tennesee Titans.

Atlanta fell from the ranks of the unbeatens last Thursday night against New Orleans, losing to the Saints 31-21. Although the Falcons trailed 14-7 at the half, New Orleans and Drew Brees managed to run away in the second half to take the win in the Big Easy. Atlanta did manage to outrush the Saints 150-81 (RB DeVonta Freeman ran for 100 of those yards) while Ryan threw a pair of TD passes (one to WR Roddy White) but was sacked five times in the game (Brees threw for 312 yards in the win). Atlanta was 3 of 12 on third down (3 of 4 on fourth down), keeping the ball for 27:30, while the Saints were 8 of 16 (1 of 1 on fourth down) on third down tries, holding the ball for 32:30.

Tennessee fell behind quickly against Miami and interim head Dan Campbell, losing to the Dolphins 38-10 in the Music City, trailing 17-3 at halftime. Mariotta was sacked five times and picked off twice before leaving the contest with a knee injury, while the Titans were held to 63 rushing yards and allowed Miami to rack up 180 (Lamar Miller accounted for 113 of those yards with a TD). Tennessee was a somewhat dismal 2 of 10 on third down conversions at Nissan Stadium Sunday afternoon (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:07, while the ‘Fins were 5 of 9 third down-wise and held on to the pigskin for 31:53.

Including contests that were played when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers, Tennessee leads the series 7-6 but Atlanta leads in scoring 321-306. Atlanta won the last meeting in the Big Peach in 2011 by a final of 23-17, while the Titans’ last win in the series came in 2007 in the Music City by a 20-13 count in 2007. Atlanta’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 48. Matt Ryan and the Falcons are in somewhat of a bad mood and the Titans better duck and cover. Falcons get back on track in the Music City and covers the 5 1/2.

Minnesota (3-2) at Detroit (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 705. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Motor City as Detroit hosts Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Both teams are looking to chase idle Green Bay and both teams won at home last week.

The Purple Gang led Kansas City at home in the Twin Cities 13-0 after 45 minutes of play and then held off a late Chiefs rally to take a 16-10 win at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier but Minnesota did manage to outrush the struggling Chiefs 84-57 and Bridgwater, inspite of being picked off twice and sacked twice, he did throw for 249 yards and a TD in the 6-point win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Third down conversions were nothing to write home about as the Chiefs were 3 of 12 (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:53, while the Vikings were 6 of 17 on third down but found success in their only fourth down try and held the ball for 33:07.

The Lions finally found their way into the win column last Sunday against Chicago but needed overtime to do it, taking a 37-34 win. Detroit trailed 31-27 with 21 seconds left in regulation when Matthew Stafford and Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) connected on a 6-yard TD pass to give them a brief 34-31 lead and we mean briefly, because Da Bears’ Robbie Gould connected on a 29-yard field goal as the clock struck :00. Chicago then won the toss in overtime but could not score, allowing Detroit to march down the field and the Lions would send their fans home happy when Matt Prater connected on his third field goal of the day, a 29-yarder with 2:29 left in overtime. Stafford threw for 405 yards and four TDs and the Lions outrushed Chicago 155-91 in the overtime affair, while Jay Cutler threw for 353 yards. Although they turned the ball over three times, Detroit was proficient on third down conversions, going 9 of 17 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:57 (including the overtime). Da Bears? 6 of 14 on third down and they kept the ball in hibernation for 33:34.

Minnesota leads the series with the Lions 69-36-2 (which includes contests that were played at Tiger Stadium, Metropolitan Stadium, the Pontiac Silverdome and the Metrodome) and they have outscored Detroit 1,312-1,989. Detroit, however, has won three of the last four meetings in the series, including sweeping contests played last year (Minnesota’s last win in the series came in the Twin Cities, when they came away 14-13 winners in 2013).

