Archives for category: Drew Brees

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.

With four weeks left in regular season play, only one playoff spot out of 12 has been filled and that was courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams clinched the NFC West for the second straight season and will make another trip to the post-season party. One spot down. 11 to go.

There are only four weeks remaining in the regular season to decide who advances to the playoffs for a chance at a trip to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

As the league enters the final quarter of the regular season, there are 19 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 10 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.

Entering Week 14, one team – the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams (11-1) – has clinched a playoff berth as the battle for the remaining spots forges ahead. Three additional teams – Houston (9-3), New England (9-3) and New Orleans (10-2) – can clinch a division title this week.

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.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: The Los Angeles Rams improved to 11-1 and clinched the NFC West division with a 30-16 victory over Detroit at Ford Field. The Rams have won consecutive division titles for the first time since the 1978-79 seasons.

Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ victory. Gurley has 1,649 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns in his team’s first 12 games this season and is the eighth different player in league history to record at least 1,600 scrimmage yards and 18 touchdowns in his team’s first 12 games of a season. Gurley puts himself in some pretty good company, as six of the previous seven players to accomplish the feat are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those names, you ask? Jim Brown (1958 and 1965), Terrell Davis (1998), Eric Dickerson (1983), O.J. Simpson (1975), Emmitt Smith (1995) and La Dainian Tomlinson (2006)

Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks had four catches for 62 yards in the win and has 1,026 receiving yards this season, his fourth consecutive season with at least 1,000 receiving yards. Cooks, who had 1,173 receiving yards with the Saints in 2016 and 1,082 yards with the Patriots in 2017, is the first player in NFL history to record 1,000+ receiving yards with three different teams in three consecutive seasons. Cooks is the sixth player in league annals to record at least 1,000 receiving yards in a single season for three or more teams at any point in his career.

•New England quarterback Tom Brady completed 24 of 32 passes (75 percent) for 311 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a 102.5 passer rating in the Patriots’ 24-10 victory over Minnesota. With his third-quarter touchdown pass, Brady tied Peyton Manning (579 touchdown passes) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history, including the postseason. Brady also tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (508) for the third-most regular-season touchdown passes in league annals.

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahones passed for 295 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 120 passer rating and tight end Travos Kelce recorded 12 catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 40-33 win at Oakland.

Mahomes leads the NFL with 41 touchdown passes this season and joined Peyton Manning (44 touchdown passes in 2004 and 41 in 2013) and Tom Brady (41 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks in league history with at least 40 touchdown passes in their team’s first 12 games of a season. Manning and Brady each were named Associated Press Most Valuable Players in those campaigns.
Mahomes has seven games with at least four touchdown passes this season, the second-most in a single season in league annals, trailing only Manning (nine games in 2013).

Kelce, who has 1,082 receiving yards this season and has 1,000+ receiving yards in each of the past two seasons, joined Carolina’s Greg Olsen (three consecutive seasons from 2014-16) as the only tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons.

•New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley rushed for 125 yards and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. threw a 49-yard touchdown pass and had a touchdown catch in the team’s 30-27 overtime victory over Chicago in the Meadowlands.

Beckham, who also threw a 57-yard touchdown pass and had a 33-yard touchdown catch against Carolina in Week 5, is the first player since 1924 to record multiple games with a touchdown pass and a receiving touchdown in a single season. Eddie Kaw and Benny Boynton of the 1924 Buffalo Bisons are the only players to previously accomplish the feat. Beckham, who leads the Giants with 1,052 receiving yards in 2018, is the only player in league history with at least 1,000 receiving yards and multiple touchdown passes in a single season.

Barkley has 954 rushing yards this season and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans (830 rushing yards in 1936) for the most rushing yards by a rookie in franchise history.

•Houston defeated Cleveland, 29-13, and have won nine consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. The Texans are the first team in league history to win nine consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start to the season.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 224 yards and one touchdown in the victory. Watson, who appeared in his 19th career game today, threw a first-quarter touchdown pass to rookie tight end Jordan Thomas, marking the 40th touchdown pass of his career. Watson is the fourth-fastest player in NFL history to reach 40 career touchdown passes, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (17 games) and Dan Marino (18) and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahones, who threw his 40th career touchdown pass in his 13th career game last Sunday.

•Denver rookie running back Phillip Lindsay rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yard touchdown run, in the Broncos’ 24-10 victory at Cincinnati.

Lindsay, who has 1,126 scrimmage yards (937 rushing, 189 receiving) this season, is the fourth undrafted rookie since 1970 to record at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in a single season, joining Dominic Rhodes (1,328 scrimmage yards in 2001), Clark Gaines (1,124 in 1976) and Le Garrette Blount (1,021 in 2010).

•Other notable performances from Week 13 Sunday included:

Tampa Bay safety Andrew Adams tied a franchise record with three interceptions in the Buccaneers’ 24-17 victory over NFC South rival Carolina at Raymond James Stadium.

Adams joined Ronde Barber, who had three interceptions on both December 23, 2001 and December 4, 2005 against New Orleans, and Aqib Talib (three interceptions on October 4, 2009 against Washington) as the only players in franchise history with three interceptions in a single game. Adams is the fifth NFL player since 2010 to record at least three interceptions in a single game and the first since Tennessee’s Kevin Byard on October 22, 2017 against Cleveland.

Chicago defensive tackle Akiem Hicks recorded one sack and rushed for a one-yard score in the Bears’ overtime loss at the New York Giants. Hicks is the second Bears defensive lineman to rush for a touchdown in the regular season, joining William “The Refrigerator” Perry who accomplished the feat twice in 1985 (October 21 vs. Green Bay and November 24 vs. Atlanta).

Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen threw for 231 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 135 yards in the Bills’ loss at Miami. Allen is the fourth player in league history with at least two touchdown passes and 125+ rushing yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer WALTER PAYTON (September 18, 1983 at New Orleans), Tobin Rote (November 22, 1951 at Detroit) and Michael Vick (December 19, 2010 at the New York Giants).

Carolina running back Christian McCaffery rushed for 106 yards on 10 carries (10.6 average) and had nine catches for 55 yards with a touchdown in the Panthers’ loss at Tampa Bay. McCaffrey, who would later leave the contest with a foot injury, is the first player in NFL history to recor​d at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in five consecutive games.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 14

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 14, one team – the Los Angeles Rams (11-1) – clinched a playoff berth as the battle for the remaining spots forges ahead. Three ​​additional teams – Houston (9-3), New England (9-3) and New Orleans (10-2) – can clinch a division title this week.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston Texans (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.

STAT PATTING: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 41 touchdown passes and ranks second in passing yards (3,923).

With 77 passing yards on Sunday against Baltimore at 1 p.m. on CBS, Mahomes would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino (1984) and Kurt Warner (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season. Both Marino and Warner were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

The first-or-second year quarterbacks to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(PASSING YARDS/TOUCHDOWNS)
Dan Marino, Miami (1984)(5,084/48)^#
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (1999)(4,353.41)^#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018)(3,923/41)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Entering Week 14

RAISING ARIZONA: Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 1,281 receptions for 16,053 yards and 115 touchdowns during his 15-year NFL career, all with the Cardinals.

With one reception on Sunday against Detroit at 4:25 p.m. on FOX, Fitzgerald would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,281 receptions with San Francisco) for the most receptions by a player with one team in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions for one team in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEPTIONS)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (1,281)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1,281)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

FIFTH FOR FRANK: Miami running back Frank Gore has 18,414 scrimmage yards in his 14-year NFL career.

With 43 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New England at 1 p.m. on CBS, Gore would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (18,456 scrimmage yards) for the fifth-most scrimmage yards in league annals.

The players with the most scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (23,540)^
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (21,579)^
Walter Payton – Chicago (21,264)^
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis and St. Louis (19,154)^
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (18,456)^
Frank Gore – San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami (18,414)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TOUCHDOWN STREAK: Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his first nine NFL starts.

With a touchdown pass against Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Mayfield would become the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to record at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts.

The players with a touchdown pass in each of their first 10 career starts since 1966:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (1999)^
Brad Johnson, Minnesota (1996-97)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (2018)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has TD pass in each of first nine starts

SAQUON FROM SCRIMMAGE: New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley had 146 scrimmage yards (125 rushing, 21 receiving) in the Giants’ Week 13 overtime victory against Chicago. Barkley leads the NFL with 11 games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in 2018.

With 100 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Washington at 1 p.m. on FOX, Barkley would tie Edgerrin James (12 games in 1999) for the second-most games with at least 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.

The rookies with the most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983, 13)^#
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (1999, 12)#
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018, 11)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year
*Entering Week 14

RECORD-SETTING RECEIVER: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown has 81 receptions for 1,028 yards and leads the NFL with 12 touchdown receptions this season.

With 10 receptions on Sunday at Oakland at 4:25 p.m. on FOX, Brown, who has 663 receptions since 2013, can surpass Wes Welker (672 from 2007-12) for the most catches by a player over any six-year span in NFL history.

The most receptions by a player over any six-year span in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, RECEPTIONS)
Wes Welker, New England (2007-12, 672)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2013-18, 663)*
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2004, 649)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In sixth year of span

Brown, who had 154 receiving yards in Week 13, has 8,876 receiving yards since 2013 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (8,759 from 1990-1995) for the most receiving yards by a player over any six-year span in NFL history.

The most receiving yards by a player over any six-year span in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, RECIEVEING YARDS)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2013-18, 8,876)*
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1990-95, 8,759)^
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2004, 8,707)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In sixth year of span

ZACH ATTACK: Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz ranks second in the NFL with 93 receptions and second among tight ends with 978 receiving yards this season.

With seven receptions and 22 receiving yards on Sunday at Dallas at 4:25 p.m. on FOX, Ertz can become the fourth tight end in NFL history to record at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

The tight ends with at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(RECEPTIONS-RECEIVING YARDS)

Jason Witten, Dallas (2012)(110-1,039)#
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis (2009)(100-1,106)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2004)(102-1,252)
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia (2018)(93-978)*
*Entering Week 14
#Single-season record by a tight end

DOMINANT DONALD: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks this season and has recorded at least two sacks in each of his past three games.

With two sacks on Sunday Night Football at Chicago at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, Donald can become the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least two sacks in four consecutive games in a single season, joining Simeon Rice (five games in 2002) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Kevin Greene (four games in 1998) and Reggie White (four games in 1987).

The players with the most consecutive games with at least two sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS)
Simeon Rice, Tampa Bay (2002-5)
Kevin Greene, Carolina (1998-4)^
Reggie White, Philadelphia (1987-4)^
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams (2018-3)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

Donald, who has recorded at least two sacks in six games this season, can become the fourth player since 1982 to record at least seven games with two-or-more sacks in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Reggie White (eight games in 1987), Chris Doleman (seven games in 1989) and Bruce Smith (seven games in 1990).

The players with the most games with two-or-more sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON-GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS)
Reggie White, Philadelphia (1987-8)^#
Chris Doleman, Minnesota (1989-7)^
Bruce Smith, Buffalo (1990-7)^#
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams (2018-6)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year
*Entering Week 14

JONES-ING FOR MORE: Kansas City defensive lineman Chris Jones ties for fifth in the AFC with 10 sacks this season and has recorded at least one sack in eight consecutive games.

With a sack on Sunday against Baltimore at 1 p.m. on CBS, Jones would become the sixth player since 1982 to record at least one sack in nine consecutive games and the first player since 1982 to record nine consecutive games with at least one sack within a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least one sack since 1982:

PLAYER – TEAM(S)(SEASONS)(CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A SACK)

DeMarcus Ware – Dallas (2007-08)(10)
Simon Fletcher – Denver (1992-93)(10)
Dwight Freeney – Indianapolis (2008-09)(9)
Kevin Greene – San Francisco and Carolina (1997-98)(9)^
Bruce Smith – Buffalo (1986-87)(9)^
Chris Jones – Kansas City (2018)(8)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

With four weeks remaining on the schedule, much is still to be decided. Thirty of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention as the NFL enters Week 14.

Seven divisional matchups highlight an exciting slate of games in Week 14:

On Sunday afternoon, the Houston Texans welcomes Indianapolis to NRG Stadium at 1 p.m. on CBS in an AFC South battle. The Texans (9-3) lead the Colts (6-6) and the Titans (6-6) by three games in the division and look to extend their league-leading nine game winning streak. Since entering the league in 2017, Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson is one of two NFL quarterbacks (Russell Wilson) with a 100+ passer rating (101.8) and at least 500 rushing yards (644). Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has thrown at least three touchdown passes in eight of his past nine games and ranks second in the league with 32 touchdown passes this season.

New England and Miami square off on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. on CBS at Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots look to clinch their 10th consecutive AFC East title and extend the longest streak of consecutive division titles in NFL history. New England quarterback Tom Brady (579 touchdown passes, including the postseason) needs one touchdown pass to surpass Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history. Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard had two interceptions in Week 13 and has three games with multiple interceptions in 2018, the most in the NFL.

Baltimore rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson leads the Ravens into Arrowhead Stadium to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at 1 p.m. on CBS. Winners of three consecutive games, the Ravens (7-5) look to maintain their place in the thick of the AFC postseason race, while the Chiefs (10-2) aim to stay atop the AFC West. Jackson, who has won each of his first three starts, is the first rookie quarterback in league history to rush for at least 70 yards in three consecutive games. Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 41 touchdown passes and ranks second with 3,923 passing yards, can become the third first-or-second year quarterback in league annals to throw for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino (1984) and Kurt Warner (1999). Both Marino and Warner were named Associated Press Most Valuable Player in those seasons.

A battle of first-place teams in the NFC takes center stage as the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears square off at Soldier Field on NBC’s Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks this season and has recorded at least two sacks in each of his past three games. Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the NFL with 19 touchdowns this season and quarterback Jared Goff ranks second in the NFL with 3,754 passing yards. The duo can make the Rams just the sixth team in league history to have a quarterback with at least 4,000 passing yards and a player with 20+ scrimmage touchdowns in a single season. Bears safety Eddie Jackson has an interception-return touchdown in two of his past three games and leads the NFL with three defensive touchdowns this season.

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 14

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title

Los Angeles Rams (11-1) at Chicago (8-4), Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Los Angeles clinches a first round bye with:

1) Los Angeles Rams win

New Orlens (10-2) at Tampa Bay (5-7), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

New Orleans clinches NFC South division title with:

1) New Orlens win or tie OR

2) Carolina loss or tie

New Orleans clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Minnesota loss + Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss or tie

AFC

Kansas City (10-2) vs. Baltimore (7-5), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Kansas City clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Kansas City win or tie OR

2) Miami loss or tie + Indianapolis loss or tie

New England (9-3) at Miami (6-6), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

1) New England win or tie

Houston (9-3) vs. Indianapolis (6-6), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:

1) Houston win + OR

2) Houston tie

Los Angeles Chargers (9-3) vs. Cincinnati (5-7), Sunday at 4:05 p.m. on CBS

Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Los Angeles Chargers win + Miami loss or tie + Denver loss or tie + Indianapolis loss or tie OR

2) Los Angeles Chargers tie + Miami loss + DEN loss + Indianapolis loss or tie as long as Indianapolis doesn’t tie

Week 14 opened in Nashville with Tennessee downing Jacksonville 30-9 in the Music City and closes on Monday night as the Minnesota Vikings travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in a key NFC matchup at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins second in the league with a 71.3 completion percentage (minimum 200 attempts) and is one of three quarterbacks (Drew Brees and Matt Ryan) with a 70+ completion percentage and at least 3,000 passing yards (3,490) this season. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ranks third in the league with a 5.8 touchdown-to-interception ratio (29 touchdowns and five interceptions) and is one of four NFL quarterbacks with a passer rating of at least 115 this season (115.5).

As for last week? Much better, going 9-7 for the week, which puts us at 111-77 for the season. There’s still a lot of football left before we come to the end. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 14.

ATLANTA (4-8) at Green Bay (4-7-1), 1 p.m. on FOX. A pair of struggling NFC team meet in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons make their way to Lambeau Field for an early afternoon meeting with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Both clubs look to end losing streaks with hopes of making a run into the post-season party.

Atlanta, who will play their second interim coach this season (they faced Gregg Williams, who took over in Cleveland when the Browns let Hue Jackson go; Atlanta would lose that contest in Cleveland), watched Baltimore break a 10-10 tie at the intermission and dropped a 26-16 decision to the Ravens last Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta had led 10-7 with 11:33 thanks to a 74-yard fumble return by LB Vic Beasley before Ravens K Jeff Tucker would kick the first of his four field goals with six seconds left before intermission to tie things up at 10-10. Tucker would later go on to add three more field goals, with one coming as part of a 14-play, 60-yard drive that used 8:08 of game clock (19 minutes of actual time; the Ravens had three drives of 10 plays or more in the contest). Baltimore would then seal the Falcons’ fate when Tavon Young picked up a Matt Ryan fumble and returned it 12 yards fpr the score. Atlanta would make it a 10-point game with 4:18 left when TE Austin Hooper and Ryan connected on a one-yard TD toss. Baltimore outrushed Atlanta 207-34 and Jackson threw for 125 yards and had a rushing TD, while Ryan threw for 131 yards and the fourth quarter toss to Hooper (Ryan was sacked three times, Jackson was sacked twice, neither threw an interception). Atlanta, dropping their fourth contest in a row, was 2 for 9 on third down (the Falcons were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 20:21, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 39:39, going 7 of 15 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Green Bay is also looking to break a losing streak, dropping their third in a row, losing at home to Arizona 20-17 at Lambeau Field in a contest that cost Mike McCarthy his job as head coach (he was replaced by offensive co-ordinator Joe Philbin in the interim). Green Bay led 10-7 at the intermission before Arizona stormed back in the second half and took the lead with 1:41 left in regulation when Zavier Gonzalez booted a 44-yard field goal to take the 20-17 lead. Green Bay made its way downfield after they got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and would get as far as Arizona’s 31-yard line with three seconds left in hopes of tying the contest and sending it to overtime but Mason Crosby’s 49-yard try sailed wide to the right, sending Packer fans home unhappy. The Desert Angry Birds outrushed the Packers 182-98 and Rodgers threw for 233 yards and a TD pass to Davante Adams, while Josh Rosen threw for 149 yards for Arizona (Rosen was sacked twice, Rodgers was sacked once and neither man had an interception). Green Bay was a somewhat dismal 3 of 14 on third down but was perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:26, while Arizona held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 5 of 13 on third down.

While Green Bay leads the series 15-14 and the Packers have outscored Atlanta 715-620, Atlanta has won the last two regular season meeting and both of those wins came in the Big Peach, including a 34-23 win last year (Green Bay’s last win over Atlanta came in 2014 at Lambeau by a final of 43-37).

The teams met in week two and Atlanta broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter and took a 24-7 lead with them to the intermission, despite being outscored by Green Bay in the second half 16-10. Atlanta outrushed Green Bay 141-59, while Rodgers threw for 343 yards and a pair of TDs, with Ryan having a TD toss and no interceptions, tallying 252 (Rodgers and Ryan were each sacked three times with Rodgers throwing an interception). Atlanta was 5 for 11 on third down in the Big Peach, keeping the ball for 28:37, while the Packers, who ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 31:23, went 5 for 12 on third down, 3 of 3 on fourth down.

Atlanta covered the 2 1/2-point spread with their 11-point win and both teams covered the 54 over/under with 57 points. This time, Green Bay’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 49. For one team, their losing streak comes to an end; for the other, their streak continues and their playoff hopes are damaged beyond repair. Packer fans are going to have their hearts broken this week. Atlanta my not cover the 6 on the road but they walk out of Lambeau with the win.

New York Jets (3-9) at Buffalo (4-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. They meet again. A pair of AFC East/AFL rivals meet for the second time, this time in upstate New York with slim playoff chances as Buffalo and the New York Jets meet along the shores of Lake Erie.

GangGreen let a 16-6 halftime lead against Marcus Mariota and the Titans get away from them, as Tennessee rallied in the final 30 minutes of action to take a 26-22 win at Nissan Stadium, with the Titans outscoring GangGreen 20-6 and chipping away at the New York lead with a pair of Ryan Succop field goals, then taking the lead for keeps with 36 seconds left when WR Corey Davis caught an 11-yard TD pass from Mariota for their first lead of the day. Tennessee then held off a late J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! rall to take the win in the late afternoon contest. GangGreen outrushed the Titans 156-130 with Jets RB Isaiah Crowell leading the way with 98 yards. Mariota threw for 282 yards and a pair of TDs (including the game-winner), while Josh McCown threw for 128 yards (McCown was sacked twice, Mariota sacked three times; both men threw an interception) for New York. The Titans were a somewhat dismal 1 for 11 on third down and kept the ball for 26:38, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:22, going 3 for 14 on third down conversions.

Buffalo’s rally at Miami fell short as the Dolphins held off the Bills 21-17 at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-6 lead with them to the intermission in the Sunshine State last Sunday afternoon before the Bills would rally in the second half, outscoring the Dolphins 11-7 in the final 30 minutes of the contest. The Bills would take a 17-14 lead with 12 minutes left in regulation when WR Zay Jones and QB Josh Allen connected on a 25-yard TD pass and the two-point conversion. Miami would restore order later in the period when WR Kenny Stills and QB Ryan Tannehill connected on a 13-yard TD pass to reclaim the lead. Buffalo would later get the ball back with 2:33 left to play and get as close as the Miami 30-yard line with hopes of taking the lead back but Allen’s pass to TE Charles Clay was incomplete. Buffalo outrushed Miami 198-60 and Allen led all rushers with 135 yards, while throwing for 231 yards and a pair of TDs (Allen was sacked twice and picked off twice), while Tannehill led Miami with 137 yards and three TD, while being picked off once and sacked three times. Buffalo was 5 for 13 on third down conversions (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:57, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 27:03, while going 2 for 9 on third down.

Buffalo led the New York Jets 31-3 at Met Life Stadium in the week 10 contest at the intermission and took their AFC East rivals from upstate New York to the woodshed, coming out on top 41-10 to break their four-game losing streak. Bills backup QB Matt Barkley burned GangGreen for 232 yards and a pair of TDs, while Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy ran for 113 yards and a pair of rushing TDs in the lopsided contest. Buffalo outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 212-83, while Josh McCown threw for 135 yards with three sacks and a pair of interceptions (Barkley was sacked once but did not throw an interception). GangGreen was 1 for 12 on third down tries (they were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 20:38, while the Bills ruled the clock and kept the ball for 39:22, while they went 8 of 16 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 10 contest in the Meadowlands, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were favored by 7 1/2 and Buffalo covered, winning by 31. Both teams easily took care of the 37 over/under, aSEs the two clubs merged to score 51 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like Buffalo again, this time as 3 1/2-point favorites with a 38 1/2 over/under. The winner? They get to keep their slim playoff hopes alive for at least one more week. As for the loser? Their magic number is next year. Bills complete the sweep in upstate New York and take the win, covering the 3 1/2.

Carolina (6-6) at Cleveland (4-7-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of former Heisman winners meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers travel to Cleveland for a Sunday afternoon meeting with Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Both clubs took road losses in last week’s action.

Carolina was taken to task by Tampa Bay 24-17 last Sunday in Tampa in a battle of two former Heisman winners. The Panthers trailed Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers 17-7 at the break, then rallied to pull themselves to within seven with 2:24 left in the third quarter when Newton and WR Darren Funchess connected on a 10-yard TD pass to trail 24-17. The two clubs then played a scoreless fourth quarter and the Panthers then had one last rally as they got the ball at their 26-yard line, getting as close as their 44-yard line when Tampa Bay was penalized for an enproachment penalty with :00 left on the clock. Because a half or game can’t end on a defensive penalty, Carolina was given an untimed down and the Panther hopes were dashed when backup QB Taylor Heinicke’s last-ditch pass to D.J. Moore fell incomplete. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 168-95 with RB Christian McCaffery rushing for 106 yards before leaving the contest with a foot injury, while Newton threw for 300 for Carolina and Winston throwing for 249 yards (both men threw a pair of TD passes, both were sacked four times and Newton threw four interceptions). Carolina was 3 of 8 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 30:06. As for Tampa Bay? They kept the pigskin for 29:54 and went 6 for 13 on third down tries at Raymond James Stadium.

Cleveland found themselves taken to the woodshed by Houston last Sunday, falling 29-13 at NRG Stadium to the Texans. The Texans led 23-0 at the half and watched the Browns outscore Houston 13-6 in the second half to make the contest closer. Houston outrushed Cleveland 187-31 (Nick Chubb was Cleveland’s only rusher), with Houston’s Lamar Miller leading the way with 103 in the 16-point defeat. Mayfield threw for 397 yards with a TD to Rashard Higgins but threw three interceptions, while Deshaun Watson threw for 224 yards with a TD, despite being sacked four times. Houston was 8 for 16 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 37:35, while the Browns kept the ball for 22:25 while going 2 for 8 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Carolina holds a 4-1 lead in the series and the Panthers have outscored Cleveland 104-72. Their last meeting took place in 2014 in Charlotte with the Panthers taking a 17-13 win, while Cleveland’s lone win in the series came in 2010 along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 24-23. Carolina’s favored by a point with the over/under 47. The Browns are actually better than their record and have given the NFC South problems this year. Carolina will put an end to that problem as Newton and the Panthers take the win on the shore of Lake Erie and cover the 1.

Indianapolis (6-6) at Houston (9-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC South teams meet in the Lone Star State as Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts come to NRG Stadium to face off against first-place Houston.

The Colts found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-0 shutout at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville, without RB Leonard Fournette, who sat out his one-game suspension for a fight in Buffalo, got a pair of Josh Lambo field goals to pitch the shutout and take the win. After a scoreless first quarter, Lambo’s 30-yard field goal would give the Jaguars a 3-0 lead with 2:03 left before the half to open the scoring in the contest. Jacksonville would then take that lead with them to the break and the contest stayed that way through the third quarter. Lambo would then connect again, this time from 37 yards out for the 6-0 lead. Jacksonville then proceeded to end a Colts threat that would have given Luck the lead late in the contest, as the Jaguars would wind up breaking their seven-game losing streak in the process.

Neither club broke the 100-yard rushing barrier but Jacksonville did win that battle, outrushing the Colts 79-41. Luck did manage to throw for 248 yards but threw an interception, while Cody Kessler threw for 150 yards and no interceptions (both Keesler and Luck were sacked three times).

Houston won their ninth in a row, taking Cleveland and Baker Mayfield to task 29-13 at NRG Stadium to the Texans. The Texans led 23-0 at the half and watched the Browns outscore Houston 13-6 in the second half to make the contest closer. Houston outrushed Cleveland 187-31 (Nick Chubb was Cleveland’s only rusher), with Houston’s Lamar Miller leading the way with 103 in the 16-point defeat. Mayfield threw for 397 yards with a TD to Rashard Higgins but threw three interceptions, while Deshaun Watson threw for 224 yards with a TD, despite being sacked four times. Houston was 8 for 16 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 37:35, while the Browns kept the ball for 22:25 while going 2 for 8 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.

The Colts lead the series 25-7 and have outscored the Texans 833-619. Indy swept last year’s series, taking wins in the Hoosier State and the Lone Star State, while Houston’s last win came in 2016, when they swept the series that year.

Their first meeting took place in Houston in week nine and the Colts would come away 20-14 winners at NRG Stadium. Indy led 10-7 at the half and then held a late Houston rally to seal the win. While Houston did outrush the Colts 94-92, Jacoby Brissett (taking over for Andrew Luck) threw for 308 yards and a pair of TDs to T.Y. Hilton, with Tom Savage (who took over for DeSean Watson) threw for 219 yards and a TD (neither man threw an interception, Brissett was sacked three times, Savage was sacked twice). Both teams were 4 for 14 on third down tries (the Texans were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and the Colts kept the ball for 30:59 to Houston’s 29:01.

The Colts made the sweep of the series official in week 17, taking a 22-13 win to close out the regular season finale for both clubs, since neither was going to be in the post-season. Indy erased a 13-7 deficit at the break and proceeded to shutout Houston the rest of the way, scoring their last 15 points of the game unchallenged. Indianapolis’ RB Frank Gore rand for 100 yards in the contest to lead all rushers, as the Colts outrushed Houston 146-85 and Brissett threw for 114 yards and a TD, while T.J. Yeats threw for 137 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception (Brissett was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Houston went 5 for 11 on third down conversions at Lucas Oil Stadium and kept the ball for 28:47, while the Colts ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:13, going 6 of 13 on third down tries.

