Archives for category: Houston

9 weeks down.

8 to go.

Week 9 is in the books.

With the season at the halfway point, 19 teams are at the .500 mark or better. For those teams that are struggling, there’s still time. As for San Francisco and Cleveland, who have yet to win a game, they need to run the table to have any chance of a playoff spot.

We’re now into week 10. There’s a lot of football left and no playoff spots have been decided.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz each threw four touchdown passes in their teams’ victories today. Goff, who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw four touchdown passes in the Rams’ 51-17 win at the New York Giants. Wentz, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw four touchdown passes in the Eagles’ 51-23 win against Denver. Sunday marks the first time in NFL history in which quarterbacks selected No. 1 and 2 overall in the same NFL Draft each threw four touchdown passes on the same day.

•Philadelphia defeated Denver 51-23 to improve to 8-1. It marks the fifth time in franchise history the Eagles have started a season 8-1 or better (1949, 1960, 1980 and 2004) and the team advanced to the NFL Championship/Super Bowl in each of the previous four instances. In the Super Bowl era, 91 teams have previously started 8-1 or better through the first nine games and 88 made the playoffs (96.7 percent). Of those 91 teams, 40 reached the Super Bowl (44 percent) and 22 won the Super Bowl (24.2 percent).

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw four touchdown passes in today’s win and leads the league with 23 touchdown passes. Wentz’s 23 touchdown passes are the most by an Eagles quarterback through the team’s first nine games of a season, passing the mark set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin (20) in 1960.

•New Oleans defeated Tampa Bay 30-10 to improve to 6-2. The Saints, who have won six consecutive games after starting 0-2, are the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. The other two teams to accomplish the feat – 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants – both won the Super Bowl in that season.

Saints quarterback DREW BREES completed 22 of 27 passes (81.5 percent) for 263 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.9 passer rating. Brees has 225 career passing touchdowns at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the most in NFL history by a quarterback at a single stadium.

•The Los Angeles Rams defeated the New York Giants 51-17 in the Meadowland and recorded the team’s third victory of at least 30 points this season. The Rams are the 11th team in the Super Bowl era to post at least three wins with a margin of victory of 30+ points in the team’s first eight games of a season. Of the previous 10 teams in the Super Bowl era to accomplish the feat, seven advanced to the Super Bowl (70 percent).

•Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and added a rushing touchdown in the Cowboys’ 28-17 win over Kansas City. Prescott has 39 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in his career and joined Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to have at least 35 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in their first two seasons.

Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill had a 56-yard touchdown reception against Dallas, his ninth career touchdown of at least 50 yards. Hill, who was playing in his 25th career game, trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (10) for the most 50+ yard touchdowns in a player’s first 25 games to begin a career.

•Indianapolis wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had five catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 20-14 win at Houston. Hilton has 10 career games with at least 150 receiving yards, tied with Julio Jones for the fourth-most 150-yard receiving games in a player’s first six seasons. The only players with more such games in their first six seasons are Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Alworth (13) and Jerry Rice (13) and Randy Moss (12).

•Tennessee safety Kevin Byard had two interceptions in the Titans’ 23-20 win over Baltimore in Nashville. Byard, who had three interceptions in the team’s last game (Week 7 at Cleveland), has recorded five interceptions in his past two games, tied for the most by an NFL player in consecutive games since the 1970 merger. The other four players to accomplish the feat since 1970 are Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes (1976), Willie Buchanon (1978), Albert Lewis (1985) and De Angelo Hall (2010).

THE WEEK THAT WAS WEEK NINE: SURGING SAINTS: New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay 30-10 last week to improve to 6-2.

The Saints, who have won six consecutive games after starting 0-2, are the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. The other two teams to accomplish the feat – 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants – both won the Super Bowl in that season.

New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES completed 22 of 27 passes (81.5 percent) for 263 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.9 passer rating in the Saints’ win. Brees has 225 career passing touchdowns at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the most in NFL history by a quarterback at a single stadium.

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes at a single stadium in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (STADIUM – TD PASSES)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (Mercedes Benz Superdome – 225)
Tom Brady – New England (Gillette Stadium – 221)
Brett Favre – Green Bay and Minnesota (Lambeau Field – 214)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz passed for four touchdowns in the Eagles’ 51-23 win against Denver in Week 9. Wentz, who leads the NFL with 23 touchdown passes, has the most passing touchdowns by an Eagles quarterback through the team’s first nine games of a season, passing the mark set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin (20) in 1960.

Wentz, who is 24 years old, has the fourth-most touchdown passes in his team’s first nine games of a season by a quarterback at the age of 25 or younger.

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in their team’s first nine games of a season at the age of 25 or younger:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; AGE – TD PASSES IN 1ST 9 GAMES OF SEASON)
Dan Marino – Miami (1984; 23 – 27)^
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2014; 25 – 26)
Bobby Layne – Detroit (1951; 24 – 24)^
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia (2017; 24 – 23)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (2007; 25 – 22)

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Wentz is the only quarterback in NFL history at the age of 25 or younger with at least 20 touchdown passes (23) and five or fewer interceptions (five) in his team’s first nine games of a season.

STAFFORD REACHES 200: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 26 of 33 passes (78.8 percent) for 361 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 132.4 passer rating in the Lions’ 30-17 win at Green Bay on Monday Night Football.

Stafford, who is 29 years old, passed for his 200th and 201st career touchdowns on Monday night and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach 200 career touchdown passes before his 30th birthday.

The quarterbacks in NFL history to reach 200 career passing touchdowns before the age of 30:

PLAYER, TEAM (AGE AT TIME OF 200TH TD PASS)
Dan Marino, Miami (28 years, 2 days)^
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (28 years, 242 days)
Brett Favre, Green Bay (29 years, 36 days)^
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (29 years, 272 days)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

AGELESS WONDER: Arizona running back Adrian Peterson had a career-high 37 carries for 159 yards in the Cardinals’ 20-10 win at San Francisco in Week 9.

Peterson, who has 19 career games with at least 150 rushing yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric ickerson (18) and Emmitt Smith (18) for the fourth-most games with at least 150 rushing yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders (25), Jim Brown (22) and Walter Payton (20) have more such games in their careers.

The players with the most career games with at least 150 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); GAMES WITH 150+ RUSHING YARDS
Barry Sanders – Detroit; 25^
Jim Brown – Cleveland; 22^
Walter Payton – Chicago; 20^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota and Arizona; 19
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis; 18^
Emmitt Smith – Dallas; 18^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Peterson, who is 32 years old, is the third-oldest player in NFL history with at least 150 rushing yards in a game, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers John Riggins (35 years old, 165 rushing yards) and JOHN HENRY JOHNSON (34 years old, 200 rushing yards).

The oldest players with at least 150 rushing yards in a game in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (DATE; AGE – RUSHING YARDS)
John Riggins – Washington (October 14, 1984; 35 – 165)^
John Henry Johnson – Pittsburgh (October 10, 1964; 34 – 200)^
Adrian Peterson – Arizona (November 5, 2017; 32 – 159)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MATTY ICE AT 150: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 313 yards with two touchdowns in the Falcons’ Week 9 loss at Carolina.

Ryan, who played his 150th career game on Sunday, has 39,858 career passing yards, the most by a player in NFL history in his first 150 games.

The quarterbacks with the most passing yards in their first 150 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); PASSING YARDS
Matt Ryan – Atlanta; 39,858
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 39,297
Dan Marino – Miami; 39,285^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis; 39,164
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay; 38,212*
*Through 148 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Ryan’s 3,465 career completions are the second most in NFL history by a player in his first 150 career games, trailing only Drew Brees (3,494).

The quarterbacks with the most completions in their first 150 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); COMPLETIONS
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 3,494
Matt Ryan – Atlanta; 3,465
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis; 3,269
Carson Palmer – Cincinnati, Oakland an, Arizona; 3,196
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay; 3,162*
*Through 148 career games

CLIMBING THE LEADERBOARDS: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 220 yards with two touchdowns in the team’s Week 9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Manning, who has 50,034 career passing yards in 14 seasons with the Giants, became the seventh quarterback in NFL history with at least 50,000 passing yards.

The quarterbacks with at least 50,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER PASSING YARDS
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver; 71,940
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota; 71,838^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 68,325
Tom Brady – New England; 64,123
Dan Marino – Miami; 61,361^
John Elway – Denver; 51,475^
Eli Manning – New York Giants; 50,034
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had five catches for 70 yards in the Cardinals’ 20-10 victory at San Francisco last week.

Fitzgerald, who has 14,953 career receiving yards in 14 seasons with the Cardinals, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown (14,934) for the sixth-most receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER RECEIVING YARDS
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle; 22,895^
Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati; 15,934
Randy Moss – Minnesota, Oakland, New England, Tennessee and San Francisco; 15,292
Isaac Bruce – Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and San Francisco; 15,208
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and Atlanta; 15,127
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona; 14,953
Tim Brown – Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay; 14,934^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted both of his field-goal attempts, including a 53-yarder and both extra-point attempts in the Colts’ 20-14 win at Houston in Week 9.

Vinatieri, who has 2,442 career points, surpassed GARY ANDERSON (2,434) for the second-most points scored in NFL history.

The players with the most points scored in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER POINTS
Morten Andersen – New Orleans, Atlanta, New York Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota; 2,544^
Adam Vinatieri – New England and Indianapolis; 2,442
Gary Anderson – Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minnesota and Tennessee; 2,434
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

RISING ROOKIES: Through the first nine weeks of the season, rookies have accumulated 12,146 yards from scrimmage, the second-highest total by rookies through Week 9 since 1970.

The seasons with the most yards from scrimmage by rookies through Week 9 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST SCRIMMAGE YARDS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 9*
2014 – 12,504
2017 – 12,146
2013 – 11,105
1983 – 10,829
2012 – 10,321
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (1,131)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (732)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (652)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (589)
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati (488)

Rookies have also totaled 91 touchdowns through Week 9, the second-most through the first nine weeks of a season since 1970.

The seasons with the most touchdowns by rookies through Week 9 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST TOUCHDOWNS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 9*
2014 – 96
2017 – 91
1983 – 88
2013 – 85
1971 – 75
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most touchdowns in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (7)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (6)
Corey Clement, Philadelphia (5)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (5)
Evan Engram, New York Giants (4)
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh (4)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 10: TOP BILLING: New England head coach Bill Belichick has 269 career wins, including the postseason, in his 23-year head coaching career with the Browns and Patriots.

With a victory on Sunday night at Denver, Belichick would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Landry (270) for the third-most total wins by a head coach in NFL history.

The head coaches with the most total wins (including the postseason) in NFL history:

COACH – TEAM(S)(WINS-LOSSES-TIES, WIN PCT.)
Don Shula – Baltimore Colts and Miami (347-173-6, .666)^
George Halas – Chicago (324-151-31, .682)^
Tom Landry – Dallas (270-178-6, .603)^
Bill Belichick – Cleveland and New England (269-127-0, .679)
Curly Lambeau – Green Bay, Chicago Cardinals and Washington (229-134-22, .631)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

COMPLETE PLAYERS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (3,984) and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (3,972) enter Week 10 ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, on the NFL’s all-time completions list.

This week, Rivers and Roethlisberger can become the eighth and ninth players in NFL history to record at least 4,000 career completions. Rivers and the Chargers are at Jacksonville, while Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh travels to Indianapolis to face the Colts.

The players with at least 4,000 career completions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER COMPLETIONS
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota; 6,300^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver; 6,125
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 6,033*
Tom Brady – New England; 5,450*
Dan Marino – Miami; 4,967^
Eli Manning – New York Giants; 4,259*
John Elway, – Denver; 4,123^
Philip Rivers – San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers; 3,984*
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh; 3,972*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active

STELLAR STREAK: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who became the seventh player in NFL history with 50,000 career passing yards (50,034) in Week 9, has started 207 consecutive games.

With a start on Sunday at San Francisco, Manning would tie his brother, Peyton (208), for the second-longest streak of consecutive starts in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (297) has started more
consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive starts in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SEASONS; CONSECUTIVE GAMES STARTED)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (1992-2010; 297)^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (1998-2010; 208)
Eli Manning – New York Giants (2004-present; 207)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

DAK ATTACK: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 28-17 victory against Kansas City in Week 9. Prescott, who is in his second NFL season, has five career games with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown.

This Sunday at Atlanta, Prescott can tie Cam Newton (six) for the most games with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in a player’s first two career seasons.

The players with the most games with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in their first two seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEARS; GAMES WITH 2+ TD PASSES AND RUSH TD)
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011-12; 6)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2016-17; 5)*
Steve Grogan, New England (1975-76; 5)
*In second season

AWESOME ADRIAN: Arizona running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 159 yards on a career-high 37 carries in the Cardinals’ 20-10 victory at San Francisco in Week 9. The performance marked Peterson’s 19th career game with at least 150 rushing yards.

On Thursday night against Seattle, Peterson can join Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders (25), Jim Brown (22) and Walter Payton (20) as the only players in NFL history with 20 career games with at least 150 rushing yards.

The players with the most career games with at least 150 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); GAMES WITH 150+ RUSHING YARDS

Barry Sanders – Detroit; 25^
Jim Brown – Cleveland; 22^
Walter Payton – Chicago; 20^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota and Arizona; 19
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

DYNAMIC DUO: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell (979 scrimmage yards) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (835) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the NFL in scrimmage yards.