The first meeting between the two clubs in 2014 took place in week six in Minneapolis at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota and Detroit held the Purple Gang to a fourth quarter field goal, taking a 17-3 win in the process. The Lions led from start to finish and carried a 10-0 lead to the locker room at the half with them. Teddy Bridgewater was sacked eight times in the contest and was picked off three times, while the Lions outrushed Minnesota 100-69. Megatron (Johnson) was not a factor in the first meeting but he was not needed. Third down tries for both clubs was an issue and not in a good way (Detroit was 1 of 13; Minnesota was not much better, going 3 of 14). Both teams also had their issues on fourth down tries (Detroit was 1 of 2, Minnesota was 0 of 1) and time was the ally of Detroit, who kept the ball for 32:21 to Minnesota’s 27:39.

The second meeting was in the great indoors of Ford Field in the Motor City in week 15 and while the contest was a lot closer than the first meeting, Detroit still prevailed, taking a 16-14 win. The Lions trailed 14-10 at the break and then shut out the Vikings in the second half to take the 2-point win. Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier in the second contest (Detroit did manage to outrush Minnesota 80-76) and Bridgewater was sacked four times with two picks. Again, third down was a big issue, as the Vikings were 4 of 11 (1 of 2 on fourth) and kept the ball for 34:43, while Detroit kept it for 25:17, while going 2 of 11 on third down tries.

Minnesota was favored by 1 1/2 in week six at home in the Twin Cities and the Lions covered the spread, winning by 14. That was the good news. The bad news? Both clubs fell well short of the 43 1/2 over/under, scoring only 20 point. Detroit in the week 16 contest covered the 4 1/2 point spread, winning by 6 but the 47 1/2 over/under was safe (both teams combined for 30). Minnesota’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s a whopping 44. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams are trying to catch Green Bay and with that, there can be only one winner. This one’s worth the time to watch, even if it’s not “DRILL WORTHY.” Vikings cover the 1 and win in the Motor City.

New Orleans (2-3) at Indianapolis (3-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 706. A pair of former Super Bowl foes meet in the Hoosier State this Sunday as Andrew Luck and the Colts host the Saints and Drew Brees.

New Orleans knocked Atlanta from the ranks of the unbeatens last Thursday night against New Orleans, taking the Falcons 31-21. New Orleans led 14-7 at the half, before they and Drew Brees managed to run away in the second half to take the win in the Big Easy. The Saints were outrushed by the Falcons 150-81 (with Atlanta RB DeVonta Freeman running for 100 of those yards) while Ryan threw a pair of TD passes, including one to WR Roddy White but New Orleans managed to sack him five times in the game (Brees threw for 312 yards in the win). The Saints won the battle of third down tries in the Thursday night contest in the Big Easy, going 8 of 16 (1 of 1 on fourth down and won the battle of the clock, keeping the ball for 32:30, while Atlanta was 3 of 12 on third down (3 of 4 on fourth down), keeping the ball for 27:30.

Indy led New England 21-20 at the half and had the defending Super Bowl champions on the ropes before the Pats rallied to take a 34-27 win at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday night. New England outscored the Colts in the second half 14-13 and held off a late Indy rally that would have made the contest closer. Indy outrushed New England 120-116 and both Luck and Tom Brady threw three TD passes in the contest (Luck was sacked three times, Brady sacked twice). Third down tries in the Sunday night affair were not a thing of beauty for either club (New England was 5 of 12, the Colts were 7 of 16) but both clubs did reasonably well on fourth down (the Pats were successful in their only try, while the Colts went 1 of 3) and the Colts did manage to rule the clock, holding the ball for 32:32 to New England’s 27:28.

New Orleans leads the series 6-5 and have outscored Indy 251-244. The Saints won the last regular season meeting with the Colts in 2011 in the Big Easy by a final of 62-7, while Indy won in 2007 in the Hoosier State with Peyton Manning at the helm.

