Archives for category: Matt Ryan

They’re still standing.

New England (6-0) and San Francisco (5-0) are still standing as the only two unbeaten teams in the National Football League.

While the Patriots and 49ers revel in the spotlight, Cincinnati (0-6) and Miami (0-6) remain winless and search for their first wins this week. Washington and the New York Jets picked up their first wins last week in close contests… but as they say, a win is a win. As for Bengals and Dolphins fans, hold your heads up and remember, an NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint.

MOST COMPETITIVE CONTESTS EVER: No other season through six weeks has produced more games decided by seven-or-fewer points than 2019. This year, 51 of 92 games (55.4 percent) have been decided by seven-or-fewer points, including nine of 14 games in Week 6. This season also is tied for the most one-point games through Week 6 since the 1970 merger.

The seasons with the most games decided by one- and seven-or-fewer points through six weeks:

GAMES DECIDED BY ONE-OR-FEWER POINTS, THROUGH WEEK 6, SINCE 1970

2019 – 9
2016 – 9
1997 – 9
1972 – 9
1999 – 8

GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN-OR-FEWER POINTS, THROUGH WEEK 6, ALL-TIME

2019 – 51
2016 – 50
1999 – 50
2018 – 47
2015 – 47
2011 – 47

100TH OF THE 100TH: One of the early contests Sunday will mark the 100th game of the NFL’s 100th season. The league has completed 92 games entering this week. As the 100th kickoff approaches, several NFL players and teams are on pace to challenge some of the game’s most esteemed records.

On Sunday afternoon, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens travel to the Pacific Northwest to meet Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson has a passer rating over 100 in each of Seattle’s first six games and is on pace to break two single-season NFL records held by Aaron Rodgers, his 122.5 passer rating in 2011 and his 0.34 interception percentage in 2018. Meanwhile, Jackson last week had 236 passing yards and a career-high 152 rushing yards with a touchdown in a 23-17 win over Cincinnati. His 152 rushing yards were the fourth-most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history, including the postseason. Jackson, who registered his third career game with at least 115 rushing yards, is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to register at least 115 rushing yards in at least three games in his first two seasons.

PLENTY OF HEARTBEATS REMAINING: Hope is in plentiful supply across the NFL. That’s because in 2018 after Week 7, five of the 12 teams that qualified for the playoffs were either .500 or below in the NFL standings. After this week concludes on Monday night at MetLife Stadium, it’s very likely that at least one team sitting at .500 or below will still make the playoffs. Since 2011, at least one team has qualified for the playoffs after beginning the year at-or-below .500 through Week 7.

The playoff teams that were at-or-below .500 through seven weeks, since 2011:

YEAR – PLAYOFF TEAMS AT OR BELOW .500 THROUGH SEVEN WEEKS
2018 – *Chicago, *Dallas, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle*
2017 – ATLANTA
2016 – Miami
2015 – *Houston, Kansas City, Seattle, *Washington
2014 – *Carolina, *Seattle
2013 – *Carolina, *Philadelphia
2012 – Cincinnati, *Denver, Indianapolis, *Washington
2011 – *Denver
*won division

BARRETT & GARRETT, LLC: Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett and Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett have earned their byes this week. Both players are off in Week 7 after beginning the season on a torrid pace. Barrett and Garrett are tied for the NFL lead with nine sacks. The last time multiple players had nine-or-more sacks through six weeks was in 2013 (Robert Mathis and Justin Houston each had 9.5).

RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS ON UPWARD SLOPE: NFL clubs have combined for 167 rushing touchdowns through six weeks of play. Only the 1979 and 1976 seasons had more in NFL history entering Week 7.

At the quarterback position alone, NFL signal-callers have rushed for 31 touchdowns during the 2019 season, surpassing 2002 (28) for the most rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks through the first six weeks of a season since the 1970 merger. In Week 6, quarterbacks totaled 10 rushing touchdowns, surpassing Week 13 of the 2015 season (nine) for the most in a single week since 1970.

The most overall rushing touchdowns by NFL players through six weeks in NFL history:

YEAR – RUSH TD
1979 – 187
1976 – 175
2019 – 167
1984 – 167
Many – 158

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs had seven receptions for 167 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ 38-20 win over Philadelphia.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffery and wide receiver Curtis Samuel each had a rushing and receiving touchdown in the Panthers’ 37-26 win over Tampa Bay at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The London series continues in Week 8 when the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams face off at Wembley Stadium. McCaffrey and Samuel are the third pair of teammates to each record a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game since 1980 and first since November 10, 2013, when New Orleans Saints running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas each had a rushing and receiving touchdown.

Carolina recorded seven sacks and five interceptions in the win, becoming the first team with at least seven sacks and five interceptions in a single game since Miami (eight sacks, six interceptions) on December 6, 1998.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson had 236 passing yards and a career-high 152 rushing yards with a touchdown in the Ravens’ 23-17 win over Cincinnati. His 152 rushing yards are the fourth-most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history, including the postseason.

Jackson is the second quarterback to record at least 200 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in a single game in NFL history, including the postseason, joining Colin Kaepernick on January 12, 2013 (263 passing yards, 181 rushing yards in NFC Divisional playoffs). Jackson, who registered his third career game with at least 115 rushing yards, is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to register at least 115 rushing yards in at least three games in his first two seasons.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 117.6 passer rating and added a rushing touchdown in the Seahawks’ 32-28 win at Cleveland. Wilson, who has recorded a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of Seattle’s first six games of the season, joined Aaron Rodgers (12 games in 2011), Tom Brady (eight in 2007) and Carson Palmer (six in 2005) as the only quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history.

Wilson, who is playing in his eighth NFL season, recorded his 67th career game with at least two touchdown passes and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (67 games) for the third-most such games in a player’s first eight seasons in league annals. Only Peyton Manning (74 games) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (72) had more such games in their first eight seasons.

Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson passed for 280 yards and had three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) in the Texans’ 31-24 win at Kansas City.

Watson has 7,508 passing yards in 29 career games and tied Marc Bulger (29 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (29) and Matthew Stafford (29) as quarterbacks to reach 7,500 career passing yards in the second-fewest games in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (27 games) reached 7,500 passing yards in fewer games.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold passed for 338 yards and two touchdowns, including a 92-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, in the Jets’ 24-22 win against Dallas. Darnold, at 22 years and 130 days old, is the youngest player in the Super Bowl era with a touchdown pass of at least 90 yards. As the first half expired, Dallas kicker Brett Maher converted a 62-yard field goal, his second career field goal of at least 60 yards, and joined Sebastian Janikowski (two) and Greg Zuerlein (two) as the only kickers with at least two career field goals of 60-or-more yards in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 243 yards in the 49ers’ 20-7 win at the Los Angeles Rams. San Francisco advanced to 5-0 for the first time since 1990. Garoppolo, making his 15th career start, improved to 13-2 as a starting quarterback and became the eighth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win 13 of his first 15 career starts.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 356 yards and four touchdowns in the Falcons’ Week 6 loss at Arizona. Ryan, who has recorded at least 300 passing yards in each of Atlanta’s first six games, joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (six) and Steve Young (six) as quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in each of their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK SEVEN

KNOCKING ON THE 150 CLUB: New England enters Week 7 as the lone undefeated team (6-0) in the AFC and lead the NFL in both points per game (31.7) and points allowed per game (8.0). Through six games, New England’s point differential (+142) is the third-highest at this point of a season in the Super Bowl era, trailing only the 1999 St. Louis Rams (+154) and the 1968 Dallas Cowboys (+149).

Against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), the Patriots can become the fifth team with a +150 point differential through a team’s first seven games in the Super Bowl era.

The teams with the highest point differential through their first seven games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

TEAM – SEASON (POINT DIFFERENTIAL, SEASON RESULT)
Dallas Cowboys – 1966 (+160, Advanced to NFL Championship)
New England – 2007 (+159, Advanced to Super Bowl XLII)
Chicago – 2006 (+152, Advanced to Super Bowl XLI)
St. Louis Rams – 1999 (+151, Won Super Bowl XXXIV)
Washington – 1991 (+149, Won Super Bowl XXVI)
New England – 2019 (+142, ???)*
*Through six games

DANGERUSS: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks’ Week 6 victory. Wilson has passed for at least two touchdowns in five of his first six games in 2019 and now has 67 games with at least two touchdown passes in his eight-year career.

With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday against Baltimore, Wilson would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (67) for the third-most games with at least two touchdown passes through a player’s first eight seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least two touchdown passes in their first eight seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES WITH 2+ TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (74)
Dan Marino, Miami (72) HOF
Brett Favre, Green Bay (67) HOF
Russell Wilson, Seattle (67)*
*In eighth season
HOF – Hall of Fame

Wilson has 14 touchdown passes and zero interceptions for a league-leading 124.7 passer rating this season. With two touchdown passes and no interceptions on Sunday, Wilson would tie Milt Plum (16 in 1960) for the fourth-most touchdown passes without an interception to begin a season in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes without an interception to begin a season in NFL history:?

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, TD PASSES WITHOUT INT TO START SEASON)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013, 20) #
Nick Foles, Philadelphia (2013, 19)
Alex Smith, Kansas City (2017, 18)
Milt Plum, Cleveland (1960, 16)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2019, 14)*
*Active Streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

MATTY ICE’S HOT START: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 15 touchdown passes this season and ranks second in the league with 2,011 passing yards entering Week 7.

Ryan, who has passed for at least 300 yards in each of his first six games, needs 300 passing yards on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams to become the first player with at least 300 passing yards in each of his team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history.

The players to pass for at least 300 yards in the most consecutive team games to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 300+ PASSING YARDS TO BEGIN SEASON)

Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2019 – 6)*
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (2000 – 6) HOF
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998 – 6) HOF
*Active streak
HOF – Hall of Fame

Additionally, Ryan has passed for at least three touchdowns on four occasions in 2019. By throwing for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, Ryan would join Peyton Manning (2013) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (1998) as the only players with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdowns in five of their team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history.

The players with the most performances of 300 passing yards and three touchdowns in their team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 300+ YARDS & 3 TDs

Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 5)#
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998 – 5) HOF
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2019 – 4)*
*Through six games
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player
HOF – Hall of Fame

TOP 10 SHOWDOWN: Arizona rookie quarterback KYyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, and New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, the number 6 overall selection, will face off Sunday, for the first time in their careers.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, has 15 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards, the most in the NFL since entering the league.

Appearing in his 20th career game on Sunday, Barkley needs at least 100 scrimmage yards to tie Edgerrin James (16) for the most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards through a player’s first 20 career games in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (16)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (15)*
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (15) HOF
*19 games
HOF – Hall of Fame

DYNAMIC DUO IN DALLAS: Over his last four games against NFC East opponents, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is 4-0 with 1,516 passing yards (379 yards per game) and 14 touchdowns for a 125.4 passer rating.

With three passing touchdowns against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football, Prescott would become the fifth quarterback to pass for at least three touchdowns in five consecutive games against divisional opponents since 1970.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes against divisional opponents since 1970:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, GAMES WITH 3+ PASS TDs)

Dan Marino, Miami (1986-87, 6) HOF
Brett Favre, Green Bay (1994-95, 5) HOF
Steve Beuerlein, Carolina (1999-2000, 5)
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia (2003-04, 5)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2018-19, 4)*
*Active streak

Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL with 5,877 scrimmage yards since entering the league in 2016.

Appearing in his 47th career game, Elliott needs 123 scrimmage yards against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (47 games) and Le’Veon Bell (47) as the second-fastest player to reach 6,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

The players to reach 6,000 scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 6,000 SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (44)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (47) HOF
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (47)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (48) HOF
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (46)*
*Has 5,877 scrimmage yards
HOF – Hall of Fame

SCARY TERRY: Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin leads all rookies in receptions (23), receiving yards (408) and receiving touchdowns (five) in 2019, and has recorded at least 50 receiving yards in each of his first five career games.

With at least 50 receiving yards on Sunday against San Francisco, McLaurin would join Earl McCullouch (seven games in 1968) as the only players to with 50 receiving yards in each of their first six career games in NFL history.

Byes in week seven? Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Buffalo, Chicago, Indianapolis and Oakland return to action this week.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated Sunday’s Raiders-Packers matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest involves teams that made indelible memories in three previous meetings. Most memorable was Super Bowl II, January 14, 1968, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, the final game of Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay coaching career. The Packers, fresh off their Ice Bowl win over the Cowboys, held off the AFL champion Raiders, 33-14. Nearly 25 years later, late in a frigid game against the Los Angeles Raiders on December 26, 1993, LeRoy Butler forced a Raiders fumble recovered by Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White.

After rumbling 10 yards, White lateraled to Butler, who covered the remaining 25 yards into the end zone and invented the Lambeau Leap as Green Bay clinched a playoff berth. Then, on December 22, 2003, in Oakland, Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve, only a day after his father’s death, threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns before a Monday Night Football television audience, leading Green Bay to a pivotal win that catapulted the Packers to the playoffs. Incidentally, following the Raiders’ loss to Lombardi’s Packers in Super Bowl II, the Raiders won the next five meetings with Green Bay and wouldn’t lose to the Packers again for 23 years, capturing three Super Bowls in that span.

As for last week, 7-7 for the week, 47-48 for the season. The leaves are falling, the weather’s getting a little chillier but there’s still lots of football left. Week seven got underway in Denver as Kansas City shutdown Denver in an AFC/AFL matchup and concludes in the Jersey Meadowlands as the defending Super Bowl champs travel to Met Life Stadium for a Monday night showdown with the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! Here are week seven’s Sunday and Monday picks.

Los Angeles Rams (3-3) at ATLANTA (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of teams with losing streaks under their belts meet in the Big Peach as Atlanta and Matt Ryan host the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Both teams found themselves on the losing side of the ledger in last week’s action.

The Rams opened the scoring against NFC West foe San Francisco last Sunday as WR Robert Wood scored on a 9-yard run in the first quarter, then watched the 49ers scored their 20 points of the contest unchallenged as they were 20-7 losers at the Coliseum. Los Angeles and San Francisco went into the break tied at 7-7 after Tevin Coleman answered the Rams’ TD with a TD of his own in the first quarter, then their last 13 points of the game to take the road win, using a 1-yard run by Jimmy Garoppolo and a pair of Robbie Gould field goals to close out the scoring. The Rams outrushed San Francisco 109-99 and Jared Goff threw for 78 yards but was sacked four times, while Garoppolo threw for 243 yards wtih a pair of sacks and an interception. The defending NFC champs were a dismal 0 of 9 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 21:08, while the 49ers, going 8 of 17 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down), ruled the clock and kept the ball for 38:52.

Atlanta dropped their fourth contest in a row, dropping a 34-33 heartbreaker at Arizona last Sunday. Atlanta led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before the Cardinals scored 17 second-quarter points unchallenged, giving them a 20-10 lead at the half. Atlanta later trailed by 17 with 11:25 left in the third, then proceeded to chip away at the lead and would tie the contest up at 27-27, using a Matt Bryant field goal and two TD passes from Matt Ryan to RB Devonta Freeman and TE Austin Hooper to pull themselves even. Arizona reclaimed the lead with 5:12 left in the contest when RB David Johnson and rookie QB Kyler Murray connected on their second TD toss of the afternoon. The Falcons then used a 7-play, 75-yard drive take took 3:19 of clock and put themselves in a position to tie the contest or take the lead when Freeman and Ryan connected on their second TD pass (a 12-yard toss) with 1:53 left in regulation. Atlanta then chose to go for the tie and send Bryant out to kick the PAT. Bryant’s PAT try sailed wide right of the intended mark, giving the Cardinals the win as Arizona ran out the clock.

Atlanta outrushed Arizona 103-102 and Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards, while Ryan threw for 356 yards and four TDs (connecting with Calvin Ridley on one toss) and Murray threw for 340 yards and three TDs (Ryan was sacked four times, neither Ryan or Murray threw an interception). Atlanta was 6 of 11 on third down conversions in the desert and kept the ball for 32:47, while the Cardinals kept the ball for 27:13, going 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games that were played in Anaheim, Fulton County Stadium and St. Louis, the Rams lead the series 47-28-2 and have outscored the Falcons 1,810-1,321. However… the Falcons have won the last four meetings in the series, with their last win coming in Los Angeles in 2016 by a final of 42-14 in what would be Jeff Fisher’s last game as the Rams’ head coach. The Rams’ last win? 2007 in St. Louis, taking down the Falcons 28-16. The Rams are a 3-point road favorite in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 54 1/2. For one team, their losing streak ends; for the other, the streak continues. Falcons RISE UP to the occasion in the Big Peach, covering the 3 and winning at home.

Miami (0-6) at Buffalo (3-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC rivals meet in upstate New York as Buffalo welcomes the winless Miami Dolphins to Orchard Park. Miami searches for their first win of the 2019 campaign, while the Bills come back to action from their bye week.

Miami dropped their sixth contest in a row as Washington held them off 17-16 last Sunday, giving interim head coach Bill Callahan at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State. After a scoreless first quarter, Washington took a 7-0 lead thanks to the first of two TD passes from Case Keenum to WR Terry McLaurin, took that lead with them to the break and then led 17-3 at the end of the third quarter before Miami would pull themselves to within one thanks to TDs by RB Kalen Ballage and WR DeVante Parker (Parker’s TD came with six seconds left in the contest; Miami would go for the onside kick, which Washington recovered and ran out the clock to take the win). Washington’s Adrian Peterson led all rushers 118 yards, as Washington outrushed the Dolphins 145-84 and Keenum threw for 166 yards and the two TD tosses to McLaurin, while Ryan Fitzpatrick (who took over for Josh Rosen) threw for 132 yards and the TD to Parker (Rosen threw for 85 yards with five sacks and a pair of interceptions). Washington was 2 of 11 on third down tries in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 27:21, while Miami actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:39, going 3 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Bills return from their bye week 14-7 winners at Tennessee two Sundays ago. After a scoreless first quarter in Nashville at Nissan Stadium, the Bills took a 7-0 lead with them to the intermission as WR Lane Smith and QB Josh Allen connected on an 8-yard TD toss. Tennessee would then proceed to tie the contest up with 7:02 left in the third when RB Derrick Henry scored from a yard out before the Bills reclaimed the lead for good in the fourth quarter when DUke Williams caught Allen’s second TD toss, this one from seven yards out with 9:46 left in the contest. The Bills then dodged a bullet with 6:35 left in the game when K Chris Santos’ 53-yard field goal try sailed wide left. After the teams traded punts, Buffalo got the ball back and after Tennessee burned all their time outs, the Bills ran out the clock and took the win on the road.

Bills RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 60 yards as Buffalo outrushed Tennessee 109-102 and Allen threw for 219 yards with the two TDs and an interception, while Marcus Mariota threw for 183 yards but was sacked five times in the contest (Mariota did not throw an interception). Buffalo went 4 of 13 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down conversions and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 31:12, while Tennessee, who kept the pigskin for 28:48, went 4 of 14 on third down tries in Music City.

Miami leads the series 60-45-1 (which includes contests that took place at the Orange Bowl and War Memorial Stadium) and the ‘Fins have outscored Buffalo 2,259-2,058. The two AFC East rivals split last season’s meetings and both were winners in front of their home fans.

Meeting number one… week 13 in Miami Gardens and Miami held off a late Buffalo rally in the second half to come away with the 21-17 win at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami led 14-6 at the break before the Bills outscored them in the second half to make the contest closer than Dolphin fans would like. Buffalo outrushed Miami 198-60 and Allen led all rushers with 135 yards in the contest. Allen threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while Tannehill threw for 137 yards and three TDs (Tannehill was sacked three times and threw an interception, while Allen was sacked twice with two intereceptions). Miami went 2 of 9 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 27:03, while the Bills ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:57, going 5 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They met again, this time in upstate New York and the weather was a bit chillier in that season final contest (Temperature in their first meeting? 86 degrees; the second meeting? A balmy 33 degrees with a 40 percent chance of snow showers and a wind chill of 25 degrees… to say it was cold is an understatement). Buffalo broke a 14-14 tie at the intermission at New Era Field in Orchard Park, sending their fan base home happy with a 42-17 win. Allen and WR Robert Foster connected on a 5-yard TD toss in the third to take the lead for keeps and the Bills would score 14 points in the fourth quarter unchallenged to seal Miami’s fate. As was the case in the meeting in the Sunshine State, Buffalo outrushed Miami, tallying 166 yards to Miami’s 95 and once again, Allen led all rushers with 95 yards and a pair of rushing TDs of his own, throwing for 224 yards and three TDs (Allen was sacked once and picked off once), while Tannehill threw for 147 yards with a pair of interceptions and four sacks. The Bills were 5 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and once again ruled the clock, holding the ball hostage for 30:18, while Miami kept it for 29:42, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest in the Sunshine State, Miami was favored by 4 1/2 but only won by 4. The two clubs tallied 38 points in that first meeting, missing the 40 over/under. Buffalo covered the 3 1/2 point spread in upstate New York in the season finale, winning by 25 and both teams shattered the 38 1/2 over/under with 59 points. The Bills are a 17-point favorite in upstate New York and the over/under’s 40 1/2. The 40 1/2 makes a ton of sense. The 17? That’s a bit on the steep side. Granted, the Dolphins are bad but not 17 points bad and they’ll make things hard for Buffalo but the Bills circle the wagons in upstate New York and comes away with the win.

Jacksonville (2-4) at Cincinnati (0-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirectV 706. A pair of struggling teams meet along the shores of the Ohio River as Jacksonville takes on Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

Jaguar fans left TIAA Bank Field heartbroken after Jacksonville lost to Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints 13-6 in the Sunshine State. For three quarters of football, Jaguars K Josh Lambo and Saints K Will Lutz exchanged field goals, as the teams entered the intermission tied at 3-3 and were tied at 6-6 at the end of the third quarter. TE Jared Cook would score the only TD of the contest when he and Bridgewater (240 yards, three sacks) connected on a 4-yard TD toss with 11:49 left in the contest. New Orleans then held off a Jacksonville rally and took the win after the Jaguars punted the ball away on a second possession in the contest, running out the clock and taking the win. Jacksonville was outrushed by New Orleans 104-75 and Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette led all rushers with 72, while Gardner Minshew threw for 163 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception. Jacksonville was 4 of 14 on third down in the Sunshine State, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 26:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:09, while going 5 for 13 on third down.

The winless Bengals return home after their 23-17 loss at Baltimore last Sunday. Cincinnati trailed 17-10 at the half at M&T Stadium, pulling themselves to within three with two seconds left on a Jeff Tucker field goal. The Bengals would then make things closer than Ravens fans wanted when Dalton scored on a 2-yard run with 88 seconds left in the contest. Dalton threw for 235 yards with the rushing TD, with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Lamar Jackson threw for 236 yards (Jackson was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the AFC North win in Charm City. Cincinnati was 5 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 20:18, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:42, while going 9 for 15 on third down.

Jacksonville holds a 12-9 lead in the series and the Jaguars have outscored Cincinnati 469-378. Jacksonville won the last meeting, taking a 23-7 win in 2017 in the Sunshine State, while the Bengals’ last win took place along the shores of the Ohio River by a final of 33-23 in 2014. Jacksonville’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Both numbers make a lot of sense. We wouldn’t blame you one bit if you were to do your Halloween costume shopping and take a pass on this game. Jaguars cover the 3 1/2 on the road and keeps Cincinnati winless in the process.

Minnesota (4-2) at Detroit (2-2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They meet in the great indoors. A pair of NFC North rivals square off in the Motor City Sunday afternoon as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field.

Minnesota held Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles in check last Sunday in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, coming away 38-20 winners at US Bank Field. The Vikings and Kirk Cousins took a 24-10 lead with them to the break, then floored the gas, outscoring the Eagles 14-10 in the second half. Cousins threw for 333 yards with four TDs (three to Stefan Diggs) and a sack as Minnesota outrushed the Eagles 122-108, while Wentz threw for 306 yards with a pair of TDs and two sacks (both threw an interception). Minnesota was 2 of 10 on third down (the Vikings were 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions in the Twin Cities) and held on to the ball for 32:04, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:56, going 4 of 12 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

The Lions saw victory taken away from them last Monday night at Lambeau Field as Green Bay K Mason Crosby connected on a 23-yard field goal as time expired to give the Packers a 23-22 NFC North win. Detroit led 13-10 at the intermission before Crosby tied the contest up with 12:35 left when he booted a 48-yard field goal. Detroit reclaimed the lead witi three Matt Prather field goals and led 22-13 with 9:03 in the contest when Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Alan Lazard connected on a 35-yard TD pass to make it a 2-point contest. Green Bay then got the ball back after the Lions punted with 6:06 left and used all of that time to use a 14-play, 77-yard drjve, assisted by Detroit burning all three of their time outs and an illegal use of hands penalty on DE Trey Flowers to set up the game-winner.

Green Bay outrushed Detroit 170-56 and Packers RB Jamal Williams led all rushers with 104 yards; Rodgers threw for 283 yards and a pair of TDs, while Stafford threw for 265 yards (Stafford was sacked three times but did not throw an interception, while Rodgers was picked off once). Detroit was 3 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:56, while the Packers ruled the clock, holding the ball for 33:04 (including the final 6:06 of the contest), going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Including games that were played at Metropolitan Stadium, Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome and the Metrodome, the Vikings lead the series 74-39-2, the Viking have outscored Detroit 2,483-2,117. Minnesota has won the last three meetings and swept the series last year, while Detroit’s last win came in 2017 in the Twin Cities by a final of 14-7.

Meeting number one… US Bank Stadium in week nine. Minnesota held the Lions to three Matt Prater field goals, taking a 24-9 win in the Twin Cities. The Vikings led 17-6 at halftime and were never really threatened afterward. Minnesota outrushed Detroit 128-66 and Cook led all rushers with 89 yards on the ground. Cousins threw for 164 yards with a TD to Thielen (he was sacked once and threw an interception), while Stafford threw for 199 yards and was sacked 10 times but threw no interceptions. The Vikings were 3 of 8 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and 23:15, while the Lions ruled the clock and kept the ball for 36:45, going 4 of 15 on third down, 3 of 3 on fourth down.

Minnesota made it a clean sweep over their NFC North rival in week 16 as they once again held the Lions to three field goals in the first half and took a 27-9 win at Ford Field. The Vikings erased an early Lions lead (Detroit led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter), took a 14-9 lead with them to the locker room at the half, then scored their last 13 points of the contest unchallenged. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 100-86 (Cook led all rushers with 73 yards) and Cousins threw for 253 yards and three TD passes (two to Kyle Rudolph, the other to Stefon Diggs), while Stafford threw for 116 yards with a pair of sacks. Minnesota went 4 of 13, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs at Ford Field and kept the ball for 28:32, while the Lions actually ruled the clock and held the ball for 31:28, going 4 of 16 on third down, 1 for 3 on fourth down.

The Vikings, favored by 5 1/2, covered the spread, winning by 15 but the 33 combined points came nowhere near the 50 1/2 over/under in the week nine contest in the Twin Cities. Minnesota was favored again in the week 16 contest in the Motor City, covering the 5 1/2 point spread, winning by 18. As for the 43 1/2 over/under? It was untouched, as both teams combined for 36 points. Minnesota’s favored by 1 in the Motor City and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Detroit’s played some decent if not great football of late, while the Vikings are trying to catch Green Bay in the NFC North. Minnesota covers the 1 and wins in the

Oakland (3-2) at Green Bay (5-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The Silver and Black, coming off their bye week, makes their way to the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst as they face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

The Silver and Black return from their bye week after they left London 24-21 winners over Chicago at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium two weeks ago. After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders took a 17-0 lead with them to the locker room at the half, then saw that lead get away from them as Chicago scored 21 third quarter points unchallenged before restoring order on the other side of the Atlantic when rookie RB Josh Jacobs scored on a 2-yard run with 1:57 left in the contest. Jacobs ran for 123 yards with two TDs (including the game-winner) as Oakland outrushed Chicago 169-42 and Derek Carr threw for 229 yards without a sack or interception, while Bears backup QB Chase Daniel (Who took over for Mitchell Trubisky) threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (Daniel was sacked four times and picked off twice). While the Raiders were 6 of 12 on third down tries on the other side of the pond, they struck gold on fourth down in their only try in that catagory and kept the ball for 34:43, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 25:17, went 4 of 11 on third down tries.

Packers K Mason Crosby was the man of the moment Monday night as he connected on a 23-yard field goal as time expired to give the Packers a 23-22 NFC North win. Detroit led 13-10 at the intermission in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst before Crosby tied the contest up with 12:35 left when he booted a 48-yard field goal. Detroit reclaimed the lead witi three Matt Prather field goals and led 22-13 with 9:03 in the contest when Rodgers and WR Alan Lazard connected on a 35-yard TD pass to make it a 2-point contest. Green Bay then got the ball back after the Lions punted with 6:06 left and used all of that time to use a 14-play, 77-yard drjve, assisted by Detroit burning all three of their time outs and an illegal use of hands penalty on DE Trey Flowers to set up the game-winner.

Green Bay outrushed Detroit 170-56 and Packers RB Jamal Williams led all rushers with 104 yards; Rodgers threw for 283 yards and a pair of TDs, while Stafford threw for 265 yards (Stafford was sacked three times but did not throw an interception, while Rodgers was picked off once). Detroit was 3 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:56, while the Packers ruled the clock, holding the ball for 33:04 (including the final 6:06 of the contest), going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Green Bay leads the series 7-5 (including contests that were played in Los Angeles), the Packers have outrscored Oakland 278-204 and have won the last seven meetings in the series, inclduing a 30-20 win on the West Coast in 2015, while Oakland’s last win in the series came at Lambeau in 1987, as the Raiders shutout Green Bay 20-0. Green Bay’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. Green Bay takes this one in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst but expect the Silver and Black to make things closer than 4 1/2.

Houston (4-2) at Indianapolis (3-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The top two teams in the AFC South meet in the Hoosier State Sunday afternoon as the Houston Texans (first place) meet the Indianapolis Colts (second place) in a key divisional showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both teams beat Kansas City at Arrowhead in consecutive weeks, with the Colts coming off their bye week taking the win to send the Chiefs on their two-game losing streak.

Houston picked up their second win in a row, coming out of Arrowhead Stadium 31-24 last Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs Houston erased a 17-3 Chiefs lead at the end of the first quarter get away from them as the Texans would score 20 second quarter points unchallenged, leading 23-17 at the intermission. Kansas City would reclaim the lead with 6:30 left in the third when Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes connected on a 6-yard TD toss. That lead would be erased by the Texans in the final quarter of play when DeShaun Watson scored on a 1-yard run with 6:17 left in the contest. The Chiefs would get the ball back after the kick off but would get as their 22-yard line, where they punted the ball back to Houston, who ran the clock out, making sure that Kansas City would never see the football again.

Houston’s Carlos Hyde led all rushers with 116 yards on the ground, as the Texans outrushed Kansas City 192-53 and Watson threw for 280 yards with a passing TD to go with his rushing TD, while Mahomes threw for 273 yards with three TDs (two of them to Hill; Mahomes was sacked once and threw an interception, while Watson threw two interceptions). The Chiefs were 4 of 8 on third down tries at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 20:12, while the Texans ruled the clock and kept the ball for 39:48, going 5 of 12 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Colts were 19-13 winners at Arrowhead Stadium two Sundays ago. Indianapolis led Mahomes and the Chiefs 13-10 at the half and after a scoreless third quarter in the Sunday night contest, Adam Vinatieri would kick a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to lead by 9 with 2:27 left in the contest before Chiefs K Harrison Butker connected on a 36-yarder to pull themselves to within 6 with 76 seconds left in the contest. The Chiefs then tried an onside kick in hopes of keeping the ball but the Colts recovered and ran out the clock to take the win. The Chiefs outrushed Kansas City 180-36 and Jacoby Brissett threw for 151 yards with a rushing TD (Brissett threw an interception but was not sacked), while Mahomes threw for 321 yards and a TD with four sacks. The Colts went 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 37:15, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 22:45, going 4 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Indianapolis leads the series 26-8 and have outscored the Texans 897-677. They split last year’s contests, winning in the other team’s stadium.

They met in Indianapolis in week four and the Texans needed overtime to take a 37-34 win out of Lucas Oil Stadium. Houston led 21-10 at the break before the Colts and Andrew Luck stormed back to take a 34-31 lead with 6 minutes left in regulation. Houston would even things up at 34-34 with 1:50 left when Kai Fairburn connected on a 29-yard field. The two teams went into the overtime and Vinatieri and Fairburn exchanged field goals in the extra period. Indianapolis then got the ball back but could get only as close as their own 43 yard, where the Colts’ fourth down try failed. The Texans got the ball back with 24 seconds left and used all of that 24 seconds to set up Fairburn for a 37-yard try, which he connected as the clock struck :00.

Houston outrushed the Colts 119-41 and Watson threw for 375 yards and a pair of TDs, while Luck threw for 464 yards and four TDs (Watson was sacked seven times and threw an interception, Luck was sacked four times). While Houston was 8 of 16 on third down tries, they were perfect on fourth down in their only attempt and kept the ball for 40:04 (including the last 24 seconds of overtime), while the Colts kept the ball for 29:56 and went 10 of 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Colts would get revenge in the Lone Star State in week 14, holding off the Texans and came away from NRG Stadium 24-21 winners. After Houston’s Alfred Blue opened the scoring with a 3-yard TD run late in the first quarter, Indianapolis would erase that lead, scoring 17 second quarter points unchallenged to lead 17-7 at the break as Vinatieri booted a 54-yard field goal to end the first half. Indy then led by as much as ten before the Texans would pull themselves to within seven late in the third quarter. The Texans made the contest closer with 2:37 left in the contest when Watson and WR DeAndre Hopkins connected on a 7-yard TD pass but got no closer.

Houston outrushed the Colts 89-50 and Watson threw for 267 yards with five sacks and no interceptions, while Luck threw for 399 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Eric Ebron) with a pair of sacks and an interception. Houston was 5 of 15 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:57, while the Colts held on to the ball for 28:03, going 4 of 12 on third down on the road.

Indianapolis was favored by 2 in the week four contest at Lucas Oil and the Texans covered, winning by 3. The two teams combined for 71 points, allowing them to cover the 47 1/2 over/under. In the week 14 contest in Houston, the Texans were favored by 4 1/2 but the Colts won by 3 and the 45 points they combined to score missed the 48 1/2 over/under by 3 1/2. The Colts are favored by 1 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 47 1/2. These two could decide who wins the AFC South and who may get the wild card spot.

Arizona (2-2-1) at New York Giants (2-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Rookie QB will be on display Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands as the New York Giants and Daniel Jones host the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray.

The Desert Angry Birds held off a late Atlanta rally at State Farm Stadium last Sunday, coming away 34-33 winners last Sunday. Trailing 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Cardinals scored 17 second-quarter points unchallenged, giving them a 20-10 lead at the half. Arizona would lead by as much as 17 with 11:25 left in the third, before the Falcons would chip away at the lead, tying the contest up at 27-27, using a Matt Bryant field goal and two TD passes from Matt Ryan to RB Devonta Freeman and TE Austin Hooper to pull themselves even. Arizona reclaimed the lead with 5:12 left in the contest when RB David Johnson and Murray connected on their second TD toss of the afternoon. The Falcons then used a 7-play, 75-yard drive take took 3:19 of clock and put themselves in a position to tie the contest or take the lead when Freeman and Ryan connected on their second TD pass (a 12-yard toss) with 1:53 left in regulation. Atlanta then chose to go for the tie and send Bryant out to kick the PAT. Bryant’s PAT try sailed wide right of the intended mark, giving the Cardinals the win as Arizona ran out the clock.

Atlanta outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 103-102 and Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards, while Ryan threw for 356 yards and four TDs (connecting with Calvin Ridley on one toss) and Murray threw for 340 yards and three TDs (Ryan was sacked four times, neither Ryan or Murray threw an interception). Atlanta was 6 of 11 on third down conversions in the desert and kept the ball for 32:47, while the Cardinals kept the ball for 27:13, going 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Big Blue trailed New England 21-14 at Gillette Stadium last Thursday night at the half, then watched the defending Super Bowl champs pull away to take a 35-14 win in Foxboro. New England got the scoring started in the Thursday night affair with a special teams TD when DL Chase Winovich blocked a Giants punt and ran it back six yards for a score. While Tom Brady did not throw a TD pass, he did contribute with his feet, scoring on a pair of rushing TDs in the win. New England outrushed the Giants 114-52 (Pats RB Sony Michel led all rushers with 86 yards) and Brady threw for 334 yards with an interception, while rookie QB Daniel Jones threw for 161 yards with a TD toss to Golden Tate (Jones threw three interceptions and had a sack). New England was 6 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:36, while the Giants, who held on to the pigskin for 20:24, went 2 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions.

