The calendar has turned.

The leaves are changing color and falling.

It’s getting a little cooler in some parts of the country and Thanksgiving will be upon us before you know it.

Week 9 is here. Get that mulled pumpkin spice cider ready.

November has arrived and the NFL season enters its second half. At the midpoint, there are nine teams with a .700 or better winning percentage, led by the 7-1 (.875) Philadelphia Eagles. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, nearly 97 percent (60 of 62, 96.8 percent) of the previous teams to start 7-1 or better advanced to the postseason.

Through the first eight weeks, 16 teams have a winning record. Two divisions – AFC East (New England 6-2, Buffalo 5-2, Miami 4-3) and NFC South (New Orleans 5-2, Carolina 5-3, Atlanta 4-3) – each have three teams with a winning record.

The first half of the season has seen thrilling comebacks and close finishes, but the excitement will only intensify as the playoff push begins. And there’s still plenty of football to be played so don’t count teams out yet.

Since 2000, 44 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season. Last year, there were four such teams: Detroit (4-4), Green Bay (4-4), Miami (4-4) and Pittsburgh (4-4).

Of those 44 clubs, seven have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including both the Packers and Steelers last season. The 2001 New England Patriots reached the midway point with a 4-4 record and went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

SEVEN FROM LAST SUNDAY

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for a franchise-record 452 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in the Seahawks’ 41-38 win over Houston. Wilson, in his sixth season, has seven career games with at least four touchdown passes and one or fewer interceptions. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino (10) and Brett Farve (nine) have more such games in a player’s first six seasons.

Houston rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson passed for 402 yards and four touchdowns against Seattle. Watson has thrown at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive games and is the first rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

Watson has 16 touchdown passes in his past four games, the most in league annals by a rookie in any four-game span.

This season, Watson has 19 passing touchdowns, the most ever by a rookie in his first seven games of a season. Watson has also passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (18 from 1998-1999) for the most passing touchdowns by a player in his first seven career games.

•New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees completed 23 of 28 passes (82.1 percent) for 299 yards in the Saints’ 20-12 win over Chicago. Brees has 6,011 career completions and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (6,300) and PEYTON MANNING (6,125) as the only players in NFL history with at least 6,000 completions.

Brees reached the milestone in his 240th career game and is the fastest in NFL history to accomplish the feat (Manning, 259 games and Favre, 286).

•New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 333 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions in the Patriots’ 21-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Brady, who has played his entire career with the Patriots, has 44 games with at least 300 passing yards and no interceptions. That ties him with Drew Brees (44 with New Orleans) for the most such games with a single team in NFL history.

Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz threw two touchdown passes in the Eagles’ 33-10 win over San Francisco. Wentz has thrown 19 touchdown passes this season, the most by a quarterback in franchise history through the team’s first eight games. The previous mark of 17 touchdown passes was shared by Pro Football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin (1960) and NORM SNEAD (1967).

•Buffalo running back Le Sean Mcoy COY rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown in the Bills’ 34-14 win over Oakland. Over the past five seasons, McCoy has eight games with at least 150 rushing yards, the most in the NFL during that span.

•Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 33-19 win at Washington. Elliott, who played in his 22nd career game, has 21 rushing touchdowns and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders and Billy Sims for the third-fastest to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns since the 1970 merger. Only Hall of Famers Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson (20 games) reached 20 career rushing touchdowns in fewer games since the merger.

•Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers had a sack and forced fumble in the Panthers’ 17-3 win at Tampa Bay. Peppers has 151 career sacks and passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Doleman (150.5) for the fourth-most sacks since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen recorded one sack in the Vikings’ 33-16 win over Cleveland at London’s Twickenham Stadium in the fourth and final 2017 London Series game in the United Kingdom. Griffen, who has 10 sacks and has recorded at least one sack in each of the Vikings’ eight games this season, is the third player to record a sack in each of his team’s first eight games of a season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. He joins Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney (2009) and Robert Mathis (2005) as the only players to accomplish the feat.

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa had a sack in the team’s loss at New England. Bosa has 19 sacks in 20 career games, the most sacks by a player in his first 20 games to begin a career since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

THE WEEK THAT WAS – WEEK 8

RISING ROOKIES: Through the first eight weeks of the season, rookies have accumulated 10,980 yards from scrimmage, the most by rookies through Week 8 since 1970.​

The seasons with the most yards from scrimmage by rookies through Week 8 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST SCRIMMAGE YARDS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 8*
2017 – 10,980
2014 – 10,977
2013 – 9,399
1983 – 9,139
1971 – 8,920
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (1,070)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (732)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (500)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (495)
Tarik Cohen, Chicago (462)

Rookies have also totaled 79 touchdowns through Week 8, tied for the most through the first eight weeks of a season since 1970.

The seasons with the most touchdowns by rookies through Week 8 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST TOUCHDOWNS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 8*
2017 – 79
2014 – 79
1983 – 73
2013 – 71
1971 – 66
1984 – 63
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most touchdowns in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (7)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (6)
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh (4)
Many tied with 3

UNMATCHED: Houston rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson passed for 402 yards with four touchdowns and added 67 rushing yards in the team’s Week 8 loss at Seattle.

Watson is the first player in NFL history to register at least 400 passing yards, four touchdown passes and 50 rushing yards in a single game.

Watson, who is tied for the league lead with 19 touchdown passes, passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (18) for the most passing touchdowns by a player in his first seven career games.

The players with the most passing touchdowns in their first seven career games:

PLAYER, TEAM (TD PASSES)
Deshaun Watson, Houston (19)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (18)^
George Ratterman, New York Yanks (16)
Mark Rypien, Washington (16)
Dan Marino, Miami (15)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Watson, who is the first rookie in NFL history to throw at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive games, has the most touchdown passes by a rookie in his first seven games.

The rookies with the most touchdown passes in his first seven games:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – TD PASSES)
Deshaun Watson, Houston (2017 – 19)
Dan Marino, Miami (1983 – 15)^
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee (2015 – 13)
Greg Cook, Cincinnati (1969 – 13)
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay (2013 – 11)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2004 – 11)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

RAINING OFFENSE IN SEATTLE: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 452 yards with four touchdowns and Houston rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson threw for 402 yards with four touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 41-38 win over the Texans in Week 8.