It was Super Bowl XLIV at Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Land Shark Stadium in 2009 that gave the Saints their only Super Bowl when they beat the Colts and Manning 31-17, with Drew Brees being named MVP. The Colts let a 10-6 lead at halftime get away from them as the Saints would outscore them 25-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. The Colts are a 6 1/2 favorite and the over/under’s 52 1/2. Both numbers make sense. The Saints have won two of their last three games and would like to win two in a row, while the Colts would love nothing more than to send New Orleans back to reality. Indy may not cover the 6 1/2 but they win back home again in Indiana.

Pittsburgh (4-2) at Kansas City (1-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers team coming off a huge win at home travels to Kansas City to take on the struggling Chiefs at Arrowhead.

The Steelers erased a 10-3 deficit at the half against Arizona at Heinz Field and pull away to take a 25-13 victory at Heinz Field last Sunday. Pittsburgh outrushed Arizona 141-55 and Landry Jones, who came in for Michael Vick (who was in for Ben Roethlisberger) threw for 168 yards and a pair of TDs, even though he was outpaced by Carson Palmer’s 421 yards in the air (Palmer was picked off twice). Arizona was 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries and held on to the ball for 31:09, while Pittsburgh kept the pigskin for 28:51 and was 3 of 12 on third down tries.

Kansas City trailed Minnesota in the Twin Cities 13-0 after 45 minutes of play and then rallied but fell short as they lost to the Vikings 16-10 win at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. As far as a rush game was concerned, it was nothing to write home about as neither club breached the 100-yard barrier but Minnesota did manage to outrush the struggling Chiefs 84-57 and Bridgwater, inspite of being picked off twice and sacked twice, he did throw for 249 yards and a TD in the 6-point win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Third down conversions were nothing to write home about as the Chiefs were 3 of 12 (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:53, while the Vikings were 6 of 17 on third down but found success in their only fourth down try and held the ball for 33:07.

Pittsburgh holds a 20-9 lead in the series, have outscored Kansas City 688-526 and have won the last three meetings, including a 20-12 win in the Steel City last year. The Steelers are favored by 1 and the over/under is 40 1/2. The Steelers are looking to keep pace with the Bengals in the AFC North, while the Chiefs in the AFC West are trying to keep their heads above water. Pittsburgh covers the 1 and wins in Kansas City.

Houston (2-3) at Miami (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 710. A pair of 2-3 teams meet in the Sunshine State as Miami hosts Houston at Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Landshark Stadiun.

For Houston, their trip down I-10 eastward to Jacksonville was successful as they manhandled Jacksonville 31-20. Houston led 10-7 at the break, then proceeded to blow the Jaguars’ wheels off their bus in the second half, as Houston outscored them 21-13 in the final 30 minutes of action. Houston’s Blake Hoyer threw three TDs in the contest without an interception, while Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles also threw three TD passes in the contest but was also sacked three times and picked off three times as well and the north Florida contest itself was a low-rushing affair, as neither team breached the 100-yard barrier (Houston ran for 95, Jacksonville ran for 83). Houston went 7 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions at EverBank Field, while Jacksonville was 5 of 15 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions. The clock was the ally of Houston, who kept the ball for 30:02 to Jacksonville’s 29:58.

Miami under interim head Dan Campbell, took a 17-3 lead at the half against Tennessee and gave Campbell his first win, taking down Tennessee 38-10 in the Music City. Miami led 17-3 at halftime, while sacking Jake Mariotta (219 yards) five times and picked off twice before he left the contest, holding Tennessee to 63 rushing yards, while rushing for 180 (Lamar Miller accounted for 113 of those yards with a TD) and Ryan Tannehill threw for 266 yards with a pair of TDs. Tennessee was a somewhat dismal 2 of 10 on third down conversions at Nissan Stadium Sunday afternoon (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:07, while the ‘Fins were 5 of 9 third down-wise and held on to the pigskin for 31:53.

They’ve met seven times and the Texans have won all seven meetings, outscoring Miami 169-125. The last meeting took place in 2012 and Houston came away 30-10 winners in the Lone Star State in 2012. Miami’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 43. Miami’s looking to make it two in a row under Dan Campbell, while breaking their streak against Houston in the process. Houston’ll make it closer than the 5 1/2 but Miami prevails at home in South Beach.