Including games played in Chicago, St. Louis, Tempe and contests that took place at Yankee Stadium, the Giants lead the series 80-44-2 and Big Blue has outscored the Desert Angry Birds 2,760-2,174. Arizona’s won the last two meetings, including coming away 23-0 winners in 2017, while the Giants’ last win also came in the desert, as New York prevailed 31-27 in 2011. The Giants are a 2-point favorite in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 49. Both numbers are pretty reasonable and both have played decent football but not great football. Giants cover the 2 in the Meadowlands and takes the win at home.

San Francisco (5-0) at Washington (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Jimmy Garoppolo and the resurging (and undefeated) San Francisco 49ers, passing their win total from last year, makes their way to Landover to face off against the washington Redskins, who look for their second win of the campaign. Both clubs were winners on the road in last week’s contest.

Although the Los Angeles Rams opened the scoring against their NFC West foes as WR Robert Wood scored on a 9-yard run in the first quarter, the 49ers took control of things in southern California as they scored their 20 points of the contest unchallenged, coming away 20-7 winners at the Coliseum to pick up their fifth win in a row. The two teams went into the break tied at 7-7 after Tevin Coleman answered the Rams’ TD with a TD of his own in the first quarter, then their last 13 points of the game to take the road win, using a 1-yard run by Garoppolo and a pair of Robbie Gould field goals to close out the scoring. The Rams outrushed San Francisco 109-99 and Jared Goff threw for 78 yards but was sacked four times, while Garoppolo threw for 243 yards wtih a pair of sacks and an interception. The defending NFC champs were a dismal 0 of 9 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 21:08, while the 49ers, going 8 of 17 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down), ruled the clock and kept the ball for 38:52.

The Redskins return to Landover, giving interim head coach Bill Callahan his first win with the team and the team’s first win of the season, breaking a five-game losing streak, taking a 17-16 win over Miami at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State. After a scoreless first quarter, Washington took a 7-0 lead thanks to the first of two TD passes from Case Keenum to WR Terry McLaurin, took that lead with them to the break and then led 17-3 at the end of the third quarter before Miami would pull themselves to within one thanks to TDs by RB Kalen Ballage and WR DeVante Parker (Parker’s TD came with six seconds left in the contest; Miami would go for the onside kick, which Washington recovered and ran out the clock to take the win). Adrian Peterson was back to his old running form, rushing for 118 yards, as Washington outrushed the Dolphins 145-84 and Keenum threw for 166 yards and the two TD tosses to McLaurin, while Ryan Fitzpatrick (who took over for Josh Rosen) threw for 132 yards and the TD to Parker (Rosen threw for 85 yards with five sacks and a pair of interceptions). Washington was 2 of 11 on third down tries in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 27:21, while Miami actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:39, going 3 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests played at Keezar Stadium, Candlestick Park and RFK Stadium, the 49ers lead the series 17-10-1 and they have outscored Washington 679-540. The Redskins won the last meeting, coming away 26-24 winners at FedEx Field in 2017, while the 49ers’ last win came on the West Coast with San Francisco prevailing 17-13 in 2014. San Francisco’s favored by 9 1/2 in Landover and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Last week, Washington fans were singing “Hail to the Redskins.” This week? “Hell, it’s the Redskins.” Washington makes this one close but San Francsico remains unbeaten.

Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) at Tennessee (2-4), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of 2-4 teams meet in the Music City as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Nashville for a meeting with the Tennessee Titans. Both teams took losses in last week’s contests.

A Charger rally in the fourth quarter fell short against Pittsburgh at Dignity Health Sports Park fell short last Sunday night as the Steelers took care of the Bolts 24-17 on the West Coast. The Steelers scored all 24 of their points unchalleged, leading 17-0 at the intermission before the Chargers would score their points in the fourth quarter, using a pair of TD passes from Rivers to TE Hunter Henry to pull themselves to within 7 with 79 seconds left in the contest. Pittsburgh outrushed Los Angeles 124-32 and Rivers threw for 320 yards with the two Henry TDs (Rivers was sacked once and picked off twice), while rookie QB Devlin Hodges (taking over for Mason Rudolph – concussion) threw for 132 yards and a TD to James Conner. Both clubs did quite well on third down conversions in the Sunday night contest; Pittsburgh was 8 of 13, Los Angeles was 7 of 12 and the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:05 to the Chargers’ 25:55.

The Titans were shut out by Denver 16-0 at Empower Field at Mile High. Denver, holding Tennessee to 39 yards rushing, got three Brian McManus field goals in the contest, taking a 6-0 lead with them to the break, then flooring the gas in the second half, scoring the last 10 points of the game unchallenged, with Patrick Lindsey scoring the game’s only TD, scoring from 2 yards out with 4:56 left in the third quarter. Lindsay led all rushers with 70 yards, while Denver had 103 of their own yards on the ground. Joe Flacco threw for 177 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Mariota threw for 63 yards with a pair of pair of interceptions and three sacks before being taken out of the contest in favor of Ryan Tannehill (144 yards, interception). Both clubs went 2 of 14 on third down (the Titans were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Titans actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:14 to Denver’s 29:46.

The Chargers lead the series 27-14-1 (which includes games that took place when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers and the Chargers played their home games at Qualcomm Stadium) and the Bolts have outscored Tennessee 1,088-921. Their last meeting took place last year in London and the Chargers hung on to win 20-19 (Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2013 in Music City by a final of 20-17).

The two clubs met in week seven on the other side of the Big Pond. Rivers and the Chargers led 10-6 at the intermission at Wembley Stadium and led 20-13 with 31 seconds left when Mariota and Lance Stocker connected on a 1-yard TD toss. The Titans then went for the two-point conversion to take the lead (that failed) and tried the onside kick, which also failed, giving the Chargers the ball and the win.

Tennessee actually outrushed the Chargers 164-47, with Titans RB Dion Lewis leading everyone with 91 yards and Mariota threw for 237 yards and the fourth-quarter TD (he threw an interception), while Rivers threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs (both men were twice and Mariota threw an interception). The Chargers went 4 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 24:37, while the Titans ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:23, going 9 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Although the Chargers were favored by 6 1/2 on the other side of the Atlantic in week seven, they would come away winning by 1. As for the 45 over/under? It was untouched, as both teams tallied 39 points. The Titans are favored by 2 1/2 in the Music City and the over/under’s 39 1/2. Could either one or both teams make the post-season? Right now, it’s plausible, as they say on “Mythbusters.” Chargers get themselves back on track and takes the win on the road, covering the 2 1/2.

New Orleans (5-1) at Chicago (3-2), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. It’s gumbo vs. deep dish pizza as the New Orleans Saints make their way to the Windy City for a late-afternoon contest with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints held off Jacksonville 13-6 in the Sunshine State last Sunday. For three quarters of football, it was an all field goal affair as Jaguars K Josh Lambo and Saints K Will Lutz exchanged field goals and the teams entered the intermission tied at 3-3 and were tied at 6-6 at the end of the third quarter. TE Jared Cook would score the only TD of the contest when he and Bridgewater (240 yards, three sacks) connected on a 4-yard TD toss with 11:49 left in the contest. New Orleans then held off a Jacksonville rally and took the win after the Jaguars punted the ball away on a second possession in the contest, running out the clock and taking the win. Jacksonville was outrushed by New Orleans 104-75 and Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette led all rushers with 72, while Gardner Minshew threw for 163 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception. Jacksonville was 4 of 14 on third down in the Sunshine State, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 26:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:09, while going 5 for 13 on third down.

Da Bears return to the Windy City from their bye week after they left London on the short end of a 24-21 loss to Oakland at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium two weeks ago. After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders took a 17-0 lead with them to the locker room at the half, then saw that lead get away from them as Chicago scored 21 third quarter points unchallenged before restoring order on the other side of the Atlantic when rookie RB Josh Jacobs scored on a 2-yard run with 1:57 left in the contest. Jacobs ran for 123 yards with two TDs (including the game-winner) as Oakland outrushed Chicago 169-42 and Derek Carr threw for 229 yards without a sack or interception, while Bears backup QB Chase Daniel (Who took over for Mitchell Trubisky) threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (Daniel was sacked four times and picked off twice). While the Raiders were 6 of 12 on third down tries on the other side of the pond, they struck gold on fourth down in their only try in that catagory and kept the ball for 34:43, while Da Bears, keeping the ball for 25:17, went 4 of 11 on third down tries.

While New Orleans holds a 15-13 lead in the series, Da Bears have outscored New Orleans 560-559. New Orleans has won the last four meetings, including a 20-12 victory in the Big Easy in 2017, while Chicago’s last win came in 2008 as Da Bears needed overtime to come away 27-24 winners at Soldier Field. Da Bears are favored by 3 1/2 with a 48 over/under. Deep dish wins this one. Da Bears win in the Windy City and covers the 3 1/2.

Baltimore (4-2) at Seattle (5-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens make their way to the Pacific Northwest for a late afternoon showdown with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Both teams were winners in last week’s contests, Baltimore winning at home, while Seattle took a road win at Cleveland.

The Ravens held off a late Cincinnati rally in the final quarter, coming away with the 23-17 win in Charm City to give the Bengals their sixth loss in a row. Baltimore led 17-10 at the half at M&T Stadium, then saw the Bengals pull themselves to within three with two seconds left on a Jeff Tucker field goal (Tucker would kick two more field goals to round out Baltimore’s scoring). The Bengals would then make things closer than Ravens fans wanted when Dalton scored on a 2-yard run with 88 seconds left in the contest. Dalton threw for 235 yards with the rushing TD, with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Jackson threw for 236 yards (Jackson was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the AFC North win in Charm City. Cincinnati was 5 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 20:18, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:42, while going 9 for 15 on third down.

Seattle returns home to Century Link Field after their 32-28 over Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Seahawks trailed 20-18 at the half along the shores of Lake Erie, then went to work in the second half, outscoring Cleveland 14-8 in the final 30 minutes of action, with RB Chris Carson scoring the game-winner with 3:30 left in the contest on a one-yard run. The Seahawks would go on to hold off a late Browns rally in the final minutes of the contest when K.J. Wright picked off Mayfield, giving them the ball and allowing them to run out the clock. Carson led all rushers with 124 yards and the game-winning TD, while Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns (WR Odell Beckham, Jr. led all recievers with 101 yards on six catches), while Wilson threw for 295 yards with a pair of TD passes and Mayfield throwing for 249 yards with a TD and three interceptions (Wilson was sacked three times and both Wilson and Mayfield had a rushing TD). Seattle went 6 of 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 33:41, while the Browns, who held on to the ball for 26:19, went 3 of 8 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Seahawks lead the series 3-2, Seattle’s outscored Baltimore 149-104 and they’ve won the last three meetings, including a 35-6 win in Charm City in 2015 (Baltimore’s last win over the Seahawks came in 2003 in Charm City by a final of 44-41 in overtime). Seattle’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Pacific Northwest and the over/under’s 49 1/2. This could be a somewhat entertaining contest. Seattle prevails but expect Baltimore to make it closer than 3 1/2.

Philadelphia (3-3) at Dallas (3-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Eagles. Cowboys. NFC East rivals meet in the Lone Star State Sunday night as the two clubs, tied for first in the division, square off at AT&T Stadium. Both teams took losses on the road in last week’s action.

Minnesota held Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles in check last Sunday in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, coming away 38-20 winners at US Bank Field. The Vikings and Kirk Cousins took a 24-10 lead with them to the break, then floored the gas, outscoring the Eagles 14-10 in the second half. Cousins threw for 333 yards with four TDs (three to Stefan Diggs) and a sack as Minnesota outrushed the Eagles 122-108, while Wentz threw for 306 yards with a pair of TDs and two sacks (both threw an interception). Minnesota was 2 of 10 on third down (the Vikings were 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions in the Twin Cities) and held on to the ball for 32:04, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:56, going 4 of 12 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

A Cowboys rally in the fourth quarter fell short as the New York Jets ended their four-game losing streak last Sunday afternoon against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, holding them off 24-22 at Met Life Stadium. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led 21-6 at the break, then held off a late Cowboys rally late in the contest, as Dallas came within two when Prescott scored on a 2-yard run with 43 seconds left. Dallas then went for two in hope of tying the contest but Prescott’s try to TE Jason Whiten went incomplete. Dallas outrushed GangGreen 129-56 and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD, while Jets RB LeVeon Bell led his club with 50 yards and a rushing TD. Prescott threw for 277 yards, while Sam Darnold threw for 338 yards with a pair of TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Prescott was sacked once but did not throw a pick).

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 2 of 10 on third down in the late afternoon contest in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 27:57, while the Cowboys ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:03, going 10 for 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down

Dallas holds a 65-51 in the series (which includes contests that were played at the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium, JFK Stadium and Veterans Stadium), they’ve outscored the Eagles 2,499-2,317 and the Cowboys have won the last three meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Philadelphia’s last win came in 2017 in Dallas by a final of 37-9).

They met in the City of Brotherly Love on a Sunday night in week 10 and the Cowboys took a 13-3 lead with them to the break before the Eagles would storm back in the second half and tie things up with 7:27 left in the contest when Wentz and Ertz connected on a 1-yard TD pass. That tie would not last very long as the Cowboys would reclaim the lead for keeps, using an 8-play, 75-yard drive that took 4:08 and ended when Ezekiel Elliott scored from a yard away to lead 27-20. Philadelphia would get the ball back with 3:19 left in the contest and made their way down the field. They would get as close as the Cowboys’ 32-yard line with no time outs left, trying several lateral passes to get to the end zone but could not get any closer.

Elliott rushed for 151 yards and a TD in the contest to lead all rushers as Dallas outrushed the Eagles 171-71 at Lincoln Financial Field and Prescott threw for 270 yards and a TD to Elliott, while Wentz threw for 360 yards and a pair of TDs to Ertz (Prescott was sacked four times, Wentz was sacked twice and threw an interception). Dallas was 8 pf 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Eagles, keeping the ball for 26:38, went 4 of 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Dallas made it a clean sweep in week 14 at AT&T Stadium, taking a 29-23 win over the Eagles in the Lone Star State. Dallas used a pair of Bill Maher field goals to lead 6-0 going into the intermission and led 9-0 late in the third quarter before Wentz and Alshon Jeffery broke Dallas’ shutout bid with a 2-yard TD pass (they would miss the extra point). Eagles K Jake Elliott would tie the contest up at 9-9 with a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth and Dallas would take the lead again when Cooper and Prescott connected on a 28-yard TD toss with 7:46. The two teams would tie things up again and Philadelphia would create the third tie of the contest with 99 seconds left when Wentz connected with Darrell Sproles from 6 yards out, pulling the contest even at 23-23. The teams then went into overtime and Dallas won the toss in the overtime and took the ball. The Cowboys would waste very little time if any, using a 13-play, 75-yard drive, taking 8:05 of clock and ending with Prescott and Cooper connecting on a 15-yard TD toss to take the win.

Dallas outrushed Philadelphia 142-34 (Elliott led all rushers with 113 yards) and Prescott threw for 455 yards, while Wentz threw for 228 yards (Prescott was sacked three times, Wentz sacked twice; both men threw three TD passes, Prescott connecting with Cooper on all three, including the game-winner). The Eagles were a somewhat dismal 1 of 9 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:32, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 45:33 (including the overtime), going 10 of 19 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 10 contest, the Eagles were favored by 6 and Dallas covered by 7. The 43 1/2 over/under was covered, as both teams combined for 47 points. In the week 14 contest in Arlington, Dallas won by 6, allowing them to cover the 4-point spread and the teams covered the 43 over/under with 52 points.

Since these two teams are in the hunt for the NFC East (and since Temple and Southern Methodist played in Dallas Saturday), we figured that making this one “DRILL WORTHY!” would be the right thing to do (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Dallas is favored by 3 and the over/under’s 49. The winner of this one? They’ll have the inside track to the NFC East. The loser? They may make the playoffs but it’ll be hard for them to come back from the loss. Dallas wins this one in Arlington but expect Philadelphia to make the contest closer than 3.

New England (6-0) at New York Jets (1-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week seven closes out in the Meadowlands as the defending champions take on the New York Jets in a key AFC showdown. Both teams were winners at home in last week’s action.

New England led the New York Giants 21-14 at Gillette Stadium last Thursday night at the half, then pulled away from Big Blue to take a 35-14 win in Foxboro. New England got the scoring started in the Thursday night affair with a special teams TD when DL Chase Winovich blocked a Giants punt and ran it back six yards for a score. While Tom Brady did not throw a TD pass, he did contribute with his feet, scoring on a pair of rushing TDs in the win. New England outrushed the Giants 114-52 (Pats RB Sony Michel led all rushers with 86 yards) and Brady threw for 334 yards with an interception, while rookie QB Daniel Jones threw for 161 yards with a TD toss to Golden Tate (Jones threw three interceptions and had a sack). New England was 6 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:36, while the Giants, who held on to the pigskin for 20:24, went 2 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions.

GangGreen ended their four-game losing streak last Sunday afternoon against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, holding them off 24-22 at Met Life Stadium. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led 21-6 at the break, then held off a late Cowboys rally late in the contest, as the Cowboys came within two when Prescott scored on a 2-yard run with 43 seconds left. Dallas then went for two in hope of tying the contest but Prescott’s try to TE Jason Whiten went incomplete. Dallas outrushed GangGreen 129-56 and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD, while Jets RB LeVeon Bell led his club with 50 yards and a rushing TD. Prescott threw for 277 yards, while Sam Darnold threw for 338 yards with a pair of TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Prescott was sacked once but did not throw a pick).

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 2 of 10 on third down in the late afternoon contest in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 27:57, while the Cowboys ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:03, going 10 for 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games played at Fenway Park, Schafer Stadium, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium, the Patriots lead the series 63-53-1 (there was a contest between the teams that took place in Birmingham, Alabama in 1968; the Jets with Joe Namath under center won that contest 47-31 at Legion Field), they’ve outscored GangGreen 2,694-2,409 and have won the last games in the series (they swept the last three series, including last year), while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! last won in 2015 in the Meadowlands in overtime by a final of 26-20.

Week 12… Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands and the Patriots took care of the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 27-13. Tied 10-10 at the intermission, the Patroits would lead 13-10 with 8:34 when Stephen Gostkowski booted a 32-yard field goal. Jets K Josh Myers would re-tie things with 4 minutes left in the third, booting 38-yard field goal to even things up. New England would use a TD pass from Brady to Josh Edelman and a TD run by Sony Michel to take the lead back for good.

Michel ran for 133 yards as New England outrushed GangGreen 215-74 and Brady threw for 283 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Edelman, the other to Rob Gronkowski) without a sack or interception, while Josh McCown threw for 276 yards and a TD to Javon Kearse (McCown was sacked twice and picked off once). New England was 5 of 12 on third down (they were perfect on fourth down in their only attempt) and kept the ball for 34:26, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 25:34, going 6 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Holding the Jets to a Myers field goal in the first quarter in their week 17 matchup in Foxboro, the Patriots would go on to score all 38 of their points unchallenged to win by 35 points. Taking the 38-3 win, the Pats led 21-3 at the break and floored the gas in the second half against their AFC East rivals at Gillette Stadium and never looked back. New England outrushed GangGreen 131-104 and Brady threw for 250 yards with four TDs and a sack but no interceptions, while Darnold (taking over for McCown) threw for 167 yards and four sacks (Darnold did not have an interception). New England was 5 of 11 on third down in Foxboro (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:13, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:47.

In the week 12 contest in the Meadowlands, New ENgland was favored by 9 1/2 and the Patriots covered, winning by 14. Both teams scored 40 points, which meant that the 46 over/under was intact. As for the week 17 contest in Foxboro? New England won by 41, allowing them to cover the 13 1/2-point spread (they were favored) but the two clubs combined for 41 points, missing the 45 over/under.

On Monday nights, the Jets are 22-31, while the Patriots are 25-25 (both teams played a MNF contest and both teams were winners). New England’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. You might want to tape “All Rise” and “Bull” this week. While Brady and the Patriots take this one, expect GangGreen to make it closer than 9 1/2.

And then there were two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THROUGH SIX WEEKS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opening 6-0:

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

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

Opening 5-1 or 5-0-1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Has 39,648 passing yards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fewest turnovers through four weeks, 1970-present:

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

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

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Including games played in Milwaukee, at the Cotton Bowl and Texas Stadium, the Packers lead the series 15-13, have out-scored Dallas 655-606 and won their last meeting, a 35-31 win in 2017 in the Lone Star State, while Dallas’ last win came in 2016 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst by a final of 30-16 at Lambeau. Dallas is favored by 3 1/2 in the late afternoon affair and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Since both teams are leading their respective divisions and both have a long history with each other, it’s safe to say that this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fewest turnovers through four weeks, 1970-present:

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

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

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Including games played in Milwaukee, at the Cotton Bowl and Texas Stadium, the Packers lead the series 15-13, have out-scored Dallas 655-606 and won their last meeting, a 35-31 win in 2017 in the Lone Star State, while Dallas’ last win came in 2016 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst by a final of 30-16 at Lambeau. Dallas is favored by 3 1/2 in the late afternoon affair and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Since both teams are leading their respective divisions and both have a long history with each other, it’s safe to say that this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three weeks down, 14 to go.

The leaves are turning color in most places in the United States and there is stil lots of football left in the 2019 NFL season. There’s still time for those teams looking for that first win to get it. Football is a fickle mistress that must be treated with great care. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

SEVEN FROM LAST SUNDAY

Three teams that missed the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo (3-0), Detroit (2-0-1) and San Francisco (3-0) – are undefeated through the first three weeks of the 2019 season.

2019 marks the fourth time that at least four teams have started the season undefeated through their first three games after missing the postseason the previous year since 1990 when the current playoff format was instituted, joining 2013, 2003 and 2002.

New England defeated the New York Jets, 30-14 in Week 3. New England is the first team to not allow a passing or rushing touchdown in each of their first three games of a season in the Super Bowl era. Additionally, the Patriots are the first team to hold opponents scoreless in the first half of five consecutive games, including the postseason, the longest such streak in the Super Bowl era.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who passed for 306 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, has 71 career games with at least 300 passing yards and two touchdowns, surpassing Peyton Manning (70) for the second-most such games in NFL history. Only Drew Brees (93) has more such performances in league annals. Appearing in his 20th career game, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 374 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 132.0 rating in the Chiefs’ 33-28 win over Baltimore. Through 20 career games, Mahomes has the highest marks by a quarterback in passing yards (6,576), passing touchdowns (60) and passer rating (115.3 – minimum 100 attempts) in NFL history.

Mahomes recorded his 13th career game with at least 300 pass yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (12 games) for the most by a player in his first 20 career games in NFL history. Mahomes – who passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in Week 1 and 443 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 2 – is the first player to record at least 350 passing yards, three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in three consecutive games in NFL history.

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones passed for 336 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 112.7 rating and added two rushing touchdowns in the Giants’ 32-31 win at Tampa Bay. Jones is the first rookie with at least 300 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a single game since 1970. Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett had four sacks in the loss. Barrett has eight sacks through the Buccaneers’ first three games, tied with Mark Gastineau (1984) for the most by a player in his team’s first three games of a season since 1982.

Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ 34-14 win over Oakland. Cook – who rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 and 154 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 – is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 110 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in each of his team’s first three games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1958), Curtis Martin (2004), O.J. Simpson (1975) and Emmitt Smith (1995).

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara had 161 scrimmage yards (92 receiving, 69 rushing) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Saints’ 33-27 win at Seattle. Kamara, who has 23 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving touchdowns in 34 career games, is the fifth player in league annals with at least 20 rushing touchdown and 10 receiving touchdowns in his first three seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, Roger Craig, Chuck Foreman and Abner Haynes.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffery totaled 188 scrimmage yards (153 rushing, 35 receiving) and a rushing touchdown in the Panthers’ 38-20 victory at Arizona. McCaffrey, who had 209 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns in Week 1, is the fourth player with at least 185 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in two of his team’s first three games of a season in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (1963), Adrian Peterson (2010) and Billy Sims (1980).

The NFL rolls into Week 4 with two significant early trends that separate this year from any of the previous 99 seasons: Quarterbacks are getting younger and the league-wide passer rating, the highest it’s ever been through three weeks, is on an upward slope. This week, the NFL concludes a September that has seen both the highest collective passer rating ever through three weeks and the most starting quarterbacks (20 in Week 3) age 26 or younger in league history. Meanwhile, each week continues to produce close games and stirring second-half comebacks and rookies continue to progress into household-name territory.

CLOSE GAMES INCREASINGLY COMMON: Through the first three weeks, 23 of 48 games (47.9 percent) have been decided by six points or less. Only one other time in league history (24 in 2013) has the final margin been six points or fewer in more games over three weeks of NFL play. Plus, 26 of 48 games (54.2 percent) have been decided by seven points or less, tied for third in league history after three weeks.

The most games decided by six-or-fewer points and seven-or-fewer points, through three weeks in NFL history:

Games decided by six points or fewer

2013 – 24
2019 – 23
2016 – 22
2000 – 21
Many – 20

Games decided by seven points or fewer

2016 – 28
2013 – 28
2019 – 26
1988 – 26
2011 – 25

REBOUNDS ALSO ON THE RISE: Four teams that missed the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo (3-0), Detroit (2-0-1), Green Bay (3-0) and San Francisco (3-0) – are undefeated through the first three weeks. Since the current playoff format began in 1990, this year marks just the fourth time that at least four teams have started the season undefeated through their first three games after missing the postseason the previous year. It also happened in 2002, 2003 and 2013.

If Buffalo, Detroit and Green Bay win this week, the league will have four undefeated teams through the first four weeks, among those that didn’t qualify for the postseason the prior year (including 3-0 San Francisco, on its bye in Week 4). It’s happened once previously, when Carolina, Denver, Kansas City and Minnesota opened 4-0 in 2003, after missing the playoffs in 2002. The Panthers advanced to Super Bowl XXXVIII that season.

HIGHEST PASSER RATING EVER THROUGH THREE WEEKS: It’s an arms race! NFL passers have compiled a 94.3 rating through three weeks, while the average age among starting quarterbacks has decreased each week.

The highest aggregate passer ratings through a season’s first three weeks in NFL history:

YEAR – PASSER RATING
2019 – 94.3
2018 – 93.2
2015 – 91.1
2014 – 90.6
2017 – 90.3

ROOKIES PREVALENT ON NFL LANDSCAPE: Youth is being served! Through three weeks, 11 of 32 NFL teams have rookies leading or tied for their team lead in passer rating, rushing yards, receiving yards, tackles or interceptions. That includes Pittsburgh, whose rookie linebacker Devin Bush not only leads the Steelers with 29 tackles; he also leads the league with three fumble recoveries.

Last week in his first NFL start, New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones passed for 336 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 112.7 passer rating. He also added two rushing touchdowns, including the game-winning 7-yard score with 76 seconds remaining, in his team’s 32-31 win at Tampa Bay. Since at least the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, Jones is the first rookie with at least 300 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in the same game.

A look at rookies who lead their teams or are tied for their team lead through three weeks:

PASSER RATING*

QB, TEAM (RATING)
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville (110.6)
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (109.7)
Kyler Murray, Arizona (79.0)

RUSHING YARDS

RUSHER, TEAM (YARDS)
Josh Jacobs, Oakland (228)
David Montgomery, Chicago (147)
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia (106)
*min. 40 attempts

RECEIVING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM (YARDS)
Marquise Brown, Baltimore (282)
Terry McLaurin, Washington (257)
Preston Williams, Miami (115)

INTERCEPTIONS

PLAYER, TEAM (INTERCEPTIONS)
Ryan Connelly, New York Giants (1)
Darnell Savage, Green Bay (1)
Preston Williams, Miami (115)

ROOKIES GETTING TO QUARTERBACK: For the first time since 1982, when individual sacks became an official statistic, five rookies have at least 1.5 sacks entering Week 4. Carolina has two of those five: Brian Burns and Christian Miller each have 2 sacks. Jacksonville defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen (2), New England defensive lineman Chase Winovich (2) and New York Giants defensive end/linebacker Oshane Ximines (1.5) round out the group.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK: Two games on Sunday feature a battle of undefeated foes, both in the early afternoon window. New Era Field in Buffalo hosts a clash of the 3-0 teams atop the AFC East in upstate New York. New England, whose point-differential (89) is 36 points higher than number 2 Dallas (53), plays Buffalo, off to their best start since they began 3-0 in 2011. Buffalo seeks its first 4-0 start since 2008.

No NFL division has seen multiple teams start 3-0 since 2015, in the NFC South (Atlanta and Carolina). This season, both the AFC East and the NFC West (Rams and 49ers) have a pair of 3-0 teams.

At Ford Field in Detroit, Kansas City (3-0) meets Detroit (2-0-1), who with a win would be undefeated through four games for the first time since opening 5-0 in 2011.

CONSISTENT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: Both New England and the Los Angeles Rams have authored a 3-0 encore after meeting in Super Bowl LIII. The defending Super Bowl teams haven’t started that well in 21 years, when both Denver and Green Bay were 3-0 to start the 1998 season after clashing in Super Bowl XXXII. The last time both Super Bowl teams were 4-0? It was also the Broncos and Packers in 1998.

STRONG STARTS: On Sunday Night Football, Dallas makes a trip to their neighboring state to meet New Orleans in the Big Easy. The Cowboys with a win would be off to their best start in 12 years, since opening 5-0 in 2007. With a win last Sunday over the Steelers, San Francisco is off to its best start in 21 years. The 49ers are on a bye this week but can advance to their first 4-0 start in nearly three decades with a win at home over Cleveland in Santa Clara on Monday, October 7. Seven teams are 3-0 entering Week 4.

The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs have each started 3-0 for a second consecutive season. The last time the same two NFL teams opened 3-0 in back-to-back years was 2015-16 (Denver and New England). The last time the same two teams opened 4-0 in consecutive seasons was 1968-69, when the Rams and Dallas did the feat.

The last time each of the other 3-0 teams improved to 4-0:

TEAM, LAST 4-0 START (SEASON RESULT)
San Francisco, 1990 (NFC Championship)
Dallas, 2007 (NFC Divisional)
Buffalo, 2008 (Missed playoffs)
Green Bay, 2015 (NFC Divisional)
New England, 2015 (AFC Championship)

CONTAGIOUS COMEBACKS: In 12 of 48 games (25 percent), a team has come back to tie or win after trailing in the fourth quarter.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated the Chargers-Dolphins contest as the NFL100 GAME OF THE WEEK because it honors one of the most thrilling games ever played, the Epic in Miami. On January 2, 1982, at the Orange Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN FOUTS led his Chargers to an incredible 41-38 overtime win over the Dolphins. In a thrilling AFC Divisional playoff that Sports Illustrated called, “The Game No One Should Have Lost,” the Dolphins overcame a 24-0 first-quarter deficit. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula inserted backup quarterback Don Strock to spark the Dolphins, who capitalized on four Miami takeaways to capture their first lead in the fourth quarter. But the Chargers cashed in their own takeaways, including a Pete Shaw fumble recovery that halted a potential game-icing Dolphins drive with less than 5 minutes left. On the Dolphins’ doorstep with under a minute on the clock and submerged by Miami’s pass rush, Fouts threw a blind, 9-yard pass in the direction of his intended receiver, Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow. The overthrown pass, however, sailed into the arms of Charger James BrooksAMES BROOKS for a game-knotting touchdown. In a 38-38 game, Strock then quickly maneuvered the Dolphins into field-goal position, where the 6-foot-5 Winslow deflected Uwe Von Schamann’s kick to force overtime. In the extra frame, each team orchestrated long drives, only to see their kickers miss field goals, including another Chargers block, this time by Leroy Jones. Finally, Fouts engineered a 74-yard drive to set up Rolf Bernirschke’s game-ending 29-yard field goal and – 13 minutes, 52 seconds, into OT – San Diego advanced, 41-38. Fouts and Strock combined for 856 yards passing. Five players topped 100 yards receiving. Following the season, Miami advanced to two of the next three Super Bowls.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 4

100 IN 100: Through the first three weeks of the NFL’s 100th season, 11 quarterbacks have a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 20 attempts), the most through three weeks in NFL history. That list of quarterbacks includes two rookies, Daniel Jones (New York Giants) and Gardner Minshew (Jacksonville), along with two second-year quarterbacks, Kyle Allen (Carolina) and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore). In total, six quarterbacks under the age of 25 and eight under the age of 30 have a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 20 attempts) through the first three weeks.

The quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher this season (minimum 20 attempts):

PLAYER, TEAM (AGE, PASSER RATING)
Kyle Allen, Carolina (23, 144.4)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (24, 134.9)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (26, 128.0)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (30, 119.6)
Tom Brady, New England (42, 116.5)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (22, 113.9)
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis (26, 112.0)
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville (23, 110.6)
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (22, 109.7)
Deshaun Watson, Houston (24, 108.6)
Case Keenum, Washington (31, 100.0)

Six other quarterbacks, including Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (99.3) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers (98.5), have a passer rating of 95 or higher this season and look to join this group after Week 3. Through a season’s first four weeks, only 2015 and 2007 have featured at least 11 quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 20 attempts).

The seasons with the most quarterbacks with a passer rating of at least 100 through four weeks (min. 20 attempts):

SEASON – QUARTERBACKS WITH 100+ RATING THROUGH 4 WEEKS

2015 – 11
2007 – 11
2018 – 10
2017 – 9
2019 – 11*

*Through Week 3

MAHOMES STREAKING: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 374 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Chiefs’ 33-28 win over Baltimore last week. Mahomes – who passed for 378 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1 and 443 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 2 – is the first player to record at least 350 passing yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions in three consecutive games in NFL history.

Dating back to Week 6 of the 2018 season, the reigning league MVP has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 14 consecutive games. With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday at Detroit, Mahomes can tie Peyton Mannig (15 consecutive games) for the most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes in NFL history.

The most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON(S)(CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 2+ PASS TDs)
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013-14)(15)
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2018-19)(14)*
Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers (2017-18)(13)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2011)(13)
Tom Brady – New England (2010-11)(13)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (2004)(13)
*Active streak

Mahomes can also become the fifth player in NFL history to throw at least three touchdowns in each of his first four games of a season.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 3+ PASS TDs TO BEGIN THEIR SEASON)

Tom Brady, New England (2017, 10)#
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998, 5) HOF
Dan Marinom Miami (1987, 4)HO
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1999, 4) HOF#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2019, 3)*
*Active streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

CAROLINA KYLE: In his first start of the season last week, Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen passed for 261 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 144.4 passer rating in the Panthers’ Week 3 win. Allen also threw for 228 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 111.3 rating in Carolina’s Week 17 victory in 2018, his first career start.

With at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions on Sunday at Houston, Allen would become the first player in the Super Bowl era to throw at least two touchdown passes without an interception in each of his first three career starts.

COOKING UP YARDS: Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 3 win over Oakland and has recorded at least 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in each of his first three games of the season. His 375 rushing yards lead the league through three weeks.

With at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on Sunday at Chicago (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Cook would become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 100 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in each of his team’s first four games to begin a season.​

The players with at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in each of their team’s first four games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, MOST GAMES WITH 100+ RUSH YARDS & RUSH TD TO BEGIN SEASON)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1958, 6) HOF
O.J. Simpson , Buffalo (1975, 5) HOF
DeMarco Murray, Dallas (2014, 4)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995, 4) HOF
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota (2019, 3)*

15,000 FOR FRANK: Buffalo running back Frank Gore has rushed for 14,912 yards over his 15-year NFL career. With 88 rushing yards on Sunday against New England, Gore would become the fourth player in league history to reach 15,000 career rushing yards. The other three players are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) RUSHING YARDS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (18,355) HOF
Walter Payton – Chicago (16,726) HOF
Barry Sanders – Detroit (15,26) HOF
Frank Gore – San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami and Buffalo (14,912)*
*Active

WALLER BALLER: Oakland tight end Darren Waller had a career-high 13 catches for 134 yards last week. His 26 receptions rank second in the league and lead all tight ends through the first three weeks of the season.

