Archives for category: London

And there was one.

The Los Angeles Rams remain the NFL’s lone unbeaten team after Kansas City fell to the New England Patriots in Foxboro last Sunday night.

Like the cheese in the nursery rhyme, “The Farmer In The Dell,” the Rams stand alone as the last unbeaten team for the 2018 season and look to stay that way when they travel up the coast to face off against their NFC West rivals from San Francisco. Close contests have been the order of the day in 2018 and we can expect more.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK SEVEN

MILESTONE WATCH: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 363 yards and three touchdowns in the Saints’ Week 5 win. Brees has 72,103 career passing yards and surpassed Peyton Manning (71,940) in Week 5 to become the league’s all-time leading passer.

With a touchdown pass on Sunday at Baltimore, Brees can join Manning (539), Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (508) and Tom Brady (501) as the only players in NFL history to throw 500 career touchdown passes.

The players with the most touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (508)^
Tom Brady – New England (501)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (499)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri has scored 2,535 total points during his 23-year NFL career. With 10 points on Sunday against Buffalo, Vinatieri would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Morten Andersen (2,544 points) as the league’s all-time leading scorer.

The players with the most points scored in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (TOTAL POINTS SCORED
Morten Andersen – New Orleans, Atlanta, New York Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota (2,544)^
Adam Vinatieri – New England and Indianapolis (2,535)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PACE SETTER: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the NFL with 870 scrimmage yards and nine rushing touchdowns through the first six weeks of the 2018 season.

With 130 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on Sunday at San Francisco, Gurley can become the fifth different player in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season.

The players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – SCIRMMAGE YARDS/RUSHING TDS)
Priest Holmes – Kansas City (2004 – 1,017/13)
Priest Holmes – Kansas City (2002 – 1,113/12)
Terrell Davis – Denver (1998 – 1,099/12)^
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams (1983 – 1,045/17)^
Jim Brown – Cleveland (1958 – 1,060/14)^
Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams (2018 – 870/9)*
*Through first six games of season
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PROLIFIC PAT: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 18 touchdown passes through the first six weeks of the season.

Mahomes, who has 18 touchdown passes in his first seven career games, needs two touchdown passes against Cincinnati Sunday night to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (21) and Deshaun Watson (20) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 20 touchdown passes in their first eight career games.

The players with the most passing touchdowns in their first eight career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS, PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)_
Kurt Warner – St. Louis Rams (1998-99, 21)^
Deshaun Watson – Houston (2017-18, 20)
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2017-18, 18)*
*In seven career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

BIG PLAY TYREEK: Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill had seven receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yarder, in Week 6 and ties for the league-lead with six touchdown receptions in 2018.

Hill, who turns 25 in March of 2019, has 14 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards. With his next touchdown of at least 50 yards, he would become the third player in NFL history with at least 15 touchdowns of 50+ yards before turning 25 years old.

The players with the most 50+ yard touchdowns before turning 25 years old in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (50+ YARD TOUCHDOWNS)
Gale Sayers – Chicago (16)^
Randy Moss – Minnesota (15)^
Tyreek Hill – Kansas City (14)*
*24 years old
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

AMAZING ADAM: Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen had 11 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 6 win and leads the league with 58 receptions and 712 receiving yards this season. His 58 catches are the most by a player in his team’s first six games of a season in league annals.

Thielen has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in each of Minnesota’s first six games this season and joined Charley Hennigan (seven consecutive games in 1961) as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more receiving yards in each of his team’s first six games to start a season.

With 100 receiving yards on Sunday at the New York Jets, Thielen would become the fifth player to record seven consecutive games at any point in a season with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson – Detroit (2012 – 8)
Demaryius Thomas – Denver (2014 – 7)
Michael Irvin – Dallas (1995 – 7)^
Charley Hennigan – Houston Oilers (1961 – 7)
Adam Thielen – Minnesota (2018 – 6)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

KEEP IT 100: New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley had a career-high 229 scrimmage yards (130 rushing, 99 receiving) in Week 6. Barkley has totaled at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first six career games.

With 100 scrimmage yards on Monday night at Atlanta, Barkley would join Kareem Hunt (2017) as the only players in league annals with at least 100 scrimmage yards in seven consecutive games to begin their career.

Additionally, with 100 scrimmage yards in Week 7, Barkley would become the seventh rookie in NFL history to record seven consecutive games at any point in a season with at least 100 scrimmage yards.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams (1983, 10)^
Edgerrin James – Indianapolis (1999, 9)
Kareem Hunt – Kansas City (2017, 7)
Kevin Jones – Detroit (2004, 7)
Jamal Lewis – Baltimore (2000, 7)
Clark Gaines – New York Jets (1976, 7)
Saquon Barkley – New York Giants (2018, 6)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

CAPTAIN’S ORDERS: Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 301 yards with four touchdown passes in Week 6.

Luck, who has passed for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in each of his past three games, can become the third quarterback in NFL history with four consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdowns within a single season on Sunday against Buffalo.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Steve Young – San Francisco (1998, 5)^
Peyton Manning – Denver (2012, 4)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2018, 3)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK SIX:

•Miami defeated Chicago, 31-28, in overtime this week. Dolphins rookie kicker Jason Sanders converted the game-winning, 47-yard field goal as time expired in overtime, marking the second-longest game-winning field goal in overtime by a rookie since 1974. The record is held by Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein, who kicked a game-winning 54-yarder as a rookie on December 2, 2012.

At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first six weeks of the 2018 season, marking the first time that a season has featured at least one overtime game in each of its first six weeks.

•Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for a career-high 208 yards and had two touchdown runs in the Rams’ 23-20 victory at Denver.

Gurley leads the NFL with 11 scrimmage touchdowns this season and is the fifth different player since 1970 with at least 11 offensive touchdowns in his team’s first six games of a season. Gurley puts himself in some pretty good company as he joins Shaun Alexander (12 in 2005), Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (11 in 1995) and La Dainian Tomlinson (11 in 2005) and Priest Holmes (11 in 2002 and 11 in 2004) as the only players to accomplish the feat.

•Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen had 11 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ 27-17 victory over Arizona.

Thielen has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in each of Minnesota’s first six games this season and joined Charley Hennigan (seven consecutive games in 1961) as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more receiving yards in each of his team’s first six games to start a season. Thielen’s 58 catches, which lead the NFL this season, are the most by a player in his team’s first six games of a season in league annals.

•Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown, who had five catches for 105 yards, caught the game-winning, 31-yard touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in regulation in the Steelers’ 28-21 win at Cincinnati. The play marked the longest go-ahead touchdown by a Steeler in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter since 1970.

Steelers running back James Conner rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, his third game this season with at least 100 rushing yards and two touchdown runs. Conner became the fifth player since 1970 to record 100 or more rushing yards and at least 2 rushing touchdowns in three of his team’s first six games of a season.

•Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed 17 of 23 passes (73.9 percent) for 222 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 125.4 rating in the Seahawks’ 27-3 victory over Oakland before a crowd of 84,922 at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Wilson joined Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles (September 24, 2017), Dallas’ Tony Romo (November 9, 2014) and New England’s Tom Brady (October 28, 2012) as the only players to throw for at least three touchdowns and record a passer rating of 125 or higher in the 22 NFL games played in London since 2007. By the end of the 2018 season, the NFL will have played 24 regular-season games in London, with 29 of 32 teams (91 percent) having participated.

•Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 183 yards, rushed for 82 yards and had three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in the Cowboys’ 40-7 win against Jacksonville at AT&T Stadium.

Prescott, who is in his third NFL season, has nine career games with at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown, tied with Jack Kemp for the fourth-most such games by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history. Only Carolina’s Cam Newton (20), New England’s Steve Grogan (11) and the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez (10) had more games with at least one passing and one rushing touchdown in their first three seasons.

•New York Jets kicker Jason Myers converted all seven of his field goal attempts and made three-of-three extra points in the Jets’ 42-34 win against Indianapolis in the Meadowlands.

Myers’ 24 total points are the second-highest single-game total by a player who did not score a touchdown in NFL history. Only the Titans’ Rob Bironas (26 on October 21, 2007) scored more points in a single game without scoring a touchdown.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK SEVEN:

The NFL heads into Week 7 following another exciting weekend of action. In Week 6, nine of 15 games (60 percent) were decided by one score (eight points or fewer), including three games – Miami’s overtime win against Chicago, New England’s last second win against Kansas City on Sunday Night Football and Green Bay’s victory over San Francisco on Monday Night Football ­­– on game-winning field goals as time expired in the fourth quarter or overtime. Twelve contests this season have been won on the final play of the game, tied for the third-most through the first six weeks of a season since 2003.

Through the first six weeks of the season, 54 games have been decided by one score, tied with the 1999 season for the most in NFL history through Week 6. Twenty-eight of those games have been decided by three or fewer points, the second-most in NFL history through Week 6 (35 games in 1999), including four such games last week.

At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first six weeks of the 2018 season, marking the first time since the regular-season overtime rule was instituted in 1974 that there has been an overtime game in each of a season’s first six weeks.

As the season approaches the halfway point, there are currently 21 teams with a .500 or better record. The Los Angeles Rams (6-0) top the NFC and are the NFL’s only remaining unbeaten team, while Kansas City (5-1) own the AFC’s best mark. Twenty-one teams are currently in or within one game of first place in their respective divisions.

Scoring continues to trend at a record pace in 2018. Through Week 6, there have been 504 total touchdowns and 4,489 total points scored, both the most in NFL history through the first six weeks of a season.

MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN FIRST SIX WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – TOUCHDOWNS
2018 – 504
2015 – 481
2014 – 479
2016 – 470

MOST TOTAL POINTS IN FIRST SIX WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – TOTAL POINTS
2018 – 4,489
2014 – 4,250
2015 – 4,243
2012 – 4,233

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the NFL with 11 scrimmage touchdowns this season and is the fifth different player since 1970 with at least 11 offensive touchdowns in his team’s first six games of a season. Gurley joins Shaun Alexander (12 in 2005), Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smiht (11 in 1995) and La Danian Tomlinson (11 in 2005) and Priest Holmes (11 in 2002 and 11 in 2004) as the only players to accomplish the feat.

Highlights of the Week 7 schedule includes the second of three 2018 London Series games kicks off at 9:30 a.m. at Wembley Stadium on Sunday as the Los Angeles Chargers hosts Tennessee. The Titans are making their first appearance in London, while the Chargers play in the UK for the second time. Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon leads the AFC with 745 scrimmage yards and ranks second in the NFL with nine touchdowns (six rushing, three receiving). Titans safety Kevin Byard, who had an interception in Week 6, has nine interceptions since 2017, tied with Detroit’s Darius Slay for the most in the league over the span. The 2018 London Series concludes in Week 8 with Philadelphia taking on Jacksonville on the other side of the pond.

New England, who sits at 4-2 and are tied with Miami atop the AFC East, visits Chicago, as Da Bears lead the NFC North with a 3-2 record, at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon in the Windy City. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passed for 340 yards with one touchdown and rushed for a touchdown in New England’s 43-40 victory last week, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to record 200 regular-season wins. New England running back Sony Michel ranks second among rookies with 400 rushing yards and aims for his fourth game in a row with a rushing touchdown. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has nine touchdown passes in his past two games, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman (nine in 1943) for the most by a quarterback in franchise history over any two-game span.

On Sunday afternoon, Baltimore welcomes New Orleans to M&T Bank Stadium in an interconference late-afternoon showdown in Charm city. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards (72,103) in Week 5, enters the contest needing one touchdown pass to become the fourth player in league history to record 500 career touchdown passes. The Ravens’ defense, led by linebacker Za’Darius Smith’s three sacks, recorded a franchise-record 11 sacks in Week 6, becoming the third team since 2002 to record at least 11 sacks in a single game.

The 117th meeting between Washington and Dallas (including the postseason) takes place at FedExField, as both teams look to win consecutive games for the first time this season. Washington (3-2) enters Week 7 in first place in the NFC East. Redskins running back Adrian Peterson, who leads the team with 339 rushing yards, aims for his fourth consecutive game against Dallas with a rushing score. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a touchdown in Dallas’ win last week and has nine career games with both a passing and rushing touchdown, tied for the fourth-most in league history by a player in his first three seasons.

In Sunday’s nightcap, Cincinnati travels to Arrowhead Stadium to take on Kansas City of AFC contenders. Since entering the league in 2011, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green ranks third in the NFL with 8,707 receiving yards and fifth with 589 receptions. Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 18 touchdown passes, has won six of his first seven career starts and is the only quarterback in league history to throw for at least 250 yards in each of his first seven games. Week seven play concludes in Atlanta at Matt Ryan and the Falcons host Eli Manning and the NeW York Giants in the Big Peach.

Byes this week? Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Lions and Saints fans can rejoice and Detroit and New Orleans return to action this week. As for last week? Much better, as we went 11-4 for the week and 53-35 for the season. There’s still a lot of football left to play in the 2018 season. Week seven began in the desert with the Broncos taking Arizona to task in Glendale and ends with Eli Manning and the New York Giants traveling to the Big Peach for a meeting with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week seven.

Tennessee (3-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (4-2), 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. in London) on CBS. RULE BRITAINIA! Set those DVR’s early! It’s an early Sunday morning start in the United States as the Los Angeles Chargers host Tennessee on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the second contest in London in the 2018 campaign.

The Titans were taken to task by Baltimore last Sunday in Nashville as they were shut down and shut out by the Ravens 21-0 at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee trailed 14-0 at the intermission in the Music City and could never really get on track in their home loss. Tennessee was held to 55 yards rushing, while the Ravens ran roughshod over the Titans for 123 yards of their own and sacked Marcus Mariota (117 yards) 11 times. Baltimore’s Alex Collins accounted for his team’s last two scoring plays, while Michael Crabtree and Joe Flacco (238 yards) connected on the game’s first score. The Titans were a rather dismal 1 of 10 on third down last Sunday and held on to the ball for 22:26, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 37:34, while going 12 of 17 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Los Angeles brought Cleveland back to Earth last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie, as the Chargers were 38-14 winners at First Energy Field. Leading 21-6 at the intermission, the Chargers pulled away from Cleveland in the second half to take the win on the road. The Chargers outrushed Cleveland 246-103, with Los Angeles RB Melvin Gordon leading the way with 132 yards and three rushing TDs. Philip Rivers threw for 207 yards and a pair of TDs to Tyrell Williams, while Baker Mayfield threw for 238 yards with five sacks, a TD and a pair of interceptions. The Chargers went 1 of 9 on third down conversions at FirstEnergy Stadium and kept the ball for 31:37, while the Browns were 6 of 16 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:23.

The Chargers lead the series 26-14-1, which includes contests that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Chargers were in San Diego and they have outscored Tennessee 1,068-902. The Chargers were 43-35 winners in San Diego in their last meeting, which took place in 2016, while Tennessee’s last win came in 2013 in the Music City by a final of 20-17. The Chargers are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers are reasonable. The Chargers are in the midst of a 41-day stretch where they will not be in Los Angeles unil November 18, when they host Denver at Stub Hub Centre (after their bye next week, they travel to Seattle and Oakland). Tennessee makes things closer than 6 1/2 but the Chargers prevail in Music City.

New England (4-2) at Chicago (3-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. New England makes its way to the Windy City for a showdown with the improved Chicago Bears at Solider Field.

The Patriots knocked Kansas City out of the ranks of the unbeatens Sunday night in Foxboro, coming away 43-40 last second winners over the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady and New England led 24-13 at the intermission in the Sunday night contest before the Chiefs would rally in the second half, outscoring New England 31-19 in the final 30 minutes of action. Kansas City took a 33-30 lead with 8:38 left when Tyreek Hill and QB Pat Mahomes (352 yards, four TDs, two interceptions) connected on a 1-yard TD pass. That lead would not last long as Brady took matters into his own hands and feet, scoring from 4 yards out and the Pats would add to that lead when Stephen Gostkowski booted a 52-yarder to lead 40-33. The Chiefs were not going away quietly as Hill and Mahomes hooked up again with 3:03 left to re-tie the contest. New England went into a surgeon-like mode in the final 3:03, using a 7-play, 65-yard drive that used all the available time left in regulation when Gostkowski booted a 28-yard field goal as time expired. Brady threw for 340 yards with a TD toss to Josh Edelman as New England outrushed Kansas City 173-94 (New England rookie RB Sony Michel led everyone with 106 yards on the ground with a pair of TDs). New England was 7 of 13 on third down (the Pats were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:09 (including the final drive), while the Chiefs were 4 of 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:51.

Chicago fans suffered heartbreak as they watch Da Bears lose in overtime 31-28 last Sunday in Miami. Chicago watched Miami lead 7-0 at the end of the first quarter and take that lead with them to the locker room at the intermission, before roaring back to take a 21-13 lead at the end of three quarters. Miami tied things back up in the fourth, scoring 15 points in the final quarter to tie things up when Brock Osweiler and WR Albert Wilson hooked up on a 28-yard TD toss with 9:08 left in regulation. Chicago would reclaim the lead with 3:17 left when QB Mitchell Trubisky and WR Anthony Miller connected on a 29-yard toss. That lead would last all of 16 seconds as Osweiler and Wilson connected on a 75-yard toss as part of a 1-play drive that used only 16 seconds of clock to re-tie the contest at 28-all. Miami would win the toss in overtime and get as close as Chicago’s 1-yard line when RB Kenyan Drake fumbled on the goal line, giving Chicago the ball back. Da Bears would get as far as the Dolphins’ 35-yard yard line when Cody Parkey’s 53-yard field goal try sailed wide right. Miami got the ball back and made their move, using a 6-play, 28-yard drive that took 1:55 and sent their fans home happy campers when Jason Sanders connected on a 47-yard field goal as time ran out. Chicago outrushed Miami 164-161 (Miami’s Frank Gore led all rushers with 101 yards) and Osweiler threw for 380 yards, while Trubisky threw for 316 yards (each threw three TD passes). Miami was 8 for 17 on third down and held on to the ball for 36:35 (including the final drive in overtime), while Da Bears kept the ball for 33:25, going 8 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

New England leads the series 9-3, they have outscored Da Bears 288-173 and have won the last four meetings, including taking a 51-23 win in Foxboro in 2014, while Chicago’s last win came in 2000 in the Windy City by afinal of 24-17. The oddsmakers like New England as a 3 1/2-point favorite with a 49 1/2 over/under. Both teams can put up points and last week’s contests were proof of that. Da Bears are 2-0 in the Windy City this year and the Pats would love nothing more than to change that. New England covers Da 3 in Da Windy City and beats Da Bears.

Buffalo (2-4) at Indianapolis (1-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet in the Hoosier State as Buffalo travels to Indianapolis to face off against Andrew Luck and the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both teams would wind up in the loss column in last week’s action.

The Bills dropped a 20-13 decisions to Houston at NRG Stadium last Sunday. Although the Texans led 10-0 at the half, the Bills would eventually manage to tie things up with 94 seconds left with a a 27-yard field goal from Kai Fairbairn before the Texans would take the lead back for keeps when CB Jonathan Joseph picked off Nate Peterman (who came in for Josh Allen after he was knocked out of the contest with an arm injury) and retured the ball 23 yards for a TD with 82 seconds left in regulation. Buffalo did outrush Houston 100-74 but Peterman threw a pair of interceptions and 61 yards (Allen threw for 84 yards with a pair of sacks before leaving the contest), while DeShaun Watson threw for 177 yards and a TD to WR DeAndre Hopkins (Watson was sacked seven times and picked off twice). Buffalo was 6 of 15 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 33 minutes, while the Texans kept the pigskin for 27 minutes, going 3 for 13 on third down tries.

Luck and the Colts fell to the New York J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 42-34 in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon. New York led 23-13 at the intermission at Met Life Stadium before the Colts would outscore GangGreen 21-19 in the final 30 minutes of action. Indy did outrush the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 127-107 and Luck threw for 301 yards with four touchdowns and no sacks, outpacing Jets QB Sam Darnold, who threw for 280 yards with a pair of TDs for the winners. The one thing that did the Colts in was four turnovers (three Luck interceptions, one fumble), while GangGreen turned the ball over twice. The Colts were 5 of 12 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 22:58, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 6 of 15 on third down and had a ground stop on the ball, as they would keep it for 37:02.

The Bills lead the series 37-31-1 (including games that were played in Baltimore), Buffalo has outscored the Colts ,430-1,319 and the Bills have won the last two meetings, including taking a 13-7 overtime win last year in upstate New York (Indy’s last win in the series came in the Hoosier State in 2012 by a final of 20-13).

They met in snowy Orchard Park in week 14 in a contest that was played in a constant blizzard. A wind chill of 16 with blowing snow throughout the contest made this one a good one to watch either in person or on TV. After a scoreless first quarter, the Bills took a 7-0 lead with them to the intermission when Buffalo QB Nathan Peterman and WR Kelvin Benjamin connected on an 8-yard TD pass with 27 seconds left before the break. Buffalo would carry that lead late into the fourth quarter when the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett and TE Jack Doyle connected on a pass play of their own with 76 seconds left in regulation to tie things up.

Each team got the ball in overtime but could not produce a score that would have either given them the lead or won the contest outright. The Bills got the ball back again and this time they made the possession pay off, using a 6-play, 65-yard drive that would last all of 52 seocnds as Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy would send the fans that were in the chilly air of New Era Field home happy, scoring from 21 yards out with 1:33  left to play in the extra period. McCoy ran for 156 yards in the contest as the Bills outrushed the Colts 227-163 (Indy’s Frank Gore ran for 130), while Peterman threw for 57 yards with no interceptions or sacks and Brissett threw for 69 yards with an interception. The Bills were 10 of 18 on third down (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 32:25, while the Colts kept the pigskin for 36:02, going 4 of 16 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

In the week 14 contest in upstate New York, the Bills were favored by 3 and Buffalo covered with the 6-point overtime win. As for the 46 over/under? It was safe and warm, as both clubs combined for only 20 points. Indy’s a 6 1/2 point favorite in the Hoosier State and the over/under is 42 1/2. Buffalo would like to repeat what they did last year in upstate New York, while the Colts would like some revenge. Indy gets the revenge and the win, although the Bills make this closer than the 6 1/2.

Houston (3-30 at Jacksonville (3-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC South rivals, separated by 872 miles along I-10 meet in the Sunshine State as Jacksonville hosts J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans.

Houston held off Buffalo 20-13 at NRG Stadium last Sunday in Houston. Although they led 10-0 at the half, the Bills would eventually manage to tie things up with 94 seconds left with a a 27-yard field goal from Kai Fairbairn before the Texans would take the lead back for keeps when CB Jonathan Joseph picked off Nate Peterman (who came in for Josh Allen after he was knocked out of the contest with an arm injury) and retured the ball 23 yards for a TD with 82 seconds left in regulation. Buffalo did outrush Houston 100-74 but Peterman threw a pair of interceptions and 61 yards (Allen threw for 84 yards with a pair of sacks before leaving the contest), while DeShaun Watson threw for 177 yards and a TD to WR DeAndre Hopkins (Watson was sacked seven times and picked off twice). Buffalo was 6 of 15 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 33 minutes, while the Texans kept the pigskin for 27 minutes, going 3 for 13 on third down tries.

Jacksonville was held in check last Sunday at AT&T Stadium by Dallas last Sunday as the Cowboys took down the Jaguars 40-7. Jacksonville trailed throughout the contest, trailing 24-0 at the break before the Jaguars ended their bid for a shut out as Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (149 yards, three sacks and an interception) and WR Dede Westbrook connected on a 34-yard TD toss with 7:31 left in the third quarter. Dak Prescott (three sacks) threw for 183 yards and a pair of TD passes to WR Cole Beasley, while rushing for a TD, with RB Ezekiel Elliott running for 106 yards and a TD. Dallas outrushed the Jaguars 206-65, going 7 of 17 on third down (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:50, while Jacksonvile held the pigskin for 21:10, going 4 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

While the Texans hold a 19-13 lead in the series and have outscored Jacksonville 707-668, the Jaguars have won the last two meetings in the series, including sweeping last year’s contests (Houston’s last win in the series came in the Lone Star State in 2016 by a final of 21-20).

The two teams opened the 2017 campaign in the Lone Star State and the Jaguars prevailed 29-7 at NRG Stadium. Jacksonville led 19-0 at the half and held the Texans to a 4-yard TD pass from Watson to WR DeAndre Hopkins in the third quarter. The Jaguars outrushed Houston 155-93, with Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette leading the way with 100 and a rushing TD, while Blake Bortles threw for 125 yards with a TD and no interceptions or sacks (Watson threw for 102 yards with four interceptions and a sack). Jacksonville was 3 of 12 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:05, while the Texans kept the pigskin for 29:55, going 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Jacksonville made the sweep of the series official as they manhandled the Texans 45-7 at Everbank Field in week 15. Once again, Jacksonville jumped out to a huge lead and was never really challenged in the contest (they led 31-0 at the break). Houston found themselves outrushed by Jacksonville 138-87, with Bortles throwing for 326 yards and three TDs in the lopsided win in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville was 3 of 10 on third down and kept the ball for 33:18, while the Texans were 4 of 16 on third down, holding the ball for 26:42.

Houston was favored by 5 in the season opener and the Jaguars covered with the 19-point win but neither club reached the 39 1/2 over/under, as they scored 36 points. Jacksonville was favored by 10 1/2 in the week 15 rematch in north Florida and they would easily cover, winning by 36. As for the over/under of 39? This time, both clubs covered the over/under with 52 points. Jacksonville’s favored by 4 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Both clubs are in the middle of the pack in the AFC South, chasing Tennessee and would like nothing better than to catch up to the Titans. Jacksonville takes this one at home and covers the 4 1/2.

Detroit (2-3) at Miami (4-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of interconference rivals square off in the Sunshine Stae as Miami hosts the Detroit Lions at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Detroit is coming off their bye after they took down Green Bay 31-23 at Ford Field two Sundays ago. The Lions shut out the Packers in the first half, taking a 24-0 lead at the intermission in the Motor City before Green Bay would outscore the Lions 23-7 in the second half. The one bright spot for Green Bay was that they outrushed Detroit 98-94 and Aaron Rodgers threw for 442 yards and three TDs, while Lions signal caller Matthew Stafford threw for 183 yards and three TDs (neither threw an interception, Rodgers was sacked four times, Stafford was sacked three times). Green Bay, who fumbled the ball three times at Ford Field, went 3 of 10 on third down (2 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 33:20, while the Lions were 5 of 13 on third down conversions, holding the ball for 26:40.

Miami needed overtime to take care of Chicago 31-28 last Sunday. Miami led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, took that lead with them to the locker room at the intermission, then saw Da Bears take a 21-13 lead at the end of three quarters before rallying to tie things up, sending the contest into overtime. Miami would score 15 points in the final quarter to tie things up when Brock Osweiler and WR Albert Wilson hooked up on a 28-yard TD toss with 9:08 left in regulation. Chicago would reclaim the lead with 3:17 left when QB Mitchell Trubisky and WR Anthony Miller connected on a 29-yard toss. That lead would last all of 16 seconds as Osweiler and Wilson connected on a 75-yard toss as part of a 1-play drive that used only 16 seconds of clock to re-tie the contest at 28-all. Miami would win the toss in overtime and get as close as Chicago’s 1-yard line when RB Kenyan Drake fumbled on the goal line, giving Chicago the ball back. Da Bears would get as far as the Dolphins’ 35-yard yard line when Cody Parkey’s 53-yard field goal try sailed wide right. Miami got the ball back and made their move, using a 6-play, 28-yard drive that took 1:55 and sent their fans home happy campers when Jason Sanders connected on a 47-yard field goal as time ran out. Chicago outrushed Miami 164-161 (Miami’s Frank Gore led all rushers with 101 yards) and Osweiler threw for 380 yards, while Trubisky threw for 316 yards (each threw three TD passes). Miami was 8 for 17 on third down and held on to the ball for 36:35 (including the final drive in overtime), while Da Bears kept the ball for 33:25, going 8 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Miami leads the series 7-4 and they have outscored Detroit 298-208. Detroit has won the last two meetings with Miami, including taking a 20-16 win in the Motor City in 2014, while Miami’s last win over the Lions came in the Motor City in 2006 by a final 27-10. Miami is a 3 1/2 point underdog at home and the over/under is 46 1/2. America likes underdogs and we like the Dolphins to take the win at home in the Sunshine State and cover the 3 1/2.