New York Jets (4-1) at New England (5-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 711. The defending Super Bowl champions host a much improved New York Jets team in Foxboro in an AFC East contest in western Massachusetts.

GangGreen scored 17 third quarter points against Washington unchallenged and erased a 13-10 halftime deficit in the process to win 34-20. Curtis Ivory ran for 146 of New York’s 221 yards and WR Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 111 yards and a TD, while the Jets’ defense held Washington to 34 yards on the day. GangGreen was 50 percent on third down tries at 7 of 14 and kept the ball for 32:39, while Washington was 5 of 15 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 27:21.

New England trailed Indy 21-20 at the half and the defending Super Bowl champions were on the ropes before the Pats rallied to take a 34-27 win at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday night. The Pats under Brady outscored Andrew Luck and the Colts in the second half 14-13 and held off a late Indy rally that would have made the contest closer. Indy outrushed New England 120-116 and both Luck and Tom Brady threw three TD passes in the contest (Luck was sacked three times, Brady sacked twice). Third down tries in the Sunday night affair were nothing to write home about for either club (New England was 5 of 12, the Colts were 7 of 16) but both clubs did reasonably well on fourth down (the Pats were successful in their only try, while the Colts went 1 of 3) and the Colts did manage to rule the clock, holding the ball for 32:32 to New England’s 27:28.

New England leads the series 56-52-1, have outscored the Jets 2,466-2,301 (which includes contests that were played at Fenway Park and Shea Stadium) and have won seven of the last eight meetings, including sweeping the season series in 2014 (GangGreen’s last win over the Pats came in 2013, when they took a 30-27 win in overtime in the Meadowlands).

Meeting number one took place in week seven in Foxboro and GangGreen threw everything at Brady and the Pats but it would be New England taking a 27-25 win at Gillette Stadium. New England led 17-12 at the half before the Jets rallied to make things a bit close for Pats fans, pulling to within 2 with 2:31 left to play when QB Geno Smith and TE Jeff Cumberland connected on a 10 yard TD pass. GangGreen would then try an onside kick, which failed and allowed New England to take the ball. New England would then go three and out and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would march down the field and K Nick Folk would try a 58-yard field goal that was blocked as time expired. GangGreen outrushed New England 218-63 (Curtis Ivory accounted for 107 of those yards with a TD) but Brady (3 TDs) would outpass Smith 261-226 in the contest. New York was 9 of 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 40:54, while the Pats kept it for 19:06 and was 6 of 13 on third downs.

Contest number two… week 16 in the Meadowlands and once again, another close contest but once again, another Pats win, this time a 17-16 victory in upstate New Jersey. The Pats trailed 10-7 at the half before getting their ducks in a row in the second half. Once again, the Pats were outrushed by GangGreen 116-85 and Brady was sacked four times and held to 182 yards in the air. In the second meeting, both teams had problems with third down tries (New England was 6 of 13, New York was 5 of 13) and the clock was the ally of the Jets again, who kept the ball for 32:21 to New England’s 27:39.

In the week seven contest on a Thursday night in Foxboro, New England was favored by 9 1/2 but won by only 2. That was the bad news. The good news? Both teams managed to pass the 45 over/under by scoring 52 points. In the week 16 contest in upstate New Jersey, New England was favored by 10 but won by 1 and as for the over/under of 47 1/2? Both teams scored only 33 points, which meant that it was safe and sound. When you actually stop and think about it, 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?”

For Sunday’s matchup at Gillette, the Pats are favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 49. The 49 makes sense… the 9 1/2 sounds a bit on the high side. After all, the Jets have almost matched their win total for last year under Rex Ryan, while the Pats looked a little flat (pardon the pun) and were almost taken out of the ranks of the unbeatens. It’ll be closer than the 9 1/2 but New England prevails at home.

