The NFL season is nearing the halfway point and the standings remain close. Through the first seven weeks, 26 teams have at least three wins. Leading the way are six clubs with at least five victories: Philadelphia (6-1), Kansas City (5-2), the Los Angeles Rams (5-2), Minnesota (5-2), New England (5-2) and Pittsburgh (5-2). Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, nearly 80 percent (197 of 247) of the previous teams to start 5-2 or better advanced to the postseason.

Entering Week 8, there are 20 teams with a .500 or better winning percentage and 14 clubs with a winning record. Since 1990, 285 of the league’s 324 playoff teams (88 percent) had a winning record through seven games.

But nothing is a given in the NFL. There have been 39 teams since 1990 which had a .500 or lower record after seven games to advance to the postseason. That includes five teams over the past two seasons: Houston (2-5), Kansas City (2-5), Seattle (3-4) and Washington (3-4) in 2015 and Miami (3-4) last year. Even winless San Francisco and Cleveland, both 0-7, still have post-season hopes.

THE WEEK THAT WAS WEEK SEVEN

RISING ROOKIES: Through the first seven weeks of the season, rookies have accumulated 9,813 yards from scrimmage, the most by rookies through Week 7 since 1970.

The seasons with the most yards from scrimmage by rookies through Week 7 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST SCRIMMAGE YARDS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 7*
2017 – 9,813
2014 – 9,027
1983 – 8,118
2013 – 7,943
1971 – 7,713

*Excludes 1987 season

Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt, who leads the NFL with 1,002 scrimmage yards and ranks second with six touchdowns, became the second rookie in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in his team’s first seven games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1,045 in 1983).

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM – SCRIMMAGE YARDS
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City – 1,002
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville – 732
Tarik Cohen, Chicago – 454
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota – 444
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina – 443

Rookies have also totaled 71 touchdowns through Week 7, the most through the first seven weeks of a season since 1970.

The seasons with the most touchdowns by rookies through Week 7 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST TOUCHDOWNS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 7*
2017 – 71
1983 – 65
2014 – 64
2013 – 60
1971 – 58

*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most touchdowns in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM – TOTAL TDS
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville – 7
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City – 6
Evan Engram, New York Giants – 3
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay – 3
Aaron Jones, Green Bay – 3
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – 3
David Njoku, Cleveland – 3
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh – 3

ZEROING IN: Three teams – Jacksonville and both Los Angeles teams, the Rams and Chargers, held their opponents scoreless in Week 7.

The last time there were more shutouts in a single week was Week 12 of the 1983 season (four).

STREAKING SMITH: Kansas City quarterback ALEX SMITH completed 25 of 36 passes (69.4 percent) for 342 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 127.3 rating in the Chiefs’ 31-30 loss at Oakland in Week 7.

Smith, who leads the NFL in passer rating (120.5) and ties for second with 15 touchdown passes, has thrown at least one touchdown pass and zero interceptions in seven consecutive games. The seven-game streak is tied for the third-longest in NFL history, trailing only Tom Brady (11) and Milt Plum (10).

Smith and Plum (1960 Cleveland) are the only players in NFL history to throw at least one touchdown pass without an interception in each of his team’s first seven games of a season.

The most consecutive games with a touchdown pass and zero interceptions in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON(S), CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 1+ TD PASS & 0 INTS)
Tom Brady, New England (2010, 11)
Milt Plum, Cleveland (1959-1960, 10)
Alex Smith, Kansas City (2017, 7)*
Jake Plummer, Denver (2005, 7)
Many tied with 6
*Active streak

EVERY GAME EVERSON: Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen recorded two sacks in the Vikings’ 24-16 win against Baltimore last week.

Griffen, who ranks third in the NFL with nine sacks, has at least one sack in each of the Vikings’ seven games this season and is the sixth player to record a sack in each of his team’s first seven games of a season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The players with at least one sack in each of their team’s first seven games of a season:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON)
Everson Griffen – Minnesota (2017)
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis (2009)
DeMarcus Ware, Dallas (2008)
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis (2005)
Shaun Ellis, New York Jets (2003)
William Fuller, Philadelphia (1994)

JULIO 8K: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 99 receiving yards with a touchdown catch in the Falcons’ 23-7 loss at New England in Week 7.

Jones, who has 8,076 career receiving yards in 85 games, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (8,118) as the only players in NFL history with at least 8,000 receiving yards through 85 career games.

The most receiving yards through a player’s first 85 career games:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEIVING YARDS)
Lance Alworth, San Diego (8,118)^
Julio Jones, Atlanta (8,076)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (7.370)^
Randy Moss, Minnesota (7,258)
Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams (7,147)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SACKSONVILLE: The Jacksonville Jaguars, led by defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue (2.5 sacks) and Calais Campbell (two), recorded 10 sacks in the team’s 27-0 win at Indianapolis last week.

The Jaguars, who recorded 10 sacks in Week 1, are the first team in NFL history to record at least 10 sacks in two of the team’s first seven games of a season. Jacksonville has a bye this week.

Jacksonville is the third team with at least 10 sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 1984 Chicago Bears (two games) and the 1967 Oakland Raiders (two).

Campbell, who has 10 sacks in his first season with Jacksonville, has the most sacks by a player in his first seven games with a team since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The most sacks by a player in his first seven games with a team since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, SACKS)
Calais Campbell, Jacksonville (2017, 10)
Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo (2016, 9)
Marcellus Wiley, San Diego (2001, 8.5)
Hugh Douglas, Philadelphia (1998, 8.5)
Charlie Clemons, New Orleans (2001, 8)
Darion Conner, New Orleans (1994, 8)
William Fuller, Philadelphia (1994, 8)

RING THE BELL: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell had 192 scrimmage yards (134 rushing, 58 receiving) in the Steelers’ 29-14 win against Cincinnati last week.

Bell, who recorded his 35th game with at least 100 scrimmage yards in his 54th career game, tied Adrian Peterson (54 games) for the fifth-fewest games to reach the milestone in NFL history.

The players to reach 35 career games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (FEWEST GAMES TO REACH 35 CAREER GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (41)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (47)^
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (50)^
Terrell Davis, Denver (53)^
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (54)
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (54)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TREMENDOUS TUCKER: Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker converted all three of his field-goal attempts, including a 57-yarder, in the Ravens’ loss at Minnesota in Week 7.