In the week nine contest in the Lone Star State, the Texans were favored by 7 and the Colts won by 6. As for the 45 1/2 over/under? It was safe and sound, as both teams merged for 34 points. In the week 17 contest, the Colts covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 9 but as was the case in the earlier meeting, neither team covered the over/under (which was 41), with the two teams combining for 35 points. The Texans in this meeting are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both numbers are reasonable and make sense. The Texans are trying to make it 10 in a row and keep hold of first place in the AFC South, while the Colts would love nothing more than to end the streak. Streak on, Texans! Houston covers the 4 1/2 and wins in the Lone Star State.

Baltimore (7-5) at Kansas City (10-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of up and coming QBs meet in the Show-Me State as Baltimore comes to Arrowhead for a meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both clubs were road winners in their last contests.

Baltimore used three drives of 10 plays or more to break a 10-10 tie at the intermission and take a 26-16 in Atlanta last Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens trailed led 10-7 with 11:33 thanks to a 74-yard fumble return by LB Vic Beasley before Ravens K Jeff Tucker would kick the first of his four field goals with six seconds left before intermission to tie things up at 10-10. Tucker then added three more field goals, with one coming as part of a 14-play, 60-yard drive that used 8:08 of game clock (19 minutes of actual time; the Ravens had three drives of 10 plays or more in the contest). Baltimore then sealed Atlantas’ fate in the Big Peach when Tavon Young picked up a Matt Ryan fumble and returned it 12 yards fpr the score. Atlanta would make it a 10-point game with 4:18 left when TE Austin Hooper and Ryan connected on a one-yard TD toss. Baltimore outrushed Atlanta 207-34 and Jackson threw for 125 yards and had a rushing TD, while Ryan threw for 131 yards and the fourth quarter toss to Hooper (Ryan was sacked three times, Jackson was sacked twice, neither threw an interception). Atlanta, dropping their fourth contest in a row, was 2 for 9 on third down (the Falcons were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 20:21, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 39:39, going 7 of 15 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes bounced back from their 4-point loss against the Los Angeles Rams and put an end to Oakland’s dwindling playoff hopes last Sunday as they took the Raiders 40-33 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Kansas City led 19-7, then pulled away after the Silver and Black made it a 9-point contest early in the third quarter. Kansas City outrushed their AFC West rival 174-171 and Mahomes threw for 295 yards with four TDs (connecting with TE Travis Kelce on two of them) and no sacks or interceptions, while Oakland’s Derek Carr threw for 285 yards with three TDs and three sacks. Kansas City was 6 of 13 on third down (Andy Reid’s Chiefs were successful on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 29:14, while the Raiders ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:46, going 9 for 12 on third down conversions.

Kansas City leads the series 4-3 and the Chiefs have outscored Baltimore 153-123. Each team took their last win in the other team’s facility; Kansas City’s last win came in Charm City by a final of 34-14 in 2015, while Baltimore’s last win came in the Show-Me State in 2012 by a 9-6 final. Kansas City’s favored by 7 at Arrowhead and the over/under’s 53 1/2. For the Chiefs, a win means that they’re one step closer to the AFC West title and a possible number one seed in the post-season; for the Ravens, it’s a chance to pull themselves a little closer to Pittsburgh. We think the Steelers are going to be Chiefs fans today. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City as the Chiefs cover the 7 and win at Arrowhead.

New England (9-3) at Miami (6-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots travel to the Sunshine State for an AFC East matchup with the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium, with both clubs winning last week’s contest in their home ballparks.

Brady and the Pats took care of business in Foxboro last Sunday against Minnesota, coming away 24-10 winners at Gillette Stadium. New England led 10-7 at the half, then held the Vikings to a third quarter field goal from Dan Bailey to take the home win. New England outrushed Minnesota 160-95 (Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook led all rushers with 84 yards), with James Delvin having a pair of rushing TDs, while Brady threw for 311 yards and a TD with an interception, while Kirk Cousins threw for 201 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen (Cousins was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Brady and New England was 7 of 14 on third down conversions in Foxboro (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:21, while the Vikings held on to the ball for 26:39, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Miami held off a late Buffalo Bills rally last Sunday, coming away 21-17 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-6 lead with them to the intermission in the Sunshine State last Sunday afternoon before Buffalo rallied in the second half, outscoring the Dolphins 11-7 in the final 30 minutes of the contest. The Bills would then take a 17-14 lead with 12 minutes left in regulation when WR Zay Jones and QB Josh Allen connected on a 25-yard TD pass and the two-point conversion. Miami would restore order later in the period when WR Kenny Stills and QB Ryan Tannehill connected on a 13-yard TD pass to reclaim the lead. Buffalo would later get the ball back with 2:33 left to play and get as close as the Miami 30-yard line with hopes of taking the lead back but Allen’s pass to TE Charles Clay was incomplete. Buffalo outrushed Miami 198-60 and Allen led all rushers with 135 yards, while throwing for 231 yards and a pair of TDs (Allen was sacked twice and picked off twice), while Tannehill led Miami with 137 yards and three TD, while being picked off once and sacked three times. Buffalo was 5 for 13 on third down conversions (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:57, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 27:03, while going 2 for 9 on third down.

The Pats knocked Miami out of the ranks of the Miami fell unbeatens after Brady and New England beat their AFC East rival 38-7 at Foxboro in their week four meeting. The Patroits scored the first 38 points of the contest unchallenged and the Dolphins trailed 24-0 at thee intermission before finally tallying their lone score in the contest when Frank Gore and Brock Osweiler connected on a 6-yard TD toss with 2:42 left to play. Miami found themselves held to 56 yards rushing, while the Patroits would tally 175 of their own (with Sony Michel leading all rushers with 112 yards and a TD) and Brady throwing for 274 yards and a pair of TD passes. New England was 10 of 16 on third down and held on the ball for 36:22, while the Dolphins were 23:38 in time of possession, going 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

New England’s 31-point win in Foxboro allowed them to cover the 7-point spread in the week four contest but both clubs barely missed the 47 1/2 over/under, as the two teams combined for 45 points. While the Patriots are the road team, they’re also favored by 8 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 47 1/2. For New England, a win for them means another AFC East title; for the Dolphins, a win for them means that the Pats will have to wait another week. Fins will make Brady and the boys wait another week. New England will make things tough and closer than 8 1/2 for Miami but the Dolphins prevail at home in the Sunshine State.

New Orleans (10-2) at Tampa Bay (5-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. New Orleans and Tampa Bay meet in the Sunshine State in a week one rematch at Raymond James Stadium. While the Saints come in off a road loss two Thursday nights ago, the Buccaneers held off NFC South rival Carolina at home in the Sunshine State.

The Saints were shut out by Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, trailing 13-0 at the break before scoring 10 third quarter points of their own unchallenged and still came up short, falling 13-10 to the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Saints would make it a 3-point contest when WR Keith Kirkwood and Drew Brees connected on a 38-yard TD toss with 68 seconds left in the third, then saw a fourth quarter rally that would have either tie things up or given New Orleans the lead when Brees was picked off by CB Jourdan Lewis to end the threat. Dallas, who got a pair of field goals from Brett Maher and a rushing TD by Ezekiel Elliot, outrushed New Orleans 100-65 and Brees threw for 127 yards with a TD and a pair of sacks, while Prescott threw for 248 yards with the TD toss to Elliot and was sacked seven times but had no interceptions. Dallas was 7 for 14 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 36:53, while the Saints held on to the ball for 23:07, going 3 for 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In a meeting of former Heisman winners, Tampa Bay held off NFC South foe Carolina 24-17 last Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers led Cam Newton and the Panthers 17-7 at the break, then watch the Panthers rally to pull themselves to within seven with 2:24 left in the third quarter when Newton and WR Darren Funchess connected on a 10-yard TD pass to trail 24-17. The two clubs then played a scoreless fourth quarter and the Panthers then had one last rally as they got the ball at their 26-yard line, getting as close as their 44-yard line when Tampa Bay was penalized for an enproachment penalty with :00 left on the clock. Because a half or game can’t end on a defensive penalty, Carolina was given an untimed down and the Panther hopes were dashed when backup QB Taylor Heinicke’s last-ditch pass to D.J. Moore fell incomplete. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 168-95 with RB Christian McCaffery rushing for 106 yards before leaving the contest with a foot injury, while Newton threw for 300 for Carolina and Winston throwing for 249 yards (both men threw a pair of TD passes, both were sacked four times and Newton threw four interceptions). Carolina was 3 of 8 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 30:06. As for Tampa Bay? They kept the pigskin for 29:54 and went 6 for 13 on third down tries at Raymond James Stadium.

New Orleans hosted Winston and the Bucs in their week one meetings and the Saints came out on the short end of a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay in the season opener in the Big Easy. Although they trailed 31-24 at the half, the Buccaneers managed to take control of things in the second half, outscoring the Saints 17-16 in the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 112-43, while Drew Brees threw for 439 yards with three passing TDs and Alvin Kamara chipping in with a pair of rushing TDs. For Tampa Bay, Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the suspended Jameis Winston, threw for 417 yards and four TDs in the win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Saints went 4 of 9 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 27:51.

New Orleans was favored by 9 1/2 in the week one meeting in the Big Easy and Tampa Bay came away with the victory but both clubs did cover the 49 1/2 over/under with 88 total points. The odds makers like the Saints as 8 1/2 point favorites in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 57 1/2. New Orleans could very well win the NFC South if they beat Tampa Bay, while the Bucs want to prove that the first win in the Big Easy was not a fluke. While Tampa Bay won’t cover the 8 1/2, they somehow sweep the Saints and take the win at home at Raymond James Stadium.

New York Giants (4-8) at Washington (6-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. It’s an NFC East rematch as Eli Manning and the New York Giants travel to Landover to face off against the Washington Redskins and Mark Sanchez at Fed Ex Field.

The Giants needed overtime in the Meadowlands to take a 30-27 win over the Chicago Bears at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. The Giants trailed 14-10 at the half before rallying in the third quarter to take a 24-14 lead with them to the end of the third quarter. Chicago would storm back in the final 15 minutes of action on the road in upstate New Jersey after the Giants took a 10-point lead late in the fourth when Bears K Chris Parkey kicked a 21-yard field with 73 seconds left. Chicago then got the onside kick and then marched their way downfield, tying the contest as time expired when rookie WR Anthony Miller caught a 1-yard TD pass from RB Tark Cohen to even things at 27-27. New York would win the toss in the overtime and got the ball first, using an 8-play, 49-yard drive that ended when Giants K Aldrick Rosas booted on a 44-yard field goal with 5:57 left in the extra period. Since the Giants kicked a field goal, that did not end the game and allowed Chicago to get the ball back and they did, starting their drive at their 25-yard line and getting as close as their 40-yard before Chris Daniel’s pass attempt to WR Taylor Gabriel was incomplete, ending the game and giving Big Blue the win. The Giants outrushed Da Bears 141-118 and Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 125 yards, while Manning threw for 170 yards and a TD to Odell Beckham Jr., who also threw a TD pass to WR Sterling Shepherd. Daniel threw for 285 yards and a TD in the overtime loss for Da Bears (Daniel was sacked five times and picked off twice, while Manning threw an interception with three sacks). The Giants were 6 of 17 on third down (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:13, while Da Bears kept the pigskin for 33:58, going 2 for 15 on third down and 4 of 5 on fourth down.

Washington trailed the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles 14-13 at the half at Lincoln Financial Field, then watched the Eagles score 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged to fall 28-12 in their NFC East meeting last Monday night in the City of Brotherly Love. Washington took a 10-7 lead with 9:23 left before the half when RB Adrian Peterson scored from 90 yards out before the Eagles took the lead back for good when RB Darren Sproles scored from 14 yards away with 1:46 left before the intermission. Washington would make it a one-point contest with 15 seconds left when K Dustin Hopkins booted a 47-yard field goal before the break. That would be the last that the Redskins would see of the scoreboard in the second half as the Eagles would score their 14 second half points, using a 4-yard TD pass from Carson Wentz to Josh Matthews and a pair of Jake Elliot field goals to seal the fate of the Redskins. Philadelphia outrushed their NFC East rivals 130-104, with Peterson leading the way with 98 yards, while Sanchez threw for 100 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception after taking over for Colt McCoy, who broke his leg early in the contest. Wentz threw for 306 yards and two TDs (including one to newly accquired RB Golden Tate) and threw an interception without being sacked. Washington was 2 for 10 on third down conversions and held on to tha ball for 20:41, while the Eagles were 7 of 13 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:19.

The Redskins and Giants met in week 8 and Washington held off the New York Giants 20-13 at Met Life Stadium. Washington led 7-3 at the half in upstate New Jersey, then floored the gas as RB Adrian Peterson scored his second TD of the day, scoring from 64 yards away to take a 20-6 lead with 3:06 left in the contest. The Giants would pull themselves to within 7 with 17 seconds left when Manning and TE Evan Engram connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Washington would recover the onside kick and run the clock out to take the win, giving Big Blue their fifth loss in a row. Peterson led all rushers with 149 yards in the NFC East contest as Washington outrushed the Giants 182-37, sacking Manning (316 yards, two interceptions) seven times, while Alex Smtih threw for 178 yards with the TD toss to Peterson without a sack or interception. Washington was 6 of 15 on third down and held the ball for 33:38, while the Giants held the ball for 26:22, going 2 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down tries.

In the week 8 meeting in the Meadowlands, Washington was favored by 1 and they covered, winning by 7 but neither team reached the 42 over/under, scoring 33 points. Vegas likes Washington again, this time as 1 1/2 point favorites in Landover and the over/under this time around is 42 1/2. Both clubs are trying to keep pace with Dallas in the NFC East and for the loser, their season and playoffs are pretty much over. For the winner, they’re alive for at least another week. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Washington pulls the sweep in Landover and covers the 1 1/2.

Cincinnati (5-7) at Los Angeles Chargers (9-3), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of AFC rivals meet in Los Angeles as Cincinnati, looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, travel to Stub Hub Centre to face off against Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

Cincinnati watched Denver take a 7-3 lead with them to the intermission and saw the Broncos came away with the 24-10 road win last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Denver went on to outscore the struggling Bengals 17-7 in the last 30 minutes of action, outrushing Cincinnati 218-111 in the road win and Denver rookie RB Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 157 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Bengals were paced by Joe Mixon’s 82 yards on the ground and Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 151 yards and a TD, while Cincinati backup QB Jeff Driskel, who took over for Andy Dalton (thumb) threw for 236 yards with a TD, an interception and four sacks (Keenum was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). Both clubs went 5 for 13 on third down and Cincinnati actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:20 to Denver’s 28:40.

Los Angeles erased a 23-7 halftime defict at Pittsburgh as the Chargers and Philip Rivers would rally in the final seconds to leave Heinz Field with the 33-30 win Sunday night on a 29-yard field goal by K Michael Badgley as time expired. The Steelers let that lead get away from them as the Chargers would chip away at it in the second, when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 10-yard TD toss with 1:43 in the third. Rivers and TE Antonio Gates would then connect on the two-point try to narrow the Steeler lead to 23-15. Pittsburgh’s special teams would fail them as CB Desmond King returned a punt 73 yards to open the scoring in the final quarter and the Chargers would even things up when Rivers and Allen connected on a second two-point conversion.

The Bolts then took the lead with 8:09 left in the contest when rookie RB Justin Jackson scored from 18 yards out. Pittsburgh would re-tie the contest, using an 12-play, 78-yard drive that took 3:59 when Ben Roethlisberger and rookie WR Jaylen Samuels hooked up on a 10-yard TD pass with 4:10 left in the contest. Los Angeles got the ball back on the kickoff and would use all of the 4:10 that was left, engineering an 11-play, 64-yard drive, burning all of the clock, aided by a pair of offside penalties on Pittsburgh with Badgley booting the game winner as the clock struck :00. Pittsburgh was outrushed by the Chargers 85-65 with Jackson leading all rushers with 63 yards, while James Conner tallied 60 for the Steelers. Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards for the Steelers, while Rivers tallied 299 yards, with both men throwing a pair of TDs (Rivers was sacked twice, Roethlisberger sacked once and threw an interception). Pittsburgh in the Sunday night affair in the Steel City went 3 of 10 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:48, while the Chargers were 6 for 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:12, including the final 4:10 of the contest.

While the Chargers lead the series 19-14 and the Bolts have outscored Cincinnati 788-722 (which includes contests that were played at Riverfront Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium), Cincinnati has won the last four meetings, including a 24-19 win along the shores of the Ohio River in 2015; the Chargers’ last win in the series came in 2009 at Qualcomm by a final of 27-24. The Chargers are favored by 14 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. If nothing else, this one will be somewhat entertaining to watch. The Bengals are hanging on for dear life in the playoff hunt, while the Chargers are knocking at the door. Los Angeles will bang, bang, bang on the door, sugar (apologies to the B52s!) and take this one at Stub Hub but expect the Bengals to make this one closer than 14.

Denver (6-6) at San Francisco (2-10), 4:05 p.m. on CBS. Denver makes their way to northern California for an early afternoon (Pacific time) contest with the struggling San Francisco 49ers at Levis’ Stadium.

Afte a scoreless first quarter in Cincinnati, the Broncos took a 7-3 lead against the Bengals with them to the intermission and came away with the 24-10 road win last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Broncos went on to outscore the struggling Bengals 17-7 in the last 30 minutes of action, outrushing Cincinnati 218-111 in the road win. Denver rookie RB Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 157 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Bengals were paced by Joe Mixon’s 82 yards on the ground and Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 151 yards and a TD, while Cincinati backup QB Jeff Driskel, who took over for Andy Dalton (thumb) threw for 236 yards with a TD, an interception and four sacks (Keenum was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). Both clubs went 5 for 13 on third down and Cincinnati actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:20 to Denver’s 28:40.

San Francisco saw their slim playoff hopes die in Seattle as the Seahawks took 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.

The Broncos hold a slim lead in the series 7-6 and have outscored the 49ers 322-299. Their last meeting took place in 2014 in the Mile High City and the Broncos were 42-17 victors, while San Francisco’s last win came in London by a final of 24-16 in 2010. Denver’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Denver’s looking to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the 49ers look to somehow derail the Broncos’ train. That train’s staying on the tracks. Broncos cover the 6 in Napa Valley and takes the win on the road.

Detroit (4-8) at Arizona (3-9), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of struggling teams meet in the desert as Arizona hosts the Detroit Lions at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

Detroit watched the Los Angeles Rams clinch their second NFC West title last Sunday in the Motor City, beating the Lions 30-16 at Ford Field. The Lions trailed throughout the contest, trailing 13-3 at to the intermission, then watched the Rams run away from them in the second half, outcoring them 17-13 in the last 30 minutes of action. Detroit was outrushed by Los Angeles 149-102 and Rams RB Todd Gurley ran for 132 yards and a pair of TDs to seal the win. Jared Goff threw for 207 yards for Los Angeles, while Matthew Stafford threw for 245 for Detroit (Stafford was sacked four times, Goff was sacked once and each threw a TD pass and an interception). The Rams were 5 for 11 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 28:16, while the Lions kept the ball for 31:44, going 2 for 17 on third down tries.

Arizona escaped Green Bay with a 20-17 win at Lambeau Field in a contest that cost Mike McCarthy his job as head coach (he was replaced by offensive co-ordinator Joe Philbin in the interim). The Desert Angry Birds trailed in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst led 10-7 at the intermission before Arizona stormed back in the second half and took the lead with 1:41 left in regulation when Zavier Gonzalez booted a 44-yard field goal to take the 20-17 lead. Green Bay made its way downfield after they got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and would get as far as Arizona’s 31-yard line with three seconds left in hopes of tying the contest and sending it to overtime but Mason Crosby’s 49-yard try sailed wide to the right, sending Packer fans home unhappy. The Desert Angry Birds outrushed the Packers 182-98 and Rodgers threw for 233 yards and a TD pass to Davante Adams, while Josh Rosen threw for 149 yards for Arizona (Rosen was sacked twice, Rodgers was sacked once and neither man had an interception). Green Bay was a somewhat dismal 3 of 14 on third down but was perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:26, while Arizona held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 5 of 13 on third down.

Including those contests that were played in Chicago and St. Louis, when the Desert Angry Birds called those cities home and the Lions were in Portsmouth as the Spartans and played contests in Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Lions lead the series 32-28-5 and have outscored the Cardinals 1,182-1,085. Their last meeting? Last year in the Motor City, coming away 35-23 to break a 7-game losing streak against Arizona, while Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2015 in the Motor City by a final of 42-17.

The two clubs opened the 2017 campaign at Ford Field and the Lions trailed 10-9 at the half before they would roar back in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Desert Angry Birds 26-13, holding off a late Arizona rally in the process. Stafford (292 yards) threw three TD passes in the second half, connecting with WR Kenny Golladay on two of those tosses, winding up with four on the afternoon, while Carson Palmer threw for 269 yards with three interceptions (Stafford threw an interception, Palmer and Stafford were sacked once). Detroit, who outrushed Arizona 82-45, went 8 for 16 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:20. As for Arizona? They kept the ball for 26:40 and went 6 for 15 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down.

In the season opener, the Lions’ 12-point win allowed them to cover the 2-point spread and the 58 points total allowed both clubs to cover the 48 over/under. Detroit’s favored by 2 1/2 in the desert and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Feel free to take a pass on this one and get that Christmas shopping done or watch that “Grumpy Cat Movie.” Granted, that kitty’s grumpy but he’s really funny! Arizona covers the 2 1/2 and the Desert Angry Birds take the win in Glendale.

Philadelphia (6-6) at Dallas (7-5), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. They meet again. Eagles vs. Cowboys, Round 2. The defending Super Bowl champs travel to the Lone Star State to take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington in an NFC East rematch at AT&T Stadium.

The defending Super Bowl champions led Washington 14-13 at the half at Lincoln Financial Field, then scored 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged to take down the Redskins 28-12 in their NFC East meeting last Monday night in the City of Brotherly Love. Washington took a 10-7 lead with 9:23 left before the half when RB Adrian Peterson scored from 90 yards out before the Eagles took the lead back for good when RB Darren Sproles scored from 14 yards away with 1:46 left before the intermission. Washington would make it a one-point contest with 15 seconds left when K Dustin Hopkins booted a 47-yard field goal before the break. That would be the last that the Redskins would see of the scoreboard in the second half as the Eagles would score their 14 second half points, using a 4-yard TD pass from Carson Wentz to Josh Matthews and a pair of Jake Elliot field goals to seal the fate of the Redskins. Philadelphia outrushed their NFC East rivals 130-104, with Peterson leading the way with 98 yards, while Sanchez threw for 100 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception after taking over for Colt McCoy, who broke his leg early in the contest. Wentz threw for 306 yards and two TDs (including one to newly accquired RB Golden Tate) and threw an interception without being sacked. Washington was 2 for 10 on third down conversions and held on to tha ball for 20:41, while the Eagles were 7 of 13 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:19.

Prescott and the Cowboys took a 13-0 lead at the half against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, then held off New Orleans in the second half to come away 13-10 winners at AT&T Stadium. Dallas took the lead thanks to a pair of field goals from Brett Maher and a passing TD by Ezekiel Elliot, then held off the Saints after New Orleands broke the Cowboys’ bid for a shutout as Will Lutz connected on a 33-yard field Goal with 10 minutes left in the third, then got to within 7 with 68 seconds left in the third when WR Keith Kirkwood and Brees connected on a 38-yard TD toss. Dallas would then hold off a Saints’ rally in the final minutes of the fourth quarter that would have given New Orleans the lead when Brees was picked off by CB Jourdan Lewis to end the threat. Dallas outrushed New Orleans 100-65 and Brees threw for 127 yards with a TD and a pair of sacks, while Prescott threw for 248 yards with the TD toss to Elliot and was sacked seven times but had no interceptions. Dallas was 7 for 14 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 36:53, while the Saints held on to the ball for 23:07, going 3 for 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The Cowboys led the defending Super Bowl champions 13-3 at the half in Philadelphia in the week 10 meeting, then watched the Eagles tie the contest with 7:27 left in regulation when Zach Ertz caught a 2-yard TD pass from Carson Wentz, rallied to reclaim the thanks to a 1-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott with 3:19 left, then held off a late Philly rally to come away from Lincoln Financial Field 27-20 winners Sunday night. The Eagles managed to tie the contest at 13-13 late in the third quarter when Ertz and Wentz connected on a 15-yard toss before Dallas took the lead back when Elliott and Dak Prescott connected on a 7-yard TD toss early in the final quarter of play. After the two teams exchanged TDs later in the period and Dallas re-claimed the lead for a second time, Philadelphia marched their way down the field and got as close as Dallas’ 32-yard line when Philadelphia used several laterals to get the ball into the end zone to no avail.

Elliott led all rushers with 151 yards on the ground with the rushing TD as the Cowboys outrushed Philadelphia 171-71 and  Prescott threw for 270 yards and a TD with four sacks, while Wentz threw for 360 yards and the two Ertz catches for scores (Wentz was sacked twice and threw an interception). Dallas was 8 for 16 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:22, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 26:38, going 4 for 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

In the week 10 contest in the City of Brotherly Love, the Eagles were favored by 6 and Dallas covered, coming away with the 7-point win. Both clubs covered the 43 1/2 over/under, tallying 47 in the Sunday night contest at Lincoln Financial Field. In the rematch in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 43. Dallas is looking to prove that the first win was not a fluke, while the Eagles want revenge and keep their playoff hopes alive. Hope stays alive this SUnday. Eagles get revenge and the win, covering the 4 on the road.

Pittsburgh (7-4-1) at Oakland (2-10), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 717. Pittsburgh, in first place in the AFC North, travels to Oakland to face off against the struggling Raiders in the Black Hole (aka the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum) in a late Sunday afternoon contest on the West Coast. Both teams took losses at home in last week’s action.

The Steelers let a 23-7 lead at the half against the Los Angeles Chargers get away from them as Philip Rivers and the Chargers would rally in the final seconds to leave Heinz Field with the 33-30 win Sunday night on a 29-yard field goal by K Michael Badgley as time expired. The Steelers let that lead get away from them as the Chargers would chip away at it in the second, when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 10-yard TD toss with 1:43 in the third. Rivers and TE Antonio Gates would then connect on the two-point try to narrow the Steeler lead to 23-15. Pittsburgh’s special teams would fail them as CB Desmond King returned a punt 73 yards to open the scoring in the final quarter and the Chargers would even things up when Rivers and Allen connected on a second two-point conversion.

Los Angeles then took the lead with 8:09 left in the contest when rookie RB Justin Jackson scored from 18 yards out. Pittsburgh would re-tie the contest, using an 12-play, 78-yard drive that took 3:59 when Ben Roethlisberger and rookie WR Jaylen Samuels hooked up on a 10-yard TD pass with 4:10 left in the contest. Los Angeles would use all of the 4:10 that was left, engineering an 11-play, 64-yard drive, burning all of the clock, aided by a pair of offside penalties on Pittsburgh with Badgley booting the game winner as the clock struck :00. Pittsburgh was outrushed by the Chargers 85-65 with Jackson leading all rushers with 63 yards, while James Conner tallied 60 for the Steelers. Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards for the Steelers, while Rivers tallied 299 yards, with both men throwing a pair of TDs (Rivers was sacked twice, Roethlisberger sacked once and threw an interception). Pittsburgh in the Sunday night affair in the Steel City went 3 of 10 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:48, while the Chargers were 6 for 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:12, including the final 4:10 of the contest.

Oakland saw the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes bounce back from their 4-point loss against the Los Angeles Rams as their AFC West/AFL rivals put an end to Oakland’s dwindling playoff hopes last Sunday, taking down the Raiders 40-33 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Kansas City led 19-7, then pulled away after the Silver and Black made it a 9-point contest early in the third quarter. Kansas City outrushed their AFC West rival 174-171 and Mahomes threw for 295 yards with four TDs (connecting with TE Travis Kelce on two of them) and no sacks or interceptions, while Oakland’s Derek Carr threw for 285 yards with three TDs and three sacks. Kansas City was 6 of 13 on third down (Andy Reid’s Chiefs were successful on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 29:14, while the Raiders ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:46, going 9 for 12 on third down conversions.

Including games played in Los Angeles and at Three Rivers Stadium, the Raiders lead the series 12-10 and the Silver and Black have been outscored by the Steelers 475-465. Pittsburgh won the last meeting in the series in 2015, coming away with the 38-35 win at Heinz Field, while Oakland’s last win in the series came on the West Coast in 2013 by a final of 21-18. Pittsburgh’s favored by 11 and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Granted, the Raiders are bad… they’re not 11 points bad. Oakland may be out of the post-season but they would like nothing more than to ruin Pittsburgh’s chances to play some extra football come January. Pittsburgh may not cover the 11 but they take the win in Oakland.