Cleveland (2-4) at St. Louis (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. It’s a pair of somewhat struggling teams meeting along the shores of the Mississippi River as St. Louis hosts the Cleveland Browns in the great indoors.

Cleveland makes its way to the Gateway City after their 26-23 overtime loss to Denver last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie. The Browns led briefly 20-16 with 8:07 when Karlos Dansby picked off Peyton Manning, returning the interception 35 yards for a TD. Denver would take the lead back when Manning and WR Emmanuel Sanders connected on a 75-yard pass with 7:53 left in regulation. Cleveland would not be outdone and sent the contest into the extra period when rookie K Travis Coons drilled a 26-yard field goal with 90 seconds left in regulation. Cleveland would win the toss in overtime but could not produce a score, allowing the Broncos to march down the field and Denver took advantage, ending the contest at the 4:56 mark of overtime when Brandon McManus connected on a 34-yard field goal to end the game. Denver’s Ronnie Hillman was responsible for 111 of his team’s 152 yards, while the Browns as a team ran for 109 in the overtime affair and while Cleveland did manage to pick off Manning three times, Browns QB Josh McCown was sacked four times and picked off twice. Cleveland was 6 of 15 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:20, while Denver kept the pigskin for 36:44, while going 4 of 18 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

St. Louis trailed Green Bay 14-10 at Lambeau two weeks ago but then crashed and burned as the Packers scored their final 10 points of the contest unchallenged to lose 24-10. Although rookie RB Todd Gurley rushed for 159 yards and the Rams managed to outrush Green Bay 191-86, Nick Foles was the victim of four sacks and a pair of interceptions, while St. Louis picked off Aaron Rodgers twice (his first interception at home since the 2012 season). The Rams were 5 of 18 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down conversions) and held the ball for 33:43, while the Packers were 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball in the land of beer, cheese and bratwurst for 26:17.

Including contests that were played when the Rams were in Los Angeles before heading to St. Louis, the Rams lead the series  10-9 and have barely outscored the Browns 427-420. St. Louis’ last win in the series came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2011, squeaking by with a 13-12 win, while Cleveland’s last win in the series came in 2007 in St. Louis, a 27-20 decision. The Rams are favored in the great indoors by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. This might be a game to avoid (unless you like one or both teams) and watch that “Bar Rescue” marathon on “Spike” (even John Taffer would yell at these guys!). St. Louis covers the 5 1/2 and wins at home.

Tampa Bay (2-3) at Washington (2-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. A pair of 2-3 teams, looking to reach the .500 mark meet in Landover as the Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field.

Tampa Bay held off another instate rival two weeks ago at home at Raymond James Stadium, with the Bucs stopping Jacksonville 38-31 two Sundays ago. In the second battle of Sunshine State teams, Tampa Bay led 20-14 at the half and then held off Jacksonville in the final 30 minutes of play and outrushed Jacksonville 183-55 and sacked Jaguars QB Blake Bortles six times, while Jameis Winston threw for 209 yards and a TD without an interception (Doug Martin ran for 123 yards and a pair of TDs in the contest). Tampa Bay went 5 of 11 on third down conversions and held the ball for 34:41, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 25:19 and went 2 of 8 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

Washington led the New York Jets 13-10 at the half before GangGreen scored 17 third quarter points against the ‘Skins unchallenged, erasing that lead and fell to the Jets 34-20. Washington was held to a somewhat dismal 34 yards on the ground, while New York’s Curtis Ivory ran for 146 of New York’s 221 yards and WR Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 111 yards and a TD. GangGreen was 50 percent on third down tries at 7 of 14 and kept the ball for 32:39, while Washington was 5 of 15 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 27:21.

