Archives for category: Drew Brees

And then there were two.

New England and San Francisco remain the only teams in the 2019 NFL campaign with perfect records.

While the Patriots and 49ers, with 11 Lombardi Trophies between them (New England with six, San Francisco has five) bask in the glow of being unbeaten, four teams (the New York Jets, Miami, Washington and Cincinnati) look for their first win, like Ahab looking for Moby Dick.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: New England defeated Washington 33-7, in Week five, as quarterback Tom Brady threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Brady now has 71,923 career passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (71,838) for the third-most career passing yards in NFL history.

New England has given up 34 total points through its first five games of the season, the fewest points allowed through a team’s first five games since the 2005 Indianapolis Colts (29 points) and the fifth-fewest since 1970.

Philadelphia defeated the New York Jets, 31-6, in Week five, becoming the first team in NFL history to record 10 sacks and score two defensive touchdowns in a single game.

Philadelphia cornerback Orlando Scandrick registered two sacks and scored a 44-yard fumble-return touchdown. Scandrick joins Ronde Barber (September 10, 2000), Captain Munnerlyn (December 15, 2013) and Antoine Winfield (December 28, 2010) as the only defensive backs with at least two sacks and a touchdown in a single game since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Philadelphia running back Darren Sproles had 32 all-purpose yards in the win. Sproles, who now has 19,684 all-purpose yards throughout his 14-year career, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown (19,682) for the fifth-most all-purpose yards in NFL history.

Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson completed 28 of 33 pass attempts for 426 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, in the Texans’ 53-32 win over Atlanta. Watson became the first player to pass for at least 400 yards and five touchdowns with five-or-fewer incompletions in a single game in NFL history.

Additionally, Houston wide receiver Will Fuller recorded 14 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He became the fourth player in NFL history to register at least 14 catches, 200 yards and three receiving touchdowns in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (December 18, 1995) and Steve Largent (October 18, 1987), along with Jimmy Smith (September 10, 2000).

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Ryan joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (six games in 2000) and Steve Young (six games in 1998) and Peyton Manning (five games in 2009 and 2013) as the only players with at least 300 passing yards in each of their team’s first five games of a season in NFL history.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had 237 scrimmage yards (176 rushing, 61 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in the Panthers’ 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, his third consecutive game with at least 175 scrimmage yards. McCaffrey, who has 587 rushing yards and 279 receiving yards this season, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas (1991) as the only players in NFL history to record at least 500 rushing yards and 250 receiving yards in their team’s first five games of a season.

Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen passed for 181 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Allen is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to begin his career 4-0 without throwing an interception in his first four career starts.

Jacksonville rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew passed for 374 yards with two touchdowns and a 101.9 passer rating in the loss. Both Allen (108.3 passer rating through first four career starts) and Minshew (101.4) joined Jeff Kemp (104.0, 1984) as the only players in the Super Bowl era to have a passer rating of at least 100 with no interceptions through their first four career starts (minimum 20 attempts).

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 161 yards and had 70 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 26-23 overtime victory at Pittsburgh. Jackson, who now has 1,003 rushing yards through 21 career games, tied Robert Griffin III (21 games) as the quarterbacks to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in the fewest games in NFL history.

Oakland defeated Chicago, 24-21, in the first-ever NFL game in London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Oakland rookie running back Josh Jacobs rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the win, the most rushing yards by a rookie running back in the 25 NFL games played in London since 2007. By the end of the 2019 season, the NFL will have played 28 regular-season games in London, with 31 of 32 teams having participated. Jacobs also joined Adrian Peterson (September 29, 2013 at Wembley Stadium) as the only players to rush for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in the history of the NFL’s International Series.

COMPETITIVE CONTESTS: Through Week 5, the 2019 season has tied for the most games decided by seven points or fewer in league annals. Forty-two of 78 overall games (53.8 percent) have been decided by seven-or-fewer points, including nine of 15 games in Week 5. Expect more to come in Week 6.

The seasons with the most games decided by seven-or-fewer points in NFL history:

THROUGH FIVE WEEKS
2019 – 42
2016 – 42
1999 – 41
2015 – 40
2011 – 40
1988 – 40

THROUGH SIX WEEKS

1999 – 50
2016 – 50
2018 – 47
2015 – 47
2011 – 47
2019 – ??

BUSINESS TRIPS: This week, several teams are on the road with the opportunity to improve key tiebreakers, their interdivision and interconference records. Highlighting those contests on the Week 6 schedule, Houston will travel to play Kansas City at 1 p.m., Philadelphia goes to the Twin Cities to face the Minnesota Vikings at 1 p.m. and Detroit travels to Lambeau for a Monday night meeting with Green Bay at 8:15 p.m.

This season, road teams are a combined 43-34-1 (.558) through five weeks, the highest road winning percentage at this point in a season in 36 years. The last time NFL teams were more successful on the road through five weeks was 1983, when they were 40-30 (.571).

THE SIX-GAME YARDSTICK: If history is any indication, emerging at .500 or better through six games has positive playoff implications.

There’s always hope, proven by the 2004 Green Bay Packers, who started 1-4 and won nine of their last 11 to capture their division title. In fact, since that season, Miami in both 2008 and 2016, Denver in 2011 and three teams in 2015 – Houston, Seattle and Washington – made the playoffs after opening 2-4.

A closer look at six-game records and how they affect playoff chances:

Opening 6-0:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 35 of the 37 teams (94.6 percent) to start 6-0 have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 46 of 49 teams (93.9 percent) to start 6-0 advanced to the postseason.

Opening 5-1 or 5-0-1:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 81 of 98 teams (82.7 percent) to win five of their first six games have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 107 of 131 teams (81.7 percent) to win five of their first six advanced to the postseason.
Opening 4-2 or 4-1-1:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 134 of 213 teams (62.9 percent) to win four of their first six games have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 174 of 286 teams (60.8 percent) to win four of their first six advanced to the postseason.
Opening 3-3 or 3-2-1:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 78 of 216 teams (36.1 percent) to win three of their first six games have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 108 of 297 teams (36.4 percent) to win three of their first six advanced to the postseason.

NINERS STAND ALONE IN NFC: For the first time since 1984, San Francisco is the NFC’s lone undefeated team through Week 5. Behind quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who owns a 10-2 career record as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, the club is off to its best start since opening 10-0 in 1990.

NORTHERN LIGHTS: Entering Week 6 of the NFL’s 100th season, all four teams in the NFC North have winning records. That hasn’t happened in an NFL division since 2012, when the four NFC West clubs also were above .500 entering Week 6. That year, the 49ers opened 4-1, finished 11-4-1 and advanced to Super Bowl XLVII.

This year, Green Bay (4-1) sits atop the NFC North with Detroit (2-1-1), Minnesota (3-2) and Chicago (3-2) closely behind. That division has crowned three different teams as its winner over the past three seasons. No other NFL division has that distinction. And if the Lions and Vikings win this week, with the Bears on their bye, the NFC North could have four teams above .500 again next week.

METHODICAL MARCHES: Physically and mentally, a touchdown drive of 90-or-more yards can provide a substantial advantage. Last week, Oakland engineered not one but two such drives in a London win over the Bears. Minnesota orchestrated a 98-yard touchdown drive in a victory at the New York Giants. The Vikings and Raiders each have three touchdown drives of 90-plus yards in 2019, tied with Kansas City and the New York Giants for most in the league. Overall, NFL teams this season have combined for 24 such drives, most through five weeks of play since there were also 24 touchdown drives of 90-plus yards in 2014.

SACKS ARE PILING UP: NFL clubs have combined for 396 sacks in 2019. Through Week 5, that’s the second-highest total over the last two decades. In that span, only the 2013 season (416) had more entering Week 6.

WAKE UP TO FOOTBALL: The second of five international games appears on the Week 6 slate. Carolina meets Tampa Bay in an important NFC South clash. The contest kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and will appear exclusively on NFL Network. It’s also the second of two games at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. In Week 8, the NFL plays its first of two games at London’s Wembley Stadium, when Cincinnati meets the Los Angeles Rams. In Week 9, also at Wembley, Houston plays Jacksonville and the 2019 international games conclude with a Week 11 contest in Mexico City, where Kansas City plays the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football, November 18.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 6

THE FUTURE IS HERE: This Sunday, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson face each other for the first time in their careers, when the Chiefs welcome the Texans to Arrowhead Stadium. Entering Week 6, Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards (1,831), while Watson ranks second in the league in passer rating (115.9). The pair are tied for second in the league in touchdown passes with 11.

Mahomes, who has 7,212 passing yards in 22 career games, and Watson, who has 7,228 passing yards in 28 career games, can each reach 7,500 career passing yards on Sunday. Should the pair each reach the milestone, they would become the fastest and tied for the third-fastest quarterbacks in NFL history to reach 7,500 career passing yards.

The players to reach 7,500 career passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 7,500 PASS YARDS)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (27) HOF
Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams (29)
Dan Marino, Miami (29) HOF
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (29)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (22)*
Deshaun Watson, Houston (28)#
*Has 7,212 passing yards
#Has 7,228 passing yards

STAFFORD SLINGER: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford enters Week 6 with 39,648 career passing yards in 145 games during his 11-year career with the Lions.

With 352 passing yards against the Packers Monday night at Lambeau, Stafford can become the first player in NFL history to reach 40,000 career passing yards in fewer than 150 games.

The players to reach 40,000 career passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 40,000 PASS YARDS)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (151)
Drew Brees, San Diego and New Orleans (152)
Dan Marino, Miami (153) HOF
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (154)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (154)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (145)*

*Has 39,648 passing yards

FEELING 100: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns with a 151.8 passer rating in the Seahawks’ Week 5 win. Wilson, who currently leads the NFL with a 126.3 passer rating in 2019, has a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of Seattle’s first five games of the season.

With a passer rating of 100 or higher on Sunday at Cleveland, Wilson would become the fourth player in NFL history with a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of his first six games of a season.

The players with a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history:​

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 100+ PASSER RATING TO BEGIN SEASON)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2011 – 12)#
Tom Brady, New England (2007 – 8)#
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (2005 – 6)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2019 – 5)*
*Active Streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

WINNING JIMMY: San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has 920 passing yards and seven touchdowns with a 99.4 passer rating in 2019 and has led the 49ers to their first 4-0 start since 1990. Garoppolo now owns a 12-2 record as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

With a win on Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams, Garoppolo can become the eighth quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 13 wins in his first 15 career starts.

The quarterbacks with the most wins through their first 15 career starts in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM(S) (RECORD THROUGH 1st 15 STARTS)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (15-0)
Roger Staubach, Dallas (14-1) HOF
Dan Marino, Miami (13-2) HOF
Dak Prescott, Dallas (13-2)
Philip Rivers, San Diego (13-2)
Mike Tomczak, Chicago (13-2)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (13-2) HOF
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England and San Francisco (12-2)*
*Entering Week 6

CMC 1,000: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had a season-high 237 scrimmage yards (176 rushing, 61 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in Week 5 and leads the NFL in scrimmage yards through the first five weeks of the 2019 season (866).

With 134 scrimmage yards in London against Tampa Bay, McCaffrey would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1963) and Marshall Faulk (2000) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards through their team’s first six games of a season.

The players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards through their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1963 – 1,153) HOF
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (2007 – 1,083) HOF
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 866)*
*Through five games

McCaffrey, who has at least 175 scrimmage yards in each of his past three games, needs 175 scrimmage against Tampa Bay to tie Edgerrin James (Weeks 7-10, 1999) for the longest streak of games with at least 175 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

GODWIN’S WORLD: Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin had 12 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns in Week 4 and seven catches for 125 yards and two scores in Week 5.

With at least 125 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in London against Carolina, Godwin would become the fourth player in NFL history to have three consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The players with three consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON(S); WEEKS)
Andre Rison, ATLANTA (1990; Weeks 5-7)
Don Maynard, New York Jets (1967-68; Week 16, 1967-Week 2, 1968) HOF
Cloyce Box, Detroit (1952; Weeks 10-12)
Chris Godwin Tampa Bay (2019; Weeks 4-5)*
*Two consecutive games

Detroit and Miami return from their byes this week, while Chicago, Oakland, Indianapolis and Buffalo will get the weekend off. Last week was not the greatest week of the season (but not the worst), as we went 7-8 (for the season, 40-41). Lots of football left. Week six got underway in Foxboro as New England and Tom Brady took care of the New York Giants to remain unbeaten and concludes in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as the Packers host the Detroit Lions at Lambeau in an NFC North matchup Monday night in prime time. Having said all of that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week six.

ATLANTA (1-4) at Arizona (1-3-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of 1-win teams meet in the desert as the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan travel to Glendale for an early afternoon contest with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals.

The Falcons dropped their third contest in a row Sunday afternoon against DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans, dropping a 53-32 decision in the Lone Star State. Atlanta led 17-16 at the intermission at NRG Stadium, then watched the Texans take the lead for keeps in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in the quarter unchallenged. Atlanta pulled themselves to within eight twice (once on a 1-yard run by Ryan, the other on a 29-yard TD pass from Ryan to Calvin Ridley) before the Texans would blow the doors open in the final minutes of the contest. Houston outrushed Atlanta 166-57 and Ryan threw for 330 yards with three TDs (two to Mohammed Sanu and Devonta Freeman, in addition to the Ridley toss), a pair of sacks and an interception, while Watson threw for 426 yards and five TDs with no sacks or interceptions (connecting with Will Fuller on three of them). Suprisingly, Atlanta was 9 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29 minutes, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 31 minutes, going 10 for 13 on third down.

The Desert Angry Birds picked up their first win of the season and gave Cincinnati their fifth loss in a row, leaving Paul Brown Stadium with a 26-23 last second win last Sunday. Arizona led 13-6 at the intermission along the shores of the Ohio River before the Bengals would rally with 2 minutes left in regulation when Tyler Boyd and Andy Dalton connected on a 42-yard TD toss. Arizona would then set off to break the hearts of Bengals fans as they would get the ball back with 2 minutes left and would use a 6-play, 62-yard drive with all of that time to make their way down the field, with K Zane Gonzalez booting the game-winner from 31 yards as time expired. Arizona outrushed the Bengals 266-108, with Murray leading the way with 93 yards and a rushing TD, while Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon led the Bengals with 93 yards on the ground. Dalton threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs, while Murray threw for 253 yards (both Dalton and Murray were sacked once but did not throw an interception). Arizona was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:03 (including the final 2 minutes of the contest), while the Bengals kept the ball for 28:57, going 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The series is even at 15-15 and the Falcons have not only out-scored the Desert Angry Birds 702-635, they’ve won the last three meetings, including a 40-14 win in the Big Peach last year (Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2014 in the desert by a final of 27-13).

In their week 15 meeting in the Big Peach, Atlanta erased an early 7-0 deficit by Arizona in the first quarter after Cardinals RB David Johnson opened the scoring in the contest from a yard out and took a 26-7 lead into the intermisison, scoring all of their first half points unchallenged. Atlanta would go on to outscore the Desert Angry Birds 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of play at Mercedes Benz Stadium to seal the win. The Falcons out-rushed Arizona 215-60, with Tevin Coleman leading the way with 145 yards and a TD. Ryan threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs (one to WR Julio Jones) and did not throw an interception, while Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 132 yards with six sacks and two interceptions (Ryan was sacked twice). Atlanta went 5 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:40, while Arizona held on to the ball for 29:20, going 3 of 13 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 15 contest, Atlanta was favored by 8 and covered, winning by 26 and the two teams covered the 44 over/under with 54 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Falcons as 2 1/2 point favorites in the desert and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Atlanta’s looking to end their three-game losing streak, the Cards are looking to make it two in a row. Atlanta’s streak comes to an end in the desert. Atlanta prevails in the desert and covers the 2 1/2.

Carolina (3-2) at Tampa Bay (2-3), 9:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. in London) on NFL Network. The second game in London features a pair of NFC South rivals as the Carolina Panthers face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carolina held off a late Jacksonville rally last Sunday afternoon as the Panthers came away 34-27 winners at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers, with Kyle Allen under center for Cam Newton (foot), took a 21-17 lead with them to the intermission and then proceeded to outscore Jacksonville 13-10 in the second half. Carolina survived the final second scare from the Jaguars, as they had a pair of defensive penalties in the final seconds (including one that occured as time expired, giving Jacksonville an untimed down). Panthers RB Chirstian McCaffrey led all rushers with 176 yards and a pair of TDs (he had six catches for 61 yards and a TD), while Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette rushed for 108 yards with a TD. Carolina outrushed Jacksonville 285-149 and Allen threw for 181 yards with the TD toss to McCaffrey, while Jacksonville signal caller Gardner Minshew threw for 374 yards and a pair of TDs to D.J. Chark (Minshew was sacked twice and Allen was sacked three times, neither threw an interception). Carolina was 4 of 13 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:36, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:24 (including the final 1:45 of the contest) and went 6 of 13 on third down.

The Buccaneers enter the contest on the other side of the Atlantic coming away with a 31-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday afternoon. Tampa Bay trailed 17-10 at the intermission in the Big Easy, then pulled themselves to within seven with 19 seconds left in the contest when Jameis Winston and WR Chris Goodwin connected on a 26-yard TD toss. Tampa Bay then went for the onside kick and failed, giving New Orleans and Teddy Bridgewater the ball, allowing them to run out the clock and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 112-94 (Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 62 yards) and Winston threw for 204 yards with a pair of TDs (he was sacked six times), while Bridgewater threw for 314 yards with four TDs and an interception. Tampa Bay was 3 of 11 on third down (they struck gold on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 26:33, while the Saints, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:27, went 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Carolina leads the series 23-14 and have outscored Tampa Bay 823-646. The two NFC South rivals split last year’s meetings, each coming away winners at home.

Carolina came away 42-28 winners in the Tar Heel State in their first meeting, a week nine contest at Bank of America Stadium. Newton and the Panthers led 35-14 at the half, then held off the Buccaneers in the second half after Tampa Bay outscored them 14-7 in that span. Carolina out-rushed Tampa Bay 179-82, with McCaffrey leading all rushers with 79 yards and a pair of TDs, Newton threw for 247 yards, while Fitzpatrick threw for 243 yards (each threw a pair of TDs; Fitzpatrick was sacked three times with a pair of interceptions, Newton was sacked twice). Carolina was 4 of 10 on third down tries (the Panthers were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31 minutes, while Tampa Bay, who kept the ball for 29 minutes, went 5 for 12 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay would get revenge in the Sunshine State in week 13, as Winston and Tampa Bay came away 24-17 winners at Raymond James Stadium. Even though Tampa Bay led 17-7 at the break, the Panthers outscored Tampa Bay 10-7 in the third quarter (the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter) to make things closer than Tampa Bay fans would have liked. Once again, McCaffery led all rushers with 106 yards and as was the case in the first meeting, Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 168-95 and Newton threw for 300 yards, while Winston threw for 249 yards (both threw a pair of TDs and both were sacked four times, Newton was picked off four times). Tampa Bay wemt 6 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 29:54, while the Panthers ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 30:06, going 3 of 8 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest in Charlotte, Carolina was favored by 6 1/2 and covered, winning by 14 and both teams took care of the over/under of 54 by tallying 70 points. Carolina was favored again in the week 13 contest in the Sunshine State, the boys and girls in Vegas making them 3 1/2 point favorites. Tampa Bay covered the spread, winning by 7 but the 55 1/2 over/under stayed in tact, as both teams tallied 41 points. While Tampa Bay is the designated home team, the Panthers are favored on the other side of the pond as a 2 1/2 point favorite with a 45 1/2 over/under. You may want to set the VCR for this one, since it starts at 9:30 in the morning, when most of America is either at church or heading to church. Carolina may be on the other side of the Atlantic but they’re finer in this one. Carolina covers the 2 1/2 on the other side of the big pond and takes the win.

Cincinnati (0-5) at Baltimore (3-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in Charm City as the winless Bengals take on the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Cincinnati picked up their their fifth loss in a row, leaving Paul Brown Stadium with a 26-23 last second loss to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Arizona led 13-6 at the intermission along the shores of the Ohio River before the Bengals would rally with 2 minutes left in regulation when Tyler Boyd and Andy Dalton connected on a 42-yard TD toss. Arizona would then set off to break the hearts of Bengals fans as they would get the ball back with 2 minutes left and would use a 6-play, 62-yard drive with all of that time to make their way down the field, with K Zane Gonzalez booting the game-winner from 31 yards as time expired. Arizona outrushed the Bengals 266-108, with Murray leading the way with 93 yards and a rushing TD, while Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon led the Bengals with 93 yards on the ground. Dalton threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs, while Murray threw for 253 yards (both Dalton and Murray were sacked once but did not throw an interception). Arizona was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:03 (including the final 2 minutes of the contest), while the Bengals kept the ball for 28:57, going 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Baltimore needed overtime at Heinz Field last Sunday afternoon as they left the Steel City 26-23 winners. The Ravens led 17-13 at the intermission before Pittsburgh stormed back in the second half to lead 23-20 with 2:37 left in regulation on a Chris Boswell field goal. Jeff Tucker then connected on a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation, then after a Pittsburgh turnover by WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in the overtime, Tucker connected on a 46-yarder with 5:26 left in the extra period to take the win.

Baltimore outrushed Pittsburgh 138-77 and Lamar Jackson threw for 161 yards with a TD and three interceptions, while Mason Rudolph threw for 131 yards and a TD to Smith-Schuster before being knocked out of the contest with a concussion (Rudolph was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Baltimore was 6 of 15 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 39 minutes (including the overtime), while the Steelers were 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:34.

The series? Even at 23-23 and Baltimore has outscored Cincinnati 989-869. The two AFC North foes met twice and both teams wone their contests in their home parks.

Round one… Cincinnati, along the shores of the Ohio River in week two on a Thursday night and the Bengals took care of the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium 34-23. Cincinnati led 28-14 at the break and was never really threatened after that. The Bengals outrushed Baltimore 108-66, with Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 84 yards, while Dalton threw for 265 yards and four TDs (three to WR A.J. Green) and Flacco throwing for 376 yards with a pair of TDs (Flacco was sacked four times and picked off twice). Cincinnati went 5 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Ravens kept the ball for 28:10, going 7 of 16 on third down and 2 of 4 on fourth down.

The Ravens would get revenge in Charm City in week 11, coming away 24-21 winners at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore led 13-7 at the intermission, watched the Dalton-led Bengals tie the contest with 63 seconds left in the third when Greg Edwards scored on an 11-yard run before Ravens K Jeff Tucker broke the tie for keeps with 8:12 left in the contest. Ravens RB Gus Edwards and Jackson each rushed for 100 yards (Edwards had 115 yards with a TD, Jackson had 117) as Baltimore outrushed Cincinnati 265-48; Jackson threw for 150 yards with an interception, while Dalton threw for 211 yards with a pair of TDs and a sack. Cincinnati went 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 21:51, while the Ravens went 8 of 16 on third down, ruling the clock as they held the ball for 38:09 (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

In the week two contest in Cincinnati, the Bengals were favored by 1 and covered as they won by 11 and b oth teams covered the 44 over/under with 57 points. In the week 11 contest in Charm City, the Ravens were favored by 4 but won by only 3. The two clubs did manage to take care of the 43 1/2 over/under, tallying 45 points. Baltimore’s favored by 11 in Charm City and the over/under’s 46. Granted, the Bengals are a bad team. They’re not 11 points bad and they have been playing competitive football of late. The sad thing? Baltimore’s going to win this one but expect the Bengals to make things hard for the Ravens.

Seattle (4-1) at Cleveland (2-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirectV 708. Russell Wilson vs. Baker Mayfield. One has a Heisman, the other has a Super Bowl ring. They meet along the shores of Lake Erie in an early afternoon contest in the Buckeye State.

Seattle survived a late rally against the Los Angeles Rams last Thursday night in the Pacific Northwest, as the Seahawks would prevail 30-29 over their NFC West rivals at Century Link Field. Seattle led 14-13 at the break, then trailed 26-21 at the end of the third quarter before getting themselves back on track, using a 12-play, 75-yard drive that used 6:51 of clock, taking the lead back for keeps with 2:28 left in regulation when RB Chris Carson caught a 5-yard TD toss from Russell Wilson to take the one-point lead. Seattle fans then watched and held their breath as the Rams made their way down the field to set up for what would have been the win on the road. Seahawk fans then heaved a sigh of relief when Greg Zuerlein’s 44-yard field goal try as time expired went wide right, giving the home team the win.

Carson led all rushers with 118 yards on the ground (Los Angeles was led by Todd Gurley III with 51 yards and a pair of TDs), while the Seahawks outrushed the Rams 167-82 and Wilson threw for 268 yards and four TDs (including the game-winner late in the contest), while Jared Gof threw for 395 yards and a TD toss to Cooper Kupp (Goff threw an interception but was not sacked, while Wilson was sacked once but did not turn the ball over). Seattle went 3 of 10 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 35:18, while the Rams kept the ball for 24:42, going 3 for 11 on third down conversions.

Cleveland was held to a 30-yard field goal by Austin Seibert in the second quarter as they were manhandled by Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers 31-3 Monday night at Levis’ Stadium. The Browns trailed 21-1 at the intermission and San Francisco shut them out in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in prime time. San Francisco’s Matt Breida led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, while Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 87 as the 49ers outrushed Cleveland 275-102. Mayfield threw for 100 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Garoppolo threw a pair of TDs (one to TE George Kittle, the other to Breida) and 181 yards in the win. Cleveland was a dismal 1 of 11 on third down tries in prime time and kept the ball for 22:17, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 37:43, going 6 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Seahawks lead the series 12-6, Seattle has outscored Cleveland 396-290 and won their last meeting with the Browns, coming out on top 30-13 in the Pacific Northwest in 2015, while Cleveland’s last win in the series came in 2011 along the shores of Lake Erie in a field goal affair by a final of 6-3. Seattle’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 47. Seattle covers and wins along the shores of Lake Erie.

New Orleans (4-1) at Jacksonville (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They’re separated by 547 miles along I-10. They’ll meet in northern Florida for the seventh time. Jacksonville and New Orleans, both playing close contests last week, meet in the Sunshine State in an early afternoon contest along the banks of the St. John’s River.

New Orleans held off a late Tampa Bay rally in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, taking down their NFC South rivals 31-24 last Sunday afternoon. The Saints, who led 17-10 at the intermission in the Big Easy, watched as Tampa Bay pulled themselves to within seven with 19 seconds left in the contest when Jameis Winston and WR Chris Goodwin connected on a 26-yard TD toss. Tampa Bay then went for the onside kick and failed, giving New Orleans and Teddy Bridgewater the ball, allowing them to run out the clock and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 112-94 (Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 62 yards) and Winston threw for 204 yards with a pair of TDs (he was sacked six times), while Bridgewater threw for 314 yards with four TDs and an interception. Tampa Bay was 3 of 11 on third down (they struck gold on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 26:33, while the Saints, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:27, went 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

A Jacksonville rally last Sunday afternoon against Carolina came up short as the Panthers came away 34-27 winners at Bank of America Stadium. Jacksonville trailed the Panthers 21-17 lead at the intermission and were outscored 13-10 in the second half. Jacksonville gave Carolina a scare in the final minutes, getting themselves in position to either tie the contest or take the lead outright as Carolin was flagged for a pair of defensive penalties in the final seconds (including one that occured as time expired, giving Jacksonville an untimed down). Panthers RB Chirstian McCaffrey led all rushers with 176 yards and a pair of TDs (he had six catches for 61 yards and a TD), while Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette rushed for 108 yards with a TD. Carolina outrushed Jacksonville 285-149 and Kyle Allen threw for 181 yards with the TD toss to McCaffrey, while Jacksonville signal caller Gardner Minshew threw for 374 yards and a pair of TDs to D.J. Chark (Minshew was sacked twice and Allen was sacked three times, neither threw an interception). Carolina was 4 of 13 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:36, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:24 (including the final 1:45 of the contest) and went 6 of 13 on third down.

New Orleans holds a 4-2 lead in the series, have outscored Jacksonville 161-135 and have won the last three meetings, including coming away 38-27 winners in the Big Easy in 2015, while Jacksonville’s last win came in 2003 in the Sunshine State by a final of 20-19. Jacksonville’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Jaguars get back on track at home and takes the win in the Sunshine State and covers the 1 1/2.

Houston (3-2) at Kansas City (4-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. DeShaun Watson vs. Patrick Mahomes. A pair of first-round NFL QBs meet at Arrowhead as the Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

Watson and the Texans took a 53-32 decision in the Lone Star State over Atlanta, giving the Falcons their third loss in a row. The Texans trailed 17-16 at the intermission at NRG Stadium, then took the lead for keeps in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in the quarter unchallenged. Atlanta pulled themselves to within eight twice (once on a 1-yard run by Ryan, the other on a 29-yard TD pass from Ryan to Calvin Ridley) before the Texans would blow the doors open in the final minutes of the contest. Houston outrushed Atlanta 166-57 and Ryan threw for 330 yards with three TDs (two to Mohammed Sanu and Devonta Freeman, in addition to the Ridley toss), a pair of sacks and an interception, while Watson threw for 426 yards and five TDs with no sacks or interceptions (connecting with Will Fuller on three of them). Atlanta was 9 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29 minutes, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 31 minutes, going 10 for 13 on third down.

Indianapolis ended Kansas City’s four-game win streak at Arrowhead as the Colts used four Adam Vinatieri field goals to come away 19-13 winners last Sunday night. The Chiefs trailed 13-10 at the break in the prime-time contest in the Show-Me State and eventually pulled themselves to within six with 76 seconds left in the contest when Harrison Butker connected on a 36- yard field goal. It would be as close as the Chiefs would get as they would try the onside kick, which the Colts recovered. Indinapolis, who outrushed Kansas City 180-36, would run out the clock and take the win. Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 132 yards and QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 151 yards, while Mahomes threw for 321 yards and a TD (Mahomes was sacked four times, Brissett threw an interception.) The Chiefs were 4 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:45, while the Colts ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 37:15 and went 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Kansas City leads the series 5-4 and have outscored the Texans 240-199. Both teams won their last games in the series in the Lone Star State; the Texans were 19-12 winners in 2016 and the Chiefs returned the favor the following year, coming out on top 42-34. The Chiefs at home are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 56. Kansas City’s playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing at home last Sunday night and don’t want to lose two home games in a row. Houston will make it interesting and closer than the 4 1/2 but Kansas City prevails at home and takes the win.

Washington (0-5) at Miami (0-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of winless teams meet in the Sunshine State as Miami hosts Washington at Hard Rock Stadium. The Redskins come in with their fifth loss in tow and a new head coach, as the team fired Jay Gruden Monday morning, replacing him with Bill Callahan for the remainder of the season. As for the Dolphins, they look to win their first game after taking four losses in a row.

New England and Tom Brady manhandled Washington 33-7 last Sunday in Landover in what would be the last game that Jay Gruden would coach for Washington at Fed Ex Field. Steven Sims opened the scoring for Washington, scoring on a 65-yard TD run in the first quarter. After that. New England led 12-6 at the half and scored their remaining 21 points of the contest unchallenged. Washington did manage to outrush New England 145-130 but Brady burned Washington for 348 yards and three TDs, despite being sacked four times and picked off once, while Colt McCoy threw for 119 yards with six sacks and an interception. The Patriots were 5 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:52, while the Redskins kept the ball for 28:08, going 1 for 11 on third down tries at Fed Ex Field.

The Los Angeles Chargers took control of things in Miami, giving the Dolphins their fourth loss in a row, coming out of Hard Rock Stadium 30-10 winners in the Sunshine State two weeks ago. Taking a 17-10 lead with them to the locker room at halftime, the Chargers would take control of things in the second half, scoring their last 13 points of the contest unchallenged. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the Chargers did manage to outurush Miami 79-72 and Rivers threw for 310 yards with a pair of TDs, despite being sacked once, while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 180 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off once. The Chargers were 8 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 37:36, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 22:24, going 5 of 10 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Miami holds an 8-4 lead in the series, they’ve outscored the Redskins 225-199 and have won the last two contests with Washington, taking a 17-10 win in Landover in 2015, while Washington’s last win in the series came in 2007 (also in Landover) as the Redskins needed overtime to come away 16-13 winners. Washington’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 41. Someone has to win this game. Redskins fans will either be singing “Hail to the Redskins” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins” this week. Dolphins fans can take heart, their four-game losing streak comes to an end at home. Miami wins this one in the Sunshine State and may cover the 3 1/2.

Philadelphia (3-2) at Minnesota (3-2), 1 p.m. and FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of 3-2 teams meet in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles take on Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium. Both teams enter the Sunday afternoon contest in the Twin Cities with wins under their belts.

The Eagles kept the Jets winless last Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field as Wentz and Philadelphia took care of business 31-6 in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia led 21-0 at the intermission and were never threatened, holding GangGreen to a 19-yard TD run by Vic Smith early in the fourth quarter. Neither club dented the 100-yard barrier but the Eagles won the ground game, outrushing the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 84-67 and Wentz threw for 189 yards and a TD to Zach Ertz, while Luke Falk (taking over for Sam Darnold) threw for 120 yards (Falk was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Wentz was sacked once but did not throw a pick). The Eagles were 5 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:52, while the Jets held the ball for 29:08, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday took Daniel Jones and the New York Giants to task at Met Life Stadium last Sunday, taking a 28-10 win over the Giants in upstate New Jersey. Minnesota led 18-7 at the intermission and the Giants never threatened, as Minnesota held them to a Aldrick Rosas field in the third quarter. Delvin Cook ran for 132 yards as the Vikings outrushed the Giants 211-64 and Cousins threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Adam Thielen, while Jones threw for 182 yards with a TD (Jones was sacked four times and picked off once, Cousins was sacked three times). The Giants were 8 of 16 on third down, 0 for 3 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 27:20, while the Vikings ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 32:40, going 5 of 11 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota leads the series 14-10 and have outscored the Eagles 566-549. Minnesota won the last meeting, which took place in the City of Brotherly Love last year by a final of 23-21 at Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia’s last win in regular season play took place in Philly in 2016, with the Eagles coming out on top 21-10).

Minnesota led 17-3 at the half in their week five meeting at Lincoln Financial Field, then held off a late Eagles rally in the second half to take the road win (Philadelphia won the second half, outscoring the Vikings 18-6). The Eagles, who won the Super Bowl the year before, pulled themselves to within 2 with 69 seconds left when Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Philadelphia then went for the onside kick, which the Vikings recovered and after they ran out the clock, Minnesota came away with the 2-point win. Philadelphia outrushed Minnesota 81-77 and Wentz threw for 311 yards with three sacks, while Kirk Cousins threw for 301 yards with a sack (Cousins threw a TD pass to Thielen, while Wentz threw for two scores). While Philadelphia went 2 of 9 on third down tries, they were quite succesful in fourth down conversions, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 27:13; Minnesota ruled the clock and kept the ball away from the Eagles for 32:47, going 4 for 11 on third down tries.

Philadelphia was favored by 3 in the week five contest in the City of Brotherly Love and while the Vikings came away with the win, they didn’t cover, winning by 2 and both teams barely missed the 44 1/2 over/under. The Vikings are favored by 3 in the Twin Cities and the over/under’s 44. This may be one of the better contests this year. Eagles get their revenge from last year’s loss in the City of Brotherly Love, covering the 3 on the road and taking the win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

San Francisco (4-0) at Los Angeles Rams (3-2), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of West Coast/NFC West rivals meet in southern California as Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers make their way (346 miles) to Los Angeles to face off against the defending NFC champions at the Coliseum.

San Francisco held Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns to a 30-yard field goal by Austin Seibert in the second quarter as the 49ers and Garoppolo manhandled Cleveland 31-3 Monday night at Levis’ Stadium. San Francisco led 21-1 at the intermission and shut the Browns out in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in prime time. San Francisco’s Matt Breida led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, while Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 87 as the 49ers outrushed Cleveland 275-102. Mayfield threw for 100 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Garoppolo threw a pair of TDs (one to TE George Kittle, the other to Breida) and 181 yards in the win. Cleveland was a dismal 1 of 11 on third down tries in prime time and kept the ball for 22:17, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 37:43, going 6 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

A Los Angeles Rams rally fell short as Seattle survived a against the Los Angeles Rams last Thursday night in the Pacific Northwest, with the Seahawks coming away 30-29 winners over their NFC West rivals at Century Link Field. The Rams trailed 14-13 at the break, then led 26-21 at the end of the third quarter before Seattle got themselves back on track, using a 12-play, 75-yard drive that used 6:51 of clock, taking the lead back for keeps with 2:28 left in regulation when RB Chris Carson caught a 5-yard TD toss from Russell Wilson to take the one-point lead. Seattle fans then watched and held their breath as the Rams made their way down the field to set up for what would have been the win on the road. Seahawk fans then heaved a sigh of relief when Greg Zuerlein’s 44-yard field goal try as time expired went wide right, giving the home team the win.

Carson led all rushers with 118 yards on the ground (Los Angeles was led by Todd Gurley III with 51 yards and a pair of TDs), while the Seahawks outrushed the Rams 167-82 and Wilson threw for 268 yards and four TDs (including the game-winner late in the contest), while Jared Goff threw for 395 yards and a TD toss to Cooper Kupp (Goff threw an interception but was not sacked, while Wilson was sacked once but did not turn the ball over). Seattle went 3 of 10 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 35:18, while the Rams kept the ball for 24:42, going 3 for 11 on third down conversions.

Including those contests that were played in Anaheim, Keezar Stadium, Candlestick Park and in St. Louis, the 49ers lead the series 68-67-3 and have outscored the Rams 3.088-2,978. However… the Rams have won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (San Francisco’s last win came in 2017 in Los Angeles by a final of 34-13).

Meeting number one… week seven at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara. The Rams led 22-7 at the intermission and never looked back, coming out of Santa Clara with a 39-10 win in wine country. Gurley (63 yards) ran for a pair of TDs as the Rams outrushed San Francisco 146-107 and Goff threw for 202 yards and a pair of TDs, while C.J. Beathard threw for 170 yards with a TD (Beathard was sacked seven times and picked off twice, while Goff was sacked twice). The defending NFC champs were 5 of 12 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball hostage for 32:51, while the 49ers, who kept the pigskin for 27:09, went 3 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The two West Coast teams closed the 2018 season out in Los Angeles at the Coliseum in week 17 and Los Angeles held off a late 49ers rally in the second half to take a 48-32 win to complete the sweep. The Rams were 31-10 leaders at the half before the 49ers would outscore them in the second half 22-17. With Gurley rested, it was Charles Anderson’s turn to lead all rushers for the Rams, tallying 132 yards of rushing, while San Francisco’s Alfred Morris tallied 111 yards (both men had a rushing TD). Los Angeles, who kept the ball for 31:50, outrushed the 49ers 155-127 and went 10 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down). As for the 49ers? They were 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:10.

The Rams covered the 10 1/2-point spread (they were favored), winning by 29 but the two clubs combined for 49 points, meaning that the 54 over/under was untouched. Los Angeles was again favored, this time by 10 in the season finale in southern Californa (they covered, winning by 16) and this time, both teams covered the over/under of 50 with 80 combined points. The Rams are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. San Francisco would like nothing more than to go 5-0 in southern California, whil the Rams would love nothing more than to break their two-game losing streak. For the 49ers, the party comes to an end in Los Angeles. Rams cover the 3 and wins in the Coliseum.

Tennessee (2-3) at Denver (1-4), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. The first game of the late afternoon takes places in the Mile High City as Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans take on Joe Flacco and the Denver Broncos. While the Titans lost at home last week, Denver broke their four-game losing streak on the road.

Buffalo broke a 7-7 tie with Tennessee early in the fourth quarter when WR Derrick Williams caught a 7-yard TD toss from QB Josh Allen as the Bills left Nashville 14-7 winners at Nissan Stadium last Sunday. After a scoreless first quarter, Lance Smith caught an 8-yard toss from Allen to take a 7-0 lead with them to the intermission. Tennessee would tie the contest in the third quarter when Derrick Henry scored from a yard out. The Bills then used a 6-play, 77-yard drive that used 2:37 of clock to take the lead back and for keeps. Buffalo outrushed Tennessee 109-102 and Bills RB Frank Gore had 60 yards on the ground, while Henry led all rushers with 78 yards and the TD; Allen threw for 219 yards with the two TD tosses (Allen was sacked four times and picked off once), while Mariota threw for 183 yards with five sacks but no interceptions. Tennessee went 4 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 28:48, while the Bills ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:12, going 4 of 13 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Denver put an end to their four-game losing streak last Sunday, coming away from Dignity Health Sports Park with a 20-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos scpred 17 first half points unchallenged to lead at the half to take the win, as the Chargers would pull themselves to within seven with 10 seconds left when K Chris McLaughlin connected on a 32-yard field goal. The Chargers then went for the onside kick, which Denver recovered, allowing the Broncos to take the win on the West Coast. Denver’s Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, as the Broncos held the Chargers to 35 yards of rushing, while tallying 191 yards of their own. Flacco threw for 182 yards with a TD to Courtland Sutton (Flacco was sacked three times and picked off once), while Philip Rivers threw for 211 yards and two interceptions. Denver went 3 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 29:36, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:24, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Broncos played their home games at Mile High Stadium, Tennessee leads the series 22-15-1 and have outscored the Broncos 993-850. The two clubs last met in the Music City in 2016 and the Titans held off Denver 13-10, while Denver’s last win came in the Mile High City by a final of 51-28 in 2013. Denver’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 39. If you took a pass on this one, we wouldn’t blame you. Denver finally gets their first win at home and covers the 2.

Dallas (3-2) at New York Jets (0-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Dallas has lost two in a row. The Jets are looking for their first win. A pair of struggling teams meet in upstate New Jersey as the Cowboys and Jets meet at Met Life Stadium. Both teams took losses in last week’s action.

Dallas struggled against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last Sunday at AT&T Stadium, taking a 34-24 loss in the Lone Star State. Green Bay led 17-0 at the half, scoring all of those points in the first 30 minutes unchallenged, before Dallas would eventually outscore the Packers 24-17 in the final 30 minutes of play. Dallas barely outrushed Green Bay 122-120 and RB Ezekiel Elliott led his club with 62 yards on the ground and a TD, while Packers RB Aaron Jones led all rushers with 107 yards and four TDs. The other Aaron (Rodgers) threw for 238 yards with a pair of sacks, while Prescott threw for 463 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on both tosses (Prescott was sacked three times and picked off three times). Green Bay was 3 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43, while Dallas kept the ball for 23:17, going 2 of 8 on third down.

The Jets stayed winless last Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field as Carson Wentz and Philadelphia took them to task 31-6 in the City of Brotherly Love. GangGreen trailed 21-0 at the intermission and could never get themselves on track, as they were held to a 19-yard TD run by Vic Smith early in the fourth quarter. Neither club dented the 100-yard barrier but the Eagles won the ground game, outrushing the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 84-67 and Wentz threw for 189 yards and a TD to Zach Ertz, while Luke Falk (taking over for Darnold) threw for 120 yards (Falk was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Wentz was sacked once but did not throw a pick). The Eagles were 5 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:52, while the Jets held the ball for 29:08, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

While Dallas leads the series 7-4 and have outscored GangGreen 300-170. the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have won the last two meetings (which includes games that were played at Shea Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, Cowboys Stadium and Giants Stadium), including a 19-16 win in the Lone Star State in 2016, while Dallas’ last win came in front of the home crowd in 2007 by a final of 34-3. Dallas is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 43. A streak will come to an end and a streak will continue. Dallas’ two-game losing streak stops in upstate New Jersey. Cowboys may not cover the 7 but they win in the Meadowlands.

Pittsburgh (1-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They meet again and this time, it’s on the West Coast. Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Chargers meet again in a rematch of a classic from last season. Both clubs took losses at home in last week’s play.

Pittsburgh watched a 23-20 lead in regulation get away from them as Baltimore used a Jeff Tucker field to send the contest into overtime, then watched Tucker win the game in overtime as the Ravens left Heinz Field with a 26-23 win Sunday afternoon Baltimore 17-13 at the intermission before Pittsburgh stormed back in the second half to lead 23-20 with 2:37 left in regulation on a Chris Boswell field goal. Tucker then connected on a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation, then after a Pittsburgh turnover by WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in the overtime, Tucker would end the contest, as he connected on a 46-yarder with 5:26 left in the extra period to take the win.

Baltimore outrushed Pittsburgh 138-77 and Lamar Jackson threw for 161 yards with a TD and three interceptions, while Mason Rudolph threw for 131 yards and a TD to Smith-Schuster before being knocked out of the contest with a concussion (Rudolph was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Baltimore was 6 of 15 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 39 minutes (including the overtime), while the Steelers were 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:34.

The Chargers and Rivers watched Denver put an end to their four-game losing streak last Sunday, coming away from Dignity Health Sports Park with a 20-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers trailed 17-0 at the half before they would pull themselves to within seven with 10 seconds left when K Chris McLaughlin connected on a 32-yard field goal. The Chargers then went for the onside kick, which Denver recovered, allowing the Broncos to take the win on the West Coast. Denver’s Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, as the Broncos held the Chargers to 35 yards of rushing, while tallying 191 yards of their own. Flacco threw for 182 yards with a TD to Courtland Sutton (Flacco was sacked three times and picked off once), while Philip Rivers threw for 211 yards and two interceptions. Denver went 3 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 29:36, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:24, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh leads the series 22-8 (including contests that took place at Three Rivers Stadium and in San Diego) and the Steelers have outscored the Bolts 773-558. The Chargers came away with the 33-30 last second win in the Steel City last year, while Pittsburgh’s last win came at Qualcomm Stadium in 2015 by a final of 24-20.

They met in week 13 at Heinz Field in the Sunday night contest that featured three lead changes in the AFC affair and it was Big Ben (Roethlisberger) vs. Philip Rivers squaring off. Pittsburgh led 23-7 at the half, thanks to a pair of James Conner rushing TDs, then watched as the Chargers chipped away at that lead, tying things up at 23-23 with 12:52 left in the contest when Desmond King returned a punt 73 yards for a TD. Rivers and Keenan Allen would tie things up when they connected on the 2-point conversion and the Chargers would take the lead for the first time in the contest when Justin Jackson scored on an 18-yard run. Pittsburgh re-tied the contest at 30-30 with 4:10 left in regulation when Jaylen Samuels and Roethlisberger connected on a 10-yard strike.

The Chargers were not done and would get the ball back with 4:10 left in regulation. Los Angeles orchestrated an 11-play, 64-yard drive that used all of the 4:10 that was left on the clock. After burning their first time out of the half with three seconds left, Michael Badgley tried a 39-yard field goal to win the contest in regulation. Badgley’s kick sailed wide to the right but Steelers LB James Harden was penalized for a netural zone infraction. Because a game cannot end on a defensive penalty, the Bolts got the ball moved up five yards and they would get an untimed down. Badgley then tried it from 34 yards and the try was blocked. Going to overtime, right? WRONG! The Steelers were penalized for a second neutral zone infraction, which meant moving the ball up five yards and giving Los Angeles another untimed down.

For the Chargers, the third time was the charm. With Badgley moved up another five yards, he would connect on a 29-yard try and as was the case on the first two tries, the Steelers were… you guessed it… offside. The Chargers declined the penalty and took the road win. Los Angeles outrushed Pittsburgh 85-65 at Heinz Field and both Roethlisberger (281 yards, sack, interception) and Rivers (299 yards, two sacks) threw a pair of TDs in the prime time contest. The Bolts were 6 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:12 (including the final 4:10 of the contest), while the Steelers kept the pigskin for 28:48, going 3 of 10 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs. Pittsburgh was favored by 3 1/2 in the Steel City and while the Chargers came away with the win, they only did it by 3. Both teams did manage to cover the 51 1/2 over/under by tallying 63 points. The Bolts are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 41. Both teams want to erase what happened last week and the Steelers would like to get some revenge from last year’s loss at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh takes this one on the West Coast but expect the Chargers to make things closer than 7.

Detroit (2-1-1) at Green Bay (4-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week six concludes in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as NFC North foes Detroit and Green Bay meet at Lambeau Field.

Kansas City broke a 13-13 tie in Detroit, then rallied to take a 34-30 win over the Lions at Ford Field two weeks ago. The Chiefs trailed Matthew Stafford and the Lions 30-27 with 20 seconds left in the contest when RB Darien Williams scored from a yard away to take the lead for the first time and for keeps. Kansas City would then go on to hold off a late Detroit rally that would have given them their first loss of the 2019 season. Detroit outrushed Kansas City 186-123 with Lions RB Kerryon Johnson leading the way with 125 yards. Stafford threw for 291 yards with three TDs (two of them to Kenny Golladay) and four sacks, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 315 yards with no TDs for the first time in his career and no sacks (neither Mahomes or Stafford threw an interception). Kansas City went 4 of 9 on third down (they were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 26:06, while the Lions actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 33:54, going 5 ofi 13 on third down.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers held serve against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday at AT&T Stadium, taking a 34-24 win in the Lone Star State. Green Bay led 17-0 at the half, scoring all of those points in the first 30 minutes unchallenged, before Dallas would eventually outscore the Packers 24-17 in the final 30 minutes of play. Dallas barely outrushed Green Bay 122-120 and RB Ezekiel Elliott led his club with 62 yards on the ground and a TD, while Packers RB Aaron Jones led all rushers with 107 yards and four TDs. The other Aaron (Rodgers) threw for 238 yards with a pair of sacks, while Prescott threw for 463 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on both tosses (Prescott was sacked three times and picked off three times). Green Bay was 3 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43, while Dallas kept the ball for 23:17, going 2 of 8 on third down.

Including contests played in Portsmouth (when the Lions were known as the Spartans) at Milwaukee County Stadium, Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Packers lead the series 98-72-7 and have outscored the Lions 3,737-3,292. However… the Lions have won the last four meetings, sweeping the last two series (Green Bay’s last win came in 2016 in the Motor City by a final of 31-24).

Meeting number one… week five in the Motor City. Detroit held off a late Green Bay rally to come away 31-23 winners at Ford Field. The Lions scored 24 first half points unchallenged to shut out the Packers in the first half. Green Bay would take the second half, outscoring the Lions 23-7 in the final 30 minutes of play and made it an 8-point contest with 2 seconds left when Crosby connected on a 41-yard field goal. Green Bay did outrush Detroit 98-94 in the first meeting and Rodgers threw for 442 yards and three TDs, while Stafford threw for 183 yards and a pair of TDs (Rodgers was sacked four times, Stafford was sacked twice and neither threw an interception). Green Bay went 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Packers were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, as kept the ball for 33:20 to Detroit’s 26:40 (the Lions were 5 for 13 on third down).

They met again, this time at Lambeau Field (temperature at game time? A balmy 26 degrees with a 14 degree wind chill) in the season finale for both clubs. Detroit scored all 31 of their points unchallenged as they shut out the Packers 31-0. Detroit led 21-0 at the break on the frozen tundra and never looked back, flooring the gas in the second half to seal the win. Stafford threw for 266 yards and a pair of TDs without an interception, while Rodgers threw for 26 yards (one sack) before being replaced by DeShone Kizer (132 yards, two sacks, interception). Detroit outrushed Green Bay in the second meeting 130-46 and went 7 of 14 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Lions kept the ball for 36:54, while Green Bay held the ball for 23:06, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Green Bay was favored by 1 1/2 in the week five contest at Ford Field and the Lions covered the spread, winning by 8 and both clubs covered the 51 over/under with 54 points in the Motor City. As for the contest in week 17? The Packers were favored by 7 1/2 and the Lions again covered, winning by 31 but Detroit’s 31 unanswered points in the contest did not cover the 45 over/under. Detroit on Monday night? 16-18-1. The Packers? 32-32-1.

Both teams played one Monday night contest last year and Detroit lost their only meeting, while the Packers took a win. We normally don’t make Monday night games “DRILL WORTHY” but in this case, we’re making an exception. With that… (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal 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?”)

Green Bay’s favored by 4 1/2 at Lambeau and the over/under’s 47. Detroit’s looking to win five in a row over the Packers, something they haven’t done since the 1950s; the Packers are looking to put an end to that foolishness. The Packers are looking for revenge and they’re getting it. Green Bay closes out week six with the win at Lambeau and covers the 4 1/2.

Three teams remain left in the ranks of the unbeatens, two of them (New England and Kansas City) won on the road and the third team (San Francisco) had a bye week. Green Bay, the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas were knocked out of the ranks of the unbeatens, while Miami, Denver and Washington look for their first wins. And it’s tea, crumpets and American football on the other side of the Atlantic as Da Bears and Oakland travel to London.