Los Angeles Rams (11-1) at Chicago (8-4). 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of first-place teams meet in the Windy City as the Los Angeles Rams travel to Soldier Field for a Sunday night contest with the Chicago Bears.

The Rams clinched their second NFC West title last Sunday in the Motor City, taming the Detroit Lions 30-16 at Ford Field. Los Angeles led from start to finish, taking a 13-3 lead with them to the intermission, then running away from the Lions in the second half, outcoring them 17-13 in the last 30 minutes of action. The Rams outrushed Detroit 149-102 and Todd Gurley ran for 132 yards and a pair of TDs to seal the win. Jared Goff threw for 207 yards for Los Angeles, while Matthew Stafford threw for 245 for Detroit (Stafford was sacked four times, Goff was sacked once and each threw a TD pass and an interception). The Rams were 5 for 11 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 28:16, while the Lions kept the ball for 31:44, going 2 for 17 on third down tries.

Da Bears rallied late in the final quarter against Eli Manning and the Giants, only to come away with a 30-27 overtime loss at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. Chicago would storm back in the final 15 minutes of action on the road in upstate New Jersey after the Giants took a 10-point lead late in the fourth when Bears K Chris Parkey kicked a 21-yard field with 73 seconds left. Da Bears then got the onside kick and then marched their way downfield, tying the contest as time expired when rookie WR Anthony Miller caught a 1-yard TD pass from RB Tark Cohen to even things at 27-27. New York would win the toss in the overtime and got the ball first, using an 8-play, 49-yard drive that ended when Giants K Aldrick Rosas booted on a 44-yard field goal with 5:57 left in the extra period. Since the Giants kicked a field goal, that did not end the game and allowed Chicago to get the ball back and they did, starting their drive at their 25-yard line and getting as close as their 40-yard before Chris Daniel’s pass attempt to WR Taylor Gabriel was incomplete, ending the game and giving Big Blue the win. The Giants outrushed Da Bears 141-118 and Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 125 yards, while Manning threw for 170 yards and a TD to Odell Beckham Jr., who also threw a TD pass to WR Sterling Shepherd. Daniel threw for 285 yards and a TD in the overtime loss for Da Bears (Daniel was sacked five times and picked off twice, while Manning threw an interception with three sacks). The Giants were 6 of 17 on third down (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:13, while Da Bears kept the pigskin for 33:58, going 2 for 15 on third down and 4 of 5 on fourth down.

Da Bears lead da series 52-35-3 (which includes games that took place in Cleveland, St. Louis, Anaheim and Wrigley Field) and have outscored Los Angeles 2,101-1,823. Both teams took their last wins in the series in St. Louis; Chicago came away with the 37-13 win in 2015, while the Rams were 42-21 winners in 2013.

Sunday night has not been kind to either club; Da Bears are 16-22, while the Rams are 10-12. However, there’s a lot on the line as far as playoffs and seedings go, so this one’s “DRILL WORHTY!” (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?”) The Rams are favored by 3 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 52 1/2. There’s a good chance these two teams could very well meet again in the post-season. Da Bears pull off the upset and takes the win in the Windy City, covering the 3.

Minnesota (6-5-1) at Seattle (7-5), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 14 concludes in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as a pair of playoff contenders square off at Century Link Field. Minnesota makes their way to the Pacific Northwest to face off against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.

Minnesota came to Foxboro to face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and it was the Pats coming away 24-10 winners at Gillette Stadium. The Purple Gang trailed 10-7 at the half, then were held to a third quarter field goal from Dan Bailey as the home team took the win. New England outrushed Minnesota 160-95 (Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook led all rushers with 84 yards), with James Delvin having a pair of rushing TDs, while Brady threw for 311 yards and a TD with an interception, while Kirk Cousins threw for 201 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen (Cousins was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Brady and New England was 7 of 14 on third down conversions in Foxboro (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:21, while the Vikings held on to the ball for 26:39, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Seattle put an end to San Francisco’s playoff hopes die in Seattle as the Seahawks took the 49ers 43-16 at Century Link Field in the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks led their NFC West foes 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 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.

Seattle lead the series 9-5 (which includes games that were played in Bloomington, the Metrodome and the Kingdome), the Seahawks have outscored Minnesota 374-324 and they have won the last three regular season contests, including taking a 38-7 win in the Twin Cities in 2015, while the Vikings’ last win came in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2009 by a final of 35-9.

Both teams have done reasonably well on Monday night; the Vikings are 29-31 (the Purple Gang won their two contests in last year’s play), while the Seahawks are 23-9, losing to Atlanta in their only MNF contest last year. Seattle’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Pacific Northwest and the over/under’s 45. Both of those numbers make a ton of sense and both teams are playoff contenders. Minnesota wants to put their day in New England behind them, while the Seahawks would love nothing more than to keep things going. You might want to tape “Bull” this week. Seattle covers the 3 1/2 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and takes the win at home.

As the season enters December and the weather gets a little colder in the East and Midwest, the NFL playoff picture is starting to take shape. With five weeks remaining in the regular season, there are 20 teams currently in or within one game of playoff position, 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, which means that even for those teams that haven’t been to the post-season party in a while, there’s still 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.

As the season approaches the home stretch, four teams have an active winning streak of at least five games, led by New Orleans, who has won 10 consecutive games. The Texans, which have won eight straight games after an 0-3 start to the season, are the first team in NFL history to win eight consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start. Chicago and Indianapolis have both won five consecutive games entering Week 13.

Over the past five seasons (2013-17), Pittsburgh (20-3, .870) own the league’s best record in the final month, which also includes regular-season games played in January. Carolina (17-7, .708) has the best mark in the NFC.

TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Pittsburgh  (20-3, .870)
New England (18-6, .750)
Carolina (17-7, .708)
Kansas City (17-7, .708)
Green Bay 16-7 (.696)

Quarterback play continues to excel across the league, as 13 quarterbacks have a passer rating of at least 100 (minimum 150 attempts) through the first 12 weeks this season, the most in NFL history in the first 12 weeks of a season. Three quarterbacks – New Orleans’ Drew Brees (127.3), Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (117.9) and Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers (115.7) – have a passer rating of at least 115 through Week 12. No season has featured more than one such quarterback through the first 12 weeks of the season.

Nine players have at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns through Week 12, tied with the 2002 season for the most in the first 12 weeks of a season in league history. Of those nine, five players are currently in their first or second seasons – the New York Giants’ rookie Saquon Barkley, Carolina’s Christian McCaffery, Pittsburgh’s James Conner, New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara and Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt. Three players – the Rams’ Todd Gurley (1,484 scrimmage yards), the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott (1,437) and Barkley (1,410) – are on pace to eclipse 2,000 scrimmage yards this season.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY

•New England quarterback Tom Brady completed 20 of 31 passes (64.5 percent) for 283 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 115.4 passer rating in the Patriots’ 27-13 victory at the New York Jets. Brady has 79,416 career passing yards (including the postseason) and surpassed Peyton Manning (79,279) for the most passing yards in NFL history, including the playoffs.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in the team’s Week 12 win. Gronkowski, who is 29 years old, has 78 career touchdown receptions, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens (78) for the third-most touchdown catches by a player prior to turning 30 years old in league annals. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Randy Moss (101) and Jerry Rice (95) had more career touchdowns prior to the age of 30.

•Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 28 of 29 passes (96.6 percent), including his first 25 pass attempts, for 259 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 138.4 passer rating in the Chargers’ 45-10 victory over Arizona. Rivers’ 25 consecutive completions are the most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history and are tied with Ryan Tannehill (25 consecutive completions from Weeks 6-7 in 2015) for the most consecutive passes completed at any point in league history. Washington’s Mark Brunell previously held the record for the most consecutive completions to begin a game, completing his first 22 passes against Houston on September 24, 2006.

Rivers’ 96.6 completion percentage is the highest by a quarterback in a single game in league annals (minimum 20 attempts), surpassing the previous high of 92.3 percent (24 of 26 passing) set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner against Jacksonville on September 20, 2009.

•Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 26 passes (73.1 percent) for 258 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 143.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 35-20 victory at Cincinnati. Mayfield, who recorded a 151.2 passer rating in Week 10 and had a bye in Week 11, is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to record a 140+ passer rating in consecutive games (minimum 20 attempts).

Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb rushed for 84 yards with a touchdown and had three catches for 44 yards and a score in the victory. Chubb, who rushed for 176 yards with a touchdown and had a touchdown catch in Week 10, is one of four rookies in NFL history with both a rushing and receiving touchdown in consecutive games, joining Kink Richards of the 1933 New York Giants, Rodney Culver of the 1992 Indianapolis Colts and Saquon Barkley of the 2018 New York Giants.

Barkley, who scored both a rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown in Week 11, rushed for 101 yards with a score and had a touchdown catch in the Giants’ loss at Philadelphia in Week 12.

•Baltimore rookie running back Gus Edwards rushed for 118 yards, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson had 178 passing yards and 71 rushing yards and linebacker Terrell Suggs scored on a 43-yard fumble-return touchdown in the Ravens’ 34-17 victory over Oakland. Edwards, who rushed for 115 yards last week, is the sixth undrafted rookie in the common draft era to record at least 100 rushing yards in consecutive games, joining Branden Oliver (2014), Le Garrette Blount (2010), Dominic Rhodes (2001), Fred Lane (1997) and Clark Gaines (1976).

Jackson, who rushed for 119 yards in his first-career start in Week 11, has 190 rushing yards in his first two NFL starts, the most by a quarterback in his first two career starts in the Super Bowl era.

At 36 years, 45 days old, Suggs is the second-oldest player in league history with a fumble-return touchdown of at least 40 yards, trailing only Carolina’s Sam Mills who returned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown against the Houston Oilers on November 24,1996 at 37 years, 174 days old.

•Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans had six catches for 116 yards in the Buccaneers’ 27-9 victory over San Francisco. Evans has 1,073 receiving yards this season and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (six consecutive seasons from 1998-2003) and A.J. Green (five consecutive seasons from 2011-15) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first five seasons.

•Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz had seven catches for 91 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ 25-22 victory over the New York Giants. Ertz has 84 catches this season, the most by a tight end in franchise history, surpassing the previous record of 81 set by Keith Jackson in 1988.

Ertz has 405 career catches since entering the league in 2013 and joined Jimmy Graham (434 catches), Jason Witten (429) and Antonio Gates (400) as the only tight ends in NFL history with at least 400 catches in their first six career seasons.

•Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck completed 30 of 37 passes (81.1 percent) for 343 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for a 109.8 passer rating in the Colts’ 27-24 win over Miami.

Luck has thrown at least three touchdown passes in eight consecutive games, tying Peyton Manning (eight consecutive games in 2004) for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history. Only Tom Brady (10 consecutive games in 2011) had a longer such streak in a single season.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed 22 of 31 passes (71 percent) for 339 yards with two touchdowns, including a game-tying 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Moore with 3:26 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Seahawks’ 30-27 victory at Carolina. Wilson, who completed a 43-yard pass to wide receiver Tyler Lockett to set up the game-winning 31-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time expired in the fourth quarter, has led 22 game-winning drives in the fourth  quarter or overtime in his career, the most in franchise history.

Panthers running back Christian McCaffery rushed for 125 yards with a touchdown and had 11 catches for 112 yards with a score in the Panthers’ loss to Seattle. McCaffrey is the fifth different player since 2000 to have both 100 rushing and receiving yards and score both a rushing and receiving touchdown, joining Arian Foster (October 23, 2011), Brian Westbrook (September 23, 2007), Steven Jackson (December 24, 2006) and Priest Holmes (December 9, 2001 and November 24, 2002). He is the first player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

Some of week 13’s Sunday highlights…

Cleveland, who defeated Cincinnati 35-20 in Week 12, visit the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium at 1 p.m. on CBS. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is the first rookie in league history to record a passer rating of 140 or higher (minimum 20 attempts) in consecutive games and has completed 73.9 percent of his passes (65 of 88) with nine touchdowns and one interception for a 129.5 passer rating in his past three games. Houston quarterback De Shaun Watson has 24 touchdown passes and seven interceptions for a 110.4 passer rating and 256 rushing yards with two scores in nine career home games. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt leads the AFC with 11.5 sacks and is the only player in the NFL with at least 10 sacks and five forced fumbles (five) in 2018. In his last game against Cleveland (November 16, 2014), Watt recorded a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and caught a two-yard touchdown pass in a Houston victory.

Sunday afternoon features an inter-conference showdown between Minnesota and New England at Gillette Stadium at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 29 of 38 passes (76.3 percent) for 342 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 129.5 passer rating in the Vikings’ Week 12 win over Green Bay. Cousins is one of three NFL quarterbacks (Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and New Orleans’ Drew Brees) with a 70+ completion percentage (71.1), at least 3,000 passing yards (3,289) and a 100+ passer rating (101.9) this season. New England quarterback Tom Brady, who surpassed Peyton Manning (79,279) for the most passing yards in league history (including the postseason) last week, has 578 career touchdown passes (including the playoffs) and needs two touchdown passes to surpass Manning (579) for the most in league annals.

Sunday’s slate closes with a battle of AFC contenders as the Los Angeles Chargers takes on Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Last week, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed his first 25 pass attempts, the most consecutive completions in a single game in NFL history, and finished the game completing 28 of 29 passes (96.6 percent), surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (92.3 percent on 24 of 26 passing on September 20, 2009) for the highest single-game completion percentage in league annals (minimum 20 attempts). Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota completed 95.7 percent of his passes (22 of 23) in Week 12, also surpassing Warner’s previous record.

Rivers and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were selected with fourth and 11th picks, respectively, in the 2004 NFL Draft and meet as starting quarterbacks for the fifth time in their careers with the head-to-head series tied at two wins apiece. Pittsburgh wide receiver Ju Ju Smith-Schuster had 13 catches for 189 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown catch, last week. Smith-Schuster, who had a 97-yard touchdown reception as a rookie last season, joins Gus Tinsley (two) and Lamar Miller (two) as the only players in NFL history with two scrimmage touchdowns of at least 97 yards in their careers.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 13
IN THE HUNT: With five weeks remaining in the regular season, there are 20 teams currently in or within one game of playoff position, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017.

Since 2004, 12 teams with a losing record through 11 games have advanced to the postseason. Five teams – Cincinnati (5-6), Denver (5-6), Miami (5-6), Philadelphia (5-6) and Tennessee (5-6) – have a losing record through 11 games and sit within one game of playoff position.

The teams to qualify for the postseason with a losing record after 11 games since 2004:

TEAM (YEAR, RECORD AFTER 11 GAMES)
St. Louis Rams (2004, 5-6)
Washington (2005, 5-6)
Philadelphia (2006, 5-6)
Washington (2007, 5-6)
San Diego Chargers (2008, 4-7)
New York Jets (2009, 5-6)
Seattle (2010, 5-6)
Washington (2012, 5-6)
San Diego Chargers (2013, 5-6)
Carolina (2014, 3-7-1)
Washington (2015, 5-6)
Green Bay (2016, 5-6)

TOUCHDOWN TOM: New England quarterback Tom Brady has 578 touchdown passes (507 regular-season touchdowns and a league-record 71 postseason touchdowns) in his 19-year NFL career.

With two touchdown passes against Minnesota at 4:25 p.m. Sunday on FOX, Brady would surpass Peyton Manning (579 touchdowns) for the most passing touchdowns in NFL history (including the postseason) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (508) for the third-most regular-season touchdown passes in league annals.

The players with the most passing yards and touchdown passes, including the postseason, in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (579)
Tom Brady – New England (578)

The players with the most regular-season touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (517
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (508)^
Tom Brady – New England (507)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

KANSAS CITY SHUFFLE: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes ranks third in the league with 3,628 passing yards, while wide receiver Tyreek Hill ranks third in the NFL with 1,106 receiving yards and running back Kareem Hunt ranks fifth in rushing yards (824) this season.

With 176 rushing yards by Hunt, the Chiefs would join the 1996 New England Patriots as the only teams to have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver all at the age of 24 or younger in a single season since 1970.

The teams with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1000-yard receiver all at the age of 24 or younger in a single season since 1970:

TEAM, SEASON (PLAYER – POSITION)(AGE/YARDS)
New England, 1996
(Drew Bledsoe (QB)(24/4,086 passing yards)
Curtis Martin (RB)(23/1,152 rushing yards)^
Terry Glenn (WR)(22/1,132 receiving yards)

Kansas City, 2018*
Patrick Mahomes (QB) (23/3,628 passing yards)
Kareem Hunt (RB) (23/824 rushing yards)
Tyreek Hill (WR)(24/1,106 receiving yards)

BAKING WITH MAYFIELD: Cleveland rookie quarterback Tyreek Hill completed 19 of 26 passes (73.1 percent) for 258 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 143.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 35-20 victory at Cincinnati last week. Mayfield recorded a 151.2 passer rating in Week 10 and had a bye in Week 11.

Mayfield, who plays at Houston Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS, can join Aaron Rodgers (Weeks 7, 9-10 in 2011) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (Weeks 3-5 in 1999) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record a passer rating of 140 or higher in three consecutive games (minimum 20 attempts). Both Rodgers and Warner were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

The players with the most consecutive games with a passer rating of 140 or higher (minimum 20 attempts) in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 140+ PASSER RATING
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2011 – 3)#
Kurt Warner – St. Louis (1999 – 3)^#
Baker Mayfield – Cleveland (2018 – 2)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

RYAN’S 11: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 3,683 passing yards this season and has passed for 45,479 yards in 11 NFL seasons.

With 150 passing yards on Sunday against Baltimore at 1 p.m. on CBS, Ryan can surpass Peyton Manning (45,628) for the most passing yards by a player in their first 11 seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards in their first 11 seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS)(PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (1998-2008)(45,628)
Matt Ryan – ATLANTA (2008-2018)(45,479)*
*In 11th season

1,400 FOR JULIO: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones leads the league with 1,305 receiving yards and has recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons.

With 95 receiving yards on Sunday against Baltimore at 1 p.m. on CBS, Jones can become the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 1,400+ RECEIVING YARDS)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2002, 4)^
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (2014-17, 4)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 1,305 receiving yards in 2018

THIELEN MIGHTY FINE: Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen leads the league with 93 receptions this season.

With seven catches at New England at 4:25 p.m. on FOX, Thielen can join Rod Smith and Wes Welker as the only undrafted players to record at least 100 receptions in a single season in the common draft era.

The undrafted players with at least 100 receptions in a single season since 1966:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS)
Wes Welker, New England (2009, 123)
Wes Welker, New England (2011, 122)
Wes Welker, New England (2012, 118)
Rod Smith, Denver (2001, 113)
Wes Welker, New England (2007, 112)
Wes Welker, New England (2008, 111)
Rod Smith, Denver (2000, 100)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2018, 93)*
*Entering Week 13

COOKING WITH BRANDIN: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks leads the team with 964 receiving yards this season.

Cooks, who had 1,173 receiving yards with New Orleans in 2016 and 1,082 receiving yards with New England in 2017, needs 36 yards on Sunday at Detroit at 1 p.m. on FOX to become the first player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receiving yards with three different teams in three consecutive seasons.

With 36 receiving yards, Cooks can also become the sixth player in league annals to record at least 1,000 receiving yards in a single season for three different franchises during their career.

The players to record 1,000-yard receiving seasons for three-or-more teams in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS
Brandon Marshall – 4 (Denver, Miami, Chicago, New York Jets)
Irving Fryar – 3 (New England, Miami, Philadelphia)
Tony Martin – 3 (San Diego, ATLANTA, Miami)
Randy Moss – 3 (Minnesota, Oakland, New England)^
Terrell Owens – 3 (San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas)^
Brandin Cooks – 2 (New Orleans, New England)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 964 receiving yards with the Los Angeles Rams in 2018

Playoff Scenarios for Week 13

NFC

Los Angeles Rams (10-1) at Detroit (4-7), Sunday at 1 p.m.

Los Angeles clinches NFC West division title with:

1) Los Angeles Rams win OR
2) Seattle loss OR
3) Los Angeles Rams tie + Seattle tie

Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Los Angeles Rams tie + WAS loss + MIN loss or tie OR
2) Los Angeles Rams tie + WAS loss + CAR loss OR
3) Los Angeles Rams tie + DAL loss + MIN loss or tie OR
4) Los Angeles Rams tie + DAL loss + CAR loss OR
5) Los Angeles Rams tie + MIN loss or tie + CAR loss

AFC

Kansas City (9-2) at Oakland, Sunday at 4:05 p.m.

Kansas City clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Kansas City win + Miami loss or tie + Indianapolis loss + Houston loss + Tennessee loss or tie OR
2) Kansas City win + Miami loss or tie + Indianapolis loss + Houston loss or tie + Baltimore loss or tie + Cincinnati loss or tie OR
3) Kansas City win + Miami loss or tie + Indianapolis loss + Houston loss or tie + Baltimore loss + Los Angeles Chargers loss

Week 13 kicked off on Thursday night as New Orleans and Dallas, both winners at home on Thanksgiving, met in Arlington with Dallas winning 13-10 and concludes in the city of Brotherly Love as the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles host Washington on Monday night. All three Sunshine State teams (Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay) are at home this week and there are no more byes for the rest of the season, as Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams return to action from their 105-point slugfest a couple of Monday nights ago. As for last week? Another sub .500 week but it was a lot better than we hoped, as we went 6-9 for the week, 102-70 for the season. Yes, there’s still a lot of football left and with that, we present the Sunday and Monday picks for week 13.

Baltimore (6-5) at ATLANTA (4-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Crabcakes meets Peach pie Sunday afternoon in the Big Peach as the Baltimore Ravens make their way to Atlanta for a Sunday afternoon meeting with the Atlanta Falcons.

Baltimore erased a 7-3 first quarter deficit against Oakland last Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City and came away with the 34-17 win over Oakland. The Ravens would go on to lead 13-10 at the intermission, then outscored the Raiders 21-7 in the second half. Ravens RB Gus Edwards ran for 118 yards for the Ravens, as Baltimore outrushed Oakland 242-67, while rookie QB Lamar Jackson (who took over for Joe Flacco) threw for 178 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Derek Carr led the Raiders with 194 yards and a TD but was sacked three times, Jackson was sacked once). Baltimore was 8 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:12, while the Raiders held on to the pigskin for 25:48, going 3 for 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons found themselves on the short end of a 31-17 final against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the Big Easy Thanksgiving night. The Falcons, who dropped their third contest in a row, trailed from start to finish as the Saints took a 17-3 lead with them to the intermission and never looked back. Atlanta was held to 26 yards on the ground, while the Saints rushed for 150 yards. Ryan did throw for 377 yards with a pair of TDs to Calvin Ridley and Tevin Coleman but was sacked six times and picked off once, while Drew Brees threw for 171 yards and four TDs (Brees was sacked once and threw an interception). New Orleans forced five turnovers in the win and went 5 for 11 on third down tries, holding the ball for 29:01, while Atlanta actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin to themselves for 30:59, while going 5 of 15 on third down and 4 of 6 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 3-2 and the Ravens have outscored Atlanta 110-76. Baltimore won the last meeting, which took place in 2014, as the Ravens were 29-7 winners in Charm City, while the Falcons’ last win came in the Big Peach by a final of 26-21 in 2010. However… the boys and girls in Vegas like the Falcons as a 1-point favorite in the Big Peach with a 48 1/2 over/under. Both teams want a spot in the post-season party and Jackson will make his first road start. The Falcons are going to make sure that start is not a good one. Atlanta bounces back in the Big Peach and covers the 1.

Denver (5-6) at Cincinnati (5-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV xxx A pair of 5-6 teams looking to make their way into the AFC playoff party meet along the shores of the Ohio River as the Bengals host Denver at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Broncos broke a 10-10 halftime tie with Pittsburgh last Sunday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, taking a 24-17 win over the Steelers. Denver would go on to outpace Pittsburgh in the second half 14-7 and took the lead for good with 9:17 in regulation when Broncos RB Philip Lindsay scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. Lindsay led all rushers with 110 yards and the TD as Denver outrushed Pittsburgh 124-75 and Case Keenum threw for 197 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Emmanuel Sanders on one of the tosses (Keenum was sacked twice but did not throw an interception), while Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw for 462 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions, the last coming late in the contest that stopped a Steeler drive. Denver was 3 for 11 on third down conversion in the Mile High City and kept the ball for 25 minutes in the late afternoon affair, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 35 minutes, going 5 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Cincinnati found themselves being taken to task by AFC North and instate rival Cleveland as the Browns took care of the Bengals 35-20 at Paul Brown Stadium. 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.

Denver holds a 21-10 lead in the series and the Broncos have outscored Cincinnati 672-585. They met last year and the Bengals were 20-17 winners in the Mile High City, while Denver’s last win came in Cincinnati in 2016 by a final of 29-17. In the week 11 contest, the Bengals led 13-7 at the intermission at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, then held off Denver in the second half for the road win out west. Denver did outrush Cincinnati 112-49 and Brock Osweiler threw for 254, while Dalton threw for 154 yards (Dalton threw three TDs, connecting with A.J. Green on one of those tosses, Osweiler threw a TD pass; Dalton was sacked twice without an interception, while Osweiler was sacked three times and threw a pick). Despite the loss, Denver went 12 of 21 on third down (the Broncos were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 35:11, while the Bengals were 7 of 15 on third down and clung to the pigskin for 24:49.

Denver was favored by 2 1/2 in the Mile High City week 11 contest and the Bengals covered with the 3-point win and both clubs BARELY missed the 38 over/under by 1. This time around, the Broncos are favored again, this time by 3 1/2 with a 52 over/under. The winner keeps their playoff hopes alive, while the loser will have to work hard to get to the post-season party. Bengals get themselves back on track at home and take the win, covering the 3 1/2.

Los Angeles Rams (10-1) at Detroit (4-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Fresh off their bye week and becoming a part of football history, the Los Angeles Rams make their way to the Motor City to square off against the Detroit Lions.

The Rams return to action after they and Kansas City combined for a season-high 105 points, as they would come away 54-51 winners in Los Angeles two Monday nights ago. The Rams broke a 23-23 tie at the intermission after they trailed 17-16, then took a 23-17 lead before the Chiefs would even things up. The contest with the Chiefs would be a back and forth affair in a contest that had six lead changes (four in the fourth quarter alone) and was the third-highest scoring contest in league history. Los Angeles would eventually take the lead for keeps with 1:49 left in the contest when QB Jared Goff and TE Gerald Everett connected on a 40-yard TD pass for the 3-point lead. Los Angeles would then put an end to a Chiefs drive late in the contest and took the win at home on the West Coast.

The Chiefs did outrush Los Angeles 98-76 (the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt led all rushers with 70 yards on the ground, while Todd Gurley had 55) and Goff threw for 413 yards and four passing TDs, tallying the game’s only rushing TD, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 478 yards and six TDs (Mahomes was sacked three times and picked off three, while Goff was sacked five times but did not throw an interception) for Kansas City, who had their four-game win streak come to an end, while the Rams picked up their tenth win in 11 tries. The Rams were 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 30:23, while the Chiefs kept the pigskin for 29:37, going 5 of 10 on third down (both clubs were 1 for 1 on fourth down).

Lions fans had their hearts broken on Thanksgiving again as dropped a 23-16 decision to NFC North foe Chicago at Ford Field last Thursday. Chicago led 9-7 at the half before the Lions would take a 13-9 lead with 95 seconds left in the third when RB LeGarrette Blount would score from four yards out. The Lions would miss the PAT and take the 4-point lead into the final 15 minutes of play in Detroit when RB Tank Cohen and backup QB Chase Daniel (who took over for the injured Mitchell Trubisky) connected on a 14-yard TD toss early in the fourth. Detroit would roar back to even the score as Matt Prater connected on a 20-yard  field goal before Da Bears would take the lead back for good when Matthew Stafford was picked off by CB Eddie Jackson, who returned the ball 41 yard for the TD. Detroit outrushed Chicago 111-38 and Blount led all rushers with 88 yards and a pair of TDs, Stafford threw for 236 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions and Daniel threw for 230 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks (Daniel did not have an interception) for Chicago. Detroit went 5 of 14 on third down tries (the Lions were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 32:46, while Da Bears kept the ball for 27:14, going 3 for 10 on third down.