The game marked the sixth time in NFL history that opposing quarterbacks each passed for at least 400 yards and four touchdowns in the same game.

The games with opposing quarterbacks passing for at least 400 yards and four touchdowns:

DATE: PLAYER – TEAM (YDS, TDS); PLAYER – TEAM (YDS, TDS)
10/29/17: Russell Wilson – Seattle (452, 4); DeShaun Watson – Houston (402, 4)
11/3/13: Tom Brady – New England (432, 4); Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (400, 4)
10/6/13: Peyton Manning – Denver (414, 4); Tony Romo – Dallas (506, 5)
1/1/12: Matt Flynn – Green Bay (480, 6); Matthew Stafford – Detroit (520, 5)
9/4/94: Dan Marino – Miami (473, 5); Drew Bledsoe – New England (421, 4)
9/21/86: Ken O’Brien – New York Jets (479 – 4); Dan Marino – Miami (448, 6)

COMPLETE PERFORMANCE: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees completed 23 of 28 passes (82.1 percent) for 299 yards in the Saints’ 20-12 win over Chicago last week.

Brees, who has 6,011 career completions, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (6,300) and Peyton Manning (6,125) as the only players in NFL history with at least 6,000 completions.

Brees reached the milestone in his 240th career game and is the fastest in NFL history to accomplish the feat (Manning, 259 games 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 and Denver (6,125)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (6,011)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Indianapolis running back Frank Gore totaled 101 scrimmage yards (82 rushing, 19 receiving) in the Colts’ Week 8 loss at Cincinnati.

Gore, who has 17,015 career scrimmage yards, became the ninth player in NFL history to record at least 17,000 scrimmage yards. The other eight players to accomplish the feat are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with the most scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (CAREER SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (23,540) ^
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (21,579)^
Walter Payton – Chicago (21,264)^
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis, St. Louis (19,154)^
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (18,456)^
Barry Sanders – Detroit (18,190)^
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City (17,654)^
Curtis Martin – New England and New York Jets (17,430)^
Frank Gore – San Francisco and Indianapolis (17,015)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SACK MASTERS: Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers had a sack and forced fumble in the Panthers’ 17-3 win at Tampa Bay last week.

Peppers, who has 151 career sacks, passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Doleman (150.5) for the fourth-most sacks since the individual sack because an official statistic in 1982.

The players with the most sacks since 1982:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (CAREER SACKS)
Bruce Smith – Buffalo and Washington (200)^
Reggie White – Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina (198)^
Kevin Greene – Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Carolina and San Francisco (160)^
Julius Peppers – Carolina, Chicago and Green Bay (151)
Chris Doleman – Minnesota, Atlanta and San Francisco (150.5)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen registered one sack in the Vikings’ 33-16 win over Cleveland at Twickenham Stadium in London in Week 8.

Griffen, who is tied for second in the NFL with 10 sacks and has recorded at least one sack in all eight of Minnesota’s games this season, became 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 at least one sack in each of their team’s first eight games of a season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)

Everson Griffen, Minnesota (2017)
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis (2009)
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis (2005)

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa had a sack in the team’s Week 8 loss at New England.

Bosa, who is tied for second in the AFC with 8.5 sacks, has 19 sacks in 20 career games, the most sacks by a player in his first 20 games to begin a career since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The players with the most sacks in their first 20 career games since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SACKS)
Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers – 19
Aldon Smith, San Francisco – 18.5
Clay Matthews, Green Bay – 17.0
John Abraham, New York Jets – 16.5
Von Miller, Denver – 16.5
Leslie O’Neal, San Diego – 16.5

STILL KICKING: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted all three of his field-goal attempts and both extra-point attempts in the Colts’ Week 8 loss at Cincinnati.

Vinatieri, who has 56 points this season, is tied with Gary Anderson (2,434) for the second-most points scored in NFL history.

The players with the most points scored in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (CAREER POINTS)
Morten Andersen – New Orleans, Atlanta, New York Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota (2,544)^
Adam Vinatieri -New England and Indianapolis (2,434)
Gary Anderson – Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minnesota and Tennessee (2,434)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 9

WATSON’S WIZARDRY: Houston rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson became the first player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards (402), four touchdown passes (four) and 50 rushing yards (67) in a single game in the Texans’ Week 8 loss at Seattle.

Watson has passed for at least three touchdowns and recorded a 100+ passer rating in four consecutive games, the longest streak by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. On Sunday, Watson can become the fifth different quarterback in NFL history with at least three touchdown passes and a 100+ passer rating in five consecutive games.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes and a 100+ rating in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON(S) – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 3+ TD PASSES & 100+ RATING)
Tom Brady, New England (2007 – 8)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004 – 8)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2015 – 5)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2012-13 – 5)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2012 – 5)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2011 -5)
Deshaun Watson, Houston (2017- 4)*

*Active streak

DYNAMIC DUO: Houston wide receivers De Andre Hopkins (224 yards, one touchdown) and Will Fuller V (125 yards, two touchdowns) each had at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in Week 8.

Fuller and Hopkins are tied for the NFL lead with seven touchdown receptions each this season. With a touchdown catch by both players against Indianapolis on Sunday, Fuller and Hopkins would become the third pair of teammates in NFL history with at least eight touchdown catches each in their team’s first eight games of a season.

The pairs of teammates with at least eight touchdown catches each in their team’s first eight games of a season:

SEASON – TEAM (PLAYER – TD CATCHES; PLAYER – TD CATCHES)
2013 – Denver (Wes Welker – 9; Julius Thomas – 8)
1959 – Baltimore Colts (Raymond Berry – 8; Jim Mutscheller – 8)
2017 – Houston (Will Fuller V – 7; DeAndre Hopkins – 7)*
*Through seven games

With three combined touchdown catches on Sunday, Fuller and Hopkins, who have 14 total touchdown receptions this season, would tie for the second-most combined touchdown catches by a pair of teammates through their team’s first eight games of a season in NFL history.