Welcome to week five of the 2019 NFL season. Four weeks down. 13 to go. There’s still time for those teams that are struggling to get their ducks in a row. After all, the season is a marathon, not a sprint.

QUARTERBACKS NOT ONLY GETTING YOUNGER, THEY’RE ALSO WINNING: Youth is being served! Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph earned his first NFL win as a starter on Monday. In fact, 11 of the 15 winning clubs this past week had a starting field general who has yet to see his 27th birthday. The Steelers’ victory marked the 39th win by a starting quarterback age 26-or-younger this season.

The most wins by quarterbacks under age 26-or-younger, through four weeks of play, in NFL history:

YEAR – WINS
2019 – 39
1987 – 31
1986 – 30
2013 – 28
2008 – 27

Rudolph joined Carolina’s Kyle Allen, New Orleans’ Teddy Bridgewater, the New York Giants’ Daniel Jones, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew, Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston as quarterbacks age 26-or-younger to win last week.

This week, at least four games match up youthful quarterbacks. Minshew’s Jaguars travel to Carolina to play Allen, Winston and the Buccaneers are at New Orleans to play Bridgewater and one of the New York Jets’ young starters, either Sam Darnold or Luke Falk, will be in Philadelphia to meet Carson Wentz and Rudolph’s Steelers host Baltimore and Lamar Jackson.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK FOUR: All 13 completed games in Week 4 featured at least one starting quarterback age 26 or younger.

With two games remaining, a total of 50 games have featured at least one starting quarterback age 26 or younger in 2019, surpassing the 1987 season (48) for the most such games through four weeks of a season in NFL history.

New England defeated Buffalo 16-10, in Week 4. New England joins the 2012 Chicago Bears as the only teams since 2000 with at least 15 sacks (18) and 10 interceptions (10) in their first four games of a season.

New England defensive back J.C. Jackson had two interceptions and a blocked punt in the victory. Jackson became the first player since the New York Jets’ Erik McMillan (Week 1, 1989) with at least two interceptions and a blocked punt in a single game. Additionally, Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty recorded an interception in the win and is the first player in Patriots franchise history and the first in the NFL since Minnesota’s Brian Russell in 2003 to record an interception in each of his team’s first four games of a season.

Buffalo running back Frank Gore rushed for 109 yards in the loss. Gore, who now has 15,021 career rushing yards, became the fourth player in league annals with at least 15,000 career rushing yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (18,355), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269).

Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett had a sack, forced fumble and interception in the Buccaneers’ 55-40 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Barrett has nine sacks on the season and tied Mark Gastineau (1984), Kabeer Gbacia-Biamila (2001) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (1998) for the most sacks through their team’s first four games of a season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Additionally, Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin had 12 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver ROBERT WOODS had 13 catches for 164 yards.

Including Cleveland wide receiver Jarvis Landry’s Week 4 performance (8 catches for 167 yards), there have now been 13 150-yard receiving performances in the NFL this season, surpassing the 2013 season (12) for the most 150-yard receiving performances through four weeks of a season in NFL history.

Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen completed 24 of 34 passes for 232 yards and zero interceptions in the Panthers’ 16-10 win at Houston. Allen joins Carson Wentz (2016) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to go 3-0 with zero interceptions in their first three career starts.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffreyY registered 179 scrimmage yards (93 rushing, 86 receiving) and a rushing touchdown n the win. McCaffrey, who had 209 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 and 188 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 3, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (1963) as the only players in league annals with three games of at least 175 scrimmage yards and one touchdown in their team’s first four games of a season.

Additionally, McCaffrey caught 10 passes in the win, his sixth career game with at least 10 receptions, tying Larry Centers and Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson for the most career games with at least 10 receptions by a running back in NFL history.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler registered 122 scrimmage yards (62 receiving, 60 rushing) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in Los Angeles’ 30-10 win at Miami. Ekeler – who had 154 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 and 133 scrimmage yards and one touchdown in Week 2 – joins Priest Holmes (2002 and 2003) as the only undrafted running backs in the common draft era to have at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in three of his team’s first four games of a season.

Cleveland running back Nick Chubb rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns, including an 88-yard touchdown run, in the Browns’ 40-25 win over Baltimore. Chubb – who had a 92-yard touchdown run in Week 10 of the 2018 season – joins Bob Hoernschmeyer (two touchdown runs from 1946-47) and Chris Johnson (three from 2008-09) as the only players in league annals with at least two touchdown runs of 85 yards or more in their first two seasons.

Oakland tight end Darren Waller had seven catches for 53 yards in the Raiders’ 31-24 win at Indianapolis. Waller, who has 33 receptions on the season, tied Antonio Gates (33 in 2007) for the most receptions by a tight end through his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 5 catches for 47 yards in the Cardinals’ Week 4 loss to Seattle.

Fitzgerald, who has 1,326 career receptions, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (1,325 receptions) for the second-most receptions in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,549) has more.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had four catches for 52 yards in his 115th career game in the Falcons’ Week 4 loss against Tennessee. Jones, who now has 11,048 career receiving yards, surpassed Calvin Johnson (127 games) to become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 career receiving yards.

BIG GAMES ON TAP: Two weeks can mean a night-and-day difference in the National Football League.

Exhibit A is the AFC North, where Cleveland and Pittsburgh two weeks ago were near the bottom looking up. This week, the Browns are in first place and the Steelers are just a game out with a prime opportunity to gain important ground at home against Baltimore.

Like the Browns and Steelers, San Francisco and Green Bay didn’t qualify for the 2018 playoffs. However, each of those NFC teams begin Week 5 in first place preparing for a division leader on the opposite sideline. Cleveland is one of 14 teams standing at either 2-2 or 2-1-1 entering Week 5

The 49ers (3-0), off to their best start in 21 years, return from an early bye to host the Browns (2-2) on Monday Night Football. San Francisco with a win can achieve its first 4-0 record since Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice led their club to a 10-0 start in 1990.

Also looming large on the Week 5 docket is a clash between the Packers (3-1) and the leaders of the NFC East, Dallas (3-1), at AT&T Stadium.

The captain has turned on the fasten-seatbelt sign. The NFL enters October with a lot left to be determined in an already exciting 100th season. Please return your trays to the upright position.

ORIGINAL TEAMS MEET IN LONDON: The 2019 London series kicks off on Sunday, when an original NFL franchise, Chicago, faces an original AFL franchise, Oakland.

That contest marks the first NFL game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The new facility will become the 187th venue to host a regular-season or postseason game in the 100 years of the National Football League.

This week marks the Raiders’ third appearance as a regular-season home team in London. It’s the fourth straight season and the fifth time in six years that the Raiders have hosted a regular-season game internationally, having played at Wembley Stadium in 2014 and 2018 as well as games at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in 2016 and 2017.

The Bears also have played in the United Kingdom twice before, both at Wembley Stadium (preseason in 1986 and regular season in 2011).

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur have an agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played through 2028. The state-of-the-art stadium features a retractable-grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It also has customized NFL features, such as purpose-built locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.

By the end of the 2019 season, the NFL will have played 28 regular-season games in London, with 31 of 32 teams having participated. The Green Bay Packers are the only team that has yet to play there.

INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE: Since 2007, when the NFL played its first regular-season game in the United Kingdom, the league has been remarkably pleased with the passion and knowledge of the UK fans as well as the resulting growth in the NFL’s international popularity. For the teams, traveling to London is a unique road trip, allowing the coaches and players to spend more time together than they would for a domestic trip. And when those teams return from either London or Mexico City with a win, those wins have proven significant.

The last nine teams that have won an international game have earned playoff berths later that season:

TEAM – YEAR (RESULT at LOCATION; SEASON RESULT)
Philadelphia – 2018 (Defeated Jacksonville 24-18 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Divisional playoffs)
Los Angeles Chargers – 2018 (Defeated Tennessee 20-19 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to AFC Divisional playoffs
Seattle – 2018 (Defeated Oakland 27-3 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Wild Card playoffs)
New England – 2017 (Defeated Oakland 33-8 at Estadio Azteca, Mexico; Advanced to Super Bowl LII)
Minnesota – 2017 (Defeated Cleveland, 33-16 at Twickenham Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Championship)
Los Angeles Rams – 2017 (Defeated Arizona, 33-0 at Twickenham Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Wild Card playoffs)
New Orleans – 2017 (Defeated Miami 20-0 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Divisional playoffs)
Jacksonville – 2017 (Defeated Baltimore, 44-7 at Wembley Stadium, UK; Advanced to AFC Championship)
Oakland – 2016 (Defeated Houston, 27-20 at Estadio Azteca, Mexico; Advanced to AFC Wild Card playoffs)

NO SUCH THING AS A SAFE LEAD: Three teams, all of which were on the road, erased deficits of at least 10 points last week to register important wins. Both Philadelphia and Kansas City came back from 10 down to win gritty games at Green Bay and Detroit, respectively. Meanwhile, Jacksonville, behind rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, climbed over a 17-3 obstacle at Denver to win a thriller, 26-24.

Through four weeks, five games have featured a team coming back to win or tie after trailing by 10-or-more points. Since the 1970 merger, only the 2011 (9), 1979 (8) and 2018 (7) seasons have had more such games through the first four weeks.

Also through four weeks this season, three games have featured a team coming back to win or tie after trailing by 17-or-more points. Since the 1970 merger, only the 2011 (6), 1999 (4) and 2014 (4) seasons have had more such games through the first four weeks.

TURNOVERS AT RECORD LOWS: Talk about ball security! Tennessee has committed one turnover, fewest in the NFL through four weeks. One of the more interesting aspects of the NFL’s current era that separates it from previous periods is that teams are turning over the ball less frequently. The amount of interceptions and fumbles lost has decreased dramatically in recent years. In each of the last three seasons (2017-19), the NFL through four weeks of play has reached some of its lowest marks in the turnover category since the 1970 AFL-NFL league merger.

The fewest turnovers through four weeks, 1970-present:

YEAR – TURNOVERS
2017 – 160
2014 – 176
2019 – 178
2018 – 178
2008 – 183
2016 – 185

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated the Bills-Titans game at 1 p.m. on CBS as the NFL100 Game of the Week to remember the Music City Miracle during the 1999 playoffs. On January 8, 2000, in Nashville, Rob Johnson and the Bills climbed out of a 12-0 hole in the second half, on the strength of two Antowain Smith rushing touchdowns. After Steve McNair led a go-ahead field-goal drive with 1 minute, 48 seconds, on the fourth-quarter clock, giving the Titans a 15-13 advantage, Johnson answered. Having lost his shoe with no time to put it back on his foot, Johnson completed a sideline pass to Peerless Price, who stopped the clock at the Titans’ 24-yard line. With 16 seconds left, Steve Christie’s 41-yard kick put Buffalo on top, 16-15. Then, it happened. … The brainchild of Titans special-teams coordinator Alan Lowry, “Home Run Throwback” was executed several times in practice after Lowry first saw it at a 1981 Southern Methodist-Texas Tech game. The key cog in the play, Frank Wycheck, had thrown a 61-yard touchdown three weeks earlier at Atlanta; offensive coordinator Les Steckel installed that play after watching Wycheck killing time at practice by throwing the ball with Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews … Christie’s pooch kickoff went to Lorenzo Neal, who handed off to a trailing Wycheck, drawing most of the Bills’ kick coverage. Wycheck then lateraled across the field to Kevin Dyson, who returned the ball 70 yards for the game-winning touchdown as Tennessee prevailed, 22-16, en route to a berth in Super Bowl XXXIV.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 5

BRADY GOES FOR HISTORY: New England quarterback Tom Brady ranks fourth in NFL history with 71,575 passing yards during his 20-year NFL career.

With 366 passing yards on Sunday at Washington, Brady would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940) for the second-most career passing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most career passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S)(PASSING YARDS)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (74,845)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838) HOF
Tom Brady – New England (71,575)*
*Active

PAT & MATT’S FAST STARTS: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES, who leads the league with 1,510 passing yards and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who leads the NFC with 1,325 passing yards, have passed for at least 300 yards in each of their team’s first four games this season.

If Mahomes or Ryan pass for at least 300 yards on Sunday, they would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (6 in 2000) and Steve Young (6 in 1998), as well as Peyton Manning (5 in 2009 and 2013) as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards in each of their team’s first five games of a season.

The players with at least 300 passing yards in each of their team’s first five games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 300+ PASSING YARDS TO BEGIN SEASON)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (2000 – 6) HOF
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998 – 6) HOF
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 5)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2009 – 5)#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2019 – 4)*
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2019 – 4)*
*Active streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

RUDOLPH DASHES TOWARD HISTORY: Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph completed 24 of 28 pass attempts (85.7 percent) for 229 yards with two touchdowns and a 124.6 passer rating in Week 4 to earn his first career victory as a starter. It also marked Rudolph’s third consecutive game with two touchdown passes.

With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday vs. Baltimore, Rudolph would become the third player in NFL history to pass for at least two touchdowns in each of his first four career games.

The players with at least two passing touchdowns in each of their first four career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 2+ TD PASSES TO BEGIN CAREER)
Jay Cutler, Denver (2006 – 4)
Mark Rypien, Washington (1988 – 4)
Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

NOT YOUR AVERAGE QB: Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON, who is tied for the league lead with 10 touchdown passes, also leads all quarterbacks with 238 rushing yards this season. Including his 695 rushing yards – the most among quarterbacks in 2018 – Jackson now has 933 career rushing yards in 20 career games.

With 67 rushing yards in his 21st career game on Sunday at Pittsburgh, Jackson would tie Robert Griffin III (21 games) as the fastest quarterback to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in NFL history.

The quarterbacks to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 1,000 RUSH YARDS)
Robert Griffin III, Washington (21)
Michael Vick, ATLANTA (22)
Cam Newton, Carolina (23)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (20)*
*Has 933 rush yards entering Sunday

SACK BARRETT: Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett leads the NFL with nine sacks through four weeks in 2019. Barrett, who notched one sack in Week 1, three sacks in Week 2 and four sacks in Week 3, added yet another sack to his total, as well as an interception and a forced fumble, in the Buccaneers’ Week 4 win at the Los Angeles Rams.

With one sack on Sunday at New Orleans, Barrett would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (1998) as the only players to reach 10 sacks in their team’s first five games of a season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

THE SCARLET KNIGHT RISES: New England defensive back Devin McCourty leads the NFL with four interceptions this season, having recorded one interception in each of the Patriots’ first four games of 2019.

With an interception on Sunday at Washington, McCourty would become the third player in the Super Bowl era to record at least one interception in his each of his team’s first five games of a season.

The players with an interception in each of their team’s first five games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, GAMES WITH INTERCEPTION TO BEGIN SEASON)
Brian Russell, Minnesota (2003 – 6)
Lemar Parrish, Washington (1979 – 5)
Devin McCourty, New England (2019 – 4)*
*Active streak

Week five got underway in the Pacific Northwest as Seattle held off a late rally against their NFC West rivals from Los Angeles in the Pacific Northwest 30-29 Thursday night and ends in Santa Clara as San Francsico hosts the Cleveland Browns in a matchup of two first-place teams. The New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers return from their week off and this time, it’s Detroit and Miami that have a bye. Week five is also the start of games in London as Chicago and Oakland meet on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. As for last week? Not as great as we hoped but 7-8 is a lot better than 0-15. For the year, 34-33. There’s a lot of football left before us. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 5.

ATLANTA (1-3) at Houston (2-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The struggling Atlanta Falcons make their way to the Lone Star State as J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans play host Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium. Both clubs took home losses in last week’s action.

Atlanta trailed Tennessee 24-7 at the half at Mercedes Benz Stadium and could never get on track as they fell to the Titans 24-10 in the Big Peach. Tennessee outrushed Atlanta 138-58 with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 100 yards on the ground. Ryan threw for 397 yards but found himself being sacked five times, while Marcus Mariota threw for 227 yards and no sacks (Ryan and Mariota did not throw a TD pass or an interception). Atlanta was 5 of 14 on third down tries, 1 of 4 on fourth down and the Falcons actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:41, while the Titans went 6 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:19.

Houston dropped to 2-2 after their 16-10 loss to Carolina and backup QB Kyle Allen at NRG Stadium. The Panthers led 10-3 at the intermission, then held off a late Houston rally in the second half to season the win as Carolina would use a pair of Jeff Slye field goals in the final 15 minutes of the contest. Houston did manage to out-rush Carolina 136-94 and Allen threw for 232 yards with three sacks, while Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 160 yards with six sacks (neither threw a TD pass or interception). Carolina was 7 of 14 on third down tries in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 30:38, while the Texans kept the ball for 29:22 and went 4 for 11 on third down tries.

They’ve met four times and both teams have two wins under their belts in the series. Atlanta has outscored 97-71 and the Falcons were 48-21 winners in 2015 in the Big Peach, while Houston’s last win in the series came in 2011 in Houston by a final of 17-10. Houston’s favored by 5 with the over/under at 48 1/2. Both teams look to restore some order in their respective divisions. Atlanta takes this one but expect Houston to make things closer than the 5.

Jacksonville (2-2) at Carolina (2-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of 2-2 teams meet in the Tar Heel State as Carolina hosts Jacksonville at Bank of America Stadium. Both teams took wins on the road in last week’s action.

Jacksonville sent Denver to their second last-second loss of the 2019 season, coming away with a 26-24 win over the Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Jacksonville trailed 17-6 at the half, then took a 20-17 lead with them into the final 15 minutes of action in the Rocky Mountains. Josh Lambo would give the Jaguars a 23-17 lead with 2:54 left in the contest before Denver went back to work and took the lead back with 92 seconds left when Joe Flacco and WR Courtland Sutton connected on an 8-yard TD toss. Denver fans, thinking that they had their first win of the year under their belts, then watched with horror as the Jaguars would get the ball back with the time remaining as Jacksonville would use an 8-play, 60-yard drive that ended when Lambo connected on a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

Jacksonville easily out-rushed Denver 269-68, with Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette rushing for 225 yards to lead all rushers. Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Flacco threw for 303 yards and three TDs (two to Sutton; Minshew was sacked five times, Flacco threw an interception). Jacksonville went 4 of 14 on third down tries, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 39:12 (including the final 92 seconds of regulation), while the Broncos, who would hold on to the pigskin for 20:48, went 4 of 11 on third down.

The Cam Newton-less Panthers improved to 2-2 after Carolina came away from Houston with a 16-10 win with backup QB Kyle Allen at NRG Stadium. Carolina took a 10-3 at the intermission, then used a pair of Jeff Slye field goals in the final 15 minutes to hold off a late Houston rally. Houston did manage to out-rush Carolina 136-94 and Allen threw for 232 yards with three sacks, while Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 160 yards with six sacks (neither threw a TD pass or interception). Carolina was 7 of 14 on third down tries in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 30:38, while the Texans kept the ball for 29:22 and went 4 for 11 on third down tries.

The kitty series is even at 3-3 and Jacksonville has outscored Carolina 125-100. Carolina won the last meeting in 2015 in Jacksonville, coming away with the 20-9 win, while Jacksonville’s last win came in the Sunshine State in 2007 by a final of 37-6. Carolina’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under is 41. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both teams have been playing some decent if not great football of late. When this one ends in Charlotte, one kitty will have an extra life. Carolina’s finer this week. Panthers cover the 3 1/2 and takes the win in the Tar Heel State.

Arizona (0-3-1) at Cincinnati (0-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of winless teams square off along the shores of the Ohio River as Arizona and Cincinnati look for their first win of the 2019 season.

Arizona, who plays Sunday’s contest with heavy hearts after the passing of owner Bill Bidwell Wednesday, was held in check last Sunday afternoon in Glendale by Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, as Seattle revailed 27-10 at State Farm Stadium. Seattle led 20-3 at the break and the Seahawks were never really challenged by the Desert Angry Birds in the contest.

Both teams rushed for 115 yards in the late afternoon contest with Seattle’s Chris Carson leading everyone with 104 yards of rushing. Wilson threw for 240 yards and a TD to TE Will Disly, while Arizona QB Kyler Murray threw for 241 yards and an interception (both Wilson and Murray were sacked four times). Seattle went 4 of 10 on third down tries in the desert and ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 33:24, while the Desert Angry Birds went 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:36.

The Bengals took an early 3-0 lead thanks to a Chris Bullock field goal in the first quarter against Pittsburgh, then watched the Steelers score 27 points from the second quarter to the end of the contest unchallenged, losing 27-3 at Heinz Field last Monday night. Cincinnati trailed 10-3 at the half and were shut out the rest of the way in their prime time contest in the Keystone State. Although Cincinnati out-rushed Pittsburgh 73-66, Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph threw for 229 yards with a pair of TDs (Rudolph was not sacked or had an interception), while Andy Dalton threw for 171 yards, throwing an interception with eight sacks. Cincinnati was 4 of 13 on third down tries (the Bengals were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:14, while the Steelers, who picked up their first win, went 3 of 9 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:46.

Cincinnati leads the series 6-5 and the Bengals have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 274-271. Arizona won the last meeting with the Bengals, coming away 34-31 winners in the desert in 2015, while Cincinnati’s last win in the series came in 2011, along the shores of the Ohio River by a final of 23-16. Cincinnati’s favored by 3 in the Queen City and the over/under’s 47 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “Pawn Stars” marathon on History (there’s nothing funnier than seeing Rick put Chumlee in his place!) Someone’s going to win this contest. Bengals get their first win of the season, even though the Desert Angry Birds will make things closer than the 3.

Tampa Bay (2-2) at New Orleans (3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC South foes meet in the Big Easy as Tampa Bay travels to take on the New Orleans Saints in the great indoors. Both teams were winners in their contests last week.

Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday held the Los Angeles Rams in check as the visiting Buccaneers took care of the defending NFC champions 55-40, giving them their first loss of the season. Tampa Bay led 28-17 at the half on the West Coast, then held serve in the second half, outscoring the Rams 27-23 in the final 30 minutes of play. Tampa Bay held Los Angeles to 28 yards on the ground, while Tampa Bay ran for 88 yards of their own. Winston threw for 385 yards and four TDs, while Goff threw for 517 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions (both Winston and Goff were sacked twice). Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:36, while the Rams (who kept the ball for 27:24) went 4 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

New Orleans used four Will Lutz field goals to knock Dallas out of the ranks of the unbeatens last Sunday in the Big Easy, coming away 12-10 winners at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Taking a 3-0 lead thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Brett Maher late in the first quarter, the Saints took a 6-3 lead with them to the break, using a pair of Lutz field goals in the second quarter. Dallas would take the lead back with 7:47 left in the third when Ezekiel Elliott scored from a yard out. Lutz would give the Saints the lead back and for keeps with a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth. New Orleans would then hold off a late Dallas rally in the closing seconds of the contest to take the win.

New Orleans out-rushed Dallas 117-45, with Elliott leading the Cowboys with 35 yards on 18 carries, while Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards. Prescott threw for 223 yards with a sack, while Teddy Bridgewater (taking over for the injured Drew Brees) threw for 193 yards and was sacked five times (both did not throw a TD pass and both threw an interception). Dallas was 4 of 11 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:56. As for the Saints? They ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:04, going 6 for 14 on third down tries in the Big Easy.

New Orleans holds a 33-21 lead in the series over their NFC South rivals and have out-scored Tampa Bay 1,216-1,027. They split last year’s meetings, each taking wins in the other team’s facility.

The two rivals wasted little time, meeting in the season opener for both clubs in the Big Easy and Tampa Bay held off a late New Orleans rally to come away 48-40 winners at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. With Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, Tampa Bay led 31-24 at the intermission, then kept Brees and the Saints at bay in the second half to take the win. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 112-43 and Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards with four TDs, while Brees threw for 439 yards and three TDs (Brees was sacked once and neither QB threw an interception). Tampa Bay went 8 for 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 32:09, while New Orleans, keeping the ball for 27:51, went 4 for 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

New Orleans would get their revenge in the Sunshine State in week 14 as Brees and the Saints left Raymond James Stadium 28-14 winners. After trailing 14-3 at the break on the Florida west coast, the Saints would shutout Tampa Bay in the second half, scoring their final 18 points of the contest unchallenged. Once again, Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 105-100, with Saints RB Mark Ingram leading the way with 52 yards and a TD, while teammate Alvin Kamara chipped in with 51. Winston threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDS, while Brees threw for 201 yards with a TD (Brees was sacked once, Brees was sacked four times, each had an interception). New Orleans was 6 of 12 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:53, while the Buccaneers kept the pigskin for 28:07 and went 6 of 14 on third down tries in the Sunshine State.

In the season opener, New Orleans was favored by 9 1/2 but Tampa Bay won by 8. The good news? Both teams covered the 49 1/2 over/under with 88 points. In the week 14 contest in Tampa, New Orleans was favpred by 8 1/2 and covered with the win by 14. This time, both clubs missed the 57 1/2 over/under, tallying only 42 points.) New Orleans is favored by 3 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 47. The Saints are trying to repeat as NFC South champs. As for the Buccaneers? They would love nothing more than to see that doesn’t happen. Tampa Bay may not cover the 3 1/2 but they pull off the upset in the Big Easy and take the win.

Minnesota (2-2) at New York Giants (2-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of 2-2 teams meet in the Meadowlands Sunday as Minnesota takes on the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

Minnesota left Chicago on the short end of a 16-6 loss to Da Bears in the Windy City last Sunday. The Vikings trailed 10-0 at the half at Soldier Field and trailed 16-0 at the end of three quarters before they would put a dent in the scoreboard with 2:58 left in the contest when Devin Cook scored from a yard out. The Vikings missed the extra point, which forced them to try the onside kick. Chicago recovered the kick and ran the clock out to take the win. Chicago, who opened the scoring with a Tank Cohen TD pass from backup QB Chase Daniel late in the first quarter, used three Eddie Pineiro field goals to give Da Bears their points. Chicago out-rushed Minnesota 72-40 and Daniel, who took over for Mitchell Trubisky, threw for 195 yards and the TD, while Kirk Cousins threw for 233 yards (Cousins was sacked six times, Daniel was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Minnesota went 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:33, while Chicago ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 35:27, going 5 of 16 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Giants held Washington to a 21-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins late in the first half and took care of the Redskins 24-3 at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands. Big Blue led from start to finish in upstate New Jersey, leading 17-3 at the intermission and would nail Washington’s coffin shut when Jabril Peppers returned an interception 32 yards for a TD with 79 seconds left in the third quarter. New York outrushed Washington 164-55 and Dwayne Haskins, Jr., taking over for Case Keenum, threw for 107 yards with three interceptions and a pair of sacks, while Daniel Jones made his first home start for the Giants, throwing for 225 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. Washington went 2 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 23:51, while the Giants controlled the clock and kept the pigskin for 36:09, while going 8 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota leads the series 15-10, have outscored Big Blue 602-459 and won the last two meetings, including a 24-10 win in the Twin Cities in 2016, while the Giants’ last win over the Vikings came in the Meadowlands in 2013 by a final of 23-7. Minnesota’s favored by 5 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 44. Right now, both teams are on the outside looking in as far as their respective divisions are concerned. Giants may not cover the 5 1/2 but they take the upset in the Meadowlands.

Chicago (3-1) at Oakland (2-2), 1 p.m. (6 p.m. in London) on FOX and DirecTV 714. The first London game of the 2019 season takes place in week five as Chicago and Oakland meet on the other side of the Atlantic at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Both teams enter the United Kingdom with wins under their belts.

Chicago crosses the Big Pond with a 16-6 win over NFC North rival Minnesota last Sunday. Chicago took a 10-0 lead at the half at Soldier Field and led 16-0 at the end of three quarters before the Viking would put a dent in the scoreboard with 2:58 left in the contest when Devin Cook scored from a yard out. The Vikings missed the extra point, which forced them to try the onside kick. Chicago recovered the kick and ran the clock out to take the win. Chicago, who opened the scoring with a Tank Cohen TD pass from backup QB Chase Daniel late in the first quarter, used three Eddie Pineiro field goals to give Da Bears their points. Chicago out-rushed Minnesota 72-40 and Daniel, who took over for Mitchell Trubisky, threw for 195 yards and the TD, while Kirk Cousins threw for 233 yards (Cousins was sacked six times, Daniel was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Minnesota went 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:33, while Chicago ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 35:27, going 5 of 16 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Oakland held off a late Indianapolis rally in the Hoosier State last Sunday, coming away 31-24 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Silver and Black led 21-10 at the break, then held off the Colts in the second half to take the road win. Oakland outrushed the Colts 188-81 and Derek Carr threw for 189 yards and a pair of TDs, while Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 265 yards and three TDs and an interception (Carr was sacked once with no interceptions). Oakland was 5 of 12 on third down and held on to the ball for 33:41, while the Colts kept it for 26:19 and went 6 of 16 on third down (both teams were successful on fourth down; Oakland went 1 of 1, while the Colts were 3 of 3).

Including games played in Los Angeles when the Raiders played their home games at the Coliseum, the series is even at 7-7 and Da Bears have out-scored the Silver and Black 256-249. Chicago won their last meeting, a 27-20 final in the Windy City in 2015, while Oakland’s last win came on the West Coast in 2011 by a final of 25-20. Chicago’s favored by 5 1/2 on the other side of the Atlantic and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Chicago may not cover the 5 1/2 but Da Bears win on the other side of the Atlantic.

New York Jets (0-3) at Philadelphia (2-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Looking to pick up their first win of the season, the New York Jets make the 96-mile, 91-minute trip up I-95 to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, coming off their bye week, were held by Tom Brady to a pair of second-half TDs at Foxboro as the Pats would take GangGreen to the woodshed 30-14 at Gillette Stadium. Brady and the Patriots led 20-0 at the intermission and never looked back in their AFC East opener. New England grounded the Jets’ rushing game, holding them to to a season-low 36 yards, while the Pats would rush for 68 and Brady threw for 306 yards wtih a pair of TDs and no sacks or interceptions, while Luke Falk, the third QB of the season for the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! threw for 98 yards with five sacks and an interception. New England went 6 of 15 on third down conversions in Foxboro and kept the ball for 35:14, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 0 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Philadelphia ended Green Bay’s hopes of an unbeaten season last Thursday night at Lambeau Field, as the Eagles held off Rodgers and the Packers 34-27. Philadelphia led 21-20 at the half, then held off a late Green Bay rally in the final 30o minutes of action in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. The Eagles out-rushed Green Bay 176-77 and Rodgers threw for 422 yards and a pair of TDs (he was sacked once and threw an interception), while Carson Wentz threw for 160 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions. Green Bay went 6 of 11 on third down at Lambeau (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:21, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:39, going 5 of 9 on third down conversions.

They’ve played ten times and the Eagles have won all 10 meetings in the series, outscoring the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! and coming away 24-17 winners in the Meadowlands in 2015. Philadelphia’s favored by 13 1/2 in the City of Brotherly Love and the over/under’s 44. Granted, right now the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are bad but not 13 1/2 bad. They’ll make this one interesting but the Eagles fly away with the win at home.

Baltimore (2-2) at Pittsburgh (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They meet again. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in the Steel City as Pittsburgh and Baltimore meet at Heinz Field.

Cleveland took care of Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium last Sunday, taking a 10-7 halftime lead, then flooring the gas in the second half as they took care of the Ravens 40-25 in Charm City. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ran amok in last Sunday’s game, accounting for 165 yards and three TDs as the Browns outrushed Baltimore 193-173 (Baltimore was led by Mark Ingram, who tallied 165) and Lamar Jackson threw for 247 yards and three TDs, although he was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards with a TD, sack and an interception. Baltimore went 4 of 10 on third down conversions along the shores of Lake Erie (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:43, while Cleveland ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:17, going 6 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Cincinnati took a 3-0 lead thanks to a Chris Bullock field goal in the first quarter against Pittsburgh, then watched as the Steelers scored their 27 points of the contest from the second quarter to the end of the contest unchallenged, losing 27-3 at Heinz Field last Monday night. Pittsburgh led 10-3 at the half and shut out the Bengals the rest of the way in their prime time contest in the Keystone State. While Cincinnati out-rushed Pittsburgh 73-66, Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph threw for 229 yards with a pair of TDs (Rudolph was not sacked or had an interception), while Andy Dalton threw for 171 yards, throwing an interception with eight sacks. Cincinnati was 4 of 13 on third down tries (the Bengals were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:14, while the Steelers, who picked up their first win, went 3 of 9 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:46.

The Steelers lead the series 25-21 and have out-scored the Ravens 931-903. Baltimore and Pittsburgh met twice last season, spliting the two meetings and each team winning in the other team’s facilty. Round one… week four in the Steel City on a Sunday night. Baltimore would score the first 14 points of the contest in the first before Pittsubrgh would even things up with two second quarter TDs, sending the two clubs tied at 14-14. The Ravens would go on to score the last 12 points of the contest unchallenged with four Jeff Tucker field goals to come away from Heinz Field 26-14 winners. The Steelers used a pair of Chris Boswell field goals and a TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to WR Antonio Brown to tie the contest up at the half before they were shutout in the final 30 minutes of play.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier as Pittsburgh was held to a somewhat dismal 19 yards of rushing, while the Ravens won the ground game, tallying 96. Roethlisberger threw for 274 yards with a sack and an interception to go with the TD, while Joe Flacco threw for 363 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks (Flacco did not have an interception). Baltimore was 8 of 17 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and played keep-away with the ball, holding on to the pigskin for 35:03 to Pittsburgh’s 24:57 (the Steelers were 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down).

The Steelers didn’t have to wait very long to get their revenge at M&T Bank Stadium in week nine and they erased an early 3-0 deficit to take a 23-16 win in Charm City. Pittsburgh led 14-6 at the intermission and never looked back, even though the Ravens would make the contest a 7-point affair with 5:23 left to play when Tucker connected on his second field goal of the contest. James Conner accounted for 107 yards to lead all rushers as the Steelers outrushed Baltimore 113-61 and Roethlisberger threw for 270 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Conner, the other to Brown), while Flacco threw for 209 yards (both men were sacked twice and neither threw an interception). Pittsburgh improved on third down tries in the second meeting, going 10 of 16 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:29 while the Ravens kept the ball for 23:31 and went 4 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week four contest in the Steel City, the Steelers were favored by 3 and the Ravens covered, winning by 12. However, both clubs tallied only 40 points, falling short of the 48 1/2 over/under. Baltimore was favored by 3 in Charm City in the week nine rematch and the Steelers covered, winning by 7. Both teams missed the 47 over/under, tallying only 39 points. Baltimore may be the road team but the boys and girls in Vegas have them as 3 1/2 point favorites with the over/under at 44 1/2. Both numbers make sense. The Ravens share first place with the Browns in the AFC North, while the Steelers look to win the division without Ben Roethlisberger. Steelers cover the 3 1/2 in the Steel City and takes the win at Heinz Field.

Buffalo (3-1) at Tennessee (2-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC rivals that met in the “Music City Miracle” meet in Nashville as Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans host the Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo watched New England keep themselves in the unbeaten column after they left Orchard Park with a 16-10 win last Sunday. New England led 13-3 at the half at New Era Stadium, then held off the Bills in the second half to take the road win. Buffalo did out-rush New England 135-74 with Bills RB Frank Gore leading the way with 109 yards, while Sony Michel led New England with 63 yards. Brady threw for 150 yards with no TDs or interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 153 yards with three interceptions and four sacks. the Bills were a somewhat dismal 2 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:40, while the defending Super Bowl champs kept the pigskin for 27:20, going 5 of 18 on third downs.

Tennessee led Atlanta 24-7 at the half at Mercedes Benz Stadium and held the Falcons to a Matt Bryant field goal in the third quarter as they left Atlanta 24-10 winners in the Big Peach. Tennessee outrushed Atlanta 138-58 with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 100 yards on the ground. Matt Ryan threw for 397 yards but found himself being sacked five times, while Marcus Mariota threw for 227 yards and no sacks (Ryan and Mariota did not throw a TD pass or an interception). Atlanta was 5 of 14 on third down tries, 1 of 4 on fourth down and the Falcons actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:41, while the Titans went 6 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:19.

Including the contests that took place in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Bills played their home games at War Memorial Stadium, Tennessee leads the series 27-16 and have outscored the Bills 936-828. They met last year along the shores of Lake Erie and the Bills circled their wagons to take the 13-12 win (Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2012 in Orchard Park by a final of 35-34). Tennessee’s favored by 3 in the Music City and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Tennessee covers the 3 in Nashville and takes the win at home.

New England (4-0) at Washington (0-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Tom Brady and the Patriots travel to Landover to face off against a Washington team that is in search of their first win.

The Patriots kept themselves in the unbeaten column after they left Buffalo with a 16-10 win over the Bills in upstate New York. New England led 13-3 at the half at New Era Stadium, then held off the Bills in the second half to take the road win. Buffalo did out-rush New England 135-74 with Bills RB Frank Gore leading the way with 109 yards, while Sony Michel led New England with 63 yards. Brady threw for 150 yards with no TDs or interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 153 yards with three interceptions and four sacks. the Bills were a somewhat dismal 2 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:40, while the defending Super Bowl champs kept the pigskin for 27:20, going 5 of 18 on third downs.

Washington was held to a 21-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins late in the first half as the New York Giants took care of the Redskins 24-3 at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands. Washington trailed 17-3 at the intermission and could never get back on track after that, as their NFC East rivals would nail their coffin shut when Jabril Peppers returned an interception 32 yards for a TD with 79 seconds left in the third quarter. New York outrushed Washington 164-55 and Dwayne Haskins, Jr., taking over for Case Keenum, threw for 107 yards with three interceptions and a pair of sacks, while Daniel Jones made his first home start for the Giants, throwing for 225 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. Washington went 2 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 23:51, while the Giants controlled the clock and kept the pigskin for 36:09, while going 8 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While Washington leads the series 6-4, New England has outscored the Redskins (including games that were played at Schafer Stadium and RFK Stadium) 232-205 and the Patriots have won the last three meetings, including a 20-17 win in Foxboro in 2015, while Washington’s last win came in Landover in 2003 by a final of 20-17. New England’s favored by 15 1/2 (you read that right, 15 1/2) and the over/under is 43. The 43 makes a ton of sense. The 15 1/2 doesn’t. Granted, washington has played less than stellar football of late but they’re not 15 1/2 points bad. Still, Washington fans will be saying “Hell, it’s the Redskins” this week. New England wins this one but expect Washington to make it closer than 15 1/2.

Denver (0-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Forget the records. These two clubs aren’t exactly crazy about each other. Granted, it’s not the same as Kansas City-Oakland but you get the picture. Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers host the Denver Broncos in a late afternoon contest on the West Coast.

Denver, searching for their first win of the season, dropped their second last-second contest at home, falling to Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-24 at Empower Field at Mile High. Denver led 17-6 at the half before Jacksonville took a 20-17 lead with them into the final 15 minutes of action in the Rocky Mountains. Josh Lambo would give the Jaguars a 23-17 lead with 2:54 left in the contest before Denver went back to work and took the lead back with 92 seconds left when Joe Flacco and WR Courtland Sutton connected on an 8-yard TD toss. Denver fans, thinking that they had their first win of the year under their belts, then watched with horror as the Jaguars would get the ball back with the time remaining as Jacksonville would use an 8-play, 60-yard drive that ended when Lambo connected on a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

Jacksonville out-rushed Denver 269-68, with Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette rushing for 225 yards to lead all rushers. Minshew threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Flacco threw for 303 yards and three TDs (two to Sutton; Minshew was sacked five times, Flacco threw an interception). Jacksonville went 4 of 14 on third down tries, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 39:12 (including the final 92 seconds of regulation), while the Broncos, who would hold on to the pigskin for 20:48, went 4 of 11 on third down.

The Chargers took control of things in Miami, giving the Dolphins their fourth loss in a row, coming out of Hard Rock Stadium 30-10 winners in the Sunshine State. Taking a 17-10 lead with them to the locker room at halftime, the Chargers would take control of things in the second half, scoring their last 13 points of the contest unchallenged. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the Chargers did manage to outurush Miami 79-72 and Rivers threw for 310 yards with a pair of TDs, despite being sacked once, while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 180 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off once. The Chargers were 8 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 37:36, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 22:24, going 5 of 10 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

While Denver holds a 65-52-1 lead in the series (which includes contests that took place at old Mile High Stadium and in Los Angeles), the Chargers have out-scored Denver 2,540-2,503. The two clubs took wins on the other team’s field last year to split the series.

The two AFC/AFL foes met at StubHub Center in week 11 and the Chargers watched a 2-point lead late in the contest get away from them as Brian McManus booted a 34-yard field goal as time expired, allowing Denver to take a 23-22 win on the road. Los Angeles led 13-7 at the break and would lead by as much as five with 2:24 left in the third before the Broncos would take the lead for the first time when Philip Lindsey (79 yards, two TDs) scored from a yard out with 12:17 left in the contest. Michael Badgley gave the Bolts the lead back with a 30-yard field goal with 6:47 left in regulation. After the teams traded possessions, the Broncos would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and Denver would use all of that time, using a 7-play, 76-yard drive and Denver would send Chargers fans home sad, connecting on the 34-yarder as the clock struck :00.
Denver out-rushed Los Angeles 108-95 and Case Keenum threw for 205 yards without a TD, sack or interception, while Rivers threw for 401 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Gates) with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Denver went 3 of 10 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:11 (including the final 1:51 seconds), while the Chargers were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 37:49, going 9 for 15 on third down conversions.

Los Angeles would get their revenge in the Mile High City in the season finale, clinching a playoff spot and coming away 23-9 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Bolts led 7-3 at the break after the teams played a scoreless first quarter and never looked back, even getting a defensive two point conversion when Casey Hayward broke up a Denver 2-point try with 10:10 left in the contest (Keenum connected on a 20-yard TD toss to Andy Janovich to pull the Broncos to within five). Los Angeles out-rushed Denver 116-82 and Keenum threw for 292 yards and the TD (he was sacked once and picked off once), while Rivers threw for 176 yards and a TD with an interception (Rivers was not sacked). Los Angeles went 4 of 11 on third down conversions in the Mile High City and kept the ball for 28:12, while the Broncos ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:48, going 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

In the week 11 contest, the Chargers were favored by 7 but the Broncos would wind up winning by only one and both teams barely missed the 47 over/under by 2 points. The Chargers covered the 6 1/2-point spread in the season finale, winning by 16 but as was the case in the first meeting, both clubs missed the over/under of 41 1/2, tallying only 30 points. The Chargers are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The Chargers look to keep close to first-place Kansas City in the AFC West, while the Broncos are looking for their first win. Denver will get that first win, just not in Los Angeles. Chargers cover the 6 1/2 and takes the win at home in Cali.

Green Bay (3-1) at Dallas (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. Bratwurst vs. Brisket. A pair of NFC rivals meet in the Lone Star State as Dallas and Dak Prescott host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium in a late-afternoon contest in Arlington. Both clubs took their first loss of the season last week.

Philadelphia ended Green Bay’s hopes of an unbeaten season last Thursday night at Lambeau Field, as the Eagles held off Rodgers and the Packers 34-27. Philadelphia led 21-20 at the half, then held off a late Green Bay rally in the final 30o minutes of action in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. The Eagles out-rushed Green Bay 176-77 and Rodgers threw for 422 yards and a pair of TDs (he was sacked once and threw an interception), while Carson Wentz threw for 160 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions. Green Bay went 6 of 11 on third down at Lambeau (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:21, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:39, going 5 of 9 on third down conversions.

New Orleans used four Will Lutz field goals to knock Dallas out of the ranks of the unbeatens last Sunday in the Big Easy, coming away 12-10 winners at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Taking a 3-0 lead thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Brett Maher late in the first quarter, the Saints took a 6-3 lead with them to the break, using a pair of Lutz field goals in the second quarter. Dallas would take the lead back with 7:47 left in the third when Ezekiel Elliott scored from a yard out. Lutz would give the Saints the lead back and for keeps with a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth. New Orleans would then hold off a late Dallas rally in the closing seconds of the contest to take the win.

New Orleans out-rushed Dallas 117-45, with Elliott leading the Cowboys with 35 yards on 18 carries, while Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards. Prescott threw for 223 yards with a sack, while Teddy Bridgewater (taking over for the injured Drew Brees) threw for 193 yards and was sacked five times (both did not throw a TD pass and both threw an interception). Dallas was 4 of 11 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:56. As for the Saints? They ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:04, going 6 for 14 on third down tries in the Big Easy.

Including games played in Milwaukee, at the Cotton Bowl and Texas Stadium, the Packers lead the series 15-13, have out-scored Dallas 655-606 and won their last meeting, a 35-31 win in 2017 in the Lone Star State, while Dallas’ last win came in 2016 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst by a final of 30-16 at Lambeau. Dallas is favored by 3 1/2 in the late afternoon affair and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Since both teams are leading their respective divisions and both have a long history with each other, it’s safe to say that this one’s “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 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal 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?”)

Both teams are looking to right their respective ships and this one could be one of the better games Sunday afternoon. Green Bay takes care of business in the Lone Star State and takes the win, even though Dallas will look to make things closer than 3 1/2.

Indianapolis (2-2) at Kansas City (4-0), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Mahomes vs. Brissett. The future of NFL QBs presents itself as the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead.

A late Indianapolis rally in the Hoosier State against Oakland last Sunday fell short, as the Raiders wound up coming away 31-24 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Silver and Black led 21-10 at the break, then held off the Colts in the second half to take the road win. Oakland outrushed the Colts 188-81 and Derek Carr threw for 189 yards and a pair of TDs, while Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 265 yards and three TDs and an interception (Carr was sacked once with no interceptions). Oakland was 5 of 12 on third down and held on to the ball for 33:41, while the Colts kept it for 26:19 and went 6 of 16 on third down (both teams were successful on fourth down; Oakland went 1 of 1, while the Colts were 3 of 3).

Kansas City broke a 13-13 tie in Detroit, then rallied to take a 34-30 win over the Lions at Ford Field last Sunday afternoon. The Chiefs trailed Matthew Stafford and the Lions 30-27 with 20 seconds left in the contest when RB Darien Williams scored from a yard away to take the lead for the first time and for keeps. Kansas City would then go on to hold off a late Detroit rally that would have given them their first loss of the 2019 season. Detroit outrushed Kansas City 186-123 with Lions RB Kerryon Johnson leading the way with 125 yards. Stafford threw for 291 yards with three TDs (two of them to Kenny Golladay) and four sacks, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 315 yards with no TDs for the first time in his career and no sacks (neither Mahomes or Stafford threw an interception). Kansas City went 4 of 9 on third down (they were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 26:06, while the Lions actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 33:54, going 5 ofi 13 on third down.

Thew Colts lead the series 12-9 (including contests played in Baltimore) and have out-scored the Chiefs 434-433. Their last regular-season meeting was in 2016 in the Hoosier State and the Chiefs prevailed 30-14 (the Colts’ last win came at Arrowhead in 2013 by a final of 23-7). They did meet in last year’s post-season, in the AFC Divisional Playoffs at Arrowhead and the Chiefs advanced with a 31-13 win in the Show-Me State.

Kansas City led 24-7 at the break in the 32-degree air (wind chill? 22) and were never really threatened in the contest. The Chiefs rushed for 180 yards in the contest and held the Colts to 87 on the ground (Kansas City’s Damien Williams led all rushers with 129 yards and a TD), while Mahomes threw for 278 yards and had a rushing TD of his own (Mahomes was sacked four times but did not have an interception) and Andrew Luck, who would play his last professional football game, threw for 203 yards with a TD toss to T.Y. Hilton (Luck was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Colts were a dismal 0 of 9 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 20:11, while the Chiefs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:49, going 4 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

Kansas City covered the 6-point spread in the AFC Divisional playoff but the 57 over/under stayed intact as both teams merged to score 44 points at Arrowhead. In the Sunday night contest in the Show-Me State, the Chiefs are favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under’s 56 1/2. Both teams can put up points, which means that the 10 1/2 is a little on the steep side. On the other hand, the 56 1/2 makes a lot of sense. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City and you might want to tape “God Friended Me” and “Madame Secretary” this week. Colts make it close but the Chiefs will remain unbeaten.

Cleveland (2-2) at San Francisco (3-0), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week five ends in Wine Country as a pair of teams that no one thought would be in first place in their divisions meet at Levis Stadium. San Francisco, in first place in the NFC West, host the Cleveland Browns, who are on top in the AFC North. Cleveland took a huge road win last week, while the 49ers are coming back to action from their bye week.

Cleveland took a 10-7 halftime lead against AFC North rival Baltimore last Sunday, then floored the gas in the second half as they took care of the Ravens 40-25 in Charm City. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ran amok in last Sunday’s game, accounting for 165 yards and three TDs as the Browns outrushed Baltimore 193-173 (Baltimore was led by Mark Ingram, who tallied 165) and Lamar Jackson threw for 247 yards and three TDs, although he was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards with a TD, sack and an interception. Baltimore went 4 of 10 on third down conversions along the shores of Lake Erie (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:43, while Cleveland ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:17, going 6 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

San Francisco comes back from their bye week taking a 24-20 win over the Steelers two weeks ago on the West Coqst. Pittsburgh let a 6-3 lead at the intermission at San Francisco get away from them as the 49ers with WR Dante Pettis and QB Jimmy Garoppolo connected on a 5-yard TD toss with 75 seconds left in their contest at Levis’ Stadium. Chris Boswell put the Steelers on the board with a pair of first quarter field goals before San Francisco’s Robbie Gould narrowed the gap to three in the second. The Steelers would lead 20-17 late in the contest before San Francisco went on a 7-play, 24-yard drive that used 4:14 of clock and ended with Pettis and Garoppolo connecting on the game-winning score.

San Francisco out-rushed Pittsburgh 168-79 and rookie QB Mason Rudolph, taking over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger, threw for 174 yards and a pair of TDs (one to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster) and was sacked twice with an interception, while Garoppolo threw for 277 yards and the game-winning TD, adding a sack and a pair of interceptions to his tally. Pittsburgh turned the ball over twice (they forced five San Francisco turnovers) and went 3 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 23:43, while the 49ers held on to the pig skin for 36:17, going 6 for 11 on third down tries.

Including games played in Cleveland before the Browns left for Baltimore (and returned to Cleveland) and contests that were played at Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park on the West Coast, the Browns lead the series 12-7, outscoring the 49ers 386-328. Cleveland won the last meeting with the 49ers, taking a 24-10 victory in 2015 along the shores of Lake Erie, while San Francisco’s last win came at Candlestick Park in 2011 by a final of 20-10.

The Browns are 1-9 in Monday night contests, with their last appearance coming in 2008 (loss) and their last win coming in 2003. San Francisco’s 14-15 on Monday night, their last appearance was last year (loss) and their last win came in 2013. The 49ers are favored by 3 1/2 in prime time and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both numbers are reasonable and both teams are actually playing some really good football right now, so you might want to tape “Bull” this week. San Francisco prevails on Monday and takes the win, even though Cleveland will make things closer than the 3 1/2.

Three teams remain left in the ranks of the unbeatens, two of them (New England and Kansas City) won on the road and the third team (San Francisco) had a bye week. Green Bay, the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas were knocked out of the ranks of the unbeatens, while Miami, Denver and Washington look for their first wins. And it’s tea, crumpets and American football on the other side of the Atlantic as Da Bears and Oakland travel to London.

Welcome to week five of the 2019 NFL season. Four weeks down. 13 to go. There’s still time for those teams that are struggling to get their ducks in a row. After all, the season is a marathon, not a sprint.

QUARTERBACKS NOT ONLY GETTING YOUNGER, THEY’RE ALSO WINNING: Youth is being served! Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph earned his first NFL win as a starter on Monday. In fact, 11 of the 15 winning clubs this past week had a starting field general who has yet to see his 27th birthday. The Steelers’ victory marked the 39th win by a starting quarterback age 26-or-younger this season.

The most wins by quarterbacks under age 26-or-younger, through four weeks of play, in NFL history:

YEAR – WINS
2019 – 39
1987 – 31
1986 – 30
2013 – 28
2008 – 27

Rudolph joined Carolina’s Kyle Allen, New Orleans’ Teddy Bridgewater, the New York Giants’ Daniel Jones, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew, Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston as quarterbacks age 26-or-younger to win last week.

This week, at least four games match up youthful quarterbacks. Minshew’s Jaguars travel to Carolina to play Allen, Winston and the Buccaneers are at New Orleans to play Bridgewater and one of the New York Jets’ young starters, either Sam Darnold or Luke Falk, will be in Philadelphia to meet Carson Wentz and Rudolph’s Steelers host Baltimore and Lamar Jackson.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK FOUR: All 13 completed games in Week 4 featured at least one starting quarterback age 26 or younger.