Minnesota (3-2-1) at New York Jets (3-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of teams coming off huge home wins last Sunday meet in upstate New Jersey as the Vikings leave the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a meeting with the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium.

Minnesota took Arizona to task 27-17 at US Bank Stadium last Sunday in the Twin Cities. The Purple Gang led 13-10 at the half, then pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Desert Angry Birds 14-7 in the final 30 minutes. Minnesota outrushed Arizona 195-61, with Vikings RB Latavius runnig for 155 yards and a TD, while Kirk Cousins threw for 233 yards and a TD to wR Adam Thielen. Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 240 and four sacks in the loss (both Rosen and Cousins threw an interception in the contest). Arizona, who turned the ball over twice and got a fumble recovery by S Budda Baker, went 0 of 10 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 25:45, while the Vikings held the ball for 34:15, gonig 5 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! came away 42-34 in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. New York led 23-13 at the intermission at Met Life Stadium before the Colts would outscore GangGreen 21-19 in the final 30 minutes of action. Indy did outrush the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 127-107 and Luck threw for 301 yards with four touchdowns and no sacks, outpacing Jets QB Sam Darnold, who threw for 280 yards with a pair of TDs for the winners. The one thing that did the Colts in was four turnovers (three Luck interceptions, one fumble), while GangGreen turned the ball over twice. The Colts were 5 of 12 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 22:58, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 6 of 15 on third down and had a ground stop on the ball, as they would keep it for 37:02.

GangGreen leads the series 8-2 and they have outscored the Vikings 250-172. Minnesota’s last win in the series (which includes contests that were played at Shea Stadium, Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome) came in 2014 in the Twin Cities by a final 30-24 in overtime, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!’ last win came in the Meadowlands by a final of 29-20 in 2010. Minnesota’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 47. Both numbers are reasonable. GangGreen could make this one close but Minnesota prevails in the Meadowlands.

Carolina (3-2) at Philadelphia (3-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecV 711. Carolina BBQ vs. Philly Cheese Steak. The defending Super Bowl champions host the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton at Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love.

Washington held off Newton and the Carolina Panthers 23-17 at Fed Ex Field last Sunday. The Redskins led 17-6 at the break before they were out score by Carolina 11-6 in the final 30 minutes of action to make things closer than Washington fans would have liked. Washington got a pair of Alex Smith TD tosses to take the win, while Newton also threw a pair of TDs passes in the 6-point road loss, tallying 275 yards with an interception (Smtih had 163 yards with three sacks). Washington, who outrushed the Panthers 132-81, was 7 of 16 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 35:24, while the Panthers were 24:36 in time of possession, going 3 of 9 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The defending Super Bowl champs righted their ship last Thursday night in the Meadowlands as they took Eli Manning and the New York Giants to task, taking a 34-13 NFC East road win. Philadelphia and Carson Wentz took a 24-6 lead at the intermission, then proceeded to take control of things in the second half against their NFC East rival. Although the Giants did outrush Philadelphia 147-108 (rookie RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 130 yards and a TD), the Giants could never get on track in front of their home crowd. Wentz threw for 278 yards and three TDs in the Thursday night affair, while Manning threw for 281 yards with four sacks and an interception (Wentz had one sack with no interceptions). The Eagles were 9 of 16 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 32:30, while the Giants were 4 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:30.

Philadelphia leads the series 7-3 and have outscored the Panthers 258-201. The Eagles won the last meeting which took place in Charlotte by a final of 28-23 at Bank of America Stadium (Carolina’s last win over the Eagles came in 2015 in Charlotte by a 27-16 count).

They met in week six in the Tar Heel State and the Eagles broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission by outscoring Carolina 18-13 in the final 30 minuts to take the 5-point win on the road. TE Zach Ertz would give the Eagles the lead for good when he and Carson Wentz connected on a 17-yard TD toss early in the third quarter. Carolina, who would be outrushed 101-80, pulled to within five with 8:04 left in the contest when Newton and WR Collin McCaffery connected on a 1-yard TD toss but could come no closer. Wentz threw for 222 yards with three TDs and three sacks, while Newton threw for 239 yards with a pair of sacks and three interceptions. Philadelphia went 5 of 14 on third down (the Eagles were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:34, while the Panthers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:26, going 4 of 16 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

In the week six Thursday night contest in Charlotte, Carolina was a 3 1/2-point favorite and the Eagles covered with the 5-point road win. The 46 over/under was covered as both combined for 53 points. The odds makers in Vegas like the Eagles as 4 1/2 point favorites in the City of Brotherly Love and the over/under is 45 1/2. History has a way of repeating itself and such will be the case Sunday. Eagles cover the 4 1/2 and wins in the City of Brotherly Love.

Cleveland (2-3-1) at Tampa Bay (2-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of sub .500 teams meet in the Sunshine State as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host Cleveland at Raymond James Stadium as a pair of former Heisman winners take each other on.

Cleveland was brought back to Earth last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie by the Los Angeles Chargers, as they took a 38-14 loss at First Energy Field. The Browns trailed 21-6 at the intermission, then watched the Chargers pull away from them in the second half to take the win on the road. The Chargers outrushed Cleveland 246-103, with Los Angeles RB Melvin Gordon leading the way with 132 yards and three rushing TDs. Philip Rivers threw for 207 yards and a pair of TDs to Tyrell Williams, while Baker Mayfield threw for 238 yards with five sacks, a TD and a pair of interceptions. The Chargers went 1 of 9 on third down conversions at FirstEnergy Stadium and kept the ball for 31:37, while the Browns were 6 of 16 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:23.

The Buccaneers fell short in their attempt to take down NFC South rival Atlanta, as the Falcons prevailed 34-29 in the Big Peach. Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers trailed 24-13 at the half before managing to outscore the Falcons 16-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Tampa Bay would pull themselves to within two with 3:47 left when Winston (395 yards, four TDs, two sacks, two interceptions) and RB Peyton Barber connected on a 5-yard TD toss before the Falcons’ Matt Bryant connected on a 57-yard field goal with 70 seconds left in the contest. Tampa Bay would then make their way downfield afte the kickoff and got as close as Atlanta’s 21-yard line when they tried several lateral passes with seven seconds left but came up short. Tampa Bay outrushed Atlanta 123-70, while Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for 354 yards with three TDs (TE Austin Hooper, WR Mohamed Sanu and RB Tevin Coleman caught the TD passes, WR Julio Jones led all recievers with 143 yards) and no interceptions. Both clubs did well on third down tries (Atlanta was 8 of 13, Tampa Bay was 5 of 8) and the Falcons ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:39 to Tampa Bay’s 28:21.

Cleveland holds a 6-3 lead in the series and the Browns have outscored Tampa Bay 188-144. Cleveland won the last meeting with Tampa Bay, taking a 22-17 win along the shores of Lake Erie in 2014, while Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2010 by a final of 17-14. Tampa Bay’s favored by 3 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 49 1/2. Both numbers make sense and both teams are actually better than their records. Tampa Bay will take this one but expect the Browns to make this closer than 3.

New Orleans (4-1) at Baltimore (4-2), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Gumbo meets crab cakes as New Orleans makes their way to Charm City for a late-afternoon meeting with the Baltimore Ravens.

Washington saw Drew Brees pass Brett Farve and Peyton Manning as the all-time passing leader as the Saints took Washington to task 43-19 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the Big Easy two weeks ago. Washington trailed 26-13 at the half and was outscored by the Saints 17-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. New Orleans held Washington to 39 rushing yards as the Saints would tally 98 yards of their own. Brees threw for 363 yards and three TDs in the lopside Monday night affair, while Washington’s Alex Smith threw for 275 yards with an interception and three sacks (Brees was sacked twice). The Redskins were 4 of 13 on third down (2 0f 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:43, while the Saints ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 33:17, going 5 of 9 on third down conversions.

The Ravens pitched a shutout at Tennessee, coming away 21-0 winners in Nashville last Sunday at Nissan Stadium. Baltimore led 14-0 at the intermission in the Music City and made sure that the Titans could never really get on track in their home loss. Baltimore held the Tennessee rushing game in check, holding the Titans to 55 yards rushing, while the Ravens ran roughshod over the Titans for 123 yards of their own, sacking Marcus Mariota (117 yards) 11 times. Baltimore’s Alex Collins accounted for his team’s last two scoring plays, while Michael Crabtree and Joe Flacco (238 yards) connected on the game’s first score. The Titans were a rather dismal 1 of 10 on third down last Sunday and held on to the ball for 22:26, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 37:34, while going 12 of 17 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 5-1, the Ravens have outscored the Saints 172-128 and they have won the last two contests, including taking a 34-27 win in the Big Easy in 2014, while New Orleans’ lone win came in Charm City in 2002 by a final of 37-25. Baltimore’s favored by 2 1/2 in Charm City and the over/under’s 49 1/2. This one is worth your time watching with these two QBs on Sunday afternoon. Baltimore wins this one but expect the Saints to make it closer than the 2 1/2.

Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Forget the records. They’re in the same division. They don’t exactly like each other. In fact… they LOATHE each other.

Capulets vs. Montagues.

Hatfields vs. McCoys.

Dogs vs. Cats.

Get the picture?

A pair of NFC East rivals meet in Landover in a late-afternoon contest at Fed Ex Field. Washington, sitting in first place in the division, hosts Dallas, nipping at their heels in the second spot in the division. Both teams took wins at home in last week’s action.

Dallas held Jacksonville in check last Sunday at AT&T Stadium last Sunday as the Cowboys took down the Jaguars 40-7. The Cowboys led 24-0 at the break before seeing their bid for a shut out come to an end as Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (149 yards, three sacks and an interception) and WR Dede Westbrook connected on a 34-yard TD toss with 7:31 left in the third quarter. Dak Prescott (three sacks) threw for 183 yards and a pair of TD passes to WR Cole Beasley, while rushing for a TD, with RB Ezekiel Elliott running for 106 yards and a TD. Dallas outrushed the Jaguars 206-65, going 7 of 17 on third down (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:50, while Jacksonvile held the pigskin for 21:10, going 4 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Washington held off Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 23-17 at Fed Ex Field last Sunday. Despite being outscored by the Panthers 11-6 in the final 30 minutes of action, the Redskins managed to lead 17-6 at the break, thanks to a pair of Alex Smith TD tosses. Newton also threw a pair of TDs passes in the 6-point road loss, tallying 275 yards with an interception, while Smtih had 163 yards with three sacks. Washington, who outrushed the Panthers 132-81, was 7 of 16 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 35:24, while the Panthers were 24:36 in time of possession, going 3 of 9 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series 70-42-2, they’ve outscored the Redskins 2,661-2,195 (including games played at the Cotton Bowl, Cowboys Stadium and RFK Stadium and have won the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Washington’s last win over Dallas came in 2015, when they left Jerry World with a 34-23 victory).

Round 1… week eight in Landover. Washington trailed 14-13 at the intermission at Fed Ex Field before Dallas pulled away to leave the DC area 33-19 winners. The Cowboys used four Matt Nugent field goals in the second half along with a 21-yard interception return by S Byron Jones to seal the win and take control of things on the road. Dallas outrushed Washington 169-49 with Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 150 yards and a pair of rushing TDs, while Prescott threw for 143 yards with no interceptions and a pair of sacks, while Kirk Cousins threw for 263 yards with a TD, four sacks and a interception. Dallas was 5 of 14 on third down (the Cowboys were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:19, while Washington kept the pigskin for 26:41, going 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In round 2, Dallas completed the sweep in the Lone Star State in week 13, taking Washington to task at AT&T Stadium with a 38-14 win. After a scoreless first quarter, the Cowboys led 17-7 at the half, then went into cruise control in the final 30 minutes of action, outscoring the Redskins 21-7. Prescott threw for 102 yards with a sack, connecting with TE Jason Witten and WR Dez Bryant, while Alfred Morris (taking over for the suspended Elliott) ran for 127 yards with a TD as Dallas outrushed Washington 182-56. Dallas was 7 of 14 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 32:28, while the Redskins were 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the ball for 27:32.

In the week eight contest in Landover, Dallas was favored by 2 1/2 and covered thanks to their 14-point win and both teams took care of covering the 50 1/2 over/under with 52 points. Dallas was once agains favored by the oddsmakers in Vegas as 2=point favorites and once again the Cowboys covered, winning by 18 and the two teams covered the over/under of 44 1/2, tallying 52 points in the Thursday night contest. The Redksins are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Washington’s sitting on top of the NFC East mountain, while the Cowboys are looking to knock them off the top. Hail to the Redskins! Washington covers the 1 1/2 and takes the win in Landover.

Los Angeles Rams (6-0) at San Francisco (1-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. They’re separated by 364 miles up I-5 on the West Coast. One team’s on top the NFL and NFC West mountain, while the other sits in the NFC West cellar. The Rams and 49ers meet in wine country for a divisonal showdown at Levis’ Stadium.

The unbeaten Rams held off a late Denver rally last Sunday in the Mile High City, coming away 23-20 winners at chilly Broncos Stadium at Mile High last Sunday. Los Angeles took a 13-3 lead with them to the intermission, then watched Denver pull themselves to within 7 with 8:54 left in the third when K Brian McManus connected on a 24yard field goal. Los Angeles would then respond with a 21-yard field goal from Chris Santos to pull themselve back to a 10-point cushion. Denver would make it a 3-point contest with 82 seconds left when WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Case Keenum connected on a 1-yard TD toss. The Rams burned Denver for 270 yards on the ground with Los Angeles RB Todd Gurley running for 208 yards and a pair of TDs (Denver rushed for 60 yards, with Keenum throwing for 322 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Emmanuel Sanders on the other toss), while Jarred Goff threw for 201 yards with five sacks and an interception (Keenum was sacked twice and threw an interception). Denver on third down tries in the home loss went 3 of 10 (the Broncos were 0 of 1 on fourth down conversions and held the ball for 24:50, while the Rams ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:10, going 8 of 17 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The 49ers let a 30-23 lead at Green Bay get away from them as the Packers would score twice late in the final quarter to take a 33-30 win at Lambeau Field last Monday night. San Francisco led 24-20 at the break in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst thanks to a Robbie Gould field goal (Gould would kick three in the contest) before seeing that lead and the win vanish as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Davante Adams connected on a 16-yard TD toss with 1:55 left to tie the contest and then Mason Crosby boot a 27-yarder as time expired. San Francisco outrushed the Packers 174-116, as 49ers QB C.J. Beathard threw for 245 yards and a pair of TD tosses to WR Marquise Goodwin (49ers RB Raheem Mostert led all rushers with 87 yards on the ground), while Rodgers threw for 425 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Davante Adams (Rodgers had three sacks, Beathard had two). San Francisco was 2 of 9 on third down tries in the Monday night contest and held the ball for 28:52, while the Packers were 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:08, including the final 67 seconds of regulation.

Including contests that took place at Keezar Stadium, Candlestick Park, Anaheim and St. Louis, the 49ers lead the series 68-65-3, while the Rams have outscored San Francisco 3.046-2,891 in the series. The two teams split last year’s contests, with each winning in the other team’s facility.

First meeting was week three in Santa Clara on a Thursday night and the Rams held off a late San Francisco rally to take a 41-39 win at Levis’ Stadium. Leading 24-13 at the half, Los Angeles would see the 49ers rally in the second half of the contest outscore them 26-17. San Francisco would pull to within 2 with 2:13 left in the contest when Curtis Hyde (84 yards) scored from a yard away for his second TD of the evening. The 49ers missed the try for two that would have evened things, tried the onside kick and failed when the Rams recovered. Los Angeles outrushed the 49ers 126-113 with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading the way with 113 yards and a pair of TDs. Goff threw for 292 yards and three TDs with no interceptions or sacks, while Blaine Hoyer threw for 332 yards, with a pair of TDs, four sacks and a pick. The Rams, victims of three fumbles, went 8 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 29:43, while the 49ers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:17, going 9  of 18 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The 49ers would get their revenge in the second meeting in Los Angeles in week 17, as the Rams rested some of their starters after clinching the NFC West, taking a 34-13 win at the Coliseum. San Francisco led throughout the contest, taking a 20-6 lead with the to the intermission and never looked back. San Francisco outrushed the Rams 171-102 and 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 292 yards and a pair of TDs, while Rams signal called Sean Mannion racked up 169 yards with three sacks and no interceptions. San Francisco went 6 of 12 on third down in the season finale and kept the ball for 29:09, while the Rams, resting most of their stars, were 5 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:51.

In the week three Thursday night contest in Santa Clara, the 49ers were favored by 3 but the Rams won by 2. The good news in that first meeting? Both clubs almost doubled the 40 1/2 over/under with 80 points. As for the week 17 contest in Los Angeles? The Rams were 4 1/2 point favorites and the 49ers did cover the spread, winning by 21 and both teams covered the 45 1/2 over/under with 47 points. The oddsmakers like the Rams as a 10 1/2 point road favorite with the over/under at 53. The 53 is reaasonable. The 10 1/2? That’s a bit steep. The 49ers aren’t that bad and they’ve been competitive in their contests this year. Still, the Rams will take this one on the road but given the rivalry, expect the 49ers to make things closer than 10 1/2.

Cincinnati (4-2) at Kansas City (5-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of teams that suffered last-minute losses last Sunday meet in the Show-Me State on Sunday night as the Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.

Cincinnati saw a 21-20 lead late in their contest with AFC North rival Pittsburgh evaporate as Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown hooked up on a 31-yard TD pass to take a 28-21 win out of the Queen City last Sunday afternoon. Tied 14-14 at the intermission, then trailing 17-14 after three quarters of football. the Bengals and Andy Dalton (229 yards, two TDs, no interceptions) would take a 21-20 lead with 78 seconds left when HB Joe Mixon (64 yards) scored from a yard away. That lead and hopes of a win over their hated AFC North rivals would not last long as the Steelers used a 7-play, 77-yard drive that took 68 seconds of clock to reclaim the lead with the Brown catch and run (Roethlisberger and WR JuJu Smith-Schuester would connect on the two point conversion). Cincinnati would have one last chance to reclaim the lead and restore order but Dalton’s pass attempt with five seconds left fell short of its intended mark. Pittsburgh outrushed the Bengals 112-62 and Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Steelers RB James Conner led the way with 111 yards and a pair of TDs. Cincinnati went 6 of 12 on third down and held on to the ball for 25:04, while the Steelers were 8 of 14 on third down, holding the ball for 34:56.

Kansas City fell out of the ranks of the unbeatens Sunday night in Foxboro, as the Chiefs would come away on the short end of a 43-40 loss over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Brady and New England led 24-13 at the intermission in the Sunday night contest before the Chiefs would rally in the second half, outscoring New England 31-19 in the final 30 minutes of action. Kansas City then took a 33-30 lead with 8:38 left when Tyreek Hill and QB Pat Mahomes (352 yards, four TDs, two interceptions) connected on a 1-yard TD pass. That lead would not last long as Brady took matters into his own hands and feet, scoring from 4 yards out and the Pats would add to that lead when Stephen Gostkowski booted a 52-yarder to lead 40-33. The Chiefs were not going away quietly into the good New England night as Hill and Mahomes hooked up again with 3:03 left to re-tie the contest. New England went into a surgeon-like mode in the final 3:03, using a 7-play, 65-yard drive that used all the available time left in regulation when Gostkowski booted a 28-yard field goal as time expired. Brady threw for 340 yards with a TD toss to Josh Edelman as New England outrushed Kansas City 173-94 (New England rookie RB Sony Michel led everyone with 106 yards on the ground with a pair of TDs). New England was 7 of 13 on third down (the Pats were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:09 (including the final drive), while the Chiefs were 4 of 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:51.

The Bengals hold a 15-13 lead in the series (which includes contests that were played at Riverfront Stadium and Swope Field), have outscored the Chiefs 563-515 and Cincinnati has won the last four meetings, including taking a 36-21 win in Cincinnati in 2015, while Kansas City’s last win in the series came at Arrowhead by a final of 27-20 in 2007. The Chiefs are favored by 6 with a 58 1/2 over/under. Both numbers make a lot of sense.

On Sunday night, the lights have not been kind to the Bengals, who carry a 3-15 record, while the Chiefs are 13-8 (Kansas City won its only Sunday night contest in 2017, while Cincy’s last appearance on SNF was in 2015, taking a loss n that contest). We’re going to go ahead and make this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Both clubs are hoping to recover from bad losses last Sunday. Kansas City prevails in this one at home on Sunday night, although the Bengals could make this one closer than 6.

New York Giants (1-5) at ATLANTA (2-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Eli Manning vs. Matt Ryan. Big Apple vs. Big Peach. Week seven closes out in the Deep South in prime time as the Falcons host the New York Giants at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Manning and the Giants saw the defending Super Bowl champs right their ship last Thursday night in the Meadowlands as they Giants to task, taking a 34-13 NFC East road win at Met Life Stadium. Philadelphia and Carson Wentz took a 24-6 lead at the intermission, then proceeded to take control of things in the second half against their NFC East rival. Although the Giants did outrush Philadelphia 147-108 (rookie RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 130 yards and a TD), the Giants could never get on track in front of their home crowd. Wentz threw for 278 yards and three TDs in the Thursday night affair, while Manning threw for 281 yards with four sacks and an interception (Wentz had one sack with no interceptions). The Eagles were 9 of 16 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 32:30, while the Giants were 4 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:30.

The Falcons held off a late Tampa Bay rally at home last Sunday, as they prevailed 34-29 over their NFC South rivals in the Big Peach. Atlanta led 24-13 at the half before Tampa Bay hung on and managed to outscore the Falcons 16-10 in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling to within two with 3:47 left when Jameis Winston (395 yards, four TDs, two sacks, two interceptions) and RB Peyton Barber connected on a 5-yard TD toss before the Falcons’ Matt Bryant connected on a 57-yard field goal with 70 seconds left in the contest. Tampa Bay would then make their way downfield afte the kickoff and got as close as Atlanta’s 21-yard line when they tried several lateral passes with seven seconds left but came up short. Tampa Bay outrushed Atlanta 123-70, while Ryan threw for 354 yards with three TDs (TE Austin Hooper, WR Mohamed Sanu and RB Tevin Coleman caught the TD passes, WR Julio Jones led all recievers with 143 yards) and no interceptions. Both clubs did well on third down tries (Atlanta was 8 of 13, Tampa Bay was 5 of 8) and the Falcons ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:39 to Tampa Bay’s 28:21.

Atlanta leads the series by a slim 12-11 margin and have outscored the Giants 432-413 (which includes contests that were played at Yankee Stadium, the Yale Bowl, Giants Stadium and the old Georgia Dome). Atlanta won the last meeting, coming away 24-20 winners in the Meadowlands in 2015, while the Giants’ last win over the Falcons also came in upstate New Jersey by a final of 30-20 in 2014.

Atlanta is 14-27 on Monday night but the Falcons picked up wins in their two prime time contests last year (wins at Seattle and Tampa Bay), while the Giants are 24-38-1. with the G-men dropping their one Monday night meeting last year. Atlanta’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 54 1/2. Atlanta closes out week seven with the home win and covers the 6 in the Big Peach.

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Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information (All Times Eastern)

Tennessee at Los Angeles Chargers, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. in London) on CBS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians, Melanie Collins (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Ross Tucker; SIRIUS: 81 (Tennessee), 83 (Los Angeles Chargers); XM: 226 (Tennessee), 225 (Los Angeles Chargers)#

New England at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 134 (New England), 82 (Chicago); XM: 384 (New England), 227 (Chicago)

Buffalo at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta; SIRIUS: 127 (Buffalo), 108 (Indianapolis); XM: 388 (Buffalo), 228 (Indianapolis)

Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; SIRIUS: 98 (Houston), 119 (Jacksonville); XM: 389 (Houston), 229 (Jacksonville)

Detroit at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 103 (Detroit), 146 (Miami); XM: 387 (Detroit), 230 (Miami)

Minnesota at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 106 (Minnesota), 133 (New York Jets); XM: 385 (Minnesota), 231 (New York Jets)

Carolina at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 99 (Carolina), 83 (Philadelphia); XM: 383 (Carolina), 225 (Philadelphia)

Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber, Shane Bacon (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 113 (Cleveland), 81 (Tampa Bay); XM: 386 (Cleveland), 226 (Tampa Bay)

New Orleans at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 111 (New Orleans), 83 (Baltimore); XM: 390 (New Orleans), 225 (Baltimore)

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Steve Tasker (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 136 (Los Angeles Rams), 81 (San Francisco); XM: 392 (Los Angeles Rams), 226 (San Francisco)

Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 135 (Dallas), 82 (Washington); XM: 391 (Dallas), 227 (Washington)

Cincinnati at Kansas City, 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, Rod Woodson; SIRIUS: 81 (Cincinnati), 83 (Kansas City); XM: 226 (Cincinnati), 225 (Kansas City)

New York Giants at ATLANTA, 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Laura Okmin; SIRIUS: 81 (New York Giants), 83 (Atlanta); XM: 226 (New York Giants), 225 (Atlanta)

Sunday and Monday Officials
Tennessee at Los Angeles Chargers, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. in London): Walt Coleman#
New England at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Clay Martin
Buffalo at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Brad Allen
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Ron Torbert
Detroit at Miami, 1 p.m.: Jerome Boger
Minnesota at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Shawn Smith
Carolina at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.: Clete Blakeman
Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.: Shawn Hochuli
New Orleans at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m.: John Parry
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.: Walt Anderson
Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m.: John Hussey
Cincinnati at Kansas City, 8:20 p.m.: Bill Vinovich
New York Giants at ATLANTA, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Tony Corrente

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home team in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite               Spread    Underdog           O/U
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS   –  6 1/2  Tennessee          45
New England            –  3 1/2  CHICAGO            49 1/2
TAMPA BAy              –  3      Cleveland          49 1/2
Detroit                –  3 1/2  MIAMI              46 1/2
PHILADELPHIA           –  4 1/2  Carolina           45 1/2
INDIANAPOLIS           –  6 1/2  Buffalo            42 1/2
Minnesota              –  3      NEW YORK JETS      47
JACKSONVILLE           –  4 1/2  Houston            42 1/2
BALTIMORE              –  2 1/2  New Orleans        49 1/2
WASHINGTON             –  1 1/2  Dallas             41 1/2
Los Angeles Rams       – 10 1/2  SAN FRANCISCO      53
KANSAS CITY            –  6      Cincinnati         58 1/2

Monday’s Game
Favorite               Spread    Underdog           O/U
ATLANTA                –  6      New York Giants    54 1/2

Sunday and Monday Injury Report
Tennessee vs. Los Angeles Chargers in London, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (5:30 p.m. London)

Tennessee
OUT: LB William Compton (Hamstring), LB Derrick Morgan (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: G Quinton Spain (Shoulder), S Kenny Vaccaro (Elbow)

Los Angeles Chargers
OUT: DE Joey Bosa (Foot), LB Kyzir White (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Travis Benjamin (Foot), K Caleb Sturgis (Right Quadricep), LB Jatavis Brown (Groin)

New England at Chicago, 1 p.m.