With eight receptions on Sunday at Indianapolis, Waller would surpass Antonio Gates (33 receptions) for the most receptions by a tight end through his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receptions through their team’s first four games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS)
Antonio Gates, San Diego (2007, 33)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2014, 32)
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia (2018, 31)
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland (2013, 30)
Darren Waller, Oakland (2019, 26)*
*Through Week 3

SHAQ ATTACK: Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett enters Week 4 with a league-leading eight sacks. Barrett registered three sacks in Week 2, followed by a career-high four-sack performance last week, tying a Tampa Bay single-game franchise record.

With at least 1.5 sacks on Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams, Barrett would surpass Mark Gastineau (nine sacks, 1984), Kabeer Gbaja-BiamilaLA (nine, 2001) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (nine, 1998) for the most sacks by a player through his team’s first four games of a season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks through their team’s first four games of a season since 1982:

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM, SACKS)
Mark Gastineau, 1984 (New York Jets, 9)
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, 2001 (Green Bay, 9)
Kevin Greene, 1998 (Carolina, 9) HOF
William Gay, 1983 (Detroit, 8.5)
Shaquil Barrett, 2019 (Tampa Bay, 8)*

*Through Week 3

Additionally, with at least three sacks in Week 4, Barrett can become the first player wi​​th at least three sacks in three consecutive games since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Week four got underway at Lambeau as the Packers fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as Green Bay hosted Philadelphia and concludes in the Steel City as Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati Monday night. Byes for this week? San Francisco and the New York Jets. As for last week? A lot better. 10-6… best.week.ever and for the season, we’re 25-23. There’s still football left to play. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 4.

Tennessee (1-2) at ATLANTA (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of 1-2 teams meet in the Big Peach as Tennessee makes the 243-mile trip south to face off against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. Both teams are searching for wins to even their records.

Held to a third-quarter TD by Derrick Henry, Tenneseee lost to AFC South rival Jacksonville 20-7. Tennessee trailed 14-0 (Jacksonville scored both early TDs in the first quarter) at TIAA Field last Thursday night and could never get themselves on track in the Sunshine State. Tennessee did out-rush Jacksonville 91-88 in the Thursday night contest and Marcus Mariota threw for 304 yards but was sacked nine times, while Jaguar QB Gardner Minshew threw for 204 yards with no sacks (neither threw an interception). Tennessee went 8 for 17 on third down and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 35:16, while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 24:44, going 2 of 11 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

The Falcons were flagged 16 times for 128 yards in their 27-24 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday. Although they trailed 20-6 at the half, Atlanta would go on to outscore the Colts 21-7 in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, pulling themselves to within 7 with 4:11 when Ryan and All-Pro WR Julio Jones connected on a 10-yard TD toss. The Colts would then get the ball back on the kickoff and run out the clock to take the win at Lucas Oil Stadium. Atlanta out-rushed the Colts 93-88 and Davonta Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards. Ryan threw for 304 yards and three TDs (two to TE Austih Hooper) with an interception but no sacks, while the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett threw for 310 yards and a pair of TDs with a sack (Marlon Mack led the Colts with 74 rushing yards and a TD). Atlanta was 8 of 10 on third down and the Falcons would keep the ball for 28:37, while the Colts ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:23, going 5 of 8 on third down.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Falcons played their home games at Fulton County Stadium and the Georgoa Dome, the series is even at 7-7. Atlanta has outscored the Titans 331-313 and have won the last two meetings in the series, including a 10-7 win in 2015 in the Music City, while Tennessee’s last win over the Falcons came in 2007 in Nashville by a final of 20-13. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Falcons as 4 1/2 point favorites in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Both teams are looking to right their ships from last week. Falcons RISE UP in the Big Peach to take the win and covers the 4 1/2.

Cleveland (1-2) at Baltimore (2-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Mayfield vs. Jackson. A pair of top NFL QB draft picks meet in Charm City as the Ravens, atop first place in the AFC North, take on the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore. Both teams enter the Sunday afternoon contest with close losses from last week under their belts.

A late Cleveland rally against Los Angeles fell short as the Rams came away 20-13 winners at First Energy Stadium last Sunday night. Cleveland led 6-3 at the intermission before Jared Goff connected on a pair of TD passes to Cooper Kupp, the second one giving Los Angeles the lead back for keeps with 12:48 left in the contest. Greg Zuerlein would then add a 37-yard field goal to push the lead to a 3-point margin and the Rams stopped Baker Mayfield inside their 10-yard line as four of Mayfield’s passes fell incomplete in the final seconds of the contest.

Cleveland out-rushed Los Angeles 95-90 with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading all rusher with 96 yards, while former Georgia teammate Todd Gurley leading Los Angeles with 48. Goff threw for 268 yards with the two Kupp TDs (he was sacked twice and picked off twice), while Mayfield threw for 195 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception. The Rams in the Sunday night contest along the shores of Lake Erie went 6 of 14 on third down and held the ball for 28:23. As for the Browns? They were 6 of 16 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down but ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:37.

Batlimore trailed Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City lead 23-6 at the intermission at Arrowhead Stadium, then watched Lamar Jackson and Baltimore out-score them 22-10 in the seconds but fell short, as the Chiefs would be the ones escaping with a 33-28 win. Jackson would make it an 8-point contest with 2:01 left in the game but the Ravens would miss the two-point try. The Chiefs would then get the ball back after the kickoff and they would run out the clock and take the win. Mark Ingram rushed for 103 yards and three TDs as the Ravens ran for 203 yards (Kansas City rushed for 140) and Jackson threw for 267 yards with three sacks (neither Jackson or Mahomes threw an interception). Batlimore went 5 of 13 on third downs at Arrowhead (they were 3 for 4 on fourth down) and the Ravens actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:44, while the Chiefs held the pigskin for 27:16, going 5 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Baltimore leads the series, 30-10 and the Ravens have out-scored Cleveland 927-598. The two clubs split their two meetings, with each taking wins at home.

The first meeting? Cleveland in week 5 and the contest was an all-field goal affair as the Browns needed overtime to take a 12-9 win along the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland scored the only TD in the contest when Mayfield and WR Rashard Higgins connected on a 19-yard toss with 40 seconds left before the intermission to take a 6-3 lead (they would miss the extra point). Baltimore took a 3-0 lead into the first quarter of play thanks to a Jeff Tucker field goal before the Browns would lead 6-3 at the half.

Greg Joseph would then give Cleveland a 9-3 lead that would not last long as Tucker would kick a pair of field goals, including one that would tie the contest at 9-9 with 52 seconds left in regulation. Each team got a chance to score in the overtime and it would be the Browns that would prevail, as they used a 7-play, 65-yard drive that used 2:55 of clock and it would be Joseph that would send Browns fans home happy as he connected on a 37-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the extra period.

Baltimore out-rushed Cleveland 116-112 and Mayfield threw for 342 yards with five sacks to go with the TD toss, while Joe Flacco threw for 298 yards with a pair of sacks (each threw an interception). Cleveland was 6 of 19 on third down (the Browns were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:16, while the Ravens were 4 of 16 on third down (Baltimore was 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:42.

Baltimore would get revenge in Charm City in week 17 and took the AFC North title in the process, surviving a late Browns scare and taking a 26-24 win at M&T Bank Stadium. In the season finale, the Ravens led 20-7 at the half before Cleveland stormed back in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling themselves to within 2 with 3:24 left in the contest when WR Antonio Calloway and Mayfield connected on a 1-yard TD toss. The Browns would get the ball back with 1:49 left but four Mayfield passes went incomplete. That in turn gave Baltimore the ball back and the Ravens would run out the clock and take the win in Charm City.

Baltimore out-rushed Cleveland 296-50, with Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon paving the way with 117 yards. Jackson threw for 179 yards with a pair of sacks and no interceptions, while Mayfield threw for 376 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. While the Ravens were 3 of 13 on third down, they were succesful in their only fourth down try, keeping the ball for 38:30; the Browns kept the ball for 21:30 and went 4 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore was favored by 3 in the week 5 contest in the Buckeye State and Cleveland covered with the 3-point overtime win but the 47 over/under stayed in tact as both clubs combined for only 21 points. Baltimore was favored in the season finale in Charm City by 6. While the Ravens did win, they only won by 2 but both teams scored 50 points, which covered the 41 over/under. Baltimore’s favored by 6 1/2 in this first meeting and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense and both are capable of making the post-season party. The Browns are looking to get back to the post-season, while the Ravens are the defending AFC North champs. Break out the crabcakes! Cleveland could make this closer than 6 1/2 but Ravens prevail in Charm City.

New England (3-0) at Buffalo (3-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They bpth share the same divison and they’re both unbeaten. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in upstate New York as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots travel to Orchard Park for an early afternoon meeting with the Buffalo Bills.

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

Buffalo held off Cincinnati 21-17 at New Era Stadium last Sunday. The Bills led the Bengals 14-0 at the intermission in upstate New York, then watched the Bengals outscore Buffalo 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to make the contest closer than Bills fans would like. Buffalo ran for 175 yards, holding the Bengals to 67 yards (Bills RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 76 yards and a TD), while Josh Allen threw for 243 yards for the Bills with an interception (Andy Dalton threw for 249 yards and two interceptions and a pair of sacks; both Dalton and Allen threw a TD in the contest). The Bengals, who turned the ball over three times in upstate New York, went 3 for 11 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 23:06, while Buffalo ruled the clock and circled their wagons around the ball, keeping it for 36:54 and went 5 of 13 on third down tries.

New England leads the series 73-43-1 (which includes contests that were played at Fenway Park, Schafer Stadium in Boston and war Memorial Stadium in Buffalo), have out-scored the Bills 2,608-2,137 and have won the last five meetings, sweeping last year’s contests (Buffalo’s last win over the Patriots came in 2016 in Foxboro, where they shutout the Patriots 16-0).

Meeting number one… week eight in upstate New York (46 degree temperature at kickoff with a 39 degree wind chill) and the Patriots held Buffalo to a pair of Stephen Hauschka field goals to take a 25-6 win in Orchard Park. New England led 9-3 at the half, then proceeed to floor the gas in the second half, outscoring Buffalo 16-3 in the final 30 minutes of play.

New England rushed for only 76 yards but managed to hold the Bills to 46 yards, Brady threw for 324 yards, while Bills QB Derek Anderson threw for 290 yards (Brady was sacked twice but did not throw an interception, while Anderson threw three interceptions with being sacked three times). New England was 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Bills kept the ball for 28:10, going 4 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

New England made the series a clean sweep in their week 16 contest in Foxboro, as they would take a 24-12 win at Gillette Stadium. Although they led 14-0 at the break, New England was outscored by Buffalo 12-10 in the second half, with the Bills pulling to within 12 with 68 seconds left in the contest as Allen and WR Zay Jones connected on a 31-yard toss. New England took care of things on the ground, tallying 273 rushing yards, holding Buffalo to 72, with Patriots RB Sony Michel leading the way with 116 yards and a TD. Brady threw for 126 yards with a TD to Josh Edelman, while Allen threw for 217 yards (both threw a pair of interceptions and Brady was sacked once). New England was 3 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:38; the Bills kept the ball for 24:22, going 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week eight contest in upstate New York, New England easily covered the 14-point spread, winning by 19. The 44 1/2 over/under? It was safe, as both teams combined for 31 points. In the week 16 contest in Foxboro, New England covered the 12 1/2-point spread, winning by 14. The 44 1/2 over/under? Untouched, as both teams merged for 36 points. New England’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Given the records, this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

These two for the time being are the kings of the AFC East mountain but there can be only one king. The Bills will make this one closer than the 7 but Brady and the Patriots prevail in upstate New York, taking the win.

Kansas City (3-0) at Detroit (2-0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. An unbeaten Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs make their way to the Motor City to face off against Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Both enter the contest with close wins under their belts.

Mahomes (three TDs) and the Chiefs led 23-6 at the intermission at Arrowhead Stadium, then watched Lamar Jackson and Baltimore out-score them 22-10 in the seconds, escaping with a 33-28 win. Jackson would make it an 8-point contest with 2:01 left in the game but the Ravens would miss the two-point try. The Chiefs would then get the ball back after the kickoff and they would run out the clock and take the win. Mark Ingram rushed for 103 yards and three TDs as the Ravens ran for 203 yards (Kansas City rushed for 140) and Jackson threw for 267 yards with three sacks (neither Jackson or Mahomes threw an interception). Batlimore went 5 of 13 on third downs at Arrowhead (they were 3 for 4 on fourth down) and the Ravens actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:44, while the Chiefs held the pigskin for 27:16, going 5 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Detroit gave Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles their second loss in a row after they left the City of Brotherly Love 27-24 winners at Lincoln Financial Field. Detroit led 20-10 at the break but Philadelphia managed to keep the contest close, pulling themselves to within seven with 6:59 left when Wentz and WR Nelson Agholor connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Philadelphia would later get the ball back with 1:39 left to play in hopes of tying the contest up but the drive ended when the Eagles were flagged for offensive pass interference and Wentz’s fourth down pass attempt to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was broken up, ending the Eagles’ hopes of a win at home.

Detroit was out-rushed by Philadelphia 127-86, with Wentz throwing for 259 yards, three sacks and a pair of TDs (both to Agholor), while Stafford threw for 201 yards and a TD (neith threw an interception). Philadelphia was 7 of 13 on third down tries in the City of Brotherly Love (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:18, while the Lions kept the pigskin for 27:42 and went 6 for 14 on third down tries.

The Chiefs lead the series 8-5 (which includes contests that were played at Swope Field in Kansas City and the Silverdome in Pontiac) and have outscored the Lions 323-293. Their last meeting was in London in 2015 and the —Chiefs were 45-10 winners (Kansas City’s last win in the United States came in 2003 at Arrowhead by a final of 45-17), while Detroit’s last win came in the Motor City in 2011, coming away 48-3 winners. The Chiefs may be the road team but the odds makers like them as 6 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 53 1/2. One of these teams could make the post-season and it’s possible that both could be in as well. Right now, there’s only one winner. Detroit will make things closer than the 6 1/2 but the Chiefs stay unbeaten in the 2019 campaign.

Carolina (1-2) at Houston (2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The Carolina Panthers, who will be without Cam Newton (broken foot) travel to the Lone Star State for a showdown with the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Both teams won huge road games in last week’s action.

The Panthers erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit at Arizona, taking a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission and coming away 38-20 winners over the Cardinals last Sunday. Panthers backup QB Kyle Allen connected with TE Greg Olson on two TD passes in the desert as Carolina outscored the Desert Angry Birds 24-10 in the second half. Carolina out-rushed the Cardinals 173-121 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading the way with 153 yards and a TD, while Arizona QB Kyler Murray led his team with 69 yards of rushing. Allen threw for 261 yards and four TDs (including the two Olson catches), while Murray threw for 173 yards with two TDs (Allen was sacked twice but did not throw an interception, while Murray was sacked eight times with two picks). Arizona went 9 of 17 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 31:44, while the Panthers kept the pigskin for 28:16, going 4 of 10 on third down.

The Texans erased a 17-7 intermission deficit against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park, holding off Philip Rivers and the Chargers 27-20. Houston got a pair of TD passes from DeShaun Watson to TE Jordan Akins to take a 27-17 lead with 9:40 left in the contest. The Chargers’ Ty Long would put his club to within three with 7:14 left with a 43-yard field goal and that would be as close as the Chargers would get, as the Texans would hold them off in the final seconds to take the road win. While the Chargers did out-rush Houston 73-39, Watson threw for 351 yards and three TDs (including the two to Akins) and was sacked twice, while Rivers threw for 318 yards and a pair of TDs to Keenan Allen (Rivers was sacked five times, neither man threw an interception). Houston went 6 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:12, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:48, going 5 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

They’ve met four times and each team has two wins to their credit. Carolina has outscored Houston 83-78 and came away 24-17 winners in their last meeting in Charlotte in 2015, while the Texans’ last win in the series came in 2007 in the Tar Heel State by a final of 34-21. The Texans are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Carolina, you have a problem. Houston covers the 4 1/2 and wins in the Lone Star State.

Oakland (1-2) at Indianapolis (2-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Silver and Black plays their second game in the great indoors as they travel to the Hoosier State to face off against the Indianpolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Oakland found themselves being taken to task by Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday in the Twin Cites, coming out on the losing end by a final of 34-14 at US Bank Stadium. The Raiders, dropping their second contest in a row, trailed 21-7 at the half and could never really get on track, as Minnesota would proceed to outscore them 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Delvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a TD as the Vikings out-rushed Oakland 211-88 and Cousins threw for 174 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen, while Derek Carr threw for 242 yards with a pair of TDs, four sacks and an interception (Cousins was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Oakland was 3 of 11 on third down (the Raiders were 2 of 3 on fourth down) and the Silver and Black kept the ball for 28:28, while Minnesota ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:32, going 5 of 9 on third down.

The Colts held off a late Atlanta rally in the final quarter and came away 27-24 winners over the Falcons at Indianapolis last Sunday. The Colts took a 20-6 lead at the half, then watched Atlanta outscore the Colts 21-7 in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, pulling themselves to within 7 with 4:11 when Ryan and All-Pro WR Julio Jones connected on a 10-yard TD toss. The Colts would then get the ball back on the kickoff and run out the clock to take the win at Lucas Oil Stadium. Atlanta out-rushed the Colts 93-88 and Davonta Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards. Ryan threw for 304 yards and three TDs (two to TE Austih Hooper) with an interception but no sacks, while the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett threw for 310 yards and a pair of TDs with a sack (Marlon Mack led the Colts with 74 rushing yards and a TD). Atlanta was 8 of 10 on third down and the Falcons would keep the ball for 28:37, while the Colts ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:23, going 5 of 8 on third down.

Including games in Baltimore and Los Angeles, the Raiders hold an 8-7 lead in the series and have outscored the Colts 363-356. The Colts and Raiders met last year on the West Coast and the Colts would come away 42-28 winners (Oakland’s last win in the series came in 2016 on the West Coast by a final of 33-25)

Their week eight meet at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Colts trailed 14-13 at the intermission, then proceeded to take control of things in the second half by outscoring Oakland 29-14 the rest of the way, using 21 of those points in the final quarter thanks to a pair of Marlon Mack rushing TDs, the second coming with 2:55 left in the contest to seal Oakland’s fate. Mack ran for 132 yards with the two scores, as the Colts rushed for 222 yards and Oakland tallied 103 in the loss. Andrew Luck threw for 239 yards, while Derek Carr tallied 244 yards in the air (each threw three TDs and no sacks or interceptions). The Colts were 9 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:30, while the Raiders were 4 for 8 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 23:30.

Indianapolis, favored by 3 in the week eight contest, covered as they would win by 14 and both clubs covered the 49 over/under by tallying 70 points. Indy’s favored by a touchdown in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 44 1/2. This one doesn’t have a lot of “Wow” factor but it will be somewhat entertaining to watch. Oakland will make this closer than the 7 but the Colts ride off with the win in the Hoosier State.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) at Miami (0-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of AFC foes looking to right their ships meet in the Sunshine State at winless Miami hosts the Los Angeles Chargers in an early afternoon (morning on the West Coast) contest. Both teams took losses in their contests last week.

The Bolts, who got RB Melvin Gordon back on the team this week, watched Houston erase a 17-7 intermission deficit against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park last Sunday, holding off Philip Rivers and the Chargers 27-20. Houston got a pair of TD passes from DeShaun Watson to TE Jordan Akins to take a 27-17 lead with 9:40 left in the contest. The Chargers’ Ty Long would put his club to within three with 7:14 left with a 43-yard field goal and that would be as close as the Chargers would get, as the Texans would hold them off in the final seconds to take the road win. While the Chargers did out-rush Houston 73-39, Watson threw for 351 yards and three TDs (including the two to Akins) and was sacked twice, while Rivers threw for 318 yards and a pair of TDs to Keenan Allen (Rivers was sacked five times, neither man threw an interception). Houston went 6 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:12, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:48, going 5 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Dallas held Miami to a pair of first-half field goals at AT&T Stadium last Sunday, as they took care of the Dolphins 31-6. Dallas led 10-6 at the half, then proceeded to take control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, shutting out Miami in the second half by scoring the last 21 points of the contest unchallenged. Ezekiel Elliott (125) and rookie RB Tony Pollard (103 yards, TD) led the Cowboys as Dallas out-rushed Miami 235-72 and Prescott threw for 246 yards and a pair of TDs to Amari Cooper (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 200 yards but was sacked three times. Dallas was 5 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:56, while the Dolphins were 3 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:04.

Including games played in San Diego and the Orange Bowl, Miami leads the series 16-13, the ‘Fins have outscored the Chargers 646-645 and have won the last two meetings in the series, the last coming in Los Angeles in 2017 by a final of 19-17, while Los Angeles’ last win came in San Diego in 2015, with the Chargers 30-14 victors. The Chargers are favored by 15 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Granted, Miami’s bad but not 15 1/2 bad. While the Chargers win this one in the Sunshine State, expect Miami to make it hard for the Chargers to cover.

Washington (0-3) at New York Giants (1-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. New QBs, same rivalry. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey as the Giants host the Washington Redskins at Met Life Stadium. The Giants picked up their first win last week on the road in the Sunshine State, while the Redskins are looking to secure their first win in the 2019 campaign.

Washington proved to be no match for Chicago at Fed Ex Field and Chicago took care of the Redskins 31-15 Monday night in Landover. Chicago led 28-3 at the break and was never challenged by Washington in the prime-time contest. Da Bears out-rushed Washington 90-69 and Bears safety Clinton Ha-Ha Dix burned his team with an interception return for a TD to open the scoring. Trubisky threw for 231 yards and three TD passes to WR Taylor Gabriel with three sacks and an interception, while Case Keenum threw for 332 yards and a pair of TDs, tallying four sacks and three interceptions in the contest. Chicago was 8 of 13 on third down tries in Landover and kept the ball for 31:36, while Washington, who held on to the ball for 28:24, went 3 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Giants, with rookie QB Daniel Jones under center after Eli Manning was benched, rallied his club from a 28-10 deficit at halftime to come away with the 32-31 win over Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Big Blue would out-score Tampa Bay 22-3 in the final 30 minutes of play and Jones scored the game-winning TD with 76 seconds left in regulation. Jones threw for 336 yards and a TD to WR Sterling Shepherd as well as the game-winning rushing score, while Winston threw for 380 yards and three TDs to Mike Evans (Evans had eight catches for 190 yards; Jones was sacked five times, Winston was sacked four and threw an interception) and the Bucs out-rushed Big Blue 144-72. The Giants were 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:48, while Tampa Bay ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:12, going 4 of 14 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Includings games played in Boston, when the Redskins were known as the Boston Braves and the Giants played their home games at Yankee Stadium and the Yale Bowl, the Giants lead the series 100-68-4 and Big Blue has outscored Washington 3,487-3,081. The two clubs split last year’s series, each winning on the other’s field.

The first meeting? Week eight in the Meadowlands and Washington left Met Life Stadium with a 20-13 win over Eli and the Giants. Washington led 7-3 at the intermission and controled things in the second half, outscoring the Giants 13-10 in the second half. New York would make the contest a 7-point affair with 17 seconds left when Manning and TE Evan Engram connected on a 2-yard TD toss. The Giants would then try an onside kick, which Washington recovered and the Redskins went on to run out the clock in the Meadowlands and take the win. Washington rushed for 182 yards, with RB Adrian Peterson leading everyone with 149 yards and a TD, holding the Giants to 37. Mamming threw for 316 yards and the Engram TD but was sacked seven times and picked off twice, while Redskins QB Alex Smith threw for 176 and a TD to Peterson (Smith was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Washington went 6 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 33:38; the Giants would keep the pigskin for 26:22 and went 2 of 14 and 3 of 4 on third and fourth downs.

The Giants would get revenge in Landover in week 14, taking a 40-16 win at Fed Ex Field. Eli and the Giants led 34-0 at the intermission, then led 40-0 at the end of three quarters before the Redskins would score all 16 of their points in the contest unchallenged. Manning (197 yards) threw three TDs in the contest with a pair of sacks but no interceptions, as the Giants out-rushed Washington 227-87, with Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 170 yards and a TD. Washington’s Mark Sanchez threw for 38 yards with five sacks and a pair of interceptions before giving way to Josh Johnson, who threw for 195 yards and a TD. The Giants were 4 of 13 on third down tries in Landover and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 30:09, while the Redskins held on to the ball for 29:51, going 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week eight contest in upstate New Jersey, Washington was favored by 1 and covered the spread, winning by 7. Both teams missed the 42 over/under, tallying 33 points. The Giants not only won the week 14 rematch in Landover, they covered the 1 1/2-point spread, winning by 24 and this time, both clubs covered the over/under (42 1/2), tallying 56 points. The Giants are favored by 3 in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Redskins fans want to sing “Hail to the Redskins,” instead of “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” this week. The Giants are going to delay that a week. Giants cover the 3 and takes the win in upstate New Jersey.

Seattle (2-1) at Arizona (0-2-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of NFC West rivals meet in the desert as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks face off against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Both teams lost at home last week and are looking to catch the first-place Los Angeles Rams in the division.

Seattle fell behind the Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest and lost 33-27 at Century Link Field. The Seahawks trailed 20-7 at the break but managed to outscore New Orleans 20-13 in the second half. Seattle managed to out-rush the Saints 109-88, even though Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards and a TD. Wilson threw for 406 yards and a pair of TDs, including a toss to TE Will Dissly as time expired, while Teddy Bridgewater, taking over for Brees, threw for 177 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Kamara). Seattle went 5 of 14 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:33, while the Saints kept the ball for 28:27, going 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Arizona watched Carolina erase a 7-0 first quarter deficit in Glendale, then trailed 14-10 at the intermission to lose to the Panthers 38-20 last Sunday. Panthers backup QB Kyle Allen connected with TE Greg Olson on two TD passes in the desert as Carolina outscored the Desert Angry Birds 24-10 in the second half. Carolina out-rushed the Cardinals 173-121 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading the way with 153 yards and a TD, while Arizona QB Kyler Murray led his team with 69 yards of rushing. Allen threw for 261 yards and four TDs (including the two Olson catches), while Murray threw for 173 yards with two TDs (Allen was sacked twice but did not throw an interception, while Murray was sacked eight times with two picks). Arizona went 9 of 17 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 31:44, while the Panthers kept the pigskin for 28:16, going 4 of 10 on third down.

While Arizona leads the series 20-19-1, the Seahawks have actually outscored the Desert Angry Birds 996-774 and have won three of their last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Arizona’s last win came in 2017, when the Desert Angry Birds came away with a 26-24 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks).

Their first meeting took place in week four in Glendale at State Farm Stadium. Seattle erased a 10-7 deficit at the break in the desert, then broke a 17-17 tie in the final seconds and came away 20-17 winners. The Seahawks took a 17-10 lead with them into the final 15 minutes of action before the Desert Angry Birds would tie the contest with 8:59 left in regulation when Josh Rosen and WR Chad Williams connected on a 22-yard TD pass. Arizona could have taken the lead for themselves with 1:55 left but Pat Dawson’s 45-yard field goal missed wide right, giving Seattle the ball with 1:50 left. The Seahawks would then use a 7-play, 31-yard drive that used all of the 1:50 and sent Cardinals fans home sad when Sebastian Janikowski split the uprights with a 52-yard field goal as time expired.

Seattle out-rushed Arizona 171-92 (Seattle’s Mike Davis led all rushers with 101 yards and a pair of TDs) and Wilson threw for 172 yards; while Wilson did not throw a TD, he was sacked twice and Rosen threw for 180 yards with one sack and the lone TD toss (neither threw an interception). Seattle struggled on third down tries in the desert (0 of 10) but found some success on fourth down, going 1 of 2 and kept the ball for 31:46, including the final 1:50 of the contest. As for Arizona? They were 5 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:14.

Seattle put Janikowski’s leg to good use in the rematach in week 17 and as was the case in the first meeting, the second contest went down to the wire at Century Link Field and once again it was Seattle that would prevail with the 27-24 win over the Cardinals. Seattle led 14-13 at the break in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and had a 21-13 lead with 11 seconds left in the third quarter when Arizona LB Dennis Gardeck blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone to tie the contest up at 21-21 (Arizona would go for a two-conversion and was successful in the attempt). Janikowski and Zane Gonzalez would trade field goals in the fourth quarter before the Seahawks got the ball back with 1:49 left in regulation. Seattle would use all of that 1:49, taking an 8-play, 60-yard drive down the field, where Janikowski would connect on a 33-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

As was the case in the first meeting, Seattle out-rushed Arizona, this time tallying 182 yards to the Cardinals’ 85 and Wilson threw for 152 yards with a TD to Tyler Lockett with a, interception, while Rosen accounted for 149 yards and no interceptions (each was sacked six times). Seattle again struggled on third down tries in the Pacific Northwest, going 4 of 14 and kept the ball for 29:09, including the final 1:49, while Arizona ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:51, going 4 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Seattle, the favorite on the road, covered the 3-point spread in the week four contest in Glendale but both clubs missed the 39 over/under by 2 points. The Seahawks were favored again in the week 17 contest at home, this time by 13 1/2. Once again, the Seahawks would win by three but this time, both teams covered the over/under of 38 1/2 by tallying 51 ponts. Seattle’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 48. Both teams want to catch and pass the Rams to be on top of the NFC West mountain. Seahawks win in the desert and cover the 5.

Tampa Bay (1-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-0), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. The Rams returns to the West Coast for a late afternoon (Eastern time) contest with Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Coliseum.

Winston and Tampa Bay let a 28-10 lead at the half against the New York Giants get away from them as Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones went under center and led his club to a 32-31 win over the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Big Blue would out-score Tampa Bay 22-3 in the final 30 minutes of play and Jones scored the game-winning TD with 76 seconds left in regulation. Jones threw for 336 yards and a TD to WR Sterling Shepherd as well as the game-winning rushing score, while Winston threw for 380 yards and three TDs to Mike Evans (Evans had eight catches for 190 yards; Jones was sacked five times, Winston was sacked four and threw an interception) and the Bucs out-rushed Big Blue 144-72. The Giants were 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:48, while Tampa Bay ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:12, going 4 of 14 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

The defending NFC champs kept their unbeaten streak in tact last Sunday night along the shores of Lake Erie as they held off a late Cleveland rally and beat the Rams 20-13 at First Energy Stadium. Jared Goff and the Rams trailed 6-3 at the intermission before Goff connected on a pair of TD passes to Cooper Kupp, the second one giving Los Angeles the lead back for keeps with 12:48 left in the contest. Greg Zuerlein would then add a 37-yard field goal to push the lead to a 3-point margin and the Rams stopped Baker Mayfield inside their 10-yard line as four of Mayfield’s passes fell incomplete in the final seconds of the contest.

Cleveland out-rushed Los Angeles 95-90 with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading all rusher with 96 yards, while former Georgia teammate Todd Gurley leading Los Angeles with 48. Goff threw for 268 yards with the two Kupp TDs (he was sacked twice and picked off twice), while Mayfield threw for 195 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception. The Rams in the Sunday night contest along the shores of Lake Erie went 6 of 14 on third down and held the ball for 28:23. As for the Browns? They were 6 of 16 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down but ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:37.

Including contests in St. Louis and Anaheim, the Rams lead the series 14-8, they have out-scored the Buccaneers 530-451 and have won the last five meetings, including a 37-32 win in the Sunshine State in 2016, while Tampa Bay’s last win came in Tampa Bay by a final of 18-17 in 2010. The Rams find themselves as 9 1/2 popint favorites on the West Coast and the over/under’s 49. Tampa Bay’s good… the Rams are a little better. The Buccaneers are going to make this one closer than 9 1/2 but the Rams remain among the unbeaten and takes the win at home.

Minnesota (2-1) at Chicago (2-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. They meet again and round one is in the Windy City. Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears host Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field in a late-afternoon match along the shores of Lake Michigan between NFC North rivals.

Cousins and Minnesota took care of Oakland last Sunday in the Twin Cites, taking a 34-14 win over the Silver and Black at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings led 21-7 at the half and could never really get on track, as Minnesota would proceed to outscore them 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Delvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a TD as the Vikings out-rushed Oakland 211-88 and Cousins threw for 174 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen, while Derek Carr threw for 242 yards with a pair of TDs, four sacks and an interception (Cousins was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Oakland was 3 of 11 on third down (the Raiders were 2 of 3 on fourth down) and the Silver and Black kept the ball for 28:28, while Minnesota ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:32, going 5 of 9 on third down.

Washington proved to be no match for Da Bears, as Chicago went into Fed Ex Field and took care of the Redskins 31-15 Monday night in Landover. Chicago led 28-3 at the break and was never challenged by Washington in the prime-time contest. Da Bears out-rushed Washington 90-69 and Clinton Ha-Ha Dix burned his team with an interception return for a TD to open the scoring. Trubisky threw for 231 yards and three TD passes to WR Taylor Gabriel with three sacks and an interception, while Case Keenum threw for 332 yards and a pair of TDs, tallying four sacks and three interceptions in the contest. Chicago was 8 of 13 on third down tries in Landover and kept the ball for 31:36, while Washington, who held on to the ball for 28:24, went 3 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played at Wrigley Field, Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington and the Metrodome, the Vikings lead the series 60-53-2 and have outscored Chicago 2,414-2,230. However… Da Bears have won the last two meetings, sweeping the series last year (Minnesota’s last win came in 2017 in the Twin Cities by a final of 23-10).

Chicago and Minnesota met in the Windy City in week 11 and Chicago took a 14-0 lead with them, then held off a late Minnesota rally at Soldier Field to come away 25-20 winners. Minnesota would out-score Da Bears 20-11 in the last 30 minutes of action, pulling themselves to within five with 48 seconds left when Cousins and WR Stefan Diggs connected on a 5-yard TD toss. Chicago, out-rushing Minnesota 148-22, recovered the onside kick and sealed the win for the home team. Trubisky threw for 165 yards and a TD with a sack, while Cousins threw for 262 yards with two TDs and two sacks (both Trubisky and Cousins threw two interceptions). Chicago went 6 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 34:29, while the Vikings kept the ball for 25:31, going 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

They met again in the Twin Cities in week 17 at U.S. Bank Stadium and for Chicago, second verse same as the first. Da Bears took a 13-3 lead with them to the break and left the Land of 10,000 Lakes 24-10 winners. Bears RB Juwan Howard accounted for Chicago’s first two TDs in the contest before the Vikings would pull themselves to within 7 with 1:51 left in the third when Cousins and Diggs connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Chicago would score 11 fourth quarter points unchallenged to seal the deal and the NFC North title. Howard rushed for 109 yards to go with the two TDs as Da Bears out-rushed Minnesota 169-63 and Trubisky threw for 163 yards with no interceptions or sacks, while Cousins threw for 132 yards with four sacks but no interceptions. Chicago went 8 of 14 on third down (Da Bears were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 37:08 to Minnesota’s 22:52 (the Vikings were a dismal 1 of 11 on third down, 1 of 4 on fourth down).

In the week 11 meeting along the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago was favored by 3 and won by 5, allowing them to cover the spread. The two clubs barely missed the over/under (they combined for 45 points) by 1/2 a point. Minnesota was favored by 5 in the week 17 contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and Chicago covered, winning by 14. The 41 over/under was safe, as both teams combined for 34 points. Vegas likes Da Bears as 2 1/2 point favorites in the Windy City and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Both teams would like nothing more than to knock Green Bay out of first place in the NFC North but to do that, they would have to knock each other off. Someone’s going come away a little bloody and someone’s going to come out of this on top. The Monsters of the Midway take care of business in the Windy City Sunday afternoon and covers the 2 1/2.