Including games played in Cleveland, at Tiger Stadium, Anaheim Stadium, the Pontiac Silverdome and in St. Louis, the Rams lead the series 43-40-1 and the Rams have outscored Detroit 1,654-1,561. Detroit won the last contest with the Rams, taking 31-28 win in the Motor City in 2016, while the Rams’ last win over the Lions came in 2015 in St. Louis by a final of 21-14. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Rams as 10-point favorites with a 55 over/under. The 55 makes sense; the 10? That’s a bit on the steep side. Lions make this one interesting but the Rams prevail in the Motor City and takes the win.

Arizona (2-9) at Green Bay (4-6-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of struggling teams meet in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst Sunday when Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers host the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau. Both clubs inter the Sunday afternoon contest with road losses from last week’s action.

The Desert Angry Birds lost their third contest in a row, falling to Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers 45-10 at Stub Hub Centre. After leading 10-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Chargers would shut out Arizona in the final 45 minutes of action, scoring all of their points unchallenged. Los Angeles easily outrushed the Cardinals 178-62 and Arizona watched Chargers QB Philip Rivers go 28 for 29 for 259 yards (Rivers completed his first 25 passes of the contest with no interceptions, even though he was sacked four times), while Josh Rosen threw for 105 yards with a TD pass to WR Larry Fitzgerald and was sacked twice and picked off once. Arizona went 4 for 12 on third down tries (they would go 0 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 24:42, while the Chargers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:18, going 3 of 7 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Green Bay looks to bounce back and restore some order in the NFC North after they fell to rival Minnesota 24-17 last Sunday  night in the land of 10,000 Lakes. Tied 14-14 at the break after Vikings K Dan Bailey missed a field goal try that would have given Minnesota the lead at halftime, Minnesota pulled away from Green Bay, outscoring the Packers 10-3 in the second half. Green Bay, losing their fourth game in five contests, was outrushed by Minnesota 91-82 and Aaron Rodgers threw for 198 yards with a TD and four sacks, while Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 342 yards and three TDs, connecting with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen on two of those tosses, with no interceptions and a pair of sacks. Green Bay was 2 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 25:23, while the Vikings ruled the clock and kept the ball for 34:37, going 7 for 14 on third down (both teams failed in their only fourth down try).

Including games played in Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee, the Packers hold a 44-23-4 lead in the series and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,272-946. Arizona won the last regular season meeting, coming away 38-8 winners in the desert in 2015 by a final of 38-8, while Green Bay’s last win came in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst by a final of 31-17 in 2012. Green Bay’s a 14 1/2-point favorite at Lambeau and the over/under’s 44 1/2. 14 1/2? That’s a bit high. The 44 1/2? We can live with that. Arizona’s not 14 1/2 points bad and while the Desert Angry Birds make things interesting, Green Bay gets back on track at Lambeau and takes the win in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst.

Cleveland (4-6-1) at Houston (8-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A couple of resurging teams meet in Houston as the first-place Texans host the much-improved Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium. Both teams come into the contest with wins under their belts in last Sunday’s action.

Cleveland took instate and AFC North rival Cincinnati to the woodshed last Sunday along the shores of the Ohio River, coming away 35-20 winners at Paul Brown Stadium. Cleveland led 28-7 at the intermission and held the Bengals in check, as Cincinnati could never get things on track at home. Cincinnati outrushed Cleveland 129-84, while Bengals QB 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. 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.

Houston also found themselves in the winner’s circle last week as they overcame a 10-7 first quarter deficit against Tennessee last Monday night at home and came out 34-17 winners, avenging their week two loss to the Titans in Nashville. The Texans outscored Tennessee 27-7 in the final three quarters of play and took a 24-10 lead with them to the intermission at NRG Stadium. Houston outrushed the Titans 281-105 (Texans RB Lamar Miller led all rushers with 162 yards and a TD), while DeSean Watson threw for 210 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD in the contest. Tennessee was paced by Marcus Mariota, who threw for 303 yards in the loss with a pair of TD tosses for the Titans (Mariota was sacked six times, Watson was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). Houston went 4 of 11 on third down tries (the Texans were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 29:58, while the Titans, who held on to the ball for 30:02, went 4 for 12 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Houston leads the series 8-3, the Texans have outscored Cleveland 183-147 and Houston has won the last four meetings, including taking a 33-17 win last year in the Lone Star State, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2007 along the shores of Lake Erie, as the Browns were 27-17 winners.

They met in week six at NRG Stadium and despite being outscored by Cleveland in the second half 14-9, the Texans led from start to finish and took a 24-3 lead with them to the intermission. While the Browns did outrush Houston 134-123, Watson burned the Browns for 225 yards and three TDs (Watson was sacked once and threw an interception), while Cleveland’s Kevin Hogan threw for 140 yards with a TD, three interceptions and four sacks. Houston went 5 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 29:04, while the Browns ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:56, going 3 for 14 on third down conversions. In the week six contest at NRG Stadium, the Texans were favored by 9 1/2 and covered with the 16-point win and the 50 points combined allowed both teams to cover the 44 over/under. The Texans are favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. The Browns are trying to go where they haven’t been in a while and that’s the playoffs, while the Texans want to bring Cleveland back to Earth. Houston covers the 5 1/2 and wins in the Lone Star State.

Indianapolis (6-5) at Jacksonville (3-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. It’s an AFC South rematch as Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts travel to the Sunshine State for a meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars in north Florida.

The Colts rallied in the fourth quarter after trailing 17-14 after three quarters of play against Miami to come away 27-24 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday afternoon. Indy used a pair of Adam Viniateri field goals and a 12-yard TD pass from Luck to TE Eric Ebron to take the win, with the second Viniateri field goal coming as time time expired, using a 7-play, 44-yard drive that used all of the 2:38 that was left in regulation, sending Colts fans home happy. Luck threw for 343 yards and a pair of TDs to go with a sack and a pair of interceptions, while the Colts outrushed Miami 118-113 (Ryan Tannehill threw for 204 yards and a pair of TDs with a sack and no interceptions) in the come from behind win. The Colts were 4 for 12 on third down but struck pay dirt on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and kept the ball for 31:54 (including the final 2:38), while the Dolphins were 4 for 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:06.

The struggling Jaguars suffered two losses Sunday in Orchard Park. First, they lost the services of RB Leonard Fournette after he was ejected for a fight against Buffalo as the league suspended him for one game without pay. Fournette then appealed and lost, which meant that the suspension stood. Fournette will be eligible to return to the Jaguars’ active roster on Monday, December 3 following the team’s December 2 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Then the team’s rally against the Bills fell short as they would lose their seventh in a row 24-21 at New Era Field. Tied 14-14 at the intermission in upstate New York, the teams played a scoreless third quarter before the Bills broke the tie early in the fourth quarter when QB Josh Allen scored from 14 yards away with 14:52 left in regulation to lead 21-14. Bills K Stephen Hauschka would then add a 22-yard field goal to make it a 10-point game with 3:06 left to play. Jacksonville then would rally and make the contest a 3-point game with 80 seconds left to play when QB Blake Bortles and WR Dede Westbrook connected on a 13-yard TD toss. Jacksonville then tried an onside kick that Buffalo recovered, the Bill ran out the clock and took the win. Fournette rushed for 95 yards and a pair of TDs before his ejection and Jacksonville outrushed Buffalo 226-167 (Allen led Buffalo with 99 rushing yards of his own) and Bortles threw for 127 yards, while Allen threw for 160 yards with no interceptions or sacks (Bortles was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions, both men threw a TD pass in the contest). Buffalo went 2 for 10 on third down in upstate New York, holding on to the ball for 27:18, while Jacksonville actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 32:42, going 5 for 13 on third down tries.

They met in the Hoosier State in week 10 and the Colts came away 29-26 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium. In that contest, Luck had his fourth game in a row without a sack as the Colts won their third game in a row, edging their AFC South rivals in the first meeting. Indianapolis would lead 29-16 at the intermission, then held off a late Jaguar rally as Jacksonville would score their 10 second half points unchallenged, holding off a last-second threat that would have at the very least sent the contest into overtime. Jacksonville did manage to outrush the Colts 91-81 and Blake Bortles threw for 320 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions, while Luck threw for 285 yards with a pair of TDs, an interception and no sacks. Both clubs did quite well on third down tries at Lucas Oil Stadium; Jacksonville was 9 of 17 (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 35:10, while the Colts were 6 for 11 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 24:50.

Indy covered the 3-point spread with the 3-point win and both clubs covered the 3 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 55 points. In the rematch in north Florida, the Colts are favored again, this time by 4 points with a 47 over/under. The Colts have gotten really hot of late, while the Jaguars are struggling to keep their heads above water. Colts cover the 4 in Jacksonville and takes the road win.

Buffalo (4-7) at Miami (5-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of struggling AFC East rivals meet in the Sunshine State as Buffalo and Miami, both chasing New England, meet at Hard Rock Stadium. The Bills and Dolphins played close contests in last week’s action, with Buffalo coming away with a win in upstate New York, while the Dolphins look to redeem themselves after a last second loss in the Hoosier State.

Buffalo held off a late Jacksonville rally as they would give Jacksonville their seventh loss in a row, coming away 24-21 winners at New Era Field. Tied 14-14 at the intermission in upstate New York, the teams played a scoreless third quarter before the Bills broke the tie early in the fourth quarter when QB Josh Allen scored from 14 yards away with 14:52 left in regulation to lead 21-14. Bills K Stephen Hauschka would then add a 22-yard field goal to make it a 10-point game with 3:06 left to play. Jacksonville then would rally and make the contest a 3-point game with 80 seconds left to play when QB Blake Bortles and WR Dede Westbrook connected on a 13-yard TD toss. Jacksonville then tried an onside kick that Buffalo recovered, the Bill ran out the clock and took the win. Fournette rushed for 95 yards and a pair of TDs before his ejection and Jacksonville outrushed Buffalo 226-167 (Allen led Buffalo with 99 rushing yards of his own) and Bortles threw for 127 yards, while Allen threw for 160 yards with no interceptions or sacks (Bortles was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions, both men threw a TD pass in the contest). Buffalo went 2 for 10 on third down in upstate New York, holding on to the ball for 27:18, while Jacksonville actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 32:42, going 5 for 13 on third down tries.

Miami let a 17-14 after three quarters of play against Indianapolis and Andrew Luck get away from them as the Colts rallied to come away 27-24 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Colts used a pair of Adam Viniateri field goals and a 12-yard TD pass from Luck to TE Eric Ebron to take the win, with the second Viniateri field goal coming as time expired, using a 7-play, 44-yard drive that burned all of the 2:38 that was left in regulation, sending Colts fans home happy. Luck threw for 343 yards and a pair of TDs to go with a sack and a pair of interceptions, while the Colts outrushed Miami 118-113 (Ryan Tannehill threw for 204 yards and a pair of TDs with a sack and no interceptions) in the come from behind win. The Colts were 4 for 12 on third down but struck pay dirt on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and kept the ball for 31:54 (including the final 2:38), while the Dolphins were 4 for 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:06.

Miami leads the series 59-44-1 and while the Dolphins have outscored Buffalo 2,221-1,999, the Bills did manage to sweep last year’s series, taking wins in the Sunshine State and in upstate New York (Miami’s last win in the series came in 2016, when they swept that series.)

Their first meeting? Upstate New York in week 15 at Ralph Wilson Stadium and the Bills would come away 24-16 winners in Orchard Park. Buffalo led 21-6 at the intermission, then held off a late Miami rally to seal the win. Buffalo outrushed Miami 116-100 and Bills QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 224 yards and a TD, while Cutler threw for 274 yards but was sacked three times and picked off three times. Miami on third down went 5 for 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:25, while the Bills, who held on to the ball for 27:35, went 7 of 15 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The Bills made it a sweep of the series in the Sunshine State two weeks later in week 17 in a contest that Buffalo would need to get into the playoffs. Leading 10-0 at the break at Hard Rock Stadium, the Bills would need to hold off a Miami rally and come away 22-16 winners. Buffalo outrushed Miami in the rematch 126-93 and Taylor threw for 204 yards in the win that would send the Bills to the post-season for the first time in a little over two decades. Buffalo was 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:04, while Miami was 5 of 13 on third down (1 for 3 on fourth down tries) and held on to the ball for 28:56.

In the week 15 contest along the shores of Lake Erie in upstate New York, the Bills won by 8, allowing them to cover the 3 1/2-point spread but both teams missed the 42 over/under by 2. In the rematch in the Sunshine State in week 17 that closed out the regular season, Buffalo was a 3-point favorite and they covered, winning by 6 but as was the case in the first meeting, both clubs missed the over/under, which was 42 1/2.  Miami is the favorite at home in the Sunshine State as a 4 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 40. Buffalo’s looking to win their third in a row over the Dolphins, while Miami wants no part of that plan whatsoever. Miami covers the 4 1/2 and wins at home in the Sunshine State.

Chicago (8-3) at New York Giants (3-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. The first-place Chicago Bears travel to the Meadowlands for an early afternoon contest with Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

Da Bears broke the hearts of Lions fans Thanksgiving afternoon at Ford Field as the Monsters of the Midway left the Motor City with a 23-16 win over NFC North rival Detroit. Chicago led 9-7 at the half before the Lions would take a 13-9 lead with 95 seconds left in the third when RB LeGarrette Blount would score from four yards out. The Lions would miss the PAT and take the 4-point lead into the final 15 minutes of play in Detroit when RB Tank Cohen and backup QB Chase Daniel (who took over for the injured Mitchell Trubisky) connected on a 14-yard TD toss early in the fourth. Detroit would roar back to even the score as Matt Prater connected on a 20-yard  field goal before Da Bears would take the lead back for good when Matthew Stafford was picked off by CB Eddie Jackson, who returned the ball 41 yard for the TD. Detroit outrushed Chicago 111-38 and Blount led all rushers with 88 yards and a pair of TDs, Stafford threw for 236 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions and Daniel threw for 230 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks (Daniel did not have an interception) for Chicago. Detroit went 5 of 14 on third down tries (the Lions were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 32:46, while Da Bears kept the ball for 27:14, going 3 for 10 on third down.

Manning and the Giants watched a 19-11 lead against Philadelphia get away from them as the defending Super Bowl champs rallied in the City of Brotherly Love to come away 25-22 winners at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday. The Eagles would take control of things in the second half and took home the win with 22 seconds left when K Josh Elliot nailed a 43-yard field goal to break a 22-22 tie. Philadelphia outrushed Big Blue 127-126, with Giants rookie RB Saquan Barkley leading the way with 101 and a TD. Manning threw for 297 yards and a TD pass to Barkley but was sacked twice and picked off once, while Carson Wentz threw for 236 yards and a TD to TE Zach Ertz (Wentz was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Eagles were 3 for 11 on third down (they were a perfect 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:38, while the Giants kept the ball for 27:22, going 5 for 12 on third down conversions.

Da Bears lead da series with Big Blue 28-20-2 and Chicago has outscored the Giants 869-692. Big Blue won the last meeting with Chicago, coming away 22-16 winners in the Meadowlands in 2016, while Chicago’s last win came in the Windy City, taking down the Giants 27-21 in 2013 at Solider Field. Chicago’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The Monsters of the Midway would like nothing more than to run the table and win the NFC North, while the Giants need to run the table, win the rest of the way and get some help. Giants fans will have their hearts not just broken… shattered. Da Bears cover the 4 and win in the Meadowlands.

Carolina (6-5) at Tampa Bay (4-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Cam vs. Jameis. The two Heisman winners meet again, this time in the Sunshine State as both teams look to catch up to New Orleans in the NFC South.

Carolina took a 13-10 lead with them to the break against Seattle last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, only to watch the Seahawks leave Charlotte with a 30-27 last-second win. The Panthers watched Seattle take a 17-13 with 6:45 left in the third quarter when QB Russell Wilson and WR Tyler Lockett connected on a 12-yard TD toss. Carolina would take the lead back with 1:41 in the quarter when RB Collin McCaffrey scored from a yard out for a 20-17 lead. Seattle re-tied the contest with 9:27 left when Sebastian Janikowski booted a 30-yard field goal through the uprights for a 20-20 contest.  McCaffery would give Carolina the lead back when he and Newton were part of a 2-yard TD toss with 6:57 left in regulation. After the two teams traded the ball back and forth, Seattle would get the ball with 1:40 left and the Seahawks would use a seven-play, 45-yard drive and all of that 1:40 to put Janikowski in position to give Seattle the win, which he did on a 31-yard field goal try as time expired. Carolina outrushed Seattle 220-75, with McCaffery doing most of the work, leading everyone with 125 yards on the ground, while Newton threw for 256 yards and an interception (Wilson for Seattle threw for 339 yards, both Newton and Wilson threw a pair of TD tosses, Wilson was sacked twice). Carolina was 3 of 8 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:34, while the Seahawks ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:26 (including the final 1:41) and went 6 for 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay had a much better time last Sunday at home at Raymond James Stadium, as they took San Francisco to task and came away with the 27-9 win over the 49ers. The Buccaneers led 13-6 at the intermission in the Sunshine State, then took control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring San Francisco 14-3 in that frame of time. While San Francisco did outrush Tampa Bay 148-108 (Matt Breida led all rushers with 106, Winston (who took over for Ryan Fitzpatrick) threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, one sack and no interceptions. San Francisco Nate Mullens made his first road start, throwing for 221 yards with a TD with a pair of interceptions and four sacks for the 49ers, who dropped their second game in a row. Tampa Bay went 7 for 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 34:09, while the 49ers were a dismal 1 for 8, holding the ball for 25:51.

They met in week nine in the Tar Heel State and Newton and the Panthers were 42-28 winners at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina, in picking up their third win in a row, took a 35-14 lead with them to the intermission against Tampa Bay at Bank of America Stadium and came away 42-28 winners over their NFC South rivals. The Panthers outrushed Tampa Bay 179-82 (Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey led all rushers with 79 yards and a pair of rushing TDs), while Newton threw for 247 yards and a pair of TDs. Carolina, who sacked Tampa Bay QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (243 yards, four TDs, two interceptions) four times, went 4 for 10 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 31 minutes, while the Buccaneers kept the ball for 29 minutes, going 5 for 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Carolina’s 14-point win allowed the Panthers to cover the 6 1/2-point spread and both teams took care of the 54 over/under with 70 points. Carolina’s favored again, this time by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 55 1/2. History seems to have a way of repeating itself and that doesn’t bode well for Tampa Bay. For Carolina, if one win is good, then another’s better. Carolina covers the 3 1/2 on the road and takes the win.

Kansas City (9-2) at Oakland (2-9), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Forget the records. It’s football’s answer to the Hatfields and the McCoys. The Capulets vs. the Montagues. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Dogs vs. Cats. They don’t like each other. They’re not exactly Facebook friends either. A pair of AFC West/AFL rivals meet on the other side of San Francisco Bay as the first place Chiefs travel to Oakland to square off against Oakland.

Kansas City, in first place in the AFC West, comes back after their bye week and after combining with the Los Angeles Rams   for a season-high 105 points, falling short by a final of 54-51 in Los Angeles two Monday nights ago. The Rams broke a 23-23 tie at the intermission after they trailed 17-16, then took a 23-17 lead before the Chiefs would even things up. The contest with the Chiefs would be a back and forth affair in a contest that had six lead changes (four in the fourth quarter alone) and was the third-highest scoring contest in league history. Los Angeles would eventually take the lead for keeps with 1:49 left in the contest when QB Jared Goff and TE Gerald Everett connected on a 40-yard TD pass for the 3-point lead. Los Angeles would then put an end to a Chiefs drive late in the contest and took the win at home on the West Coast.

The Chiefs did outrush Los Angeles 98-76 (the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt led all rushers with 70 yards on the ground, while Todd Gurley had 55) and Goff threw for 413 yards and four passing TDs, tallying the game’s only rushing TD, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 478 yards and six TDs (Mahomes was sacked three times and picked off three, while Goff was sacked five times but did not throw an interception) for Kansas City, who had their four-game win streak come to an end, while the Rams picked up their tenth win in 11 tries. The Rams were 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 30:23, while the Chiefs kept the pigskin for 29:37, going 5 of 10 on third down (both clubs were 1 for 1 on fourth down).

Oakland let a 7-3 first quarter lead against Baltimore get away from them last Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City and it would be the Ravens that came away with the 34-17 win over Oakland. Oakland trailed  13-10 at the intermission, then was outscored 21-7 in the second half. Ravens RB Gus Edwards ran for 118 yards for the Ravens, as Baltimore outrushed Oakland 242-67, while rookie QB Lamar Jackson (who took over for Joe Flacco) threw for 178 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Derek Carr led the Raiders with 194 yards and a TD but was sacked three times, Jackson was sacked once). Baltimore was 8 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:12, while the Raiders held on to the pigskin for 25:48, going 3 for 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests that took place in Los Angeles and Dallas when the Chiefs were known as the Texans and the Chiefs would play their home games at Swope Field, the Chiefs hold a 61-52-2 lead in the series and have outscored the Silver and Black 2,421-2,217. The two clubs split last year’s meetings, with each winning at home.

They met in week seven on the West Coast and the Raiders needed to rally to take a 31-30 win at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Kansas City led 20-14 at the break before the Silver and Black rallied in the final 30 minutes of action, outscoring the Chiefs 17-10 in that time frame, with the Raiders taking the lead with :00 left on the clock when WR Michael Crabtree and QB Derek Carr connected on a 2-yard TD strike. Kansas City outrushed Oakland 94-88, with Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt leading all rushers with 87 yards in the contest, while Carr threw for 417 yards (Kansas City’s Alex Smith threw for 342 yards, each man threw three TDs without an interception and Smith was sacked once) in the last second win. The Raiders were 6 of 13 on third down tries (Oakland was 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:24, while the Chiefs actually ruled the clock and held on to the pigskin for 30:36, going 8 for 15 on third down conversions.

Kansas City would get revenge at home in week 14, shutting out Oakland for the first 45 minutes of play at Arrowhead and came away 26-15 winners in the rematch. The Chiefs led 16-0 at the half and took a 26-0 lead into the final quarter before Oakland would end the shutout bid, scoring their lone points unchallenged. Once again, the Chiefs outrushed Oakland, this time tallying 165 yards on the ground to Oakland’s 70, with Hunt leading the way with 116 yards, while Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch had 61 (both men had a rushing TD in the contest). Smith would throw for 268 yard for the Chiefs, while Carr threw for 211 yards for the Raiders (Carr had a pair of interceptions with three sacks, while Smith was sacked four times with a pick). Both clubs were 5 for 13 on third down (the Raiders were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Chiefs ruled the clock again, keeping the ball for 36:40 to Oakland’s 23:20.

In the week seven contest on the West Coast, Kansas City was a 3-point favorite and the Raiders would win but only by a point. Both teams took care of the 47 over/under, tallying 61 points in the meeting. In the second contest in week 14 in the Show-Me-State, the Chiefs covered the 4-point spread with their 11-point win but the 47 1/2 over/under was untouched as both clubs merged for 41 points. The oddsmakers like the Chiefs as a 15-point favorite on the West Coast with a 55 1/2 over/under. The 55 1/2? That makes sense. The 15-point spread? What were they thinking? Granted, the Raiders are bad but they’re not 15 points bad. Still, the Silver and Black will make things harder for the Chiefs but Kansas City takes the win on the West Coast.

New York Jets (3-8) at Tennessee (5-6), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. The New York Jets make their way to the Music City for a late-afternoon contest in Nashville, taking on Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans at Nisssan Stadium. Both teams took losses in their contests in last week’s play.

GangGreen found themselves on the short end of a 27-13 loss to AFC East rival New England last Sunday at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands. Tied 10-10 at the break, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! watched Tom Brady and the Pats pull away from them in the second half last Sunday afternoon, outscoring them 17-3 in that frame of time. New England outrushed GangGreen 215-74 and Patriots rookie RB Sony Michel looked like his former self when played at Georgia, rushing for 133 yards and a TD, while Brady was Brady, throwing for 283 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with favorite targets Josh Edelman and Rob Gronkowski on both tosses. New York’s Josh McCown threw for 276 yards with a TD toss to Jevon Kearse but was sacked twice and picked off once. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 for 14 on third down tries (GangGreen was 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 25:34, while New England ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 34:26, while going 5 for 12 on third down and 1 for 1 on fourth down.

Tennessee watched Houston overcome a 10-7 first quarter deficit against last Monday night at home as the Texans came out 34-17 winners, avenging their week two loss to the Titans in Nashville. The Texans outscored Tennessee 27-7 in the final three quarters of play and took a 24-10 lead with them to the intermission at NRG Stadium. Houston outrushed the Titans 281-105 (Texans RB Lamar Miller led all rushers with 162 yards and a TD), while DeSean Watson threw for 210 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD in the contest. Tennessee was paced by Marcus Mariota, who threw for 303 yards in the loss with with a pair of TD tosses for the Titans (Mariota was sacked six times, Watson was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). Houston went 4 of 11 on third down tries (the Texans were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 29:58, while the Titans, who held on to the ball for 30:02, went 4 for 12 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Including games that were played when the Jets played at Shea Stadium and were known as the Titans and Tennessee played their home games in Houston and were known as the Oilers, the Titans lead series 23-19-1 and have outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 1,005-912. GangGreen has won the last two meetings, coming away 30-8 winners in the Meadowlands in 2015, while Tennessee’s last win came in 2013 in Nashville by a final of 38-13. Tennessee’s favored by 8 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. If nothing else, you can at least get that Christmas shopping done, because GangGreen’s been struggling a bit. Titans bounce back from the loss in Houston and covers the 8 in Nashville.

Minnesota (6-4-1) at New England (8-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of playoff contenders meet in western Massachusetts as Minnesota travels to Foxboro for a late afternoon contest with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The Vikings, sitting in second in the NFC North, held off divisonal rival Green Bay 24-17 last Sunday night in the land of 10,000 Lakes. Tied 14-14 at the break after Vikings K Dan Bailey missed a field goal try that would have given Minnesota the lead at halftime, Minnesota pulled away from Green Bay, outscoring the Packers 10-3 in the second half. Green Bay, dropping their fourth game in five contests, was outrushed by Minnesota 91-82 and Aaron Rodgers threw for 198 yards with a TD and four sacks, while Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 342 yards and three TDs, connecting with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen on two of those tosses, with no interceptions and a pair of sacks. Green Bay was 2 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 25:23, while the Vikings ruled the clock and kept the ball for 34:37, going 7 for 14 on third down (both teams failed in their only fourth down try).

New England went to the Meadowlands last Sunday against the New York Jets and Brady and the Pats would leave Met Life Stadium with a 27-13 win. Tied 10-10 at the break, Brady and the Pats pulled away from the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the second half last Sunday afternoon, outscoring them 17-3 in that frame of time. New England outrushed GangGreen 215-74 and Patriots rookie RB Sony Michel looked like his former self when played at Georgia, rushing for 133 yards and a TD, while Brady was Brady, throwing for 283 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with favorite targets Josh Edelman and Rob Gronkowski on both tosses. New York’s Josh McCown threw for 276 yards with a TD toss to Jevon Kearse but was sacked twice and picked off once. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 for 14 on third down tries (GangGreen was 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 25:34, while New England ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 34:26, while going 5 for 12 on third down and 1 for 1 on fourth down.

New England leads the series 8-4, which includes contests that were played at Fenway Park, Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome, the Pats have outscored Minnesota 260-244 and they have won the last four meetings, including a 30-7 win in the Twin Cities in 2014, while Minnesota’s last win over the Pats came in Foxboro in 2000 by a final of 21-13. The Pats are favored by 5 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. It’s possible that these two could make the post-season and could meet in Atlanta for the Lombardi. New England may not cover the 5 but they’ll win in Foxboro.

San Francisco (2-9) at Seattle (6-5), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 717. A pair of NFC West rivals meet in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as San Francisco makes it way up I-5 for an late afternoon (Eastern time) showdown with the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field.

San Francisco was taken to task by Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Tampa Bay coming away with the 27-9 win over the 49ers. The Buccaneers led the 49ers 13-6 at the intermission in the Sunshine State, then took control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring San Francisco 14-3 in that frame of time. While San Francisco did outrush Tampa Bay 148-108 (Matt Breida led all rushers with 106, Winston (who took over for Ryan Fitzpatrick) threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, one sack and no interceptions. San Francisco Nate Mullens made his first road start, throwing for 221 yards with a TD with a pair of interceptions and four sacks for the 49ers, who dropped their second game in a row. Tampa Bay went 7 for 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 34:09, while the 49ers were a dismal 1 for 8, holding the ball for 25:51.