With two games remaining, a total of 50 games have featured at least one starting quarterback age 26 or younger in 2019, surpassing the 1987 season (48) for the most such games through four weeks of a season in NFL history.

New England defeated Buffalo 16-10, in Week 4. New England joins the 2012 Chicago Bears as the only teams since 2000 with at least 15 sacks (18) and 10 interceptions (10) in their first four games of a season.

New England defensive back J.C. Jackson had two interceptions and a blocked punt in the victory. Jackson became the first player since the New York Jets’ Erik McMillan (Week 1, 1989) with at least two interceptions and a blocked punt in a single game. Additionally, Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty recorded an interception in the win and is the first player in Patriots franchise history and the first in the NFL since Minnesota’s Brian Russell in 2003 to record an interception in each of his team’s first four games of a season.

Buffalo running back Frank Gore rushed for 109 yards in the loss. Gore, who now has 15,021 career rushing yards, became the fourth player in league annals with at least 15,000 career rushing yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (18,355), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269).

Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett had a sack, forced fumble and interception in the Buccaneers’ 55-40 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Barrett has nine sacks on the season and tied Mark Gastineau (1984), Kabeer Gbacia-Biamila (2001) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (1998) for the most sacks through their team’s first four games of a season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Additionally, Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin had 12 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver ROBERT WOODS had 13 catches for 164 yards.

Including Cleveland wide receiver Jarvis Landry’s Week 4 performance (8 catches for 167 yards), there have now been 13 150-yard receiving performances in the NFL this season, surpassing the 2013 season (12) for the most 150-yard receiving performances through four weeks of a season in NFL history.

Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen completed 24 of 34 passes for 232 yards and zero interceptions in the Panthers’ 16-10 win at Houston. Allen joins Carson Wentz (2016) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to go 3-0 with zero interceptions in their first three career starts.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffreyY registered 179 scrimmage yards (93 rushing, 86 receiving) and a rushing touchdown n the win. McCaffrey, who had 209 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 and 188 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 3, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (1963) as the only players in league annals with three games of at least 175 scrimmage yards and one touchdown in their team’s first four games of a season.

Additionally, McCaffrey caught 10 passes in the win, his sixth career game with at least 10 receptions, tying Larry Centers and Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson for the most career games with at least 10 receptions by a running back in NFL history.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler registered 122 scrimmage yards (62 receiving, 60 rushing) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in Los Angeles’ 30-10 win at Miami. Ekeler – who had 154 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 and 133 scrimmage yards and one touchdown in Week 2 – joins Priest Holmes (2002 and 2003) as the only undrafted running backs in the common draft era to have at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in three of his team’s first four games of a season.

Cleveland running back Nick Chubb rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns, including an 88-yard touchdown run, in the Browns’ 40-25 win over Baltimore. Chubb – who had a 92-yard touchdown run in Week 10 of the 2018 season – joins Bob Hoernschmeyer (two touchdown runs from 1946-47) and Chris Johnson (three from 2008-09) as the only players in league annals with at least two touchdown runs of 85 yards or more in their first two seasons.

Oakland tight end Darren Waller had seven catches for 53 yards in the Raiders’ 31-24 win at Indianapolis. Waller, who has 33 receptions on the season, tied Antonio Gates (33 in 2007) for the most receptions by a tight end through his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 5 catches for 47 yards in the Cardinals’ Week 4 loss to Seattle.

Fitzgerald, who has 1,326 career receptions, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (1,325 receptions) for the second-most receptions in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,549) has more.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had four catches for 52 yards in his 115th career game in the Falcons’ Week 4 loss against Tennessee. Jones, who now has 11,048 career receiving yards, surpassed Calvin Johnson (127 games) to become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 career receiving yards.

BIG GAMES ON TAP: Two weeks can mean a night-and-day difference in the National Football League.

Exhibit A is the AFC North, where Cleveland and Pittsburgh two weeks ago were near the bottom looking up. This week, the Browns are in first place and the Steelers are just a game out with a prime opportunity to gain important ground at home against Baltimore.

Like the Browns and Steelers, San Francisco and Green Bay didn’t qualify for the 2018 playoffs. However, each of those NFC teams begin Week 5 in first place preparing for a division leader on the opposite sideline. Cleveland is one of 14 teams standing at either 2-2 or 2-1-1 entering Week 5

The 49ers (3-0), off to their best start in 21 years, return from an early bye to host the Browns (2-2) on Monday Night Football. San Francisco with a win can achieve its first 4-0 record since Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice led their club to a 10-0 start in 1990.

Also looming large on the Week 5 docket is a clash between the Packers (3-1) and the leaders of the NFC East, Dallas (3-1), at AT&T Stadium.

The captain has turned on the fasten-seatbelt sign. The NFL enters October with a lot left to be determined in an already exciting 100th season. Please return your trays to the upright position.

ORIGINAL TEAMS MEET IN LONDON: The 2019 London series kicks off on Sunday, when an original NFL franchise, Chicago, faces an original AFL franchise, Oakland.

That contest marks the first NFL game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The new facility will become the 187th venue to host a regular-season or postseason game in the 100 years of the National Football League.

This week marks the Raiders’ third appearance as a regular-season home team in London. It’s the fourth straight season and the fifth time in six years that the Raiders have hosted a regular-season game internationally, having played at Wembley Stadium in 2014 and 2018 as well as games at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in 2016 and 2017.

The Bears also have played in the United Kingdom twice before, both at Wembley Stadium (preseason in 1986 and regular season in 2011).

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur have an agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played through 2028. The state-of-the-art stadium features a retractable-grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It also has customized NFL features, such as purpose-built locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.

By the end of the 2019 season, the NFL will have played 28 regular-season games in London, with 31 of 32 teams having participated. The Green Bay Packers are the only team that has yet to play there.

INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE: Since 2007, when the NFL played its first regular-season game in the United Kingdom, the league has been remarkably pleased with the passion and knowledge of the UK fans as well as the resulting growth in the NFL’s international popularity. For the teams, traveling to London is a unique road trip, allowing the coaches and players to spend more time together than they would for a domestic trip. And when those teams return from either London or Mexico City with a win, those wins have proven significant.

The last nine teams that have won an international game have earned playoff berths later that season:

TEAM – YEAR (RESULT at LOCATION; SEASON RESULT)
Philadelphia – 2018 (Defeated Jacksonville 24-18 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Divisional playoffs)
Los Angeles Chargers – 2018 (Defeated Tennessee 20-19 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to AFC Divisional playoffs
Seattle – 2018 (Defeated Oakland 27-3 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Wild Card playoffs)
New England – 2017 (Defeated Oakland 33-8 at Estadio Azteca, Mexico; Advanced to Super Bowl LII)
Minnesota – 2017 (Defeated Cleveland, 33-16 at Twickenham Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Championship)
Los Angeles Rams – 2017 (Defeated Arizona, 33-0 at Twickenham Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Wild Card playoffs)
New Orleans – 2017 (Defeated Miami 20-0 at Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom; Advanced to NFC Divisional playoffs)
Jacksonville – 2017 (Defeated Baltimore, 44-7 at Wembley Stadium, UK; Advanced to AFC Championship)
Oakland – 2016 (Defeated Houston, 27-20 at Estadio Azteca, Mexico; Advanced to AFC Wild Card playoffs)

NO SUCH THING AS A SAFE LEAD: Three teams, all of which were on the road, erased deficits of at least 10 points last week to register important wins. Both Philadelphia and Kansas City came back from 10 down to win gritty games at Green Bay and Detroit, respectively. Meanwhile, Jacksonville, behind rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, climbed over a 17-3 obstacle at Denver to win a thriller, 26-24.

Through four weeks, five games have featured a team coming back to win or tie after trailing by 10-or-more points. Since the 1970 merger, only the 2011 (9), 1979 (8) and 2018 (7) seasons have had more such games through the first four weeks.

Also through four weeks this season, three games have featured a team coming back to win or tie after trailing by 17-or-more points. Since the 1970 merger, only the 2011 (6), 1999 (4) and 2014 (4) seasons have had more such games through the first four weeks.

TURNOVERS AT RECORD LOWS: Talk about ball security! Tennessee has committed one turnover, fewest in the NFL through four weeks. One of the more interesting aspects of the NFL’s current era that separates it from previous periods is that teams are turning over the ball less frequently. The amount of interceptions and fumbles lost has decreased dramatically in recent years. In each of the last three seasons (2017-19), the NFL through four weeks of play has reached some of its lowest marks in the turnover category since the 1970 AFL-NFL league merger.

The fewest turnovers through four weeks, 1970-present:

YEAR – TURNOVERS
2017 – 160
2014 – 176
2019 – 178
2018 – 178
2008 – 183
2016 – 185

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated the Bills-Titans game at 1 p.m. on CBS as the NFL100 Game of the Week to remember the Music City Miracle during the 1999 playoffs. On January 8, 2000, in Nashville, Rob Johnson and the Bills climbed out of a 12-0 hole in the second half, on the strength of two Antowain Smith rushing touchdowns. After Steve McNair led a go-ahead field-goal drive with 1 minute, 48 seconds, on the fourth-quarter clock, giving the Titans a 15-13 advantage, Johnson answered. Having lost his shoe with no time to put it back on his foot, Johnson completed a sideline pass to Peerless Price, who stopped the clock at the Titans’ 24-yard line. With 16 seconds left, Steve Christie’s 41-yard kick put Buffalo on top, 16-15. Then, it happened. … The brainchild of Titans special-teams coordinator Alan Lowry, “Home Run Throwback” was executed several times in practice after Lowry first saw it at a 1981 Southern Methodist-Texas Tech game. The key cog in the play, Frank Wycheck, had thrown a 61-yard touchdown three weeks earlier at Atlanta; offensive coordinator Les Steckel installed that play after watching Wycheck killing time at practice by throwing the ball with Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews … Christie’s pooch kickoff went to Lorenzo Neal, who handed off to a trailing Wycheck, drawing most of the Bills’ kick coverage. Wycheck then lateraled across the field to Kevin Dyson, who returned the ball 70 yards for the game-winning touchdown as Tennessee prevailed, 22-16, en route to a berth in Super Bowl XXXIV.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 5

BRADY GOES FOR HISTORY: New England quarterback Tom Brady ranks fourth in NFL history with 71,575 passing yards during his 20-year NFL career.

With 366 passing yards on Sunday at Washington, Brady would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940) for the second-most career passing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most career passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S)(PASSING YARDS)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (74,845)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838) HOF
Tom Brady – New England (71,575)*
*Active

PAT & MATT’S FAST STARTS: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES, who leads the league with 1,510 passing yards and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who leads the NFC with 1,325 passing yards, have passed for at least 300 yards in each of their team’s first four games this season.

If Mahomes or Ryan pass for at least 300 yards on Sunday, they would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (6 in 2000) and Steve Young (6 in 1998), as well as Peyton Manning (5 in 2009 and 2013) as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards in each of their team’s first five games of a season.

The players with at least 300 passing yards in each of their team’s first five games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 300+ PASSING YARDS TO BEGIN SEASON)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (2000 – 6) HOF
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998 – 6) HOF
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 5)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2009 – 5)#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2019 – 4)*
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2019 – 4)*
*Active streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

RUDOLPH DASHES TOWARD HISTORY: Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph completed 24 of 28 pass attempts (85.7 percent) for 229 yards with two touchdowns and a 124.6 passer rating in Week 4 to earn his first career victory as a starter. It also marked Rudolph’s third consecutive game with two touchdown passes.

With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday vs. Baltimore, Rudolph would become the third player in NFL history to pass for at least two touchdowns in each of his first four career games.

The players with at least two passing touchdowns in each of their first four career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 2+ TD PASSES TO BEGIN CAREER)
Jay Cutler, Denver (2006 – 4)
Mark Rypien, Washington (1988 – 4)
Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

NOT YOUR AVERAGE QB: Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON, who is tied for the league lead with 10 touchdown passes, also leads all quarterbacks with 238 rushing yards this season. Including his 695 rushing yards – the most among quarterbacks in 2018 – Jackson now has 933 career rushing yards in 20 career games.

With 67 rushing yards in his 21st career game on Sunday at Pittsburgh, Jackson would tie Robert Griffin III (21 games) as the fastest quarterback to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in NFL history.

The quarterbacks to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 1,000 RUSH YARDS)
Robert Griffin III, Washington (21)
Michael Vick, ATLANTA (22)
Cam Newton, Carolina (23)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (20)*
*Has 933 rush yards entering Sunday

SACK BARRETT: Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett leads the NFL with nine sacks through four weeks in 2019. Barrett, who notched one sack in Week 1, three sacks in Week 2 and four sacks in Week 3, added yet another sack to his total, as well as an interception and a forced fumble, in the Buccaneers’ Week 4 win at the Los Angeles Rams.

With one sack on Sunday at New Orleans, Barrett would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (1998) as the only players to reach 10 sacks in their team’s first five games of a season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

THE SCARLET KNIGHT RISES: New England defensive back Devin McCourty leads the NFL with four interceptions this season, having recorded one interception in each of the Patriots’ first four games of 2019.

With an interception on Sunday at Washington, McCourty would become the third player in the Super Bowl era to record at least one interception in his each of his team’s first five games of a season.

The players with an interception in each of their team’s first five games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, GAMES WITH INTERCEPTION TO BEGIN SEASON)
Brian Russell, Minnesota (2003 – 6)
Lemar Parrish, Washington (1979 – 5)
Devin McCourty, New England (2019 – 4)*
*Active streak

Week five got underway in the Pacific Northwest as Seattle held off a late rally against their NFC West rivals from Los Angeles in the Pacific Northwest 30-29 Thursday night and ends in Santa Clara as San Francsico hosts the Cleveland Browns in a matchup of two first-place teams. The New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers return from their week off and this time, it’s Detroit and Miami that have a bye. Week five is also the start of games in London as Chicago and Oakland meet on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. As for last week? Not as great as we hoped but 7-8 is a lot better than 0-15. For the year, 34-33. There’s a lot of football left before us. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 5.

ATLANTA (1-3) at Houston (2-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The struggling Atlanta Falcons make their way to the Lone Star State as J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans play host Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium. Both clubs took home losses in last week’s action.

Atlanta trailed Tennessee 24-7 at the half at Mercedes Benz Stadium and could never get on track as they fell to the Titans 24-10 in the Big Peach. Tennessee outrushed Atlanta 138-58 with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 100 yards on the ground. Ryan threw for 397 yards but found himself being sacked five times, while Marcus Mariota threw for 227 yards and no sacks (Ryan and Mariota did not throw a TD pass or an interception). Atlanta was 5 of 14 on third down tries, 1 of 4 on fourth down and the Falcons actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:41, while the Titans went 6 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:19.

Houston dropped to 2-2 after their 16-10 loss to Carolina and backup QB Kyle Allen at NRG Stadium. The Panthers led 10-3 at the intermission, then held off a late Houston rally in the second half to season the win as Carolina would use a pair of Jeff Slye field goals in the final 15 minutes of the contest. Houston did manage to out-rush Carolina 136-94 and Allen threw for 232 yards with three sacks, while Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 160 yards with six sacks (neither threw a TD pass or interception). Carolina was 7 of 14 on third down tries in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 30:38, while the Texans kept the ball for 29:22 and went 4 for 11 on third down tries.

They’ve met four times and both teams have two wins under their belts in the series. Atlanta has outscored 97-71 and the Falcons were 48-21 winners in 2015 in the Big Peach, while Houston’s last win in the series came in 2011 in Houston by a final of 17-10. Houston’s favored by 5 with the over/under at 48 1/2. Both teams look to restore some order in their respective divisions. Atlanta takes this one but expect Houston to make things closer than the 5.

Jacksonville (2-2) at Carolina (2-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of 2-2 teams meet in the Tar Heel State as Carolina hosts Jacksonville at Bank of America Stadium. Both teams took wins on the road in last week’s action.

Jacksonville sent Denver to their second last-second loss of the 2019 season, coming away with a 26-24 win over the Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Jacksonville trailed 17-6 at the half, then took a 20-17 lead with them into the final 15 minutes of action in the Rocky Mountains. Josh Lambo would give the Jaguars a 23-17 lead with 2:54 left in the contest before Denver went back to work and took the lead back with 92 seconds left when Joe Flacco and WR Courtland Sutton connected on an 8-yard TD toss. Denver fans, thinking that they had their first win of the year under their belts, then watched with horror as the Jaguars would get the ball back with the time remaining as Jacksonville would use an 8-play, 60-yard drive that ended when Lambo connected on a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

Jacksonville easily out-rushed Denver 269-68, with Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette rushing for 225 yards to lead all rushers. Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Flacco threw for 303 yards and three TDs (two to Sutton; Minshew was sacked five times, Flacco threw an interception). Jacksonville went 4 of 14 on third down tries, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 39:12 (including the final 92 seconds of regulation), while the Broncos, who would hold on to the pigskin for 20:48, went 4 of 11 on third down.

The Cam Newton-less Panthers improved to 2-2 after Carolina came away from Houston with a 16-10 win with backup QB Kyle Allen at NRG Stadium. Carolina took a 10-3 at the intermission, then used a pair of Jeff Slye field goals in the final 15 minutes to hold off a late Houston rally. Houston did manage to out-rush Carolina 136-94 and Allen threw for 232 yards with three sacks, while Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 160 yards with six sacks (neither threw a TD pass or interception). Carolina was 7 of 14 on third down tries in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 30:38, while the Texans kept the ball for 29:22 and went 4 for 11 on third down tries.

The kitty series is even at 3-3 and Jacksonville has outscored Carolina 125-100. Carolina won the last meeting in 2015 in Jacksonville, coming away with the 20-9 win, while Jacksonville’s last win came in the Sunshine State in 2007 by a final of 37-6. Carolina’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under is 41. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both teams have been playing some decent if not great football of late. When this one ends in Charlotte, one kitty will have an extra life. Carolina’s finer this week. Panthers cover the 3 1/2 and takes the win in the Tar Heel State.

Arizona (0-3-1) at Cincinnati (0-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of winless teams square off along the shores of the Ohio River as Arizona and Cincinnati look for their first win of the 2019 season.

Arizona, who plays Sunday’s contest with heavy hearts after the passing of owner Bill Bidwell Wednesday, was held in check last Sunday afternoon in Glendale by Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, as Seattle revailed 27-10 at State Farm Stadium. Seattle led 20-3 at the break and the Seahawks were never really challenged by the Desert Angry Birds in the contest.

Both teams rushed for 115 yards in the late afternoon contest with Seattle’s Chris Carson leading everyone with 104 yards of rushing. Wilson threw for 240 yards and a TD to TE Will Disly, while Arizona QB Kyler Murray threw for 241 yards and an interception (both Wilson and Murray were sacked four times). Seattle went 4 of 10 on third down tries in the desert and ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 33:24, while the Desert Angry Birds went 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:36.

The Bengals took an early 3-0 lead thanks to a Chris Bullock field goal in the first quarter against Pittsburgh, then watched the Steelers score 27 points from the second quarter to the end of the contest unchallenged, losing 27-3 at Heinz Field last Monday night. Cincinnati trailed 10-3 at the half and were shut out the rest of the way in their prime time contest in the Keystone State. Although Cincinnati out-rushed Pittsburgh 73-66, Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph threw for 229 yards with a pair of TDs (Rudolph was not sacked or had an interception), while Andy Dalton threw for 171 yards, throwing an interception with eight sacks. Cincinnati was 4 of 13 on third down tries (the Bengals were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:14, while the Steelers, who picked up their first win, went 3 of 9 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:46.

Cincinnati leads the series 6-5 and the Bengals have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 274-271. Arizona won the last meeting with the Bengals, coming away 34-31 winners in the desert in 2015, while Cincinnati’s last win in the series came in 2011, along the shores of the Ohio River by a final of 23-16. Cincinnati’s favored by 3 in the Queen City and the over/under’s 47 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “Pawn Stars” marathon on History (there’s nothing funnier than seeing Rick put Chumlee in his place!) Someone’s going to win this contest. Bengals get their first win of the season, even though the Desert Angry Birds will make things closer than the 3.

Tampa Bay (2-2) at New Orleans (3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC South foes meet in the Big Easy as Tampa Bay travels to take on the New Orleans Saints in the great indoors. Both teams were winners in their contests last week.

Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday held the Los Angeles Rams in check as the visiting Buccaneers took care of the defending NFC champions 55-40, giving them their first loss of the season. Tampa Bay led 28-17 at the half on the West Coast, then held serve in the second half, outscoring the Rams 27-23 in the final 30 minutes of play. Tampa Bay held Los Angeles to 28 yards on the ground, while Tampa Bay ran for 88 yards of their own. Winston threw for 385 yards and four TDs, while Goff threw for 517 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions (both Winston and Goff were sacked twice). Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:36, while the Rams (who kept the ball for 27:24) went 4 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

New Orleans used four Will Lutz field goals to knock Dallas out of the ranks of the unbeatens last Sunday in the Big Easy, coming away 12-10 winners at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Taking a 3-0 lead thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Brett Maher late in the first quarter, the Saints took a 6-3 lead with them to the break, using a pair of Lutz field goals in the second quarter. Dallas would take the lead back with 7:47 left in the third when Ezekiel Elliott scored from a yard out. Lutz would give the Saints the lead back and for keeps with a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth. New Orleans would then hold off a late Dallas rally in the closing seconds of the contest to take the win.

New Orleans out-rushed Dallas 117-45, with Elliott leading the Cowboys with 35 yards on 18 carries, while Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards. Prescott threw for 223 yards with a sack, while Teddy Bridgewater (taking over for the injured Drew Brees) threw for 193 yards and was sacked five times (both did not throw a TD pass and both threw an interception). Dallas was 4 of 11 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:56. As for the Saints? They ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:04, going 6 for 14 on third down tries in the Big Easy.

New Orleans holds a 33-21 lead in the series over their NFC South rivals and have out-scored Tampa Bay 1,216-1,027. They split last year’s meetings, each taking wins in the other team’s facility.

The two rivals wasted little time, meeting in the season opener for both clubs in the Big Easy and Tampa Bay held off a late New Orleans rally to come away 48-40 winners at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. With Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, Tampa Bay led 31-24 at the intermission, then kept Brees and the Saints at bay in the second half to take the win. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 112-43 and Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards with four TDs, while Brees threw for 439 yards and three TDs (Brees was sacked once and neither QB threw an interception). Tampa Bay went 8 for 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 32:09, while New Orleans, keeping the ball for 27:51, went 4 for 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

New Orleans would get their revenge in the Sunshine State in week 14 as Brees and the Saints left Raymond James Stadium 28-14 winners. After trailing 14-3 at the break on the Florida west coast, the Saints would shutout Tampa Bay in the second half, scoring their final 18 points of the contest unchallenged. Once again, Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 105-100, with Saints RB Mark Ingram leading the way with 52 yards and a TD, while teammate Alvin Kamara chipped in with 51. Winston threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDS, while Brees threw for 201 yards with a TD (Brees was sacked once, Brees was sacked four times, each had an interception). New Orleans was 6 of 12 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:53, while the Buccaneers kept the pigskin for 28:07 and went 6 of 14 on third down tries in the Sunshine State.

In the season opener, New Orleans was favored by 9 1/2 but Tampa Bay won by 8. The good news? Both teams covered the 49 1/2 over/under with 88 points. In the week 14 contest in Tampa, New Orleans was favpred by 8 1/2 and covered with the win by 14. This time, both clubs missed the 57 1/2 over/under, tallying only 42 points.) New Orleans is favored by 3 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 47. The Saints are trying to repeat as NFC South champs. As for the Buccaneers? They would love nothing more than to see that doesn’t happen. Tampa Bay may not cover the 3 1/2 but they pull off the upset in the Big Easy and take the win.

Minnesota (2-2) at New York Giants (2-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of 2-2 teams meet in the Meadowlands Sunday as Minnesota takes on the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

Minnesota left Chicago on the short end of a 16-6 loss to Da Bears in the Windy City last Sunday. The Vikings trailed 10-0 at the half at Soldier Field and trailed 16-0 at the end of three quarters before they would put a dent in the scoreboard with 2:58 left in the contest when Devin Cook scored from a yard out. The Vikings missed the extra point, which forced them to try the onside kick. Chicago recovered the kick and ran the clock out to take the win. Chicago, who opened the scoring with a Tank Cohen TD pass from backup QB Chase Daniel late in the first quarter, used three Eddie Pineiro field goals to give Da Bears their points. Chicago out-rushed Minnesota 72-40 and Daniel, who took over for Mitchell Trubisky, threw for 195 yards and the TD, while Kirk Cousins threw for 233 yards (Cousins was sacked six times, Daniel was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Minnesota went 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:33, while Chicago ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 35:27, going 5 of 16 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Giants held Washington to a 21-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins late in the first half and took care of the Redskins 24-3 at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands. Big Blue led from start to finish in upstate New Jersey, leading 17-3 at the intermission and would nail Washington’s coffin shut when Jabril Peppers returned an interception 32 yards for a TD with 79 seconds left in the third quarter. New York outrushed Washington 164-55 and Dwayne Haskins, Jr., taking over for Case Keenum, threw for 107 yards with three interceptions and a pair of sacks, while Daniel Jones made his first home start for the Giants, throwing for 225 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. Washington went 2 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 23:51, while the Giants controlled the clock and kept the pigskin for 36:09, while going 8 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota leads the series 15-10, have outscored Big Blue 602-459 and won the last two meetings, including a 24-10 win in the Twin Cities in 2016, while the Giants’ last win over the Vikings came in the Meadowlands in 2013 by a final of 23-7. Minnesota’s favored by 5 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 44. Right now, both teams are on the outside looking in as far as their respective divisions are concerned. Giants may not cover the 5 1/2 but they take the upset in the Meadowlands.

Chicago (3-1) at Oakland (2-2), 1 p.m. (6 p.m. in London) on FOX and DirecTV 714. The first London game of the 2019 season takes place in week five as Chicago and Oakland meet on the other side of the Atlantic at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Both teams enter the United Kingdom with wins under their belts.

Chicago crosses the Big Pond with a 16-6 win over NFC North rival Minnesota last Sunday. Chicago took a 10-0 lead at the half at Soldier Field and led 16-0 at the end of three quarters before the Viking would put a dent in the scoreboard with 2:58 left in the contest when Devin Cook scored from a yard out. The Vikings missed the extra point, which forced them to try the onside kick. Chicago recovered the kick and ran the clock out to take the win. Chicago, who opened the scoring with a Tank Cohen TD pass from backup QB Chase Daniel late in the first quarter, used three Eddie Pineiro field goals to give Da Bears their points. Chicago out-rushed Minnesota 72-40 and Daniel, who took over for Mitchell Trubisky, threw for 195 yards and the TD, while Kirk Cousins threw for 233 yards (Cousins was sacked six times, Daniel was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Minnesota went 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:33, while Chicago ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 35:27, going 5 of 16 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Oakland held off a late Indianapolis rally in the Hoosier State last Sunday, coming away 31-24 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Silver and Black led 21-10 at the break, then held off the Colts in the second half to take the road win. Oakland outrushed the Colts 188-81 and Derek Carr threw for 189 yards and a pair of TDs, while Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 265 yards and three TDs and an interception (Carr was sacked once with no interceptions). Oakland was 5 of 12 on third down and held on to the ball for 33:41, while the Colts kept it for 26:19 and went 6 of 16 on third down (both teams were successful on fourth down; Oakland went 1 of 1, while the Colts were 3 of 3).

Including games played in Los Angeles when the Raiders played their home games at the Coliseum, the series is even at 7-7 and Da Bears have out-scored the Silver and Black 256-249. Chicago won their last meeting, a 27-20 final in the Windy City in 2015, while Oakland’s last win came on the West Coast in 2011 by a final of 25-20. Chicago’s favored by 5 1/2 on the other side of the Atlantic and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Chicago may not cover the 5 1/2 but Da Bears win on the other side of the Atlantic.

New York Jets (0-3) at Philadelphia (2-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Looking to pick up their first win of the season, the New York Jets make the 96-mile, 91-minute trip up I-95 to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, coming off their bye week, were held by Tom Brady to a pair of second-half TDs at Foxboro as the Pats would take GangGreen to the woodshed 30-14 at Gillette Stadium. Brady and the Patriots led 20-0 at the intermission and never looked back in their AFC East opener. New England grounded the Jets’ rushing game, holding them to to a season-low 36 yards, while the Pats would rush for 68 and Brady threw for 306 yards wtih a pair of TDs and no sacks or interceptions, while Luke Falk, the third QB of the season for the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! threw for 98 yards with five sacks and an interception. New England went 6 of 15 on third down conversions in Foxboro and kept the ball for 35:14, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 0 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Philadelphia ended Green Bay’s hopes of an unbeaten season last Thursday night at Lambeau Field, as the Eagles held off Rodgers and the Packers 34-27. Philadelphia led 21-20 at the half, then held off a late Green Bay rally in the final 30o minutes of action in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. The Eagles out-rushed Green Bay 176-77 and Rodgers threw for 422 yards and a pair of TDs (he was sacked once and threw an interception), while Carson Wentz threw for 160 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions. Green Bay went 6 of 11 on third down at Lambeau (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:21, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:39, going 5 of 9 on third down conversions.

They’ve played ten times and the Eagles have won all 10 meetings in the series, outscoring the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! and coming away 24-17 winners in the Meadowlands in 2015. Philadelphia’s favored by 13 1/2 in the City of Brotherly Love and the over/under’s 44. Granted, right now the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are bad but not 13 1/2 bad. They’ll make this one interesting but the Eagles fly away with the win at home.

Baltimore (2-2) at Pittsburgh (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They meet again. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in the Steel City as Pittsburgh and Baltimore meet at Heinz Field.

Cleveland took care of Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium last Sunday, taking a 10-7 halftime lead, then flooring the gas in the second half as they took care of the Ravens 40-25 in Charm City. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ran amok in last Sunday’s game, accounting for 165 yards and three TDs as the Browns outrushed Baltimore 193-173 (Baltimore was led by Mark Ingram, who tallied 165) and Lamar Jackson threw for 247 yards and three TDs, although he was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards with a TD, sack and an interception. Baltimore went 4 of 10 on third down conversions along the shores of Lake Erie (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:43, while Cleveland ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:17, going 6 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Cincinnati took a 3-0 lead thanks to a Chris Bullock field goal in the first quarter against Pittsburgh, then watched as the Steelers scored their 27 points of the contest from the second quarter to the end of the contest unchallenged, losing 27-3 at Heinz Field last Monday night. Pittsburgh led 10-3 at the half and shut out the Bengals the rest of the way in their prime time contest in the Keystone State. While Cincinnati out-rushed Pittsburgh 73-66, Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph threw for 229 yards with a pair of TDs (Rudolph was not sacked or had an interception), while Andy Dalton threw for 171 yards, throwing an interception with eight sacks. Cincinnati was 4 of 13 on third down tries (the Bengals were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:14, while the Steelers, who picked up their first win, went 3 of 9 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:46.

The Steelers lead the series 25-21 and have out-scored the Ravens 931-903. Baltimore and Pittsburgh met twice last season, spliting the two meetings and each team winning in the other team’s facilty. Round one… week four in the Steel City on a Sunday night. Baltimore would score the first 14 points of the contest in the first before Pittsubrgh would even things up with two second quarter TDs, sending the two clubs tied at 14-14. The Ravens would go on to score the last 12 points of the contest unchallenged with four Jeff Tucker field goals to come away from Heinz Field 26-14 winners. The Steelers used a pair of Chris Boswell field goals and a TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to WR Antonio Brown to tie the contest up at the half before they were shutout in the final 30 minutes of play.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier as Pittsburgh was held to a somewhat dismal 19 yards of rushing, while the Ravens won the ground game, tallying 96. Roethlisberger threw for 274 yards with a sack and an interception to go with the TD, while Joe Flacco threw for 363 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks (Flacco did not have an interception). Baltimore was 8 of 17 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and played keep-away with the ball, holding on to the pigskin for 35:03 to Pittsburgh’s 24:57 (the Steelers were 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down).

The Steelers didn’t have to wait very long to get their revenge at M&T Bank Stadium in week nine and they erased an early 3-0 deficit to take a 23-16 win in Charm City. Pittsburgh led 14-6 at the intermission and never looked back, even though the Ravens would make the contest a 7-point affair with 5:23 left to play when Tucker connected on his second field goal of the contest. James Conner accounted for 107 yards to lead all rushers as the Steelers outrushed Baltimore 113-61 and Roethlisberger threw for 270 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Conner, the other to Brown), while Flacco threw for 209 yards (both men were sacked twice and neither threw an interception). Pittsburgh improved on third down tries in the second meeting, going 10 of 16 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:29 while the Ravens kept the ball for 23:31 and went 4 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week four contest in the Steel City, the Steelers were favored by 3 and the Ravens covered, winning by 12. However, both clubs tallied only 40 points, falling short of the 48 1/2 over/under. Baltimore was favored by 3 in Charm City in the week nine rematch and the Steelers covered, winning by 7. Both teams missed the 47 over/under, tallying only 39 points. Baltimore may be the road team but the boys and girls in Vegas have them as 3 1/2 point favorites with the over/under at 44 1/2. Both numbers make sense. The Ravens share first place with the Browns in the AFC North, while the Steelers look to win the division without Ben Roethlisberger. Steelers cover the 3 1/2 in the Steel City and takes the win at Heinz Field.

Buffalo (3-1) at Tennessee (2-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC rivals that met in the “Music City Miracle” meet in Nashville as Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans host the Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo watched New England keep themselves in the unbeaten column after they left Orchard Park with a 16-10 win last Sunday. New England led 13-3 at the half at New Era Stadium, then held off the Bills in the second half to take the road win. Buffalo did out-rush New England 135-74 with Bills RB Frank Gore leading the way with 109 yards, while Sony Michel led New England with 63 yards. Brady threw for 150 yards with no TDs or interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 153 yards with three interceptions and four sacks. the Bills were a somewhat dismal 2 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:40, while the defending Super Bowl champs kept the pigskin for 27:20, going 5 of 18 on third downs.

Tennessee led Atlanta 24-7 at the half at Mercedes Benz Stadium and held the Falcons to a Matt Bryant field goal in the third quarter as they left Atlanta 24-10 winners in the Big Peach. Tennessee outrushed Atlanta 138-58 with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 100 yards on the ground. Matt Ryan threw for 397 yards but found himself being sacked five times, while Marcus Mariota threw for 227 yards and no sacks (Ryan and Mariota did not throw a TD pass or an interception). Atlanta was 5 of 14 on third down tries, 1 of 4 on fourth down and the Falcons actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:41, while the Titans went 6 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:19.

Including the contests that took place in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Bills played their home games at War Memorial Stadium, Tennessee leads the series 27-16 and have outscored the Bills 936-828. They met last year along the shores of Lake Erie and the Bills circled their wagons to take the 13-12 win (Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2012 in Orchard Park by a final of 35-34). Tennessee’s favored by 3 in the Music City and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Tennessee covers the 3 in Nashville and takes the win at home.

New England (4-0) at Washington (0-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Tom Brady and the Patriots travel to Landover to face off against a Washington team that is in search of their first win.

The Patriots kept themselves in the unbeaten column after they left Buffalo with a 16-10 win over the Bills in upstate New York. New England led 13-3 at the half at New Era Stadium, then held off the Bills in the second half to take the road win. Buffalo did out-rush New England 135-74 with Bills RB Frank Gore leading the way with 109 yards, while Sony Michel led New England with 63 yards. Brady threw for 150 yards with no TDs or interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 153 yards with three interceptions and four sacks. the Bills were a somewhat dismal 2 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:40, while the defending Super Bowl champs kept the pigskin for 27:20, going 5 of 18 on third downs.

Washington was held to a 21-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins late in the first half as the New York Giants took care of the Redskins 24-3 at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands. Washington trailed 17-3 at the intermission and could never get back on track after that, as their NFC East rivals would nail their coffin shut when Jabril Peppers returned an interception 32 yards for a TD with 79 seconds left in the third quarter. New York outrushed Washington 164-55 and Dwayne Haskins, Jr., taking over for Case Keenum, threw for 107 yards with three interceptions and a pair of sacks, while Daniel Jones made his first home start for the Giants, throwing for 225 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. Washington went 2 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 23:51, while the Giants controlled the clock and kept the pigskin for 36:09, while going 8 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While Washington leads the series 6-4, New England has outscored the Redskins (including games that were played at Schafer Stadium and RFK Stadium) 232-205 and the Patriots have won the last three meetings, including a 20-17 win in Foxboro in 2015, while Washington’s last win came in Landover in 2003 by a final of 20-17. New England’s favored by 15 1/2 (you read that right, 15 1/2) and the over/under is 43. The 43 makes a ton of sense. The 15 1/2 doesn’t. Granted, washington has played less than stellar football of late but they’re not 15 1/2 points bad. Still, Washington fans will be saying “Hell, it’s the Redskins” this week. New England wins this one but expect Washington to make it closer than 15 1/2.

Denver (0-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Forget the records. These two clubs aren’t exactly crazy about each other. Granted, it’s not the same as Kansas City-Oakland but you get the picture. Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers host the Denver Broncos in a late afternoon contest on the West Coast.

Denver, searching for their first win of the season, dropped their second last-second contest at home, falling to Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-24 at Empower Field at Mile High. Denver led 17-6 at the half before Jacksonville took a 20-17 lead with them into the final 15 minutes of action in the Rocky Mountains. Josh Lambo would give the Jaguars a 23-17 lead with 2:54 left in the contest before Denver went back to work and took the lead back with 92 seconds left when Joe Flacco and WR Courtland Sutton connected on an 8-yard TD toss. Denver fans, thinking that they had their first win of the year under their belts, then watched with horror as the Jaguars would get the ball back with the time remaining as Jacksonville would use an 8-play, 60-yard drive that ended when Lambo connected on a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

Jacksonville out-rushed Denver 269-68, with Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette rushing for 225 yards to lead all rushers. Minshew threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Flacco threw for 303 yards and three TDs (two to Sutton; Minshew was sacked five times, Flacco threw an interception). Jacksonville went 4 of 14 on third down tries, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 39:12 (including the final 92 seconds of regulation), while the Broncos, who would hold on to the pigskin for 20:48, went 4 of 11 on third down.

The Chargers took control of things in Miami, giving the Dolphins their fourth loss in a row, coming out of Hard Rock Stadium 30-10 winners in the Sunshine State. Taking a 17-10 lead with them to the locker room at halftime, the Chargers would take control of things in the second half, scoring their last 13 points of the contest unchallenged. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the Chargers did manage to outurush Miami 79-72 and Rivers threw for 310 yards with a pair of TDs, despite being sacked once, while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 180 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off once. The Chargers were 8 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 37:36, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 22:24, going 5 of 10 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

While Denver holds a 65-52-1 lead in the series (which includes contests that took place at old Mile High Stadium and in Los Angeles), the Chargers have out-scored Denver 2,540-2,503. The two clubs took wins on the other team’s field last year to split the series.

The two AFC/AFL foes met at StubHub Center in week 11 and the Chargers watched a 2-point lead late in the contest get away from them as Brian McManus booted a 34-yard field goal as time expired, allowing Denver to take a 23-22 win on the road. Los Angeles led 13-7 at the break and would lead by as much as five with 2:24 left in the third before the Broncos would take the lead for the first time when Philip Lindsey (79 yards, two TDs) scored from a yard out with 12:17 left in the contest. Michael Badgley gave the Bolts the lead back with a 30-yard field goal with 6:47 left in regulation. After the teams traded possessions, the Broncos would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and Denver would use all of that time, using a 7-play, 76-yard drive and Denver would send Chargers fans home sad, connecting on the 34-yarder as the clock struck :00.
Denver out-rushed Los Angeles 108-95 and Case Keenum threw for 205 yards without a TD, sack or interception, while Rivers threw for 401 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Gates) with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Denver went 3 of 10 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:11 (including the final 1:51 seconds), while the Chargers were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 37:49, going 9 for 15 on third down conversions.

Los Angeles would get their revenge in the Mile High City in the season finale, clinching a playoff spot and coming away 23-9 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Bolts led 7-3 at the break after the teams played a scoreless first quarter and never looked back, even getting a defensive two point conversion when Casey Hayward broke up a Denver 2-point try with 10:10 left in the contest (Keenum connected on a 20-yard TD toss to Andy Janovich to pull the Broncos to within five). Los Angeles out-rushed Denver 116-82 and Keenum threw for 292 yards and the TD (he was sacked once and picked off once), while Rivers threw for 176 yards and a TD with an interception (Rivers was not sacked). Los Angeles went 4 of 11 on third down conversions in the Mile High City and kept the ball for 28:12, while the Broncos ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:48, going 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

In the week 11 contest, the Chargers were favored by 7 but the Broncos would wind up winning by only one and both teams barely missed the 47 over/under by 2 points. The Chargers covered the 6 1/2-point spread in the season finale, winning by 16 but as was the case in the first meeting, both clubs missed the over/under of 41 1/2, tallying only 30 points. The Chargers are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The Chargers look to keep close to first-place Kansas City in the AFC West, while the Broncos are looking for their first win. Denver will get that first win, just not in Los Angeles. Chargers cover the 6 1/2 and takes the win at home in Cali.

Green Bay (3-1) at Dallas (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. Bratwurst vs. Brisket. A pair of NFC rivals meet in the Lone Star State as Dallas and Dak Prescott host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium in a late-afternoon contest in Arlington. Both clubs took their first loss of the season last week.

Philadelphia ended Green Bay’s hopes of an unbeaten season last Thursday night at Lambeau Field, as the Eagles held off Rodgers and the Packers 34-27. Philadelphia led 21-20 at the half, then held off a late Green Bay rally in the final 30o minutes of action in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. The Eagles out-rushed Green Bay 176-77 and Rodgers threw for 422 yards and a pair of TDs (he was sacked once and threw an interception), while Carson Wentz threw for 160 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions. Green Bay went 6 of 11 on third down at Lambeau (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:21, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:39, going 5 of 9 on third down conversions.

New Orleans used four Will Lutz field goals to knock Dallas out of the ranks of the unbeatens last Sunday in the Big Easy, coming away 12-10 winners at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Taking a 3-0 lead thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Brett Maher late in the first quarter, the Saints took a 6-3 lead with them to the break, using a pair of Lutz field goals in the second quarter. Dallas would take the lead back with 7:47 left in the third when Ezekiel Elliott scored from a yard out. Lutz would give the Saints the lead back and for keeps with a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth. New Orleans would then hold off a late Dallas rally in the closing seconds of the contest to take the win.

New Orleans out-rushed Dallas 117-45, with Elliott leading the Cowboys with 35 yards on 18 carries, while Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards. Prescott threw for 223 yards with a sack, while Teddy Bridgewater (taking over for the injured Drew Brees) threw for 193 yards and was sacked five times (both did not throw a TD pass and both threw an interception). Dallas was 4 of 11 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:56. As for the Saints? They ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:04, going 6 for 14 on third down tries in the Big Easy.

Including games played in Milwaukee, at the Cotton Bowl and Texas Stadium, the Packers lead the series 15-13, have out-scored Dallas 655-606 and won their last meeting, a 35-31 win in 2017 in the Lone Star State, while Dallas’ last win came in 2016 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst by a final of 30-16 at Lambeau. Dallas is favored by 3 1/2 in the late afternoon affair and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Since both teams are leading their respective divisions and both have a long history with each other, it’s safe to say that this one’s “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 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal 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?”)

Both teams are looking to right their respective ships and this one could be one of the better games Sunday afternoon. Green Bay takes care of business in the Lone Star State and takes the win, even though Dallas will look to make things closer than 3 1/2.

Indianapolis (2-2) at Kansas City (4-0), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Mahomes vs. Brissett. The future of NFL QBs presents itself as the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead.

A late Indianapolis rally in the Hoosier State against Oakland last Sunday fell short, as the Raiders wound up coming away 31-24 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Silver and Black led 21-10 at the break, then held off the Colts in the second half to take the road win. Oakland outrushed the Colts 188-81 and Derek Carr threw for 189 yards and a pair of TDs, while Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 265 yards and three TDs and an interception (Carr was sacked once with no interceptions). Oakland was 5 of 12 on third down and held on to the ball for 33:41, while the Colts kept it for 26:19 and went 6 of 16 on third down (both teams were successful on fourth down; Oakland went 1 of 1, while the Colts were 3 of 3).

Kansas City broke a 13-13 tie in Detroit, then rallied to take a 34-30 win over the Lions at Ford Field last Sunday afternoon. The Chiefs trailed Matthew Stafford and the Lions 30-27 with 20 seconds left in the contest when RB Darien Williams scored from a yard away to take the lead for the first time and for keeps. Kansas City would then go on to hold off a late Detroit rally that would have given them their first loss of the 2019 season. Detroit outrushed Kansas City 186-123 with Lions RB Kerryon Johnson leading the way with 125 yards. Stafford threw for 291 yards with three TDs (two of them to Kenny Golladay) and four sacks, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 315 yards with no TDs for the first time in his career and no sacks (neither Mahomes or Stafford threw an interception). Kansas City went 4 of 9 on third down (they were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 26:06, while the Lions actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 33:54, going 5 ofi 13 on third down.

Thew Colts lead the series 12-9 (including contests played in Baltimore) and have out-scored the Chiefs 434-433. Their last regular-season meeting was in 2016 in the Hoosier State and the Chiefs prevailed 30-14 (the Colts’ last win came at Arrowhead in 2013 by a final of 23-7). They did meet in last year’s post-season, in the AFC Divisional Playoffs at Arrowhead and the Chiefs advanced with a 31-13 win in the Show-Me State.

Kansas City led 24-7 at the break in the 32-degree air (wind chill? 22) and were never really threatened in the contest. The Chiefs rushed for 180 yards in the contest and held the Colts to 87 on the ground (Kansas City’s Damien Williams led all rushers with 129 yards and a TD), while Mahomes threw for 278 yards and had a rushing TD of his own (Mahomes was sacked four times but did not have an interception) and Andrew Luck, who would play his last professional football game, threw for 203 yards with a TD toss to T.Y. Hilton (Luck was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Colts were a dismal 0 of 9 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 20:11, while the Chiefs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:49, going 4 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

Kansas City covered the 6-point spread in the AFC Divisional playoff but the 57 over/under stayed intact as both teams merged to score 44 points at Arrowhead. In the Sunday night contest in the Show-Me State, the Chiefs are favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under’s 56 1/2. Both teams can put up points, which means that the 10 1/2 is a little on the steep side. On the other hand, the 56 1/2 makes a lot of sense. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City and you might want to tape “God Friended Me” and “Madame Secretary” this week. Colts make it close but the Chiefs will remain unbeaten.

Cleveland (2-2) at San Francisco (3-0), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week five ends in Wine Country as a pair of teams that no one thought would be in first place in their divisions meet at Levis Stadium. San Francisco, in first place in the NFC West, host the Cleveland Browns, who are on top in the AFC North. Cleveland took a huge road win last week, while the 49ers are coming back to action from their bye week.

Cleveland took a 10-7 halftime lead against AFC North rival Baltimore last Sunday, then floored the gas in the second half as they took care of the Ravens 40-25 in Charm City. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ran amok in last Sunday’s game, accounting for 165 yards and three TDs as the Browns outrushed Baltimore 193-173 (Baltimore was led by Mark Ingram, who tallied 165) and Lamar Jackson threw for 247 yards and three TDs, although he was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards with a TD, sack and an interception. Baltimore went 4 of 10 on third down conversions along the shores of Lake Erie (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:43, while Cleveland ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:17, going 6 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

San Francisco comes back from their bye week taking a 24-20 win over the Steelers two weeks ago on the West Coqst. Pittsburgh let a 6-3 lead at the intermission at San Francisco get away from them as the 49ers with WR Dante Pettis and QB Jimmy Garoppolo connected on a 5-yard TD toss with 75 seconds left in their contest at Levis’ Stadium. Chris Boswell put the Steelers on the board with a pair of first quarter field goals before San Francisco’s Robbie Gould narrowed the gap to three in the second. The Steelers would lead 20-17 late in the contest before San Francisco went on a 7-play, 24-yard drive that used 4:14 of clock and ended with Pettis and Garoppolo connecting on the game-winning score.

San Francisco out-rushed Pittsburgh 168-79 and rookie QB Mason Rudolph, taking over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger, threw for 174 yards and a pair of TDs (one to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster) and was sacked twice with an interception, while Garoppolo threw for 277 yards and the game-winning TD, adding a sack and a pair of interceptions to his tally. Pittsburgh turned the ball over twice (they forced five San Francisco turnovers) and went 3 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 23:43, while the 49ers held on to the pig skin for 36:17, going 6 for 11 on third down tries.

Including games played in Cleveland before the Browns left for Baltimore (and returned to Cleveland) and contests that were played at Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park on the West Coast, the Browns lead the series 12-7, outscoring the 49ers 386-328. Cleveland won the last meeting with the 49ers, taking a 24-10 victory in 2015 along the shores of Lake Erie, while San Francisco’s last win came at Candlestick Park in 2011 by a final of 20-10.

The Browns are 1-9 in Monday night contests, with their last appearance coming in 2008 (loss) and their last win coming in 2003. San Francisco’s 14-15 on Monday night, their last appearance was last year (loss) and their last win came in 2013. The 49ers are favored by 3 1/2 in prime time and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both numbers are reasonable and both teams are actually playing some really good football right now, so you might want to tape “Bull” this week. San Francisco prevails on Monday and takes the win, even though Cleveland will make things closer than the 3 1/2.

Week two of the 2018 NFL season is in the books. Buffalo, Baltimore, Kansas City, New England, Dallas, Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams remain with unblemished records after two games. For those teams that have evened their records or looking for that first win, there’s still time. After all, the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Nine teams – Baltimore, Buffalo, Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams, New England, San Francisco and Seattle – improved to 2-0 on Sunday, the first time since 2015 at least nine teams have begun the season 2-0.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 120 yards in the Ravens’ 23-17 win over Arizona. He is the first player with at least 250 passing yards and 120 rushing yards in a single game in NFL history.

Jackson, who had 119 rushing yards in Week 11 of the 2018 season, is the fourth quarterback since 1970 with two career games of at least 115 rushing yards, joining Michael Vick (six games), Randall Cunningham (two) and Bobby Douglas (two).

Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray passed for 349 yards in the loss. Murray, who threw for 308 yards in his first career start in Week 1, joins Cam Newton (2011) as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in each of their first two career games in NFL history

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 443 yards and four touchdowns with a 131.2 rating in the Chiefs’ 28-10 win at Oakland.

Through the first two weeks, Mahomes has four touchdown passes of at least 40 yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Otto Graham (four in 1952) and Joe Namath (four in 1972), as well as Ryan Fitzpatrick (four in 2018) as the only quarterbacks to record at least four touchdown passes of 40-or-more yards in their teams’ first two games of a season in NFL history.

Mahomes, who has played in 19 career games, recorded his sixth game with at least 300 passing yards and four touchdowns, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino (five games) and Kurt Warner (five) for the most games with at least 300 yards and four passing touchdowns in a player’s first 40 career games in NFL history.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 300 yards and three touchdowns with a 131.0 passer rating in the Seahawks’ 28-26 win at Pittsburgh.

Wilson, who has 201 touchdown passes in 114 career games, surpassed Tom Brady (116 games) as the fifth-fastest player to reach 200 career passing touchdowns in NFL history.

Pittsburgh wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had 84 receiving yards in the loss. At 22 years and 297 days old, Smith-Schuster, who has 2,505 career receiving yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (22 years, 310 days) as the youngest player to reach 2,500 career receiving yards in NFL history.

New England recorded a 43-0 victory at Miami in Week 2 after defeating Pittsburgh, 33-3, in Week 1.

The Patriots, who have a +73 point differential through their first two games, are the fourth team in the Super Bowl era with a +70 point differential through their first two games, joining the 1967 Oakland Raiders (+79), 1970 Detroit Lions (+75) and 1975 Washington Redskins (+74).

Additionally, New England became the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to allow three points or fewer through their first two games, joining the 1970 Detroit Lions, 1976 Houston Oilers and 1981 Buffalo Bills.

With a receiving touchdown on Sunday, Patriots running back James White recorded his 20th career touchdown catch and joined Chuck Foreman (23 receiving touchdowns) and Brian Westbrook (23) as the only running backs with at least 20 touchdown receptions in their first six seasons in NFL history.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen passed for 253 yards and one touchdown and rushed for a touchdown in the Bills’ 28-14 win at the New York Giants.

Allen, who has 10 rushing touchdowns in 14 career games, is the second-fastest quarterback to reach 10 career rushing touchdowns in NFL history, trailing only Cam Newton (11 games).

