Archives for category: London

You know who your team was going to play.

You know where your team was going to play.

As far as the when, you had to be patient and wait.

Last Thursday night, your wait was over, thanks to the National Football League. The league announced its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2017, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 7 in New England and concludes on Sunday, December 31 with 16 division games.

The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game. The opener on September 7 on NBC at 8:30 p.m. in Foxboro will spotlight the defending champion New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

Week 1 is a FOX national weekend with the key doubleheader game on Sunday, September 10 at 4:25 p.m. when salmon and Starbucks travels to the land of beer, cheese and bratwurst as Seattle takes on Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Week 3 is the first CBS national weekend with the key doubleheader game showcasing the Cincinnati Bengals facing the Packers at Lambeau Field.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 10 when NFC East foes Dallas and the New York Giants square off at 8:30 p.m. in the Lone Star State at AT&T Stadium.

For those of you wondering if there are going to be two games on the first Monday of the season, the answer is yes. Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 11 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. Minnesota hosts the New Orleans Saints at 7:10 p.m. in the first game followed by the Los Angeles Chargers visiting the Denver Broncos in the nightcap at 10:20 p.m.

ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

The league will have a select number of games that will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced as well, including the Seahawks at the Giants in the Meadowlands at 4:25 p.m. on CBS in Week 7 and the Vikings traveling to the Tar Heel State for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. on CBS in Week 14. Other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 31. For the eighth consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

Other contests include…

In Week 2, the Atlanta Falcons will open their new home – Mercedes-Benz Stadium – on Sunday, September 17 in primetime  at 8:30 p.m. on NBC when they host the Packers in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game. Earlier that day, the Chargers will make their return to Los Angeles as they host the Miami Dolphins at the StubHub Center at 4:05 p.m. on CBS.

The Patriots will host the Falcons in Week 7 on Sunday night, October 22 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC in a rematch of Super Bowl LI, the first Super Bowl in NFL history to go into overtime.

Will there be football on Thanksgiving?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Thanksgiving will feature a tripleheader on Thursday, November 23 and yes, the Lions and Cowboys are at home. The first game will be an NFC North contest in the Motor City as Detroit hosts the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. As for Dallas, they are the late afternoon contest in the Lone Star State when they host the Los Angeles Chargers at 4:30 p.m. on CBS and the Turkey Day trifecta concludes in Landover with an NFC East contest as Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants make their way to Landover in prime time to face the Washington Redskins at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

In Week 16, NBC’s Sunday Night Football game as NFC North foe Minnesota and Green Bay meet at Lambeau as that contest will move to Saturday night, December 23 at 8:30 p.m., due to Christmas Eve and is not subject to flexible scheduling. Christmas Day will feature a doubleheader on Monday, December 25 with the Houston Texans hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers at 4:30 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon Prime in the first game and Oakland traveling to the City of Brotherly Love, visiting the Philadelphia Eagles at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN in primetime.

There are contests with an international flavor, so break out the fish and chips and tequila! The NFL’s international slate includes four games in London – the first time the league will play four games in the United Kingdom and one in Mexico City. On Sunday, September 24, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Baltimore Ravens at London’s Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. with distribution to be announced at a later date(set those VCRs NOW!).

The next weekend, on Sunday, October 1, Jacksonville’s neighbor to the South, the Miami Dolphins, will host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at Wembley at 9:30 a.m. on FOX, In Week 7, it’s an NFC West matchup in Merry Ole England as the Los Angeles Rams host the Arizona Cardinals at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday, October 22 at 1 p.m. on FOX. The following week, the Cleveland Browns will host the Vikings at Twickenham on Sunday, October 29 at 9:30 a.m. on NFLN and the league heads back South of the Border as the Oakland Raiders take on Tom Brady and the Pats at 4:25 p.m. on CBS on Sunday, November 19 at Estadio Azteca.

The NFL has partnered with Amazon Prime this season and will once again use a “Tri-Cast” distribution model of broadcast (CBS/NBC), cable (NFL Network) and digital (Amazon Prime Video) for 10 Thursday Night Football games and a Christmas Day contest. CBS and NBC will each broadcast five Thursday Night Football games which will be simulcast on NFL Network and streamed to Amazon Prime members worldwide. NBC will also broadcast the Christmas Day game. CBS will start in Week 4 on Thursday, September 28 when the Packers host the Chicago Bears. NBC’s Tri-Cast package begins in Week 10 on Thursday, November 9 when the  Seahawks visit the Arizona Cardinals. Additionally, NFL Network will also  exclusively televise a seven-game schedule comprised of three Thursday Night Football games, three late-season Saturday contests and a Sunday morning London matchup.

The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 5 and end in Week 11.

“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 10-15 and 17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-9, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-15, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 31. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime time.

The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 6-7. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will earn first-round byes.

Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, January 13-14. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 21. The winners meet two weeks later on Sunday, February 4 in Super Bowl LII at Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium  on NBC.

The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets. All postseason games are televised nationally.

Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL primetime games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

For ticket information, fans may visit http://www.nfl.com/tickets.

2017 NFL SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern and subject to change)

WEEK 1 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 7
Kansas City at New England, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, September 10
ATLANTA at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 11
New Orleans at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m. on ESPN
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver, 10:20 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 2 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Houston at Cincinnati, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, September 17, 2017
Green Bay at ATLANTA, 8:30 p.m. on NBC
Cleveland at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Miami at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Washington at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, September 18, 2017
Detroit at New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 3 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 21
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, September 24
ATLANTA at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Jacksonville, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. in London), TBD
Denver at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cleveland at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Miami at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Washington, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 25
Dallas at Arizona, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 4 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 28
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 1
Buffalo at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Miami, 9:30 p.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. in London) on FOX
Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 1 p.m on CBS
Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at New England, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, October 2
Washington at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 5 (Byes: ATLANTA, Denver, New Orleans and Washington)

Thursday, October 5
New England at Tampa Bay, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 8

Buffalo at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Houston, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 9
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 6 (Byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas and Seattle)

Thursday, October 12
Philadelphia at Carolina, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 15
Miami at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England  at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Denver, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 16
Indianapolis at Tennessee, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 7 (Byes: Detroit and Houston)

Thursday, October 19
Kansas City at Oakland, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 22
ATLANTA at New England, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. in London) on FOX
New York Jets at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, October 23
Washington at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 8 (Byes: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Tennessee)

Thursday, October 26
Miami at Baltimore, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 29
ATLANTA at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Cleveland, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. in London) on NFLN
Oakland at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Detroit, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 30
Denver at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 9 (Byes: Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England and Pittsburgh)

Thursday, November 2
Buffalo at New York Jets, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, November 5
ATLANTA at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
rizona at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Washington at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 6
Detroit at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 10 (Byes: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland and Philadelphia)

Thursday, November 9
Seattle at Arizona, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 12
Dallas at ATLANTA, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Detroit, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on cBS
New York Jets at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New England at Denver, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 13
Miami at Carolina, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 11 (Byes: Carolina, Indianapolis, Miami, New York Jets, San Francisco and Tampa Bay)

Thursday, November 16
Tennessee at Pittsburgh, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 19
Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Houston, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Washington at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at New York Giants on CBS
Buffalo at Los Angeles Chargers, 1:05 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New England at Oakland in Mexico City, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 20, 2017
ATLANTA at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 12 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, November 23
Minnesota at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Washington, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, November 26
Tampa Bay at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBs
Miami at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 27
Houston at Baltimore, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 13 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, November 30
Washington at Dallas, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 3
Minnesota at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 4
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 14 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, December 7
New Orleans Saints at ATLANTA, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 10
Indianapolis at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Houston, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Denver, 4:05 p.m. on CBs
Washington at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at New York Giants, 4:@5 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 11
New England at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 15 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, December 14
Denver at Indianapolis, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Saturday, December 16
Chicago at Detroit, 4:30 p.m. on NFLN
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, December 17
Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on cBS
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
New England at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m. on CBs
Tennessee at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Oakland, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 18
ATLANTA at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 16 (Byes: NONE)

Saturday, December 23
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore, 4:30 p.m. on NFLN
Minnesota at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, December 24
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOx
Miami at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS
Jacksonville at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, December 25
Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon
Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 17 (Byes: NONE)

Sunday, December 31
Carolina at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Washington at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
GAME TBD, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

 

 

Rule Britania!

Break out the fish and chips, eh, governor?

The National Football League has confirmed the dates for the two games to be played at Wembley Stadium as part of the 2017 NFL London Games series.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3 on Sunday, September 24 and the Miami Dolphins will host the New Orleans Saints in Week 4 on Sunday, October 1. Kickoff times will be confirmed at a later date.

For the first time, the NFL will play four regular-season games in London in 2017, with Twickenham Stadium the site of the Minnesota Vikings-Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals-Los Angeles Rams matchups. Those games will be played on October 22 and October 29 but the order has yet to be finalized.

Sales of individual game tickets for the Wembley matchups will begin on Tuesday, January 31 at 10 a.m. United Kingdom time. Full details are available at http://www.nfluk.com.

 

 

The NFL announced the four games that will take place in London next season, the first time the league will play four games – half of a home schedule of regular-season games – in the UK capital.

The 2017 London games:

Week on Date – Visiting Team vs. Home Team at Site
3 or 4 on 9/24/17 or 10/1/17 – Baltimore vs. Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium
3 or 4 on 9/24/17 or 10/1/17 – New Orelans vs. Miami at Wembley Stadium
7 or 8 on 10/22/17 or 10/29/17 – Minnesota vs. Cleveland at Twickenham Stadium
7 or 8 on 10/22/17 or 10/29/17 – Arizona vs. Los Angeles at Twickenham Stadium

The London schedule will feature consecutive games in Weeks 3 and 4 at Wembley Stadium – the home of English soccer – and Weeks 7 and 8 at Twickenham Stadium, the home of English rugby.  The game times and dates will be finalized in conjunction with the revealing of the full 2017 NFL schedule next spring.

Three teams will play their first regular-season games in London in 2017 – the Arizona Cardinals, the visiting team against their NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham in Week 7 or 8; the Baltimore Ravens, the visiting team against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley in Week 3 or 4; and the Cleveland Browns, the home team against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7 or 8 at Twickenham.

The Miami Dolphins will play their fourth regular-season game in London, this time against the New Orleans Saints, who make their second appearance in a regular-season game in the UK.  The Jaguars will play a home game in London for the fifth consecutive season.

At the conclusion of the 2017 season, 26 teams will have played in London since the inception of the London Games Series in 2007.  Since that time, the NFL has achieved accelerated growth in the UK. Sunday viewership of NFL games has more than doubled and the Super Bowl audience has increased more than 75 percent. This season, the NFL is on pace to reach a record number of unique TV viewers in the UK.  The league also has developed new and stronger business partnerships and, according to internal research, has a UK fan base of more than 13 million, including close to four million avid fans.

Participation in amateur football in the UK has risen by approximately 15 percent per year since 2007, with the latest figures from Sport England showing that 40,000 people age 14 or older play regularly. American football is now an officially recognized sport in UK universities and schools.

A look at the 17 previous regular-season games played in London:

Game – Date (Stadium) Score (Attendance)
1  –  10/28/07 (Wembley) New York Giants 13, Miami 10 (81,176)
2  –  10/26/08 (Wembley) New Orleans 37 San Diego 32 (83,226)
3  –  10/25/09 (Wembley) New England 35, Tampa Bay 7 (84,254)
4  –  10/31/10 (Wembley) San Francisco 24, Denver 16 (83,941)
5  –  10/23/11 (Wembley) Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18 (76,981)
6  –  10/28/12 (Wembley) New England 45, St. Louis Rams 7 (84,004)
7  –  09/29/13 (Wembley) Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27 (83,518)
8  –  10/27/13 (Wembley) San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10 (83,559)
9  –  09/28/14 (Wembley) Miami 18, Oakland 14 (83,436)
10  –  10/26/14 (Wembley) Detroit 22, ATLANTA 21 (83,532)
11  –  11/09/14 (Wembley) Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17 (83,603)
12  –  10/04/15 (Wembley) New York Jets 27, Miami 14 (83,986)
13  –  10/25/15 (Wembley) Jacksonville 34, Buffalo 31 (84,021)
14  –  11/01/15 (Wembley) Kansas City 45, Detroit 10 (83,624)
15  –  10/02/16 (Wembley) Jacksonville 30, Indianapolis 27 (83,764)
16  –  10/23/16 (Twickenham) New York Giants 17, Los Angeles Rams 10 (74,121)
17  –  10/30/16 (Wembley) Washington 27, Cincinnati 27 (84,488)

We’re getting close to the end of the 2016 National Football League season and while there are teams that in contention and leading their divisions (Dallas – NFC East; Detroit – NFC North; Atlanta – NFC South; Seattle – NFC West; New England – AFC East; Houston – AFC South; Pittsburgh – AFC North and Oakland – AFC West), there’s still a lot of football left. For those fans in Cleveland, the end can’t come fast enough. The Browns remain the only winless team in the NFL. That’s not to say the Browns or any team can’t make the post-season party and earn that trip to Houston to play in Super Bowl LI.

We’ve crossed the Thanksgiving bar and headed for Christmas. Five weeks left to play. Nothing’s been decided… yet, which means that fans will have a chance to see if their team’s naughty and miss the post-season or nice and make their way to the Super Bowl party.

CLOSE GAMES: Like close contests? You’ve come to the right place! There have been 123 games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 11, the most such games in the first 11 weeks of a season in NFL history. Three teams – Detroit, the New York Giants and Washington – have had all of their games within one score in the fourth quarter this season.

The most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 11 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 11
2016 – 123
2013 – 114
2007 – 113
2004 – 113
2015 – 112

Additionally, there have been 96 games decided by eight points or fewer and 90 games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 11, both the most such games in the first 11 weeks of a season in league annals. The Lions are the first team in NFL history to have each of its first 10 games decided by seven points or fewer.

The most games decided by eight points or fewer through Week 11 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY EIGHT POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 11
2016 – 96
2015 – 89
1988 – 86
2012 – 85

The most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 11 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 11
2016 – 90
2015 – 84
1988 – 81
2011 – 79

FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACKS: Through Week 11, there have been 47 games in which a team that trailed in the fourth quarter came back to win, tied for the second-most such games in the first 11 weeks of a season in NFL history. Three teams – Detroit, Miami and Oakland – overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win in Week 11.

All six of the Lions’ wins in 2016 have featured a fourth-quarter comeback. Last week, Detroit tight end ERIC EBRON rushed for the game-winning touchdown on his first career carry in the Lions’ 26-19 win over Jacksonville, becoming the first player to score a fourth-quarter game-winning touchdown on his first NFL carry since 1995 (Casey Weldon). Detroit is first team in NFL history to have six wins when trailing in the fourth quarter in the team’s first 10 games of a season.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill led two touchdown drives with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter in the Dolphins’ 14-10 victory at Los Angeles. In Mexico City, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in the Raiders’ 27-20 win over Houston at Estadio Azteca.

The most games won by a team that trailed in the fourth quarter through Week 11:

SEASON – GAMES WON WHEN TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 11
1989 – 50
2016 – 47
2015 – 47
2012 – 46
2011 – 45
1999 – 45

DOMINANCE IN DALLAS: Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 301 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 127.2 passer rating in the Cowboys’ 27-17 win over Baltimore. Prescott became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and multiple touchdowns with no interceptions in consecutive games.

Prescott joined Charlie Conerly (1948), Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (1983) and Russell Wilson (2012) as the only rookie quarterbacks in NFL history to throw multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games.

The rookie quarterbacks with multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games:

PLAYER – SEASON, TEAM (GAMES – TD PASSES IN STREAK)
Dak Prescott – 2016, Dallas (5 – 13)*
Russell Wilson – 2012, Seattle (5 – 11)
Dan Marino – 1983, Miami (5 – 12)^
Charlie Conerly – 1948, New York Giants (5 – 12)
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MINNEAPOLIS 100: Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes had a 100-yard interception-return touchdown and Cordarrelle Patterson had a 104-yard kickoff-return touchdown in the Vikings’ 30-24 win over Arizona. The Vikings became the first team since the 1962 Dallas Cowboys to have a 100+ yard interception-return touchdown and a 100+ yard kickoff-return touchdown in the same game.

Minnesota is the fourth team in NFL history with two scoring plays of at least 100 yards in the same game.

The teams with two touchdowns of at least 100 yards in the same game:

DATE – TEAM (PLAYER – YARDS; PLAYER – YARDS)
November 20, 2016 – Minnesota (Xavier Rhodes – 100 yard interception; Cordarrelle Patterson – 104 yard kickoff return)
December 20, 2009 – Cleveland (Josh Cribbs – 100 yard kickoff return; Josh Cribbs – 103 kickoff return)
November 1, 2009 – Miami (Ted Ginn, Jr. – 100 yard kickoff return; Ted Ginn, Jr. – 101 yard kickoff return)
October 14, 1962 – Dallas (Amos Marsh – 101 yard kickoff return; Mike Gaechter – 100 yard interception)

Rhodes’ 100-yard interception-return touchdown was the longest in Vikings history. Patterson, who is in his fourth season in the NFL, is the first player in league history with four touchdowns of 100+ yards.

TERRIFIC TOM: New England quarterback Tom Brady threw for 280 yards with four touchdowns passes and no interceptions in the Patriots’ 30-17 win at San Francisco. With the win, Brady has 199 career victories (including the postseason), which ties Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE for the second-most in NFL history. Brady needs one win to tie PEYTON MANNING (200) for the most wins all-time.

The quarterbacks with the most career regular-season and postseason wins in NFL history:

PLAYER; TEAM(S) (CAREER WINS)
Peyton Manning; Indianapolis and Denver (200)
Tom Brady; New England (199)*
Brett Favre; Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (199)^
John Elway; Denver (162)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brady has 21 career games with at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most in NFL history. He has recorded two such performances in 2016.

The most games with at least four touchdown passes and zero interceptions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (MOST CAREER 4+ TD, 0 INT GAMES)
Tom Brady – New England (21)*
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (19)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (18)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (13)*
Brett Favre – Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (12)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 375 yards with three touchdowns with no interceptions and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 351 yards with three touchdowns without an interception in the Redskins’ 42-24 victory over the Packers on Sunday Night Football.

Cousins and Rodgers became the seventh pair of opposing quarterbacks in NFL history to both throw for at least 350 yards with three or more touchdowns and no interceptions in the same game.

DATE – WINNING TEAM (QUARTERBACK – PASSING YARDS, TDS) LOSING TEAM (QUARTERBACK – PASSING YARDS, TDS)
11/20/16 – Washington (Kirk Cousins – 375 yards, 3 TDS) Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers – 351 yards, 3 TDS)
10/20/13 – Cincinnati (Andy Dalton – 372 yards, 3 TDS) Matthew Stafford (Detorit – 357 yards, 3 TDS)
12/23/12 – New Orleans (Drew Brees – 446 yards, 3 TDS) Dallas (Tony Romo – 416 yards, 4 TDS)
12/20/09 – Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger – 503 yards, 3 TDS) Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers – 383 yards, 3 TDS)
10/10/04 – Minnesota (Daunte Culpepper – 396 yards, 5 TDS) Houston (David Carr – 372 yards, 3 TDS)
9/26/04 – Indianapolis (Peyton Manning – 393 yards, 5 TDS) Green Bay (Brett Farve – 360 yards, 4 TDS)
9/24/95 – Houston (Chris Chandler – 352 yards, 4 TDS) Cincinnati (Jeff Blake – 356 yards, 3 TDS)

RECORD-SETTING RECEIVER: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had eight catches for 76 yards in the Steelers’ 24-9 win at Cleveland. This season, Brown leads the NFL with 77 receptions.

Brown, who has 603 career receptions, reached 600 catches in his 96th career game, the fewest games to reach the milestone in NFL history.

The players to reach 600 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER (TEAM(S) – GAMES)
Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh – 96)
Anquan Boldin (Arizona, Baltimore, San Francisco and Detroit – 98)
Marvin Harrison (Indianapolis – 102)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

ICYMI: Dallas gained 417 total net yards in the team’s 27-17 win over Baltimore. That marked the team’s eighth consecutive game with at least 400 yards, tied for the longest single-season streak in NFL history (2007 New England and 2013 Denver). The Cowboys have won nine consecutive games, the longest single-season winning streak in franchise history.

Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Ravens. Prescott is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and multiple touchdowns with no interceptions in consecutive games. He joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (1983) and Russell Wilson (2012) as the only rookie quarterbacks since 1970 to have multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games.

Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 97 yards and leads the NFL with 1,102 rushing yards. Elliott’s 1,102 rushing yards are the third-most in NFL history in a player’s first 10 games, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1,223) and Adrian Peterson (1,197).

The Detroit Lions scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of the team’s 26-19 come-from-behind victory over Jacksonville. The Lions, who are the first team in NFL history to have each of its first 10 games decided by seven points or fewer, have trailed in the fourth quarter in all 10 games. Detroit is the first team in NFL history to have six wins when trailing in the fourth quarter in the team’s first 10 games of a season.

New England defeated San Francisco 30-17 to improve to 8-2 this season. With their eighth win, the Patriots are guaranteed at least a .500 record this season. New England is the fifth team in NFL history – and the first since the 1983-1998 San Francisco 49ers – to have at least 16 consecutive seasons with a .500 or better record.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions against the 49ers. Brady has 21 career games with at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most in NFL history. Including the postseason, Brady now has 199 career victories, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve for the second-most in NFL history. Brady needs one win to tie Peyton Manning (200) for the most all-time.

Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes had a 100-yard interception-return touchdown and Cordarrelle Patterson had a 104-yard kickoff-return touchdown in the Vikings’ 30-24 win over Arizona. The Vikings are the first team since the 1962 Dallas Cowboys to have a 100+ yard interception-return touchdown and a 100+ yard kickoff-return touchdown in the same game. On October 14, 1962, the Cowboys’ Amos Marsh had a 101-yard kickoff-return touchdown and Mike Gaechter had a 100-yard interception-return touchdown in Dallas’ 41-19 win over Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had eight catches for 76 yards in the Steelers’ 24-9 win at Cleveland. Brown, who has 603 career receptions, reached 600 catches in his 96th career game, the fewest games to reach the milestone in NFL history. Brown surpassed the previous mark held by Anquan Boldin, who reached 600 receptions in 98 career games.

Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. had eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ loss at Dallas. Smith has 1,005 career receptions and became the 14th player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career catches. Smith is the only player in league history with at least 1,000 catches (1,005), 1,000 punt-return yards (1,684) and 2,000 kickoff-return yards (2,371).

It wsa not a good week to be a kicker in the NFL. Starting with the 2015 season, the NFL adopted a rule change moving the line of scrimmage on an extra-point kick attempt to the 15-yard line in order to make it a more competitive play. In Sunday’s games, there were 12 missed extra-point kick attempts, the most in a single week since the merger. In 2015, there were eight misses for the entire season.

It’s another Sunday in the NFL and while there were games that were played Thursday because of the Thanksgiving Day holiday, the Sunday games are important too. Week 12 started with a pair of rematches as Detroit edged Minnesota, Dallas took care of  Washington and Pittsburgh shutdown an Andrew Luck-less Colts team in Indianapolis in the Hoosier State. Week 12 ends in the City of Brotherly Love as Green Bay takes on Philadelphia in the Monday night contest at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. The Sunday night game? Kansas City traveling to Denver for an AFC West matchup with the defending Super Bowl champs on NBC at 8:30 p.m.

As for last week… 10-4 (another week above the .500 mark!). For the year… 107-52. Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 12… you might want to check that turkey that your cousin Lindsey made (no wonder she’s still single!).

Arizona (5-5-1) at ATLANTA (6-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The Falcons return from their bye week to the Georgia Dome for an early afternoon showdown in the Big Peach with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Desert Angry Birds head eastward to the Big Peach after their 30-24 loss to Minnesota last Sunday. Minnesota got a 100-yard interception return from Xavier Rhodes and a 104-yard kickoff retrun from WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson to take a 30-24 win over Arizona in Minneapolis last Sunday. Minnesota, who forced two turnovers, picking off Carson Palmer (198 yards, two TDs, four sacks) twice, led 20-17 at the half at U.S. Bank Stadium as Arizona tried to keep things close before the Vikings opened the second half scoring with the long return. Although Sam Bradford threw for 169 yards and a TD, it was the Cardinals running game that almost stole the show as Arizona would outrush Minnesota 135-72 (with David Johnson accounting for 103).

Atlanta, leaders in the NFC South, return to action after their bye week and come off a 24-15 loss at Philadelphia. Atlanta led 15-13 with 13:15 left in the third quarter (Philly led 7-6 at the intermission) when Ryan and Tony Gabriel connected on a 76-yard TD pass with 13:15 left to play in the contest. The lead for Atlanta would not last very long as Philly would take the lead back for keeps when RB Ryan Matthews would score his second TD of the contest with 6:49 left. The Eagles would then ice the contest away in the City of Brotherly Love as K Caleb Sturgis connected on a 48-yard field goal with 1:57 left. Atlanta was held to 48 yards rushing, while Matthews accounted for 109 of the Eagles’ 208 yards on the ground. The one bright spot for the Falcons was Ryan, who outpaced rookie QB Carson Wentz in passing yardage 267-231 (Ryan had the one TD pass with an interception).

Arizona leads the series 15-13 but the Falcons have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 624-602. Atlanta’s last win in the series came in 2014 by a final of 29-18, while Arizona’s last win was in the desert at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2013, with the Cardinals coming away 27-13 winners. Atlanta’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Both teams are looking to bounce back from wins and this could be a preview to the post-season. The Desert Angry Birds could make this closer than the 4 but Atlanta prevails in the Big Peach.

Cincinnati (3-6-1) at Baltimore (5-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in a key divisional contest in Charm City as the struggling Bengals travel to Baltimore for a meeting with the Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati fell to Buffalo 16-12 at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday. Cincy led 12-10 at the intermission before the Bills got back on track and shut out the Bengals in the last 15 minutes of play. Buffalo outrushed the Bengals 183-93 and picked off Andy Dalton (207 yards, TD), while Tyrell Taylor threw for 166 yards, despite being sacked twice.

Baltimore fell to Dallas 27-17 in Arlington Sunday afternoon. The Ravens let a 7-0 lead after the first quarter get away from them in Arlington and found themselves tied at 10-10 at the intermission before Dallas went on to take the lead for good. While Flacco threw for 269 yards and a TD, Dallas’ Dak Prescott and all-Pro WR Dez Bryant connected on a pair of TD passes in the second half to help them take their ninth win in a row. Dallas outrushed Baltimore 118-101, with rookie RB Ezekiel running for 97 of those yards, while Prescott threw for 301 yards with three TDs (two of them to Bryant, the other to WR Cole Beasley).

The series is all even at 20-20 and the Ravens have outscored Cincinnati 866-742. However… the Bengals have taken wins in five of the last six meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Baltimore’s last win over the Bengals came in 2013, when they needed overtime in Charm City to take a 20-17 win).

The Bengals led 14-0 at the half in Baltimore in the first meeting in week three, then needed to rally to come away with the 28-24 win. Cincy trailed 24-21 with 3:56 left to play when Dalton and the Bengals engineered a 6-play, 80-yard drive that used 1:46 of time to score the game-winner when he and A.J. Green connected on a 7-yard TD pass with 2:10 left in regulation. For Green, it was his second TD catch from Dalton, who tallied 383 yards in the air and had three TDs, while Flacco had 362 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Stephen Smith, Sr. on both tosses. Neither club did a lot of running in the first meeting and neither came anywhere close to the 100-yard barrier (Cincinnati had 86 yards on the ground, while Baltimore had a measly 36).

Cincinnati completed the sweep in week 17 along the shores of the Ohio River in the season finale, coming away 24-16 winners. The Bengals trailed 9-7 at the break, then proceeded to take control of the lead as Green and A.J. McCarron (subbing for Dalton) connected on a five-yard TD pass to open the second half scoring. McCarron threw for 160 yards and a pair of TDs in the rematch, while Ryan Mallett, who took over for Flacco, threw for 292 yards but was picked off twice. The Bengals running game at Paul Brown was much better than the first meeting, as they ran for 145 yards, while they held Baltimore to 59.

Baltimore’s a 4-point favorite in Charm City and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Both are trying to catch Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Baltimore’s the better choice here. Ravens cover the 4 and win at home in Charm City.

Jacksonville (2-8) at Buffalo (5-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The Jagaurs make their way north to upstate New York for an afternoon contest with the Buffalo Bills at Orchard Park.

Jacksonville led 19-16 at the end of three quarters, only to see that lead get away from them in the Motor City, coming away with a 26-19 loss at Ford Field. Detroit went on to score the last 10 points of the game in the fourth quarter and the Lions would do it unchallenged as TE Eric Ebron gave Detroit the lead back on a 1-yard run with 10:03 left to play and K Matt Prater adding a 43-yard field goal with 22 seconds left to ice the contest away. There was not a lot to celebrate as far as the rushing game was concerned and neither team breached the 100-yard barrier. The good news for Jaguar fans was they did manage to outrush Detroit 83-14. Matthew Stafford’s 278 yards in the air was good enough to outpace Blake Bortles, who threw for 202 yards with a pair of TDs (Jacksonville sacked Stafford three times, while the Lions picked off Bortles twice).

Buffalo rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 16-12 at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday. The Bills trailed 12-10 at the intermission before the Bills got back on track and shut out the Bengals in the last 15 minutes of play, thanks to a pair of David Carpenter field goals. Buffalo outrushed the Bengals 183-93 and picked off Andy Dalton (207 yards, TD), while Tyrell Taylor threw for 166 yards, despite being sacked twice.

While the Bills lead the series 7-6, Jacksonville has outscored Buffalo 286-278 and the Jaguars won the last meeting in the series but did it on the other side of the Atlantic, when they came away 34-31 winners last year (Buffalo’s last win over Jacksonville came in the Sunshine State 27-20 in 2013).

They met in merry old London in week seven and the Jaguars led 27-13 at the break at Wembley, then held off a second-half rally by the Bills, who outscored Jacksonville in the final 15 minutes of action 18-7 (the teams played scoreless football in the third quarter). Both Bortles (182 yards) and Manuel (298 yards) threw a pair of TDs, with each man being sacked a combined six times (Manuel was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Bortles was sacked twice with an interception). Jacksonville outrushed Buffalo on the other side of the pond 120-115, with T.J. Yeldon leading all rushers with 115 yards and a TD.

Buffalo’s favored by 7 1/2 in upstate New York and the over/under’s 45. Jacksonville’s not a great team by any stretch of the imagination but they’re not 7 1/2 points bad. They’ll make it interesting but Buffalo circles the wagons in upstate New York and takes the win.

Tennessee (5-6) at Chicago (2-8), 1 p.m. on and DirecTV 707. Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans travel to the Windy City to face the struggling Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

The Titans dropped below the .500 mark, falling to AFC South foe Indianapolis 24-17 last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Although they trailed Indy 21-7 at the half. the Titans managed to outscored the Colts 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. As far as the running game was concerned, it was nothing to write, talk or Tweet about as neither club breached the 100-yard barrier. The good news for Titans fans? They did outrush Indy 97-76 and Mariota threw for 290 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked five times.

Da Bears return to the Windy City after their 22-16 loss to the New York Giants in the Meadowlands. The Monsters of the Midway led 16-9 at the break at MetLife before Eli Manning (227 yards) and the Giants roared back in the final half, shutting out Da Bears, thanks in part to a pair of Manning TD passes to Will Tye and Sterling Shepherd. Despite throwing for 252 yards, Bears QB Jay Cutler was sacked four times in the game.

Including contests that were played when the Titans called Houston home and were known as the Oilers, Da Bears lead da series 6-5 but Tennessee has outscored Chicago 245-238. Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2012 in the Music City as they would win that contest 51-20, while the Titans were 21-14 victors in the Windy City in 2008. Tennessee’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 42. Tennessee’s still trying to catch Houston in the AFC South, while Da Bears are trying to get themselves out of the NFC North cellar. There’s some really good wine in cellars and that’s where Chicago will be. Tennessee covers the 5 1/2 and wins in the Windy City.

San Diego (4-6) at Houston (6-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Chargers travel eastward to the Lone Star State for an intra-conference contest in Houston with the Texans.

San Diego comes back from their 31-24 loss to Miami at Qualcomm two Sundays ago (the Chargers had a bye last week). The Chargers let a 10-7 lead at the half get away from them as Miami, who outrushed San Diego 106-70, would outscore San Diego 24-14 in the second half. Philip Rivers threw for 326 yards and three TDs, connecting with all-Pro TE Antonio Gates on one but was sacked three times and picked off four.

Houston also let a lead get out of their grasp in Mexico City Monday night against Oakland and fell to the Raiders 27-20 south of the border. Leading 20-13 with 10:57 left to play, the Texans saw that lead leave as the Silver and Black got a pair of TD passes from David Carr (295 yards, three TDS), one to RB Jamize Olawale, the other to WR Amari Cooper. Houston had one final chance to tie the contest but the final drive stalled, forcing the Texans to punt. That allowed the Raiders to run the clock out and come away with the win. Houston managed to outrush Oakland 124-30 (Lamar Miller led all rushers with 104 yards), while Brock Osweiler threw for 243 yards with a TD and an interception, while being sacked twice.

The Chargers lead the series 4-1, have outscored Houston 143-87 and won the first four meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 2010 in the Lone Star State by a final of 29-23. Houston’s lone win came in San Diego in 2013, with the Texans leaving Qualcomm Stadium 31-28 winners.

The Chargers are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The Chargers are not a bad team but they’re not great. Houston’s looking for a little revenge on the AFC West after what happened in Mexico City. If revenge is a dish best served cold, expect the Texans to go for seconds. Houston covers the 1 1/2 and wins at home in the Lone Star State.

New York Giants (7-3) at Cleveland (0-11), 1 p.m. on and DirecTV 710. A pair of clubs going in opposite directions meet along the shores of Lake Erie as the Giants, trying to catch Dallas in the NFC East, take on the Cleveland Browns, in search for their first win like Ahab in search of Moby Dick.

New York and Eli Manning rallied from being down 16-9 at the half to take a 22-16 win over Chicago in the Meadowlands. The Manning-led Giants threw for 227 yards and a pair of TDs to WRs Will Tye and Sterling Shepherd in the second half for Big Blue, who held Chicago to 93 yards rushing (New York rushed for 102) and while Bears QB Jay Cutler threw for 252 yards, they did manage to sack him for times at Met Life Stadium last Sunday.

The winless Browns were manhandled by Pittsburgh 24-9 along the shores of Lake Erie last Sunday. Cleveland was held to 33 yards rushing, while LeVeon Bell ran for 146 yards and a TD. Cleveland trailed 14-0 at the break and could never really get on track, while Browns QBs Josh McCown (who was knocked out of the contest) and Cody Kesler four times each.

The Browns lead the series 26-20-2 (which includes contests that took place at Yankee Stadium and old Municipal Stadium) and Clevleand has outscored New York 1,075-914). New York’s last win came in the Meadowlands in 2012, as the Giants were 41-27 winners, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2008 along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 35-14.

New York, who looks to keep pace With Dallas in the NFC West (the Cowboys won Thanksgiving afternoon in Arlington), are favored by 7 with a 44 over/under. Cleveland’s been struggling to score more than 20 points of late and not only will they not reach the over/under, they won’t take the win. Browns make it a somewhat close contest to start but Giants cover the 7 in the Buckeye State.

San Francisco (1-9) at Miami (6-4), 1 p.m. on and DirecTV 711. A struggling San Francisco 49ers teams heads to the Sunshine State for an early morning meeting (Pacific Coast time) with the improved Miami Dolphins.

The 49ers trailed Tom Brady (280 yards, four TDS) and New England 13-10 at halfime at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday before the Pats floored the gas and sent San Francisco to their ninth loss of the year 30-17. While Colin Kaepernick threw for 206 yards and a pair of TDs, he was also sacked five times, while the 49ers were outrushed by New England 171-122 (New England’s LeGarrett Blount led all rushers with 124 yards.

Miami rallied against Los Angeles on the West Coast and took a 14-10 win over the Rams last Sunday. The ‘Fins trailed 10-0 going into the final quarter before QB Ryan Tannehill connected on a pair of TD passes, taking the lead for good when he and WR DeVante Parker connected on a 9-yard strike with 36 seconds left. While Tannehill threw the two TDs and 172 yards, he was sacked four times and picked off once and the Rams outrushed Miami 102-98.

Miami leads the series 6-5 but the 49ers have outscored the Dolphins 234-167 as well as win the last meeting between the clubs, taking a 27-13 win on the West Coast in 2012, while Miami’s last win over the 49ers came in 2008 in the Sunshine State by a final of 14-9.

Miami’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. While the 49ers are bad, they actually have one more win than the Browns and that’s not saying a lot. The Dolphins are getting hot and have matched their win total from 2015. Miami passes that mark Sunday at home and covers the 7 1/2.

Los Angeles (4-6) at New Orleans (4-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of struggling teams meet in the Big Easy. It’s California Roll vs. Gumbo as the Rams travel Eastward to face Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Los Angeles let a 10-0 lead after 45 minutes of play get away from them on the West Coast, allowing Miami to come away from the Los Angeles Coliseum 14-10 winners last Sunday. The Rams led 10-0 going into the final quarter before Miami QB Ryan Tannehill connected on a pair of TD passes, taking the lead for good when he and WR DeVante Parker connected on a 9-yard strike with 36 seconds left, sending Rams fans home in a less-than pleasant mood. Los Angeles did manage to outrush Miami 102-98 and rookie QB Jeff Goff threw for 134 yards without an interception (he was sacked once), While Tannehill threw the two TDs and 172 yards, he was sacked four times and picked off once.

A last-dash New Orleans rally against Carolina fell short in Charlotte as the Saints fell to their NFC South rivals 23-20 last Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium. New Orleans and Brees trailed 20-3 at the break before they would manage to outscore Carolina in the final 30 minutes of action. There were a couple of bright spots for the Saints; first, they outrushed Carolina 107-50 and secondly, Brees (285) outpaced Cam Newton (192) and Brees had three TDs, two in the second half but was sacked three times.

Including games that were played in Anaheim and St. Louis, the Rams lead the series 40-31, have outscored New Orleans 1,603, -1,438 and won the last two meetings, including a 27-16 win in St. Louis in 2013. New Orleans’ last win over the Rams came in 2010 in the Big Easy by a final of 31-13.

The Saints are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Neither teams are much to look at and if you decide that you need to go Christmas shopping, we’ll understand. Saints take this one but they won’t cover.

Seattle (7-2-1) at Tampa Bay (5-5), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of young QB meet in the Sunshine State as Jameis Winson hosts Russell Winston and the Seattle Seahawks in a late afternoon contest on the Gulf Coast.

The Seahawks have won three consecutive games and lead the NFC West with a 7-2-1 record and defeated Philadelphia 26-15 last week in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as wide receiver Doug Baldwin had 104 receiving yards and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Russell Wilson. Philly led 7-6 with 14:13 left before half when TE Zach Ertz and rookie QB Carson Wentz connected on a 4-yard TD pass. Seattle would roar back when Wilson (272 yards) and TE Jimmy Graham connected on a 35-yard strike to take the lead back for good.

Tampa Bay has won two games in a row and trails Atlanta by one game for first place in the NFC South. Last week, Tampa Bay won 19-17 at Kansas City, ending the Chiefs’ 10-game home winning streak. Winston passed for 331 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions against the Chiefs and wide receiver Mike Evans had six catches for 105 yards. Evans ranks second in the NFL this season with eight touchdown receptions. Kansas City led 10-9 at the half at Arrowhead before the Bucs, who outrushed Kansas City 116-82, roared back in the second to take the win in the Show-Me State.

They both came into the NFL at the same time and both have Lombardi Trophies to their credits but have only played each other 12 times and the Seahawks lead the series 8-4, with Tampa Bay outscoring Seattle 208-197 in those meetings. Seattle won the last meeting in 2013 in the Pacific Northwest as they needed overtime to take the 27-24 win. Tampa Bay’s last win over the Bucs came in 2010 in the Sunshine State, with the Buccaneers winning 38-15.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Seahawks as 5 1/2 point favorites in the Sunshine State and the contest comes in with a 45 over/under. These are two pretty good QBs here and while this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” it is one that is worth watching. Seattle takes this one and covers the 5 1/2.