New England
OUT: T Marcus Cannon (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Malcom Brown (Knee), WR Julian Edelman (Heel), WR Josh Gordon (Hamstring), DE Geneo Grissom (Ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (Ankle), TE Jacob Hollister (Hamstring), RB Sony Michel (Knee), CB Nelson Rowe (Groin), DE John Simon (Shoulder), DE Deatrich Wise (Ankle)

Chicago
DOUBTFUL: CB Marcus Cooper (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Bryce Callahan (Ankle), LB Khalil Mack (Ankle), WR Allen Robinson (Groin)

Buffalo at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Buffalo
OUT: QB Josh Allen QB (Right Elbow), RB Taiwan Jones (Neck)

Indianapolis
OUT: DT Denico Autry (Hamstring), TE John Doyle (Hip), WR Ryan Grant (Ankle), RB Robert Turbin (Shoulder), S Clayton Geathers (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Christopher Milton (Hamstring), CB Arthur Maulet (Hip), TE Erik Swoope (Knee)

Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Houston
OUT: CB Aaron Colvin (Ankle), TE Ryan Griffin (Illness), LB Brian Peters (Ankle), CB Shareece Wright (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: G Zach Fulton (Ankle)

Jacksonville
OUT: RB Leonard Fournette (Hamstring), CB Derek Hayden (Toe), TE James O’Shaughnessy (Hip)
QUESTIONABLE: T William Richardson (Knee), DE Calais Campbell (Ankle), CB Willie Herndon (Hamstring)

Detroit at Miami, 1 p.m.

Detroit
OUT: Theo Riddick (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: G Thomas Lang (Concussion), TE Michael Roberts (Knee), DE Ezekiel Ansah (Shoulder)

Miami
OUT: DE Charles Harris (Calf), DE Jonathan Woodard (Concussion), QB Ryan Tannehill (Right Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Bobby McCain (Knee), S Tim McDonald (Knee), WR DeVante Parker (Quadricep), DE Derek Wake (Knee), TE Alexander Derby (Foot)

Minnesota at New York Jets, 1 p.m.

Minnesota
OUT: RB Dalvin Cook (Hamstring), DE Everson Griffen (Not Injury Related), T Riley Reiff (Foot), S Andrew Sendejo (Groin)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Linval Joseph (Knee)

New York Jets
DOUBTFUL: CB Trumaine Johnson (Quadricep), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (Foot), WR Terrelle Pryor (Groin)
OUT: WR Onochie Enunwa (Ankle), S Marcus Maye (Thumb), CB Darryl Skrine (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Isaiah Crowell (Foot)

Carolina at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

Carolina
OUT: LB Andre Smith (Hamstring)

Philadelphia
OUT: LB Donell Alexander (Quadricep), S Corey Graham (Hamstring), CB Sidney Jones (Hamstring), RB Darren Sproles (Hamstring)
QUTESTIONABLE: DT Etuini Ngata (Calf)

Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Cleveland
OUT: CB Edwin Gaines (Concussion), WR Rashard Higgins (Knee), LB Joseph Schobert (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: C Joseph Tretter (Ankle)

Tampa Bay
OUT: DE Vincent Curry (Ankle), DT Gerald McCoy (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Carlton Davis (Back), S Jordan Whitehead (Hamstring)

New Orleans at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m.

New Orleans
OUT: G Andrus Peat (Concussion), DT Taylor Stallworth (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: G Jermon Bushrod (Not Injury Related), G Lawrence Warford (Back)

Baltimore
OUT: G Alexander Lewis (Neck)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Marlon Humphrey (Thigh), CB Anthony Averett (Hamstring), LB Anthony Levine (Hamstring)

Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m.

Dallas
OUT: WR Tavon Austin (Groin), LB Joe Thomas (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Chidobe Awuzie (Ankle)

Washington
DOUBTFUL: WR Paul Richardson (Shoulder), S Troy Apke (Hamstring)
OUT: WR Jamison Crowder (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Quinton Dunbar (Shin), CB Danny Johnson (Forearm), G Shawn Lauvao (Calf), RB Adrian Peterson (Shoulder), RB Christopher Thompson (Rib)

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams
OUT: WR Cooper Kupp (Knee)

San Francisco
DOUBTFUL: CB Jimmie Ward (Hamstring)
OUT: WR Dante Pettis (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Richard Sherman (Calf), WR Pierre Garcon (Shoulder), WR Trent Taylor (Back), CB K’Waun Williams (Shoulder), CB James Witherspoon (Concussion)

Cincinnati at Kansas City, 8:20 p.m.

Cincinnati
OUT: RB Giovani Bernard (Knee), CB Darqueze Dennard (Sternoclavicular), TE Tyler Kroft (Foot), C Billy Price (Foot), LB Nicholas Vigil (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: S Shawn Williams (Concussion)

Kansas City
DOUBTFUL: S James Berry (Heel), LB Justin Houston (Hamstring)
OUT: C Mitchell Morse (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: S Eric Murray (Ankle), LB Tanoh Kpassagnon (Ankle)

New York Giants at ATLANTA, 8:15 p.m. Monday

New York Giants
OUT: WR Jawill Davis (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Russell Shepard (Neck)

ATLANTA
OUT: K Matt Bryant (Right Hamstring)

Sunday and Monday Weather
Tennessee at Los Angeles Chargers, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. in London): Sunny and 61 degrees#
New England at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Sunny and 44 degrees
Buffalo at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, sunny and 46 degrees
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Mostly sunny and 69 degrees
Detroit at Miami, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 87 degrees
Minnesota at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 47 degrees
Carolina at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 49 degrees
Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 81 degrees
New Orleans at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m.: Sunny and 53 degrees
Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m.: Sunny and 52 degrees
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.: Sunny and 60 degrees
Cincinnati at Kansas City, 8:20 p.m.: Clear and 57 degrees
New York Giants at ATLANTA, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Game indoors; if roof is open, mostly cloudy and 61 degrees
#Game in London, the Chargers are the designated home team.

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

Senior Bowl?

Check.

Draft?

Check.

Mini Camps and OTAs?

Check.

Training camp?

Check.

Preseason games?

Check.

With all of that checked off, it’s time for the real thing. NFL fans can finally rejoice. The 2018 season is underway and actually got underway last Thursday night in Philadelphia as the defending Super Bowl champions and Atlanta squared off and defeated the Falcons 18-12 in the City of Brotherly Love.

The schedule was announced last April prior to the draft. It’s finally time for football. After a long winter of watching bad Lifetime movies on Sunday afternoon, it’s football. 31 teams fighting to get their own Lombardi Trophy, while Philadelphia will fight to keep theirs. Your patience is about to be rewarded.

Kickoff Weekend began on Thursday, September 6 in primetime on NBC when the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles hosted Atlanta. Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:

• New England, the defending AFC champion, opens the 2018 season at home against Houston. The Patriots have won eight of their past nine home openers on Kickoff Weekend and have 15 straight seasons of 10 wins or more.

• Denver, who starts the season at home against Seattle, has posted a 38-19-1 (.575) record on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the AFC. Denver has won its past six Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

• Minnesota, the defending NFC North champion, opens the season hosting San Francsico in the Twin Cities. The Vikings have won their past three home games on Kickoff Weekend.

• Green Bay hosts Chicago in a division showdown on Kickoff Weekend. With a win percentage of .592, the Packers (55-39-3) and Bears (54-39-5) are tied for the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFL. The Packers have won their past three Kickoff Weekend games, the longest streak in the NFC.

• Tennessee, who made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008, faces off against Miami on the road to start 2018. The Titans have won their past four road openers, the longest active streak in the NFL.

THE TEAMS SINCE 1990 TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS A SEASON AFTER FAILING TO QUALIFY

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

NEW FACES, NEW PLACES: Seven teams enter the 2018 season with a new head coach – Steve Wilks in Arizona, Matt Nagy in Chicago, Matt Patricia in Detroit, Frank Reich in Indianapolis, Pat Shurmur with the New York Giants, Jon Gruden in
Oakland and Mike Vrabel in Tennessee.

• Five quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (Number 1 overall, Cleveland), Southern California’s Sam Darnold (Number 3, New York Jets), Wyoming’s Josh Allen (Number 7, Buffalo), UCLA’s Josh Rosen (Number 10, Arizona) and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (Number 32, Baltimore) – were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, marking the third time that at least five quarterbacks have been selected in the Draft’s opening round since the inception of the common draft in 1967. At least one rookie quarterback has started Week 1 in 10 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

• Several notable players were on the move during the offseason, including quarterbacks Kirk Cousins (Minnesota), Alex Smith (Washington) and Tyrod Taylor (Cleveland); wide receivers Jarvis Landry (Cleveland), Jordy Nelson (Oakland), Michael Crabtree (Baltimore) and Brandin Cooks (Los Angeles Rams); tight end Jimmy Graham (Green Bay); guard Andrew Norwell (Jacksonville); tackle Nate Solder (New York Giants); defensive end Robert Quinn (Miami); defensive tackles Dontrai Poe (Carolina),
Sheldon Richardson (Minnesota), Ndamukong Suh (Los Angeles Rams) and Muhammad Wilkerson (Green Bay); cornerbacks Malcom
Butler (Tennessee), Marcus Peters (Los Angeles Rams), Richard Sherman (San Francisco) and Aqib Talib (Los Angeles Rams) and
safety Tyrann Mathieu (Houston).

• In each of the past two seasons, a rookie running back has led the NFL in rushing yards – Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (1,631) in 2016 and Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt (1,327) in 2017. Three running backs – Saquan Barkley (Number 2 overall, New York Giants), Rashaad Penny (No. 27, Seattle) and Sony Michel (Number 31, New England) – were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST: Competitive balance, one of the hallmarks of the NFL, gives fans hope entering each season. For the 14th time in the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. In fact, of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

After finishing in last place in their divisions in 2016, the Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South) and Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East) each turned it around to win their respective divisions last season. The Eagles won 13 games to claim the NFC East crown en route to their Super Bowl LII victory. The Jaguars won 10 games in 2017 to capture the AFC South title, rebounding from a 3-13 season in 2016 to win their division for the first time since 1999.

TEAMS TO GO FROM “WORST-TO-FIRST” IN THEIR DIVISION SINCE 2003

SEASON – TEAM (RECORD) (PRIOR SEASON RECORD)
2003 – Carolina (11-5) (7-9)
2003 – Kansas City (13-3) (8-8)*
2004 – ATLANTA (11-5) (5-11)
2004 – San Diego (12-4) (4-12)*
2005 – Chicago (11-5) (5-11)
2005 – New York Giants (11-5) (6-10)*
2005 – Tampa Bay (11-5) (5-11)
2006 – Baltimore (13-3) (6-10)*
2006 – New Orleans (10-6) (3-13)
2006 – Philadelphia (10-6) (6-10)
2007 – Tampa Bay (9-7) (4-12)
2008 – Miami (11-5) (1-15)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3)(8-8)**
2010 – Kansas City (10-6) (4-12)
2011 – Denver (8-8) (4-12)
2011 – Houston (10-6) (6-10)*
2012 – Washington (10-6) (5-11)
2013 – Carolina (12-4) (7-9)*
2013 – Philadelphia (10-6) (4-12)
2015 – Washington (9-7) (4-12)
2016 – Dallas (4-12) (13-3)
2017 – Jacksonville (10-6) (3-13)
2017 – Philadelphia (13-3)(7-9)**
*Tied for last place
**Won Super Bowl

Since 2003, the NFL’s 23 teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their division are the most among the four major
professional sports leagues in the United States.

In the NBA, only two teams since the 2003-04 season have finished first in their division after placing in last or tied for last the previous season. There have been seven such teams to accomplish the feat in the past 15 seasons in both MLB and the NHL.

NUMBER OF TEAMS TO FINISH FIRST IN ITS DIVISION THE SEASON AFTER FINISHING IN LAST OR TIED FOR LAST PLACE IN PAST 15 SEASONS

LEAGUE – NO. OF TEAMS TO GO FROM “WORST-TO-FIRST” (TOTAL DIVISIONS)
NFL – 23 (8)
MLB – 7 (6)
NHL – 7* (4)**
NBA – 2 (6)

*2004-05 NNL season was cancelled due to lockout
**NHL realigned from six divisions in 2012-13

DIVSION’S UP FOR GRABS!! In the 16 seasons since realignment in 2002, 29 different teams have won division titles. In 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround to earn their first playoff berth since 2007 and win their first AFC South division title since joining the division in 2002.

THE MOST DIVISION TITLES AND PLAYOFF BERTHS SINCE REALIGNMENT IN 2002

TEAM – DIVISION TITLES (PLAYOFF BERTHS)
New England – 14 (14)
Indianapolis – 9 (12)
Green Bay – 9 (12)
Seattle – 8 (11)
Pittsburgh – 8 (11)
Philadelphia – 7 (9)
Denver – 6 (8)
Carolina – 5 (7)
Los Angeles Chargers – 5 (6)
ATLANTA – 4 (8)
Baltimore – 4 (8)
Cincinnati – 4 (7)
Kansas City – 4 (7)
Dallas – 4 (6)
New Orleans – 4 (6)
Minnesota – 4 (6)
Houston – 4 (4)
New York Giants – 3 (7)
Arizona – 3 (4)
San Francisco – 3 (4)
Chicago – 3 (3)
Tampa Bay – 3 (3)
Tennessee – 2 (5)
Washington – 2 (4)
Los Angeles Rams – 2 (3)
New York Jets – 1 (5)
Jacksonville – 1 (3)
Miami – 1 (2)
Oakland – 1 (2)
Detroit – 0 (3)
Buffalo – 0 (1)
Cleveland – 0 (1)

With only 16 games per team, every game is important. Below is a sampling of some of this year’s top matchups.

HEADLINE GAMES FOR 2018
Week 2 New Engalnd at Jacksonville – Jacksonville opens their home slate with rematch of the 2017 AFC Champ. Game.
Week 3 Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams – Cross-city foes square off in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Week 4 Minnesota at Los Angeles Rams – FOX kicks off their Thursday Night Football package with battle of NFC playoff teams.
Week 5 Minnestoa at Philadelphia – NFC Championship Game rematch in Philadelphia.
Week 6 Seattle at Oakland (London) – Raiders host Seahawks in first game of 2018 London Series.
Week 7 New York Giants at Atlanta – Monday Night Football matchup at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of SB LIII.
Week 8 Philadelphia at Jacksonville (London) – Showdown at Wembley Stadium is last of three games played in United Kingdom in 2018.
Week 9 Oakland at San Francisco – Battle of the Bay Area on TNF featuring rising stars Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Week 10 New England at Tennessee – Tennessee first-year head coach Mike Vrabel, who played for the Patriots from 2001-08, takes on former team in battle of AFC playoff teams.
Week 11 Kansas City at Los Angeles Rams (Mexico City) – Rams host Chiefs in Monday night matchup at historic Estadio Azteca.
Week 12 Chicago at Detroit/Washington at Dallas/Atlanta at New Orleans – Thanksgiving triple-header marks only second time since 1970 (2014) that the holiday has featured exclusively divisional matchups.
Week 13 Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh – Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers and Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, both
selected in the 2004 NFL Draft, square off in key AFC showdown.
Week 14 Atlanta at Green Bay – Former MVPs Matt Ryan (2016) and Aaron Rodgers (2011, 2014) face off at Lambeau.
Week 15 Houston at New York Jets/Cleveland at Denver – NFL Network airs a late season Saturday double-header in the AFC.
Week 16 Denver at Oakland – Raiders host Broncos in AFC West rivalry game on Christmas Eve.
Week 17 16 Division Matchups Final weekend features all division games with playoff berths on the line.

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL TEAMS

LONGEST STREAKS
AFC (W-L-T, PCT.) (W-L, CURRENT)
Denver (38-19-1, .575) (6-4, W-6)
Houston (9-7-0, .563) (5-3, L-1)
Pittsburgh (43-36-4, .556) (8-3, W-2)
Los Angeles Chargers (32-26-0, .552) (6-6, L-2)
New England (32-26-0, .552) (10-3, L-1)
Miami (27-23-1, .545) (11-5 ,L-1)
Kansas City (31-27-0, .535) (7-4, W-3)
Jacksonville (12-11-0, .522) (6-5, W-1)
Tennessee (30-28-0, .517) (4-3, L-2)
Indianapolis (33-32-0, .508( (8-8, L-4)
Baltimore (11-11-0, .500) (5-4, W-2)
New York Jets (27-31-0, .466) (5-5, L-2)
Oakland (27-31-0, .466) (5-8, W-2)
Cincinnati (23-27-0, .460) (4-4, L-1)
Cleveland (27-38-0, .415) (5-13, L-13)
Buffalo (24-34-0, .414) (6-5, W-1)

NFC (W-L-T, PCT.) (W-L, CURRENT)
Chicago (54-39-5, .592) (9-6, L-4)
Green Bay (55-39-3, .592) (5-6, W-3)
New York Giants (50-38-5, .580) (4-5, L-1)
Dallas (38-19-1, .575) (17-5, W-1)
Minnesota (32-24-1, .575) (5-3, W-2)
Detroit (48 38 2 .563) (10-4, W-2)
San Francisco (37-30-1, .556) (6-3, L-1)
ATLANTA (28-25-0, .529) (5-4, L-1)
Los Angeles Rams (41-39-0, .513) (5-6, W-1)
Washington (40-42-4, .500) (6-5, L-5)
Philadelphia (38-46-1, .465) (6-9, W-3)
Arizona (40-55-2, .427) (6-7, L-2)
Carolina (9-14-0, .391) (3-5, W-1)
Tampa Bay (16-25-0, .390) (3-5, W-1)
Seattle (16-26-0, .381) (3-8, L-1)
New Orleans (17-34-0, .333) (3-6, L-4)

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL HEAD COACHES

COACH – TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Doug Pederson – Philadelphia (3-0, 1.000)
Vance Joseph – Denver (1-0, 1.000)
Dirk Koetter – Tampa Bay (1-0, 1.000)*
Sean McDermott – Buffalo (1-0, 1.000)
Sean McVay – Los Angeles Rams (1-0, 1.000)
Mike Zimmer – Minnesota (3-1, .750)
John Harbaugh – Baltimore (7-3, .700)
Mike McCarthy – Green Bay (8-4, .667)
Doug Marrone – Jacksonville (2-1, .667)
Dan Quinn – ATLANTA (2-2, .500)
Bill Belichick – New England (15-8, .652
Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh (7-4, .636)
Andy Reid – Kansas City (11-8, .579)
Pete Carroll – Seattle (7-5, .583)
Jason Garrett – Dallas (4-3, .571)
Bill O’Brien – Houston (2-2, .500)
Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati (7-8, .467)
Sean Payton – New Orleans (5-6, .455)
Ron Rivera – Carolina (3-4, .429)
Jon Gruden – Oakland (4-7, .364)
Todd Bowles – New York Jets (1-2, .333)
Hue Jackson – Cleveland (1-2, .333)
Adam Gase – Miami (0-1, .000)*
Jay Gruden – Washington (0-4, .000)
Anthony Lynn – Los Angeles Chargers (0-1, .000)
Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco (0-1, .000)
Pat Shurmur – New York Giants (0-2, .000)
Matt Nagy – Chicago (0-0, .000)
Matt Patricia – Detroit (0-0, .000)
Frank Reich – Indianapolis (0-0, .000)
Mike Vrabel – Tennessee (0-0, .000)
Steve Wilks – Arizona (0-0, .000)

*Gase and Koetter did not play their season opener in 2017 because of Hurricane Irma

BEST NFL RECORDS, PAST 10 YEARS: Over the past 10 years, three NFL teams – New England (123-37, .769), Pittsburgh (106-54, .663), and Green Bay (100-59-1, .628) – have posted a winning percentage over .600. Those three clubs have combined for 24 playoff berths, seven Super Bowl appearances and four Super Bowl championships during that span.

The New England Patriots, under the guidance of head coach Bill Belichick, have the best regular-season record over the past 10 years, qualifying for the postseason nine times and winning Super Bowls XLIX and LI.

“We’ve been doing this a long time, so you get to know each other over the years and you respect each other’s work,” Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said about Belichick. “Nobody does it better than him. We’ve just gotten to know each other over the years and I appreciate his friendship and I appreciate what he’s done for the National Football League too.”

TEAMS WITH BEST REGULAR-SEASON RECORDS OVER PAST 10 YEARS (2008-17)

TEAM: W-L-T, PCT. (PLAYOFF BERTHS, SUPER BOWL BERTHS, SUPER BOWL WINS)
New England: 123-37-0, .769 (9 playoff berths, 4 Super Bowl berths, 2 Super Bowl wins)
Pittsburgh: 106-54-0, .663 (7 playoff berths, 2 Super Bowl berths, 1 Super Bowl win)
Green Bay: 100-59-1, .628 (8 playoff berths, 1 Super Bowl berth, 1 Super Bowl win)

WORKING OVERTIME: With so many close games in the NFL, it’s no surprise that 14 contests in the regular season were ultimately decided in overtime.

The Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts tied for the league lead with three overtime games each, while Arizona, Chicago, Cleveland, Jacksonville and San Francisco all went to overtime twice in 2017.

Green Bay won overtime games in both Week 13 and Week 14, marking the first time in franchise history that the Packers won back-to-back games in overtime. In their Week 14 win at Cleveland, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams scored a touchdown in both the final minute of the fourth quarter and in overtime and became the fourth player in NFL history (including the postseason) – and the first since New England’s James White in Super Bowl LI – to score a touchdown in both the final minute of the fourth quarter and in overtime.

Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted a game-winning 51-yard field goal with 1:43 remaining in overtime in the Colts’ Week 5 victory over San Francisco. Vinatieri has 10 career game-winning field goals in overtime, the most in NFL history.

OWNER MILESTONES: Many NFL owners will be celebrating notable milestones in 2018, including Pittsburgh’s Art Rooney II, whose family has reached the 85th anniversary of when Art Rooney purchased the team when the franchise was known as the Pirates. Miami’s Stephen M. Ross will be celebrating his 10th anniversary as an NFL owner.

OWNER MILESTONES

NOTABLE OWNER MILESTONES FOR 2018

FRANCHISE: OWNER YEAR ACQUIRED MILESTONE
Pittsburgh: Arthur J. Rooney II (Grandson of Art) 1933 85th Anniversary
Kansas City: Clark Hunt (Son of Lamar and Norma) 1959 60th Season
Tennessee: KSA Industries (Children & Grandchildren of “Bud” Adams) 1959 60th Season
Detroit: Martha Ford 1964 55th Season
Denver: Bowlen Family 1984 35th Season
Los Angeles Chargers: Alex G. Spanos 1984 35th Season
Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones 1989 30th Season
New England Patriots Robert K. Kraft 1994 25th Season
Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie 1994 25th Season
Washington Redskins Daniel M. Snyder 1999 20th Season
Baltimore Ravens Steve Bisciotti 2004 15th Season
Miami Dolphins Stephen M. Ross 2008 10th Anniversary

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Several NFL teams will be celebrating anniversaries in the upcoming 2018 campaign.

A SAMPLING OF 2018 NFL ANNIVERSARIES

ANNIVERSARY – CELEBRATION
125th – Grant Dibert signs the first known professional football contract (1893).
120th – The Morgan Athletic Club forms in Chicago (1898) and later becomes known as the Normals, then the
Racine Cardinals, the Chicago Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phoenix Cardinals and in 1994,
the Arizona Cardinals. The team remains the oldest continuing operation in professional football.
85th – The forward pass becomes legalized from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage (1933).
85th – The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles join the NFL (1933).
75th – The league approves the mandatory use of helmets for all players (1943).
75th – Pittsburgh and Philadelphia merge for one season and are known as the Steagles (1943).
60th – On December 28, 1958, Baltimore defeats the New York Giants in the first ever sudden-death overtime
in an NFL Championship Game in a game known today as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
55th – The NFL awards NBC with exclusive network broadcasting rights for the 1963 NFL Championship
Game for $926,000 (1963).
55th – The Pro Football Hall of Fame is established in Canton, OH (1963).
40th – On September 10, 1978, Oakland defeats San Diego 21-20 on a play known as the “Holy Roller.”
35th – season The Colts franchise relocates to Indianapolis (1984).
30th – The NFL approves the Cardinals franchise relocation to Phoenix, AZ (1988).
25th – Don Shula becomes the winningest coach in NFL history when Miami beats Philadelphia to give Shula his 325th victory on November 14, 1993.
25th – The NFL allows fans to vote for Pro Bowl participants for the first time (1993).
20th season The Tennessee Oilers’ name is retired by the NFL and the team becomes the Tennessee Titans (1998).
15th – NFL Network launches on DirecTV on November 4, 2003.
10th – An NFL game is broadcast on NBC and also streamed live in its entirety to fans on the Internet via NFL.com and NBCSports.com (2008).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – KICKOFF WEEKEND

SUPER STARTERS: History indicates that the best way for a team to start its drive toward a Super Bowl championship is to win in Week 1.

The 52 Super Bowl winners have a 42-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia, who defeated Atlanta in the season opener on Thursday night, have won five of their past six home openers played on Kickoff Weekend and six of their past seven overall in Week 1.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game:

•Of the 587 teams which won openers…306 went to the playoffs (185 won division titles).

•Of the 586 teams which lost openers…140 went to the playoffs (81 won division titles).

Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.

In 2017, nine of the 12 playoff teams – Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams Minnesota, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – were victorious on Kickoff Weekend.

STARTING STREAKS: Some clubs have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff milestones and streaks:

•The Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia, who opened the season at home with a 19-12 win against Atlanta, have won their past three Kickoff Weekend games and seven of their past eight.

•The defending AFC champion New England Patriots open the 2018 season at home against Houston. The Patriots have won eight of their past nine home openers on Kickoff Weekend and 12 of 14 overall in Week 1.

•Green Bay, who hosts Chicago on Sunday Night Football, have 55 wins on Kickoff Weekend, the most in the NFL. Chicago ranks second with 54 wins on Kickoff Weekend.

•Denver, who starts the season at home against Seattle, have won their past six Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

•The defending NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings, who open the season hosting San Francisco, have won their past three home games on Kickoff Weekend.

•Tennessee, who made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008, faces Miami on the road to start 2018. The Titans have won their past five road openers, the longest active streak in the NFL.

START ME UP: Some players have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable individual performances on NFL Kickoff Weekend:

•New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has 34 touchdown passes in 16 career Week 1 games and needs one touchdown to surpass Peyton Manning (34) for the most touchdown passes in season-opening games in NFL history.

•Washington running back Adrian Peterson has 903 rushing yards in 11 career season-opening games and needs 97 yards to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 rushing yards in season-opening games. The four players to accomplish the feat are Emmitt Smith (1,247), Walter Payton (1,067), Edgerrin James (1,062) and Jim Brown (1,043). Smith, Payton and Brown are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

•Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 992 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions in 14 career season-opening games and needs eight yards to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 career receiving yards and eight touchdown catches in season-opening games, joining Jerry Rice (1,385 yards, nine touchdowns), Andre Reed (1,225, 10), Randy Moss (1,194, 10) and Don Maynard (1,025, nine). All four receivers are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

START ’EM EARLY: New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, is expected to make his first career start against Detroit on Monday Night Football at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN. With a start by Darnold on Monday, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:
SEASON – QUARTERBACK, TEAM (STARTING RECORD AS ROOKIE)
2008 – Joe Flacco, Baltimore (11-5)
2008 – Matt Ryan, Atlanta (11-5)
2009 – Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (8-7)
2009 – Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2-8)*
2010 – Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (7-9)*
2011 – Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (9-7)
2011 – Cam Newton, Carolina (6-10)*
2012 – Robert Griffin III, Washington (9-6)
2012 – Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (11-5)*
2012 – Ryan Tannehill, Miami (7-9)
2012 – Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (5-10)
2012 – Russell Wilson, Seattle (11-5)
2013 – E.J. Manuel, Buffalo (4-6)
2013 – Geno Smith, NeW York Jets (8-8)
2014 – Derek Carr, Oakland (3-13)
2015 – Marcus Mariota, Tennessee (3-13)
2015 – Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (6-10)*
2016 – Dak Prescott, Dallas (13-3)
2016 – Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (7-9)
2017 – DeShone Kizer, Cleveland (0-15)
2018 – Sam Darnold, New York Jets (–)^
^Expected to start in Week 1
*No. 1 overall pick

Darnold, who will be 21 years, 97 days old on Monday, can become the youngest quarterback to start a season-opening game in the Super Bowl era. New England’s Drew Bledsoe previously set the record on September 5, 1993 against Buffalo at 21 years, 203 days old.