If Bell and Brown each reach 1,000 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Indianapolis, it would mark the seventh time in NFL history that a pair of teammates had at least 1,000 scrimmage yards each in their team’s first nine games of a season.

Bell and Brown, who also accomplished the feat in 2014, would join Indianapolis’ Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison (1999 and 2000) as the only pairs of teammates in NFL history to each record at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in their team’s first nine games of a season multiple times.

The pairs of teammates in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards each in the first nine games of a season:

TEAM – SEASON (PLAYER – SCRIMMAGE YARDS; PLAYER – SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Atlanta – 2015 (Devonta Freeman – 1,141; Julio Jones – 1,029)
Pittsburgh – 2014 (Le’Veon Bell – 1,144; Antonio Brown – 1,009)
St. Louis – 2000 (Marshall Faulk – 1,326; Isaac Bruce – 1,019)^
Indianapolis – 2000 (Edgerrin James – 1,294; Marvin Harrison – 1,004)
Indianapolis – 1999 (Edgerrin James – 1,221; Marvin Harrison – 1,000)^
Dallas – 1995 (Emmitt Smith – 1,361; Michael Irvin – 1,023)^
Pittsburgh – 2017 (Le’Veon Bell – 979; Antonio Brown – 835)*
^Irvin, Smtih and Harrison are Pro Football Hall of Famers
*Through eight games

CATCHING CHRISTIAN: Carolina rookie running back Christian McCafferyY ranks third in the NFL and leads all running backs with 54 catches.

With eight catches on Monday against Miami, McCaffrey would surpass Reggie Bush (61 in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in their team’s first 10 games
of a season:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS IN TEAM’S 1ST 10 GAMES)
Reggie Bush – New Orleans (2006, 61)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2017, 54)*
Earl Cooper, San Francisco (1980, 53)
*Through nine games

EVERY DAY EVERSON: Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen ranks third in the
NFL with 10 sacks and has recorded a sack in all eight of Minnesota’s games this
season.

With a sack on Sunday at Washington, Griffen would become the first player to record a sack in each of his team’s first nine games to start a season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney (2009) and ROBERT MATHIS (2005) are the only other players to each record a sack in their team’s first eight games of a season.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; SACK IN EACH GAME TO START A SEASON)
Everson Griffen – Minnesota (2017 – 8)*
Dwight Freeney – Indianapolis (2009 – 8)
Robert Mathis – Indianapolis (2005 – 8)
*Active streak

TERRIFIC TITAN: Tennessee safety Kevin Byard, who had three interceptions in Week 7, had two interceptions in the Titans’ 23-20 victory over Baltimore in Week 9.

With an interception on Sunday against Cincinnati, Byard, who has five interceptions in the Titans’ past two games (Tennessee had a bye in Week 8), will join Jarius Byrd (2009), Albert Lewis (1985) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Kenny Easley (1984) and Mike Haynes (1976) as the only players in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) with six interceptions over a three-game span in a single season.

With two interceptions on Sunday, Byard would become the first player in the Super Bowl era with seven interceptions over a three-game span in a single season.

The players with the most interceptions over a three-game span in a single season in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; WEEKS; INTERCEPTIONS IN 3-GAME SPAN
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo (2009; 6-8; 6)
Albert Lewis, Kansas City (1985; 14-16; 6)
Kenny Easley, Seattle (1984; 9-11; 6)^
Mike Haynes, New England (1976; 9-11; 6)^
Mike Haynes, New England (1976; 10-12; 6)^
Kevin Byard, Tennessee (2017; 7, 9; 5)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In two games

The second half of the NFL season is here and the race to the playoffs is in full swing.

Thirteen teams have won at least five games, led by the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles. This is the fifth time in franchise history the Eagles have started a season 8-1 or better (1949, 1960, 1980 and 2004) and the team advanced to the NFL Championship/Super Bowl in each of the previous four instances. In the Super Bowl era, 91 teams have previously started 8-1 or better through the first nine games and 88 advanced to the playoffs (96.7 percent). Of those 91 teams, 40 reached the Super Bowl (44 percent) and 22 won the Super Bowl (24.2 percent).

The Eagles (seven) and New Orleans Saints (six) currently have the longest active winning streaks in the league. New Orleans, which started the season 0-2, is the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. The other two teams to accomplish the feat – 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants – both won the Super Bowl in that season.

As the season moves into the second half, it’s all still to be decided, with plenty of football left to play. So don’t count anyone out. Since 2000, 44 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season. Last year, there were four such teams: Detroit (4-4), Green Bay (4-4), Miami (4-4) and Pittsburgh (4-4).

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

Byes this week? Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland and Philadelphia. Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England and Pittsburgh come back from their week-long vacations and join in the week 10 action.

Last week? UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH! 5-8 for the week (which is a lot better than going 0-13). For the year, 72-55. Still pretty good. There’s still a lot of football left on the docket between now and Super Bowl LII (52 for those that like Roman numerals). Week 10 got underway in the desert as Seattle defeated Arizona 22-16 last Thursday and concludes in the Tar Heel State on Monday evening as Miami travels to Charlotte to face off against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. Here are Sunday and Monday’s picks for week 10.

Dallas (5-3) at ATLANTA (4-4), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. Dak Prescott vs. Matt Ryan. A pair of young guns take the field in the Big Peach as the defending NFC champs host the Dallas Cowboys in a late afternoon NFC contest. The contest will have drama on the field and off.

How, you ask?

To bring you up to speed (ICYMI)… The Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals dened Ezekiel Elliot’s request for an emergency injuction that would have allowed him to play, which means his six-game suspension is back on. A series of injunctions and restraining orders have allowed the 22-year old Elliott to play to this point but a three-judge panel decided another injunction wasn’t in the cards for the Cowboys running back. The NFL Players’ Association requested an expedited appeal and the court responded later Thursday by scheduling a hearing for December 1, meaning Elliott is guaranteed to miss at least the next four games.

The NFLPA has argued a suspension would irreparably harm Elliott’s career. The NFL, however, said roughly 100 players have been suspended for approximately 500 games over the past season and a half, therefore “Elliott’s claim of irreparable injury is indistinguishable from those that could be made by 100 other players.”

Elliott is second in the NFL with 783 rushing yards and tied for the league lead with seven rushing scores. If his six-game suspension is upheld at the December 1 hearing, he would be eligible to return the field on Christmas Eve afternoon when the Cowboys, currently 5-3, face the Seahawks at home. The games that Elliott would miss are at Atlanta Sunday, home against Philadelphia on the 19th, home against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thanksgiving Day, home against Washington on November 30th, at the Giants on December 10th and at Oakland on December 17.

The six-game suspension stems from a domestic violence allegation by Elliott’s former girlfriend in July of 2016. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell initially decided there was enough “persuasive evidence supporting” Tiffany Thompson’s allegations of domestic abuse. The union immediately appealed Goodell’s decision and Elliott has been able to play while the case works its way through the legal system and led to hard feelings between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Goodell.

That was the legal stuff.

Now back to the two teams.

Dallas earned a 28-17 victory over Kansas City last Sunday in Jerry World (AT&T Stadium). Prescott threw for 249 yards and a pair of touchdown passes – both to wide receiver Cole Beasley – and added a rushing TD. Prescott joined Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to have at least 35 touchdown passes (39) and 10 rushing touchdowns (10) in their first two seasons. Dallas led 14-10 at the intermission before the Chiefs took their only lead of the contest in the third quarter when Alex Smith and TE Travis Kelce connected on a 2-yard TD pass to open the scoring in the third quarter. Dallas then took the lead for keeps when RB Ezekiel Elliott scored from 2 yards out and Beasley caught his second TD pass, good from seven yards, to seal Kansas City’s fate. Dallas outrushed Kansas City 131-68 and went 7 of 12 on third down conversions and ruled the clock, as they held the ball for 31:17, while the Chiefs, who went 4 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:43.

Atlanta let a 10-0 first quarter lead get away from them as Carolina would take over and take the lead for keeps, taking a 20-17 win over the defending NFC champions in Charlotte last Sunday afternoon. Ryan passed for 313 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s loss in Charlotte and played in his 150th game, has 39,858 career passing yards, the most in NFL history by a player in his first 150 games. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who caught one of the two Ryan tosses (WR Mohammed Sanu caught the other), leads the NFC with 658 receiving yards. In his career, Jones is averaging 95 receiving yards per game (8,268 yards in 87 games), the highest mark in NFL history (minimum 50 games). Carolina outrushed Atlanta 201-53, while Cam Newton threw for 137 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest. Atlanta was 4 of 12 on third down (0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:08, while the Panthers kept the ball for 32:52, while going 4 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Dallas leads the series 14-10 and the Cowboys have outscored Atlanta 590-469. However…. Atlanta has won the last two meetings, including coming away 39-28 winners in the Lone Star State in 2015, while Dallas’ last win over Atlanta came in 2009 in Irving by a final of 37-21.

The oddsmakers like the Falcons as 3 point favorites in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Is this one “DRILL WORTHY?” We think so. (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Both clubs were playoff teams last year. Both are looking to go back. Atlanta’s still king of the NFC until they’re knocked off and the king’s not going anywhere. Atlanta “RISES UP” and covers the 3 in the Big Peach.

Cleveland (0-8) at Detroit (4-4), 1 p,m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. One team’s looking to win their first game. The other team’s looking to return to the playoffs. Detroit hosts the winless Cleveland Browns in the Motor City at Ford Field.

Cleveland returns from their bye week after the Browns dropped a 33-16 decision to Minnesota at London’s Twickenham Stadium in Week 8. Although they trailed 13-12 at the break across the pond, Cleveland found themselves outscored 21-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. While Cleveland did outrush Minnesota 115-88, Vikings QB Case Keenum, who took over for Sam Bradford (knee), threw for 288 yards and a pair of TDs, while rookie QB DeShone Kizer threw for 179 yards with three sacks. Minnesota went 6 of 16  on third downs and held on to the ball for 37:52, while the struggling Browns were 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 22:08.

Detroit led from start to finish at Green Bay and came away 30-17 winners at Lambeau Field last Monday night. The Lions led 14-3 at the break and never looked back, although the Packers outrushed Detroit 78-64 in the Monday night contest. Matthew Stafford threw for 361 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Marvin Jones on both tosses, while Brett Hundley, who is under center while Aaron Rodgers recovers from a broken collarbone, threw for 245 yards. Detroit on third down tries went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 36:55, while the Packers were 2 of 9 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:05.

Including games that were played in old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Lions lead the series 15-4, they have outscored the Browns 479-336 and Detroit has won the last three contests, taking a 31-17 win in Cleveland in 2013, while the Browns’ last win over the Lions came in 2001 along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 24-14. Detroit’s favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under is 43 1/2. Cleveland will make it interesting and make it close but Detroit takes this one in the Motor City and could very well cover the 9 1/2.

New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay (2-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling teams square off in the Sunshine State as the New York Jets make their way to Raymond James Stadium for a meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

GangGreen returns to action in the Sunshine State after they took Buffalo to task, getting revenge on their AFC East rivals by taking a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium last Thursday night. The Jets led 10-7 at the intermission on the Jersey Shores before pulling away in the final 30 minutes of action. Tyrod Taylor ran for one TD and threw for another, tallying 285 yards in the air but was sacked seven times. The Bills, who were outrushed by the Jets 194-63, went 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:30, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, led by Josh McCown’s 140 yards (with a TD pass and a rushing TD), went 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:30.

Tampa Bay lost at New Orleans 30-10 last week in the Big Easy. The Buccaneers trailed 16-3 at the break and the Saints took control of the second half, where things got somewhat chippy when Saints DB Marshon Lattimore and Tampa Bay RB Mike Evans were involved in a scuffle on the Bucs’ sideline in the third quarter. Evans would eventually be suspended for one game for his actions on the field.

New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 151-87 and Drew Brees threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs, while knocking Jameis Winston (67 yards) out of the contest with a shoulder injury. Winston is out for the contest and Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center for the Buccaneers. New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Big Easy and kept the ball for 32:18, while Tampa Bay, who was 27:42 in time of possession, went 4 of 13 on third downs.

Including games that were played at Shea Stadium and old Tampa Stadium, GangGreen leads the series 10-1, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have outscored Tampa Bay 291-162 and GangGreen has won the last eight meetings, taking an 18-17 win in the Meadowlands in 2013, while Tampa Bay’s lone win in the series came all the way back in 1984, when the Buccaneers wore the creamsicle uniforms and came away 41-21 in the old Sombrero. The Jets are favored by 2 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under is 43 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this game (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams) and watch that “Bar Rescue” marathon on Spike (there’s nothing cooler than seeing Jon Tepper blow his stack!). Jets cover the 2 1/2 and win in the Sunshine State.

Pittsburgh (6-2) at Indianapolis (3-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Brissett vs. Roethlisberger. A pair of AFC QBs meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium.