Tucker, who has 30 career field goals of at least 50 yards in 87 career games, reached 30 career 50-yard field goals in the fewest games in NFL history. Detroit kicker Matt Prater (126 games) previously held the record.

The kickers to reach 30 career 50-yard field goals in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER (TEAM(S) – FEWEST GAMES TO 30 CAREER 50-YARD FGS)
Justin Tucker (Baltimore – 87)
Matt Prater (Denver and Detroit – 126)
Jason Elam (Denver – 157)

HELPFUL HEATH: Dallas safety Jeff Heath converted two of three extra-point attempts in the Cowboys’ 40-10 win at San Francisco last week.

Heath, who took over kicking duties following an injury to Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, joined Houston’s Ted Thompson (November 23, 1980) and Detroit’s Wayne Walker (September 26, 1971) as the only non-kickers/punters to convert at least two extra-point attempts in a single game in NFL history.

PLAYER, TEAM (POSITION)(DATE – EXTRA POINTS MADE)
Ted Thompson, Houston (LB)(November 23, 1980 – 4)
Jeff Heath, Dallas (S)(October 22, 2017 – 2)
Wayne Walker, Detroit (LB)(September 26, 1971 – 2)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 8

COMPLETE PERFORMANCE: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees completed 27 of 38 passes (71.1 percent) for 331 yards and one touchdown in the Saints’ 26-17 win at Green Bay in Week 7.

With 12 completions against Chicago on Sunday, Brees, who has 5,988 career completions, would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (6,300) and Peyton Manning (6,125) as the only players with at least 6,000 career completions in NFL history.

Brees, who will play in his 240th career game on Sunday, would reach 6,000 career completions in the fewest games in NFL history, surpassing Manning (259) and Favre (286).

The players with the most completions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (CAREER COMPLETIONS)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (6,300)^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis at Denver (6,125)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (5,988)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

CLEAN SHEET: Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith passed for 342 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the Chiefs’ Week 7 loss to Oakland last Thursday.

Smith, who has three games with at least 300 passing yards, three or more touchdown passes and no interceptions this season, can join Tom Brady (2007) as the only players with four such games in his team’s first eight games to start a season.

Smith, who has 15 touchdown passes and zero interceptions this season, has the fourth-most touchdown passes without an interception to start a season in the NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes without an interception to start a season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON-TD PASSES WITHOUT INT TO START SEASON)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013-20)
Nick Foles, Philadelphia (2013-19)
Milt Plum, Cleveland (1960-16)
Alex Smith, Kansas City (2017-15)

WINSTON ON HIS WAY: Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ Week 7 loss at Buffalo.

Winston has 9,775 passing yards in 38 career games. With 225 passing yards against Carolina on Sunday, Winston would tie Peyton Manning (39 games) for the sixth-fewest games played to reach 10,000 career passing yards.

The players to reach 10,000 career passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 10,000 PASSING YARDS)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (36)^
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (37)
Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams (38)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (38)
Dan Marino, Miami (38)^
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (39)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (38)*
*Has 9,775 career passing yards
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PASSING FOR 200: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has passed for 12 touchdowns this season, including three in Week 6.

Stafford has 199 touchdown passes in 115 career games. With one touchdown pass against Pittsburgh on Sunday night, Stafford would tie Tom Brady (116 games) for the fifth-fewest games played to reach 200 career touchdown passes.

The players to reach 200 career touchdown passes in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 200 TD PASSES)
Dan Marino, Miami (89)^
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (99)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (106)
Brett Favre, Atlanta and Green Bay (107)^
Tom Brady, New England (116)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (115)*
*Has 199 career touchdown passes
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

RACKING UP THE YARDS: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell had 192 scrimmage yards (134 rushing, 58 receiving) in the Steelers’ 29-14 win against Cincinnati in Week 7 at Heinz Field last Sunday afternoon.

Bell, who ranks third in the NFL with 898 scrimmage yards this season, has 6,948 scrimmage yards in 54 career games. With 148 scrimmage yards on Sunday night against Detroit, he would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (7,095) for the most scrimmage yards in a player’s first 55 career games.

The players with the most scrimmage yards in their first 55 career games played:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS THROUGH 55 GAMES)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (7,095)^
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (6,969)
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (6,948)*
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (6,929)^
Terrell Davis, Denver (6,819)^
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (6,680)^
*Has played 54 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

RIDICULOUS ROOKIE: Kansas City rookie running back Kareem Hunt had 117 yards from scrimmage (87 rushing, 30 receiving) in the Chiefs’ Week 7 game against Oakland.

With 98 scrimmage yards against Denver on Monday Night Football, Hunt, who leads the NFL with 1,002 scrimmage yards, will become the fourth rookie in NFL history with at least 1,100 scrimmage yards in his team’s first eight games of a season.

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in their team’s first eight games of a season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – SCRIMMAGE YARDS IN TEAM’S FIRST 8 GAMES)
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (2007 – 1,242)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983 – 1,235)^
Billy Sims, Detroit (1980 – 1,175)
Marshall Faulk, Indianapolis (1994 – 1,051)^
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (2016 – 1,046)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (2017 – 1,002)*
*Through seven games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

EVERY DAY EVERSON: Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen registered two sacks in the Vikings’ 24-16 win over Baltimore in Week 7.

Griffen, who ranks third in the NFL with nine sacks, has recorded a sack in all seven of Minnesota’s games this season. With a sack on Sunday against Cleveland at London’s Twickenham Stadium, Griffen would become the third player to record a sack in each of his team’s first eight games to start a season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The players to record a sack in each of their team’s first eight games of a season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis (2009)
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis (2005)
Everson Griffen, Minnesota (2017)*
*Has sack in each of 1st 7 games

SACK ATTACK: Los Angeles Chargers defensive ends Melvin Ingran and Joey Bosa combined for three sacks in the team’s 21-0 victory against Denver in Week 7.

