We’re halfway home!

The NFL has entered the second half of the season and the excitement is building as playoff races tighten.

Two teams remain undefeated – Carolina (9-0) and New England (9-0) – and this marks the fourth season in league history with multiple 9-0 teams (1934, 1990, 2009).

“We take it one game at a time and the focus goes to preparing for the next one,” says Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. “All the record tells you is that you’re in position for the next thing, and that would be the playoffs. So hopefully we can continue to play well and give ourselves an opportunity to get there. It’s a long season but it’s a quick season because the next thing you know, we’re on to our next opponent.”

Entering 2015, 19 teams in the Super Bowl era started 9-0. Of those 19 clubs, all 19 made the playoffs, 11 advanced to the Super Bowl and seven won the Super Bowl.

“It’s a week-to-week league,” Patriots cornerback Malcom Butler told the Boston Globe. “You’ve just to keep moving and keep improving.”

As the season moves into the second half, it’s all still to be decided, with plenty of football left to play. And while every club would like to be 9-0, don’t count anyone out. Since 1990, 21 teams have qualified for the playoffs with a losing record through nine games. Last year, Carolina (3-5-1) accomplished the feat and advanced to the NFC Divisional Playoffs.

“This whole football team is growing,” says head coach John Fox of the 4-5 Chicago Bears, who have won four of their past six games after starting the season 0-3. Fox told the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, WBBM-TV, WGN-TV and WGN-Radio, “This is a new system with a lot of new players. We are starting to know our football team better. A lot has changed over the nine weeks quite a bit. Last week was the halfway point. The way we are trending, I like the way the guys are going about their business.”

And entering Week 11, there are currently 23 teams with a 4-5 record or better. That means there’s still hope for a playoff spot for some. There’s still a lot of football left on the docket.

“This win means everything for us,” says Miami wide receiver Jarvis Landry about the Dolphins’ come-from-behind win at Philadelphia last week. “It’s a great way to build momentum at this point in the season. Now, in the second half of the season, it’s time for us to start peaking. It’s time for us to gain momentum and go on a winning streak.”


HOPE IS ALIVE: Since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, 21 clubs with a losing record after nine games have made the playoffs and at least one has done so in each of the past four seasons.

Last season, the Carolina Panthers (3-5-1) had a losing record through nine games before advancing to the postseason.

The 21 clubs to qualify for the playoffs since 1990 with a losing record through nine games:

1990 – Houston Oilers, 4-5 (9-7, Wild Card)
1990 – New Orleans, 4-5 (8-9, Wild Card)
1992 – San Diego, 4-5 (11-5, Divisional)
1994 – Detroit, 4-5 (9-7, Wild Card)
1994 – New England, 3-6 (10-6, Wild Card)
1995 – Detroit, 3-6 (10-6, Wild Card)
1995 – San Diego, 4-5 (9-7, Wild Card)
1996 – Jacksonville, 3-6 (9-7, AFC Championship)
1997 – Detroit, 4-5 (9-7, Wild Card)
2001 – Tampa Bay, 4-5 (9-7, Wild Card)
2002 – Cleveland, 4-5 (9-7, Wild Card)
2002 – New York Jets, 4-5 (9-7, Divisional)
2003 – Green Bay, 4-5 (10-5, Divisonal)
2008 – San Diego, 4-5 (8-8, Divisional)
2009 – New York Jets, 4-5 (9-7, AFC Championship)
2011 – Denver, 4-5 (8-8, Divisonal)
2012 – Cincinnati, 4-5 (10-6, Wild Card)
2012 – Washington, 3-6 (10-6, Wild Card)
2013 – Philadelphia, 4-5 (10-6, Wild Card)
2013 – San Diego, 4-5 (9-7, Divisional)
2014 – Carolina, 3-5-1 (7-8-1, Divisional)

TD GALORE: Quarterbacks have combined to throw 480 touchdown passes in 2015, the second-most through the first 10 weeks of any season (499 in 2014).

Of the 480 touchdown passes, there have been 149 individual two-touchdown performances. With three individual two-touchdown performances in Week 11, the 2015 season would have the second-most such performances in NFL history.

2014 – 164
2013 – 151
2015 – 149*
2010 – 147
2012 – 146
*Through Week 10

TEN-WIN SEASONS: New England has won nine games in a row and have an AFC-best 9-0 record entering Week 11. With a win against the Bills at Gillette Stadium on Monday Night Football, the Patriots would clinch their 13th consecutive season with 10 or more wins, the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Only the San Francisco 49ers (1983-1998) have posted a longer streak of consecutive 10-win seasons (16).