After falling to Jacksonville at home, the Steelers have won three consecutive games and are tied with New England for the best record in the AFC at 6-2. Pittsburgh had a bye last week and defeated Detroit 20-15 in Week 8. The Lions led at the half 12-10 before Pittsburgh went to work and tamed the Lions in the second half. Pittsburgh outrushed Detroit 75-71 and Ben Roethilsberger threw for 317 yards and a TD pass to rookie WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster leads all NFL rookies with 424 receiving yards, while his teammate, WR Antonio Brown leads the NFL with 57 catches and 835 receiving yards and is on pace to record his fifth consecutive season with at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards. Pittsburgh was 7 of 14 on third down tries in the Sunday night contest in the Motor City and kept the ball for 28:23, while the Lions were 2 of 12 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the pigskin for 31:37.

The Steelers lead the series 17-6 (which includes games that were played in Baltimore and at Three Rivers Stadium), they have outscored the Colts 584-393 and have won the last four meetings, including a 28-7 win in the Hoosier State last year (Indy’s last win came in 2008 in the Steel City by a final of 24-20.

The two clubs met in the Hoosier State in week 12 in a Thanksgiving night affair and the Steelers took a 21-7 lead at the half and never looked back, shutting out the Colts (who probably overate their Thanksgiving meal) in the final 30 minutes of play. LeVeon Bell ran for 120 yards and a TD, as the Steelers outrushed 148-91 and Roethlisberger threw for 221 yards and three TD strikes to WR Antonio Brown. The Steelers were 7 of 11 on third down tries at Lucas Oil Stadium and kept the ball for 28:15, while the Colts, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:45, went 8 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh covered the 3-point spread in the Thanksgiving night contest like gravy on dressing with their 21-point win but neither club covered the 53 1/2 over/under, as they combined for only 35 points. Pittsburgh’s favored again, this time by 10 and the over/under’s 45. The 44 1/2? Makes sense. The 10 point spread? Not so much. The Colts have struggled this year but they’re not 10 point bad. Pittsburgh wins in the Hoosier State but doesn’t cover the 10.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville (5-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Los Angeles Chargers make the 2,421-mile trip down I-10 to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Sunshine State.

The Bolts come back to action from their bye after their 21-13 loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxboro the weekend before. The defending Super Bowl champs led the Bolts 15-7 at the break and the two clubs played even football the rest of the contest. Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski connected for a 2-yard TD pass as the second quarter was getting underway, while Philip Rivers (212 yards) and WR Travis Benjamin connected on a 24-yard TD strike with 8:30 left in regulation. Los Angeles managed to outrush New England 157-97 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 132 yards and a TD), while Brady threw for 333 yards for the Pats. New England on third down was 9 of 19 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:59, while the Chargers were 23:01 in time of possession, going 3 of 10 on third down (both teams were successful in their only fourth down tries).

Jacksonville pounced on Cincinnati last Sunday at EverBank Field, coming away 23-7 winners over the Bengals in the Sunshine STate. Jacksonville led 13-7 at the half in the Sunshine State, then shut out the Bengals in the second half. After Cincy”S A.J. Green and Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey were tossed out for fighting, the Jaguars put a final nail in the Bengals’ coffin when Jayden Mickens returned a punt 63 yards for a TD. Jacksonville, who went 12 of 18 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth) held the Bengals were held to 29 yards rushing, while the Jaguars tallied 149 and Blake Bortles threw for 259 yards with a TD and had no interceptions or sacks, while Andy Dalton threw for 136. The Bengals on third down were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 and kept the ball for 19:46, while Jacksonville ruled the clock and kept the ball for 40:14.

Including contests that were played in San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 7-2, the Bolts have outscored Jacksonville 274-158 and the Chargers have won the last six contests in the series, including coming away 38-14 winners last year at Qualcomm, while Jacksonville’s last win came in the Sunshine State by a final of 24-17 in 2007.

The 2016 contest took place on the West Coast in week two and the Chargers led 35-0 after 45 minutes of action (San Diego led 21-0 at the intermission) before the Jaguars would score their only points in the final period. Rivers threw for 220 yards and four TDs, two of them to WR Travis Benjamin, while the Chargers outrushed Jacksonville 150-69 (San Diego’s Melvin Gordon ran for 102 of those yards with a TD), while Blake Bortles (329 yards) was sacked twice and picked off twice. throwing a pair of TDs in the contest. The Chargers were 7 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 34:52, while Jacksonville held the pigskin for 25:08, going 2 of 11 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The Chargers’ 24-point win allowed them to cover the 3-point spread and both teams took care of the 47 over/under, scoring 52 points. The boys and girls in vegas like the Jaguars as 4 1/2 point favorites in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Jacksonville has already surpassed their win total from last year and the Jaguars are making noise in the AFC South, while the Chargers are coming back to life in the AFC West. Jacksonville covers the 4 1/2 in north Florida and wins at home.

Minnesota (6-2) at Washington (4-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The first-place Minnesota Vikings travel to Landover for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

The Vikings, who had a bye last week, defeated Cleveland 33-16 at London’s Twickenham Stadium in Week 8. Running back Jerick McKinnon had 122 scrimmage yards (72 receiving, 50 rushing) and a touchdown against the Browns. Minnesota led 13-12 at the break across the pond before they outscored the winless Browns 21-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. While Cleveland did outrush Minnesota 115-88, Vikings QB Case Keenum, who took over for Sam Bradford (knee), threw for 288 yards and a pair of TDs. Minnesota went 6 of 16  on third downs and held on to the ball for 37:52, while the struggling Browns were 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 22:08.

Washington held off Seattle to come away 17-14 winners in the Pacific Northwest last week. Washington led 7-2 at the half, thanks to a 1-yard run by RB Rob Kelly after the Seahawks sacked QB Kirk Cousins (247 yards, 6 sacks) for a safety to open the scoring. Washington then held off Seattle in the final 30 minutes of action and stopped a Seattle rally in the final seconds when Wilson’s pass to TE Jimmy Graham fell incomplete. Seattle, who outrushed Washington 148-51, went 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:19, while the Redskins kept the ball for 27:41, going 4 of 13 on third down tries.

The series is even at 10-10 (which includes games played at RFK Stadium, Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome) and the Vikings have outscored Washington 500-451. Their last meeting took place last year in Landover and the ‘Skins escaped wtih a 26-20 win (Minnesota’s last win over Washington came in 2014 in the Twin Cities, when the Vikings came away 29-26 winners).

They met in week 10 at FedEx Field and the Redskins trailed 20-14 at the half before Washington scored the final 14 points of the contest unchallenged, using four Dustin Hopkins field goals to seal the deal. Washington outrushed Minnesota 128-47, while Cousins threw for 262 yards for Washington, while Bradford threw for 307 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs). The Redskins went 6 of 12 on third down conversions in the home win, keeping the ball for 29:56, while the Vikings ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 30:04, going 5 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Washington was favored by 2 and covered the spread, winning by 6 and both clubs covered the 41 1/2 with 46 points. Minnesota’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. While this one’s not “Drill Worthy,” it’s worth your time to watch. Redskins fans were singing “Hail To The Redskins” last week after their win on the West Coast. They’ll be singing “Hail to the Redskins” this week too. Washington covers the 1 1/2 and wins in Landover.

Green Bay (4-4) at Chicago (3-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Windy City as Green Bay makes its way to Soldier Field for a Sunday afternoon contest with Chicago.

Green Bay trailed from start to finish and wound up on the short end of a 30-17 loss to Detroit at Lambeau Field last Monday night. The Packers trailed 14-3 at the break in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and could never get on track, although the Packers outrushed Detroit 78-64 in the Monday night contest. Matthew Stafford threw for 361 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Marvin Jones on both tosses, while Brett Hundley, who is under center while Aaron Rodgers recovers from a broken collarbone, threw for 245 yards. Detroit on third down tries went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 36:55, while the Packers were 2 of 9 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:05.

Da Bears gave New Orleans a scare, coming up short in the Big Easy as they fell to the Saints 20-12. (Chicago had a bye last week) The Saints led 14-3 at the intermission before Da Bears managed to outscore the Saints 9-6 in the last 30 minutes of play. New Orleans found themselves outrushed by Chicago 157-101 and Chicago’s Jordan Howard ran for 102 yards to lead all rushers. Brees threw for 299 yards, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 164 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The series? Tied 93-93-6 (which includes contests that were played at Wrigley Field and in Milwaukee) and Da Bears, who were known as the Staleys prior to 1922, have outscored Green Bay 3,300-3,284. Green Bay has taken wins in six of the last eight meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Chicago’s last win over the Packers came in 2015 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as Da Bears suprised Green Bay 17-13.)

Meeting number one… week 7 at Lambeau. Rodgers (326 yards, 3 TDS) and WR Devonte Adams connected on a pair of TDs in the 26-10 win in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. Green Bay led 6-3 at the intermission and never looked back, as they outrushed Chicago 103-69 in the first meeting. The Packers were 9 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 39:36, while Da Bears were 2 of 8 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 20:24.

Round two… the Windy City and Soldier Field… week 15. Temperature at gametime? A balmy 11 degrees with a -4 wind chill (compared to 47 degrees in Green Bay in the first meeting and that contest had a 42 wind chill). Green Bay led 27-10 at the end of three quarters before Chicago roared back in the final period to tie things up. Green Bay took it upon themselves in the frosty Chicago air in the final 79 seconds of the contest after Conner Barth tied things up with a 22-yard field goal, using all the 79 seconds they had left with a 5-play, 59-yard drive that ended with Matt Crosby connecting on a 32-yard field goal as time expired to win 30-27. Green Bay outrushed Chicago 226-95 (Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery led all rushers with 162 yards and a TD), while Rodgers threw for 252 yards, despite being sacked four times (Chicago’s Matt Barkley threw for 362 yards with a pair of TDs but was the victim of three interceptions). The Packers on third down? 3 of 10 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down), while Da Bears were 3 of 8. As far as the clock was concerned? Green Bay ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:47 (including the game-winning drive), while Chicago kept the ball for 27:13.

In the week 7 contest, played on a Thursday night, while the Packers covered the 8 1/2 point spread winning by 16, neither club covered the 45 1/2 over/under, tallying only 36 points. Green Bay was favored by 6 1/2 in the week 15 contest at Soldier Field but came away 3-point winners but both teams covered the over/under (which was 42) as they combined for 57 points. Chicago’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 37 1/2. It’s almost safe to say that both teams are in survival mode to an extent and both are better than their records show. Green Bay wins in the Windy City and covers the 3.

New Orleans (6-2) at Buffalo (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. It’s gumbo vs. chicken wings as the New Orleans Saints travel to upstate New York to face off against the Buffalo Bills.

New Orleans, who defeated Tampa Bay 30-10 last week, has won six consecutive games and are the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. Leading 16-3 at the break, the Saints took control of the second half, where things got somewhat chippy when Saints DB Marshon Lattimore and Tampa Bay RB Mike Evans were involved in a scuffle on the Bucs’ sideline in the third quarter. Evans would eventually be suspended for one game for his actions on the field.

New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 151-87 and Drew Brees threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs, while knocking Jameis Winston (67 yards) out of the contest with a shoulder injury. New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Big Easy and kept the ball for 32:18, while Tampa Bay, who was 27:42 in time of possession, went 4 of 13 on third downs.

Buffalo was taken to task last Thursday night in East Rutherford, as the Jets got their revenge on their AFC East rivals by taking a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium last Thursday night. The Jets led 10-7 at the intermission on the Jersey Shores before pulling away in the final 30 minutes of action. Tyrod Taylor ran for one TD and threw for another, tallying 285 yards in the air but was sacked seven times. The Bills, who were outrushed by the Jets 194-63, went 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:30, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, led by Josh McCown’s 140 yards (with a TD pass and a rushing TD), went 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:30.

New Orleans holds a 6-4 lead in the series, the Saints have outscored the Bills 236-183 and have won the last four meetings in the series, including taking a 35-17 win in the Big Easy in 2013 (Buffalo’s last win over the Saints came in 1998 in the Big Easy by a final of 45-33).

New Orleans is favored by 3 on the road and the over/under’s 47 1/2. The Saints are trying to unseat Atlanta as king of the NFC South mountain, while the Bills have been giving the NFC South problems this year. Wings beats gumbo. Bills circle the wagons and cover the 2 1/2 in upstate New York.

Cincinnati (3-5) at Tennessee (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Andy Dalton vs. Marcus Mariota. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Music City as the Tennessee Titans host the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium.

The Bengals were suprised by Jacksonville last Sunday, losing to the Jaguars 23-7 at EverBank Field. Cincinnati trailed 13-7 at the half in the Sunshine State, then found themselves shut out in the second half but it was non-football action that was the star of the show as Cincy”S A.J. Green and Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey were tossed out for fighting. Jacksonville then got its composure back and iced the game away when Jayden Mickens returned a punt 63 yards for a TD. The Bengals were held to 29 yards rushing, while the Jaguars tallied 149 and Blake Bortles threw for 259 yards with a TD and had no interceptions or sacks, while Dalton threw for 136. The Bengals on third down were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 and kept the ball for 19:46, while Jacksonville ruled the clock and kept the ball for 40:14, going 12 of 18 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Tennessee held off Baltimore 23-20 at Nissan Stadium last Sunday afternoon. The Titans led 16-6 at the half before the Ravens made it a closer contest than Titan fans would have wanted when Joe Flacco (261 yards, two sacks, two interceptions) threw a pair of fourth quarter TD passes, one to RB Javarious Allen and the other to WR Mike Wallace with 46 seconds left to play. Baltimore then tried the onside kick and the Titans recovered the ball and ran out the clock. Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier rushing-wise and the Ravens barely outrushed Tennessee 73-71, while Mariota threw for 218 yards with a pair of TDs. Baltimore went 6 of 16 on third down tries but struck paydirt on fourth down, as they went 3 of 4 and the Ravens ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:22, while the Titans were 3 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:38.