Tampa Bay leads the series with the Redskins 10-9, has outscored Washington 371-334 and won the meeting the two teams had last year in Landover 27-7 (Washington’s last win in the series came in 2012 in the Sunshine State by a final of 24-22).
They met in Landover in week 11 and Tampa Bay led 13-7 at the half, shutting out Washington in the final 30 minutes of action at FedEx Field and held Washington to a 30-yard TD pass from Robert Griffin III to Roy Helu with 11 seconds left in the second quarter. Although they were outrushed by Washington 155-48, Tampa Bay did manage to sack Griffin six times and pick him off twice (the Bucs forced three turnovers). Neither club did anything to make their fan base happy on third down tries (Tampa Bay was 3 of 10, while Washington was 4 of 13 but did find success in their only fourth down conversion) and the clock was the ally of Washington at 34:11 to Tampa Bay’s 25:49.

In the week 11 contest in the Washington suburb, Washington was favored by 7 and Tampa Bay won by 20, allowing them to cover the spread (neither team reached the 46 over/under, scoring only 34 points). The Redskins are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. These teams have been up and down of late and while Tampa Bay is looking up at Carolina and Atlanta in the NFC South, Washington’s having to deal with the Eagles and Giants in the NFC East. Will Washington fans sing “Hail to the Redskins!” or will they say “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” this week? Hail, hail, the gang’s all here. Washington covers the 4 in Landover and takes the win at FedEx Field.

Oakland (2-3) at San Diego (2-4), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. They’ve been rivals in the same state since JFK was in the Oval Office, they’re separated by 492 miles and they meet in southern Cali as the Chargers and Raiders square off for the 111th time.

Oakland returns from their bye week after their 16-10 loss to Denver two Sundays ago. The Silver and Black led Peyton and the Broncos 7-3 at the half after a scoreless first quarter before Denver went to work, outscoring Oakland 13-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. Derek Carr was sacked four times and intercepted once in the 6-point loss, while the Oakland defense picked Manning off twice. Neither club came anywhere near the 100-yard barrier in the meeting in northern California (Denver ran for 43, Oakland ran for 65) and neither club breached the 50 percent mark on third down conversions (Denver 2 of 13, Oakland 7 of 16, with the Raiders going 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the clock was the ally of Oakland at 34:09 to Denver’s 25:51.

Philip Rivers set a San Diego record for passing yardage against Green Bay at Lambeau but the Chargers’ rally fell short as they fell to the Packers 27-20 in the land of beer, bratwurst and cheese. Rivers threw for 503 yards, outpassing Aaron Rodgers’ 255 (each threw a pair of TDs) but the Packers outrushed San Diego 133-60 in the 7-point loss. San Diego on third down conversions was at 50 percent (9 of 18), 1 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 38 minutes, while the Packers held the pigskin for 22 minutes, while going 3 of 9 on third down tries.

Oakland leads the series 58-50-2, which includes games that were played when both teams called Los Angeles home and the Silver and Black leads in scoring 2,408-2,366. San Diego (however) has won three of the last four meetings with the Raiders, including sweeping the series in 2014 (Oakland’s last win in the series came in 2013, when they took a 27-17 win in Oakland).

San Diego won the first meeting in northern California in week six 31-28 in Oakland. The Bolts and Raiders were tied 14-14 at the half and then rallied to score the final 10 points of the game, thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 5:52 left to play and then took the lead for keeps with 1:56 left in regulation when Branden Oliver scored on a 1-yard run. Oliver accounted for 101 of his team’s 116 yards, outrushing Oakland by two (114) and Philip Rivers (3) and Derek Carr (4) combined for seven TD passes in the contest. Both clubs did well on third down conversions in the first meeting (San Diego was 8 of 14 and 0 of 1 on fourth down, while Oakland was 8 of 13) and the clock favored San Diego at 37:02 to Oakland’s 22:58.

Round two in San Diego, week 11. The Raiders make the 492-mile, 7-hour trip down I-5 to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium and it was another close contest but once again, the Bolts prevailed in front of the home crowd, taking a 13-6 win. San Diego led 10-3 at the half, but Oakland kept the contest close in the second half to make things a bit more interesting. The only TD in the contest came early as San Diego’s Malcom Floyd scored on a 22-yard pass from Rivers and it was the kickers that took over, as Novak and Sebastian Janikowski each kicked a pair of field goals in the contest. The Bolts outrushed the Raiders 120-71 and both Rivers and Carr were sacked twice in the affair. Third down tries? Not anything to cheer about as the Raiders were 3 of 15 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and they managed to keep the ball for 25:14, while San Diego held the pigskin for 34:46, while going 4 of 15 on third down.