The teams with the most consecutive 10+ win seasons:

San Francisco, 1983-98 (16)
New England, 2003-14 (12)*
Indianapolis, 2002-10 (9)
Dallas, 1975-81 (7)
Many tied with 6
*Active streak

PASSING YARDS LEADERS: New England quarterback Tom Brady (3,043) and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers (3,033) rank first and second, respectively, in the NFL for the most passing yards through nine games.

With 346 passing yards against Buffalo, Brady would surpass Andrew Luck (3,388 in 2014) for the second-most passing yards through a player’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history.

With 356 passing yards against Kansas City, Rivers, who has passed for at least 300 yards in six games this season, would also surpass Luck.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who leads the NFC with 2,972 passing yards through nine games, can also join the top-five for the most passing yards through 10 games in a season.

The most passing yards through a team’s first 10 games in NFL history:

Peyton Manning – Denver, 2013 (3,572)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis, 2014 (3,388)
Drew Brees – New Orleans, 2013 (3,369)
Drew Brees – New Orleans, 2011 (3,326)
Peyton Manning – Denver, 2014 (3,301)
Tom Brady – New England, 2015 (3,043)*
Philip Rivers – San Diego, 2015 (3,033)*
Drew Brees – New Orleans, 2015 (2,972)*
*Total through nine games

WITTEN AIMS FOR 1,000: Dallas tight end Jason Witten ranks second all-time amongst tight ends with 992 receptions. With eight catches on Sunday against Miami, Witten would join Tony Gonzalez (1,325) as the only tight ends in league annals with 1,000 career receptions.

The tight ends with the most receptions in NFL history:
Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta, Kansas City (1,325)
Jason Witten – Dallas (992)*
Antonio Gates – San Diego (816)*
Shannon Sharpe – Baltimore, Denver (815)
Ozzie Newsome – Cleveland (662)

Witten also ranks sixth all-time amongst tight ends with 59 touchdown receptions. With two touchdown receptions on Sunday, Witten would surpass Jerry Smith (60) for the fifth-most touchdown catches by a tight end in NFL history.

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

Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta, Kansas City (111)
Antonio Gates – San Diego (101)*
Rob Gronkowski – New England (62)*
Shannon Sharpe – Baltimore, Denver (62)
Jerry Smith – Washington (60)
Jason Witten – Dallas (59)*

10-SPOT: Indianapolis wide receiver Andre Johnson has 24 receptions for 288 yards with three touchdowns this season. In 13 seasons, Johnson has 13,885 career receiving yards.

With 48 receiving yards on Sunday against Atlanta, Johnson would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter (13,899) and Steve Smith, Sr. (13,932) for the 10th-most all-time.

The players with the most receiving yards in NFL history:
Jerry Rice – 22,895
Terrell Owens – 15,934
Randy Moss – 15,292
Isaac Bruce – 15,208
Tony Gonzalez – 15,127
Tim Brown – 14,934
Marvin Harrison – 14,580
Reggie Wayne – 14,345
James Lofton – 14,004
Steve Smith, Sr. – 13,932*
Cris Carter – 13,899
Andre Johnson – 13,885*

SO CLOSE: Week 10 continued the trend of close games as eight games were decided by seven or fewer points.

76 games have been decided by seven points or fewer this season, the most such games through Week 10 in NFL history.

The most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 10:

2015 – 76
1999 – 73
2011 – 72
1987 – 72
1983 – 72

FOURTH QUARTER COMEBACKS: Close contests remain a staple of the 2015 season as six teams won after trailing in the fourth quarter in Week 10:

Arizona at Seattle (Cardinals won 39-32; 4)
Houston at Cincinnati (Texans won 10-6; 3)
Jacksonville at Baltimore (Jaguars won 22-20; 1)
Miami at Philadelphia (Dolphins won 20-19; 3)
New England at New York Giants (Patriots won 27-26; 6)
Tampa Bay at Dallas (Buccaneers won 10-6; 3)

Teams have won after trailing in the fourth quarter 43 times this season, tied for the second-most through Week 10 in NFL history.