Tennessee leads the series 39-33-1, including contests that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers but the Bengals have outscored Tennessee 1,693-1,687 and Cincinnati has won the last two meetings, including coming away 33-7 winners along the shores of the Ohio River in 2014, while Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2008, with the Titans taking down the Bengals 24-7 in Cincinnati. Tennessee’s favored by 4 1/2 in the Music City and the over/under’s 40 1/2. The Titans are trying to keep Jacksonville at bay in the AFC South, while the Bengals are looking up at Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC North. Cincy bounces back from the drubbing in Jacksonville and makes sour music for the Titans in the Music City, covering the 4 1/2.

Houston (3-5) at Los Angeles Rams (6-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. The struggling Texans make their way westward to face off against the Los Angeles Rams, who are in the top spot in the NFC West.

Houston gave Indianapolis a scare before losing to the Colts 20-14 at Houston last week. On the final play of the game, which started at the Indianapolis seven-yard line, Colts linebacker Jabaal Sheard sacked Texans QB Tom Savage and forced a fumble – which was recovered by linebacker Barkevious Mingo – to seal the victory. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had five catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the win at Houston. Indy led 10-7 at the break in the Lone Star State and then held off the late Texans rally to seal the win. Houston did manage to outrush the Colts 94-92 and Jacoby Brissett, who took over for Andrew Luck (shoulder), threw for 308 yards and a pair of TDs, while Savage threw for 219 yards and a TD and was sacked twice, with the second coming at the end of the contest. Both teams were 4 of 19 on third down conversions, the Texans were 0 pf 1 on fourth down and the Colts ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:59 to Houston’s 29:01.

The Rams broke a 7-7 first quarter tie with the New York Giants in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon and proceeded to outscore the Giants 44-10 in the last three quarters, taking a 51-17 win in the process. Taking a 27-10 with them to the half, the Rams stepped on the gas in the second half and never looked back. Todd Gurley ran for a couple of TDs at Met Life Stadium, while Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 311 yards, while the Giants’ Eli Manning threw for 220 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Rams outrushed New York 162-111 and went 6 of 12 on third down conversions (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Giants, who held the ball for 29:30, went 8 of 16 on third downs.

The Rams lead the series 2-1 (which includes one contest when the Rams were in St. Louis) and they have outscored the Texans 84-56. Los Angeles won the last meeting, which took place in the Lone Star State, as they came away 38-13 winners in 2013, while Houston’s lone win over the Rams came in 2009 in St. Louis by a final of 16-13. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Rams as 12 point favorites and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Houston keeps this one closer than 12 but the Rams prevail in Tinsletown and takes the win on the West Coast.

New York Giants (1-7) at San Francisco (0-9), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. It’s a battle of last-place teams in wine country as the New York Giants and San Francisco meet in Santa Clara at Levis’ Stadium.

The Giants and Eli Manning saw the Los Angeles Rams break a 7-7 first quarter tie in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon and then proceed to lose 51-17 in the process. New York trailed 27-10 at the half, then watched the Rams step on the gas in the second half and never looked back. Todd Gurley ran for a couple of TDs at Met Life Stadium, while Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 311 yards, while Manning threw for 220 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Rams outrushed New York 162-111 and went 6 of 12 on third down conversions (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Giants, who held the ball for 29:30, went 8 of 16 on third downs.

The winless 49ers trailed Arizona 14-3 at the half against NFC West foe Arizona and dropped a 20-10 decision to the Cardinals in Santa Clara in a contest that got chippy when Arizona’s Frostee Rucker and San Francisco’s Carlos Hyde were both ejected from the contest for fighting in the fourth quarter. Arizona outrushed San Francisco 167-63, with Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson leading all rushers with 159 yards, while Drew Stanton threw for 201 yards and a pair of TDs and San Francisco’s C.J. Bethard threw for 294 yards with a rushing TD but was sacked five times in the 10-point loss. San Francisco went 6 of 17 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:38, while the Cardinals, who ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 36:22, went 7 of 16 on third down tries.

The Giants lead the series 16-15, including contests that took place at Yankee Stadium, Keezar Stadium, the Yale Bowl and Candlestick Park, Big Blue has outscored San Francisco 619-606. New York won the last meeting with San Francisco, coming away 30-27 winners in the Meadowlands in 2015, while the 49ers’ last win also came in the Meadowlands, as they would win 16-10 in 2014. New York’s favored by 2 1/2 in wine country and the over/under’s 42. Take a pass on this one and beg your wife, girlfriend or significant other to take you on that early Christmas shopping. Your heart will thank you, the economy will thank you and so will your sanity. San Francisco breaks their losing streak at home and covers the 1 1/2.

New England (6-2) at Denver (3-5), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The defending Super Bowl champs return to the Mile High City as Tom Brady and the Pats take on the struggling Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, closing out Sunday action in week 10.

New England and Brady return to action from their bye after they downed the Los Angeles Chargers 21-13 in Foxboro the weekend before. The defending Super Bowl champs led the Bolts 15-7 at the break and the two clubs played even football the rest of the contest. Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski connected for a 2-yard TD pass as the second quarter was getting underway, while Philip Rivers (212 yards) and WR Travis Benjamin connected on a 24-yard TD strike with 8:30 left in regulation. Los Angeles managed to outrush New England 157-97 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 132 yards and a TD), while Brady threw for 333 yards for the Pats. New England on third down was 9 of 19 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:59, while the Chargers were 23:01 in time of possession, going 3 of 10 on third down (both teams were successful in their only fourth down tries).

Denver spun its wheels in Philadelphia last Sunday and took a 51-23 loss out of the City of Brotherly Love last Sunday. The Broncos could never get on track last week, trailing 31-9 at the half and used Brock Osweiler under center for the slumping Trevor Siemian. Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw for 199 yards and four TDS, while Osweiler threw for 208 yards with a TD to WR  Demaryius Thomas, while he was sacked three times and picked off twice. Philly easily outrushed Denver 197-35, with newly accquired RB Jay Ajayi leading all rushers with 77 yards and a TD. Denver went 3 of 13 on third down conversions at Lincoln Financial Field (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:06, while the Eagles, who kept the ball for 29:54, was 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Denver leads the series 26-21 (including games played in Boston when the Pats called Fenway Park home) and they have outscored New England 1,077-1,023. New England won the last meeting with the Broncos, taking a 16-3 win in the Mile High City last year (Denver’s last regular season win over the Pats came a year earlier, also in Denver, when the Broncos, led by Peyton Manning, beat Brady and the Pats 30-24 in overtime.

The last meeting was played in week 15 in somewhat chilly conditions at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, with a game-time temperature of 18 (wind chill? 7). New England used three Steven Gostkowski field goals and a 1-yard run by LeGarrett Blount, while holding the Broncos to a Brad McMannus first quarter field goal to take the 13-point road win. New England outrushed Denver 136-58 and Brady threw for 188 yards, while Siemian threw for 282 yards but was sacked four times (Brady was sacked twice). New England went 5 of 17 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:36, while the Broncos were 2 of 12 and held the ball for 26:24 (both teams were 0 of 1 on fourth down).

In the week 15 contest in the Rockies, the Pats covered the 3-point spread, winning by 13 but neither club covered the 44 over/under, scoring only 19 points. New England is favored by 7 1/2 on the road and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Denver’s trying to restore some order and get themselves back in the playoff hunt, even if it means being a wild card team, while the Pats are trying to stay on top of the NFL mountain. New England won’t cover the 7 1/2 but they take the win on the road.

Miami (4-4) at Carolina (6-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 10 closes out in the Tar Heel State as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers entertain the Miami Dolphins at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

Miami trailed Oakland 13-9 at the half last Sunday night in Miami, then rallied to keep things close before falling to the Raiders 27-20 at Hard Rock Stadium in the Sunshine State. There were two bright spots for the Dolphins. First, they outrushed Oakland 86-84 in front of the home crowd; second, Jay Cutler threw for 311 yards with three TDs and no interceptions (Oakland’s Derek Carr threw for 300 yards). Miami went 5 of 12 on third down Sunday night (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:04, while the Raiders were 30:56 in time of possession, while going 8 of 15 on third downs.

Carolina erased a 10-0 first quarter deficit against Atlanta and took the lead for keeps, taking a 20-17 win over the defending NFC champions in Charlotte last Sunday afternoon. Carolina outrushed Atlanta 201-53, while Cam Newton threw for 137 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest. Atlanta, led by Matt Ryan with 313 yards and a pair of TDs, was 4 of 12 on third down (0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:08, while the Panthers kept the ball for 32:52, while going 4 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Miami leads the series 4-1, the Dolphins have outscored the Panthers 103-76 and Miami won the first four meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 2009 in Charlotte by a final of 24-17, while Carolina’s lone win in the series came in 2013 in Miami by a final of 20-16.

The Dolphins on Monday nights are 41-41, while the Panthers are 9-6 under the prime time lights. Carolina’s favored by 9 and the over/under is 38 1/2. While it’s not one of the better Monday night matchups, it’s worth your time, so you might want to tape “Scorpion” this week. Miami pulls the upset in Charlotte and they’ll be finer in Carolina, taking the road win.

It’s the second largest day that has food involved next to Thanksgiving. While it’s not a holiday, many have pressed Congress to make it a National holiday. Once an event that took place in the early afternoon after church, it’s now a prime-time event and many watch the commericals but for the most part, there’s a sporting event involved.

For the 51st time since its birth, Super Bowl Sunday will make an appearance, like the swallows at San Juan Capistrano. It signals the end of the football season. The winners get to take home a trophy that looks a lot like a football. The loser will be second guessed right up to kickoff the next season.

Friends, co-workers and families will gather for the big game. Church youth groups will have their get together, while most churches or mosques will move up their services so their parishoners can go home and watch the game. New televsions will be purchased on the day of or before kickoff and most will watch their team either win it all or lose.

A few things you need to know about the Super Bowl.

1. This year’s contest is Super Bowl LI (51 for those that are not familiar with Roman numerals).

2. It is one of the most-watched events in the history of televison or sports for that matter (Last year’s Super Bowl 50 contest between Denver and Carolina had 167,000,000 viewers either watching the game live on CBS or online either in the United States or outside the borders. The game had a 72 share, according to Nielsen, which meant that 72 percent of all televisions in the United States were tuned to the Super Bowl and the game had a 46.6 rating).

3. To date, through last year’s Super Bowl 50 contest in Santa Clara, 3,876,314 have attended Super Bowl games. The largest crowd was 103,985 at Super Bowl XIV, which was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. That’s an average of 77,526. The smallest crowd? The first Super Bowl, which took place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The crowd that day? 61,946. The cost of the cheapest ticket in the first Super Bowl? $5. Today, expect to spend about $3 to 4 thousand for a good seat with the cheap ones coming in at about $2,500.

4. There has never been a shutout in the history of the Super Bowl and while there have been some blowouts, for the most part, every team that has played in a Super Bowl on the winnning and losing side have scored points. There has never been a game go into overtime, either.

5. Remember that food thing we talked about before? There’s going to be a lot of it, which means that there could very well be leftovers. Remember your manners and watch out for your cousin Connie. She’s been known to wipe out a buffet and wiped out your Super Bowl party last year and did not gain a pound. Connie by herself could keep the local grocery store in business for the next three years. Be sure your guests have fun, they’re happy and they don’t drink and drive.

6. There are a lot of prop bets, which don’t always involve the game itself. Bets will be placed on the ammount of time it takes to sing the National Anthem, who scores first, what the halftime performer will be wearing (or not wearing). This year’s National Anthem singer, by the way, is Luke Bryant and Lady Gaga has the Halftime duties, in case you’re wondering.

7. There will be a lot of TVs sold during Super Bowl week. That’s a lot of cable and dish sales going on as well. Just make sure your dish/cable bill and the power bill’s paid.

8. The Super Bowl halftime show is 20 minutes long, instead of the usual 15. Be patient. There’s going to be a lot of moving parts involved, such as getting the players into the locker room, getting the performers set and ready to go and then taking everything down.

9. As a courtesy to their football neighbors, the NBA and NHL have a limited schedule of games and the last ones start at 1 p.m. Eastern, giving their fans a chance to watch the Super Bowl.

10. Lastly, those commercials. They’re not cheap. A 30-second ad will run you about $5.5 million or $183,333.00 a second. That means that you have about five seconds or so to decide if you like the ad or change the channel.

32 teams started the season with one goal in mind. There are four teams that have never gone to the big game in the Super Bowl era (Cleveland, Jacksonville, Detroit and Houston, either as the Oilers or the Texans). At the end of tonight’s contest in Houston, one team will be holding the Lombardi Trophy, while the other 31 will say “that should have been ours.”

Is the Super Bowl a BIG DEAL?

It’s a HUGE deal.

ATLANTA (11-5, NFC South champion, 2nd seed) vs. New England (14-2, AFC East Champion, 1st seed). Ryan vs. Brady. Peach pie vs. Clam chowder. New England vs. Atlanta. The two best teams in the National Football League meet to determine who takes home the Lombardi Trophy. The home of the Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, is the site of the last game of the 2016 campaign. Super Bowl LI takes the stage as the Lone Star State hosts the big game for the third time.