The youngest quarterbacks to start a season-opening game in the Super Bowl era:

SEASON – QUARTERBACK, TEAM (AGE AT TIME OF SEASON-OPENING START)
1993 – Drew Bledsoe, New England (21 years, 203 days)
2009 – Matthew Stafford, Detroit (21 years, 218 days)
2015 – Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (21 years, 250 days)
2017 – DeShone Kizer, Cleveland (21 years, 250 days)
1968 – Greg Landry, Detroit (21 years, 272 days)
2018 – Sam Darnold, New York Jets (21 years, 97 days)^*
^Expected to start in Week 1
*Age on September 10, 2018

STELLAR STEELER: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown has 9,910 receiving yards in his eight-year NFL career.

Brown, who will play in his 116th career game on Sunday at Cleveland at 1 p.m., can tie Torry Holt (116) for the second-fewest games to reach 10,000 receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (FEWEST GAMES TO 10,000 RECEIVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson – Detroit (115)
Torry Holt – St. Louis Rams (116)
Lance Alworth – San Diego, Dallas (120)^
Jerry Rice – San Francsico (121)^
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (122)^
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (115)*
*Has 9,910 career receiving yards
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LARRY LEGEND: Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has recorded at least one reception in 211 consecutive games.

Fitzgerald, who faces Washington on Sunday at home in the desert, can pass Tony Gonzalez (211) for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a catch in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (274) has a longer such streak in league annals.

The players to record at least one catch in the most consecutive games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SEASONS) (MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A CATCH)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland (1985-2004) (274)^
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (2004-present)(211)*
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City, Atlanta (2000-2013)(211)
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Fitzgerald, who ranks eighth in NFL history with 110 career touchdown catches, can tie Gonzalez (111) for the seventh-most touchdown receptions in league annals.

The players with the most touchdown catches in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (TOUCHDOWN CATCHES)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle (197)^
Randy Moss – Minnesota, Oakland, New England, Tennessee, San Francisco (156)^
Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati (153)^
Cris Carter – Philadelphia, Minnesota, Miami (130)^
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (128)^
Antonio Gates – San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (114)*
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City, Atlanta (111)
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (110)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MOVING UP THE RANKS: Miami running back Frank Gore has 14,026 career rushing yards in his 13-year NFL career.​ With 76 rushing yards on Sunday against Tennessee, Gore will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (14,101) for the fourth-most rushing yards in NFL history. All four players currently in front of Gore are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with the most rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RUSHING YARDS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas, Arizona (18,355)^
Walter Payton – Chicago (16,726)^
Barry Sanders – Detroit (15,269)^
Curtis Martin – New England, New York Jets (14,101)^
Frank Gore – San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami (14,026)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Washington running back Adrian Peterson (12,276 career rushing yards) needs 37 rushing yards on Sunday against Arizona (4:25 PM ET, FOX) to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk (12,279) and Jim Brown (12,312) to climb into the top 10 in NFL history in rushing yards. With a rushing touchdown at Arizona on Sunday, Peterson would become the seventh player in NFL history with at least 12,000 career rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns. All six of the players with at least 12,000 rushing yards and 100 touchdown runs are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RUSHING YARDS – RUSHING TDS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas, Arizona (18,355 – 164)^
Walter Payton – Chicago (16,726 – 110)^
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego, New York Jets (13,684 – 145)^
Jim Brown – Cleveland (12,312 – 106)^
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis, St. Louis (12,279 – 100)^
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders, Kansas City (12,243 – 123)^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota, New Orleans, Arizona, Washington (12,276 – 99)*
*Active
^ Hall of Famer

CH-CH-CHANGES: There are rule changes galore for the 2018 season. Here are the following rules changes for the 2018 season:

• STANDARD FOR A CATCH: Changes the standard for a catch for a forward pass or interception in the field of play, at the sideline or in the end zone if a player, who is in bounds: (a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms, prior to the ball touching the ground and (b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands and (c) after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, performs any football act (e.g., tuck the ball away, extend it towards or over the goal line or the line to gain, take an additional step, turn upfield or avoid or ward off an opponent) or he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so.

• HELMET RULE: Makes lowering the head and initiating contact with the helmet a foul.

• DISQUALIFICATIONS: Authorizes the Senior Vice President of Officiating to instruct on-field game officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that act is called on the field.

• SCORING AT THE END OF REGULATION: Eliminates the requirement that a team who scores a touchdown at the end of regulation of a game to kick the extra point or go for a two-point conversion if it would not affect the outcome of the game.

• KICKOFF FORMATION: Modifies rules for a free kick formation and for blocking on a free kick.

• TOUCHBACKS: The playing rule that changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line is now permanent.

• ILLEGAL BATTING AND KICKING: Makes the penalties for Illegal Batting and Kicking the same (loss of 10 yards).

• OVERTIME: Provides that in overtime, if the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal in its initial possession and the second team loses possession by an interception or a fumble, the down will be permitted to run to its conclusion, including awarding the points scored by either team during the down.

2018 SPECIAL PATCHES AND LOGOS: NFL teams will adorn a handful of special patches during the 2018 season to highlight league initiatives and commemorate special moments and teams in franchise history.

The NFL will celebrate A CRUCIAL CATCH and BREAST CANCER AWARENESS with a decal in Weeks 5, 6 and 7. In Weeks 9, 10 and 11, all teams will wear a camouflage ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate SALUTE TO SERVICE games.

Additionally, several NFL franchises will be wearing special patches in 2018. The Green Bay Packers will celebrate their 100th season, while the Indianapolis Colts will commemorate their 35th season in Indianapolis and the Tennessee Titans
will memorialize their 20th season.

2018 SPECIAL PATCHES & LOGOS

TEAM/EVENT PATCH/DECAL
National Football League: All teams will wear a pink ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate A Crucial Catch and Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Weeks 5, 6 and 7.
National Football League: All teams will wear a camouflage ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate Salute to Service games during Weeks 9, 10 and 11.
Green Bay: 100th season patch.
Indianapolis: 35th season patch.
New York Jets: 50th anniversary patch of Super Bowl III during Week 6.
Tennessee: 20th season patch.

NFL RADIO 2018: WESTWOOD ONE & SIRIUSXM COVER THE NFL: Stuck at the inlaws and the ladies are hogging the TV? Stuck in traffic on the interstate? You can still listen to your favorit team. NFL fans can listen to games on the radio in a number of ways, including on Westwood One and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

WESTWOOD ONE remains the official network radio partner of the NFL, its 32nd consecutive season with that distinction.

The Westwood One NFL schedule features 70 national games, including the Thursday night Kickoff game, Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, the London Games, the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader and the entire postseason, culminating with Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Westwood One also produces weekly specialty programs, including The NFL Today, NFL Preview, NFL Insider, NFL Sunday and NFL Fantasy Football Forecast.

Kevin Harlin and Hall of Famer Kurt Warner will be the lead broadcast crew, calling Monday Night Football and Super Bowl LIII for the network. Jim Gray anchors the pregame and halftime shows. Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli will once again be the broadcast crew for Thursday Night Football, while Kevin Kulger and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor return as the main crew for Sunday Night Football. Scott Graham serves as the studio host for those broadcasts.

In addition to being heard on more than 500 radio stations across the United States, all of Westwood One’s primetime NFL broadcasts can also be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, via the TuneIn Radio app and through NFL Game Pass, which is available on NFL.com and the NFL mobile app. For complete information regarding Westwood One’s NFL coverage, including schedules, announcers, highlights, features, interviews and more, log on to westwoodonesports.com.

This year will mark the NFL’s 15th season on SiriusXM. SiriusXM creates and offers commercial-free music, premier sports talk and live events, comedy, news, exclusive talk and entertainment programming. SiriusXM provides live play-by-play of every NFL game from the preseason through Super Bowl LIII on satellite radios, as well as on the SiriusXM app and online at SiriusXM.com for its satellite radio subscribers.

SiriusXM NFL Radio (channel 88 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app) offers in-depth radio coverage of the NFL 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. SiriusXM NFL Radio offers a daily lineup of exclusive talk programming hosted by former NFL stars and radio personalities. Subscribers can also get SiriusXM NFL Radio programming on demand, allowing them to listen to their favorite shows when they want them, and giving them more chances to hear exclusive programming like the recent Town Hall broadcast with Super Bowl LII MVP QB Nick Foles, training camp tour broadcasts and more. For more information visit siriusxm.com/nflonsxm.

Strength of Schedule

Team (Pct., Record; Games vs. teams .500 or better; Games vs. 2017 playoff teams)
Green Bay (.539, 138-118-0; 10; 6)
Detroit (.535, 137-119-0; 9; 6)
New Orleans (.535, 137-119-0; 10; 8)
Tampa Bay (.531, 136-120-0; 10; 8)
Cleveland (.523, 134-122-0; 9; 6)
Los Angeles Rams (.523, 134-122-0; 10; 4)
Seattle (.523, 134-122-0; 10; 5)
Chicago (.520, 133-123-0; 9; 5)
Arizona (.520, 133-123-0; 9; 5)
New York Giants ((.520, 133-123-0; 9; 7)
Minnesota (.520, 133-123-0; 9; 5)
Carolina (.512, 131-125-0; 10; 6)
ATLANTA (.508, 130-126-0; 9; 6)
Washington (.504, 129-127-0; 10; 7)
San Francisco (.500, 128-128-0; 10; 4)
Dallas (.500, 128-128-0; 9; 7)
Miami (.500, 128-128-0; 8; 7)
Buffalo (.496, 127-129-0; 8; 5)
Kansas City (.492, 126-130-0; 9; 4)
Philadelphia (.492, 126-130-0; 9; 7)
Baltimore (.488, 125-131-0; 9; 8)
Indianapolis (.484, 124-132-0; 8; 7)
New England (.484, 124-132-0; 8; 7)
Los Angeles Chargers (.480, 123-133-0; 9; 6)
Denver (.477, 122-134-0; 9; 4)
Jacksonville (.477, 122-134-0; 8; 7)
New York Jets (.477, 122-134-0; 8; 7)
Pittsburgh (.477, 122-134-0; 9; 6)
Cincinnati (.473, 121-125-0; 9; 6)
Oakland (.473, 121-125-0; 9; 4)
Tennessee (.465, 119-137-0; 8; 5)
Houston (.453, 116-140-0; 8; 7)

I GET AROUND: The total distance traveled by all teams during the regular season will be 499,028 miles. The teams of the AFC West (96,328) have the highest combined mileage total of all divisions.

The remaining division totals ranking from highest to lowest are the NFC West (79,808), AFC South (67,130), NFC East (65,106), NFC North (54,658), AFC East (50,146), AFC North (46,892) and NFC South (38,960).

Three teams – Oakland (31,384), the Los Angeles Chargers (30,756) and Seattle (28,660), – will “travel around the world” at least once. A trip around the globe is 25,000 miles. That is a lot of frequent flyer miles.

Be sure to return your trays to the upright position.

TEAM – MILES
1 Oakland – 31,384
2 Los Angeles Chargers – 30,756
3 Seattle – 28,660
4 Jacksonville – 20,296
5 Philadelphia – 20,290
6 Los Angeles Rams – 19,414
7 Miami – 18,656
8 San Francisco – 18,334
9 Kansas City – 17,980
10 Houston – 17,454
11 Tennessee – 16,812
12 Dallas – 16,396
13 Denver – 16,208
14 New York Giants – 15,334
15 Detroit – 14,420
16 Minnesota – 14,360
17 Cleveland – 13,856
18 Arizona – 13,400
19 Pittsburgh – 13,180
20 Washington – 13,086
21 Chicago – 12,946
22 Green Bay – 12,932
23 Indianapolis – 12,568
24 Tampa Bay – 11,924
25 New Orleans – 11,864
26 New England – 11,576
27 Baltimore – 11,550
28 Buffalo – 10,224
29 New York Jets – 9,690
30 Cincinnati – 8,306
31 ATLANTA – 8,252
32 Carolina – 6,920

NFL CONTINUES INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH FOUR GAMES IN 2018: The NFL’s schedule of London Games for 2018 features three games at iconic Wembley Stadium, including three teams playing a regular-season game in London for the first time.

“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the UK,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told USA Today. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year.”

The 2018 London Series kicks off in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern as Oakland hosts Seattle. The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Wembley for their first game in London.

This game will mark the third straight season and the fourth time in five years that the Raiders have hosted a regular season game internationally, having played games at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in each of the last two seasons, as well as making the team’s debut in London against the Miami Dolphins in 2014.

“The Seahawks are excited to be playing in London on October 14 against the Raiders,” Seahawks Owner Paul Allen told KING-TV. “We have a strong international following and are eager to celebrate the passion of the 12s in a city known for its enthusiastic support for sports.”

Over the following two weeks, two additional teams will make their London debuts as visiting teams.

The Tennessee Titans will be hosted by the Los Angeles Chargers on October 21 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. “We are excited as a franchise to be playing in London,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk told The Tennesseean “There is a great relationship developing between Nashville and London with music being the common thread. We are looking forward to showcasing our team to the NFL fans in London and throughout Europe.”

“Since we last visited London in 2008, the NFL’s popularity has continued to grow in the UK,” said Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos. “It was an honor to be part of the early wave of regular season games played abroad back then, and it is every bit the honor to represent the league in London this time around. We’re excited to introduce the Los Angeles Chargers brand, in person, to football fans in the United Kingdom this year.”

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles will face Jacksonville in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams on October 28 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. The Jaguars are playing a home game in London for the sixth straight season.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” said Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie. “It’s the first time we’ve really had a chance to go over there and it’s nice to go over as Super Bowl champs. It’s going to be a big game. We’re playing an outstanding football team in the Jaguars. But I’m very much looking forward to it. I think London has a chance to be a franchise someday in the NFL.”

Building off the tremendous success of the Mexico Game Series, the NFL will play in Mexico for a third consecutive
season.

The Los Angeles Rams will host Kansas City at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on November 19 at 8:15 p.m. Eastern. This will be the second Monday Night Football game at Estadio Azteca. In 2016, the Oakland Raiders hosted Houston in the first-ever Monday Night Football game played outside the US.

“Over the past two seasons, we have seen the extraordinary passion that exists for NFL football in Mexico,” said Goodell. “We are excited for another memorable event at Estadio Azteca as the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs head to Mexico City in 2018.”

The Rams and Chiefs will both play their first regular-season game in Mexico next season. The Chiefs played a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys in Monterrey, Mexico on August 5, 1996, earning a 32-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Both clubs are looking forward to the opportunity to play in Mexico City.

“Southern California and Mexico share strong historic and cultural ties and this game will provide an opportunity to celebrate the special connection between these two regions,” said Rams owner/chairman Stan Kroenke. “It is great to be participating in the NFL’s international games again and working with the league to grow the game. Mexico has one of the largest NFL fan bases in the world and we are excited to bring Rams football to the millions of fans there.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of the NFL’s international initiatives once again, and we are excited to face the Rams at historic Estadio Azteca,” said Kansas City Chiefs chairman & CEO CLARK HUNT. “The support for the NFL in Mexico has grown significantly since our initial trip in 1996. We look forward to returning to Mexico and connecting with a new generation of fans this season.”

In 2017, the Ministry of Tourism and the NFL announced an agreement to play three NFL regular-season games from 2019 to 2021, having achieved positive results in tourism and the presence of Mexico’s brand through the NFL’s previous games in Mexico. The previous agreement covered games from 2016 to 2018.

The Ministry of Tourism highlighted the importance of high impact sporting events for the promotion of Mexico’s tourism both nationally and internationally. This agreement is part of the strategies that are implemented within this sector to increase economic impact.

The relationship with the League has served as a platform to significantly boost the tourism industry in Mexico, with fans taking advantage of the opportunity to expand their trips and explore the country.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR (PLAYERS): Tom Brady, New England: can join Peyton Manning (14) and Drew Brees (12) as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards in 10 seasons. Brady has passed for at least 4,000 yards nine times in 18 career seasons (see Rivers note).

Brady needs 21 touchdown passes (incl. postseason) to surpass Peyton Manning (579) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history (incl. postseason). In 18 seasons, Brady has 559 career touchdown passes, including the postseason.

Brady needs 12 touchdown passes to join P. Manning (539) and Favre (508) as the only players to reach 500 career regular-season touchdown passes. In 18 seasons, Brady has 488 career touchdown passes in the regular season (see Brees note).

Brady needs 3,841 passing yards to become the fourth quarterback in NFL history with at least 70,000 passing yards. In 18 seasons, Brady has 66,159 career passing yards.

Drew Brees, New Orleans: needs 1,394 passing yards to surpass Brett Favre (71,838) for second place in NFL history in passing yards and 1,496 yards to surpass Peyton Manning (71,940) as NFL’s all-time leading passer. In 17 seasons, Brees has 70,445 career passing yards.

Brees needs 79 completions to surpass Brett Favre (6,300) for the most completions in NFL history. In 17 seasons, Brees has 6,222 career completions. Brees needs 12 touchdown passes to join P. Manning (539) and Favre (508) as the only players to reach 500 career touchdown passes. In 17 seasons, Brees has 488 career touchdown passes (see Brady note).

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, needs 411 passing yards to pass John Elway (51,475) for seventh place in NFL history in career passing yards. Roethlisberger has 51,065 career passing yards in 14 seasons (see Rivers note).

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: needs 1,128 passing yards to pass John Elway (51,475) for seventh place in NFL history in career passing yards. In 14 seasons, Rivers has 50,348 career passing yards (see Roethlisberger note).

With at least 4,000 passing yards in 2018, Rivers (nine) would join Peyton Manning (14) and Drew Brees (12) as the only players in NFL history with 10 seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards (see Brady note).

Cam Newton, Carolina: needs 609 rushing yards to pass Randall Cunningham (4,928) for the second-most career rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history. In seven seasons, Newton has 4,320 career rushing yards.

Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 700 yards in four seasons.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta: can become the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 4,000 passing yards in eight consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (12) (see Stafford note).

Matthew Stafford, Detroit: can become the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 4,000 passing yards in eight consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (12) (see Ryan note).

Russell Wilson, Seattle, has passed for at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his first six seasons and can join P. Manning as the only quarterbacks to reach 3,000 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in each of their first seven seasons.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona: needs 92 receptions to pass Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list. In 14 seasons, Fitzgerald has 1,234 career catches.

Fitzgerald needs 390 receiving yards to pass Terrell Owens (15,934) for second place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list. Fitzgerald has 15,545 receiving yards in 14 career seasons.

Fitzgerald needs 48 receptions to pass Jerry Rice (1,281) for the most receptions with one team in NFL history. In 14 seasons with the Cardinals, Fitzgerald has 1,234 receptions.

With 1,000 receiving yards, Fitzgerald (nine) would tie Randy Moss (10) for the second most 1,000-yard receiving seasons in NFL history.

Fitzgerald (five) can tie Brandon Marshall (six) for the most career seasons with at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards (see Brown note).

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh: needs three games with at least 10 receptions to tie Andre Johnson (22) for the most career games with at least 10 catches. Brown has 19 such games in eight seasons.

Brown (582) can surpass Wes Welker (672 from 2007-2012) for the most receptions by a player over any six-season span in NFL history. Brown (7,848) can also surpass Jerry Rice (8,759 from 1990-95) for the most receiving yards by a player over any six-season span in NFL history.

Brown (five) can tie Brandon Marshall (six) for the most career seasons with at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards (see Fitzgerald note).

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland: needs 27 catches to surpass Larry Fitzgerald (426) for the most receptions by a player in his first five seasons in NFL history. In four seasons, Landry has 400 career receptions.

Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants: has 313 receptions in 47 career games and needs seven receptions in his first three games to surpass Lionel Taylor (319) for the most receptions by a player through his first 50 career games.

Beckham has 4,424 receiving yards in 47 career games and needs 362 receiving yards in his first three games to surpass Lance Alworth (4,785) for the most receiving yards by a player through his first 50 career games.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans: can join Odell Beckham, Jr. as the only players in NFL history to record at least 90 receptions in each of their first three seasons.

Julio Jones, Atlanta: has recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons and can become the first player in NFL history to register five consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards.

Brandon Marshall, Seattle: has 959 receptions in 12 career seasons and needs 41 catches to become the 15th player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions.

Rob Gronkowski, New England: can surpass Tony Gonzalez (four) and Jason Witten (four) for the most 1,000-yard seasons by an NFL tight end. Gronkowski has four career seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

Fran Gore, Miami: needs 1,000 rushing yards to join Emmitt Smith (11), Curtis Martin (10), Walter Payton (10) and Barry Sanders (10) as the only players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in at least 10 different seasons. In 13 seasons, Gore has rushed for 1,000 yards nine times.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans, needs 735 rushing yards to surpass Deuce McAllister (6,096) as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. In seven seasons with the Saints, Ingram has 5,362 rushing yards.

Ingram needs six rushing touchdowns to surpass McAllister (49) as the club’s all-time leader. Ingram has 44 rushing touchdowns in seven seasons.

Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers: can become the third player in team history to record at least 1,200 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns in three consecutive seasons, joining Lance Alworth (eight consecutive seasons) and LaDainian Tomlinson (four).

Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland: can become the first running back in NFL history with at least 500 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons.

Julius Peppers, Carolina: needs six sacks to pass Kevin Greene (160) for the third-most in the NFL since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. In 16 seasons, Peppers has 154.5 career sacks.

J.J. Watt, Houston: can become the second player to record four seasons with at least 15 sacks since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. Reggie White had five such seasons.

Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis: needs seven converted field goals to pass Morten Andersen (565) for the most made field goals in NFL history. In 22 seasons, Vinatieri has converted 559 career field goals.

Vinatieri needs 58 points to surpass Andersen (2,544) for the most points scored in NFL history. Vinatieri has 2,487 career points in 22 seasons.

Vinatieri has appeared in 337 career games in 22 seasons and can become the fourth player in NFL history to appear in 350 career games.

Stephen Gostkowski, New England: has led the league in scoring five times in his career and can surpass Don Hutson (five) and Gino Cappelletti (five) as the only player to lead the league in points scored six times.

Gostkowski has led the league in field goals three times in his career and can join Lou Groza (six), Ward Cuff (four), Jack Manders (four) and Mark Moseley (four) as the only player to lead the league in field goals at least four times. With 30 made field goals, Gostkowski can become the first player in NFL history with six seasons of 30 or more field goals (see Tucker note).

Justin Tucker, Baltimore: can become the first player in NFL history with six seasons of 30 or more made field goals (see Gostkowski note).

Shane Lechler, Houston: has appeared in 286 career games in 18 seasons and can become the 11th player in NFL history to appear in 300 career games.

HOME SWEET HOME: Seattle, who hosts Dallas in Week 3, have won nine consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league. Pittsburgh, who opens at home in Week 2 against Kansas City, have the most wins (50) among AFC teams in home openers.

HEAD COACHES: New England’s Bill Belichick is 15-8 (.652) on Kickoff Weekend and his 15 wins are the most among active head coaches…Belichick and Kansas City’s Andy Reid (11-8; .579) are the only active head coaches who have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games…Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy and Reid have won three consecutive games on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches… Vance Joseph (1-0) of the Broncos, Dirk Koetter (1-0) of the Buccaneers, Sean McDermott (1-0) of the Bills, Sean McVay (1-0) of the Rams and Doug Pederson (2-0) of the Eagles are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend…and five head coaches – Chicago’s Matt Nagy, Detroit’s Matt Patricia, Indianapolis’ Frank Reich, Tennessee’s Mike Vrable and Arizona’s Steve Wilks – make their Kickoff Weekend debuts in 2018.

New teams making the playoffs and winning divisions, consistent teams excelling once again, records falling and young players making their mark all helped shape the story of the 2017 season.

Week 17 came right down to the wire as three playoff spots and one division title – the NFC South – were decided onbthe last day of the season. The excitement of Week 17 was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010.

Every team enters the 2018 season with a trip to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII in mind and below are a few reasons why.

• Five of the eight divisions in 2017 were won by a team that finished in third or fourth place in the division the previous season – Jacksonville (AFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota (NFC North), New Orleans (NFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East).

• Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. Eight teams that missed the postseason in 2016 – Buffalo (9-7), Carolina (11-5), Jacksonville (10-6), Los Angeles Rams (11-5), Minnesota (13-3), New Orleans (11-5), Philadelphia (13-3) and Tennessee (9-7) – accomplished the feat in 2017, tied with the 2003 season for the most such teams since 1990.

• The Eagles, who finished last in the NFC East with a 7-9 record in 2016, became the second team since 2003 to go from “worst-to-first” en route to a Super Bowl victory, joining the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

• The Jaguars, who finished in last place in the AFC South in 2016, won their first division title since realignment in 2002 last season and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.

As was the case the last few seasons, there will be two Monday night games on the docket in week 1 and all 32 teams will be on primetime season. As for Thanksgiving? Yes, there’s going to be football (just like there’ll be your cousin Ruth’s cream corn casserole.. it’s so bad even the squirrels didn’t want it). Detroit and Dallas will play at home, with the Lions playing the early game on CBS when they host NFC North rival Chicago at 12:30, while the Cowboys host NFC East rival Washington in Jerry World at 4:30 p.m. on FOX and the day concludes in the Big Easy as NFC South foes Atlanta and New Orleans close out the day’s action at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

Because this is the first week of the 2018 campaign, all the games are going to be designated “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?”) Week one also features seven rematches from the 2017 campaign (Baltimore at Cincinnati, Houston at New England, Tennesse at Miami, Tampa Bay at New Orleans, Chicago at Green Bay, Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers and Washington at Arizona).

One game’s in the books. 15 more to go. Here’s the Sunday and Monday picks for week 1! (Records are from last season)

Buffalo (9-7) at Baltimore (9-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Wings vs. Crabcakes. A pair of 9-7s meet in Charm City to open the 2018 campaign when Baltimore hosts the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills return to action after their first trip to the post-season in two decades, thanks to a Ravens loss to Cincinnati in the season finale, then falling at Jacksonville 10-7 in the AFC Wild Card game last season. In that contest, the Bills and Jaguars played a scoreless first quarter, went to the intermission tied at 3-3 and then Jacksonville take the lead for good when TE Ben Koyack and Blake Bortles connected on a 1-yard TD pass with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. Jacksonville then held off a late Bills rally that would have tied the contest and possibly sending things into overtime. Jacksonville outrushed Buffalo 155-130 and Bortles (87 yards passing) led all rushers with 88 yards, while Tyrod Taylor (134 yards) was sacked twice and picked off once. Buffalo was 7 of 18 on third down (the Bills were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:37, while the Jagaurs, who were 2 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down, kept the pigskin for 27:23.

Baltimore is looking for redemption after they were knocked out of the playoff picture by Cincinnati in their season finale at home, falling to the Bengals 31-27 in Charm City. Baltimore trailed 17-10 at the half, then chipped away at the Bengals’ lead and took over with 8:48 left in regulation when Joe Flacco (203 yards, sack, interception) and Mike Wallace connected on a 6-yard TD strike. After Baltimore and Cincinnati traded punts, the Bengals got the ball back with 2:43 left to play and used a 90-yard, 11-play drive (aided by a pair of Raven penalties) to take the lead back for keeps when Andy Dalton and WR Tyler Boyd connected on a 49-yard toss with 44 seconds left. Baltimore would get the ball back in an effort to reclaim the lead but the Ravens’ drive fell short. The Bengals outrusehd Baltimore 146-118 (Joe Mixon led all rushers with 96 yards), while Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner. Baltimore was 5 of 17 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:21, while the Bengals, who held the ball for 28:39, went 5 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Baltimore leads the series 4-3 and the Ravens have outscored the Bills 133-109. Their last meeting took place in Charm City in 2016 and the Ravens were 13-7 winners, while the Bills’ last win in the series came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2013, coming away 23-20 winners. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Ravens as a 7-point favorite with a 39 1/2 over/under. Both numbers make sense and both teams could make the post-season. Baltimore takes the win at home and covers the 7.

Pittsburgh (13-3) at Cleveland (0-16), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of teams looking for redemption meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers take on the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North opener.