Ingram, who has 8.5 sacks, and Bosa, who has 7.5 sacks, can become the fifth pair of teammates to each record at least nine sacks in their team’s first eight games of a season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The teammates to each record at least nine sacks in their team’s first eight games to start a season since 1982:

TEAM (SEASON: PLAYER – SACKS; PLAYER – SACKS)
Kansas City (2013: Justin Houston – 11; Tamba Hall – 9)
Pittsburgh (2008: James Harrison 10; Lamarr Woodley 9.5)
Tampa Bay (2000: Warren Sapp – 10.5; Marcus Jones – 10)^
Detroit (1983: William Gay – 10.5; Doug English – 9)
Los Angeles Chargers (2017: Melvin Ingram – 8.5; Joey Bosa – 7.5)
*Through seven games
^ Sapp is a Pro Football Hall of Famer

GO THE DISTANCE: Buffalo kicker STEPHEN HAUSCHKA made three field goals, including a 52-yarder, in the Bills’ Week 7 win against Tampa Bay.

Hauschka, who has converted all five of his 50+ yard field goal attempts this season, has made each of the past 12 field goals of at least 50 yards he has attempted. If Hauschka converts his next 50+ yard attempt, he would set the NFL record for the most consecutive 50+ yard field goals made.

The players with the most consecutive made field goals of at least 50 yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM(S) (SEASONS; MOST CONSECUTIVE FGS MADE OF 50+ YARDS)
Stephen Hauschka, Seattle and Buffalo (2015-17; 12)*
Matt Prater, Detroit (2015-17; 12)
Justin Tucker, Baltimore (2015-16; 12)
Blair Walsh, Minnesota (2012-13; 12)
Robbie Gould, Chicago (2010-13; 12)
*Active streak

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Chicago rookie safety Eddie Jackson had a 76-yard interception-return touchdown and a 75-yard fumble-return touchdown in the Bears’ 17-3 win against Carolina. Jackson is the first player in NFL history with multiple defensive touchdowns of at least 75 yards in a single game. He is the only rookie in NFL history with two 75-yard defensive touchdowns in a single season.
There were three touchdowns of at least 45 yards scored by rookies on Sunday – a 76-yard interception-return touchdown by Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson, a 75-yard fumble-return touchdown by Jackson and a 46-yard run by Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones. Rookies have scored 16 touchdowns of at least 45 yards this season, the most such scores through the first seven weeks of a season since 1970.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees completed 27 of 38 passes (71.1 percent) for 331 yards with one touchdown and rushed for a touchdown in the Saints’ 26-17 win at Green Bay. Brees threw his 500th career touchdown pass (including the postseason) and is the fourth player in NFL history to reach 500 career touchdown passes (including the postseason), joining Peyton Manning (579), Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (552) and Tom Brady (532 entering Sunday night).

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott completed 16 of 25 passes (64 percent) for 234 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 134 passer rating in the Cowboys’ 40-10 win at San Francisco. He also added a touchdown run.  Prescott has seven career games with at least three touchdown passes and one or fewer interceptions. In a player’s first two seasons, only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino had more (nine).

Jacksonville, led by defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue (2.5 sacks) and Calais Campbell (two), recorded 10 sacks in the team’s 27-0 win at Indianapolis. The Jaguars, who recorded 10 sacks in Week 1, are the first team in NFL history to record at least 10 sacks in two of the team’s first seven games of a season.

Jacksonville is the third team with at least 10 sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 1984 Chicago Bears (two games) and the 1967 Oakland Raiders (two). Campbell, who has 10 sacks in his first season with Jacksonville, has the most sacks by a player in his first seven games with a team since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen recorded two sacks in the Vikings’ 24-16 win against Baltimore. Griffen, who has at least one sack in each of the Vikings’ seven games this season, is the sixth player to record a sack in each of his team’s first seven games of a season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Pittsburgh rookie wide receiver Ju Ju Smith-Schuster had a 31-yard touchdown catch in the Steelers’ 29-14 win at home against Cincinnati. Smith-Schuster, who doesn’t turn 21 years old until November 22, has three career touchdown receptions, the most in NFL history by a player before his 21st birthday.

Byes in Week 8, you ask? Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Tennessee get to play hooky this week. Detroit and Houston come back to action from their week seven vacation. As for last week… things were much better pick-wise, as we went 9-6 and for the year, that puts us at 64-43. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Week eight began in Baltimore as the Ravens shut out Miami 40-0 Thursday night and the Sunday section of the week ends in the Motor City as Pittsburgh and Detroit meet in prime time. Week eight comes to an end in the Midwest as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos in a Monday night AFC West matchup. Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for this week.

ATLANTA (3-3) at New York Jets (3-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of struggling teams meet in upstate New Jersey as Atlanta completes its AFC East obligations to take on the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium.

The defending NFC champs struggled against New England last Sunday night in Foxboro and fell to the defending Super Bowl champs 23-7 at Gillette Stadium. Trailng 20-0 after three quarters of play (they trailed 17-0 at the break), Atlanta’s only score of the contest came when WR Julio Jones and Ryan connected on a 1-yard TD pass with 4:09 left to play in the contest. New England outrushed Atlanta 162-130 and Ryan threw for 233 yards and the lone TD strike, while Tom Brady threw for 249 yards and a pair of TDs. Atlanta was 2 of 8 on third down (1 of 3 on fourth down), keeping the ball for 25:55, while the Pats, who blocked a Matt Bryant field attempt early in the second quarter, ruled the clock by holding the ball for 34:05, while going 7 of 13 on third down Sunday night.

GangGreen let a 21-14 lead at the half in Miami get away from them as they fell to the Dolphins 31-28 at Hard Rock Stadium. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led by seven at the intermission before the ‘Fins took control of things and came away winners with 22 seconds left when Chris Parkey connected on a 39-yard field goal. Miami outscored the Jets 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, scoring those 17 points in the fourth quarter unchallenged. The one bright spot for GangGreen was that they outrushed Miami 92-53 ahd Matt Moore took over for Jay Cutler (ribs), throwing for 188 yards and a pair of TDs (Cutler threw for 138 yards and two TDs before the injury). The Jets’ Josh McCown threw for 209 yards and three TDs but was sacked three times in the loss. Miami went 4 of 11 on third down, holding the ball for 31:58, while the Jets were 4 of 11 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 28:02.

Atlahta leads the series 6-5 but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have outscored Atlanta 209-184 and won the last meeting in 2013 in the Big Peach 30-28. Atlanta’s last win over GangGreen came in the Meadowlands in 2009 by a 10-7 final. Atlanta’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 47. The Falcons have basically had their fill of the AFC East and would love to send a message to that divison, while GangGreen would love nothing more than to see the defending NFC champs go 0-4 against the division. Atlanta’s sending a message and taking this one in the Meadowlands, covering the 5.