Both teams took big wins in their respective championship games in front of their home crowds. Atlanta took Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers to task January 22nd in the final game at the Georgia Dome, coming away with an impressive 44-21 win over the Packers to take the Halas Trophy and the NFC Championship. Atlanta led from start to finish in the Big Peach, leading 24-0 at the half and increased that lead to 31-0 with 13:51 left in the third before the Packers ended Atlanta’s hopes of a shutout when WR Davante Adams caught a 2-yard TD pass from Rodgers (287 yards, three TDs, interception) with 9:19 left in the period. Green Bay, who had a chance to score in the first half, missed a 41-yard field goal try by Mason Crosby and was marching down the field before Aaron Ripkowski fumbled near the goal line and Atlanta recovered, was held to 99 yards rushing, while the Falcons tallied 101 yards and a pair of rushing TDs from Tevin Coleman and Ryan. Ryan, who threw for 392 yards and four TDs without an interception, connected with Julio Jones on a pair of TD passes, the longest going for 73 yards and WRs Mohamed Sanu and RB DeVanta Freeman. Atlanta ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:39, while going 10 of 13 on third down in the win. Green Bay, who turned the ball over twice, went 4 of 10 on third down tries (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the pigskin for 26:21.

New England took the AFC title and the Lamar Hunt Trophy in Foxboro after their 36-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger at Gillette Stadium. Pittsburgh made it a close contest in the first 30 minutes of action and trailed 17-9 at the half before New England and Brady pulled away to take control of things in the second half. As far as the rushing game went in the Sunday evening contest, neither club breached the 100-yard barrier and barely touched the 50 yard mark in the contest (New England outrushed Pittsburgh 57-54), while Brady threw for 384 yards and three TDs. Meanwhile, for his efforts, Roethlisberger threw for 314 yards and a TD but was picked off once. In forcing a pair of turnovers for their win, the Pats were 11 of 17 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:26, while the Steelers kept the pigskin for 28:34, going 9 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

New England leads the series 7-6 in regular season play and has won the last four contests, including taking a 30-23 win in the Big Peach in 2013. However, the Falcons have outscored New England 300-249. Atlanta’s last win over New England came in 1998 in Foxboro, where they left Gillette Stadium with a 41-10 win in hand. Atlanta is 0-1 in their only Super Bowl, while the Pats are 4-4 in eight trips to the big game.

Fpr one team, they’ll have a parade and a Lombardi Trophy to keep as well as bragging rights for the season. For the other, they’ll be talked about and second-guessed for years and years. Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. The last football game of the 2016 campaign. After this one’s over, there’s no more football until the pre-season, which means that most of America will be forced to watch those Gosh-awful Lifetime movies on Sundays until Baseball season. There have been 51 of these games and this contest is the star of the show in the sports world. The end of the 2016 NFL season will see a new champion.

It’s also the last chance for “THE DRILL.” It’s kinda sad but even Connie needs some time off (she can still fit into that prom dress she had in high school). (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

It’s the FINAL game of the 2016 campaign. When this one’s over, the winners get the Lombardi Trophy and each player gets a $107,000 check (Which comes out to $26,750 a quarter or $1,733.33 a minute). The loser? They don’t come away completely empty handed. Granted, the check isn’t as big as the winner’s. Each player on the losing team gets a whopping $53,000 or $13,250 a quarter or $883.33 a minute.

The last game of the 2016 campaign gets underway in Houston at NRG Stadium, which will make it the third time that Texas’ largest city has hosted the big game.

Two teams. One game. It all comes down to this.

New England has 9 Super Bowl berths, most in NFL history. Have won 8 consecutive division titles, longest streak in NFL history. Since 2001, have won 4 Super Bowl titles, most in NFL. Have 31-19 (.620) all-time postseason record, 2nd highest winning pct. in playoff history. Head coach Bill Belichick has 25 career postseason wins, most all-time and has won 4 Super Bowl titles (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), tied with Chuck Noll for most in NFL history. As far as their resepctive divisons go, both clubs won their divisions with one loss under their belts (Atlanta lost to Tampa Bay at home in week one, while the Pats were shut out by Buffalo in Foxboro in week four).

Atlanta is making their 2nd Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Atlanta won the NFC South title and advanced to postseason for 1st time since 2012. Ranked 1st in NFL in total points (540) and 2nd in total offense (415.8 yards per game). Head coach Dan Quinn is making 3rd Super Bowl appearance in past 4 seasons and Was defensive coordinator for Seattle in Super Bowls XLVIII and XLIX.

“It’s an honor to get to go and play in this game,” says Patriots wide receiver Julian Edleman, who is the franchise postseason leader in both catches (84) and receiving yards (937). “This is what you fight for. This is what you train for. It’s to get an opportunity to play in this game,” he told the Boston Globe and the Christian Scientist Monitor.

“This is a really special team,” says Falcons fullback Patrick Di Marco told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have so many playmakers on offense, defense and special teams. This is a special time for this organization. I am super proud and super excited we are going to be playing in Houston. The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl – not just get there – and we still have a game ahead of us. We still have one more game to win.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will be making their seventh Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won four Super Bowls together, tied with Pittsburgh head coach Chuck Noll and quarterback Terry Bradshaw for the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

“I’m proud of this team,” says Belichick. “They all deserve this. It’s a good, hard-working group.”

Belichick is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Noll for the most Super Bowl victories by a head coach with four. Brady, who is making his NFL-record seventh career Super Bowl start, is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Bradshaw and JOE MONTANA for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback with four.

“You never know if you’ll get these opportunities in life and fortunately this team has got the opportunity,” says Brady about advancing to the Super Bowl. “Now we’ve got to do something and go try and take advantage of it.”

Brady and Montana are the only players in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP three times. Brady, who was the MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XLIX, can become the first player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors four times.

Brady enters Super Bowl LI already holding numerous Super Bowl passing records, including attempts (247), completions (164), yards (1,605) and touchdown passes (13).

“He’s the best quarterback to ever play the game,” says Patriots running back Le Garrette Blount about Brady. “He’s obviously, in my opinion, the best ever.”

The Patriots have won nine consecutive games and advanced to the Super Bowl with a 36-17 victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. In that contest, Brady passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring strikes to wide receiver Chris Hogan. Hogan finished the game with nine catches for a franchise postseason-record 180 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m just happy to take advantage of this opportunity and be a part of this team,” says Hogan. “This whole team has worked so hard starting in April in OTAs. We’ve grinded through this entire year. This is what we worked for and this is what we wanted to get to.”

Patriots running back Blount, who led the NFL with a club-record 18 rushing touchdowns, added a rushing TD against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Including the postseason, Blount’s 19 rushing touchdowns are tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (1996) for the most by a Patriots player in a single season.

The Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history (Super Bowl XXXIII, 1998 season) with a 44-21 win over Green Bay in the final game at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta, which led the NFL with 540 points scored, has won six consecutive games and is averaging 39.0 points per game over that span. The Falcons are the first team ever to advance to the Super Bowl by scoring at least 30 points in each of the club’s previous six games.

“I’m happy for everybody in our organization,” says Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point but the challenge is still in front of us. What we set out to accomplish is still in front of us. It’s really difficult to get to this point, and we will enjoy the process leading into it but our ultimate goal is still in front of us.”

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who is in his second year with the team, will be making his third Super Bowl appearance in the past four seasons. Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in Super Bowls XLVIII (2013 season) and XLIX (2014).

“I am excited for the opportunity. But more importantly, I’m excited for these players,” says Quinn. “It’ll be a great challenge.”

Atlanta quarterback Ryan, who led the league with a franchise-record 117.1 passer rating, has continued his stellar play in the postseason with a 132.6 passer rating. Over the team’s six-game winning streak, Ryan has thrown 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 133.3 passer rating.

“MVP,” says Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones when asked how to describe Ryan. “He’s a great player. He’s a great leader on this team and he’s my brother.”

Ryan has thrown at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive postseason games, the first player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. In this year’s playoffs, Ryan has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions.

The Falcons have spread the ball out as Ryan threw a touchdown pass to 13 different players in the regular season, the most ever in a season in league history. Among his favorite targets is Jones, who led the NFL averaging 100.6 receiving yards per game this season (1,409 yards in 14 games).

“He’s a beast,” says Ryan about Jones. “He’s an absolute stud. I’ve been so lucky to play with him as long as I have.”

Jones had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. It marked his second career postseason game with at least 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns and he is the only player in league history to accomplish that feat in multiple playoff games. In five career postseason games, Jones has 552 receiving yards and five touchdown catches. His average of 110.4 receiving yards per game is the highest in NFL postseason history (minimum five games).

Defensively, the Falcons are powered by Vic Beasley, Jr., who led the NFL in sacks (15.5), and a quartet of rookies – safety Keanu Neal, cornerback Brian Poole and linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell. All four rookies started in the NFC Championship Game and Atlanta can become the first team ever to start four rookies on defense in the Super Bowl. Jones (106) and Neal (105) led all NFL rookies in tackles this season.

“Every day, we are just trying to get one percent better for the guy next to us,” says Poole. “Every play, we are going to give it all we’ve got and not let our teammates down. We’re going out there trying to play ball and let people know that what we’ve got is serious.”

Beasley, who is in his second year, had a career-high 15.5 sacks and is the first Falcons player to lead the league in sacks. During the team’s current six-game winning streak, Atlanta has allowed just 19.3 points per game (27.6 points per game in the team’s first 12 games).

“We feel like we have the potential to be a great defense,” Beasley told WSB-TV. “Early in the season, we weren’t playing as well but we have come a long way and now we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

New England’s favored by 3 points in the last game of the 2016 National Football League season and the over/under is 59. Both numbers make a lot of sense. There’s a lot at stake and not just for those that have ads in this year’s contest. There’s a lot at stake for the teams that are involved. The winners will be looked at and heralded for eternity, while the losers will be second-guessed for the entire off season. The winner gets to pick last in the upcoming draft, the loser will pick 31st. Rise up, Atlanta! You’re picking last. Falcons cover the 3 and pull off the upset.

Records vs. Common Opponents

New England: 4-1 (Arizona. 1-0; Denver 1-0; Los Angeles Rams 1-0; Seattle. 0-1; San Francisco 1-0)

Atlanta: 5-1 (Arizona 1-0; Denver 1-0; Los Angeles 1-0; Seattle 1-1; San Francisco 1-0)(Atlanta’s win over Seattle came in the Divisional Round)

Playoff Records – New England: 31-19; Atlanta: 9-12

Broadcast Information – 6:30 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (Field reporters). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Tony Boselli, James Lofton (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New England), 82 (Atlanta). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (New England), 82 (Atlanta)

Referee: Carl Chefferss

Injury Report

ATLANTA – Atlanta reported no injuries.

New England – New England reported no injuries.

Weather Report: Game indoors

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

The National Football League and the Texas Medical Center (TMC) announced the launch of 1st and Future, the league’s annual Super Bowl start-up competition, to be held at the TMC Innovation Institute in Houston on Saturday, February 4, the day before Super Bowl LI.

The 1st and Future competition will focus on innovations that advance sports technology and athlete safety. Start-ups were allowed to submit entries in three categories— Communicating with the Athlete, Training the Athlete and Materials to Protect the Athlete—for the chance to pitch their innovation to competition judges and an exclusive audience, including NFL team owners and executives and representatives from the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and Texas Medical Center.

“We’re pleased to partner with the Texas Medical Center on this initiative to fuel innovation and advance athlete safety,” Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Policy told KPRC-TV, KHOU-TV and the Houston Chronicle. “The NFL will use its biggest stage—the Super Bowl—to continue to catalyze the development of technologies and other products that will help improve the game and promote the safety of athletes across all sports.”

The NFL and TMC will select up to nine companies from the three categories to compete in Houston. One winner from each category will be selected by a panel of judges comprising former NFL players, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. The winners will receive a $50,000 prize from the NFL to further develop their innovation; acceptance into TMCx, TMC’s world-renowned program for start-ups and two tickets to Super Bowl LI.

“TMC provides a one-of-a-kind environment where the best and brightest minds in health and technology and private companies can collaborate to drive breakthrough ideas to market and transform the health of humanity,” said Dr. Robert C. Robbins, president and CEO of TMC. “The NFL and TMC both value healthy competition, prioritize the safety of the athletes and know that we can achieve more through teamwork and collaboration. We are partnering to give sports technology and safety companies this career-changing opportunity to help advance sports and shape the future of athlete health and safety.”

TMC will livestream the 1st and Future event on the TMC website as contestants compete in the following three categories:

•Communicating with the Athlete: New technologies that will improve the secure and safe means of communication between a coach on the sideline or in the coaches’ booth and a designated player on the field.

•Training the Athlete: Educational and training innovations designed to reduce injury during practice or competition. Innovations may include training techniques or equipment.

•Materials to Protect the Athlete: Novel or innovative solutions and materials that advance player health and safety while allowing for the highest-level of performance. Innovations may include but are not limited to, materials that: improve breathability, heat dissipation or provide better protection for players by absorbing or mitigating force. These materials may be incorporated into protective equipment, padding, uniforms or footwear among other potential uses.