The most wins after trailing in the fourth quarter through Week 10:

1989 – 44
2015 – 43
2011 – 43
1999 – 43
2012 – 41
1987 – 41

TURNAROUND TEAMS: In Week 10, Jacksonville (3-6; 3-13 in 2014), Minnesota (7-2; 7-9 in 2014) and Washington (4-5; 4-12 in 2014) all won and matched their 2014 win total, joining Atlanta (6-3; 6-10 in 2014), Carolina (9-0; 7-8-1 in 2014), the New York Jets (5-4; 4-12 in 2014), Oakland (4-5; 3-13 in 2014), Tampa Bay (4-5; 2-14 in 2014) and Tennessee (2-7; 2-14 in 2014) as the teams to match or exceed their win totals from last season.

The nine teams that have matched or exceeded their 2014 win totals:

Atlanta (6-10, 6-3)
Carolina (7-8-1, 9-0)
Jacksonville (3-13, 3-6) (Played Thursday night)
Minnesota (7-9, 7-2)
New York Jets (4-12, 5-4)
Oakland (3-13, 4-5)
Tampa Bay (2-14, 4-5)
Tennessee (2-14, 2-7) (Played Thursday night)
Washington (4-12, 4-5)

PATRIOT WAY: The New England Patriots, who improved to 9-0 for the second time in franchise history (2007), are the fifth team in NFL history and first since the 1983-1998 San Francisco 49ers (16) with at least 15 consecutive winning seasons.

The most consecutive seasons with a winning record:

Dallas Cowboys, 1966-1985 (20)
Oakland Raiders, 1965-1980 (16)
San Francisco 49ers, 1983-1998 (16)
New England Patriots, 2001-2015 (15)*
Chicago Bears, 1930-1944 (15)

*Active streak; 9-0 record in 2015

The Patriots, who scored points in all four quarters against the Giants in Week 10, have scored points in 35 consecutive quarters, surpassing the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams (31) and 2005 Indianapolis Colts (31) for the longest such streak in NFL history.

The most consecutive regulation quarters with a score:

New England Patriots, 2015 (35)*
St. Louis Rams,  1999-2000 (31)
Indianapolis Colts, 2005 (31)
New England Patriots, 1993-1994 (27)
Kansas City Chiefs, 2002 (27)
Oakland Raiders, 2002 (27)
*Active streak

AWESOME ADRIAN: Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 203 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ 30-14 win at Oakland on Sunday.

The performance marked Peterson’s sixth career 200-yard game, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. SIMPSON for the most 200-yard rushing games in NFL history.

The players with the most 200-yard rushing games in NFL history:

Adrian Peterson – 6*
O.J. Simpson – 6^
Tiki Barber – 5
Jim Brown – 4^
Earl Campbell – 4^
Barry Sanders – 4^
LaDainian Tomlinson – 4
* – Active
^ – Pro Football Hall of Famer

FAST STARTERS: Two teams – Carolina and New England – have started the season 9-0, the fourth time in NFL history there have been multiple 9-0 teams in a season (1934, 1990, 2009).

BOOMING BEN: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who did not start the game due to a foot injury, passed for 379 yards and three touchdowns in the Steelers’ 30-9 win against Cleveland. Roethlisberger’s 179 passing yards are the most ever by a quarterback who did not start the game, eclipsing the mark previously held by Minnesota’s Wade Wilson (374 yards on December 16, 1990).

Roethlisberger’s three touchdown passes increased his season total to 10 and he has now thrown 10 or more touchdown passes in each of his first 12 seasons, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon for the third-longest streak to start a career in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with 10 or more touchdown passes to begin a career:

Fran Tarkenton – Minnesota, New York Giants (1961-76)(16)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (1998-2010)(13)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (2004-15)(12)*
Warren Moon – Houston, Minnesota (1984-95)(12)
*Active streak

RISING ROOKIE: Buffalo running back Karlos Williams, who had a 26-yard touchdown catch in the Bills’ 22-17 victory over the New York Jets, joined Robert Edwards (six in 1998) as the only NFL players to score a touchdown in each of his first six career games.

The NFL players with the most consecutive games with a touchdown to begin a career:

Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (2015, 6)*
Robert Edwards, New England (1998, 6)
Chuck Sample, Green Bay Packers (1942, 5)
Alan Ameche, Baltimore Colts (1955, 5)
Billy Howton, Green Bay Packers (1962, 5)
Joe Cribbs, Buffalo Bills (1980, 5)
Charlie Brown, Washington Redskins (1982, 5)
*Active streak

IMPRESSIVE IVY: New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 193 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets’ loss to the Bills on Thursday Night Football.

Fitzpatrick (Harvard), who now has 138 career touchdown passes, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman (Columbia, 137) for the most passing touchdowns all-time by an Ivy League quarterback.