The pairs of teammates with the most combined touchdown catches in their team’s first eight games of a season:

SEASON – TEAM (PLAYER – TDS; PLAYER – TDS / COMBINED TD CATCHES)
1942 – Green Bay (Don Hutson – 14; Andy Uram – 4 / 18)
2013 – Denver (Wes Welker – 9; Julius Thomas – 8 / 17)
2007 – New England (Randy Moss – 11; Wes Welker – 6 / 17)
1961 – Houston Oilers (Bill Groman – 11, Charley Hennigan – 6 / 17)
2017 – Houston (Will Fuller V – 7; DeAndre Hopkins – 7 / 14)*
*Through seven games

PETERSON GAINS GROUND: Arizona running back Adrian Peterson has 11,983 rushing yards and 99 rushing touchdowns in 11 career seasons.

With 17 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown at San Francisco on Sunday, Peterson would become the seventh player in NFL history with at least 12,000 career rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns. All six of the players with at least 12,000 rushing yards and 100 touchdown runs are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with at least 12,000 rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RUSHING YARDS/RUSHING TDS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (18,355/164)^
Walter Payton – Chicago (16,726/110)^
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (13,684/145)^
Jim Brown – Cleveland (12,312/106)^
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis and St. Louis (12,279/100)^
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City (12,243/123)^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota, New Orleans and Arizona (11,983/99)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

JAGUARS ON THE PROWL: 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 in Week 7. Jacksonville enters Week 9 following a bye last week.

With seven sacks on Sunday against Cincinnati, Jacksonville, who leads the NFL with 33 sacks and ties for third in the league with 10 interceptions, would become the second team in the Super Bowl era with at least 40 sacks and 10 interceptions in its first eight games of a season. The 1967 Oakland Raiders, who advanced to Super Bowl II, are the only other team to accomplish the feat in the Super Bowl era.

The teams with at least 40 sacks and 10 interceptions in its first eight games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

TEAM – SEASON (SACKS/INTERCEPTIONS)
Oakland – 1967 (52/14)
Jacksonville – 2017 (33/10)*
*Through seven games

LANDMARK FOR LANDRY: Miami wide receiver Jarvis Landry ranks second in the NFL with 50 catches this season.

With five catches against Oakland on Sunday Night Football, Landry, who has 338 receptions since entering the league in 2014, would surpass Anquan Boldin (342) for the most catches by a player in his first four seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in their first four seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEPTIONS IN 1ST 4 SEASONS)
Anquan Boldin, Arizona (342)
Jarvis Landry, Miami (338)*
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (330)
A.J. Green, Cincinnati (329)
Brandon Marshall, Denver (327)
*In fourth season

DOMINANT DEMARCUS: Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence recorded a sack in the Cowboys’ 33-19 win at Washington in Week 8.

Lawrence, who leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks, has recorded a sack in all seven of Dallas’ games this season. With a sack against Kansas City on Sunday, Lawrence would become the fourth player to record a sack in each of his team’s first eight games to start a season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Minnesota’s EVERSON GRIFFEN, who is on a bye in Week 9, has recorded at least one sack in each of the Vikings’ first eight games of the 2017 season.

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

PLAYER, TEAM – SEASON
Everson Griffen, Minnesota – 2017^
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis – 2009
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis – 2005
Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas – 2017*
*Has sack in each of first seven games
^Has bye in Week 9 (Active streak)

SOARING EAGLE: Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz passed for two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 33-10 victory over San Francisco last week in the City of Brother Love.

With 26 completions against Denver on Sunday, Wentz, who has 540 completions in 24 career games, would surpass MATTHEW STAFFORD (565) for the most completions in NFL history by a quarterback in their first 25 career games.

The quarterbacks with the most completions in their first 25 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (COMPLETIONS IN 1ST 25 GAMES)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (565)
Marc Bulger, St. Louis (553)
Derek Carr, Oakland (551)
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (540)*
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (537)
*Through 24 career games

Week 9 got underway Thursday night in the Jersey Meadowlands with an AFC East matchup as the New York Jets got revenge on Buffalo, taking down the Bills 34-21 and the week concludes with a pair of primetime contests as the Miami Dolphins hosts the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and Detroit visits Green Bay in a key NFC North showdown at Lambeau Field on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Last week was pretty good. We went 9-4 and for the year, 73-47.

Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Tennessee come back from their bye weeks, while Chicago, Cleveland, the Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England and Pittsburgh will take the weekend off.

There’s still a lot of football left. There are teams that are still in the hunt and even San Francisco and Cleveland, both at 0-8, still have a chance. Week eight’s in the books. Here are the picks for week 9.

ATLANTA (4-3) at Carolina (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They’re separated by 245 miles up I-85. They are the last two NFC team to play in the Super Bowl. They’re in the same division and they meet again. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons travel to Charlotte for a Sunday afternoon contest with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Atlanta broke their three game losing streak against the AFC East as they came away 25-20 winners over the New York Jets at rainy Met Life Stadium last SUnday. The defending NFC champs trailed 17-13 at the break and took the lead for keeps in the early part of the final quarter when Ryan (254 yards, 2 TDs, 2 fumbles) and WR Mohammed Sanu connected on a 6-yard TD pass to lead 22-17. Atlanta then went for the two-point conversion but Ryan fumbled the snap and the Jets recovered but could not convert on defense. Carson Catanzaro made things closer for the Jets when he connected on a 46-yard field goal (Catanzaro had missed from 46 and 48 yards earlier in the contest).

Atlanta would then restore some order when Matt Bryant booted a 29-yard fieid goal with 5:19. After the Falcons punted the ball back to New York after the 2-minute warning, the Jets had one last chance to make the Falcons 0-4 against the AFC East, starting their final drive at their 4-yard line. GangGreen would get as far as their 38-yard line with no time outs and one second left on the clock. The Jets were then penalized for a false start, which required a 10-second runoff. With that, the Jets lost the contest.