The Steelers limp into the season opener after they were taken to the woodshed by Jacksonville in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, losing 45-42 at a somewhat chilly (18 degrees, wind chill of 18) Heinz Field. Trailing 28-14 at the intermission, Pittsburgh pulled to within seven with 9:09 in the third quarter as LeVeono Bell caught a 19-yard TD pass from Roethlisberger. Trailing 28-21 after 45 minutes of football in the Steel City, the fourth quarter became a slugfest of sorts, with Pittsburgh outscoring Jacksonville 21-17 in the final frame, pulling to within 3 with one second left when Ju-Ju Smith-Schuester and Roethlisberger connected on the game’s final scoring play, a four-yard toss but could come no closer.

Jacksonville outrushed the Steelers 164-83, with Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette leading the way with 109 yards and three TDs, while Blake Bortles threw for 214 yards and a TD, while Roethlisberger threw for 469 yards and five TDs and an interception along with a pair of sacks. The Steelers were 7 of 16 on third downs but had success on fourth down tries, going 4 of 6 and kept the ball for 31:10, while the Jaguars were 28:50 in time of possession, going 8 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

For Browns fans, after going 1-31 in the last two seasons (they were 1-15 in 2016), their fan base is hopeful that they will be better than what they were last year.

Pittsburgh leads the series 72-58, they’ve outscored the Browns 2,666-2,501 and the Steelers have taken wins in their last six meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Cleveland’s last win over Pittsburgh came in 2014 in the Buckeye State, as they would take a 31-10 win in 2014).

Meeting number one… week one along the shores of Lake Erie and Pittsburgh held off a late Browns second-half rally, taking a 21-18 win in the process. The Steelers led 14-7 at the break before the Browns managed to outscore Pittsburgh in the second half 11-7. As far as rushing was concerned in the first meeting… neither team came anywhere near the 100-yard mark but Cleveland outrushed Pittsburgh 57-35, while Roethlisberger burned Cleveland for 263 yards and a pair of TDs.

Browns QB DeShone Kizer threw for 222 yards and a TD toss to Corey Coleman to pull his club to within three after the Browns try for a 2-point conversion was successful but was sacked seven times (Both Roethlisberger and Kizer threw an interception in the contest) and both clubs struggled on third down tries (Pittsburgh was 5 of 13, Cleveland was 3 of 12) but the Browns struck pay dirt on fourth down, going 2 of 2. Cleveland did rule the clock and kept the ball for 31:10, while the Steelers in the first meeting kept the pigskin for 28:50.

That was week one.

Meeting two in the Steel City in week 17 in somewhat chilly weather on New Year’s Eve afternoon (how cold, you ask? Temperature in the first meeting was a balmy 62 degrees… in the week 17 contest, with the Browns out of the playoff photo, it was 11 degress with snow and a wind chill of 5 degrees). Despite being outscored 10-7 in the third quarter (the two teams went scoreless in the fourth), Pittsburgh once again found themselves on the right end of the scoreboard, taking a 28-24 win at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 21-14 at the intermission before Cleveland rallied to make the contest a bit closer than Steeler fans wanted. Pittsburgh outrushed the Browns 124-102 with RB Stevan Ridley leading the way for all rushers with 80 yards and a TD. Landry Jones, taking over for Roethlisberger, threw for 239 yards and a TD to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (who also had a 96-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. Smith-Schuster was good for 143 yards and the TD catch as well as the special teams score.

As far as third down tries in the second meeting? The Browns were a little better on third down, going 7 of 15 and ruled the clock again, keeping the ball for 30:55, while the Steelers were a dismal 3 of 10 (both clubs were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:05.

In the week one affair along the shores of Lake Erie, Pittsburgh was a 9 1/2-point favorite with a 46 1/2 over/under but won by 3 and both teams combined for 39 points, missing the over/under. The Steelers were favored by 13 in the regular season finale and won by 4. That was the bad news. The good news? Both teams covered the 39 1/2 over/under, combining for 52 points.
Pittsburgh’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Can the Steelers bounce back from the playoff loss at home? Can the Browns ever right their ship? Expect Cleveland to give Pittsburgh problems but the Steelers win on the road and could very well cover the 5.

Cincinnati (7-9) at Indianapolis (4-12), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of sub-500 teams open the 2018 season in the Hoosier State as the Colts host Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Cincinnati in their season finale against Baltimore, rallied late in the contest and came away 31-27 winners in Charm City. The Bengal win did two things. First, it knocked Baltimore out of the playoff party and second, it put Buffalo into the playoffs. Cincinnati led 17-10 at the half, then saw the Ravens chip away at their lead and Baltimore took over with 8:48 left in regulation when Joe Flacco (203 yards, sack, interception) and Mike Wallace connected on a 6-yard TD strike. After Baltimore and Cincinnati traded punts, the Bengals got the ball back with 2:43 left to play and used a 90-yard, 11-play drive (aided by a pair of Raven penalties) to take the lead back for keeps when Dalton and WR Tyler Boyd connected on a 49-yard toss with 44 seconds left. Baltimore would get the ball back in an effort to reclaim the lead but the Ravens’ drive fell short. The Bengals outrusehd Baltimore 146-118 (Joe Mixon led all rushers with 96 yards), while Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner. Baltimore was 5 of 17 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:21, while the Bengals, who held the ball for 28:39, went 5 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Colts used a pair of Adam Vinatieri field goals in the final quarter against Houston to take a 22-13 win over the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Trailing 13-7 at the half, the Colts went on to score their final 15 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged. Colts RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 100 yards, while Indy outrushed the Texans 146-85 and Jacoby Brisset threw for 114 yards (for the Texans, T.J. Yeats threw for 137 yards with a pair of sacks). The Colts on third down were 6 of 13 and held on to the ball for 31:13, while the Texans were 5 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 28:47.

Including contests that were played in Baltimore, when the Colts called Charm City home, they lead the series 17-11 and Indy has outscored Cincy 716-621. They met in week 17 in Charm City, with nothing on the line and the Bengals led 17-10 and knocked the Ravens out of the AFC playoffs, in a “win and get in” scenario, taking a 31-28 win at M&T Bank Stadium. Trailing 27-24 with 44 seconds left in regulation, Cincinnati used an 11-play, 90-yard drive, using 1:59 of clock to take the lead back for keeps when Andy Dalton and WR Tyler Boyd connected on a 49-yard TD pass to take the win. The drive was aided by a defensive holding penalty after Ravens S Eric Weddle intercepted Dalton in the period. Baltimore would get the ball back after the last score of the contest but the final Ravens drive fell short, giving the ball back to the Bengals, who managed to run out the clock.

The Bengals outrushed Baltimore 146-118 and Cincinnati RB Jarod Mixon led all rushers with 96 yards on the ground, while Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game winner (Flacco threw for 203 yards and a TD and an interception; both Dalton and Flacco were sacked once). The Bengals were 5 of 15 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:39; as for the Ravens, they were 5 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down, keeping the pigskin for 31:21.

The odds makers liked Baltimore and made them a 9 1/2-point favorite but the Bengals would win by 3. The two teams did manage to cover the 40 1/2 over/under with 59 points. Vegas likes the Colts as a 3-point favorite in the Hoosier State with the over/under at 48. Indy may not cover the 3 but they win back home again in Indiana.

Houston (4-12) at New England (13-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of QBs, one with Super Bowl rings under his belt, the other looking to win his first, meet in western Massachusetts as the AFC champion Patriots host the Houston Texans in Foxboro.

Houston, who look to have QB De Shaun Watson (knee) and DT J.J. Watt (knee) back after their injuries last season, saw a 13-7 lead at the half against Indianapolis get away from them as the Colts used a pair of Adam Vinatieri field goals in the final quarter against Houston to take a 22-13 win over the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts went on to score their final 15 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged. Colts RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 100 yards, while Indy outrushed the Texans 146-85 and Jacoby Brisset threw for 114 yards (for the Texans, T.J. Yeats threw for 137 yards with a pair of sacks). The Colts on third down were 6 of 13 and held on to the ball for 31:13, while the Texans were 5 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 28:47.

New England looks to rebound from their 41-34 loss to Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52, giving the Eagles their first Lombardi Trophy. Trailing 22-12 at the intermission at US Bank Stadium last February, the Patriots would take their only lead of the contest at 33-32 with 9:22 left in regulation when TE Rob Gronkowski and Brady hooked up on a 4-yard TD pass. The Eagles would then take back control and scored the final 10 points of the contest. Philly outrushed New England 164-113, with Brady throwing for 505 yards and three TDs, while Zack Ertz threw for 373 yards and three TDs and caught a TD pass early in the contest. New England went 5 of 10 on third down tries in the contest (the Pats were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 25:56, while the Eagles ruled the clock and held the ball for 34:04, while going 10 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

New England leads the series 7-1 and they have outscored the Texans 256-145. New England has won the last five regular season contests, including a 36-33 win last year in Foxboro (Houston’s lone win in the series came in 2009 in the Lone Star State by a final of 34-27).

They squared off in Foxboro in week three and it was a close contest throughout, as the Pats took a slim 21-20 lead with them to the intermission, then trailed 33-28 with 23 seconds left when Brady and WR Brandin Cooks connected on a 25-yard TD toss with 23 seconds left. Despite being sacked five times, Brady did manage to throw for 378 yards and five TDs (including the game winner), while Watson threw for 301 yards and two TDs. Houston, who was 6 of 14 on third down conversions, outrushed New England 125-59 and held the ball for 33:38 to New England’s 26:22 (the Pats were 6 of 13 on third down tries in Foxboro). Although they were favored by 13, the Pats came away winning by a mere three points but both teams covered the 45 1/2 over/under, tallying 69 points in the contest. The defending AFC champs are favored by 6 and the over/under is 51. Both teams would like nothing more than redemption, New England for losing Super Bowl 52 and Houston for losing their two stars to injuries. While the Texans will make it closer than the 6, Brady and the Pats take the win at home.

Tennessee (9-7) at Miami (6-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Mariota vs. Brady. They meet in Foxboro and meet in the season opener at Gillette Stadium as Tennessee travels to New England for a Sunday afternoon showdown in western Massachusetts.

Tennessee comes into the 2018 season opener with a 35-14 loss to New England in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Foxboro. Trailing 21-7 at the half (they led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter), New England held the Titans in check, outscoring them 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Held to 65 yards on the ground, the Pats ran for 101 yards, while Tom Brady threw for 337 yards and three TDs (one to Rob Gronkowski). Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota did manage to throw for 254 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Corey Davis but was sacked eight times in the contest. Tennessee was 5 of 15 on third down tries and 2 of 3 on fourth down while keeping the ball for 27:04; as for Brady and the Pats? They were 11 of 17 on third down and kept the ball for 32:56.

As for Miami, they come off a 22-16 to AFC East rival Buffalo in the 2017 season finale at Hard Rock Stadium. Although they trailed 10-0 at the half, Miami did manage to outscore Buffalo in the second half by a 16-12 margin. Miami was outrushed by Buffalo 126-93 and David Fales, who took over for Jay Cutler, threw for 265 yards and a TD. The Bills, who waited for their playoff fate to be decided after their win in their locker room (Baltimore was hosting Cincinnati in a late afternoon contest), was paced by Tyrod Taylor, who threw for 204 yards, despite being sacked four times. Miami was 5 of 13 on third down (the ‘Fins were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:56, while the Bills were 5 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 31:04.

Including games that were played in Houston, when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Dolphins played their home games at the Orange Bowl, Miami leads the series 20-16 and the “fins have outscored Tennessee 683-675. Miami won the last meeting between the clubs last year in the Sunshine State, taking a 16-10 win, while the Titans’ last win in the series also came in the Sunshine State, as Tennessee would triumph 30-17 in 2016.

In the week five contest at Hard Rock Stadium last year, Miami led 10-3 at the break before Tennessee rallied in the third quarter when Matt Cassel, who took over for Mariotta, connected with TE Phillip Supernaw on an 11-yard TD toss with 7:17 left in the quarter. Miami would take the lead back for good in the fourth quarter when QB Jay Cutler and WR Jarvis Landry hooked up on a 6-yard TD pass early in the final quarter of action. Miami outrushed Tennessee 100-69 and Dolphins RB Joseph Ajayi led the way with 77 yards on the ground, while the Titans’ DeMarco Murray tallied 58 with Cassel (141 yards, six sacks) and Cutler (92 yards, interception) each throwing a TD in the contest. Tennessee was a somewhat dismal 2 of 13 on third down tries in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 30:15, while the ‘Fins, who held the pigskin for 29:45, went 5 of 15 on third down.

Although Tennessee was favored by 3, the Dolphins would win by 6, covering the spread. As for the 43 1/2 over/under? It was safe, as both teams combined for only 26 points. This time, the Titans are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. If for no other reason, this one might be worth your time. Miami gets revenge from last year and takes the win, covering the 1 1/2.

San Francisco (6-10) at Minnesota (13-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of improved teams meet in the Twin Cities as San Francisco takes on Minnesota in the Great Indoors.

The 49ers struggled through the first part of the 2017 season, losing nine of their first ten games, then winning five of their last six games, including a 34-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum. Leading 20-6 at the break, the 49ers took control of things in the second half and never looked back. San Francisco outrushed the Rams 171-102 and Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 292 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions, while the Rams, who rested most of their starters afte clinching the NFC West, were paced by Sean Mannion, who threw for 169 yards with three sacks. San Francisco was 6 of 12 on third down conversions in southern California and held the ball for 29:09, while the Rams ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:51, going 5 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In their last game, the NFC championship game in Philadelphia, the Purple Gang led 7-0 thanks to a 25-yard TD pass from Case Keenum to WR Kyle Rudolph to open the scoring in that contest, then saw the Eagles score all 38 of their points unchallenged to drop a 38-7 decision at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles, who would win Super Bowl 52 two weeks later, held Minnesota to 70 yards rushing, while they tallied 110 yards of their own and Keenum threw for 271 yards but was picked off twice (Philly’s Nick Foles threw for 352 yards and three TDs). The Vikings, hoping to be the first team to host and play in a Super Bowl in their own building, were 6 of 13 on third down conversions in the City of Brotherly Love (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 25:56, while the eventual Super Bowl champs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:04, going 10 of 14 on third down.

Including games that were played in Bloomington, the Metrodome and Candlestick Park, the Vikings lead the series 21-19-1, while the 49ers have outscored Minnesota 925-905. They last met on the West Coast in 2015 and the 49ers came out on top 20-3, while Minnesota’s last win in the series came in the Twin Cities in 2012 by a final of 24-13. Minnesota’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. While the 49ers got a lot better over the last six games in their 2017 campaign, the Vikings want to repeat as kings of the NFC North mountain. Minnesota may not cover the 6 but they take the win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Tampa Bay (5-11) at New Orleans (11-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair NFC South rivals sqaure off in the Big Easy as Tampa Bay travels to New Orleans to face off against Drew Brees and the Saints in the Superdome. The season opener for both clubs will have their major stars out of the contest due to suspension (Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, suspended for violating the NFL’s conduct policy; New Orleans’ Mark Ingram, suspended for violating the NFL’s substance policy).

Tampa Bay suffered through a somewhat dismal season in the NFC South and the Bucs look to either be kings of the NFC South mountain or make sure that New Orleans doesn’t repeat.

New Orleans looks to erase the heartbreaking 29-24 last-second loss at Minnesota in the NFC Divisonal Game at US Bank Stadium. Trailing 17-7 after 45 minutes of play (New Orleans trailed 17-0 at the half), the Saints managed to outscore the Vikings 17-12 in the final quarter of play and led 24-23 with 25 seconds left on a 43-yard field goal by Will Lutz. That lead would last all of the 25 seconds that were left as Saints fans saw their hopes dashed and hearts broken when WR Stefan Diggs and QB Case Keenum connected on a 61-yard TD pass, sending the Vikings to the NFC Championship. Brees threw for 294 yards and three TDs (with two sacks and two interceptions), while Keenum threw for 318 yards and the game-winning score in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota outrushed New Orleans 95-80 and the Saints were 2 of 9 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down), with New Orleans keeping the ball for 26:43, while the Vikings held the ball for 33:17 (including the final 25 seconds), going 10 of 17 on third down tries.

New Orleans holds a 32-20 lead in the series and has outscored Tampa Bay 1,148-965. They met twice last year and split the series in 2017, each taking wins in their home facility.

The first meeting? Week nine in the Big Easy and the Saints manhandled Tampa Bay 30-10 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans led 16-3 at the intermission and was in complete control in the contest, outrushing Tampa Bay 151-87 (Mark Ingram led all rushers with 77 yards). Brees threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs, while Winston threw for 67 yards and was sacked twice before being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the second half. In the first contest, the Saints were 7 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:18, while the Bucs kept the ball for 27:42 and went 4 of 13 on third down.

Game one in the books, right?

Game two… the Sunshine State in week 17 and the Bucs got revenge in the second meeting to close out the regular season, winning 31-24 at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay trailed 14-13 at the half, then outscored the Saints 18-10 in the final 30 minutes of play, with the game winner coming in the final second of the period when Winston and WR Chris Goodwin connected on a 39-yard TD pass with 9 seconds left. Tampa Bay then went for 2 and was successful in that try, then held off a late Saints’ rally to seal the win. Winston threw for 363 yards, while Brees threw for 245 yards (each man threw a TDs and had a pair of sacks, with winston throwing three interceptions). Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 110-92 and both teams did reasonably well on third down tries (New Orleans was 6 of 12 and Tampa Bay was 13 of 18); the Bucs were 1 of 1 on fourth down (New Orleans failed in their only fourth down try) and Tampa Bay ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:33, while the Saints held the pigskin for 28:27.

In the week nine contest in the Big Easy, the Saints easily covered the 7-point spread, winning by 20 but both teams missed the 52 over/under, scoring only 40 points. As for the season finale? The oddsmakers liked the Saints, this time as 7 point favorires in the Sunshine State. The Bucs covered the 7 with the win at home and this time around, both clubs covered the spread of 50 1/2, tallying 55 points. New Orleans is favored by 9 1/2 is 49 1/2. The 49 1/2 makes sense. The 9 1/2 is a bit steep. Tampa Bay is not that bad, even without Winston under center. They’ll give the Saints problems in the Big Easy but New Orleans prevails at home in the opener.

Jacksonville (10-6) at New York Giants (3-13), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of teams that went in opposite directions meet in upstate New Jersey as Blake Bortles and Jacksonville makes the 938-mile trip up I-95 to face off against Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

Jacksonville found themselves being one play away from going to Super Bowl 52, falling to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 24-20 in the AFC Championship Game in Foxboro. Jacksonville led 14-10 at the half and took a 20-10 lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of play at Gillette Stadium before seeing that lead get away from them, as Brady and WR Danny Amendola hooked up on a pair of TD passes to take the lead for good.

Jacksonville, who ran for 101 yards (Leonard Forunette led all rushers with 76 yards and a TD) did hold the Patriot running game in check, holding New England to 46 in the contest that would decide the AFC representative for Super Bowl 52 but Brady burned the Jaguars for 290 yards and the two TD tosses (Bortles threw for 293 yards and a TD but was sacked three times). Jacksonville had one last chance to make history for themselves in their last chance with the ball but the drive stalled at NeW England’s 43-yard line. New England ran out the clock and earned themselves a trip to Minneapolis.

Third down tries in the AFC Championship game were nothing to make the fan bases of either team happy; Jacksonville was 6 of 15 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down), New England was 3 of 12 (the Pats were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and Jacksonville actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:08 to NeW England’s 24:52.

For the Giants, it was a 2017 they would just as soon forget. No OBJ for most of the season, Mannning benched, Ben McAdoo was fired mid-season… chaos for Big Blue as they would wind up in the NFC East cellar, losing five of their last six games, eventually closing out the season with an 18-10 win over Washington at Met Life in week 17. Big Blue led 15-10 at the break, then shut out the Redskins in the second half to take the win at home. The Giants outrushed Washington 260-61, with Orleans Darkwa leading the way with 154 yards and a TD, while Manning threw for 132 yards and a TD (Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw for 158 yards with three sacks and three interceptions). The Giants were 4 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:53, while the Redskins were a somewhat dismal 1 of 16 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:07.

They’ve met six times and each team has three wins to their credit and each team won their last meeting in their home facility; Jacksonville came away 25-24 winners in 2014 in the Sunshine State, while the Giants were 24-20 winners in 2010 on the Jersey shore. Jacksonville’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. The Jags are looking to repeat as AFC South champs, while the Giants are trying to get their ducks back in a row. Jacksonville wins in upstate New Jersey and covers the 3 on the road.

Kansas City (10-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (9-7), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of AFC West rivals meet on the Left Coast as the defending AFC West champs Chiefs take on the Los Angeles Chargers at Stub Hub Stadium.

Kansas City looks to bounce back from their 22-21 AFC Wild Card loss to Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs took an early 14-0 lead, thanks to TDs from RB Kareem Hunt and TE Travis Kelce and took a 21-3 lead with them to the intermission before things fell apart for them. Mariota then started the scoring in the second half when he completed a 6-yard TD pass to… Marcus Mariota. From that point onward, the Titans would score the final 12 points of the game unchallenged. The Chiefs had one last drive and thought they had the game-winning TD with 2 minutes left in the contest when Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson picked up a Titans fumble and returned the ball 56 yards for a TD. Chiefs fans then had their hearts broken when the call was reversed and the Titans ran out the clock and took the win on the road.

Kansas City was outrushed 202-69 and Alex Smith threw for 264 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked four times, while Mariota threw for 205 yards and a pair of TDs (including the one to himself). The Chiefs on third down tries were 4 of 11 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball at frigid chilly Arrowhead for 27:32, while the Titans ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:28, going 8 of 13 on third down conversions.

The Chargers almost made the playoffs in 2017 but saw their hopes of post-season play come to an end at home, as they were on the short end of a 30-10 loss to the Silver and Black in Tinseltown. After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland took a 20-10 lead with them to the intermission and were kept off the scoreboard in the second half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 101 yards, even though the Chargers outrushed Oakland 115-105 and Philip Rivers threw for 387 yards and three TDs, while Derek Carr threw for 243 yards with a TD, two sacks and an interception. The Chargers on third down went 7 of 13 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:20, while the Raiders kepd the pigskin for 26:40, going 4 of 11 on third down conversions.

Including games played at Swope Field, Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Dallas (when the Chiefs were known as the Texans) and the Chargers were in Los Angeles before moving South, the Chiefs lead the series 60-54-1, have outscored the Bolts 2,520- 2,306 and have won the last eight contests in the series (the Chargers’ last win in the series came in 2013 in San Diego, when they needed overtime to take a 27-24 win), including sweeping last year’s series.

Game one… week three at Stub Hub Center in Carson, just outside Los Angeles. The Chiefs were 24-10 winners on the West Coast, taking a 17-10 lead to the intermission with them. The Chiefs then went on to score their final 7 points of the contest, as RB Kareem Hunt would score on a 69-yard run to ice the game away. Hunt led all rushers with 172 of the Chiefs’ 189 yards (the Chargers ran for 104), while Alex Smith threw for 155 yards and a pair of TDs with five sacks and Rivers threw for 237 yards, two sacks and three interceptions. Both clubs struggled on third down tries in the first meeting on the West Coast (the Chiefs were 4 of 12, 0 of 2 on fourth down; the Chargers were 5 of 13) and Kansas City ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:26 to Los Angeles’ 29:34.

Kansas City made it a clean sweep of the series in the second meeting in the Show-Me State in week 15, taking a 30-13 win at Arrowhead. Leading 10-6 at the break, Kansas City pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Bolts 20-7 to seal the win. Hunt was again the rushing star, running for 155 yards and a TD, while the Chiefs outrushed Los Angeles 174-98. Smith threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while Rivers threw for 227 yards with a TD, a pair of sacks and three interceptions. The Chiefs were 6 of 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:21, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 26:39, going 4 of 11 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

In the week three contest on the West Coast, the Chiefs covered the 3-point spread, winning by 14 but both clubs missed the 46 over/under, tallying only 34 points. The Chiefs covered the 1-point spread in the week 15 contest at Arrowhead, winning by 17 but again, the teams failed to cover the over/under (it was 46) and tallied only 43 points. The powers that be in Vegas like the Chargers as a 3 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 48 1/2. The Chargers are hoping to end their drought against the Chiefs, while the defending AFC West champs look to make it nine in a row. The beat goes on for the Chiefs, who make it 10 in a row and covers the 3 1/2.

Washington (7-9) at Arizona (8-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of teams that barely missed the post-season party in 2017 meet in the desert as Arizona hosts the Washington Redskins at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Washington closed out the 2017 season, keeping themselves out of the NFC East cellar but dropping an 18-10 decision against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands. Washington trailed Big Blue led 15-10 at the break, then were shut out in the second half as the Giants took the win at home. Washington was outrushed by the Giants 260-61, with Giants RB Orleans Darkwa leading the way with 154 yards and a TD, while Manning threw for 132 yards and a TD (Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw for 158 yards with three sacks and three interceptions). The Giants were 4 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:53, while the Redskins were a somewhat dismal 1 of 16 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:07.

The Desert Angry Birds completely knocked Seattle out of the NFC post-season party as they rallied from a 24-23 deficit late in the final quarter to take a 26-24 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Arizona led 20-7 at the intermission before the Seahawks rallied later in the contest to take the lead with 10:24 left to play, thanks to a 29-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. Arizona would then get the last word and use a 10-play, 62-yard drive that used 4:50 of clock to take the lead back when K Pat Dawson connected on a 42-yard field goal with 2:21 left. Arizona then held off a late and furious Seattle rally and took home the win when Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal try sailed wide to the right. Arizona outrushed Seattle 116-101 and Drew Stanton threw for 145 yards and a TD, while Wilson threw for 221 yards and a pair of TDs (both to Baldwin). Arizona was 4 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:16, while Seattle, (who held the pigskin for 27:44) was 1 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played in Boston, when the Redskins were known as the Braves and the Cardinals called Chicago and St. Louis home before making their way West, the Redskins lead the series 75-46-2 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 2,730-2,300. They met last year in Landover and the ‘Skins survived a 20-15 scare at Fed Ex Field (Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2016 in the desert by a final of 31-23.

The week 15 contest at Fed Ex Field saw the Redskins take a 14-9 lead at the break, then saw the two teams trade field goals in the second half. Kirk Cousins threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs for Washington, while Arizona’s Blaine Gabbert, who took over for Carson Palmer (injury), threw for 189 yards with five sacks and an interception. Arizona, 4 of 19 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down, did manage to outrush Washington 141-31 but turned the ball over twice in the loss (the Redskins were 1 of 9 on third down) and kept the ball for 36:16 to Washington’s 23:44.

Washington’s 5-point win allowed them to cover the 1 1/2-point spread but both clubs missed the 43 1/2 over/under, tallying 35 points. Vegas likes the Desert Angry Birds as a 1-point favorite in Glendale and the over/under is 43 1/2. Both teams are lookng to improve from the 2017 campaign and both could do that. Hail To The Redskins! Washington covers the 1 in the desert and wins on the road.

Dallas (9-7) at Carolina (11-5), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Dak Prescott vs. Cam Newton. The future of NFL QBs meet in the Tar Heel State as Carolina hosts Dallas in a late Sunday afternoon contest in Charlotte.

Dallas temporarily put a dent in Philadelphia’s march to Super Bowl 52 as they closed out the 2017 campaign, taking a 6-0 win over the Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love. The two teams went scoreless through the first 45 minutes of play in the season finale and Dallas picked up the lone score in the contest when TE Brice Butler and Prescott connected on a 20-yard toss with 12:19 left in regulation. Dallas outrushed Philadelphia 129-70, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 103 yards and Prescott throwing for 179. Dallas, who forced a pair of Philadelphia turnovers, went 5 of 15 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:05, while the Eagles were 2 of 11 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 29:55.