COOL COUSINS: Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 20 of 25 passes (80.0 pct.)  for 324 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating – the highest attainable mark –  in the Redskins’ 47-14 victory over New Orleans.

Cousins is the first Redskins quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards and post a rating of at least 150 in a game since Pro Football Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh in 1948 (October 31).

STREAKING HURNS: Jacksonville wide receiver Allen Hurns, who caught a touchdown in the Jaguars’ 22-20 victory at Baltimore, has now caught a touchdown in each of his past seven games, the longest streak in franchise history.

As for week 11… forgetable pick-wise. 4-10. Worst. Week. Ever. That was the bad news. The good news? Still above the .500 mark at 91-51.

This week also features a Super Bowl rematch as Miami hosts the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State.

Week 11 kicked off on Thursday night when Jacksonville hosted the Tennessee in a matchup that feature two promising young quarterbacks in Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota. It concludes in Foxboro as the defending Super Bowl champions face off against Buffalo in a key AFC East prime time contest Monday night on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

Here are the Sunday and Monday games for week 11.

Indianapolis (4-5) at ATLANTA (6-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. The Atlanta Falcons return to the Georgia Dome and the Big Peach to square off against the Indianpolis Colts, who will have Matt Hasselbeck under center instead of Andrew Luck (knee).

Both teams were off in week 10 and both come in from opposite directions. The Colts knocked Denver and Peyton Manning out of the ranks of the unbeatens two weeks ago by a 27-24 final in Indy, while the Falcons fell to San Francisco on the west coast 17-16. Including contest that were played when the Colts were in Baltimore, Indianapolis leads the series 13-2 and have outscored the Falcons 408-230. Atlanta won the last meeting between the clubs in 2011, taking a 31-7 win in Indy, while the Colts last beat Atlanta in 2007 by a final of 31-13 in the Big Peach.

Atlanta’s favored by 6 1/2 with a 46 over/under. Indy’s played some decent football of late, even though the AFC South is somewhat mediocre at best. The Falcons are looking to get back to the post-season and they’ll come away winners at home in the Big Peach, covering the 6 1/2.

Washington (4-5) at Carolina (9-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Washington winds its way south to the Tar Heel State to face Cam Newton and the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.

The Redskins improved to 4-5 with a commanding 47-14 win over New Orleans in Week 10. Washington moved into a tie for second place in the NFC East and now sit just a half-game behind the first-place New York Giants (5-5). Against the Saints, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 20 of 25 passes (80 percent) for 324 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating – the highest attainable mark – and became the first Redskins quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards and post a rating of 150+ in a game since Pro Football Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh in 1948 (October 31).

“When we execute and everybody does their part, good things happen,” Cousins told the Washington Post. “It feels very gratifying.”

The Panthers have won 13 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last season and are the NFC’s lone unbeaten team. In last week’s win at Tennessee, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton recorded his 30th career game with both a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (31) has more such games in NFL history.

“It’s a great feeling to be 9-0,” says Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who is the only player in the NFL this season with at least three sacks and three interceptions. “We are not done yet and we still have work to do. We will watch this film, we will build off of it, we will continue to get better and we will move on to Washington next week.”

Washington leads the series 7-4 and have outscored Carolina 231-226. The Panthers have had the last laugh in the series, winning the last three contests, including a 21-13 win in Landover in 2012, while the ‘Skins’ last win over Carolina came in 2006 by a 17-13 final. Carolina’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Could Washington be the one that knocks Carolina off the unbeaten mountain? Not likely. Carolina’s finer at home in Charlotte and takes this one, although Washington makes this one closer than the 7 1/2.

Oakland (4-6) at Detroit (2-7). A pair of struggling teams meet in the Motor City as Oakland heads eastward to face the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. This Sunday’s game between the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions marks just the 12th regular season meeting between the two clubs. This will be the Raiders first trip to Detroit since 2003, and only their second appearance at Ford Field.

The Silver and Black head into the contest with a 30-14 loss at home to Minnesota and Teddy Bridgewater under their belts. Meanwhile, the Lions ended 25 years of frustration in Green Bay, taking an 18-16 win over the Packers last Sunday for their first win in the land of cheese, beer and bratwurst in 8,376 days. 8,376 days. In that time, four men (George Hebert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, George Walker Bush and Barack Obama) have been in the White House, three men (John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis) have been pope and Elizabeth II has been on the throne of England in that time. The Lions stopped a Green Bay rally that would have given the Packers the win after TE Justin Perillo and QB Aaron Rodgers connected on 11 yard TD pass with 32 seconds left. Then, Green Bay, with no timeouts left, tried the onside kick, which WR Calvin Johnson could not handle and the Packers got the ball and moved their way into field goal position but K Mason Crosby’s 52-yard field goal try fell short.