New England (8-2) at New York Jets (3-7), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. They meet again. A pair of AFC rivals that were part of the old American Football League meet in upstate New Jersey when Tom Brady and the Pats travel to MetLife Stadium for a meeting with the New York Jets.

Brady, who threw for 280 yards and four TDS and New England 13-10 at halfime at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday before the Pats floored the gas and sent San Francisco to their ninth loss of the year 30-17. New England outrushed San Francisco 171-122, with RB LeGarrett Blount leading all rushers iwth 124 yards, While sacking Colin Kaepernick five times (Kaepernick threw for 206 yards and a pair of TDs).

GangGreen returns from their bye week and a 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife. The only TD of the contest came courtesy of the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! when Bryce Petty and RB Bilal Powell hooked up on a 4-yard TD pass with 12:35 left before intermission. The Jets, who led 6-3 at the half, would carry that lead with them into the half before Los Angeles’ Greg Zeurlein connected on a pair of field goals to first tie the contest and then take the lead back. New York did manage to outrush Los Angeles 139-125, while Petty, who took over for Ryan Fitzpatrick, threw for 163 yards.

The Patriots lead the series 57-53-1 (which includes contests that were played at Shea Stadium and Fenway Park and the Jets were known as the Titans) and the Pats have outscored GangGreen Patriots 2,516, Jets 2,350. They split last year’s meetings in the AFC East, with each winning at home.

New England won the first meeting in Foxboro in week seven 30-23. The Pats, held to 16 yards rushing (the Jets had 89), led 13-10 at the half at Gillette Stadium, then held off the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the second half to come away with the win. Although he was sacked three times, Brady did manage to throw for 355 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Gronkowski and Amendola, while Fitzpatrick also had two TD passes, throwing for 295 yards with a pair of sacks.

GangGreen would get revenge on the Pats in their second meeting, which took place at MetLife Stadium in week 16, taking it to Brady and the Pats, coming away with 26-20 overtime win. Trailing 10-3 at halftime, New England managed to pull even with the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! when Brady (231 yards, interception, two sacks) and RB James White connected on a 9-yard strike with 1:55 left in regulation. New England’s hopes for sweeping the series were dashed in the overtime as Fitzpatrick and WR Eric Decker connected on a 6-yard TD pass with 12:23 left in the overtime to send their fanbase home happy campers. New York managed to run for 143 yards (a big improvement from the week seven contest), while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! held New England to 63.

The Pats are favored by 8 and the over/under’s 45. GangGreen’s been on the skids of late, while the Pats remain kings of the AFC East mountain. Long live the king. Pats win in upstate New Jersey but expect GangGreen to make it closer than 8.

Carolina (4-6) at Oakland (8-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Newton vs. Carr. The defending NFC champs travel to the Left Coast for a late afternoon contest in northern California. Both come into the contest with wins under their belts from last week’s action.

Carolina held off New Orleans 23-20 last Thursday night in Charlotte. The Panthers led 20-3 at the break before New Orleans outscored them in the second half of the NFC South rematch in the Tar Heel State. While New Orleans did outrush Carolina 107-50, Newton threw for 192 yards and a TD, while sacking Drew Brees (285, three TDS, interception) three times. Carolina’s defense allowed a pair of Brees TDs in the second half to make the Thursday affair a bit too close for Panther fans but Carolina managed to prevail when they stopped New Orleans in their last attempt to tie the contest up.

Oakland came out of Mexico City 27-20 winners over Houston last Monday night. The Silver and Black trailed 20-13 with 10:57 left to play, before Oakland got a pair of TD passes from David Carr (295 yards, three TDS), one to RB Jamize Olawale, the other to WR Amari Cooper. Oakland then fored the Texans to punt, which allowed the Raiders to run the clock out and come away with the win. Houston did manage to outrush the Raiders 124-30, with Texan RB Lamar Miller leading all rushers with 104 yards, while sacking Brock Osweiler (243 yards, TD, interception) twice.

The defending NFC champs lead the series 3-2 but the two teams are even in points in the series 105-105. Carolina won the last two meetings in the series, with the Panthers coming away 17-6 winners in the Tar Heel State in 2012, while the Silver and Black were 27-24 winners in Charlotte in 2004.

Oakland’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 49 1/2. Oakland’s trying to stay atop the AFC West mountain, while Carolina wants to repeat at champ in a division led by Atlanta. Carolina shocks the world on the West Coast and takes the win, although Oakland will make it closer than 3 1/2.

Kansas City (7-3) at Denver (7-3), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. A pair of AFC West rivals meet in prime time on Sunday night as the Chiefs travel to the Mile High City for an AFC West contest in Denver.

Kansas City looks to bounce back from their 19-17 loss to Tampa Bay at Arrowhead last Sunday. The loss put an end to the Chiefs’ 10-game home winning streak and Jameis Winston passed for 331 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions against the Chiefs. Kansas City led 10-9 at the half at Arrowhead before the Bucs, who outrushed Kansas City 116-82, roared back in the second to take the win in the Show-Me State.

The defending Super Bowl champs come back from their bye week and pulled off pulled out a dramatic 25-23 victory over New Orleans in Week 10. It was the rookies that made Denver fans happy as Broncos rookie Justin Simmons blocked an extra-point attempt with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter and fellow rookie Will Park returned it for the game-winning two-point conversion in the 25-23 win. It marked the first game-winning defensive two-point conversion since the rule was adopted in 2015. Simmons was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in that game. Denver led 23-17 before Saints QB Drew Brees (303 yards) and WR Brandin Cooks tied the contest up with a 32-yard TD. Denver outrushed New Orleans 103-80 in the Big Easy and Trevor Seimian threw for 258 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off twice and sacked six times.

The Chiefs lead the series 57-54 (includings contests that were played when the Chiefs were known as the Dallas Texans) and have outscored the defending Super Bowl champs 2,544-2,293. The two AFC West foes split the two meetings but took wins in the other team’s ballparks.

Round 1… Week two at Arrowhead and the Broncos, led by Peyton Manning, took a 31-24 over the Chiefs in the Show-Me State. Tied 14-14 at the half, the Broncos rallied from a 24-17 deficit to score their final 14 points of the contest, when Manning and WR Eric Sanders connected on a 19-yard TD pass with 36 seconds left. Denver didn’t have to wait very long to take the lead for keeps, when CB Bradley Roby recovered an Alex Smith fumble and ran it back 21 yards for the winning score. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles ran for 125 of the Chiefs’ 147, holding the Broncos to 61 yards. Manning threw for 256 yards and three TDs, despite being sacked three times, while Smith threw for 191 yards with four sacks and a pair of interceptions.

Kansas City would get their revenge on the Broncos in the Mile High City at Sports Authority Field, coming away 29-13 winners in the week 10 rematch. Kansas City led 19-0 after the first 45 minutes of action, shutting out the Broncos until they eventually scored their 13 points in the fourth quarter. Charcandrick West scored a pair of TDs for the Chiefs in the win on the road, rushing for 69 of his team’s 106, while the Kansas City defense held Denver to 69, picking off Brad Osweiler and Manning five times (Manning threw four interceptions, Osweiler with one) and sacking the two QBs five times (Osweiler was sacked three times, Manning twice).

Denver’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 39 1/2. There’s a lot a stake here. One of these teams could pull a bit closer to the Raiders in the AFC West and to say that this contest is not “DRILL WORTHY!” is like saying there’s no Santa Claus. With that… (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

The winner? They get closer to the Raiders. The loser? They’ll have a somewhat hard time bouncing back in the AFC West. Kansas City makes this one really close but the defending Super Bowl champs win at home in the Mile High City.

Green Bay (4-6) at Philadelphia (5-5), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 12 closes out in the City of Brotherly Love as a pair of teams that lost on the road last week meet in Philadelphia.

Green Bay could not hold on to a 10-7 lead against Washington last Sunday night and fell to the Redskins 42-24 in Landover. Washington outrushed the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers 151-84, with ‘Skins rookie RB Robert Kelly accounting for 137 of those yards and three TDs, two of them coming in the final minutes of the contest. Rodgers, for his part, threw for 351 yards and three TDs, including one to WR Jordy Nelson, while Kirk Cousins threw for 375 yards (Cousins also had three TDs).

Philadelphia led Seattle 7-6 on a 4-yard TD pass from rookie QB Carson Wentz to TE Zach Ertz before Seattle came back to take the lead for themselves again and for keeps, falling to Seattle 26-15 last week in the Pacific Northwest. Wentz threw for 218 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off twice and sacked twice. Philly’s lead was short-lived when the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (272 yards) and TE Jimmy Graham connected on a 35-yard strike to take the lead back for good.

Green Bay lead the series 25-14, which includes games played in Milwaukee and the Packers have outscored the Eagles 803-646. Green Bay’s last win in the series came in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst in 2014 bu a final of 53-20, while Philly’s last win in the series also came at Lambeau in 2013, coming away 27-13 winners.

Both teams have done well under the Monday night lights. Green Bay has been in 62 games, winning 30 of those games, with 31 losses and 1 tie (the Packers were 1-0 in their only MNF contest in 2015), while the Eagles are 32-26, taking a 29-14 win over Chicago in week two this season. The Eagles are favored by 3 1/2 in the City of Brotherly Love and the over/under’s 48. The teams that Green Bay and Philadelphia are trying to chase won Thursday afternoon (Detroit beating Minnesota at home, while Dallas beat Washington) and both clubs know they have to win to keep pace. This might the week to tape “2 Broke Girls” and “Scorpion” this week. Philly makes it close but the boys from the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst come out of the city of Brotherly Love and cover the 3 1/2.

The NFL has entered the second half of the season and the excitement is building as playoff races tighten.

Nine teams have at least six wins, led by the 8-1 Dallas Cowboys – Dallas (8-1), Kansas City (7-2), New England (7-2), Oakland (7-2), Denver (7-3), Seattle (6-2-1), Houston (6-3), the New York Giants (6-3) and Atlanta (6-4). The AFC West has three teams with at least seven wins – Kansas City, Oakland and Denver – and the NFC East is the only division in which all four teams have a winning record – Dallas, the Giants, Washington (5-3-1) and Philadelphia (5-4).

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 1990, 25 teams have qualified for the playoffs with a losing record through nine games. Last year, four teams accomplished the feat and advanced to the postseason – Houston (4-5), Kansas City (4-5), Seattle (4-5) and Washington (4-5).

On the field, the games continue to be close. Through the first 10 weeks, 110 games have been within one score in the fourth quarter, the most such games in a season’s first 10 weeks in NFL history.

Last Sunday, there were two games which featured seven lead changes – Dallas at Pittsburgh and Seattle at New England – which marked the first day in NFL history with two games having at least seven lead changes. Additionally, the Kansas City Chiefs scored 20 unanswered points – including 17 in the fourth quarter – to overcome a 17-0 deficit and pull out a 20-17 victory at Carolina. The Chiefs have now rallied from a 14+ point deficit in the fourth quarter in two games this season (Week 1 vs. San Diego and Week 10 at Carolina) and are the first team to have two such victories in a season since the 2003 Indianapolis Colts. So in the NFL, no lead is safe, even if you are the home team.

Also in Week 11, the NFL returns to Mexico for the first time since October 2, 2005 when a crowd of 103,467 witnessed the league’s first international regular-season game as the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. On Monday night at 8:30 p.m., two first-place teams – the Oakland Raiders (7-2) and Houston Texans (6-3) – will meet at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in the first-ever Monday Night Football game to be played outside the United States. The game will be televised live on ESPN in the U.S. and on Televisa and ESPN in Mexico.

“Expanding our International Series of regular-season games to Mexico marks an important step in our continued international growth,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the New York Times, ESPN and USA Today. “We have a tremendous, passionate fan base in Mexico and we know the atmosphere on game day will be outstanding.”

Four of the NFL’s 10 largest single-game attendance totals have come in Mexico, including the top two: 112,376 fans on August 15, 1994 (American Bowl preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers) and 106,424 on August 17, 1998 (American Bowl preseason game between the Cowboys and New England Patriots). Both of those contests were also played at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

ICYMI: Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 114 yards with two touchdowns – including the game-winning 32-yard score with nine seconds remaining – and had 95 receiving yards with a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 35-30 win at Pittsburgh. Elliott has 1,005 rushing yards and is the third player in NFL history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in his first nine career games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1,096) and Adrian Peterson (1,081).

Elliott, who had a 60-yard touchdown run in Week 5 against Cincinnati, had an 83-yard touchdown catch in today’s game. He is the first rookie running back to have a 60+ yard touchdown run and an 80+ yard touchdown catch in a season since Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965.

•Denver rookie Justin Simmons blocked an extra-point attempt with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter and Broncos rookie Will Parks returned it for the game-winning two-point conversion in Denver’s 25-23 win at New Orleans. It marked the first-ever game-winning defensive two-point conversion since the rule was adopted in 2015 and the first to give the scoring team the lead.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes for the Saints. He has 452 career touchdown passes and joined Peyton Manning (539) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (508) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 450 touchdown passes.

It was a pretty good weekend for former Heisman Trophy QBs in the NFL in week 10…

•Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 73.1 percent of his passes (19 of 26) for 295 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 149.8 passer rating in the Titans’ 47-25 win over Green Bay. Mariota is the first quarterback in NFL history to have three games with a 70.0+ completion percentage, at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first two seasons.

Titans running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 123 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass. Murray is the first non-quarterback since Pro Football Hall of Famer John Henry Johnson in 1960 (December 11, 1960) to have a 75+ yard touchdown run and a touchdown pass in the same game.

•Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 312 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 36-10 win over Chicago. Winston (22 years, 312 days) is the youngest player in NFL history to reach 40 career touchdown passes (41). The previous mark was held by Drew Bledsoe at 22 years, 313 days old.

•Arizona running back David Johnson had 101 scrimmage yards (55 rushing, 46 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Cardinals’ 23-20 win over San Francisco. In his career, Johnson has 17 rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and one kickoff-return touchdown. He is one of three players in NFL history – Pro Football Hall of Famer GALE Sayers and Abner Haynes – to have at least 15 rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a kickoff-return touchdown in a player’s first two seasons.

Johnson is the first player to record at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his team’s first nine games since Eegerin James did it with Indianapolis in 2005.

•Kansas City scored 17 fourth quarter points in the team’s 20-17 win at Carolina. The Chiefs overcame a 17-0 deficit, the second time this season Kansas City has won a game after trailing by at least 17 points (Week 1, San Diego, 21 points). The Chiefs are the seventh team in NFL history to win at least two games in which it trailed by at least 17 points in the first nine games of a season.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton passed for 261 yards with a touchdown and rushed for 54 yards with a touchdown in the Panthers’ loss. Newton has 20,257 passing yards and 3,468 rushing yards in his career and is the only player in NFL history to have at least 20,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards in his first six seasons.

•Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 10 catches for 135 yards in the Falcons’ 24-15 loss at Philadelphia. Jones, who was playing in his 75th game, has 475 career catches, the most in NFL history by a player in his first 75 games. Jones has 7,306 career receiving yards and is one of two players in league annals with at least 7,000 receiving yards in his first 75 games (Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth, 7,532).

Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs had 13 catches for 164 yards in the Vikings’ 26-20 loss at Washington. Diggs, who had 13 catches for 80 yards last week, is the first player in NFL history to have at least 13 catches in consecutive games.

BACK AND FORTH: If you like lead changes, last Sunday was your week. Sunday marked the first day in NFL history with multiple games that had at least seven lead changes.

Dallas and Pittsburgh saw seven lead changes, including four in the fourth quarter and two in the final minute of play, in Dallas’ 35-30 victory at Pittsburgh. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown with 42 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter giving Pittsburgh a 30-29 lead. Five plays later, Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliot sprinted up the middle for the game-winning 32-yard touchdown with nine seconds remaining.

Elliott, who also had a go-ahead 14-yard touchdown run with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, is the first NFL player since Ahmad Rashad on September 16, 1974 to score two go-ahead touchdowns in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter of the same game. Rashad had two go-ahead touchdown catches in the final two minutes of the Buffalo Bills’ 21-20 victory against the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football.

The lead changes from Sunday’s Dallas-Pittsburgh game:
Quarter – Time (Scoring Play; Score)
2nd – 11:04 (Dallas: Bailey 53-yard field goal; Dallas 13, Pittsburgh 12)
2nd – 4:43 (Pittsburgh: Boswell 39-yard field goal; Pittsburgh 15, Dallas 13)
3rd – 1:35 (Dallas: Bryant 50-yard pass from Prescott (Bailey kick); Dallas 23, Pittsburgh 18)
4th – 7:51 (Pittsburgh: Bell 1-yard run (pass failed); Pittsburgh 24, Dallas 23)
4th – 1:55 (Dallas: Elliott 14-yard run (pass failed); Dallas 29. Pittsburgh 24)
4th – 0:42 (Pittsburgh: Brown 15-yard pass from Roethlisberger (pass failed); Pittsburgh 30, Dallas 29)
4th – 0:09 (Dallas: Elliott 32 yard run (pass failed); Dallas 35, Pittsburgh 30)

On Sunday night, Seattle defeated New England 31-24, in a game that featured seven lead changes. Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka converted a 23-yard field goal – his fourth field goal of the game – for the deciding score with 8:56 left in the fourth quarter. With 43 seconds remaining in the contest, the Seahawks’ defense stopped the Patriots on four-consecutive plays starting at the Seattle 2-yard line to secure the victory.

The lead changes from Sunday’s Seattle-New England game:
Quarter – Time (Scoring Play; Score)
2nd – 10:52 (Seattle: Baldwin 6-yard pass from Wilson (kick blocked); Seattle 12, New England 7
2nd – 1:05 (New England: Blount 1-yard run (Gostkowski kick); New England 14, Seattle 12)
2nd – 0:06 (Seattle: Baldwin 18-yard pass from Wilson (Hauschka kick); Seattle 19, New England 14)
3rd – 7:52 (New England: Blount 13-yard run (Gostkowski kick); New England 21, Seattle 19)
3rd – 2:52 (Seattle: Hauschka 41-yard field goal; Seattle 22, New England 21)
4th – 13:00 (New England; New England: Gostkowski 30-yard field goall New England 24, Seattle 22)
4th – 8:56 (Seattle: Hauschka 23-yard field goal; Seattle 25, New England 24)

FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACKS: Through Week 10, there have been 44 games in which a team that trailed in the fourth quarter came back to win, tied for the most such games in the first 10 weeks of a season in NFL history. Seven teams – Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, the New York Giants, Philadelphia and Seattle – overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win in Week 10.

The most games won by a team that trailed in the fourth quarter through Week 10:

SEASON – GAMES WON WHEN TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 10
2016 – 44
2015 – 43
2011 – 43
1999 – 43
1989 – 44

CLOSE GAMES: There have been 110 games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 10, the most such games in the first 10 weeks of a season in NFL history. Three teams – Detroit, the New York Giants and Washington – have had all of their games within one score in the fourth quarter this season.

The most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 10:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN THE 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 10
2016 – 110
2015 – 102
2013 – 105
2011 – 101
2004 – 103

Additionally, there have been 87 games decided by eight points or fewer and 81 games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 10, both the most such games in the first 10 weeks of a season in league annals.

The most games decided by eight points or fewer through Week 10:

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY EIGHT POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 10
2016 – 87
2015 – 81
2013 – 77
2012 – 77
2010 – 79
1999 – 79

The most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 10:

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 10

2016 – 81
2015 – 76
2011 – 72
1999 – 73
1987 – 72
1983 – 72

ALL-PURPOSE BACK: Arizona running back David Johnson had 101 scrimmage yards (55 rushing, 46 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Cardinals’ 23-20 win over San Francisco.

In his career, Johnson has 17 rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and one kickoff-return touchdown. He is one of three players in NFL history – Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers and Abner Haynes – to have at least 15 rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a kickoff-return touchdown in a player’s first two seasons.

The players with 15+ rushing TDs, 5+ receiving TDs and a kickoff-return TD in their first two seasons:

PLAYER: SEASONS; TEAM (RUSHING TDS, RECEIVING TDS, KICKOFF RETURN TDS)
David Johnson: 2015-2016; Arizona Cardinals (17, 5, 1)
Gale Sayers: 1965-1966l Chicago Bears (22, 8, 3)*
Abner Haynes: 1960-1961; Dallas Texans (18, 6, 1)
*Pro Football Hall of Famer

ROOKIE CONNECTION: Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 319 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 121.7 passer rating in the Cowboys’ 35-30 win at Pittsburgh. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott had 114 yards rushing with two touchdowns and a career-long 83-yard touchdown reception in the victory.