Minnesota (5-2) at Cleveland (0-7), 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. London) on NFL Network. The final game of the 2017 London series takes place at Twickenham Stadium Sunday morning, while most of America is at church as Minnesota and Cleveland make their way across the Atlantic.

Minnesota took Baltimore to the woodshed last Sunday in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, taking down the Ravens 24-16 at Minnesota last Sunday at US Bank Stadium. The first-place Vikings led 9-6 at the intermission in the Land of 10,000 Lakes before they pulled away in the final minutes to take the win. The home team outrushed Baltimore 169-64 (with Minnesota’s Latavius Murray leading all rushers with 113 yards and a TD), while Case Keenum, taking over for Sam Bradford (knee), threw for 188 yards. As for the Ravens, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco threw for 186 yards (five sacks) and a TD pass to Chris Moore as time expired. Baltimore went 6 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while Minnesota kept the ball for 32:01, going 7 of 15 on third down conversions.

The Browns were so close, yet fell to Tennessee 12-9 in overtime along the shores of Lake Erie at FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday, in a contest that was an all-field goal affair. Cleveland trailed 6-3 at the half and then tied the contest up with a pair of Zane Gonzalez field goals in the second, with the game tying score coming with 47 seconds left in regulation. The two teams each had the ball twice and after Cleveland failed in their try to score to win the game or take the lead, the Titans went to work, taking the clock down to the 2-minute warning and the Titans sent Browns fans home in a somewhat chippy mood when Ryan Succop connected on a 47-yard field goal, sending Cleveland to their seventh loss of the 2017 campaign.

Tennessee outrushed the winless Browns 80-66 and Cleveland went 3 of 13 on third down tries (1 of 2 on fourth down), keeping the ball for 32:42, while the Titans were 5 of 17, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the pigskin for 35:23, including the overtime,

The Vikings lead the series 10-4 and Minnesota has outscored Cleveland 377-224. Cleveland won the last meeting between the clubs, coming away 31-27 winners in the Twin Cities in 2013. As for the Vikings? Their last win in the series came in 2009, along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 34-20. Minnesota’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 38. Cleveland’s bad. They’re not 9 1/2 bad but they’ll make things interesting on the other side of the Atlantic. Minnesota wins this one but expect Cleveland to make it closer than 9 1/2.

Oakland (3-4) at Buffalo (4-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. The Silver and Black make their way to upstate New York for an early afternooon meeting with the Buffalo Bills along the shores of Lake Erie.

Oakland erased a 24-10 deficit on the West Coast last Thursday night and came away 31-30 winners over AFC West rival Kansas City. The Thursday night contest featured eight lead changes, three Kansas City penalties in the final seconds of the contest and Marshawn Lynch ejected from the contest for making physical contact with line judge Julian Mapp in the second quarter. The Silver and Black pulled to within six with 11:53 left in the final period when Georgio Tavecchio connected on a 26-yard field goal (Tavecchio was in for Sebastian Janikowski).

Oakland then gave their fan base something to smile about when they used and 11-play, 85-yard drive that burned 2:25 of clock and ended with a two-yard TD pass from Derek Carr (417 yards, 3 TDs) to WR Michael Crabtree with :00 left on the clock. The craziness began when with 23 seconds, Carr connected with WR TE Jared Cook on a 29-yard TD pass. The play was reviewed and the call reversed. Carr tried again, from the 1-yard line, connecting with Crabree. That was erased when the Raiders were called for offensive pass interference. Carr then threw an incomplete pass but the Chiefs were called for holding in the end zone, which put the pigskin on the 1-yard line. Kansas City then got caught again for holding and then the Raiders finally struck pay dirt with the Carr to Crabtree strike. Kansas City outrushed the Raiders 94-88, while the Chiefs’ Smtih threw for 342 yards and three TDs. Oakland on third down went 6 of 13 (the Raiders were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:24, while Kansas City, who held the ball for 30:36, went 8 of 15 on thrid down tries in the Thursday night contest.

Buffalo erased a 6-3 deficit at the end of the first quarter, took a 10-6 lead at halftime against Tampa Bay and came away 30-27 winners over Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers last Sunday in Orchard Park. Buffalo trailed 27-20 with 2:28 left in regulation when LeSean McCoy scored from seven yards out (his second TD of the day) to even things up. Then after the Bills stopped Tampa Bay late in the contest, Buffalo used a 7-play drive that used only 21 yards and 2:06 of clock and sent their fans home happy campers when Steven Hauschka kicked a 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds left. McCoy led all rushers with 91 yards, while Buffalo outrushed Tampa Bay 173-69 and Tyrod Taylor threw for 268 yards and a TD, while Winston threw for 384 yards and three TDs. The victorious Bills were 10 of 16 on third down at New Era Field, keeping the ball for 26:50, while Tampa Bay held the pigskin for 33:10, going 6 of 11 on third down tries.

Buffalo holds a 21-17 lead in the series, while the Silver and Black have outscored the Bills 893-802 (which includes contests that took place in Oakland). Oakland won the last two meetings, both in Oakland and the Raiders prevailed 38-24 last season on the West Coast (Buffalo’s last win in the series came in 2011 in Orchard Park by a final of 38-35).

They meet in week 13 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Oakland erased a 10-9 deficit at the break and proceeded to outscore the Bills 29-14 in the final 30 minutes of play. Oakland was outrushed by the Bills 212-139, with Bills RB LeSean McCoy leading all rushers with 130 yards on the ground. Oakland’s passing attack was on track, as Derek Carr threw for 260 yards and a pair of TDs (one going to WR Michael Crabtree), while Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor threw for 191 yards but was sacked four times. The Bills went 9 of 15 on third down conversions in northern California and kept the ball for 30:15, while the Raiders 5 of 13 on third down (neither team had a fourth down try) and kept the ball for 29:45.

Oakland covered the 3-point spread, winning at home by 14 and the 62 combined points easily eclipsed the 50 over/under in the week 13 contest in Cali. This time, the oddsmakers like Buffalo as a 2 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 46. Both teams have actually played some pretty decent football of late but not great football. While this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” it’s worth your time because both teams are in the hunt. Bills cover the 2 1/2 and win in upstate New York.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) at New England (5-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The resurgent Chargers make their way to the East Coast for an early afternoon contest in western Massachusetts to take on Tom Brady and the Pats in Foxboro.