Seattle trailed Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 13-10 at the break last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, then rallied late in the contest to come away with the 30-27 last-second win. Seattle would take a 17-13 with 6:45 left in the third quarter when QB Russell Wilson and WR Tyler Lockett connected on a 12-yard TD toss. Carolina responded in kind, taking the lead back with 1:41 in the quarter when RB Collin McCaffrey scored from a yard out for a 20-17 lead. Seattle then went on to tie the contest with 9:27 left when Sebastian Janikowski booted a 30-yard field goal through the uprights for a 20-20 contest. McCaffery would give Carolina the lead back when he and Newton were part of a 2-yard TD toss with 6:57 left in regulation. After the two teams traded the ball back and forth, Seattle would get the ball with 1:40 left and the Seahawks would use a seven-play, 45-yard drive and all of that 1:40 to put Janikowski in position to give Seattle the win, which he did on a 31-yard field goal try as time expired. Carolina outrushed Seattle 220-75, with McCaffery doing most of the work, leading everyone with 125 yards on the ground, while Newton threw for 256 yards and an interception (Wilson for Seattle threw for 339 yards, both Newton and Wilson threw a pair of TD tosses, Wilson was sacked twice). Carolina was 3 of 8 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:34, while the Seahawks ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:26 (including the final 1:41) and went 6 for 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Seattle leads the series 23-15, which includes games played at the Kingdome and Candlestick Park, the Seahawks have outscored San Francisco 894-669 and they have won nine of the last ten meetings with the 49ers (Seattle swept the series last year; the 49ers’ last win in the series came in 2013, when they took a 19-13 win at Candlestick Park).

Round one… week two in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Seattle broke a 6-6 tie at the intermission and came away with the 12-9 win at Century Link Field. The contest was a field goal affair as Blair Walsh and Robbie Gould would account for all of the scoring until 7:06 of the fourth quarter, when Seattle’s Paul Richardson would score the game’s only TD, catching a 9-yard pass from Wilson. San Francisco outrushed Seattle 159-131, with 49ers RB Carlos Hyde leading all rushers with 124 yards (Seattle’s Chris Carson had 93 yards on 20 carries). Wilson threw for 198 yards and the lone TD strike (he was sacked three times but did not throw an interception) for Seattle, while San Francisco’s Blaine Hoyer threw for 99 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception. Seattle went 8 for 19 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:58, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 23:02, going 2 for 12 on third down.

Seattle then made their way down I-5 to Santa Clara and made it a clean sweep in their week 12 rematch at Levis Stadium, coming away 24-13 winners. After a scoreless first quarter, the Seahawks led 7-3 at the half and outscored San Francisco 17-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier in the second meeting but Seattle did outrush San Francisco 90-84 and Wilson threw for 228 yards and a pair of TDs, while C.J. Beathard threw for 201 yards with an interception for the 49ers before he was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo. Seattle went 5 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 29:31, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 30:29 and went 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week two contest in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks were 13 1/2-point favorites and won by only 3 and neither club covered the 48 1/2 over/under with 21 points. In the week 12 contest at Santa Clara, Seattle was favored by 6 1/2 and the Seahawks covered, winning by 11. The 42 over/under stayed intact, as both clubs would merge to score 37 points. The odds makers like the Seahawks in this first meeting as 9 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 46. We won’t blame you at all if you were to watch that “Grumpy Cat Movie” on Lifetime this week and take a pass on this one. Seattle may not cover the 9 1/2 but they take the win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-3-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Philip Rivers vs. Ben Roethlisberger. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Steel City in a Sunday night prime-time affair as Pittsburgh hosts the Los Angeles Chargers at Heniz Field.

While picking up their seventh win in eight games, the Chargers handed Arizona their third contest in a row, as Rivers and the Chargers took care of the Cardinals falling to Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers 45-10 at Stub Hub Centre. Los Angeles erased a 10-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, then shut out Arizona in the final 45 minutes of action, scoring all of their points unchallenged. Los Angeles easily outrushed the Cardinals 178-62 and Arizona watched Rivers go 28 for 29 for 259 yards (Rivers completed his first 25 passes of the contest with no interceptions, even though he was sacked four times), while Josh Rosen threw for 105 yards with a TD pass to WR Larry Fitzgerald and was sacked twice and picked off once. Arizona went 4 for 12 on third down tries (they would go 0 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 24:42, while the Chargers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:18, going 3 of 7 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh saw Denver break a 10-10 halftime tie last Sunday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High and watched the home team come away with the 24-17 win over the Steelers. Pittsburgh was then outpaced by Denver in the second half 14-7 and Denver took the lead for good with 9:17 in regulation when Broncos RB Philip Lindsay scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. Lindsay led all rushers with 110 yards and the TD as Denver outrushed Pittsburgh 124-75 and Case Keenum threw for 197 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Emmanuel Sanders on one of the tosses (Keenum was sacked twice but did not throw an interception), while Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw for 462 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions, the last coming late in the contest that stopped a Steeler drive that would have re-tied the contest. Denver was 3 for 11 on third down conversion in the Mile High City and kept the ball for 25 minutes in the late afternoon affair, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 35 minutes, going 5 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Steelers lead the series 22-7 and have outscored the Bolts 743-525 (including contests that were played in San Diego and at Three Rivers Stadium). Pittsburgh won the last meeting, coming away 24-20 winners at Qualcomm in 2015, while the Chargers’ last win came in the Steel City by a final of 34-24 in 2012. Pittsburgh’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Steel City and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Both numbers sound pretty good, which makes 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 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?”)

As far as prime time goes, the Steelers are 28-20 (Pittsburgh played three SNF games last year and won all three), while the Chargers are 16-18 (their last appearance in prime time came in 2014 and they took a loss). There’s a good chance these two teams could very well meet in the post-season again. The Steelers are looking to bounce back from their loss in Denver, while the Bolts are looking to keep things going and catch up to the Chiefs in the AFC West. Chargers make this one somewhat close but Pittsburgh prevails and covers the 3 1/2 in the Steel City.

Washington (6-5) at Philadelphia (5-6), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 13 closes out in the city of Brotherly Love as a pair of NFC East rivals meet at Lincoln Financial Field. The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host Washington in a Monday night contest that could decide their playoff futures.

Washington wound up tied for first in the NFC East after their 31-23 loss to Dallas at AT&T Stadium last Thursday afternoon, Washington trailed 10-7 at the intermission, then watched Dallas outpace Washington 21-16 in the second half to avenge a three-point loss at Landover a few weeks earlier. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 121 yards and a TD as Dallas outrushed Washington 146-80 and Dak Prescott threw for 289 yards and a pair of TDs to Amari Cooper, while Washington’s Colt McCoy threw for 268 yards with a pair of TDs and three interceptions. Dallas went 6 for 14 on third down (the Cowboys were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:23, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:37, going 4 for 11 on third down conversions in the Thursday afternoon contest.

The defending Super Bowl champs erased a 19-11 deficit at the intermission against Eli Manning and the New York Giants and completed the sweep in their series, taking a 25-22 win at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday. The Eagles would take control of things in the second half and took home the win with 22 seconds left when K Josh Elliot nailed a 43-yard field goal to break a 22-22 tie. Philadelphia outrushed Big Blue 127-126, with Giants rookie RB Saquan Barkley leading the way with 101 and a TD. Manning threw for 297 yards and a TD pass to Barkley but was sacked twice and picked off once, while Carson Wentz threw for 236 yards and a TD to TE Zach Ertz (Wentz was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Eagles were 3 for 11 on third down (they were a perfect 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:38, while the Giants kept the ball for 27:22, going 5 for 12 on third down conversions.

Including games that were played in Boston when the Redskins were known as the Boston Braves and the teams played games at RFK Stadium, Veterans Stadium and JFK Stadium, the Redskins lead the series 85-75-5, while the Eagles have outscored Washington 3,466-3,295. The defending Super Bowl champs swept the series last year, picking up wins in the City of Brotherly Love and in Landover, while Washington’s last win came in 2016, when they took a 27-22 win to complete the sweep in that series.

Contest one was right off the bat in week one in Landover and the Eagles took care of Washington 30-17. Philadelphia led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, held on to a slim 16-14 lead at the break, then outscored Washington 14-3 in the second half to take the win. While Washington won the rushing battle with the Eagles 64-58, Carson Wentz did manage to throw for 307 yards and a pair of TDs, while Kirk Cousins threw for 240 yards and a TD (Wentz was sacked once, Cousins was sacked four times, each man threw an interception). The Eagles went 8 for 14 on third down in Landover and kept the ball for 34:16, while Washington kept the pigskin for 25:44, while 3 for 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Philadelphia pulled off the sweep in week seven at Lincoln Financial Field, erasing a 3-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter and taking a 34-24 win in the process. The Eagles led 17-10 at the intermission and never looked back, outpacing Washington 17-14 in the last 30 minutes of play in the City of Brotherly Love. Wentz (268 yards) and Cousins (303 yards) combined for seven TD passes (Wentz with four, Cousins with three; Wentz was sacked three times, Cousins sacked four with each throwing an interception) while the Eagles outrushed Washington 127-75 in the win in Philly. The Eagles were 50 percent on third down conversions, going 6 for 12 and kept the ball for 29:45, while the Redskins ruled the clock and held on to the pigskin for 30:15, going 4 for 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week one contest in Landover, the Redskins were favored by 1 1/2 and Philadelphia’s 13-point allowed them to easily cover the spread. Both teams BARELY missed the 48 over/under, scoring 47 points. In the week seven contest at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles’ 10-point win covered the 5-point spread and this time, both clubs covered the 48 1/2 over/under, tallying 58 points. For this one, the defending champions are favored at home by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Given their histories, those numbers are reasonable. As far as their all-time MNF records go, the Eagles have the better numbers, coming in at 34-27 and Philadelphia played and won two contests last year, while the Redskins are 28-42 and went 0 for 2 last year. This one may not be as exciting as the Chiefs/Rams game two weeks ago but there’s still something on the line here. The winner gets to stay a little closer to Dallas in the NFC East, while the loser will find themselves in a somewhat large hole. Go ahead and tape “Magnum, PI” and “Bull” this Monday. Fly Eagles Fly! Eagles take this one but expect Washington to make it closer than 6 1/2.

The NFL has entered the second half of the season and the excitement is building as playoff races tighten. Ten weeks down, seven to go.

Seventeen teams are currently in or within one game of playoff position, including nine 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. But a slow start does not mean a team can be counted out. Since 1990, 27 teams have qualified for the playoffs with a losing record through nine games. (Yes, Cleveland… there’s even hope for you!)

Five teams are currently riding win steaks of at least four games, led by the New Orleans Saints, which have won eight consecutive games. The Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers have both won six straight games, while Pittsburgh and Kansas City have won five and four consecutive games, respectively. The Texans, which began the season 0-3, are the second team since 1970 to win six consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start, joining the 1970 New York Giants.

Last week, 19 of the league’s 28 starting quarterbacks (67.9 percent) recorded a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 15 attempts), the most in a single week in NFL history, surpassing the previous high of 17 set in Week 2 of the 2018 season.    Four quarterbacks – Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisbergers (158.3), Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (151.2), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (150.4) and Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky (148.6) – recorded a passer rating of at least 145 (minimum 20 attempts) in Week 10. The four quarterbacks with a 145+ passer rating (minimum 20 attempts) last week were the most in a single week in NFL history, surpassing the previous high of three which occurred four different times, most recently in Week 3 of the 2017 season.

One of the season’s most anticipated matchups takes place on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams, both at 9-1, meet at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a battle of two of the league’s top contenders. This is the fifth meeting between teams with one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later since 1970 and the first since November 17, 2013 (Denver (8-1) vs. Kansas City (9-0)).

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (3,150 passing yards, 117.4 passer rating) and Rams quarterback Jard Goff (3,134 passing yards, 113.0 passer rating) rank first and second, respectively, in the NFL in passing yards and are two of only eight quarterbacks in league history with at least 3,000 passing yards and a 110+ passer rating in their team’s first 10 games of a season. Each of the previous six quarterbacks to accomplish the feat captured Associated Press Most Valuable Player honors in their respective seasons.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY

•Four quarterbacks – Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (158.3), Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (151.2), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (150.4) and Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky (148.6) – have recorded a passer rating of at least 145 (minimum 20 attempts) through Sunday afternoon.

The four quarterbacks with a 145+ passer rating (minimum 20 attempts) in Week 10 are the most in a single week in NFL history, surpassing the previous high of three which occurred four different times, most recently in Week 3 of the 2017 season.

•New Orleans defeated Cincinnati, 51-14, at Paul Brown Stadium, marking the team’s eighth consecutive win. The Saints have scored at least 40 points in five games this season and joined the 2013 Denver Broncos and 2000 St. Louis Rams as the only teams in NFL history to score 40 or more points in five of its first nine games of a season.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 22 of 25 (88 percent) for 265 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 150.4 passer rating and added a rushing touchdown in the win. Brees, who has 509 career touchdown passes, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (508) for the second-most passing touchdowns in league annals. Only PEYTON MANNING (539) has more career touchdown passes.

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara had 102 scrimmage yards (56 rushing, 46 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Saints’ win. Kamara, who played in his 25th career game on Sunday, recorded his ninth game with at least two touchdowns since entering the league in 2017. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Curtis Martin (10) and Steve Van Bure (10) and Edgerrin James (10) have more multi-touchdown games in their first 25 career games in league history.

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas had eight catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Thomas has 274 catches in 40 career games and surpassed Odell Beckham, Jr. (266) for the most receptions by a player in his first 40 career games in NFL history.

Thomas (78) is tied with Minnesota’s Adam Thielen (78) for the league lead in catches this season. Thomas and Thielen joined Julio Jones (80 catches in 2015) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (75 in 2002) as the only players in NFL history with at least 75 catches in their team’s first nine games of a season.

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 21 of 28 passes (75 percent) for 249 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 125.4 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 26-14 victory over Arizona.

Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 31 touchdown passes this season, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson (30 touchdown passes in 1964) for the most touchdown passes in a single season in franchise history.

•Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck completed 21 of 29 passes (72.4 percent) for 285 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 123.5 passer rating in the Colts’ 29-26 victory against Jacksonville. Luck has thrown at least three touchdown passes in each of his past six games and is one of three quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least six consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes in a single season, joining Tom Brady (10 consecutive games in 2007) and Peyton Manning (eight in 2004). Brady and Manning were each named Associated Press Most Valuable Player in those respective seasons.

Colts tight end Eric Ebron had three catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown in the victory. Ebron joined New England’s Rob Gronkowski (two receiving, one rushing on December 4, 2011 vs. Indianapolis) as the only tight ends in NFL history to record at least two touchdown catches and one rushing touchdown in a single game.

•Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and rookie running back Nick Chubb had 209 scrimmage yards (176 rushing, 33 receiving) with two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Browns’ 28-16 win over Atlanta.

Mayfield completed 17 of 20 passes (85 percent), including his first 13 pass attempts of the game, for 216 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 151.2 passer rating in the win. Mayfield is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to record a passer rating of at least 150 on 20 or more pass attempts in a single game.

Chubb scored on a 92-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, the longest rushing touchdown in franchise history and the second-longest touchdown run by a rookie in NFL history. Only the Steelers’ Bobby Gage (97 yards in 1949) has a longer touchdown run as a rookie.

•Buffalo running back Le Sean McCoy rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 41-10 victory at the New York Jets​. McCoy has 10 career games with at least 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, joining Adrian Peterson (17) as the only active players with at least 10 such games.

Bills quarterback Matt Barkley passed for 232 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 117.4 passer rating in his Buffalo debut.

Barkley’s 117.4 passer rating is the second-highest by a Bills quarterback making his team debut behind only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly’s 119.8 rating on September 7, 1986 (minimum 20 attempts).

•Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had six catches for 50 yards in the Cardinals’ Week 10 loss at Kansas City. Fitzgerald has 15,952 career receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens (15,934) for the second-most receiving yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (22,895) has more career receiving yards.

◦New England q​uarterback Tom Brady passed for 254 yards in the Patriots’ loss at Tennessee. Brady appeared in his 300th career game (including the postseason), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve(326) as the only quarterbacks in league annals to appear in 300 career games.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley had 160 scrimmage yards (120 rushing, 40 receiving) and a rushing touchdown in the Rams’ 36-31 win against Seattle. Gurley has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Rams’ first 10 games this season and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (14 games in 1975), Lenny Moore (14 in 1964) and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch (10 in 1951) as the only players in league annals to score a touchdown in each of their team’s first 10 games of a season.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ loss at Cleveland.  Jones, who has 10,094 career receiving yards, reached 10,000 receiving yards in his 104th career game, surpassing Calvin Johnson (115) for the fewest games in NFL history to reach the milestone.

Jones has 45 career games with at least 100 receiving yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (45) for the most such games by a player in his first eight career seasons.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 11

KC VS. THE SUNSHINE BAND: Kansas City (9-1) and the Los Angeles Rams (9-1), the league’s top two teams by winning percentage, are set to face off on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The matchup between the Chiefs and Rams marks the fifth game since 1970 between opposing teams where each had one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later.

The games in which opposing teams each had one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later since 1970:

DATE – MATCHUP
November 12, 2018 – Kansas City (9-1) at Los Angeles Rams (9-1)
November 17, 2013 – Kansas City (9-0) at Denver (8-1)
November 29, 2007 – Green Bay (10-1) at Dallas (10-1)
December 3, 1990 – New York Giants (10-1) at San Francisco (10-1)
November 27, 1977 – Baltimore Colts (9-1) at Denver (9-1)

Through their team’s first 10 games of the season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 3,150 passing yards and has a 117.4 passer rating, while Rams quarterback JARED GOFF ranks second in passing yards (3,134) and has a 113.0 passer rating.

Mahomes and Goff are two of seven different quarterbacks in NFL history to have at least 3,000 passing yards and a passer rating of 110 or higher through their team’s first 10 games of a season. Each of the five previous quarterbacks to accomplish the feat were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons, with Tom Brady accomplishing the feat twice (2007 & 2017).

The quarterbacks with at least 3,000 passing yards and a passer rating of 110 or higher through their team’s first 10 games of a season in league history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, PASSING YARDS/PASSER RATING)
Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams (2018; 3,134/113.0
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2018; 3,150/117.4)
Tom Brady – New England (2017; 3,147/110.9)#
Matt Ryan – ATLANTA (2016; 3,247/115.1)#
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013; 3,572/118.3)#
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2011; 3,168/128.8)#
Tom Brady – New England (2007; 3,059/134.0)#
Dan Marino^ – Miami (1984; 3,094/113.7)#^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP

WINNING IN WASHINGTON: The Washington Redskins lead the NFC East with a 6-3 record this season and have won 599 regular-season games since the franchise’s inception in 1932.

With a win on Sunday against Houston at 1 p.m. on CBS at FedEx Field, Washington would become the fifth franchise in league history to register 600 regular-season wins, joining Chicago (755 wins), Green Bay (741), the New York Giants (689) and Pittsburgh (620).

The NFL franchises with the most regular-season victories:

TEAM – REGULAR SEASON WINS
Chicago – 755
Green Bay – 741
New York Giants – 689
Pittsburgh – 620
Washington – 599

80 FOR ANDREW: Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck ranks second in the NFL with 26 touchdown passes this season and has thrown at least three touchdowns in each of his past six games, the third-longest streak within a single season in NFL history.

Luck, who has 158 touchdown passes in 79 career games, needs two touchdown passes on Sunday against Tennessee at 1 p.m. on  CBS to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (182 touchdowns) and Aaron Rodgers (160) as the players with at least 160 touchdown passes in their first 80 career games in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes in their first 80 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Dan Marino – Miami (182)^
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (160)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (158)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In 79 career games

RYAN ON A ROLL: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan ranks third in the league with 3,015 passing yards and has thrown for at least 325 yards in each of his past four games.

With 325 passing yards on Sunday against Dallas at 1 p.m. on FOX, Ryan would become the fourth different quarterback in league annals with at least 325 passing yards in five consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 325 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Rich Gannon, Oakland (2002 – 6)#
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 5)
Kurt Warner, Arizona (2008 -5)^
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (2000 – 5^)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2018 – 4)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

ELECTRIC CHARGERS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers ties for fourth in the NFL with 21 touchdown passes in 2018 and has thrown for at least two touchdowns in each of the Chargers’ first nine games of the season.

Rivers, who plays against Denver at 4:05 p.m. on CBS, can become the sixth quarterback in league history to throw at least two touchdown passes in each of his team’s first 10 games to start a season. Four of the five previous quarterbacks to accomplish the feat were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2011, 13)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004, 13)#
Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts (1959, 12)^
Tom Brady, New England (2007, 10)#
Dan Marino, Miami (1984, 10)^#
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (2018, 9)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon ranks third in the AFC with 1,033 scrimmage yards and has recorded at least 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his past five games.

With 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on Sunday, Gordon would become the fifth player in league annals to record six consecutive games with at least 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City (2005, 7)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2006, 6)^#
Fred Taylor, Jacksonville (2000, 6)
Franco Harris, Pittsburgh (1972, 6)^
Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers (2018, 5)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

ELITE ELLIOTT: Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott has 4,339 scrimmage yards and 31 touchdowns in 34 career games.

Elliott, who will play in his 35th career game on Sunday at Atlanta at 1 p.m. on FOX, needs 161 scrimmage yards to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only players in NFL history with at least 4,500 scrimmage yards and 30 touchdowns in their first 35 career games.

The players with at least 4,500 scrimmage yards and 30 touchdowns in their first 35 games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS – TOUCHDOWNS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (4,842 – 38)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (4,731 – 38)^
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (4,339 – 31)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In 34 career games

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara has 1,019 scrimmage yards (546 rushing, 473 receiving) and ranks second in the NFL with 14 touchdowns (11 rushing, three receiving) this season.

Kamara, who has scored 28 touchdowns (19 rushing, eight receiving and one kickoff return) in 25 career games, needs two touchdowns on Sunday against Philadelphia at 4:25 p.m. on FOX to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (26 games) for the fourth-fewest games to reach 30 career touchdowns in league annals.

The players to reach 30 career touchdowns in the fewest number of games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM; GAMES TO REACH 30 TOUCHDOWNS
Gale Sayers, Chicago; 23^
Steve Van Buren, Philadelphia 23^
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis; 25
Jim Brown, Cleveland; 26^
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans; 25*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 28 career touchdowns

Kamara, who had 826 receiving yards and 728 rushing yards as a rookie last season, needs 27 receiving yards against the Eagles to become the fourth player in NFL history with both 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons.

The players with both 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in each of their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RUSHING YARDS – RECEIVING YARDS)

Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (1999, 1,553 – 586); Indianapolis (2000, 1,709 – 594)
Herschel Walker, Dallas (1986, 737 – 837); Dallas (1987, 891 – 715)
Abner Haynes, Dallas Texans (1960, 875 – 576); Dallas Texans (1961, 841 – 558)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017, 728 – 826); New Orleans (2018, 546 – 473)*
*Entering Week 11

800 FOR AB: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown has 790 receptions for 10,600 yards and 69 touchdowns in his nine-year NFL career.

With 10 catches on Sunday at Jacksonville at 1 p.m. on CBS, Brown can become the third player in league annals with at least 800 receptions in their first nine career seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (845 catches) and Torry Holt (805).

The players with at least 800 receptions in their first nine career seasons in league history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEIVING YARDS IN 1ST 8 SEASONS)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (845)^
Torry Holt, St. Louis (805)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (790)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In ninth NFL season

Baltimore, Denver, Houston and Minnesota all return from their bye week vacays, while Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami, New England, New York Jets and San Francisco will have some much deserved time off. Eight of the 12 games that are on the docket for week 11 are rematches from last year.

A change of note and it involves a venue. The Kansas City/Los Angeles Rams game that was scheduled to be played in Mexico City has been moved to Los Angeles. The move was made Tuesday after the league and the NFLPA determined that the playing surface at Estadio Azteca did not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday. Under NFL rules, a team that forgoes a home game to play internationally are required to keep their home stadium available as a contingency.

As for last week? 8-6. Not bad but it could have been better. For the season? 92-52. There’s still football left to play in the 2018 season.

Highlights of the Week 11 schedule include:

Houston and Washington Redskins square off in a battle of first-place teams at FedExField at 1 p.m. on CBS. Texans wide receiver De Andre Hopkins had 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in Houston’s Week 9 win at Denver. Since 2017, Hopkins has four games with at least 10 catches, 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception, the most in the NFL over the span. Houston defensive end J.J. Watt ties for third in the league with nine sacks this season and is one of three players with at least eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss (11), joining the Rams’ Aaron Donald (12.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss) and the Vikings’ Danielle Hunter (11.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss). Washington, led by defensive end Matt Ioannidis (7.5 sacks) and safety D.J. Swearinger (four interceptions), is tied for second in the NFC allowing 19.4 points per game.

The Indianapolis Colts welcome the Tennessee Titans to Lucas Oil Stadium in a key AFC South contest at 1 p.m. on CBS. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota passed for 228 yards with two touchdowns, rushed for 21 yards and had a 21-yard reception in Tennessee’s Week 10 win over New England. Mariota became the third quarterback in league history with at least 200 passing yards, 20 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards in a single game, joining Carolina’s Cam Newton (December 4, 2011) and Chicago’s Jim McMahon (October 21, 1984). Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck threw three touchdown passes in the Colts’ 29-26 victory against Jacksonville last week and is one of three quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least six consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes in a single season, joining Tom Brady (10 consecutive games in 2007) and Peyton Manning (eight in 2004). Brady and Manning were each named Associated Press Most Valuable Player in those respective seasons.

On Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints at 4:25 p.m. on FOX in a showdown of 2017 NFC playoff teams. Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz is one of two players in the NFL (Atlanta’s Matt Ryan) to average at least 300 passing yards per game (306.9) while completing at least 70 percent of his passes (71.0) this season. Saints quarterback Drew Brees leads the league with a 77.3 completion percentage which is on pace to surpass the NFL record of 72.0 percent, which was set by Brees last season, by 5.3 percentage points.

​Sunday’s nightcap is a battle for first place in the NFC North between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen has 78 catches this season, tied with New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (78) for the most in the NFL. Thielen and Thomas, along with Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (75), join Julio Jones (80 catches in 2015), and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (75 in 2002) as the only players in NFL history with at least 75 catches in their team’s first nine games of a season. Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky recorded a 148.6 passer rating in the Bears’ Week 10 win over Detroit and is one of two NFL quarterbacks (Cam Newton) this season with a 100+ passer rating (101.6), at least 300 rushing yards (320) and three rushing touchdowns (three).

Week 11 opened in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as Seattle edged Green Bay at Century Link Field Thursday night and ends south of the border as a pair of first place teams meet on Monday night when Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams square off in prime time. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 11.

Dallas (4-5) at ATLANTA (4-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of teams chasing the leaders in their respective divisions meet in the Big Peach as Atlanta and Matt Ryan host the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams were on the road last Sunday, with the Cowboys coming into Atlanta with a win under their belts, while Atlanta returns home with a loss.

The Cowboys led the defending Super Bowl champions 13-3 at the half in Philadelphia, then watched the Eagles tie the contest with 7:27 left in regulation when Zach Ertz caught a 2-yard TD pass from Carson Wentz, rallied to reclaim the thanks to a 1-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott with 3:19 left, then held off a late Philly rally to come away from Lincoln Financial Field 27-20 winners Sunday night. The Eagles managed to tie the contest at 13-13 late in the third quarter when Ertz and Wentz connected on a 15-yard toss before Dallas took the lead back when Elliott and Dak Prescott connected on a 7-yard TD toss early in the final quarter of play. After the two teams exchanged TDs later in the period and Dallas re-claimed the lead for a second time, Philadelphia marched their way down the field and got as close as Dallas’ 32-yard line when Philadelphia used several laterals to get the ball into the end zone to no avail.

Elliott led all rushers with 151 yards on the ground with the rushing TD as the Cowboys outrushed Philadelphia 171-71. Prescott threw for 270 yards and a TD with four sacks, while Wentz threw for 360 yards and the two Ertz catches for scores (Wentz was sacked twice and threw an interception). Dallas was 8 for 16 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:22, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 26:38, going 4 for 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Atlanta returns home after they saw Gregg Williams take his first win as interim head coach as the Browns took the Falcons to task, falling to Cleveland 28-16 at FirstEnergy Field. After leading 10-7 with 5:04 left before the intermission after Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 1-yard TD toss, Cleveland would take the lead back and for keeps when RB Nick Chubb and rookie QB Baker Mayfield connected on a 13-yard toss with 55 seconds left to take a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission. Mayfield, who completed his first 13 pass attempts, was not finished as he would connect with RB Duke Johnson on an 11-yard TD toss late in the third quarter. Chubb would not be outdone, as the Falcons thought they had the Browns pinned deep in their territory after a punt. Such was not the case, as Chubb would dash his way into history with the longest rush by a Browns RB since 1952, scampering 92 yards for the score that would all but put things out of reach for Atlanta.