Jacksonville (1-2) at Denver (0-3), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet in the Mile High City as Denver hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

Jacksonville held Tennessee to a third quarter TD by RB Derrick Henry and came away against their AFC South rivals 20-7 last Thursday night. Jacksonville led 14-0 at the break, scoring both of those TDs in the first quarter, using TD passes from Gardner Minshew to TE James O’Shaughnessy to open the scoring in the contest and then a toss to WR J.J. Chark Jr. at TIAA Field. Tennessee did out-rush Jacksonville 91-88 in the Thursday night contest and Marcus Mariota threw for 304 yards but was sacked nine times, while Minshew threw for 204 yards with no sacks (neither threw an interception). Tennessee went 8 for 17 on third down and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 35:16, while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 24:44, going 2 of 11 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Denver watched Green Bay pick up their third win in a row, taking care of Joe Flacco and the Broncos 27-16 at Lambeau Field last Sunday afternoon. The Packers led 17-10 at the intermission, then proceeded to outpace Denver 10-6 in the last 30 minutes of play. While Denver out-rushed Green Bay 149-77 (Denver’s Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 81 yards and a pair of TDs), Rodgers took care of Denver’s secondary, throwing for 235 yards with a TD and no sacks or interceptions, while Flacco threw for 213 yards with six sacks and an interception. Green Bay went 2 of 9 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:26, while Denver actually ruled the clock and held on to the pigskin for 35:34, going 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The series? Even at 5-5. Denver has outscored Jacksonville 221-188 and has won the last two meetings, including taking a 20-10 win in the Sunshine State in 2016 (Jacksonville’s last win over Denver came in 2010 at home by a final of 24-17). Denver’s favored by 3 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 37 1/2. Denver breaks their 3-game losing streak at home, taking the win in the Mile High City and covering the 3.

Dallas (3-0) at New Orleans (2-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Sunday action in week four concludes in the Big Easy as Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys make their way to New Orleans to face off against the Saints in a meeting of two teams, sitting in first place in their respective divisions.

Prescott and the Cowboys held Miami to a pair of first-half field goals at AT&T Stadium last Sunday, as they took care of the Dolphins 31-6. Dallas led 10-6 at the half, then proceeded to take control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, shutting out Miami in the second half by scoring the last 21 points of the contest unchallenged. Ezekiel Elliott (125) and rookie RB Tony Pollard (103 yards, TD) led the Cowboys as Dallas out-rushed Miami 235-72 and Prescott threw for 246 yards and a pair of TDs to Amari Cooper (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 200 yards but was sacked three times. Dallas was 5 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:56, while the Dolphins were 3 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:04.

The Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints took care of business last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest against Seattle, coming away 33-27 victors at Century Link Field. New Orleans led through the contest and had a 20-7 lead at the break before the Seahawks managed to outscore New Orleans 20-13 in the second half. Seattle managed to out-rush the Saints 109-88, even though Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards and a TD. Wilson threw for 406 yards and a pair of TDs, including a toss to TE Will Dissly as time expired, while Teddy Bridgewater, taking over for Brees, threw for 177 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Kamara). Seattle went 5 of 14 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:33, while the Saints kept the ball for 28:27, going 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series 17-12, the Cowboys have out-scored the Saints 604-560 and they won last year’s contest in Arlington by a final of 13-10 (New Orleans’ last win came in 2015 in the Big Easy, as the Saints would need overtime to take a 26-20 win). They met in Arlington in week 13 and each team scored their points unchallenged. Dallas would take a 13-0 lead with them to the break before New Orleans would respond with their 10 points of the game unchallenged (the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter). Dallas outrushed the Saints 100-65 (Elliott led all rushers with 76 yards and a passing TD), while Prescott threw for 248 yards (Brees threw for 127 yards with a TD but was sacked twice and picked off once) in the win. Dallas went 7 of 14 on third down tries at AT&T Stadium and kept the ball for 36:53 in the 3-point home win, while the Saints kept the ball for 23:07, while going 3 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest in the Lone Star State on the Thursday night after Thanksgiving, New Orleans was favored by 7 1/2 and while Dallas did win, they only won by 3 and neither team touched the 52 1/2 over/under, tallying only 23 points. Dallas is favored in the Big Easy by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. Dallas would like nothing more than to go 4-0 to start the season, while New Orleans wants to end Dallas’ 3-game win streak. Sorry, Saints fans. Dallas covers the 2 1/2 and wins in the Big Easy.

Cincinnati (0-3) at Pittsburgh (0-3), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Forget the records. These AFC North rivals DON’T like each other. Don’t expect any Facebook friend requests and don’t except them to follow each other on Twitter. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh close out the action in week four as the AFC North rivals meet at Heinz Field. Both lost on the road last week and both are searching for their first win of the 2019 campaign.

A late Cincinnati rally fell short in Orchard Park as the Bengals fell to Buffalo 21-17 at New Era Stadium last Sunday. The Bills led 14-0 at the intermission in upstate New York, then watched the Bengals outscore Buffalo 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to make the contest closer than Bills fans would like. Buffalo ran for 175 yards, holding the Bengals to 67 yards (Bills RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 76 yards and a TD), while Josh Allen threw for 243 yards for the Bills with an interception (Andy Dalton threw for 249 yards and two interceptions and a pair of sacks; both Dalton and Allen threw a TD in the contest). The Bengals, who turned the ball over three times in upstate New York, went 3 for 11 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 23:06, while Buffalo ruled the clock and circled their wagons around the ball, keeping it for 36:54 and went 5 of 13 on third down tries.

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

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

The Steelers lead the series 62-35, Pittsburgh has outscored the Bengals 2,144-1,707 and the Steelers have won the last seven contests, including sweeping last year’s series (Cincinnati’s last win over Pittsburgh came in the Steel City in 2015 by a final of 16-10).

Their first meeting? Week six in Cincinnati and the Steelers rallied in the final seconds of their contest along the shores of the Ohio River and came out on top 28-21. Tied 14-14 at the half, the Steelers would take a late lead by 6 with 3:32 left in the game after Chris Boswell kicked his second field goal of the half. Cincinnati would taie the lead back with 78 seconds left when Joe Mixon scored on a 4-yard TD run. Pittsburgh, needing to rally, used a 7-play, 77-yard drive that took 68 seconds of clock and ended when Antonio Brown and Roethlisberger connected on a 31-yard TD toss with 10 seconds left. Pittssburgh then elected to go for two and made that plan a reality when Roethlisberger and WR JuJu Smith-Schuester connected on the two-point try. The Bengals then would get the ball back, getting as close as their own 38 yard, when Dalton’s desperation pass fell short.

Pittsburgh out-rushed the Bengals in the Queen City 112-62 (Steelers RB James Conner led all rushers with 111 yards and a pair of TDs) and Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards, while Dalton threw for 229 yards and a pair of TDs to Tyler Boyd with three sacks (neither threw an interception). Both teams did well on third down conversions in the first meeting; Pittsburgh was 8 of 14, Cincinnati was 6 of 12 and the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 34:56 to Cincinnati’s 25:04.

The Steelers made it a clean sweep of the series and as was the case in the first meeting, needed to rally from behind, coming away 16-13 winners at Heinz Field. With a potential playoff berth on the line, the Steelers trailed 10-3 at the half (they were scoreless after the first quarter), then took a 13-10 lead with 8:35 left in the contest when a 47-yard field goal by K Matt McCrane gave them the lead. That lead would not last very long as Bengals K Randy Bullock would even things back up with 6:17 left, booting a 32-yard field goal. Pittsburgh then used a 12-play, 58-yard drive that used 4:21 of clock and reclaimed the lead with McCrane kicking his second field goal of the half, this time from 35 yards out.

The Bengals would have one last chance to beat Pittsburgh and damage their playoff hopes as Jeff Driskell, who took over for Dalton, got his team as close as their 40-yard line, when his pass on fourth down fell incomplete, giving the Steelers the win. The win was too little too late for the Steelers, as the Ravens had beaten Cleveland in Baltimore as Steeler players and watched the game on the Heinz Field video screen. Mixon rushed for 105 yards as Cincinnati out-rushed Pittsburgh 125-65 and Roethlisberger threw for 287 yards with the TD, a sack and an interception, while Driskell threw for 95 yards with four sacks. Pittsburgh went 5 of 15 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:22, while the Bengals, who kept the ball for 25:38, went 3 of 12 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week six contest, Cincinnati was favored by 2 1/2 and the Steelers covered, winning by 7. The two clubs tallied 49 points, missing the over/under by 4. In the season finale, the Steelers were favored by 14 1/2 but won by only 3 points and the 45 1/2 over/under was untouched, as both clubs combined for only 29 points.

Cincinnati on Monday night? 11-24 and the Bengals have lost their last four meetings in prime time (their last appearance was in 2017, their last win came in 2014). The Steelers have done a lot better, going 46-24 under the lights, winning their last six MNF contests (their last loss came in 2013). Pittsburgh’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 44. You’re better off watching “Bob Hearts Abishola” this week. One losing streak will end, the other will continue. Steelers celebrate at Heinz and takes the win, covering the 4.

It’s finally here.

No more two-a-days.

No more fighting sweat, bugs, the heat and your teammates.

No more having to sleep in college dorms.

The preseason is over. Done. Kaput.

Sunday and Monday NFL football gets to see the light of day.

Thursday night started the 2019 NFL regular season as Green Bay beat Chicago in the Windy City in the season opener Thursday night, the first of 256 games that will be played between now and the Sunday after Christmas. It’s a 16-game season that lasts 17 weeks. There will be games that will be played in London, starting in week five as well as a game that will take place South of the border in week 11.

16 games. 16 chances for a player to get a weekly paycheck.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is also the 100th anniversary of what we now call the National Football League. There will be celebrations throughout the season and most teams will be wearing their throwback uniforms. All 32 teams will be wearing a special 100th Anniversary patch on the yoke of their jerseys (both home and away).

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL100 Game of the Week. Each game will be a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a match-up of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL designated the Packers-Bears contest as the NFL100 GAME OF THE WEEK for Week 1. In arguably the league’s richest all-time rivalry, the Packers and Bears met for the 199th time, including the postseason, in a series that spans all 10 NFL decades. The franchises first met November 27, 1921, when the eventual NFL champion Chicago Staleys shut out the Packers, 20-0. Combined, the two organizations have accounted for 22 world championships,13 for Green Bay, nine for Chicago (numbers one and two respectively, all-time). The two teams have also combined to put 53 individuals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 28 from the Bears (No. 1 all-time) and 25 from the Packers (Number 2 all-time), with respect to those who spent the majority of their careers with a club.

Welcome to 2019. Expect new teams to earn playoff berths, a few consistent players and clubs to excel again, records to fall and young players to forge ahead as they introduce themselves to our collective excitement. It’s a familiar script, a story that has fueled the league’s popularity for 99 years. The blanks will be filled in come February. What is known this week is that every team holds fast to a dream: Super Bowl LIV in Miami and with history as an indication, every team has a legitimate shot. 31 teams want the Lombardi Trophy and New England has it. They are Golum and the Super Ring is their precious.

THE FIELD IS OPEN: In 2018, two teams – Houston (AFC South) and Chicago (NFC North) – won their divisions after finishing in last place the year before. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, two clubs have gone “worst to first” en route to a Super Bowl victory – the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Seven teams that missed the postseason in 2017 – Baltimore (10-6), Chicago (12-4), Dallas (10-6), Houston (11-5), Indianapolis (10-6), the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) and Seattle (10-6) – earned a playoff berth in 2018.

MOST-EVER SUPER BOWL WINS: The New England Patriots won their sixth Lombardi Trophy last year and begin their quest to break a tie with their Kickoff Weekend opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, for the most-ever Super Bowl victories. The AFC stalwarts clash to open Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. By winning another title this season, New England would also join Pittsburgh as the only teams to win consecutive Super Bowls on two occasions.

RECORDS WITHIN REACH: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (520) needs 20 touchdown passes and New England quarterback Tom Brady (517) needs 23 to surpass Peyton Manning (539) for the most all-time. Brees (34) also needs two games of four-or-more touchdown passes to eclipse Manning (35) for the most four-touchdown games in NFL annals. Brees (9,783) needs 387 pass attempts to leap Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (10,169) for most on the all-time list. Brady will play his 20th season with the Patriots, tying two Pro Football Hall of Famers, Washington’s Darrell Green and the Rams’ Jackie Slater, for the second-most seasons with one franchise in NFL history. Detroit’s Jason Hanson (21) owns the league record. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald can become the first player in league history to earn three consecutive AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. With a third overall, Donald would tie J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most all-time. Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore (14,748) needs 522 rushing yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15,269) for third on the all-time list. Gore (18,544) also needs 611 yards from scrimmage to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (19,154) for fourth on the all-time list. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (1,303) needs 23 receptions to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second on the NFL’s all-time list. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,549) holds the career record. Fitzgerald (9) also needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (10) for second on the NFL’s all-time list of most 1,000-yard seasons. Rice (14) holds the career record.

SUCCESS WITH FIRST-YEAR LEADERS: Seven teams enter this season with a new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, Zac Taylor in Cincinnati, Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, Vic Fangio in Denver, Matt LaFleur in Green Bay, Brian Flores in Miami, Adam GASE with the New York Jets and Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay. Four rookie head coaches have led their teams to the playoffs over the last two seasons: Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) in 2018 and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) and Sean McDermott (Buffalo) in 2017. Kingsbury, Kitchens, Fangio, LaFleur and Flores are all first-time head coaches in 2019.

FAMILIAR FACES IN NEW PLACES: Several notable players were on the move during the off-season and preseason, including quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Denver) and Nick Foles (Jacksonville); running backs Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets), Mark Ingram (Baltimore), Frank Gore (Buffalo) and LeSean McCoy (Kansas City); wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland), Antonio Brown (Oakland) and DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia) and Kenny Stills (Houston); tight end Jared Cook (New Orleans); tackles Trent Brown (Oakland) and Laremy Tunsil (Houston); guard Rodger Saffold (Tennessee); center Mitch Morse (Buffalo); defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah (Seattle), Frank Clark (Kansas City), Jadaveon Clowney (Seattle), Trey Flowers (Detroit) and Cameron Wake (Tennessee); defensive tackles Malik Jackson (Philadelphia) and Gerald McCoy (Carolina); linebackers Kiko Alonso (New Orleans), Dee Ford (San Francisco), Clay Matthews (Los Angeles Rams), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) and Terrell Suggs (Arizona); cornerbacks Robert Alford (Arizona), Bradley Roby (Houston) and Steven Nelson (Pittsburgh) and safeties Landon Collins (Washington); Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City), Earl Thomas (Baltimore) and Eric Weddle (Los Angeles Rams).

YOUNG STARS TAKE THE STAGE: Youth is being served. Last season, seven rookies – New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Seattle punter Michael Dickson, Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, Denver running back Phillip Lindsay, Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson, Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward – earned Pro Bowl honors.

Last year, 39 players age 25 or younger as of December 31, 2018, were selected to the Pro Bowl. And 16 of those 39 were voted AP All-Pro, including New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, Chicago kick-returner Tarik Cohen, Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett, Minnesota defensive end Danielle Hunter, New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas and the reigning MVP, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Three quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (Number 1 overall, Arizona), Duke’s Daniel Jones (Number 6, New York Giants) and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (Number 15, Washington) – were selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. At least one rookie quarterback has started a Kickoff Weekend contest in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 1

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 53 Super Bowl winners have a 43-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LIII champion New England Patriots, who host Pittsburgh in their season-opener on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, have won nine of their past 10 home openers played on Kickoff Weekend, the most in the NFL over that span.

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 602 teams that won openers…311 went to the playoffs (189 won division titles) and of the 601 teams that lost openers…147 went to the playoffs (85 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 1999-2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.

In 2018, three of the four participants in the conference championships – Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams and New England – were victorious on Kickoff Weekend, including both Super Bowl teams.

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

Chicago hosted Green Bay Thursday Night Football to kick off the NFL’s 100th season. Green Bay’s 56 Kickoff Weekend wins are the most all-time and Chicago’s 54 wins rank second. The Packers have won their past four Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFC.

Denver, who will begin the season by visiting AFC West rival Oakland on Monday Night Football at 10:20 p.m. on ESPN, have posted a .672 winning percentage (39-19-1) on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the league. Denver has won its past seven Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs visit Jacksonville in Week 1 at 1 p.m. on CBS. The Chiefs have won their last four Kickoff Weekend games, tied for the league’s second-longest active streak.

The defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys host Eli Manning and the New York Giants in an NFC East showdown at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. Dallas and New York face each other on Kickoff Weekend for the fourth time in the last five years. With a winning percentage of .655 (38-20-1), the Cowboys own the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFC.

The Seattle Seahawks, who returned to the playoffs in 2018, host the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. Seattle has won 10 consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league.

The Washington Redskins make their way up I-95 to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love to start the season at 1 p.m. on FOX. Washington has won its past three road openers, the longest active streak in the league.

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

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

New England quarterback Tom Brady has 34 touchdown passes in 16 career Week 1 games and needs one touchdown pass against Pittsburgh Sunday night to surpass Peyton Manning (34) for the second-most touchdown passes in season-opening games in NFL history. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees leads all players with 37 touchdown passes in 17 career Kickoff Weekend games, as New Orleans hosts Houston on Monday Night Football at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN.

Brees, who led all players with 439 passing yards on Kickoff Weekend in 2018, has three career 400-yard passing games in season-opening games, the most by any player in NFL history. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS, who passed for 424 yards in Week 1 last season, and Manning are the only other players with multiple 400-yard passing games on Kickoff Weekend.

Washington running back Adrian Peterson has 999 rushing yards in 12 career season-opening games and needs 1 rushing yard on Sunday against Philadelphia to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 rushing yards in season-opening games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (1,247), Walter Payton (1,067) and Jim Brown (1,043), as well as Edgerrin James (1,062).

Peterson also enters the season with nine career rushing touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend and needs one more to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (12), Chuck Muncie (11) and Priest Holmes (10) as the only players in NFL history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in season-opening games.

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had 147 receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend in 2018 with Tampa Bay, has five career games with at least 100 yards receiving in Week 1, tied for the second-most all-time. With at least 100 receiving yards against Washington on Sunday, Jackson would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (six) for the most 100-yard receiving games on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

START ’EM EARLY: Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, is expected to make his first career start against Detroit on Sunday in the desert at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. With a start by Murray, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 12 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:

QUARTERBACK, TEAM (STARTING RECORD AS ROOKIE, SEASON)
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 (4-9, 2019)
Kyler Murray, Arizona (– 2019)*^

*No. 1 overall pick
^Expected to start Week 1

WONDERFUL WILSON: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has 196 career passing touchdowns and 25,624 career passing yards in 112 career games during his eight-year NFL career.

With four passing touchdowns on Sunday at home in the Pacific Northwest against Cincinnati, Wilson can surpass Tom Brady (116 games) to become the fifth-fastest player in league history to reach 200 career passing touchdowns.

The players to reach 200 career passing touchdowns in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 200 PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Dan Marino – Miami (89)(HOF)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (99)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (106)
Brett Favre – Atlanta and Green Bay (107)(HOF)
Tom Brady – New England (116)
Russell Wilson – Seattle (112)*
*Has 196 career touchdown passes

With four touchdown passes, Wilson would also become the first player in league history with at least 200 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns (16) in his first eight seasons.

MOVING ON UP: Washington running back Adrian Peterson enters 2019 with 106 career rushing touchdowns during his 12-year NFL career.

With a rushing touchdown on Sunday at Philadelphia, Peterson can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN (106 rushing touchdowns) for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in league annals.

The players with the most rushing touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S)(RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (164)(HOF)
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (145)(HOF)
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City (123)(HOF)
Walter Payton – Chicago (110) (HOF)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (106)(HOF)
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota, Arizona and Washington (106)*
*Active

RINGING THE BELL: Running back Le’Veon Bell makes his New York Jets debut on Sunday against Buffalo.

Bell, who has 7,996 career scrimmage yards in 62 games, need four scrimmage yards to become the fastest player to reach 8,000 career scrimmage yards in league history.

The players to reach 8,000 career scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 8,000 SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams (64)(HOF)
Edgerrin James – Indianapolis (65)
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego (65)(HOF)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (67)(HOF)
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders (68)(HOF)
Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh and New York Jets (62)*
*Has 7,996 scrimmage yards

DUAL THREAT: New England running back James White enters his sixth NFL season with 19 career receiving touchdowns.

With a receiving touchdown against Pittsburgh Sunday night, White can join Chuck Foreman (23 receiving touchdowns) and Brian Westbrook (23) as the only running backs in league history with at least 20 touchdown receptions in their first six seasons.

The running backs with at least 20 receiving touchdowns in their first six seasons:

PLAYER – TEAM (RECEIVING TDs)
Chuck Foreman – Minnesota (23)
Brian Westbrook – Philadelphia (23)
James White – New England (19)*
*Entering sixth season

700 CLUB: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones has 698 receptions for 10,731 yards and 51 touchdowns in 111 career games.

Jones needs two receptions on Sunday at Minnesota to become the second-fastest player to reach 700 receptions in NFL history.

The players to reach 700 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 700 RECEPTIONS)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (111)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (114)(HOF)
Andre Johnson – Houston (120)
Brandon Marshall – Denver, Miami and Chicago (121)
Anquan Boldin – Arizona and Baltimore (123)
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (111)*
*Has 698 receptions

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2019: The Carolina Panthers (199-201-1) need one win for 200 as a franchise, including postseason.

The Denver Broncos (499-433-10, .535) need one win for 500 in franchise history, including postseason. Among the original eight AFL franchises that launched in 1960, only the Boston/New England Patriots have reached that milestone.

The Indianapolis Colts need six regular-season wins to reach 300 since moving to Indianapolis in 1984. Since changing their home address from Baltimore to the Hooiser State, the Colts are 294-265-0 (.526) in regular season contests. Since selecting Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL Draft, they’re 206-130-0 (.613), with 15 playoff berths in 21 seasons.

The Minnesota Vikings need two wins to reach 500, including postseason. The Vikings enter 2019 with a 498-426-11 (.539) all-time record.

The New England Patriots need one Super Bowl victory to break a tie with Pittsburgh (six) for most ever.

The Patriots also need:

One Super Bowl victory to join Pittsburgh as the only NFL teams to win consecutive Super Bowls on two occasions. Pittsburgh did it following the 1974-75 and 1978-79 seasons and New England did it after the 2003-04 seasons.

One Super Bowl appearance to join Buffalo as one of only two clubs to ever play in four straight. The Bills reached the Super Bowl to punctuate each of the 1990-93 seasons.

One berth in a conference championship game to tie Pittsburgh’s NFL record, 16. New England enters 2019 tied with San Francisco for second all-time, with 15.

One postseason victory to extend their NFL record, 37. Pittsburgh enters 2019 with 36, second all-time.

One number one seed to match San Francisco and Denver (eight each) for most since playoff seeding began in 1975. New England enters 2019 third with seven such seasons.

Two home playoff wins to match their own 11-game streak from 1996-2008, the second longest in league annals. The Patriots enter 2019 having won nine consecutive postseason tilts in Foxboro. Green Bay (1939-2001) owns the league record, 13.

Three postseason games to become just the third team to reach 60. Entering 2019, only Dallas (63) and Pittsburgh (61) have reached the milestone. The Patriots have 57.

Ten wins to reach 17 consecutive seasons with 10 victories and break a tie with San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the longest streak in league history. The Patriots have won at least 10 games every year since going 9-7 in 2002.

Twelve wins to reach 13 overall seasons with 12 victories and match the number achieved by San Francisco, most in the NFL since the 1970 merger. The Patriots enter 2019 tied with Dallas (12) for second over that span.

Three wins to reach 116 since the start of 2010 and break the Indianapolis Colts’ NFL record for victories in a decade (115, 2000-09) and nine victories to reach 34 winning seasons. Since 1970, only Pittsburgh (36) and Dallas (33) have achieved as many winning seasons.

The Oakland Raiders (491-442-11, .526) need nine wins for 500 in franchise history, including postseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers need two wins to give Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger the third most by a head
coach/quarterback combination in history. The duo enters 2019 with 115 regular-season victories, one behind number 3 Don
Shula/Dan Marino (116), number 1 Bill Belichick/Tom Brady (207) and number 2 Sean Payton/Drew Brees (118) also enter 2019 looking to add to their totals.

Michael Badgley (Los Angeles Chargers) could establish the best field-goal percentage by a player over his first two NFL seasons, with a minimum 25 attempts. Badgley (.938) made 15 of 16 field-goal attempts as a 2018 rookie. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker (.919, 68-for-74 from 2012-13) holds the record.

Saquon Barkley (New York Giants) needs 1,972 scrimmage yards to become the third ever to record 4,000 in his first two seasons, joining Eric Dickerson (4,456, 1983-84) and Edgerrin James (4,442, 1999-2000). Barkley enters 2019 with 2,028.

Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland) needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie for the second-most 1,000-yard seasons (five) over his first six years. Lance Alworth (1963-67), Marques Colston (2006-11), Mike Evans (2014-18), A.J. Green (2011-15), Torry Holt (2000-04), Chad Johnson (2002-06), Brandon Marshall (2007-11) and Jerry Rice (1986-90) also did it. Randy Moss (1998-2003) is the only player ever to record 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. Beckham had four-figure seasons in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Beckham also needs 100 receiving yards in his Browns debut to surpass Julio Jones for second-most receiving yards over his first 60 games. Jones compiled 5,575 from 2011-15. Beckham enters 2019 with 5,476 over his first 59 contests. Lance Alworth (5,907) holds the 60-game record.

Beckham needs three receptions in each of his first two games to surpass Cris Carter’s streak of games with three-plus catches. Carter, who owns the third-longest streak in NFL history, had three catches in 58 straight from December 12, 1993, to October 5, 1997 – all with Minnesota. Reggie Wayne (82, 2009-14) and Antonio Brown (76, 2013-17) are first and second, respectively, on the all-time list. Beckham enters 2019 with a 57-game streak, from October 19, 2014, to December 2, 2018.

Bill Belichick (New England) needs a Super Bowl win to join George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only NFL coaches with six league championships. Belichick also needs One Super Bowl win to capture consecutive league titles for the second time (2003-04) and become just the third coach in history to accomplish that, joining Chuck Noll (1974-75, 1978-79) and Vince Lombardi (1961-62, 1965-67) and eight wins to reach 300 career (regular and postseason) and become just the third coach to achieve that mark, joining Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324). Belichick enters 2019 number 3 on the all-time list with 292.

Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets) needs 2,004 scrimmage yards to reach 10,000 career. He enters 2019 with 7,996 in 62 career games. Bell also needs 340 yards receiving to reach 3,000. He enters 2019 with 2,660 in 62 career games and eight touchdowns to reach 50. He enters 2019 with 42 in 62 career games.

Tom Brady (New England) will play his 20th season with the Patriots, tying Washington’s Darrell Green and the Rams’ Jackie Slater for the second-most seasons with one franchise in NFL history. Detroit’s Jason Hanson (21) owns the league record. Brady also needs: 23 touchdown passes to eclipse No. 1 Peyton Manning (539). Number 2 Drew Brees enters 2019 with 520. Brady enters 2019 number 3 on the all-time list with 517, 35 touchdown passes to reach five such seasons and surpass Peyton Manning (four) for most in NFL history. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers also enter 2019 with four 35-TD seasons and to lead the NFL in touchdown passes to establish an NFL record. Brady enters 2019 having led the league in the category on four occasions, tied with Drew Brees, Len Dawson, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Steve Young for most in history, one Pro Bowl invitation to become a 15-time Pro Bowler and surpass four players – all Hall of Famers – for most in history: Tony Gonzalez (14), Peyton Manning (14), Bruce Matthews (14) and Merlin Olsen (14), 1,325 passing yards to surpass number 3 Brett Favre (71,838) and 1,427 to surpass number 2 Peyton Manning (71,940). Drew Brees (74,437) enters 2019 at number 1. Brady (70,514) enters 2019 at number 4.

Drew Brees (New Orleans) needs 20 touchdown passes to surpass number 1 Peyton Manning (539) on the all-time list. Brees enters 2019 with 520, second in NFL history. Brees also needs to throw four touchdowns in two games to eclipse Manning (35) for most four-TD games in NFL annals. Brees (34) enters 2019 number 2 all-time, needing 387 pass attempts to eclipse number 1 Brett Favre (10,169) on the all-time list. Brees enters 2019 number 2 all-time with 9,783, 414 completions to become the first in NFL history to reach 7,000. Brees enters 2019 number 1 with 6,586 and needs 563 passing yards to become the first in NFL history to reach 75,000. Brees enters 2019 number 1 with 74,437.

Antonio Brown (Oakland) needs 1,000 yards receiving to reach that figure in eight career seasons. Over their first 10 years in the league, only Jerry Rice (nine from 1985-94), Randy Moss (eight from 1998-2007), Torry Holt (eight from 2000-07) and Brandon Marshall (eight from 2007-15) have compiled eight 1,000-yard seasons. Brown enters 2019 with seven 1,000-yard campaigns over his first nine years. Brown also needs 104 receptions to surpass number 20 Art Monk (940) on the NFL’s all-time list. Brown enters 2019 with 837 career catches, 28th in league history.

Brown needs 100 receptions to capture sole possession of the NFL record with a seventh 100-catch season. Brown enters 2019 with six such seasons, tied with Brandon Marshall (2007-09, 2012-13 and 2015), 91 receptions to break Marvin Harrison’s NFL record (927, 1996-2005) for most receptions over a player’s first 10 seasons. Brown enters 2019 with 837.

Brown needs 1,200 yards receiving to reach that mark in a seventh consecutive season. Only Jerry Rice (nine from 1988-96), Randy Moss (six from 1998-2003), Torry Holt (six from 2000-05) and Brown (six from 2013-18) have authored streaks of at least six 1,200-yard seasons.

Brown needs 1,500 yards receiving to match Jerry Rice’s NFL record for 1,500-yard seasons, four. Brown enters 2019 with three 1,500-yard seasons and 793 receiving yards for 12,000. Brown would become just the fifth player in NFL history to break that barrier in his first 10 seasons.

Derek Carr (Oakland) needs 370 completions to surpass Peyton Manning (2,128) for most in his first six seasons. Carr enters 2019 with the most completions (1,759) ever over a player’s first five campaigns. Carr also needs 300 completions to join Peyton Manning as the only passers to reach that mark in each of their first six NFL seasons and 3,000 passing yards to join Andy Dalton, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson as the only players to reach that mark in their first six seasons. Carr also needs 20 touchdown passes to join Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks ever to reach that mark in five of their first six seasons.

Pete Carroll (Seattle) needs two wins to reach 100 and become just the fifth active head coach to achieve that mark with his current club. He would join Bill Belichick (255), Mike Tomlin (133), Sean Payton (126) and John Harbaugh (114). Carroll enters 2019 98-60-1 as Seattle’s head coach, including postseason. Overall as an NFL head coach, he’s 132-93-1.

John Denny (Miami) enters 2019 with a franchise-record 224 consecutive games played, the league’s longest active streak.

Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams) could become the first player in history to earn three consecutive AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. Donald enters 2019 having captured the last two awards (2017-18) and with a third overall would tie J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15) and Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most alltime.

Julian Edelman (New England) needs one 100-yard receiving game in the postseason to break a tie with number 2 Michael Irvin (six). Jerry Rice (eight) owns the NFL record. Edelman enters 2019 with six.

Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) needs 1,000 receiving yards to join Randy Moss (1998-2003) as one of two players ever to reach 1,000 in each of their first six NFL seasons. Evans also needs 965 receiving yards to surpass No. 10 Larry Fitzgerald (7,067 from 2004-09) on the NFL’s list of most receiving yards over a player’s first six seasons since 1970. Evans enters 2019 with 6,103 yards in five seasons.

Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) needs 23 receptions to surpass Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second on the NFL’s all-time list. Jerry Rice (1,549) holds the career record. Fitzgerald enters 2019 number 3 with 1,303. Fitzgerald also needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie number 2 Randy Moss (10) on the NFL’s all-time list of most 1,000-yard seasons. Jerry Rice holds the career record with 14. Fitzgerald (nine) enters 2019 tied for number 3 with Tim Brown and Terrell Owens.

Melvin Gordon (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 1,300 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns to extend his streak of seasons with those numbers to four. That would tie Marshawn Lynch (2011-14) and Thurman Thomas (1989-92) for the third-longest streak in NFL history. Gordon also needs 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns to extend his league-leading streak of seasons with those numbers to four.

Frank Gore (Buffalo) needs 522 rushing yards to surpass number 3 Barry Sanders (15,269) on the all-time list. Gore enters 2019 at number 4 with 14,748.

Stephen Gostkowski (New England) New England, needs to lead the league in scoring to break a tie with Don Hutson (five) and Gino Cappelletti (five, AFL) for most seasons with that distinction. Gostkowski has paced the NFL five times: 2008, 2012-15.

DeAndre Hopkins (Houston) needs 100 catches, 1,500 receiving yards and 11 TD receptions to join Marvin Harrison (1999, 2001-02) as the only players ever to reach those benchmarks in three NFL seasons. Hopkins eclipsed those three standards in 2015 and 2018.

Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers) needs to return one interception for a touchdown to become the ninth player in NFL history with a pick-six in each of his first three seasons and the first since Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did so from 2008-10.

Jarvis Landry (Cleveland) needs 48 receptions to establish the NFL record for catches over a player’s first six seasons, breaking the mark held by DeAndre Hopkins (528, 2013-18). Landry enters 2019 with 481 receptions over his first five years,
2014-18.

Zack Martin (Dallas) needs a Pro Bowl selection to become one of five offensive linemen ever to secure a Pro Bowl invitation in his first six seasons, joining Lou Creekmur (eight from 1950-57 with Detroit), Jon Morris (seven from 1964-70 with Boston Patriots), Joe Thomas (10 from 2007-16 with Cleveland) and Richmond Webb (seven from 1990-96 with Miami). Martin enters 2019 on a five-year streak (2014-18).

Baker Mayfield (Cleveland) needs a touchdown pass in each of his first 11 starts to break Kurt Warner’s NFL-record string of career-opening starts with a TD pass. The Pro Football Hall of Famer established the mark over his first 23 NFL starts, from 1999-2000. Mayfield enters 2019 with a 13-start streak. Mayfield also needs 23 passing touchdowns to become the seventh ever to reach 50 in his first two seasons. He needs 26 to surpass number 2 David Carr (52, 2015-16) and 42 to surpass No. 1 Dan Marino (68, 1983-84) for most ever over a player’s initial two years. Mayfield threw for 27 as a 2018 rookie.

Christian McCaffery (Carolina) needs 52 receptions to surpass LaDainian Tomlinson (238 from 2001-03) for the most catches by a running back over his first three seasons. McCaffrey enters 2019 with 187 receptions over his first two campaigns.

LeSean McCoy (Buffalo) needs 1,090 rushing yards to surpass Jamal Lewis (10,607), Ricky Watters (10,643), Warrick Dunn (10,967), O.J. Simpson (11,236), Corey Dillon (11,241), John Riggins (11,352), Steven Jackson (11,438) and Fred Taylor (11,695) on the league’s all-time list and move from 25th to 17th. McCoy enters 2019 with 10,606.

Von Miller (Denver) needs two sacks for 100 career. Miller opens the season with 98, while Cameron Wake (98) and J.J. Watt (92) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players.

Cam Newton (Carolina) needs 121 rushing yards to surpass No. 2 Randall Cunningham (4,928) on the league’s career list of rushing yards by a quarterback. Newton enters 2019 with 4,808. Michael Vick (6,109) holds the NFL record.

Bill O’Brien (Houston) needs nine wins to join Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh as the only active head coaches with five winning seasons over their first six years at the reins of an NFL club. O’Brien has guided the Texans to three AFC South titles in his first five years.

Adrian Peterson (Washington) needs 345 yards rushing to surpass number 7 Jerome Bettis. He also needs 367 to surpass number 6 LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) and 784 to surpass number Curtis Martin (14,101). Peterson enters 2019 with 13,318, eighth alltime. Peterson also needs one rushing touchdown to surpass number 5 Jim Brown (106) on the all-time list and five to surpass number 4 Walter Payton (110).

Peterson enters 2019 tied with Brown at 106, one game of 200 yards rushing to reach seven career and break O.J. Simpson’s NFL record (six). Peterson enters 2019 with six 200-yard games, tied with Simpson and needs four 100-yard rushing games to surpass number 7 Edgerrin James (57) on the NFL’s all-time list and five to surpass number 6 Jim Brown (58). Peterson enters 2019 at number 8 with 54 100-yard rushing games.