The Chargers took Denver to task last Sunday at Stub Hub Center, shutting out the Broncos 21-0. Los Angeles limited the Broncos to 251 total net yards and became the first team to shutout Denver since November 22, 1992. The Chargers, who rushed for 80 yards, held the Broncos to 69, as Philip Rivers threw for 183 yards and a pair of TDs, while Trevor Siemian threw for 207 yards with five sacks and an interception in the lopsided loss. The Bolts were 3 of 12 on third down tries in southern California (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:56, while Denver, who turned the ball over three times, kept the pigskin for 31:04, going 3 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

The defending Super Bowl champs took Atlanta to task 23-7 in a rematch of Super Bowl LI at Gillette Stadium last Sunday night. New England led 17-0 at the half and 20-0 after three quarters of play, allowing Atlanta’s only score of the contest came when WR Julio Jones and Ryan connected on a 1-yard TD pass with 4:09 left to play in the contest. New England outrushed Atlanta 162-130 and Ryan threw for 233 yards and the lone TD strike, while Tom Brady threw for 249 yards and a pair of TDs. Atlanta was 2 of 8 on third down (1 of 3 on fourth down), keeping the ball for 25:55, while the Pats, who blocked a Matt Bryant field attempt early in the second quarter, ruled the clock by holding the ball for 34:05, while going 7 of 13 on third down Sunday night.

The Pats lead the series 21-14-2 (including games that were played at Fenway Park and Qualcomm Stadium) and have outscored the Bolts 883-734. Brady and the Pats won the last meeting between the clubs, coming away 23-14 winners at Qualcomm in 2014, while the Chargers’ last win in the series came in 2008 (also at Qualcomm) by a final of 30-10. England’s favored by 7 an the over/under is 48. Pats win but given the fact that the Chargers have been hot of late, don’t expect them to cover the 7.

Indianapolis (2-5) at Cincinnati (2-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet along the shore of the Ohio River as the Bengals host Indianapolis at Paul Brown Stadium. Both teams enter the Sunday contest with losses under their belts.

The Colts trailed Jacksonville 20-0 at halftime at Lucas Oil Stadium and were shut out by the Jaguars 27-0 in the Hoosier State. Indy was outrushed 188-96, with Jacksonville’s T.Y. Yeldon haunting his old team for 122 yards and a rushing TD. Jacoby Brissett threw for 200 yards in the loss but his offensive line failed him, as Jacksonville sacked him ten times, while Blake Bortles threw for 330 yards and a TD. The Colts were 5 of 15 on third down tries (0 of 3 on fourth down conversions) and kept the ball for 27:13, while Jacksonville ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:47, going 8 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh broke a 7-7 tie after one quarter with the Bengals at Heinz Field and sent Cincinnati 29-14 losers last Sunday. After Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown caught a 7-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to open the scoring, the Bengals tied things up when Andy Dalton connected on a 6-yard TD pass to Brandon LaFell in the waining seconds of the first quarter. The two teams then traded TDs again in the second quarter and the Steelers would take the lead for good when Chris Boswell connected on the first of his five field goals in the contest. Pittsburgh outrushed their AFC North rivals 152-71 and Steelers RB LeVeon Bell ran for 134 yards and Rothelisberger threw for 224 yards, while Dalton threw for 140 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs). The Bengals were 3 of 11 on third down tries (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:45, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 35:15.

Including games that were played when the Colts were in Baltimore, Indy holds a 17-10 lead in the series and have outscored the Bengals 693-597. Indy’s last win in the series came in 2014, when the Colts shut out Cincinnati 27-0 in the Hoosier State, while the Bengals’ last win over the Colts came in 2013 along the shores of the Ohio River by a final of 42-28. The Bengals are favored by 10 and the over/under is 40 1/2. If you’re a fan of either team, watch this one by all means; otherwise, may we suggest the “Lifetime Christmas Movie Marathon?” (there’s nothing funnier than Grumpy Cat!) Indy makes it close but Cincy prevails at home.

San Francisco (0-7) at Philadelphia (6-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. The winless 49ers travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

San Francisco remained winless last week after their 40-10 loss to Dallas in Santa Clara last Sunday. San Francisco trailed 20-3 at the half and could never get on track, as Dallas held them in check during the game. Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott ran for 147 yards and a pair of TDs as Dallas sacked 49ers QB C.J. Bethard (235 yards) five times, while they outrushed San Francisco 265-103 and Dak Prescott threw for 234 yards and three TDs, one to Elliott and the others going to WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten. Dallas went 7 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down tries and kept the ball for 32:50, while the 49ers, who held the ball for 27:10, went 6 of 13 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Philadelphia led Washington 17-10 at the intermission last Monday night and came away 34-24 winners in the City of Brotherly Love at Lincoln Financial Field. Carson Wentz threw four TD passes in the NFC East matchup in primetime, while throwing for 268 yards and rushing for 63 yards of his own. Philly outrushed Washington 127-75, while Washington QB Kirk Cousins threw for 303 yards and four TDs but was sacked four times (Wentz was sacked three times). Philly was 6 of 12 on third down tries and kept the ball for 29:45, while Washington ruled the clock, holding the ball for 30:15 and went 4 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The 49ers lead the series 18-12-1 (which includes contests that took place at Keezar Stadium, Veterans Stadium and Candlestick Park), while the Eagles have outscored San Francsico 716-709. The 49ers have won the last two contests in the series, coming away 26-21 winners in 2014 in northern California, while the Eagles’ last win over the 49ers came in 2010 (also in San Francisco) by a final of 27-24. Philly’ favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. We admit that the 49ers are bad. They’re not 10 1/2 bad. Still, Philadelphia prevails in this one and takes the win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Chicago (3-4) at New Orleans (4-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Deep dish pizza meets gumbo in the Bayou as Chicago travels to New Orleans for a meeting with the New Orleans Saints in the Big Easy.