As for Carolina, they came close to taking down New Orleans in the NFC Wild Card game but fell to the Saints 31-26 in the Big Easy. Trailing 21-9 at the half in the Superdome, Newton and the Panthers managed outscore Drew Brees and the Saints in the second half by a 17-10 margin and pulled themselves to within five with 4:09 left when Newton and WR Christian McCaffrey connected on a 56-yard TD toss. After the Panthers picked up a New Orleans fumble later in the quarter, Carolina got the ball back with 1:51 left to play and got as far as New Orleans’ 34-yard line before Newton was sacked for a 17-yard loss on fourth down, ending the drive and Carolina’s hopes to advance. Carolina somehow managed to outrush New Orleans 107-41 and Newton threw for 349 yards with TDs to McCafferey and Greg Olsen (Newton was sacked four times), while Brees threw for 376 yards and a pair of TDs. Carolina was 8 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs in the Big Easy and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:49, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 26:11, going 2 of 8 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series 9-2 and the Cowboys have outscored Carolina 227-190. The Panthers won the last meeting, with Carolina taking a 33-14 win on Thanksgiving Day in 2015, while Dallas’ last win in the series came in Charlotte by a final of 19-14 in 2012. Carolina’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 42. Carolina’s trying to get back to being on top of the NFC South mountain, while the Cowboys look to return to prominence in the NFC East. The Cowboys will make things closer than 3 but Carolina’s finer in Charlotte and takes the win.

Seattle (9-7) at Denver (5-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of western teams meet in the Rocky Mountains as Seattle and Denver open the 2018 season in the Mile High City.

Seattle found themselves out of the NFC post-season party as they let a 24-23 lead get away from them as Arizona rallied to come away 26-24 winners in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Trailing 20-7 at the intermission, Seattle rallied later in the contest to take the lead with 10:24 left to play, thanks to a 29-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. Arizona would then get the last word and use a 10-play, 62-yard drive that used 4:50 of clock to take the lead back when K Pat Dawson connected on a 42-yard field goal with 2:21 left. Arizona then held off a late and furious Seattle rally and took home the win when Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal try sailed wide to the right. Arizona outrushed Seattle 116-101 and Drew Stanton threw for 145 yards and a TD, while Wilson threw for 221 yards and a pair of TDs (both to Baldwin). Arizona was 4 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:16, while Seattle, (who held the pigskin for 27:44) was 1 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver’s dismal 2017 season came to an end in the Mile High City as they would fall to AFC West rival Kansas City 27-24 in the final seconds at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (now Broncos Stadium at Mile High). Denver trailed 14-10 at the half, then saw the Chiefs take a 24-10 lead into the final 15 minutes of action. The Broncos would eventually pull even with 2:53 left in regulation when WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Paxton Lynch connected on a 6-yard TD strike. The tie would last all of the 2:53 when the Chiefs would use an 11-play, 67-yard drive to break the hearts of the Denver fans that were in attendance as Harrison Butker connected on a 30-yard field goal as time expired.

Each team rushed for 110 yards in the season finale and Patrick Mahomes II, making his first NFL start, (taking over for Alex Smith) threw for 284 yards, while Lynch threw for 254 yards and a pair of TDs in the Rocky Mountains. The Chiefs on third down tries were 4 of 11 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 29:03, including the final 2:55), while the Broncos were 5 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:57.

Denver holds a 34-19 lead in the series and the Broncos have outscored Seattle 1,242-1,037. Seattle needed overtime in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, taking a 26-20 win in 2014 in the last meeting, while Denver’s last win over Seattle came in 2010 in the Mile High City by a final of 31-14. Vegas likes Denver as 3-point favorites and the over/under’s 42 1/2. This one may well be worth your time to watch and that could be good for the ratings. Seattle recovers and takes the win, although Denver will make things closer than 3 points.

Chicago (5-11) at Green Bay (7-9), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A Lake Michigan rivalry older than football itself meets in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst as Chicago travels to the not-quite-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field for a Sunday night contest with the Green Bay Packers.

Da Bears trailed Minnesota 16-7 at US Bank Stadium in the season finale and fell to the Vikings 23-10. Held to a season-low 30 yards rushing, Chicago saw Minnesota run amok for 147 yards (LeMarco Murray led everyone with 111 yards and a pair of TD) and Case Keenum threw for 189 yards and a TD to WR Stefon Diggs, while Mitch Trubisky threw for 178 yards in the loss. Da Bears were a somewhat dismal 1 of 12 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, keeping the ball for 24:05, while the Purple Gang went 5 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 35:55.

The Packers are also coming off a season-finale loss, falling 35-11 at Detroit to close out a season Packer fans would rather forget. The Packers trailed Matthew Stafford and the Lions 20-3 at the intermission in the Motor City and could never really get on track at Ford Field. Although Green Bay outrushed Detroit 103-51, Stafford burned the Packers for 323 yards and three TDs, while Brett Hundley threw for 172 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice. Detroit, who took advantage of four Packer turnovers, went 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:13, while the Packers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:47, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions.

The two NFC North rivals meet for the 195th time and the Packers lead the series 95-93-6 (including contests that were played when Da Bears were known as the Staleys), have outscored the Monsters of the Midway 3,358-3,314 and have won five of the last six meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Chicago’s last win came in 2015 when they shocked the Packers at Lambeau on Thanksgiving night 2015 by a final of 17-13).

Meeting number one… Lambeau in week four. The Packers used four Rodgers TDs tosses (two of them to Jordy Nelson) in the land of Cheese, beer and Bratwurst to come out on top 35-14. Leading 21-7 at the intermission, Green Bay held Chicago in check in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Da Bears 14-7. Although they outrushed Green Bay 103-91, Chicago could never really get on track in the contest, as Matt Glennon threw for 218 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. As for Rodgers, he threw for 179 yards and the four TDs to take the win in front of the home crowd. Green Bay was 7 of 14 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:09, while Da Bears ruled the clock and held the ball for 31:51, going 5 of 12 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Meeting number two… the Windy City in week 10. While the contest was closer than the first meeting, the Packers managed to leave Chicago in check with a 23-16 NFC North win. Green Bay led 10-6 at the half at Soldier Field, then the Rodgers-less Packers outscored Chicago in the final 30 minutes of action 13-10 to take the win. This time, Green Bay outrushed Chicago 160-55 and while Brent Hundley was no Aaron Rodgers (shoulder), he did manage to throw for 212 yards with a TD despite being sacked three times. Hundley’s counterpart Mitch Trubisky didn’t fare as well, throwing for 297 yards and a TD with five sacks.

Third down tries in the week 10 contest? Not a lot to write home about. Green Bay was 7 of 16, Chicago was 4 of 14 (the Packers were 1 of 1 on fourth down, while Da Bears were 0 for 1). Green Bay did manage to rule the clock in the second contest, keeping the ball for 33:53 to Chicago’s 26:07.

In the week four contest that was played on a Thursday night at Lambeau, Green Bay’s 21-point win allowed them to cover the 7-point spread and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under, scoring 49 points. The second meeting, a week 10 affair in the Windy City, saw Chicago as a 5 1/2-point favorite (Green Bay covered that, winning by 7) and both clubs covered the 37 1/2 over/under with 39 points. Green Bay’s favored by 7 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst and the over/under is 47 1/2. While the Bears were somewhat dismal last year, they’re not 7 1/2 bad and they could cause problems for the Packers at Lambeau… but Green Bay prevails at home and takes the win.

New York Jets (5-11) at Detroit (7-9), 7:10 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The first of two Monday night contests gets underway in the Motor City as the Jets travel to Detroit for a showdown with the Detroit Lions.

GangGreen was manhandled by Tom Brady (190 yards, two TDs) and the New England Patriots 26-6 in Foxboro. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 21-3 at the break and could never get on track in the season finale between the two AFC East rivals, finding themselves held to 40 yards rushing, as New England tallied 147 on the ground and Jets QB Bryce Petty threw for 232 yards against the Pats but was sacked four times. Third down tries in Foxboro? The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were a dismal 0 of 12 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and GangGreen held the ball for 25:11, while the Pats were 4 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 34:49.

Detroit took care of Green Bay 35-11 to close out the 2017 season at Ford Field. Stafford and the Lions led 20-3 at the intermission in the Motor City and were never challenged by their NFC North rivals, even though the Packers outrushed them 103-51. Stafford burned the Packers for 323 yards and three TDs, while Brett Hundley threw for 172 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice. Detroit, who took advantage of four Packer turnovers, went 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:13, while the Packers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:47, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions.

While the Lions lead series 7-6 (which includes games that were played at Shea Stadium, Tiger Stadium and the Pontiac Silverdome), GangGreen has outscored the Lions 262-258. Each team won their last meeting in the other team’s facility; GangGreen needed overtime in 2010 to take a 23-20 win in Detroit, while the Lions were 24-17 winners in the Meadowlands in 2014. On Monday nights, GangGreen is 21-31  with their last win coming in 2015 (they played two MNF games in 2016 and lost both), while the Lions are 16-17-1, taking wins in their two primetime meetings last season). The Lions are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under is 45. Both clubs are actually better than their 2017 records and both want to get back to the post-season. Lions roar at home in the Motor City and cover the 6 1/2.

Los Angeles Rams (11-5) at Oakland (6-10), 10:20 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week one concludes on the Eastern side of San Francisco bay as the Los Angeles Rams make the 373-mile trip up I-5 for a Golden State matchup with the Oakland Raiders.

Los Angeles was taken to task by Atlanta in the NFC Wild Card Game at the Coliseum 26-13. The Rams made things close for Matt Ryan and the Falcons and trailed 13-10 at the intermission before Atlanta pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Rams 13-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. Atlanta outrushed the Rams 124-115. with Todd Gurley III leading the way with 101 yards on the evening. Jarred Goff threw for 259 yards with three sacks, while Ryan threw for 218 yards (both threw for a TD and both were sacked three times). Atlanta was 5 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 37:35, while the Rams were 22:25 in time of possession, going 5 of 14 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth down tries.

While the Raiders did not make the post-season party, they made sure that their rivals from Los Angeles didn’t get their RSVP, putting the Chargers on the outside looking in and taking a 30-10 win in Tinseltown. After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland took a 20-10 lead with them to the intermission and were kept off the scoreboard in the second half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 101 yards, even though the Chargers outrushed Oakland 115-105 and Philip Rivers threw for 387 yards and three TDs, while Derek Carr threw for 243 yards with a TD, two sacks and an interception. The Chargers on third down went 7 of 13 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:20, while the Raiders kepd the pigskin for 26:40, going 4 of 11 on third down conversions.

Including contests that took place when both teams were in Los Angeles and the Rams later moved to St. Louis, the Silver and Black lead the series 8-5; however… the Rams have outscored Oakland 278-257 in those 13 meetings. The Rams took Oakland to task in their last meeting, which took place in St. Louis, coming away 52-0 winners in 2014, while the Raiders took a 16-14 win in 2010.

The Rams are favored by 4 in Oakland and the over/under is 48 1/2. As far as Monday night is concerned… the Rams are 26-32 and lost their last meeting under the lights in 2016 (their last win came in 2004 when they were in St. Louis), while the Raiders are 38-28-1 in prime time, losing their only meeting last year (their last win was in 2016). This may be one of the better MNF games to watch this season and the two teams are separated by a mere 373 miles. In the end, one of these California teams will take the win. The Rams may not cover the 4 but they win in Oakland to close out week one.

The dates are finally set.

Rookies fighting for NFL jobs, as well as free agents and veterans trying to stay with their teams will come to camp. There will be some chippiness and a few fights as well among teammates.

There’ll be heat, humidity, bugs, sleeping in dorms, learning playbooks that are bigger than most college text books, as you are trying to be one of 53 players that hopefully will be on an NFL roster when the season starts the Thursday after Labor Day.

If a rookie thought the Senior Bowl was easy or if a free agent thought he was going to make it, this is in of itself a job interview. It’s a chance to get a game check every week for 17 weeks (yes, NFL players get paid weekly).  It’s not about sitting around the campfire and eat s’mores. It’s learning a new playbook, new terminology and new names.

Training camp is not just a chance to see what all 32 teams have to either keep their hands on the Lombardi Trophy or have a chance to get their own. It’s also a chance for their respective fan base to make their own determinations and hope that they have a better season than they did in 2017. Players will work to impress their coaches and fan bases and hope they don’t hear the dreaded words that come from an assistant coach, ball boy or equipment guy, “coach wants to see you and bring your playbook.” Those words usually mean you’re getting cut or you’ve been cut. Most teams will play four pre-season games, while teams that play in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton will get five games. That’s a lot of film to look at and see who stays and who goes.

All 32 teams will have their camps close enough for their fan base to come out and see them. Only Houston and Dallas will not have camps in the state of Texas (Houston will go to West Virginia, while Dallas will travel to the West Coast and train in California), so that means you’ll have to make travel plans.

Hydrate, don’t forget the bug spray, get those photos and autographs and mind your manners. After all, these guys have work to do.

Below are the sites and dates for all 32 teams. Where there are two dates listed, the first date listed is the date for rookies to report, while the second date is for veteran players (most teams will have both rookies and veterans report on the same day). Check with your team as to practice times and if those practices are open to the public.

Arizona – University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/27)
Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/26)
Baltimore – Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland (Rookies – 7/11, Veterans – 7/18)
Buffalo – St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Cincinnati – Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Cleveland – Cleveland Browns Training Complex in Berea, Ohio (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Carolina – Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Chicago – Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois – (Rookies – 7/16, Veterans – 7/19)
Dallas – Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Denver – University of Colorado Health Training Center in Englewood, Colorado (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/27)
Detroit – Detroit Lions Training Facility in Allen Park, Michigan (Rookies – 7/19, Veterans – 7/26)
Green Bay – St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Houston – The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Indianapolis – Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Jacksonville – TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
Kansas City – Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Los Angeles Chargers – Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/27)
Los Angeles Rams – University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Miami – Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, Florida (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
Minnesota – TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/27)
New England – Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
New Orleans – New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Louisiana (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
New York Giants – Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
New York Jets – Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey (Rookies – 7/25, Veterans – 7/26)
Oakland – Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, California (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/26)
Philadelphia – NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Pittsburgh – Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/25)
San Francisco – SAP Performance Facility in Santa Clara, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Seattle – Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Tampa Bay – One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Tennessee – Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Washington – Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Virginia (Rookies and Veterans 7/25)

The who your team is playing and where was announced last January, while most of the country was shovleing snow and shivering. You wondered when your team would play and even wondered if they were going to be on Thursday, Sunday or Monday night.

Football fans, your wait is over.

Your patience has been rewarded, Grasshopper.

The National Football League announced the 2018 regular season schedule Thursday night and fans could not be happier.

The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game, as the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia
Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6 in an NFC Dvivisional rematch at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

Week 1 is a FOX national weekend with key games on Sunday, September 9 featuring Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys traveling to Charlotte to face off against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 4:25 p.m. and Seattle visiting Denver at 4:25 p.m. Week 1 matchups on CBS include the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots at 1 p.m. and the Los Angeles Chargers hosting Kansas City at 4:05 p.m. Week 2 represents the first CBS national weekend with doubleheader games showcasing Oakland traveling to the Mile High City for a matchup with Denver at 4:25 p.m. and the Patriots visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars at 4:25 p.m.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 9 when the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears at 8:20
p.m. at Lambeau Field in the 195th regular-season meeting between the storied franchises. Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 10 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. Detroit hosts the New York Jets at 7:10 p.m. in the Motor City in the first game followed by the Los Angeles Rams visiting Oakland 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. And fans will get to go to bed at a decent hour as prime time kickoffs will now be earlier – Thursday kickoffs that were at 8:25 p.m. will now be at 8:20 p.m., Sunday night games kick off at 8:20 instead of 8:30 and Monday games will now have an 8:15 kickoff, up 15 minutes from last year’s 8:30 p.m. start. Plus, as an added feature, all 32 teams are scheduled for at least one prime time game either on Thursday, Sunday or Monday night games (fans in Cleveland can rejoice).

FOX will kick off their Thursday Night Football package in Week 4 with a showdown of NFC playoff teams, as
Minnesota visits the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 8:20 p.m. on FOX/NFLN. FOX will
broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night), with those games also
being simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes. In addition, NFL Network will exclusively
televise seven games this season, with FOX producing the full slate of 18 games.

A select number of games will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed
games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced today and other “cross-flexed” games will be decided
during the season.

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 30. For the ninth consecutive year, all 16 games
scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

Other highlights of the schedule include:

Nine games in the 2018 regular season will feature a rematch from the 2017 postseason. In Week 2, Jacksonville hosts Tom Brady and New England at EverBank Field in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game at 4:25 p.m. on CBS and the Vikings travel to the City of Brotherly Love in a week five meeting, a rematch of the 2017 NFC Championship Game at 4:25 p.m. on FOX.

Fans of Thanksgiving Day football weren’t left out as Turkey Day features a trio of divisional matchups on Thursday, November 22. 2018 marks only the second time since 1970 (2014) that the holiday has featured exclusively divisional matchups. The first game will send the Bears to Detroit to face the Lions at 12:30 p.m. on CBS, Dallas hosts Washington in an NFC East matchup in Arlington at 4:30 p.m. on FOX and the Turkey Day festivities conclude with an NFC South showdown as Atlanta and Matt Ryan travels to New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the Saints in the Big Easy on NBC at 8:20 p.m.

As for games outside of the United States, the NFL’s international slate includes three games in London – occurring in three consecutive weeks (Week 6-8) – and one in Mexico City. English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London Series schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as Oakland hosts Seattle at 1 p.m. on FOX. The following week, action returns to Wembley Stadium as the Los Angeles Chargers host Tennessee on Sunday, October 21 at 9:30 a.m. on CBS and the series on the other side of the pond concludes in Week 8 with Jacksonville hosting Philadelphia at Wembley on Sunday, October 28 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network and for the third consecutive season, the NFL will return to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. On Monday, November 19 (the Monday before Thanksgiving), the Los Angeles Rams host Kansas City in the historic venue on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.

The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 4 and end in Week 12.

“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no
more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-16, 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. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before
the game.

Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games
played on Saturday on NFL Network: Houston at the New York Jets and Cleveland at Denver, with the game times of 4:30
PM ET and 8:20 PM ET to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday:
Baltimore at Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville at Miami, the New York Giants at Indianapolis or Washington at
Tennessee. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with
the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.

For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 30. 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 primetime. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights.

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 5-6. 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 12-13. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 20. The winners meet two weeks later on Sunday, February 3 in Super Bowl LIII at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium (CBS).

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.

Note – Sunday night games in Weeks 5-16 subject to change; Week 17 game TBD.

2018 National Football League Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1
Thursday, September 6
ATLANTA at Philadelphia, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, September 9
Buffalo at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Washington at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at Carolina, 4:25 p,m. on FOX
Seattle at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 10
New York Jets at Detroit, 7:10 p.m. on ESPN
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland, 10:20 p.m. on ESPN

Week 2

Thursday, September 13
Baltimore at Cincinnati, 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network

Sunday, September 16
Carolina at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at New Orleans, 1 p..m. on FOX
Miami at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizonat at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New England at Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Dallas, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 17
Seattle at Chicago, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 3

Thursday, September 20
New York Jets at Cleveland, 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network

Sunday, September 23
New Orleans at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Houston, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New England at Detroit, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 24
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 4

Thursday, September 27
Minnesota at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, September 30
Cincinnati at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at Dallas, 1 p.m. on FOX
Buffalo at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on FOX
Miami at New Engalnd, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Monday, October 1
Kansas City at Denver, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 5 (Byes: Chicago and Tampa Bay)

Thursday, October 4, 2018
Indianapolis at New England, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, October 7, 2018
ATLANTA at Pittsubrgh, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Carolina, 1 p.m on FOX
Miami at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Denver at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Philadelphia, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at Houston, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, October 8, 2018
Washington at New Orleans, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 6 (Byes: Detroit and New Orleans)

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Philadelphia at New York Giants, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Networ

Sunday, October 14, 2018
Tampa Bay at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Oakland, 1 p.m. on FOX (London)
Carolina at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Denver, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Tennessee, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at New England, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, October 15, 2018
San Francisco at Green Bay, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 7 (Byes: Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Seattle)

Thursday, October 18
Denver at Arizona, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, October 21
Tennessee at Los Angeles Chargers, 9:30 a.m. on CBS (London)
New England at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 8:20 p.m, on NBC*

Monday, October 22
New York Giants at ATLANTA, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 8 (Byes: ATLANTA, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee)

Thursday, October 25
Miami at Houston, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, October 28
Philadelphia at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on NFL Network (London)
Baltimore at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Washington at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Minnesota, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, October 29
New England at Buffalo, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 9 (Byes: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New York Giants and Philadelphia)

Thursday, November 1
Oakland at San Francisco, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, November 4
ATLANTA at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Denver, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at New England, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, November 5
Tennessee at Dallas, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 10 (Byes: Baltimore, Denver, Houston and Minnesota)

Thursday, November 8
Carolina at Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, November 11
ATLANTA at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOX
Miami at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on FOX
Buffalo at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Washington at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Philadelphia, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, November 12
New York Giants at San Francisco, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 11 (Byes: Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami, New England, New York Jets and San Francisco)

Thursday, November 15
Green Bay at Seattle, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, November 18
Dallas at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, November 19
Kansas City at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN (Mexico City)

Week 12 (Byes: Kansas City and Los Angeles Rams)

Thursday, November 22
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. on NBC
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. on CBS
Washington at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. on FOX

Sunday, November 25
Oakland at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Jacksonville at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Miami at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
New England at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Minnesota, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, November 26
Tennessee at Houston, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 13

Thursday, November 29
New Orleans at Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, December 2
Baltimore at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at New England Patriots4:25pFOX
San Francisco at Seattle, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, December 3
Washington at Philadelphia, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 14

Thursday, December 6
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Sunday, December 9
ATLANTA at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
New England at at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Denver at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Oakland, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, December 10
Minnesota at Seattle, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 15

Thursday, December 13
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City, 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network

Saturday, December 15
Houston at New York Jets, 4:30 p,m or 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network
Cleveland at Denver, 4:30 p.m. or 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network

Sunday, December 16
Arizona at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on FOX
Washington at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on FOX
Miami at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tennessee at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on CBs
Seattle at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
New England at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, December 17
New Orleans at Carolina, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 16

Saturday, December 22
Game TBD, 4:30 p.m. on NFL Network
Game TBD, 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network
New York Giants at Indianapolis, Time and Network TBD
Baltimore at Los Angeles Chargers, Time and Network TBD
Jacksonville at Miami, Time and Network TBD
Washington at Tennessee, Time and Network TBD

Sunday, December 23
ATLANTA at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Dallas, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Chicago at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOx
Pittsburgh at New Orleans, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Seattle, 8:20 p.m. on NBC*

Monday, December 24
Denver at Oakland, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Week 17

Sunday, December 30
ATLANTA at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver, 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

Once again, it’s another trip to the other side of the Atlantic. Get that passport ready… dilly, dilly!

The National Football League today announced the schedule of London Games for 2018, featuring a series of firsts, including a debut at a new stadium and three teams playing a regular-season game in London for the first time.

The 2018 London Games schedule:

Week – Date: Visiting Team vs. Home Team at Site
6 – 10/14/18: Seattle vs. Oakland at Tottenham Hotspur
7 or 8 – 10/21/18 or 10/28/18: Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium
Week 7 or 8 – 10/21/18 or 10/28/18: Tennessee vs. Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley Stadium

English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks. The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Tottenham for their first game in London. Tottenham’s new stadium becomes the third venue to stage a regular-season game in the United Kingdom, joining Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium.

The following two weeks, October 21 and 28, two additional teams will make their London debuts as visiting teams. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams, while the Tennessee Titans will face the Los Angeles Chargers. The order of the games, along with all kickoff times, will be confirmed at a later date.

“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the United Kingdom,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the New York Times, The Newark Daily News, USA Today, NFL Network and ESPN. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year. A key feature of our success is playing in iconic, world-renowned venues like Wembley and Twickenham and we look forward to playing in what will be another incredible setting for NFL football at Tottenham’s new stadium.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “London is the international home of the NFL and I am really excited to welcome the world’s best American football stars and their thousands of fans from around the globe back to our city.  I’m delighted Tottenham Hotspur’s fantastic new stadium is joining the line-up of world-class sports arenas in our great city. Spurs’ new ground will stage one game in its first year of opening and in 2019 we look forward to going back to staging at least four NFL games in London. Once again, London has shown why it is the sporting capital of the world and open to the very best sports events.”

By the end of the 2018 season, the NFL will have played 24 regular-season games in London, with 29 of 32 teams having participated.

“This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the United Kingdom,” NFL Executive Vice President of International and Events Mark Waller told USA Today and the London Times.

“By playing games on three consecutive weeks we will learn a lot, both from the fans buying tickets and attending games and from a logistics and organizational standpoint. We are very excited about playing our first game at Tottenham’s magnificent new stadium and will follow our usual pattern of playing one game in our first season at a new venue, as we did at Wembley and Twickenham in previous years. This enables us to achieve important learnings relating to the fans’ preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two per year, to make up for this.”

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur announced in 2015 that they had reached agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played during a 10-year partnership. The state-of-the-art stadium, due to open this summer, will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It will also have customized features such as locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.

“This is a milestone year for the club as we look ahead to the opening of our new stadium and all that it will bring to the area of Tottenham,” said Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy.

“The announcement of the first game of the NFL’s 2018 London Games to take place at our new home heralds the commencement of our 10-year partnership. This is one of the cornerstones of our vision for creating a world-class sports and leisure destination that will make Tottenham a hive of activity 365 days a year and drive the regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London. The NFL will bring a whole new audience to the local area, showcase Tottenham and bring further economic and social benefits with truly global coverage and attraction.”

The NFL kicked off its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on their way to winning the Super Bowl. The home of English football has now hosted 18 NFL games, with almost 1.5 million fans in attendance.

“The NFL holds huge value and importance to Wembley Stadium. We are proud to have hosted games under the arch for the past decade and to have played a key role in the growth of the sport,” said Martin Glenn, Chief Executive of the Football Association. NFL games bring people to the stadium from all over the world, provide a boost to the local economy, and are among the highlights of the Wembley events calendar. Working closely together, we have been able to share knowledge and expertise with the NFL and continue to learn a great deal from their events and the activation of their games. We are very excited to be welcoming some outstanding playoff teams to the stadium in 2018 and hope our strong partnership will continue for years to come.”

Three of the six teams playing in London in 2018 have made the playoffs this season (Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Tennessee), while two more finished the season with winning records (Seattle, Los Angeles Chargers).

All four winning teams in the NFL’s 2017 London Games went on to win their divisions: Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South), New Orleans Saints (NFC South), Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota Vikings (NFC North).

Ticketing details will be announced by NFL UK on January 18. Anyone interested in registering their interest in attending any of the games can do so at http://www.ticketmaster.com/nfl to ensure they receive all the latest information.

12 weeks down, five to go.

The leaves have fallen or are falling, it’s getting colder and the Fat Man from the North Pole is making preparations for his big day.

With that much time left in the regular season, 14 teams have a .500 or better record and have a shot at the post-season. For San Francisco and Cleveland, their seasons are pretty much over (the 49ers are 1-10, while the Browns are 0-11). When the final game is done on January 1st, 12 teams will be given invitations to the post-season party, 6 from the AFC, 6 from the NFC.

SEVEN THINGS FROM SUNDAY: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 12 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ 34-20 win over Tampa Bay. Jones has three career games with at least 250 receiving yards and is the only player in NFL history to have multiple 250+ yard receiving games. Jones, who played in his 90th career game today, has 563 catches for 8,649 yards, the most by a player in his first 90 games in NFL history. He passed Anquan Boldin (558) for the most receptions and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (8,502) for the most receiving yards.

Jones caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in the second quarter of today’s game. Sanu, who also threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green with Cincinnati in 2012 (September 23, 2012), is the first wide receiver since the 1970 merger to throw multiple career 50+ yard touchdown passes. He is also the first non-quarterback to throw two career 50+ yard touchdown passes since Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton (1979, 1983).