Including contests that took place when the Raiders were in Los Angeles, the Silver and Black lead the series 6-5 and have outscored the Lions 265-223. Detroit has come away winners in the last three contests against Oakland, including a 28-27 win in 2011 in Oakland, while the Raiders’ last win over Detroit came in 1996 (also in Oakland) by a final of 37-21. Oakland’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 48 1/2. The Silver and Black are looking to get some revenge on the NFC North after their loss at home and they’ll come in the Motor City and leave with the win, covering the 2 1/2.

Dallas (2-7) at Miami (4-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Dallas makes its second trip to the Sunshine State as they travel to South Beach to face off against Miami.

The Cowboys have lost seven in a row, blowing leads in their last four contests, including a 10-6 loss at Tampa Bay last Sunday. Dallas let a 6-3 lead after three quarters get away from them as Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston ran in from a yard out with 54 seconds left to play. That was the bad news for the Cowboys. The good news? They could get Tony Romo (collarbone) back under center this week.

Meawhile, the Dolphins overcame a 16-13 halftime deficit to beat the Eagles 20-19 in the city of Brotherly Love. Miami took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter when Ryan Tannehill and WR Jarvis Landry connected on a 4-yard TD pass as thje final quarter of play had gotten started.

The Dolphins lead the series 7-5 but the Cowboys have outscored Miami 241-234 and took a 20-19 win in the Lone Star State in 2011, their last meeting. Miami’s last win in the series came in 2003, also in the Lone Star State by final of 40-21. They also met in Super Bowl VI and for Dolphins fans, it was a day they would just as soon forget as Roger Staubach and the Cowboys took Miami to the woodshed, taking a 24-3 win in New Orleans. The next year for Miami was perfection in the literal and figurative sense of the word.

Miami’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is a whopping 46 1/2. Miami’s got a lot to prove if they want to catch Brady and the Pats, while the Cowboys are trying to keep their heads above water in the NFC East. Miami gets a little revenge over Dallas and takes the win, covering the 1 1/2.

St. Louis (4-4) at Baltimore (2-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The Rams travel to Charm City for an early afternoon contest with the struggling Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Both teams enter the contest with losses from last week’s action and both teams lost at home.

The Rams were taken to task last Sunday at home by Da Bears, falling to Chicago 37-13. St. Louis let a 10-10 first quarter tie get away from them as they would be outscored by Chicago 27-3 in the final 45 minutes of action.

Baltimore also lost last Sunday and lost in a somewhat controversial manner, falling to Jacksonville 22-20 at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens had the contest with the Jaguars won when the officiating crew for that contest made a key error that gave the Jagaurs a second chance, as they were leading 20-19. Jacksonville had the ball and was called for a penalty, which would have ended the contest at that point. Because of the error, the Jaguars were given another life and they made the most of it, as rookie K Jason Myers connected on a 53-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

Baltimore holds a 3-2 lead in the series and have outscored the Rams 128-101. The Ravens won the last contest with St. Louis, taking a 37-7 win in 2011 in St. Louis, while the Rams’ last win in the series came in 1999, the year they won the Super Bowl by a final of 27-10 in St. Louis. Baltimore’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. This one might be somewhat entertaining but that’s about it. The Rams have been hot and cold at times, while the Ravens have struggled a bit. You might want to avoid this one (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams) and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA (yes, we still think that Ziva smacking Tony on the head is not only funny, it’s downright hilarious!). St. Louis covers the 1 1/2 and wins in Charm City.

New York Jets (5-4) at Houston (4-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans welcome the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to the Lone Star State for an AFC showdown.

GangGreen comes into the contest with a 22-17 loss to former head coach Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills last Thursday night in the Meadowlands, while the Texans played the role of spoiler last Monday night in Cincinnati, ending the Bengals’ bid for an unblemished season with a 10-6 win at Paul Brown Stadium.

GangGreen lead the series 5-1 and have outscored the Texans 145-89. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! won the first four contests in the series, with their last win coming in 2010 in the Meadowlands by a count of 30-27, while Houston’s lone win in the series came in 2012, also in the Meadowlands, by a final of 23-17.