Josh McCown threw for 257 yards and a pair of TDs against Atlanta, who outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 140-43 (Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 82 yards rushing). Atlanta went 5 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:19, while the Jets ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:41, going 5 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Carolina held Tampa Bay to a 41-yard field goal by Patrick Murray in the thrid quarter as they took the Buccaneers to task 17-3 at Raymond James Stadium last Sunday. The Panthers led 10-0 at the break and rushed for 100 yards, held Tampa Bay to 85 yards rushing, while Newton threw for 154 yards and a TD, as the Carolina defense sacked Jameis Winston (210 yards) three times and picked him off twice. Carolina went 8 of 17 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:11, while the Bucs kept the ball for 27:49, going 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Falcons lead the series 27-17, have outscored Carolina 934-879 and have won the last three meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Carolina’s last win came in Charlotte in 2015, when they manhandled the Falcons 38-0).

The first meeting took place in the Big Peach in week four and the Falcons took a 48-33 win in the Georgia Dome’s final season. Atlanta led 17-10  at the break, then proceeded to outscore the Panthers 31-23 in the final 30 minutes of action. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 98-49 and Ryan threw for 503 yards and four TDs, while Newton threw for 165 yards in the loss. Atlanta went 8 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:49, while Carolina kept the pigskin for 26:11, going 7 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Round two… week 16 in the Tar Heel State on Christmas Eve afternoon. The Falcons completed the sweep in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium, coming away 33-16 winners to clinch the NFC South title. Even though the teams played even football in the second half, Atlanta led 20-3 at the break and never looked back. Atlanta outrushed the Panthers 152-119 and Ryan threw for 277 yards and a pair of TDs, while Newton threw for 198. Atlanta in the contest went 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 32:45, while the Panthers, who kept the ball for 27:15, went 4 of 15 on third down and 3 of 4 on fourth down.

Carolina was favored by 3 1/2 in the week four affair in the Peach State and the Falcons covered the spread, winning by 15 and both clubs easily covered the 49 1/2 over/under, tallying 81 points. In the second contest in Charlotte, Atlanta won by 17, allowing them to cover the 3 1/2 point spread but the 53 over/under was safe and sound, as both clubs scored only 39 points. The defending NFC champs are favored by 2 in Charlotte and the over/under’s 42 1/2. There have been times when the Panthers and Falcons have played some decent football and both teams went to the last two Super Bowls enroute to winning the NFC South. Carolina would like to break their three-game losing streak to the Falcons. Atlanta? They’d like to make it four in a row in the series. Atlanta covers the 2 and takes the win on the road.

Denver (3-4) at Philadelphia (7-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. The first-place Eagles host Denver at Lincoln Financial Field, as both teams enter the Sudnay afternoon contest in the City of Brotherly Love in opposite directions.

Denver dropped their fourth straight contest, falling to Kansas City 29-19 at Arrowhead last Monday night. The stuggling Broncos trailed 17-3 at the half before making a contest of it in the second half, outscoring the Chiefs 16-12 in the final 30 minutes of action. Denver outrushed the Chiefs 177-79 and held rookie RB Kareem Hunt to 46 but was done in by Alex Smith, who threw for 202 yards and a TD to TE Travis Kelce, while Trevor Siemian (who struggled throughout the contest and Brock Oswelier will be under center this Sunday) threw for 198 yards with three sacks and three interceptions. Denver went 5 of 12 on third down conversions at Arrowhead (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:23, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 28:37 and went 2 of 12 on third down.

The Eagles manhandled San Francisco 37-10 at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday. Philly led 17-0 at the intermisson and never looked back, holding the winless 49ers in check. Philadelphia outrushed San Francisco 112-94 and Wentz threw for 211 yards and a pair of TDs, while teammate Jalen Mills returned an interception 37 yards for a TD. The Eagles were 4 of 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:57, while the 49ers were 27:03 in time of possession, going 3 of 15 on third down tries.

Philly leads the series 7-5 and the Broncos have outscored the Eagles 296-250. Denver won the last meeting with Philadelphia in the Mile High City in 2013, taking a 52-20 win, while the Eagles’ last win over Denver came in 2009 in the City of Brotherly Love by a final of 30-27. The oddsmakers like the Eagles as 7 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 42. The Eagles are ruling the roost in the NFC East, while the Broncos are trying to catch up to Kansas City in the AFC West. Philly wins this one but expect the Broncos to make it closer than 7 points in the City of Brotherly Love.

Indianapolis (2-6) at Houston (3-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC South teams trying to stay out of the division cellar meet in Houston as the Texans host the Andrew Luck-less Colts at NRG Stadium.

The Colts dropped a 24-23 decsion to Cincinnati last week as quarterback Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes to lead the offense. Indy let a 23-17 lead in the fourth quarter, as defensive end Carlos Dunlap had a 16-yard interception-return touchdown to help put the Bengals ahead for good. The Colts outrushed Cincinnati 115-58 and led 13-10 at the half before the Bengals took control at home in the second half. Dalton threw for 243 yards in the contest, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 233 yards and a pair of TDs of his own (Dalton was sacked three times, while Brissett was sacked twice). The Colts were 8 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:13, while the Bengals went 4 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:47.

Seattle TE Jimmy Graham broke the hearts of Texans fans when he caught an 18-yard TD pass from Wilson with 21 seconds left in the contest to take a 41-38 win over Houston last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. Trailing 38-34 with 1:39 left in regulation, the Seahawks (tied for first in the NFC West), used a 3-play, 80-yard drive that used 79 seconds of clock to take the lead for keeps. Seattle would then go on to hold off a late Houston drive that would have given the Texans the road win. Houston outrushed Seattle 142-33 and Wilson (452) and rookie QB DeShaun Waston (402) threw for over 400 yards and four TDs each in the contest. Houston suffered another loss later this week when Watson tore an ACL during practice and will be out for the remainder of the season. With Watson’s year done, the Texans will look to Tom Savage to try and salvage their season. As for last week’s contest in the Pacifc Northwest, Seattle went 5 of 12 on third down tries at Century Link Field, keeping the ball for 29:38, while the Texans, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:22, went 2 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While the Colts lead the series 23-7 and have outscored the Texans 791-592, Houston has come away with wins in the last three meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Indy’s last win over Houston came in 2015, when they were 27-20 victors in the Lone Star State).