Buffalo, who defeated the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in Week 1, are the fifth team since 1950 to win consecutive road games at the same stadium, joining the 1987 Dallas Cowboys, 1999 Washington Redskins, 2003 Dallas Cowboys and 2006 Chicago Bears.

Dallas tight end Jason Witten registered his 70th career touchdown reception in the Cowboys’ 31-21 victory at Washington.

Witten is the fifth tight end in NFL history with at least 70 career touchdown receptions, joining Antonio Gates (116 touchdown catches), Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (111), Rob Gronkowski (79) and Jimmy Graham (72).

Washington running back Adrian Peterson recorded his 107th career rushing touchdown in the loss, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (106 rushing touchdowns) for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK THREE

COMEBACKS ARE EN VOGUE: The season’s first two weeks have proven that insurance points are important. Fans, coaches and players, if your team is down, help yourself to a slice of hope. In 32 games to date, 11 have featured a team coming from behind in the second half to win, including seven teams that trailed at halftime. Six of those games have seen a team win after erasing a fourth-quarter deficit. The Seattle Seahawks have overcome a second-half deficit in each of their two victories. And those numbers don’t include the exciting Week 1 comebacks by the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals, who sent their respective games to overtime. Eight games have had teams come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter.

MILESTONE FRANCHISE WINS: Three clubs can reach milestone victories in their franchise histories this week. Both Denver and Minnesota can record their 500th wins, including postseason. Among the original eight franchises that launched the American Football League in 1960, Denver would become the second to reach 500 wins, as only the Boston/New England Patriots (539) have eclipsed that landmark. The Carolina Panthers, who began in 1995, bid for the 200th win in franchise history, including postseason.

PROLIFIC POINT DIFFERENTIAL: New England enters Week 3 having outscored opponents by 73 points, 76-3. With a point-differential of at least 24 points this week, their season-opening point-differential would reach comparisons to teams as old as the NFL itself. Defensively speaking, should the Patriots allow nine or fewer points, they’d also establish the fewest points allowed over a season’s initial three games in the Super Bowl era.

The highest point-differentials by a team through a season’s first three games in NFL history:

TEAM – SEASON (POINTS SCORED/POINTS ALLOWED, POINT DIFF)
Rock Island Independents – 1920 (119/0, +119)
Buffalo All-Americans – 1921 (110/0, +110
Dallas Cowboys – 1968 (132/33, +99)
Buffalo All-Americans – 1920 (111/13, +98)
Canton Bulldogs – 1920 (97/0, +97)

The fewest points allowed through a season’s first three games during the Super Bowl era (1966-present):

TEAM (SEASON – POINTS ALLOWED, SEASON RESULT)
Denver (2009 – 16, Missed playoffs
Indianapolis (2005 – 16, AFC Divisional playoffs)
Seattle (2004 – 13, NFC Wild Card playoffs)
Green Bay (2001 – 13, NFC Divisional playoffs)
Philadelphia (1980 – 16, Lost Super Bowl XV)

TOUCHDOWN MAKER: Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield needs a touchdown pass on Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams to reach historic company. He enters the week having thrown for a touchdown in each of his first 15 NFL starts, tied with Brad Johnson for the second-longest streak to begin a career (since at least 1950). Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner authored a longer career-opening streak, throwing for a touchdown in his first 23 NFL starts.

SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE: In the Super Bowl era, only two players over the first two games of a season have started with at least seven TD passes, no interceptions and a completion percentage of 70 or higher. Those two players, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, meet on Sunday. With three more TD passes and no interceptions against the Ravens, Mahomes can join even more elite company.

The players with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in each of their team’s first three games to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2010)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2019)*
*Entering Week 3

PRESCOTT EYES HISTORIC FOURTH STRAIGHT START: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has picked up where he left off last season and has authored two impressive efforts to lead the Cowboys to a 2-0 start. This week at home vs. Miami in the NFL100 Game of the Week, Prescott can do something only two players have ever done: Record at least four consecutive games with three-plus touchdown passes and a 120-or-better passer rating.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 120 or higher in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON(S) – GAMES WITH 3+ TD PASSES & 120+ RATING)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2015 – 5)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2018 – 4)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2018-19 – 3)*
*Active streak

RIVERS REMAINS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (55,282) last week became just the eighth player in NFL history to reach 55,000 career passing yards. This week, he can climb another prestigious list in NFL history. With 300 yards passing at home vs. Houston, Rivers (63) will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (63) for sole possession of fourth on the NFL’s all-time list of 300-yard passing games, trailing only Drew Brees (116), Peyton Manning (93) and TomBrady (88).

MILESTONE COACHING WINS: Kansas City head coach Andy Reid this week leads the Chiefs into their home-opener against 2-0 Baltimore Sunday. Reid (209-138-1) needs a victory to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Noll(209-156-1) for sole possession of sixth place on the NFL’s all-time wins list, including postseason.

The most wins by an NFL head coach, all-time, including postseason:

RK. COACH, TEAM(S) (W-L-T, PCT.)

1. Don Shula, Baltimore Colts and Miami (347-173-6, .666), HOF)
2. George Halas, Chicago Bears (324-151, 31, HOF)
3. Bill Belichick, Cleveland and New England Patriots (294-134-0, .687)#
4.Tom Landry, Dallas (270-178-6, .603) HOF
5. Earl (Curly) Lambeau, Green Bay, Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins (229-134-22, .631, HOF)
6. Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh (209-156-1, .572, HOF)
7. Andy Reid, Philadelphia and Kansas City (209-138-1, 602)#
8. Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington and San Diego (205-139-1, .596)
9. Dan Reeves, Denver, New York Giants and ATLANTA (201-174-2, .536)
10. Chuck Knox, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo and Seattle (193-158-1, .550)

#Active
*From 1920-71, tie games were not included in winning percentage.

Last week, Seattle’s Pete Carroll earned his 100th win with the Seahawks and became just the fifth active head coach to achieve that mark with his current club. He joined Bill Belichick (257 with New England), Mike Tomlin (133 with Pittsburgh), Sean Payton (127 with New Orleans) and John Harbaugh (116 with Baltimore).

Finally, Oakland’s Jon Gruden has an opportunity Sunday to improve his regular-season record against Minnesota to 5-0 and become just the second active head coach with an undefeated record against a single opponent (minimum five games). Over his career, Andy Reid has a 7-0 mark against Cleveland.

The best regular-season records among active head coaches against a single opponent, minimum five games:

COACH – TEAM(S); OPPONENT (W-L-T, PCT.)
Andy Reid – Philadelphia and Kansas City; Cleveland (7-0-0, 1.000)
Bill Belichick – Cleveland and New England; Houston Texas (8-1-0, .889)
Bill Belichick – Cleveland, New England; Oakland (7-1-0, .875)
John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens; Miami (7-1-0, 875)
John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens; Cleveland (19-3-0, .864)

RARIFIED AIR: Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (1,316) needs 10 receptions on Sunday against Carolina to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez for second on the NFL’s all-time list of career receptions. Fitzgerald also owns the league’s longest active streak of games with a reception (229).

The players with the most career receptions in NFL history:

RK. PLAYER – TEAM(S)(SEASONS; RECEPTIONS)
1. Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (1985-2004; 1,549, HOF)
2. Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and ATLANTA (1997-2013; 1,325, HOF)
3. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (2004-10; 1,316)#
4. Jason Witten – Dallas (2003-19; 1,159)#
5. Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (1996-2008; 1,102, HOF)
6. Cris Carter – Minnesota, Philadelphia and Miami (1987-2002; 1,101, HOF)
7. Tim Brown – Oakland and Tampa Bay (1988-2004; 1,094, HOF)
8 . Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati (1996-2010; 1,078; HOF)
9. Anquan Boldin – Arizona, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco and Detroit (2003-16; 1,076)
10. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis (2001-14; 1,070)
#Active

DEFENSIVE STALWARTS & THE CENTURY MARK: Three players entered this season nearing their 100th career sacks. Tennessee’s Cameron Wake, who now owns 100.5 sacks, was the first to reach the mark in Week 1. Denver’s Von Miller (98) needs just two more and Houston’s J.J. Watt (92) stands eight away. Arizona’s Terrell Suggs (134.5) leads all active players, while Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan (85.5), the Los Angeles Rams’ Clay Matthews (85.5) and Jacksonville’s Calais Campbell (81.5) also are within striking distance of the 100 mark this season.

SAQUON WITHIN SIGHT OF 2,500: New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (18 games) stands just 198 scrimmage yards from the 2,500 plateau, and he could become among the fastest in NFL history to get there. Barkley enters the week with 2,302 scrimmage yards (1,534 rushing, 768 receiving). Barkley also needs at least 100 scrimmage yards in the Giants’ game at Tampa Bay to match the NFL’s most games of 100-plus scrimmage yards over a player’s first 20 games (Edgerrin James, 16 games) – and Barkley has played only 18 games entering this week.

The players to reach 2,500 scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES)

Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (19, HOF)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (19)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (20)
Ottis Anderson, St. Louis Cardinals (21)
Billy Sims, Detroit (21)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (18)*
*Has 2,302 scrimmage yards

The players with the most games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in their first 20 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (1999-2000, 16)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018-19, 15)*
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983-84, 15; HOF)
*In 18 career games

COMPLIMENTS TO THE COOK: Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is off to a resounding start this season. When Minnesota hosts Oakland on Sunday, Cook can continue his climb up a prestigious chart in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 110 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, GAMES WITH 110+ RUSH YARDS & RUSH TD)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1958, 6; HOF)
O.J. Simpson Buffalo (1975, 5; HOF)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995, 4; HOF)
Curtis Martin, New York Jets (2004, 3; HOF)
Dalvin Cook (Minnesota 2019, 2)*
*Entering Week 3

HARD TO KEEP UP WITH THIS JONES: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones stands just 132 receiving yards from 11,000 during his career. Over his first 113 NFL games, he’s established a blistering pace and could shatter the record for fastest player to 11,000 receiving yards in NFL history when the Falcons travel to Indianapolis Sunday. And with triple-digit receiving yards Sunday, Jones would notch his 51st career 100-yard receiving game, which would tie Andre Johnson, Steve Smith and Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens for fourth in NFL annals.

The players to reach 11,000 career receiving yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (127)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (129)
Torry Holt, St. Louis (131)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (133, HOF)
Andre Johnson, Houston (136)
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (113)*
*Has 10,868 receiving yards

The players with the most career games of at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – GAMES WITH 100+ RECEIVING YARDS

Jerry Rice – 76 (HOF)
Randy Moss – 54 (HOF)
Marvin Harrison – 59 (HOF)
Andre Johnson – 51
Terrell Owens – 51 (HOF)
Steve Smith – 51
Julio Jones – 50

NO DOUBTING MICHAEL THOMAS: New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS is expected to play his 50th NFL game on Sunday when the Saints travel to Seattle. With 1 receiving yard in his 50th game, Thomas would join Odell Beckham Jr. and Anquan Boldin as the only players in NFL history with at least 300 catches and 4,000 receiving yards in their first 50 games.

The players with at least 300 receptions and 4,000 receiving yards in their first 50 games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEPTIONS/RECEIVING YARDS)
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (337/4,695)
Anquan Boldin, Arizona (314/4,150)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (341/3,999)*#

*In 49 career games

#Most receptions by a player in his first 50 career games

Last week was much better than week one. For the week, 8 and 8. For the season, 15 and 17. There’s still a lot of time left in the 2019 season. There’s a lot of football left between now and the Super Bowl. Week three began in Jacksonville on Thursday night as the Jaguars took care of Tennessee and ends in Landover when Washington hosts Da Bears on Monday night. Having said all of that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week three.

ATLANTA (1-1) at Indianapolis (1-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Sunday action in week three opens in the Hoosier State as a pair of teams that evened their records meet at Lucas Oil Stadium when Jacoby Brissett and Indianapolis welcomes Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta trailed Philadelphia late in their contest, rallied to reclaim the lead, then held off a late Eagles rally in the final minutes of their contest last Sunday night in the Big Peach and came away with the 24-20 win over the Eagles. Atlanta led 10-6 at the half and took a 17-6 lead with them to the third quarter before Carson Wentz and the Eagles would take their only lead of the game with 3:13 left, as he scored from a yard out to take a 20-17 lead. That lead would not last very long, as Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 54-yard strike as part of a 6-play, 75-yard drive that used only 63 seconds of clock to reclaim the lead for good. Atlanta would then hold off the Eagles, run out the clock themselves and take the win at home.

Atlanta outrushed Philadelphia 57-49 and Ryan threw for 320 yards with three TDs (two to Jones, including the game-winner and one to Calvin Ridley) and three interceptions, while Wentz threw for 231 yards with a TD to Nelson Agholor with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Atlanta was 3 of 10 on third down at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:06, while the Eagles ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 32:54 and went 9 of 18 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Tennessee trailed Indianapolis 13-7 at the half, then took their only lead of the contest when Henry and K Carlos Santos helped their team put 10 third-quarter points on the board to take a 17-13 lead with 4:35 left in the period. That lead would not last long as the Colts would reclaim it for themselves and for keeps with 4:38 left in the contest when Brissett and WR T.Y. Hilton connected on a 4-yard TD toss. The Titans would catch a huge break when Colts K Adam Vinatieri missed the extra point, giving them a chance to take the win at home. After the Colts punted the ball late in the fourth, Tennessee would make their way down the field and get as close as Indianapolis’ 45-yard line, where the drive stalled and the Colts would come away with the win.

The Colts out-rushed Tennessee 167-123 and Mariota threw for 154 yards and a TD (he was sacked four times but did not throw an interception), while Brissett threw for 146 yards with three TDs (including the game-winner) to go with four sacks and an interception. Tennessee was a somewhat dismal 1 of 10 on third down conversions (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and the Titans would hold on to the ball for 28:06, while the Colts were 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and ruled the clock as they would keep the ball for 31:54.

Indianapolis leads the series 14-2 (including contests that were played in Baltimore, at Fulton County Stadium and the Georgia Dome) and have outscored the Falcons 432-251. Indy won the last meeting in 2015, as the Colts were 24-21 winners in the Big Peach, while Atlanta’s last win came in the Hoosier State in 2011 by a final of 31-7. The Colts are favored by 2 and the over/under is 47. The Colts run out of luck with their horseshoe as Atlanta pulls off the upset in the Hoosier State by taking the win and covering the 2.

Cincinnati (0-2) at Buffalo (2-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of teams heading in opposite directions meet in upstate New York as the Bills welcome the Cincinnati Bengals in their 2019 home opener.

Cincinnati dropped their second contest of the 2019 campaign as the San Francisco 49ers came to Paul Brown Stadium and left the Queen City with a 41-17 win over the Bengals. Cincinnati trailed 24-10 at the half and could never get on track in the second half, as San Francisco would outscore them 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Francisco out-rushed Cincinnati 259-25, with 49ers RB Matt Breida ran for 121 yards in the contest to lead all rushers. Dalton threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked four times, while 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 297 yards and three TDs with no sacks (both men threw an interception). Both teams did quite well on third down conversions last Sunday (San Francisco was 5 of 9, Cincinnati was 9 of 18; the Bengals were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:19 to Cincinnati’s 27:41.

The Bills made it 2 for 2 in the Meadowlands as they took Eli Manning and the New York Giants to task and came away 28-14 winners at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. Buffalo led 21-7 at the break and never looked back to win their second game in as many weeks in upstate New Jersey. Buffalo out-rushed New York 151-129, while Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 107 yards and a TD (Buffalo was paced by Frank Gore, who ran for 68 yards and a TD). Manning threw for 250 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 253 yards with three sacks (both men threw a TD pass, Manning was sacked once). Buffalo went 5 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 32:38, while the Giants were 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:22.

Buffalo holds a 16-13 lead in the series and have outscored the Bengals 707-639. Cincinnati won the last meeting along the shores or the Ohio River in 2017 by a final of 20-16, while the Bills’ last win came in 2016 in Cincinnati by a 16-12 final. Buffalo’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 44. The Bills are looking to challenge Tom Brady and New England in the AFC East, while the Bengals are trying to keep their heads above water. Circle the wagons! Bills take the win in upstate New York but expect the contest to be closer than the 6.

Miami (0-2) at Dallas (2-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins make their way to the Lone Star State to face off against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys at JerryWorld (AT&T Stadium). While Dallas picked up their second win of the season and within the NFC East, the Dolphins are looking their first win period.

Miami was manhandled by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots last Sunday afternoon at home. Brady accounted for a pair of TDs tosses (including one to Antonio Brown) and ran for another as the Patriots took a 13-0 lead with them into the break before scoring their remaining 30 points of the contest unchallenged. New England held Miami to a season-low 42 yards rushing, while they tallied 126 (Sony Michel led all rushers with 85 yards) and made life less than pleasant for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (89 yards, four sacks and three interceptions). Brady threw for 264 and while he was sacked twice, he did not throw an interception. New England was 6 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 36:30, while the Dolphins were 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 23:30.

After a scoreless first quarter at Washington, the Cowboys erased a 7-0 deficit in the second quarter and came away 31-21 winners at Fed Ex Field, thanks in part to TDs from Prescott to Devin Smith and Jason Witten to take the 14-7 lead with them to the break. Dallas would lead 21-7 with 4:30 left in the third period before Case Keenum (221 yards, TD, sack) and WR Paul Richardson Jr. connected on a 9-yard TD toss to pull themselves to within seven. Dallas would eventually restore order and come out of Landover with the win. Dallas out-rushed Washington 213-47, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards and a TD, while Prescott threw for 269 yards and three TDs (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception). Dallas went 7 of 11 on third down tries at Landover and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:38, going 2 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

While Miami leads the series 7-6 (which includes contests that took place at old Texas Stadium and the Orange Bowl), Dallas has outscored Miami 265-248 and have won the last three meetings, including a 24-14 win in the Sunshine State in 2015, while Miami’s last win also came in the Lone Star State, as they would take a 40-21 win in 2003. The Cowboys are a 21 1/2-point favorite in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 47. The 47 makes sense, the 21 1/2? HUH? Right now, the Dolphins are a bad football team. They’re not 21 1/2 points bad. Dallas wins this one at home but expect Miami to make this one closer than 21 1/2.

Denver (0-2) at Green Bay (2-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Denver makes their way to the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as they face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Denver let victory get away from them in the Mile High City last Sunday against Chicago as the Bears stormed back as the clock struck :00 to take a 16-14 loss. Trailing 6-3 at the break and 13-3 at the intermission, the Broncos proceeded to chip away at Chicago’s lead, using a 32-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to pull themselves to within 7 early in the fourth, then took their first and only lead of the contest when WR Emmanuel Sanders and QB Joe Flacco connected on a 7[yard TD pass and the two-point conversion. Chicago, with one time out left, got the ball back with 30 seconds left and got the ball back after the kickoff. Chicago would get help from two Denver penalties and after burning their final timeout, called on K Eddie Pineiro to try a 53-yard attempt. Pineiro made the field goal as the clock struck :00, sending Broncos fans home with their second loss of the season.

Chicago out-rushed Denver 153-90 and Flacco threw for 292 yards and the TD to Sanders with a sack and an interception, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 120 yards without a TD, sack or interception. Denver was 3 of 14 on third down (the Broncos were perfect on fourth down, going 3 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:59, while Chicago kept the ball for 27:01 (including the final 30 seconds of the game) and went 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

Green Bay won their second game of the 2019 season and their second in the NFC North, taking care of divisional foe Minnesota 21-16 at Lambeau. Rodgers and the Packers led 21-10 at the break, then held the Vikings to a third quarter TD from Kirk Cousins to WR Stefon Diggs (Minnesota missed the extra point) and the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter. Minnesota out-rushed Green Bay 198-144 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota was led by Dalvin Cook, who ran for 154 yards, while Green Bay was led by Aaron Jones with 116; both men had a TD), while Rodgers threw for 209 yards, with two TDs (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception) and Cousins threw for 230 yards with the lone TD (he was sacked once and threw two interceptions). Green Bay was 5 of 15 on third down (the Packers were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:06, while Minnesota went 4 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:54.

The series between the Packers and Broncos is even at 6-6-1 and the Packers have outscored Denver 284-240. Denver won the last meeting with Green Bay in the Mile High City, taking a 29-10 win in 2015, while Green Bay’s last win in the series came in 2011 at Lambeau by final of 49-23. Green Bay’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 48. Green Bay wants to go 3-0 under Matt LaFleur, while the Broncos want to right their ship. Packers leap at home at Lambeau and takes the win, although Denver will make it closer than 7 1/2.

Baltimore (2-0) at Kansas City (2-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Unbeaten teams meet in the Show-Me State as Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes host the Baltimore Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Ravens held off a late Arizona rally in their contest in Charm City as Baltimore would take a 23-17 win over the Desert Angry Birds at M&T Bank Stadium. Leading 17-6 at the break, Arizona would proceed to out-score Baltimore 11-6 in the final 30 minutes of play, coming to within three with 12:52 left in the contest when Cardinals RB David Johnson scored from a yard out. Arizona then went for two and was successful as rookie QB Kyler Murray and WR KeeSean Johnson connected on the try. Baltimore then restored order as Jeff Tucker connected on a 51-yard field goal to seal the win. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson not only threw for 272 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked twice), he led all rushers with 120 yards. Baltimore out-rushed Arizona 182-20 and Murray threw for 349 yards with no sacks, TDs or interceptions. The Ravens were 7 of 14 on third downs (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and were ball hogs, keeping the pigskin for 37:38, while Arizona went 2 of 11 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:22.

The Chiefs come back to Arrowhead after their 28-10 win at Oakland last Sunday on the West Coast at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mahomes and Kansas City erased a 10-0 first quarter deficit and scored all 28 of their points in the second quarter unchallenged. The two clubs would then play the final 30 minutes of the contest scoreless. Oakland out-rushed Kansas City 129-31 but Mahomes burned the Raiders for 443 yards with four TD passes (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 198 yards with TD, three sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Chiefs were 8 of 14 on third down tries and ruled time as they kept the ball for 32:35. As for Oakland? They were 6 for 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:25.

Kansas City leads the series 5-3, the Chiefs have outscored Baltimore 180-147 and have won the last two meetings, including taking a 27-24 overtime win last year at Arrowhead. (Baltimore’s last win came in 2012, also at Arrowhead by a 9-6 final). Kansas City led the Ravens 17-10 at the half in the week 14 meeting at Arrowhead, only to watch Baltimore out-score them in the final 30 minutes of play, forcing the overtime. The Chiefs then got the ball to start the overtime and made their way down the field in the extra period, with the drive stalling at Baltimore’s 17-yard line. This allowed Chiefs K Harrison Butker to connect on a 35-yard field goal with 4:42 left in the extra period. Baltimore, needing a field goal to re-tie the contest or a TD to win it, got the ball back. The Ravens would get as close as their 41-yard when a pair of Robert Griffin III passes fell incomplete, giving Kansas City the win at Arrowhead. Baltimore did out-rush the Chiefs 198-94 but Mahomes burned Baltimore for 377 yards in the air and a pair of TDs (one to TE Travis Kelce), while Lamar Jackson threw for 147 yards and two TDs of his own (Mahomes was sacked three times and picked off once, while Jackson was three times but did not throw an interception).

Kansas City was favored by 7 in the week 14 contest at Arrowhead but won by only 3 and the two clubs barely missed the 53 1/2 over/under, tallying 50 points. Kansas City’s favored by 6 1/2 in the Show-Me State and the over/under’s 53 1/2. To not make this contest “DRILL WORTHY!” would be a crime… with that, here it is. (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 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal 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 meet in the post-season and it’s even plausible that this could go to overtime like last year. In the bigger picture, only one team will come away with the win. Although Baltimore will make things closer than the 6 1/2 but the Chiefs prevail in Arrowhead and takes the win.

Oakland (1-1) at Minnesota (1-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The Silver and Black meets the Purple and Gold as the Oakland Raiders travel to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to face the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium. Both clubs come into the Sunday contest in the Twin Cities with losses under their belts.

Oakland watched AFC West foe Kansas City take a 28-10 win at Oakland last Sunday on the West Coast at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs trailed 10-0 after the first 15 minutes of play, then erased the deficit and scored all 28 of their points in the second quarter unchallenged. The two clubs would then play the final 30 minutes of the contest scoreless. Oakland out-rushed Kansas City 129-31 but Mahomes burned the Raiders for 443 yards with four TD passes (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 198 yards with TD, three sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Chiefs were 8 of 14 on third down tries and ruled time as they kept the ball for 32:35. As for Oakland? They were 6 for 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:25.

Minnesota returns home to the Twin Cities, evening their record as Green Bay won their second game of the 2019 season and their second in the NFC North, taking care of the Vikings 21-16 at Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers led 21-10 at the break, then held the Vikings to a third quarter TD from Kirk Cousins to WR Stefon Diggs (Minnesota missed the extra point) and the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter. Minnesota out-rushed Green Bay 198-144 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota was led by Dalvin Cook, who ran for 154 yards, while Green Bay was led by Aaron Jones with 116; both men had a TD), while Rodgers threw for 209 yards, with two TDs (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception) and Cousins threw for 230 yards with the lone TD (he was sacked once and threw two interceptions). Green Bay was 5 of 15 on third down (the Packers were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:06, while Minnesota went 4 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:54.

Oakland leads the series 9-5 and the Silver and Black have outscored Minnesota 335-280. Minnesota won the last meeting, which took place in Oakland in 2015 by a final of 30-14, while the Raiders’ last win in the series came in the Twin Cities in 2011 by a final of 27-21. Minnesota’s favored by 8 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Both teams are looking to get off the deck from last week. Vikings take care of business in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as they take the win at home and covers the 8 1/2.

New York Jets (0-2) at New England (2-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the Pats host the New York Jets.

New York Jets, already without QB Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), lost backup QB Trevor Siemian to a season-ending ankle injury, were to a second-quarter field goal as they fell to Cleveland 23-3 last Monday night in the Meadowlands. The Browns led 16-3 at the break and held off a pair of Jets’ drives that would have made the contest closer. While the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! out-rushed Cleveland 93-70, Mayfield threw for 325 yards and a TD to WR Odell Beckham Jr and the Browns defense knocked Jets QB Trevor Siemian (3 yards) out of the contest with an ankle injury as he took over for Darnold. Cleveland went 4 of 13 on third down and kept the ball in the Monday night affair in the Meadowlands for 29:41, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 30:19 and went 2 of 14, 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Brady and the Patriots last Sunday afternoon took Miami to the woodshed in the Sunshine State, leaving with a 43-0 road blowout win. Brady accounted for a pair of TDs tosses (including one to Antonio Brown, who was since released by the team) and ran for another as the Patriots took a 13-0 lead with them into the break before scoring their remaining 30 points of the contest unchallenged. New England held Miami to a season-low 42 yards rushing, while they tallied 126 (Sony Michel led all rushers with 85 yards) and made life less than pleasant for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (89 yards, four sacks and three interceptions). Brady threw for 264 and while he was sacked twice, he did not throw an interception. New England was 6 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 36:30, while the Dolphins were 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 23:30.

New England leads the series 63-53-1 (which includes contests that were played at Shea Stadium, Fenway Park and Schafer Stadium and the Jets were known as the Titans), they have outscored GangGreen 2,694-2,409 and have won the last six meetings, including sweeping last year’s series (New York’s last win in the series came in 2015 in the Meadowlands, when they needed overtime to beat Brady and the Patriots 26-20).

Meeting one… the Meadowlands in week 12. The Pats and the Jets went into the intermission tied at 10-10 before moving on in the second half to outscore the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 17-3 to take a 27-13 win at Met Life Stadium. New England out-rushed GangGreen 215-74, with RB Sony Michel leading the way for 133 yards and a pair of TDs. Brady threw for 283 yards with a pair of TD passes to Edelman and Rob Gronkowski with no sacks or interceptions, while Josh McCown threw for 276 yards and a TD (McCown was sacked twice and picked off once). New England was 5 of 12 on third down conversions in upstate New Jersey (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Patriots kept the ball for 34:26, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs and would hold on to the ball for 25:34.

Brady and the Patriots made it a clean sweep in the series, taking down GangGreen in Foxboro by a 38-3 final. Holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to a first quarter field goal, New England led 21-3 at the intermission, then shut out New York 17-0 in the final 30 minutes of play. GangGreen did a little better rushing-wise in the second meeting but New England still managed to out-rush New York 131-104 and Brady threw for 250 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked once), while Sam Darnold threw for 167 yards with four sacks (Darnold did not throw a TD or interception). Neither club had success on fourth down (New England was 0 of 1, GangGreen was 0 of 2) and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 4 fo 13 on third down, while the Pats were 5 of 11. Time was on the side of the Patriots, as New England kept the ball for 32:13 to New York’s 27:47.

New England easily covered the 9 1/2-point spread in the week 12 contest in upstate New Jersey but the 46 over/under was safe, as both clubs merged to score 40 points. In the week 17 meeting (the regular season finale for both teams), New England’s 35-point win in Foxboro allowed them to easily cover the 13 1/2-point spread but neither team covered the 45 1/2 over/under, as they tallied 41 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Patriots… a lot… as in a 22-point favorite (the largest spread this season) and the over/under is 43 1/2. We can live with the 43 1/2, it the 22 that has us scratching our heads. GangGreen is bad but they’re not 22 points bad. New England takes this one and might cover the 22.

Detroit (1-0-1) at Philadelphia (1-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face off against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Lions, coming off their tie in the desert against Arizona, erased a 10-6 deficit against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers as they would rally to come away 13-10 winners at Ford Field. Los Angeles 10-6 at the break in the Motor City and after the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter, the Lions would go to work, taking the lead for good with 7:21 left in the contest as Stafford and WR Kenny Golladay connected on a 31-yard TD pass. Detroit would go on to hold off the Chargers in the final minutes of the contest to take their first win of the season.

Los Angeles out-rushed Detroit 137-94 and Stafford threw for 245 yards with a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) and a pair of interceptions, while Rivers threw for 293 yards with a sack and an interception. Detroit went 4 of 10 on third down tries in the Motor City (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:41, while the Chargers were rulers of the clock, holding the ball for 31:19 and went 6 of 13 on third down tries.

The Eagles led Atlanta late 20-17 last Sunday night, then watched the Falcons reclaim the lead in the final minutes of their nest last Sunday night in the Big Peach as Atlanta came away with the 24-20 win over the Eagles. Atlanta led 10-6 at the half and took a 17-6 lead with them to the third quarter before Carson Wentz and the Eagles would take their only lead of the game with 3:13 left, as he scored from a yard out to take a 20-17 lead. That lead would not last very long, as Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 54-yard strike as part of a 6-play, 75-yard drive that used only 63 seconds of clock to reclaim the lead for good. Atlanta would then hold off the Eagles, run out the clock themselves and take the win at home.

Philadelphia found themselves out-rushed by Atlanta 57-49 and Ryan threw for 320 yards with three TDs (two to Jones, including the game-winner and one to Calvin Ridley) and three interceptions, while Wentz threw for 231 yards with a TD to Nelson Agholor with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Atlanta was 3 of 10 on third down at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:06, while the Eagles ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 32:54 and went 9 of 18 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The series is tied 15-15-2 (which includes games that were played in Portsmouth and the Lions were known as the Spartans) and the Eagles have outscored Detroit 654-646. However… Detroit has come away with wins in the last two meetings, including a 24-23 win in the Motor City in 2016, while the Eagles’ last win came in the City of Brotherly Love in 2013 by a final of 34-20. The Eagles are favored by 6 with a 46 over/under. These are two pretty good teams and with any luck, could be in the post-season party. Eagles may not cover the 6 but they fly away in the city of Brotherly Love with the win.

Carolina (0-2) at Arizona (0-1-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A Carolina Panthers team without Cam Newton (foot) pay a visit to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale. Both clubs are still looking for their first win of the 2019 season. With the injury to Newton, Kyle Allen will be under center for the Panthers.

Carolina fell to NFC South rival Tampa Bay 20-14 in Charlotte last Thursday night. Tampa Bay led 10-9 at the break, breaking a 3-3 tie after the first quarter came to an end. Carolina would pull themselves to within three when LB Luke Kuechly sacked Tampa Bay RB Peyton Barber in the end zone for a safety but the Bucs pushed the lead back to six with 2:26 left in the contest when rookie K Matt Gay connected on a 22-yard field. goal. In the battle of former Heisman winners, Newton threw for 324 yards, while Jameis Winston threw for 208 yards (neither threw an interception and both were sacked three times), with Winston accounting for the game’s only TD with 80 seconds left in the first half, connecting with WR Chris Godwin. Carolina was 3 of 14 on third down (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:07, while Tampa Bay went 2 of 12 on third down, ruling the clock and holding the ball for 33:53.

A late Arizona rally against Baltimore in their contest in Charm City was rebuffed by the Ravens as Baltimore would take a 23-17 win over the Desert Angry Birds at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore led 17-6 at the break, then Arizona would proceed to out-score Baltimore 11-6 in the final 30 minutes of play and came to within three with 12:52 left in the contest when Cardinals RB David Johnson scored from a yard out. Arizona then went for two and was successful as Murray and WR KeeSean Johnson connected on the try. The Ravens proceeded to restore order as Jeff Tucker connected on a 51-yard field goal to seal the win. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson not only threw for 272 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked twice), he led all rushers with 120 yards. Baltimore out-rushed Arizona 182-20 and Murray threw for 349 yards with no sacks, TDs or interceptions. The Ravens were 7 of 14 on third downs (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and were ball hogs, keeping the pigskin for 37:38, while Arizona went 2 of 11 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:22.

The Panthers lead the series 9-4 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 288-236. Carolina’s last win in the series came in Charlotte in 2016 as Newton and the Panthers came away 30-20 winners at Bank of America Stadium, while Arizona’s last win came in the desert in 2013 by a final of 22-6. Carolina’s favored by 2 1/2 with the over/under at 46 1/2. We wouldn’t blame you one bit if you took a pass on this one and watched that Bugs Bunny marathon on Cartoon Network (Wile Coyote blowing himself up is STILL funny!). Carolina covers the 2 1/2 in the desert against the Desert Angry Birds and wins the battle of the Heisman winners.

New York Giants (0-2) at Tampa Bay (1-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. The 0-2 Giants, with rookie QB Daniel Jones under center Sunday after Eli Manning was benched, travels to the Sunshine State to face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a late afternoon Sunday match-up on Florida’s West Coast.

Eli and the New York Giants were taken to task as the Buffalo Bills made it 2 for 2 in the Meadowlands, coming away 28-14 winners at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. Big Blue could never get themselves on track as Buffalo led 21-7 at the break and never looked back to win their second game in as many weeks in upstate New Jersey. Buffalo out-rushed New York 151-129, while Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 107 yards and a TD (Buffalo was paced by Frank Gore, who ran for 68 yards and a TD). Manning threw for 250 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 253 yards with three sacks (both men threw a TD pass, Manning was sacked once). Buffalo went 5 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 32:38, while the Giants were 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:22.

Tampa Bay came away 20-14 winners over NFC South rival Carolina in Charlotte last Thursday night. Tampa Bay led 10-9 at the break, breaking a 3-3 tie after the first quarter came to an end. Carolina would pull themselves to within three when LB Luke Kuechly sacked Tampa Bay RB Peyton Barber in the end zone for a safety but the Bucs pushed the lead back to six with 2:26 left in the contest when rookie K Matt Gay connected on a 22-yard field. goal. In the battle of former Heisman winners, Newton threw for 324 yards, while Jameis Winston threw for 208 yards (neither threw an interception and both were sacked three times), with Winston accounting for the game’s only TD with 80 seconds left in the first half, connecting with WR Chris Godwin. Carolina was 3 of 14 on third down (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:07, while Tampa Bay went 2 of 12 on third down, ruling the clock and holding the ball for 33:53.

Big Blue leads the series 14-7 and they have outscored the Bucs 395-364. The Giants won the last meeting last year in the Meadowlands by a final of 38-35 (Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2017 by a final of 25-23).

Winston and Manning met at Met Life Stadium in week 11 and it was a slug-fest from start to finish. New York led 14-7 as the half and took a 24-14 lead with them into the fourth quarter before Tampa Bay would score twice in the fourth quarter to make the contest a bit too close for Giants fans, as New York would lead 31-28 with 5:11 left to play. Barkley would then restore some order as he would score his third TD (second rushing TD) of the contest, giving the Giants a 10-point lead with 3:52. Tampa Bay was not going to go away any time soon and pulled themselves back to within three with 2:22 left when Mike Evans and Winston connected on a 41-yard TD pass.

It would be as close as the Giants would let Tampa Bay get to them, as they would hold off a last second drive in the final seconds of the contest to seal the win. Barkley ran for 142 yards for the Giants, while Tampa Bay’s Peyton Barber ran for 106 yards and a TD. NeW York out-rushed Tampa Bay 163-151 and Manning threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs (connecting with Odell Beckham Jr. and Barkley), while Winston (who replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 167 yards but threw three interceptions) tallied 199 yards and a pair of TDs with an interception). The Giants were 4 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 27:53, while Tampa Bay actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin, keeping the ball for 32:07, going 6 of 9 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 11 contest in the Meadowlands, the Giants were favored by 1 point and they covered, winning by 3. Both teams took care of the 52 over/under by tallying 73 points in the chilly afternoon air in upstate New Jersey. Tampa Bay’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. The Giants would like to prove that last year’s win was not a fluke. Tampa Bay is looking for revenge. Revenge wins out here in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay might not cover the 6 1/2 but they take the win at home.

Houston (2-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV. DeSean Watson and Philip Rivers. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in Los Angeles in a late-afternoon AFC contest.

Houston denied the Jacksonville Jaguars their first win of the 2019 campaign after they held off the Jaguars 13-12 last Sunday. Houston led 6-3 at the intermission before the Jaguars made it a 1-point contest with 30 seconds left in the contest when Minshew and Chark connected on a 4-yard TD toss. Jacksonville would then miss the two-point conversion at NRG Stadium and went for the on-side kick, which Houston recovered. The Texans would then go on to run out the clock and take the win. Houston outrushed Jacksonville 126-103 and Minshew threw for 213 yards with the late contest TD, while DeSean Watson threw for 159 yards without a TD (both men were sacked four times but neither threw an interception). While Jacksonville was 3 of 13 on third down and the Texans were 6 of 15, both teams had success on fourth down tries, with Jacksonville going 2 of 2 and Houston going 1 of 1. Jacksonville actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:01 to Houston’s 29:59.

Rivers and the Chargers watched Detroit and Matthew Stafford erase a 10-6 deficit, as the Bolts would come away with a 13-10 loss at Ford Field. Los Angeles led 10-6 at the break in the Motor City and after the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter, the Lions would go to work, taking the lead for good with 7:21 left in the contest as Stafford and WR Kenny Golladay connected on a 31-yard TD pass. Detroit would go on to hold off the Chargers in the final minutes of the contest to take their first win of the season.

Los Angeles out-rushed Detroit 137-94 and Stafford threw for 245 yards with a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) and a pair of interceptions, while Rivers threw for 293 yards with a sack and an interception. Detroit went 4 of 10 on third down tries in the Motor City (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:41, while the Chargers were rulers of the clock, holding the ball for 31:19 and went 6 of 13 on third down tries.

Including games in San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 5-1 and have outscored the Texans 164-100. Los Angeles’s last meeting with Houston came in 2016 and the Chargers prevailed 21-13 in the Lone Star State, while the Texans’ last win came on the West Coast in San Diego in 2013, coming away 31-28 winners. Los Angeles finds themselves as 3-point favorites on the West Coast and the over/under’s 47 1/2. The Chargers are looking to right their ship, the Texans are looking to stay unbeaten. Chargers prevail at home, although the Texans will try to make things closer than 3.

New Orleans (1-1) at Seattle (1-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. It’s gumbo vs. Salmon, Grunge and Starbucks as New Orleans, without Drew Brees (thumb) continues their trip on the West Coast as they face off against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest.

For the Saints, it was second verse, same as the first against the Rams. A blown call and a loss to Los Angeles, with Jarred Goff and the Rams coming away 27-9 winners at the Coliseum. First, they lose Brees early in the contest with the thumb injury (Teddy Bridgewater will be under center in the Pacific Northwest), then they had a pass by Goff that was ruled incomplete, then ruled a fumble after the Saints challenge the first ruling. Trey Hendrickson scooped up the ball and returned it for what was thought a TD to no avail. While the Saints did get the ball back, they lost the TD and things went downhill from that point. New Orleans trailed 6-3 at the intermission, then the Rams would floor the gas and outscore the Saints 21-6 in the second half. The Rams out-rushed New Orleans 115-57 and Brees threw for 38 yards with an interception before leaving the contest with the injury, while Goff threw for 283 yards and a TD (Bridgewater threw for 165 yards and had a pair of sacks) and Rams RB Todd Gurley III led all rushers with 63 yards and a TD. New Orleans was 4 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:39, while the Rams were 5 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 30:21.

Pittsburgh took a 10-7 lead with them to the break against Seattle, only to see the Seahawks take control of the final 30 minutes of play at Heinz Field as the Seahawks and Wilson left the Steel City with a 28-26 win. In evening their record to 1-1, the Seahawks outscored Pittsburgh 21-13 in the second half. Roethlisberger threw for 75 yards with a sack before leaving the contest with the injury. Rookie QB Mason Rudolph (who took over for Roethlisberger) threw for 112 yards with a pair of TDs to Vance McDonald in relief. Seattle out-rushed Pittsburgh 151-81 and Wilson threw for 300 yards and despite being sacked four times, managed to throw three TDs. Pittsburgh went 3 of 11 on third down tries at Heinz Field and kept the ball for 24:14, while the Seahawks took control of the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:46, while going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While New Orleans holds a slim 7-6 in the series, the Seahawks have outscored the Saints 310-266. New Orleans won the last meeting with Seattle, coming away with a 25-20 win in the Big Easy in 2016, while Seattle’s last win over the Saints came in 2013 by a final of 34-7 in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 45. While Bridgewater’s a good QB, he’s not Drew Brees and for Saints fans, that will show. Seahawks cover the 4 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks Sunday.

Pittsburgh (0-2) at San Francisco (2-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. Pittsburgh, without Ben Roethlisberger (arm), travels to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara at Levis Stadium. The 49ers are looking to go 2-0, while the struggling Steelers are looking for win number one.

After a scoreless first quarter, Pittsburgh took a 10-7 lead with them to the break, only to see Seattle take control of the final 30 minutes of play at Heinz Field as the Seahawks and Wilson left the Steel City with a 28-26 win. In evening their record to 1-1, the Seahawks outscored Pittsburgh 21-13 in the second half. Roethlisberger threw for 75 yards with a sack before leaving the contest with the injury. Rookie QB Mason Rudolph (who took over for Roethlisberger and will be under center Sunday) threw for 112 yards with a pair of TDs to Vance McDonald in relief. Seattle out-rushed Pittsburgh 151-81 and Russell Wilson threw for 300 yards and despite being sacked four times, managed to throw three TDs. Pittsburgh went 3 of 11 on third down tries at Heinz Field and kept the ball for 24:14, while the Seahawks took control of the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:46, while going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

San Francisco came to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and left the Queen City with a 41-17 win over the Bengals. Leading 24-10 at the half, San Francisco would outscore them 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Francisco out-rushed Cincinnati 259-25, with 49ers RB Matt Breida ran for 121 yards in the contest to lead all rushers. Dalton threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked four times, while 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 297 yards and three TDs with no sacks (both men threw an interception). Both teams did quite well on third down conversions last Sunday (San Francisco was 5 of 9, Cincinnati was 9 of 18; the Bengals were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:19 to Cincinnati’s 27:41.

San Francisco leads the series 11-10 but the Steelers have outscored San Francisco 447-409. Pittsburgh won the last meeting with the 49ers, coming away 43-18 winners in the Steel City in 2015, while San Francisco’s last win came at Candlestick Park in 2011 by a final of 20-3. San Francisco’s favored by 6 1/2 in Santa Clara and the over/under’s 44. The 49ers look to stay unbeaten, while the Steelers look for win number one. Pittsburgh will have to wait another week. 49ers cover at home and send the Steelers to 0-3.

Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at Cleveland (1-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Jarred Goff vs. Baker Mayfield. A pair of young QBs meet along the shores of Lake Erie as the Browns play in their second prime time game of the season. Both teams come into the Sunday night contest with wins under their belts.

The Rams proved that their playoff win against New Orleans last year in the Big Easy was not a fluke as Goff and Los Angeles came away 27-9 winners over Drew Brees and the Saints. The Saints once again had to deal with the officials as well as the Rams as blown call took the wind out of their sails at the Coliseum last Sunday. First, New Orleans loses Drew Brees early in the contest with the thumb injury (Teddy Bridgewater will be under center in the Pacific Northwest), then they had a pass by Goff that was ruled incomplete, then ruled a fumble after the Saints challenge the first ruling. Trey Hendrickson scooped up the ball and returned it for what was thought a TD to no avail. While the Saints did get the ball back, they lost the TD and things went downhill from that point. New Orleans trailed 6-3 at the intermission, then the Rams would floor the gas and outscore the Saints 21-6 in the second half. The Rams out-rushed New Orleans 115-57 and Brees threw for 38 yards with an interception before leaving the contest with the injury, while Goff threw for 283 yards and a TD (Bridgewater threw for 165 yards and had a pair of sacks) and Rams RB Todd Gurley III led all rushers with 63 yards and a TD. New Orleans was 4 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:39, while the Rams were 5 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 30:21.

Cleveland held the New York Jets to a second-quarter field goal as they took care of the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 23-3 last Monday night in the Meadowlands. The Browns led 16-3 at the break and held off a pair of Jets’ drives that would have made the contest closer. While the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! out-rushed Cleveland 93-70, Mayfield threw for 325 yards and a TD to WR Odell Beckham Jr and the Browns defense knocked Jets QB Trevor Siemian (3 yards) out of the contest with an ankle injury as he took over for Sam Darnold (mononucleosis). Cleveland went 4 of 13 on third down and kept the ball in the Monday night affair in the Meadowlands for 29:41, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 30:19 and went 2 of 14, 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

The Rams lead the series 11-9 (which includes contests that were played in St. Louis) and have outscored the Browns 451-426. The Rams’ last win in the series came in St. Louis, where they came away 24-6 winners in 2016, while the Browns’ last win also came in the Gateway City, with Cleveland taking a 27-20 win in 2007. The Rams are 3-point favorites in the Buckeye State and the over/under’s 46. You might want to consider taping “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Madame Secretary” this week. Rams cover the 2 in Cleveland and remains unbeaten.

Chicago (1-1) at Washington (0-2), 8:20 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Two of the NFL’s oldest franchises conclude week three action as Chicago and Washington meet in Landover at Fed Ex Field.

Da Bears took a last-second win in the Mile High City last Sunday against Denver, as they stormed back as the clock struck :00 to take a 16-14 win on the road. Chicago led 6-3 at the break and 13-3 at the intermission, then watched as the Broncos proceeded to chip away at Chicago’s lead, using a 32-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to pull themselves to within 7 early in the fourth, then took their first and only lead of the contest when WR Emmanuel Sanders and QB Joe Flacco connected on a 7[yard TD pass and the two-point conversion. Chicago, with one time out left, got the ball back with 30 seconds left and got the ball back after the kickoff. Chicago would get help from two Denver penalties and after burning their final timeout, called on K Eddie Pineiro to try a 53-yard attempt. Pineiro made the field goal as the clock struck :00, sending Broncos fans home with their second loss of the season.

Chicago out-rushed Denver 153-90 and Flacco threw for 292 yards and the TD to Sanders with a sack and an interception, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 120 yards without a TD, sack or interception. Denver was 3 of 14 on third down (the Broncos were perfect on fourth down, going 3 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:59, while Chicago kept the ball for 27:01 (including the final 30 seconds of the game) and went 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

After a scoreless first quarter at Washington, the Cowboys erased a 7-0 deficit in the second quarter and came away 31-21 winners at Fed Ex Field, thanks in part to TDs from Prescott to Devin Smith and Jason Witten to take the 14-7 lead with them to the break. Dallas would lead 21-7 with 4:30 left in the third period before Case Keenum (221 yards, TD, sack) and WR Paul Richardson Jr. connected on a 9-yard TD toss to pull themselves to within seven. Dallas would eventually restore order and come out of Landover with the win. Dallas out-rushed Washington 213-47, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards and a TD, while Prescott threw for 269 yards and three TDs (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception). Dallas went 7 of 11 on third down tries at Landover and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:38, going 2 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

While Washington leads the series 22-20-1 (which includes contests that were played in Boston when the Redskins were known as the Braves and the Bears were the Chicago Staleys and played their home games at Wrigley Field), Chicago has outscored the Redskins 876-804. Washington has won the last seven meetings in the series, taking a 41-21 win in the Windy City in 2016, while Chicago’s last win came in 2003 at Soldier Field by a final of 27-24.

On Monday night, Da Bears are 18-23 but they did play three games under the lights last year, winning two of them. As for the Redskins? They’re 18-17-1 but have not played on MNF since 2017, when they won their lone contest. Chicago’s favored by 4 on the road in Landover and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Will it be “Hail to the Redskins” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins?” Washington fans will have their hearts broken again this week. Da Bears cover the 4 and wins at Landover.

One week down. 16 to go.

The celebration continues.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL100 Game of the Week. Each game will be a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated the Cleveland-New York Jets matchup as the Week 2 NFL100 GAME OF THE WEEK because Monday Night Football, now in its 50th season, began with a Browns-Jets contest – and an American cultural institution was born. With Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the booth, on September 21, 1970, Cleveland topped the Jets 31-21 at Municipal Stadium in the season-opener. Cleveland’s Homer Jones scored to open the second half on a 94-yard kickoff return and the Browns’ Billy Andrews intercepted Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath and scored on a 25-yard return to ice the game late in the fourth quarter. This week’s game will be the 781st in Monday Night Football history.

Rookies exploding onto the scene, flawless passer ratings, long-distance strikes and white-knuckle comebacks highlighted maybe the most thrilling Kickoff Weekend ever. What will the NFL do for an encore?

This week’s NFC Championship rematch could be a classic in the making. Fresh off a last-second victory to open 2019, Drew Brees and New Orleans travel to meet the Los Angels Rams, who defeated Carolina. It’s one of six rematches of last season’s playoff games on the NFL schedule. Head coaches Sean Payton and Sean McVay, two of the top offensive minds in the game, each saw their teams score 30 points in their victorious season openers. They weren’t alone in putting points on the scoreboard.

On the heels of the most prolific offensive season in its history, the NFL picked up where it left off. The league combined for 90 touchdowns, most ever on Kickoff Weekend (89 in 2002 and 2011). Teams also combined for 776 points, the third-highest total in league history for an opening week. Only the 791 points in Week 1 of 2012 and the 788 in 2002, when the NFL expanded to 32 teams, were higher. Baltimore led the way, heading to the halftime locker room with 42 points, the most by any team ever in a season-opening half. Kansas City and Tennessee also posted 40-plus points in their games, marking the first opening week ever in which three road teams scored 40-or-more points. And points most certainly weren’t the only common thread.

To recap Week 1 (ICYMI):

ROOKIE PASS-CATCHERS: Four rookies – Tennessee’s A.J. Brown (100), Baltimore’s Marquise Brown (147), Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson (131) and Washington’s TERRY McLAURIN (125) – posted 100-yard receiving games in their NFL debuts. It marked the first week ever in which more than two rookies recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts. Hockenson’s total broke the 59-year-old NFL record held by Monty Stickles (123) for a tight end in his debut. Marquise Brown, meanwhile, became the first player in NFL history with two touchdown receptions of at least 40 yards in his NFL debut.

UNPRECEDENTED PASSER RATINGS: Thirteen quarterbacks had a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts). That’s the most in any week in NFL history, breaking the record of 12 set in Week 3 of the 2017 season. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Dallas’ DAK PRESCOTT became the first players to post the highest-attainable passer rating (158.3) in a season-opener (minimum of 20 attempts), with Jackson (22 years, 244 days) becoming the youngest player to finish any game with a 158.3 passer rating (minimum of 20 attempts).

EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: Overall, 15 offensive touchdowns covered at least 40 yards, an NFL record for Kickoff Weekend. The prior record was 14 in 1991. With two more Sunday, Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson (31) joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (36) as the only players to record more than 30 touchdowns of 50-plus yards in NFL history.