GangGreen’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 41. This one could be a pretty good game to watch. New York’s looking to catch up to the Pats, while the Texans are looking to keep pace with the Colts in a less-than-flattering AFC South, where there may be only one winner making the playoffs. Houston keeps things going at home and takes the win over GangGreen, covering the 2 1/2.

Tampa Bay (4-5) at Philadelphia (4-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of 4-5 teams in the hunt for their respective divisions meet in Philadelphia as Tampa Bay faces the Eagles.

Tampa Bay rallied last Sunday against Dallas to take a 10-6 win over the Cowboys, giving Dallas their seventh loss in a row. The Bucs scored the game-winning TD late in the contest when rookie QB Jameis Winston scored from a yard out with 52 seconds left in regulation after they trailed 7-6 in the contest.

On the other hand… the Eagles are in a somewhat less-than-cheery mood as they let a 16-13 lead against Miami get away from them as they fell to the Dolphins 20-19 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Philly leads the series with Tampa Bay by an 8-5 margin and have outscored the Bucs 243-199, while taking wins in their last contests, including a 31-20 win in the Sunshine State in 2013, while Tampa Bay’s last victory over the Eagles also came in the Sunshine State, taking a 23-21 win in 2006.

Philadelphia’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Tampa Bay’s a lot better than their 4-5 record but the Eagles are trying to keep pace with Eli and the New York Football Giants in the NFC East. Eagles fans, get ready to feast on cheese steak. Philly gets revenge on a Sunshine State team in the City of Brotherly Love and takes this one at the Linc, even though they may not cover the 6 1/2.

Denver (7-2) at Chicago (4-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Denver limps into the Windy City, having lost two in a row after running off seven wins to face off against Da Bears at Solider Field.

While Peyton Manning did catch Brett Farve last week against Kansas City in Denver, the Broncos struggled and fell to the Chiefs 29-13. Manning threw four interceptions in the contest and would eventually find himself benched and then had to deal with a foot problem. With Manning on the shelf due to injury, Denver Broncos is handing the reins to fourth-year pro Brock Osweiler. What’s the book on Brock Osweiler? Who is Brock Osweiler, you ask?

The Broncos selected Osweiler in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was a spectacular playmaker at Arizona State but not much more and since being selected by Denver, he’s been in the shadow of Manning for quite some time. Now it’s Osweiller’s turn.

Da Bears return to the Windy City with a 37-13 win over St. Louis in their hands. Chicago and St. Louis were even at 10-10 after the first quarter before they went on to outscore the Rams 27-3 in the last 45 minutes of play.

The series between the Broncos and the Monsters of the Midway is even at 7-7 and Da Bears have outscored Denver 276-233. Denver’s last win over Chicago? 2011 in the Mile High City as they would need overtime to come away 13-10 winners, while Chicago’s last win came in 2007 in the Windy City in overtime by a final of 37-34.

Denver’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 42. The Bears have been pretty streaky this year, while the Broncos are in somewhat of a foul mood after losing two in a row after taking wins in their first seven contests. Even without Manning, Denver takes this one in the Windy City and covers the 1.

Kansas City (4-5) at San Diego (2-7), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. Despite their records, a pair of AFC West rivals hook up on the West Coast as the Chiefs travel to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium to face the Chargers.

The Chiefs are coming off their 29-13 win over Denver last Sunday in the Mile High City, picking off Peyton Manning four times, while the Chargers return from their bye with a 22-19 Monday night loss against Chicago at home.

Including contests that were played when the Chiefs were based in Dallas and known as the Texans and the Chargers played their home games 121 miles north in Los Angeles, this will be their 110th meeting and the series is tied at 54-54-1 with the Chiefs outscoring San Diego 2,353-2,223. Kansas City swept the series last year, with their last win coming at Arrowhead by a final of 19-7, while the Bolts’ last win came in 2013 (they swept the series that year), taking a 27-24 win in overtime. The Chiefs find themselves as 3-point favorites on the West Coast and the contest carries a 46 over/under. The Chiefs would like nothing more than to finish their western swing on a high note, while the Chargers want to get back on track. Chiefs may not
cover the 3 but they win at Qualcomm.