In the week six contest, San Diego’s 7-point win allowed them to cover the 7-point spread and both clubs covered the 43 over/under by 10 (53 points). The Chargers did win the week 11 contest downstate but won by only 7, meaning they missed the 10-point spread and each team combined for only 19 points, far short of the 44 1/2 over/under. The Chargers are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. They’re not bad teams but they have been known at times to play that way (to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit). Chargers erase the loss at Green Bay from their mouths and take this one at home, even though they may not cover the 6 1/2.

Dallas (2-3) at New York Giants (3-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. They meet again and this time, the meeting’s in upstate New Jersey. Big Blue looks for revenge on the Romo-less, Bryant-less Cowboys, while Dallas wants to put the Giants in their rear view mirror once and for all.

Dallas comes out of their bye week and into the second meeting with the Giants with a 30-9 loss to Tom Brady and NeW England under their belts. Held to a pair of Dan Bailey field goals, Dallas was barely outrushed 109-100 and Brady outpaced Brad Weeden 275-188, with Brady throwing a pair of TDs, while Weeden threw an interception and was sacked three times. Dallas was 4 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries and kept the ball for a whopping 33:12, while the defending Super Bowl champs only needed to keep the pigskin for 26:48 and went 3 of 10 on third down and 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The Giants led briefly in Philadelphia last Monday night when Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. connected on a 13-yard TD pass to open the scoring in their contest with the Eagles. That would be all they would get in the contest, as the Eagles scored their 27 points in their 20-point win unchalleged to fall 27-7. New York was held to 81 yards rushing, while the Eagles ran for 155 (with RB DeMarco Murray accounting for 109 and a TD) in prime time at Lincoln Financial Field. Manning was picked off twice in the game, one a return for a TD by CB Nolan Carroll and the Eagles forced three turnovers on the night. The Giants were 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the ball for 29:30, while Philly was 6 of 16 on third down, holding the ball for 30:30.

They met in week one in the Lone Star State and the Giants saw victory taken away from them by Dallas as the Cowboys rallied to take a 27-26 win in Arlington. Dallas trailed 26-20 with seven seconds left when Tony Romo and TE Jason Witten connected on a 11-yard TD pass to send the home crowd happy. Big Blue did outrush Dallas 99-80 but Romo did manage to outpass Manning 356-193 with three TDs, including the game winner. Dallas was 6 of 11 on third down tries in the Sunday night affair in week one and held the ball for 37:10, while the Giants were 6 of 14, keeping the pigskin for 22:50. Dallas was favored by 6 in the Lone Star State but won by a single point but both teams managed to cover the 51 over/under by 2 points (53). The late afternoon affair in upstate New Jersey has the Giants as 4 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 48. The Giants have been playing some decent football under Tom Coghlin’s leadership but not great football, while the Cowboys’ window of opportunity is closing before their eyes and they may not get Romo and or Bryant back before Thanksgiving. Giants get their revenge on Dallas from the week one failure in the Lone Star State and wins at home in upstate New Jersey.

Philadelphia (3-3) at Carolina (5-0), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. It’s Philly cheesesteak vs. Carolina BBQ as the Eagles travel down South to the Tar Heel State for a Sunday night matchup with Cam Newton and the first-place Panthers.