About TMC: Home to 57 member institutions, including 21 hospitals, 13 support organizations, nine academic and research institutions, six nursing programs, three public health organizations, three medical schools, two universities, two pharmacy schools and a dental school, TMC operates the world’s largest medical city with eight million patients and family encounters with doctors, nurses and staff at TMC every year. TMC is dedicated to reinventing life sciences to improve the health and wellness of Houston and the world. Learn more at tmc.edu.

The National Football League and FOX Sports announced that country music superstar Luke Bryan will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LI pregame festivities at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, February 5. The performance will be televised live on FOX prior to kickoff.

The Super Bowl is annually the most-watched television program. Bryan’s performance of the National Anthem in Houston will be his first time appearing on the Super Bowl stage.

Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year and has hosted the ACM Awards for four consecutive years. Since the debut of his first album in 2007, he has placed 17 singles at No.1 and sold nearly eight million albums. His fifth studio album, Kill The Lights, is certified Platinum and has sold 3.5 million tracks with over 400 million streams.

Bryan joins the ranks of many great performers who have sang the Super Bowl National Anthem including: Lady Gaga, Idina Menzel, Renée Fleming, Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Whitney Houston, Harry Connick, Jr., Garth Brooks, Natalie Cole, Vanessa Williams, Luther Vandross, Cher, Faith Hill, Mariah Carey, Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé Knowles, Christina Aguilera and many more.

In addition, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), actor Kriston Lee Pumphrey will perform in American Sign Language both the National Anthem and “America The Beautiful”.

The NFL previously announced that Lady Gaga, who performed the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl 50, will headline the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show. The pregame and halftime shows are an NFL NETWORK PRODUCTION and will be executive produced by Ricky Kirshner.

About Luke Bryan: Country music superstar Luke Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year. He has hosted the ACM Awards for four consecutive years. Since the debut of his first album in 2007 he has placed 17 singles at number 1 and sold nearly eight million albums. His fifth studio album, Kill The Lights, is certified Platinum and has sold 3.5 million tracks with over 400 million streams. The album debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top 200 (his third to do so) and Top Country Albums charts and contains five consecutive No 1 hits- so far.

His concert tours have consistently sold out shows across North America including many NFL Stadiums like the Patriot’s Gillette Stadium where Luke played back-to back sold out concerts last summer. Luke has also sold out Chicago’s Soldier Field, Cleveland’s First Energy Stadium, the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Ford Field in Detroit, the home of the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field and Levi Stadium in San Francisco. His 2015 tour played for 1.5 million fans and in 2016 he entertained 1.6 million fans on his “Kill The Lights Tour.” That tour continues this spring with a new tour planned for the summer.

About Kriston Lee Pumphrey: Kriston Lee Pumphrey is a performing artist who is working as a news anchor at the Deaf Professional Arts Network (DPAN-TV). Kriston Lee graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2009 with a degree in business and communication. Kriston Lee co-founded ColorFest, a Deaf LGBT leadership conference for college students that is hosted both at Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Kriston Lee is involved in various community related advocacy work and currently serves on the board of a D.C. based nonprofit organization that strives to end sexual assault and domestic violence within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

In other NFL, Super Bowl music-related news…

The National Football League and FOX Sports announced that Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Phillipa Soo, original cast members of the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit “Hamilton: An American Musical,” will sing “America The Beautiful” as part of Super Bowl LI pregame festivities at NRG Stadium on Sunday, February 5. The performance will be televised live on FOX prior to kickoff.

The Super Bowl is annually the most-watched television program. The appearance will be the first time the trio, who starred as “The Schuyler Sisters,” will perform on the Super Bowl stage.

Goldsberry, Jones and Soo join Vicky Carr (Super Bowl XI), Ray Charles (Super Bowl XXXV), Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony (Super Bowl XXXVI), Alicia Keys (Super Bowl XXXIX), Faith Hill (Super Bowl XLIII), Queen Latifah (Super Bowl XLIV and XLVIII), Lea Michele (Super Bowl XLVI) in singing “America The Beautiful” at Super Bowl. In 2013, Jennifer Hudson along with 26 children from the Newton, Connecticut community sang the song in advance of Super Bowl XLVII.

The NFL previously announced that Luke Bryan will perform the National Anthem, Kriston Lee Pumphrey will perform in American Sign Language the National Anthem and “America The Beautiful” and Lady Gaga will headline the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show. The pregame and halftime shows are an NFL NETWORK PRODUCTION and will be executive produced by Ricky Kirshner.

About Renée Elise Goldsberry: Renée Elise Goldsberry received the Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Desk Award and Lucille Lortel Award for her performance off and on Broadway in the musical phenomenon Hamilton. Since winning the Tony Award, she has appeared in Baz Luhrmann’s “The Get Down” for Netflix and shot the title role for HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” opposite Oprah Winfrey. She is currently in production for the Netflix series “Altered Carbon”. Prior to Hamilton, Renee’s appearances on stage include her Outer Critics Circle Award nominated performance opposite Frances McDormand in the play Good People, as well as the original stage version of The Color Purple.  She made her Broadway debut in The Lion King and starred as Mimi in the final cast of Rent, filmed live on Broadway. Her off-Broadway appearances have included several Shakespeare productions for the New York Public Theater, where Hamilton originated. Her television appearances include her recurring roles on “The Good Wife,” “Law and Order: SVU” and “The Following.”  She was nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance on “One Life to Live.” On film, she appeared most recently in “Sisters” with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and in “Every Secret Thing” with Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks.

About Jasmine Cephas Jones: Jasmine Cephas Jones originated the roles of ‘Peggy Schuyler’ and ‘Maria Reynolds’ in the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit HAMILTON an American Musical. Jasmine trained at the Berklee College of Music for vocal performance and The Neighborhood Playhouse for Theater. She is a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company. Theater: Hamilton (Broadway), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Atlantic Theater) Film: Mistress America (Fox Searchlight), Titus (Dakus Films UK). Television: “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Unforgettable (CBS), “Odd Mom Out” (Bravo). Jasmine will be seen in the upcoming feature, BLOOD SURF with James Franco and the upcoming season of GIRLS (HBO). Jasmine has a fashion collaboration with the LOU & GREY brand debuting this spring.

About Phillipa Soo: Phillipa Soo is best known for her lead role in Broadway’s critically acclaimed show “Hamilton,” which she joined shortly after its inception. This Broadway phenomenon penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda and based on Ron Chernow’s 800 plus page biography of Alexander Hamilton, is predominantly focused on the trajectory of its titular character. But the Thomas Kail-directed production, which opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre last year, is as much about the personalities surrounding the founding father, chief among them his wife ‘Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’, played by Soo. The role also garnered her the Lucille Lortel Award in 2015 for Lead Actress in a Musical during the shows sold-out run at The Public Theater before heading to Broadway. The role has also earned her a 2016 Tony Award nomination in the category of “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.” Soo will next star in Amelie, A New Musical, based on the Academy Award-winning 2001 French film, Amelie, opening on April 3, 2017 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Amelie follows the whimsical and charming existence of a lonely French waitress who decides to act as a secret wish-fulfiller to the people who live around her.  After graduating from Juilliard in 2012, Soo was cast as ‘Natasha Rostova’ in the Ars Nova production of Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, based on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace; the show went on to transfer Off-Broadway to Kazino. Previously on the small screen, Soo appeared on the NBC television series “Smash” in the role of Lexi. Soo currently resides in New York City.

Keegna-Michael Key, Emmy-award winning actor, writer and creator, will take the stage as host of NFL HONORS on Saturday, February 4 at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston. The two-hour primetime awards special recognizing the NFL’s best players, performances and plays from the 2016 season will air nationally at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacifci on FOX.

Key is the co-creator and co-star of Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” with Jordan Peele. The show won the 2016 Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, with Key being individually nominated for acting and co-writing with Peele. Key was previously nominated for five Emmy Awards for his work on the show, as well as a 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. “Key and Peele” won a 2014 Peabody Award and an American Comedy Award for Best Alternative Comedy Series. The show has become a TV and viral sensation, with 15 total Emmy® nominations and approaching a billion cumulative online hits. The series concluded its five season run in September 2015.

Key can currently be seen in John Hamburg’s comedy Why Him? in which he stars alongside James Franco, Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally. 20th Century Fox released the film on December 23. Earlier in the year, he starred in in Mike Birbiglia’s critically acclaimed Don’t Think Twice, which premiered at this year’s South by Southwest and Tribeca Film Festivals and was widely regarded as one of the best films of 2016. He also co-starred and produced Warner Brothers’ Keanu, alongside Jordan Peele.

Keegan recently wrapped production on Nick Stoller’s comedy series “Friends from College” that will premiere on Netflix later this year.

Music for the show will be performed by vocalist-instrumentalist Spencer Ludwig. The trumpeter, singer, producer and dancer was the lyrical lead trumpeter for the multiplatinum-selling indie pop act, Capital Cities and toured on Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour. In April of 2015, Ludwig signed a worldwide record deal as a solo artist with Warner Brothers Records.

“NFL Honors,” which debuted in Indianapolis in 2012, is an annual event hosted from the Super Bowl city the evening before the AFC and NFC champions meet. Key joins Alec Baldwin, Seth Myers and Conan O’Brien on the list of award-winning celebrities to host the NFL’s awards show.

The show includes the announcement of THE Associated Press’ annual accolades and the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class. Preceding FOX’s telecast, NFL Network will air “Super Bowl Saturday Night” at 7 p.m. Eastern, covering all the sights and sounds from the Red Carpet presented by VISA at NFL Honors.

The full list of awards that will be presented is:
AP Most Valuable Player Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year presented by Nationwide
AP Coach of the Year AP Comeback Player of the Year presented by McDonald’s
AP Offensive Player of the Year presented by Microsoft
AP Defensive Player of the Year presented by Old Spice
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year
FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year
NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year
Courtyard’s Greatness on the Road Award
Salute To Service Award presented by USAA
Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
Deacon Jones Award
Castrol EDGE Clutch Performer of the Year
Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year

Super Bowl LI brings much more than football to the Houston area. Throughout the weeks preceding the game, more than 30 charitable activities and community outreach events will enrich the community and provide lasting legacies.

Super Bowl Week activities include the announcement of the annual Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide winner, the first-ever live American Heart Association-NFL PLAY 60 Challenge Virtual Field Trip, a series of community projects made possible by millions of dollars in NFL Foundation Super Bowl Legacy Grants and the Super Bowl LI Host Committee and a number of youth character development events including an InSideOut Character Initiative Forum and the NFL’s Women’s Summit.

During the week, the NFL Verizon will host an Unsung Heroes luncheon for volunteers and employees at local domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organizations and shelters. The league is also working with local organizations on social issues including human trafficking, providing financial grants to address issues in the Houston area.

The following events listed, courtesy of the National Football League, are just some of the ways the NFL and Super Bowl LI will positively impact the community.

NFL EXPERIENCE DRIVEN BY GENESIS

NFL Experience Driven by Genesis – pro football’s interactive theme park –  will return to Houston for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVII in 2004, this event offers fans a unique chance to get involved in the festivities surrounding Super Bowl LI, offering interactive games, youth football clinics, merchandise from NFL Shop presented by Visa, player autograph sessions and more.

Celebrating the history of the game and electrifying atmosphere of Super Bowl LI, NFL Experience Driven by Genesis at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday, January 28th and 29th and again Wednesday through Sunday, February 1st through 5th.

The hub of Super Bowl fan activity, NFL Experience provides visitors of all ages an opportunity to experience the game like never before. Fans can test their football skills in interactive games, receive autographs from current stars and legends of the game, shop the latest NFL team and Super Bowl gear in the NFL’s largest retail space in the nation, and get a photo with the most prestigious trophy in sports, the Vince Lombardi Trophy. For more information and a complete schedule of events for NFL Experience Driven by Genesis visit http://www.SuperBowl.com and download the Super Bowl LI Houston – Fan Mobile Pass app.

Tickets for NFL Experience Driven by Genesis can be purchased online exclusively through http://www.Ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $35.00 for adults and $25.00 for children 12 and under, and permit entry for a particular day and time. An NFLXtra Fast Pass may be purchased for $55.00. Beginning January 28, opening day of NFL Experience Driven by Genesis, fans can purchase tickets at NFL Experience Box Office located in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Tickets sold at NFL Experience box office will go on sale two hours before opening daily. For more information and to find out about special family packages available online only, visit http://www.SuperBowl.com. Tickets purchased online are subject to a Ticketmaster service charge.

On Thursday, February 2 local high school students will receive a $5 discount at NFL Experience Driven by Genesis.

2017 NFL Experience Driven by Genesis Hours of Operation:

Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, February 1 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday, February 2 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Super Bowl Sunday (February 5) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

(Times are Central Time and are subject to change)

The complete schedule for NFL Experience Driven by Genesis, and other Super Bowl LI gameday and event information, will be posted on http://www.SuperBowl.com and in the Super Bowl LI Houston – Fan Mobile Pass app. To download the app, visit the app store or http://www.NFL.com/SBApp. Fans are encouraged to follow @SuperBowl and tag their posts and photos using hashtag #SB51.

SUPER BOWL LIVE: Super Bowl LIVE is the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee’s nine-day fan festival leading up to Super Bowl LI in Houston. The festival, a free event with music, food, games and attractions, will be located in and around Discovery Green Park (1500 McKinney Street) in downtown Houston from Saturday, January 28th through Saturday, February 5th.