The 83-yard score was the longest touchdown pass from a rookie passer to a rookie teammate since October 5, 1986, when Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau threw an 84-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Bill Brooks.

The longest touchdown passes from a rookie passer to a rookie teammate since
1970:

DATE – TEAM (QUARTERBACK, RECEIVER – YARDS)
December 19, 1971 – New England (Jim Plunkett, Randy Vataha – 88)
December 6, 1970 – Pittsburgh (Terry Bradshaw, Dave Smith – 87)
October 5, 1986 – Indianapolis (Jack Trudeau, Bill Brooks – 84)
November 13, 2016 – Dallas (Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott – 83)

Prescott (2,339 passing yards) and Elliott (1,005 rushing yards) became the second rookie quarterback and rookie running back teammates with at least passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season, joining Robert Griffin III (3,200 passing yards) and ALFRED MORRIS (1,613 rushing yards) who accomplished the feat with Washington in 2012.

SEASON – TEAM (PLAYER, PASSING YARDS; PLAYER, RUSHING YARDS)
2016 – Dallas (Dak Prescott, 2,339; Ezekiel Elliott, 1,005)*
2012 – Washington (Robert Griffin III, 3,200; Alfred Morris, 1,613)
*Through nine games

Prescott and Elliott are the first pair of rookie teammates in NFL history to accomplish the feat in the team’s first nine games.

DUAL-THREAT DE MARCO: Tennessee running back DeMarco Murray rushed for a 75-yard touchdown and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of the Titans’ 47-25 win over Green Bay. Murray is the first non-quarterback since Pro Football Hall of Famer John Henry Johnson in 1960 (December 11, 1960) to have a 75+ yard touchdown run and a touchdown pass in the same game.

Murray is the first player to record a touchdown run of at least 75 yards and a touchdown pass in the first quarter of the same game since Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Thorpe accomplished the feat for the Cleveland Indians in 1921 against the Columbus Panhandles.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 11

MONDAY IN MEXICO: Week 11 concludes with the Oakland Raiders hosting the Houston Texans at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca on Monday Night Football at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN in the first-ever Monday Night Football game to be played outside the United States. The two first-place teams will battle in what will be the fourth and final international game this season.

Monday’s matchup marks the first NFL game in Mexico since October 2, 2005 when a crowd of 103,467 witnessed the league’s first international regular-season game. In that contest, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 at Estadio Azteca.

DOWNWIND DAVID: Arizona running back David Johnson had 101 scrimmage yards (55 rushing, 46 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Cardinals’ 23-20 win over San Francisco last week. Johnson is the first player to record at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his team’s first nine games since Edgerrin James (Indianapolis) in 2005.

With at least 100 scrimmage yards in Week 11 against Minnesota, Johnson would become the third different player since 1970 to record at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his team’s first 10 games.

The most consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards to start a season:

PLAYER – SEASON; TEAM – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS
Edgerrin James – 2005; Indianapolis – 13
Edgerrin James – 2000; Indianapolis – 12
Larry Brown – 1972; Washington – 10
David Johnson – 2016; Arizona – 9
*Active streak

CAN YOU DIGG IT: Minnesota wide receiver STEFON DIGGS had 13 catches for 164 yards in the Vikings’ 26-20 loss at Washington in Week 10. Diggs, who had 13 catches for 80 yards in Week 9 against Detroit, is the first player in NFL history to have at least 13 catches in consecutive games.

With 11 receptions on Sunday against Arizona, Diggs would set the record for the most receptions in a three-game span in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in a three-game span in NFL history:

PLAYER – SEASON; TEAM, WEEKS (RECEPTIONS IN THREE-GAME SPAN)
Tom Fears – 1950; Los Angeles, 10-12 (36)
Brandon Marshall – 2009; Denver, 13-15 (36)
Antonio Brown – 2015; Pittsburgh, 14-16 (36)
Brandon Marshall – 2009; Denver, 12-14 (35)
Stefon Diggs – 2016; Minnesota, 9-10 (26)*
*Through two games

INDISPENSIBLE DREW: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns in Week 10 against Denver. With nine passing yards against Carolina on Thursday Night Football, Brees would record his 12th consecutive season with 3,000 passing yards, tying Peyton Manning for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with 3,000+ passing yards:

PLAYER, YEARS (CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 3,000+ PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre, 1992-2009 (18)^
Peyton Manning, 1998-2010 (13)
Drew Brees, 2004-2015 (12)*
Eli Manning, 2005-2015 (11)*
Philip Rivers, 2006-2015 (10)*
Ben Roethlisberger, 2006-2015 (10)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

FANTASTIC FRANK: Indianapolis running back Fran Gore, who has the most career rushing yards among active players, passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown earlier this season (Week 5 vs. Chicago) for the ninth most rushing yards in NFL history.

With 108 rushing yards against Tennessee on Sunday, Gore would pass Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett for the eighth most rushing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most rushing yards in NFL history:

RANK – PLAYER, TEAM(S) (CAREER RUSHING YARDS)
1 – Emmitt Smith, Dallas and Arizona (18,355)^
2 – Walter Payton, Chicago (16,726)^
3 – Barry Sanders, Detroit (15,269)^
4 – Curtis Martin, New England and New York Jets (14,101)^
5 – LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego and New York Jets (13,684)
6 – Jerome Bettis, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh (13,662)^
7 – Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Raiders and Atlanta (13,259)^
8 – Tony Dorsett, Dallas and Denver (12,739)^
9 – Frank Gore, San Francisco and Indianapolis (12,632)*
10 – Jim Brown, Cleveland (12,312)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PRESCOTT UNDER PRESSURE: Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott completed 22 of 32 passes (68.8 percent) for 319 yards and two touchdowns for a 121.7 passer rating in last week’s 35-30 win at Pittsburgh. Prescott, a fourth round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, has won eight consecutive starts, tied for the second-longest winning streak by a rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era.

The rookie quarterbacks with the most consecutive wins in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM (ROOKIE YEAR, CONSECUTIVE WINS)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2004 – 13)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2016 – 8)*
Kyle Orton, Chicago (2005 – 8)
Robert Griffin III, Washington (2012 – 6)
Vince Young, Tennessee (2006 – 6)
Mike Kruczek, Pittsburgh (1976 – 6)
*Active streak

STUPENDOUS SMITH, SR.: Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. had five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ 28-7 win over Cleveland last Thursday in Baltimore. Smith ranks fourth among active players in career receptions with 997 and needs three catches on Sunday at Dallas to become the 14th player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions.

The players with 1,000 receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (YEARS; CAREER RECEPTIONS)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (1985-2004; 1,549)^
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and Atlanta (1997-2013; 1,325)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (1996-2008; 1,102)^
Cris Carter – Philadelphia, Minnesota and Miami (1987-2002; 1,101)^
Tim Brown – Los Angeles/Oakland and Tampa Bay (1988-2004; 1,094)^
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (2004-present; 1,086)*
Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati (1996-2010; 1,078)
Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis (2001-2014; 1,070)
Jason Witten – Dallas (2003-present; 1,064)*
Andre Johnson – Houston, Indianapolis and Tennessee (2003-2016; 1,062)
Anquan Boldin – Arizona, Baltimore, San Francisco and Detroit (2003-present; 1,044)*
Isaac Bruce – Los Angeles/St. Louis and San Francisco (1994-2009; 1,024)
Hines Ward – Pittsburgh (1998-2011; 1,000)
Steve Smith, Sr. – Carolina and Baltimore (2001-present; 997)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Week 11 kicked off Thursday night with a key NFC South matchup as Carolina hung on to beat New Orleans 23-20 in Charlotte. The game was be broadcast on NBC, simulcast on NFL Network and streamed to a global audience across devices for free on Twitter as part of the league’s “Tri-Cast” distribution model.

The week concludes with a pair of primetime contests featuring four teams in the middle of the playoff race. On Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers visit the Washington Redskins at 8:30 p.m. on NBC in a rematch of last season’s Wild Card contest which the Packers won 35-18. The week concludes as the Texans and Raiders finish things off in Mexico City on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Last week… 9-5 on the picks (another weekend above the .500 mark!), for the week, which makes us 97-48 for the season. Atlanta, Denver, the New York Jets and San Diego have byes this week and come back into action next week. Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis and Oakland return from their vactions to take the field this week and with that being said, it’s time for Sunday and Monday’s picks for week 11.

Pittsburgh (4-5) at Cleveland (0-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. It’s an AFC North showdown along the shores of Lake Erie as the Steelers travel to Cleveland for a meeting with the winless Browns.

The Steelers, in seocnd place in the AFC North and Dallas exchanged the lead in their contest at Heinz Field seven times before finally falling to Dallas 35-30. Pittsburgh led the Cowboys and Dak Prescott 15-13 at the intermission in a game that had its third lead change with 1:35 left in the third when Prescott (319 yards, 2 TDs) and WR Dez Bryant connected on a 50-yard pass. Pittsburgh would have the lead two more times and Steeler fans thought they finally had the contest in hand when Dallas got off the deck and put the nail in Pittsburgh’s coffin when RB Ezekiel Elliot (114 yards) scored his second TD of the night, a 32-yard romp with nine seconds left to play. For the Steelers, they were easily outrushed by the Cowboys 127-48 but Roethlisberger threw for 408 yards and three TDs.

Struggling Cleveland dropped their 10th contest in the 2016 campaign and their 13th overall to Baltimore 28-7 in Charm City last Thursday night. The Browns actually led the Ravens 7-6 at the break at M & T Bank Stadium, before Baltimore scored 22 second half points unchallenged. Baltimore rushed for 119 yards and held Cleveland to 33 yards on the ground, while Josh McCown was sacked three times and picked off twice.

Pittsburgh holds a 68-58 lead in the series, the Steelers have outscored the Browns 2,566-2,426 and have won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Cleveland’s last win came in 2014, when they won 31-10 along the shores of Lake Erie).

They met in the Steel City in week 10 and the Steelers manhandled Cleveland 30-9 at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 21-3 at the break and were never really threatened by Cleveland in that first contest, with Roethlisberger throwing for 379 yards and three TDs (two of them to WR Antonio Brown) and making life miserable for Johnny Manziel, sacking him six times and holding Cleveland to 15 yards on the ground.

While things were somewhat balmy in the first meeting in Pittsburgh (gametime temp? 61 degrees with a wind chill of 57), it was not the case in their second meeting, which took place in week 17 in Cleveland. Gametime temp? 34 degrees with a 23 degree wind chill. For the Steelers, second verse same as the first… Pittsburgh took the Browns to task at First Energy Field, coming away 28-12 winners along the shores of Lake Erie.

Pittsburgh led 14-9 at the intermission and never looked back and Roethlisberger (349 yards) again threw three TDs passes in the second contest. As far as the running game was concerned, it was nothing to write home about as neither club broke the 100-yard barrier (Cleveland did manage to outrush the Steelers 86-30) and Browns QB Austin Davis (subbing for Manziel) was sacked seven times and picked off twice.

The Steelers are favored by 9 and the over/under’s 49. Both teams have been struggling of late and both want to catch up to Baltimore in the AFC North. Cleveland’s played in some close contests this year, despite losing 10 in a row and they’ll keep this one pretty close but Pittsburgh comes away with the win.

Baltimore (5-4) at Dallas (8-1), 1 p.m. on and DirecTV 706. A pair of first-place teams meet in the Lone Star State when Dallas hosts the Baltimore Ravens in Arlington.

The Ravens held on to first place in the AFC North after their 28-7 win over Cleveland last Thursday night. The Ravens and Flacco erased a 7-6 deficit at the intermission in Charm City and scored their final 22 points of the contest in the second half and did it unchallenged. The Ravens ran for 119 yards, while holding the winless Browns to a measly 33 yards, sacking Josh McCown three times and picking him off twice. Flacco threw three TDS (all in the second half) for 296 yards in the win that allowed them to sweep the season series.

Dallas, in first place in the NFC East, exchanged the lead in their contest at Heinz Field with Pittsburgh seven times before finally coming away 35-30 winners. Dallas and Dak Prescott trailed 15-13 at the intermission in a game that had its third lead change with 1:35 left in the third when Prescott (319 yards, 2 TDs) and WR Dez Bryant connected on a 50-yard pass. Pittsburgh would have the lead two more times and Steeler fans thought they finally had the contest in hand when Dallas got off the deck and put the nail in Pittsburgh’s coffin when RB Ezekiel Elliot (114 yards) scored his second TD of the night, a 32-yard romp with nine seconds left to play. Dallas outrushed the Steelers 127-48, while Roethlisberger threw for 408 yards and three TDs.

They’ve met four times and the Ravens have won all four contests, with their last win coming in 2012 in Charm City by a 31-29 final and Baltimore has outscored Dallas 121-63. Dallas is favored by 7 in Arlington and the over/under is 44 1/2. It’s a pair of first place teams with a pair of pretty good QBs under center, which makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 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?”

Baltimore will keep this one interesting in the Lone Star State but Dallas comes away with this one and could very well cover the 7.

Jacksonville (2-7) at Detroit (5-4), 1 p.m. on DirecTV 707. The struggling Jacksonville Jaguars travel to the Motor City for a meeting with Detroit, who sits in first place in the NFC North at Ford Field.

Jacksonville trailed Houston 14-10 at the half at EverBank Field, then rallied in the second half but came up short against the Texans, falling to Houston 24-21. Blake Bortles threw for 265 yards and a pair of TDs (two sacks) in the 3-point loss in the Sunshine State, which was a good thing, because Houston outrushed Jacksonville 181-80 in the AFC South contest.

Detroit returns home from their bye week after their 20-13 loss to Houston two Sundays ago in the Lone Star State. The Lions trailed 14-3 at halftime, then rallied to outscore the Texans 10-6 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Texans held Detroit to 58 yards on the ground, while rushing for 105 of their own. The lone offensive bright spot for the Lions was QB Matthew Stafford, who threw for 240 yards and a TD, connecting with RB Theo Riddick on a 1-yard strike to open the final 15 minutes of action.

Jacksonville leads the series 3-2 but the Lions have outscored the Jaguars 128-112. Detroit came away 31-14 winners in Jacksonville in 2012, while Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in the Motor City by a final of 38-14 in 2008. The Lions are favored by 7 in the Motor City and the over/under’s 47. Detroit’s looking to go back to the post-season for the first time in nearly two years, while the Jaguars are trying to keep their heads above ground and at the very least hope for a wild card spot or a winning record. In this battle for the “litter box,” the cats from Michigan march their way to the win at home and cover the 7.

Tennessee (5-5) at Indianapolis (4-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. It’s a week seven rematch in the Hoosier State as Tennessee travels to Indy for a meeting with Andrew Luck and the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Titans gave Green Bay their third loss in a row, taking a 47-25 win over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee led 35-16 at the half and never looked back, sacking Rodgers (371 yards, two TDs) five times and picking him off twice. The Titans also held Green Bay to 69 yards rushing, while rushing for 162, with DeMarco Murray accounting for 123 yards and a TD and QB Marcus Mariota throwing for 295 yards and four TDs.

While the Titans beat up the Packers at home last Sunday, the Colts come back home again to Indiana after they went to Lambeau two Sundays ago (they had a bye last week) and held off Green Bay 31-26. Leading 24-10 in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst, the Colts held off the Packers in the second half as Green Bay somehow managed to outscore the Colts 16-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Green Bay outrushed the Colts 116-85 and Rodgers (3 TDs) outpassed Luck (TD, two interceptions) in passing yardage 297-281 in the late afternoon contest.

They met in Nashville in week seven and the Colts came away 34-26 winners at Nissan Stadium. Indy led 17-13 at the half, despite being outrushed by Tennessee 124-81 (Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 107 yards). In the air, Luck threw for 353 yards and three TDs, while Mariota threw for 232 yards with a pair of TDs.

In the week seven contest in the Music City, the Titans were favored by 2 1/2 with a 48 1/2 over/under. Indy not only covered the spread with their 8-point win in Nashville, they along with Tennessee covered the over/under with 64 points. This time, the Colts are the darlings of the boys and girls in Vegas and they like Indy as 3 point favorites with a 53 1/2 over/under. While the first meeting was somewhat close, expect this one to be a little closer, since the two teams know each other well. While it may wind up being closer than the 3, the Colts complete the sweep of the series and win back home again in Indiana.

Buffalo (4-5) at Cincinnati (3-5-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A struggling Buffalo Bills team travels to southern Ohio for a meeting in the Queen City with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Buffalo comes into the Sunday contest at Paul Brown Stadium after their bye week and a 31-25 loss to Seattle in a Monday night affair on the Pacific Coast. Buffalo let a 14-7 lead after the first 15 minutes of play get away from them as the Seahawks outscored them in the final three quarters 24-11. The Monday night contest had its share of controversy as the Bills tried a 54-yard field goal by David Carpenter that sailed wide. The Seahawks’ Richard Sherman jumped offside and ran into Carpenter, which did not set well with Bills head coach Rex Ryan. Words were exchanged (some that can’t be printed here) and the chippiness was on. There were two bright spots for Buffalo, despite the loss… first, they outrushed Seattle (who led 28-17 at halftime) 162-33 and Tyrod Taylor outpassed Russell Wilson 289-282.

The Bengals also lost on Monday night, this time falling to Eli Manning and the New York Giants 21-20 at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. Cincy trailed 14-10 at the half, then took the lead on a 9-yard run by HB Jeremy Hill with 13:58 to play in the third. K Mike Nugent added a 38-yard field goal to take a 20-14 lead late in the third quarter. That lead would not last long as Manning and the Giants opened the final 15 minutes of play with a 3-yard TD pass to rookie WR Sterling Shephard. New York outrushed Cincinnati 122-78, with Andy Dalton throwing for 204 yards and a TD (he was sacked three times), while Manning threw for 240 yards and three TDs (including the game winner) but was picked off twice.

The Bills lead the series 15-12 and have outscored Cincy 675-607. However…. the Bengals have won the last three meetings in the series, including taking a 34-21 win in upstate New York last year (Buffalo’s last win in the series came in 2010 in Cincinnnati by a final of 49-31.

Cincinnati led 17-14 at the half in Orchard Park and pulled away from Buffalo, outscoring the Bills in the final 30 minutes of action 17-7. Both clubs managed to rush for 112 yards, while Dalton threw for 243 yards and three TDs. For Buffalo, E.J. Manuel threw for 263 yards and a TD but was sacked twice and threw an interception in the loss.

Cincy’s a 3 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Those numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams did play on a Monday night on the road and both lost on the road. While this one’s not a great game to watch, it is somewhat tolerable. Bengals roar back from the loss in upstate New Jersey and win at home, covering the 3 1/2.

Tampa Bay (4-5) at Kansas City (7-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. The Buccaneers make their way westward for a meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. Both teams enter the Sunday contest in the Midwest with wins under their belts in last week’s play.

Tampa Bay led Chicago 17-10 at the half, inspite a 50-yard TD pass from Bears QB Jay Cutler to Cameron Meridith as the clock struck :00. Tampa Bay then proceeded to shutout the Bears in the second half and come away 36-10 winners last Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Jameis Winston threw for 312 yards and a pair of TDs in the contest, while the Bucs running game was held to 80 yards (Chicago ran for 120). Cutler threw for 182 yards and the lone TD in the contest, while he was sacked four times and picked off twice.

The Chiefs trailed 17-3 at the half against Carolina last Sunday in Charlotte and came away from the Tar Heel State 20-17 winners at Bank of America Stadium last Sunday. Carolina and Cam Newton were threatening in the final 30 seconds of play when Newton and WR Kelvin Benjamin connected on a 14-yard pass. Benjamin had the ball stripped from his hands by CB Marcus Peters, who returned the ball to Carolina’s 24. From there, the Chiefs’ Chris Santos connnected on a 37-yard field goal as time ran out, sending Panther fans home in a somewhat foul mood. While Alex Smith threw for 178 yards with three sacks and an interception, Newton threw for 261 yards and a TD and had a rushing TD himself in the contest, which didn’t have a lot of firepower in the run game, as neither team breched the 100-yard barrier (Carolina did manage to outrush Kansas City 99-91).