Dak Prescott (Dallas) needs eight victories to become only the sixth quarterback in NFL history to win 40 regular-season games in his first four seasons. Russell Wilson (46), Joe Flacco (44), Matt Ryan (43), Dan Marino (41) and Andy Dalton (40) are the others. Prescott enters 2019 with 32. Prescott also needs five rushing touchdowns to surpass Daunte Culpepper (22) for second-most ever by a quarterback. Cam Newton (33, 2011-14) holds the record. Prescott enters 2019 with 18 and also can eclipse the four-season marks set by Steve Grogan (21), Johnny Lujack (21) and Frankie Albert (20).

Damarious Randall (Cleveland) needs three interceptions to become the first NFL player in 22 years with three INTs in each of his first five seasons. Tom Carter compiled his five-season streak by picking off 21 passes from 1993-97 with Washington and Chicago. Randall enters 2019 having collected 14 interceptions with Green Bay and Cleveland since 2015.

Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 251 pass attempts to surpass number 7 John Elway (7,250) on the all-time list. Rivers enters 2019 with 7,000 career attempts. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (7,168) enters 2019 number 8 on the list. Rivers also needs 344 passing yards to become the eighth in NFL history to reach 55,000. Rivers enters 2019 with 54,656 and needs 26 touchdown passes to become the sixth in NFL history with 400. Rivers enters 2019 with 374, 47 shy of surpassing number 5 Dan Marino (420) on the all-time list, two 300-yard passing games to surpass No. 4 Marino (63). Rivers enters 2019 with 62. Drew Brees (115), Peyton Manning (93) and Tom Brady (87) rank 1-3 on the list entering 2019 and to throw at least three touchdowns in four games to reach 60 three-TD contests. Only six players have thrown for three touchdowns in that many games. Rivers enters 2019 with 56 such efforts.

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) needs four wins to surpass number 6 Dan Marino (147) and five to surpass number 5 John Elway (148) on the all-time list of regular-season victories by a starting quarterback. number 1 Tom Brady (207), number 2 Brett Favre and Peyton Manning (186) and number 4 Drew Brees (155) lead the category entering the year. Roethlisberger begins 2019 with 144 wins as a starting quarterback.

Matt Ryan (Atlanta) needs 3,280 passing yards to become the 10th player ever to reach 50,000. Drew Brees reached 50,000 faster than any player, in his 183rd game. Peyton Manning (191) was second-fastest. Ryan enters 2019 with 46,720 in 174 games.

Matthew Slater (New England) needs one Pro Bowl invitation as a special-teams player to reach eight and break a tie with Steve Tasker (seven, 1987-1990-95) for most in NFL annals. Slater enters 2019 having earned seven Pro Bowl honors (2011-17).

Matthew Stafford (Detroit) needs 1,474 passing yards to reach 40,000. He needs to accomplish that feat within his first nine games to become fastest in NFL history to reach that mark. Matt Ryan holds the record (151 games). Stafford enters 2019 with 38,526 yards in 141 games. Stafford also needs to throw for 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns to become just the seventh in NFL history to reach those numbers in nine consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (14, 2005-present), Peyton Manning (13, 1998-2010), Philip Rivers (11, 2008-present), Tom Brady (10, 2009-present), Brett Favre (nine, 1994-2002) and Matt Ryan (nine, 2010-present).

Aqib Talib (Los Angeles Rams) needs one interception-return touchdown to tie No. 2 Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson (11) and two to tie number 1 Rod Woodson (12) on the all-time list. Talib enters 2019 at number 4 with 10 career.

Michael Thomas (New Orleans) needs 90 receptions to become the only NFL player ever to reach 90 in each of his first four seasons. To date, Thomas (2016-18) and Odell Beckham Jr. (2014-16) are the only players ever to catch 90 passes in each of their first three NFL seasons. Thomas also needs 80 catches to break the NFL record held by Jarvis Landry (400) for most receptions by a player in his first four seasons. Thomas enters 2019 with 321 receptions.

Justin Tucker Baltimore) needs 30 field goals to reach seven seasons with 30 or more and extend his NFL record. He enters 2019 with six such seasons, ahead of David Akers, John Carney, Stephen Gostkowski and Robbie Gould (each with five).

Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis) already the NFL’s all-time leader in field goals made (582), needs 18 more to become the first NFL player to reach 600 career. Vinatieri also needs: 20 field-goal attempts to surpass Morten Andersen (709) for most all-time. He enters 2019 No. 2 on the all-time list, with 690 career attempts. Vinatieri needs one game to surpass Gary Anderson (353) for the second-most games played in NFL history. He enters 2019 tied with Anderson at number 2, with 353. Morten Andersen (382) holds the NFL record.

Cameron Wake (Tennessee) needs two sacks for 100 career. Wake opens the season with 98, while Von Miller (98) and J.J. Watt (92) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players.

J.J. Watt (Houston) could earn a fourth AP Defensive Player of the Year Award. No other player has won more than three. He enters 2019 with three, tied with Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most all-time. Watt also needs eight sacks for 100 career. Entering 2019, only 32 players have reached the milestone. Watt opens the season with 92, while Von Miller and Cameron Wake (each with 98) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players, and needs 15 sacks to tie Reggie White’s NFL record of five 15-sack seasons. Watt hit that plateau in 2012 (20.5), 2014 (20.5), 2015 (17.5) and 2018 (16).

Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay), on the NFL’s list of most passing yards over a player’s first five seasons, needs 3,381 passing yards to eclipse No. 10 Andy Dalton (18,008). Winston enters 2019 with 14,628 passing yards. Winston also needs 22 passing touchdowns to surpass number 10 Matthew Stafford and Johnny Unitas (109) on the NFL’s list of most passing touchdowns over a player’s first five seasons. Winston enters 2019 with 88.

Many NFL owners will be celebrating notable milestones in 2019, including Chicago’s McCaskey Family, who has owned the team since its inception in 1920 and will be enjoying the Bears’ 100th season alongside the league. Dallas’ Jerry Jones will be celebrating his 30th anniversary as an NFL owner, while New England’s Robert Kraft and Philadelphia’s Jefferey Lurie – the recipients of the past two Lombardi Trophies – will each be celebrating their 25th.

PLAYING RULE CHANGES FOR THE 2019 SEASON:

• REVIEWABLE PLAYS EXPANDED: For one year only, reviewable plays in Instant Replay will be expanded to include pass interference, called or not called on the field. Also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).

• KICKOFF FORMATION: Makes permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented in 2018, which modified rules for a free kick formation and for blocking on a free kick.

• DOUBLE FOULS: Changes the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.

• EXPANDED PROTECTION OF DEFENSELESS PLAYER: It is now a foul if a player initiates a block when his path is toward or parallel to his own end line and makes forcible contact to his opponent with his helmet, forearm or shoulder. This is also referred to as a blindside block.

• SCRIMMAGE KICK: Simplifies the scrimmage-kick rules. If there is a missed field-goal attempt and the ball has not been touched by the receivers beyond the line of scrimmage in the field of play or in the end zone before the ball has touched the ground in the end zone, the following shall apply:

(a) If the spot of the kick was inside the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the 20-yard line; or
(b) If the spot of the kick was from the receivers’ 20-yard line or beyond the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the spot of the kick.

• FOULS DURING A SCORE: Teams can now elect to enforce an opponent’s personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown either on the succeeding Try (extra point or two-point conversion) or on the succeeding free kick.

• DISQUALIFICATIONS: Allows League personnel to disqualify for both flagrant football and non-football acts, when a flag is related to an act or action.

NEXT MAN UP: Quarterbacks missed a total of 60 games due to injury in 2018, a 46-percent decline from 2017 (111) and approximately 50 percent fewer than the average over the prior three seasons (118).

In 2018, 16 teams had the same quarterback start every game of the regular season, tied for the fourthmost in a single season since the 1970 merger. In five of the past seven seasons, at least half of the teams have had the same quarterback start all 16 games during the regular season, including an NFL-record 20 quarterbacks in 2012.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has started 208 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak in the NFL. With a start in Week 1, Rivers would surpass Peyton Manning (208 consecutive starts, 1998-2011) for the third-most consecutive starts by a quarterback in league history.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has started 147 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak in league annals and in 2019, he can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to start 150 consecutive regular season games.

PATCHWORK: The National Football League will celebrate its 100th season in 2019 with a year-long salute to the unparalleled passion of NFL fans, the many contributions of players, coaches and communities that have helped build the league over the past century. In 2019, teams will wear NFL 100 patches above their team logo on the front of the jersey and each ball will be branded with the NFL 100 logo. Also, each team was given a custom-designed logo to celebrate the league’s 100th season.

Additionally, the NFL will raise awareness for cancer though CRUCIAL CATCH 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.

Several NFL franchises will also be wearing special patches in 2019. Along with the league, the Chicago Bears will celebrate their 100th season, while the Oakland Raiders celebrate their franchise’s 60th season and the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars each celebrate their 25th seasons.

The Green Bay Packers will wear a number 15 decal this season to commemorate the life of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Packers legend, Bart Starr and the Houston Texans will also wear a jersey patch and a helmet decal to honor the franchise’s founder and late owner Bob McNair.

FIRE UP THE TV! NFL fans continue to tune in to the sport they love. Here’s a look at what’s in store on TV in 2019. The regular-season schedule – spanning 17 weeks and 256 games – kicked off Thursday night in the Windy City and
concludes on Sunday, December 29, with 16 division games.

And speaking of division games, one of the richest rivalries in sports history – Packers-Bears – launched the NFL’s 100th season as the annual prime-time kickoff game at Soldier Field Thursday night. New England begins defense of its Super Bowl LIII title in Foxboro on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, September 8, hosting Pittsburgh at 8:20 p.m.

The 50th season of Monday Night Football kicks off September 9 with an ESPN doubleheader, as Houston travels to New Orleans at 7:10 p.m., followed by Denver at Oakland in the nightcap at 10:20 p.m. ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16, including the two teams (Cleveland at the New York Jets, September 16 at 8:15 p.m.) that kicked off the longest running television series in American history, in 1970. 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.

All 32 clubs are again scheduled for at least one nationally televised Thursday, Sunday or Monday game. Thursday Night Football will air exclusively on NFL Network in Weeks 2-3, while FOX kicks off its Thursday night slate in Week 4. FOX will broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night). Those FOX games will be simulcast via NFL Network, distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes and streamed on Amazon Prime Video, beginning with Philadelphia at Green Bay, September 26. All told, NFL Network will exclusively televise seven games (two on Thursday night, two in London and all three in Week 16 on Saturday, December 21), 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 April 17 and other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 29. For the 11th consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

Six 2019 games are rematches of 2018 playoff games. That group includes five match-ups that will be played at the home of the team that had to travel in January: Kansas City at New England (December 8 on, CBS), the Los Angeles Rams at Dallas (December 15 on FOX), Chicago at Philadelphia (November 3 on FOX) and Houston at Indianapolis (October 20 on CBS).

The NFL’s 2019 international slate features four games in London and one in Mexico City. The Oakland Raiders will host the Chicago Bears in Week 5 on Sunday, October 6 at 1 p.m. on FOX, in the inaugural NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. One week later on Sunday, October 13 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network, also at Tottenham, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host NFC South rival Carolina, who will be playing their first game in London. London action shifts to Wembley Stadium in Weeks 8 and 9 when the Los Angeles Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals on October 27 at 1 p.m. on CBS, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting AFC South rival Houston, another first-time visitor to London, on November 3 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network.

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium will host a match-up between two AFC West rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, in Week 11 on Monday Night Football, November 18 at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN. Both teams will be playing in Mexico for the first time.

Thanksgiving will feature a trio of match-ups in Week 13 on Thursday, November 28. The first game will send the Bears to Detroit to face the Lions at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. The late-afternoon game will feature Buffalo visiting Dallas at 4:30 p.m. on CBS. It will be the Bills’ first game on the holiday in 25 years, since a trip to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1994. The Thanksgiving Day festivities conclude with an NFC South showdown as the Falcons host New Orleans on NBC at 8:20 p.m. in the Big Peach.

The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 4 and end in Week 12. 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 4-5. 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 11-12. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 19.

The winners meet two weeks later when Miami hosts Super Bowl LIV, on Sunday, February 2 on FOX. The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets and all postseason games are televised nationally. Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL prime-time games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

BE FLEXY! In 2006, the NFL implemented a prime-time “flexible scheduling” element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17. In 2014, that was extended so that games between Weeks 5 and 17 could be affected by flex scheduling. However, only two games may be flexed into Sunday Night between Week 5 and 10.

In Week 16, three of five possible match-ups currently listed as TBD will be scheduled for Saturday on NFL Network: Houston at Tampa Bay, Buffalo at New England, Detroit at Denver, Oakland at the Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco at the Los Angeles Rams. Start times and Saturday games for Week 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 29. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications could be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality match-ups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime-time.

ON THE RADIO: Are the kids hogging the TV? Is the wife watching those gosh-awful Lifetime Sunday Movies AGAIN? Stuck at the in-laws and you want to watch the Falcons? You can listen on the radio. NFL fans can listen to games on the radio in a number of ways – on Westwood One and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Westwood One remains the official network radio partner of the NFL, its 33rd consecutive season with that distinction.

The Westwood One NFL schedule features 69 national games, including the Thursday night kickoff game, Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, the London Games, the Thanksgiving Day triple-header and the entire postseason, culminating with Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Westwood One also produces weekly specialty programs, including The NFL Today, NFL Preview, NFL Insider, NFL Sunday and NFL Fantasy Football Forecast.

Kevn Harlin and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner will be the lead broadcast crew, calling Monday Night Football and Super Bowl LIV 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 Pro Football 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 prime-time NFL broadcasts can also be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, via the TuneIn 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 16th 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 LIV on SiriusXM radios, as well as on the SiriusXM app and online at SiriusXM.com for its subscribers.

SiriusXM NFL Radio (channel 88 on SiriusXM 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 LIII MVP Julian Edelman, training camp tour broadcasts and more. For more information visit siriusxm.com/nflonsxm.

2019 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

TEAM (WIN PCT., W-L-T) GAMES VS. TEAMS .500 OR BETTER/GAMES VS. 2018 PLAYOFF TEAMS
Oakland (.539, 137-117-2) 9/7
Denver (.537, 136-117 3) 9/7
Jacksonville (.531, 136-120-0) 9/7
Houston .527 135 121 0 9 7
Chicago (.520, 131 121 4) 8 6
Kansas City (.520, 132-122-2) 9/7
ATLANTA (.518, 132-123-1) 9/7
Indianapolis (.518, 132-123-1) 8/5
Tennessee (.514, 131-124-1) 7/7
Minnesota (.512, 130-124-2) 7/7
San Francisco (.510, 129-124-3) 7/6
Arizona (.508, 129-125-2) 7/6
Tampa Bay (.508, 130-126-0) 7/6
Dallas (.504, 128-126-2) 7/6
Green Bay (.504, 128-126-2) 8/6
Carolina (.502, 128-127-1) 7/6
Los Angeles Chargers (.502, 127-126-3) 8/5
Miami (.500, 127-127-2) 8/7
Baltimore (.496, 125-127-4) 7/5
Detroit (.496, 125-127-4) 8/6
Pittsburgh (.496, 126-128-2) 7/7
New Orleans (.488, 125-131-0 7/6
Cleveland (.484, 123-131-2) 8/5
Buffalo (.480, 122-132-2) 7/5
Seattle (.479, 121-132-3) 7/5
Philadelphia (.477, 121-133-2) 6/5
Cincinnati (.473, 119-133-4) 7/5
Los Angeles Rams .473, 120-134-2) 7/6
New England (.473, 120-134-2) 6/5
New York Giants (.473, 120-134-2) 7/6
New York Jets (.473, 120-134-2) 6/5
Washington (.469, 119-135-2) 7/6

COLLECTING THOSE FREQUENT FLYER MILES: All together, teams will travel approximately 632,752 miles during the 2019 season.

The teams in the NFC West (120,670) combine to have the highest total miles traveled of all divisions. The remaining division totals are the AFC West (107,122), NFC South (84,358), AFC South (75,244), AFC North (73,568), NFC North (67,552), NFC East (53,712) and AFC East (50,526).

Seven teams – Oakland (40,188), the Los Angeles Rams 36,186), Seattle (33,216), the Los Angeles Chargers (32,892), San Francisco (30,210), Tampa Bay (27,670) and Jacksonville (25,336) – will “travel around the world” at least once. A trip around the globe is 25,000 miles.

The London Games 2019 schedule begins with the first two NFL games to be staged at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, followed by two at Wembley Stadium, bringing the total number of games played in London since 2007 to 28.

Oakland will host the Chicago Bears on Sunday, October 6 in the inaugural NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the United States. One week later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be at home against the Carolina Panthers, playing their first game in London.

After a two-week break, the action moves to Wembley Stadium, where the Los Angeles Rams, the defending NFC champions, will host Cincinnati on October 27. The following week, Jacksonville will stage their seventh annual home game in London, taking on another first-time visitor as they take on AFC South Rival Houston.

Below is a list of the total estimated round-trip distance in miles for each team in 2019. Please return your trays to the upright position and thank you for flying NFL Airlines.

TEAM – MILES TO TRAVEL
Oakland – 40,188
Los Angeles Rams – 36,186
Seattle – 33,216
Los Angeles Chargers – 32,892
San Francisco – 30,210
Tampa Bay – 27,670
Jacksonville – 25,336
Carolina – 24,352
Houston – 23,512
Cincinnati – 22,470
Arizona – 21,058
Dallas – 20,922
Miami – 20,554
Chicago – 18,684
Baltimore – 18,072
Pittsburgh – 17,530
Detroit – 17,444
Kansas City – 17,044
Denver – 16,998
New Orleans – 16,712
Green Bay – 16,222
ATLANTA – 15,624
Cleveland – 15,496
Minnesota 15,202
Indianapolis 13,822
Tennessee 12,574
Philadelphia 12,374
New England 11,960
Washington 11,170
Buffalo – 10,158
New York Giants – 9,246
New York Jets – 7,854

OTHER KICKOFF WEEKEND NOTES: Kickoff Weekend began Thursday night in prime-time on NBC when two of the NFL’s oldest franchises renew one of the richest rivalries in sports, as the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field to begin the league’s 100th season.

Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:

The Super Bowl LIII champion New England Patriots open their season at home against Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots have won nine of their past 10 home openers on Kickoff Weekend.

• Denver, who begins the season by visiting Oakland on Monday Night Football, have posted a .672 winning percentage (39-19-1) on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the league. Denver has won its past seven Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

• The defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs, who travel to Jacksonville to face off against the Jaguars in Week 1, have won their last four Kickoff Weekend games, tied for the league’s second-longest active streak.

• Dak Prescott and the defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys host Eli Manning and the New York Giants in a division showdown on Kickoff Weekend. Dallas and New York face each other on Kickoff Weekend for the fourth time in the last five years. With a winning percentage of .655 (38-20-1), the Cowboys own the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFC.

• Seattle, who returned to the playoffs in 2018, hosts Cincinnati on Kickoff Weekend. The Seahawks have won 10 consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league.

• Washington faces NFC East rival Philadelphia on the road in the City of Brotherly Love to start 2019. Washington has won its past three road openers, the longest active streak in the league.

HEAD COACHES: New England’s Bill Belichick is 16-8 (.667) on Kickoff Weekend and his 16 wins are the most among active head coaches…Belichick and Kansas City’s ANDY REID (12-8, .600) are the only active head coaches who have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games…Reid has won four consecutive games on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches. Dough Pederson (3-0) of the Eagles and Sean McVay (2-0) of the Rams are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend…Six head coaches – Denver’s Vic Fangio, Miami’s Brian Flores, Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury, Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens, Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor – make their Kickoff Weekend debuts in 2019.

HOPE DOES SPRING ETERNAL: New teams making the playoffs and winning divisions, consistent teams excelling once again, records falling and young players making their mark all combined to help shape the story of the 2018 season.

Again, Week 17 came right down to the wire as three playoff spots and three division titles – the AFC North, AFC South and AFC West – were decided on the 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 2019 season with a trip to Miami and Super Bowl LIV in mind and below are a few reasons why.

• Two of the eight divisions in 2018 were won by a team that finished in last place in the division the previous season – Houston (AFC South) and Chicago (NFC North). In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, two teams have gone “worst to first” en route to a Super Bowl victory — the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

• Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Seven teams that missed the postseason in 2017 – Baltimore (10-6), Chicago (12-4), Dallas (10-6), Houston (11-5), Indianapolis (10-6), the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) and Seattle (10-6) – accomplished the feat in 2018.

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 (AATLANTA, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 – 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
2018 – 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

• The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl title in 2018 and begin their quest to repeat as champions as the race to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for Super Bowl LIV kicks off. Only eight teams have repeated as champions since the first Super Bowl after the 1966 season, with the 2004 Patriots (Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX) being the last team to accomplish the feat.

• Eight teams enter the 2019 season with a new head coach – Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, Zac Taylor in Cincinnati, Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, Vic Fangio in Denver, Matt Lafleur in Green Bay, Brian Flores in Miami, Adam Gase with the New York Jets and Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay.

• Four rookie head coaches have led their teams to the playoffs over the last two seasons: Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) in 2018 and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) and Sean McDermott (Buffalo) in 2017.

• Three quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (Number 1 overall, Arizona), Duke’s Daniel Jones (Number 6, New York Giants) and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (Number 15, Washington) – were selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

At least one rookie quarterback has started in Week 1 in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

• Several notable players were on the move during the off-season, including quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Denver) and Nick Foles (Jacksonville); running backs Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets), Mark Ingram (Baltimore) and Frank Gore (Buffalo); wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland), Antonio Brown (Oakland) and Golden Tate (New York Giants); tight end Jared Cook (New Orleans); tackle Trent Brown (Oakland); guard Rodger Saffold (Tennessee); center Mitch Morse (Buffalo); defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah (Seattle), Frank Clark (Kansas City), Trey Flowers (Detroit) and Cameron Wake (Tennessee); defensive tackles Malik Jackson (Philadelphia) and Gerald McCoy (Carolina); linebackers Dee Ford (San Francisco), Clay Matthews (Los Angeles Rams), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) and Terrell Suggs (Arizona); cornerbacks Robert Alford (Arizona), Steven Nelson (Pittsburgh) and Bradley Roby (Houston) and safeties Landon Collins (Washington), Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City), Earl Thomas (Baltimore) and Eric Weddle (Los Aneles Rams).

WORST TO FIRST: Competitive balance, one of the hallmarks of the NFL, gives fans hope entering each season. For the 15th time in the past 16 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 48 teams in league history to go from “worst to first,” 25 of them (52 percent) have done so in the past 16 years (2003-18), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

After finishing in last place in the division in 2017, the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) each turned it around to win their respective divisions last season. The Bears finished with a 12-4 record and an NFC North title after winning nine of their final 10 games and posting the franchise’s best home record (7-1) since the 2005 season. The AFC South champion Texans set a league record for the most consecutive wins following an 0-3 start, rattling off nine straight victories. Houston became the first team to begin a season 0-3 and win a division title since the 1992 San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS TO GO “WORST TO FIRST” 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)*
2015 – Washington (9-7, 4-12)
2016 – Dallas (4-12, 13-3)
2017 – Jacksonville (10-6, 3-13)
2017 – Philadelphia (13-3, 7-9)**
2018 – Chicago (13-3, 5-11)
2018 – Houston (11-5, 4-12)
* Tied for last place
** Won Super Bowl

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL TEAMS

TEAM: W-L-T, PCT.; W-L (CURRENT)
Denver: 39-19-1, .672; 7-4 (W-7)
Dallas: 38-20-1, .655; 17-5 (L-1)
Green Bay: 56-39-3, .589; 5-6 (W-4)
Minnesota: 33-24-1, .579; 5-3 (W-3)
Chicago: 54-40 5 .574; 9-6 (L-5)
New York Giants: 50-39-5, .562; 4-5 L-2
New England: 33-26-0, .559; 10-3 (W-1)
Miami: 29-23-1, .558; 11-5 (W-2)
Detroit: 48-39 2, .552; 10-4 (L-1)
Pittsburgh: 43-36-5, .544; 8-3 T-1)
Los Angeles Chargers: 32-27-0, .542; 6-6 (L-3)
Kansas City: 32-27-0, .542; 7-4 (W-4)
Jacksonville: 13-11-0, .542; 6-5 (W-2)
San Francisco: 37-31-1, .544; 6-3 (L-2)
Houston: 9-8-0, .529; 5-3 (L-2)
ATLANTA: 28-25-0, .528; 5-3 (L-1)
Baltimore: 12-11-0, .522; 5-4 (W-3)
Los Angeles Rams: 42-39-0, .519; 5-6 (W-2)
Tennessee: 30-29-0, .508; 4-3 (L-3)
Indianapolis: 33-33-0 .500; 8-8 (L-5)
Washington: 41-42-4, .494 6-5 (W-1)
New York Jets: 28-31 0, .475; 5-5 (W-1)
Cincinnati: 24-27-0, .471; 4-4 (W-1)
Oakland 27-32-0, .458; 5-6 (L-1)
Philadelphia: 38-46-1, .452; 5-9 (W-3)
Cleveland: 27-38-1, .417; 5-13 (T-1)
Tampa Bay: 18-25-0, .419; 3-5 (W-3)
Carolina: 10-14-0, .417; 3-5 (W-2)
Arizona: 40-56-2, .417; 6-7 (L-3)
Buffalo: 24-35-0, .407; 6-5 (L-1)
Seattle: 16-27-0, .372; 38 (L-2)
New Orleans: 17-35-0, .327; 36 (L-5)

OPENING-GAME RECORDS OF NFL HEAD COACHES
COACH, TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia (3-0, 1.000)
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams (2-0, 1.000)
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota (4-1, .800)
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville (3-1, .750)
John Harbaugh Baltimore (8-3, .727)
Bill Belichick New England (16-8, .667)
Adam Gase, New York Jets (2-1, .667)
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh (7-4-1, .625)
Andy Reid, Kansas City (12-8, .600)
Pete Carroll, Seattle (7-6, .538)
Jason Garrett, Dallas (4-4, .500)
Sean McDermott, Buffalo (1-1, .500)
Dan Quinn, Atlanta (2-2, .500)
Ron Rivera, Carolina (4-4, .500)
Sean Payton, New Orleans 5-7 .417)
Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay (2-3, .400)
Bill O’Brien, Houston (2-3, .400)
Jon Gruden, Oakland (4-8, .333)
Jay Gruden, Washington (1-4, .200)
Matt Nagy, Chicago (0-1, .000)
Matt Patricia, Detroit (0-1, .000)
Frank Reich, Indianapolis (0-1, .000)
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee (0-1, .000)
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco (0-2, .000)
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers (0-2, .000)
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (0-3, .000)
Vic Fangio, Denver (0-0, .000)
Brian Flores, Miami (0-0, .000)
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona (0-0, .000)
Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland (0-0, .000)
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay (0-0, .000)
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati (0-0, .000)

GET OFF TO A STRONG START: Getting off to a strong start is important. Over the past 10 years, seven teams – Denver, New England, Baltimore, Green Bay, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Dallas – have a winning percentage of at least .600 through the season’s first month. Those seven clubs have combined for 44 playoff berths and 10 Super Bowl appearances – including six Super Bowl championships – during that span.

TEAMS WITH THE BEST OPENING-MONTH RECORDS OVER PAST 10 YEARS (2009-18)
TEAM W-L-T, PCT. (PLAYOFF BERTHS-SUPER BOWL BERTHS-SUPER BOWL WINS)
Denver: 23-9-0, .719 (5-2-1)
New England: 24-10-0, .706 (10-5-3)
Baltimore: 23-11-0, .676 (6-1-1)
Green Bay: 22-11-1, .662 (8-1-1)
ATLANTA: 21-13-0, .618 (5-1-0)
Cincinnati: 21-13-0, .618 (6-0-0)
Dallas: 20-13-0, .606 (4-0-0)

In 2018, the four teams to appear on Championship Weekend — Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams, New England and New Orleans — began with a combined 13-3 record during the first month of the season.

Since this is the opening weekend, we’re going to make every game this weekend DRILL WORTHY! (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Week one got underway in the Windy City as Green Bay held off the Monsters of the Midway, beating their hated NFC North rivals from the Land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst 10-3 Thursday night and will conclude on Monday night with two Monday night games. As far as last year’s numbers, we were 152-112. Not bad. That was last year, thought. This is a new season. Having said all that, here are Sunday and Monday week one picks!

ATLANTA (7-9) at Minnesota (8-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of teams that just missed the playoffs last year open Sunday’s action in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons travel to the Twin Cities for an early afternoon date with the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota holds a 18-10 lead in the series and the Vikings have outscored Atlanta 657-461. They last met in the Big Peach in 2017 and the Vikings have won the last three meetings and came away with a 14-9 win over the Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Atlanta’s last win over the Purple Gang? 2011 in the Big Peach, as the Falcons were 24-14 winners in the old Georgia Dome. The Vikings are favored by 3 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under is 47. Both numbers are reasonable but the Vikings best be on upset alert in the Twin Cities. Atlanta wins this one on the road and covers the 4.

Los Angeles Rams (13-3) at Carolina (7-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The defending NFC champs travel to the Tar Heel State for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Carolina leads the series 12-8 and have outscored the Rams 405-402 (which includes games that were played when the Rams were in St. Louis from 1995-2015). Carolina has won the last two meetings, with the Panthers coming away 13-10 winners in Los Angeles in 2016, while Los Angeles’ last win over the Panthers came in 2010 in St. Louis by a final of 20-10. The Rams are a 1 1/2-point road favorite in the Tar Heel State and the over/under’s 49 1/2. Rams take the win in the Tar Heel State and covers the 1 1/2.

Tennessee (9-7) at Cleveland (7-8-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Marcus Mariota and the Titans travel to the shores of Lake Erie to take a vastly-improved Cleveland Browns team in the Buckeye State. sIncluding games that were played when the Titans were in Houston and they were known as the Oilers, Cleveland leads the series 35-30 and the Browns have outscored Tennessee 1,287-1,266. The two clubs split their last four meetings, each taking wins in their home parks and on the road. The Titans needed overtime along the shores of Lake Erie to take a 12-9 win in 2017, while Cleveland’s last win also came in the Buckeye State by a final of 28-14 in 2015. The odds makers in Vegas like the Browns as a 5 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Browns may not cover but they take the win at home.

Kansas City (12-4) at Jacksonville (5-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Kansas City, the defending AFC West champs, travel to the Sunshine State for an early afternoon contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars in north Florida. The series is even with each team taking six wins and the Chiefs have outscored Jacksonville 270-237. The Chiefs have won the last four meetings in the series and came away with a 30-14 win at Arrowhead last year. Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2009 in north Florida by a final of 24-21.

The week five meeting in the Show-Me State did not go well for the Jaguars as Kansas City held a 20-0 lead at the half but the Jaguars managed to out score Kansas City 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Kansas City out-rushed Jacksonville 126-101 with Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt leading the way with 87 yards and a rushing TD. Mahomes threw for 313 yards but was picked off twice and sacked once, while Bortles threw for 430 yards and a TD toss to T.J. Yeldon, while being sacked five times and throwing four interceptions. Jacksonville was 7 of 16 on third down (they were 3 of 5 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:17, while the Chiefs ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 32:43, going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Kansas City covered the 3-point spread, winning by 16 at Arrowhead but neither team reached the 48 1/2 over/under, tallying only 44 points. The Chiefs are favored again, this time by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Jacksonville will make things interesting in the Sunshine State but the Chiefs prevail on the road with the win, although expect Jacksonville to make it closer than 3 1/2.

Baltimore (10-6) at Miami (7-9), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The Ravens, coming off an appearnce in the AFC Wild Card game against the Los Angeles Chargers, make the 1,108-mile trip down I-95 to take on the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The Ravens lead the series, 7-6 and Baltimore has outscored Miami 276-203. The Ravens won the last two contests, shutting out Miami 40-0 in Charm City in 2017, while Miami’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2015 by a final of 15-13. Baltimore’s favored by 6 1/2 on South Beach and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Dolphins may not cover the 6 1/2 but they take care of business in the Sunshine State with the win.

Buffalo (6-10) at New York Jets (4-12), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey as the Bills and Jets, looking to improve on dismal seasons meet at Met Life Stadium. Buffalo leads the Empire State series 61-55 and the Bills have outscored GangGreen 2,436-2,379, which includes contests that were played when the Jets known as Titans prior to 1963 and the teams played their home contests at old War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo and Shea Stadium in New York.

The Bills and Jets split the two meetings last year, each taking road AFC East wins. They met along the Jersey shores in week 10 and the Bills circled the wagons at Met Life Stadium in mid-November, leaving the Meadowlands with a 41-10 win. Buffalo led 31-3 at the half and never looked back, holding GangGreen to an Isaiah Crowell rushing TD in the second half. LeSean McCoy rushed for 113 yards and a pair of TDs for the Bills as Buffalo out-rushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 212-83 while Matt Barkley threw for 232 yards and a pair of TDs (Barkley was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Josh McCown threw for 135 yards for GangGreen with three sacks and a pair of interceptions in the home loss. Buffalo was 8 for 16 on third down (they were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 39:22, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were dismal on third down tries at Met Life Stadium, going 1 for 12 (they were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 20:38.

GangGreen would get revenge along the shores of Lake Erie in week 14 (temperature in the week 10 contest? A balmy 46 degrees with a 41 wind chill; in the week 14 contest in upstate New York? 31 degrees with a 22 wind chill) and escaped with a 27-23 win at New Era Stadium. Buffalo led 20-13 at the end of the third quarter (the Bills led 17-13 at the half) before GangGreen would take the lead for keeps with 77 seconds left in the contest when Elijah McGuire scored on a one-yard run. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would hold off a late Buffalo rally and leave upstate New York with the win. Buffalo again out-rushed GangGreen, tallying 176 yards in the contest (Bills QB Josh Allen led all rushers with 101 yards), while holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to 78. Allen threw for 206 yards but was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Sam Darnold threw for 170 and a TD with an interception. New York was 6 for 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:13, while the Bills ruled the clock again, keeping the ball for 33:47, going 7 of 14 on third down tries.

In the week 10 contest along the Jersey shore, GangGreen was favored by 7 1/2 and the Bills easily covered the spread, winning by 31 and both clubs took care of the 37 over/under, scoring 51 points. As for the week 14 affair in upstate New York? While the Jets were winners by 3 points, they barely missed the 3 1/2-point spread but both teams covered the 38 1/2 over/under, tallying 50 points. GangGreen’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. While this one is not exactly the best game to watch this week, it will at least be entertaining. GangGreen covers the 3 in Jersey and takes the win at Met Life.

Washington (7-9) at Philadelphia (9-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in the City of Brotherly Love as the Redskins take the 129-mile trip up I-95 to take on Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington leads the series 85-77-5 (which includes games that were played in Boston when the Redskins were known as the Braves) and the Eagles have outscored Washington 3,518- 3,308. That’s the good news for Redskins fans. The bad news? The Eagles have won the last four contests that were played in the series, including sweeping last year’s series (Washington’s last win came in the City of Brotherly Love in 2016 by a final of 27-22).

Meeting number one… Philadelphia in week 13. The Eagles, fresh off their Super Bowl win, led Washington 14-13 at the break at Lincoln Financial Field, then floored the gas in the final quarter, scoring 14 points unchallenged to take a 28-13 win. Philadelphia out-rushed Washington 130-104 and Carson Wentz threw for 306 yards with a pair of TDs, while Mark Sanchez threw for 100 yards with a pair of sacks (each was picked off once). Philadelphia was 7 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 39:19, while Washington kept the pigskin for 20:41 and went 2 for 10 on third down tries.

The Eagles made it a sweep in the season finale at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, putting a nail in Washington’s playoff hopes and scored all 24 of their points unchallenged to shut out the Redskins 24-0. Philadelphia led 10-0 at the intermission and never looked back, using a pair of Nick Foles TD tosses to take the win that would put them back into post-season play. The Eagles held Washington to 21 yards of rushing, while tallying 129 of their own and kept Washington in check on the road. Philadelphia was 8 of 14 on third down (they were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 43:19 to Washington’s 16:41, with the Redskins going a dismal 0 for 9 on third down, 2 for 4 on fourth down.