Green Bay (6-3) at Minnesota (7-2), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. It’s a pair of old NFC North (or as ESPN’s Chris Berman calls the division the NFC Norris) in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as the Packers sqaure off against the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

The Packers travel to Minnesota this weekend sitting a game behind the Vikings for first place in the NFC North. Green Bay, which won six in a row to begin the season, is looking to get back on track and start another winning streak. The Packers’ rally against Detroit fell short as the Lions took a win over the Packers in the land of cheese, beer and bratwurst in 8,376 days by a final of 18-16. Green Bay made it a close contest when TE Justin Perillo and QB Aaron Rodgers connected on 11 yard TD pass with 32 seconds left. Ouf of time outs, Green Bay attempted an onside kick, which WR Calvin Johnson could not handle and the Packers got the ball and moved their way into field goal position but K Mason Crosby’s 52-yard field goal try that would have given the Pack the win fell short.

“We’re going to focus on getting better,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We need to keep working and fight our way out of this. We’ll keep things in perspective. We need to get ready for Minnesota.”

The Vikings have now won five in a row, including last week’s 30-14 win at Oakland. Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 203 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run, in the victory. Peterson has six career 200-yard rushing games, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson for the most in NFL history. Peterson also surpassed 11,000 rushing yards in his career. With 11,151 rushing yards and 91 rushing touchdowns in 113 games, Peterson joined Hall of Famer Jim Brown as the only players in NFL history to rush for at least 11,000 yards and 90 touchdowns in the first 113 games to begin a career.

“We’re just going to stay in our shell and hopefully continue to stay under the radar,” Peterson told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and KARE-TV about the Vikings’ 7-2 start. “But inside this locker room, we’re a pretty confident group.”

Green Bay leads the series 57-48-2 (which includes contests that were played in Milwaukee, at old Metropolitian Stadium in Bloomngton and the old Metrodome), has outscored the Purple Gang 2,354-2,075 and have taken wins in three of their last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (the two teams played to a 26-26 tie in overtime at Lambeau), with Minnesota’s last win over the Pack coming in 2013 in the Twin Cities by a final of 44-31.

Minnesota’s favored by 1 and the over/under is 45. Given the fact that the Vikings are in first place in the NFC North and not Green Bay makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those that know what “The Drill” is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention! We do NOT want any rookie mistakes here, k?… After you attend the 9:30 mass on Sunday (if you go to a Vigil Mass on Saturday, that counts as a mass attended. Don’t make us send the nuns after you, because if we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOO over!… head to your local grocery store or outlet (Target, K-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco and Wal Mart count) and purchase the vittles, including the adult beverages if your state allows purchase on Sundays and stock up. Be sure you have enough for your friends and co-workers, including that really cute teacher that lives above you and watch out for your cousin Connie… she’s the one that just turned 56, divorced twice and dates a 41-year former Marine that’s now the football coach at the high school. The girl wiped out your Super Bowl party two years ago by downing two bags of Double Stuf Oreos, an entire cheesecake, two 2-liter Cokes and two bacon and cheese burgers and didn’t gain a freaking pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”) Minnesota’s found some swagger in the NFC North, while the Packers are looking to somehow right their ship. Packers get back on track in the NFC North and wins in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

San Francisco (3-6) at Seattle (4-5), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Forget the records. It’s still “what’s your deal?” But this time, no Harbaugh for Pete Caroll to worry about. This time, these two struggling NFC West rivals meet in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks as the 49ers make the 840-mile trip up I-5 for an late afternoon (Eastern time) contest.

San Francisco enters the contest coming away 17-16 winners over Atlanta two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the defending NFC champs were taken to the woodshed by Arizona at home last Sunday night in primetime, falling to the Desert Angry Birds 39-32.

Seattle leads the series 17-15 and have outscored the 49ers 747-590. Seattle took wins in the last two regular season meetings, sweeping last year’s series, taking a 17-7 win in the Pacific Northwest for their last win, while San Francisco’s last win came in 2013, as they took a 19-17 win in Candlestick Park’s final season.

The Seahawks are favored by 11 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. These two teams don’t exactly like each other and both are trying to catch Arizona and become kings of the NFC West mountain in the process. This one will be a lot closer than the 11 1/2 but Seattle reigns in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks and takes the win.

Cincinnati (8-1) at Arizona (7-2), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. A pair of first place teams in their respective conferences and divisons meet in the desert as Cincinnati and Arizona meet in Glendale in prime time.

The Bengals enter Week 11 with an 8-1 record and as the leaders in the AFC North. Cincinnati will look to bounce back from the team’s first loss of the season, a 10-6 defeat to Houston on Monday night.