CONTAGIOUS COMEBACKS: New Orleans scored twice in the final minute to deny Houston 30-28, in a Monday night opener for the ages. In NFL history among season-opening games, Saints kicker Wil Lutz (58 yards) recorded the longest game-winning field goal with no time remaining. Five triumphant clubs erased second-half deficits. Buffalo trailed 16-0 and won and Philadelphia trailed 17-0 before winning. The only other year in which multiple teams overcame deficits of at least 16 points to win their Week 1 games was 1999, when both Arizona and Dallas closed 21-point gaps to win on Kickoff Weekend. Also this past weekend, both Indianapolis and Arizona trailed 24-9 in the second half and sent their games to overtime.​

HOPE REMAINS IN ABUNDANCE: In 2018, seven teams opened 2-0. Only two – Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams – made the postseason.

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 144 of the 235 teams (61.3 percent) to start 2-0 have qualified for the postseason. Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 195 of the 313 teams (62.3 percent) to start 2-0 advanced to the postseason. Of those 313 teams, only 128 (40.9 percent) won their division titles.

INTRA-CONFERENCE CLASHES: In addition to the Saints and Rams, two other Week 2 games feature match-ups of 1-0 teams. Earlier, at Lambeau Field, Green Bay with a win over Minnesota at 1 p.m. on FOX, can start the year with a 2-0 record in the NFC North, and start 2-0 overall for the first time since 2015. In Oakland, the Raiders can also jump to 2-0 in their division with a win over Kansas City at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs became the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001 with at least 100 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns in his NFL debut. Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has more passing yards (5,759) and passing touchdowns (53) than any player ever over his first 20 games. The Kansas City-Oakland game is one of seven division contests to dot the schedule.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY: After authoring an incredible comeback to defeat the New  York Jets last week, Buffalo returns to MetLife Stadium to meet the New York Giants. It’s the first time a road team has played at the same stadium in consecutive weeks since BALTIMORE did it Oct. 16-23, 2016, also at MetLife Stadium. Miami later this season will also travel to New York in consecutive weeks, Dec. 8-15.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: 11 quarterbacks have had a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts) through 13 games in Week 1, tied with Week 13 of the 2004 season (11) and Week 12 of the 1995 season (11) for the second-most in any week since 1970. Only Week 3 of the 2017 season (12) had more quarterbacks record a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts).

Four rookies – Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown (100 receiving yards), Baltimore wide receiver Marquise Brown (147), Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson (131) and Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin (125) – each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts on Kickoff Weekend.

It marks the first week in which three-or-more rookies have each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their debuts in NFL history.

With 131 receiving yards, Hockenson surpassed Monty Stickles (123 receiving yards on September 25, 1960) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in his NFL debut in league history.

Baltimore defeated Miami 59-10 on Kickoff Weekend. Baltimore scored 42 points in the first half, the most by any team in the first half of a season-opening game in NFL history. The Ravens, who scored 47 points on Kickoff Weekend in 2018, are the fifth team in league annals and first since the 1967-68 Oakland Raiders to score at least 40 points in consecutive season-opening games.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 17 of 20 attempts for 324 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the victory. Jackson is the seventh quarterback in NFL history and first since Ben Roethlisberger (November 11, 2018) with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdowns and a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, in a single game in NFL history.

Baltimore rookie wide receiver Marquise Brownrecorded touchdowns of 47 and 83 yards on his first two catches in his NFL debut. Brown became the first player in NFL history with two touchdown receptions of at least 40 yards in his NFL debut and his 83-yard touchdown reception is the second-longest by a player in his NFL debut in the Super Bowl era, trailing only Rick Upchurch (90-yard touchdown reception on September 21, 1975).

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns for a 143.2 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 40-26 win at Jacksonville.

Mahomes, who has 5,759 passing yards in 18 career games, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (5,613 passing yards) for the most passing yards by a player in his first 20 career games in NFL history. Mahomes’ 53 touchdown passes are also the most by any player in his first 20 career games.

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins had nine receptions for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Watkins is the fourth player in NFL history to record at least 195 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions in a season-opening game, joining Frank Clarke (September 16, 1962), Irving Fryar (September 4, 1994) and Hugh Taylor (September 28, 1947).

Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 88 percent of his pass attempts (22 of 25), the highest completion percentage (minimum 15 attempts) by a quarterback in his NFL debut in league annals. Minshew completed his first 13 pass attempts, the longest streak to start a career among players who made their NFL debut over the past 40 seasons.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott completed 25 of 32 attempts for 405 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 rating in the Cowboys’ 35-17 victory against the New York Giants.

Prescott is the fourth quarterback to register a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, on 30-or-more pass attempts in NFL history, joining Jared Goff (33 attempts on September 27, 2018), Ken O’Brien (32 attempts on November 2, 1986) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (30 attempts on October 1, 2000).

The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS defeated Indianapolis 30-24 in overtime while Arizona and Detroit played to a 27-27 tie at State Farm Stadium on Kickoff Weekend. At least one game on Kickoff Weekend has gone to overtime in five of the past six seasons.

Sunday’s contest between the Cardinals and Lions marked the second consecutive season in which a game ended in a tie in Week 1 and the third tie overall on Kickoff Weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns tied on September 9, 2018, while the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos played to a 10-10 tie on September 19, 1971.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler totaled 154 scrimmage yards (96 receiving, 58 rushing) and three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in the victory. Ekeler is the first undrafted player to record at least 150 scrimmage yards, two receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game since Dan Reeves (156 scrimmage yards, two receiving touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns) on November 5, 1967.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald recorded eight catches for 113 yards and one touchdown, the 117th touchdown catch of his NFL career. He surpassed Antonio Gates (116 touchdown receptions) for the sixth-most in NFL history.

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson had 154 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including 51-yard and 53-yard touchdown catches, in the Eagles’ 32-27 win against Washington. He has six career games of at least 100 receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (six) for the most 100-yard receiving games on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

Jackson has 31 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (29) for the second-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (36) has more in league annals.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns, along with 10 receptions for 81 yards, in the Panthers’ Week 1 loss against the Los Angeles Rams.

McCaffrey, who also had 125 rushing yards and 11 receptions in Week 12 of the 2018 season, is the first player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 120 rushing yards and 10 receptions in multiple games.

New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell totaled 92 scrimmage yards (60 rushing, 32 receiving) and a touchdown reception in the Jets’ Week 1 loss at home agaisnt Buffalo.

Bell, who has 8,088 scrimmage yards in 63 career games, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (64 games) to become the fastest player to reach 8,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK TWO

NO NEED TO PANIC: Since realignment in 2002, 126 of the 204 playoff teams (61.8 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including 10 teams last season, the most since 2002, and six division champions – Baltimore (AFC North), Chicago (NFC North), Dallas (NFC East), Houston (AFC South), New England (AFC East) and New Orleans (NFC South).​

Last season, Houston became the first team in NFL history to win nine consecutive games following an 0-3 start. They also were the first team to win its division after starting 0-3 since the San Diego Chargers in 1992.

A look at how playoff clubs in 2017 and 2018 began their seasons:

2017
Team (After 2 games, Playoff Result)
ATLANTA (2-0, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Buffalo (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Carolina (2-0, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Jacksonville (1-1, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Kansas City (2-0, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Los Angeles Rams (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Kansas City (2-0, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Los Angeles Rams (2-0, Advanced to Super Bowl LIII)
Philadelphia (1-1, Won Super Bowl LII)
Pittsburgh (2-0, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Tennessee (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
2018​
Team (After 2 games, Playoff Result)
Baltimore (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Chicago (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Dallas (1-1, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Houston (0-2, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Indianapolis (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional
Minnesota (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
New England (1-1, Advanced to Super Bowl LII)
New Orleans (0-2, Advanced to Divisional)
New England (1-1, Won Super Bowl LIII)
New Orleans (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
Philadelphia (1-1, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Seattle (0-2, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)

LEADING OFF: Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut against Detroit on Kickoff Weekend.

With 300 passing yards on Sunday at Baltimore, Murray can join Cam Newton (2011) as the only players to pass for at least 300 yards in each of their first two career games in NFL history.

If Murray repeats his Week 1 performance by passing for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, he would become the first player in league history to pass for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in each of their first two career games.

JACK & DAK IN THE BOX: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 324 yards and five touchdowns in Week 1, while Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns. They became the first players to record a 158.3 passer rating – the highest-attainable mark – in a season opener (min. 20 attempts) in NFL history. Jackson, at 22 years, 244 days-old, became the youngest player in NFL history with a perfect passer rating (min. 20 attempts).

If Jackson or Prescott pass for at least four touchdowns on Sunday, they would join Ryran Fitzpatrick (2018), Patrick Mahomes (2018) and Drew Bledsoe (1997) as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season.

The players to throw at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – SEASON; TEAM (GAME 1 PASSING TDs/GAME 2 PASSING TDs)

Ryan Fitzpatrick – 2018; Tampa Bay (4/4)
Patrick Mahomes – 2018; Kansas City (4/6)
Drew Bledsoe – 1997; New England (4/4)
Lamar Jackson – 2019; Baltimore (5/???)
Dak Prescott – 2019; Dallas (4/???)

Additionally, dating back to Week 17 of 2018, Prescott has recorded at least 350 passing yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in consecutive games. Prescott can become the first player to pass for at least 350 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in three consecutive games in NFL history.​​

Week 2 features two matchups between Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks as Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, faces off with Arizona’s Kyler, the 2018 Heisman winner, while Thursday night’s matchup featured Tampa Bay’s Jzmdix Winston (2013) and Carolina’s Cam Newton (2010). This marks the first time in which two games feature Heisman-winning starting quarterbacks in the same week in NFL history.

ROOKIE RECEIVERS: In Week 1, four rookies – Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown (100 receiving yards – selected in the second round, 51st overall, out of Mississippi), Baltimore wide receiver MARQUISE BROWN (147 – selected in the first round, 25th overall, out of Oklahoma), Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson (131 – selected in the first round, 8th overall, out of Iowa) and Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin (125 – selected in the third round, 76th overall, out of Ohio State) – each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts. It marked the first week in which three-or-more rookies have each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their debuts in NFL history.

With at least 100 receiving yards in Week 2, they would join WILL Will Fuller (2016), DeSean Jackson (2008) and Don Looney (1940) as the only players in NFL history to record at least 100 receiving yards in each of their first two career games.

The players to record at least 100 receiving yards in each of their first two career games:

PLAYER – SEASON (TEAM, GAME 1 REC. YARDS/GAME 2 REC. YARDS)
Will Fuller – 2016 (Houston, 107/104)
DeSean Jackson – 2008 (Philadelphia, 106/110)

Don Looney – 1940 (Philadelphia, 115/129)
A.J. Brown – 2019 (Tennessee, 100/???)
Marquise Brown – 2019 (Baltimore, 147/???)
T.J. Hockenson – 2019 (Detroit, 131/???)
Terry McLaurin – 2019 (Washington, 125/???)

Additionally, with two touchdown receptions on Sunday vs. Arizona, Marquise Brown can become the first player in NFL history to record at least two touchdown receptions in each of his first two career games.

SCHUSTER & LADDERS: Pittsburgh wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has 2,421 career receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns in 31 career games.

Smith-Schuster, who will be 22 years and 297 days old on Sunday vs. Seattle, needs 79 receiving yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (22 years, 310 days) as the youngest player in NFL history to reach 2,500 career receiving yards. ​

The youngest players to reach 2,500 career receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (AGE)
Randy Moss (HOF), Minnesota (22 years, 310 days)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (23 years, 31 days)
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (23 years, 35 days)
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland (23 years, 39 days)
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh (22 years, 297 days*)
*On Sunday

GET YOUR KITTLE CORN READY: San Francisco tight end George Kittle has 1,946 career receiving yards in 32 career games and set the NFL record for most receiving yards by a tight end (1,377) in a single season in NFL history in 2018.

With 54 receiving yards on Sunday at Cincinnati, Kittle would tie Dave Kocourek (33 games) as the third-fastest tight end to reach 2,000 career receiving yards in NFL history. The only tight ends to reach 2,000 career receiving yards in fewer games o Pro Football Hall of Famers Mike Ditka (30 games) and Kellen Winslow Sr. (31 games). ​

The tight ends to reach 2,000 career receiving yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 2,000 REC. YARDS)
Mike Ditka (HOF), Chicago (30)
Kellen Winslow Sr. (HOF), San Diego (31)
Dave Kocourek, Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers (33)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (34)
Kellen Winslow Jr., Cleveland (34)
George Kittle, San Francisco (32)* (1,946 yards)
*Has 1,946 receiving yards in 32 career games

Week two got underway in Charlotte Thursday night as Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston edged out Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a NFC South matchup featuring two former Heisman winners in a contest that was delayed by bad weather. The week comes to an end in upstate New Jersey as the New York Jets hosts Cleveland in primetime at 8 p,m. on ESPN. As for last week, 7-9 was not all that great but it was better than nothing. An NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint and as Chris Berman says “That’s why they play the games!” With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week two.

Philadelphia (1-0) at ATLANTA (0-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Cheese steak meets chicken and waffles as Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Big Peach to face off against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. While the Eagles come off a win at home against Washington last Sunday, the Falcons look to even their record after a loss on the road to Minnesota in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Philadelphia erased a 20-7 deficit at the half last Sunday against NFC East rival Washington and proceeded to outscore the Redskins 25-7 to come away 32-27 winners at Lincoln Financial Field. Wentz threw for 313 yards and no interceptions, while the Eagles outrushed Washington 123-28, with Case Keenum throwing for 380 yards (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked once without an interception). Philadelphia went 11 of 17 on third down tries (the Eagles were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they would ruled the clock and keep the ball for 34:27, while the Redskins kept the ball for 25:33, going 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Falcons found themselves being shut out for three quarters at Minnesota in the season opener for both clubs, struggling and leaving the Twin Cities with the 28-12 loss. Atlanta trailed 21-0 at the break and could never really get on track until the final 15 minutes of play when Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones each TD passes from Ryan. Minnesota ran roughshod on Atlanta, outrushing the Falcons 172-73 (Minnesota’s Delvin Cook led all rushers with 111 yards and a rushing TD), while Ryan threw for 304 yards with the two TDs but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 98 yards with a TD toss to Adam Thielen (Cousins was sacked once but did not throw an interception). While Atlanta was 2 for 8 on third down at US Bank Stadium, they struck gold on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 30:13, while the Vikings held the ball for 29:47, going 5 for 10 on third down tries.

Philadelphia leads the series 17-13-1, the Eagles have outscored Atlanta 670-574 and have come away with wins in the last two regular season meetings, including an 18-12 win last year in the City of Brotherly Love (Atlanta’s last win in the series came in the Big Peach by a final of 26-24 in the old Georgia Dome). The two clubs didn’t wait around long to meet as they faced off in the season opener on a Thursday night. Atlanta led 6-3 at the break before the Eagles, fresh off a Super Bowl victory over New England, would go on to outscore the Falcons 15-6 in the final 30 minutes of play, taking the lead for good with an 11-yard run by Joseph Ajayi and a two-point conversion by Ajayi with 2:19 left in regulation. Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman gave the Falcons the lead temporarily with 9:48 left in the contest before Ajayi scored his second TD of the night, sending Eagles fans home happy after Philadelphia held off a late Atlanta rally in the final seconds of the contest.

Philadelphia outrushed Atlanta 113-74 and Nick Foles, not Wentz, threw for 117 yards, while Ryan threw for 251 yards (Ryan was sacked four times, Foles was sacked twice, both threw an interception). Atlanta on third down tries went 4 of 15 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:50, while the Eagles ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:10, while going 50 percent on third down at 8 for 16.

In the week one meeting in the City of Brotherly Love, the Eagles were favored by 1 point and the over/under was a whopping 45. Philadelphia covered, winning by 6 but neither team covered the over/under, as the two clubs combined to score 30 points. In the Sunday night contest in the Deep South, Philadelphia’s a 1-point favorite again but this time the over/under’s 51. Aw, what the heck… let’s make this one “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 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal 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?”)

Philadelphia looks to go 2-0. Atlanta looks to even their record and get revenge at home for the loss to the Eagles last year. Revenge is a dish best served cold, the saying goes and the Falcons will be feasting. Atlanta covers the 1 in the Big Peach and comes away with the Sunday night win.

Arizona (0-0-1) at Baltimore (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of young singal callers meet in Charm City as the Baltimore Ravens host the Arizona Cardinals in an early afternoon (early morning Phoenix time) kick off with number one round pick Kyler Murray facing off against Lamar Jackson at M&T Bank Stadium.

Arizona trailed Detroit 17-3 at the half (the two played a scoreless first quarter), then rallied to even things up with 43 seconds left when Murray and all-pro WR Larry Fitzgerald (8 catches for 113 yards) connected on a 4-yard TD toss, then went for two and found success as Murray and WR Christian Kirk connected on the two-point try to tie things up at 24-24. After the Cardinals held off a late Detroit rally that would have given the Lions the win in regulation, the two clubs went to overtime and Arizona won the toss, making their way down the field. The Desert Angry Birds would get themselves as close as Detroit’s 10-yard line, coming no closer as Zane Gonzalez connected on a 28-yard field goal in the overtime. Detroit and Matthew Stafford would get the ball back in the extra period and they would make their way down the field themselves, with Arizona stopping them at their 15-yard, forcing the Lions to use Matt Prater’s leg to re-tie the contest at 27-27. Arizona got the ball back, moving as far as the Lions’ 46-yard before they had to punt, giving Detroit the ball back with 59 seconds left. Detroit’s drive sputtered in their final chance to reclaim the lead and their drive got them only to their 10-yard line, ending the contest.

Detroit barely outrushed Arizona 116-112 and Murray threw for 308 yards with five sacks and an interception, while Stafford threw for 385 yards and three sacks (Murray threw a pair of TDs, including the TD that put the Desert Angry Birds to within two, while Stafford threw three TDs, one to WR Danny Amendola). The two clubs were a combined 15 for 40 on third down tries in the desert (Arizona was 9 of 22, Detroit was 6 of 18; the Lions were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and Detroit ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 39:23 to Arizona’s 30:37.

Baltimore manhandled Miami in the Sunshine State last Sunday, taking the Dolphins to task and the woodshed by a 59-10 final.
The Ravens led 42-10 at the half at Hard Rock Stadium and never looked back in the lopsided season opener and would score an additional 17 second-half points unchallenged. While rushing for 265 yards (Mark Ingram led the way with 107 yards and a pair of TDs), the Ravens held Miami to a dismal 21 yards. Jackson threw for 324 yards and five TDs, connecting with fellow rookie WR Marquise Brown on two of those tosses, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 185 yards and a TD with a pair of sacks and an interception. Baltimore was 7 for 11 on third down (the Ravens were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and held on to the pigskin for 40:07, while Miami was 3 for 10 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 19:53.

The Ravens hold a 4-2 lead in the series and Baltimore has outscored the Desert Angry Birds 126-117. Their last meeting was in 2015 in the desert and the Cardinals broke a three-game losing streak against Baltimore, taking a 26-18 win at State Farm Stadium. Baltimore’s last win in the series came in Charm City, as they would take a 30-27 win in 2011. Baltimore’s favored by 13 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The 46 1/2 makes sense… the 13 1/2 has us scratching our heads. Baltimore is good but they’re not 13 1/2 good. Still, the Ravens prevail in Charm City and takes the win at home.

San Francisco (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers travel to the shores of the Ohio River as they face off against Andy Dalton and the Cinicnnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Both teams were on the road in their season openers, with San Francisco winning in the Sunshine State, while Cincinnati saw Seattle rally in the Pacific Northwest to fall by a point.

The 49ers trailed Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay 7-6 at the intermission at Raymond James Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Bucs 25-10 in the final 30 minutes of play to come away 31-17 in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay did outrush San Francisco 121-98 but turned the ball over four times in the loss. Winston threw for 121 yards and a TD but was picked off three times and sacked once, while Garoppolo threw for 166 yards with a TD and an interception. Tampa Bay was 5 of 11 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:56, while the 49ers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:04, while going 5 for 13 on third down conversions.

Cincinnati let a 17-14 halftime lead get away from them in Seattle as the Seahawks and Russell Wilson stormed back to take a 21-20 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Wilson, despite being sacked four times, threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dalton threw for 418 yards in the Pacific Northwest (Dalton also threw a pair of TDs; Dalton was sacked five times, while Wilson was sacked four times, neither man threw an interception). Neither club came close to the 100-yard rushing barrier but Seattle did outrush the Bengals 72-34 and Seattle, who forced three Bengals fumbles, went 4 of 12 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:10. Cincinnati actually ruled the clock in the loss, keeping the pigskin for 35:50 and went 6 of 15 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The 49ers hold a 9-4 lead in the series and San Francisco has outscored Cincinnati 286-255. Their last meeting took place in 2015 in San Francisco at old Candlestick Park by a final of 24-14, while the 49ers’ last win in the series came in Cincinnati by a 13-8 tally in 2011. Cincinnati’s favored by a point and the over/under’s 44 1/2. These two teams struggled to keep their heads above water last year and while they’re not exactly world beaters yet, this one might be worth your time. Bengals cover the 1 along the shores of the Ohio River and takes the win at home.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) at Detroit (0-0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Phililp Rivers vs. Matthew Stafford. A pair of future Hall of Fame qbs meet in the Motor City for an afternoon (early morning in Los Angeles) contest at Ford Field. Both teams played overtime contests last Sunday in their openers with the Chargers coming away winners at home, while the Lions fought for a tie in the desert.

Rivers and the Bolts led Indianapolis 17-6 at the intermisson at Dignity Health Sports Park, only to watch Jacoby Brissett and WR T.Y. Hilton connect on a 19-yard TD pass with 38 seconds left in regulation before RB Austin Ekeler scored on a 7-yard run with 5:01 left in the extra period to take a 30-24 win at home. Indianapolis outrushed the Chargers 203-125 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 174 yards and a TD of his own, while Ekeler ran for 58 yards and the OT game-winner. Rivers threw for 333 yards and three TDs with four sacks and an interception, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 190 yards and a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Chargers went 7 of 11 on third down tries on the West Coast and kept the ball for 32:50 (including the overtime), while the Colts kept the ball for 32:09 and went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Detroit led Arizona 17-3 at the half (the two played a scoreless first quarter), then watched the Cardinals rally to take a 27-27 overtime tie in the desert. Arizona would even things up with 43 seconds left when rookie QB Kyler Murray and all-pro WR Larry Fitzgerald (8 catches for 113 yards) connected on a 4-yard TD toss, then went for two and found success as Murray and WR Christian Kirk connected on the two-point try to tie things up at 24-24. After the Cardinals held off a late Detroit rally that would have given the Lions the win in regulation, the two clubs went to overtime and Arizona won the toss, making their way down the field. The Desert Angry Birds would get themselves as close as Detroit’s 10-yard line, coming no closer as Zane Gonzalez connected on a 28-yard field goal in the overtime. Detroit and Matthew Stafford would get the ball back in the extra period and they would make their way down the field themselves, with Arizona stopping them at their 15-yard, forcing the Lions to use Matt Prater’s leg to re-tie the contest at 27-27. Arizona got the ball back, moving as far as the Lions’ 46-yard before they had to punt, giving Detroit the ball back with 59 seconds left. Detroit’s drive sputtered in their final chance to reclaim the lead and their drive got them only to their 10-yard line, ending the contest.

Detroit barely outrushed Arizona 116-112 and Murray threw for 308 yards with five sacks and an interception, while Stafford threw for 385 yards and three sacks (Murray threw a pair of TDs, including the TD that put the Desert Angry Birds to within two, while Stafford threw three TDs, one to WR Danny Amendola). The two clubs were a combined 15 for 40 on third down tries in the desert (Arizona was 9 of 22, Detroit was 6 of 18; the Lions were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and Detroit ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 39:23 to Arizona’s 30:37.

Including games that took place in San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 7-4 but the Lions have outscored the Bolts 250-244. Their last meeting? 2015 in San Diego and the Chargers and Rivers came away with the 33-28 win, while Detroit’s last win in the series came in the Motor City by a final of 38-10 in 2011. The Chargers find themselves being favored by 2 1/2 on the road and the over/under is 47 1/2. These teams would like nothing more than to not play another overtime game. Chargers cover the 2 1/2 and win in the Motor City.

Minnesota (1-0) at Green Bay (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North (or NFC Norris, as Chris Berman calls it) meet in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst as Green Bay hosts the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau. Both teams took wins in their openers last week.

Minnesota held Atlanta scoreless for three quarters at Minnesota in the season opener for both clubs, coming away 28-12 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota led 21-0 at the break and Atlanta could never really get on track until the final 15 minutes of play when Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones each TD passes from Matt Ryan. Minnesota ran roughshod on Atlanta, outrushing the Falcons 172-73 (Minnesota’s Delvin Cook led all rushers with 111 yards and a rushing TD), while Ryan threw for 304 yards with the two TDs but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 98 yards with a TD toss to Adam Thielen (Cousins was sacked once but did not throw an interception). While Atlanta was 2 for 8 on third down at US Bank Stadium, they struck gold on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 30:13, while the Vikings held the ball for 29:47, going 5 for 10 on third down tries.

Green Bay won their season opener last Thursday night against Chicago at Soldier Field. After trailing 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Packers took a 7-3 lead with them to the locker room, added a 39-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, then held off a late Chicago rally to take a 10-3 win in the Windy City. The lone TD in the contest came when Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Graham connected on an 8-yard TD toss early in the second quarter after Chicago’s Eddy Pineiro opened the scoring in the contest with a 38-yard field goal late in the first quarter. The contest was nothing to write home about as far as rushing yardage was concerned and neither team breached the 50-yard mark, let alone the 100-yard mark. Green Bay barely outrushed Chicago 47-46 and Rodgers threw for 203 yards with the only TD in the contest, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 228 yards with an interception (both men were sacked five times). Green Bay was a dismal 2 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:03, while Chicago would keep the ball for 28:57, going 3 of 15 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Green Bay leads the series 59-53-3 and the Packers have outscored the Purple People Eaters 2,505-2,242. The Vikings have won three of the last four meetings in the series, tying in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst and taking a win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in their last two contests. Green Bay’s last win over the Vikings? 2106 on the Frozen Tundra by a final of 38-25.

Meeting number one… Lambeau Field in week two. Rodgers and Green Bay led 20-7 after three quarters of play (the Packers led 17-7 at the intermission), only to watch the Vikings outscore them in the fourth quarter 22-9 to come away with the 29-29 overtime tie. Mason Crosby kicked five field goals for the Packers, only to watch the Vikings tie things up in regulation with 31 seconds left when Cousins and Thielen connected on a 22-yard TD toss to pull themselve to within two, then tied things up when Cousins and Stefan Diggs connected on a two-point conversion. The two clubs then proceeded to play scoreless football in the overtime. Green Bay outrushed Minnesota 98-68, Rodgers would throw for 281 yards and a TD (Rodgers was sacked four times), while Cousins threw for 425 yards and four TDs (he was sacked twice and threw an interception). Minnesota was 7 of 14 on third down conversions in upstate Wisconsin and kept the ball for 31:52, while Green Bay kept the pigskin for 38:08 and went 4 for 13 on third down.

First meeting in the books, right?

Second meeting… Minneapolis and US Bank Stadium in week 12 and while the second meeting was close, the Vikings prevailed at home by a final of 24-17. Green Bay and Minnesota played to a 17-17 tie at the half, then floored the gas in the second half, outscoring Green Bay 10-3 in the final 30 minutes to take the win. Minnesota outrushed Green Bay 91-82 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and Rodgers threw for 198 yards and a TD (four sacks), while Cousins threw for 342 yards and three TDs (connecting with Thielen and Diggs on two of the tosses with a pair of sacks; neither man threw an interception). Minnesota was 7 of 14 on third down conversions, while the Packers struggled, going 2 of 10 (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down tries) and Minnesota ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:37 to Green Bay’s 25:23.

In the week two contest at Lambeau, Green Bay was favored by 2 but neither team covered the spread because of the tie but the 58 points that were scored were more than enough to cover the 46 over/under. In the second meeting in week 12 in the Twin Cities, the Vikings covered the 3 1/2 point spread, winning by 7 but came up short of the 48 over/under by 7. This time around, the Packers are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 44 1/2. The winner will have first place all to themselves in the NFC North. Green Bay prevails in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst, covering the 2 1/2 at Lambeau.

Jacksonville (0-1) at Houston (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of winless AFC South rivals meet in the Lone Star State as J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans host Jacksonville at NRG Stadium. Both clubs look to break into the win column after losses in their season openers.

The Jaguars lost at home 40-26 to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field last Sunday. The Chiefs led 23-13 at the break, then proceeded to floor the gas in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in the Sunshine State. Kansas City outrushed Jacksonville 113-81, with Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 81 yards. Mahomes threw for 378 yards with three TD tosses to WR Sammy Irvin without a sack or interception, while Jaguar rookie QB Gardner Minshew threw for 275 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked once and threw an interception. Both Kansas City and Jacksonville went 5 for 10 on third down conversions and the Chiefs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:15 to Jacksonville’s 28:45.

Houston looks to right its ship at home after they let a 14-3 halftime lead at New Orleans get away from them as the Saints opened their 2019 campaign with a 30-28 come-from-behind last-second win over the Texans Monday night in the Big Easy. After a scoreless first quarter, the Texans took the 11-point lead at the intermission thanks to a pair of TDs from DeAndre Hopkins and DeSean Watson. The Saints would go on to outscore Houston 27-14 in the last 30 minutes of action, with the game winner coming from K Wil Lutz as time expired. New Orelans set up the game winning drive, getting ball back with 37 seconds left and used a 6-play, 35-yard drive that used all of the 37 seconds remaining in regulation. Houston outrushed New Orleans 180-148 and Waston threw for 268 yards and three TDs with six sacks and an interception, while Drew Brees threw for 370 yards with a sack and an interception. Both teams did well on third down conversions in the Monday night contest (Houston was 7 of 13, the Texans were 1 of 1 on fourth down; New Orleans was 7 of 11) and New Orleans ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:13, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 29:47.

The Texans lead the series 21-13, have outscored the Jaguars 747-678 and swept last year’s two-game series (Jacksonville’s last win over Houston came in 2017 in the Sunshine State by a final of 45-7).

Meeting number one… Jacksonville in week seven and the Texans held the Jaguars to a third-quarter TD pass from Cody Keesler to T.Y. Hilton to take a 20-7 win at TIAA Bank Field. Houston led 13-0 at the intermission and was in control throughout the contest. Houston outrushed Jacksonville 141-70 with Texans RB Lamar Miller leading all rushers with 100 yards and a TD. Watson threw for 139 yards and a TD and a sack but did not throw an interception, while Keesler threw for 156 yards with the lone TD toss (Keesler was sacked four times and picked off once). Houston, forcing three Jacksonville turnovers in the Sunshine State, went 8 of 16 on third down and kept the ball for 29:35, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 30:25, going 9 of 19 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The Texans completed the sweep in the second meeting, which took place in the Lone Star State in week 17. Houston had no problem with the Jaguars, holding Jacksonville to a Kai Forbath field goal in the first quarter and scored their 20 points unchallenged to take a 20-3 win in the season finale for both clubs. Watson and Miller accounted for both Texans TDs in the win that prepared them for the post-season. Houston held Jacksonville to 30 yards rushing and sacked Blake Bortles (107 yards) three times and picked him off once, while Watson threw for 234 yards, although he was sacked six times. The Texans were 6 of 17 on third down but were perfect on fourth down in their only try, keeping the ball for 35:07, while Jacksonville kept it for 24:53, going 3 of 13 on third down tries.

Jacksonville was favored by 4 1/2 points in the week seven contest in the Sunshine State and Houston covered, winning by 13. Neither club covered the 42 1/2 over/under, as both teams combined for 27 points. In the season finale in the Lone Star State, the Texans easily covered the 7-point spread, winning by 17 but as was the case in the first meeting, neither club covered the pver/under of 40 1/2, tallying only 23 points. Houston’s favored by 8 1/2 in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Houston takes this one at home but expect the Jaguars to make things closer than 8 1/2.

New England (1-0) at Miami (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They meet again. A pair of AFC East rivals square off in Miami as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphis in Miami Shores.

The defending Super Bowl champs raised their sixth banner last Sunday night in Foxboro, then proceeeded to hold Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger (276 yards, interception, sack) to a Chris Boswell field goal in the third quarter as they manhandled the Steelers 33-3 at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots led 20-0 at the break, then outscored their guests from the Steel City 13-3 in the last 30 minutes of action. New England rushed for 99 yards in the lopsided win, holding the Steelers to 32 yards on the ground and Brady threw for 341 yards and three TDs without an interception (he was sacked once). New England was 7 of 14 on third down conversions and held the ball for 32:33, while the Dolphins went 27:27 in possession time, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Miami in the Sunshine State last Sunday, found themselves being taken to task and the woodshed by a 59-10 final at home last Sunday against Baltimore. The Dolphins trailed 42-10 at the half at Hard Rock Stadium and never looked back in the lopsided season opener and would score an additional 17 second-half points unchallenged. While rushing for 265 yards (Mark Ingram led the way with 107 yards and a pair of TDs), the Ravens held Miami to a dismal 21 yards. Jackson threw for 324 yards and five TDs, connecting with fellow rookie WR Marquise Brown on two of those tosses, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 185 yards and a TD with a pair of sacks and an interception. Baltimore was 7 for 11 on third down (the Ravens were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and held on to the pigskin for 40:07, while Miami was 3 for 10 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 19:53.

Miami leads the series 54-50 and including games that were played in Boston’s Fenway Park and the Orange Bowl, the Dolphins have outscored New England 2,268-2,239. The two clubs split last season’s contests, with each team taking wins at home.

Meeting number one? Foxboro. Week four. Miami found themselves held to a fourth-quarter TD as the Patriots took care of Miami 38-7. Leading 24-0 at the half and 31-0 after three quarters, Brady and the Pats burned Miami for 274 yards and three TDs, despite throwing two interceptions (Ryan Tannehill threw for 100 yards with a sack and interception for Miami), while the Pats ran for 175 yards (New England’s Sony Michel led all rushers with 112 yards and a TD), holding Miami to 56 yards on the ground. New England went 10 of 15 on third down conversions in Foxboro and held on to the ball for 36:22, while the Dolphins were 3 for 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:38.

Round two… Miami in week 14 and the Dolphins would get some last-second revenge on Brady (358 yards, three TDs, two sacks) in the Sunshine State, erasing a 27-21 deficit at the intermission to come away 34-33 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. New England led by 6 at the break, then watched Miami chip away at the lead as the Dolphins used a 1-play, 69-yard drive that used all of the 16 seconds left in the contest with no time outs to come away with the win and send their fans home happy, thanks to a hook-and-ladder pass from Ryan Tannehill (265 yards, three TDs, 4 sacks) to DeVante Parker, who pitcher the ball to Kenyon Drake, who took it 52 yards into the end zone for the game winner. Miami outrushed New England 189-77 with Frank Gore leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. New England was 9 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 35:14, while Miami kept the pigskin for 24:46, including the final 16 seconds of the contest, going 1 of 7 on third down.

In the week four contest in Foxboro, New England easily covered the 7-point spread, winning by 31 but both clubs missed the 47 1/2 over/under, scoring 45 points. In the rematch in the Sunshine State, New England was favored again, this time by 8 1/2 but Miami won by a single point. Both clubs did cover the 47 1/2 over/under with 67 points. The odds makers in Vegas have made New England a 19-point road favorite with a 47 1/2 over/under. The 47 1/2 is reasonable. 19 points? Seriously? The Dolphins were a bad team last week but they’re not 19 points bad. History does have a strange way of repeating itself and while Miami’s not going to cover the 19, they will take the win in the Sunshine State.

Buffalo (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Bills spend another week in upstate New Jersey as they square off against Eli Manning and the New York Football Giants at Met Life Stadium. The Bills come off a huge win over the Jets in their season opener, while the Giants return home from a loss against NFC East foe Dallas.

Buffalo erased a 16-3 deficit after three quarters of play (they trailed 6-0 at the half) and scored 14 fourth quarter points against Sam Darnold (175 yards, TD, four sacks) and the New York Jets unchallenged to escape Met Life Stadium with a 17-16 win. Bills QB Josh Allen (254 yards) used his arm and legs in the final 15 minutes of action, rushing for a 1-yard score early in the fourth and then connecting with WR Josh Brown with three minutes left in regulation to take the win. Buffalo outrushed the Jets 128-68, with Bills rookie RB Devin Singletary leading all rushers with 70. Buffalo was 5 of 10 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while the Jets were 32:01 in time of possession, going 7 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Manning (306 yards, sack) and TE Evan Engram gave the Giants the early lead against Dallas and Dak Prescott (405 yards, four TDs) only to see that lead get away from them as the Cowboys scored 21 points in the first half unchallenged, losing on the road 35-17. Dallas took that 21-7 lead with them to the locker room and kept the Giants in check in the second half. New York did outrush Dallas 151-75 and Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 120 yards for the Giants at AT&T Stadium. The Giants were 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:42, while Dallas ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:18, while going 6 of 10 on third down.

The series is all even at 6-6 and the Bills have outscored the Giants 220-219. However… Big Blue has won the last three meetings, including a 24-10 in 2015 in upstate New York, while Buffalo’s last win came in 2003 in the Meadowlands by a final of 24-7. The Bills are favored by 2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Giants avenge their Met Life Stadium neighors and pull the upset over the Bills, covering the 2.

Seattle (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger meet in an early Sunday afternoon contest at Heinz Field. Seattle enters the contest win a win under their belts, while the Steelers look to resotre some order in the AFC.

Seattle erased a 17-14 halftime deficit in Seattle against the Bengals as the Seahawks and Wilson stormed back to take a 21-20 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Wilson, despite being sacked four times, threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dalton threw for 418 yards in the Pacific Northwest (Dalton also threw a pair of TDs; Dalton was sacked five times, while Wilson was sacked four times, neither man threw an interception). Neither club came close to the 100-yard rushing barrier but Seattle did outrush the Bengals 72-34 and Seattle, who forced three Bengals fumbles, went 4 of 12 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:10. Cincinnati actually ruled the clock in the loss, keeping the pigskin for 35:50 and went 6 of 15 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Roethlisberger (276 yards, interception, sack) and the Steelers watched New England raise their Super Bowl sixth banner last Sunday night in Foxboro, then were held to a Chris Boswell field goal in the third quarter as they were manhandled 33-3 at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots led 20-0 at the break, then outscored their guests from the Steel City 13-3 in the last 30 minutes of action. New England rushed for 99 yards in the lopsided win, holding the Steelers to 32 yards on the ground and Brady threw for 341 yards and three TDs without an interception (he was sacked once). New England was 7 of 14 on third down conversions and held the ball for 32:33, while the Dolphins went 27:27 in possession time, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Seattle leads the series 9-8 and the Seahawks have outscored Pittsburgh 318-272. Their last meeting was 2015 in the Pacific Northwest as the Seahawks held off Pittsburgh 39-30, while Pittsburgh’s last win came in the Steel City in 2011, as they shut out the Seahawks 24-0. Pittsburgh’s favored by 4 and the over/under is 46 1/2. Seattle will make it close but the Steelers get themselves in the win column at home and could cover the 4.

Indianapolis (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts look for their first win of the 2019 campaign as they travel to Music City to face off against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans in an early AFC South matchup.

Brissett and Indianapolis trailed Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers 17-6 at the intermisson at Dignity Health Sports Park, then connected with WR T.Y. Hilton connect on a 19-yard TD pass with 38 seconds left in regulation before Chargers RB Austin Ekeler scored on a 7-yard run with 5:01 left in the extra period to fall to Philip Rivers and the Chargers 30-24. Indianapolis outrushed the Chargers 203-125 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 174 yards and a TD of his own, while Ekeler ran for 58 yards and the OT game-winner. Rivers threw for 333 yards and three TDs with four sacks and an interception, while Brissett threw for 190 yards and a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Chargers went 7 of 11 on third down tries on the West Coast and kept the ball for 32:50 (including the overtime), while the Colts kept the ball for 32:09 and went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Titans led Cleveland and Baker Mayfield 12-6 at the half at First Energy Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Browns 31-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, coming away 43-13 winners along the shores of Lake Erie. The Titans outrushed the Browns 123-102 and made life less than pleasant for Mayfield (285 yards), sacking him five times (once for a safety) and picking him off three times, while Mariota had his way with Cleveland, throwing for 248 yards with three TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked four times. Neither club did anything to write home about on third down tries (Tennessee was 2 of 10, the Browns were 1 of 10; Cleveland was 0 for 2 on fourth down) but the Browns ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:42 to Tennessee’s 29:18.

Including games that were played in Baltimore and Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers, the Colts lead the series 33-15 and have outscored Tennessee 1,252-940. Indy swept the series last year, taking both wins in Nashville and Indianapolis (Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2017, when they left Lucas Oil Stadium with a 20-16 win).

The first meeting was week 11 in the Hoosier State and the Colts got three TDs from Andrew Luck and came away with a 38-10 win in the Hoosier State. Leading 24-3 at the half, Indianapolis went on to outpace the Titans 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Colts outrushed Tennessee 102-87 and Luck threw for 297 yards and the three TDs without a sack or interception, while Mariota threw for 85 yards before being pulled after he was sacked four times and threw an interception. Indy went 5 of 10 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:16, while the Titans were 6 of 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:44.

The Colts made it a clean sweep in their second meeting in week 17 in what would be Luck’s final game in an NFL uniform, as the Colts were 33-17 winners at Nissan Stadium. Leading 17-10 at the half, Indianapolis floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Tennessee 16-7. Marlon Mack led all rushers with 119 yards and a TD as the Colts outrushed Tennessee 158-93 (Tennessee’s Derek Henry accounted for all of the Titans’ rushing yardage) and Luck threw for 285 yards and three TDs, despite being sacked once and picked off once, while Blaine Gabbert threw for 165 yards with a TD and a pair of picks. The Colts were 5 of 13 on third down (they did quite well on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 40:13, while the Titans were 1 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 19:47.

In the week 11 contest at Lucas Oil, the Colts were favored by 2 1/2 and covered the spread, winning by 28 and both teams matched the 48 over/under. The Colts were favored by 3 in the Music City and covered, winning by 16 and both teams took care of the 43 1/2 over/under with 50 points. Tennessee’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both of those numbers are reasonable. Titans cover the 3 in the Music City and takes the win at home.

Dallas (1-0) at Washington (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. Forget the records. These two teams DON’T like each other. Football’s answer to the Capulets vs. the Montagues, dogs vs. cats, Crips vs. Bloods, Hatfields vs. McCoys. See where we’re going with this? NFC East rivals Dallas and Washington meet in Landover in the first of their two meetings. Both clubs played divisional rivals in their season openers, with Dallas coming away with a win at home, while the Redskins blew a lead on the road and took a loss.

Dallas watched Eli Manning (306 yards, sack) and TE Evan Engram take the early lead against Dallas and Dak Prescott (405 yards, four TDs) only to see that lead get away from them as the Cowboys scored 21 points in the first half unchallenged, losing on the road 35-17. Dallas took that 21-7 lead with them to the locker room and kept the Giants in check in the second half. New York did outrush Dallas 151-75 and Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 120 yards for the Giants at AT&T Stadium. The Giants were 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:42, while Dallas ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:18, while going 6 of 10 on third down.

Washington watched a 20-7 lead at the half last Sunday against NFC East rival Philadelphia get away from them as the Eagles proceeded to outscore the Redskins 25-7 to come away 32-27 winners at Lincoln Financial Field. Wentz threw for 313 yards and no interceptions, while the Eagles outrushed Washington 123-28, with Case Keenum throwing for 380 yards (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked once without an interception). Philadelphia went 11 of 17 on third down tries (the Eagles were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they would ruled the clock and keep the ball for 34:27, while the Redskins kept the ball for 25:33, going 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas holds a 71-43-2 lead in the series, which includes games that were played in the Cotton Bowl and RFK Stadium and they have outscored Washington 2,709-2,238. The two clubs split their contests last year, each taking wins at home.

Their first meeting was in Landover in week seven and the Redskins held off a late Dallas rally to come away with the 20-17 win at FedEx Field. Washington and Dallas entered the intermission tied at 7-7 and the Redskins would take a 10-7 lead with them to the start of the fourth quarter, where both teams would play even football at that point. Prescott (273 yards, TD, four sacks) would pull the Cowboys to within three with 97 seconds left to make the contest a 3-point affair. Dallas then tried the onside kick and failed, allowing Washington to get the ball back and run out the clock. Washington outrushed Dallas 130-73, with Adrian Peterson leading the way with 99 yards, while Alex Smith threw for 178 yards and a TD without an interception (he was sacked once, Prescott was sacked four times). Washington went 3 of 12 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Cowboys, who held the ball for 29:05, went 5 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas would get their revenge at AT&T Stadium in week 12 and just like the first contest, things were close but Prescott and the Cowboys prevailed by a final of 31-23. Dallas led 10-7 at the half and took a 24-13 lead with them to the fourth quarter before Washington would make things closer than Dallas would like as Dustin Hopkins made the contest an eight-point affair with 73 seconds left but Washington would get no closer. Dallas outrushed Washington 146-80 and Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 121 yards ahd a TD, while Prescott threw for 289 yards. For Washington, this time it was Colt McCoy under center, as he threw for 268 yards (McCoy was sacked three times with three interception, Prescott was sacked four times; each QB threw two TDs). In the rematch in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys were 6 of 14 on third down (Dallas was 0 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 33:23, while Washington held on to the football for 26:37, while going 4 of 11 on third down.

Washington was favored by 1 in the week seven contest and covered the spread, winning by 3. The 41 1/2 over/under was untouched as both clubs combined for 37 points. In the week 12 contest, the odds makers liked Dallas as a 7 1/2-point favorite and they barely covered, winning by 8. This time, both teams took care of the over/under (which was 41) by combining for 54 points. The spread? Dallas is favored by 5. The over/under? 46 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. For Dallas, they want to be 2-0 in the NFC East. For Washington, they want to restore some order. Will Redskins fans be singing “Hail to the Redskins” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins?” Hail sounds better. Washington pulls off the upset at Landover and covers the 5.

Kansas City (1-0) at Oakland (1-0), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. As far as rivalries go, these two teams DO NOT like each other. They’re not Facebook friends, they don’t follow each other on Twitter. They meet again. Kansas City and Oakland, two former AFL teams meet on the East side of San Francisco Bay at the Oakland Coliseum. Both teams are coming off wins in their season openers last week.

Mahomes and the Chiefs took Jacksonville to task last Sunday in the Sunshine State and the Chiefs prevailed 40-26 at TIAA Bank Field last Sunday. Leading from start to finish, Kansas City led 23-13 at the break, then proceeded to floor the gas in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in the Sunshine State. The Chiefs outrushed Jacksonville 113-81, with Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 81 yards. Mahomes threw for 378 yards with three TD tosses to WR Sammy Irvin without a sack or interception, while Jaguar rookie QB Gardner Minshew threw for 275 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked once and threw an interception. Both Kansas City and Jacksonville went 5 for 10 on third down conversions and the Chiefs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:15 to Jacksonville’s 28:45.

Oakland held off a late Denver rally last Monday night at home to take a 24-16 decision at Oakland Monday night. The Silver and Black led 14-0 at the half before Denver made their first dent on the scoreboard in the third when K Brian McManus kicked a pair of 26-yard field goals in the frame. Denver would pull themselves to within eight with 2:15 when Broncos QB Joe Flacco (269 yards, three sacks) and WR Emmanuel Sanders connected on a 1-yard toss. The Broncos then tried and failed on the onside kick attempt, giving Oakland the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock. Oakland outrushed Denver 98-95 and Flacco threw for 268 yards with three sacks, while Derek Carr threw for 259 yards with a TD and no sacks (both Flacco and Carr did not throw an interception).

Including the games that were played in Dallas (when the Chiefs were known as the Texans), at Swope Field and in Los Angeles, the Chiefs lead the series 63-52-2, they have outscored the Raiders 2,496-2,253 and they have won the last three meetings, including sweeping the two contests they played last year (Oakland’s last win over the Chiefs came in 2017 in Oakland, when they were 31-30 winners).

Round one… week 13 in Oakland. Kansas City led 19-7 at the half at the Coliseum and held off the Silver and Black, coming away 40-33 winners. Kansas City outrushed Oakland 174-171 (Oakland’s Jalen Richard led all rushers with 95 yards) and Mahomes threw for 295 yards with four TDs (two of them to TE Travis Kelce, who caught 12 passes for 168 yards) and no sacks or interceptions, while Carr threw for 285 yards and three TDs (Carr was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Chiefs were 6 of 13 on third down but went 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:14. As for the Raiders? They were 9 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:46.

Kansas City made it a clean sweep of the series in week 17 at Arrowhead, holding the Raiders to a Daniel Carlson field goal late in the first half to take the 35-3 win. Tyreek Hill had a rushing TD and a TD pass from Mahomes (281 yards, two TDs, interception), even though the Raiders did outrush Kansas City 127-99 with Doug Martin leading all rushers with 100 yards in the contest and Carr threw for 185 yards but was sacked three times and picked off twice. Kansas City went 5 of 9 on third down tries in the Show-Me State (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:04, while the Raiders kept the ball for 33:56, while they went 4 for 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While Kansas City was favored by 15 in the week 13 contest, they would only win by 7 but both clubs covered the 55 1/2 over/under, tallying 73 points. In the season finale in the Show-Me State, the Chiefs were favored by 13 1/2 and they obliged the odds makers, covering the spread with their 32-point win. The 38 combined points between Kansas City and Oakland was no match for the 54 over/under in the contest. The Chiefs are favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. They’ll meet again in week 13 in Kansas City but for now, the Raiders would like to get some revenge on their AFC West rivals. Chiefs fans need not worry. Oakland will make it interesting but the Chiefs will prevail on the road, taking the win and covering the 7 1/2.

Chicago (0-1) at Denver (0-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of 0-1 teams meet in the Rocky Mountains as Chicago makes their way to Denver to take on the Broncos in a late afternoon contest.

Da Bears dropped their home opener last Thursday night against Green Bay at Soldier Field. After leading 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, Bears fans watched with horror as the Packers took a 7-3 lead with them to the locker room, added a 39-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, then held off a late Chicago rally to take a 10-3 win in the Windy City. The lone TD in the contest came when Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Graham connected on an 8-yard TD toss early in the second quarter after Chicago’s Eddy Pineiro opened the scoring in the contest with a 38-yard field goal late in the first quarter. The contest was nothing to write home about as far as rushing yardage was concerned and neither team breached the 50-yard mark, let alone the 100-yard mark. Green Bay barely outrushed Chicago 47-46 and Rodgers threw for 203 yards with the only TD in the contest, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 228 yards with an interception (both men were sacked five times). Green Bay was a dismal 2 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:03, while Chicago would keep the ball for 28:57, going 3 of 15 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Denver seeks its first win of the season after they dropped a 24-16 decision at Oakland Monday night. The Broncos trailed 14-0 at the half and made their first dent on the scoreboard in the third when K Brian McManus kicked a pair of 26-yard field goals in the frame. Denver would pull themselves to within eight with 2:15 when Broncos QB Joe Flacco (269 yards, three sacks) and WR Emmanuel Sanders connected on a 1-yard toss. The Broncos then tried and failed on the onside kick attempt, giving Oakland the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock. Oakland outrushed Denver 98-95 and Flacco threw for 268 yards with three sacks, while Derek Carr threw for 259 yards with a TD and no sacks (both Flacco and Carr did not throw an interception).

While the Broncos lead the series 8-7, Chicago has outscored Denver 291-250 in the series. Denver has won the last two meetings, including a 17-15 win in the Windy City in 2015, while Da Bears’ last win in the series also came in Chicago, as they were 37-34 overtime winners in 2007. Chicago’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. We’re not going to blame you for watching that “Bar Rescue” marathon (Jon Taffer blowing his gasket makes the show, ya think?) Chicago recovers from their loss to Green Bay at Soldier Field last week to take the win and covers the 2 1/2.

New Orleans (1-0) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and 717. They met twice in the Big Easy and split the two meetings, one in the regular season, one in the post-season. New Orleans travels to the West Coast for a late afternoon contest with the defending NFC champs. Both teams were victors in their season openers last week.