In the week 13 Monday night contest, Philadelphia covered the 6 1/2-point spread, winning by 15 but both clubs missed the 44 over/under by a field goal. The Eagles also covered the spread in the season finale at Landover (6 1/2), winning by 24 but neither club covered the 42 over/under. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Eagles as a 10-point favorite and the over/under is 44. The 44 makes sense. The 10 is a bit steep. Washington fans will either be singing “Hail to the Redskins!” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” Eagles fans like the second better. Washington makes it closer than 10 but Eagles win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Indianapolis (10-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (12-4), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. Without Andrew Luck under center, the Indianapolis Colts travel to the West Coast to square off against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers at Stub Hub Centre. Including contest that were played in Baltimore and San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 16-10 and the Bolts have outscored Indianapolis 616-449. Indy won the last meeting in the series, coming away 26-22 winners in the Hoosier State in 2016, while the Chargers’ last win came in San Diego in 2013 by a final of 19-9. The Bolts are a 6 1/2 point favorite on the Left Coast with a 44 1/2 over/under. Both teams went to post-season last year and both look to go back, either as division winners or wild card teams. Chargers cover the 6 1/2 and win at home at Stub Hub.

Cincinnati (6-10) at Seattle (10-6), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. It’s chili vs. Salmon as Andy Dalton and Cincinnati make their way to the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks for a late-afternoon contest in the Pacific Northwest for a meeting with Russell Wilson and Seattle. The Bengals hold a 10-9 lead in the series and they have outscored Seattle 415-374. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings in the series, with the Bengals taking a 27-24 overtime win along the banks of the Ohio River in 2015, while Seattle’s last victory was in 2007 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks by a final of 24-21.

Seattle’s favored by 9 1/2 with a 44 4/2 over/under. Cincinnati will keep the Seahawks in check but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks to take the win.

Detroit (6-10) at Arizona (3-13), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling teams from the 2018 campaign meet in the desert as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions pay a visit to Glendale to face off against number one draft pick Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. Including games that were played in Chicago and St. Louis, when the Cardinals called those cities home and the Lions were in Portsmouth and known as the Spartans, Detroit leads the 33-28 and they have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,199-1,088. Detroit has won the last two meetings, including coming away 17-3 winners last year in the desert (Arizona’s last win came in the Motor City in 2015, as the Cardinals left Detroit with a 42-17 win).

After a scoreless first quarter in their week 14 affair at State Farm Stadium, Matt Prater gave the Lions a 3-0 lead that they would take with them to the intermission. After a Darius Slay interception for a TD, Detroit took a 10-0 lead with them to the fourth quarter before the Desert Angry Birds would dent the scoreboard on a Zane Gonzalez field goal, Zach Zenner closed out the scoring with a 1-yard TD run with 4:05 left in the contest.

The Lions out-rushed Arizona 122-61 and Stafford threw for 101 without an interception (he was sacked once), while Josh Rosen threw for 240 yards with three sacks and an interception. Detroit was 4 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:16, while the Desert Angry Birds ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:44, while going 6 of 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week fourteen contest in the desert, Detroit easily covered the 2 1/2-point spread, winning by 14 but the 40 1/2 over/under was untouched as both teams combined for only 20 points. In this meeting in the desert, the Lions are favored by 3 with a 46 1/2 over/under. We wouldn’t blame you one bit if you took a pass on this one and watched that “Mythbusters” marathon on Discovery (there’s nothing more exciting than seeing Buster get blown up!). The Desert Angry Birds prevail in Glendale and cover the 3.

New York Giants (5-11) at Dallas (10-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Eli vs. Dak. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in the Lone Star State as the Cowboys host the Giants at Jerry World (aka AT&T Stadium). Dallas will have another weapon in their quiver as RB Ezekiel Elliott finally came to terms with the team and came back to Dallas. The Cowboys lead the series 66-45-2 (which includes contests that were played at Yankee Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, the Yale Bowl, Cowboys Stadium and Giants Stadium) and the Cowboys have outscored the Giants 2,554-2,180. Dallas has won the last four meetings in the series with their NFC East rivals (New York’s last win came in the Meadowlands in 2016 by a final of 10-6).

They met in the Lone Star State in week two and the Cowboys came away 20-13 winners on a Sunday night. Dallas led 10-0 at the half but the Giants would make it closer than Cowboys fans wanted as Aldrick Rosas connected on a 38-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. The Giants then tried an onside kick in the hopes of getting the ball back to no avail as Dallas would recover the ball and run out the clock. Dallas out-rushed the Giants 138-35, with Elliot leading all rushers with 78 yards and a rushing TD, while Prescott threw for 160 yards (Manning threw for 279 yards with six sacks; both Manning and Prescott threw a TD pass without an interception). The Giants were 8 of 17 on third down tries (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:12, while the Cowboys were 3 for 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:48.

They would meet in the Meadowlands in week 17 and while the second contest was closer, the result was the same… Dallas coming out victors, this time rallying to come away 36-35 winners at Met Life Stadium. Dallas led 14-7 at the intermission in upstate New Jersey but saw that lead get away from them as the Giants would lead 35-28 with 2:35 left in regulation, thanks in part to a 38-yard field goal by Rosas. That lead would not last very long as Dallas used a 9-play, 70-yard drive that used 83 seconds of clock and sent Giants fans home sad as The Giants seemed to clinch the game when Dallas receiver Cole Beasley was ruled out of the back of the end zone on a Prescott (387 yards, four TDs) pass on fourth-and-15 with 72 seconds left. But a video review showed that Beasley got his knee down in-bounds and the play was changed from an incomplete pass to a 32-yard touchdown. Prescott then threw the go-ahead two-point conversion to rookie receiver Michael Gallup.

The Giants actually out-rushed Dallas 143-51, with Sequan Barkley leading everyone with 109 yards on the ground and a TD, while Manning threw for 301 yards and a pair of TDs (Manning was sacked once and picked off once, while Prescott was sacked four times but did not throw an interception). Dallas was 11 of 17 on third down tries (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:52, while the Giants were 7 of 15 on third down (they went 2 for 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:08.

Dallas covered the 3-point spread in the Sunday night contest in Arlington, winning by 7 and the 33 combined points meant that the 42 over/under was untouched. In the season finale rematch in the Meadowlands, the Giants were favored by 6 1/2 but Dallas would win by only a single point. The two clubs did manage to take care of the 42 1/2 over/under, tallying 71 points in the contest. In this season opener in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Both numbers sound reasonable and the Giants have kept things close in the last two meetings with their NFC East rivals. Big Blue will do the same but Dallas prevails at home at Jerry World and takes the win at home.

San Francisco (4-12) at Tampa Bay (5-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of struggling NFC teams meet on Florida’s Gulf Coast in a late afternoon contest as Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers lead the series 17-6 and they have outscored Tampa Bay 520-356. They met last year in the Sunshine State (San Francisco’s last win over Tampa Bay came in the Sunshine State in 2013 by a final of 33-14) and the Bucs prevailed at home on Florida’s West Coast, coming away 27-9 winners. In the week 12 contest, Tampa Bay led 13-6 at the half before going on in the final 30 minutes of play to outscore the 49ers 14-3. The 49ers out-rushed Tampa Bay 148-108 with San Francisco RB Matt Breida leading the way with 106 yards on the ground. Nick Mullens threw for 221 yards for the 49ers with a TD pass to Dante Pettis but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Jameis Winston threw for 312 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked once but did not throw an interception).

Third down tries? The 49ers were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 and kept the ball for 25:51, while the Bucs ruled the clock for 34:09 and went 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Sunshine State. In the week 12 contest, Tampa Bay covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 18 but the 36 points the two teams scored came nowhere near the 55 over/under. The Bucs are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Well, if you’re a fan of either team, feel free to watch this one; otherwise, may we suggest the “Mythbusters” special on Discovery? Bucs prevail in the Sunshine State and covers the 1 1/2.

Pittsburgh (9-6-1) at New England (11-5), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They have 12 Lombardi Trophies between them. Each team has six. The home team wants to make it seven. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers make their way to Foxboro for a Sunday night contest with Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs at Gillette Stadium. For the Steelers, it’s their chance to knock the Pats from their pedestal. As for the Patriots? They want to be king of the NFL mountain and they added another piece to the puzzle by signing WR Antonio Brown after the Raiders cut him loose. Brown will not play this week but will suit up when the Pats head to Miami next week.

Pittsburgh leads the series 15-12 and they have outscored New England 621-584. The two clubs have met the last four seasons and the Steelers avenged a controversial 27-24 loss at home in 2017 to take a 17-10 win at Heinz Field.

The week 15 late afternoon contest saw the Steelers take a 14-7 lead with them to the locker room at the half as both Braby and Roethlisberger threw TDs passes in the first quarter. Rothelisberger would then add a second TD toss in the second quarter as he and WR Antonio Brown connected on a toss that would give them the lead for good with 12:01 left before the break. Chris Boswell and Stephen Gostkowski each traded field goals in the final 30 minutes of play to close out the scoring at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh outrushed New England 158-96 and Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels led all rushers with 142 yards, while Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions (Brady threw for 279 yards with a TD, sack and interception). Pittsburgh was 4 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:49, while the Patriots were 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:11.

Pittsburgh covered the 2 1/2-point spread with the seven-point win at Heinz Field but the 52 over/under was intact, as both clubs merged for 27 points. This time, Brady and the Patriots are favored by 5 1/2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 49. There is a chance these two could meet in the AFC championship game either at Heinz Field or Gillette Stadium come January. Brady and the Pats raise the championship banner Sunday night and takes the win in upstate Massachusetts, even though the Steelers will make this one closer than the 5 1/2.

Houston (11-5) at New Orleans (13-3), 7:10 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. Separated by 348 miles along I-10, J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans travel to the Big Easy for the first of two Monday night contest as the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees play host.

The series is tied at 2-2 and the Texans have outscored New Orleans 90-87. Houston won the last meeting, taking a 24-6 win in 2015 in the Lone Star State, while New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2011 in the Big Easy by a final of 40-33. On Monday night, the Texans are 5-8 (they won their lone meeting last season in prime-time), while the Saints are 20-22 but won their two Monday night contests last year. New Orleans is favored by 7 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 53. This could wind up be a somewhat entertaining Monday night contest. Houston pulls the upset in the Big Easy and leaves New Orleans with the win.

Denver (6-10) at Oakland (4-12), 10:20 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. Forget the records. These two AFC West teams don’t like each. Granted, the hate is not as bad as the Raiders and Chiefs but it exists, like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Denver and Oakland close out week one’s action on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay in the second Monday night contest of the evening. While things were somewhat calm in Denver, the same could not be said in Oakland as Raiders management first suspended newly-signed WR Antonio Brown, then reinstated him, fined him and eventually gave him his walking papers, allowing New England to grab him.

The Silver and Black lead the series 63-52-2 and the Raiders have outscored their AFC West rivals 2,489-2,394 (which includes contests that took place in Los Angeles from 1982-1994). They split last season’s contests, each taking wins in their home facility.

Denver trailed 12-0 at the break at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in their week two contest, then erased that deficit and came away with the 20-19 come-from-behind win in that first meeting. Trailing 19-17 with 1:58 left in regulation, the Broncos used a 10-play, 62-yard drive that consumed 1:52 of clock and sent Denver fans home happy campers as Brian McManus connected on a 36-yard field goal. McManus, who kicked a 39-yarder and QB Case Keenum (222 yards, TD, sack, interception), running for a score from a yard out, pulled Denver to within one to make the contest close and eventually give Denver the win. Denver outrushed Oakland 168-92 with Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay leading the way with 107 yards, becoming the first undrafted rookie in NFL history with at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first two career games. Derek Carr threw for 288 yards with a TD and a sack, while Marshawn Lynch led Oakland with 65 yards and a rushing TD. Oakland was 3 of 10 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:56, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:04, while going 8 of 16 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Oakland would get their revenge on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay in week 16 on Christmas Eve, as they would put lumps of coal and switches in Denver’s stocking, taking a 27-14 Monday night win at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Although the Silver and Black led 17-0 at the half, Denver managed to make the contest close in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Raiders 14-10 in that span. Dwayne Harris opened the scoring for the Raiders, returning a punt 99 yards to take the lead and the Raiders would never look back from that. Oakland outrushed Denver in the second contest 114-100, with Raiders RB Doug Martin leading the way with 107 yards and a TD. Carr threw for 167 yards but did not throw an interception, while Keenum threw for 202 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions (both Keenum and Carr were sacked once). Oakland was 5 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:08, while the Broncos were 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:52.

In the week two contest, while Denver was favored by 6, they only came away winning by one and both teams missed the 45 over/under, tallying 39 points. In the Christmas Eve week 16 affair, Oakland was the 2 1/2-point underdog but covered the spread, winnning by 13 but once again, both teams barely missed the over/under of 44 with 41 points.

Denver is 32-40-1 on Monday night and the Broncos went 0 for 2 in their meetings last year under the lights, while the Raiders are 39-29-1, spliting their two meetings in 2018. Oakland’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Monday nightcap on the West Coast and the over/under’s 42 1/2. With all the distractions the Raiders have had during the pre-season with Antonio Brown, it may be hard for them to focus on football and that will be a good thing for Broncos fans. Denver pulls the upset and covers the 2 1/2.

The end has come.

It’s week 17 in a season that has brought a lot of excitement and hope for teams that have not been to the post-season in a while. For Cleveland, it was a season that saw them pick up their first win in two seasons. It was a season that saw two teams (Cleveland and Green Bay) change coaches in mid-season. It was also a season that was competitive and somewhat entertaining.

When the Indianapolis-Tennessee game comes to an end in Nashville Sunday, 12 teams will be in the post-season party. As for the other 20 teams? They will be clearing out lockers, going home and getting ready for the Senior Bowl and the 2019 draft. The opponents for all 32 teams will be announced this week and the schedule will be annonced in April. In case you’re wondering, the 2019 NFL regular season starts on September 5th, so mark those calendars now.

It’s the final push for NFL teams as the regular season ends on Sunday. All 16 games are division contests and with one week to go, there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII.

Nine of the 12 playoff teams have been determined. Five of the eight divisions have been clinched. And there’s still plenty to play for in Week 17.

In the AFC, four teams have already punched their ticket to the postseason: New England (10-5, AFC East), Houston (10-5, playoff berth), Kansas City (11-4, playoff berth) and the Los Angeles Chargers (11-4, playoff berth).

Baltimore (9-6) and Pittsburgh (8-6-1) are vying for the AFC North title. Indianapolis (9-6) and Tennessee (9-6) face off on NBC’s Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. in a win-and-you’re-in battle. Houston can clinch the AFC South title with a win this week, but the winner of the Indianapolis-Tennessee game would take the division crown with a Houston loss.

In the NFC, five teams have locked up playoff spots, including all four division winners: Dallas (9-6, NFC East), Chicago (11-4, NFC North), New Orleans (13-2, NFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (12-3, NFC West) and Seattle (9-6, playoff berth).

Minnesota (8-6-1) and Philadelphia (8-7) are in contention for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. The Vikings are in position to clinch a playoff berth with a win, while the Eagles need a win and a Minnesota loss to secure their postseason entry.

The Bears, who have clinched the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010, have completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons. If Houston clinches the AFC South on Sunday, it would mark the second consecutive season that two teams go from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017) – something that has never happened before in any other major US sport.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

With one week remaining, five teams have already qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 – the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle Seahawks. That number could swell to as many as seven if both the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts qualify for the postseason on Sunday.

A look at some of the key games in Week 17:

Carolina (6-9) at New Orleans (13-2) 1 p.m. on FOX
•The Saints have clinched the NFC South, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Dallas (9-6) at New York Giants (5-10), 1 p.m. on FOX
•The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and will enter the NFC playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

Jacksonville (5-10) at Houston (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS
•The Texans, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC South with a win. Houston can also clinch a first-round bye with a win and a New England loss and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win combined with losses by New England, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers.

New York Jets (4-11) at New England (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS
•The Patriots, who have won the AFC East, can earn a first-round bye with a win or if Baltimore, Houston and Tennessee all lose.

Arizona (3-12) at Seattle (9-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX
•The Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth and will enter the NFC playoffs as the No. 5 or 6 seed.

Chicago (11-4) at Minnesota (8-6-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX
•The Bears, who have clinched the NFC North, can secure a first-round bye with a win and a Los Angeles Rams loss.
•The Vikings can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Philadelphia loss.

Cincinnati (6-9) at Pittsburgh (8-6-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS
•The Steelers can claim the AFC North with a win and a Baltimore loss.

Cleveland (7-7-1) at Baltimore (9-6), 4:25 p.m. on CBS
•The Ravens can win the AFC North with a win or a Pittsburgh loss.

Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) at Denver (7-8), 4:25 p.m. on CBS
•The Chargers, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC West division title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win combined with a Kansas City loss.

Oakland (4-11) at Kansas City (11-4), 4:25 p.m. on CBS
•The Chiefs, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC West division title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win. A Los Angeles Chargers loss would also give the Chiefs the AFC West crown.

Philadelphia (8-7) at Washington (7-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX
•​The Eagles can secure a playoff berth with a win combined with a Minnesota loss.

San Francisco (4-11) at Los Angeles Rams (12-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX
•The Rams have won the NFC West and can clinch a first-round bye with a win or a Chicago loss.

Indianapolis (9-6) at Tennessee (9-6), 8:20 p.m. on NBC
•​The winner of this game locks up a playoff spot.
•The Colts can clinch the AFC South division title with a win combined with a Houston loss.
•The Titans can clinch the AFC South division title with a win combined with a Houston loss. With a win and losses by Houston, New England and Baltimore, the Titans would secure a first-round bye. ​

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY:

New Orleans defeated Pittsburgh 31-28 to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the Steelers’ loss, Houston clinched a playoff berth.

New England defeated Buffalo 24-12 and clinched the AFC East division title for the 10th consecutive season.

The Patriots have advanced to the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons (2009-18), surpassing Dallas (nine from 1975-1983) and Indianapolis (nine from 2002-2010) for the most consecutive seasons in NFL history with a playoff berth.

With their 10th win of the season, New England (16 seasons from 2003-2018) tied San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories in NFL history.

New England quarterback Tom Brady, who has 4,105 passing yards this season, joins Peyton Manning (14 seasons), Drew Brees  (12) and Philip Rivers (10) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 10 seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards.

Dallas defeated Tampa Bay 27-20, allowing them to clinch the NFC East division title for the second time in the past three seasons. Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott had 109 scrimmage yards (85 rushing, 24 receiving) in the Cowboys’ Week 16 victory.

Elliott, who has 4,048 rushing yards and 1,199 receiving yards in his three-year NFL career, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three NFL seasons, joining Ottis Anderson, Chris Johnson and Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Elliott, who had 1,994 scrimmage yards in 2016, leads the NFL with 2,001 scrimmage yards this season and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and LaDainian Tomlinson and Edgerrin James as the only players in league annals with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards in two of their first three career seasons.

· Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 27 of 37 pass attempts (73.0 percent) for 284 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 121.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-18 win against Cincinnati. Mayfield, who has 24 touchdown passes in 2018, surpassed Andrew Luck (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected number 1 overall in the common draft era. Only Peyton Manning (26 in 1998) had more passing touchdowns as a rookie quarterback selected number 1 overall in the common draft era.

· Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 37 of 55 pass attempts (67.3 percent) for 442 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.8 passer rating and had two rushing touchdowns in the Packers’ 44-38 overtime win at the New York Jets. Rodgers is the only player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He also previously accomplished the feat on October 2, 2011 against Denver (408 passing yards, four touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns).

· Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns while tight end Zach Ertz had 12 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 32-30 victory against Houston. Foles is the first quarterback in franchise history with multiple career games of at least 400 passing yards and four touchdown passes (406 passing yards and seven touchdown passes on November 3, 2013 at Oakland). His 471 passing yards are the most in a single game in franchise history, surpassing Donovan McNabb, who passed for 464 yards against Green Bay on December 5, 2004.

Ertz, who has a franchise-record 113 catches in 2018, surpassed Jason Witten (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

· Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen had five receptions for 80 yards in the Vikings’ 27-9 victory at Detroit.

Thielen, who signed as an undrafted free agent with Minnesota in 2013, has 110 catches and 1,335 receiving yards in 2018 and joins Rod Smith (2000 and 2001) and Wes Welker (2009, 2011 and 2012) as the only undrafted players in the common draft era with at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in a single season.

· Carolina running back Christian McCaffery had 178 scrimmage yards (101 rushing, 77 receiving) and 12 receptions in the Panthers’ Week 16 loss against Atlanta. McCaffrey, who leads all running backs with 106 receptions this season, surpassed Matt Forte (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

McCaffrey, who has 1,080 rushing yards in 2018, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (2003) and Matt Forte (2014) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 100 receptions in a single season.

· Pittsburgh wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had 11 receptions for 115 yards in the Steelers’ Week 16 loss against New Orleans. Smith-Schuster, who is 22 years and 31 days old, has 106 catches this season and surpassed Larry Fitzgerald (22 years, 123 days) as the youngest player to reach 100 receptions in a single season in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 17

PLAYOFFS ON THE LINE: All 16 games are division contests in Week 17 and there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII.

In the AFC, four teams have already punched their ticket to the postseason: New England (10-5, AFC East), Houston (10-5, playoff berth), Kansas City (11-4, playoff berth) and the Los Angeles Chargers (11-4, playoff berth).

In the NFC, five teams have locked up playoff spots, including all four division winners: Dallas (9-6, NFC East), Chicago (11-4, NFC North), New Orleans (13-2, NFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (12-3, NFC West) and Seattle (9-6, playoff berth).

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 48 touchdown passes this season.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium against Oakland at 4:25 p.m. on CBS, Mahomes can join Peyton Manning (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and Tom Brady (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:​

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013 – 55)#
Tom Brady – New England (2007 – 50)#
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (2004 – 49)#
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2018 – 48)*
Dan Marino – Miami (1984 – 48)^#
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associate​d Press Most Valuable Player
*Entering Week 17

RIDICULOUS ROOKIE: New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley ranks third in the NFL with 1,886 scrimmage yards this season.

With 114 scrimmage yards against Dallas at 1 p.m. on FOX, Barkley would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

The rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history:
PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams (1983 – 2,212)^#
Edgerrin James – Indianapolis (1999 – 2,139)#
Saquon Barkley – New York Giants (2018 – 1,886)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year
*Entering Week 17

Barkley has 87 receptions this season and needs two catches against the Cowboys to surpass Reggie Bush (88 receptions in 2006) for the most catches by a rookie running back in league annals.

RUN & CATCH CMC: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey ranks second in the league with 1,925 scrimmage yards (1,080 rushing, 845 receiving) this season. McCaffrey has 106 catches in 2018 and surpassed Matt Forte (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in league annals.

With 55 receiving yards at New Orleans at 1 p.m. on FOX, McCaffrey would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1998 and 1999) and Roger Craig (1985) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season.

The players with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – RUSHING YARDS/RECEIVING YARDS)
Marshall Faulk – St. Louis (1999 – 1,381/1,048)^
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis (1998 – 1,319/908)^
Roger Craig – San Francisco (1985 – 1,050/1,016)
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina (2018 – 1,080/845)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 17

HISTORY FOR AB: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown has 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and leads the league with a franchise-record 15 touchdown catches this season.

With three receiving yards against Cincinnati at Heinz Field at 4:25 p.m. on CBS, Brown would become the first player in league annals with five seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards.

The players with the most seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS WITH 100+ CATCHES AND 1,300+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (4)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (4)^
Andre Johnson – Houston (4)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 104 receptions & 1,297 receiving yards in 2018

Brown and teammate JuJu Smith-Schuester, who has 106 receptions and became the youngest player in league history with at least 100 receptions in a single season, can become the first pair of teammates in league annals to each record at least 110 receptions in the same season.

DOMINANT DONALD: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald leads the NFL with a career-high 19.5 sacks this season.

With three sacks against San Francisco at 4:25 p.m. on FOX, Donald would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (22.5 sacks in 2001) for the most sacks in a single season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – SACKS)
Michael Strahan – New York Giants (2001 – 22.5)^
Jared Allen – Minnesota (2011 – 22)
Mark Gastineau – New York Jets (1984 – 22)
Justin Houston – Kansas City (2014 – 22)
Aaron Donald – Los Angeles Rams (2018 – 19.5)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 17

Donald, who has recorded at least two sacks in seven games this season, can become the second player since 1982 to record at least eight games with two-or-more sacks in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Reggie White (eight games in 1987).​

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS)
Reggie White – Philadelphia (1987 – 8)^#
Chris Doleman – Minnesota (1989 – 7)^
Aaron Donald – Los Angeles Rams (2018 – 7)*
Bruce Smith- Buffalo (1990 – 7)^#
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year
*Entering Week 17

There are plenty of scenarios that involve either a divisonal title or a wild card spot, so you might want to pay attention (this is gonna cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show… apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!)

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 17

NFC

CLINCHED: New Orleans – NFC South division title and home-field advantage, Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title, Chicago – NFC North division title, Dallas – NFC East division title, Seattle – playoff berth

Los Angeles Rams (12-3) (vs. San Francisco (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:
1.Los Angeles Rams win or tie OR
2.Chicago loss or tie

Chicago (11-4) (at Minnesota (8-6-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Chicago clinches a first-round bye with:
1.Chicago win + Los Angeles Rams loss

Minnesota (8-6-1) vs. Chicago (11-4), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Minnesota clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Minnesota win or tie OR
2.Philadelphia loss or tie

Philadelphia (8-7) at Washington (7-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Philadelphia clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Philadelphia win + Minnesota loss

AFC
CLINCHED: Kansas City – Playoff berth, Los Angeles Chargers – Playoff berth, New England – AFC East division title, Houston – Playoff berth​

Kansas City (11-4) vs. Oakland (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1.Kansas City win OR
2.Kansas City tie + Los Angeles Chargers loss or tie OR
3.Los Angeles Chargers loss + New England loss or tie + Houston loss or tie OR
4.Los Angeles Chargers loss + New England loss or tie + Kansas City clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Houston

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:
1.Los Angeles Chargers loss + New England loss or tie OR
2.Los Angeles Chargers loss + Houston loss or tie
3.Los Angeles Chargers loss + Kansas City clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Houston

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:
1.Los Angeles Chargers loss OR
2.Kansas City tie + Los Angeles Chargers tie

New England (10-5) vs. New York Jets (4-11), 1 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1.New England win + Kansas City loss + Los Angeles Chargers loss

New England clinches a first-round bye with:
1.New England win OR
2.New England tie + Houston loss or tie OR
3.Baltimore loss or tie + Houston loss + Tennessee loss or tie

Houston (10-5) vs. Jacksonville (5-10), 1 p.m. on CBS

Houston clinches AFC South division title and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1.Houston win + New England loss or tie + Kansas City loss + Los Angeles Chargers loss + Houston clinches a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Kansas City

Houston clinches AFC South division title and a first-round bye with:
1.Houston win + New England loss or tie OR
2.Houston win + Kansas City loss + Los Angeles Chargers loss + Houston clinches a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Kansas City OR
3.Houston tie + New England loss OR
4.Indianapolis-Tennessee tie + New England loss + BAL win + Houston clinches a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Baltimore

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:
1.Houston win or tie OR
2.Indianapolis-Tennessee tie

Baltimore (9-6) vs. Cleveland (7-7-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title and a first-round bye with:
1.Baltimore win + New England loss + Houston loss + Indianapolis-Tennessee does not end in a tie OR
2.Baltimore win + New England loss + Houston loss + Baltimore clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Houston

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:
1.Baltimore win OR
2.Pittsburgh loss OR
3.Baltimore tie + Pittsburgh tie

Baltimore clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Baltimore tie + Baltimore-Tennessee tie

Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) at Denver (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Los Angeles clinches AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1.Los Angeles Chargers win + Kansas City loss or tie OR
2.Los Angeles Chargers tie + Kansas City loss

Indianapolis (9-6) at Tennessee (9-6), 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Indianapolis clinches AFC South division title with:
1.Indianapolis win + Houston loss

Indianapolis clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Indianapolis win OR
2.Indianapolis tie + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
3.Indianapolis tie + Baltimore loss

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title and first-round bye with:
1.Tenessee win + Houston loss + New England loss + Baltimore loss or tie

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title with:
1.Tennessee win + Houston loss

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Tennessee win

Pittsburgh (8-6-1) vs. Cincinnati (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division title with:
1.Pittsburgh win + Baltimore loss or tie OR
2.Pittsburgh tie + Baltimore loss

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Pittsburgh win + Indianapolis-Tennessee tie

Got all that? There’s going to be a quiz afterward.

Every game in week 17 is a rematch and there are some contests that have playoff implications, while others are just trying to regroup and get ready for the 2019 campaign. Because this is the final week of the regular season, we are going to make every game on the schedule “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?”)

Last week was another 8-8 week, which means for the year, we’re still well above the .500 mark at 132-104. Week 17 begins in Tampa as the Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons and concludes in Nashville as Tennesee and Indianapolis meet for the last playoff spot in the AFC. When things settle down, there will be 12 teams making their way toward the Lombardi Trophy and Atlanta, while the other 20 teams will figure out what went wrong in 2018 and what they can do to not make those mistakes in 2019. With that, here are the Sunday picks for week 17.

ATLANTA (6-9) at Tampa Bay (5-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. Atlanta and Tampa Bay, a pair of NFC South rivals, close out the 2018 campaign on Florida’s West Coast as both teams, out of playoff contention, conclude their seasons.

Atlanta broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission at Bank of America Stadium last Sunday in Charlotte as they scored 14 third quarter points unchallenged, coming away 24-10 winners over Carolina, who played without Cam Newton (shoulder) and put backup QB Taylor Heinicke under center. Heinicke threw for 274 yards in the contest with a TD but Atlanta sacked him twice and picked him off three times, while Matt Ryan threw for 239 yards with three TDs, connecting with Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones on those tosses without an interception. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 194-141 with RB Brandon Hill leading all rushers with 115, while Carolina was led by RB Christian McCaffrey with 101 yards in the series sweep. Atlanta was 4 of 10 on third down tries and only needed to hold on to the ball for 22:31, while the Panthers kept the pigskin for 37:29, while going 7 of 14 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay watched Dallas celebrate winning the NFC East in Arlington as the Buccaneers fell to the Cowboys 27-20 at AT&T Stadium. Tampa Bay trailed 17-13 at the intermission in the Lone Star State, then rallied to make the contest a 7-point affair with 2:05 left in regulation when WR Mike Evans and QB Jameis Winston connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Tampa Bay would then attempt an onside kick, which Dallas recovered. The Cowboys would then run the clock out and take the win and the NFC East crown. Dallas outrushed Tampa Bay 80-63, with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 85 yards and Dak Prescott threw for 161 yards, while Winstron threw for 336 yards (each had a TD pass without an interception, Prescott had a rushing TD and a sack, while Winston was sacked three times). Dallas was 3 of 9 on third down and held the ball for 24:41, while Tampa Bay ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:19, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down.

The Falcons held off a late Tampa Bay rally at home in their week six contest, 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 covered the 3 1/2-point spread in the first meeting in the Big Peach, winning by 5 and both clubs covered the 58 over/under as they tallied 64 points. The oddsmakers like Tampa Bay as a 1-point favorite with a 51 1/2 over/under. Both clubs would love nothing more than to salvage their seasons. Tampa Bay’s been struggling of late, while the Falcons have played some decent, if not great, football of late. History has a way of repeating itself and history’s on the side of the Falcons. Atlanta prevails in the Sunshine State, covering the 1.

Miami (7-8) at Buffalo (5-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC East rivals face off in upstate New York as Miami travels to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills at New Era Stadium. Both enter the season finale with losses under their respective belts.

Miami was taken to task by instate rival Jacksonville 17-7 at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday afternoon in south Florida. The Dolphins and Jaguars were tied at 7-7 at the intermission, then took that tie into the final quarter of play before the Jaguars would go on to score their final 10 points of the day unchallenged, using a Kai Forbath field goal from 26 yards with 10:56 left to play to take the lead, then getting a 33-yard interception return fro Telvin Smith to seal Miami’s fate. Jacksonville outrushed Miami 126-62, as Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (three sacks) threw for 146 yards with a TD and an interception, while Cody Kessel threw for 106 yards with no TDs or interceptions but was sacked five times. The Dolphins were a somewhat sluggish 2 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 25:15, while the Jaguars were 34:45 in time of possession, going 6 for 13 on third down tries.

Buffalo found themselves losing to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 26-12 in Foxboro last Sunday. The Pats, who won the AFC East, shutout the Bills in the first half as they trailed 14-0 at the intermission and actually outscored New England 12-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. New England outrushed Buffalo 273-72, with Patriots RB Sony Michele running for 116 yards and a TD. Bills QB Josh Allen threw for 217 yards, while Brady threw for 126 yards with a sack (each threw a TD and had a pair of interceptions) for New England. Buffalo went 2 for 12 on third down (the Bills were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:22, while the Pats kept the ball for 35:38 and went 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They met in week 13 in the Sunshine State and Miami came away with the 21-17 win at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami led 14-6 at the half before Buffalo would chip away at the lead, then take it, leading 17-14 with 12 minutes left in the contest when WR Zay Jones and Allen connected on a 25-yard TD toss. Miami would regain control of things, taking the lead back for good with 8:42 left when WR Kenny Stills and Tannehill connected on a 13-yard TD pass. Buffalo outrushed Miami 198-60 with Allen doing most of the damage, rushing for 135 yards and throwing for 231 yards and a pair of TDs to Jones, while Tannehill threw for 137 yards and three TDs (Allen threw a pair of interceptions, while Tannehill threw a pick in the contest). Miami was 2 for 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:03, while the Bills actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 32:57,l while 5 for 13 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest in the Sunshine State, Miami was favored by 4 1/2 and while Miami did win, they did not cover, winning by 4. The 40 over/under was untouched as both teams merged for 38 points. The odds makers like the Bills as 3 1/2 point favorites along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Both of those numbers are reasonable. Miami would like to finish .500 to close things out. As for the Bills? They’re looking to make sure that doesn’t see the light of day. Buffalo may circle the wagons but Miami prevails in upstate New York and covers the 3 1/2 with the road win.

Jacksonville (5-10) at Houston (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC South rivals meet in the Lone Star State as Houston returns home to NRG Stadium as the Texans hope to take the division, while Jacksonville has plans to stop them.

Jacksonville ended Miami’s playoff hopes last Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium as they made their trip to south Florida worth their time, coming away 17-7 winners. The Dolphins and Jaguars were tied at 7-7 at the intermission, then took that tie into the final quarter of play before the Jaguars would go on to score their final 10 points of the day unchallenged, using a Kai Forbath field goal from 26 yards with 10:56 left to play to take the lead, then getting a 33-yard interception return fro Telvin Smith to seal Miami’s fate. Jacksonville outrushed Miami 126-62, as Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (three sacks) threw for 146 yards with a TD and an interception, while Cody Kessel threw for 106 yards with no TDs or interceptions but was sacked five times. The Dolphins were a somewhat sluggish 2 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 25:15, while the Jaguars were 34:45 in time of possession, going 6 for 13 on third down tries.

Houston saw a 30-29 late lead at Philadelphia get away from them as the defending Super Bowl champs would rally in the final two minutes of their contest with the Texans to take a 32-30 last-second win at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday afternoon. Houston led 16-13 at the break in the City of Brotherly Love, then watched Philadelphia take a 23-16 lead into the final quarter of play before storming back to reclaim the lead with 2:04 left when rookie WR Vyncint Smith caught a 35-yard TD pass from DeSean Watson to take a 30-29 lead. Philadelphia would then proceed to march down the field, using 11 plays, 72 yards and all of the 2:04 left on the clock when K Jake Elliott connected on a 35-yard field goal as time expired, denying the Texans a chance to win the AFC South. Houston outrushed Philadephia 62-57 with Watson leading all rushers with 49 yards and a pair of rushing TDs and threw for 339 yards and a pair of passing TDs (Watson was sacked four times but did not throw an interception), while Eagles back up QB Nick Foles threw for 471 yards and four TDs, connecting with TE Zach Ertz on two of those passes. Houston was 3 for 10 on third down (the Texans were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:15, while the defending Super Bowl champs kept their playoff hopes alive, going 9 for 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 33:45 (including the final 2:04 of the contest).