“We just have to put this one behind us,” says Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who ranks fourth in the NFL with a 104.6 passer rating. “We can’t let this turn into another one. We can’t let there be any carry over. We know what we’ve done to this point. One game doesn’t define our season. We’re still 8-1. We’re still leading the division. We know where we are, so we just need to get back to what we’ve been doing and we’ll be just fine.”

The Cardinals will play their second consecutive Sunday-night contest after last week’s 39-32 win at Seattle. That victory gives Arizona a three-game lead in the NFC West over both St. Louis and Seattle. The team will look to continue its stellar play this Sunday in front of the home fans. It will mark the 100th Cardinals’ game at University of Phoenix Stadium (preseason, regular season and postseason) and every game has been a sellout. For Arizona, it will be their second straight game on “Sunday Night Football” this weekend and have their third primetime appearance in their last four games.

Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, who leads the NFC with 23 touchdowns passes and a 108 passer rating, has won 20 of his past 24 starts. Palmer, who was the No. 1 overall pick by the Bengals in the 2003 NFL Draft, guides the league’s top offense (421.1 yards per game) and the NFC’s highest-scoring team (302 points).

“We’re a resilient group,” Palmer told the Arizona Republic. “It trickles down from the head coach. I think good teams take on their coach’s mentality. I think that’s what B.A. (head coach Bruce Arians) brings and we’ve figured out how to let that trickle down to our minds by the way we work, by the way we prepare and ultimately, by the way we play.”

The Bengals lead the series 6-4 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds Bengals 243-237. Cincinnati won the last meeting with the Desert Angry Birds, taking a 23-16 win along the shores of the Ohio River in 2011, while Arizona’s last victory came in 2007 (also in Cincy) by a 35-27 final. Arizona’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 48. This one’s “Drill Worthy” just based on their records and the possiblity they could meet in Santa Clara in February (for instructions on “The Drill, see the Green Bay-Minnesota game and follow the instructions).

Both teams lead their respective divisions (Cincy on top in the AFC North, Arizona king of the hill in the NFC West) and there’s a chance that they could meet in Santa Clara in February. Arizona could make this one close but the Bengals recover from their loss to Houston last Monday night at home and takes the win.

Buffalo (5-4) at New England (9-0), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The defending Super Bowl champs return to Foxboro to face the Bills in their second AFC East contest. Both teams won their contests last week, both teams did it against the two New York teams and both did the deed at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands.

The Bills have won two consecutive games – both against division opponents – and look to make it three in a row when they travel to New England to face the first-place Patriots. Last Thursday night, Buffalo knocked off the New York Jets 22-17 as running back Le Sean McCoy racked up 159 scrimmage yards and rookie running back Karlos Williams became the second player in NFL history (Robert Edwards, 1998) to score a touchdown in each of his first six career games.

“Everything is about one game,” says Bills head coach Rex Ryan. “You don’t worry about down the road. You worry about right now and how we can get better today and for that week’s game. This is where we’re at and this is what’s in front of us.”

New England’s Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 54-yard field goal with one second remaining to give the Patriots a 27-26 win over the New York Giants in Week 10. The victory helped preserve the team’s undefeated season as New England improved to 9-0 for the second time in franchise history (2007). With nine wins, the Patriots are guaranteed their 15th consecutive winning season, becoming the first team since the 1983-1998 San Francisco 49ers (16) to accomplish the feat. New England enters Week 11 having scored in 35 consecutive quarters, the longest streak in NFL history.

“We’re 9-0 and now we’re going to move forward and look at beating the Bills,” Gostkowski told the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, USA Today and the Christian Scientist Monitor.

Buffalo seeks revenge against Brady and the Pats after their 40-32 win over the Bills in week two along the shore of Lake Erie. New England led 24-13 at the intermission and never looked back, even though Buffalo outscored them in the final 30 minutes of action by a 19-16 margin. The Bills did hold New England to 56 yards on the ground, while Brady and Bills QB Tyrod Taylor each threw three TD passes in the contest.

Neither club has done well on Monday night, with the Bills carrying a 17-23 record into the contest (their last game was in 2009, which was a loss), while the Pats have done a little better, going 22-24 and lost their only contest in 2014, a 41-14 contest against the Chiefs in Kansas City. New England’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 49 1/2. The Bills are playing with house money, so to speak and would love nothing more to ruin the Pats’ hopes for an undefeated season, while Brady, Belichick and the Pats would like to keep things going. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. New England continues its march toward history and sweeps the series with Buffalo, taking the win, even though they may not cover the 9 1/2.