Tampa Bay leads the series Buccaneers 6-5, have outscored the Chiefs 224-216 and have come away winners in the last four contests, including a 38-10 winner in 2012 in the Sunshine State (Kansas City’s last win in the series came in 1993, when they were 27-3 winners at old Tampa Stadium).

Kansas City’s favored by 7 1/2 an the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both teams can play some decent football but not always great football. However, everything’s up to date in Kansas City as they win at Arrowhead and could cover the 7 1/2.

Arizona (4-4-1) at Minnesota (5-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The struggling Minnesota Vikings, who have lost four in a row, return to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a meeting with the Arizona Cardinals at US Bank Stadium.

The Desert Angry Birds escaped their nest at University of Phoenix Stadium 23-20 winnners over San Francisco in the final seconds as K Chris Catanzaro connected on a 34-yard field goal as the clock struck :00. Arizona led the lowly 49ers 20-10 at the half before their NFC West rivals rallied in the second half to even things up. Catanzaro kicked three field goals in the contest (including the game winner), which was not much of a game from a rushing point of view (San Francisco did outrush Arizona 83-80), Colin Kaepernick threw for 210 yards and a TD (he had a rushing TD as well) but was sacked three times and while Carson Palmer threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice, he did throw for 376 yards.

Minnesota let a 20-14 halftime lead in Landover get away from them against Washington as the Redskins rallied and fought back for a 26-20 win at FedEx Field. Minnesota was outrushed by Washington 128-47 and Sam Bradford was sacked three times, while throwing for 307 yards in the process. Kirk Cousins threw for 262 yards a pair of TD passes and the Redskins used the leg of K Dustin Hopkins for four second half field goals, the last one sealing Minnesota’s fate.

Minnesota leads the series 13-11 and the Vikings have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 565-535. Arizona won the last meeting with Minnesota in Glendale in 2015 by a final of 23-20 (Minnesota’s last win in the series came in 2012 in the Twin Cities, coming away 21-14 winners).

Arizona broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission, then broke another tie at 20-20 with 1:23 left when K Chris Catanzaro connected on a 47-yard field goal to take the lead back and for keeps. The contest in the desert was not much of a rushing game, as neither club managed to reach the 100-yard barrier (Arizona did win that battle, outrushing the Vikings with 97 yards and forced three turnovers, while Minnesota tallied a whopping 72 yards). It was a somewhat decent day for QBs in the desert, as Teddy Bridgewater threw for 335 yards and a TD (three sacks) and Palmer threw for 310 yards with two TDs (neither man threw an interception).

Minnesota’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 40. This one may be worth watching, since both teams are in the playoff hunt. After that, take that trip to the mall and get the Christmas shopping done before Black Friday. Vikings break their losing streak and cover the 2.

Chicago (2-7) at New York Giants (6-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. It’s the battle of deep dish pizza cities as Chicago travels to upstate New Jersey for a meeting with the New York Giants.

Da Bears trailed Tampa Bay 17-10 at the half thanks to a 50-yard TD pass from Jay Cutler to Cameron Meridith as the clock struck :00. That would be the last time Chicago saw the endzone as Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston shut them out, losing to the Buccaneers 36-10 in the Sunshine State. Although Cutler threw for 182 yards and the lone TD in the contest, he was sacked four times and picked off twice. Da Bears did manage to outrush Tampa Bay 122-80, while Winston threw for 312 yards and a pair of TDs and four sacks.

The Giants rallied to take a 21-20 win over Cincinnati last Monday night at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. New York and Manning led 14-10 at the half, then watch the Bengals take the lead on a 9-yard run by HB Jeremy Hill with 13:58 to play in the third and. K Mike Nugent added a 38-yard field goal to take a 20-14 lead late in the third quarter. Manning and the Giants opened the final 15 minutes of play with a 3-yard TD pass to rookie WR Sterling Shephard to take the lead back for good. New York outrushed Cincinnati 122-78, with Andy Dalton throwing for 204 yards and a TD (he was sacked three times), while Manning threw for 240 yards and three TDs (including the game winner) but was picked off twice.

Including games played at Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium and the Yale Bowl, Da Bears lead the series 28-19-2 and the Monsters of the Midway have outscored the Giants 853-670. Chicago won the last meeting with the Giants in the Windy City, coming away 27-21 winners in 2013, while the Giants’ last win over Chicago came in the Meadowlands in 2010 by a final of 17-3. New York’s favored by 7 in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Big Blue’s been on a hot streak of late and that’ll continue. Giants win at home and cover the 7 in Jersey.

Miami (5-4) at Los Angeles (4-5), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. The Dolphins continue their West Coast trip up I-5 as they leave San Diego and travel north to Tinseltown for a meeting with the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum.

Miami erased a 10-7 deficit against San Diego and came away with a 31-24 win over the Chargers and Philip Rivers at Qualcom Stadium in southern California. The ‘Fins got a pair of TDs from RB Damien Williams (one rush, one pass) and Joseph Ajayi led all rushers with 79 yards (Miami outrushed the Bolts 106-70). Miami also forced four turnovers (picking off Rivers four times and sacking him three times), while Tannehill threw for 240 yards and a pair of TDs.

As was the case in week two against Seattle at home, the Rams found themselves with three Greg Zuerlein field goels and once again, the Rams were 9-6 winnners, this time over the New York Jets. The Rams gave up the lone TD in the contest when RB Bilal Powell and QB Bryce Petty, taking over for Ryan Fitzpatrick, connected on a 4-yard TD pass to give GangGreen a 6-3 lead at the half. Zuerlein would then connect on a pair of second half field goals to take the win over the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! and Case Keenum threw for 165 yards, despite being sacked three times (New York did manage to outrush Los Angeles 139-125 at MetLife Stadium).

Miami leads the series 10-2, the Dolphins have outscored the Rams 305-218 (which includes contests that took place in St. Louis) and Miami has won the last three meetings in the series, with the last win coming in 2012 by a final of 17-14 in the Sunshine State, while the Rams’ last win came in the Gateway City 42-10 in 2001. The Rams are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. The Rams may love LA but the Dolphins come away with the win and covers the 1.

New England (7-2) at San Francisco (1-8), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. A pair of teams going in opposite directions meet in northern California as Tom Brady and the Pats meet Colin Kaepernick and the struggling San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers lost their eighth contest in a row, falling to NFC West rival Arizona 23-20 in the final seconds as K Chris Catanzaro connected on a 34-yard field goal as the clock struck :00 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Arizona led the lowly 49ers 20-10 at the half before they rallied in the second half to even things up. Catanzaro kicked three field goals in the contest (including the game winner), which was not much of a game from a rushing point of view (San Francisco did outrush Arizona 83-80), Kaepernick threw for 210 yards and a TD (he had a rushing TD as well) but was sacked three times and while Carson Palmer threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice, he did throw for 376 yards.

New England travels to the West Coast after a 31-24 loss to Seattle Sunday night in Foxboro. The contest at Gillette Stadium saw seven lead changes before Seattle took the lead for keeps when Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and WR Doug Baldwin hooked up on a 15-yard TD pass with 4:24 left in regulation. New England then marched down the field and got as close as the Seahawks’ 1-yard line before the drive stalled, thanks in part to Brady trying a QB sneak that failed and a pass to TE Rob Gronkowski fell incomplete. New England trailed 19-14 at halftime before taking the lead on a 13-yard run by LeGarrette Blount (his second TD of the contest). Stephen Gostkowski’s 30-yard field goal with 13 minutes left in regulation would give the Pats the lead before Stephen Hauschka’s 23-yard try at the 8:56 mark in the fourth would give Seattle the lead back and Baldwin’s TD (his third of the game) would seal New England’s fate. Seattle outrushed New England 96-81 and Brady threw for 316 yards but was sacked twice with an interception, while Wilson threw for 348 and connected with Baldwin for his three TD passes.

San Francisco leads the series 8-4 and have outscored the Pats 305-232. Both teams’ last win in the series came on the road; San Francsico won in Foxboro in 2012 by a final of 41-34, while the Pats’ last win came at Candlestick Park in 2008 by a 30-21 count.

New England’s favored by 13 1/2 and the over/under’s 51 1/2. The 49ers are a bad team… but they’re not 13 1/2 points bad. San Francisco will actually make this one closer and interesting to watch but New England and Brady bounce back from their loss at home and takes this one in Wine Country.

Philadelphia (5-4) at Seattle (6-2-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of contending teams in the NFC meet in the Pacific Northwest as cheesesteak meets Salmon in Seattle. Both teams had big wins last week, one at home, the other on the road.

Philadelphia led Atlanta 7-6 at the break at Lincoln Financial Field, then erased a 15-13 third quarter deficit and came away 24-15 winners over the Falcons last Sunday in the City of Brotherly Love. Ryan Matthews ran for 109 of Philly’s 208 yards in the contest, as the Eagles held Atlanta to 48 on the ground, despite getting burned by Falcons QB Matt Ryan, who threw for 267 yards (rookie QB Carson Wentz threw for 231 yards, with both QBs being sacked twice).

Seattle held off New England in Foxboro 31-24 Sunday night in Foxboro. The Sunday night contest at Gillette Stadium saw seven lead changes before Seattle took the lead for keeps when Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and WR Doug Baldwin hooked up on a 15-yard TD pass with 4:24 left in regulation. The Pats and Tom Brady then marched down the field and got as close as the Seahawks’ 1-yard line before the drive stalled, thanks in part to Brady trying a QB sneak that failed and a pass to TE Rob Gronkowski fell incomplete. New England trailed 19-14 at halftime before taking the lead on a 13-yard run by LeGarrette Blount (his second TD of the contest). Stephen Gostkowski’s 30-yard field goal with 13 minutes left in regulation would give the Pats the lead before Stephen Hauschka’s 23-yard try at the 8:56 mark in the fourth would give Seattle the lead back and Baldwin’s TD (his third of the game) would seal New England’s fate. The Seahawks outrushed New England 96-81 and Brady threw for 316 yards but was sacked twice with an interception, while Wilson threw for 348 and connected with Baldwin for his three TD passes.

The series? Even at 7-7, the Seahawks have outscored the Eagles 297-271 and Seattle has won the last two contests in the series, taking a 24-14 win in the City of Brotherly Love in 2014, while the Eagles came away 26-7 winners in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2008.

Seattle’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both are in playoff contention (Seattle’s in first in the NFC West, while the Eagles are trying to catch Dallas in the NFC East). Cheesesteak vs. Salmon. Salmon rules in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Seattle covers the 6 1/2 and wins at home.

Green Bay (4-5) at Washington (5-3-1), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. It’s an NFC Wild Card Sunday night rematch as the Packers travel to Landover for a Sunday night contest with the Washington Redskins.

Green Bay suffered their third loss in a row, as Rodgers and Packers fell to Tennessee 47-25 at Nissan Stadium. Green Bay trailed from start to finish, as Tennessee led 35-16 at the half and never looked back, sacking Rodgers (371 yards, two TDs) five times and picking him off twice. Green Bay’s run game went missing, as the the Titans held them to 69 yards and Green Bay allowed Tennessee to run amok for 162 yards (Titans RB DeMarco Murray ran for 123 of those yards with a TD) and QB Marcus Mariota throwing for 295 yards and four TDs.

The defending NFC East champs erased a 20-14 deficit at the half in Landover against the Vikings and fought back for a 26-20 win at FedEx Field. Cousins threw for 262 yards a pair of TD passes and the Redskins used the leg of K Dustin Hopkins for four second half field goals, the last one sealing Minnesota’s fate. Washington outrushed Minnesota 128-47 in the contest and the Redskins’ defense sacked Sam Bradford (307 yards) three times in the contest.

Green Bay leads the series 18-13-1 (which includes contests that were played in Boston and Milwaukee) and have outscored the ‘Skins 622-507. Green Bay won the last regular season meeting with Washington at Lambeau in 2013 by final of 38-20. Washington’s last win over the Packers came in 2010 in Landover, when the Redskins needed overtime to come away 16-13 winners.

They did meet in 2015 in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs in Landover and Green Bay trailed in the first half against Washington 11-0 before taking a 17-11 lead with them to the locker room at the intermission and came away 35-18 winners, knocking Washington out of the first round. Green Bay outrushed Washington 141-84 and despite being sacked for a safety to open the scoring in the contest, Rodgers threw for 210 yards and a pair of TDs, including one to WR Randall Cobb. Cousins threw for 329 yards and a TD but was sacked six times in the loss at home.

Washington’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 50. Green Bay’s trying to right its ship and catch the Vikings and Lions in the NFC North, while the Redskins look to catch Dallas in the NFC East. “Hail to the Redskins?” Not this week. Green Bay wins in Landover and covers the 3.

Houston (6-3) at Oakland (7-2), 8:30 p.m Monday on ESPN in Mexico City. Week 11 closes south of the Border and it will be the first Monday night game outside of the United States as a pair of first-place teams meet in Mexico City. Houston and Oakland make their way to Mexico for a Monday night contest at Estadio Azteca.

The Texans have won two in a row, including last week’s 24-21 win at Jacksonville. Houston cornerback Kareem Jackson had a 42-yard interception-return touchdown and quarterback Brock Osweiler threw two touchdown passes in the victory over the Jaguars. Houston outrushed Jacksonville 181-80 in the contest in the Sunshine State and led 14-10 at the half.

The Raiders have won three consecutive games and six of their past seven. Oakland had a bye in Week 10 and defeated Denver 30-20 in Week 9. In that contest, Raiders running back Latavius Murray rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns, only the third time a player has rushed for at least 100 yards and three touchdowns against the defending Super Bowl champions. The Raiders led 20-10 at the break and never looked back, holding Denver to 33 yards rushin, while rushing for 218 in the 10-point win.

Houston leads the series 6-3 and have outscored the Silver and Black 226-172. Houston won the last meeting with Oakland in 2014 in Oakland by a final of 30-14, while the Raiders were 28-23 winners in the Lone Star State in 2013. Oakland’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. Those are pretty good numbers for a Monday night game and there have been some decent contests of late.

Records on MNF, you ask? Houston is 4-5 all time in primetime and won their only meeting last year, while the Raiders are 37-27-1 under the lights but have not been on Monday night since 2013.

Oakland and Houston. First place teams meeting south of the border. Even though we normally don’t make Monday night games “DRILL WORTHY,” we going to make an exception here. (See the Baltimore-Dallas game for instructions) This one could be close but in the end, Houston comes out on top south of the border and covers the 3 1/2.

November has arrived and the NFL season enters its second half. Baseball season’s over, which means that football has the stage to itself for a while.

At the midpoint, there are nine teams with a .600 or better winning percentage, including two teams with just one loss – New England (7-1) and Dallas (6-1). The AFC West boasts three teams with a .700+ winning percentage – Denver (6-2, .750), Oakland (6-2, .750) and Kansas City (5-2, .714) – and the NFC East is the only division with all four teams holding a winning record – Dallas (6-1), the New York Giants (4-3), Philadelphia (4-3) and Washington (4-3-1).

On the field, the games have been close, including three overtime games in Week 8. Through the first eight weeks, 88 games have been within one score in the fourth quarter, the most such games in a season’s first eight weeks in NFL history.

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

Since 2000, 40 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 five such teams: Houston (3-5), Kansas City (3-5), Washington (3-5), Seattle (4-4) and Pittsburgh (4-4).

Of those 40 clubs, five have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including the 2001 New England Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI.

STILL IN THE MIX: History shows that a losing record at this point of the season does not negate a team’s chances of making the playoffs. Since 2000, 40 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 five such teams: Houston (3-5), Kansas City (3-5), Washington (3-5), Seattle (4-4) and Pittsburgh (4-4).

Of those 40 clubs, five have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including the 2001 New England Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI.

AWESOME AJAYI: Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has rushed for 418 yards over his past two games on his way to becoming the fourth player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards in consecutive games.

With 182 yards on Sunday against the Jets, Ajayi would join Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (647) and Walter Payton (604) as the only players in NFL history to rush for 600 yards in a three-game span.

Most rushing yards over a three-game span in NFL history:

PLAYER – SEASON, TEAM (RUSHING YARDS OVER 3-GAME SPAN)
O.J. Simpson – 1976, Buffalo (647)
Walter Payton – 1977, Chicago (604)
O.J. Simpson – 1976, Buffalo (594)
Ricky Williams – 2002, Miami (587)
Earl Campbell – 1980, Houston (583)
Jay Ajayi – 2016, Miami (418)*
*In two games

CLUTCH CARR: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr passed for 513 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions last week in Oakland’s 30-24 overtime victory over Tampa Bay.

With 387 passing yards on Sunday night against Denver, Carr would become the fifth player with 900 passing yards in a two-game span in NFL history.

The most passing yards in a two-game span in NFL history:

PLAYER – SEASON, TEAM (MOST PASSING YARDS IN TWO-GAME SPAN)
Phil Simms – 1985, New York Giants (945)
Tom Brady – 2011, New England (940)
Billy Volek – 2004, Tennessee (918)
Drew Brees – 2006, New Orleans (908)
Derek Carr – 2016, Oakland (513)*
*In one game

BIG TIME BREES: Saints quarterback Drew Brees has passed for 18 touchdowns this season, including two four-touchdown games, bringing his career total to 446.

With four touchdown passes on Sunday at San Francisco, Brees would become the third player in NFL history to throw 450 touchdown passes, joining PEYTON MANNING (539) and Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (508).

The quarterbacks with 450 touchdown passes:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Brett Favre – Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (508)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (446*)
*Active

SUPER SACKERS: Green Bay linebacker Julius Peppers registered a sack last week against Atlanta, bringing his career total to 139.5. With 2.5 sacks on Sunday against Indianapolis, Peppers would pass Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (141.5) for the fifth-most sacks since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

Denver linebacker De Marcus Ware has 136.5 career sacks, the ninth-most all-time. With 1.5 sacks on Sunday night at Oakland, Ware (136.5) would pass Pro Football Hall of Famers John Randle and Richard Dent (137.5) for the eighth-most sacks since 1982.

The players with the most sacks in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SACKS)
Bruce Smith – Buffalo and Washington (200)^
Reggie White – Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina (198)^
Kevin Greene – Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Carolina and San Francisco (160)^
Chris Doleman – Minnesota, Atlanta, San Francisco (150.5)^
Michael Strahan – New York Giants (141.5)^
Jason Taylor – Miami, Washington and New York Jets (139.5)
Julius Peppers – Carolina, Chicago and Green Bay (139.5)*
Richard Dent – Chicago, San Francisco, Indianapolis and Philadelphia (137.5)^
John Randle – Minnesota and Seattle (137.5)^
DeMarcus Ware – Dallas and Denver (136.5)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LORENZO ON THE RISE: Entering his tenth season with nine career sacks, Bills linebacker LORENZO ALEXANDER leads the NFL with nine sacks this season. With one sack against Seattle on Monday night, Alexander would become the first player to begin his career in 1982 or later with a career total of fewer than 10 sacks to record 10 sacks in his 10th season.

ICYMI: Oakland quarterback Derek Carr passed for 513 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in the Raiders’ 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay. Carr completed a 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts with 1:45 remaining in overtime for the game-winning score. Carr became the third quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 500 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle (October 28, 1962) and Ben Roethlisberger (October 26, 2014).

New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 315 yards and four touchdowns in the Patriots’ 41-25 win at Buffalo. Brady has 26 career wins against the Bills, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (26 vs. Detroit) for the most victories against a single opponent in NFL history. The victory also marked Brady’s 48th career win in October, the most in the month in NFL history. Brady has 25 career games with at least four touchdown passes, the third-most in NFL history behind Peyton Manning (35) and Dew Brees (29).

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF: In a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game, Carolina defeated Arizona 30-20 in Charlotte. Carolina, who defeated Arizona 49-15 in the 2015 NFC Championship Game (January 24, 2016), is the first team since 2003 to win both a Championship Game and the rematch the following season by 10+ points each. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in the 2002 NFC Championship Game (January 19, 2003) and 17-0 in the 2003 regular season (September 8, 2003).

A tie is kinda like kissing one’s sister and the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals smooched and played to a 27-27 tie in the first-ever overtime game played in London. The third of three 2016 International Series games in the United Kingdom was played in front of a sellout crowd of 84,488 fans at Wembley Stadium.