The Host Committee has partnered with NASA to create Future Flight, the signature attraction of Super Bowl LIVE. Future Flight combines a virtual reality experience with a 90-foot drop tower that takes passengers on a trip to Mars and back, landing just in time for Super Bowl LI.

A series of concerts will take place on the Super Bowl LIVE main stage including Solange Knowles, Robert Glasper and Lizzo on Thursday, February 2; Leon Bridges, Shakey Graves and Robert Ellis on Friday, February 3 and ZZ Top, Gary Clark, Jr. and The Suffers on Saturday, February 4. Houston-based performers will also be on the main and secondary stage throughout the week, including bands The Tontons, Wild Moccasins, Los Skarnales, Nick Gaitan, Fat Tony, Buxton and many more.

In addition, the Host Committee has created two Super Bowl LIVE programming opportunities aimed at bringing local youth from different communities together. Touchdown Houston continues to bring the Super Bowl experience to local youth with inclusive and fun Play On activities.

Flag Football: The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has invited local community youth football teams to experience the excitement of the Super Bowl by squaring off in flag football games. Participating teams hail from various parts of the city and will get their taste of the spotlight as they engage in friendly competition in Root Memorial Square before thousands of Super Bowl LIVE visitors. The games will include special half-time performances from the club cheerleading teams, local marching pep bands and dance teams. The flag football games will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29 and Friday and Saturday, February 3rd and 4th from 11 a.m. to Noon.

Play LIVE with Playworks: The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has partnered with Playworks to provide children and families from the Greater Houston area an hour of fun and games through football-themed activities, four-square, tag and much more. School-age youth can participate in these activities which promote positive social values, higher self-esteem and a healthy lifestyle during the play hour. Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that leverages the power of safe, fun and healthy play at school every day. To learn more about Playworks, go to http://www.playworks.org. The Play LIVE with Playworks will take place Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29 and Friday and Saturday, February 3-4 from 2-3 p.m.

Super Bowl LIVE Hours of Operation:

Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday, January 30 and Tuesday, January 31 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, February 1 and Thursday, February 2 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Friday, Febuary 3 and Saturday, February 4 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Super Bowl Sunday (February 5) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

HOUSTON SUPER BOWL HOST COMMITTEE PROJECT 51: Project 51 encourages Houston high school students to get involved in their community by collectively pledging 51,000 hours of community service in the months preceding Super Bowl LI. Students and schools will be recognized for their community service by the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL Youth and High School Football department. Project 51 supports the Host Committee’s Lead On initiative which encourages students to be active leaders in their schools and community. Those making a pledge could win tickets to Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade, a tour of NRG Stadium or a Meet and Greet with an NFL player.

The promotion period began at Noon Eastern on Friday, December 23, 2016 and ended at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, January 23.

NFL PLAY 60 CHARACTER CAMP: On Monday, January 30 at 9 a.m., the NFL will host a free Character Camp on the field at NFL Experience Driven by Genesis at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) before NFL Experience is open to the public. The event will include 300 predominantly-Hispanic youth from the Houston area. The non-contact football camp will be led by Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Munoz.

The NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps program is a partnership between the NFL and the Muñoz Agency.  The mission of the camps are to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise, and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life.  The camp is part of a series of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps hosted as part of the NFL’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football. Since the inception of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps in 2012, over 60 camps have been held impacting more than 20,000 youth across the country.

NFL PLAY 60 CHALLENGE SCHOOL VISIT: The NFL and Houston Texans players will visit Frank Black Middle School (1575
Chantilly Lane) on Monday, January 30 at 1 p.m. to reward them for successfully completing the Super Bowl LI edition of the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge. The NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, developed in conjunction with the American Heart Association, is the primary in-school curriculum for NFL PLAY 60. Sixth-grade students at Frank Black Middle School successfully completed the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, a Super Bowl program that taught students the importance of getting 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Frank Black Middle School will also receive a $2,500 NFL PLAY 60 grant from the NFL and American Heart Association to be used to support the school’s health and fitness education efforts.

More than 24,000 fourth, fifth and sixth graders from Houston counties including Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller registered for the Challenge in the months leading up to Super Bowl. The schools that successfully completed the Challenge are invited to NFL PLAY 60 Kids Day at NFL Experience Driven by Genesis, on Wednesday, February 1.

NFL PLAY 60 CHALLENGE VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP: On Tuesday, January 31 at Noon Central Time live from the NFL Experience Driven by
Genesis at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas), the NFL and American Heart Association (AHA), working together with Discovery Education, will lead the first-ever AHA-NFL PLAY 60 Challenge Virtual Field Trip (VFT). The virtual class, featuring Houston Texans’ players Whitney Mercilus and Christian Covington and AHA’s Dr. Mercedes Carnethon, will be live-streamed in classrooms across the country, reaching thousands of students. In the VFT, students will learn the science behind cardio and strength exercises that NFL players use to stay fit. Mercilus and Covington will lead participating classrooms in quick physical activity sessions, after which students nationwide will have the opportunity to ask the VFT hosts live questions. The NFL PLAY 60 Challenge is designed to inspire youth to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day and help more schools become places that encourage physically active lifestyles year-round.

Registration for the VFT is free. To register your classroom or follow along at home, visit: http://www.aha-nflplay60challenge.org/field-trip.

SUPER BOWL LI INSIDEOUT CHARACTER INITIATIVE FORUM: The InSideOut Initiative recognizes the significant role coaches play in
students’ lives and aims to shift the current win-at-all-costs sports culture to one of a four-part process centering on Awareness, Alignment, Action and Accountability. The initiative focuses on the purpose, power and privilege of coaching, and the responsibility coaches have to young athletes. The InSideOut Initiative will debut in Houston on Tuesday, January 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Houston Texans YMCA (5202 Griggs Road). Former NFL player and author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives Joe Ehrmann and Executive Director of the InSideOut Initiative Jody Redman will take more than 100 Houston high school educational leaders and coaches on an InSideOut journey to examine their own character and to assist in the development of a coach-specific character game plan that will enhance the human growth and development of the student-athletes they coach.

NFL-USO SUPER BOWL LI SALUTE TO SERVICE: The NFL and the USO continue to celebrate more than 50 years of partnership with Salute to Service. The NFL is proud to bring football to the USO family through programs and services year-round that tap the unique capabilities of football and help keep service members connected to family, home and country.

On Tuesday, January 31 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the NFL, USO and Houston Texans will host a barbeque to celebrate over 3,000 service members and their families at Ellington Field Joint Base Reserve. The event will feature NFL player meet and greets, photo opportunities with Houston Texans cheerleaders, music by Texas Marine Veteran Cody Wayne, an NFL PLAY 60 zone for kids, a Madden Tournament and an NFL Raffle.

Additionally, Super Bowl care packages, which included branded Super Bowl LI decorations and promotional items, have been sent to 60 USO locations around the globe in support of their Super Bowl viewing parties.

NFL-USAA MILITARY OUTREACH: The following is a sampling of additional events planned for service members and
their families in the Houston Area during Super Bowl Week:

USAA will host current and former military and their guests at the “USAA Salute to Service Lounge” within NFL Experience. The Lounge will be open both Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4 and serves as an exclusive area for current and former military members and their families to enjoy complimentary food and beverage, games, NFL player meet and greets and more.

The NFL and USAA will recognize the winner of the 2016 Salute to Service Award presented by USAA at the 6th Annual NFL Honors awards show at the Wortham Theater Center on Saturday, February 4, the night before Super Bowl LI. Created in 2011, the Salute to Service Award acknowledges the members of the NFL for their exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community and their families.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS SKILLS AND DRILLS: The NFL, Special Olympics Texas and the Houston Texans will host a Special
Olympics Skills and Drills Clinic and unified flag football scrimmage Friday, February 3 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) featuring local Special Olympics athletes.

The NFL and Special Olympics are teaming to provide opportunities for athletes of all abilities to ‘PLAY 60′ through the expansion of Special Olympics Unified Flag Football. The two organizations will kick off their new partnership by hosting a unified flag football game at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week.

PLAY 60 is the NFL’s campaign to promote youth health and wellness, aimed at encouraging kids to get active for 60 minutes a day. For more information, visit NFLRUSH.com/PLAY60.

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. They empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.3 million athletes and Unified partners in 169 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year.

PLAY FOOTBALL FAMILY FESTIVAL: To celebrate the football community and the coaches and players that bring passion, fun and excitement to the sport, the NFL will host a Play Football Family Festival on Tuesday, January 31 and Wednesday, February 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Taylor High School Performing Arts Center (2700 Kingsland Blvd, Katy) and the Aldine Campbell Center (1865 Aldine Bender Road, Houston). The event will kick off with football clinics, taking parents through drills and introducing them to different elements of the game. Guests will then go through a helmet fitting, receive autographs from NFL players and enjoy entertainment elements such as photo opportunities, breakout panel sessions led by NFL Ambassadors and local high school coaches and food and beverages. The festival will conclude with an NFL player-led TED Talk.

To learn more about Play Football visit playfootball.com or follow #LetsPlayFootball on social media.

SUPER BOWL LI BUSINESS CONNECT CELEBRATION: The NFL and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee will host “Super Bowl LI Business Connect: Celebrating Opportunities & Success” event on Tuesday, January 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ballroom at the Bayou (500 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77002). The event is a celebration of the Super Bowl LI Business Connect program spotlighting the accomplishments of Super Bowl LI Business Connect suppliers and local businesses that have grown and thrived under the tutelage of the program’s professional development initiatives and, acknowledging NFL event contractors who’ve aggressively utilized the program throughout the year.

More than 400 Houston businesses in 50 vendor categories participated in the year and a half long Business Connect program, which is designed to create Super Bowl LI contracting opportunities for experienced, local diverse business owners. To qualify for participation in Business Connect, businesses must be 51 percent owned by a minority, woman, disabled veteran, lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender individual. The Business Connect Celebration is a ticketed event for participating business owners. A networking reception will precede and follow the formal program. Former NFL Cornerback and Food Network Star Winner Eddie Jackson is the event’s keynote speaker.

NFL PLAY 60 KIDS’ DAY AT NFL EXPERIENCE: NFL PLAY 60 Kids’ Day gives more than 1,000 local children the opportunity to
spend time with NFL players at the NFL Experience Driven by Genesis at the George R Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) on Wednesday, February 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children from the local Houston area will take part in the excitement of Super Bowl Week alongside NFL players. Multi-platinum recording artist and Grammy Award winner Jordin Sparks will perform two songs and teach the kids a dance routine at the NFL Experience Field at approximately noon.

Kids will learn more about the importance of healthy living during Kids’ Day as part of NFL PLAY 60, aimed at helping youngsters get 60 minutes of exercise each day. Classrooms earned their invite to Kids’ Day by completing the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, in partnership with the American Heart Association, in the months leading up to Super Bowl.

As part of their Kids’ Day experience, local children will participate in interactive PLAY 60 fitness activities and take part in games including Punt, Pass and Kick, speed and mobility drills, quarterback challenge games and extra point kicking stations.

HOUSTON HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SUPERBUILD: On Wednesday, February 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Houston Habitat for Humanity (HHFH)
is sponsoring SuperBUILD LI at 8706 Shady Vista Lane. The event is hosted in conjunction with Super Bowl LI to build 51 affordable homes for partner families. A sanctioned NFL event since 2003, SuperBUILD provides affordable housing options for low to moderate income families through volunteerism. HHFH will invite NFL players to visit the job sites, participate in home dedications and celebrate with families who were able to achieve their dream of homeownership.

NFL PLAYER CARE FOUNDATION SCREENINGS

The only event that is not open to the public takes place from Wednesday, February 1st to Friday, February 3rd as the NFL Player Care Foundation (PCF), supported by the NFL Alumni Association, are proud to partner with one of the nation’s
premier medical providers, Tulane University School of Medicine, to conduct its annual Super Bowl Healthy Body and Mind Screening program. This complimentary national program is open to all former NFL players and includes cardiovascular and prostate screenings and mental health resources and education.

NFL Player Care Foundation screenings are offered as part of PCF’s research programs, which help to advance public awarenss and scientific understanding of health issues that affect former NFL players. The screening will take place at the Houston Marriott at the Texas Medical Center (6580 Fannin Street, Salons A, B and C) from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The PCF is an independent foundation created in 2007 by a partnership between NFL owners, the NFL Players Association, Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL Alumni Association. Since its inception, the organization has screened more than 4,000 retired NFL players and provided over $11 million in emergency financial assistance. For more information, visit nflplayercare.com. (The screenings are closed to the public due to patient-client privilege.)

SUPER BOWL LEGACY GRANT EVENT: The NFL seeks to improve the surrounding communities of the Super Bowl host city with a Super Bowl Legacy Grant donation. This year, the NFL Foundation provided a $1 million grant to the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee via “Touchdown Houston” in an effort to leave an impact on all 11 counties of Houston by concentrating on education, health and community enhancement. Grant focuses include youth physical fitness and wellness, after school programs, health care and food access, neighborhood improvement, early childhood education, anti-poverty, dropout and homeless prevention strategies.