Chicago held Carolina to a Chris Gano field goal in the second quarter as they fell to Chicago 17-3 at Soldier Field last Sunday afternoon. Da Bears’ defense was the star of the show, as DB Eddie Jackson burned Carolina for two TDs off turnovers, first running back a fumble 75 yards for the game’s first score, then picking off Newton with a 76 yard interception return to take a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Although Carolina outrushed Chicago 108-68 and Newton threw for 211 yards, Chicago forced three turnovers (Newton had two interceptions and was sacked five times), while rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 107 yards with four sacks. Carolina went 6 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:35, while Chicago needed only 21:25 of clock, going 2 of 11 on third down tries.

New Orleans erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit against Green Bay at Lambeau last Sunday afternoon and took a 26-17 over the Packers in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst. Drew Brees threw for 331 yards and a TD and ran for a TD late in the contest, as the Saints took a 14-7 lead with them to the intermission. Mark Ingram ran for 105 yards and a TD, while Green Bay’s Aaron Jones ran for 131 yards and a TD. Green Bay outrushed the Saints 181-161 but kept rookie QB Brett Hundley, who took over for Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone) in check, holding him to 87 yards passing. New Orleans went 8 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions at Lambeau, keeping the ball for 36:56, while the Packers were 23:04 in time of possession, going 4 of 11 on third down.

New Orleans leads the series 14-13, while Da Bears have outscored the Saints 548-539. New Orleans have won the last three meetings (taking the two meetings in the Windy City) coming away 31-15 winners in 2014, while Chicago’s last win came in the Windy City in 2008, as Da Bears needed overtime to take a 27-24 win at Solider Field. The Saints are favored by 9 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Da Bears make this one an upset in the Big Easy and wins in the Bayou.

Carolina (4-3) at Tampa Bay (2-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of former Heisman Trophy QBs meet in the Sunshine State as Cam Newton and Jameis Winston meet in an NFC South showdown at Raymond James Stadium.

The Panthers found themselves held to a Chris Gano field goal in the second quarter as they fell to Chicago 17-3 at Soldier Field last Sunday afternoon. DB Eddie Jackson burned Carolina for two TDs off turnovers, first running back a fumble 75 yards for the game’s first score, then picking off Newton with a 76 yard interception return to take a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Although Carolina outrushed Chicago 108-68 and Newton threw for 211 yards, Chicago forced three turnovers (Newton had two interceptions and was sacked five times), while rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 107 yards with four sacks. Carolina went 6 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:35, while Chicago needed only 21:25 of clock, going 2 of 11 on third down tries.

Tampa Bay and Winston trailed 10-6 at halftime against Buffalo and fell 30-27 last Sunday in Orchard Park. The Bucs led 27-20 with 2:28 left in regulation when LeSean McCoy scored from seven yards out (his second TD of the day) to even things up. Then after Tampa Bay was stopped late in the contest and punted, Buffalo used a 7-play drive that used only 21 yards and 2:06 of clock and sent their fans home happy campers when Steven Hauschka kicked a 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds left. McCoy led all rushers with 91 yards, while Buffalo outrushed Tampa Bay 173-69 and Tyrod Taylor threw for 268 yards and a TD, while Winston threw for 384 yards and three TDs. The victorious Bills were 10 of 16 on third down at New Era Field, keeping the ball for 26:50, while Tampa Bay held the pigskin for 33:10, going 6 of 11 on third down tries.

Carolina leads the series 20-13 and have outscored Tampa Bay 725-572. The Buccaneers swept the series last year (Carolina’s last win came in 2015, when they swept the series enroute to Super Bowl 50, coming away 38-10 winners in Charlotte).

The first meeting? Week five in the Tar Heel State. With Newton out of the lineup (shoulder), Carolina managed to erase a 6-0 deficit at the half at Bank of America Stadium, using a pair of Cameron Artis-Payne rushing TDs to take a 14-6 lead with 6:03 left in the third, only to see that lead disappear when Winston and WR Mike Evans connected on a 26-yard TD pass and two-point conversion to tie things up in the third quarter. Later in the contest, the Bucs used an 11-play, 66-yard drive late in the fourth quarter, using the final 1:49 left on the clock and took the win as time expired when K Roberto Aguayo sent his 38-yard FG try through the uprights. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 136-113 (Tampa Bay’s Jacquizz Rodgers led all rushers with 101 yards) and Winston threw for 219 yards, while Newton’s replacement Derek Anderson threw for 278 yards and a pair of interceptions. Carolina on third down tries in the Monday night contest went 1 of 8 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 25:51, while Tampa Bay was 6 of 15 on third down and kept the ball for 34:09, including the final 1:49 of the contest.

Tampa Bay made it a clean sweep in the series, taking a 17-16 win in the Sunshine State in week 17. The Bucs broke a 10-10 tie after three quarters of play, taking the lead for keeps when Winston and Evans connected on a 10-yard TD strike with 3:13 left in regulation. Carolina pulled to within one with 17 seconds left when Newton and WR Kelvin Benjamin connected on a 5-yard TD pass. Carolina missed the extra point that would have at best sent the game to overtime and the Panthers tried an onside kick. The onside try failed, Tampa Bay got the ball, ran out the clock and took the win. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 128-112, while Winston threw for 202 yards and Newton (three interceptions) threw for 237 yards.

Carolina was favored by 4 1/2 in the week five Monday night contest in Charlotte and the Bucs came away 3-point winners. The 44 1/2 over/under was safe, as both clubs scored only 31 points. The Bucs were 6 1/2 point favorites in the season finale at Tampa but failed to cover, as they came away 1-point winners. The two clubs also missed the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying only 33 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Buccaneers as a 2 1/2 point favorite in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 44. Both numbers make sense and both are trying to unthrone Atlanta as the champion in the NFC South, while passing New Orleans for the lead in the division. Carolina makes this one intersting but Tampa Bay prevails at home, even though they may not cover the 2 1/2.

Houston (3-3) at Seattle (4-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. Waston meets Wilson as the Houston Texans travel to the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks to face the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field.

Houston took the winless Browns to task two weeks ago and took a 33-17 win over Cleveland at NRG Stadium. Although the Texans led 24-3 at the half, Cleveland managed to outrush Houston 134-123 in the 16-point loss. Cleveland’s Kevin Hogan threw for 140 yards and a TD but was sacked four times (picked off three), while Houston’s DeShaun Watson threw for 225 yards and three TDs. The Browns were 3 of 14 on third down conversions and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 30:56, while the Texans, who kept the pigskin for 29:04, went 5 of 13 on third down.