Sunday’s tie marks the second consecutive week there has been a tie (Seattle-Arizona in Week 7). It is the first time there have been ties in back-to-back weeks since 1997 (Weeks 12-13). In Week 12, 1997, Baltimore and Philadelphia tied 10-10. The following week (Week 13), the New York Giants and Washington tied 7-7.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 458 yards, the most ever in an International Series game. Cousins has 15 career games with at least 300 passing yards, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen for the most in franchise history.

In the fourth quarter, Cousins threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jamison Crowder. It marked the 100th touchdown scored in London in the 17th overall game in the NFL International Series.

Week nine began in Tampa with Atlanta beating Tampa Bay 43-28 Thursday night in the Sunshine State and the Sunday action concludes in Oakland as a pair of AFC West rivals engage with the defending Super Bowl champs taking on the Raiders and it’s Buffalo wings vs. Salmon as the Bills travel to the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks on Monday night to face Seattle. Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England and Washington have byes this week, while Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, the New York Giants, Pittsburgh and San Francisco return to action from byes last week. As for last week, 11-2. For the season… 79-39. There’s still a lot of football left to play and we haven’t even discusssed Thanksgiving.

Pittsburgh (4-3) at Baltimore (3-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. The road to the AFC North travels through Pittsburgh and that’s where a pair of divisonal rivals meet at the Steelers travel to Baltimore for an early afternoon contest in Charm City.

Both teams return to action from the bye week and both teams had losses on the road before their week off. Pittsburgh fell to Miami 30-15 at Hard Rock Stadium and saw QB Ben Roethlisberger (189 yards, TD, 2 interceptions) leave the contest with a knee injury. They also saw Miami RB Jay Ajayi rush for 204 yards and a pair of TDs. Pittsburgh led 8-3 with 5:39 left in the opening 15 minutes of action before Miami went to work on the Steelers, scoring 16 points unchallenged, trailing 16-8 at the break.

The Ravens are thankful they don’t have to go to the Meadowlands again in the 2016 season and dropped their second contest at MetLife Stadium in as many weeks, this time losing to the New York Jets 24-16. The Ravens led 16-14 at the intermission before seeing New York and Ryan Fitzpatrick score their final 10 points of the contest without a challenge. Jets RB Matt Forte ran for 100 of New York’s 155 yards, while they held Baltimore to a somewhat dismal 6 yards on the ground and picked off Joe Flacco twice.

The Steelers lead the series 21-19 and they have outscored Baltimore 784-766. That’s the good news for Steeler fans. Here’s the bad news. Baltimore won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Pittsburgh’s last win over Baltimore came in 2014, when they won 42-23 in the Steel City.)

The first meeting… week four in the Steel City and the Ravens trailed 13-7 at the half at Heinz Field and needed overtime to come away 23-20 winners. Baltimore got three Jeff Tucker field goals to tie and take the win on the road in the final quarter and overtime. It was a battle of the running backs in the first meeting, as Baltimore’s Justin Forsett (150 yards) and Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell (129 yards) found holes in the other team’s defense, while Joe Flacco threw for 189 yards and a TD, while being sacked four times and Michael Vick, who took over for Roethlisberger, threw for 124 yards and a TD with four sacks.

Round two… week 16 in Charm City. For the Ravens, second verse, same as the first. Baltimore led 13-3 at the break and then held off the Steelers 20-17. As was the case in the first meeting, both teams rushed for over 100 yards (Baltimore ran for 121, while Pittsburgh tallied 110) and the Steelers’ DeAngelo Williams led all rushers with 100 yards and a pair of TDs in the loss. Roethlisberger (220 yards) did return to the lineup but was not very effective, as he was sacked three times and picked off twice (the Steelers had three turnovers), while Ryan Mallett took over for Flacco and threw for 274 yards with a TD and no interceptions.

The Ravens are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Both teams have struggled at times and both have lost two contests in a row. Pittsburgh may (or may not) have Ben Roethlisberger but they get revenge on Baltimore and cover the spread in Charm City.

Jacksonville (2-5) at Kansas City (5-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC teams with mirror image records meet in Kansas City as the Chiefs host Jacksonville at Arrowhead.

Jacksonville trailed 27-0 at Tennessee at the half last Thursday night and rallied late in the final 30 minutes of action but still came up on the short end of a 36-22 loss to the Titans. The Jaguars trailed 27-0 at the half before outpacing their AFC South rivals in the Music City. While being held to 48 yards rushing, Jacksonville saw Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray run for 123
yards (the Titans managed to tally 214 yards) but the one bright spot for the Jaguars was Blake Bortles (three TDs), who managed to outpass Marcus Mariota 337-270.

For the Chiefs, it was good news/bad news at Indianapolis last Sunday. First the good news. They led the Colts 17-7 at the half and went on to win in the Hoosier State 30-14. The bad news? They lost the services of Alex Smith to a first half concussion. Smith had left the contest because of the injury and came back to throw for 127 yards and a TD but left the contest again. With that, Nick Foles (223 yards and a pair of TDs) took over and will be under center Sunday at Arrowhead. Kansas City did find themselves being outrushed by the Colts 105-88 but did manage to sack Andrew Luck six times.

While Jacksonville leads the series 6-4, Kansas City has outscored the Jaguars 221-209 and has won the last two meetings, including a 28-2 win in the Sunshine State in 2013, while Jacksonville’s last victory over the Chiefs came in 2009 (also in the Sunshine State) by a 24-21 final.

Kansas City’s favored by 9 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Jacksonville’s not that bad but even without Alex Smith in the lineup, they’ll drop their second contest in a row. Chiefs win this one at home but expect Jacksonville to make it closer than 9 points.

New York Jets (3-5) at Miami (3-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of struggling AFC East rivals meet in the Sunshine State when Miami hosts the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium.

New York trailed lowly Cleveland 20-7 at the break in upstate Ohio, then rallied to survive with a 31-28 win in their hands last Sunday. GangGreen outscored Cleveland 24-8 in the final 30 minutes of play and managed to outrush Cleveland 171-68 but the Browns’ Josh McCown managed to outpace Ryan Fitzpatrick (two sacks) 341-228. Jets running back Matt Forte rushed for two touchdowns in the team’s 31-28 win at Cleveland last week. Forté is one of four players in NFL history with at least 50 rushing touchdowns (51), 500 receptions (507) and 20 receiving touchdowns (20), joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk and Herschel Walker, while wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who had four catches for 93 yards and a touchdown against the Browns. Enunwa leads the Jets with a career-high 36 catches (502 yards) and three touchdown receptions.

Miami returns from their bye week, returning to action after their 28-25 win over Buffalo at home two Sundays ago. Miami trailed 10-6 at the half before restoring order at home. Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi rushed for 214 of Miami’s 256 yards, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 204 yards in the 3-point win in the Sunshine State.

Miami, who has won two contests in a row, has amassed more than 450 total yards of offense in each of the team’s past two victories and Ajayi has rushed for 200+ yards in each of the team’s past two games and is one of four players in NFL history with back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances – Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (twice) and Earl  Campbell and Ricky Williams. Ajayi is the only player since at least 1970 to rush for 200+ yards in two of his first three career starts.

GangGreen leads the series 53-46-1 and the Dolphins lead in scoring 2,176-2,163 (which includes games that took place at Shea Stadium and the old Orange Bowl). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! won three of the last four contests, including sweeping the 2015 series, taking wins in London and in upstate New Jersey (the last Dolphins’ win in the series came in 2014 when they came out of the Meadowlands 16-13 winners).

The first meeting was in week four across the pond in London and GangGreen took a 20-7 and came out 27-14 winners. Curtis Ivory ran for 166 of his team’s 207 yards, while the Jets held Miami to 59 on the ground. Fitzpatrick threw for 218 yards and a TD, while Tannehill threw for 198 yards and a pair of TDs but also threw a pair of interceptions.

Round 2… upstate New Jersey and for the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, it was second verse, same as the first, coming away 38-20 winners. New York led 14-0 at the half at MetLife Stadium and never looked back, holding Miami to 12 yards rushing, while tallying 137. Although Tannehill (3 TDs) did outpace Fitzpatrick in passing yardage 351-277, Fitzpatrick managed to throw four TDs in the second meeting.

Miami’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 4 1/2. When they play well, the Jets and the Dolphins are decent teams but not great teams. The winner pulls a little bit closer to the Pats in the AFC East… the loser? They get a rock. vice may not be nice but Miami pulls a Crockett and Tubbs on GangGreen and covers the 3 1/2.

Dallas (6-1) at Cleveland (0-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. A resurging Dallas Cowboys, led by rookie QB Dak Prescott travels to the shores of Lake Erie to face a winless Cleveland Browns team.

Dallas trailed 13-10 at the break against Philadelphia in Arlington and then fought their way back to tie things up at 23-23 with 3:04 left in regulation when WR Dez Bryant and Prescott connected on a 22-yard TD pass and then the home crowd home happy when he and TE Jason Witten connected on a 5-yard TD pass to take a 29-23 overtime win over the Eagles last Sunday night. Prescott had a rushing TD of his own and threw for 287 yards and the two TDs in the contest that saw the first-place Cowboys outrush Philadelphia 187-97.

The Browns saw their best opportunity to break into the win column get away from them against the New York Jets last Sunday in Cleveland and eventually fell to the Jets 31-28. Browns fans had their hearts broken as Cleveland was outpaced by the Jets 24-8 in the final 30 minutes of play and were outrushed 171-68. The lone bright spot for Cleveland was Browns QB Josh McCown, who managed to outpace Ryan Fitzpatrick (two sacks) 341-228.

Cleveland leads the series 15-12 and has outscored Dallas 585-525. Dallas has won the last three meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 2012 in the Lone Star State by a final of 23-20 in overtime (Cleveland’s last win in the series? 1994, in Dallas, when they were 19-14 winners).

Dallas is favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under is 47. If you’re a Cowboys’ fan, by all means, watch this one. On the other hand… if you’re a Browns’ fan, you’re much better off watching that “NCIS” marathon on USA (and yes, seeing Abby smack Tony on the head is pretty damned funny!). Dallas covers the 7 1/2 and wins on the road.

Detroit (4-4) at Minnesota (5-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of contending NFC North rivals meet in the Twin Cities as the first-place Minnesota Vikings host Detroit in the Land of 10,000 Lakes at US Bank Stadium.

Both enter the Sunday contest in Minneapolis with losses under their belts. The Lions enter with a 20-13 loss at Houston last Sunday. Detroit trailed the Texans 14-3 at the intermission but outscored them 10-6 in the last 30 minutes of action, pulling to within 7 on a 34-yard field goal by Matt Prater with 2:53 left in regulation. The Lions were held to 58 yards on the ground but Matthew Stafford threw for 240 yards and a TD.

The Vikings dropped their second game in a row, falling to Chicago 20-10 in the Windy City Monday night. Minnesota trailed Da Bears 10-3 at intermission at Soldier Field and were held to 57 yards on the ground, while Chicago’s Jordan Howard ran for 153 of his team’s 158 yards.

Including contests that were played at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Tiger Stadium, the Metrodome and the Silverdome, the Vikings lead the series 71-36-2, have outscored Detroit 2,366-2,024 and swept last year’s series, taking wins in the Motor City and the Twin Cities (Detroit’s last win over Minnesota came in 2014, when they swept the series).

TCF Bank Stadium, on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in week two. Minnesota led 17-10 at the half and came away 26-16 winners. Detroit found themselves held to 38 yards rushing, while Adrian Peterson ran for 134 of Minnesota’s 199. Stafford did manage to outpace Bridgewater with 286 yards passing and a pair of TDs (connecting with Megatron… aka Calvin Johnson on one of those throws) but Detroit turned the ball over three times (two fumbles, Stafford interception).

Round two… week seven in the Motor City and the Purple Gang completed the sweep, taking a 28-19 win over the Lions. Minnesota trailed 17-15 at the intermission before pulling away to outscore Detroit 13-2 in the last 30 minutes of action. Once again, the Vikings outrushed Detroit 140-77 and Bridgewater (316 yards) and Stafford (256 yards) each threw a pair of TDs but Stafford was sacked seven times in the contest at Ford Field.

Minnesota’s favored by 6 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under’s 42. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams are playoff contenders and both would love to keep the Packers at bay. Expect this one to be a lot closer, given what’s at stake here. Vikings win this one but expect Detroit to make things closer than the 6 1/2.

Philadelphia (4-3) at New York Giants (4-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They’re separated by a mere 96 miles and they’re 90 minutes apart by car. They’re also chasing the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles and rookie QB Carson Wentz make the trip down I-95, leaving the City of Brotherly Love for a date with Eli Manning and the New York Giants in upstate New Jersey.

The Eagles let a 13-10 at the break against Dallas in Arlington get away from them Sunday night as the Cowboys clawed their way back to tie things up at 23-23 with 3:04 left in regulation when WR Dez Bryant and Prescott connected on a 22-yard TD pass and then the home crowd home happy when he and TE Jason Witten connected on a 5-yard TD pass to take a 29-23 overtime win over the Eagles last Sunday night. Prescott had a rushing TD of his own and threw for 287 yards and the two TDs in the contest that saw the first-place Cowboys outrush Philadelphia 187-97.

Eli and the Giants return to the Meadowlans after their bye week. Their last action was across the pond in London as they took on and defeated the Los Angeles Rams 17-10 at Twickenham. New York broke a 10-10 tie at the half and scored the game-winning TD in the final quarter when RB Rashad Jennings scored from a yard out with 9:23 left to play. Although Manning threw for 196 yards, he had no TDs or interceptions and the Giants ran for a somewhat less-than-impressive 36 yards (the Rams were not much better with 74) but New York’s defense stepped by, picking off Case Keenum four times.

The Giants are seeking their third consecutive win. Giants safety Landon Collins had two interceptions, including a 44-yard touchdown return, in the victory over the Rams and was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. According to Next Gen Stats, Collins recorded the most total distance traveled (111.7 yards) on an interception-return touchdown this season.

Including contests that were played at old Yankee Stadium, the Yale Bowl, Meadowland Stadium and JFK and Veterans Stadium in New York and Philadelphia, the Giants lead the series 82-78-2 and have outscored the Eagles 3,106-3,042. However, the Eagles have won five of the last six meetings, sweeping last year’s series in the process (New York’s last win came in 2013 by a final of 15-7 in the City of Brotherly Love).

Meeting one… week six in the City of Brotherly Love and Philadelphia held the Giants to a first-quarter TD catch by Odell Beckham from Manning, coming away 27-7 winners. The Eagles led 17-7 at the break and proceeded to shut out Big Blue in the second half. New York was held to 81 yards rushing and Manning threw for 189 yards with three sacks and a pair of interceptions, while Philly ran for 158 on the ground (De Marco Murray accounted for 112 of those yards with a TD) and Sam Bradford threw for 280 yards with three interceptions and a TD.

Meeting two… week 16 at Met Life and with both teams out of the post-season party (by then, Chip Kelly had been fired and Tom Coughlin was about to step down), both clubs played with almost nothing to lose. Philly led 21-20 at the half and then held on to take the 35-30 win in upstate New Jersey. Despite the five-point loss, New York’s Rashad Jennings led all rushers in the week 16 rematch with 170 yards and a TD as the Giants outrushed Philadelphia 208-120 and both Bradford (320 yards) and Manning (302 yards) threw a pair of TDs in the contest.

The favorite in this one? New York by 3. The over/under? 43. It’s the youth of Wentz vs. the experience of Eli. Experience wins this one. Giants cover the 3 and win in upstate New Jersey.

Carolina (2-5) at Los Angeles (3-4), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Cam Newton and the defending the NFC champions travel to the Left Coast for a late-afternoon contest (Eastern time) with the Los Angeles Rams.

Carolina once again manhandled Arizona, taking the Cardinals 30-20 in Charlotte last Sunday. The Panthers outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 141-24 and sacked Carson Palmer eight times. The Panthers forced a pair of Arizona turnovers in the NFC Championship rematch at Bank of America Stadium.

The Rams are back in action after their bye week and a 17-10 loss to the New York Giants in London the week before. Los Angeles and the Giants were tied 10-10 tie at the half before New York scored the game-winning TD in the final quarter when RB Rashad Jennings scored from a yard out with 9:23 left to play. Los Angeles did manage to rush for 74 yards but Case Keenum was picked off four times.

Including contests that took place in St. Louis and at Clemson University, the Panthers leads the series 11-8 and each team has scored 392 points in the 19 meetings. Carolina won the last meeting with the Rams, coming away 30-15 winners in Charlotte in 2013, while the Rams were last victorious over the Panthers in 2010 in St. Louis by a 20-10 count.

Carolina’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45. The Panthers know they need to win to keep up with Atlanta, who won Thursday night in Tampa. Carolina may be on the Left Coast but they’ll be finer in LA. Panthers cover the 3 and win in Tinseltown.

New Orleans (3-4) at San Francisco (1-6), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. It’s gumbo meets wine country as the Saints travel to northern California for a meeting with the 49ers at Levis Stadium.

New Orleans erased a 14-13 deficit at the intermission in the Big Easy and came away 25-20 winners over Seattle last Sunday. The Saints took the lead for the first time and for keeps with 12:24 left in regulation when Drew Brees (265 yards) and WR Brandin Cooks connected on a 2-yard TD pass, then sealed the deal with a 41-yard field goal by Will Lutz with 1:57 and held off a late Seattle charge led by Russell Wilson. Saints RB Tim Hightower ran for 102 of New Orleans’ 123 yards, while the Saints defense held the Seahawks to 74.

San Francisco returns to play after their 34-17 loss against Tampa Bay two Sundays ago (they had a bye last week). Although they trailed 17-14 at the half, Tampa Bay pulled away from the 49ers and were held to a Pat Dawson field goal in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay outrushed San Francisco 249-160 (the Bucs’ Josh Rodgers led all rushers with 154 yards) and Colin Kaepernick (143 yards, TD) was sacked four times with an interception, while Jameis Winston burned San Francisco for 269 yards and three TDs.

Including contests that were played at old Tulane Stadium, Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park, the 49ers hold a 47-25-2 lead in the series (they were both in the NFC West before realingment) and they’ve outscored New Orleans 1,791-1,354. San Francisco won the last meeting between the clubs in 2014 in the Big Easy by a final of 27-24, while the Saints were 23-20 winners (also in the Big Easy) in 2013.

New Orleans’ a 3-point favorite and the over/under’s 51. If you’re a Saints fan, by all means watch; if you’re a 49ers fan, you might want to take a pass on this one. Gumbo wins this one. Saints cover the 3 and win in wine country.

Indianapolis (3-5) at Green Bay (4-3), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. Luck vs. Rodgers. A pair of QBs with losses under their belts meet in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst on the not-quite frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The Colts meet with Green Bay in upstate Wisconsin.

Despite outrushing the Chiefs 105-88, Indy fell to Kansas City 30-14 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts trailed 17-7 at the half and knocked Alex Smith (concussion) out of the contest before he went on to throw for 127 yards and a TD. For the Colts, Luck was sacked six times in the loss, throwing for 210 yards and a pair of TDs.

Green Bay let a 32-26 lead at Atlanta get away from them as the Falcons reclaimed the lead for keeps, falling 33-32 in the Big Peach. The Falcons’ game-winning score came when Matt Ryan (288 yards, 3 TDs, two sacks) and Mohamed Sanu connected on an 11-yard TD pass with 31 seconds left to play. Green Bay led 24-19 at the intermission at the Georgia Dome before the Falcons’ DeVonta Freeman gave them the lead again with 3:31 left in the third quarter. Green Bay would then take the lead back for the last time when Rodgers (246 yards, four TDs, three sacks) and WR Jeff Janis hooked up on a 7-yard strike with 3:58 left in regulation. After the Falcons reclaimed the lead, using an 11-play, 75-yard drive that used 3:27 of clock, Green Bay got the ball back and got as far as their 32-yard line before three Rodgers’ pass attempts fell short.

The Colts lead the series 21-20-1 (including games that were played in Baltimore and Milwaukee), have outscored Green Bay 950-922 and won the last meeting in the series, coming away 30-27 winners in the Hoosier State in 2012 (Green Bay’s last win over the Colts came in 2008 at Lambeau by a final of 34-14)

Green Bay’s favored by 7 at Lambeau and the over/under’s 54. In the battle of pitchmen (Luck – AmeriTrade; Rodgers – State Farm), it’s one QB with a Super Bowl ring, while the other is looking for his first. Better doublecheck that one, Colts fans. Packers bounce back in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst but expect the Colts to make this one close.