Philadelphia erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit against the Giants last Monday night and scored all of their 27 points unchallenged to win 27-7. New York led briefly in Philadelphia last Monday night when Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. connected on a 13-yard TD pass to open the scoring in their contest with the Eagles. The Eagles then got off the deck and went to work on the G-Men, shutting them down and out the rest of the contest. The Eagles ran for 155 yards (with RB DeMarco Murray accounting for 109 of those yards and a TD), while they held New York to 81 yards rushing at Lincoln Financial Field. Manning was picked off twice in the game, one a return for a TD by CB Nolan Carroll and the Eagles forced three turnovers on the night. The Giants were 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the ball for 29:30, while Philly was 6 of 16 on third down, holding the ball for 30:30.

Carolina trailed 20-14 after three quarters and then rallied as the Cam Newton-led Panthers outscored Seattle 13-3 in the final 15 minutes of action in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks. Carolina outrushed Seattle 135-115 and Newton threw for 269 yards and a pair of TDs, while rushing for a TD himself early in the contest. Neither club did much on third down tries (Carolina was 4 of 11 and 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:12, while the Seahawks were 4 of 14 and kept the pigskin for 27:48.

Philly leads the series 6-2, have outscored Carolina 214-151 and won the last meeting between the clubs last year in the City of Brotherly Love by a final of 45-21 (Carolina’s last victory over the EGG-UHLS came in 2012, also in Philly as the Panthers prevailed 30-22.) They met in week 10 at Lincoln Financial Field and the Eagles took a 31-7 lead with them to the intermission, allowing only a pair of Cam Newton TD passes to Kelvin Benjamin in the fourth quarter to seal the Panthers’ fate. Although they outrushed Philly 102-37, Newton would find himself being sacked nine times in the contest and the Eagles’ defense forced five Carolina turnovers. Carolina was 10 of 20 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 38:05 to Philly’s 21:55 (the Eagles were 5 of 15) and both teams failed to convert on fourth down, each going 0 of 1.

In the week 10 Monday night contest, the Eagles covered the 6-point spread, winning by 24 and both clubs had no problems covering the over/under of 48, combining for 66 points. If you can have one game that’s “DRILL WORTHY,” then there’s no reason that you can’t have two (see the New York Jets-New England game for instructions). The Panthers are 3-point favorites and the over/under’s 47. The Eagles are a somewhat decent team and their offense seems to be back on track, while the Panthers almost used up all nine of their lives last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. Carolina’s finer at home in the Tar Heel State and covers the 3 in Charlotte.

Baltimore (1-5) at Arizona (3-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. Week seven closes out in the desert in a battle of birds as the Ravens fly westward to take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale.

Baltimore trailed San Francisco 16-6 at the half in Santa Clara last Sunday afternoon and rallied in the second half to make it a close contest but fell to the 49ers 25-20. The Ravens outrushed San Francisco 77-65, while Joe Flacco threw for a pair of TDs but was picked off twice.  The 49ers were 5 of 13 on third down tries in the 5-point win and kept the ball for 26:53, while the Ravens were 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 33:07.

The Desert Angry Birds let a 10-3 lead at the half against Pittsburgh get away from them as the Steelers would go on to take a 25-13 victory at Heinz Field. Arizona was held to 55 yards rushing, while Pittsburgh ran for 141 and Landry Jones, who came in for Michael Vick (who was in for Ben Roethlisberger) threw for 168 yards and a pair of TDs, even though he was outpaced by Carson Palmer’s 421 yards in the air (Palmer was picked off twice). Arizona was 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries and held on to the ball for 31:09, while Pittsburgh kept the pigskin for 28:51 and was 3 of 12 on third down tries.

They’ve met only five times and the Ravens lead the series 4-1, have won the last four contests and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 108-91 (Arizona won the first meeting in the series in Charm City in 1997 16-13, while the Ravens’ last win in the series took place in 2011 in Charm City by a final of 30-27).

On Monday night, the Ravens are 10-9, while the Desert Angry Birds are 7-15-1 (both teams played on Monday night in 2014 and both took wins under their wings). The Desert Angry Birds are favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Arizona’s trying to get their ducks in a row, while the Ravens are looking to right their ship. Baltimore will make it close but the Desert Angry Birds will raise Arizona to victory and takes the win in Glendale.

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