On Thursday, February 2 at 10 a.m., NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Houston Super Bowl Host Committee executives amongst others will take part in the Super Bowl Legacy Grant press conference at Pro-Vision Academy (4590 Wilmington Street.). NFL Legend and Pro-Vision Academy founder ROYNELL YOUNG will lead attendees through a ground breaking ceremony to celebrate a football field refurbishment granted to the school. Following the press conference, students will participate in a player panel on character education with current and former NFL players and led by former NFL player and author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives JOE EHRMANN. Ehrmann is the co-founder of the InSideOut Initiative, designed to help high school communities recognize the responsibility they have to their students and enhance the human growth and development of the student-athletes who play.

MAKE-A-WISH®: Through the assistance of the NFL, Make-A-Wish will grant the wishes of 12 children to attend Super Bowl LI. Attending the Super Bowl continues to be a wish that transcends generations: every year since 1982, one or more wish kids has wished to attend the big game.

This year, the children and their families will arrive in Houston on Thursday, February 2 for a welcome reception. Wish children and their families will participate in several other activities related to the Super Bowl and will attend the game at NRG Stadium through the support of the NFL and other organizations.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 33,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 34 minutes. It has granted more than 285,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 15,300 in 2016 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.

NFL WOMEN’S SUMMIT— “PLAYS FOR LIFE”: On February 3rd from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and February 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the NFL will host this year’s Women’s Summit—Plays for Life. Building on the success of last year’s Women’s Summit—which explored the role of sports participation in developing leadership, teamwork and other skills that promote success throughout one’s life and career, Plays for Life expands upon that conversation by engaging teen girls through an interactive and experiential event focused on personal development and achievement.

During the two-day event, 250 Houston-area teen girls will hear from prominent leaders from across the NFL and beyond about their own personal journeys and participate in a discussion about how to achieve their goals, prepare for life’s challenges and best utilize the tools that are critical for personal and professional development.

A live stream of the event will be hosted by women’s leadership platform http://www.MAKERS.com.

More than three dozen speakers and participants will be announced in the coming days. The event will take place at the Citadel (12130 Kirby Drive).(The event is limited to invited guests.)

NFL FOUNDATION GOLF TOURNAMENT: “Legends on the Links”

In celebration of its 26th year, the NFL Foundation is partnering with the NFL Legends community to host an 18-hole golf tournament on Friday, February 3 starting at 8 a.m. at Golf Club of Houston (5860 Wilson Road in Humble), home course to the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open.

Teams of amateur golfers will be captained by NFL Legends in 18-hole team scramble events to be played on both the Tournament Course, which hosts the PGA Tour event annually and the Member Course, where the PGA Tour played from 2003 through 2005. The celebrity captains entered thus far are Larry Brown, Donnie Edwards, Ahman Green, Rodney Hampton, Dhani Jones, Kwamie Lassiter, Ryan Leaf, E.J. Manuel, Curtis McGriff, Marty Moore, Jonathan Ogden, Chad Pennington, Mike Quick, John Randle, Mike Rucker, Will Shieldds, Al Smith, Mack Strong, Ben Tate, John Urshel and Leonard Wheeler. Additionally, NFL Legends’ Community Directors and Coordinators that serve as ambassadors across the country will be in attendance and facilitating the tournament.

Hospitality golf packages were open to the general public and the deadline for that was January 28th, with a tournament entry donation of $6,000 per team (teams of three paired with a NFL Legend) or $2,500 per individual benefiting the NFL Foundation and NFL Player Care Foundation.

ROSS INITIATIVE IN SPORTS FOR EQUALITY (RISE) SUPER BOWL TOWN HALL: The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) and NFL will host their second-annual Super Bowl Town Hall, “From Protest to Progress: The Power of Sports to Improve Race Relations,” from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, February 3. The town hall, hosted by Texas Southern University in Houston and supported by The Players’ Tribune, will be broadcast live on Sirius XM radio. Current and former NFL greats, including policy advocates Anquan Boldin of the Detroit Lions and Malcom Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles and Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams, will participate in a two-part panel discussion, reviewing lessons learned from the activist athlete and examining solution-oriented next steps for the sports industry to drive social change. RISE will release a report looking at the reach and impact of, reaction to and outcomes of activist athletes in the second half of 2016. RISE aims to use sports to improve race relations. To learn more, visit http://www.risetowin.org.

NFL and ALL PRO DAD FAMILY FOOTBALL CLINIC: Current and former players celebrate football and family at the second annual NFL and All Pro Dad Family Football Clinic at Super Bowl LI. Presented by NFL Player Engagement and All Pro Dad organization, players are invited to bring their children and significant others to participate in fun football activities on Friday, February 3 at 9 a.m. at the NFL Experience Youth Field in the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas). Players and their children will learn how fun it is to PLAY 60 and create new football memories as a family. Within each football activity, kids and their parents will participate in an exercise designed to foster engagement and relationship building among family members. The clinic will begin at 9:30 a.m. with player media availability at 11:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Crystal Fukumoto at crystalf@bzapr.com.

22nd ANNUAL REBUILDING TOGETHER “KICKOFF TO REBUILD”: On Friday, February 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with Super Bowl LI, Rebuilding Together Houston will host a community revitalization project to rehabilitate the main section of the historic Independence Heights neighborhood as a Legacy of Super Bowl LI in Houston. Independence Heights is the first self-governing, African American city incorporated in the state of Texas. It is important to revive the neighborhood and keep its history alive, allowing longtime residents to age in place. The creation of a welcome center will allow visitors the opportunity to learn about the neighborhood’s history, beginning in 1905, through its eventual integration into the city of Houston and its vital role in Houston’s community today.

For the past 22 years, Rebuilding Together has partnered with the NFL to host projects in Super Bowl cities. These NFL-sanctioned events provide critical home repairs for low-income homeowners and their communities. The event will include help for individual homeowners in need and create a safer, healthier and beautifully rebuilt section of Independence Heights.

To learn more about Rebuilding Together’s Kickoff to Rebuild project, visit rebuildingtogether.org/ktr/.

CHARACTER PLAYBOOK HOUSTON LAUNCH

“Character Playbook,” a joint initiative of the NFL and United Way Worldwide and operated by EverFi, an education technology leader in more than 13,000 schools across the nation, will launch in Houston on Friday, February 3 at 1 p.m. at Pilgrim Academy (6302 Skyline Drive.). The digital course is comprised of six interactive modules that support positive character development, social-emotional learning and healthy relationships for grades 7-9. Houston Texans players will sit on a panel and discuss character development and decision-making with students.  Students will then go through the modules, designed to help students develop healthy relationships and social norms. Character Playbook will be provided to 40 schools in the Houston area via a joint partnership between the Houston Texans, United Way of Greater Houston and Verizon.

SUPER BOWL GOSPEL CELEBRATION: The 18th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration will take place on Friday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Lakewood Church (3700 Southwest Freeway). The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration brings together Super Bowl champions and Pro Bowl players with Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian, gospel and mainstream artists all on one stage.  The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration also gives back to the community. Each year, the event identifies a charity to donate a portion of its proceeds. For the second consecutive year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the NFL Players Care Foundation.

For more information, visit http://www.superbowlgospel.com

1st AND FUTURE: The NFL, in collaboration with the Texas Medical Center (TMC) is calling on innovators to share their solutions to help advance the game of football and athlete safety. On Saturday, February 4, the partners will host 1st and Future, a unique startup competition that will take place at the TMC Innovation Institute (2450 Holcombe Boulevard). Up to nine startups will be invited to present their game-changing technologies in each of the following three categories: Communicating with the Athlete, Training the Athlete and Materials to Protect the Athlete. The startups will pitch their products to an exclusive audience, including a panel of judges, NFL team owners and executives and representatives from the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and TMC. One winner from each category will be selected by a panel of judges comprising of former NFL players, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. The winners will receive a $50,000 prize from the NFL to further develop their innovation; acceptance into TMCx, TMC’s world-renowned program for start-ups and two tickets to Super Bowl LI.

SUPER BOWL BREAKFAST: The 2017 Super Bowl Breakfast will be held Saturday, February 4 at 8 a.m. at the
Marriott Marquis Houston (1777 Walker Street.).  The breakfast will feature the presentation of the Bart Starr Award, presented by Super Bowl Champion Coach, Tony Dungy. The award, voted on by NFL players, honors outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.

In addition to Tony Dungy and the 2017 Award winner, the program will include former NFL players Roger Staubach, Bruce Matthews, Anthony Munoz, Derrick Brooks and emcee James Brown, host of The NFL Today on CBS and Thursday Night Football on NFL Network.

For more information, contact Jordan Sok at jordan@heartlandcommunicate.com or 859-519-7750.

HOUSTON CAREERS IN SPORTS FORUM: The NFL will celebrate high school coaches and educate students on various career opportunities in the sports industry on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cemo Hall at the University of Houston. Parents will hear from NFL players and professionals in the sports industry about the vast career possibilities off the field. Guests will enjoy music from a professional DJ and food and beverages and interact with sports experts and NFL players. The event is open to Houston high school students interested in sports but space is limited.

NFLPA SMOCKS AND JOCKS: On Saturday, February 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Caracol (2200 Post Oak Boulevard), the NFL Players Association will hold its annual art auction and jazz brunch called Smocks and Jocks supporting the Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund and a local foundation. Artwork from active and former players and others connected to professional football will be auctioned as part of the charity event. This event is invite-only.

TROUPE21’S 17TH ANNUAL PLAYER NETWORKING EVENT™: Troupe21’s 17th Annual Player Networking Event™ (PNE) at the Super Bowl will take place Saturday, February 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Houston Community College—West Loop Center (5601 West Loop South). PNE, an NFL sanctioned event for 15 years, helps active and former NFL players transition into meaningful second careers.

The networking event will include a private banking workshop; focus groups for players, corporate guests and vendors; an Internet radio broadcast featuring player-owned businesses and sponsors; a social media challenge designed to promote athlete and corporate responsibility; a scholarship drive for high school football student-athletes to attend the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy; and a trade show featuring corporations interested in helping players pursue charitable, employment and entrepreneurial goals.

To learn more about PNE 2017 and PNE Week go to http://www.pneinfo.com or follow on Twitter@NFLPNE.

TASTE OF THE NFL: Taste of the NFL (TNFL) is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to raising awareness and funds for hunger relief organizations in the 32 NFL cities and across the country. Proudly celebrating its 26th year at Super Bowl LI, the organization conducts national and local fundraising events throughout the year, culminating in the annual Party with a Purpose® on Super Bowl Eve. Since its inception, Taste of the NFL has raised more than $25 million, which has provided more than 275 million meals for Americans. All proceeds raised are donated directly to local and national food banks in each of the 32 NFL cities.

This season’s Party with a Purpose® will be held at the University of Houston (4800 Calhoun Road) on Saturday, February 4 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This star-studded fundraising event celebrates two of America’s favorite pastimes—food and football—by bringing together exceptional cuisine, prominent chefs from around the country, celebrities, NFL players, coaches, legends and more, all to support the fight against hunger. Alex Guarnaschelli and Richard Blais are the Culinary Hosts for this year’s Party with a Purpose®.

Follow @TasteoftheNFL on Instagram and Twitter as they #KickHunger this season, or visit Taste of the NFL on Facebook at facebook.com/TasteoftheNFL.

Tickets to this event can be purchased at http://www.TasteoftheNFL.com.

SUPER BOWL ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM: The NFL and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee have teamed up to develop a series of initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl Verizon is a key partner in several of these projects including the Super Kids – Super Sharing, the Super Bowl LI Urban Forestry Project and a public E-Waste Recycling Rally.

The Super Kids – Super Sharing Sports Equipment and Book Donation Event was held Thursday, January 19. Tens of thousands of books, school supplies, games and pieces of sports equipment were collected and distributed to low-income schools and youth programs throughout the region.  As part of Super Kids, local students have also donated used cell phones through HopeLine® from Verizon. HopeLine® collects wireless phones and accessories no longer in use and turns them into financial support for domestic violence organizations nationwide.

The Super Bowl LI E-Waste Recycling Rally was held Saturday, January 21 at the Houston Zoo, Medical Center Entrance (1481 Cambridge Street). This recycling rally, sponsored by Verizon, was open to the public and local residents were allowed to drop off all types of electronic waste to be recycled responsibly and kept out of local landfills. Items such as computers, printers, monitors, cell phones and televisions were accepted.

Other environmental projects include:

GREEN ENERGY: “Green” energy will be used to power major Super Bowl event venues throughout Houston including NRG Stadium, the George R. Brown Convention Center (site of the Super Bowl Media Center and NFL Experience), and the hotels being used by the NFL and AFC teams and by the NFL Super Bowl staff. NRG will be providing renewable energy certificates (RECs) equivalent to the electricity usage at these facilities to mitigate the climate impact of energy emissions.

FOOD RECOVERY: Extra prepared food from Super Bowl events will be recovered in partnership with the Houston Food Bank and a number of local nonprofit organizations to provide meals for shelters, missions, soup kitchens and other community programs.

MATERIAL RECOVERY: Recovery of all event materials will begin immediately after most Super Bowl events. During the week following the game, there will be an intensive drive to collect and donate items left over from Super Bowl including building materials, décor, fabric, carpeting and sign materials. These items will be donated to local organizations that can reuse, repurpose or remanufacture the material. The NFL has incorporated environmental projects into the management of Super Bowl for more than 20 years.