Philadelphia defeated Chicago 31-3 to improve to 10-1. It marks the fourth time in franchise history the Eagles have started a season 10-1 or better (1949, 1980 and 2004) and the team advanced to the NFL Championship/Super Bowl in each of the previous three instances. In the Super Bowl era, 38 teams have previously started 10-1 and all 38 made the playoffs, 17 reached the Super Bowl (44.7 percent) and eight won the Super Bowl (21.1 percent). Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw three touchdown passes in today’s win and leads the league with 28 touchdown passes. Wentz’s 28 touchdown passes are the most by an Eagles quarterback through the team’s first 11 games of a season, passing the mark set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen (24) in 1961. Wentz has 28 touchdown passes and five interceptions and is the third quarterback in NFL history to have at least 25 touchdown passes and five or fewer interceptions through his team’s first 11 games, putting himself in some pretty good company, joining Tom Brady (2007, 2015, 2017) and Aaron Rodgers (2011, 2014).

New England defeated Miami 35-17 and improved to 9-2. The Patriots clinched their 17th consecutive season with a winning record, the longest streak since 1970, surpassing the previous record of 16 held by the 1970-1985 Dallas Cowboys and 1983-1998 San Francisco 49ers. New England quarterback Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes with one interception for a 114.1 passer rating in today’s win. Brady, who turned 40 years old in August, has 26 touchdown passes this season, the most by a quarterback in a single season at the age of 40 or older. Brady has 27 career games with at least four touchdown passes and one or fewer interceptions, surpassing Peyton Manning (26) for the second-most in NFL history. Only Drew Brees (28) has more such games.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a touchdown in the Seahawks’ 24-13 win at San Francisco. Seattle improved to 7-4 on the season and bounced back from last week’s 34-31 loss against Atlanta. With the victory, Wilson improved to 23-4 (.852) in his career in games following an in-season loss, the best record by a starting quarterback since the 1970 merger (minimum 15 such starts).

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley had 128 scrimmage yards in the team’s 26-20 win over New Orleans. Gurley, who has 1,344 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns this season, is the fourth player in franchise history to have at least 1,300 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns in the team’s first 11 games of a season. He joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch (1951), Eric Dickerson (1983) and Marshall Faulk (2000) as the only Rams to accomplish the feat.

New Orleans running backs Alvin Kamara (188 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns) and Mark Ingram (36 scrimmage yards) combined for 224 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ loss at the Los Angeles Rams. Kamara (1,094 scrimmage yards, nine touchdowns) and Ingram (1,055 scrimmage yards, eight touchdowns) are the first running back teammates to each have at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in a team’s first 11 games in the Super Bowl era.

Carolina defeated the New York Jets 35-27. Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly had a 34-yard fumble-return touchdown with 12:05 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers the lead and Kaelin Clay added a 60-yard punt-return touchdown with 9:54 left to extend Carolina’s lead. It marked the second time in franchise history – and first since the club’s inaugural 1995 season (October 8, 1995 against Chicago) – in which the Panthers scored two return touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a
game.

THE WEEK THAT WAS WEEK 12: ELECTRIC EAGLE: Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz threw three touchdown passes in the Eagles’ 31-3 win against Chicago last week.

Wentz, who leads the NFL with 28 touchdown passes, has the third-most touchdown passes by a first or second-year quarterback through his team’s first 11 games of a season in NFL history.

The first or second-year quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes through his team’s first 11 games of a season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(PASSING TDS IN TEAM’S 1ST 11 GAMES)
Dan Marino, Miami (1984)(30)^
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (1999)(29)^
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (2017)(28)
Derek Carr, Oakland (2015)(24)
Jeff Garcia, San Francisco (2000)(24)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Philadelphia owns the best record in the NFL at 10-1 and Wentz is the fourth first or second-year quarterback to start 10-1 or better through his team’s first 11 games of a season in the Super Bowl era.

The first or second-year quarterbacks to start 10-1 or better in his team’s first 11 games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(RECORD THROUGH TEAM’S FIRST 11 GAMES)
Dan Marino, Miami(1984)(11-0)^
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (2017)(10-1)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2016)(10-1)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2013)(10-1)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

FLYING FALCON: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 12 receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ 34-20 win over Tampa Bay in Week 12.

Jones has three career games with at least 250 receiving yards and is the only player in NFL history to have multiple 250+ yard receiving games.

Jones has 563 receptions in 90 career games and passed ANQUAN BOLDIN (558) for the most catches by a player in his first 90 games in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in their first 90 games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEPTIONS IN 1ST 90 CAREER GAMES)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (563)
Anquan Boldin, Arizona (558)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (554)

Jones has 8,649 receiving yards and passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (8,502) for the most receiving yards by a player in his first 90 games in NFL history.

The players with the most receiving yards in their first 90 games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEIVING YARDS IN 1ST 90 CAREER GAMES)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (8,649)
Lance Alworth, San Diego (8,502)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TOM TERRIFIC: New England quarterback Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes and one interception for a 114.1 passer rating in the Patriots’ 35-17 win against Miami last week.

Brady has 27 career games with at least four touchdown passes and one or fewer interceptions, surpassing Peyton Manning (26) for the second-most in NFL history. Only Drew Brees (28) has more such games.

The players with the most games with at least four touchdown passes and one or fewer interceptions in NFL history:

PLAYER –  TEAM(S) (GAMES WITH AT LEAST 4 TD PASSES & 1 OR FEWER INTS)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (28)*
Tom Brady – New England (27)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (26)
*Active

DYNAMIC DUO: New Orleans running backs Alvin Kamara (188 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns) and Mark Ingram (36 scrimmage yards) combined for 224 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams last week.

Kamara (1,094 scrimmage yards, nine touchdowns) and Ingram (1,055 scrimmage yards, eight touchdowns) are the seventh pair of teammates – and first running back duo – to each have at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in a team’s first 11 games in the Super Bowl era.

The teammates with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in their team’s first 11 games of a season:

TEAM – SEASON (PLAYER – SCRIMMAGE YDS/TDS)(PLAYER – SCRIMMAGE YDS/TDS)
New Orleans – 2017 (Alvin Kamara – 1,094/9)(Mark Ingram – 1,055/8)
Green Bay – 2014 (Jordy Nelson – 1,066/9)(Eddie Lacy – 1,007/9)
Indianapolis – 2000 (Edgerrin James – 1,586/14)(Marvin Harrison – 1,066/8)^
St. Louis – 2000 (Marshall Faulk – 1,447/15)(Isaac Bruce – 1,185/9)
Indianapolis – 1999 (Edgerrin James – 1,547/9)(Marvin Harrison – 1,118/12)^
Dallas – 1995 (Emmitt Smith – 1,643/20)Michael Irvin – 1,169/8)^
Dallas – 1966 (Dan Reeves – 1,088/14)(Bob Hayes – 1,002/10)

^Harrison, Faulk, Smith, Irvin and Hayes are Pro Football Hall of Famers

In the month of November, Kamara became the third rookie in NFL history to total at least 500 scrimmage yards, three rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns in a calendar month, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Gale Sayers (October, 1965) and Charley Taylor (November, 1964).

The rookies with at least 500 scrimmage yards, three rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns in a calendar month:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – MONTH; SCRIMMAGE YARDS/RUSHING TDS-RECIEVING TDS)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017 – November; 593/3-3)
Gale Sayers, Chicago (1965 – October; 520/3-5)^
Charley Taylor, Washington (1964 – November; 596/3-3)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

BIG GAME BROWN: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had 10 receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers’ 31-28 win against Green Bay on Sunday Night Football last week.

Through 11 games this year, Brown has five games with at least 10 receptions and 100 yards, tied for the fourth-most such games in a single season in NFL history. Brown, who also had five such games in 2015, is the first player to accomplish the feat in multiple seasons.

The players with the most games with at least 10 receptions and 100 yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; GAMES WITH 10 CATCHES & 100 REC. YARDS)
Andre Johnson, Houston (2008; 7)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012; 6)
Wes Welker, New England (2009; 6)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2017; 5)*
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh, (2015; 5)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (2002; 5)^
Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville (1999, 5)
*Through 11 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

WONDERFUL WILSON: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a touchdown in the Seahawks’ 24-13 win at San Francisco last week.

With the victory, Wilson improved to 23-4 (.852) in his career in games following an in-season loss, the best record by a starting quarterback since the 1970 merger (minimum 15 such starts).

The quarterbacks with the best record following an in-season loss since 1970 (minimum 15 such starts):

PLAYER – TEAMS (WINS-LOSSES-TIES, PCT.)
Russell Wilson – Seattle (23-4-0, .852)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (23-5-0, 821)
Tom Brady – New England (42-10-0, .808)
Jeff Hostetler – New York Giants, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and Washington (24-8-0, .750)
Joe Montana, San Francisco and Kansas City (36-12-0, .750)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Wilson ties for third in the NFL with 3,029 passing yards and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 3,000 yards in each of his first six seasons.

The quarterbacks with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of their first six seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2012-17)
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (2011-16)
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011-16)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (1998-2003)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 13: FLYING HIGH IN PHILLY: Philadelphia the NFL’s best record at 10-1 and can clinch the NFC East division title in Week 13. The Eagles have won nine consecutive games, including each of its past four by at least 20 points.

The Eagles, who play at Seattle on Sunday Night Football, can become the sixth team in NFL history to win five consecutive games all by at least 20 points and the first since the 1999 St. Louis Rams.

The teams with five consecutive wins all by 20+ points in NFL history:

TEAM (SEASON – MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS BY 20+ POINTS)
St. Louis (1999 – 5)
Green Bay (1961 – 5)
Houston Oilers (1961 – 5)
Philadelphia (1953 – 5)
Philadelphia (1949 – 5)
Philadelphia (2017 – 4)*
*Active streak

BIG BEN ASCENDS: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has 49,762 passing yards in his 14-year career with the Steelers.

Roethlisberger, who plays at Cincinnati on Monday Night Football, can become the eighth quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 career passing yards.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (69,140)*
Tom Brady – New England (64,956)*
Dan Marino – Miami (61,361)^
John Elway – Denver (51,475)^
Eli Manning – New York Giants (50,625)*
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (49,762)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Roethlisberger will play in his 197th career game on Monday and can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 career passing yards in fewer than 200 games, joining Drew Brees (183), Peyton Manning (191), Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (193) and Tom Brady (198).

The quarterbacks to reach 50,000 passing yards in the fewest career games:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO 50,000 PASSING YARDS)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (183)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (191)
Dan Marino – Miami (193)^
Tom Brady – New England (198)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (196)*
*Has 49,762 career passing yards
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PRESCISION PASSERS: Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz leads the NFL with 28 touchdown passes and New England’s Tom Brady ranks second with 26 TD passes. Wentz (five interceptions) and Brady (three) are the only quarterbacks with at least 25 touchdown passes and five or fewer interceptions this season.

On Sunday, Wentz and Brady can join some elite company. Wentz, who plays at Seattle on Sunday night, can become the third different quarterback in NFL history with at least 30 touchdown passes and five or fewer interceptions through his team’s first 12 games of a season, joining Brady (2007) and Aaron Rodgers (2011, 2014).

Brady, who plays at Buffalo on Sunday, can join Rodgers as the only players to accomplish the feat twice. Brady had 41 touchdown passes with five interceptions through his team’s first 12 games of the 2007 season.

The players with at least 30 touchdown passes and five or fewer interceptions through their team’s first 12 games of a season:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; TD PASSES – INTERCEPTIONS)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2014; 32 – 3)^
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2011; 37 – 5)^
Tom Brady – New England (2007; 41 – 5)^
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia (2017; 28 – 5)*
Tom Brady – New England (2017; 26 – 3)*
*Through 11 games
^Won MVP

ALL-PURPOSE BACKS: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley ranks second in the NFL with 1,344 scrimmage yards (865 rushing, 479 receiving) and leads the league with 11 total touchdowns.

Gurley, who plays at Arizona on Sunday, can become the fifth different player in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns through his team’s first 12 games of a season.

The players with at least 1,000 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns in their team’s first 12 games of a season:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; RUSH YARDS – REC. YARDS, TOUCHDOWNS)
David Johnson – Arizona (2016; 1,005 – 704, 15)
Priest Holmes – Kansas City (2003; 1,177 – 559, 17)
Priest Holmes – Kansas City (2002; 1,322 – 634, 22)
Thurman Thomas – Buffalo (1991; 1,192 – 522, 12)^
Thurman Thomas – Buffalo (1989; 1,045 – 558, 11)^
Chuck Foreman – Minnesota (1976; 1,035 – 551, 12)
Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams (2017; 865 – 479, 11)*
*Through 11 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara ranks second in the NFC with 1,094 scrimmage yards (548 receiving, 546 rushing) and ties for second in the NFL with nine total touchdowns.

Kamara, who plays against Carolina on Sunday, can become the third rookie with at least 600 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in a season in NFL history, joining Billy Sims (1980) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charley Taylor (1964). Both Sims and Taylor were named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year in those seasons.

The rookies with at least 600 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; RUSH YARDS – REC. YARDS)
Billy Sims – Detroit (1980; 1,303 – 621)
Charley Taylor – Washington (1964; 755 – 814)^
Alvin Kamara – New Orleans (2017; 546 – 548)*
*Through 11 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

RECORD-SETTING RECEIVER: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown leads the NFL with 80 catches and 1,195 receiving yards this season.

Brown, who has 561 receptions since 2013, can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (563 from 1999-2003) for the most catches by a player over any five-year span in NFL history when the Steelers play at Cincinnati Monday night.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS; RECEPTIONS)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (1999-2003; 563)^
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (2013-17; 561)*
Wes Welker – New England (2008-12; 560)
Wes Welker – New England (2007-11; 554)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (2012-16l 547)
*In fifth season of span
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brown, who has 7,510 receiving yards since 2013, can also surpass Harrison (7,594 from 1999-2003) for the most receiving yards by a player over any five-year span in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS; RECEIVING YARDS)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (1999-2003; 7,594)^
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (2013-17; 7,510)*
Calvin Johnson – Detroit (2011-15; 7,428)
Torry Holt – St. Louis (2000-04; 7,368)
Calvin Johnson – Detroit (2010-14; 7,334)
*In fifth season of span
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LARRY LEGEND: Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald leads the NFC with 72 receptions and is closing in on his 10th career season with at least 75 catches.

With three catches against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Fitzgerald would become the fourth player in NFL history with at least 75 catches in 10 seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (13 seasons) and Tim Brown(10) and Tony Gonzalez (10).

The players with the most seasons with at least 75 catches in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SEASONS WITH 75+ CATCHES)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco and Oakland (13)^
Tim Brown – Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders (10)^
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and Atlanta (10)
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (9)*
*Has 72 catches entering Week 13
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

AGELESS WONDER: Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers has 8.5 sacks this season and ranks fourth in NFL history with 152 career sacks.

Peppers, who turned 37 years old in January, can become the third player with at least 10 sacks in a single season at the age of 37 or older since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Bruce Smith (10 sacks in 2000) and Kevin Greene  (12 sacks in 1999). Peppers and the Panthers take on New Orleans Sunday afternoon on the road.

The players with at least 10 sacks in a single season at the age of 37 or older since 1982:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; AGE/SACKS)
Bruce Smith – Washington (2000; 37/10)^
Kevin Greene – Carolina (1999; 37/12)^
Julius Peppers – Carolina (2017; 37/8.5)*
*Entering Week 13
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

As the calendar turns to December, the NFL playoff picture is starting to take shape. With five weeks remaining in the regular season, there are currently 25 teams either in or within two games of a playoff spot.

Over the past five seasons, the Seattle Seahawks (19-5, .792) own the best record in the final month, which also includes regular-season games played in January. The Pittsburgh Steelers (18-5, .783) have the best mark in the AFC.

TEAM (WINS-LOSSES, PCT)
Seattle (19-5, .792)
Green Bay (18-5, .783)
Pittsburgh (18-5, .783)
Carolina (18-6, .750)
New England (18-6, .750)

“The games in December are the most important regular-season games by far,” says NFL Network analyst and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci. “It’s extremely important to win in December and to make a run at the playoffs.”

As the NFL season enters the final month, four teams are racing towards the finish line with winning streaks of at least six games – Philadelphia (nine), Minnesota (seven), New England (seven) and Pittsburgh (six).

The Eagles, who own the NFL’s best record, are 10-1 for the fourth time (1949, 1980 and 2004) in franchise history. In the Super Bowl era, 38 teams have previously started 10-1 and all 38 made the playoffs, 17 reached the Super Bowl (44.7 percent) and eight won the Super Bowl (21.1 percent). Philadelphia can clinch the NFC East division title this week with either a Dallas loss on Thursday night or an Eagles win on Sunday night against Seattle.

Week 13 began on Thursday night in the Lone Star State when Dallas broke their three-game losing streak, taking down Washington 38-14 in a key NFC East showdown as both teams are fighting to stay in the mix for a playoff berth. Week 13 Sunday action concludes as the Eagles travel to the Pacific Northwest for a primetime meeting with the Seattle Seahawks at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and the week ends in Cincinnati as the Bengals host Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in an important AFC North matchup at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

As for last week? 11-5 is nothing to sneeze at. For the season, we’re at 106-17. There’s a lot of football left on the docket as the season winds down. Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 13.

Minnesota (9-2) at ATLANTA (7-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons host Minnesota in what could be a playoff preview in the Big Peach.

Minnesota escaped the Motor City last Thursday afternoon, taking a 30-23 win over the Lions at Ford Field. Leading 20-10 at the half, the Vikings would go on to see the Lions outscore them 13-10 in the last 30 minutes of action and would have seen the contest tied when Detroit CB Darius Slay blocked a 45 yard field goal try by Ken Horbath and CB Nevin Lawson returned it  77 yards for a TD. The score was erased when the Lions were called for being offside and Minnesota would run out the clock and take the win. Minnesota outrushed Detroit 136-53 and Case Keenum threw for 282 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Kyle Rudolph, while Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw for 250 yards and a pair of TDs. Minnesota on third down went 6 of 13 and kept the ball for 34:57, while Detroit was 3 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 25:03.

The Falcons manhandled Tampa Bay 34-20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last Sunday in the Big Peach. Atlanta broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter as it was the Julio Jones Show in the second quarter, as the Falcons All-Pro WR caught a pair of TD passes in the period (pass number one came from WR Mohammed Sanu, pass number two came from Ryan). Atlanta led 20-6 at the and never looked back, even though both teams played even football in the final 30 minutes of action. Sanu is the first wide receiver since the 1970 merger to throw multiple career 50+ yard touchdown passes. He is also the first non-quarterback to throw two career 50+ yard touchdown passes since Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton (1979, 1983).

Ryan threw for 317 yards without a sack or interception, while the Falcons outrushed Tampa Bay 148-94 (Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 97 yards and a pair of TDs). For Tampa Bay, Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for Jameis Winston (shoulder) threw for 283 yards with a sack in the loss. Atlanta on third down was 11 of 11 and kept the ball for 30:06, while Tampa Bay held the pigskin for 29:54, going  4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Minnesota leads the series 17-10, the Vikings have outscored Atlanta 643-452 and have won the last two meetings, including a 20-10 win in the Big Peach in 2015, while Atlanta’s last win over the Vikings came in 2011 in Atlanta by a final of 24-14. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Falcons as a 3-point favorite and the over/under is 47 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both teams have played some decent football of late. Atlanta covers the 3 and takes the win in the Peach State.

Detroit (6-5) at Baltimore (6-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of contending teams meet in Charm City as Baltimore hosts the Detroit Lions.

Detroit saw defeat snatched from the jaws of victory Thursday afternoon in the Motor City as they sent their fans home heartbroken after their 30-23 loss to Minnesota at Ford Field. Detroit trailed 20-10 at the half, then mounted a comeback in the second half as they outscored their NFC North foes 13-10 in the last 30 minutes of play, coming to within seven with 75 seconds left when Lions CB Daris Slay blocked a 45 yard field goal try by Ken Horbath and CB Nevin Lawson returned it  77 yards for a TD. The score was erased when the Lions were called for being offside and the Vikings would run out the clock and take the win. Detroit found themselves outrushed by the Vikings 136-53, while Stafford threw for 250 yards and a pair of TDs in the loss. The Vikings on third down went 6 of 13 and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 34:57, while Detroit was 3 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 25:03.

Baltimore erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit against Houston last Monday night and came away 23-16 winners in Charm City. The Ravens led 17-10 at the half, then held off a pair of late Texans rallies that would have tied the contest up at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore outrushed Houston 139-66 and Joe Flacco threw for 141 yards, while Houston’s Tom Savage threw for 252 yards with a pair of interceptions (the second pick came late in the fourth quarter as the Texans were driving to tie the contest up). The Ravens on third down were 3 of 14 (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:44. The Texans actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:16, while going 6 of 14 on third down tries.

Baltimore leads the series 3-1 and the Ravens have outscored Detroit 102-64. The Ravens picked up an 18-16 win in the Motor City in 2013 in their last meeting, while Detroit’s lone win in the series came in 2005 in the Motor City by a final of 35-17. Baltimore’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 42. Both clubs are chasing division leaders and would love nothing more than to catch them. For the winner, they’re one step closer in the chase; as for the loser, they’re not out but they’ve got a little more work to do. Ravens cover the 3 and wins in Charm City.

New England (9-2) at Buffalo (6-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. It’s a pair of AFC East rivals meeting in upstate New York as Tom Brady and the Pats travel to Orchard Park for a showdown at New Era Stadium.

New England led Miami 21-10 at the half in Foxboro and came away 35-17 winners at Gillette Stadium. Brady (227 yards, four TDs) and TE Rob Gronkowski connected on a pair of TDs in the contest and the Pats never looked back. New England sacked Matt Moore (215 yards, TD) seven times and picked him off twice, holding Miami to 67 yards rushing, while Deon Lewis accounted for 112 of New England’s 196 yards on the ground. New England went 5 of 12 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down and the Pats kept the ball for 32:41, while Miami went 2 of 11, 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs and held on to the ball for 27:19.

The Bills held off Kansas City, coming away 16-10 winners at Arrowhead last Sunday. Buffalo led 10-3 at halftime, then held off a late Chiefs rally in the second half for the win on the road. Buffalo outrushed Kansas City 104-55 and Tyrod Taylor threw for 183 yards, while the Chiefs’ Alex Smith threw for 199 yards with an interception (each man threw a TD pass). The Bills would wind up going 6 of 17 on third down conversions in the Show-Me State and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 33:18, while the Chiefs, who held the ball for 26:42, went 2 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

New England leads the series 69-43-1 (which includes games that took place at old War Memorial Stadium, Schaffer Stadium and Fenway Park) and the Pats have outscored Buffalo 2,499-2,100. The two AFC East foes split last year’s contests, with each winning in the other team’s facility.

They met in Foxboro in week four and the Pats did not have the services of Brady, who sat out four games for his part in “Inflategate.” Buffalo shut out the Pats 16-0 in the first meeting, leading 13-0 at the intermission and never looked back. Buffalo outrushed New England 134-90 and Taylor threw for 246 yards and a TD, while Jacoby Brissett, taking over for Brady, threw for 205 yards but was sacked three times. The Bills on third down tries at Gillette Stadium went 7 of 15 and kept the ball for 36:11, while the Pats went 1 of 12 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:49.

Round 2… week eight in upstate New York (Orchard Park, to be specific). Brady would be back and the Pats would get revenge on their AFC East rivals, coming away 41-25 winners at New Era Stadium. New England led 24-10 at the half and outscored the Bills 17-15 in the final 30 minutes of play. Buffalo again outrushed New England 167-72 but Brady threw for 315 yards and four TDs, while Taylor threw for 183 before being relieved by E.J. Manuel. The Pats were 9 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 29:51, while the Bills ruled the clock and held on to the pigskin for 30:09, going 4 of 13 on third down and 2 of 4 on fourth down.

New England was favored by 7 in the week four contest in Foxboro and the Bills covered, winning by 16 but the 45 over/under was intact as the Bills did all the scoring in the contest. New England’s 16-point win in the week eight matchup in upstate New York allowed them to cover the 6 1/2 point spread easily and the 66 combined points was more than enough to take care of the 47 over/under. New England’s favored by 8 1/2 and the over/under’s 49. The 49 is reasonable. The 8 1/2 is a bit on the steep side. The Bills at times have been bad but they’re not 8 1/2 bad. Buffalo will make this one interesting but New England at the Pats prevail. Pats win but expect Buffalo to make it closer than 8 1/2.

San Francisco (1-10) at Chicago (3-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Sourdough meets deep dish as a pair of struggling teams meet in the Windy City for the second year in a row as San Francisco takes on Da Bears at Soldier Field.

San Francisco found themselves all but out of the post-season race as they dropped a 24-13 decision to the Seahawks last Sunday at Levis Stadium in an NFC West matchup. Seattle led 7-3 at the break and 14-6 after three quarters of play before the Seahawks would eventually pull away from the 49ers, who were held to 84 yards rushing, while Seattle tallied 90 yards rushing of their own. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 228 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Jimmy Graham), while the 49ers’ C.J. Bethard threw for 201 yards with three sacks and an interception before being knocked out of the contest and replaced by Jimmy Graffalo (who will be under center Sunday for San Francisco), who threw their only TD of the contest as the clock struck :00, connecting with RB Lance Murhphy on a 10-yard toss. San Francisco was 5 of 16 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 30:29, while the Seahawks were 29:31 in time of possession, going 5 of 13 on third down.

Chicago was held to a third-quarter field goal by Chris Santos by Philadelphia as they were taken to task by the Eagles 31-3 last Sunday. Da Bears trailed 24-0 at the intermission before breaking Philly’s bid for a shutout when Santos connected on a 38-yard field goal with 8:40 left in the third. Chicago was held to a season-low 6 yards on the ground, while the Eagles ran for 176 in the win. Mitchell Trubisky threw for 147 yards for Chicago but was sacked twice and picked off twice, while Carson Wentz threw for 227 yards and three TDs. Chicago went 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:52, while the Eagles ruled time and kept the ball for 37:08, going 7 of 16 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

Da Bears lead the series 31-30-1 (including games that took place at Wrigley Field, Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park) and the 49ers have outscored Chicago 1,371-1,275. Chicago won the last meeting with San Francisco, which took place last year in the Windy City by a final of 26-6, while San Francisco needed overtime at Soldier Field in 2015 to come away 26-20 winners.

They met at Soldier Field in chilly week 13 (game time temp? A balmy 33 degrees with a wind chill of 28) and Da Bears led 7-6 at the half before shutting out the 49ers 19-0 in the second half. Chicago got three TD runs from RB Jordan Howard in the win, as they barely outrushed San Francisco 142-141 (Howard led all rushers with 117 yards, while 49ers RB Carlos Hyde led his team with 92 yards). Matt Barkley threw for 192 yards for Chicago, while Colin Kaepernick was sacked five times, throwing for only four yards (Blaine Gabbert would take over for him but struggled as well, throwing for 35 yards). San Francisco went 4 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 28:42, while Da Bears ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 31:18, going 6 of 14 on third down.

In the week 13 contest in the Windy City, Da Bears covered the 2 1/2 point spread with their 20-point win at Soldier Field. As for the 43 1/2 over/under? It stayed warm, as both clubs combined for 32 points. Chicago’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Windy City and the over/under is 40. Unless you’re a fan of one of these teams, may we suggest that you beg the wife, girlfriend, significant other or gal pal to take you Christmas shopping. It’s almost safe to say that neither of these teams will be invited to the playoff party but we have to pick a winner. Deep dish wins over Sourdough. Da Bears cover the 3 1/2 and wins at home.

Tampa Bay (4-7) at Green Bay (5-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s the battle of the Bays, as Tampa Bay makes its way to the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst to face off against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau.

Tampa Bay saw Atlanta break a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter and watched the Falcons take a 34-20 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last Sunday in the Big Peach. Tampa Bay was burned by Atlanta All-Pro WR Julio Jones for 253 yards and a pair of TDs in the second quarter (pass number one came from WR Mohammed Sanu, pass number two came from Ryan). Atlanta led 20-6 at the and never looked back, even though both teams played even football in the final 30 minutes of action. Sanu is the first wide receiver since the 1970 merger to throw multiple career 50+ yard touchdown passes. He is also the first non-quarterback to throw two career 50+ yard touchdown passes since Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton (1979, 1983).