The Falcons would have two more chances to score and eventually did, when Ryan and TE Austin Hooper connected on a 3-yard pass with 4:24 left in regulation. Atlanta then went for the 2-point conversion but Cleveland was successful in stopping the try. Atlanta found themselves outrushed 211-71 with Chubb doing the majority of the damage, leading all rushers with 176 yards on 20 carries. Ryan outpaced the rookie Mayfield, throwing for 330 yards and the two TD tosses, while Mayfield threw for 216 yards with three TDs (neither man threw an interception and Ryan was sacked twice). Atlanta was 5 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down conversions and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:23, while Cleveland kept the pigskin for 28:37, going 4 for 8 on third down.

Dallas leads the series 14-11 and they’ve outscored Atlanta 590-469. However… the Falcons have won the last three meetings, including a 27-7 win in the Big Peach last year, while Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2009 by a final of 37-21 in Irving.

They met in week 10 in Atlanta and the Cowboys were without Elliot, who had started his six-game suspension for violating the NFL conduct policies and it was not a good day for Dallas, as the Falcons erased a 7-3 first quarter deficit, took a 10-7 lead at the intermission, then proceeded to score their final 17 points in the second half unchallenged to take the win. Atlanta outrushed Dallas 132-107 (Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 83 yards) and Ryan burned Dallas for 215 yards with a pair of TDs, connecting with Justin Hardy and Austin Hooper on both tosses (Ryan was sacked once and threw an interception), while Prescott, who had Dallas’ only score late in the first quarter with a rushing TD, threw for 176 yards but was sacked eight times. The Falcons were 7 for 13 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 32:06, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 27:54 and were 5 of 11 on third down conversions (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Atlanta easily covered the 3-point spread at home in the Big Peach but both clubs did not cover the 48 over/under, as Dallas and Atlanta would merge to score 34 points. Vegas loves the Falcons and the boys and girls in the desert made Atlanta 3 1/2 point favorites at home with a 48 over/under. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams are one game below the .500 mark in their respective divisions and both will play games on Thanksgiving Day, which makes it a short week for both clubs. Falcons repeat history at home and takes the win over Dallas, covering the 3 1/2.

Cincinnati (5-4) at Baltimore (4-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC North rivals square off in Charm City as Cincinnati and Baltimore, both coming off home losses, meet at M&T Bank Stadium.

Andy Dalton and the Bengals were manhandled by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, as the visitors came away 51-14 winners. New Orleans broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter and proceeded to outscore the Bengals 44-7 in the final three quarters of action, taking a 35-7 lead with them to the intermission. New Orleans outrushed Cincinnati 244-110 and Saints RB Mark Ingram rushed for 104 yards in the lopsided win. Brees led the Saints with 265 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Michael Thomas on two of those passes and Ingram on the other (Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Dalton threw for 153 yards for the Bengals with a TD to WR John Ross but was sacked four times and picked off twice. The Bengals were a dismal 0 for 6 on third down (they were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they kept the pigskin for 20:14, while the Saints ruled time, holding the ball for 39:46, while going 7 for 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh got their revenge on Baltimore from their week four loss to Baltimore at Heinz Field and took down the Ravens 23-16 at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City, giving the Ravens their third loss in a row two Sundays ago. Pittsburgh led 14-6 at the intermission, then held off the Ravens as they were outscored by Baltimore 10-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. Pittsburgh outrushed Baltimore 113-61, with Steelers RB James Conner leading everyone with 107 yards. Roethlisberger threw for 270 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown, the other to Conner), while Joe Flacco led Baltimore with 209 yards (Roethlisberger was sacked once, Flacco was sacked twice; neither man threw an interception). Pittsburgh was 10 for 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:29, while the Ravens, who held the pigskin for 23:31, went 4 for 12 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In 44 meetings between the two clubs, Cincinnati and Baltimore have each won 22 games, with the Ravens outscoring Cincinnati 942-814. They split last season’s meetings, with each team winning in the other team’s facility and both teams starting and finishing the 2017 campaign.

Week one in Cincinnati… Flacco (124 yards, TD) and the Ravens shutout the Bengals 20-0 at Paul Brown Stadium. Baltimore led 17-0 at the intermission and never looked back as the Ravens scored all of their points in the contest without a challenge. The Ravens outrushed the Bengals 157-77, while sacking Dalton (170 yards) five times and picking him off four (Flacco was sacked once and picked off once). Baltimore went 6 of 14 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 34 minutes, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 26, going 4 for 13 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

That was game one.

Game 2? Week 17 in Baltimore and for the Ravens, the stakes were high and a playoff spot was on the line. Baltimore was fighting Buffalo for the final spot in the AFC and needed to win and for the Bills to lose in Miami. Well, the Bills kept their hopes alive as they went on to beat Miami in Miami, which meant that the Ravens had to win at home in Charm City to make it to the post-season party. The Bengals were determined to make sure that if they weren’t going to the post-season, then neither would the Ravens. Cincinnati would get revenge on the Ravens and take a 31-27 win out of Charm City in the season finale.

Cincinnati took a 17-10 lead with them to the half and led 24-20 with 13:08 left to play when Baltimore took the lead for the first time, as Flacco and WR Mike Wallace connected on a 6-yard TD toss with 8:46 left to play. After the two teams kept the ball at least twice, the Bengals would get the ball back with 2:43 left in regulation, using an 11-play, 90-yard drive that was aided by a pair of Ravens penalties to lead 31-27. Baltimore would get the ball back with 44 seconds left but could not get anything going as Flacco was sacked and the Ravens’ drive came up short, as the Bengals got the ball back, ran out the clock, knocked Baltimore out of the playoffs and put Buffalo in the post-season. The Bengals outrushed Baltimore 146-114 with RB Joe Mixon leading the way with 96 yards and Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner to Tyler Boyd (Dalton was sacked once but did not throw an interception), while Flacco threw for 203 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception (Flacco was sacked once). Cincinnati went 5 for 13 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:39, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 31:21, going 5 of 17 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

While the Bengals were favored by 3 in the week one contest, the Ravens covered the spread with ease, winning by 20 but the 42 over/under was intact as Baltimore was responsible for all 20 points in the contest. In the season finale in Charm City, the Ravens were 9 1/2 point favorites but the Bengals would come away winning by only 4. The two teams did manage to cover the 40 1/2 over/under with 58 points. This time, the odds-makers like Baltimore as 4 point favorites in Charm City with a 43 1/2 over/under. While nothing’s been decided in the AFC North, this one could be worth your time. Bengals pull off the upset in Charm City and covers the 4.

Carolina (6-3) at Detroit (3-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Cats vs. Cats. The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton travel to the Motor City for a showdown with Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Both teams took road losses in last week’s action.

Newton and the Panthers were manhandled by the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday night as the Steelers took a 52-21 win at Heinz Field. The Panthers trailed 31-14 at the intermission and could never really get on track in the Steel City, as the Panthers were outrushed 138-95. Newton was sacked five times in the loss, throwing for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to Collin McCaffery (McCaffery also had a rushing TD to account for Carolina’s scoring), while Ben Roethlisberger threw for 328 yards and five TDs (Rothlisberger was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the blowout win. Carolina was 4 for 11 on third down (they were successful on fourth down, going 1 for 1) and kept the ball for 29:25, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:35, while going 8 for 11 on third down.

Detroit found themselves being taken to the woodshed by Chicago at Soldier Field last Sunday, as Da Bears were 34-22 winners in the Windy City. Despite outscoring Chicago 15-8 in the final 30 minutes of play, the Monsters of the Midway took a 26-7 lead with them to the break and never looked back. While Detroit did manage to outrush Chicago 76-54, Stafford struggled with six sacks and a pair of interceptions while throwing for 274 yards. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky had a better time than his Lions’ counterpart, throwing for 355 yards with no interceptions and three TDs while being sacked only once. While the Lions were 4 of 15 on third down, they had success on fourth down conversions, going 4 of 5 and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32 minutes, while Da Bears kept the pigskin in hibernation for 28 minutes, going 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Carolina leads the kitty series 6-2, the Panthers have outscored Detroit 198-167 and Carolina has won the last two meetings, including taking a 27-24 win in the Motor City last year, while Detroit’s last win over Carolina came in 2011 by a final of 49-35 in the Motor City.

Their week five meeting took place at Ford Field and the Panthers broke a 3-3 first quarter tie to lead 17-10, even though Detroit would outscore Carolina 14-10 in the second and made the contest a 3-point contest with 3:22 left in regulation when Stafford and Darren Fells connected on their second TD toss of the contest but the Lions could not pull any closer. While Detroit did outrush Carolina 50-28, Newton threw for 355 yards and three TDs (hooking up with McCaffrey, Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin) while Stafford tallied 229 yards of passing and the two TDs (Stafford was sacked six times, Newton was sacked three times, neither man threw an interception). Carolina was 7 of 16 on third down tries at Ford Field and the Panthers kept the ball for 35:23, while the Lions were 5 of 13 and 0 for 1 on third and fourth downs, holding the pigskin for 24:37.

In the week five contest in the Motor City, the Lions were favored by 3 and the Panthers covered the spread, winning by that margin and the 51 combined points in the contest was more than enough to cover the 44 over/under. Carolina’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 51. Both numbers make sense and both QBs are pretty good. Newton and the Panthers are trying to keep pace with the Saints in the NFC South, while the Lions are trying to claw their way out of the NFC North cellar. Carolina may be playing in the Motor City but they’re finer and take the win in Detroit, covering the 4.

Tennessee (5-4) at Indianapolis (4-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Hoosier State as Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both team took big home wins in last week’s contests.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel became the second former player/coach under Patriots head coach Bill Belicheck to beat their former mentor (Detroit’s Matt Patrica was the other) to beat their mentor this season, as Tennessee took care of Tom Brady and New England 34-10 at Nissan Stadium last Sunday. The Titans led 24-10 at the half, then shutout New England in the final 30 minutes of action in the Music City to take the win. Tennessee outrushed New England 150-40 and kept Brady out of the TD column (Brady threw for 254 yards with no sacks or interceptions), while Mariota threw for 228 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. Tennessee went 5 for 12 on third down and held on to the ball for 32:57, while the Pats were 3 for 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 27:03.

 

Including games that were played in Houston and Baltimore when the two teams called those cities home, the Colts lead the series 31-15 and have outscored Tennessee 1,181-913. Tennessee swept the series in their meetings last year (the Colts’ last win over Tennessee came in 2016, when swept the series that year).

The first meeting, a week six contest, took place in Nashville at Nissan Stadium and the Titans trailed 13-9 at the half, then rallied in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Colts 27-9 to take a 36-22 win. Tennessee’ Derrick Henry ran for 131 yards and a TD as the Titans outrushed Indy 168-85 in front of the home crowd. Mariota threw for 306 yards with an interception and a sack, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 212 yards (both threw a TD pass in the contest) for the Colts. Tennessee went 6 for 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:53, while the Colts kept the pigskin for 24:07, going 2 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Tennessee made the series a clean sweep in the Hoosier State in week 12, taking a 20-16 win. Tennessee erased a 13-6 deficit at the half and proceeded to outscore the Colts 14-3 in the final 30 minutes of action at Lucas Oil Stadium. While neither club came close to the 100-yard barrier, it was the Titans that would outrush Indy, this time by a 92-89 margin and once again, Henry led all rushers with 79 yards on the ground. While Brissett threw for 196 yards without an interception, he was sacked eight times in the loss at home. As for Mariota, he threw for 184 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions but no sacks. Tennessee went 3 for 8 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 28:38, while the Colts ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:22, going 6 for 14 on third down tries (neither team had a fourth down attempt).

In the week six contest, a Monday night affair, the Titans were favored by 8 and covered the spread, winning by 14 and both teams covered the 48 over/under with 58 points. As for the week 12 contest in the Hoosier State? The Titans BARELY covered the 3 1/2 point spread with their 4-point win. The 44 over/under stayed safe as the two teams merged for 36 points. Indy’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 48. Both numbers are reasonable. The Titans would like to make it three in a row over their AFC South rivals. As for the Colts? That’s not on their agenda. Luck and the Colts take care of business at Lucas Oil and covers the 2 1/2.

Pittsburgh (6-2-1) at Jacksonville (3-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Pittsburgh travels to north Florida for an early afternoon meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Sunshine State.

The Steelers led Carolina last Thursday night from start to finish as they took a 52-21 win at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 31-14 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Cam Newton and the Panthers 21-8. Pittsburgh outrushed Carolina 138-95 and the Steeler defense sacked Newton five times with an interception in the loss, Newton threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to Collin McCaffery (McCaffery also had a rushing TD to account for Carolina’s scoring), while Ben Roethlisberger threw for 328 yards and five TDs (Rothlisberger was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the blowout win. Carolina was 4 for 11 on third down (they were successful on fourth down, going 1 for 1) and kept the ball for 29:25, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:35, while going 8 for 11 on third down.

Jacksonville lost their fifth contest in a row, taking a 29-26 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday. Indianapolis would lead 29-16 at the intermission, then the Colts would need to hold off a late Jaguar rally as Jacksonville would score their 10 second half points unchallenged, then holding off a last-second threat that would have at the very least sent the contest into overtime. The one bright spot for Jaguar fans was that Jacksonville did manage to outrush the Colts 91-81 and Blake Bortles threw for 320 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions, while Luck threw for 285 yards with a pair of TDs, an interception and no sacks. Both clubs did quite well on third down tries at Lucas Oil Stadium; Jacksonville was 9 of 17 (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 35:10, while the Colts were 6 for 11 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 24:50.

Jacksonville holds a 12-11 lead in the series and the Jaguars have outscored Pittsburgh 422-384. They met twice last year, once in the regular season and once in the post-season and the Jaguars won both meetings at Heinz Field (Pittsburgh’s last win over Jacksonville came in 2014 in Jacksonville by a final of 17-9).

Meeting one… the Steel City in week five in somewhat warm Pittsburgh (temp at game time? A somewhat balmy 73 degrees) and the Jaguars held Pittsburgh to three Chris Boswell field goals to take a 30-9 road win. Jacksonville erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit and took a 7-6 lead with them to the break, then outscored Pittsburgh 23-3 in the final 30 minutes of play in western Pennsylvania. Leonard Fournette tallied 181 yards with a TD to lead all rushers, as Jacksonville held Pittsburgh to 70 yards on the ground, rushing for 231 yards of their own. Blake Bortles didn’t have to throw the ball very much, tossing for 95 yards with an interception, while Roethlisberger threw for 312 yards with five picks (neither threw a TD and both were sacked twice). Jacksonville went 6 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:52, while the Steelers won the clock battle and held on to the pigskin for 31:08, going 7 for 15 on third down (neither club had a fourth down attempt).

That was meeting one.

Meeting number also took place at Heinz Field and the fans that were in attendance experienced somewhat different weather conditions (73 degrees at kickoff in the week five meeting) in the AFC Divisional Game, where things were somewhat frightful (17 degrees). For Jacksonville, it was the same result… a road win, this time by a final of 45-42. Fournette scored a pair of first quarter TDs to give Jacksonville the lead, then the Jaguars would take a 28-14 at the half. Pittsburgh would then pull themselves to within seven with 9:09 left in the third when LeVeon Bell and Roethlisberger connected on a 19-yard TD toss. Jacksonville would push the lead back to 14 at 42-35, only to see the lead drop to seven again when Bell ran for eight yards almost untouched. Jacksonville’s Josh Lambo would boot a 45-yard field goal with 1:45 left in the contest to make it a 10-point contest. Pittsburgh was not going quietly into the good night and made the contest a 3-point affair with one second left when WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuester and Roethlisberger connected on a 4-yard TD toss for the final score of the contest. Fournette again led all rushers, tallying 109 yards with three TDs and while the Jaguars outrushed Pittsburgh 164-83, Roethlisberger outpaced Bortles, throwing five TDs to go with 469 (Roethlisberger was sacked twice and picked off once), while Bortles threw for 214 yards with a TD and no sacks or interceptions. Jacksonville was 8 for 14 on third down conversions and went 1 for 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 28:50, while the Steelers ruled the clock again, keeping the pigskin for 31:10, going 7 of 16 on third down and 4 for 4 on fourth down.

In the week five contest, the odds-makers liked Pittsburgh as 8 1/2-point favorites and the Jaguars won by 21, covering the spread. The two clubs missed the over/under of 44 by five points. Pittsburgh in the Divisional playoff game was favored again, this time by 7. While Jacksonville did win the contest, they did not cover the spread, winning by 3. As for the 41 over/under? Both teams took care of that, as they combined to score 87 points. The Steelers are favored by 5 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 47 1/2. For Jaguar fans, they hope that the third time will be the charm to break their current losing streak; for the Steelers, they would love nothing more than to erase the memories of the 2017 campaign. Jacksonville pulls off the upset and takes the win but expect Pittsburgh to make it closer than 5 1/2.

Tampa Bay (3-6) at New York Giants (2-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of teams trying to stay out of their respective division cellars meet in upstate New Jersey as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make their way to Met Life Stadium for a meeting with Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.

Tampa Bay was held to a second-quarter field goal by Chris Catanzaro as Washington took a 16-3 win over the Buccaneers last Sunday in Tampa. While Tampa Bay trailed 6-3 at the break, Washington would then shut them out in the second half, scoring 10 fourth quarter points unchallenged to take the road win. Washington outrushed Tampa Bay 116-103 and Redskins RB Adrian Peterson led all rushers with 68 yards, while QB Alex Smith threw for 178 yards with a TD and no interceptions. Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the benched Jameis Winston, threw for 406 yards but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions in their loss. Washington was 5 of 13 on third down conversions at Raymond James Stadium and kept the ball for 28:48, while Tampa Bay would rule the clock and keep the pigskin for 31:12 and did pretty well on third down, going 6 of 10 in the contest (neither club had a fourth down try).

The Giants ended a five-game losing streak and took a 27-23 come-from-behind win over the San Francisco 49ers Monday night at Levis’ Stadium. New York trailed 13-10 at the break, then proceeded to chip away at the deficit and came away with the win when Manning and WR Sterling Shepard connected on a 3-yard TD toss with 53 seconds left in the contest, erasing a 23-20 deficit. San Francisco outrushed Big Blue 124-97 with 49ers RB Matt Breida led all rushers with 101 yards and a TD, while Giants RB Sequan Barkley ran for 67 yards in the contest. Manning threw for 188 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Odell Beckham, Jr. on two of the passes as well as Shepard’s game-winner, while San Francisco’s Nate Mullens threw for 250 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Manning was sacked once without an interception). The Giants were 5 of 12 on third down tries in the Monday night West Coast contest and kept the ball for 25:46, while the 49ers kept the ball for 34:14, going 8 for 13 on third down tries (neither club had a fourth down attempt).

Big Blue leads the series 13-7 and the Giants have outscored Tampa Bay 357-329. Tampa Bay won the last meeting, taking a 25-23 win over the Giants last year in the Sunshine State (New York’s last win in the series came in 2015 in Tampa by a final of 32-18).

They met in Tampa Bay in week four and the Buccaneers took a 13-10 lead at the half, then held off Eli and the Giants in the second half to seal the win. Tampa Bay outrushed New York 111-91 and Jameis Winston threw for 332 yards and three TDs, while Manning threw for 288 yards with a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked once and neither man threw an interception). Third down tries? The Giants were 8 of 17, while Tampa Bay was 3 for 11 and the clock favored New York, who kept the ball for 34:13 to Tampa Bay’s 25:47 (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Although Tampa Bay pulled off the win in the week four contest in the Sunshine State, they did not cover the 3-point spread, winning by only 2. That was the bad news. The good news? The two teams did cover the 44 over/under by tallying 48 points. The Giants are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 52. Both teams are struggling and to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, “they’re not bad, they just play that way sometimes.” If you take a pass on this one and watch that “Grumpy Cat Movie” on Lifetime, we wouldn’t blame you. Tampa Bay pulls the road upset and covers the 1 in the Meadowlands.

Houston (6-3) at Washington (6-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of first-place teams meet in Landover as the Houston Texans, first in the AFC South, travel to FedEX Field for a Sunday contest with the Washington Redskins, first in the NFC East.

After the Texans picked up WR Demaryius Thomas from Denver, the Texans would hold off the Broncos and take a 19-17 win at Mile High two Sundays ago. Houston led 16-10 at the intermission, then watched the Broncos take a 1-point lead with 5:57 left in the third when Case Keenum and TE Jeff Heuerman connected on a 12-yard TD toss. That lead would not last very long as both teams went into the fourth quarter and the Texans would take the lead back with 14:06 when Houston K Kai Fairbairn nailed a 37-yard field goal through the uprights. Denver had a chance to win the contest in regulation and send Bronco fans home happy but Brandon McMannus’ 51-yard try sailed wide right. Houston outrushed Denver 98-75 and Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Keenum led everyone with 290 yards and a TD (both men did not throw and interception, Keenum was sacked twice, Watson sacked four times). Denver went 5 of 14 on third down (they did have success on fourth down, going a perfect 2 for 2) and kept the ball for 27:31, while the Texans were 4 for 13 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:29.

Washington held Tampa Bay to a second-quarter field goal by Chris Catanzaro and took a 16-3 win over the Buccaneers last Sunday in Tampa. The Redskins took a 6-3 lead at the break, then went on to shutout Tampa Bay in the second half, scoring 10 fourth quarter points unchallenged to take the road win. Washington outrushed Tampa Bay 116-103 and Redskins RB Adrian Peterson led all rushers with 68 yards, while QB Alex Smith threw for 178 yards with a TD and no interceptions. Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the benched Jameis Winston, threw for 406 yards but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions in their loss. Washington was 5 of 13 on third down conversions at Raymond James Stadium and kept the ball for 28:48, while Tampa Bay would rule the clock and keep the pigskin for 31:12 and did pretty well on third down, going 6 of 10 in the contest (neither club had a fourth down try).

They’ve met four times and each team has won twice in the series, with the Redskins outscoring the Texans 90-72. After Washington won the first two contests in the series, the Texans have won the last two meetings (Washington’s last win over Houston came in 2006 in Houston by a final of 31-15) and Houston’s last win came in the Lone Star State by a final of 17-6 in 2014. Houston’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Both teams are playoff contenders and they have been playing some decent football of late. However… Houston will have a problem. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Redskins cover the 3 and wins at FedEx.

Oakland (1-8) at Arizona (2-7), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. A pair of somewhat dismal teams meet in Glendale as the Oakland Raiders travel to the desert for a late-afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Both clubs come into the week 11 contest with losses under their belts.

The Raiders watched Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers won their sixth game of their last seven, taking a 20-6 loss  on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay to sweep the series and give the Raiders their fifth loss in a row. Los Angeles erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit, scored 10 second quarter points unchallenged and took a 10-3 lead with them to the locker room at the half. The Chargers then held Oakland to a second Matt Bagley field goal in the second half, as they took control of things at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Oakland barely outrushed the Bolts 114-113 and David Carr threw for 243 yards but was sacked four times, while Rivers threw for 223 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception. While the Chargers were 2 of 10 on third down tries, they were successful on their only fourth down try and kept the ball for 28:50, while the Silver and Black got to keep the ball for 31:10, going 5 for 15 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Arizona found themselves on the short end of a 26-14 loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead last Sunday. While the Desert Angry Birds trailed 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, Kansas City would floor the gas and take a 20-7 lead at the break. Arizona was outrushed 118-94 and Josh Rosen threw for 208 yards and a TD but was sacked five times and picked off twice, while Mahomes threw for 249 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was also sacked five times). Arizona was 50 percent on third and fourth downs, going 7 of 12 and 1 of 2 respectively and kept the ball for 31:47, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 28:13, while going 4 for 11 on third down.

Oakland leads the series 5-4 (including contests that took place in St. Louis and Los Angeles) and the Raiders have outscored Arizona 210-189. The Desert Angry Birds have come away with wins in their last two meetings, coming out on top 24-13 in Oakland in 2014, while the Raiders’ last win in the series came in 2006 by a final of 22-9 in Oakland. Arizona’s favored by 3 1/2 in the desert and the over/under is 41. We wouldn’t blame you if you took a pass on this one and watched that “Grumpy Cat Movie” on Lifetime (that cat may be grumpy but he’s funny as hell!). Desert Angry Birds cover the 3 and win at home.

Denver (3-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (7-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. The Los Angeles Chargers return home after being away for 41 days to face off against AFC West/AFL foe Denver at Stub Hub Center in Los Angeles. The Broncos come back to action from their bye, while the Chargers finish their long trip on the road with a win away from home.

After trading WR Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans, the Broncos would go on to lose to Houston 19-17 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High two Sundays ago. Denver trailed 16-10 at the intermission, then took a 1-point lead with 5:57 left in the third when Case Keenum and TE Jeff Heuerman connected on a 12-yard TD toss. That lead would not last very long as both teams went into the fourth quarter and the Texans would take the lead back with 14:06 when Houston K Kai Fairbairn nailed a 37-yard field goal through the uprights. Denver had a chance to win the contest in regulation and send Bronco fans home happy but Brandon McMannus’ 51-yard try sailed wide right. Houston outrushed Denver 98-75 and Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Keenum led everyone with 290 yards and a TD (both men did not throw and interception, Keenum was sacked twice, Watson sacked four times). Denver went 5 of 14 on third down (they did have success on fourth down, going a perfect 2 for 2) and kept the ball for 27:31, while the Texans were 4 for 13 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:29.

Rivers and the Chargers won their sixth game of their last seven, taking the Oakland Raiders 20-6 on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay to sweep the series and give the Raiders their fifth loss in a row. Los Angeles erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit, scored 10 second quarter points unchallenged and took a 10-3 lead with them to the locker room at the half. The Chargers then held Oakland to a second Matt Bagley field goal in the second half, as they took control of things at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Oakland barely outrushed the Bolts 114-113 and David Carr threw for 243 yards but was sacked four times, while Rivers threw for 223 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception. While the Chargers were 2 of 10 on third down tries, they were successful on their only fourth down try and kept the ball for 28:50, while the Silver and Black got to keep the ball for 31:10, going 5 for 15 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The Broncos lead the series 64-51-1, which includes contests that took place in Los Angeles, San Diego and at Mile High Stadium, while the Bolts have outscored Denver 2,495-2,471. The two AFC West foes met twice last year and both teams took wins at home.

Round 1… week one in Denver at what was called Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Denver took a 14-7 lead at the half, then held off the Chargers to come away 24-21 winners in the season opener for both clubs. Denver would hold off a late Los Angeles charge in the final 30 minutes of action in the Rocky Mountains to seal the win for head coach Vance Joseph, who  became the 12th head coach in Broncos history to win his regular-season debut. Denver outrushed the Chargers 140-64 and Trevor Siemian threw for 219 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception, while Rivers threw for 192 yards with three TDs and a pick (Siemian was sacked four times, while Rivers was sacked once). Denver was 8 for 15 on third down (they did not have a fourth down try in the contest) and kept the ball for 34:13, while the Chargers went 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and clung to the pigskin for 25:47.

The Chargers did not have to wait very long for revenge and they got that revenge at home at Stub Hub Centre in week seven, pitching a 21-0 shutout of their divisional rivals on the West Coast. Los Angeles scored 14 first half points unchallenged to lead by that margin at the break, then added a fourth quarter TD to seal Denver’s fate. Rivers threw for 183 yards and threw a pair of TDs to WR Travis Benjamin, while the Chargers outrushed Denver 80-69, Siemian threw for 207 yards with an interception and five sacks as the Broncos saw their 394-game scoring streak come to an end, the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Third down tries were nothing to write home for both teams (Denver was 3 for 14, Los Angeles was 3 of 12) and both clubs struggled on fourth down, with the Chargers going 0 for 1, while the Broncos were 0 for 2. The lone bright spot for Denver was that they ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:04, while Los Angeles kept the pigskin for 28:56.

In the season opener in the Mile High City, the Broncos covered the 3-point spread, winning by that margin and both clubs covered the 43 over/under with 45 points. In the week seven contest in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, the Chargers’ shutout win easily allowed them to cover the 1 1/2-point spread, winning by 21 but the 41 1/2 over/under was untouched as the Chargers were responsible for all 21 points. Los Angeles is favored by 7 at Stub Hub and the over/under’s 47. Denver’s struggling, while the Chargers are trying to keep pace with Kansas City in the AFC West. Los Angeles wins this one but expect the Broncos to make this one closer than 7.