Houston gave Jacksonville their second loss in a row at TIAA Stadium, taking a 20-7 win in north Florida in their week seven affair. The Texans and DeSean Watson took a 13-0 lead at the half, then led 20-0 late in the third before they would give up Jacksonville’s only score of the day when T.J. Yeldon and backup QB Cody Keesler connected on a 6-yard TD toss with 2:18 left in the third. Houston’s Lamar Miller ran for 100 yards with a TD to lead all rushers, as the Texans outrushed Jacksonville 141-70. Watson threw for 139 yards with a TD, while Blake Bortles threw for 61 yards before being replaced by Keesler (Keesler threw for 156 yards with the TD, four sacks and an interception). Houston was 8 of 16 on third down tries and they only needed to keep the ball for 29:35, while Jacksonville ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 30:25, going 9 of 19 on third down tries, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Jacksonville was favored by 4 1/2 in the week seven contest in north Florida and the Texans covered the spread, winning by 13. The 42 1/2 over/under stayed in tact as both teams merged for 27 total points. Houston’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. For the Texans, a win means that they win the AFC North. They’re already in the post-season but would like to add that to their resume. For the Jaguars? It’s a chance to spoil Houston’s party. Houston pulls off the sweep in the series and takes the win and AFC South title, although expect Jacksonville to make things closer than 7.

New York Jets (4-11) at New England (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 710. A pair of AFL/AFC East rivals meet in Foxboro as the New York J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! and New England Patriots meet at Gillette Stadium.

Green Bay stormed back from a 15-point deficit in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets last Sunday, taking a 44-38 overtime win at Met Life Stadium. Green Bay trailed 21-17 at the break, then proceeded to chip away at the lead that the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! had established in the contest, outscoring GangGreen 27-17 in the final 30 minutes of play in regulation and overtime. Josh Myers would tie the contest up in regulation with 17 left when he connected on a 33 yard field goal and Aaron Rodgers would give the Packers the win in overtime as he and WR Davante Adams connected on a 16-yard TD toss with 6:23 left in the extra period. Green Bay, who won the toss and kept the ball in the entire overtime, outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 127-47 and Rodgers threw for 442 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked four times), while Sam Darnold threw for 341 yards and three TDs (Darnold had no interceptions and was sacked twice). Green Bay was 5 of 12 on third down try and the Packers kept the ball for 34:19 (including the overtime), while GangGreen was 3 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 29:18 (both clubs went 2 of 2 on fourth down).

Brady and the New England Patriots took the AFC East title in Foxboro, coming away 26-12 winners at Gillette Stadium over AFC East rival Buffalo last Sunday. The Pats shutout the Bills in the first half as they took a 14-0 lead with them at the intermission and watched the Bills actually outscore New England 12-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. New England outrushed Buffalo 273-72, with Patriots RB Sony Michele running for 116 yards and a TD. Bills QB Josh Allen threw for 217 yards, while Brady threw for 126 yards with a sack (each threw a TD and had a pair of interceptions) for New England. Buffalo went 2 for 12 on third down (the Bills were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:22, while the Pats kept the ball for 35:38 and went 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

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

New England was favored by 9 1/2 in the Meadowlands in the week 12 contest on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Patroits covered, winning by 14. However, both teams missed the 46 over/under, tallying 40 points. New England’s favored by 13 1/2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Could history repeat itself? GangGreen has played some decent football of late and they’ve given New England problems over the years. While the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! make things close, New England comes away with the win at Gillette.

Detroit (5-10) at Green Bay (6-8-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC North rivals meet at Lambeau Field as Green Bay hosts Detroit in the season finale for both teams.

Minnesota scored 13 second half points unchallenged as they took care of NFC North rival Detroit 27-9 at Ford Field last Sunday. The Vikings trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, led 14-9 at the break and then floored the gas in the second half to keep their playoff hopes alive. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 100-86 and Kirk Cousins threw for 253 yards and three TDs (two to Kyle Rudolph; Rudolph had 122 yards on nine catches), while Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw for 116 yards (both men were sacked twice and neither threw an interception) before he was replaced by Matt Cassel. Minnesota went 4 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:32, while the struggling Lions ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:28, going 4 of 16, 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Green Bay stormed back from a 15-point deficit in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets last Sunday, taking a 44-38 overtime win at Met Life Stadium. Green Bay trailed 21-17 at the break, then proceeded to chip away at the lead that the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! had established in the contest, outscoring GangGreen 27-17 in the final 30 minutes of play in regulation and overtime. Josh Myers would tie the contest up in regulation with 17 left when he connected on a 33 yard field goal and Aaron Rodgers would give the Packers the win in overtime as he and WR Davante Adams connected on a 16-yard TD toss with 6:23 left in the extra period. Green Bay outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 127-47 and Rodgers threw for 442 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked four times), while Sam Darnold threw for 341 yards and three TDs (Darnold had no interceptions and was sacked twice). Green Bay was 5 of 12 on third down try and the Packers kept the ball for 34:19 (including the overtime), while GangGreen was 3 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 29:18 (both clubs went 2 of 2 on fourth down).

Green Bay dropped a 31-23 decision at Detroit in ther week five meeting in the Motor City. The Packers trailed 24-0 at the intermission but would outscore the Lions 23-7 in the second half. Green Bay 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.

In the week five contest in the Motor City, while Green Bay was favored by a point, the Lions covered the spread with their 8-point win and both Green Bay and Detroit covered the 51 over/under, tallying 54 points. The Packers are once again favored, this time by 7 1/2 with a 45 over/under. Both clubs have had less than perfect seasons and both want to put their fan bases out of their misery. Green Bay covers the 7 1/2 and wins in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst.

Chicago (11-4) at Minnesota (8-6-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 717. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Twin Cities as Chicago, winners of the NFC North, travel to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to take on the Minnesota Vikings, who have playoff hopes of their own. Both teams were road winners in their contests last week.

Minnesota scored 13 second half points unchallenged as they took care of NFC North rival Detroit 27-9 at Ford Field last Sunday. The Vikings trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, led 14-9 at the break and then floored the gas in the second half to keep their playoff hopes alive. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 100-86 and Kirk Cousins threw for 253 yards and three TDs (two to Kyle Rudolph; Rudolph had 122 yards on nine catches), while Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw for 116 yards (both men were sacked twice and neither threw an interception) before he was replaced by Matt Cassel. Minnesota went 4 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:32, while the struggling Lions ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:28, going 4 of 16, 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Chicago erased a 9-7 defict at the half at San Francsico as Da Bears came away 14-9 winners at Levis Stadium last Sunday. Chicago, the NFC North champs, took the lead for keeps with 4:14 left in the third quarter when RB Jordan Howard scored on a 2-yard run to lead by 5. The two clubs would then play a scoreless fourth quarter, with Chicago holding off San Francisco to take the road win. Chicago outrushed the 49ers 90-47 and Mitchell Trubisky threw for 246 yards with a TD and no interceptions (Trubisky was sacked three time), while Nate Mullens threw for 241 yards with a sack and an interception in the home finale for San Francisco. Da Bears were 5 for 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:30, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 24:30, going 7 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Mitch Trubisky and Da Bears survived a scare from Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field, coming away 25-20 winners in the Windy City in their week 12 Sunday night contest. Chicago led 14-3 at the intermission in the NFC North contest before the Vikings would go on in the final 30 minutes to outscore Da Bears 20-11. Trubisky threw for 165 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions, while Cousins threw for 262 yards with a pair of TDs (Cousins threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice, Trubisky was sacked once) in the contest. Chicago outrushed Minnesota 148-22 and went 6 for 12 on third down and kept the ball for 34:29, while the Purple Gang went 5 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 25:31.

Da Bears were favored by 3 in the Windy City and Chicago covered, winning by 5 but both teams BARELY missed the 45 1/2 over/under with 45 points. This time, the Vikings are favored by 5 and the over/under’s 41. Da Bears have already punched their ticket to the post-season, while the Vikings are hoping that the Eagles slip up in Washington. Chicago covers the 5 in the Twin Cities and takes the road win.

Carolina (6-9) at New Orleans (13-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Losing seven in a row, the Carolina Panthers limp their way into the Big Easy as they square off with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in an NFC South rematch.

The Cam Newton-less Panthers (shoulder) watched Atlanta break a 10-10 tie at the intermission at Bank of America Stadium last Sunday in Charlotte as the Falcons scored 14 third quarter points unchallenged, coming away 24-10 winners over Carolina, who put backup QB Taylor Heinicke under center. Heinicke threw for 274 yards in the contest with a TD but Atlanta sacked him twice and picked him off three times, while Matt Ryan threw for 239 yards with three TDs, connecting with Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones on those tosses without an interception. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 194-141 with RB Brandon Hill leading all rushers with 115, while Carolina was led by RB Christian McCaffrey with 101 yards in the series sweep. Atlanta was 4 of 10 on third down tries and only needed to hold on to the ball for 22:31, while the Panthers kept the pigskin for 37:29, while going 7 of 14 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

The Saints clinched home field throughout the playoffs as they held off a late Pittsburgh rally to come away 31-28 winners in the Big Easy last Sunday. New Orleans led 17-14 at the half before the Steelers roared back in the third quarter to take a 28-24 lead at the end of three quarters, thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown connecting on their second TD toss of the afternoon. New Orleans would reclaim the lead with 85 seconds left in the contest when Brees and WR Michael Thomas connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Pittsburgh would then get the ball back with no time outs and got as close as the Saints’ 42-yard line before fumbling the ball, which New Orleans recovered. The Saints then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win. Pittsburgh outrushed New Orleans 65-57, with Roethlisberger throwing for 364 yards with three TDS and three sacks, while Brees threw for 313 yards with a TD and a pair of sacks. The Steelers were 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down, while the Saints were 6 of 12) and the clock was on the side of Pittsburgh, who held the ball for 31:20, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 28:40.

The two NFC South foes met two weeks ago in Charlotte on a Monday night and New Orleans survived a 12-9 scare from the Panthers in Charlotte. The Panthers led 7-6 at the intermission at Bank of America Stadium before the Saints would take the lead away from the Panthers when Alvin Kamara scored on a 16-yard run with 12:12 left in the contest. New Orleans then attempted a 2-point conversion to make the contest a five-point affair but Drew Brees’ 2-point attempt to Thomas was picked off by Dante Jackson, who ran the ball back for a defensive two point conversion to keep the Panthers close. Carolina would later get the ball back after New Orleans fumbled it out of the endzone, creating a touchback and giving the Panthers the ball on their 20-yard line. Newton and the Panthers would eventually get as close as their 39-yard line but could not get any closer as Newton’s fourth-down pass attempt was incomplete, which gave the Saints the ball back and New Orleans would run the clock out and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 155-98 and Newton threw for 131 yards with four sacks, while Brees threw for 203 yards (both men threw an interception, Newton was sacked four times, Brees twice). Carolina was 7 of 15 on third down (the Panther were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:09, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

In the Monday night week 15 contest in the Tar Heel State, New Orleans, favored by 6 1/2, did not cover the soread, winning by 3. The two clubs came nowhere near the 52 over/under, tallying only 21 points. New Orleans is favored again, this time by 9 with a 45 over/under. The Saints know they are the one seed and would like a win going into their bye week. Carolina would like nothing more than revenge for their loss in week 15 in Charlotte. Panthers get their wish, making it closer than 9 and coming away with the win from the Big Easy.

Dallas (9-6) at New York Giants (5-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Dallas and the New York Giants meet in the Meadowlands in a season-finale for the home team, while the Cowboys advance their way into the post-season.

Dallas celebrate winning the NFC East in Arlington as the Cowboys held off Tampa Bay 27-20 at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys led 17-13 at the intermission in the Lone Star State, then watched Tampa Bay rally to make the contest a 7-point affair with 2:05 left in regulation when WR Mike Evans and QB Jameis Winston connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Tampa Bay would then attempt an onside kick, which Dallas recovered, allowing them to run the clock out and take the win and the NFC East crown. Dallas outrushed Tampa Bay 80-63, with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 85 yards and Dak Prescott threw for 161 yards, while Winstron threw for 336 yards (each had a TD pass without an interception, Prescott had a rushing TD and a sack, while Winston was sacked three times). Dallas was 3 of 9 on third down and held the ball for 24:41, while Tampa Bay ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:19, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down.

Manning and the Giants watched their playoff hopes die and saw Indianapolis and Andrew Luck keep their playoff chances alive after they rallied to take a 29-28 win over Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium. Big Blue led 17-7 at the half, then the Colts would go on to chip away at the lead and trailed 27- 21 with 55 seconds left when Chester Rogers caught a 1-yard TD pass from Luck to take the lead for the first time and for keeps. The Colts then held off a late Giants rally as Malik Hooker picked Manning off to end the threat and take the win. While the Giants did outrush the Colts 83-49, Luck outpaced Manning, throwing for 357 yards and a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) with a sack, while Manning threw for 309 yards and a TD (both men threw an interception) in the loss. The Colts were 7 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 28:19, while the Giants, who went 7 of 12 on third down, actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:41.

They met in Arlington in week two and the Giants would rally and pull themselves to within three but came up on the short end of a 20-13 loss at Dallas. Big Blue trailed 10-0 at the intermission, then rallied to make the NFC East contest a 3-point affair when K Aldrick Rosas connected on a 38-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. While rushing for 138 yards, Dallas held the Giants to 35 yards on the ground and sacked Manning six times (Mannning threw for 279 yards), while Dak Prescott threw for 160 yards (both Prescott and Manning threw a TD pass) in the win. Dallas was 3 of 10 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:48, while the Giants ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:12, going 8 of 17 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week two contest at Jerry World, Dallas was favored by 3 in the Sunday night contest and they covered, winning by 7. The 42 over/under was left untouched as the two teams would combine for 33 points. In the rematch in the Meadowlands, the Cowboys are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. The Giants have actually caused problems for Dallas of late and that will be the case this time around. For the Cowboys, it’s second verse, same as the first. Dallas covers the 6 1/2 and wins in the Meadowlands.

Oakland (4-11) at Kansas City (11-4), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Round two of this old AFL/AFC West rivalry moves to the midwestern section of the United States as Kansas City hosts the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead.

The Raiders enter the Sunday afternoon contest in the Show-Me State with a 27-14 win over Denver Christmas Eve. The Raiders in their final home game of the 2018 campaign and perhaps their last game in Oakland took a 17-0 lead at the intermission and despite being outscored 14-10 in the last 30 minutes of play, took control of the contest to take the win. Denver was outrushed by the Silver and Black 114-100 with Raiders RB Doug Martin leading the way with 107 yards and a TD in the contest. Derek Carr threw for 167 yards with no TDs and was sacked once but did not throw an interception, while Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 202 yards with a pair of TDs, a pair of interceptions and a sack. The Silver and Black went 5 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 30:08, while the Broncos, who kept the ball for 29:52, went 6 of 14 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

Kansas City looks to restore order and take home field advantage after their 38-31 loss at Seattle last Sunday night. The Chiefs trailed 14-10 at the intermission in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, then rallied to make it a 7-point contest with 80 seconds left when Harrison Butker connected on a 32-yard field goal. Kansas City then tried an unsuccessful onside kick, which allowed Seattle to recover the ball, run out the clock and take the win. Seattle outrushed the Chiefs 210-154 and Damien Williams led the Chiefs with 103 yards of rushing, while Seattle’s Chris Carson led all rushers with 116 yards and a pair of TDs. Patrick Mahomes threw for 273 yards for Kansas City, while Russell Wilson threw for 271 yards for Seattle (both men threw three TDs without an interception; Wilson was sacked three times, Mahomes sacked once). Kansas City went 5 of 12 on third down (the Chiefs were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 24:58, while the Seahawks ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 35:02, while going 7 for 14 on third down tries.

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

Kansas City was a 15-point favorite in the week 13 contest but managed to win by only 7 on the West Coast. The two AFL/AFC West rivals did manage to cover the 55 1/2 over/under, as the two clubs merged for 73 points. This time, the Chiefs are favored again by 13 1/2 with a 54 over/under. The 54? Reasonable. The 13 1/2? That’s a bit generous. Given the history between these two teams, the Raiders are playing with house money and the Chargers are hoping that they pull off the upset in the Show-Me State. Oakland makes this one interesting but the Chiefs prevail at Arrowhead, becoming the one seed in the process.

Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) at Denver (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. The Los Angeles Chargers, fighting to be the one seed in the AFC and having a first-round bye, travels to the Rocky Mountains for a late Sunday afternoon AFL/AFC West meeting with the Denver Broncos.

The Chargers watched Baltimore keep their playoff hopes alive on the West Coast last Saturday evening as the Ravens held off the Chargers 22-10 at Stub Hub Centre. The Ravens led 6-3 at the half against Rivers and the Chargers, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, reclaiming the lead after the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon scored on a 1-yard run with 13:18 left in the third.

Baltimore would then go on to score their final 16 points of the game unchallenged, with the final tally coming when CB Tavon Young scored on a 62-yard fumble return with 2:40 left as the Chargers were driving to tie the contest up. Baltimore outrushed Los Angeles 159-51, with Jackson throwing for 204 yards and a TD, while Los Angeles’ Philip Rivers threw for 181 yards (Rivers was sacked four times and picked off twice, Jackson was sacked three times but did not throw an interception).
Baltimore went 4 of 14 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Ravens held on to the ball for 31:25, while the Chargers held on to the ball for 28:35, going 4 for 13 on thir down tries in the Saturday night contest on the West Coast.

Denver comes back the Mile High City with a 27-14 loss at Oakland on Christmas Eve under their belts. The Broncos could never get themselves on track in the Monday night contest, trailing 17-0 at the intermission, even though they did outscore Oakland 14-10 in the last 30 minutes of play. Denver was outrushed by the Silver and Black 114-100 with Raiders RB Doug Martin leading the way with 107 yards and a TD in the contest. Derek Carr threw for 167 yards with no TDs and was sacked once but did not throw an interception, while Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 202 yards with a pair of TDs, a pair of interceptions and a sack. The Silver and Black went 5 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 30:08, while the Broncos, who kept the ball for 29:52, went 6 of 14 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

They met in Los Angeles in week 11 and Denver got a last-second field goal from Brandon McManus to come away 23-22 winners. Los Angeles led 13-7 at the intermission, then led by 2 with 1:51 left when Denver used all of the 1:51 left on the clock, using a 7-play, 76-yard drive that got them into field goal range, with McManus nailing the game-winner from 34 yards away. Denver outrushed the Bolts 108-95 and Keenum threw for 205 yards, while Rivers threw for 401 yards with a pair of TDs (Rivers was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions) in the loss at home. The Chargers went 9 for 15 on third down tries at Stub Hub Centre and they would keep the ball for 37:49, while Denver kept the ball for 22:11 (including the final 1:51 of the contest), while going 3 for 10 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The Chargers were favored by 7 in the week 11 contest at Stub Hub Centre and while Denver took the win, they failed to cover the spread, winning by 1 and neither club touched the 47 over/under, as they merged for 45 points. The odds makers love the Chargers again, this time as 6 1/2 point favorites in the Rocky Mountains and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Denver would love nothing more than to play spoiler and ruin the Chargers’ playoff hopes. As for the Bolts? They know they’re in the post-season party, it’s the top seed they want. They may not get the top seed if Kansas City has anything to say about it but the Chargers leave Denver with the win, covering the 6 1/2.

Cincinnati (6-9) at Pittsburgh (8-6-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. It’s a win or else situaton for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers as they return to Heinz Field for a rematch with their AFC North rivals from Cincinnati.

Baker Mayfield and Cleveland made it a sweep against Cincinnati as the Browns ended Cincinnati’s playoff hopes as they beat their instate and AFC North rivals 28-16 along the shores of Lake Erie last Sunday afternoon. After a scoreless first quarter, the Browns took a 16-0 lead with them to the break and would increase that lead to 23-0 as the third quarter came to an end before the Bengals would outscore them in the fourth quarter by a 18-3 margin. Cleveland outrushed Cincinnati 146-102 with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading all rushers with 112 yards, while Mayfield threw for 284 yards with three TDs and no interceptions or sacks (the Bengals’ Josh Driskel threw for 133 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions but was sacked three times). Cleveland went 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 35:31, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 24:29 and went 1 for 8 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 for 1 on fourth down)

Pittsburgh watched the New Orleans Saints clinched home field throughout the playoffs as they held off a late Steeler rally to come away 31-28 winners in the Big Easy last Sunday. New Orleans led 17-14 at the half before the Steelers roared back in the third quarter to take a 28-24 lead at the end of three quarters, thanks to Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown connecting on their second TD toss of the afternoon. New Orleans would reclaim the lead with 85 seconds left in the contest when Brees and WR Michael Thomas connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Pittsburgh would then get the ball back with no time outs and got as close as the Saints’ 42-yard line before fumbling the ball, which New Orleans recovered. The Saints then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win. Pittsburgh outrushed New Orleans 65-57, with Roethlisberger throwing for 364 yards with three TDS and three sacks, while Brees threw for 313 yards with a TD and a pair of sacks. The Steelers were 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down, while the Saints were 6 of 12) and the clock was on the side of Pittsburgh, who held the ball for 31:20, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 28:40.

They met along the shores of the Ohio River in 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 in their week six meeting. 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.

Cincinnati was favored by 2 1/2 points in their week six contest and the Steelers covered, winning by 7. Both teams missed the 53 over/under as the two clubs combined for 49 points. This time, the Steelers are a 14-point favorite in western Pennsylvania and the over/under’s 45 1/2. The 45 1/2 makes sense. The 14 points? That’s a little steep, considering that this is the regular season finale for both clubs. The Bengals would like to repeat what they did in Baltimore last year and put another team out of the post-season but the Steelers are not going to have any of it at Heinz Field. Steelers win the AFC North, although expect the Bengals to make it closer than 14.

Philadelphia (8-7) at Washington (7-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 718. It’s round two as a pair of NFC East rivals meet in Landover, with the Eagles hoping to come away with a playoff spot, while the Redskins look to damage the Eagles’ chances to repeate as Super Bowl champs.

The defending Super Bowl champs needed to rally in the final two minutes of their contest with the Houston Texans to take a 32-30 last-second win at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday afternoon to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, while putting a dent in Houston’s post-season hopes. Houston led 16-13 at the break in the City of Brotherly Love, then watched Philadelphia take a 23-16 lead into the final quarter of play before storming back to reclaim the lead with 2:04 left when rookie WR Vyncint Smith caught a 35-yard TD pass from DeSean Watson to take a 30-29 lead. Philadelphia would then proceed to march down the field, using 11 plays, 72 yards and all of the 2:04 left on the clock when K Jake Elliott connected on a 35-yard field goal as time expired, denying the Texans a chance to win the AFC South. Houston outrushed Philadephia 62-57 with Watson leading all rushers with 49 yards and a pair of rushing TDs and threw for 339 yards and a pair of passing TDs (Watson was sacked four times but did not throw an interception), while Eagles back up QB Nick Foles threw for 471 yards and four TDs, connecting with TE Zach Ertz on two of those passes. Houston was 3 for 10 on third down (the Texans were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:15, while the defending Super Bowl champs kept their playoff hopes alive, going 9 for 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 33:45 (including the final 2:04 of the contest).

Washington’s playoff hopes were damaged in the Music City last Saturday afternoon as Tennessee came away 25-18 winners at Nissan Stadium. Washington led 10-9 at the half and would later held on to a 16-12 lead halfway through the final quarter of play before Tennessee rallied in the fourth when Matt Pruitt caught a 7-yard TD toss from backup QB Blaine Gabbert (who took over for Marcus Mariota, who left the contest with an arm injury) with 4:30 left, then put the contest away as time expired when CB Malcom Butler scored on a 56-yard interception return as Washington was threatening. Washington outrushed Tennessee 161-99, with Redskins RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 119 yards. Gabbert threw for 101 yards and the winnning score (Mariota threw for 110 yards with a pair of sacks and no interceptions, Gabbert was sacked once), while Washington QB Jeff Johnson threw for 153 yards in the loss with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. Washington went 8 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:03, while Tennesse, who held on to the pigskin for 26:57, going 5 for 11 on third down tries.

Philadelphia and Washington met in the City of Brotherly Love in week 13 on a Monday night and the defending Super Bowl champs came away 28-13 winners at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia took a 14-13 lead with them to the break, then scored 14 fourth-quarter points without a challenge (the two teams went scoreless in the third) to take control of things, using a 4-yard TD pass from Carson Wentz to Josh Matthews, a Wentz to Golden Tate two-point conversion and a pair of Elliot field goals to take the win. Philadelphia outrushed Washington 130-104 and Wentz threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Eagles’ defense knocked Colt McCoy (50 yards, sack) out of the contest, forcing Washington to replace him with Mark Sanchez, who threw for 100 yards. Philadelphia went 7 of 13 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 39:19, while the Redskins held on to the pigskin for 20:41, going 2 of 10 on third down.

In the week 13 Monday night contest, Philadelphia covered the 6 1/2 point spread, winning by 16 but both clubs barely missed the 44 over/under by 3 points. The odds makers like the defending Super Bowl champs as 6 1/2 point favorites in Landover with a 42 over/under. The Eagles want a chance to defend their title, Washington wants to crash their party. Fly, Eagles Fly! The defending Super Bowl champs make their way to the playoffs with the road win and covers the 6 1/2.

Cleveland (7-7-1) at Baltimore (9-6), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. The Baltimore Ravens return home to Charm City with their playoff hopes in tact as they take on Baker Mayfield and the resurging Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium in a late Sunday afternoon contest. Both teams were winners in last week’s action.

Mayfield made it a sweep against Cincinnati as they beat their instate and AFC North rivals 28-16 along the shores of Lake Erie last Sunday afternoon. After a scoreless first quarter, the Browns took a 16-0 lead with them to the break and would increase that lead to 23-0 as the third quarter came to an end before the Bengals would outscore them in the fourth quarter by a 18-3 margin. Cleveland outrushed Cincinnati 146-102 with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading all rushers with 112 yards, while Mayfield threw for 284 yards with three TDs and no interceptions or sacks (the Bengals’ Josh Driskel threw for 133 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions but was sacked three times). Cleveland went 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 35:31, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 24:29 and went 1 for 8 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 for 1 on fourth down)

Baltimore kept their playoff hopes alive on the West Coast last Saturday evening as they held off the Los Angeles Chargers 22-10 at Stub Hub Centre. The Ravens led 6-3 at the half against Rivers and the Chargers, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, reclaiming the lead after the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon scored on a 1-yard run with 13:18 left in the third.

Baltimore would then go on to score their final 16 points of the game unchallenged, with the final tally coming when CB Tavon Young scored on a 62-yard fumble return with 2:40 left as the Chargers were driving to tie the contest up. Baltimore outrushed Los Angeles 159-51, with Jackson throwing for 204 yards and a TD, while Los Angeles’ Philip Rivers threw for 181 yards (Rivers was sacked four times and picked off twice, Jackson was sacked three times but did not throw an interception).
Baltimore went 4 of 14 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Ravens held on to the ball for 31:25, while the Chargers held on to the ball for 28:35, going 4 for 13 on thir down tries in the Saturday night contest on the West Coast.

Baltimore and Cleveland met in week 5 along the shores of Lake Erie and the Browns went into an overtime contest at home but this time, Cleveland prevailed as they escaped with a 12-9 win over Baltimore along the shores of Lake Erie in week five. Cleveland led 6-3 at the break before the Ravens would rally in the third and fourth quarters to even things up, thanks to a pair of Jeff Tucker field goals in the second half. Cleveland’s Rashard Higgins would score the game’s only TD when he and rookie QB Baker Mayfield connected on a 19-yard TD pass with 40 seconds left before the intermission. Greg Joseph would miss the extra point but would kick two more field goals, including the game-winner with two seconds left in overtime to take the win. While Baltimore outrushed Cleveland 116-112, Mayfield threw for 342 yards, with Baltimore’s Joe Flacco throwing for 298 yards (Flacco was sacked twice, Mayfield was sacked five times and each man threw an interception) in the overtime contest. The Ravens were 4 of 16 on third down (Baltimore was 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:42, while the Browns, who picked up their first win on a Sunday since December of 2015, kept the ball for 36:16 (including the overtime) and went 6 of 19 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions. Cleveland’s three overtime games in 2018 ties them for most by team in 1st 5 games of season since regular season overtime rule was adopted in 1974.

In the week five contest along the shores of Lake Erie, the Ravens were favored by 3 and the Browns covered, winning by that margin. The 19 combined points, including the overtime, did not touch the 47 over/under. In this meeting that could either give the Browns their first winning season since 2007 or the Ravens the AFC North title, Baltimore’s favored by 6 in Charm City and the over/under’s 41. The Ravens remember the last time they were in this situation and the Buffalo Bills were thankful to Cincinnati as they knocked Baltimore out of the 2017 post-season party. Pittsburgh fans will be pulling for Cleveland to win this one and they’re going to be rewarded. Baltimore will make this one close but Cleveland makes history and Steeler fans happy as they take the win in Charm City.

San Francisco (4-11) at Los Angeles Rams (12-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 719. They met in northern California in week seven. This time, it’s San Francisco’s turn to make the 346-mile trip down I-5 to face off against the Los Angeles Rams in a late afternoon West Coast contest.

San Francisco watched a 9-7 lead at the half against Chicago vanish as Da Bears came away 14-9 winners at Levis Stadium last Sunday. The defending NFC North champs took the lead for keeps with 4:14 left in the third quarter when RB Jordan Howard scored on a 2-yard run to lead by 5. The two clubs would then play a scoreless fourth quarter, with Chicago holding off San Francisco to take the road win. Chicago outrushed the 49ers 90-47 and Mitchell Trubisky threw for 246 yards with a TD and no interceptions (Trubisky was sacked three time), while Nate Mullens threw for 241 yards with a sack and an interception in the home finale for San Francisco. Da Bears were 5 for 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:30, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 24:30, going 7 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The Rams took care of business last Sunday in Glendale, with the defending NFC West Champs taking a 31-9 win at State Farm Stadium over the Arizona Cardinals. Los Angeles led 21-9 at the break, then shut out the Desert Angry Birds, as Los Angeles scored their last 10 points of the contest without a challenge. The Rams easily outrushed Arizona 269-104, with Los Angeles RB Chris Anderson leading the way with 167 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 216 yards with a TD and no interceptions, while Josh Rosen threw for 87 yards and was sacked four times (Goff was sacked once). The Rams were 6 for 9 on third down tries and ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 37:04, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 22:56, while going 2 of 11 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

The Rams kept themselves in the ranks of the unbeatens after they took care of San Francisco 39-10 in Santa Clara in their week seven contest in Santa Clara. The defending NFC West champions led 22-7 at the intermission and held San Francisco to a 51-yard field goal by Robbie Gould late in the third quarter. Rams RB Todd Gurley ran for a pair of TDs and caught a TD pass from Jared Goff as Los Angeles outrushed San Francisco 146-107 (Gurley ran for 63 yards, while Goff threw for 202 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks), while San Francisco’s C.J. Beatherd threw for 170 yards with a pair of TDs and seven sacks. The Rams were 5 for 12 on third down tries and held the ball for 32:51. San Francisco kept the ball for 27:09 in the loss at Santa Clara and went 3 of 11, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Rams easily covered the 10 1/2-oint spread in wine country, winning by 21 but both teams missed the 54 over/under as they merged for 49 points. The powers that be in Vegas like the Rams again, this time as 10-point favorites, with the over/under at 50. While the 49ers have struggled this year, they’ll make this one a bit tougher for the Rams. However… the Rams close out the 2018 season with the win at home and could cover the 10.

Arizona (3-12) at Seattle (9-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. They go from the desert to the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Seattle and Arizona meet at Century Link Field in the season finale for both clubs.

The Desert Angry Birds got their feathers ruffled by the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday in Glendale, with the defending NFC West Champs taking a 31-9 win at State Farm Stadium. Arizona trailed 21-9 at the break, then watched the Rams shut them out, as Los Angeles scored their last 10 points of the contest without a challenge. The Rams easily outrushed Arizona 269-104, with Los Angeles RB Chris Anderson leading the way with 167 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 216 yards with a TD and no interceptions, while Josh Rosen threw for 87 yards and was sacked four times (Goff was sacked once). The Rams were 6 for 9 on third down tries and ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 37:04, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 22:56, while going 2 of 11 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Seattle restored order last Sunday night against Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, coming away 38-31 winners at Seattle last Sunday night. Seattle led 14-10 at the intermission in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, then watched the Chiefs rally to make it a 7-point contest with 80 seconds left when Harrison Butker connected on a 32-yard field goal. Kansas City then tried an unsuccessful onside kick, which allowed Seattle to recover the ball, run out the clock and take the win. Seattle outrushed the Chiefs 210-154 and Damien Williams led the Chiefs with 103 yards of rushing, while Seattle’s Chris Carson led all rushers with 116 yards and a pair of TDs. Patrick Mahomes threw for 273 yards for Kansas City, while Russell Wilson threw for 271 yards for Seattle (both men threw three TDs without an interception; Wilson was sacked three times, Mahomes sacked once). Kansas City went 5 of 12 on third down (the Chiefs were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 24:58, while the Seahawks ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 35:02, while going 7 for 14 on third down tries.

Seattle went down to the wire in Glendale against the Desert Angry Birds before leaving the desert 20-17 winners, thanks to a 52-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time expired in their week four meeting. Arizona led 10-7 at the break before Seattle would rally to take a 17-10 lead with 60 seconds left in the third quarter. That lead would not last long as Arizona would tie things back up with 8:59 left in regulation when WR Chad Williams and QB Josh Rosen connected on a 22-yard TD strike. That would keep things even until Seattle got the ball back with 1:50 left to play and used all of that 1:50 to go on a 7-play, 31-yard drive which allowed the veteran Janikowski to boot the game winner as time expired. Seattle outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 171-92, with Seahawks RB Mike Davis leading the way with 101 yards and a pair of TDs in the win. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 172 yards and no interceptions (two sacks), while Rosen threw for 180 yards and the lone TD. The Seahawks on third down were 0 for 10 on third down but were 1 of 2 on fourth down tries and held the ball for 31:46 (which included the final 1:50 of the game), while the Cardinals were 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:14.

Seattle covered the 3-point spread in the desert with their 3-point win in Glendale but both teams failed to cover the 39 over/under, missing by 2 points. Seattle’s a huge favorite in this one. How huge, you ask? 13 1/2 points with a 38 1/2 over/under. The 38 1/2 makes sense. The 13 1/2? Even though the Cardinals are bad, they’re not 13 1/2 bad. They’ll give Seattle some problems but the Seahawks win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

Indianapolis (9-6) at Tennessee (9-6), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. It’s ‘Winner Take All” in the final Sunday night game of the 2018 season as Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts make their way to Nashville to face off against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. Both teams were close winners at home in their contests last Sunday.

The Colts kept their playoff chances alive after they rallied to take a 29-28 win over Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis trailed 17-7 at the half, then the Colts would go on to chip away at the lead and trailed 27- 21 with 55 seconds left when Chester Rogers caught a 1-yard TD pass from Luck to take the lead for the first time and for keeps. The Colts then held off a late Giants rally as Malik Hooker picked Manning off to end the threat and take the win. While the Giants did outrush the Colts 83-49, Luck outpaced Manning, throwing for 357 yards and a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) with a sack, while Manning threw for 309 yards and a TD (both men threw an interception) in the loss. The Colts were 7 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 28:19, while the Giants, who went 7 of 12 on third down, actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:41.

Tennessee damaged Washington’s playoff hopes in the Music City last Saturday afternoon as the Titans came away 25-18 winners at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee trailed 10-9 at the half and would later found themselves trailing 16-12 halfway through the final quarter of play before rallied in the fourth when Matt Pruitt caught a 7-yard TD toss from backup QB Blaine Gabbert (who took over for Mariota, who left the contest with an arm injury) with 4:30 left, then put the contest away as time expired when CB Malcom Butler scored on a 56-yard interception return as Washington was threatening. Washington outrushed Tennessee 161-99, with Redskins RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 119 yards. Gabbert threw for 101 yards and the winnning score (Mariota threw for 110 yards with a pair of sacks and no interceptions, Gabbert was sacked once), while Washington QB Jeff Johnson threw for 153 yards in the loss with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. Washington went 8 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:03, while Tennesse, who held on to the pigskin for 26:57, going 5 for 11 on third down tries.