Erasing a 7-3 deficit against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands last Sunday, Seattle went on to score their final 21 points of the contest on the Jersey Shores unchallenged as the Seahawks took a 24-7 win at Met Life Stadium. Wilson threw for 334 yards and three TDs, one to WR Doug Baldwin after he and Wilson got into a verbal altercation on the sidelines. Seattle held the Giants to 46 yards rushing, while they tallied 104 and held Eli Manning to 134 yards and a TD. Seattle went 6 of 13 on third down in the Meadowlands, while the Giants were 2 of 12 and the Seahawks kept the ball for 35:26 to New York’s 24:34. (Both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down tries.)

The Seahawks lead the series 2-1 and have outscored Houston 72-64. Seattle’s last win came in 2013, when the Seahawks needed overtime in the Lone Star State to win 23-20, while Houston’s lone win in the series also came in Houston in 2009, wit the Texans coming out on top 34-7 winners. Seattle’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under is 45 1/2. This may be worth your while to watch Sunday and both clubs have played better football of late. Seattle covers the 5 1/2 in the Pacific Northwest and wins in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

Dallas (3-3) at Washington (3-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Hatfields vs. McCoys. Capulets vs. Montagues. Crips vs. Bloods. Redskins vs. Cowboys. Enough said. Forget their records. These two teams DO NOT LIKE each other. Tied for second place, these NFC East rivals meet in the late afternoon at Fed Ex Field in Landover.

Dallas manhandled San Francisco in Santa Clara last Sunday, keeping the 49ers winless as they took a 40-10 win at Levis Stadium. The Cowboys took a 20-3 lead at the half and never looked back, keeping the 49ers in check during the contest. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 147 yards and a pair of TDs as Dallas sacked 49ers QB C.J. Bethard (235 yards) five times, while they outrushed San Francisco 265-103 and Dak Prescott threw for 234 yards and three TDs, one to Elliott and the others going to WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten. Dallas ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:50 as the Cowboys went 7 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down tries, while the 49ers, who held the ball for 27:10, went 6 of 13 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Washington let a 3-0 first quarter lead against NFC East foe Philadelphia get away from them in the City of Brotherly Love and fell to the Eagles 34-24 last Monday night. The ‘Skins trailed 17-10 at the intermission last Monday night as the Eagles managed to take control the rest of the contest, as Carson Wentz threw four TD passes in the NFC East matchup in primetime, while throwing for 268 yards and rushing for 63 yards of his own. Philly outrushed Washington 127-75, while Washington QB Kirk Cousins threw for 303 yards and four TDs but was sacked four times (Wentz was sacked three times). Philly was 6 of 12 on third down tries and kept the ball for 29:45, while Washington ruled the clock, holding the ball for 30:15 and went 4 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Cowboys lead the series 68-42-2 (which includes contests that were played at RFK Stadium, the Cotton Bowl and Cowboys Stadium) and have outscored Washington 2,590-2,162. Dallas swept the series last year, taking wins in Landover and Arlington, while Washington’s last win over their NFC East rivals came in 2015, when Washington left the Lone Star State with a 34-23 win.

The first meeting took place in Landover in week two and the Cowboys led 13-10 at the half, holding off Washigton to take the 27-23 win at Fed Ex Field. Dallas outrushed Washington 102-82, with Elliott leading all rushers with 83 yards and a TD, while Prescott threw for 292 yards and Cousins threw for 364 yards and a TD (Cousins was sacked twice, while Prescott was four times). Dallas was 6 of 12 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:51, while the Redskins, who held the ball for 27:09, went 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Dallas completed the sweep in week 12 in Arlington, taking a 31-26 win Thanksgiving afternoon at AT&T Stadium. Leading 17-6 at the intermission, Dallas needed to hold off a Washington second half rally, as Washington would outscore Dallas 20-14 in the fourth quarter. Dallas outrushed Washington 163-56, with Elliott rushing for 97 yards and a pair of TD, while Prescott threw for 195 yards (Cousins threw for 449 yards and three TDs). Both teams did quite well on third down tries, as Dallas was 4 of 8 and Washington was 8 of 15 and the Redskins actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:24 to Dallas’ 26:36.

Washington was favored by 2 1/2 in the first meeting in Landover and the Cowboys won by 4, allowing them to cover the spread and both clubs took care of the 45 over/under, scoring 50 points. Although Dallas did come away with the win in the week 12 Thanksgiving Day matchup in Arlington, they won by only 5, missing the 7-point spread. However… both teams took care of the 51 over/under, scoring 57 points. Dallas finds themselves favored by 2 1/2 in Landover and the over/under’s 50 1/2. They’re rivals… they have a history of not liking each other (operative word here is NOT)… they’re both trying to catch Philadelphia in the NFC East. Washington will make it tough for Dallas but the Cowboys prevail in Landover and covers the 2 1/2.

Pittsburgh (5-2) at Detroit (3-3), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Roethlisberger vs. Stafford. Week eight Sunday action concludes in the Motor City as the Steelers travel to Detroit for a Sunday evening contest with the Lions at Ford Field.

The Steelers broke a 7-7 tie after one quarter with the Bengals at Heinz Field and came away 29-13 winners over Cincinnati last Sunday. After Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown caught a 7-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to open the scoring, the Bengals tied things up when Andy Dalton connected on a 6-yard TD pass to Brandon LaFell in the waining seconds of the first quarter. The two teams then traded TDs again in the second quarter and the Steelers would take the lead for good when Chris Boswell connected on the first of his five field goals in the contest. Pittsburgh outrushed their AFC North rivals 152-71 and Steelers RB LeVeon Bell ran for 134 yards and Rothelisberger threw for 224 yards, while Dalton threw for 140 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs). The Bengals were 3 of 11 on third down tries (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:45, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 35:15.