New Orleans erased a 14-3 halftime lead by Houston last Monday night as the Saints opened their 2019 campaign with a 30-28 come-from-behind last-second win over the Texans Monday night in the Big Easy. After a scoreless first quarter, the Texans led by 11-point lead at the intermission thanks to a pair of TDs from DeAndre Hopkins and DeSean Watson. The Saints would go on to outscore Houston 27-14 in the last 30 minutes of action, with the game winner coming from K Wil Lutz as time expired. New Orelans set up the game winning drive, getting ball back with 37 seconds left and used a 6-play, 35-yard drive that used all of the 37 seconds remaining in regulation. Houston outrushed New Orleans 180-148 and Waston threw for 268 yards and three TDs with six sacks and an interception, while Drew Brees threw for 370 yards with a sack and an interception. Both teams did well on third down conversions in the Monday night contest (Houston was 7 of 13, the Texans were 1 of 1 on fourth down; New Orleans was 7 of 11) and New Orleans ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:13, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 29:47.

The Rams led Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 13-3 at the intermission after a scoreless first quarter, then held off a late Panthers rally as they would pull themselves to within a field goal with 1:58 left in the contest when Alex Armah scored on a one-yard run. The defending NFC champions outrushed Carolina 166-127, with Christian McCafferey leading the way with 128 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Rams were led by Todd Gurley with 97 yards. Newton threw for 239 yards with three sacks and an interception, while Jarred Goff threw for 186 yards with a TD, sack and interception. Carolina was 5 for 11 on third down tries at Bank of America Stadium and kept the ball for 26:44, while the Rams went 9 of 17 on third down (neither club had a fourth down attempt) and kept the ball for 33:16.

Los Angeles leads the lead series 41-33 (which includes contests that were played at old Tulane Stadium and in St. Louis) and the Rams have outscored New Orleans 1,685-1,552. New Orleans’ last regular season win in the series came last year in the Big Easy by a 45-35 final, while the Rams’ last win came in Los Angeles in 2017 by a final of 26-20.

They met twice during the 2018 season and both meetings took place in the Big Easy. Meeting number one in week nine. The Saints led 35-17 at the half, then went on to hold off the Rams 45-35. Brees threw for 346 yards and four TDs, while Goff threw for 391 yards and three TDs (Goff was picked off once, neither man was sacked) for the Rams. New Orleans outrushed the Rams 141-92, with Saints RB Alvina Kamara leading the way with 82 yards and a pair of TDs (Gurley ran for 68 yards with a TD for the Rams. The Rams were 3 of 8 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:19, while the Saints took control of the ball for 33:41 and went 7 of 12 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Their second meeting? The NFC Championship game in New Orleans. The Rams trailed New Orleans 13-10 at the break before they would outscore the Saints 13-10 in regulation, then took matters into their hands as they would take advantage of a Brees’ interception in overtime to win the NFC Championship Game 26-23. New Orleans led by as much as 10 early in the third quarter before the Rams would chip away at the lead and tie things up as Lutz and Rams K Greg Zuerlein traded field goals in regulation.

The contest would be remembered not just for the Brees interception in overtime but for a penalty that was never called in regulation as Saints WR Michael Thomas and Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman collided on a pass attempt by Brees. No penalty was called on the play, which angered Saints fans and head coach Sean Payton. The Saints had to settle for a field goal by Lutz with 1:49 left in regulation. Los Angeles then made their way down the field after the kickoff and used a 9-play, 45-yard drive that would use 1:26 of clock and Zuerlien would tie things up at 23-23. New Orleans got the ball back after that score and knelt it down to send the contest into overtime. The Saints won the toss to start the overtime and got as far as their 34-yard line before Brees was picked off by John Johnson II, stopping whatever hopes the Saints had of going to the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles then took advantage of the New Orleans turnover when they got their chance to possess the ball, using a 5-play, 15-yard drive that used only 2:12 of clock and sending Saints fans home in less than a festive mood when Zuerlein connected on a 52-yard field goal with 11:43 in the OT. Los Angeles outrushed New Orleans 77-48 and Brees threw for 249 yards with a pair of sacks and the interception that ended their Super Bowl hopes, while Goff threw for 297 yards with a TD, sack and interception. The Rams were 6 of 16 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:36 (including the overtime), while the Saints were 6 of 14 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 30:41.

New Orleans covered the 1-point spread at home, winning by 10 in the week nine contest and the 80 combined points was more than enough to cover the 60 1/2 over/under. In the NFC Championship game, the Saints were again the favorite, this time by 3 1/2. The Rams’ three-point overtime win meant that they missed the spread and the 49 points that they would combine for did not come close to the 57 1/2 over/under. The odds makers have the Rams as 2 1/2 point favorites on the West Coast with a 52 1/2 over/under. For the Rams, it’s a chance to prove that they are the NFC champs; for the Saints, it’s revenge. Rams win in Los Angeles and covers the 2 1/2.

Cleveland (0-1) at New York Jets (0-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week two ends in the Meadowlands as a pair of teams that are looking for their first win meet at Met Life Stadium as the Browns and Jets, the first teams to play a Monday night game in the history of the NFL, meet in upstate New Jersey.

Tennessee led Cleveland and Baker Mayfield 12-6 at the half at First Energy Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Browns 31-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, coming away 43-13 winners along the shores of Lake Erie. Tennessee outrushed the Browns 123-102 and made life less than pleasant for Mayfield (285 yards), sacking him five times (once for a safety) and picking him off three times, while Mariota had his way with Cleveland, throwing for 248 yards with three TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked four times. Neither club did anything to write home about on third down tries (Tennessee was 2 of 10, the Browns were 1 of 10; Cleveland was 0 for 2 on fourth down) but the Browns ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:42 to Tennessee’s 29:18.

GangGreen watched Buffalo erase a 16-3 deficit after three quarters of play (they trailed 6-0 at the half) and scored 14 fourth quarter points against Sam Darnold (175 yards, TD, four sacks) unchallenged to escape Met Life Stadium with a 17-16 win. Bills QB Josh Allen (254 yards) used his arm and legs in the final 15 minutes of action, rushing for a 1-yard score early in the fourth and then connecting with WR Josh Brown with three minutes left in regulation to take the win. Buffalo outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 128-68, with Bills rookie RB Devin Singletary leading all rushers with 70. Buffalo was 5 of 10 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while the Jets were 32:01 in time of possession, going 7 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs. Darnold will miss Monday’s contest because of a bout of mononucelosis and Trevor Siemian will take his spot.

The Browns lead the series 13-12 and have outscored GangGreen 511-503. They met last year along the shores of Lake Erie and Cleveland picked up their first win in almost two years, taking a 21-17 victory (New York’s last win in the series came in 2017 by a final of 17-14 in Cleveland).

They met in week three along the shores of Lake Erie and Cleveland erased a 14-3 deficit at the break to tie things up at 14-14 going into the finel 15 minutes of play. After Browns RB Carlos Hyde scored from from a yard out and they would go for two, New York reclaimed the lead on a 28-yard field goal by Josh Myers. That lead would not last very long as Cleveland used a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:52 to take the lead back for good when Hyde scored his second TD of the half. Cleveland then held off the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to pick up their first win in almost two years. Cleveland outrushed New York 133-107 with Hyde leading all rushers with 98 yards and the two TDs, Mayfield threw for 201 yards with a sack but did not throw an interception (Darnold threw for 169 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions). GangGreen went 6 of 15 on third down in the Thursday night week three contest (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:08, while Cleveland was 7 of 18 on third down and kept the ball for 30:52.

On Monday night, the Browns are 15-15 and have not played on MNF since 2015, where they played only one contest and took a loss in that, while the Jets are 22-31. They played only one game in 2018 but took a win in that affair. In the very first Monday night contest, which took place on September 21 of 1970, the Jets and Browns met at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, with the game being televised by ABC (Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meridith were on the mike), the game was a sellout and Cleveland beat Joe Namath and the Jets 31-21 in that conest.

Cleveland covered the 3-point spread in the week three opener on Thursday night, winning by 4. Both clubs combined for 38 points, barely missing the 39 1/2 over/under. The Browns are favored by 3 on the road in upstate New Jersey and the over/under is 45. Both numbers are reasonable. Could history repeat? We think so. Cleveland covers the 3 and takes the Monday night win.

It’s the second half of the 2018 season.

Draft? Done.

OTA’s? Check.

Mini Camps? Done.

Preseason? Done.

Regular Season? In the books.

It’s now time for the post-season.

This time, it’s different. It’s not you lose this week, you have a bye or your next game is the following Sunday. You lose… you’re done. You win… you move on.

12 teams are left standing after a 256-game season that will see eight teams look for new coaches (Cleveland, Green Bay, Denver, Miami, New York Jets, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Cincinnati). 20 teams will be getting ready for the Senior Bowl, the upcoming Draft and hiring new coaches and making roster moves. Those 20 teams cleared out their locker rooms this week and with the exception of those players that are going to the Pro Bowl, their vacation started Sunday.

As for the reamining 12? Their journey gets underway Saturday. The goal for those 12 teams? To be Super Bowl champs. One team wants to repeat (Philadelphia), while the other 11 want a Lombardi of their own. Three of the four contests are rematches from regular seaosn action (Los Angeles Chargers/Batlimore, Seattle/Dallas, Indianapolis/Houston).

Win. Advance.

Lose. Next game is next year.

TURNAROUND TEAMS & CONSISTENT WINNERS HIGHLIGHT PLAYOFF FIELD

There are seven new playoff teams in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle.

Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

SEASON – PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 – 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 – 5 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 – 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 – 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 – 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 – 4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 – 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 – 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 – 5 (Arizona, ATLANTA, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 – 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 – 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 – 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 – 5 (ATLANTA, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 – 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 – 5 (ATLANTA, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 – 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 – 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 – 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 – 7 (Arizona, ATLANTA, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 – 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 – 5 (ATLANTA, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 – 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 – 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 – 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 – 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 – 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 – 6 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 – 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
2018 – 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

Four teams won division titles – Baltimore (AFC North), Chicago (NFC North), Dallas (NFC East) and Houston (AFC South) – after missing the playoffs last season.

The divisions with new champions in 2018:
AFC SOUTH – Houston (2018), Jacksonville (2017)
AFC NORTH – Baltimore (2018), Pittsburgh (2017)
NFC EAST – Dallas (2018), Philadelphia (2017)
NFC NORTH – Chicago (2018), Minnesota (2017)

In the 17 seasons since realignment, 29 of the 32 NFL teams (91 percent) have won a division title at least once.

How the 2018 playoff teams have fared in the 17 seasons since realignment in 2002

TEAM (DIVISION TITLES/PLAYOFF BERTHS)

New England (15/15)
Indianapolis (9/13)
Seattle (8/12)
Philadelphia (7/10)
Baltimore (5/9)
Dallas (5/7)
Houston (5/5)
Kansas City (5/8)
Los Angeles Chargers (5/7)
New Orleans (5/7)
Chicago (4/4)
Los Angeles Rams (3/4)

The 2018 field also showcases teams that have enjoyed recent postseason success. Since realignment in 2002, the New England Patriots have been to the playoffs 15 times, which is the most in the NFL.

The 2018 playoff teams with the most postseason appearances since 2002 (includes 2018):

TEAM – POSTSEASON APPEARANCES
New England – 15
Indianapolis – 13
Seattle – 12
Philadelphia – 10
Baltimore – 9

Seven of this season’s 12 playoff teams have won at least one Super Bowl since 1999, capturing 12 of the past 19 Vince Lombardi Trophies. Those teams are the Patriots (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI), Ravens (XXXV, XLVII), Colts (XLI), Eagles (LII), Rams (XXXIV), Saints (XLIV) and Seahawks (XLVIII).

SUPER BOWL (SEASON) – WINNER
XXXIV (1999) – St. Louis Rams*
XXXV (2000) – Baltimore*
XXXVI (2001) – New England*
XXXVII (2002) – Tampa Bays
XXXVIII (2003) – New England*
XXXIX (2004)New England*
XL (2005) – Pittsburgh
XLI (2006) – Indianapolis*
XLII (2007) – New York Giants
XLIII (2008) – Pittsburgh
XLIV (2009) – New Orleans*
XLV (2010) – Green Bay
XLVI (2011) – New York Giants
XLVII (2012) – Baltimore*
XLVIII (2013) – Seattle*
XLIX (2014) – New England*
50 (2015) – Denver
LI (2016) – New England*
LII (2017) – Philadelphia*
*In 2018 postseason

The Baltimore Ravens (.652) and New England Patriots (.630) rank first and second all-time in postseason winning percentage.

The 12 playoff teams and their postseason records:

TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Baltimore  (15-8, .652)
New England (34-20, .630)
Dallas (34-27, .557)
Seattle (16-15, .516)
Philadelphia (22-21, .512)
Indianapolis (22-23, .489)
Chicago (17-18, .486)
New Orleans (8-10, .444)
Los Angeles Rams (19-25, .432)
Houston (3-4, .429)
Los Angeles Chargers (11-17, .393)
Kansas City (9-18, .333)

YOUTH & CONSISTENCY HIGHLIGHT THE PLAYOFF QUARTERBACKS

The 2018 postseason is filled with young stars on the rise and veterans at the top of their game at the quarterback position.

Three quarterbacks – Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky and Houston’s DeShaun Watson – are expected to make their first career postseason starts on Wild Card Weekend while Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who led the league with 50 touchdown passes, will make his postseason debut in the AFC Divisional round.

New England quarterback Tom Brady, who has led the Patriots to 10 consecutive division titles and five Super Bowl championships, is the postseason’s all-time leader in games played (37), passing yards (10,226) and touchdown passes (71). Brady and Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, who will make his fifth career postseason start, combined for an NFL-record 874 pass yards in Super Bowl LII last season. Foles had a 115.7 passer rating during the 2017 playoffs to help lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, a veteran of 18 NFL seasons, will make his 14th postseason start in the NFC Divisional round after leading the league with an NFL-record 74.4 completion percentage and 115.7 passer rating in 2018. Los Angeles Chargers Philip Rivers, in his 15th season, registered his 10th career 4,000-passing yard season and will make his 10th career postseason appearance.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, both selected by their teams in the 2016 NFL Draft, have led their franchises to division titles in two of their first three NFL seasons and each will be making their second career postseason start.

Both members of the 2012 NFL Draft class, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will be making his seventh career postseason start while Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who has led Seattle to the playoffs in six of his seven seasons, will be making his 13th career postseason start on Wild Card Weekend. Wilson led Seattle to a Super Bowl XLVIII championship in 2013 and a Super Bowl XLIX appearance in 2014.

A by-the-numbers look at the 12 quarterbacks in the 2018 postseason:

Rookie or 2nd-year (4): Jackson, BAL; Mahomes, KC; Trubisky, CHI; Watson, HOU
1st-round Draft picks (7): Goff, LAR; Jackson, BAL; Luck, IND; Mahomes, KC; Rivers, LAC; Trubisky, CHI; Watson, HOU
Number 1 overall picks (2): Goff, LAR; Luck, IND (2012)
Drafted No. 75 overall or later or undrafted (4): Brady, NE; Foles, PHI; Prescott, DAL; Wilson, SEA
30 years old or younger (9): Foles, PHI; Goff, LAR; Jackson, BAL; Luck, IND; Mahomes, KC; Prescott, DAL; Trubisky, CHI; Watson, HOU; Wilson, SEA
35 years old or older (3): Brady, NE; Brees, NO; Rivers, LAC

BEST NFL PLAYOFF PERFORMANCES (Single postseason)

PASSING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; COMPLETIONS/ATTEMPTS – YARDS; TD/INT)
Eli Manning, New York Giants (2011; 106/163 – 1,219; 9/1)
Kurt Warner, Arizona (2008; 92/135 – 1,147; 11/3)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2012; 73/126 – 1,140; 11/0)
Tom Brady, New England (2016; 93/142 – 1,137; 7/3)
Tom Brady, New England (2017; 89/139 – 1,132; 8/0)

RUSHING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; ATTEMPTS – YARDS/TD)
John Riggins, Washington (1982; 136 – 610/4)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1997; 112 – 581/8)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998; 78 – 468/3)
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (1983; 58 – 466/4)
Eddie George, Tennessee (1999; 108 – 449/3)

RECEIVING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; RECEPTIONS – YARDS/TD)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008; 30 – 546/7)
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (2011; 28 – 444/4)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1988; 21 – 409/6)
Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina (2003; 18 – 404/3)
Charlie Brown, Washington (1983; 14 – 401/1)

RECEPTIONS
PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; RECEPTIONS – YARDS/TD)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008; 30 – 546/7)
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (2011; 28 – 444/4)
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2013; 28 – 306/3)
Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina (2015; 27 – 335/3)
Wes Welker, New England (2007; 27 – 213/2)

SCRIMMAGE TOUCHDOWNS
PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; TOTAL TD – RUSHING TD/RECIEVING TD)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1997; 8 – 8/0)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2008; 7 – 0/7)
Larry Csonka, Miami (1973; 6 – 6/0)
Franco Harris, Pittsburgh (1974; 6 – 6/0)
John Riggins, Washington (1983; 6 – 6/0)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1988; 6 – 0/6)
Gerald Riggs. Washington (1991; 6 – 6/0)
Ricky Watters. San Francisco (1993; 6 – 6/0)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995; 6 – 6/0)

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 17

•NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Seven of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle. and Indianapolis. Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

WORST-TO-FIRST: Both the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons.

PLAYOFF SEEDING: New Orleans won the NFC South and finished as the NFC’s 1 seed. The Saints will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

The Los Angeles Rams, who defeated San Francisco 48-32 and won the NFC West, are the 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

Chicago, who defeated Minnesota 24-10 and won the NFC North, are the 3 seed and will host Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. Philadelphia defeated Washington, 24-0 and combined with Minnesota’s loss to Chicago, clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season.

Dallas, who defeated the New York Giants 36-35 and won the NFC East in the Meadowlands, are the 4 seed and will host Seattle in the Wild Card round.

In the AFC, Kansas City defeated Oakland 35-3 and clinched the AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

New England defeated the New York Jets 38-3, are the AFC’s 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

Houston defeated Jacksonville 20-3 and are the 3 seed, clinched the AFC South division title and will host a game on Wild Card weekend.

The Texans completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround after finishing tied for last place in the division in 2017. Houston is the sixth team in NFL history to make the postseason after beginning the season 0-3 and joined the 1992 San Diego Chargers as the only teams in league annals to win their division following an 0-3 start to a season.

Baltimore defeated Cleveland, 26-24 and clinched the AFC North division title for the first time since 2012. Baltimore, the AFC’s 4 seed, will host the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round.

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 281 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a 109.9 rating in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win over Oakland at Arrowhead. Mahomes has 50 touchdown passes this season and joined Peyton Manning (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and Tom Brady (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had five receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard touchdown reception, against Oakland and had a 15-yard touchdown run. Hill has 16 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (16) for the most touchdowns of at least 50 yards by a player in his first three seasons. Hill has 1,479 receiving yards in 2018 and surpassed Derrick Alexander (1,391 receiving yards in 2000) for the most receiving yards in a single season in franchise history.

•New England quarterback Tom Brady  completed 24 of 33 attempts (72.7 percent) for 250 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 133.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 17 win against the New York Jets.

Brady has 6,004 career regular-season completions and is the fourth player in NFL history with at least 6,000 career regular-season completions, joining Drew Brees (6,586), Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (6,300) and Peyton Manning (6,125).

•Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 376 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the Browns’ Week 17 loss at Baltimore.

Mayfield has 27 touchdown passes this season, surpassing Peyton Manning (26 touchdown passes in 1998) and Russell Wilson (26 in 2012) for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in the common draft era.

•San Francisco tight end George Kittle had nine receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 17 loss.

Kittle, who has 1,377 receiving yards this season, and Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce (1,336 receiving yards in 2018) both surpassed Rob Gronkowski (1,327 in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

•Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the Texans’ Week 17 win over Jacksonville. Watt has 16 sacks in 2018 and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White (five seasons) as the only players since 1982 with four seasons of at least 15 sacks.

•Three non-quarterbacks – Atlanta wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, Detroit kicker Matt Prater and Miami wide receiver Kenny Stills – threw touchdown passes in Week 17. In total, there have been 13 touchdown passes thrown by non-quarterbacks in 2018, the most in a single-season since 1983 (15 touchdowns). Quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan both had touchdown catches in Week 17, marking the first week in the Super Bowl era in which multiple quarterbacks recorded a touchdown reception.

•Other notable performances from last Sunday include:

Eagles quarterback NICK FOLES recorded 25 consecutive completions against Washington, tied with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (Week 12 vs. Arizona) for the most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history.

◦New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley had 142 scrimmage yards (109 rushing, 33 receiving) and one rushing touchdown in the Giants’ Week 17 loss.

Barkley has 2,028 scrimmage yards and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

Barkley, who had four catches against the Cowboys, has 91 receptions this season and surpassed Reggie Bush (88 catches in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen passed for 224 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 42-17 win against Miami. Allen is the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to record three touchdowns passes and two rushing touchdowns in the same game, joining Miami’s David Woodley, who had three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams on November 9, 1980.

Allen has eight rushing touchdowns this season and joins Cam Newton, who had 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011, as the only rookie quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with at least eight rushing touchdowns.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WILD CARD WEEKEND

NEW YEAR, NEW TEAMS: Chicago (12-4, NFC North) and Houston (11-5, AFC South) both completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons. 2018 marked the second consecutive season that two teams went from worst to first – something that has never happened before in any other major US sport.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their divisions and appear in the Super Bowl since 2003:

SEASON: TEAM – RECORD/PRIOR SEASON RECORD (ADVANCED TO)
2003: Carolina –  11-5/7-9 (Super Bowl XXXVIII)
2009: New Orleans – 13-3/8-8 (Won Super Bowl XLIV)
2017: Philadelphia – 13-3/7-9 (Won Super Bowl LII)
2018: Chicago – 12-4/5-11 (???)
2018: Houston – 11-5/4-12 (???)*

*Tied for last place

This season, seven teams qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 – Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle – and all seven will be in action on Wild Card Weekend. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

FROM WILD CARD TO SUPER BOWL: Winners in the Wild Card round have won the Super Bowl nine times. At least one Super Bowl participant in six of the past 13 seasons played in a Wild Card game.

The Wild Card round participants to win the Super Bowl:

SEASON: TEAM – SUPER BOWL RESULT
1980: Oakland – Defeated Philadelphia in Super Bowl XV, 27-10
1997: Denver – Defeated Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, 31-24
2000: Baltimore – Defeated New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7
2005: Pittsburgh – Defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL, 21-10
2006: Indianapolis – Defeated Chicago in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17
2007: New York Giants – Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14
2010: Green Bay – Defeated Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25
2011; New York Giants – Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17
2012: Baltimore – Defeated San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31

WINNING WAYS: Baltimore and Dallas will each be playing on Wild Card Weekend and both will be at home.

The Cowboys (34) are tied with Green Bay (34) and New England (34), the number 2 overall seed in the AFC, for the second-most postseason wins all-time. Only Pittsburgh (36) has more postseason wins in league history.

Wild Card Weekend marks the 62nd playoff game in the history of the Dallas Cowboys and surpasses Pittsburgh (61) for the most postseason games played by a franchise in league annals.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM: W-L, PCT. (SUPER BOWL WINS)
Pittsburgh: 36-25, .590 (6)
Dallas: 34-27, .557 (5)*
Green Bay: 34-22, .607 (4)
New England: 34-20, .630 (5)**
San Francisco: 30-20, .600 (5)
*Plays this weekend
**First-round bye

Baltimore (.652) and New England (.630) own the top two winning percentages in postseason history while Dallas (.557) ranks seventh.

The teams with the highest postseason winning percentage in NFL history:

TEAM: W-L, PCT. (SUPER BOWL WINS)
Baltimore: 15-8, .652 (2)*
New England: 34-20, .630 (5)**
Green Bay: 34-22, .607 (4)
San Francisco: 30-20, .600 (5)
Pittsburgh: 36-25, .590 (6)
Oakland: 25-19, .568 (3)
Dallas: 34-27, .557 (5)*
*Plays this weekend
**First-round bye

POSTSEASON DEBUTS: Several teams will feature a quarterback slated to make his first career postseason start. Among those set to debut on Wild Card Weekend are Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky and Houston’s DeShaun Watson.

The players with the most passing yards in their first career postseason start:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, ROUND – PASSING YARDS)
Kelly Holcomb, Cleveland (2002, AFC Wild Card – 429)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2009, NFC Wild Card – 423)
Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia (1988, NFC Divisional – 407)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1999, NFC Divisional – 391)^
Neil Lomax, St. Louis Cardinals (1982, NFC Wild Card – 385)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TOP DEFENSE: The Chicago Bears defense led the league with the fewest points allowed per game (17.7) this season. In three of the past four seasons, the teams with the top regular-season scoring defense have advanced to the Super Bowl.

The teams with the top scoring defense in the regular season to advance to the Super Bowl since 2002:

SEASON: TEAM, SUPER BOWL RESULT
2002: Tampa Bay, Defeated Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII, 48-21
2003: New England, Defeated Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII, 32-29
2008: Pittsburgh, Defeated Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23
2010: Pittsburgh, Lost to Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25
2013: Seattle, Defeated Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8
2014: Seattle, Lost to New England in Super Bowl XLIX, 28-24
2016: New England, Defeated ATLANTA in Super Bowl LI, 34-28
2018: Chicago, ???

FANTASTIC FOLES: Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns in the 2017 NFC Championship Game against Minnesota and had 373 passing yards with three touchdowns in Super Bowl LII against New England to help lead the Eagles to the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

With 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes on Sunday at Chicago at 4:40 p.m. on NBC, Foles would become the second quarterback in NFL history to record at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in three consecutive postseason games.

The players with the most consecutive postseason games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 300+ PASS YARDS & 3+ TD PASSES
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (3)
Nick Foles, Philadelphia (2)*
*Active streak

RATING RIVERS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will make his 10th career playoff start on Wild Card Weekend.

Rivers, who has recorded a passer rating of 115 or higher in each of his past two postseason starts and plays at Baltimore on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS, can become the fourth quarterback to record three consecutive postseason games with a passer rating of 115 or higher.

The players with the most consecutive postseason games with a passer rating of 115 or higher in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 115+ PASSER RATING)
Joe Montana, San Francisco (5)^
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (3)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (3)
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (2)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak
After an exciting finish to the regular season, the NFL’s second season has arrived.

The NFL postseason begins with four games on Wild Card Weekend.

AFC – Indianapolis at Houston, 4:35 p.m. Saturday on ESPN/ABC
NFC – Seattle at Dallas, 8:15 p.m. Saturday on FOX
AFC – Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. Sunday on CBS
NFC – Philadelphia at Chicago, 4:40 p.m. on NBC

Week 17 came right down to the wire. Sunday’s excitement was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010. Three playoff spots and three divisions titles – the AFC West, AFC North and AFC South – were decided on the final day of the season.

The final 12 teams are set:

AFC

1. Kansas City (12-4), AFC West champion
2. New England (11-5), AFC East champion
3. Houston (11-5), AFC South champion
4. Baltimore (10-6), AFC North champion
5. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)
6. Indianapolis (10-6)

NFC
1. New Orleans (13-3), NFC South champion
2. Los Angeles Rams (13-3), NFC West champion
3. Chicago (12-4), NFC North champion
4. Dallas (10-6), NFC East champion
5. Seattle (10-6)
6. Philadelphia (9-7)

The NFL playoffs, which conclude on February 3 with Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta at 6:30 p.m. on CBS, begin this Saturday and Sunday with Wild Card Weekend.

Both Chicagos (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons.

With Chicago and Houston earning division titles, 2018 marked the second consecutive season that two teams went from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017) – something that has never happened in any other major US sport.

Seven of the 12 playoff teams are new to the postseason in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles Chagers and Seattle. Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Both the Bears (NFC North) and Texans (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons. With Chicago and Houston earning division titles, 2018 marked the second consecutive season that two teams went from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017) – something that has never happened in any other major US sport.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their divisions since 2003:

SEASON – TEAM (RECORD/PRIOR SEASON RECORD, ADVANCED TO)
2003 – Carolina (11-5/7-9, Super Bowl XXXVIII)
2003 – Kansas City (13-3/8-8, AFC Divisonal Playoffs)*
2004 – ATLANTA (11-5/5-11, NFC Championship)
2004 – San Diego (12-4/4-12, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)*
2005 – Chicago (11-5/5-11, NFC Divisonal Playoffs)
2005 – Tampa Bay (11-5/5-11, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2006 – Baltimore (13-3/6-10, AFC Divisonal Playoffs)*
2006 – New Orleans (10-6/3-13, NFC Championship)
2006 – Philadelphia (10-6/6-10, NFC Divisonal Playoffs)
2007 – Tampa Bay (9-7/4-12, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2008 – Miami (11-5/1-15, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3/8-8, Won Super Bowl XLIV)
2010 – Kansas City (10-6/4-12, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2011 – Denver (8-8/4-12, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2011 – Houston (10-6/6-10, AFC Divisional Playoffs)*
2012 – Washington (10-6/5-11, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2013 – Carolina (12-4/7-9, NFC Divisonal Playoffs)*
2013 – Philadelphia (10-6/4-12, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2015 – Washington (9-7/4-12, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2016 – Dallas (13-3/4-12, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2017 – Jacksonville (10-6/3-13, AFC Championship)
2017 – Philadelphia (13-3/7-9, Won Super Bowl LII)
2018 – Chicago (12-4/5-11, ???)
2018 – Houston (11-5/4-12, ???)*
*Tied for last place

A look at the four games on Wild Card Weekend:

Indianapolis (10-6) at Houston (11-5), Saturday at 4:35 p.m. on ESPN/ABC

•This is the first postseason meeting between the AFC South division rivals. The Texans and Colts split the season series in 2018, with Houston winning 37-34 in overtime in Week 4 and Indianapolis taking the finale 24-21 in Week 14.

•The Colts have qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2014. Indianapolis had two players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl: tight end Eric Ebron and rookie guard Quenton Nelson.

•Houston won the AFC South for the third time in the past four seasons (2015 and 2016). Houston had four players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl: linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, wide receiver De Andre Hopkins, linebacker Benardrick McKinney and defensive end J.J. Watt.

Seattle (10-6) at Dallas (10-6), Saturday at 8:15 p.m. on FOX

•This is the second postseason meeting between the two teams. The Seahawks defeated Dallas 21-20 in their 2006 NFC Wild Card meeting (January 6, 2007). This season, Seattle won 24-13 in their Week 3 meeting at CenturyLink Field.

•Seattle returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and have advanced to the postseason in seven of head coach Pete Carroll’s nine seasons with the team. Seattle had two players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl: rookie punter Michael Dickson and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

•Dallas is back in the postseason after capturing the NFC East title for the first time since 2016. Dallas had five players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl, tied with Chicago and New Orleans for the most in the NFC: running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Byron Jones, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, guard Zack Martin and tackle Tyron Smith.

Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) at Baltimore (10-6) Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS

•This is the first postseason meeting between the two teams.

•Baltimore has qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2014 and won the AFC North for the first time since 2012, when they were victorious in Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens had three players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl: linebacker C.J. Mosley, safety Eric Weddle and guard Marshal Yanda.

•The Chargers have advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2013. Los Angeles had a league-best seven players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl: wide receiver Keenan Allen, running back Melvin Gordon, defensive end Melvin Ingram, rookie safety Derwin James, special teamer Adrian Phillips, center Mike Pouncey and quarterback Philip Rivers.

Philadelphia (9-7) at Chicago (12-4), Sunday at 4:40 p.m. on NBC

•The teams will meet in the postseason for the fourth time, with Philadelphia holding a 2-1 edge. In their most recent postseason matchup, the Eagles won 33-19 in Chicago in the 2001 NFC Divisional Playoffs (January 19, 2002). The Bears lead the all-time series 30-13-1, including the postseason.

•Philadelphia, the defending Super Bowl champions, are in the postseason for consecutive years for the first time since the 2009-10 seasons and are seeking to become the first repeat Super Bowl champions since the 2003-04 New England Patriots. Philadelphia had three players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl: guard BRANDON BROOKS, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and tight end Zach Ertz.

•Chicago has qualified for the postseason and claimed the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010. Chicago had five players selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl, tied with Dallas and New Orleans for the most in the NFC: return specialist Tarik Cohen, cornerback Kyle Fuller, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, safety Eddie Jackson and linebacker Khalil Mack.

New teams making the playoffs, terrific turnarounds, consistent teams excelling again, records falling and young players making their mark. The 2018 season had it all.

Competitiveness highlighted the 2018 regular-season as 73 games were decided by three points or fewer, the most in a season in NFL history while 68% of all games played this season (175 of 256) were within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter, tied for the third-most in a season in NFL history. On 71 occasions, teams came back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime – an average of 4.2 teams per week – tied for second-most in a season in NFL history.

Week 17 came down to the wire, as three playoff spots and three divisions titles – the AFC West, AFC North and AFC South – were decided on the final day of the season. Sunday’s excitement was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010.

Seven of the 12 playoff teams are new to the postseason in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle. Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The seasons with at least seven new playoff teams since 1990:

SEASON – PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 – 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1999 – 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2003 – 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2005 – 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 – 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2008 – 7 (Arizona, ATLANTA, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2017 – 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
2018 – 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

Both Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons.

With Chicago and Houston earning division titles, 2018 marked the second consecutive season that two teams went from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017) – something that has never happened in any other major US sport.

OFFENSIVE TRENDS: The 2018 season will go down as one of the most prolific offensive seasons in league history.

Teams combined to score 1,371 total touchdowns, the most in a single season in NFL history, while the 11,952 total points scored are the second-most in league annals (11,985 in 2013).

MOST TOUCHDOWNS, NFL HISTORY
SEASON – TOUCHDOWNS
2018 – 1,371
2013 – 1,338
2015 – 1,318
MOST TOTAL POINTS, NFL HISTORY
SEASON – TOTAL POINTS
2013 – 11,985
2018 – 11,952
2015 – 11,680

With three teams – Kansas City (35.3 points per game), the Los Angeles Rams (32.9) and New Orleans (31.5) – averaging at least 30 points per game, the 2018 season joined 1948, 1949 and 2011 as seasons with at least three teams averaging at least 30 points per game.

The Chiefs, with 565 points scored, finished as the third-highest scoring team in league annals, trailing only the 2013 Denver Broncos (606 points scored) and 2007 New England Patriots (589).

PROLIFIC PASSERS: In 2018, league-wide passing numbers trended at a record pace, as the marks for passer rating (92.9), completion percentage (64.9 percent) and touchdown passes (847) were all the highest for a single season in NFL history, while the total completions (11,462) were the third-highest in a single season in league annals.

SEASON – RATING
2018 – 92.9
2015 – 90.2
2016 – 89.3

SEASON – COMPLETION PCT.
2018 – 64.9
2016 – 63.0
2015 – 63.0

SEASON – TD PASSES
2018 – 847
2015 – 842
2014 – 807

SEASON – COMPLETIONS
2015 – 11,527
2016 – 11,526
2018 – 11,462

Twelve quarterbacks passed for at least 4,000 yards, including five with at least 4,500 passing yards, in 2018: Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (5,129), Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (5,097), Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (4,924), Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff (4,688) and Indianapolis’ Andrew LuckK (4,593).

With 12 quarterbacks reaching 4,000 passing yards, the 2018 season tied the 2015 season for the second-most quarterbacks with at least 4,000 passing yards.

The seasons with the most players with at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

SEASON – PLAYERS WITH 4,000 PASSING YARDS
2016 – 13
2018 – 12
2015 – 12
2014 – 11
2012 – 11

Nine quarterbacks threw at least 30 touchdown passes this season, including four with at least 35 touchdown passes: Mahomes (50), Luck (39), Ryan (35) and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (35).

Eight quarterbacks had a passer rating of 100 or higher, including three with a 110+ passer rating in 2018: New Orleans’ Drew Brees (115.7), Mahomes (113.8) and Wilson (110.9). The eight quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher were the most in a single season in NFL history, surpassing the previous record of six in the 2015 season.

TOP BACKS: Nine players rushed for at least 1,000 yards, including three players with at least 1,200 rushing yards, this season: Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (1,434), New York Giants’ rookie Saquon Barkley (1,307) and Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley (1,251).

The 2018 season saw players average 4.42 yards per rush attempt, the highest single-season total in league history.

The seasons with the highest average yards per rush attempt in NFL history:

SEASON – AVERAGE YARDS PER RUSH ATTEMPT
2018 – 4.42
2011 – 4.29
2012 – 4.26

Six players recorded at least 10 rushing touchdowns in 2018: Gurley (17), New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara (14), Pittsburgh’s James Conner (12), Tennessee’s Derrick Henry (12), Saquon Barkley (11) and Los Angeles Chargers’ Melvin Gordon (10).

RIDICULOUS RECEIVERS: Twenty-one players had at least 1,000 receiving yards, including six with at least 1,400 receiving yards, this season: Atlanta’s Julio Jones (1,677), Houston’s De Andre Hopkins (1,572), Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (1,524), Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill (1,479), Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster (1,426) and New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (1,405).

Eleven players had at least 100 receptions in 2018, including seven with at least 110 catches: Thomas (125), Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (116), Hopkins (115), Minnesota’s Adam Thielen (113), Jones (113), Green Bay’s Davante Adams (111) and  Smith-Schuster (111).

With 11 players recording at least 100 catches this season, the 2018 season surpassed the 1995 season (nine) for the most players with at least 100 catches in a single season.

The seasons with the most players with at least 100 receptions in NFL history:

SEASON – PLAYERS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS
2018 – 11
1995 – 9
2015 – 7

Nine players had at least 10 touchdown catches this season, including four with at least 12 touchdown receptions: Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (15), Adams (13), Indianapolis’ Eric Ebron (13) and Hill (12).

DOMINANT DEFENDERS: Twenty-two players recorded at least 10 sacks, including six with at least 14 sacks, in 2018: Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald (20.5), Houston’s J.J. Watt (16), Kansas City’s Chris Jones (15.5), Denver’s Von Miller (14.5), Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter (14.5) and Seattle’s Frank Clark (14).

With 16 players recording at least 12 sacks, the 2018 season tied the 1992 season (16 players) for the third-most players with at least 12 sacks in a single season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The seasons with the most players with at least 12 sacks since 1982:

SEASON – PLAYERS WITH 12+ SACKS
1984 – 19
1983 – 18
2018 – 16
1992 – 16

Six players recorded at least five interceptions in 2018: Chicago’s Kyle Fuller (seven), Miami’s Xavien Howard (seven), Atlanta’s Damontae Kazee (seven), Chicago’s Eddie Jackson (six), Cincinnati’s Shawn Williams (five) and New York Giants’ Alec Ogletree (five).

After two weekends of going 8-8, we got ourselves back on track by going 13-3 and for the season, we’re 145-107. Wild Card weekend gets underway in the Lone Star State as Houston and Dallas host their contests on Saturday and concludes in the Windy City as the defending Super Bowl champs open their defense of their title. As an added bonus, all of the post-season games are going 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 58 last June and dates a 43-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 post-season football. It’s win and advance; lose and you’re clearing out your locker. The regular season’s done and it’s time to either defend your title or win one of your own. With that, here are the Saturday and Sunday Wild Card picks.

Indianapolis (10-6) at Houston (11-5), 4:35 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. Luck vs. Watson. They meet again. This time, it’s in Houston as a pair of AFC South rivals open the 2018 wild Card round in the Lone Star State. Both clubs enter the Saturday afternoon contest at NRG Stadium with wins under their belts.

Andrew Luck and the Colts led from start to finish in their 33-17 “winner-take-all” AFC South contest at Tennessee last Sunday. Indianapolis led 17-10 at the break, then pulled away from the Titans in the second half to take the win. Luck threw for 285 yards and three TDs with an interception (he was sacked once), while Blaine Gabbert, who took over for Marcus Mariota, threw for 165 yards with a TD toss to TE Luke Stocker but was picked off twice. Indianapolis outrushed Tennessee 158-93 with Derrick Henry accounting for all of their yardage, while the Colts’ Marlon Mack led all rushers with 119 yards and a TD. The Colts were 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 40:13, while Tennessee kept the ball for 19:47, while going 1 of 9 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Houston held Jacksonville to a Kai Forbath field goal in the first quarter and cruised their way to the AFC South titla, taking a 20-3 win over the Jagaurs at NRG Stadium last Sunday. Houston broke a 3-3 first quarter tie, took a 17-3 lead with them to the intermission and never looked back, shutting out the Jaguars the rest of the way. Houston held Jacksonville to 30 yards rushing, while tallying 134 for themselves, with DeSean Watson leading the way with 66 of those yards. Watson threw for 234 yards and despite being sacked six times, did not throw an interception, while sacking Blake Bortles (107 yards) three times and picked him off once. Houston was 6 of 17 on third down tries but had success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and the Texans kept the ball for 35:07, while the Jaguars were 24:53 in time of possession, going 3 for 12 on third down.

They met twice in the 2018 campaign and split the two contests, each taking wins in the other team’s building. Their first meeting was in week four in the Hoosier State and Houston used a pair of Ka’imi Fairbairn field goals in overtime to take a 38-34 win over Indianpolis and Andrew Luck in the Hoosier State in week four. Houston took a 21-10 lead with them to the half, before Indianapolis would rally to pull even with 45 seconds left in regulation when Luck and rookie RB Nyheim Hines connected on a 9-yard TD toss. The Colts, who were outrushed by the Texans 119-41, scored first in the overtime on a 44 yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri to take a 3-point lead. That lead would not last very long as Fairbairn connected on a 29-yard field goal with 1:50 left in the period. Houston then got the ball back after a Colts punt and the Texans used all 24 seconds left and took the win when Fairbairn connected on a 37-yard field goal as time expired to pick up their first win of the season. Houston’s DeShaun Watson threw for 375 yards with a pair of TD but was sacked seven times, while Luck was sacked four times. Indy was 10 of 17 on third down (the Colts were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:56, while the Texans kept the ball for 40:04, going 8 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Colts evened the score, coming away 24-21 winners in Houston in week 14. In that meeting, Indianapolis broke Houston’s 9-game win streak as Luck and the Colts came away winners Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium. The Texans took a 7-0 lead after the first quarter and saw that lead vanish as the Colts scored 17 second quarter points unchallenged to take a 17-7 lead with them to the intermission. Houston would eventually make it a 3-point game with 2:37 left in regulation when WR DeAnrde Hopkins and Texans QB DeShaun Watson connected on a 7-yard TD toss to bring them closer. The Colts then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win over their AFC South rivals. While Houston outrushed Indianapolis 89-50, Luck threw for 399 yards with a pair of TDs, while Watson threw for 267 yards with a TD and no interceptions (Watson was sacked five times, Luck was sacked twice and threw an interception). The Texans were 5 of 15 on third down conversions (they were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and they would keep the ball for 31:57, while the Colts would keep the pigskin for 28:03, going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Indianapolis was a 2-point favorite in the Hoosier State in week four and the Texans would come away 3-point overtime winners, allowing them to cover the spread and the 71 combined points in the contest allowed both teams to cove the 47 1/2 over/under. In the week 14 contest in Houston, the Texans saw themselves favored by 4 1/2 but the Colts came out with the 3-point road win. As for the 48 1/2 over/under? It was safe and sound, as both teams tallied only 45 points. This time, the boys and girls in Vegas like the Texans as 2 1/2-point favorites with a 47 1/2 over/under. The winner of this game? They get to go to Foxboro; as for the loser? They are done for the year. Houston covers the 2 1/2 in the Lone Star State and advances to the next round.

Seattle (10-6) at Dallas (10-6), 8:15 p.m. Saturday on FOX. Saturday Wild Card action concludes in Arlington as Dallas and Seattle meet at Jerry World (AT&T Stadium). Both teams survived scares to close out regular season play last week.

Seattle broke a 24-24 tie in the final seconds at home in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, coming away 27-24 winners against NFC West rival Arizona at Century Link Field. Leading the Desert Angry Birds 14-13 at the intermission, Arizona would eventually pull themselves even with 1:49 left on a Zendalas Gonzalez field goal to tie the contest up at 24-24. Seattle would use all of the 1:49 that was on the clock, using an 8-play, 60-yard drive and sending their fan base home happy when K Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 33-yard field goal as time ran out. Seattle rushed for 182 yards in the win (Seahawks RB Chris Carson led all rushers with 122 yards and a TD), while holding Arizona to 85 yards on the ground. Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw for 152 yards, while Cardinals’ QB Josh Rosen threw for 149 yards (each threw a TD pass; Wilson connected with Todd Lockett, Rosen connected with Larry Fitzgerald, Wilson had an interception) and each man was sacked six times. Seattle was 4 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 29:09 (including the final 1:49 of the contest), while Arizona ruled the clock and held the ball for 30:51 and went 4 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas erased a 35-28 deficit in the Meadowlands and came away 36-35 winners at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. The Cowboys, who rested RB Ezekiel Elliott, rallied with 72 seconds left in regulation when Dak Prescott and WR Cole Beasley connected on a 32-yard TD pass to make it a 1-pont contest. Dallas, who used nine plays and 70 yards to score, then took the lead when Prescott and rookie WR Michael Gallup connected on the two-point conversion. Dallas then held off a last-ditch rally by the Giants to take the win in upstate New Jersey, stopping four Eli Manning passes that could have give the Giants the win. While New York did outrush Dallas 143-51 (Saquon Barkley led all rushers with 109 yards), Prescott threw for 387 yards with four TDs (Prescott was sacked four times but did not throew an interception), while Manning threw for 301 yards with a TD toss to TE Evan Engram, while he was sacked once and threw an interception. Dallas was 11 of 17 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:52, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 29:08 and went 7 of 15 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Dallas and Seattle met in the Pacific Northwest in week 3 and the Seahawks prevailed 24-13. In the Seahawks win, Dallas was held in check by Russell Wilson and Seattle in the Pacific Northwest as the Seahawks took the 11-point win at Century Link Field in the late Sunday afternoon contest. Dallass trailed 17-3 at the half and could never really get on track, even though they did outscore Seattle 10-3 in the second half. Dallas did outrush Seattle 166-113, with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 127 yards, while Seattle was paced by Chris Carson, who ran for 102 yards and a rushing TD. wilson threw for 192 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dak Prescott threw for 168 yards with five sacks and picked off twice by CB Earl Thomas. Seattle was 7 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 32:44, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 27:16, going 3 of 13 on third down conversions, 1 of 2 on fourth down tries.

In the week three contest in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, Seattle was favored by 1 1/2 points and covered, winning by 11 points. The 41 1/2 over/under was untouched, as the two teams mustered a mere 37 points. The Cowboys are favored by 2 1/2 in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 43. Seattle’s looking to repeat history, Dallas is looking for revenge and the winner of this one gets to go to the Big Easy and a date with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. They may not cover the 2 1/2 but Seattle prevails in Jerry World, taking the win on the road.

Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) at Baltimore (10-6), 1 p.m. Sunday on CBS. Sunday Wild Card action gets underway in Charm City as the Ravens host Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Chargers got revenge from a week 11 loss to Denver at Stub Hub and came away 23-9 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High last Sunday. After a scoreless first quarter, Los Angeles led 7-3 at the break, took a 14-3 lead with them to the final 15 minutes of action and held the Broncos in check the rest of the way. The Chargers outrushed Denver 116-82 and Rivers threw for 176 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions, while Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 292 yards with a TD, a sack and was picked off once. The Chargers, who got a defensive two-point conversion from CB Casey Heyward, went 4 for 11 on third down tries in the Mile High City and kept the ball for 28:12, while Denver actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:48, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

The Ravens held off a late Cleveland rally at home in Charm City and came away 26-24 winners last Sunday, taking the AFC North title at M&T Bank Stadium.

They met in Los Angeles in week 16 at Stub Hub Centre and the Chargers watched Baltimore keep their playoff hopes alive on the West Coast as the Ravens held off the Chargers 22-10 at Stub Hub Centre. The Ravens led 6-3 at the half against Rivers and the Chargers, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, reclaiming the lead after the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon scored on a 1-yard run with 13:18 left in the third.

Baltimore would then go on to score their final 16 points of the game unchallenged, with the final tally coming when CB Tavon Young scored on a 62-yard fumble return with 2:40 left as the Chargers were driving to tie the contest up. Baltimore outrushed Los Angeles 159-51, with Jackson throwing for 204 yards and a TD, while Rivers threw for 181 yards (Rivers was sacked four times and picked off twice, Jackson was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). Baltimore went 4 of 14 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Ravens held on to the ball for 31:25, while the Chargers held on to the ball for 28:35, going 4 for 13 on thir down tries in the Saturday night contest on the West Coast.

In the week 16 Saturday night contest on the West Coast, the Bolts were favored by 5 and the Ravens covered, winning by 12. The 44 1/2 over/under was untouched as they combined for 32 points. This time? The Ravens are favored by 2 in Charm City and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Baltimore’s looking to prove that the first meeting was not a fluke; as for the Chargers, they’re looking for revenge from their loss at home to the Ravens in week 16. The winner of this one? They get to face some guy named Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxboro.Revenge wins out here. Bolts cover the 2 in Charm City and takes the win.

Philadelphia (9-7) at Chicago (12-4), 4:40 p.m. Sunday on NBC. Wild Card weekend comes to an end in the Windy City as the Monsters of the Midway, Da Bears, host the defending Super Bowl champs at Soldier Field. Both clubs won their regular season finales on the road last week.

Philadelphia got help from Chicago as Da Bears beat Minnesota 24-10 in the Twin Cities, then shutout Washington 24-0 at FedEx Field. The defending Super Bowl champs scored all of their points in the contest unchallenged and led 10-0 at the half against their NFC East rivals. Philadelphia held Washington to 21 yards rushing, while they tallied 129 yards of their own. Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor each caught TD passes from Nick Foles (221 yards, three sacks, interception; Agholor also caught a TD pass from backup QB Nate Sudfeld), while Washington’s Josh Johnson threw for 91 yards, four sacks and an interception. The Eagles were 8 for 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and were ball hogs, keeping the pigskin away from Washington for 43:19, while the Redskins were a dismal 0 for 9 on third down (2 for 4 on fourth down) and held the ball for 16:41.

Chicago ended Minnesota’s hopes for a playoff spot as Da Bears would leave the Twin Cities 24-10 winners at US Bank Stadium. Chicago led 13-3 at the intermission in the Land of 10,000 Lakes thanks to a pair of rushing TDs by Jordan Howard before the Vikings made it a 7-point game with 1:51 left in the third quarter when WR Stefon Diggs caught a 2-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins. Chicago would put the contest on ice in the fourth quarter, with Tarik Cohen rushing for a 3-yard TD run with 7:46 left in the contest. Chicago would then go for two and found success when Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Kwiatkoski connected on the conversion. Cody Parkey would then put the nail in Minnesota’s coffin when he connected on a 42-yard field goal to seal the win. Da Bears outrushed Minnesota 169-63, with Howard leading the way with 109 yards and the two TDs. Trubisky threw for 163 yards without a sack or interception, while Cousins threw for 132 yards with four cats and no interceptions. Chicago went 8 for 14 on third down (they were 0 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball in hibernation for 37:08, while the Vikings were 1 of 11 and 1 of 4 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 22:52.

While Chicago and Philadelphia did not meet in the 2018 regular season, Da Bears lead da regular season series 28-12-1 and they have outscored the Eagles 873-617. The Eagles have won the last three regular season meetings, including taking a 31-3 win in the City of Brotherly Love in 2017, while Chicago’s last win over the Eagles in regular season action came in 2011 when da Bears left Philadelphia 30-24 winners.

The two teams were know for their last post-season contest in Chicago, which took place in 2001 in the NFC Divisonal Playoffs in Chicago and the Eagles were 33-19 winners but the two teams are best known for the “Fog Bowl” that was played at Solider Field in 1988 (also a Divisonal Playoff game) which da Bears braved the elements and a fog that was coming off Lake Michigan to take a 20-12 win. The contest started with sunny weather in the Windy City and then the fog became the star of the show. According to WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune, as the fog continued into the start of the second half, the broadcast (CBS televised the contest) was shown from the field cameras instead of the ones overhead due to the conditions. Terry Bradshaw, who was working with Vern Lundquist, even moved from the booth to the field in an effort to provide better commentary.

As for that regular season meeting… it took place in week 12 in the City of Brotherly Love and the Eagles scored 24 first half points unchecked and held Da Bears to a 38-yard field goal by Carlos Santos in the third quarter. LeGarrett Blount ran for 97 of Philadelphia’s 176 yards, while the Bears were held to a somewhat dismal 6 yards on the ground and Carson Wentz threw for 227 yards and three TDs without an interception, while Trubisky threw for 147 yards with a pair of interceptions and a pair of sacks. Philadelphia was 7 of 16 on third down but struck paydirt on fourth down, going 3 for 4 and kept the ball for 37:08, while Chicago went 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 22:52.