Tennessee (4-4) at San Diego (3-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. It’s Marcus Mariota vs. Philip Rivers in sunny southern California as San Diego and Tennessee meet at Qualcomm.

The Titans led 27-0 at the intermission against Jacksonville and went on to beat the Jaguars 36-22 at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee held Jacksonville to 48 yards rushing, while DeMarco Murray run for 123 yards of his team’s 214 yards, allowing them to reach the .500 mark. Mariota threw for 270 yards and a pair of TDs in the win over Jacksonville.

San Diego fell to Denver last Sunday in the Mile High City, as the defending Super Bowl champs got pay back for their week five loss at Qualcomm and fell to the Broncos 27-19 winners at Sports Authority Field at Mile High last Sunday. San Diego kept it close for the first 30 minutes of play and trailed 10-7 at the half before Denver pulled away from the Chargers in the second half. Melvin Gordon ran for 111 of San Diego’s 123 yards, while Denver was held to 57 and Rivers threw for 267 yards wtih a pair of TDs but threw three interceptions in the rematch.

Including games that took place in Los Angeles and Houston, San Diego leads the series 25-14-1 and the Bolts have outscored the Titans 1,025-867. Tennessee won the last meeting, taking a 20-17 win in the Music City in 2013, while the Chargers’ last victory in the series came in 2012 at Qualcomm by a final of 38-10.

The Bolts are favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. Both numbers make sense. Both QBs are pretty decent and this could be a lot closer than 5 1/2. Tennessee makes it interesting but San Diego takes this one and wins at home.

Denver (6-2) at Oakland (6-2), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Rivals square off in prime time as Denver and Oakland meet in the “Black Hole.”

The defending Super Bowl champs got a measure of revenge against San Diego, paying back the Chargers for their week five loss at Qualcomm to come away 27-19 winners at Sports Authority Field at Mile High last Sunday. Denver led 10-7 at the half and pulled away from the Chargers in the second half. San Diego did outrush Denver 123-57 (Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 111 yards) but Trevor Siemian (276 yards) outpaced Philip Rivers (267 yards, two TDs, three interceptions) in the rematch.

Oakland also picked up a win last week and won another contest in the Sunshine State, staying on the East Coast and needing overtime to come away 30-24 winners at Tampa Bay last Sunday. Oakland, who trailed 10-3 at the half, had a chance to win in regulation but K Sebastian Janikowski’s 52-yard try as time ran out sailed wide right. The Bucs and Raiders each had chances to score in the overtime before Oakland made the most of their last chance in the extra period, using a 5-play, 60-yard drive that used 1:36 and ended the contest when Derek Carr and WR Seth Roberts connected on a 41-yard TD strike with 1:45 left in overtime. Oakland outrushed Tampa Bay 128-102 and Carr threw for 513 yards and four TDs, while Jameis Winston for Tampa Bay threw for 180 yards and a pair of TDs.

Oakland holds a 60-49-2 lead in the series (including games that were played in Los Angeles) and they have outscored Denver 2,376-2,286. They met last year and split the series, each taking wins on the road.

Week five… Oakland. The Broncos erased a 7-3 deficit at the intermission and came away 16-10 winners. Denver used a pair of Brandon McManus field goals and a 74-yard interception return by Chris Harris to come from behind. Denver, despite being held to 43 yards on the ground, got 266 yards from Peyton Manning, while Oakland was not much better running the ball, tallying 65 and turned the ball over three times.

The Raiders got their revenge in week 14 in the Mile High City and took a 15-12 win at Sports Authority Field. Denver led 12-0 at the half before Oakland scored their 15 points in the second half unchallenged. As was the case in the first meeting, neither team came anywhere near the 100 yard rushing barrier (Denver 34, Oakland 27) and Brian Osweiler (who took over for Manning) threw for 308 but was sacked five times, while Carr (135 yards) threw a pair of TDs passes in the come-from-behind win.

Denver’s favored by 1 in the clash of the titans and the over/under’s 43 1/2. They’re both 6-2 and fighting for first in the AFC West, they’re rivals in the AFC West and that makes this one so “DRILL WORTHY” it’s not close to funny. (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?”

They’ll meet again in Week 17 in Denver, when there could be snow on the ground and it could be for all the marbles. You might want to tape “The Simpsons” this week. Denver wins this one and covers (barely) the win on Sunday night.

Buffalo (4-4) at Seattle (4-2-1), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. It’s Buffalo wings vs. Salmon, grunge and Starbucks as Buffalo and Seattle meet to close out play in week nine at Century Link Field. Both clubs come into the Monday night contest with losses under their belts.

The Bills were manhandled by New England and Tom Brady 41-25 in upstate New York. Trailing 24-10 at the break, the Bills could never really get on track in Orchard Park and were outscored by New England 17-15 in the second half. Buffalo’s lone bright spot in the AFC East contest was that they did outrush the Pats 167-72, while Brady burned them for 315 yards and four TDs (Tyrod Taylor threw for 183 yards in the loss at New Era Field in Orchard Park).

Seattle let a 14-13 lead against New Orleans at the intermission in the Big Easy get away from them and fell to the Saints 25-20 last Sunday. The Saints took the lead for the first time and for keeps with 12:24 left in regulation when Drew Brees (265 yards) and WR Brandin Cooks connected on a 2-yard TD pass, then sealed the deal with a 41-yard field goal by Will Lutz with 1:57 after K Steven Hauschka made it a 2-point game with 6:38 left. Seattle had one last chance to come away with the win but Russell Wilson’s TD try to WR Jermaine Kearse failed when he could not complete the catch inbounds. Seattle was held to 74 yards rushing, while Saints RB Tim Hightower accounted for for 102 of New Orleans’ 123 yards on the ground.

Seattle leads the series 7-5 (which includes a 2012 meeting in Toronto) and have outscored the Bills 295-286. The 2012 meeting North of the border was the last time they met and Seattle came away 50-17 winners at Rodgers Centre, while the Bills’ last win came in upstate New York by a final of 34-10 in 2008. The Bills are 17-24 on Monday night all-time and lost their only primetime meeting last year, while the Seahawks are 22-8 and won their only meeting in 2015. Seattle has won seven consecutive Monday-night games at home.

Seattle’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 44. Buffalo’s trying to catch New England in the AFC East, while the Seahawks are trying to hold on to the top spot in the NFC West. Wings vs. Salmon. Salmon wins this one and covers the 7.

We’re at the halfway point!

As the NFL enters Week 8, one of the themes of the season has been close games. Through the first seven weeks, 80 games have been within one score in the fourth quarter, the most such games in a season’s first seven weeks in NFL history.

And not only are the games close but the standings are also tight. As the season nears the halfway point, 25 of the 32 teams are either in or within two games of the top spot in the division. So even for teams that sit in the bottom of their divisions, there’s still hope.

Currently, there are 16 teams with a winning record. Since 1990, when the 12-team playoff format was adopted, 274 of the league’s 312 playoff teams (87.8 percent) had a winning record through seven games. But nothing is a given in the NFL. There have been 38 teams since 1990 which had a .500 or lower record after seven games to advance to the postseason. That includes four teams last season – Houston (2-5), Kansas City (2-5), Seattle (3-4) and Washington (3-4).

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: London calling! The 2016 International Series in the United Kingdom concludes in Week 8 with the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on FOX and it will be the last of three games played in London this season. The New York Giants defeated Los Angeles 17-10 last week in the first-ever game played at London’s Twickenham Stadium and Jacksonville beat the Indianapolis 30-27 in Week 4 at Wembley.

The NFL will return to Mexico City on Monday, November 21 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN when Oakland hosts Houston in the first-ever Monday Night Football game to be played outside the United States.

The International Series has seen some very close contests since its inception in 2007. In the first 16 games in London, nine have been decided by one score, including both games so far this season.

The 16 regular-season games played in London, England:

DATE (WEEK) – Score
October 23, 2016 (7) – New York Giants 17, Los Angeles 10
October 2, 2016 (4) – Jacksonville 30, Indianapolis 27
November 1, 2015 (8) – Kansas City 45, Detroit 10
October 25, 2015 (7) – Jacksonville 34, Buffalo 31
October 4, 2015 (4) – New York Jets 27, Miami 14
November 9, 2014 (10) – Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17
October 26, 2014 (8) – Detroit 22, ATLANTA 21
September 28, 2014 (4) – Miami 38, Oakland 14
October 27, 2013 (8) – San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10
September 29, 2013 (4) – Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27
October 28, 2012 (8) – New England 45, St. Louis 7
October 23, 2011 (7) – Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18
October 31, 2010 (8) – San Francsico 24, Denver 16
October 25, 2009 (7) – New England 35, Tampa Bay 7
October 26, 2008 (8) – New Orleans 37, San Diego 32
October 28, 2007 (8) – New York Giants 13, Miami 10

CLOSE GAMES: There have been 80 games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 7, the most such games in the first seven weeks of a season in NFL history. So if you like really close contests, then this is the year for you.

The most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 7:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN THE 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 7
2016 – 80
2013 – 77
2004 – 76
2012 – 74
2015 – 73
2010 – 73
2007 – 73

Seven teams – Baltimore, Carolina, Detroit, Indianapolis, the New York Giants, Tennessee and Washington – have had all of their games within one score in the fourth quarter this season.

PASSING FANCY: Quarterbacks have been historically efficient through Week 7 of the 2016 season, combining for a league-wide completion percentage of 63.5, on pace to be the highest of any season in NFL history (63.0 in 2015). The current league-wide passer rating of 90.0 is on pace to be the second-highest all-time (90.2 in 2015).

The league-wide yards-per-pass attempt average, currently at 7.25, is on pace to tie the highest of any season in the Super Bowl era (2015).

The seasons with the highest league-wide yards-per-pass attempt average in the Super Bowl era (since 1966):

SEASON – YARDS/PASS ATTEMPT
2015 – 7.25
2014 – 7.21
2011 – 7.20
1983 – 7.18
1989 – 7.15
2016 – 7.25*
* Through Week 7

AMAZING AJAYI: Miami running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 214 yards and one touchdown in the Dolphins’ 28-25 win against Buffalo at Hard Rock Stadium. Ajayi, who rushed for 204 yards in Week 6, is the first player since 1970 to rush for 200 yards in two of his first three career starts.

Ajayi became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards in
consecutive games and he’s in some pretty good company, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (twice) and
Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.

The players with consecutive 200-yard rushing performances:

PLAYER – TEAM, SEASON (WEEK – RUSHING YARDS; WEEK – RUSHING YARDS)
Jay Ajayi – Miami, 2016 (6 – 204; 7 – 214)
Ricky Williams – Miami, 2002 (13 – 228; 14 – 216)
Earl Campbell – Houston, 1980 (7 – 203; 8 – 202)
O.J. Simpson – Buffalo, 1976 (12 – 273; 13 – 203)
O.J. Simpson – Buffalo, 1973 (13 – 219; 14 – 200)

CONSISTENT KICKER: Indianapolis kicker ADAM VINATIERI made both field-goal attempts in the Colts’ 34-26 win at Tennessee. Vinatieri has now converted 43 consecutive field-goal attempts, the longest streak in NFL history.

The most consecutive field goals made in NFL history:
PLAYER, SEASONS (CONSECUTIVE FIELD GOALS MADE)
Adam Vinatieri, 2015-present (43)*
Mike Vanderjagt, 2002-2004 (42)
Gary Anderson, 1997-1998 (40)
Matt Stover, 2005-2006 (36)
*Active streak

COOL BREES: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 367 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for a 110.3 passer rating in the Saints’ 27-21 loss at Kansas City.

Brees, who has four 300-yard passing games this season, is the first quarterback in NFL history with 100 career 300-yard passing games.

The players with the most 300-yard passing games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S)(MOST CAREER 300-YARD PASSING GAMES)
Drew Brees – New Orleans and San Diego (100)*
Peyton Manning – Denver and Indianapolis (93)
Tom Brady – New England (73)*
Dan Marino – Miami (63)
Brett Favre – Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (62)
*Active

DETROIT DRAMA: Detroit quarterback Matthew STafford threw the game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds remaining in the Lions’ 20-17 win against Washington at Ford Field.

The comeback victory marked the third consecutive week in which Detroit overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win at home, becoming the fifth team in NFL history to come from behind in the fourth quarter to win at home in three consecutive weeks in the same season (1926 Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1990 Buffalo Bills, 2009 Indianapolis Colts and 2011 Arizona Cardinals).

Stafford, who passed for 266 yards in the victory and was playing in his 100th career game, has 27,890 passing yards, the most by any player in his first 100 games to begin a career.

MARVELOUS MATTHEW: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw the game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds remaining in the Lions’ 20-17 win against Washington in Week 7, the 24th game-winning drive in the 4th quarter or overtime in his eight-year career.

With a game-winning drive in the 4th quarter or overtime on Sunday at Houston, Stafford would tie Peyton Manning (25) and Jake Plummer (25) for the second-most such drives in a player’s first eight seasons since 1970.

The most game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime in a player’s first eight seasons since 1970:

PLAYER – TEAM (GAME-WINNING DRIVES IN 4TH QUARTER OR OT IN FIRST EIGHT SEASONS)
Matt Ryan – Atlanta (30)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (25)
Jake Plummer – Arizona and Denver (25)
Matthew Stafford – Detroit (24)*
*In his eighth season

RISING RYAN: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who has passed for at least 300 yards four times this season, leads the league with 2,348 passing yards.

With 406 passing yards on Sunday against Green Bay, Ryan would surpass Philip Rivers (2,753 yards in 2015) for the second-most passing yards through eight games in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards through eight games:

PLAYER – TEAM, SEASON (MOST PASSING YARDS THROUGHT EIGHT GAMES)
Peyton Manning – Denver, 2013 (2,919)
Philip Rivers – San Diego, 2015 (2,753)
Drew Brees – New Orleans, 2011 (2,746)
Andrew Luck- Indianapolis, 2014 (2,731)
Tom Brady – New England, 2015 (2,709)
Matt Ryan – Atlanta, 2016 (2,348)*
*Through seven games

ELITE ELLIOTT: Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot leads the NFL with 703 rushing yards. He has rushed for at least 130 yards in four consecutive games, the first rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

With 130 rushing yards against Philadelphia on Sunday night in Arlington, Elliott would become just the seventh player in NFL history to rush for at least 130 yards in five consecutive games.

The players to rush for 130+ yards in five consecutive games:

PLAYER – TEAM, SEASON (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 130+ RUSH YARDS)
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams, 1984 (6)
Earl Campbell – Houston Oilers, 1980 (6)
Chris Johnson – Tennessee, 2009 (5)
Larry Johnson – Kansas City, 2005-2006 (5)
Clinton Portis – Denver and Washington, 2003-2004 (5)
Barry Sanders – Detroit, 1997 (5)
Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas, 2016 (4)*
*Active streak

GREAT GREEN: Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green had eight receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown in the Bengals’ 31-17 victory over Cleveland last week. The performance marked Green’s ninth career game with at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown, the fourth-most among players in their first six seasons.

With at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in London on Sunday against Washington, Green would tie Randy Moss (10) for the third-most such games in a player’s first six NFL seasons.

The players with the most games with 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in their first six NFL seasons:

PLAYER – TEAM (MOST GAMES WITH 150+ REC. YARDS & TD CATCH IN FIRST SIX SEASONS)
Lance Alworth – San Diego (13)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco (11)
Randy Moss – Minnesota (10)
A.J. Green – Cincinnati (9)*
*In his sixth NFL season

Carolina and Dallas had byes last week and return to the gridiron this weekend. Byes this weekend: Baltimore, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Last week was pretty good. How good? 11-3 good, which means for the season we’re 68-37.

Week 8 began on Thursday night with an AFC South matchup as Tennessee beat Jacksonville 36-22 in Nashville and the action continues “across the pond” on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. on FOX when Washington faces Cincinnati at London’s Wembley Stadium. The game marks the third and final 2016 International Series game in the United Kingdom. In Week 4, the Jaguars defeated Indianapolis  30-27 at Wembley and last week, the New York Giants knocked off Los Angeles 17-10 at London’s Twickenham Stadium.

The action in week eight concludes with a pair of primetime contests as Dallas hosts Philadelphia in an NFC East showdown on Sunday night on NBC at 8:30 p.m. and Minnesota traveling to the Windy City for a visit with Chicago on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. in a battle of NFC North rivals.

With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 8.

Green Bay (4-2) at ATLANTA (4-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs (Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan) meet in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome for a late-afternoon NFC matchup, which could be a preview of the playoffs.

Green Bay took care of Chicago last Thursday night at Lambeau, taking a 26-10 win over the Bears. The Packers led 6-3 at the break before pulling away in the second half, outscoring Chicago 20-7 the rest of the way. Rodgers threw for 326 yards and three TDs, two to WR Davante Adams and the other to WR Randall Cobb. Green Bay, without Eddie Lacy (knee), outrushed Chicago 103-69 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst.

Atlanta let a 27-17 halftime lead against San Diego get away from them in the Big Peach and fell to Philip Rivers and the Chargers 33-30 in overtime. The Falcons did outrush San Diego 130-78 but Rivers outpassed Ryan 371-273 (both men threw a TD pass) to drop their second contest in a row. Atlanta could have won the game in regulation but a 58-yard field goal try by Matt Bryant fell short of its mark. The Falcons then got the ball to start overtime but failed on a fourth down try that would have allowed them to give them a chance at either a game-winning TD or a field goal that would have given them the lead.

Green Bay leads the series 15-12 (which includes contests that took place in Milwaukee and at Fulton County Stadium), have outscored the Falcons 660-553 and have won the last the last three meetings, including a 43-37 win at Lambeau in 2014. Atlanta’s last win came in the Big Peach in 2010 by a final of 20-17. The oddsmakers like the Falcons as 3-point favorite in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 52 1/2. Both offenses have been struggling at times. The Falcons are atop the NFC South mountain, while the Packers are looking to catch Minnesota in the NFC North. It’ll be a lot closer than the 3 but Atlanta breaks their 2-game losing streak in the Big Peach with the win.

Washington (4-3) at Cincinnati (3-4), 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. London) on FOX. The final game in London takes place at Wembly Stadium as a pair of playoff teams from 2015 meet in Merry Old England for an early morning start in the Eastern Time Zone.

Washington let a 17-13 lead in Detroit get away from them and dropped a 20-17 decision to the Lions Sunday afternoon at Ford Field. The Redskins led by 4 with 16 seconds left to play when Anquan Boldin and Matthew Stafford connected on an 18-yard TD pass to take the lead for keeps. Despite the loss, there were two bright sides for the defending NFC champs. First, they outrushed the Lions 134-94. Secondly, Cousins outpaced Stafford in passing yardage 301-266 (each QB threw a TD and Stafford was sacked three times, Cousins was sacked twice).

Cincinnati went back to their winning ways last Sunday against the winless Cleveland Browns, taking their instate and AFC North rival to the woodshed and coming away 31-17 at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals led 21-10 at the intermisson and never looked back, outrushing Cleveland 271-180 (Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill ran for 168 yards and a TD, while Cleveland’s Keith Hogan ran for 104). Dalton threw for 308 yards and a pair of TDs, including a strike to WR A.J. Green as the first half was coming to an end.

The Bengals lead the series 5-4, while Washington has outscored Cincinnati 197-188. The Bengals have won the last three meetings, including taking a 38-31 win in Landover in 2012, while the Redskins’ last win in the series came in 1991 by a final of 34-27 at old Riverfront Stadium.

The Bengals are favored by 3 across the pond and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both teams can be either hot or cold at times and there’s a lot of talent on both clubs. If you have the 9:30 mass at church, you might want to tape this one. Even in London, Washington fans will be singing “Hail to the Redskins!” this week. Washington covers the 3 and wins on the other side of the Atlantic.

New England (6-1) at Buffalo (4-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. They meet again and this time, it’s in upstate New YOrk. Bills fans, did we also mention that Tom Brady’s back and has a somewhat chip on his shoulder? A pair of AFC East rival meet for the second time, this time at New Era Stadium.

New England took apart a Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers team, coming away 27-16 winners at Heinz Field. New England led 14-10 at the break and never looked back. Brady threw for 222 and a pair of TDs (connecting with All-Pro TE Ron Gronkowski on one strike), while LeGarrette Blount ran for 127 of New England’s 140 of his team’s 140 yards, as the Pats held Pittsburgh to 94.