Detroit trailed New Orleans 31-10 at the half, then managed to outscore the Saints 28-21 in the second half but still came up on the short end of a 52-38 loss in the Superdome two Sundays ago. The contest was somewhat close in the early parts of the fourth quarter before Detroit and New Orleans traded interceptions like heavyweigh fighters for TDs and the 90 combined points was the second most since 2013. New Orleans outrushed Detroit in the slugfest 193-66 (Saints RB Mark Ingram led all rushers with 114 yards and a pair of TDs), while Matthew Stafford burned the Saints for 312 yards and three TDs with five sacks and three interceptions (Brees threw for 186 yards and a pair of TDs with a pair of interceptions). New Orleans, who forced five Detroit turnovers, went 2 of 12 on third down (they struck paydirt in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 32:11, while the Lions were 27:49 in time of possession, going 9 of 18 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games that took place in 1940, when the Steelers were known as the Pirates and games were played at Tiger Stadium, Forbes Field, Three Rivers Stadium and the Silverdome, Pittsburgh leads the series 16-14-1. The Lions have outscored Pittsburgh 606-540 in those 31 meetings. However… Pittsburgh has won the last four meetings, including taking a 37-27 win in the Steel City in 2013, while the Lions’ last victory over Pittsburgh came in 1998 in the Motor City and the Lions needed overtime to win 19-16.

Pittsburgh’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45. You might want to tape Game 5 of the World Series. This one’s good enough to be “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 57 last June and dates a 42-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?”

The Lions have played some decent but not great football of late, while Pittsubrgh has somehow bounced back from the shocker against Jacksonville two weeks ago. Steelers cover the 3 and take the Sunday night win.

Denver (3-3) at Kansas City (5-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A pair of AFC West rivals close out week eight on Monday night as Kansas City hosts Denver at Arrowhead.

Denver was taken to task last Sunday at Stub Hub Center, as they were shutout by the Los Angeles Chargers 21-0 last Sunday. Los Angeles limited the Broncos to 251 total net yards and became the first team to shutout Denver since November 22, 1992. The Chargers, who rushed for 80 yards, held the Broncos to 69, as Philip Rivers threw for 183 yards and a pair of TDs, while Trevor Siemian threw for 207 yards with five sacks and an interception in the lopsided loss. The Bolts were 3 of 12 on third down tries in southern California (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:56, while Denver, who turned the ball over three times, kept the pigskin for 31:04, going 3 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

The Chiefs lost their second game in a row after winning their first six contests, falling to AFC West rival Oakland 31-30 last Thursday night on the West Coast. Kansas City led 24-10 at the half before Oakland stormed back in the second half in the Thursday night affair, that featured =featured eight lead changes, three Kansas City penalties in the final seconds of the contest and Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch ejected from the contest for making physical contact with line judge Julian Mapp in the second quarter. The Silver and Black pulled to within six with 11:53 left in the final period when Georgio Tavecchio connected on a 26-yard field goal (Tavecchio was in for Sebastian Janikowski).

Oakland then gave their fan base something to smile about when they used and 11-play, 85-yard drive that burned 2:25 of clock and ended with a two-yard TD pass from Derek Carr (417 yards, 3 TDs) to WR Michael Crabtree with :00 left on the clock. The craziness began when with 23 seconds, Carr connected with WR TE Jared Cook on a 29-yard TD pass. The play was reviewed and the call reversed. Carr tried again, from the 1-yard line, connecting with Crabree. That was erased when the Raiders were called for offensive pass interference. Carr then threw an incomplete pass but the Chiefs were called for holding in the end zone, which put the pigskin on the 1-yard line. Kansas City then got caught again for holding and then the Raiders finally struck pay dirt with the Carr to Crabtree strike. Kansas City outrushed the Raiders 94-88, while the Chiefs’ Smtih threw for 342 yards and three TDs. Oakland on third down went 6 of 13 (the Raiders were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:24, while Kansas City, who held the ball for 30:36, went 8 of 15 on thrid down tries in the Thursday night contest.

Kansas City leads the series 59-54 and has outscored Denver 2,607-2,330, which includes games that were played in Dallas when the Chiefs were known as the Texans. Kansas City has won the last three meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Denver’s last win came in 2015 at Arrowhead by a final of 31-24.

First meeting… week 12 in Denver. Kansas City led 9-3 at the break in the Sunday night contest at Sports Authority Field before Denver outscored the Chiefs 21-15 in the second half to tie things up and send the contest into overtime with the score even at 24-24. In the overtime, Denver would score first on a 44 yard field goal by Brian McManus to take a 27-24 lead. Chris Santos would tnen help his team respond with a 37-yard field goal with 4:19 left in the extra period. Denver then got the ball back in the overtime but could not score and punted the ball back to the Chiefs, who used a 4-play, 32-yard drive that used 61 seconds and ended when Santos connected on a 34-yard field goal with 2 seconds left to play to take the 30-27 win. Denver outrushed Kansas City 124-83 and Siemian threw for 368 yards and three TDs (he was sacked five times), while Smith threw for 220 yards and a TD, while being sacked six times. Denver was 9 of 20 on third down conversions and held the ball for 37:19, while the Chiefs went 5 of 17 on third down, holding the ball for 37:39 (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down tries).

Kansas City gave themselves a really good Christmas present on Christmas night and made it a clean sweep in the second meeting, coming away 33-10 winners at Arrowhead in week 16. Kansas City led 21-10 at the break and then proceeded to score their final 13 points of the second half unchalleneged. Kansas City ran for 238 yards in the win, holding Denver to 63. Smtih threw for 244 yards and a TD to TE Travis Kelce for the Chiefs,, while Siemian threw for 183 yards and an interception. While forcing three Denver turnovers, the Chiefs were 9 of 17 on third down tries, while keeping the ball for 38:01. As for Denver? They were 21:59 in time of possession, going 4 of 15 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

In the week 12 Sunday night contest in the Mile High City, the Broncos were favored by 3 1/2 but the Chiefs almost covered that number, winning by 3. Both clubs did manage to cover the 39 1/2 over/under, scoring 57 points. In the week 16 matchup at Arrowhead on Christmas night (also a Chiefs win), Kansas City’s 23-point win allowed them to cover the 4-point spread and the 43 points allowed both clubs to cover the 37 1/2 over/under.

As far as Monday nights go? The Broncos suprisingly are 31-37-1 (they played one MNF contest in 2016 and picked up the win), while the Chiefs are 23-18 (Kansas City last appeared on Mondday night in 2015 and lost that contest. Kansas City’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 43. This might be one worth watching, so go ahead and tape “Scorpion” this week. Denver will make it tough for the Chiefs but Kansas City bounces back from their two-game losing streak and picks up the win at home in Arrowhead.

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