Ryan threw for 317 yards without a sack or interception, while the Falcons outrushed Tampa Bay 148-94 (Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 97 yards and a pair of TDs). For Tampa Bay, Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for Jameis Winston (shoulder) threw for 283 yards with a sack in the loss. Atlanta on third down was 11 of 11 and kept the ball for 30:06, while Tampa Bay held the pigskin for 29:54, going  4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Green Bay rallied late in their Sunday night contest with Pittsburgh at Heinz Field, only to see the Steelers come away with a 31-28 last second win. The Pack and Steelers were tied at 14-14 at the half and led 21-14 with 12:06 left in the third when Packers QB Brett Hundley and WR Davante Adams connected on a 55-yard TD strike. Pittsburgh would eventually take the lead back as WR Antonio Brown caught a pair of Ben Roethlisberger TD passes and took that lead into the latter parts of the fourth, when the Packers used a 12-play, 77-yard drive that used 6:40 of clock to tie things back up when RB Jamaal Williams scored on a 4-yard run with 2:02 left in regulation.

Pittsburgh got the ball back with 17 seconds left in regulation and made the most of those 17 seconds, needing only 4 plays and 35 yards of real estate and took the contest when Chris Boswell connected on a 52-yard field goal. Pittsburgh outrushed Green Bay 121-80 and Hundley threw for 245 yards and three TDs, while Roethlisberger threw for 351 and four TDs, while throwing a pair of interceptions. Green Bay was 6 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 26:24, while the Steelers were 8 of 13 and held the ball for 33:36, including the final 17 seconds of the contest (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

The Packers lead the Battle of the Bays 31-21-1 (including contests that were played in Milwaukee and at old Tampa Stadium), Green Bay has outscored Tampa Bay 1,032-853 and the Packers have won the last two meetings in the series, including taking a 20-3 win in the Sunshine State in 2014. As for the Bucs? Their last win over the Packers came in 2009 in Tampa Bay by a final of 38-28. The Packers are favored by 2 and the over/under is 43. While this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” this one is interesting to watch. Packers recover from the loss in the Steel City and cover the 2 at Lambeau.

Indianapolis (3-8) at Jacksonville (7-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. It’s round two of an AFC South matchup as the Colts travel to the Sunshine State to square off against Jacksonville. Both teams enter the Sunday afternoon contest in north Florida with losses under their belts.

The Colts were beaten by Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans 20-16 at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday. Indy let a 13-6 lead at the half get away from them as the Titans would respond by outscoring the Colts 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play, with Tennessee taking the lead for good when Titans RB DeMarco Murray scored from one yard out with 5:59 left in the contest. Tennessee outrushed Indianapolis 92-89 and Mariota threw for 184 yards, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 196 yards but was sacked eight times. The Colts on third down tries went 6 of 14 and held the ball for 31:22, while the Titans went 3 of 8 on third down and held on to the ball for 28:38.

Jacksonville struggled to pull even with Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium last Sunday, only to see the Cardinals pull a rabbit out of their hats to lose 27-24 in the desert. Arizona led 13-3 at the intermission before the Jaguars would eventually tie things up with 7:26 left in regulation when Blake Bortles would scamper in and score on a 17-yard run. After a Jacksonville punt, Arizona got the ball back with 16 seconds left to play and used only 3 plays and 22 yards to set up Phil Dawson to kick a 57-yard field goal with one second left to take the lead back. The Cardinals then kicked off to Jacksonville (with 1 second left), who used several lateral passes in a futile attempt to move the ball down field. Arizona outrushed Jacksonville 108-91, Bortles threw for 160 yards with an interception and three sacks, while Blaine Gabbard threw for 241 yards and a pair of TDs. Jacksonville on third down was 1 of 12 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Jaguars held the pigskin for 25:21, while the Cardinals were 7 of 17 on third down, keeping the ball for 34:39.

They met in the Hoosier State in week seven and Jacksonville shut out Indy 27-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Jaguars led 20-0 at the intermission and held the Colts in check in the second half for the road win. Jacksonville outrushed the Colts 188-96 (the Jaguars’ T.J. Yeldon led all rushers with 122 yards and a TD), while Bortles threw for 330 yards and a TD, while the Jacksonville defense sacked Brissett (200 yards) 10 times in the shutout. Jacksonville went 8 of 14 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and the Jaguars held the ball for 32:47, while the Colts kept the pigskin for 27:13, going 5 of 15 and 0 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Jacksonville easily covered the 3 1/2-point spread with their 27-point win but their 27 points meant they did not cover the 40 1/2 over/under. Jacksonville’s favored by 9 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 41. The Colts are not great but they’re not 9 1/2 points bad. However, the Jaguars are making a march toward the playoffs, while the Colts are trying to survive. Expect the Colts to make it a close contest but Jacksonville pulls off the sweep in the Sunshine State and takes the win.

Denver (3-8) at Miami (4-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet in the Sunshine State when Denver travels to South Beach for a showdown with the Miami Dolphins.

Denver dropped a 21-14 decision at Oakland last Sunday at the Coliseum. The rematch in northern California was anything but civil as Raiders WR Michael Crabtree and Denver CB Aqib Talib would find themselves involved in a brawl on field that made Tyson-Holyfield look calm. Punches were thrown, both players were ejected from the contest and both were suspended two games without pay (after meeting with the ppwers that be, that suspension wound up being reduced to one for both men). Oakland outrushed Denver 104-59 and Derek Carr threw for 253 yards, while Trevor Siemian, who took over for Paxton Lynch (injury) threw for 149 yards (both threw a pair of TDs). Denver on third down went 5 of 14 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Broncos held the ball for 24:06, while the Raiders were 5 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 35:54.

Miami found themselves trailing New England 21-10 at the half in Foxboro and came away on the short end of a 35-17 loss to Tom Brady and the Pats last Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Brady (227 yards, four TDs) and TE Rob Gronkowski connected on a pair of TDs in the contest and the Pats never looked back. New England sacked Matt Moore (215 yards, TD) seven times and picked him off twice, holding Miami to 67 yards rushing, while Deon Lewis accounted for 112 of New England’s 196 yards on the ground. New England went 5 of 12 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down and the Pats kept the ball for 32:41, while Miami went 2 of 11, 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs and held on to the ball for 27:19.

Including games that were played at the old Orange Bowl and at Mile High Stadium, the Dolphins lead the series 11-5-1 and the ‘Fins have outscored the Broncos 403-317. Denver has taken wins in the last two contests, coming away 39-36 winners in 2014 in the Mile High City in the last meeting, while Miami’s last win over Denver came in 2008 (also in the Mile High City) by a final of 26-17. Denver’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 39 1/2. We wouldn’t blame you if you chose not to watch this one and instead binge watch the sixth season of “Gilmore Girls.” (Luke and Loreli are really a cute couple and he’d make a hell of a stepdad for Rory!) Miami pulls the upset at home, taking the win and covering the 1.

Kansas City (6-5) at New York Jets (4-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Chiefs make their second trip to the Meadowlands as they face the other Met Life Stadium tenant in upstate New Jersey when they call on the New York Jets.

Kansas City dropped their fifth game in six tries, coming away on the short end of a 16-10 loss to Buffalo at Arrowhead last Sunday. Buffalo led 10-3 at halftime, then held off a late Chiefs rally in the second half for the win on the road. Buffalo outrushed Kansas City 104-55 and Tyrod Taylor threw for 183 yards, while the Chiefs’ Alex Smith threw for 199 yards with an interception (each man threw a TD pass). The Bills would wind up going 6 of 17 on third down conversions in the Show-Me State and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 33:18, while the Chiefs, who held the ball for 26:42, went 2 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

GangGreen saw Carolina win their fourth in a row as the Panther defeated them 35-27 last week at Met Life Stadium. Carolina used TDs from linebacker Luke Kuechly (34-yard fumble return) and punt returner Kaelin Clay (60-yard punt return) scored touchdowns in the fourth quarter to seal the win, marking the second time in franchise history – and first since the club’s inaugural 1995 season (October 8, 1995 against Chicago) – in which the Panthers scored two return touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a game. The Jets led 20-18 early in the final quarter of play before Kuechly and Clay would score their touchdowns to seal New York’s fate. After Javon Kearse and Josh McCown connected on a 3-yard TD pass to pull to within 5 at 32-27, Graham Gano would push the lead to eight with a 45-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. Carolina outrushed the Jets 145-109 and Newton threw for 168 yards and had a rushing TD of his own, while McCown threw for 307 yards with three TDs (each man was sacked three times). Carolina on third down tries in the Meadowlands went 3 of 14 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 31:50, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 28:10 in time of possession, going 5 of 14 on third down.

Including games that were played at Shea Stadium and old Swope Field, the Chiefs lead the series 18-17-1, have outscored GangGreen 819-698 and Kansas City has won the last two meetings, including winning last year by a final of 24-3 at Arrowhead. (The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! last win over the Chiefs came in 2011 in the Meadowlands by a final of 37-10.

The week three contest at Arrowhead saw Kansas City lead 17-7 at the intermission and outpaced GangGreen in the second half, shutting out the Jets in the process. While GangGreen did outrush the Chiefs 117-72, Smtih burned New York for 237 yards and a TD strike to TE Travis Kelce, while the Chiefs defense picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick (188 yards) six times (the Chiefs forced eight turnovers in the contest). Kansas City was 7 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:05, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held on to the pigskin for 27:55.

Winning by 27 allowed the Chiefs to cover the 3-point spread in the week three contest but both teams combined for 27 points, missing the 43 over/under. This time, the Chiefs are favored by 3 1/2 in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 44. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are not a bad team but at times they have played that way. The Chiefs are trying to regain their footing after dropping five of their last six. Chiefs cover the 3 1/2 and take the win in the Meadowlands.

Houston (4-7) at Tennessee (7-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. They meet again. This time, it’s in the Music City. Tennessee hosts Houston in an AFC South contest at Nissan Stadium.

Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans rallied to take a 20-16 against Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday. Indy let a 13-6 lead at the half get away from them as the Titans would respond by outscoring the Colts 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play, with Tennessee taking the lead for good when Titans RB DeMarco Murray scored from one yard out with 5:59 left in the contest. Tennessee outrushed Indianapolis 92-89 and Mariota threw for 184 yards, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 196 yards but was sacked eight times. The Colts on third down tries went 6 of 14 and held the ball for 31:22, while the Titans went 3 of 8 on third down and held on to the ball for 28:38.

Houston saw Baltimore erase a 7-0 first quarter lead last Monday night and fell to the Ravens 23-16 in Charm City. Houston kept things close, trailing 17-10 at the half, then saw a pair of late rallies fall short that would have either tied things up or given them the lead. Baltimore outrushed Houston 139-66 and Joe Flacco threw for 141 yards, while Houston’s Tom Savage threw for 252 yards with a pair of interceptions (the second pick came late in the fourth quarter as the Texans were driving to tie the contest up). The Ravens on third down were 3 of 14 (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:44. The Texans actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:16, while going 6 of 14 on third down tries.

It’s a rematch from week four in the Lone Star State that saw Houston lead 30-14 at the half and walk away 57-14 winners. The Texans outrushed Tennessee 173-86 and picked off Mariota (96 yards) twice, while DeShaun Watson threw for 283 yards and four TDs in the lopsided affair at NRG Stadium. The Texans were 6 of 12 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 39:41, while the Titans kept the pigskin for 20:19, going 2 of 8 on third down.

In the week four contest in Houston, Tennessee was a 1 1/2-point favorite and the Texans covered, winning by 43 and the two clubs combined for 71 points, which covered the 44 over/under.  The boys and girls in Vegas thought they would make the Titans a favorite again and they did, this time by 6 1/2 and the over/under this time around is 43. Both teams are trying to keep pace in an AFC South that for the most part has become a two-team race. Tennessee’s trying to keep Jacksonville at bay, while the Texans are trying to catch both teams. Houston gets revenge and takes the win in the Music City, even though they won’t cover the 6 1/2.

Cleveland (0-11) at Los Angeles Chargers (5-6), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. The winless Cleveland Browns travel westward for a meeting at Stub Hub Center with Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Browns once again found themselves in the Pit of Misery, remaining winless as they completed the sweep with their instate rivals from Cincinnati, as the Bengals wound up taking a 30-16 win last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals led 16-6 at the break, then held Cleveland in check in the second half for the win at home. Cleveland did manage to outrush the Bengals 169-152 but Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, while Andy Dalton threw for 214 yards and a pair of TDs. The Bengals were 4 of 10 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:32, while the winless Browns were 29:28 in time of possession and went 6 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead at the half at AT&T Stadium against Dallas last Thursday before the Chargers and Philip Rivers would outscore them 25-6 in the final 30 minutes of action, coming away 28-6 winners in the Lone Star State. The Chargers outrushed Dallas 81-79 and Rivers burned the Dallas secondary for 434 yards and three TDs, while Cowboys QB Dak Prescott threw for 179 yards but was sacked twice and picked off twice, one returned by Chargers rookie CB Desmond King 90 yards for a TD. Dallas on third down tries actually did well, going 6 of 11 and kept the ball for 23:55, while the Chargers kept the pigskin hostage, keeping it for 36:05, going 9 of 14 on third, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games that were played at Memorial Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers lead the series 15-9-1 and have outscored the Browns 593-488. They met last year in week 16 on Christmas Eve afternoon (game time temp? 38 degrees with a 30 wind chill) and the Browns survived a last second scare from the Chargers, taking a 20-17 win at First Energy Field (the Chargers’ last win over Cleveland came in 2015 when they were based in San Diego and the Bolts took a 30-27 win at Qualcomm).

In the week 16 contest, Cleveland led 17-10 at the half, then held off a late rally in the final quarter when Chargers’ K Josh Lambo’s 45-yard field goal try sailed wide right of the mark. Cleveland outrushed San Diego 124-34, while Rivers threw for 322 yards and a pair of TDs, while Cleveland’s Robert Griffin III threw for 164 yards but was sacked seven times. Each club had 15 third down conversion attempts and the Browns were successful on six of them, while the Chargers found success five times. On fourth down, both teams were perfect, as the Chargers were 2 of 2, while the Browns were 1 of 1. Time was on the side of the Browns, as Cleveland held the ball for 32:29, while San Diego kept it for 27:31.

While San Diego was favored by 6, the Browns would take the win but only by 3. As for the 44 over/under? It was all snug in its bed, as both teams combined for 37 points. The Chargers are favored by 14 and the over/under’s 43. The Browns are bad but not 14 points bad. They’ll at least put up a fight but the Chargers prevail at home.

Los Angeles Rams (8-3) at Arizona (5-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of NFC West rivals meet in the desert as the Rams travel to Glendale for a week seven rematch with the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Los Angeles, leading the AFC West and winners of five of their last six contest, broke New Orleans’ eight-game win streak, taking a 26-20 victory over the Saints at the Coliseum last Sunday. The Rams led 17-10 at the break before the Saints would eventually pull to within seven with 1:45 when rookie RB Alvin Kamara scored his second TD of the afternoon, catching a 15-yard pass from Drew Brees (Kamara had a 74-yard run earlier in the contest to end the Rams’ bid for a shutout). The Rams would then stop a bid by the Saints to get the ball back to either tie or take the lead when they recovered an onside kick. Los Angeles would then kneel down and run out the clock and take the win. New Orleans did manage to outrush the Rams 123-88 and Kamara led all rushers with 87 yards, while Todd Gurley led the Rams with 74 and the Rams’ Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and Brees threw for 246 yards. The Rams were 3 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:26, while the Saints on third down tries were 3 of 13 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and New Orleans held on to the ball for 24:34.

Arizona broke a 24-24 tie against Jacksonville at University of Phoenix Stadium last Sunday, coming away 27-24 winners in the desert. The Desert Angry Birds led 13-3 at the intermission before the Jaguars would eventually tie things up with 7:26 left in regulation when Blake Bortles would scamper in and score on a 17-yard run. After a Jacksonville punt, Arizona got the ball back with 16 seconds left to play and used only 3 plays and 22 yards to set up Phil Dawson to kick a 57-yard field goal with one second left to take the lead back. (It marked the longest fourth-quarter game-winning field goal in NFL history by a 40-year old kicker (42 years old). The Cardinals then kicked off to Jacksonville (with 1 second left), who used several lateral passes in a futile attempt to move the ball down field. Arizona outrushed Jacksonville 108-91, Bortles threw for 160 yards with an interception and three sacks, while Blaine Gabbard threw for 241 yards and a pair of TDs. Jacksonville on third down was 1 of 12 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Jaguars held the pigskin for 25:21, while the Cardinals were 7 of 17 on third down, keeping the ball for 34:39.

They met in London in week seven and the Rams were 33-0 winners at Twickenham Stadium. Los Angeles led 23-0 at the half and never took their foot off the gas, scoring 10 more second half points unchallenged. Gurley ran for 106 yards and a TD, while the Rams outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 197-95 and Goff threw for 235 yards and a TD (Arizona’s Carson Palmer threw for 122 yards in the contest before being knocked out with a shoulder injury). Los Angeles on third down went 13 of 19 and kept the ball for 39:01, while Arizona went 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held the pigskin for 20:59.

The Rams won by 33, which allowed them to cover the 3 1/2-point spread but their 33 points fell well short of the over/under of 47 1/2. Los Angeles is favored this time around by 7 and the over/under’s 45. Los Angeles wants to stay in first place in the NFC West, the Desert Angry Birds want revenge for their contest in London. Los Angeles may not cover the 7 but they complete the sweep with the win in the desert.

Carolina (8-3) at New Orleans (8-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Newton vs. Brees. Round two in the Bayou. This time, it’s Carolina BBQ making their way to the Big Easy against Gumbo as the Panthers and Saints, tied for first in the NFC South, meet in the Big Easy.

The Panthers, who have won four in a row, defeated the New York Jets last week 35-27 as linebacker Luke Kuechly (34-yard fumble return) and punt returner Kaelin Clay (60-yard punt return) scored touchdowns in the fourth quarter. It marked the second time in franchise history – and first since the club’s inaugural 1995 season (October 8, 1995 against Chicago) – in which the Panthers scored two return touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a game. The Jets led 20-18 early in the final quarter of play before Kuechly and Clay would score their touchdowns to seal New York’s fate. After Javon Kearse and Josh McCown connected on a 3-yard TD pass to pull to within 5 at 32-27, Graham Gano would push the lead to eight with a 45-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. Carolina outrushed the Jets 145-109 and Newton threw for 168 yards and had a rushing TD of his own, while McCown threw for 307 yards with three TDs (each man was sacked three times). Carolina on third down tries in the Meadowlands went 3 of 14 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 31:50, while the Jets were 28:10 in time of possession, going 5 of 14 on third down.

New Orleans saw their eight-game win streak snapped by the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday on the West Coast. The Saints trailed 17-10 at the intermission but would pull to within seven with 1:45 left in regulation when rookie RB Alvin Kamara scored his second TD of the afternoon, catching a 15-yard pass from Drew Brees (Kamara had a 74-yard run earlier in the contest to end the Rams’ bid for a shutout). With the Saints out of time outs, K Wil Lutz tried an onside kick that Los Angeles recovered. No time outs meant that the Saints could not stop the Rams from kneeling down three times and took the loss. Kamara led all rushers with 87 yards and Todd Gurley paced the Rams with 74 (the Saints outrushed the Rams 123-88), while Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and Brees threw for 246 yards. The Rams were 3 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:26, while the Saints on third down tries were 3 of 13 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and New Orleans held on to the ball for 24:34.

They faced off in Charlotte in week three at Bank of America Stadium and the Saints were 34-13 winners in that contest. New Orleans led 17-6 and got a pair of TD passes from Brees (220 yards) in the 21-point road win. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 149-132 and the Saints defense sacked Newton (167 yards) four times and picked him off three times. The Saints on third down tries? 6 of 12 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:09, while the Panthers were 7 of 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 31:09.

In the week three contest in the Tar Heel State, the Panthers were favored by 6 and the Saints covered, winning by 21;  however… both clubs BARELY missed the 48 over/under by 1 point. The oddsmakers like the Saints as 4 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 48. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both teams can put up points.

Since they’re both tied for first in the NFC South and they’re both divisional rivals, it’s only fitting that this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 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 have an almost clear shot to win the NFC South. The loser? While they may be out of the race for the divisional title, they’re not out of the playoff party. Carolina’s got a chip on its shoulder and they would love nothing more than to take the Saints to task. They’ll get that chance. Carolina’s finer and they cover the 4 1/2 on the road and take the win.

New York Giants (2-9) at Oakland (5-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 717. After over a decade of being under center for the Giants, someone other than Eli Manning will be calling signals for the Giants as they travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders in Northern California. Manning was benched this week in favor of fifth-year signal caller Geno Smith.

The Giants went into the half in their Thanksgiving evening contest with Washington tied at 3-3, only to come out on the short end of a 20-10 loss to their NFC East rivals. The Redskins would take a 10-3 lead with 6:32 left in the third when Kirk Cousins and WR Jamison Crowder connected on a 15-yard TD strike. Cousins would then be the victim of a turnover when Giants CB Janoris Jenkins picked him off and returned the ball 53 yards to tie the contest up with 2:52 left in the third. Washington then restored order in the fourth, as Cousins would connect with WR Josh Doctson on a 14-yard TD strike to take the lead back for good and K Nick Rose would seal the deal, connecting on a 33-yard field goal with 1:49 left in the contest. Washington outrushed the Giants 122-84, with Redskins RB Samaje Perine leading the way with 100 yards, while Cousins threw for 242 yards and the two TDs, despite being sacked six times, while Eli Manning, who will sit this game out in favor of Geno Smith, who will be under center Sunday, threw for 113 yards with four sacks and an interception. Washington went 4 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 34:37, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

The Raiders got revenge on Denver last Sunday in Oakland and came away 21-14 winners at the Coliseum. The rematch in northern California was anything but civil as Raiders WR Michael Crabtree and Denver CB Aqib Talib would find themselves involved in a brawl on field that made Tyson-Holyfield look calm. Punches were thrown, both players were ejected from the contest and both were suspended two games without pay (that suspension would be reduced to one for both men). Oakland outrushed Denver 104-59 and Derek Carr threw for 253 yards, while Trevor Siemian, who took over for Paxton Lynch (injury) threw for 149 yards (both threw a pair of TDs). Denver on third down went 5 of 14 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Broncos held the ball for 24:06, while the Raiders were 5 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 35:54.

The Raiders lead the series 7-5, which includes games that were played in Los Angeles when the Silver and Black called Tinseltown home and Oakland has outscored Big Blue 254-225. New York has won the last three meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 2013 in the Meadowlands by a final of 24-20, while the Raiders’ last win over the Giants came in 2001 at old Giants Stadium by a 28-10 count. Oakland’s favored by 8 1/2 and the over/under’s 42. Both teams at times have played some decent football. The Giants are struggling to keep their heads above water, while the Raiders are at the very least trying to get a wild card spot in the AFC playoffs. Oakland may not cover the 8 1/2 at home but they win baby.

Philadelphia (10-1) at Seattle (7-4), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Cheesesteak vs. Salmon. A pair of NFC contenders meet in the Pacific Northwest as the Eagles travel to Seattle for a prime-time meeting with the Seattle Seahawks.

Philadelphia held Chicago to a third-quarter field goal by Chris Santos as they were took the Bears 31-3 last Sunday in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia led 24-0 at the intermission before Chicago put and end to Philly’s bid for a shutout when Santos connected on a 38-yard field goal with 8:40 left in the third. Chicago was held to a season-low 6 yards on the ground, while the Eagles ran for 176 in the win. Mitchell Trubisky threw for 147 yards for Chicago but was sacked twice and picked off twice, while Carson Wentz threw for 227 yards and three TDs. Chicago went 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:52, while the Eagles ruled time and kept the ball for 37:08, going 7 of 16 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

Seattle all but knocked San Francisco out of the post-season race as they handed the 49ers a 24-13 loss last Sunday at Levis Stadium in an NFC West matchup. Seattle led 7-3 at the break and 14-6 after three quarters of play before the Seahawks would eventually pull away from the 49ers, who were held to 84 yards rushing, while Seattle tallied 90 yards rushing of their own. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 228 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Jimmy Graham), while the 49ers’ C.J. Bethard threw for 201 yards with three sacks and an interception before being knocked out of the contest and replaced by Jimmy Graffalo (who will be under center Sunday for San Francisco), who threw their only TD of the contest as the clock struck :00, connecting with RB Lance Murhphy on a 10-yard toss. San Francisco was 5 of 16 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 30:29, while the Seahawks were 29:31 in time of possession, going 5 of 13 on third down.

The Seahawks lead the series 8-7, they’ve outscored the Eagles 323-286 and they’ve won the last three contests with the Eagles, taking a 26-15 win last year in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, while the Eagles’ last win over Seattle was on the road, coming away 26-7 winners in 2008. Philly’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Given that there are two pretty good QBs on the field Sunday night, it’s safe to say that this one is “DRILL WORTHY!” (what the heck? There’s nothing that says you can’t have two “DRILL WORTHY” games, so we’re going to make this one “DW…” For instructions on what to do, see the Carolina-New Orleans game)

This could very well be a playoff matchup and it’s East Coast vs. West Coast. Seattle will make this one exciting to watch but the Eagles prevail on the road and covers the 5.

Pittsburgh (9-2) at Cincinnati (5-6), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A pair of AFC North rivals close out action in week 13 as the Steelers travel to Cincinnati for a Monday night primetime meeting along the shores of the Ohio River.

Pittsburgh saw Green Bay rally to tie in their Sunday night contest at Heinz Field, only to see the Steelers come away with a 31-28 last second win. Green Bay and Pittsburgh were tied at 14-14 at the half and the Packers led 21-14 with 12:06 left in the third when Packers QB Brett Hundley and WR Davante Adams connected on a 55-yard TD strike. Pittsburgh would eventually take the lead back as WR Antonio Brown caught a pair of Ben Roethlisberger TD passes and took that lead into the latter parts of the fourth, when the Packers used a 12-play, 77-yard drive that used 6:40 of clock to tie things back up when RB Jamaal Williams scored on a 4-yard run with 2:02 left in regulation.

Cincinnati kept Cleveland winless in the AFC North as they completed the sweep with their instate rivals, taking a 30-16 win over the Browns last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals led 16-6 at the break, then held Cleveland in check in the second half for the win at home. Cleveland did manage to outrush the Bengals 169-152 but Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, while Andy Dalton threw for 214 yards and a pair of TDs. The Bengals were 4 of 10 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:32, while the winless Browns were 29:28 in time of possession and went 6 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh got the ball back with 17 seconds left in regulation and made the most of those 17 seconds, needing only 4 plays and 35 yards of real estate and took the contest when Chris Boswell connected on a 52-yard field goal. Pittsburgh outrushed Green Bay 121-80 and Hundley threw for 245 yards and three TDs, while Roethlisberger threw for 351 and four TDs, while throwing a pair of interceptions. Green Bay was 6 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 26:24, while the Steelers were 8 of 13 and held the ball for 33:36, including the final 17 seconds of the contest (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

They met in the Steel City in week seven at Heinz Field and Pittsburgh took the 29-14 win. The Steelers led 20-14 at the half and got three Chris Boswell field goals in the final 30 minutes of action to take the win. Pittsburgh outrushed the Bengals 152-71 and Bell ran for 134 of those yards, while Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Brown and Ju Ju Smith-Schuester on those tosses. Dalton threw for 140 yards for the Bengals with a pair of TDs but was also picked off twice and sacked four times.  Pittsburgh on third down tries went 2 of 11 (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:15, while the Bengals were 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held on the pigskin for 24:45.

In the week seven affair in the Steel City, Pittsburgh covered the 5 1/2-point spread, winning by 15 and the over/under of 41 was taken care of, as both teams combined for 43 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Steelers again as 5 1/2 point favorites but the over/under’s now 43 1/2.

The Bengals on Monday night are 11-23, while the Steelers are 44-24. This one could very well be worth your time to watch, so you might want to tape “Scorpion” again this week. The Steelers covered in the week seven contest at Heinz and they’ll do it again. Steelers make it a clean sweep in the series and wins on the road.