Buffalo fell to Miami 28-25 in south Florida last Sunday. The Bills let a 10-6 lead at the break get away from them as Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi had his second 200-yard game of the year, joining Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams and O.J. Simpson as the only men to have two consecutive 200 yard games (Simpson did it twice). Miami went on to outscore Buffalo 22-15 in the final 30 minutes of play, outrushing the Bills 256-67 (Ajayi led all rushers with 214 yards and had a TD that started the Miami ball rolling)

They met in Foxboro in week four and the Bills shutout the Brady-less Pats 16-0. Buffalo led 13-0 at the break and held New England in check the rest of the way. RB LeSean McCoy scored the contest’s only TD, connecting with Taylor on a 7-yard TD pass to open the scoring and K Dan Carpenter added three field goals to close out the scoring. Buffalo in the first meeting outrushed New England 134-90 and sacked Jacoby Brissett three times.

In the first meeting, New England was favored by 7 and the over/under was 45. While Buffalo covered the 7, winning by 16, they did not cover the 45, scoring only 16 points. The oddsmakers like the Pats in upstate New York as 6 1/2 point favorites and this time, the over/under’s 47 1/2. For the Bills, it’s a chance to sweep New England for the first time since 1999, while the Pats are looking for revenge from the week four shutout in Foxboro. Buffalo had better duck and cover. Brady’s back and he’s out for revenge for missing the first meeting. He’ll get that revenge, although Buffalo will make it closer than the 6 1/2. New England avoids the sweep and takes the win in upstate New York.

Arizona (3-3-1) at Carolina (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s an NFC Championship rematch in the Tar Heel State as Arizona travels to Charlotte for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Arizona and Seattle fought to a 6-6 overtime tie in the desert Sunday night, with Cardinals K Chris Catanzaro connecting on a pair of field goals from beyond 40 yards (46 and 45) but missed a chip shot from 24 yards out that would have given them the win. The Desert Angry Birds led 3-0 at the break before the Seahawks’ Steven Hauschka connected on a 40-yard field with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. Both Hauscka and Catanzaro connected on field goals in the overtime and the game wound up being a tie. Arizona held Seattle to 52 yards on the ground, while the Cardinals’ David Johnson ran for 113 of his team’s 132.

The defending NFC champs are coming back into action after their bye week, with their last action coming in New Orleans, where they lost to the Saints 41-38. Carolina and Cam Newton trailed their NFC South rivals 24-10 at the half and managed to tie the contest when Newton (322 yards, 2 TDs) scored on a 2-yard TD run with 2:58 left in regulation, only to see the Saints take the lead back on a 52-yard field goal by Will Lutz.

Carolina leads the series 8-4 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 258-216. Their last regular season meeting came in 2013 in the desert and the Desert Angry Birds came away 22-6 winners, while Carolina’s last win in regular season play came in 2010 in Charlotte by a final of 19-12.

The two clubs did meet in 2015 and it was for the NFC championship game in Charlotte and it was not a good day for the Desert Angry Birds as Carolina punched their ticket to Santa Clara and Super Bowl 50 (L), falling to the Panthers and Newton 49-15. Carolina led 24-7 at the intermission and never looked back as Newton threw a pair of TD passes, ran for a TD and the Panthers iced the game away when LB Luke Kuechly picked off Palmer and returned the ball 22 yards for the game’s final score. Carolina outrushed Arizona 152-60 and the Panthers defense forced seven turnovers at Bank of America Stadium.

Carolina’s favored by 3 and the over/under? 48. The Desert Angry Birds are looking for revenge from their loss in the Tar Heel State last January, while Cam and the Panthers are looking to get back on track in the NFC South. Panthers are finer in Carolina and bounce back from the loss in New Orleans two weeks ago, covering the 3.

New York Jets (2-6) at Cleveland (0-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling teams, in the cellars of their respective divisions, meet along the shores of Lake Erie as GangGreen travels to Cleveland for a meeting with the winless Cleveland Browns.

For the second weekend in a row, another New York team handed Baltimore a loss and this time, it was the neighbors of the Giants, the Jets. GangGreen led the Ravens 14-13 at the half at MetLife Stadium and proceeded to shutout the Ravens 10-0 in the last 30 minutes of action for the 24-13 win at home. The win proved to be a bit more costly for the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! as Gino Smith got the start, then came out of the contest when he injured his ACL. Ryan Fitzpatrick (120 yards) then came in to lead GangGreen to the win. New York outrushed Baltimore 155-6 (that’s not a misprint… the Ravens had 6 yards on the ground) and Matt Forte accounted for 100 of those yards.

Cleveland lost their seventh game of the 2016 campaign and their 10th overall (including their last three games in 2015) 31-17 at Paul Brown Stadium to Cincinnati. Cleveland trailed 21-10 at the intermisson and could never get on track on the road, as they were outrushed 271-180 (Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill ran for 168 yards and a TD, while Cleveland’s Keith Hogan ran for 104 and threw for 100).

The Browns hold a 12-10 lead in the series (which includes games that took place at old Muncipal Stadium in Cleveland and at Shea Stadium) and have out scored New York 448-438. However… GangGreen has won the last three contests, all in New Jersey, with the last win in the series coming last year, when they won 31-10 (Cleveland’s last win in the series also came in upstate New Jeresy, as they came away from the Meadowlands 24-18 winners in 2007). The week one meeting at MetLife saw the Jets take a 14-10 lead with them to the locker room at the half after the two clubs were scoreless in the first quarter. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would go on to shutout Cleveland in the second half and make life miserable for Johnny Manziel, who they sacked three times. (New York outrushed Cleveland 154-104 and Fitzpatrick threw for 179 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WRs Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.)

New York’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Cleveland may rock but the Browns will still be winless. GangGreen covers the 3 and wins in Cleveland.

Kansas City (4-2) at Indianapolis (3-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of resurging teams meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts are back home again in Indianapolis for a meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs held on at home at Arrowhead and beat Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 27-21. Kansas City led 21-7 at the break, then managed to hold off New Oreleans in the second half and sealed the game with a 41-yard field goal by Chris Santos with 28 seconds left to play in regulation. Kansas City’s Alex Smith threw for 214 yards and a pair of TDs, while Brees threw for 367 yards and three TDs.

Indy trailed Tennessee 23-20 with 6:02 left to play before striking back to come away 34-26 winners over the Titans last Sunday. Andrew Luck (353 yards, 3 TDs) and TE Jack Doyle teamed up for the TD that gave them the lead for good and Robert Mathis’ fumble recovery took place within eight seconds of each other and all but iced the game away for Indy in the fourth quarter. Tennessee’s Ryan Succop’s 44-yard field goal with 43 seconds left pulled the Titans to within eight but they could come no closer. De Marco Murray ran for 107 yards and a TD (the Titans outrushed Indy 124-81) and Mariota threw for 232 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked three times.

Including contests that took place in Baltimore when the Colts called Charm City home, the Colts lead the series 12-8 and have outscored the Chiefs 420-403. Both team’s last wins in the series came away from their home fields; Indy’s last win came in 2012 in Kansas City by a final of 20-13, while Kansas City’s last victory came in Indy in 2011, with the Chiefs coming away 28-24 winners.

The Chiefs are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 50. Both numbers make sense. The Colts are trying to keep Houston in their sights, while the Chiefs are trying to keep pace with both Denver and Oakland in the AFC West. Chiefs keep the train going, covering the 2 1/2 and win on the road in the Hoosier State.

Oakland (5-2) at Tampa Bay (3-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Raiders continue their trip to the Sunshine State as they travel down I-4 for the 191-mile, 3 1/2-hour trip to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Oakland took Jacksonville to task last Sunday at EverBank Field and came away 33-16 winners in the Sunshine State. Aided by four Sebastian Janikowski field goals (the longest coming from 52 yards out), the Silver and Black led 20-6 at the half and went on to outscore the Jaguars 13-10 in the last 30 minutes of play, picking off QB Blake Bortles (246 yards, TD) was picked off twice in the loss, as Oakland outrushed Jacksonville 144-105.

Tampa Bay swept a 14-0 first quarter deficit against San Francisco last Sunday and came away 34-17 winners over the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick at Levis’ Stadium. The Bucs took a 17-14 lead to the halftime with them and held the 49ers to a second half field goal by Pat Dawson, outscoring them 17-3 in the last 30 minutes of action. James Rodgers ran for 154 of Tampa Bay’s 249 (San Francisco ran for 160), while Jameis Winston threw for 269 yards and three TDs (Tampa Bay sacked Kaepernick, who threw for 143 yards, four times and picked him off once).

The Silver and Black lead the series 6-2 and have outscored Tampa Bay 249-158 (which includes contests that took place when the Raiders were in Los Angeles). Both teams won in the other team’s ballpark for their last win in the series. Tampa Bay came away 42-32 winners in Oakland in 2012, while Oakland’s last win came in the Sunshine State in 2008 by a final of 31-24.

Tampa Bay’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 50. These two teams are pretty decent. Not great but pretty decent, so that makes this one a good game to watch. Oakland completes their Sunshine State swing and “just wins, baby!” covering the 1.

Detroit (4-3) at Houston (4-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of contending team meet in the Lone Star State as the Texans host Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.

The Lions trailed Washington 17-13 late in the final period of play in Detroit before the Lions rallied to come away 20-17 winners against the Redskins. Sunday afternoon at Ford Field. Washington led by 4 with 16 seconds left to play when Anquan Boldin and Stafford connected on an 18-yard TD pass to take the lead for keeps. Stafford threw for 266 yards and a TD, while the Lions were outrushed by Washington 134-94.

Houston saw a 6-0 first quarter lead against the defending Super Bowl champs get away from them as they fell to the Broncos 27-9 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Texans trailed 14-6 at the break and could never get on track afterward. Brad Osweiler returned to face his former teammates and threw for 131 yards against his old team, while the Texans’ running game tallied 140 yards (Denver tallied 190 yards rushing-wise, with C.J. Anderson accounting for 107 of those yards).

They’ve only met three times and the Texans lead the series 2-1. Houston won the last two meetings, including taking a 34-31 overtime win in the Motor City on Thanksgiving Day 2012, while the lone Lions win came in the first meeting, a 28-16 victory in the Motor City in 2004.

Houston’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 45 1/2. Houston’s sitting on top in the AFC South, while the Lions are a 1/2 game behind Green Bay in the NFC North. This one may well wind up being a pretty good contest. Still, Houston prevails at home and covers the 3 in the process.

Seattle (4-1-1) at New Orleans (2-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. It’s Salmon, grunge and Starbucks vs. crawfish, beingnets and Cafe Au Lait as Seattle travels to the Big Easy for a meeting with the New Orleans Saints.

Seattle and Arizona clawed their way to a 6-6 overtime tie in the desert. Steven Hauschka kicked a pair of field goals in the second half but missed a 28-yard try that sailed wide to the left. Seattle, led by Russell Wilson’s 225 yards in the air, was held to 52 yards on the ground, while the Cardinals’ David Johnson ran for 113 of his team’s 132.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints fell 27-21 to the Chiefs at Arrowhead last Sunday afternoon. Kansas City led 21-7 at the break, then managed to hold off New Oreleans in the second half and sealed the game with a 41-yard field goal by Chris Santos with 28 seconds left to play in regulation. New Orleans had trailed by as much as 10 before Brees and WR Brandon Coleman connected on a 10-yard TD strike with 2:33 left to play. Kansas City’s Alex Smith threw for 214 yards and a pair of TDs, while Brees threw for 367 yards and three TDs.

The series? Even at 6-6 and the Seahawks have outscored New Orleans 290-241. Seattle won the last meeting with New Orleans in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, coming away 34-7 winners in 2013, while the Saints were 34-19 victors in the Big Easy in 2010.

Seattle’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 48. Given that there are two QBs in this contest with Super Bowl rings, those numbers make a lot of sense. Seattle’s the king of the NFC West mountain, while the Saints are chasing Atlanta in the NFC South. Long live the king! Seattle takes the win in the Big Easy but New Orleans makes it closer than 3 points.

San Diego (3-4) at Denver (5-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. They meet again and this time, it’s in the house of the defending Super Bowl champs. San Diego and Denver meet in a late-afternoon AFC West rematch in the Mile High City.

San Diego rallied from a 27-17 deficit at the half to come away 33-30 overtime winners in Atlanta. San Diego scored their final 13 points of the contest (10 in the fourth quarter, 3 in the overtime) on a 5-yard TD pass from Rivers to RB Melvin Gordon with 5:59 left. San Diego then tied the score with 18 seconds left on a 33-yard field goal in regulation by Joe Lambo. San Diego then avoided being upset when Matt Bryant’s 58-yard field goal try fell short. In the overtime, Atlanta got the ball first but failed to convert on a fourth down try, allowing the Chargers to get the ball back. Using a 6-play, 19-yard drive that took all of 3:11, Lambo connected on a 42-yard field goal with 9:01 left in the extra period. San Diego has overcome a 17+ point deficit in each of the past three seasons and the Chargers are only the fifth team in NFL history to register a 17+ point comeback victory in three consecutive seasons.

Denver’s defense is allowing 291.6 total net yards per game, the best mark in the AFC. The Broncos are allowing 16.7 points per game, the second-fewest in the AFC. Denver’s defense has recorded 22 sacks this season, the most in the league. Broncos linebacker Von Miller ranks second in the NFL with 7.5 sacks. Denver and Trevor Siemian erased a 6-0 first quarter against Houston Monday night and came away 27-9  winners at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Denver led the Texans and former Broncos QB Brad Osweiler 14-6 at the intermission. Denver outrushed the Texans 190-140 and C.J. Anderson accounted for 107 of those yards and a TD.

The defending Super Bowl champs are looking to avenge a week six 21-13 loss to the Chargers at Qualcomm. In that contest, the Broncos trailed 10-3 at the half but were outscored by San Diego 11-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. San Diego outrushed Denver 99-84 but Trevor Seimian outpaced Rivers 230-187 (each man threw a TD pass and each was sacked twice).

In the first meeting in Cali, Denver was favored by 3 and the over/under was 44 1/2. The two clubs combined for 34 points, missing the over/under but San Diego’s 8-point win allowed them to cover the spread with ease. This time, Denver’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Revenge is a dish best served cold, as the old saying goes. The Broncos will be going back for seconds. Devner gets their revenge and takes San Diego at home, although the Chargers could make this one closer that the 6.

Philadelphia (4-2) at Dallas (5-1), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The young guns take center stage on Sunday night in the Lone Star State as rookie top draft pick QBs Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz meet in a key NFC East contest in Arlington.

The Eagles are the only team in the NFL this season to return a kickoff for a touchdown – and they’ve done it in back to back weeks. In Week 6, Wendell Smallwood had an 86-yard kickoff-return touchdown and last week, in the team’s 21-10 win over Minnesota, Josh Huff returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score. Philadelphia is only the fifth team since 1970 to have a kickoff-return touchdown by a different player in consecutive weeks. The Eagles, who outrushed Minnesota 101-93, led 11-3 at the half against Minnesota after the teams played a scoreless first quarter, sacked Sam Bradford six times and forced four turnovers in the win in the City of Brotherly Love. Although he threw a pair of interceptions, Wentz threw for 138 yards and a TD at Lincoln Financial Field.

Dallas returns to action after their 30-16 win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field (the Cowboys had a bye last week). The Cowboys led 17-6 at the break in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst and never looked back. Ezikiel Elliot ran for 157 yards (Dallas tallied 191, holding Green Bay to 78) and Prescott threw for 247 yards and three TDs.

Dallas leads the series 61-49 and has outscored the Eagles 2,386-2,187. The division foes met last year and both teams split the two meetings, with each winning in the other’s stadium.

The first meeting? Week two in Philadelphia and the Cowboys had a somewhat healthy Tony Romo under center before he injured his shoulder in the 20-10 win at Lincoln Financial Field. Dallas led 6-0 at the intermission and then outscored Philly 14-10 in the last 30 minutes of action. Romo threw for 195 yards in the contest before being knocked out with the injury as Dallas ran for 109 yards, while holding the Eagles to a somewhat dismal 9 yards. Dallas ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 40:25, while the Eagles kept it for 19:35.

Meeting number two… week nine in Arlington and this time, it was a Sunday night affair that could have gone either way but the Eagles managed to prevail in the Lone Star State, coming away 33-27 overtime winners. The two rivals found themselves tied at 7-7 at the half, 14-14 at the end of the third quarter and 27-27 at the end of regulation. Dallas managed to tie the contest on a 44-yard field goal by Dan Bailey with 2 seconds left. Philly outrushed Dallas 172-134, with Dallas RB Darren McFadden accounting for 117 of those yards, while Matt Cassell, who took over for Romo, threw for 299 yards and three TDs.

Dallas is favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under is 43 1/2. Two rookie QBs, two teams in the hunt for the NFC East title and looking to bounce back from less-than-impressive seasons in 2015. Just that alone makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 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?”

4 1/2 spread. 43 1/2 over/under. Two rookie QBs and their teams in contention. This one could very well go to overtime… or not. Dallas takes this one at home but expect the Eagles to make it closer than the 4 1/2.

Minnesota (5-1) at Chicago (1-6), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week eight action closes in the Windy City as a pair of NFC North rivals meet at Soldier Field with Da Bears hosting the first-place Minnesota Vikings in primetime.

Both enter the Monday night affair with road losses under their belts.

Minnesota had a somewhat less-than-impressive day in Philadelphia against the Eagles and fell 21-10 in the City of Brotherly Love. After a scoreless first quarter, the Vikings trailed 11-3 at the break and things went from bad to worse, as Sam Bradford was sacked six times and turned the ball over four times (three fumbles, Bradford interception) and were outrushed 101-93 in the 11-point road loss.

Chicago, in last place in the NFC North, fell to divisonal rival Green Bay 26-10 at Lambeau last Thursday. Chicago tried to keep it close and trailed the Packers led 6-3 at the break before the Packers pulled away in the second half, as Da Bears would be outscored by Green Bay in the second half 20-7. Aaron Rodgers threw for 326 yards and three TDs, two to WR Davante Adams and the other to WR Randall Cobb. Green Bay, without Eddie Lacy (knee), outrushed Chicago 103-69 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, while the Packers took advantage of a pair of Bears interceptions. The one bright spot for Da Bears? They get Jay Cutler (thumb) back under center in hopes of adding another win to their column.

Minnesota holds a 57-50-2 lead in the series (which includes games that took place at Wrigley Field and Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington), they’ve outscored Da Bears 2,293-2,124 and they’ve won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping last year’s series (Chicago’s last win over the Purple Gang came in 2014 by a final of 21-13 in the Windy City).

First meeting… Windy City… week eight. The Vikings erased a 13-10 deficit at the end of the third quarter and came away 23-20 winners. Minnesota scored their final 13 points in the fourth quarter, using a pair of Blair Walsh field goals and a 40-yard TD from Teddy Bridgewater (187 yards) to WR Stefon Diggs for the win. Walsh’s second field goal of the quarter, a 36-yard try, came as the clock struck :00. In the first contest, Adrian Peterson ran for 103 of the Vikings’ 147 yards (Chicago ran for 97) and Cutler threw for 211.

Round two… the Twin Cities… week 15. while the game time temp in the Windy City meeting was a balmy 62 degrees, things were a little on the chilly side (36 with a wind chill of 34) and they played in the great outdoors of TCF Bank Stadium, on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. For the Vikings, second verse, same as the first. Minnesota led Da Bears 17-7 at the half and came away 38-17 winners. Bridgewater (231 yards) threw for four TDs and was interception-free, while Culter was sacked five times and threw an interception in the contest. Once again, the Vikings outrushed Chicago 129-94 and forced a pair of Bears’ turnovers in the win.

Minnesota may the road team but the boys and girls in Vegas like them as 5 1/2 point favorites with a 41 over/under. Both teams played one Monday night contest in 2015, with Chicago picked up a win and the Vikings lost their only MNF matchup. Overall, both teams are below the .500 mark (Chicago 29-36, Minnesota 26-30). Although the records wouldn’t indicate it, this might be worth your time on Monday night. Just don’t overdo on the Halloween candy. Vikings win this one in the Windy City, although Chicago could make it closer than the 5 1/2.