Meeting number one… week six at NRG Stadium on a Sunday night. Houston erased a 13-3 deficit at the break and came away 26-23 overtime winners over the Colts. Houston trailed 23-16 with 49 seconds left when Brock Osweiler and TE C.J. Fiedorowicz connected on a 26-yard pass to tie things up and send the game into overtime. The Colts won the toss in the extra period but could not score in their first attempt with the ball. The Texans took advantage of the Colts’ misfortune and used a 6-play, 52-yard drive that consumed 3:20 of clock and sent their fans home with the win when Nick Novak sent a 33-yard field goal try through the uprights. Indy outrushed Houston 161-159 and the contest’s star running backs did not disappoint, as the Colts’ Frank Gore ran for 106 yards, while Houston’s Lamar Miller ran for 149. Osweiler threw for 269 yards and a pair of TDs, including the one that tied the contest up, while Andrew Luck threw for 252 yards and a TD, while he was sacked three times. The Colts were 5 of 13 on third down conversions, went 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 36:33, while the Texans were 5 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 30:17.

The Texans completed the sweep in the Hoosier State, taking a 22-17 win in week 14. Houston led 13-3 at the half, then held off Indianapolis in the final 30 minutes of play. Houston outrushed the Colts 185-83, with Miller leading the way with 107 yards and a TD, while Osweiler threw for 147 and Luck threw for 276 yards and a pair of TDs (one to T.Y. Hilton) but was picked off twice. Third down tries? Houston was 5 of 14 and the Texans kept the ball for 36:05, while the Colts were 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third down, possessing the ball for 23:55.

The Texans covered the 3-point spread in the first meeting in week six, covering the spread with the 3-point win and both teams took care of the 46 over/under, tallying 49 points. The Colts were favored by 6 in the week 14 contest in the Hoosier State and the Texans won by 5, barely missing the spread. As for the 47 over/under? It was untouched, as both teams combined for only 39 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Texans as a 7 point favorite and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Granted, the Colts are struggling but they’re not 12 1/2 points bad. If nothing else, this one might be entertainig to watch. Texans may not cover the 12 1/2 but they do win in the Lone Star State.

Cincinnati (3-4) at Jacksonville (4-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of contending teams meet in North Florida as Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Jacksonville for a Sunday afternoon meeting with the Jaguars at Ever Bank Field.

The Bengals defeated Indianapolis 24-23 last week as quarterback Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes to lead the offense.
With Cincinnati trailing 23-17 in the fourth quarter, defensive end Carlos Dunlap had a 16-yard interception-return touchdown to help put the Bengals ahead for good. It marked the second fourth-quarter game-winning interception-return touchdown in team history (Ken Riley, October 23, 1983). The Colts outrushed Cincinnati 115-58 and led 13-10 at the half before the Bengals took control at home in the second half. Dalton threw for 243 yards in the contest, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 233 yards and a pair of TDs of his own (Dalton was sacked three times, while Brissett was sacked twice). The Colts were 8 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:13, while the Bengals went 4 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:47.

The Jaguars, who had a bye last week, are coming off a 27-0 win at Indianapolis in Week 7. Led by defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue (2.5 sacks) and Calais Campbell (two), the Jaguars recorded 10 sacks against the Colts. Jacksonville scored all their points in the contest at Lucas Oil Stadium unchallenged and led 20-0 at the intermission and never looked back. The Jaguars easily outrushed the Colts 188-69, with RB T.J. Yeldon leading the way with 122 yards and a TD in the shutout win. Jaguars QB Blake Bortles threw for 330 yards and a TD, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 200 yards for the Colts but was sacked 10 times. Jacksonville was 8 of 14 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:47, while the Colts went 5 of 15 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 27:13.

Jacksonville leads the series 11-9 and the Jaguars have outscored the Bengals 446-371 in those 20 meetings. However… the Bengals have been king of the jungle of late, winning the last four meetings, including taking a 33-23 win in Cincy in 2014, while Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State, taking a 23-20 win in 2005.

Jacksonville’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 39. It’s cats vs. cats and the litter box will get a little crowded. Cincinnati takes the win in the Sunshine State and covers the 5 1/2.

Baltimore (4-4) at Tennessee (4-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC contenders meet in the Music City as Tennessee hosts the Baltimore Ravens at Nissan Stadium.

The Ravens manhandled Miami 40-0 last Thursday evening in Charm City. Baltimore led 20-0 at the half and never looked back. The Ravens outrushed Miami 174-45, with Baltimore RB Andrew Collins leading the way with 113 yards on the ground. Flacco threw for 101 yards and a TD before leaving the game with a concussion, while Matt Moore threw for 176 yards with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Ravens were 3 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:14, while the Dolphins were 28:46 in time of possession and went 4 of 15 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

The Titans return to action this week after their bye and are coming off a 12-9 overtime win at Cleveland two weeks ago. Tennessee led 6-3 at the intermission in the all-field goal contest before Cleveland’s Zavier Gonzalez ties the contest with 47 seconds left on a 54-yard field goal. The Browns and Titans trade possessions in the overtime and Cleveland gets the ball back a second time but could not score in their possession of the ball. The Browns then punted the ball back to the Titans, who made the most of their opportunity, as they would use a 7-play, 20-yard drive that used 4:02 of clock and left Cleveland with the win when Tennessee K Ryan Succop connected on a 47-yard field goal. Neither team breached the 100-yard rushing barrier and Tennessee would outrush Cleveland 80-66, while Mariotta would throw for 203 yards, while rookie QB DeShon Kizer threw for 114 yards and a pair of interceptions. Tennessee went 5 of 17 on third downs (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 35:23 (including the game-winning drive), while the Browns, who have yet to win in the 2017 campaign, were 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down, with Cleveland keeping the ball for 32:42.

They’ve met 18 times and the series is dead even at 9-9 and the Ravens have outscored Tennessee 331-301. Baltimore took the win at home in the last meeting, taking a 21-7 win in Charm City in 2014, while the Titans were 26-13 winners in the Music City in 2011. The Titans are favored by 3 1/2 in the Music City and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Tennessee covers the 3 1/2 and takes the win at home.

Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at New York Giants (1-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of teams going in opposite directions meet in upstate New Jersey as the Rams travel to Met Life Stadium for a Sunday afternoon contest with the struggling New York Giants. Both teams are coming into the Sunday contest off bye weeks.

The Rams return from their bye week after they manhandled Arizona 33-0 in London. Los Angeles led 23-0 at the intermission and they would score their final 10 points against Arizona unchallenged, as the Desert Angry Birds could never get on track after that. Todd Gurley ran for 106 yards and a TD on the other side of the Atlantic, while the Rams outrushed Arizona 197-25. The Rams’ Jarred Goff threw for 235 yards and a TD, while Carson Palmer threw for 122 yards with a sack and an interception before being knocked out of the contest with a broken left hand. Arizona went 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 20:59, while the Rams went 13 of 19 on third down tries in merry olde England, keeping the ball for 39:01.

The Giants are also coming off a bye week themselves, dropping a 24-7 decision at home against Seattle two Sundays ago in the Meadowlands. The Giants let a 7-3 lead at the half get away from them as the Seahawks would score their final 21 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged. Seattle outrushed the Giants 104-46 and Wilson threw for 334 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Doug Baldwin on one of the tosses, while Manning threw for 134 yards for the Giants.

The Rams lead the series 25-16, which includes games that were played in Cleveland, St. Louis and Yankee Stadium and Los Angeles has outscored Big Blue 937-781. The Giants have come away winners in the last seven contests, including taking a 17-10 win in London last year (the Rams’ last win in the series came in 2001, when they were 15-14 winners in St. Louis.

The London contest took place in week seven and the two teams were tied at 10-10 at the half and that status stayed that way through the end of the third quarter before Robert Jennings gave the Giants the lead for good with a 1-yard run with 9:23 left in regulation. It wasn’t much of a rushing contest at Twickenham, as neither club broke the 100-yard barrier (the Rams somehow mamanged to outrush New York 74-36). Case Keenum threw for 291 yards but was picked off four times and sacked three times, while Manning threw for 196 yards. The Giants were 4 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 24:57, while the Rams ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:03, going 9 of 19, 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Giants covered the 3-point spread, winning by 7 in the week seven contest on the other side of the Atlantic but neither club covered the 44 over/under, combining for only 27 points. The Rams are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 42. Both numbers make a lot of sense. The Rams have been on top of the NFC West mountain for a while, while the Giants have spun their heels in the NFC East. Eli and the Giants will throw everything at Los Angeles Sunday but the Rams come away from Met Life with the win and covers the 3 1/2.

Tampa Bay (2-5) at New Orleans (5-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Jameis Winston vs. Drew Brees. A pair of NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy as the Saints host Tampa Bay at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Tampa Bay was held to a 41-yard field goal by Patrick Murray in the thrid quarter as the Buccaneers were taken to task 17-3 at Raymond James Stadium last Sunday. Tampa Bay trailed 10-0 at the break and was held to 85 yards rushing (Carolina ran for 100), while Newton threw for 154 yards and a TD, as the Carolina defense sacked Winston (210 yards) three times and picked him off twice. Carolina went 8 of 17 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:11, while the Bucs kept the ball for 27:49, going 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

New Orleans survived a 20-12 scare from Chicago in the Big Easy last Sunday afternoon. The Saints led 14-3 at the intermission before Da Bears managed to outscore the Saints 9-6 in the last 30 minutes of play. New Orleans found themselves outrushed by Chicago 157-101 and Chicago’s Jordan Howard ran for 102 yards to lead all rushers. Brees threw for 299 yards, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 164 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints lead the series 31-19 and have outscored Tampa Bay 1,094-924. They split the two contests last year, with each team taking wins at home.

First meeting, you ask? It took place in Tampa in week 14 and the Bucs came away 16-11 winners at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay led 13-8 at the intermission and never looked back. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 104-46 and Winston threw for 184 yards, while Brees threw for 257 yards and three interceptions. Tampa Bay went 6 of 13 on third down tries and the Bucs ruled the clock and held the ball for 33:15, while the Saints were 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the pigskin for 26:45.

Meeting number two… two weeks later in the Big Easy. Atlanta had clinched the NFC South earlier that day, knocking both teams out of the playoff picture and New Orleans got their revenge on Tampa Bay, taking a 31-24 win over the Buccaneers in week 16. New Orleans led 13-7 at the half and then the contest turned into a slugfest, as the Saints outscored Tampa Bay 18-17 in the last 30 minutes of play. The Bucs would make it a 3-point contest with 2 let when Ruben Aguayo connected on a 35-yard field goal try to make the contest close. New Orleans outrushed the Bucs 123-89 and Brees threw for 299 yards and a TD, while Winston threw for 277 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions. (Both were sacked twice in the contest) Tampa Bay on third down tries in the Christmas Eve afternoon contest went 7 of 12 and kept the ball for 28:24, while the Saints were somewhat Grinch-like with the pigskin, keeping it for 31:36, going 5 of 12 on third down tries.

Tampa Bay won by five in the week 14 contest in the Sunshine State, allowing them to cover the 2 1/2-point spread but both clubs came nowhere close to the 51 1/2 over/under, as they could only muster 27 points. In the week 16 contest on Christmas Eve afternoon, New Orleans covered the 3-point spread, winning by 5 and the two teams covered the 53 over/under, scoring 55 points. The Saints are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 52. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams are looking to replace Atlanta as king of the NFC South mountain and in case you’re wondering, the last time Tampa Bay won in the Big Easy was in 2015, when they left 26-19 winners. History has a way of repeating itself and Tampa Bay makes history, pulling the upset, even though things could be a lot closer than the 7.

Arizona (3-4) at San Francisco (0-8), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC West teams near the division cellar meet in wine country as Arizona travels to Santa Clara for a Sunday afternoon contest with the San Francisco 49ers in a week four rematch.

Arizona comes back from their bye week off their 33-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in London. The Rams led 23-0 at the intermission and the Desert Angry Birds could never get on track after that. Todd Gurley ran for 106 yards and a TD on the other side of the Atlantic, while the Rams outrushed Arizona 197-25. The Rams’ Jarred Goff threw for 235 yards and a TD, while Carson Palmer threw for 122 yards with a sack and an interception before being knocked out of the contest with a broken left hand. Arizona went 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 20:59, while the Rams went 13 of 19 on third down tries in merry olde England, keeping the ball for 39:01.