The Eagles easily covered the 13 1/2-point spread in the week 12 2017 contest, winning by 28 but the 44 over/under stayed in tact, as both teams scored 34 points. Chicago’s favored by 5 1/2 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense. The winner gets to go to Los Angeles and play the Rams again. The loser… their season is done. Long live the king. Bears take the win at home in the Windy City, even though the Eagles could make it closer than the 5 1/2.

Two weeks left. Five playoff spots have been claimed. Seven more spots are open and come the end of play on Christmas Eve night, those spots could very well be filled. Football’s answer to the kid’s party game Musicial Chairs continues and for those that are still in contention, as long as the music plays and there are chairs, you have a chance. It’s when the music stops and there’s scrambling for a chair that presents a problem. The winner gets to stay, the loser gets the somewhat unfair task of sitting out and watching the others have fun.

When the 2018 NFL regular season comes to an end December 30, 12 teams will be on the NFL nice list, which means that they’ll be in the post-season party. For the other 20 teams that didn’t make the post-season? They’re on the naughty list.

SEVEN FROM LAST SUNDAY: Chicago defeated Green Bay, 24-17 to clinch the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010.

The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

The Los Angeles Chargers, who defeated Kansas City 29-28 on Thursday night, clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013.

•Tennessee running back Derrick Henry rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ 17-0 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Henry rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Week 14, became the fifth player since 2002 to record at least 170 rushing yards and two touchdown runs in consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer La Dainian Tomlinson (2006), Deuce Mc Allister (2003), Clinton Portis (2003) and Ricky Williams (2002).

Henry’s 408 rushing yards since Week 14 are the most by a player over a two-game span in franchise history, surpassing the previous high of 405 yards set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Earl Campbell in Weeks 7-8 for the 1980 Houston Oilers. His six rushing touchdowns are the most by a player in team history over any two-game span.

•Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed 20 of 28 passes (71.4 percent) for 235 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 120.4 passer rating in the Bears’ 24-17 victory over Green Bay.

Trubisky has recorded a passer rating of at least 120 (minimum 15 attempts) in four games this season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman (three games in 1943), Rudy Bukich (three in 1965) and Erik Kramer (three in 1995) for the most such games by a quarterback in a single season in franchise history.

•Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 82 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 40-14 victory over Arizona.

Jones, who leads the NFL with 1,511 receiving yards, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least three career seasons with 1,500+ receiving yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (four seasons) and Marvin Harrison (three), Antonio Brown (three) and Andre Johnson (three). Jones also has 100 receptions this season, joining Harrison (three), Brown (three) and Johnson (three) as the only players in NFL history with at least 100 catches and 1,500 receiving yards in three career seasons.

•Baltimore, led by rookie running back Gus Edwards (104 rushing yards) and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson (95 rushing yards), recorded 242 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 20-12 victory over Tampa Bay. Baltimore has rushed for at least 190 yards in five consecutive games and is the first team to accomplish the feat since the 1976 Pittsburgh Steeler, who had five consecutive games from October 17 to November 14.

•Indianapolis running back Marlon Mack rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 23-0 victory over Dallas.

Mack, who also rushed for 132 yards and two scores in the Colts’ Week 8 victory over Oakland, is the third player in franchise history to record multiple games with at least 125 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (two games in 1987) and Edgerrin James (two games in both 1999 and 2005).

•Minnesota recorded nine sacks, including two sacks each from defensive end Dannielle Hunter and linebacker Anthony Barr, in the team’s 41-17 victory over Miami. The Vikings, who recorded 10 sacks in the team’s Week 9 victory over Detroit, are the second team since 1990 to register at least nine sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars (two games). The Vikings are the seventh team since the 1970 merger to record multiple such games in a single season.

As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one team still alive in the race to Atlanta.

Two teams – Chicago (NFC North) and the Los Angeles Chargers (playoff berth) – clinched a berth in the 2018 NFL postseason last week. Da Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

In the AFC, Houston (10-4) can clinch the AFC South division title with a victory, while New England (9-5) can secure their 10th consecutive AFC East division title with a win. The Patriots have advanced to the postseason in nine consecutive seasons (2009-2017), tied with Dallas (nine from 1975-1983) and Indianapolis (nine from 2002-2010) for the most consecutive seasons in NFL history with a playoff berth.

Kansas City (11-3) and the Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) are tied atop with the AFC West and continue to battle for position in the AFC playoff picture. Pittsburgh (8-5-1) can secure the AFC North title with a victory coupled with a Baltimore loss. Additionally, Baltimore (8-6), Cleveland (6-7-1), Indianapolis (8-6), Miami (7-7) and Tennessee (8-6) all look to remain in the hunt.

In the NFC, three divisions have been clinched – the NFC North (Chicago), NFC South (New Orleans) and NFC West (Los Angeles Rams). The battle for the NFC East continues, as Dallas (8-6) can secure the division title with a victory this week but  Philadelphia (7-7) and Washington (7-7) remain in the thick of the race.

With a win in Week 16, New Orleans (12-2) would clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The race for the two Wild Card positions in the NFC remains competitive, with Carolina (6-8), Minnesota (7-6-1) and Seattle (8-6) fighting for a position in the playoff picture. The scenarios for week 16 can either so clear even a five-year old could understand or cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!). Below are the scenarios for week 16. Pay attention and take notes… there will be a quiz afterward.

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 16

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title, New Orleans – NFC South division title, Chicago – NFC North division title

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (12-2) vs. Pittsburgh (8-5-1), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

New Orleans clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
New Orleans win OR
New Orleans tie + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie OR
CHI loss or tie + Los Angeles Rams loss

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:
New Orleans tie OR
Chicago loss or tie OR
Los Angeles Rams loss

Los Angeles Rams (11-3) at Arizona (3-11), Sunday at 4:05 p.m. on FOX

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:
Los Angeles Rams win + Chicago loss or tie OR
Los Angeles Rams tie + Chicago loss

Dallas (8-6) vs. Tampa Bay (5-9), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:
Dallas win OR
Dallas tie + Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss or tie OR
Philadelphia loss + Washington loss

Dallas clinches a playoff berth with:
Dallas tie + Minnesota loss

Seattle (8-6) vs. Kansas City (11-3), Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:
Seattle win + Washington loss or tie OR
Seattle win or tie + Minnesota loss OR
Seattle win + Seattle clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Washington OR
Seattle win + Minnesota tie + Seattle clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Minnesota OR
Seattle tie + Washington loss + Philadelphia loss or tie

Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

Minnesota clinches a playoff berth with:
Minnesota win+ Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss

AFC

CLINCHED: Kansas City Chiefs – Playoff berth, Los Angeles Chargers – Playoff berth

Kansas City (11-3) at Seattle (8-6), Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:
Kansas City win + Los Angeles Chargers loss

Kansas City clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
Kansas City win + Los Angeles Chargers loss + Houston loss or tie OR
Kansas City win + Los Angeles Chargers loss + Kansas City clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Houston

Houston (10-4) at Philadelphia (7-7), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:
Houston win or tie OR
Indianapolis  loss or tie + TEN loss or tie

Houston clinches a first-round bye with:
Houston win + New England loss or tie OR
Houston tie + New England loss

Houston clinches a playoff berth with:
Baltimore loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh loss OR
Tennessee loss or tie + Houston clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Baltimore

New England (9-5) vs. Buffalo (5-9), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches AFC East division title with:
New England win or tie OR
Miami loss or tie

Pittsburgh (8-5-1) at New Orleans (12-2), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division title with:
Pittsburgh win + Baltimore loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh tie + Baltimore loss

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:
Pittsburgh win + Indianapolis loss + Tennessee loss

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 16:

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one team still alive in the race to Atlanta.

Two teams – Chicago Bears (NFC North) and the Los Angeles Chargers (playoff berth) – clinched a berth in the 2018 NFL postseason last week. The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. The Houston Texans (10-4), who finished in last in the AFC South in 2017, can clinch the division title at Philadelphia at 1 p.m. on CBS with a win or tie or if both Indianapolis and Tennessee lose or tie.

In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 45 touchdown passes this season.

On Sunday night at Seattle at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, Mahomes can continue his climb up the NFL’s single season touchdown pass leaderboard.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 55)#
Tom Brady, New England (2007 – 50)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004 – 49)#
Dan Marino, Miami (1984 – 48)^#
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 46)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018 – 45)*
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2011 – 45)#
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player
*Entering Week 16

SHAKE & BAKER: Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield, selected first overall by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft, leads all rookies with 21 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes on Sunday at home against Cincinnati at 1 p.m. on CBS, Mayfield would surpass Andrew Luck (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

The most touchdown passes by a rookie selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (1998 – 26)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2012 – 23)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (2015 – 22)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (2018 – 21)*
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011 – 21)#
#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year
*Entering Week 16

RUN & CATCH: Carolina running back Chrstian McCaffrey leads all running backs with 94 receptions in 2018.

With nine receptions on Sunday at home against Atlanta at 1 p.m. on FOX, McCaffrey would surpass Matt Forté (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

The running backs with the most receptions in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Matt Forté, Chicago (2014 – 102)
Larry Centers, Arizona (1995 – 101)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2003 – 100)^
Larry Centers, Arizona (1996 – 99)
Chrstian McCaffrey, Carolina (2018 – 94)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 16

New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley leads all rookies with 82 receptions and needs seven catches at Indianapolis at 1 p.m. on CBS to surpass Reggie Bush (88 in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in league annals:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Reggie Bush, New Orleans (2006 – 88)
Earl Cooper, San Francisco (1980 – 83)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018 – 82)*
*Entering Week 16

RECORD-SETTING TIGHT ENDS: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce leads all tight ends with a career-high 1,220 receiving yards in 2018.

With 108 receiving yards against Seattle on Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, Kelce would surpass Rob Gronkowski (1,327 receiving yards in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECIEVING YARDS)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (2011 – 1,327)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2011 – 1,310)
Kellen Winslow, San Diego (1980 – 1,290)^
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2004 – 1,258)
Todd Christensen, Los Angeles Raiders (1983 – 1,247)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (2018 – 1,220)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 16

Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz, who ranks third in the NFL with 101 receptions, needs 10 catches against Houston on Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS to surpass Jason Witten (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in league annals.

The tight ends with the most receptions in a single season in league annals:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Jason Witten, Dallas (2012 – 110)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2004 – 102)
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia (2018 – 101)*
*Entering Week 16

KEEP IT 100: Five players – New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas (109 receptions), Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen (105), Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz (101), Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones (100) and Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams (100) – have recorded at least 100 receptions this season.

Entering Week 16, six additional players – Pittsburgh wide receivers Juju Smith-Schuster (95 receptions) and Antonio Brown (90), Houston wide receiver De Andre Hopkins (94), Carolina running back Chrstian McCaffrey (94), Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce (93) and Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs (92) – currently have at least 90 receptions.

With 10 players recording at least 100 catches this season, the 2018 season would surpass the 1995 season (nine) for the most players with at least 100 catches in a single season.

The seasons with the most players with at least 100 receptions in NFL history:

SEASON – PLAYERS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS

1995 – 9
2015 – 7
Many tied with 6
2018 – 5*
*Entering Week 16

Week 16 got underway with a Saturday doubleheader starting in Nashville as Tennessee held off Washington 26-15 in Nashville in the first contest of the day and Baltimore edged the Los Angeles Chargers 22-10 at Stub Hub Centre in the second Saturday contest. Week 16 concludes in Oakland on Christmas Eve as the Raiders and Broncos meet in an AFC West/AFC contest.

As for last week… a lot better than we had hoped, going 8-8 for the week, 124-96 for the year. We hear that Santa likes Monday night football, so be sure to leave some football-shaped cookies for him and hay for the reindeer Monday night. Having said that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 16.

ATLANTA (5-9) at Carolina (6-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons make the 245-mile trip up I-85 for a rematch with NFC South rival Carolina in Charlotte. The Panthers will be without QB Cam Newton because of a lingering shoulder injury, which means that Taylor Heinicke will be under center for the remainder of the season.

The Falcons trailed Arizona 7-0 early in the first quarter, then proceeded to score 40 points unchallenged in their home finale, breaking their five-game losing streak and came away with the 40-14 win in the Big Peach. Atlanta led 26-7 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the second half, using a 43-yard run from RB Tevin Coleman and a 5-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Justin Hardy to all but seal Arizona’s fate. Atlanta outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 215-60 with Coleman leadng the way on the ground with 145 yards on 11 carries, Ryan threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (one to WR Julio Jones) and had a rushing TD of his own, while Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 132 yards in the lopsided loss, throwing a pair of interceptions to go with six sacks. Atlanta went 5 of 13 on third down tries in the home finale and ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:40, while the Cardinals were 3 for 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:20.

Carolina dropped their sixth contest in a row, losing in Charlotte to New Orleans 12-9 last Monday night. The Panthers led 7-6 at the intermission at Bank of America Stadium before the Saints would take the lead away from the Panthers when Alvin Kamara scored on a 16-yard run with 12:12 left in the contest. New Orleans then attempted a 2-point conversion to make the contest a five-point affair but Drew Brees’ 2-point attempt to WR Michael Thomas was picked off by Dante Jackson, who ran the ball back for a defensive two point conversion to keep the Panthers close. Carolina would later get the ball back after New Orleans fumbled it out of the endzone, creating a touchback and giving the Panthers the ball on their 20-yard line. Newton and the Panthers would eventually get as close as their 39-yard line but could not get any closer as Newton’s fourth-down pass attempt was incomplete, which gave the Saints the ball back and New Orleans would run the clock out and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 155-98 and Newton threw for 131 yards with four sacks, while Brees threw for 203 yards (both men threw an interception, Newton was sacked four times, Brees twice). Carolina was 7 of 15 on third down (the Panther were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:09, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

They met in the Big Peach in week 2 and the Falcons came away with the 31-24 win. Atlanta took a 17-10 halftime lead against Cam Newton and the Panthers in the Big Peach to take the win, as Ryan threw a pair of TD passes (the first to rookie WR Calvin Ridley, the second to TE Austin Hooper) but Ryan also contributed with a pair of rushing TDs inside the red zone. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 170-121, with Falcons RB Tevin Coleman leading all rushers with 107 yards in the contest. Newton threw for 335 yards and three TDs, while Ryan threw for 272 yards (both Ryan and Newton were picked off once). Atlanta would go on to hold off a late Carolina rally that would have tied things up in the final seconds of the fourth quarter when Newton’s final pass attempt fell short of its mark and went incomplete. Carolina was 5 of 11 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:18, while Atlanta was 6 of 11 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 29:42.

The Falcons covered the 5 1/2-point spread with their 7-point win in the Big Peach in the week two contest and both teams took care of and covered the 44 over/under, combining for 55 points. The rematch in the Tar Heel State has Carolina as a 3-point favorite with a 48 over/under. Carolina’s trying to get themselves into the post-season party. Atlanta would love nothing more than to crash Carolina’s hopes.

Cincinnati (6-8) at Cleveland (6-7-1), 1 p.m. on CBS  and DirecTV 706. It’s round two of the Buckeye State War as the Bengals make the 248-mile trip up I–77 to face off against the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North rematch along the shores of Lake Erie. Both teams were winners in last week’s action.

The Bengals broke a five-game losing streak as they came away with a 30-16 win over Oakland 33:19at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday. Cincinnati led 20-7 at the intermission, even though they would be outscored 13-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Bengals HB Joe Mixon led all rushers with 129 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bengals outrushed the Silver and Black 171-68 and the Cincinnati defense sacked Derek Carr (263 yards, TD) five times, while Josh Driskell threw for 130 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd, a sack and an interception. The Bengals were 8 for 19 on third down conversions (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:19, while the Raiders went 3 for 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:41.

The suddenly resurging Browns erased a 13-10 deficit at the end of the third quarter at Denver last Saturday night and came away 17-16 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Cleveland and Denver entered halftime tied at 10-10 before the Broncos took the 13-10 lead with 1:41 left in the third on a Brandon McManus field goal to go into the fourth quarter on top. That would not be the case as the Browns would take the lead with 11:44 left in regulation when rookie QB Baker Mayfield and rookie WR Antonio Callaway connected on a 2-yard TD strike to take a four-point lead. McMannus would pull the Broncos to within one with 4:35 left thanks to a 29-yard field goal and Denver would eventually get the ball back after Cleveland punted with 1:49. The Broncos would get as close as midfield as Denver QB Case Keenum would throw three interceptions and was sacked by CB Jabril Peppers to end any hopes of Denver winning the contest. Cleveland outrushed Denver 134-32, with rookie RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 100 yards on the ground, Mayfield threw for 188 yards and a pair of TDs for the Broncos, while Keenum threw for 257 yards with a rushing TD, while throwing a pair of interceptions (both Mayfield and Keenum were sacked twice). Cleveland was 5 of 12 on third down, Denver was 5 of 14 and the Broncos actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:39, while the Browns kept it for 27:21 (both clubs went 1 of 2 on fourth down).

The two Ohio/AFC North rivals met along the shores of the Ohio River in week 12 and it would be the Browns that would prevail that afternoon, taking a 35-20 out of Cincinnati that afternoon. Cincinnati trailed 28-7 at the intermission and could never get things on track at home. While Cincinnati outrushed Cleveland 129-84, Andy Dalton threw for only 100 yards with a TD and an interception before he left the contest with a thumb injury that will have him sidelined for the rest of the season, while Browns rookie QB Baker Mayfield burned their instate rivals for 258 yards and four TDs, including a TD toss to Nick Chubb. The Bengals were 4 for 12 on third down (they were 2 for 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:56, while the Browns kept the pigskin for 32:04, going 5 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Cincinnati was favored by 3 and the Browns covered the 3, winning by 15. Both teams took care of the 47 1/2 over/under, merging for 55 points. This time, it’s Cleveland’s turn to be favored and the boys and girls in Vegas like them as 7-point favorites with a 45 over/under. For the Browns, they want to get one step closer to the post-season; for the Bengals, it’s about revenge and bursting Cleveland’s bubble. Browns fans, it was fun while it lasted but the carriage is about to turn back into a football. Bengals get their revenge on their instate rivals and covers the 7.

Tampa Bay (5-9) at Dallas (8-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Lone Star State as Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay travels to Arlington for a Sunday afternoon contest with Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams took road losses in last week’s action.

Winston faced another Heisman winner in as many weeks as Baltimore and Lamar Jackson kept their playoff hopes alive in Charm City after they came away 20-12 winners over Tampa Bay last Sunday. After a scoreless first quarter, the Ravens took a 10-9 lead with them to the intermission thanks to a 24-yard field goal by Jeff Tucker with nine seconds left before the break, then got 10 more points in the second half, courtesy of a 10-yard TD run by RB Gino Edwards and a second Tucker field goal to close out the Baltimore scoring plays. Edwards led all rushers with 104 yards as Baltimore outrushed Tampa Bay 242-85 and Jackson threw for 131 yards and a TD, while Jameis Winston threw for 157 yards with an interception and a sack (Jackson was sacked twice but was interception-free). Baltimore went 9 of 16 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:10, while the Buccaneers kept the ball for 22:50, going 3 of 10 on third down and 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Dallas’ bid to win the NFC East were put on hold in the Hoosier State as Indianapolis would shut out the Cowboys 23-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was the Adam Vinatieri and Marlon Mack show for the Colts, as Mack would score on touchdown runs of one and six yards, while Vinatieri chipped in with three field goals, the longest coming from 44 yards out as time expired in the first 30 minutes of play. The Colts, scoring all of their points unchallenged, outrushed Dallas 178-112, with Mack leading the way with 139 yards on the ground, while Ezekiel Elliott led Dallas with 87. Luck threw for 192 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Prescott threw for 206 yards with three sacks and an interception. The Colts were 8 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:48, while the Cowboys were 28:12 in time of possession, going a somewhat dismal 4 for 12 on third down and 1 of 5 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series 12-4 and the Cowboys have outscored the Buccaneers 300-228. Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2016 in Arlington as they would come out on top by a final of 26-20, while Tampa Bay’s last win came in the Sunshine State by a final of 10-9 in 2015. Dallas is favored by 7 in Arlington and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Dallas would love nothing more than to get back on track and win the NFC East in front of the home crowd at AT&T Stadium but Tampa Bay’s in their way and in their crosshairs. Dallas is not having any of that. Cowboys will act like Scrooge at home and take the win and the NFC East, covering the 7 in Arlington.

Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North (NFC Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman calls it) meet in the Motor City as Minnesota and Detroit meet at Ford Field. Minnesota looks to claim the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoffs, while the Lions look to derail Minnesota’s hopes.

The Purple Gang manhandled Miami, taking the Dolphins to task 41-17. Minnesota took a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, then watched the Dolphis score 10 second quarter points without a challenge to lead 21-10 at the break. Minnesota then took control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Miami 20-7 to seal the win. Minnesota outrushed Miami 220-156 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook led all rushers with 136 yards and a pair of TDs, while Miami’s Kalen Ballage tallied 123 yards with a TD), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 215 yards with a pair of TDs (Cousins was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw for 108 yards with a season-high nine sacks.
Minnesota was 5 of 13 on third down tries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, keeping the ball for 33:16, while the Dolphins, keeping the ball for 26:44, went 2 for 12 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Detroit saw Buffalo take a win away from them in Orchard Park as the Bills erased a 13-7 deficit at the half to come away 14-13 winners in upstate New York. The Bills took the lead for keeps with 10:26 left in the contest when WR Robert Foster caught a 42-yard TD pass from Josh Allen to erase the deficit and take the win, holding off the Lions in the final period of play. Detroit was outrushed by Buffalo 117-105, with Matthew Stafford throwing for 208 yards and Allen throwing for 204 yards (each threw a TD pass without an interception and Allen was sacked once) for the Bills. Buffalo was 3 for 12 on third down but had some success on fourth down tries, going 1 for 2 and kept the ball for 31:06, while Detroit kept the ball for 28:54 and went 5 for 13 on third down.

They met in the Twin Cities in week nine and the Lions were held in check that Sunday in Minneapolis, falling to Minnesota 24-9 at US Bank Stadium. The Lions trailed 17-6 at the break and could never get on track in the NFC North contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 128-66 and Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times by the Purple Gang, despite throwing for 199 yards, while Kirk Cousins threw for 164 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen. Minnesota would put the nail in Detroit’s coffin in the fourth quarter when Vikings DE Danielle Hunter fulfilled a defensive lineman’s dream and took a fumble and returned it 32 yards untouched for a TD. Detroit was 4 for 15 on third down tries, 3 of 3 on fourth down and held on to the pigskin for 36:45, while the Vikings needed only 23:15 of clock to keep the ball, while going 3 for 8 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest in the Twin Cities, the Vikings easily covered the 5 1/2-point spread with the 15-point win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The 50 1/2 over/under? It went untouched, as the two NFC North teams combined for 33 points. The Vikings are favored by 5 1/2 again in the rematch in the Motor City but the over/under this time’s 43 1/2. For the Vikings, it’s a chance to get themselves into position for a possible post-season spot. For the Lions, it’s another season of hope that has been dashed like a child’s toy at Christmas. Vikings win in the Motor City and covers the 5 1/2.

New York Giants (5-9) at Indianapolis (8-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Eli Manning vs. Andrew Luck. They will meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts look to improve their playoff hopes, while the Giants look to restore some sembilance of order in the NFC East.

Eli and the Giants were taken to task by Tennessee in the Meadowlands last Sunday, as they were shut out by the Titans and Marcus Mariota 17-0 at Met Life Stadium. The Giants trailed 7-0 at to the intermission, then watched Tennesee score their last 10 points of the contest unchallenged, with Titans RB Derek Henry and Ryan Succop accounting for all of their scoring (Henry with a pair of 1-yard runs, Succop booting a 22-yard field goal in the fourth), The Titans outrushed the Giants 215-47, Mariota threw for 88 yards in the contest, while Manning threw for 229 yards with three sacks and an interception (Mariota was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Tennessee went 5 for 14 on third down (the Titans were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:21, while the Giants, who were eliminated from the post-season with the loss, went 3 of 16 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 24:39.

Luck and the Colts stopped Dallas’ bid to win the NFC East as Indianapolis would shut out the Cowboys 23-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was the Adam Vinatieri and Marlon Mack show for the Colts, as Mack would score on touchdown runs of one and six yards, while Vinatieri chipped in with three field goals, the longest coming from 44 yards out as time expired in the first 30 minutes of play. The Colts, scoring all of their points unchallenged, outrushed Dallas 178-112, with Mack leading the way with 139 yards on the ground, while Ezekiel Elliott led Dallas, who was shutout for the first time since 2003, with 87. Luck threw for 192 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Prescott threw for 206 yards with three sacks and an interception. The Colts were 8 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:48, while the Cowboys were 28:12 in time of possession, going a somewhat dismal 4 for 12 on third down and 1 of 5 on fourth down.

Including games that were played in Baltimore, as well as the Yale Bowl and Yankee Stadium, the Colts lead  the series 9-6 and they’ve outscored Big Blue 356-272. The Colts have won the last three meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 2014 in the Meadowlands by a final of 40-24, while the Giants’ last win in the series came in the Hoosier State in 2002, as they would come away 44-27 winners. Indy’s favored by 9 1/2 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 46 1/2. For the Giants, it’s been a season that their fan base would love to forget like Scrooge forgetting about the three ghosts. For the Colts, a win would mean they keep themselves in the AFC playoff hunt. Colts win in the Hoosier State and covers the 9 1/2.

Jacksonville (4-10) at Miami (7-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of Sunshine State AFC rivals meet in south Florida as Jacksonville makes the 331-mile trip down the coast on I-95 to face off against the Miami Gardens at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams took losses in last week’s action.

Jacksonville watched Washington use a late-contest rally in the Sunshine State last Sunday afternoon and watched their playoff hopes come to an end as they fell to the Redskins 16-13 at TIAA Stadium. Jacksonville led the Redskins 10-3 at the break and took a 10-6 lead at the end of the third quarter before Washington they stormed back in the final 15 minutes of play at TIAA Stadium. After a Kai Forbath field goal that gave Jacksonville a 13-6 lead with 7:32 left in the third, Washington would storm back in the fourth quarter, tying the contest with 5:47 left in regulation when backup QB Josh Johnson and TE Jeremy Sprinkle connected on a 6-yard TD toss. Washington would later get the ball back when CB Fabian Moreau picked off Jacksonville QB Cody Keesler, giving Washington excelent field position.

The Redskins would then proceed to use all of the 2:31 left in the contest, using an 8-play, 36-yard drive to set up Dustin Hopkins, who gave the Redskins the win with a 36-yard field goal as time expired. Jacksonville outrushed Washington 172-109 and Johnson threw for 151 yards with the lone TD toss (Johnson was sacked three times without throwing an interception), while Keesler threw for 57 yards with six sacks and an interception (Keesler led all rushers with 68 yards). Washington was 7 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:06 (including the final 2:31 of the contest), while the Jaguars kept the ball for 26:54 and went 5 for 13 on third down conversions.

Miami saw their AFC playoff hopes somewhat damaged as Minnesota took them to task 41-17 in the Twin Cities. After Minnesota took a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Dolphis would score 10 second quarter points without a challenge to trail 21-10 at the break. Miamm then watched Minnesota control things in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring them 20-7 to seal the win. Minnesota outrushed Miami 220-156 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook led all rushers with 136 yards and a pair of TDs, while Miami’s Kalen Ballage tallied 123 yards with a TD), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 215 yards with a pair of TDs (Cousins was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw for 108 yards with a season-high nine sacks. Minnesota was 5 of 13 on third down tries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, keeping the ball for 33:16, while the Dolphins, keeping the ball for 26:44, went 2 for 12 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Miami leads the Sunshine State series 4-3 and the ‘Fins have outscored Jacksonville 140-111. Jacksonville won the last meeting, which took place in north Florida by a final of 23-20 in 2015, while the Dolphins’ last win also came along the shores of the St. John’s River by a final of 27-13 in 2014. Miami’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 93. For the Jaguars, it’s about restoring some order in an otherwise dismal season; for Miami, it’s a chance to keep their hopes for a playoff spot alive for another week. Miami keeps hope alive for another Sunday and takes the win at Hard Rock, covering the 4.

Buffalo (5-9) at New England (9-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. New England returns home from a two-game road trip to face off against AFC East rival Buffalo in Foxboro. The Pats limp back to western Massachusetts with losses in Miami and Pittsburgh under their belts, while the Bills look to damage New England’s playoff hopes at Gillette Stadium in the Sunday afternoon rematch.

The Bills erased a 13-7 deficit at the half against Detroit in Orchard Park and would come away 14-13 winners in upstate New York. The Bills took the lead for keeps with 10:26 left in the contest when WR Robert Foster caught a 42-yard TD pass from Josh Allen to erase the deficit and take the win, holding off the Lions in the final period of play. Detroit was outrushed by Buffalo 117-105, with Matthew Stafford throwing for 208 yards and Allen throwing for 204 yards (each threw a TD pass without an interception and Allen was sacked once) for the Bills. Buffalo was 3 for 12 on third down but had some success on fourth down tries, going 1 for 2 and kept the ball for 31:06, while Detroit kept the ball for 28:54 and went 5 for 13 on third down.

New England saw their hopes of a winning rally fall short in Pittsburgh as the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger held off Tom Brady and the Patriots 17-10 at Heinz Field. New England trailed 14-7 at the half, then narrowed the gap to four with 17 seconds left in the third when Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 33-yard field goal before Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell restored order in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard field goal with 2:30 left in regulation. New England had one last chance to tie the contest up in regulation late and that chance would die when Brady’s pass attempt to Josh Edleman sailed incomplete, giving the Steelers the win in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh outrushed New England 158-96, with Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels leading the way with 142 yards on the ground. Brady threw for 279 yards with a TD, an interception and a sack, while Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown), while throwing a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice. New England was 3 for 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:11, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:49, while going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

Buffalo and New England would meet in upstate New York in week eight and for the first 30 minutes of play against New England, the Bills held Tom Brady and the Patriots in sight, trailing 9-3 at the half in Orchard Park Monday night. Buffalo then saw the wheels fall off their bus and the Pats came away 25-6 winners at New Era Field. The contest was an all-field goal affair in the first half as the two Stephens (Gostkowski for New England, Hauschka for Buffalo) gave their teams their first half points. New England then outscored Buffalo 16-3 in the final 30 minutes of action, using a 1-yard TD run from RB James White and an 84-yard interception return by CB Devin McCourty in the fourth quarter to seal Buffalo’s fate. The Bills thought they had a TD that would have made the contest closer than the final score when Buffalo QB Derek Anderson (290 yards, interception, three sacks) and TE Jason Croom connected on a 25-yard TD pass with 6:14 left in regulation. Buffalo fans then saw their hopes shattered when the play was review and the call on the field was reversed. Buffalo was outrushed by the Pats 76-46 and Brady threw for 324 yards with no interceptions or sacks, as New England went 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Bills were 4 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:10.

In the week eight contest in upstate New York, New England covered the 14-point spread, coming away 19-point winners but the 44 1/2 over/under was untouched, as both teams merged for 31 points. In the rematch in Foxboro, the Pats are favored by 12 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. That’s a bit steep for a spread… the 44 1/2 makes sense. The Bills are bad but not 12 1/2 bad. They’ll give New England problems but the Pats and Brady prevail in Foxboro with the win.

Green Bay (5-8-1) at New York Jets (4-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of teams that will not be in the post-season meet in the Meadowlands as Green Bay travels to Met Life Stadium for an early afternoon contest with the New York Jets.

Chicago knocked Green Bay out of the playoff party and took the NFC North title at Soldier Field, holding off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 24-17 in the Windy City last Sunday. Da Bears led 14-3 at the intermission before the Packers would rally in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Monsters of the Midway 14-10 and the Packers would pull to within 3 with 11 seconds left when Packers K Mason Crosby connected on a 45-yard field goal. Green Bay would try the onside kick, which Chicago recovered and Da Bears would run the clock out, taking the win at home. Da Bears outrushed Green Bay 97-88 and the Monsters of the Midway sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and picked him off once, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions. Chicago was 3 of 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:23, while the struggling Packers were 5 for 14 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:37.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were officialy eliminated from the post-season as Houston held off GangGreen 29-22 at Met Life Stadium last Saturday afternoon. Houston broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, took a 16-3 lead with them to the intermission and held off the Jets in the second half after they took a 22-19 lead with five minutes left in the contest as Jets RB Elijah McGuire scored on a 2-yard run. Houston then took the lead back and for good with 2:15 left when WR DeAndre Hopkins scored from 14 yards out, catching a TD pass from QB DeSean Watson. After a 40-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn with 54 seconds left in regulation, Houston then held off a late Jets rally that would have given New York the win in the Meadowlands. Although they were outrushed by the Jets 90-47, Watson would lead all passers with 294 yards, while Sam Darnold led New York with 253 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs; Watson was sacked six times and Darnold sacked twice and neither threw an interception). The Texans were a dismal 1 of 9 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:56, while the Jets kept the ball for 35:04 and went 9 of 17 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

While GangGreen leads the series 8-4 and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have outscored the Packers 254-180, Green Bay has won the last two meetings, including taking a 31-24 win at Lambeau in 2014, while New York’s last win also came in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, leaving upstate Wisconsin 38-10 winners in 2006. Green Bay’s favored by 2 1/2 with the over/under at 46. Take a pass on this one and watch that “Mythbusters” marathon on Science Chanel. Trust us, you’ll be a lot better and a lot smarter. Packers recover in the Meadowlands and cover the 2 1/2 in upstate New Jersey.

Houston (10-4) at Philadelphia (7-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. It’s brisket vs. Cheesesteak as the Houston Texans travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Both teams were winners on the road in last week’s contests and both were close contests.

Houston pulled themselves closer to winning the AFC South title after their 29-22 win over the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium last Saturday afternoon. Houston broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, took a 16-3 lead with them to the intermission and held off the Jets in the second half after they took a 22-19 lead with five minutes left in the contest as Jets RB Elijah McGuire scored on a 2-yard run. Houston then took the lead back and for good with 2:15 left when WR DeAndre Hopkins scored from 14 yards out, catching a TD pass from QB DeSean Watson. After a 40-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn with 54 seconds left in regulation, Houston then held off a late Jets rally that would have given New York the win in the Meadowlands. Although they were outrushed by the Jets 90-47, Watson would lead all passers with 294 yards, while Sam Darnold led New York with 253 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs; Watson was sacked six times and Darnold sacked twice and neither threw an interception). The Texans were a dismal 1 of 9 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:56, while the Jets kept the ball for 35:04 and went 9 of 17 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The defending Super Bowl champs held off a late Los Angeles Rams rally as the Eagles would break a 13-13 tie at the intermission, outscoring the Rams 17-10 in the last 30 minutes of play to come away 30-23 winners at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last Sunday night. Eagles fans heaved a sigh of relief as Los Angeles had a final chance in the closing seconds of the prime time contest but Jared Goff’s pass attempt to Josh Reynolds went incomplete. The Eagles, who scored 17 third quarter points unchallenged, outrushed Los Angeles 111-82 (Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley and Philadelphia’s Wendell Smallwood each had 48 yards of rushing with a pair of TDs) and Goff threw for 339 yards with a sack and a pair of interceptions, while Nick Foles (who took over for Carson Wentz) threw for 270 yards (Goff and Foles did not throw a TD pass and Foles threw an interception but was not sacked). The Rams were 4 for 12 on third down and held the ball for 28:24, while the Eagles kept the ball for 31:36, going 4 of 13 on third down conversions (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Houston and Philadelphia have met four times and the Eagles have won all four meetings, outscoring the Texans 124-72. Philadelphia’s last win in the series came in 2014 in the Lone Star State by a final of 31-21 at NRG Stadium. The Eagles are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. There’s a lot at stake for both teams; the Eagles are trying to get into the playoffs and possibly repeat as Super Bowl champs, while the Texans want to clinch the AFC South. Houston pulls the upset on the road and covers the 1 in the City of Brotherly Love.

Los Angeles Rams (11-3) at Arizona (3-11), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of NFC West teams meet in the desert as the struggling Rams travel to Glendale for a late-afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals, with both teams coming away with losses in their last contests.

The Rams watched the defending Super Bowl champs break a 13-13 tie at the intermission as the Eagles would outscore Los Angeles 17-10 in the last 30 minutes of play to fall 30-23 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last Sunday night. Los Angeles had a final chance in the closing seconds of the prime time contest but Jared Goff’s pass attempt to Josh Reynolds went incomplete. The Eagles, who scored 17 third quarter points unchallenged, outrushed Los Angeles 111-82 (Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley and Philadelphia’s Wendell Smallwood each had 48 yards of rushing with a pair of TDs) and Goff threw for 339 yards with a sack and a pair of interceptions, while Nick Foles (who took over for Carson Wentz) threw for 270 yards (Goff and Foles did not throw a TD pass and Foles threw an interception but was not sacked). The Rams were 4 for 12 on third down and held the ball for 28:24, while the Eagles kept the ball for 31:36, going 4 of 13 on third down conversions (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Arizona watched an 7-0 lead early in the first quarter against Atlanta, then watched the Falcons proceed to score 40 points unchallenged in heir home finale, breaking their five-game losing streak and came away with the 40-14 win in the Big Peach. Atlanta led 26-7 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the second half, using a 43-yard run from RB Tevin Coleman and a 5-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Justin Hardy to all but seal Arizona’s fate. Atlanta outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 215-60 with Coleman leadng the way on the ground with 145 yards on 11 carries, Ryan threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (one to WR Julio Jones) and had a rushing TD of his own, while Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 132 yards in the lopsided loss, throwing a pair of interceptions to go with six sacks. Atlanta went 5 of 13 on third down tries in the home finale and ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:40, while the Cardinals were 3 for 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:20.

The two NFC West clubs met in week two and Arizona was taken to the woodshed by the Rams, watching the defending NFC West champs score 34 points in their contest with the Desert Angry Birds unchalleged and shutting them out 34-0. Todd Gurley was good for three TDs in the contest as the Rams led 19-0 at the break, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, keeping Arizona in check. The Rams outrushed Arizona 90-54 and held Sam Bradford to 90 yards passing, while Jeff Goff threw for 354 yards and a TD for Los Angeles. The Rams on third down 8 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:08, while Arizona kept the pigskin for 25:52, going 3 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs. Los Angeles covered the 12 1/2-point spread, winning easily by 34 points but the 46 over/under stayed intact. This time in the desert, the Rams are 14-point favorites and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Granted, the Desert Angry Birds have struggled of late and while they’re bad, they’re not 14 points bad. Los Angeles will prevail in this one to complete the series sweep but expect Arizona to make things closer than 14 points.

Chicago (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of teams going in opposite directions face off in northern California as Chicago makes its way to Santa Clara for a late-after contest with the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams took wins at home in their last contests.

Chicago knocked Green Bay out of the playoff party and took the NFC North title at Soldier Field, holding off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 24-17 in the Windy City last Sunday. Da Bears led 14-3 at the intermission before the Packers would rally in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Monsters of the Midway 14-10 and the Packers would pull to within 3 with 11 seconds left when Packers K Mason Crosby connected on a 45-yard field goal. Green Bay would try the onside kick, which Chicago recovered and Da Bears would run the clock out, taking the win at home. Da Bears outrushed Green Bay 97-88 and the Monsters of the Midway sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and picked him off once, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions. Chicago was 3 of 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:23, while the struggling Packers were 5 for 14 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:37.

San Francsico put a dent in the playoff plans for Seattle as the 49ers needed overtime to come away 26-23 winners at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday afternoon, breaking a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks in the process. San Francisco led 17-13 at the half, then took a 20-13 lead into the fourth quarter before Seattle rallied in the final 15 minutes of regulation, tying things up when RB Chris Carson scored on a 1-yard TD run with 13:51 left. Robbie Gould would give San Francisco the lead back with 9:51 on a 45-yard field goal but that lead would not last long as Seahawks K Sebastian Janikowski booted a 48-yard field to tie things back up at 23-23 with 5:21 left in regulation. The two clubs would go into the overtime and Seattle would win the toss and get the ball first in the extra period. The Seahawks’ attempt to score first failed as they would only get to their 18-yard line. After a Seattle punt, it would be San Francisco’s turn, knowing if they scored, they would win. The 49ers would go on a 7-play, 44-yard drive that stopped at Seattle’s 18-yard line, where Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with a 36-yard game-winning field goal. Seattle outrushed San Francisco 168-94 and Carson led the way with 119 yards on the ground. Russell Wilson threw for 237 yards for the Seahawks and Nate Mullins threw for 275 for the 49ers (Wilson threw a pair of TD passes to Doug Baldwin, while Mullens threw a TD pass to TE Garrett Celek; both men were sacked three times but neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 for 10 on third down and kept the ball for 29:40 (including the overtime), while Seattle, plauged by 14 penalties for 148 yards, went 9 of 19 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Seahawks actually ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 37:14.

Including games played at Wrigley Field, Keezar Stadium, the University of Illinois-Champaign and Soldier Field, the series is tied 31-31-1 and the 49ers have outscored Da Bears 1,386-1,289. Their last meeting was last year in the Windy City and the 49ers would prevail 15-14 (Chicago’s last win came in 2016 in the Windy City by a final of 26-6).

They met at Soldier Field in week 13 and the 49ers erased a 14-9 deficit at the break, scoring the final six points of the contest unchalleged, as Robbie Gould kicked a pair of second-half field goals, with the game-winner coming from 24 yards away with four seconds left. San Francisco outrushed Chicago 110-62 and Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 293 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Trubisky threw for 102 yards and a TD pass with a pair of sacks but no interceptions. San Franciso was 10 of 18 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 38:47, while Da Bears kept the ball for 21:13, going 5 for 10 on third down conversions.

In the week 13 contest at Soldier Field, Chicago was a 3 1/2-point favorite but San Francisco came away winning by 1. The 40 over/under was untouched as both teams scored only 29 points. Chicago’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Da  Bears have nothing to prove, having won the NFC North title; as for the 49ers, they’re playing with house money and would like to add another feather in their caps if they beat Chicago. 49ers fans are going to be heart-broken. Da Bears win on the road and cover the 3 1/2.

Pittsburgh (8-5-1) at New Orleans (12-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. A pair of playoff contenders that could meet in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII meet in the Big Easy as Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees square off. Both teams were close winners in last week’s contests.

Pittsburgh stopped a last second New England rally at Heinz Field as the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger held off Tom Brady and the Patriots 17-10. New England trailed 14-7 at the half, then narrowed the gap to four with 17 seconds left in the third when Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 33-yard field goal before Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell restored order in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard field goal with 2:30 left in regulation. New England had one last chance to tie the contest up in regulation late and that chance would die when Brady’s pass attempt to Josh Edleman sailed incomplete, giving the Steelers the win in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh outrushed New England 158-96, with Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels leading the way with 142 yards on the ground. Brady threw for 279 yards with a TD, an interception and a sack, while Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown), while throwing a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice. New England was 3 for 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:11, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:49, while going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

New Orleans survived a 12-9 scare from NFC South foe Carolina last Monday night in Charlotte. The Panthers led 7-6 at the intermission at Bank of America Stadium before the Saints would take the lead away from the Panthers when Alvin Kamara scored on a 16-yard run with 12:12 left in the contest. New Orleans then attempted a 2-point conversion to make the contest a five-point affair but Drew Brees’ 2-point attempt to WR Michael Thomas was picked off by Dante Jackson, who ran the ball back for a defensive two point conversion to keep the Panthers close. Carolina would later get the ball back after New Orleans fumbled it out of the endzone, creating a touchback and giving the Panthers the ball on their 20-yard line. Newton and the Panthers would eventually get as close as their 39-yard line but could not get any closer as Newton’s fourth-down pass attempt was incomplete, which gave the Saints the ball back and New Orleans would run the clock out and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 155-98 and Newton threw for 131 yards with four sacks, while Brees threw for 203 yards (both men threw an interception, Newton was sacked four times, Brees twice). Carolina was 7 of 15 on third down (the Panther were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:09, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Saints lead the series 8-7, while the Steelers have outscored New Orleans 327-289. New Orleans won the last two contests, taking a 35-32 win in the Steel City, while Pittsburgh’s last win in the series came in 2006 at Heinz Field by a final of 38-31. New Orleans is favored by 5 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 54. Because there are two future Hall of Fame QBs involved in this one, we think that this one is “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-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?”)

New Orleans is already in the post-season party, taking the NFC South for the second straight year. The Steelers are looking to restore some order in the AFC North. The winner will make lives for themselves a little easier, while the loser will get a lump of coal and switches in their stocking. Steelers take the upset in the Big Easy and covers the 5 1/2.

Kansas City (11-3) at Seattle (8-6), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Patrick Mahomes vs. Russell Wilson. A pair of up and coming QBs meet in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as Kansas City and Seattle meet in prime time in the Pacific Northwest. Both clubs took heart-breaking losses in last week’s contests.

The Chiefs watched the Los Angeles Chargers erase a 14-7 deficit at the break at Arrowhead last Thursday night as the Chargers took a 29-28 come-from-behind AFC West win, clinching a playoff spot in the process. Los Angeles proceeded to chip away at that deficit, outscoring the Chiefs (who got a pair of rushing TDs from RB Damien Williams) 22-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. Chargers WR Mike Williams had a pair of TDs in the second half, one rushing from 19 yards out with 4:57 left in the third and the second a 1-yard toss from Phililp Rivers that would pull the Chargers to within one with four seconds left. Williams and Rivers would then connect on the two-point try to take the road win and pull themselves even with the Chiefs at 11-3.

Seattle’s plans for a playoff spot took a hit in Santa Clara as the 49ers needed overtime to come away 26-23 winners at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday afternoon. San Francisco led 17-13 at the half, then took a 20-13 lead into the fourth quarter before Seattle rallied in the final 15 minutes of regulation, tying things up when RB Chris Carson scored on a 1-yard TD run with 13:51 left. Robbie Gould would give San Francisco the lead back with 9:51 on a 45-yard field goal but that lead would not last long as Seahawks K Sebastian Janikowski booted a 48-yard field to tie things back up at 23-23 with 5:21 left in regulation. The two clubs would go into the overtime and Seattle would win the toss and get the ball first in the extra period. The Seahawks’ attempt to score first failed as they would only get to their 18-yard line. After a Seattle punt, it would be San Francisco’s turn, knowing if they scored, they would win. The 49ers would go on a 7-play, 44-yard drive that stopped at Seattle’s 18-yard line, where Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with a 36-yard game-winning field goal. Seattle outrushed San Francisco 168-94 and Carson led the way with 119 yards on the ground. Russell Wilson threw for 237 yards for the Seahawks and Nate Mullins threw for 275 for the 49ers (Wilson threw a pair of TD passes to Doug Baldwin, while Mullens threw a TD pass to TE Garrett Celek; both men were sacked three times but neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 for 10 on third down and kept the ball for 29:40 (including the overtime), while Seattle, plauged by 14 penalties for 148 yards, went 9 of 19 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Seahawks actually ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 37:14.

Los Angeles outrushed the Chiefs 119-60 and Rivers threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs, including the game-winner, while Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes threw for 243 with a pair TDs as well (Rivers was sacked five times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Mahomes was sacked twice but did not throw a pick). Both teams went 6 for 10 on third down, the Chargers were 1 of 1 on fourth down and they held the ball for 33:16, while the Chiefs kept the pigskin for 26:44. Kansas City’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. The Chiefs look to take the AFC West, while the Seahawks look to right their ship and get themselves into the post-season. Seattle may have to wait a week. Chiefs rebound from their heart-breaking loss at home to the Chargers and cover the 2 1/2, taking the win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

Denver (6-8) at Oakland (3-11), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The final Monday night game of the 2018 season takes place on the East side of San Francsico Bay as a pair of AFC West/AFL foes meet in Oakland. While most of America will be getting ready for Midnight Mass, the Raiders host the Denver Broncos in a contest that really has no bearing on the AFC playoffs.

Denver watched the Cleveland Browns erase a 13-10 deficit at the end of the third quarter at Denver last Saturday night and came away 17-16 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, ending Denver’s slim hopes for a playoff bid. Cleveland and Denver entered halftime tied at 10-10 before the Broncos took the 13-10 lead with 1:41 left in the third on a Brandon McManus field goal to go into the fourth quarter on top. That would not be the case as the Browns would take the lead with 11:44 left in regulation when rookie QB Baker Mayfield and rookie WR Antonio Callaway connected on a 2-yard TD strike to take a four-point lead. McMannus would pull the Broncos to within one with 4:35 left thanks to a 29-yard field goal and Denver would eventually get the ball back after Cleveland punted with 1:49. The Broncos would get as close as midfield as Denver QB Case Keenum would throw three interceptions and was sacked by CB Jabril Peppers to end any hopes of Denver winning the contest. Cleveland outrushed Denver 134-32, with rookie RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 100 yards on the ground, Mayfield threw for 188 yards and a pair of TDs for the Broncos, while Keenum threw for 257 yards with a rushing TD, while throwing a pair of interceptions (both Mayfield and Keenum were sacked twice). Cleveland was 5 of 12 on third down, Denver was 5 of 14 and the Broncos actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:39, while the Browns kept it for 27:21 (both clubs went 1 of 2 on fourth down).

The Silver and Black watched Cincinnati break a five-game losing streak as they fell to the Bengals 30-16 at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday. Although they would outscore the Bengals 13-10 in the second half, Oakland would find themselves trailing 20-7 at the intermission. Bengals HB Joe Mixon led all rushers with 129 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bengals outrushed the Silver and Black 171-68 and the Cincinnati defense sacked Derek Carr (263 yards, TD) five times, while Josh Driskell threw for 130 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd, a sack and an interception. The Bengals were 8 for 19 on third down conversions (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:19, while the Raiders went 3 for 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:41.

Oakland saw AFC West rival Denver go on a scoring binge in the final 15 minutes of play and watched the Broncons come away 20-19 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in their week two matchup. The Silver and Black, dropping their second in a row, led 12-0 at the break and took a 19-7 lead late into the third quarter before Denver took control of things in the final few minutes of the game. Denver’s winning points came with 6 seconds left when K Brian McMannus connected on a 36-yard field goal to give the home team the lead for the first time and for good. Denver outrushed Oakland 168-92 (Denver’s Patrick Lindsey led all rushers with 107 yards, while Oakland was led by Marshawn Lynch wtih 65 yards and a TD) and Case Keenum threw for 222 yards in the contest, while Derek Carr threw for 288 yards and a TD (each was sacked once). Denver was 8 of 16 on third down (the Broncos were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:04, while the Raiders, who had a final rally come to an end in the closing seconds, went 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 32:56.

Both teams have done reasonably well on Monday night; Denver’s record is 32-38-1 (they went 1 of 1 in their two 2017 contests), while the Raiders are 38-28-1 and lost their only MNF contest last year. Denver was a 6-point favorite in the week two contest in the Rocky Mountains and while Denver did win the contest, they did not cover, as they would win by only a point and the 45 over/under was untouched as both teams combined to score 39 points in that first meeting. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Broncos again, this time making them 2 1/2-point favorites with a 44 over/under. Skip this one and go to Midnight Mass (be sure to slip an extra $20 in the collection plate!). Broncos put Oakland fans out of their misery and covers the 2 1/2 with the win.

 

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the suspense continues to build as teams make their final playoff push. Entering Week 15, 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII, tied for the fourth-most such teams with three weeks remaining in a season since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978.

Two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams and the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: Chicago (9-4), Dallas (8-5), Houston (9-4), Kansas City (11-2) and New England (9-4).

As the league enters Week 15, there are 20 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before (In other words, even Cleveland has hope).

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

One thing is certain – the closing weeks of the 2018 NFL season will feature competitive contests across the board. Fifty-nine games have been decided by three points or fewer this season, the most in league annals through Week 14. Sixty-eight percent of all games (142 of 208) have been within one score (eight points or fewer) in the fourth quarter this year and 112 games have been decided by eight or fewer points, tied for the fourth-most through the first 14 weeks of a season in league history.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY:

•New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay, 28-14, and clinched the NFC South division title for the second-consecutive season. New Orleans has won back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history.

Kansas City clinched a playoff berth with a 27-24 overtime victory over Baltimore. The Chiefs advance to the postseason for the fourth-consecutive season.

•Miami defeated New England, 34-33, on the final play from scrimmage, as running back Kenyan Drake took a lateral from wide receiver De Vante Parker 52 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

The Dolphins’ game-winning 69-yard touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter since the 1970 merger.

Dolphins running back Frank Gore recorded 116 scrimmage yards (92 rushing, 24 receiving) in the team’s victory. Gore, who has 18,530 career scrimmage yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer La Dainian Tomlinson (18,456) for the fifth-most scrimmage yards in NFL history. The four players with more scrimmage yards than Gore are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Jerry Rice (23,540), Emmitt Smith (21,579), Walter Payton (21,264) and Marshall Faulk (19,154).