Philadelphia (4-5) at New Orleans (8-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. Carson Wentz vs. Drew Brees. Both have Super Bowl rings and both were first round draft picks. Their teams meet in the Big Easy in a late Sunday afternoon NFC contest.

The defending Super Bowl champions trailed Dallas 13-3 at the half in Philadelphia, then tied the contest with their NFC East rivals with 7:27 left in regulation when Zach Ertz caught a 2-yard TD pass from Wentz, rallied to reclaim the thanks to a 1-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott with 3:19 left, then watched the Cowboys hold off a late Philly rally to come away from Lincoln Financial Field 27-20 winners Sunday night. The Eagles managed to tie the contest at 13-13 late in the third quarter when Ertz and Wentz connected on a 15-yard toss before Dallas took the lead back when Elliott and Dak Prescott connected on a 7-yard TD toss early in the final quarter of play. After the two teams exchanged TDs later in the period and Dallas re-claimed the lead for a second time, Philadelphia marched their way down the field and got as close as Dallas’ 32-yard line when Philadelphia used several laterals to get the ball into the end zone to no avail.

Brees and the Saints manhandled Cincinnati last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, as the NFC South leaders came away 51-14 winners along the shores of the Ohio River. New Orleans broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter and proceeded to outscore the Bengals 44-7 in the final three quarters of action, taking a 35-7 lead with them to the intermission. New Orleans outrushed Cincinnati 244-110 and Saints RB Mark Ingram rushed for 104 yards in the lopsided win. Brees led the Saints with 265 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Michael Thomas on two of those passes and Ingram on the other (Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Dalton threw for 153 yards for the Bengals with a TD to WR John Ross but was sacked four times and picked off twice. The Bengals were a dismal 0 for 6 on third down (they were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they kept the pigskin for 20:14, while the Saints ruled time, holding the ball for 39:46, while going 7 for 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Elliott led all rushers with 151 yards on the ground with the rushing TD as the Cowboys outrushed Philadelphia 171-71. Prescott threw for 270 yards and a TD with four sacks, while Wentz threw for 360 yards and the two Ertz catches for scores (Wentz was sacked twice and threw an interception). Dallas was 8 for 16 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:22, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 26:38, going 4 for 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

The defending Super Bowl champs lead the series 16-11 and Philly has outscored New Orleans 635-535. Philadelphia took home a 39-17 win in the City of Brotherly Love in their last meeting in 2015, while New Orleans’ last regular season win in the series came in 2012 in the Big Easy by a final of 28-13. New Orleans is favored in this one, as the odds-makers in Vegas like them as 8-point favorites in the Big Easy with a 55 over/under. While this one’s not quite “DRILL WORTHY!” it’s well worth your time to watch this one. The Saints want to stay kings of the NFC South mountain, while the Eagles want to keep their march to repeat as champs going. The Saints may be marching in but they won’t cover, the Eagles march out of the Big Easy with the win.

Minnesota (5-3-1) at Chicago (6-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. It’s an old-fashioned NFC North (or NFC Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman once said) matchup as the first-place Chicago Bears host Minnesota at Soldier Field in the Windy City. Both clubs were winners at home in their last contest, with the Vikings coming off a bye week, while Da Bears were at home against NFC North foe Detroit.

The Vikings come of their bye week after they held Detroit in check last Sunday in Minneapolis, taking down the Lions 24-9 at US Bank Stadium. The Purple Gang led 17-6 at the break and never allowed Detroit to 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 Detroit out of their misery 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.

Da Bears took Detroit to the woodshed by Chicago at Soldier Field last Sunday, coming away 34-22 winners in the Windy City. Although Detroit managed to outscore Chicago 15-8 in the final 30 minutes of play, the Monsters of the Midway took a 26-7 lead with them to the break and never looked back. While Detroit did manage to outrush Chicago 76-54, Chicago made life for Matthew Stafford less than pleasant as they would sack him six times and force a pair of interceptions while throwing for 274 yards. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky had a better time than his Lions’ counterpart, throwing for 355 yards with no interceptions and three TDs while being sacked only once. While the Lions were 4 of 15 on third down, they had success on fourth down conversions, going 4 of 5 and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32 minutes, while Da Bears kept the pigskin in hibernation for 28 minutes, going 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Including games that were played in Bloomington at old Metropolitan Stadium, the Metrodome and at the University of Illinois-Champaign, the Vikings lead the series 60-51-2, have outscored Da Bears 2,384-2,181 and the Purple Gang have won the last three contests, including sweeping the series last year (Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2016 in the Windy City by a final of 20-10).

Meeting number one took place in week five in the Windy City at Soldier Field. Minnesota led Da Bears by the baseball-like score of 3-2 at halftime, then outscored Chicago 17-15 to win 20-17 as K Kai Forbath booted a 26-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the contest. Minnesota outrushed Chicago 159-115 and Case Keenum threw for 140 yards for the Vikings, while Trubisky threw for 128 for Chicago (both threw a TD pass, Trubisky threw and interception and was sacked once). Minnesota was 6 for 15 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:24, while Chicago was 28:36 in time of possession, going 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Purple Gang made it a clean sweep in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in week 17. While Da Bears were out of the post-season, Minnesota, winners of the NFC North, used the season finale at US Bank Stadium as a tune-up for the post-season and would come away 23-10 winners. Leading 16-7 at the break, Minnesota would hold Chicago to a 55-yard field goal by Matt Nugent to take the win at home. Minnesota easily outrushed Chicago 147-30, with Vikings RB Latavius Murray leading everyone with 111 yards and a pair of TDs and the Vikings defense held Trubisky in check, holding him to 178 yards with a sack for a safety, while Keenum threw for 189 yards and a TD. Chicago was a dismal 1 for 12 on third down and an even worse 0 for 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 24:05, while the Vikings were 5 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 35:55.

In the week five Monday night contest in the Windy City at Soldier Field, the Vikings BARELY covered the 2 1/2-point spread, winning by 3 and the 37 total points scored by both clubs missed the 40 over/under by 3. In the season finale in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Vikings easily covered the 11 1/2-point spread as they won by 13. Neither team touched the 39 1/2 over/under as they merged to tally 33 points.

Da Bears are 16-22 on Sunday night with Chicago losing their last meeting in 2016, while Minnesota is 18-17, going 1-0 in their only contest last year. Chicago’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. These two clubs could decide who wins the NFC North and could make the post-season party. Minnesota would like to make it four in a row over Chicago, while Da Bears want nothing to do with that plan. BEAR DOWN, BEAR FANS! Da Bears win on Sunday night in the Windy City and the Monsters of the Midway cover the 3.

Kansas City (9-1) at Los Angeles Rams (9-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A potential Super Bowl match up that would have taken place South of the border returns to the Unite States as the Kansas City Chiefs, in first place in the AFC West, take on the Los Angeles Rams, who rule the NFC West mountain to close out play in week 11. Both clubs were at home last Sunday and both clubs took home wins. The decision to move the game was based on the determination – in consultation with the NFLPA and following a meeting and field inspection Tuesday afternoon by NFL and club field experts as well as local and independent outside experts – that the playing field at Estadio Azteca did not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by game day on Monday.

“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” NFL Executive Vice President of International Mark Waller told USA Today and NFL Network. “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium, have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game. As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”

As for the teams?

Kansas City won their ninth game in ten tries as they took care of Arizona 26-14 at Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday.  Mahomes and the Chiefs led the Desert Angry Birds 20-7 at the intermission and never looked back. Kansas City outrushed Arizona 118-94 and Cardinals QB Josh Rosen threw for 208 yards and a TD but was sacked five times and picked off twice, while Mahomes threw for 249 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was also sacked five times). Arizona was 50 percent on third and fourth downs, going 7 of 12 and 1 of 2 respectively and kept the ball for 31:47, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 28:13, while going 4 for 11 on third down.

Los Angeles held off a late Seattle rally last Sunday in Tinseltown and came out on top 36-31 against the Seahawks in an NFC West rematch. Seattle led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, then watched the Rams chip away at the lead and trailed 17-14 at the intermission. Seattle would then make things close and would pull themselves to within five with 1:56 left in regulation when TE Mike Davis and Wilson connected on a 3-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would eventually get the ball back after the Rams went three and out and took the ball on their 35-yard line. Seattle advanced to as close as Los Angeles’ 35-yard after the two teams got offsetting penalties and could not dent the endzone after three Wilson passes fell incomplete.

Sunday’s contest had a pair of running backs breach the 100-yard barrier; Seattle’s Rashaad Penny ran for 108 yards, while Rams RB Todd Gurley III led everyone with 120 yards (both men had a rushing TD in the contest) as the Seahawks outrushed the Rams 273-149. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 318 yards and a pair of TDs, while Wilson threw for 176 yards and three TDs (Wilson was sacked four times, Goff was sacked twice, neither man threw an interception). Seattle went 2 of 9 on third down and 0 of 1 fourth down, while keeping the ball for 30:37, while the Rams kept the ball for 29:23, going 5 for 10 on third down tries.

Including games played in Kansas City at old Swope Field and in St. Louis, the Chiefs lead the series 7-4, Kansas City has outscored the Rams 277-196 and have won the last six meetings, including a 34-7 win at Arrowhead in 2014, while the Rams’ last win came in 1994 (also at Arrowhead), as they shutout Kansas City 16-0.

The Chiefs are 25-18 on Monday night and Kansas City won their two meetings in 2017 play, while the Rams are now 27-32 (Los Angeles opened the 2018 season with a win in Oakland). The Rams are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 63 1/2. These numbers make a ton of sense because both offenses can almost score at the drop of a hat. Now normally we don’t make Monday night games “DRILL WORTHY.”

But… since both teams are in first in their respective divisons, both teams have byes next week and most of America is off for Thanksgiving, we think that this one is the exception. (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?”)

You might want to consider taping “Magnum, PI” and “Bull” this week. This one is too good to pass up. The Chiefs will make it interesting but the Rams prevail South of the border and close out week 11 with the win.

They’re still standing.

The Los Angeles Rams remain unbeaten after eight weeks of football. Leading the NFC West, the Rams took a 29-27 lead late in their contest with the Green Bay Packers, then got some luck thanks to a fumble recovery of the ensuing kickoff, held the ball and took the two point win in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon in a contest that had four lead changes and felt more like a Lambeau Field crowd with a lot of fans wearing Packers green and gold. The Rams are the 25th team in the Super Bowl era to begin a season with an 8-0 record and eight of the previous 24 teams to accomplish the feat won the Super Bowl in their respective seasons.

Meanwhile, the NFL had their first coach fired as the Cleveland Browns gave Hue Jackson his walking papers after the team lost at Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon. Gregg Williams was named as the team’s interim coach for the remainder of the season.

As the NFL season crosses the midway point, scoring remains at an all-time high, close games are the norm and players across the league are on record-setting paces. Eight weeks are in the books, nine remain.

The leaves are changing, Fall is in the air, we’re nearing Thanksgiving and it’s getting a littler cooler. The NFL kicks off the month of November with action as close as ever. Through the first eight weeks of the season, 67 games have been decided by one score, tied with the 2012 season for the second-most in NFL history through Week 8 (68 in 2016), including six such games last week. Thirty-six of those games have been decided by three or fewer points, the second-most in NFL history through Week 8 (42 games in 1999), including three such games last week.

There have been 5,834 points scored this season, the most in NFL history through the first eight weeks of the season, and the league’s 661 total touchdowns and 429 touchdown passes are both the highest marks in league history through eight weeks.

Rams running back Todd Gurley, who had 195 scrimmage yards (114 rushing, 81 receiving) and a touchdown catch last week, leads the NFL with 15 total touchdowns this season. Gurley is one of three different players to score at least 15 touchdowns in his team’s first eight games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (17 touchdowns in 1958) and Priest Holmes (15 touchdowns in 2002 and 2004).

THE PLAYERS WITH THE MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN THEIR TEAM’S FIRST EIGHT GAMES OF A SEASON IN NFL HISTORY

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1958, 17)^
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (2018, 15)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2004, 15)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002, 15)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

​Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three consecutive games last week, leads the league with 26 touchdown passes this season. He is the third different player in league annals to throw at least 25 touchdown passes in his team’s first eight games of a season, joining Tom Brady (30 touchdown passes in 2007) and Peyton Manning (29 in 2013 and 26 in 2004). Brady and Manning went on to earn Associated Press Most Valuable Player honors in those seasons.

THE PLAYERS WITH THE MOST PASSING TOUCHDOWNS IN THEIR TEAM’S FIRST EIGHT GAMES OF A SEASON IN NFL HISTORY

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Tom Brady, New England (2007, 30)#
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013, 29)#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018, 26)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004, 26)#
#Named Associated Press MVP

Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen leads the NFL with 74 receptions – the most by a player in his team’s first eight games of a season in NFL history – and has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in an NFL record-tying eight consecutive games (CALVIN JOHNSON, eight consecutive games in 2012). Thielen, who has a league-leading 925 receiving yards, can become the second player in NFL history with at least 75 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in his team’s first nine games of a season, joining Atlanta’s Julio Jones (80 catches and 1,029 receiving yards in 2015).

THE PLAYERS WITH THE MOST RECEPTIONS THROUGH THEIR TEAM’S FIRST EIGHT GAMES OF A SEASON IN NFL HISTORY

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2018, 74)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (2015, 70)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (2002, 69)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted two field goals and all four of his point-after attempts for 10 total points scored in the Colts’ 42-28 win at Oakland.

Vinatieri, who has scored 2,550 total points during his 23-year NFL career, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Morten  Andersen (2,544) as the league’s all-time leading scorer.

•Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz completed 21 of 30 passes (70 percent) for 286 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 119.6 rating in the Eagles’ 24-18 victory over Jacksonville before a crowd of 85,870 at London’s Wembley Stadium, the largest single-game attendance in the London Series since the league began playing annual games in London in 2007. Wentz became the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 30 pass attempts and a passer rating of at least 115 in four consecutive games, joining Denver’s Peyton Manning (2012).

Wentz, who had 28 rushing yards and caught a four-yard pass off of a deflection, is the first player with a passing first down, rushing first down and receiving first down in a London Series game.

•The Los Angeles Rams defeated Green Bay, 29-27, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams, the league’s last remaining unbeaten team, advance to 8-0 for the first time since 1969.

Rams running back Todd Gurley had 195 scrimmage yards (114 rushing, 81 receiving) and a receiving touchdown in the win. Gurley, who leads the league with 15 touchdowns this season, became the fourth player in NFL history with at least 15 touchdowns in his team’s first eight games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (17 touchdowns in 1958) and Priest Holmes (15 touchdowns in both 2002 and 2004).

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 24 of 34 attempts (70.6 percent) for 303 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 125 rating in the Chiefs’ 30-23 win against Denver.

Mahomes, who had four touchdown passes in both Week 6 and Week 7, became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three consecutive games, joining Drew Brees (three consecutive games in 2011), Peyton Manning (five consecutive games in 2004) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (four consecutive games in 1984).

With 303 passing yards, Mahomes joined Andrew Luck (eight consecutive games in 2014) and Drew Brees (seven consecutive games 2011) as the only quarterbacks in league annals with seven consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards in a single season.

•Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had six receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns and running back James Conner rushed for 146 yards with two touchdowns in the Steelers’ 33-18 win over Cleveland.

Brown, who has eight touchdown receptions on the season, is the fifth player since 1970 to record at least eight touchdown catches in six consecutive seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (11 seasons from 1986-96), Marvin Harrison (eight from 1999-2006) and Cris Carter (six from 1995-2000) and Antonio Gates (seven from 2004-10).

Conner, who had two rushing touchdowns in Weeks 1, 5 and 6, is the third first-or-second year player to record four games with at least two rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Steve Van Buren (1945), Jim Brown (1958) and Eric Dickerson (1983).

•Washington running back Adrian Peterson had 149 rushing yards on 26 attempts (5.7 average) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Redskins’ 20-13 win at the New York Giants.

Peterson, at 33 years and 221 days old, is the oldest player in NFL history to record at least 100 rushing yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game. Miami’s Ricky Willliams, at the age of 32 years, 182 days old, was previously the oldest player to accomplish the feat (November 19, 2009 at Carolina).

With a 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Peterson joined Steve BonoO (76 yards on October 1, 1995), Rocky Bleier (70 yards on October 7, 1979) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Thorpe (80 yards on October 16, 1921) as the only players with a touchdown run of at least 60 yards at age 33 or older in NFL history.

Peterson is the fourth player in league annals with at least 140 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a single game at age 33 or older, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers John Henry Johnson (200 rushing yards and three touchdowns on October 10, 1964) and John Riggins (140 rushing yards and one touchdown on September 23, 1984) and De Angelo Williams (143 rushing yards and two touchdowns on September 12, 2016).

•Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 14 of 17 passes (82.4 percent) for 248 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the Seahawks’ 28-14 win at Detroit.

Wilson is the first quarterback in franchise history to register a 158.3 passer rating (minimum 10 attempts), the highest rating a passer can achieve. He is the second quarterback to accomplish the feat this season, joining Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff (158.3 passer rating in Week 4).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

MAGNIFICENT MAHOMES: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 2,526 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes through the first eight weeks of the season. Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his last seven games.

With 300 passing yards at Cleveland (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes would join Andrew Luck (2014) as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in eight consecutive games within a single season in league history.

The players with at least 300 passing yards in the most consecutive games within a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 300+ PASS YARDS)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2014 – 8)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 7)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018 – 7)*
*Active streak

Mahomes, who has thrown four touchdown passes in three consecutive games and five total games this season, can become the third quarterback in league annals with at least four touchdown passes in six different games in a single season, joining Peyton Manning (six games in 2004 and nine in 2013) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (six in 1984). Manning and Marino each won the Associated Press Most Valuable Player award in those seasons.

The players with the most games with at least four touchdown passes within a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 4+ TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 9)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004 – 6)#
Dan Marino, Miami (1984 – 6)^#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018 – 5)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

HERE COMES HOUSTON: Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for five touchdowns with a 156.0 rating in the Texans’ 42-23 victory over Miami in Week 8.

Watson, who has 34 touchdown passes in 15 career games, needs one touchdown pass on Sunday at Denver to join Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (39 touchdowns) and Dan Marino (35) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 35 touchdown passes in their first 16 career games.

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in their first 16 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)

Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1998-99, 39)^
Dan Marino, Miami (1983-84, 35)^
Deshaun Watson, Houston (2017-18, 34)*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In 15 career games

Houston has won five consecutive games following an 0-3 start to the season. With a win on Sunday, the Texans would join the 1970 New York Giants as the only teams since 1970 to win six consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start.

SUPER CAM: Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has 58 career rushing touchdowns, the most by a quarterback in NFL history and has at least five rushing touchdowns in each of his first seven seasons in the NFL.

Newton, who has four rushing touchdowns this season and faces Tampa Bay on Sunday, needs one rushing touchdown to become the first quarterback and seventh player overall in NFL history with at least five rushing touchdowns in eight consecutive seasons.

The players with at least five rushing touchdowns in the most consecutive seasons in league annals:

PLAYER – TEAMS (CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 5+ RUSH TDS)
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis and St. Louis (10)^
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (10)^
Jim Brown – Cleveland (9)^
Ricky Watters – San Francisco, Philadelphia and Seattle (9)
Eddie George – Houston Oilers/Tennessee (8)
Thurman Thomas – Buffalo (8)^
Cam Newton – Carolina (7)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has four rushing touchdowns in 2018

BACK TO BACK: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the NFL with 1,151 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns (11 rushing, four receiving) through the Rams’ first eight games of the 2018 season.

Gurley, who led the NFL with 19 touchdowns (13 rushing, six receiving) last season, needs one receiving touchdown on Sunday at New Orleans to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (2000-01) as the only players in NFL history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

The players with at least 10 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns in consecutive seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS/RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (2000, 18/8), (2001, 12/9)^
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (2017, 13/6), (2018, 11/4)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 9

CAN’T STOP THIS THIELEN: Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen had seven receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown in Week 8 and leads the league with 74 receptions and 925 receiving yards this season. Thielen is the first player in NFL history with at least 100 receiving yards in each of his team’s first eight games to start a season.

With 100 receiving yards on Sunday against Detroit, Thielen would become the only player in NFL history to record nine consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012, 8)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2018, 8)*
*Active streak

Thielen, who also has a touchdown catch in each of his past five games, can become the only player since 1970 with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in six consecutive games.

With six receptions and 75 receiving yards this week, Thielen would become the sixth undrafted player in the common draft era (since 1967) to record consecutive seasons with at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards.

The undrafted players with the most consecutive seasons of at least 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in the common draft era:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEARS, CONSECUTIVE SEASONS)
Rod Smith, Denver (2000-02, 3)
Wes Welker, New England (2007-09, 3)
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (2011-12, 2)
J.T. Smith, St. Louis Cardinals (1986-87, 2)
Wes Welker, New England (2011-12, 2)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2017-18, 1)*
*Has 74 catches for 925 yards in 2018

ELITE EIGHT: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones has 638 receptions for 9,866 yards and 43 touchdowns in 102 career NFL games.

With 134 receiving yards on Sunday at Washington, Jones would surpass Calvin Johnson (115 games) as the fastest player to reach 10,000 career receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (FEWEST GAMES TO 10,000 RECEIVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (115)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (116)
Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams (116)
Lance Alworth, San Diego (120)^
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (121)^
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (122)^
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (102)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 9,866 career receiving yards

With 134 receiving yards, Jones can also become the sixth player in league annals with at least 10,000 receiving yards in their first eight seasons.

The players with at least 10,000 receiving yards in their first eight seasons in league history:

​PLAYER – TEAMS (RECEIVING YARDS IN 1ST 8 SEASONS)
Torry Holt – St. Louis (10,675)
Calvin Johnson – Detroit (10,405)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco (10,273)^
Randy Moss – Minnesota and Oakland (10,147)^
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (10,072)^
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (9,866)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In eighth season

TOP DAWG: Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett ties for the AFC lead with eight sacks in 2018 and has 15 sacks in 19 career games.

Garrett, who will play his 20th career game on Sunday against Kansas City, needs two sacks to become the fourth player with at least 17 sacks in their first 20 career games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, SACKS)
Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers (2016-17, 19)
Aldon Smith, San Francisco (2011-12, 18.5)
Clay Matthews, Green Bay (2009-10, 17)
Myles Garrett, Cleveland (2017-18, 15)*
*In 19 career games

Highlights of the Week 9 schedule include:

Pittsburgh travels to M&T Bank Stadium to take on Baltimore in a key AFC North matchup at 1 p.m. on CBS. In Week 4, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 363 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 109.5 passer rating and kicker Justin Tucker converted four second-half field goals in the Ravens’ 26-14 victory at Pittsburgh. Steelers running back James Conner, who had 212 scrimmage yards (146 rushing, 66 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in Week 8, is the fourth first-or-second year player to record four games with at least two rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Steve Van Buren (1945), Jim Brown (1958) and Erick Dickerson (1983).

Seattle welcomes the Los Angeles Chargers to CenturyLink Field in an interconference battle at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. The Chargers, who enter the game at 5-2, have won four consecutive games and are one of three teams in the AFC averaging at least 400 total net yards per game. Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon (745 scrimmage yards, nine touchdowns) is one of five NFL players with at least 700 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns this season and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers leads the AFC with a 117.8 passer rating in 2018. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed 14 of 17 passes (82.4 percent) for 248 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the Seahawks’ Week 8 win and is the first quarterback in franchise history to register a 158.3 rating (minimum 15 attempts), the highest rating a passer can achieve.

On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Rams take on New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 4:25 p.m. on FOX in a battle of NFC contenders. Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD has six sacks in his past two games and leads the NFL with 10 sacks and 12 tackles for loss this season. Saints quarterback DREW BREES, who owns three of the four highest single-season completion percentages in NFL history, leads the league with a 77.4 completion percentage (188 of 243), which is 5.4 percent higher than the current single-season record of 72.0 percent set by Brees in 2017.

Sunday’s nightcap features a pair of future Hall of Fame QBs as Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay travel to Foxboro to meet Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Rodgers (103.6) and Brady (97.6) rank first and third, respectively, in NFL history in career passer rating (minimum 1,500 attempts) and are the only active players with multiple Associated Press Most Valuable Player Awards (three for Brady and two for Rodgers). In the last meeting between the two teams, Rodgers passed for 368 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 112.6 passer rating in the Packers’ 26-21 win over New England on November 30, 2014.

Byes this week? Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, the New York Giants and Philadelphia. Atlanta, Dallas, the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee return to action from their week off.

Week eight went pretty well, as we went 11-3 overall and for the season, 75-42. There’s still a lot of football left, even though we’re now into November and no one’s clinched a playoff spot, let alone a division title. Week nine got underway in northern California as San Francisco took Oakland to the woodshed 34-3 in Silicon Valley Thursday evening and concludes in the Lone Star State as the Cowboys host Tennessee at Jerry World. Here are the week nine Sunday and Monday picks.

ATLANTA (3-4) at Washington (5-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Sunday action in week nine opens in Landover as Washington hosts Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons at Fed Ex Field.

Coming off their bye week, Atlanta took care of Eli Manning and the New York Giants last Monday evening, as the Falcons came away 23-20 winners in the Big Peach. Atlanta led throughout the contest and took a 10-3 lead with them to the intermission. The Falcons outrushed Big Blue 67-61 in the Monday night contest, while Ryan threw for 379 yards and connected with WR Marvin Hall on a 47-yard TD pass to open the scoring in the contest, while Manning threw for 399 yards, connecting with WR Odell Beckham Jr. on a 1-yard strike in the final seconds of the contest. The Falcons held the ball for 32:17, going 7 of 13 on third down tries, while the Giants held the ball for 27:43, going 5 of 12 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Redskins held off the New York Giants 20-13 at Met Life Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Washington led 7-3 at the half in upstate New Jersey, then floored the gas as RB Adrian Peterson scored his second TD of the day, scoring from 64 yards away to take a 20-6 lead with 3:06 left in the contest. The Giants would pull themselves to within 7 with 17 seconds left when Manning and TE Evan Engram connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Washington would recover the onside kick and run the clock out to take the win, giving Big Blue their fifth loss in a row. Peterson led all rushers with 149 yards in the NFC East contest as Washington outrushed the Giants 182-37, sacking Manning (316 yards, two interceptions) seven times, while Alex Smtih threw for 178 yards with the TD toss to Peterson without a sack or interception. Washington was 6 of 15 on third down and held the ball for 33:38, while the Giants held the ball for 26:22, going 2 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down tries.

While Washington leads the series 14-9-1 (including contests that took place at RFK Stadium, Fulton County Stadium and the Georgia Dome) and the Redskins have outscored Atlanta 598-479, the Falcons have come away with wins in their five meetings, including a 25-19 overtime win in the Big Peach in 2015, while Washington’s last win also came in the Peach State by a final of 33-31 in 2003. The Redskins are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Both numbers are reasonable. Washington’s currently the king of the NFC East mountain, while the Falcons are chasing New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South. Hail to the Redskins? Not this week. Falcons pull off the upset in the DC Suburbs and take the win on the road and could cover the 1 1/2 in the process.

Pittsburgh (4-2-1) at Baltimore (4-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. This time, they meet in Charm City. Pittsburgh. Baltimore. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in Baltimore as the Steelers would like to settle the score with their rivals, while the Ravens look to sweep the series.

Pittsburgh took care of Cleveland 33-18 at Heinz Field last Sunday in their week one rematch. The Steelers erased a 6-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, took a 14-6 lead with them to the intermission and proceeded to outscore the Browns 19-10 in the second half to seal the win. Pittsburgh held Cleveland to 74 yards on the ground, while they tallied 168 yards in the win (Steelers RB James Conner led all rushers with 146 yards and a pair of TDs). Roethlisberger threw for 257 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Antonio Brown, while Baker Mayfield threw for 180 yards with a pair of TDs of his own, while he was sacked twice (Roethlisberger was sacked once and both men threw an interception). The Steelers were 6 for 13 on third down in the Steel City and kept the ball for 32:12, while the Browns were 3 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:48 (both clubs went 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Cam Newton and the Panthers took care of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens, as Baltimore would wind up losing 36-21 at Bank of America Stadium. Despite outscoring Carolina 14-12 in the second half, the Ravens trailed 17-7 at the break. Carolina outrushed Baltimore 154-101, with Newton leading all rushers with 52 yards and a rushing TD, while throwing for a pair of TDs in the contest, connecting with TE Greg Allen and RB Collin McCafferty on both tosses. Newton threw for 219 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Flacco threw for 192 yards with a TD pass to RB Javorius Allen, along with a pair of sacks and two interceptions. Both clubs went 6 for 12 on third down tries (carolina was 1 of 1 on fourth down, Baltimore went 1 of 2) and the Panthers kept the ball for 34:01 to Baltimore’s 25:59.