San Francisco remained winless as they were taken to the woodshed by Philadelphia 37-10 at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday. Philly led 17-0 at the intermisson and never looked back, holding the winless 49ers in check. Philadelphia outrushed San Francisco 112-94 and Wentz threw for 211 yards and a pair of TDs, while teammate Jalen Mills returned an interception 37 yards for a TD. The Eagles were 4 of 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:57, while the 49ers were 27:03 in time of possession, going 3 of 15 on third down tries.

In the week four meeting, Arizona trailed 15-12 in overtime against San Francisco before Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald connected on a 19-yard TD pass in Glendale last Sunday to take an 18-15 win over their NFC West rivals. Tied 6-6 at the half, the Desert Angry Birds trailed late in the fourth quarter before K Phil Dawson tied things up with a 32-yard field goal in regulation. San Francisco would win the toss to start the overtime and took the lead with 2:24 left in the extra period when Robbie Gould connected on a 23-yard field goal. The 49er lead would not last very long, as Arizona would use a 7-play, 75-yard drive that used 1:52 of clock and ending with the winning score with 32 seconds left in the game. San Francisco did manage to outrush Arizona 95-51, while Palmer, despite being sacked six time,s threw for 357 yards and the game winning score. The 49ers’ Brian Hoyer threw for 234 yards in the loss and was sacked three times and picked off once. Arizona was 5 of 16 on third down tries in the desert and kept the ball for 36:15, while the 49ers were 5 of 19 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth and held on to the ball for 33:13.

Arizona was favored by 7 in the week four contest but would win by only 3 and the 44 over/under was safe, as both teams combined for only 33 points. This time, the Desert Angry Birds are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 39. If you’re a fan of either team, by all means watch this one; otherwise, you might want to watch that “Law & Order: SVU” marathon on USA. (there’s nothing more sexier than seeing Olivia Benson question a suspect!) Arizona pulls off the sweep and takes the win in Wine Country, covering the 2 1/2.

Washington (3-4) at Seattle (5-2), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Cousins vs. Wilson. A pair of quality QBs meet in the Pacific Northwest as Washington faces off agianst the Seattle Seahawks.

Washington dropped below the .500 mark as they fell to NFC East rival Dallas 33-19 win in Landover last Sunday. The Cowboy defense did most of the damage, as Dallas defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford blocked a field goal – which was returned 86 yards by cornerback Orlando Scandrick to set up a touchdown – and also recorded a sack and forced fumble. Washington trailed 14-13 at the intermission in Landover and then saw Dallas restore order in the second half, outscoring Washington 19-6 in the final two quarters. Ezekiel Elliott, who may have played his last game for a while (serving a six-game suspension), led all rushers with 150 yards on the ground with a pair of TDs, while the Cowboys outrushed Washington 169-49 at Fed Ex Field and Prescott threw for 143 yards, while Kirk Cousins threw for 263 yards and a TD with four sacks and an interception. Dallas on third down tries in the NFC East contest went 5 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:19, while the Redskins were 26:41 in time of possession, going 4 of 13 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Seattle TE Jimmy Graham sent Seahawks fans home happy campers when he caught an 18-yard TD pass from Wilson with 21 seconds left in the contest to take a 41-38 win over Houston last Sunday in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Trailing 38-34 with 1:39 left in regulation, the Seahawks (tied for first in the NFC West), used a 3-play, 80-yard drive that used 79 seconds of clock to take the lead for keeps. Seattle would then go on to hold off a late Houston drive that would have given the Texans the road win. Houston outrushed Seattle 142-33 and Wilson (452) and rookie QB DeShaun Waston (402) threw for over 400 yards and four TDs each in the contest. Seattle went 5 of 12 on third down tries at Century Link Field, keeping the ball for 29:38, while the Texans, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:22, went 2 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Washington leads the series 11-5 and the Redskins have outscored Seattle 311-249. They last met in 2014 at Landover and the Seahawks were 27-17 winners, while Washington’s last win came on the West Coast in 2011 by a final of 23-17. Seattle’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Seattle may not cover the 7 1/2 but they’ll win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

Kansas City (6-2) at Dallas (4-3), 4:25 p.m. and CBS and DirecTV 714. The first-place Kansas City Chiefs travel to Arlington to face off against the Dallas Cowboys, who will have the services of RB Ezekiel Elliott. Last week, a federal court sided with the NFL and ruled that Elliott would have to sit out six games for a domestic violence case last year. Then, Elliott was given a brief adminstrative stay, which means that until the courts make another ruling, he is still eligible. Elliott was granted a brief administrative stay by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Friday morning. Last week Judge Katherine Failla denied Elliott a preliminary injunction to his six-game suspension, the punishment handed down by the NFL due to domestic abuse allegations.

Elliott was previously granted a temporary restraining order from the suspension based on questions over fundamental fairness and irreparable harm. WFAA sports reporter Mike Leslie said that the Friday stay isn’t granted based on the merits of the case but on a “we need time to review this” basis by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kansas City gave Denver their fourth straight contest, beating the Broncos 29-19 at Arrowhead last Monday night. The first-place Chiefs led 17-3 at the half before Denver made a contest of it in the second half, outscoring the Chiefs 16-12 in the final 30 minutes of action. Although Denver outrushed the Chiefs 177-79 and the Broncos held rookie RB Kareem Hunt to 46 yards of his own, Chiefs QB Alex Smith threw for 202 yards and a TD to TE Travis Kelce, while Trevor Siemian threw for 198 yards with three sacks and three interceptions. Denver went 5 of 12 on third down conversions at Arrowhead (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:23, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 28:37 and went 2 of 12 on third down.