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 35 of 53 passes (66.0 percent) for 377 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 91.5 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 27-24 overtime victory over Baltimore.

Mahomes, who was selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, leads the NFL with 4,300 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes this season. Mahomes joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino (1984) and Kurt Warner (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks in league annals with at least 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes in a single season.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had seven catches for 77 yards and one touchdown in the victory. Kelce has 86 catches and 1,159 receiving yards this season and is the first tight end in league annals with at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons.

Kansas City defensive lineman Chris Jones recorded a sack in the win and has at least one sack in each of the Chiefs’ past nine games. Jones is the first player to record a sack in at least nine consecutive games in a single season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. He is the sixth player since 1982 to record at least one sack in nine consecutive games at any point in time.

•Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 21 of 32 passes (65.6 percent) for 196 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.1 passer rating in the Packers’ 34-20 victory over Atlanta. Rodgers, who has not thrown an interception in 368 pass attempts dating back to Week 4, surpassed Tom Brady (358 consecutive attempts from 2010-11) for the most consecutive pass attempts without an interception in NFL history.

•New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 197 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 132.0 passer rating and rookie running back Saquon Barkley rushed for 170 yards with one touchdown in the team’s 40-16 victory at Washington. Manning has 55,142 career passing yards and became the seventh quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 55,000 passing yards.

Barkley, who scored on a 78-yard touchdown run, has five scrimmage touchdowns of at least 50 yards this season, the most by a rookie in a single season since Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (five touchdowns in 1998). Only Billy Howton of the 1952 Green Bay Packers had more such touchdowns as a rookie in a single season (six).

Barkley has 12 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in 2018, tying Edgerrin James (12 games in 1999) for the second-most games with 100+ scrimmage yards by a rookie in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (13 games in 1983) has more such games.

•New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had 11 receptions for 98 yards in the Saints’ 28-14 victory at Tampa Bay.

Thomas, who has 298 receptions since entering the league in 2016, surpassed Odell Beckham, Jr. (288 catches from 2014-16) and Jarvin Landry (288 catches from 2014-16) for the most catches by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.

•Other notable performances from last Sunday include:

New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 358 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 112.4 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 14 loss at Miami.

Brady has 582 career touchdown passes (including the postseason) and surpassed Peyton Manning (579) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history. Brady has 47 career games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes and surpassed Manning (46 games) for the second-most such games in league annals. Only Drew Brees (63) has more such games in NFL history.

San Francisco tight end George Kittle had seven catches for 210 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown catch, in the 49ers’ 20-14 victory over Denver. Kittle’s 210 receiving yards are the third-most by a tight end in a single game in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers Shannon Sharpe (214 receiving yards on October 20, 2002) and Jackie Smith (212 on October 13, 1963).

Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 18 of 22 passes (81.8 percent) for 238 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions for a 126.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-20 victory over Carolina.

Mayfield has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (1999) and Brad Johnson (1996-97) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with a touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ loss at Green Bay.

Jones leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season and has recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past five seasons, the longest streak in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 15:

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams and NFC South champion New Orleans – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: Chicago (9-4), Dallas (8-5), Houston (9-4), Kansas City (11-2) and New England (9-4).

As the league enters Week 15, there are 20 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.​

HEY, ROOKIE: Denver rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb leads all rookies and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 12 sacks this season.

With a sack against Cleveland on Saturday night at 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network, Chubb would tie Dwight Freeney (13 sacks in 2002) for the third-most sacks by a rookie in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.​

The rookies with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER – TEAM (YEAR, SACKS)
Jevon Kearse – Tennessee (1999, 14.5)#
Aldon Smith – San Francisco (2011, 14)
Dwight Freeney – Indianapolis (2002, 13)
Bradley Chubb – Denver (2018, 12)*
#Named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year
*Entering Week 15

JULIO ON THE RISE: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season. In Week 13, Jones became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons.

Jones, who had 1,593 receiving yards in 2014 and 1,871 receiving yards in 2015, needs 71 receiving yards on Sunday against Arizona at 1 p.m. on FOX, to become the fifth player in NFL history with three career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards.

The players with the most career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS WITH 1,500+ RECEIVING YARDS)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (4)^
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (3)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (3)^
Andre Johnson, Houston (3)
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (2)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 1,429 receiving yards this season

STARS FROM SCRIMMAGE: Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT leads the NFL with 1,262 rushing yards this season.

Elliott, who has 3,876 rushing yards and 1,134 receiving yards since entering the league in 2016, needs 124 rushing yards on Sunday at Indianapolis at 1 p.m. on FOX to become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons. ​

The players with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)(RUSHING YARDS)(RECIEVING YARDS)
Chris Johnson, Tennessee (Tennessee)(2008-2010)(4,598)(1,008)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2001-2003)(4,564)(1,581)^
Ottis Anderson, St. Louis Cardinals (1979-1981)(4,333)(1,003)
Barry Sanders, Detroit (1989-1991)(4,322)(1,069)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (Dallas)(2016-2018)(3,876)(1,134)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In third season

BRILLIANT BARKLEY: New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley leads all rookies with 1,753 scrimmage yards and has 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving) this season.

With 147 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against Tennessee at 1 p.m. on CBS, Barkley, can become the fifth rookie with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. ​

The rookies with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:​​

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(SCRIMMAGE YARDS-TOUCHDOWNS)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983)(2,212-20)^#
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (1999)(2,139-17)#
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (2016)(1,994-16)
Billy Sims, Detroit (1980)(1,924-16)*#
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018)(1,753-13)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year
*Entering Week 15

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,384 scrimmage yards this season.

Kamara, who had 1,554 scrimmage yards as a rookie in 2017, needs 83 receiving yards at Carolina on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN, to join Herschel Walker (1986-87) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history. ​

The players with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history:​
PLAYER, TEAM: SEASONS (RUSHING YARDS; RECEIVING YARDS)
Herschel Walker, Dallas: 1986-87 (1,628; 1,552)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans; 2017-18 (1,521; 1,417)*
*In second season

SUPERCAM: Carolina quarterback Cam Newton ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 473 rushing yards this season. Newton has rushed for at least 500 rushing yards in six of his first seven seasons in the league.

With 27 rushing yards against New Orleans on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in seven seasons.​

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 500 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 500+ RUSHING YARDS)
Randall Cunningham – Philadelphia (6)
Cam Newton – Carolina (6)*
Michael Vick – Atlanta and Philadelphia (6)
*Has 473 rushing yards this season

Highlights of the Week 15 schedule for Sunday and Monday:

Green Bay and Chicago meet at Soldier Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX for the 198th time in series history, including the postseason. In their Kickoff Weekend meeting, Bears linebacker Khalil Mack recorded a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception-return touchdown but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead Green Bay to a 24-23 victory at Lambeau Field. Packers wide receiver Davante Adams ties for the league lead with 12 touchdown catches this season and aims for his fourth consecutive game with a score. Chicago’s defense recorded four interceptions and three sacks in holding the Rams to 214 total net yards in the team’s 15-6 victory over Los Angeles in Week 14.

Dallas, winners of five consecutive games, take on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium at 1 p.m. on FOX. Dallas leads the NFC East and can clinch the division title with a win. Cowboys quarterback DAK PRESCOTT has 993 passing yards (331 per game) with six touchdowns and two interceptions for a 113.6 passer rating in his past three games and wide receiver Amari Cooper has 642 receiving yards and six touchdown catches in six games since being acquired by Dallas this season. Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard leads the NFL with 135 tackles this season and is one of only three players since 2000 with at least 130 tackles and seven sacks (seven) in a single season, joining Tampa Bay’s LAVONTE DAVID (2013) and Arizona’s Daryl Washington (2012).

A battle of division leaders in the AFC takes center stage on Sunday afternoon at 4:25 p.m. on CBS as New England faces  Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. Last week, New England quarterback Tom Brady (582 career touchdown passes) surpassed Peyton Manning (579) for the most touchdown passes in league history, including the postseason. Pittsburgh’s Ju Ju Smith-Schuster (91 catches) and Antonio Brown (86) are the only pair of AFC teammates with at least 85 receptions each this season.

2018 NFL SUNDAY PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 15

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams – NFC West; New Orleans – NFC South division title; Kansas City – Playoff Spot; Los Angeles Chagers – Playoff Spot

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-2) at Carolina (6-7), 8:15 Monday on ESPN

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:

1) New Orleans win + Chicago loss or tie OR

2) New Orleans tie + Chicago loss

Los Angeles Rams (11-2) vs. Philadelphia (6-7), 8:20 Sunday night on NBC

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:

1) Los Angeles Rams win + Chicago loss or tie OR

2) Los Angeles Rams tie + Chicago loss

Chicago (9-4) vs. Green Bay (5-7-1), 1 p.m. Sunday on FOX

Chicago clinches NFC North division title with:

1) Chicago win OR

2) Minnesota loss OR

3) Chicago tie + MIN tie

Chicago clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Chicago tie OR

2) Washington loss or tie

Dallas (8-5) at Indianapolis (7-6), 1 p.m. Sunday on FOX

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:

1) Dallas win OR

2) Dallas tie + Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss or tie OR

3) Philadelphia loss + Washington loss

Seattle (8-5) at San Francisco (3-10), 4:05 p.m. Sunday on FOX

Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Seattle win OR

2) Seattle tie + Minnesota loss + Carolina loss or tie OR

3) Seattle tie + Minnesota loss + Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss or tie OR

4) Seattle tie + Carolina loss or tie + Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss or tie

AFC

New England (9-4) at Pittsburgh (7-5-1), 4:25 p.m. Sunday on CBS

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

1) New England win + Miami loss or tie OR

2) New England tie + Miami loss

New England clinches a playoff berth with:

1) New England win + Tennessee loss or tie OR

2) New England tie + Baltimore loss + Tennessee loss + Indianapolis loss or tie

Week 15 began in Kansas City with the Chargers storming back to take a last-second 29-28 win over the Chiefs and closes with a clash of NFC South rivals as New Orleans and Drew Brees visit Cam Newton and  the Carolina Panthers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. Last week, New Orleans clinched the NFC South for the second-consecutive season, marking the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history. Brees leads the NFL with a 75.7 completion percentage and 120.8 passer rating this season and is the only quarterback with at least 30 touchdown passes (31) and fewer than five interceptions (four) in 2018. Since Week 9, Panthers running back Christian McCaffery leads the NFL with 10 touchdowns and is one of two players (Ezekiel Elliott, 161.7) averaging at least 150 scrimmage yards per game (150.7). The NFL also had Saturday action as Houston held off the New York Jets 29-22 in the Meadowlands and the Cleveland Browns held on to defeat Denver 17-16 in the Mile High City.

We went backwards last week, going 5-11 for the week (at least it’s better than going 0-16) and for the season, we’re 116-38. There are two weeks of football left in the regular season and then it’s time for the post-season. We won’t keep you any longer. Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 15.

Arizona (3-10) at ATLANTA (4-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Week 15 Sunday action gets underway in the Big Peach as apair of struggling teams meet when the Atlanta Falcons host the Arizona Cardinals at Mercerdes-Benz Stadium. While the Cardinals are all but out of the post-season, the Falcons look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Both clubs took losses in last week’s action.

The Desert Angry Birds were held to a fourth quarter field goal by Zander Gonzalez by Detroit as the Lions walked their way out of State Farm Stadium with the 17-3 win last Sunday in Glendale. After a scoreless first quarter, the Lions scored their first 3 points of the contest unchallenged and took that 3-0 lead with them to the break. Detroit would make it 10-0 in the third quarter when CB Darius Slay picked off QB Josh Rosen and returned it 67 yards for a TD with 3:03 left in the third. Arizona would end Detroit’s shutout bid with a 22-yard field goal from Gonzalez (who had missed from 54 yards earlier) but Detroit responded when RB Zach Zenner scored from a yard out to close out the scoring in the desert. Detroit outrushed Arizona 122-61 and Rosen threw for 240 yards with an interception and three sacks, while Matthew Stafford threw for 101 yards with a sack but did not throw an interception. The Cardinals were 6 of 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 31:44, while the Lions needed to keep the ball for only 28:16, going 4 for 12 on third down tries.

Atlanta looks to end their five-game losing streak after they fell to Green Bay 34-20 at Lambeau Field, giving Packers interim coach Joe Philbin his first win after the Packers fired Mike McCarthy. After taking an early 7-0 lead thanks to a 16- yard toss from Matt Ryan to WR Julio Jones, the Packers would go on to score their 34 points in the contest unchallenged. Atlanta, who trailed 20-7 at the intermission, managed to rule the fourth quarter, scoring on TD passes from Ryan to Jones and Justin Hardy to make the contest closer. Green Bay outrushed Atlanta 138-107, Ryan threw for 262 yards with three TDs and an interception that was returned for a TD, while Aaron Rodgers threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs (Rodgers was sacked four times, Ryan sacked twice) and Jones led all recievers with 106 yards on eight catches with the two TDs. Atlanta was 3 of 12 on third down conversions in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst (they were 3 for 3 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 30:49, while the Packers kept the ball for 29:11, going 7 for 13 on third down tries.

While the Desert Angry Birds lead the series 15-14, Atlanta has outscored Arizona 662-621 and has won four of the last five meetings. Atlanta’s last win came in 2016 in the Big Peach by a final of 38-19, while Arizona’s last win came in the desert in 2013 with the Cardinals coming away 27-13 winners. Atlanta’s favored by 8 1/2 in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 44. Granted, the Cardinals are bad but tney’re not 8 1/2 points bad. The Desert Angry Birds will make it hard for the Falcons in their nest in the Big Peach but Atlanta takes the win at home.

Tampa Bay (5-8) at Baltimore (7-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Jameis Winston will face another Heisman Trophy winner as he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make their way to Charm City to face off against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Both teams took losses in their contests last week and both teams wathced their opponents clinch playoff spots.

Tampa Bay let a 14-3 lead against NFC South foe New Orleans get away from them as Drew Brees and the Saints would score 25 second half points unchallenged to come away 28-14 winners at Raymond James Stadium last Sunday. The Bucs took that 2-touchdown lead thanks to a pair of Winston TD passes to Chris Brate in the first 30 minutes of play before New Orleans would chip away at the lead and overtake the Bucs in the final 30 minutes of action. The Saints would get a pair of Will Lutz field goals, a TD pass from Brees to Zach Line and TD runs from Brees and RB Mark Ingram to seal Tampa Bay’s fate. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 105-100 and Winston threw for 213 yards and the two TDs with four sacks and an interception, while Brees threw for 201 yards with the TD and a sack (both Brees and Winston threw an interception). The Saints were 6 for 12 on third down but they were 1 of 1 on fourth down in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 31:53, while Tampa Bay kept the ball for 28:07, going 6 of 14 on third down tries.

The Ravens watched the Kansas City Chiefs clinch a playoff spot in the AFC last Sunday as they fell in overtime 23-20 at Arrowhead. Kansas City led 17-10 at the break before the Ravens would storm back in the second half and took a 24-17 lead with 4:04 left to play when Lamar Jackson (who took over for Joe Flacco) and WR Darnell Brown connected on a 9-yard TD toss. Kansas City would bring things back to even when Mahomes and RB Darrien Williams connected on a 5-yard TD toss with 58 seconds left. The Chiefs then prevented Baltimore from driving in the final seconds of regulation and the two clubs went into overtime. Kansas City won the toss, got the ball first and made the most of their first possession as K Harrison Butker, who missed earlier from 43 yards, connected on a 35-yarder with 4:42 left in the extra period. Baltimore then got the ball back and threatened to either re-tie the contest or take the win, as they would get as close as Kansas City’s 47-yard line before the two-minute warning came. After the two-minute warning, Jackson scrambled to the Chiefs’ 44-yard line but the Ravens were penalized for holding and were pusshed back. Jackson scrambled again for four yards but the Ravens were again flagged for holding again and Jackson was injured on the play. The Ravens then used a timeout and Robert Griffin III came into to replace Jackson and his first attempt to WR John Brown was incomplete. After the Chiefs burned a timeout and the Ravens had one last chance but the Chiefs would seal the win when Griffin’s pass to Willie Snead IV sailed incomplete.

Baltimore outrushed the Chiefs 198-94 but Mahomes threw for 377 yards and a pair of TDs (including one to TE Travis Kelce) with an interception, while Jackson threw for 147 yards and a pair of TDs of his own, with three sacks and no interceptions (Mahomes sacked three times and picked off once). The Chiefs were 6 of 16 on third down but was successful on fourth down tries at Arrownhead, going 3 for 3 and kept the ball for 37 minutes, while the Ravens kept the ball for 31:27 and were 5 for 12 on third down, 1 for 3 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 3-2, have outscored the Buccaneers 102-74 and have taken wins in the last three contests, including taking a 48-17 win in the Sunshine State in 2014, while Tampa Bay’s last win came in Charm City in 2002, pitching a 25-0 shutout. Baltimore’s favored by 8 in Charm City and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The loser of this one? They’re done for the season. The winner? They get to hang around a little longer. Baltimore may not cover the 8 but they do take the win in Charm City.

Detroit (5-8) at Buffalo (4-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Detroit travels to Orchard Park for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Buffalo Bills at New Era Stadium.

Detroit held Arizona to a fourth quarter field goal by Zander Gonzalez by Detroit as the Lions walked their way out of State Farm Stadium with the 17-3 win last Sunday in Glendale. After a scoreless first quarter, the Lions scored their first 3 points of the contest unchallenged and took that 3-0 lead with them to the break. Detroit would make it 10-0 in the third quarter when CB Darius Slay picked off QB Josh Rosen and returned it 67 yards for a TD with 3:03 left in the third. Arizona would end Detroit’s shutout bid with a 22-yard field goal from Gonzalez (who had missed from 54 yards earlier) but Detroit responded when RB Zach Zenner scored from a yard out to close out the scoring in the desert. Detroit outrushed Arizona 122-61 and Rosen threw for 240 yards with an interception and three sacks, while Matthew Stafford threw for 101 yards with a sack but did not throw an interception. The Cardinals were 6 of 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 31:44, while the Lions needed to keep the ball for only 28:16, going 4 for 12 on third down tries.

Buffalo watched GangGreen get their revenge on the Bills from their week 10 loss in the Meadowlands and took a 27-23 win out of Orchard Park last Sudnay. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 14-3 at the end of the first quarter before they went to work on their AFC East rivals, trailing 17-13 at the half, then procceded to chip away at Buffalo and took the lead for keeps with 1:17 when RB Elijah McGuire scored on a 1-yard run. New York then held off a late Bills rally, as CB Trumaine Johnson picked off Josh Allen, giving the Jets the ball back and after a couple of kneeldowns, they would take the win. Buffalo outrushed GangGreen 176-78, with Allen, who threw for 206 yards with a pair of interceptions, leading the way with 101 yards and a rushing TD, while Sam Darnold threw for 170 yards and a TD for the Jets (Darnold was unsacked with an interception, while Allen was sacked three times). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 for 13 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:13, while the Bills ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:47 and went 7 for 14 on third down tries in upstate New York.

The Bills lead the series 5-4-1 and the Lions have outscored the Bills 193-184. Buffalo has won the last two meetings, with the Bills coming away 17-14 winners in the Motor City in 2014, while Detroit’s last win came at home a final of 20-17 in 2008. Buffalo’s favored by 2 1/2 on the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Both numbers make sense and both teams are not going to the post-season party this year, so feel free to watch that “Mythbusters” marathon this Sunday. We can confirm that both teams will not make the playoffs. It’s plausible the Bills will win this one at home and covers the 2 1/2.

Green Bay (5-7-0) at Chicago (9-4), 1 p.m. on FOX. They meet again, this time in the Windy City. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Windy City as the first-place Chicago Bears host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.

Green Bay gave interim head coach Joe Philbin his first win, taking down Atlanta 34-20 at Lambeau Field last Sunday. After taking over for Mike McCarthy, the Packers erased an early 7-0 deficit after Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 16-yard toss to open the scoring in the contest. Green Bay would go on to score their 34 points in the contest unchallenged and take a 20-7 at the intermission. Atlanta did manage to rule the fourth quarter, scoring on TD passes from Ryan to Jones and Justin Hardy to make the contest closer. Green Bay outrushed Atlanta 138-107, with Ryan throwing for 262 yards with three TDs and an interception that was returned for a TD, while Rodgers threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs (Rodgers was sacked four times, Ryan sacked twice) and Jones led all recievers with 106 yards on eight catches with the two TDs. Atlanta was 3 of 12 on third down conversions in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst (they were 3 for 3 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 30:49, while the Packers kept the ball for 29:11, going 7 for 13 on third down tries.

Da Bears went into halftime tied at 9-9 with the Los Angeles Rams before Chicago pulled away in the second half with 9 third quarter points unchallenged to take a 15-6 win at Soldier Field last Sunday night. The wheels came off the Rams’ bus in the final 30 minutes of play when DL Eddie Goldman sacked Jared Goff for a safety to open the second half scoring and Da Bears would add a 2-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky to OL Bradley Sowell to all but put the game away. Chicago outrushed the Rams 194-52, with Bears RB Jordan Howard leading the way with 101 yards. Goff would wind up throwing for 180 yards in the loss, while Trubisky threw for 110 yards (Goff was sacked three times and picked off four times, while Trubisky was sacked once with three interceptions). Chicago went 7 of 16 on third down in the Windy City (game time temperature, you ask? A balmy 27 degrees with a 25 degree wind chill) and held on to the ball for 36:49, while the Rams were 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down and kept the pigskin for 23:11.

Chicago and Green Bay met at Lambeau in week one and Packers fans held their breath as Rodgers was knocked out of their Sunday night contest against Chicago at Lambeau, only to see the Packers rally to take a 24-23 NFC North win over Da Bears. Trailing 17-0 at the intermission, Packer fans saw Rodgers come out of the contest with what some thought was a knee injury, only to give Green Bay fans hope, as they outscored Chicago 24-6 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Chicago outrushed Green Bay 139-69, Rodgers burned Da Bears for 286 yards with three TDs, with the game-winner going to Randall Cobb to send Green Bay’s fan base home happy. Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky threw for 171 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest but the Green Bay defense made things less than pleasant for him, sacking him four times on the evening. Green Bay was 5 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:38, while Chicago kept the pigskin for 33:22, going 7 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Green Bay in the season opener was favored by 7 and the Packers won by 1 and both teams BARELY missed the 47 1/2 over/under by 1/2. Chicago’s favored by 5 1/2 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 45. Chicago would love to win the NFC North in their building, while the Packers want to stop their party, even if it’s for a week. Da Bears get their revenge and cover the 5 1/2 in the Windy City, taking the win at Soldier Field.

Oakland (3-10) at Cincinnati (5-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of struggling teams meet along the shore of the Ohio River as the Oakland Raiders square off against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

Oakland held off a late Pittsburgh rally at the Alameda County Coliseum, coming away 24-21 winners over the Steelers last Sunday. Oakland led 7-0 after the first quarter came to an end, then the Silver and Black watched Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers take a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission. After the two clubs went scoreless in the third quarter, Oakland proceeded to outscore Pittsburgh 14-7 in the final period of play, then blocked a 40-yard field goal try by Chris Boswell that would have tied things up to end the contest. Oakland outrushed Pittsburgh 55-40 and Derek Carr threw for 322 yards, while Roethlisberger threw for 282 yards (both men threw a pair of TD passes, Roethlisberger connected with WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuster on both of his tosses; neither man threw an interception, Roethlisberger was sacked once and Carr was sacked four times). The Raiders were 4 for 12 on third down but were succesful on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and kept the ball for 32:36, while Pittsburgh kept the ball for 27:24, going 6 for 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Los Angeles survived a scare from the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday at Stub Hub Centre, as the Bengals fell to the Chargers 26-21 on the West Coast. The Chargers led 17-12 at the intermission, then held off a late Cincinnati rally in the second half to take the win. Cincinnnati did outrush Los Angeles 144-85, with Bengals running back Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 111 yards and a TD but Rivers threw for 220 yards with no interceptions, as he outpaced Bengals backup QB Jeff Driskel (who took over for Andy Dalton), who threw for 170 yards and no interceptions (both men threw a TD pass, Driskel was sacked three times, Rivers was sacked twice). Both teams were 5 of 13 on third down conversions in the late afternoon contest on the West Coast and the Chargers were 1 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 27:22, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 32:38 but went 0 for 1 on fourth down tries.

The Silver and Black lead the series 18-10 and have outscored the Bengals 643-547 (including games that were played at Riverfront Stadium and in Los Angeles). The Bengals won their last meeting with Oakland, as the Bengals were 33-13 winners along the shores of the Ohio River in 2015, while Oakland’s last win in the series came in Oakland by a final of 20-17 in 2009. Cincinnati’s favored by 3 along the shores of the Ohio River and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Both numbers are reasonable. This contest may wind up being somewhat entertaining and while it’s nowhere near being “DRILL WORTHY!” it’s football. Bengals cover the 3 and takes the win at home.

Dallas (8-5) at Indianapolis (7-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of contending teams meet in the Hoosier State as Dak Prescott and Dallas makes their way to Indianapolis for a Sunday afternoon meeting with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

Dallas led Philadelphia 6-0 at the intermission thanks to a pair of Brett Maher field goals (including a 62-yarder as time expired), then saw the defending Super Bowl champs storm back in the second half to tie things up at 23-23 and needed overtime to come away 29-23 winners at AT&T Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Dallas would lead 9-0 going into the final 30 minutes of play before the Eagles would storm back in the fourth quarter, tying things up with 99 seconds left in regulation when Darrell Sporles and Carson Wentz connected on a 6-yard toss. Dallas would get the ball to start the overtime and made the most of it, using a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took 8:05 of the overtime, taking the win when Prescott and WR Amari Cooper connected on a 15-yard TD toss to end the contest. Dallas outrushed the defending Super Bowl champs 142-34 with Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 113 yards for Dallas. Prescott threw for 455 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Wentz threw for 228 yards (both QBs threw three TDs in the overtime contest). Third down tries… the Cowboys were 10 of 19, while the Eagles were 1 of 9 and both clubs went 1 of 1 on fourth down tries. Dallas ruled the clock in the contest, keeping the ball for 45:33 (including the entire overtime), while the Eagles kept the ball for 22:32.

The Colts broke Houston’s 9-game win streak as Luck and the Colts came away from the Lone Start State 24-21 winners Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium. The Texans took a 7-0 lead after the first quarter and saw that lead vanish as the Colts scored 17 second quarter points unchallenged to take a 17-7 lead with them to the intermission. Houston would eventually make it a 3-point game with 2:37 left in regulation when WR DeAnrde Hopkins and Texans QB DeShaun Watson connected on a 7-yard TD toss to bring them closer. The Colts then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win over their AFC South rivals. While Houston outrushed Indianapolis 89-50, Luck threw for 399 yards with a pair of TDs, while Watson threw for 267 yards with a TD and no interceptions (Watson was sacked five times, Luck was sacked twice and threw an interception). The Texans were 5 of 15 on third down conversions (they were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and they would keep the ball for 31:57, while the Colts would keep the pigskin for 28:03, going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Including contests played at the Cotton Bowl and in Baltimore, Dallas leads the series 10-5 and the Cowboys have outscored the Colts 378-259. The Cowboys won the their last meeting, taking a 42-7 win in Arlington in 2014, while the Colts’ last win in the series came in 2002 in the Hoosier State by a final of 20-3. Indy’s favored by 3 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 47. Both teams want playoff spots and should Dallas win, they win the NFC East; if the Colts win, they put themselves a little closer to Houston. Colts win in the Hoosier State and covers the 3.

Washington (6-7) at Jacksonville (4-9), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Washington makes the 711-mile drive down I-95 to face off against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars in north Florida. Jacksonvile looks to knock the Redskins out of the playoff picture, while Washington looks to bounce back from their four-game losing streak.

The Redskins watched Eli Manning and the New York Giants score 40 points unchallenged (Washington trailed 34-0 at the half) through three quarters of play at FedEx Field before scoring twice in the fourth to fall to the Giants 40-16 in Landover last Sunday. The Giants easily outrushhed Washington 227-84 with New York RB Sequan Barkley leading the way with 170 yards and a TD, while Manning threw for 197 yards and three TDs. Washington was paced by backup QB Josh Johnson (who took over for Mark Sanchez), who threw for 195 yards and a TD with an interception (Manning was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Giants went 4 of 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 30:09, while Washington kept the ball for 29:51, going 2 for 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Jacksonville found themselves being held in check by Tennessee in Nashville two Thursdays ago, as the Titans completed the sweep of their series, falling 30-9 in Nashville. The Jaguars trailed 16-2 at the break and could never really get themselves on track at Nissan Stadium, as the Titans would outscore them 14-7 in the second half. Jacksonville’s points in the contest came when rookie LB Leon Jacobs sacked Titans rookie KR Cameron Batson in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter and WR Dede Westbrook catching a 7-yard TD pass from Case Kessler late in the third. Jacksonville was easily outrushed by Tennessee 264-60, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 238 yards and four TDs. Keesler threw for 240 yards and was sacked four times, while Marcus Mariota threw for 162 yards with a sack and an interception for the Titans. Jacksonville was 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 5 on fourth down and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 30:40, while the Titans were 29:20 in time of possesion, going 7 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Washington leads the series 5-1, have outscored Jacksonville 163-111 and has won the last three meetings, including coming away with the 41-10 win in Landover in 2014, while Jacksonville’s lone win over the Redskins came in 2002 in the Sunshine State by a final of 26-7. The odds makers like the Jaguars as 7 point favorites in north Florida and the over/under’s 36. Both teams are on back up QBs and both would love nothing more than to have some sanity restored. “Hail To The Redskins?” Not this week. Washington fan will be singing “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” this week. Washington will make this one close but Jacksonville prevails in north Florida, taking the win in the Sunshine State.

Miami (7-6) at Minnesota (6-6-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of contenders meet in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Miami travels to the Twin Cities to face off against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium.

Miami snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last Sunday in the Sunshine State, as they took a 34-33 win from Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. After leading their AFC East rivals 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, Brady and the Patriots would lead 27-21 at the break, thanks to Brady throwing TD passes to Julian Edelman and TE Rob Gronkowski for the six-point lead. Miami reclaimed the lead in the third quarter but lost it in the fourth when K Stephen Gostkowski added a pair of field goals in the fourth, the second one coming with 16 seconds left in regulation to give New England the 33-28. Miami would make the most of the five-point deficit they faced and used all of the 16 second that were left when RB Kenyan Drake caught a 69-yard pass from QB Ryan Tannehill as part of a couple of laterals and took the ball into the end zone as time expired. Miami outrushed New England 189-87 with Dolphins RB Frank Gore leading the way with 92 yards; Tannehill threw for 265 yards, while Brady threw for 358 yards, 107 of those yards going to Gronkowski (both men threw three TDs, neither threw an interception, Tannehill was sacked four times and Brady twice) in the contest. Miami went 1 of 7 on third down conversions and held the ball for 24:46 (including the final 16 seconds), while New England kept the ball for 35:14 and went 9 for 16 on third down tries.

Seattle held Minnesota to a late TD in the fourth quarter in the Pacific Northwest as the Seahawks were 21-7 winners at Century Link Field last Monday night. Sebastian Janikowski gave Seattle a 3-0 lead in the early part of the second quarter after the two teams were scoreless at the end of the first and would take that lead with them to the intermission. Minnesota and Seattle shut each other out in the thrid quarter but the Seahawks would score 18 fourth quarter points unchallenged to seal the win, using a second Janikowski field goal, a 2-yard run by Chris Carson and a 29-yard fumble return by Justin Coleman before Minnesota would end Seattle’s bid for a shutout with 70 seconds left when RB Delvin Cook caught a 6-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins. Minnesota was outrushed by Seattle 214-77 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and Russell Wilson threw for only 72 yards in the contest with a pair of sacks and an interception that stopped a Seahawks’ drive, while Cousins threw for 208 yards with a pair of sacks and no interceptions. Seattle was 3 for 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 31:49, while the Vikings held on to the ball for 28:11, while the Purple Gang was 2 of 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Miami holds a 7-4 lead in the series (including games played at the Orange Bowl, Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome), the Dolphins have outscored the Vikings 230-212 and the ‘Fins have won the last three contests, including taking a 37-35 win in the Sunshine State in 2014, while Minnesota’s last win came in the Twin Cities in 2002 by a final of 20-17. Minnesota’s favored by 7 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both teams are looking for a playoff spot and the winner gets a little bit closer to their goal. Miami pulls the upstate in the Twin Cities and covers the 7.

Tennessee (7-6) at New York Giants (5-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Meadowlands as Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans square off against Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium. Both clubs took care of business last week, taking big wins in last week’s action.

Tennessee and Mariota held Jacksonville in check in Nashville two Thursdays ago, as the Titans completed the sweep of their series, falling 30-9 in Nashville. Tennessee led 16-2 at the break and never really allowed Jacksonville to get themselves on track at Nissan Stadium, as the Titans would outscore them 14-7 in the second half. Jacksonville’s points in the contest came when rookie LB Leon Jacobs sacked Titans rookie KR Cameron Batson in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter and WR Dede Westbrook catching a 7-yard TD pass from Case Kessler late in the third. Jacksonville was easily outrushed by Tennessee 264-60, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 238 yards and four TDs. Keesler threw for 240 yards and was sacked four times, while Marcus Mariota threw for 162 yards with a sack and an interception for the Titans. Jacksonville was 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 5 on fourth down and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 30:40, while the Titans were 29:20 in time of possesion, going 7 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Manning and the Giants scored 40 points unchallenged (they led 34-0 at the half) through three quarters of play at FedEx Field before scoring twice in the fourth to take down Washington 40-16 in Landover last Sunday. The Giants easily outrushhed Washington 227-84 with New York RB Sequan Barkley leading the way with 170 yards and a TD, while Manning threw for 197 yards and three TDs. Washington was paced by backup QB Josh Johnson (who took over for Mark Sanchez), who threw for 195 yards and a TD with an interception (Manning was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Giants went 4 of 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 30:09, while Washington kept the ball for 29:51, going 2 for 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Including contests that took place when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers, the Giants lead the series 6-5 and Big Blue has outscored the Titans 239-202. The Giants are favored by 2 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Tennesse’s looking to have a part in the playoff party, while the Giants look to finish the season at the .500 mark. Big Blue puts themsevles one step closer to that goal, taking the win and covering the 2 1/2.

Seattle (8-5) at San Francisco (3-10), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. It’s an NFC West rematch in Santa Clara as Seattle makes the 839-mile trip down I-5 to face off against the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams took home wins in last week’s action.

Seattle held Minnesota to a late TD in the fourth quarter as the Seahawks were 21-7 winners at Century Link Field last Monday night. Sebastian Janikowski gave Seattle a 3-0 lead in the early part of the second quarter after the two teams were scoreless at the end of the first and would take that lead with them to the intermission. Minnesota and Seattle shut each other out in the thrid quarter but the Seahawks would score 18 fourth quarter points unchallenged to seal the win, using a second Janikowski field goal, a 2-yard run by Chris Carson and a 29-yard fumble return by Justin Coleman before Minnesota would end Seattle’s bid for a shutout with 70 seconds left when RB Delvin Cook caught a 6-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins. Minnesota was outrushed by Seattle 214-77 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and Russell Wilson threw for only 72 yards in the contest with a pair of sacks and an interception that stopped a Seahawks’ drive, while Cousins threw for 208 yards with a pair of sacks and no interceptions. Seattle was 3 for 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 31:49, while the Vikings held on to the ball for 28:11, while the Purple Gang was 2 of 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

The 49ers held off a late Denver rally at Levis Stadium, taking a 20-14 win Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. San Francisco got a pair of Robbie Gould field goals and a pair of TD passes from Nick Mullens in the first half to allow the 49ers to score their 20 points in the first half unchallenged before the Broncos would get back on track, scoring their 14 points unthreatened. Broncos rookie WR DaeSean Hamilton’s 1-yard TD pass from Case Keenum with 3:53 left would pull the Broncos to within seven but the 49ers would not allow them to come any closer, breaking the Broncos’ three-game win streak in the process. Denver did outrush San Francsico 103-94 but Mullens burned Denver for 332 yards and a pair of TDs, including one to TE George Kittle (Kittle had seven catches for 210 yards), while Keenum threw for 186 yards in the loss (Keenum was sacked twice, while Mullens was sacked three times with an interception). While the Broncos were 2 of 15 on third down conversions in Santa Clara last Sunday, they were 5 for 7 on fourth down tries and held on to the ball for 29:19. As for San Francisco? They ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:41 and were 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They met two weeks ago in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and San Francisco saw their slim playoff hopes die in Seattle as the Seahawks took down the 49ers 43-16 at Century Link Field in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle led 20-6 at the intermission, then proceeded to outscore the 49ers 23-13 in the last 30 minutes of action in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and never looked back. Seattle outrushed San Francisco 168-66 and Nate Mullins threw for 414 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Dante Pettis but was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Russell Wilson threw for 185 yards with four TDs and no interception (Wilson was sacked three times). San Francisco went 7 of 16 on third down (they were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and the 49ers actually ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 32:30, while the Seahawks were 4 for 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:30.

In the week 13 meeting in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle was favored by 9 1/2 and the Seahawks covered, winning by 17. Both teams covered the 46 over/under by tallying 59 points. In the rematch, Seattle’s the darling of the boys and girls in Vegas as a 6 1/2 point favorite with a 44 1/2 over/under. San Francisco wants to be the Grinch to Seattle and steal their thunder, while the Seahawks work for a Wild Card spot. The 49ers’ heart is three sizes too small. Seattle covers the 6 1/2 and wins in wine country.

New England (9-4) at Pittsburgh (7-5-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Tom vs. Ben. Brady vs. Roethlisberger. They meet again. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Steel City in a late-afternoon AFC contest at Heinz Field. Both teams were road losers in last week’s action.

Miami snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last Sunday in the Sunshine State, as they took a 34-33 win from Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. After leading their AFC East rivals 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, Brady and the Patriots would lead 27-21 at the break, thanks to Brady throwing TD passes to Julian Edelman and TE Rob Gronkowski for the six-point lead. Miami reclaimed the lead in the third quarter but lost it in the fourth when K Stephen Gostkowski added a pair of field goals in the fourth, the second one coming with 16 seconds left in regulation to give New England the 33-28. Miami would make the most of the five-point deficit they faced and used all of the 16 second that were left when RB Kenyan Drake caught a 69-yard pass from QB Ryan Tannehill as part of a couple of laterals and took the ball into the end zone as time expired. Miami outrushed New England 189-87 with Dolphins RB Frank Gore leading the way with 92 yards; Tannehill threw for 265 yards, while Brady threw for 358 yards, 107 of those yards going to Gronkowski (both men threw three TDs, neither threw an interception, Tannehill was sacked four times and Brady twice) in the contest. Miami went 1 of 7 on third down conversions and held the ball for 24:46 (including the final 16 seconds), while New England kept the ball for 35:14 and went 9 for 16 on third down tries.

Oakland held off a late Pittsburgh rally at the Alameda County Coliseum, as the Steelers fell to the Silver and Black 24-21 last Sunday. Oakland led 7-0 after the first quarter came to an end, then the Silver and Black watched Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers take a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission. After the two clubs went scoreless in the third quarter, Oakland proceeded to outscore Pittsburgh 14-7 in the final period of play, then blocked a 40-yard field goal try by Chris Boswell that would have tied things up to end the contest. Oakland outrushed Pittsburgh 55-40 and Derek Carr threw for 322 yards, while Roethlisberger threw for 282 yards (both men threw a pair of TD passes, Roethlisberger connected with WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuster on both of his tosses; neither man threw an interception, Roethlisberger was sacked once and Carr was sacked four times). The Raiders were 4 for 12 on third down but were succesful on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and kept the ball for 32:36, while Pittsburgh kept the ball for 27:24, going 6 for 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh leads the series 14-12 and the Steelers have outscored New England 604-574. Pittsburgh’s last win over the Pats came in 2011 in the Steel City by a final of 25-17, while New England’s last win came last year at Heinz Field by a final of 27-24.

They met in the Steel City in week 15 and in that late afternoon meeting, Brady and the Pats erased a 17-10 deficit against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers and left Heinz Field with a 27-24 win to clinch the AFC East title. The Steelers led 24-19 with 56 seconds left in regulation when New England’s Deion Lewis scored on an 8-yard run and took the lead when Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski, coming off his one-game suspension, hooked up on the two-point try to take the 3-point lead. Steelers fans had their hopes dashed twice in the contest. Pittsburgh got the ball back and marched downfield, getting as close as New England’s 10-yard line when Ben Roethlisberger and TE Jesse James connected on what they thought would be the game-winning score. The play was reviewed and the call was changed from catch to no catch. After that, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a short pass to New England’s 7-yard line and the Steelers scrambled to the line without any times and Roethlisberger threw a pass into the endzone that was deflected and picked off by Duron Harmon. New England ran out the clock and took the win.

Pittsburgh outrushed New England 143-77, with LeVeon Bell leading all rushers with 117 yards, while Roethlisbeger threw for 281 yards and a TD. Pittsburgh also lost the services of All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, who had 24 yards on two catches before leaving the contest with a torn calf muscle (Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster had 114 yards on six catches for the Steelers), while Brady threw for 298 yards and a TD (both were sacked twice and both threw an interception). Pittsburgh on third down went 10 of 16 and kept the ball for 35:07, while the Pats were 24:53 in time of possession, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down at Heinz Field.

It’s not just Brady vs. Roethilsberger. There’s a revenge plot in this one, which makes it “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 58 last June and dates a 43-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?”)

In the week 15 contest that had drama and controversy, the Pats were favored by 2 1/2 and New England covered, winning by 3. The two clubs missed the 53 1/2 over/under, as both combined for 51 points. New England’s favored by 2 1/2 in western Pennsylvania but this time, the over/under’s 52. Both teams have all but assured themselves of a spot in the post-season party. New England wants to prove that last year’s meeting was not a fluke, while the Steelers want revenge. Revenge wins out this time. Pittsburgh pulls off the upset at Heinz Field and takes the win, covering the 2.

Philadelphia (6-7) at Los Angeles Rams (11-2), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. The defending Super Bowl champs limp their way to the West Coast for a Sunday night contest with the Los Angeles Rams, winners of the NFC West in a rematch from last season. Both teams come into the Sunday night affair taking losses on the road from last Sunday’s action.

Philadelphia, who will have Nick Foles under center Sunday night, trailed Dallas 6-0 at the intermission thanks to a pair of Brett Maher field goals (including a 62-yarder as time expired), then rallied in the second half to tie things up at 23-23, only to come up short, losing to their NFC East rivals 29-23 in overtime AT&T Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Dallas would lead 9-0 going into the final 30 minutes of play before the Eagles would storm back in the fourth quarter, tying things up with 99 seconds left in regulation when Darrell Sporles and Carson Wentz connected on a 6-yard toss. Dallas would get the ball to start the overtime and made the most of it, using a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took 8:05 of the overtime, taking the win when Prescott and WR Amari Cooper connected on a 15-yard TD toss to end the contest. Dallas outrushed the defending Super Bowl champs 142-34 with Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 113 yards for Dallas. Prescott threw for 455 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Wentz threw for 228 yards (both QBs threw three TDs in the overtime contest). Third down tries… the Cowboys were 10 of 19, while the Eagles were 1 of 9 and both clubs went 1 of 1 on fourth down tries. Dallas ruled the clock in the contest, keeping the ball for 45:33 (including the entire overtime), while the Eagles kept the ball for 22:32.

In somewhat chilly Chicago, the Rams and Da Bears went into halftime tied a 9-9 before Chicago pulled away in the second half with 9 third quarter points unchallenged to lose 15-6 at Soldier Field last Sunday night. The wheels came off the Rams’ bus in the final 30 minutes of play when DL Eddie Goldman sacked Jared Goff for a safety to open the second half scoring and Da Bears would add a 2-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky to OL Bradley Sowell to all but put the game away. Chicago outrushed the Rams 194-52, with Bears RB Jordan Howard leading the way with 101 yards. Goff would wind up throwing for 180 yards in the loss, while Trubisky threw for 110 yards (Goff was sacked three times and picked off four times, while Trubisky was sacked once with three interceptions). Chicago went 7 of 16 on third down in the Windy City (game time temperature, you ask? A balmy 27 degrees with a 25 degree wind chill) and held on to the ball for 36:49, while the Rams were 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down and kept the pigskin for 23:11.

Philadelphia leads the series 20-17-1 (which includes games played in Cleveland, Colorado Springs, JFK Stadium, Veterans Stadium and St. Louis), while the Rams have outscored Philadelphia 769-768. The defending Super Bowl champs have won the last five contests in the series, including taking a 43-35 win last year on the West Coast (the Rams’ last win over the Eagles came in St. Louis in 2004 by a final of 20-7.

They met in week 14 at the Coliseum and the Eagles led 24-14 at the intermisison before the Rams would storm their way back to take a 28-24 lead with 10:07 left in the third when DB Blake Countess retuned a blocked punt 16 yards for a TD to give the home team the four-point lead. That lead would not last very long as the Eagles would reclaim it when Alshon Jeffery and Wentz connected on a 2-yard TD toss with 2:20 left in the third. Back came the Rams, who would take the lead back early in the final quarter when RB Todd Gurley scored from a yard away to lead 35-31. Philadelphia stormed back again, using a pair of Josh Elliot field goals and a Brandon Graham TD run at the end of the contest to seasl Los Angeles’ fate. Philadelphia outrushed the Rams 139-109 and Wentz, who left the contest with a knee injury earlier in the game, threw for 291 yards and four TDs (Wentz was sacked once and picked off once) and his replacement Nick Foles threw for 42 yards, while Goff threw for 199 yards with a pair of TDs with a pair of sacks and no interceptions. Philadelphia was 8 for 20 on third down tries on the West Coast (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 39:12, while the Rams kept the ball for 20:48, going 2 for 7 on third down tries.

In the week 14 contest in Los Angeles, the Rams were favored by 2 and the Eagles covered, winning by 8. The two teams covered the 50 1/2 over/under, as they would tally 78 points in the contest.

The Eagles are now 23-20 on Sunday night, losing to Dallas earlier in the season, while the Rams are 10-12, with their last prime time appearance on Sunday coming in 2010 when they were in St. Louis (that contest resulted in a loss). The Rams are favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 54. The Eagles are in survival mode, while the Rams would love nothing more than to be the number one seed when the NFC playoffs get underway. Philadelphia will make this one closer than 9 1/2 but the Rams bounce back and prevails on the West Coast.

New Orleans (11-2) at Carolina (6-7), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 15 closes out in the Tar Heel State as a pair of NFC South foes meet in Charlotte, with New Orleans and Carolina meeting at Bank of America Stadium for a Monday night contest.

New Orleans erased a 14-3 deficit against NFC South foe Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston as Drew Brees and the Saints would score 25 second half points unchallenged to come away 28-14 winners at Raymond James Stadium last Sunday. The Bucs took that 2-touchdown lead thanks to a pair of Winston TD passes to Chris Brate in the first 30 minutes of play before New Orleans would chip away at the lead and overtake the Bucs in the final 30 minutes of action. The Saints, who clinched the NFC South title Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State, would get a pair of Will Lutz field goals, a TD pass from Brees to Zach Line and TD runs from Brees and RB Mark Ingram to seal Tampa Bay’s fate. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 105-100 and Winston threw for 213 yards and the two TDs with four sacks and an interception, while Brees threw for 201 yards with the TD and a sack (both Brees and Winston threw an interception). The Saints were 6 for 12 on third down but they were 1 of 1 on fourth down in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 31:53, while Tampa Bay kept the ball for 28:07, going 6 of 14 on third down tries.

For the second week in a row, Newton faced another former Heisman Trophy winner in Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and Cleveland edged out Carolina 26-20 last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie at FirstEnergy Stadium. Tied 17-17 at the intermission, the Panthers would take a 3-point lead on a 34-yard field goal by Chris Cantazaro with 7:11 left in the third quarter. It would be the last time that the Panthers would see the lead as Browns rookie RB Nick Chubb would give the home team the lead for keeps, scoring from 4 yards out with 13:05 left, then K Greg Joseph all but sealed Carolina’s fate with a 41-yard field goal to close out the scoring and ended a Carolina threat that would have given the Panthers the lead late in the contest. Cleveland outrushed Carolina 116-96, with Chubb leading all rushers with 66 yards while Collin McCaffery leading Carolina with 63 yards and a pair of TDs for the Panthers. Newton threw for 265 yards with an interception and a sack for Carolina, while Mayfield threw for 238 yards and TD pass to WR Jarvis Landry for Cleveland (Mayfield was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Cleveland was 4 for 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:10, while Carolina ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 33:50, going 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down tries.

Carolina leads the series 24-22 and the Panthers have outscored New Orleans 1,014-1,013. They met three times and New Orleans won all three meetings,  winning 34-13 at Carolina in Week 3 (September 24) and 31-21 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 13 (December 3) and taking a 31-26 win in the NFC Wild Card game in the Big Easy (Carolina’s last win over the Saints came in 2016, when they would take a 23-20 win in Charlotte).

In the contest in Charlotte in week three, the Saints took a 17-6 lead with them to the intermission at Bank of America Stadium and never looked back, as Brees threw three TDs in the game in the Tar Heel State. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 149-132, Brees threw for 220 yards with no interceptions, while Newton struggled, throwing for 167 yards with four sacks and three interceptions. Both teams were 50 percent on third down tries (New Orleans was 6 of 12, Carolina was 7 of 14) and New Orleans ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:09 to Carolina’s 28:51.

Meeting number two… New Orleans pulled the sweep in front of the home folkes in the Big Easy in week 13, taking the 10-point NFC South win over their rivals. This time, it was the Kamara/Ingram show as the two scored three rushing TDs (Kamara with two) and Brees threw for 269 yards, while Newton had a little better outing, throwing for 183 yards and a pair of TDs (each QB was sacked twice and did not throw an interception), connecting with Christian McCafferty and Darren Funchess on both tosses. The Saints again outrushed Carolina, this time tallying 148 yards (Ingram led all rushers with 85 yards), while Carolina tallied 112, with Newton accounting for 51 of those yards. As well as both teams did on third down in the first meetings, such was not the case in the second contest, as Carolina was 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Panthers were 0 of 2 on fourth down), while the Saints were 6 of 15 but found success on fourth down, going 1 of 1. Time was once again the BFF of the Saints, as they kept the ball for 33:21, while the Panthers held the pigskin for 26:39.

Round three… the NFC Wild Card game in the Big Easy and the Saints survived a last-second scare from Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at home last Sunday in an NFC South rematch, taking a 31-26 win in the Big Easy. New Orleans took a 21-9 lead with them to the break before the Panthers roared back in the final 30 minutes of action, making it a 6-point contest with 4:09 left in regulation when Newton and TE Collin MCCaffery connected on a 58-yard TD pass. The Saints then got the ball back and got as far as Carolina’s 47 yard line before Drew Brees (349 yards, TD) was picked off by S Matt Adams, who brought the ball back to their 31 yard line. Carolina then proceeded to move the ball and got as close as the Saints’ 21 yard line, when Newton (349 yards, four sacks) was called for intentional ground, much to the anger and chagrin of Panther fans. Newton then threw an interception that was intended for WR Darren Funches and then ended Carolina’s hopes of avenging the two earlier losses when Newton was sacked by Vonn Bell. New Orleans ran out the clock and took the win at home.

In the week three contest in the Tar Heel State, the Panthers were favored by 6 and the Saints covered the spread, winning by 21. The two clubs combined for 47 points, barely missing the 48 over/under. As for the second meeting, which took place in week 13, the oddsmakers in Vegas liked the Saints as 4 1/2-point favorites and they did kept the boys and girls in Vegas happy, winning by 10 in the Big Easy and both teams covered the 48 over/under with 52 points. The Saints were favored again, this time by 6 1/2 (New Orleans won by 5) and the over/under was 48 1/2 (both teams took care of that, scoring 57 points).

On Monday nights, the Panthers have done quite well, going 10-6 (they played one MNF game last season and took the win in that contest), while the Saints are 18-22 (they also played on a Monday night last year and took a loss). New Orleans is favored by 6 1/2 in the Tar Hee State and the over/under’s 52. Both numbers are reasonable and make a lot of sense. The Saints have already clinched the NFC South, while the Panthers are looking to claw their way into the post-season party. This would be a good time to tape “Bull” this week. Carolina’s finer in Charlotte on Monday night, taking the win, even though they may not cover the 6 1/2.