They met in week four in the Steel City and the Ravens came away from the Sunday night affair at Heinz Field 26-14 winners. In that first meeting, Pittsburgh saw Baltimore K Jeff Tucker connect on four second half field goals to break a 14-14 tie at Heinz Field last Sunday night and drop a 26-14 decision to the Ravens. The Steelers were held to a dismal season-low 19 yards of rushing, while the Ravens tallied 96, with Roethlisberger throwing for 274 yards and a TD to WR Antonio Brown, while Joe Flacco threw for 363 yards and a pair of TDs (Flacco was sacked twice, Roethlisberger was sacked once and threw an interception). Pittsburgh was a somewhat dismal 2 of 12 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:57, while the Ravens were ball hawks, holding the pigskin for 35:03, going 8 of 17 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh was favored by 8 in the Sunday night week four meeting in the Steel City and the Ravens’ by 12 allowed Baltimore to cover that spread. Both teams missed the over/under by scoring 40 points (the over/under was 48 1/2). This time, the boys and girls in Vegas like the Ravens as 3-point favorites in Charm City and the over/under’s 47. Baltimore looks to prove to the Steelers that the first win was not luck or a fluke, while the Steelers want revenge. If revenge is best served cold, the Steelers will be going for seconds. Pittsburgh may not cover the 3 but they take the win in Baltimore.

Kansas City (7-1) at Cleveland (2-5-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC clubs that played rematch games last Sunday meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Kansas City travels to Cleveland to face off against the struggling Browns, who made a coaching change on Monday as they released head coach Hue Jackson and replaced him with defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams as his replacement for the rest of the season.

Kansas City won their seventh game in eight tries at Arrowhead Stadium, taking down AFC West rival Kansas City 30-23 last Sunday. The Chiefs held a slim 16-14 lead at the intermission, then pulled away from the Broncos in the second half to sweep the series with their AFC West foes from the Mile High City. While Denver outrushed Kansas City 189-49, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 303 yards and four TDs, connecting with WR Sammy Watkins on two of the tosses. Denver was paced by Case Keenum, who threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs (both men threw an interception; Keenum was sacked five times, Mahomes was sacked twice). Kansas City went 3 for 10 on third down at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 27:19, while the Broncos went 4 for 12 on third down and held on ot the ball for 32:41 (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Cleveland lost their third in a row as Pittsburgh came away 33-18 winners at Heinz Field last Sunday in their week one rematch. The Browns watched Pittsburgh erase a 6-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, then saw them take a 14-6 lead with them to the intermission and proceeded to outscore the Browns 19-10 in the second half to seal the win. Pittsburgh held Cleveland to 74 yards on the ground, while they tallied 168 yards in the win (Steelers RB James Conner led all rushers with 146 yards and a pair of TDs). Roethlisberger threw for 257 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Antonio Brown, while Baker Mayfield threw for 180 yards with a pair of TDs of his own, while he was sacked twice (Roethlisberger was sacked once and both men threw an interception). The Steelers were 6 for 13 on third down in the Steel City and kept the ball for 32:12, while the Browns were 3 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:48.

Kansas City leads the series 12-11-2 and the Chiefs have outscored Cleveland 500-497. The Chiefs won the last two meetings, coming away 17-13 winners at Arrowhead in 2015, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2012 along the shores of Lake Erie, coming away 30-7 winners. Kansas City’s favored by 8 on the road and the over/under’s 52. The Chiefs are looking to make it eight of nine wins, while the Browns are looking to give Williams his first win as their interim head coach. That first win will have to wait. Although Cleveland makes it closer than 8, Kansas City prevails along the shores of Lake Erie and takes the win on the road.

New York Jets (3-5) at Miami (4-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC East rivals meet again, this time in the Sunshine State, as Miami hosts the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams were losers on the road last week and look to keep pace with New England.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! found themselves being held in check by Chicago, as the Monsters of the Midway came out on top 24-10 at Soldier Field. Da Bears led GangGreen 7-3 at the intermission in the Windy City, then pulled away from the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the second half to seal the win at home. Chicago outrushed GangGreen 179-57 with Mitchell Trubisky throwing for 220 yards and a pair of TDs, while Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 153 yards and a TD (Trubisky was sacked twice, Darnold was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Chicago went 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries at Soldier Field and kept the ball for 32:44, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 3 of 14 on third down (they too went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:16.

Miami trailed Houston 14-10 at the half last Thursday night and proceeded to drop a 42-23 decisison to the Texans at NRG Stadium. Miami was outscored by Houston 28-13 in the final 30 minutes of play as Houston would go on to seal the win in the Lone Star State and Miami’s fate in the process. Houston QB DeShaun Watson threw for 239 yards and five TDs without a sack or interception, while the Texans outrushed Miami 188-116 with Houston RB Lamar Miller leading the way with 133 yards and a TD (Miami’s Brock Osweiler threw for 241 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception against his old club). Houston was 6 of 12 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:51, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:09, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They met in upstate New Jersey in week two and the Dolphins came out on top 20-12 at Met Life Stadium. In that contest, Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnaold made his first start at home, passing for 334 yards with one touchdown and safety Jamal Adams and linebacker Jordan Jenkins each recorded a sack and forced fumble but it wasn’t enough as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! took the loss to Miami in the Meadowlands. Darnold, who was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, became the youngest player in NFL history (21 years, 103 days old) to throw for at least 300 yards in a single game, surpassing the previous record held by Jacky Lee (21 years, 137 days old), who threw for 331 yards on November 25, 1960. Miami outrushed GangGreen 135-42 and Ryan Tannehill threw for 168 yards and a pair of TDs, despite being sacked four times. Leading 20-0 at the intermission, the Dolphins were 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:25, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:35, going 3 for 10 on third downs.

In the week two contest in upstate New Jersey, GangGreen was favored by 3 and the Dolphins covered with their 8-point win on the road. The 44 over/under stayed intact as both clubs combined for a whopping 32 points. Miami’s back in the Sunshine State and the oddsmakers like them as 3 point favorites with the over/under at 45. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are looking for revenge, while the Dolphins are looking for a sweep. Break out the brooms! Miami covers the 3 in the Sunshine State and takes the home win.

Chicago (4-3) at Buffalo (2-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. A pair of cities located on Great Lakes meet in upstate New York Sunday at New Era Field. Wings meets deep dish pizza as Da Bears travel to Orchard Park for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Buffalo Bills.

Chicago manhandled the New York Jets, as the Monsters of the Midway came out on top 24-10 at Soldier Field. Da Bears led GangGreen 7-3 at the intermission in the Windy City, then pulled away from the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the second half to seal the win at home. Chicago outrushed New York 179-57 and Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 220 yards and a pair of TDs, while Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 153 yards and a TD (Trubisky was sacked twice, Darnold was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Da Bears went 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries at Soldier Field and kept the ball for 32:44, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS went 3 of 14 on third down (they too went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:16.

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.

Da Bears lead da series 7-5 and Chicago has outscored Buffalo 240-185. Buffalo won their last meeting, which took place in the Windy City by a final of 23-20 in overtime in 2014, while Chicago went North of the border to claim their last win over Buffalo, taking a 22-19 win in Toronto. Chicago’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 37 1/2. If nothing else, this one could be somewhat entertaining and actually watchable. Chicago may not cover the 9 1/2 but Da Bears win on da road.

Tampa Bay (3-4) at Carolina (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of NFC South foes meeting in Charlotte as the Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium.

Tampa Bay lost their fourth game in five tries as they fell to Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals 34-31 in the final seconds on the road. The Bucs, who will have Ryan Fitzpatrick under center Sunday, trailed 27-9 at the half and would eventually bench Jameis Winston (276 yards, five sacks, TD, four interceptions) and replace him with Fitzpatrick (194 yards, two TDs, sack), whou would then proceed to pull his team closer to the Bengals, throwing a pair of TDs to RB Mike Evans and TE O.J. Howard to tie things up but Tampa Bay fans would have their hopes shattered as the Bengals got the ball back with 65 seconds left in regulation and used all of the time that was available to them when Bengals K Randy Bullock kicked a 44-yard FG as time expired. Cincinnati outrushed Tampa Bay 138-126, with Bengals RB Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 123 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dalton threw for 280 yards and a pair of TDs to WRs, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. Tampa Bay went 10 of 18 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:59, while Cincinnati went 5 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 24:01, including the final 65 seconds of regulation.

Newton and the Panthers took care of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens, coming away 36-21 winners at Bank of America Stadium. Despite being outscored by the Ravens 14-12 in the second half, Carolina led 17-7 at the break and never looked back, leading from start to finish in the win. Carolina outrushed Baltimore 154-101, with Newton leading all rushers with 52 yards and a rushing TD, while throwing for a pair of TDs in the contest, connecting with TE Greg Allen and RB Collin McCafferty on both tosses. Newton threw for 219 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Flacco threw for 192 yards with a TD pass to RB Javorius Allen, along with a pair of sacks and two interceptions. Both clubs went 6 for 12 on third down tries (carolina was 1 of 1 on fourth down, Baltimore went 1 of 2) and the Panthers kept the ball for 34:01 to Baltimore’s 25:59.

The Panthers lead the series 22-13 and have outscored their NFC South foes 764-594. Carolina swept the series last year, taking wins in the Sunshine State in week eight and in the Tar Heel State in week 16 (Tampa Bay’s last win over the Pantehrs came in 2016, when they swept the series with their last win coming in Tampa by a final of 17-16).

Week eight… Tampa Bay. Carolina held Tampa Bay to a 41-yard field goal by Patrick Murray in the third quarter to take a 17-3 win on the road. Carolina led 10-0 at the intermission, then added a 25-yard TD pass from Newton to WR Kelvin Benjamin to restore order in the contest. Carolina, forcing three turnovers – two interceptions and one fumble in the win, outrushed Tampa Bay 100-85 and Newton threw for 154 yards with an interception, while Winston threw for 210 yards with three sacks to go with the two interceptions. The Panthers were 8 for 17 on third down and mastered the clock, holding the ball for 32:11, while the Buccaneers kept the ball for 27:49, going 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Panthers made the sweep a reality in week 16 on Christmas Eve afternoon, as Newton played the role of Santa Claus and gave Carolina fans a 22-19 win at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina led 12-9 at the half before Winston (367 yards, six sacks) and Tampa Bay would storm back to lead 16-12 as he and WR Bobo Wilson connected on an 18-yard TD toss early in the third quarter. Tampa Bay would lead by 1 with 35 seconds left when Carolina (who had already clinched a playoff spot) would take the lead back for keeps with Newton, who threw for 160 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, scored from 2 yards out. Newton led all rushers with 52 yards as the Panthers outurshed Tampa Bay 115-66 and went 4 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:30, while Tampa Bay kept the ball for 29:30, going 6 for 11 on third down tries.

In the week eight contest in the Sunshine State, Tampa Bay was favored by 2 1/2 and Carolina covered with the 14-point road win. As for the 44 over/under? It was safe as both teams combined for 20 points. In the Christmas Eve rematch in the Tar Heel State in week 16, Carolina was favored by 9 1/2 but only won by 3 and the 46 1/2 over/under was intact as the two clubs combined to score 41 points. In the Sunday contest in the Tar Heel State, the boys and girls in Vegas like Carolina as 6 1/2 point favorites with the over/under’s 54. Could the Panthers make it three in a row? Could the Bucs get their ducks in a row? Tampa Bay is in last place in the NFC South, looking up at Carolina, New Orleans and Atlanta, while the Panthers look to catch Drew Brees and the Saints. Carolina’s finer in this first meeting and while Tampa Bay makes it close, Newton and the Panthers take the win at home.

Detroit (4-3) at Minnesota (4-3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They meet in the great indoors. A pair of NFC North (or Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman calls it) meet in the Twin Cities as first-place Minnesota hosts the Detroit Lions at US Bank Stadium. Both teams were at their respective home facilities and both teams came up on the short end of the scoreboard.

Detroit let a 7-0 first quarter deficit against Seattle get away from them, as the Seahawks scored 21 second quarter points uncontested to lead 21-7 and came away from the Motor City with a 28-14 win at Ford Field. Seattle outrushed the Lions 176-34 (Seattle RB Chris Carson led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD), while Russell Wilson threw for 248 yards with three TDs. Detroit was paced by Matthew Stafford, who threw for 310 yard and a pair of TDs to go with three sacks and an interception (Wilson was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). Seattle went 6 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 34:55, while the Lions held the ball for 25:05, going 6 of 10 on third down tries.

New Orleans broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter against the Vikings at US Bank Stadium and came away with a 30-20 win over Minnesota in a rematch from last year’s NFC Divisonal Playoff that featured the “Minneapolis Miracle.” Minnesota trailed 17-13 at the intermission and watched Drew Brees and the Saints pull away from them, outscoring the Vikings 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Minnesota was outrushed 106-85 by New Orleans and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins threw for 359 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked four times and picked off once, while Brees threw for 120 yards and a TD with an interception. Minnesota went 5 of 10 on third down conversions in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (they were successful on fourth down, going 2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 31:23, while the Saints held the ball for 28:37, going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

Minnesota leads the series 72-39-2 (which includes games that were played at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome and the Metrodome) and the Purple Gang has outscored Detroit 2,432-2,099. They split last year’s contests, with each taking wins in the other team’s facility.

The first meeting took place in week four in the Twin Cities and the Lions came away 14-7 winners at US Bank Stadium. Trailing 7-3 at the intermission, the Lions would go on to score their last 11 points in the second half without a challenge, as Lions RB Ameer Abdullah scored the game-winner with eight minutes left in regulation on a 1-yard run. Stafford and WR T.J. Jones then connected on the two-point conversion as the Lions held off Minnesota for the win. Detroit outrushed Minnesota 97-87, with Abdullah leading the way with 94 yards. Stafford threw for 209 yards but was sacked six times, while Case Keenum threw for 219 yards with a pair of sacks for Minnesota (neither Stafford or Keenum threw a TD pass or interception). Detroit was 3 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 36:27, while the Vikings kept the pigskin for 23:33, going 3 of 10 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They would meet again in the Motor City in week 12 on Thanksgiving Day and the Vikings would get Thanksgiving dinner and revenge on their NFC North foes, taking a 30-23 win at Ford Field. Although Minnesota led 20-10 at the break, the Vikings needed to hold off Detroit in the final 30 minutes of action, as Lions K Matt Prater booted a pair of field goals (his longest from 50 yards with 63 seconds left in the third), while Stafford and WR Marvin Jones connected on a 43-yard TD toss to open the fourth quarter before Minnesota K Kai Forbath connected on a 36-yard fiald goal to seal Detroit’s fate. Minnesota outrushed Detroit 136-53 and the Vikings’ Latavius Murray led all rushers with 84 yards and a TD. Stafford threw for 250 yards with an interception for the Lions, while Keenum threw for 282 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, Stafford threw an interception and was sacked three times, while Keeunm was sacked twice). Minnesota went 6 of 13 on third down at Ford Field and kept the ball for 34:57, while Detroit held the ball for 25:03, going 3 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week four Twin Cities contest, Detroit covered the 2 1/2-point spread with their 7-point win but the 21 combined points came nowhere near the 43 over/under. Minnesota covered the 2-point spread with their 7-point win on Thanksgiving Day in the Motor City and the 53 points was more than enough to cover the 44 1/2 over/under. Minnesota’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Vikings are going to be in somewhat of a foul mood after their loss to New Orleans at home. The Lions are trying to find their way through the NFC North jungle. Minnesota may not cover the 5 1/2 but they do take things out on their NFC North rivals at home and take the win in the process.

Houston (5-3) at Denver (3-5), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. A pair of teams going in opposite directions meet in the Mile High City as Houston takes on Denver in a late-afternoon contest. The two teams made a trade Tuesday prior to the deadline as the Broncos sent WR Demaryius Thomas to the Texans for draft picks in 2019. Thomas reported to Houston later in the week and will suit up against his former team.

Houston took a 14-10 lead against Miami last Thursday night and proceeded to take apart the Dolphins 42-23 at NRG Stadium. The Texans outscored Miami 28-13 in the final 30 minutes of play to seal the win in the Lone Star State and Miami’s fate in the process. Watson threw for 239 yards and five TDs without a sack or interception, while the Texans outrushed Miami 188-116 with Houston RB Lamar Miller leading the way with 133 yards and a TD (Miami’s Brock Osweiler threw for 241 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception against his old club). Houston was 6 of 12 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:51, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:09, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver watched Kansas City win their seventh game in eight tries at Arrowhead Stadium, as their AFC West rivals came away 30-23 winners last Sunday. The Chiefs held a slim 16-14 lead at the intermission, then pulled away from the Broncos in the second half to sweep the series with their AFC West foes from the Mile High City. While Denver outrushed Kansas City 189-49, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 303 yards and four TDs, connecting with WR Sammy Watkins on two of the tosses. Denver was paced by Case Keenum, who threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs (both men threw an interception; Keenum was sacked five times, Mahomes was sacked twice). Kansas City went 3 for 10 on third down at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 27:19, while the Broncos went 4 for 12 on third down and held on ot the ball for 32:41 (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Denver leads the series 4-2, the Broncos have outscored the Texans 157-120 and they have won the last two meetings, including taking a 27-9 win in the Mile High City in 2016, while Houston’s last came in Denver in 2012 by a final of 31-25. Denver’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 46 1/2. These numbers are reasonable and make a ton of sense. Denver’s trying to keep their heads above water in the AFC West as they chase Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers, while the Texans want to stay on top in the AFC South. Denver, you have a problem. Houston covers the 2 1/2 and wins on the road.

Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) at Seattle (4-3), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of former AFC West rivals meet in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as the Los Angeles Chargers make the 1,138-mile trip up I-5 to face off against the Seattle Seahawks.

Returning from their trip across the Atlantic, the Chargers come back from their bye after they held off Tennessee 20-19 in London two Sundays ago. Rivers and the Chargers led 10-6 at the half at Wembley Stadium, then proceeded to watch Tennessee outscore the Bolts 13-10 in the final 30 minutes of action to make things close. The Titans would come to within a single point with 31 seconds left in regulation when Mariota and TE Luke Stocker connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Tennessee then went for two instead of playing for the tie and perhaps sending the game into overtime but Mariota’s two-point try to WR Taywan Taylor was incomplete. Los Angeles then recovered the onside kick and sealed the win in the process. The Titans did outrush Los Angeles 164-47 with Mariota throwing for 237 yards with an interception to go with the TD toss, while Rivers threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs (both Mariota and Rivers were sacked twice, Mariota threw the contest’s only interception). Tennessee was 9 of 16 on third down in London (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:23, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 24:37, while going 4 of 9 on third down tries.

Seattle erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit at Detroit, scored 21 second quarter points uncontested to lead 21-7 and came away from the Motor City with a 28-14 win at Ford Field. Seattle outrushed the Lions 176-34 (Seattle RB Chris Carson led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD), while Wilson threw for 248 yards with three TDs. Detroit was paced by Matthew Stafford, who threw for 310 yard and a pair of TDs to go with three sacks and an interception (Wilson was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). Seattle went 6 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 34:55, while the Lions held the ball for 25:05, going 6 of 10 on third down tries.

Including meetings at Qualcomm Stadium and the old Kingdome when both clubs were in the AFC West, the Seahawks lead the series 26-24 and have outscored the Bolts 1,049-1,042. The Chargers won the last meeting between the clubs, as they would take a 30-21 win in San Diego in 2014, while Seattle’s last win over the Chargers came in 2010 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks by a final of 27-20. Seattle’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 48. The Chargers are good but they’re not that good. As for Seattle? They’ve played some decent football lately and will prove it to their fans at home in the Pacific Northwest. Seahawks win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and cover the 1 1/2.

Los Angeles Rams (8-0) at New Orleans (6-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of division winners meet in the Big Easy as the undefeated Rams travel to New Orleans for a late-afternoon contest with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in what could be an NFC playoff matchup. Both teams took wins in last Sunday’s action, with the Rams taking their win at home on the West Coast, while the Saints took a road win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes last Sunday night.

The Rams, leading the NFC West, trailed Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay 10-8 at the intermission at the Coliseum in front of a crowd that was wearing Packers colors and came away 29-27 winner over the Packers last Sunday. Los Angeles and Green Bay exchanged the lead four times on the West Coast before the Rams took the lead for keeps with 2:05 left in regulation when Greg Zeurlein connected on a 34-yard field goal for the 2-point lead. Los Angeles then had some last minute luck in their back pockets as Ty Montgomery fumbled the ensuing kickoff in Packer territory and the Rams recovered. The Rams, who outrushed Green Bay 135-106 (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD pass) then went on to run out the clock and take the win. Rodgers threw for 286 yards, while Jared Goff threw for 295 yards with three TDs, connecting with WR Josh Reynolds on the other two passes for the Rams (Goff was sacked five times, Rodgers was sacked three times, neither had an interception). The Rams were 8 of 18 on third down but had sucesss on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and held the ball for 34:10, while the Packers kept the ball for 25:50 and went 2 of 9 on third down tries.

Brees and the Saints, in first place in the NFC South, broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter against the Vikings at US Bank Stadium and got revenge as they came away with a 30-20 win over Minnesota in a rematch from last year’s NFC Divisonal Playoff that featured the “Minneapolis Miracle.” Minnesota trailed 17-13 at the intermission and watched Drew Brees and the Saints pull away from them, outscoring the Vikings 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Minnesota was outrushed 106-85 by New Orleans and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins threw for 359 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked four times and picked off once, while Brees threw for 120 yards and a TD with an interception. Minnesota went 5 of 10 on third down conversions in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (they were successful on fourth down, going 2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 31:23, while the Saints held the ball for 28:37, going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

The Rams lead the series 41-32 (which includes contests played in Anaheim, St. Louis and old Tulane Stadium) and they have outscored the Saints 1,650-1,507. Their last meeting? Last year on the West Coast and the Rams were 26-20 winners at the Coliseum (New Orleans’ last win over the Rams came in 2016 in the Big Easy by a final of 49-21).

They met in week 12 on the West Coast at the Coliseum and the Rams led 17-10 at the intermisson, then held off a late second half New Orleans rally to take the win. While New Orleans outrushed the Rams 123-88 (Saints’ RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 87 yards and a rushing TD to go with a TD pass from Brees late in the contest), while Goff threw for 354 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception (Brees threw for 246 yards; Brees was sacked three times, Goff sacked four times). The Rams were 3 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:26, while the Saints held the pigskin for 24:34, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While the Rams covered the 2 1/2-point spread, winning by 6, both teams missed the 53 1/2 over/under, merging for 46 points. This time, the powers that be like the Saints as 1 point favorites in the Big Easy with the over/under set at 60 1/2. While we agree with the 1-point spread as well as the 60 1/2 over/under, we see this one differently. The Rams are unbeaten for a reason and Saints fans will see that reason and have their hearts brokien in the Big Easy. Rams remain unbeaten and cover the 1 on the road.

Green Bay (3-3-1) at New England (6-2), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Rodgers vs. Brady. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBS meet in Foxboro on a Sunday night as New England and Green Bay meet at Gillette Stadium.

Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay led the Los Angeles Rams 10-8 at the intermission at the Coliseum in front of a crowd that felt more like Lambeau Field instead of Los Angeles, as the majority of fans were wearing Packers colors and came away on the short end of a 29-27 loss last Sunday. Los Angeles and Green Bay exchanged the lead four times on the West Coast before the Rams took the lead for keeps with 2:05 left in regulation when Greg Zeurlein connected on a 34-yard field goal for the 2-point lead. Los Angeles then had some last minute luck in their back pockets as Ty Montgomery fumbled the ensuing kickoff in Packer territory and the Rams recovered. The Rams, who outrushed Green Bay 135-106 (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD pass) then went on to run out the clock and take the win. Rodgers threw for 286 yards, while Jared Goff threw for 295 yards with three TDs, connecting with WR Josh Reynolds on the other two passes for the Rams (Goff was sacked five times, Rodgers was sacked three times, neither had an interception). The Rams were 8 of 18 on third down but had sucesss on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and held the ball for 34:10, while the Packers kept the ball for 25:50 and went 2 of 9 on third down tries.

Tom Brady and the Patriots took a 9-3 at the half in Orchard Park Monday night against Buffalo, then floored the gas in the second half as 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. Brady picked up his 29th win over the Bills and his 15th in upstate New York. 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.

They’ve met 10 times in regular season play and they’ve each taken five wins and the Packers have outscored New England 241-200. Green Bay took the win in their last meeting, taking down the Patriots 28-21 at Lambeau in 2014, while the Pats’ last win came in Foxboro in 2010 by a final of 31-27.

New England on Sunday night holds a 28-18 record and the Pats won their two contests last year, while Green Bay is 25-13, taking losses in their two Sunday contests in 2017. Since it’s Rodgers vs. Brady, it would make a ton of sense to 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 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 England’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 57 1/2. There’s a good chance that the over/under could be reached by halftime, given that there are two future Hall of Fame QBs in this contest. It’ll be closer than the 6 1/2 but Green Bay bounces back from their heartbreak on the West Coast and upsets the Pats in western Massachusetts on Sunday night.

Tennessee (3-4) at Dallas (3-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week nine closes in Arlington as the Tennessee Titans come to the Lone Star State for a prime-time meeting with the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Both teams took losses two Sundays ago on the road and both clubs had byes.

The Titans come back from their bye after their 20-19 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in London two Sundays ago. Tennessee trailed 10-6 at the half at Wembley Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Bolts 13-10 in the final 30 minutes of action to make things close. The Titans would come to within a single point with 31 seconds left in regulation when Mariota and TE Luke Stocker connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Tennessee then went for two instead of playing for the tie and perhaps sending the game into overtime but Mariota’s two-point try to WR Taywan Taylor was incomplete. The Titans did outrush Los Angeles 164-47 with Mariota throwing for 237 yards with an interception to go with the TD toss, while Rivers threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs (both men were sacked twice and Mariota threw the contest’s only interception). Tennessee was 9 of 16 on third down in London (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:23, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 24:37, while going 4 of 9 on third down tries.

Dallas comes back to action after a rally at FedEx Field against Washington fell short, allowing the Redskins to survive a 20-17 scare two Sundays ago. Washington led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, then saw that lead go away as Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and WR Michael Gallup connected on a 49-yard TD toss with 60 seconds left before halftime. Washington then would take the lead back in the third quarter with the help of K Dustin Hopkins, who booted a 21-yard field with 9:10 left in the quarter. Hopkins would then add a 25-yarder early in the fourth quarter, giving Washington a 13-7 lead. Dallas would pull themselves to within three with 9:46 left when K Brett Maher booted a 47-yard try. The Redskins then pushed the lead back to 10 with 4:55 left in regulation when LB Preston Smith made a defensive linesman’s dream come true when he picked up a Dallas fumble and returned it for a 1-yard TD.

Dallas was not going quietly into the good night as Prescott would score from a yard out with 97 seconds left to play, making the score 20-17. After a Washington punt, the Cowboys would get the ball back with 69 seconds left and got as close as Washington’s 34 and could have tied the contest but Maher’s 52-yard try hit the crossbar, giving Washington the win. Washington outrushed Dallas 130-73, with Redskins RB Adrian Peterson barely missing the 100-yard barrier with 99 to lead all rushers. Prescott, who along with Ezekiel Elliott, rushed for 33 yards, throwing for 273 yards, while Alex Smtih threw for 178 yards (neither Prescott or Smith threw an interception; Prescott was sacked four times, while Smith was sacked once). Washington went 3 of 12 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 29:05, going 5 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Including games played in Houston, when the Texans were known as the Oilers and the Cowboys played their home games in the Cotton Bowl and Cowboys Stadium, Dallas leads the series 8-6 and have outscored Tennessee  333-254. Dallas won the last meeting, coming out on top 26-10 in the Music City, while Tennessee’s last win came on Thanksgiving Day. Tennessee on Monday night holds a 22-17 record, while Dallas is 46-33 (both teams were 1-0 last year in primetime). Dallas is favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 41. While this one is not “Drill Worthy,” given the records of the two clubs involved, this one is worth your time watching. so you may want to go ahead and tape “Magnum PI” and “Bull” this week. Tennessee makes it closer than 6 1/2 but Dallas takes the win in Jerry World.