Dallas has won two consecutive games, including last week’s 33-19 win at Washington. Defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford blocked a field goal – which was returned 86 yards by cornerback Orlando Scandrick to set up a touchdown – and also recorded a sack and forced fumble. The Cowboys led 14-13 at the intermission in Landover and then proceeded to restore order in the second half, outscoring Washington 19-6 in the final two quarters. Elliott led all rushers with 150 yards on the ground with a pair of TDs, while the Cowboys outrushed Washington 169-49 at Fed Ex Field and Prescott threw for 143 yards, while Kirk Cousins threw for 263 yards and a TD with four sacks and an interception. Dallas on third down tries in the NFC East contest went 5 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:19, while the Redskins were 26:41 in time of possession, going 4 of 13 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Dallas holds a 6-4 lead in the series and they’ve outscored the Chiefs 258-214. Kansas City won the last contest at Arrowhead in 2013, coming away 17-16 winners, while Dallas’ last win over the Chiefs came in 2009, with the Cowboys needing overtime to take a 26-20 at Arrowhead.

Dallas is favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 54. This one’s pretty much “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?”

It’s possible that these two teams could very well reach the post-season. Will they meet in the Twin Cities come Super Bowl time? Hard to say. These two teams have a lot of football on their plates. Cowboys cover the 1 and wins in the Lone Star State.

Oakland (3-5) at Miami (4-3), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Week nine Sunday action concludes in the Sunshine State as the Miami Dolphins host the Oakland Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams are coming into the contest with road losses under their belts.

Oakland let a 7-0 first quarter lead at Oakland get away from them last Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park and came out on the short end of a 34-14 loss in upstate New York. Trailing 14-7 at the break, the Silver and Black saw the Bills take control from that point onward, as Buffalo outrushed the Silver and Black 166-54, with RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 151 yards and a TD. Buffalo, forcing four Oakland turnovers in the win, went 6 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 35:37, while the Raider were 3 of 10, 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 24:23.

Miami found themselves on the short end of a 40-0 loss to Baltimore last Thursday evening in Charm City. Miami could never get themselves on track and trailed the Ravens 20-0 at the half. Miami was outrushed by the Ravens 174-45, with Baltimore RB Andrew Collins leading the way with 113 yards on the ground. Flacco threw for 101 yards and a TD before leaving the game with a concussion, while Miami’s Matt Moore threw for 176 yards with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Ravens were 3 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:14, while the Dolphins were 28:46 in time of possession and went 4 of 15 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Including games that were played in the Orange Bowl and Los Angeles, the series is even at 16-16-1, the Dolphins have outscored Oakland 682-659 and Miami has won the last five meetings, including taking a 38-14 win in London in 2014, while the Silver and Black’s last win in the series came in 2007 in Miami by a final of 35-17. Oakland’s favored by 3 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 44. Oakland will make this one close but Miami takes the win at home, covering the 3.

Detroit (3-4) at Green Bay (4-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A pair of NFC North foes close out the action in week nine as Detroit and Green Bay meet at Lambeau Field.

Detroit let a 12-10 lead against Pittsburgh get away from them as the Steelers roared back at Ford Field to take the 25-20 win last Sunday night in the Motor City. Pittsburgh outrushed Detroit 75-71, while Matthew Stafford threw for 423 yards and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 317 yards, connecting with rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster on a TD strike.

Green Bay comes back from their bye week after the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers let a 14-7 lead against New Orleans get away from them and dropped a 26-17 decision to the Saints at Lambeau Field. Green Bay outrushed New Orleans 181-161 and it was a running back’s game that afternoon, as Green Bay’s Aaron Jones (131 yards) and New Orleans’ Mark Ingram (105 yards) each broke the 100-yard barrier with each man scoring a TD. Brett Hundley, who took over for Rodgers (broken collarbone), threw for 87 yards but was no match for Drew Brees, who threw for 331 yards and a TD (Brees threw a pair of interceptions).

Including contests that took place in Portsmouth prior to 1934, when the Lions were known as the Spartans and games played in Milwaukee, Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Packers lead the series 98-68-7, have outscored the Lions 3,686-3,165 and have won the last three meetings, including sweeping the season series last year (Detroit’s last win came at Lambeau Field in 2015 by a final of 18-16 for their first road win in the series since the Clinton adminstration).

Meeting number one took place in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst in week 3 and the Packers were 34-27 winners in that meeting. Green Bay led 31-10 at the break and then it became a slugfest in the final 30 minutes of play, with Detroit outscoring Green Bay 17-3. The Packers outrushed Detroit 123-50, with Eddie Lacy leading all rushers with 103 yards. Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four TDs, connecting with Jordy Nelson on two of those passes, while Stafford threw for 385 yards with three TDs. Both teams did quite well on third down tries in the first meeting, as Green Bay was 5 of 10 and Detroit was 8 of 14 (the Lions were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Lions ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:07 to Green Bay’s 24:53.

Meeting number two… Ford Field in the Motor City in Week 17. It was a “winner-take-all” affair in Detroit and the Packers came away 31-24 winners on the road. Detroit led 14-10 at the half before the Packers took over and outscored Detroit 21-10 at the break. The Lions made it a 7-point game with 13 left when Anquan Boldin and Stafford connected on a 35-yard TD pass. Detroit then went for the onside kick (which failed), Green Bay recovered the ball and ran out the clock to complete the sweep. Green Bay outrushed Detroit 153-76, Rodgers threw for 300 yards and four TDs, while Stafford threw for 347 yards and a pair of TDs (the TD pass to Boldin was the second). The Packers did well again on third down conversions, going 7 of 13 and kept the ball for 34:09, while the Lions, who held on to the ball for 25:51, went 5 of 12 on third down.

Green Bay barely missed the 7 1/2-point spread, winning by 7 and both teams combined for 61 points, covering the 48 over/under in the week 3 contest. In the week 17 contest in Detroit, Green Bay covered the 3-point spread, winning by 7 and as was the case in the first meeting, both teams covered the spread (which was 46 1/2) by tallying 55 points.

The Lions on Monday nights carry a 14-17-1 record into the contest (they were 0-1 in their one MNF contest last year), while the Packers are 31-31-1 and won their only game in prime time last year. Detroit’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 43 1/2. If nothing else, this could be an interesting game to watch, so it would be a good idea to tape “Scorpion” this week. Green Bay makes it four in a row in the series and pulls off the upset and wins at home in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst, covering the 2 1/2.

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