They met in the Hoosier State in week 12 and Tennessee watched Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts win their fourth in a row, as the Colts went on to take down Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans 38-10 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tennessee trailed 24-3 at the break and were never ble to get themselves on track, as the Titans were outscored by the Colts 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Indy outrushed Tennessee 102-87 and Luck threw for 297 yards with three TDs and no sacks or interceptions, while Mariota threw for 85 yards with four sacks and a pick before being replaced by Blaine Gabbert, who threw for 118 yards and a TD (Gabbert threw an interception and was sacked once). The Colts went 5 of 10 on third down conversions at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday and kept the ball for 31:16, while Tennessee kept the pigskin for 28:44, going 6 for 14 on third down (neither had a fourth down try).

The Colts’ 28-point win in the Hoosier State allowed them to cover the 2 1/2 point spread and both teams covered the 48 over/under in that week 12 contest. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Colts again, this time as 3 point favorites and the over/under’s 43 1/2. The winner? They get to be the six seed in the AFC playoffs. The loser? They get to clean out their lockers, as their next game is in 2019. For the Colts, six is a great number, Indy covers the 3 on the road and wins in the Music City.

Two weeks left. Five playoff spots have been claimed. Seven more spots are open and come the end of play on Christmas Eve night, those spots could very well be filled. Football’s answer to the kid’s party game Musicial Chairs continues and for those that are still in contention, as long as the music plays and there are chairs, you have a chance. It’s when the music stops and there’s scrambling for a chair that presents a problem. The winner gets to stay, the loser gets the somewhat unfair task of sitting out and watching the others have fun.

When the 2018 NFL regular season comes to an end December 30, 12 teams will be on the NFL nice list, which means that they’ll be in the post-season party. For the other 20 teams that didn’t make the post-season? They’re on the naughty list.

SEVEN FROM LAST SUNDAY: Chicago defeated Green Bay, 24-17 to clinch the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010.

The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

The Los Angeles Chargers, who defeated Kansas City 29-28 on Thursday night, clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013.

•Tennessee running back Derrick Henry rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ 17-0 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Henry rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Week 14, became the fifth player since 2002 to record at least 170 rushing yards and two touchdown runs in consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer La Dainian Tomlinson (2006), Deuce Mc Allister (2003), Clinton Portis (2003) and Ricky Williams (2002).

Henry’s 408 rushing yards since Week 14 are the most by a player over a two-game span in franchise history, surpassing the previous high of 405 yards set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Earl Campbell in Weeks 7-8 for the 1980 Houston Oilers. His six rushing touchdowns are the most by a player in team history over any two-game span.

•Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed 20 of 28 passes (71.4 percent) for 235 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 120.4 passer rating in the Bears’ 24-17 victory over Green Bay.

Trubisky has recorded a passer rating of at least 120 (minimum 15 attempts) in four games this season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman (three games in 1943), Rudy Bukich (three in 1965) and Erik Kramer (three in 1995) for the most such games by a quarterback in a single season in franchise history.

•Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 82 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 40-14 victory over Arizona.

Jones, who leads the NFL with 1,511 receiving yards, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least three career seasons with 1,500+ receiving yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (four seasons) and Marvin Harrison (three), Antonio Brown (three) and Andre Johnson (three). Jones also has 100 receptions this season, joining Harrison (three), Brown (three) and Johnson (three) as the only players in NFL history with at least 100 catches and 1,500 receiving yards in three career seasons.

•Baltimore, led by rookie running back Gus Edwards (104 rushing yards) and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson (95 rushing yards), recorded 242 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 20-12 victory over Tampa Bay. Baltimore has rushed for at least 190 yards in five consecutive games and is the first team to accomplish the feat since the 1976 Pittsburgh Steeler, who had five consecutive games from October 17 to November 14.

•Indianapolis running back Marlon Mack rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 23-0 victory over Dallas.

Mack, who also rushed for 132 yards and two scores in the Colts’ Week 8 victory over Oakland, is the third player in franchise history to record multiple games with at least 125 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (two games in 1987) and Edgerrin James (two games in both 1999 and 2005).

•Minnesota recorded nine sacks, including two sacks each from defensive end Dannielle Hunter and linebacker Anthony Barr, in the team’s 41-17 victory over Miami. The Vikings, who recorded 10 sacks in the team’s Week 9 victory over Detroit, are the second team since 1990 to register at least nine sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars (two games). The Vikings are the seventh team since the 1970 merger to record multiple such games in a single season.

As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one team still alive in the race to Atlanta.

Two teams – Chicago (NFC North) and the Los Angeles Chargers (playoff berth) – clinched a berth in the 2018 NFL postseason last week. Da Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

In the AFC, Houston (10-4) can clinch the AFC South division title with a victory, while New England (9-5) can secure their 10th consecutive AFC East division title with a win. The Patriots have advanced to the postseason in nine consecutive seasons (2009-2017), tied with Dallas (nine from 1975-1983) and Indianapolis (nine from 2002-2010) for the most consecutive seasons in NFL history with a playoff berth.

Kansas City (11-3) and the Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) are tied atop with the AFC West and continue to battle for position in the AFC playoff picture. Pittsburgh (8-5-1) can secure the AFC North title with a victory coupled with a Baltimore loss. Additionally, Baltimore (8-6), Cleveland (6-7-1), Indianapolis (8-6), Miami (7-7) and Tennessee (8-6) all look to remain in the hunt.

In the NFC, three divisions have been clinched – the NFC North (Chicago), NFC South (New Orleans) and NFC West (Los Angeles Rams). The battle for the NFC East continues, as Dallas (8-6) can secure the division title with a victory this week but  Philadelphia (7-7) and Washington (7-7) remain in the thick of the race.

With a win in Week 16, New Orleans (12-2) would clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The race for the two Wild Card positions in the NFC remains competitive, with Carolina (6-8), Minnesota (7-6-1) and Seattle (8-6) fighting for a position in the playoff picture. The scenarios for week 16 can either so clear even a five-year old could understand or cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!). Below are the scenarios for week 16. Pay attention and take notes… there will be a quiz afterward.

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 16

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title, New Orleans – NFC South division title, Chicago – NFC North division title

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (12-2) vs. Pittsburgh (8-5-1), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

New Orleans clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
New Orleans win OR
New Orleans tie + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie OR
CHI loss or tie + Los Angeles Rams loss

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:
New Orleans tie OR
Chicago loss or tie OR
Los Angeles Rams loss

Los Angeles Rams (11-3) at Arizona (3-11), Sunday at 4:05 p.m. on FOX

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:
Los Angeles Rams win + Chicago loss or tie OR
Los Angeles Rams tie + Chicago loss

Dallas (8-6) vs. Tampa Bay (5-9), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:
Dallas win OR
Dallas tie + Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss or tie OR
Philadelphia loss + Washington loss

Dallas clinches a playoff berth with:
Dallas tie + Minnesota loss

Seattle (8-6) vs. Kansas City (11-3), Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:
Seattle win + Washington loss or tie OR
Seattle win or tie + Minnesota loss OR
Seattle win + Seattle clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Washington OR
Seattle win + Minnesota tie + Seattle clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Minnesota OR
Seattle tie + Washington loss + Philadelphia loss or tie

Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

Minnesota clinches a playoff berth with:
Minnesota win+ Philadelphia loss or tie + Washington loss

AFC

CLINCHED: Kansas City Chiefs – Playoff berth, Los Angeles Chargers – Playoff berth

Kansas City (11-3) at Seattle (8-6), Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:
Kansas City win + Los Angeles Chargers loss

Kansas City clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
Kansas City win + Los Angeles Chargers loss + Houston loss or tie OR
Kansas City win + Los Angeles Chargers loss + Kansas City clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Houston

Houston (10-4) at Philadelphia (7-7), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:
Houston win or tie OR
Indianapolis  loss or tie + TEN loss or tie

Houston clinches a first-round bye with:
Houston win + New England loss or tie OR
Houston tie + New England loss

Houston clinches a playoff berth with:
Baltimore loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh loss OR
Tennessee loss or tie + Houston clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Baltimore

New England (9-5) vs. Buffalo (5-9), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches AFC East division title with:
New England win or tie OR
Miami loss or tie

Pittsburgh (8-5-1) at New Orleans (12-2), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division title with:
Pittsburgh win + Baltimore loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh tie + Baltimore loss

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:
Pittsburgh win + Indianapolis loss + Tennessee loss

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 16:

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one team still alive in the race to Atlanta.

Two teams – Chicago Bears (NFC North) and the Los Angeles Chargers (playoff berth) – clinched a berth in the 2018 NFL postseason last week. The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. The Houston Texans (10-4), who finished in last in the AFC South in 2017, can clinch the division title at Philadelphia at 1 p.m. on CBS with a win or tie or if both Indianapolis and Tennessee lose or tie.

In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 45 touchdown passes this season.

On Sunday night at Seattle at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, Mahomes can continue his climb up the NFL’s single season touchdown pass leaderboard.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 55)#
Tom Brady, New England (2007 – 50)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004 – 49)#
Dan Marino, Miami (1984 – 48)^#
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 46)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018 – 45)*
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2011 – 45)#
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player
*Entering Week 16

SHAKE & BAKER: Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield, selected first overall by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft, leads all rookies with 21 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes on Sunday at home against Cincinnati at 1 p.m. on CBS, Mayfield would surpass Andrew Luck (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

The most touchdown passes by a rookie selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (1998 – 26)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2012 – 23)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (2015 – 22)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (2018 – 21)*
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011 – 21)#
#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year
*Entering Week 16

RUN & CATCH: Carolina running back Chrstian McCaffrey leads all running backs with 94 receptions in 2018.

With nine receptions on Sunday at home against Atlanta at 1 p.m. on FOX, McCaffrey would surpass Matt Forté (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

The running backs with the most receptions in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Matt Forté, Chicago (2014 – 102)
Larry Centers, Arizona (1995 – 101)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2003 – 100)^
Larry Centers, Arizona (1996 – 99)
Chrstian McCaffrey, Carolina (2018 – 94)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 16

New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley leads all rookies with 82 receptions and needs seven catches at Indianapolis at 1 p.m. on CBS to surpass Reggie Bush (88 in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in league annals:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Reggie Bush, New Orleans (2006 – 88)
Earl Cooper, San Francisco (1980 – 83)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018 – 82)*
*Entering Week 16

RECORD-SETTING TIGHT ENDS: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce leads all tight ends with a career-high 1,220 receiving yards in 2018.

With 108 receiving yards against Seattle on Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, Kelce would surpass Rob Gronkowski (1,327 receiving yards in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECIEVING YARDS)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (2011 – 1,327)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2011 – 1,310)
Kellen Winslow, San Diego (1980 – 1,290)^
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2004 – 1,258)
Todd Christensen, Los Angeles Raiders (1983 – 1,247)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (2018 – 1,220)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 16

Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz, who ranks third in the NFL with 101 receptions, needs 10 catches against Houston on Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS to surpass Jason Witten (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in league annals.

The tight ends with the most receptions in a single season in league annals:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Jason Witten, Dallas (2012 – 110)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2004 – 102)
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia (2018 – 101)*
*Entering Week 16

KEEP IT 100: Five players – New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas (109 receptions), Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen (105), Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz (101), Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones (100) and Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams (100) – have recorded at least 100 receptions this season.

Entering Week 16, six additional players – Pittsburgh wide receivers Juju Smith-Schuster (95 receptions) and Antonio Brown (90), Houston wide receiver De Andre Hopkins (94), Carolina running back Chrstian McCaffrey (94), Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce (93) and Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs (92) – currently have at least 90 receptions.

With 10 players recording at least 100 catches this season, the 2018 season would surpass the 1995 season (nine) for the most players with at least 100 catches in a single season.

The seasons with the most players with at least 100 receptions in NFL history:

SEASON – PLAYERS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS

1995 – 9
2015 – 7
Many tied with 6
2018 – 5*
*Entering Week 16

Week 16 got underway with a Saturday doubleheader starting in Nashville as Tennessee held off Washington 26-15 in Nashville in the first contest of the day and Baltimore edged the Los Angeles Chargers 22-10 at Stub Hub Centre in the second Saturday contest. Week 16 concludes in Oakland on Christmas Eve as the Raiders and Broncos meet in an AFC West/AFC contest.

As for last week… a lot better than we had hoped, going 8-8 for the week, 124-96 for the year. We hear that Santa likes Monday night football, so be sure to leave some football-shaped cookies for him and hay for the reindeer Monday night. Having said that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 16.

ATLANTA (5-9) at Carolina (6-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons make the 245-mile trip up I-85 for a rematch with NFC South rival Carolina in Charlotte. The Panthers will be without QB Cam Newton because of a lingering shoulder injury, which means that Taylor Heinicke will be under center for the remainder of the season.

The Falcons trailed Arizona 7-0 early in the first quarter, then proceeded to score 40 points unchallenged in their home finale, breaking their five-game losing streak and came away with the 40-14 win in the Big Peach. Atlanta led 26-7 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the second half, using a 43-yard run from RB Tevin Coleman and a 5-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Justin Hardy to all but seal Arizona’s fate. Atlanta outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 215-60 with Coleman leadng the way on the ground with 145 yards on 11 carries, Ryan threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (one to WR Julio Jones) and had a rushing TD of his own, while Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 132 yards in the lopsided loss, throwing a pair of interceptions to go with six sacks. Atlanta went 5 of 13 on third down tries in the home finale and ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:40, while the Cardinals were 3 for 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:20.

Carolina dropped their sixth contest in a row, losing in Charlotte to New Orleans 12-9 last Monday night. The Panthers led 7-6 at the intermission at Bank of America Stadium before the Saints would take the lead away from the Panthers when Alvin Kamara scored on a 16-yard run with 12:12 left in the contest. New Orleans then attempted a 2-point conversion to make the contest a five-point affair but Drew Brees’ 2-point attempt to WR Michael Thomas was picked off by Dante Jackson, who ran the ball back for a defensive two point conversion to keep the Panthers close. Carolina would later get the ball back after New Orleans fumbled it out of the endzone, creating a touchback and giving the Panthers the ball on their 20-yard line. Newton and the Panthers would eventually get as close as their 39-yard line but could not get any closer as Newton’s fourth-down pass attempt was incomplete, which gave the Saints the ball back and New Orleans would run the clock out and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 155-98 and Newton threw for 131 yards with four sacks, while Brees threw for 203 yards (both men threw an interception, Newton was sacked four times, Brees twice). Carolina was 7 of 15 on third down (the Panther were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:09, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

They met in the Big Peach in week 2 and the Falcons came away with the 31-24 win. Atlanta took a 17-10 halftime lead against Cam Newton and the Panthers in the Big Peach to take the win, as Ryan threw a pair of TD passes (the first to rookie WR Calvin Ridley, the second to TE Austin Hooper) but Ryan also contributed with a pair of rushing TDs inside the red zone. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 170-121, with Falcons RB Tevin Coleman leading all rushers with 107 yards in the contest. Newton threw for 335 yards and three TDs, while Ryan threw for 272 yards (both Ryan and Newton were picked off once). Atlanta would go on to hold off a late Carolina rally that would have tied things up in the final seconds of the fourth quarter when Newton’s final pass attempt fell short of its mark and went incomplete. Carolina was 5 of 11 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:18, while Atlanta was 6 of 11 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 29:42.

The Falcons covered the 5 1/2-point spread with their 7-point win in the Big Peach in the week two contest and both teams took care of and covered the 44 over/under, combining for 55 points. The rematch in the Tar Heel State has Carolina as a 3-point favorite with a 48 over/under. Carolina’s trying to get themselves into the post-season party. Atlanta would love nothing more than to crash Carolina’s hopes.

Cincinnati (6-8) at Cleveland (6-7-1), 1 p.m. on CBS  and DirecTV 706. It’s round two of the Buckeye State War as the Bengals make the 248-mile trip up I–77 to face off against the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North rematch along the shores of Lake Erie. Both teams were winners in last week’s action.

The Bengals broke a five-game losing streak as they came away with a 30-16 win over Oakland 33:19at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday. Cincinnati led 20-7 at the intermission, even though they would be outscored 13-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Bengals HB Joe Mixon led all rushers with 129 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bengals outrushed the Silver and Black 171-68 and the Cincinnati defense sacked Derek Carr (263 yards, TD) five times, while Josh Driskell threw for 130 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd, a sack and an interception. The Bengals were 8 for 19 on third down conversions (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:19, while the Raiders went 3 for 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:41.

The suddenly resurging Browns erased a 13-10 deficit at the end of the third quarter at Denver last Saturday night and came away 17-16 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Cleveland and Denver entered halftime tied at 10-10 before the Broncos took the 13-10 lead with 1:41 left in the third on a Brandon McManus field goal to go into the fourth quarter on top. That would not be the case as the Browns would take the lead with 11:44 left in regulation when rookie QB Baker Mayfield and rookie WR Antonio Callaway connected on a 2-yard TD strike to take a four-point lead. McMannus would pull the Broncos to within one with 4:35 left thanks to a 29-yard field goal and Denver would eventually get the ball back after Cleveland punted with 1:49. The Broncos would get as close as midfield as Denver QB Case Keenum would throw three interceptions and was sacked by CB Jabril Peppers to end any hopes of Denver winning the contest. Cleveland outrushed Denver 134-32, with rookie RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 100 yards on the ground, Mayfield threw for 188 yards and a pair of TDs for the Broncos, while Keenum threw for 257 yards with a rushing TD, while throwing a pair of interceptions (both Mayfield and Keenum were sacked twice). Cleveland was 5 of 12 on third down, Denver was 5 of 14 and the Broncos actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:39, while the Browns kept it for 27:21 (both clubs went 1 of 2 on fourth down).

The two Ohio/AFC North rivals met along the shores of the Ohio River in week 12 and it would be the Browns that would prevail that afternoon, taking a 35-20 out of Cincinnati that afternoon. Cincinnati trailed 28-7 at the intermission and could never get things on track at home. While Cincinnati outrushed Cleveland 129-84, Andy Dalton threw for only 100 yards with a TD and an interception before he left the contest with a thumb injury that will have him sidelined for the rest of the season, while Browns rookie QB Baker Mayfield burned their instate rivals for 258 yards and four TDs, including a TD toss to Nick Chubb. The Bengals were 4 for 12 on third down (they were 2 for 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:56, while the Browns kept the pigskin for 32:04, going 5 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Cincinnati was favored by 3 and the Browns covered the 3, winning by 15. Both teams took care of the 47 1/2 over/under, merging for 55 points. This time, it’s Cleveland’s turn to be favored and the boys and girls in Vegas like them as 7-point favorites with a 45 over/under. For the Browns, they want to get one step closer to the post-season; for the Bengals, it’s about revenge and bursting Cleveland’s bubble. Browns fans, it was fun while it lasted but the carriage is about to turn back into a football. Bengals get their revenge on their instate rivals and covers the 7.

Tampa Bay (5-9) at Dallas (8-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Lone Star State as Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay travels to Arlington for a Sunday afternoon contest with Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams took road losses in last week’s action.

Winston faced another Heisman winner in as many weeks as Baltimore and Lamar Jackson kept their playoff hopes alive in Charm City after they came away 20-12 winners over Tampa Bay last Sunday. After a scoreless first quarter, the Ravens took a 10-9 lead with them to the intermission thanks to a 24-yard field goal by Jeff Tucker with nine seconds left before the break, then got 10 more points in the second half, courtesy of a 10-yard TD run by RB Gino Edwards and a second Tucker field goal to close out the Baltimore scoring plays. Edwards led all rushers with 104 yards as Baltimore outrushed Tampa Bay 242-85 and Jackson threw for 131 yards and a TD, while Jameis Winston threw for 157 yards with an interception and a sack (Jackson was sacked twice but was interception-free). Baltimore went 9 of 16 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:10, while the Buccaneers kept the ball for 22:50, going 3 of 10 on third down and 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Dallas’ bid to win the NFC East were put on hold in the Hoosier State as Indianapolis would shut out the Cowboys 23-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was the Adam Vinatieri and Marlon Mack show for the Colts, as Mack would score on touchdown runs of one and six yards, while Vinatieri chipped in with three field goals, the longest coming from 44 yards out as time expired in the first 30 minutes of play. The Colts, scoring all of their points unchallenged, outrushed Dallas 178-112, with Mack leading the way with 139 yards on the ground, while Ezekiel Elliott led Dallas with 87. Luck threw for 192 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Prescott threw for 206 yards with three sacks and an interception. The Colts were 8 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:48, while the Cowboys were 28:12 in time of possession, going a somewhat dismal 4 for 12 on third down and 1 of 5 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series 12-4 and the Cowboys have outscored the Buccaneers 300-228. Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2016 in Arlington as they would come out on top by a final of 26-20, while Tampa Bay’s last win came in the Sunshine State by a final of 10-9 in 2015. Dallas is favored by 7 in Arlington and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Dallas would love nothing more than to get back on track and win the NFC East in front of the home crowd at AT&T Stadium but Tampa Bay’s in their way and in their crosshairs. Dallas is not having any of that. Cowboys will act like Scrooge at home and take the win and the NFC East, covering the 7 in Arlington.

Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North (NFC Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman calls it) meet in the Motor City as Minnesota and Detroit meet at Ford Field. Minnesota looks to claim the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoffs, while the Lions look to derail Minnesota’s hopes.

The Purple Gang manhandled Miami, taking the Dolphins to task 41-17. Minnesota took a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, then watched the Dolphis score 10 second quarter points without a challenge to lead 21-10 at the break. Minnesota then took control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Miami 20-7 to seal the win. Minnesota outrushed Miami 220-156 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook led all rushers with 136 yards and a pair of TDs, while Miami’s Kalen Ballage tallied 123 yards with a TD), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 215 yards with a pair of TDs (Cousins was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw for 108 yards with a season-high nine sacks.
Minnesota was 5 of 13 on third down tries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, keeping the ball for 33:16, while the Dolphins, keeping the ball for 26:44, went 2 for 12 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Detroit saw Buffalo take a win away from them in Orchard Park as the Bills erased a 13-7 deficit at the half to come away 14-13 winners in upstate New York. The Bills took the lead for keeps with 10:26 left in the contest when WR Robert Foster caught a 42-yard TD pass from Josh Allen to erase the deficit and take the win, holding off the Lions in the final period of play. Detroit was outrushed by Buffalo 117-105, with Matthew Stafford throwing for 208 yards and Allen throwing for 204 yards (each threw a TD pass without an interception and Allen was sacked once) for the Bills. Buffalo was 3 for 12 on third down but had some success on fourth down tries, going 1 for 2 and kept the ball for 31:06, while Detroit kept the ball for 28:54 and went 5 for 13 on third down.

They met in the Twin Cities in week nine and the Lions were held in check that Sunday in Minneapolis, falling to Minnesota 24-9 at US Bank Stadium. The Lions trailed 17-6 at the break and could never get on track in the NFC North contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 128-66 and Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times by the Purple Gang, despite throwing for 199 yards, while Kirk Cousins threw for 164 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen. Minnesota would put the nail in Detroit’s coffin in the fourth quarter when Vikings DE Danielle Hunter fulfilled a defensive lineman’s dream and took a fumble and returned it 32 yards untouched for a TD. Detroit was 4 for 15 on third down tries, 3 of 3 on fourth down and held on to the pigskin for 36:45, while the Vikings needed only 23:15 of clock to keep the ball, while going 3 for 8 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest in the Twin Cities, the Vikings easily covered the 5 1/2-point spread with the 15-point win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The 50 1/2 over/under? It went untouched, as the two NFC North teams combined for 33 points. The Vikings are favored by 5 1/2 again in the rematch in the Motor City but the over/under this time’s 43 1/2. For the Vikings, it’s a chance to get themselves into position for a possible post-season spot. For the Lions, it’s another season of hope that has been dashed like a child’s toy at Christmas. Vikings win in the Motor City and covers the 5 1/2.

New York Giants (5-9) at Indianapolis (8-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Eli Manning vs. Andrew Luck. They will meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts look to improve their playoff hopes, while the Giants look to restore some sembilance of order in the NFC East.

Eli and the Giants were taken to task by Tennessee in the Meadowlands last Sunday, as they were shut out by the Titans and Marcus Mariota 17-0 at Met Life Stadium. The Giants trailed 7-0 at to the intermission, then watched Tennesee score their last 10 points of the contest unchallenged, with Titans RB Derek Henry and Ryan Succop accounting for all of their scoring (Henry with a pair of 1-yard runs, Succop booting a 22-yard field goal in the fourth), The Titans outrushed the Giants 215-47, Mariota threw for 88 yards in the contest, while Manning threw for 229 yards with three sacks and an interception (Mariota was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Tennessee went 5 for 14 on third down (the Titans were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:21, while the Giants, who were eliminated from the post-season with the loss, went 3 of 16 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 24:39.

Luck and the Colts stopped Dallas’ bid to win the NFC East as Indianapolis would shut out the Cowboys 23-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was the Adam Vinatieri and Marlon Mack show for the Colts, as Mack would score on touchdown runs of one and six yards, while Vinatieri chipped in with three field goals, the longest coming from 44 yards out as time expired in the first 30 minutes of play. The Colts, scoring all of their points unchallenged, outrushed Dallas 178-112, with Mack leading the way with 139 yards on the ground, while Ezekiel Elliott led Dallas, who was shutout for the first time since 2003, with 87. Luck threw for 192 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Prescott threw for 206 yards with three sacks and an interception. The Colts were 8 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:48, while the Cowboys were 28:12 in time of possession, going a somewhat dismal 4 for 12 on third down and 1 of 5 on fourth down.

Including games that were played in Baltimore, as well as the Yale Bowl and Yankee Stadium, the Colts lead  the series 9-6 and they’ve outscored Big Blue 356-272. The Colts have won the last three meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 2014 in the Meadowlands by a final of 40-24, while the Giants’ last win in the series came in the Hoosier State in 2002, as they would come away 44-27 winners. Indy’s favored by 9 1/2 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 46 1/2. For the Giants, it’s been a season that their fan base would love to forget like Scrooge forgetting about the three ghosts. For the Colts, a win would mean they keep themselves in the AFC playoff hunt. Colts win in the Hoosier State and covers the 9 1/2.

Jacksonville (4-10) at Miami (7-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of Sunshine State AFC rivals meet in south Florida as Jacksonville makes the 331-mile trip down the coast on I-95 to face off against the Miami Gardens at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams took losses in last week’s action.

Jacksonville watched Washington use a late-contest rally in the Sunshine State last Sunday afternoon and watched their playoff hopes come to an end as they fell to the Redskins 16-13 at TIAA Stadium. Jacksonville led the Redskins 10-3 at the break and took a 10-6 lead at the end of the third quarter before Washington they stormed back in the final 15 minutes of play at TIAA Stadium. After a Kai Forbath field goal that gave Jacksonville a 13-6 lead with 7:32 left in the third, Washington would storm back in the fourth quarter, tying the contest with 5:47 left in regulation when backup QB Josh Johnson and TE Jeremy Sprinkle connected on a 6-yard TD toss. Washington would later get the ball back when CB Fabian Moreau picked off Jacksonville QB Cody Keesler, giving Washington excelent field position.

The Redskins would then proceed to use all of the 2:31 left in the contest, using an 8-play, 36-yard drive to set up Dustin Hopkins, who gave the Redskins the win with a 36-yard field goal as time expired. Jacksonville outrushed Washington 172-109 and Johnson threw for 151 yards with the lone TD toss (Johnson was sacked three times without throwing an interception), while Keesler threw for 57 yards with six sacks and an interception (Keesler led all rushers with 68 yards). Washington was 7 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:06 (including the final 2:31 of the contest), while the Jaguars kept the ball for 26:54 and went 5 for 13 on third down conversions.

Miami saw their AFC playoff hopes somewhat damaged as Minnesota took them to task 41-17 in the Twin Cities. After Minnesota took a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Dolphis would score 10 second quarter points without a challenge to trail 21-10 at the break. Miamm then watched Minnesota control things in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring them 20-7 to seal the win. Minnesota outrushed Miami 220-156 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook led all rushers with 136 yards and a pair of TDs, while Miami’s Kalen Ballage tallied 123 yards with a TD), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 215 yards with a pair of TDs (Cousins was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw for 108 yards with a season-high nine sacks. Minnesota was 5 of 13 on third down tries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, keeping the ball for 33:16, while the Dolphins, keeping the ball for 26:44, went 2 for 12 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Miami leads the Sunshine State series 4-3 and the ‘Fins have outscored Jacksonville 140-111. Jacksonville won the last meeting, which took place in north Florida by a final of 23-20 in 2015, while the Dolphins’ last win also came along the shores of the St. John’s River by a final of 27-13 in 2014. Miami’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 93. For the Jaguars, it’s about restoring some order in an otherwise dismal season; for Miami, it’s a chance to keep their hopes for a playoff spot alive for another week. Miami keeps hope alive for another Sunday and takes the win at Hard Rock, covering the 4.

Buffalo (5-9) at New England (9-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. New England returns home from a two-game road trip to face off against AFC East rival Buffalo in Foxboro. The Pats limp back to western Massachusetts with losses in Miami and Pittsburgh under their belts, while the Bills look to damage New England’s playoff hopes at Gillette Stadium in the Sunday afternoon rematch.

The Bills erased a 13-7 deficit at the half against Detroit in Orchard Park and would come away 14-13 winners in upstate New York. The Bills took the lead for keeps with 10:26 left in the contest when WR Robert Foster caught a 42-yard TD pass from Josh Allen to erase the deficit and take the win, holding off the Lions in the final period of play. Detroit was outrushed by Buffalo 117-105, with Matthew Stafford throwing for 208 yards and Allen throwing for 204 yards (each threw a TD pass without an interception and Allen was sacked once) for the Bills. Buffalo was 3 for 12 on third down but had some success on fourth down tries, going 1 for 2 and kept the ball for 31:06, while Detroit kept the ball for 28:54 and went 5 for 13 on third down.

New England saw their hopes of a winning rally fall short in Pittsburgh as the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger held off Tom Brady and the Patriots 17-10 at Heinz Field. New England trailed 14-7 at the half, then narrowed the gap to four with 17 seconds left in the third when Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 33-yard field goal before Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell restored order in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard field goal with 2:30 left in regulation. New England had one last chance to tie the contest up in regulation late and that chance would die when Brady’s pass attempt to Josh Edleman sailed incomplete, giving the Steelers the win in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh outrushed New England 158-96, with Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels leading the way with 142 yards on the ground. Brady threw for 279 yards with a TD, an interception and a sack, while Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown), while throwing a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice. New England was 3 for 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:11, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:49, while going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

Buffalo and New England would meet in upstate New York in week eight and for the first 30 minutes of play against New England, the Bills held Tom Brady and the Patriots in sight, trailing 9-3 at the half in Orchard Park Monday night. Buffalo then saw the wheels fall off their bus and the Pats came away 25-6 winners at New Era Field. The contest was an all-field goal affair in the first half as the two Stephens (Gostkowski for New England, Hauschka for Buffalo) gave their teams their first half points. New England then outscored Buffalo 16-3 in the final 30 minutes of action, using a 1-yard TD run from RB James White and an 84-yard interception return by CB Devin McCourty in the fourth quarter to seal Buffalo’s fate. The Bills thought they had a TD that would have made the contest closer than the final score when Buffalo QB Derek Anderson (290 yards, interception, three sacks) and TE Jason Croom connected on a 25-yard TD pass with 6:14 left in regulation. Buffalo fans then saw their hopes shattered when the play was review and the call on the field was reversed. Buffalo was outrushed by the Pats 76-46 and Brady threw for 324 yards with no interceptions or sacks, as New England went 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Bills were 4 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:10.

In the week eight contest in upstate New York, New England covered the 14-point spread, coming away 19-point winners but the 44 1/2 over/under was untouched, as both teams merged for 31 points. In the rematch in Foxboro, the Pats are favored by 12 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. That’s a bit steep for a spread… the 44 1/2 makes sense. The Bills are bad but not 12 1/2 bad. They’ll give New England problems but the Pats and Brady prevail in Foxboro with the win.

Green Bay (5-8-1) at New York Jets (4-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of teams that will not be in the post-season meet in the Meadowlands as Green Bay travels to Met Life Stadium for an early afternoon contest with the New York Jets.

Chicago knocked Green Bay out of the playoff party and took the NFC North title at Soldier Field, holding off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 24-17 in the Windy City last Sunday. Da Bears led 14-3 at the intermission before the Packers would rally in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Monsters of the Midway 14-10 and the Packers would pull to within 3 with 11 seconds left when Packers K Mason Crosby connected on a 45-yard field goal. Green Bay would try the onside kick, which Chicago recovered and Da Bears would run the clock out, taking the win at home. Da Bears outrushed Green Bay 97-88 and the Monsters of the Midway sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and picked him off once, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions. Chicago was 3 of 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:23, while the struggling Packers were 5 for 14 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:37.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were officialy eliminated from the post-season as Houston held off GangGreen 29-22 at Met Life Stadium last Saturday afternoon. Houston broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, took a 16-3 lead with them to the intermission and held off the Jets in the second half after they took a 22-19 lead with five minutes left in the contest as Jets RB Elijah McGuire scored on a 2-yard run. Houston then took the lead back and for good with 2:15 left when WR DeAndre Hopkins scored from 14 yards out, catching a TD pass from QB DeSean Watson. After a 40-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn with 54 seconds left in regulation, Houston then held off a late Jets rally that would have given New York the win in the Meadowlands. Although they were outrushed by the Jets 90-47, Watson would lead all passers with 294 yards, while Sam Darnold led New York with 253 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs; Watson was sacked six times and Darnold sacked twice and neither threw an interception). The Texans were a dismal 1 of 9 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:56, while the Jets kept the ball for 35:04 and went 9 of 17 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

While GangGreen leads the series 8-4 and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have outscored the Packers 254-180, Green Bay has won the last two meetings, including taking a 31-24 win at Lambeau in 2014, while New York’s last win also came in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, leaving upstate Wisconsin 38-10 winners in 2006. Green Bay’s favored by 2 1/2 with the over/under at 46. Take a pass on this one and watch that “Mythbusters” marathon on Science Chanel. Trust us, you’ll be a lot better and a lot smarter. Packers recover in the Meadowlands and cover the 2 1/2 in upstate New Jersey.

Houston (10-4) at Philadelphia (7-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. It’s brisket vs. Cheesesteak as the Houston Texans travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Both teams were winners on the road in last week’s contests and both were close contests.

Houston pulled themselves closer to winning the AFC South title after their 29-22 win over the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium last Saturday afternoon. Houston broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, took a 16-3 lead with them to the intermission and held off the Jets in the second half after they took a 22-19 lead with five minutes left in the contest as Jets RB Elijah McGuire scored on a 2-yard run. Houston then took the lead back and for good with 2:15 left when WR DeAndre Hopkins scored from 14 yards out, catching a TD pass from QB DeSean Watson. After a 40-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn with 54 seconds left in regulation, Houston then held off a late Jets rally that would have given New York the win in the Meadowlands. Although they were outrushed by the Jets 90-47, Watson would lead all passers with 294 yards, while Sam Darnold led New York with 253 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs; Watson was sacked six times and Darnold sacked twice and neither threw an interception). The Texans were a dismal 1 of 9 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:56, while the Jets kept the ball for 35:04 and went 9 of 17 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The defending Super Bowl champs held off a late Los Angeles Rams rally as the Eagles would break a 13-13 tie at the intermission, outscoring the Rams 17-10 in the last 30 minutes of play to come away 30-23 winners at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last Sunday night. Eagles fans heaved a sigh of relief as Los Angeles had a final chance in the closing seconds of the prime time contest but Jared Goff’s pass attempt to Josh Reynolds went incomplete. The Eagles, who scored 17 third quarter points unchallenged, outrushed Los Angeles 111-82 (Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley and Philadelphia’s Wendell Smallwood each had 48 yards of rushing with a pair of TDs) and Goff threw for 339 yards with a sack and a pair of interceptions, while Nick Foles (who took over for Carson Wentz) threw for 270 yards (Goff and Foles did not throw a TD pass and Foles threw an interception but was not sacked). The Rams were 4 for 12 on third down and held the ball for 28:24, while the Eagles kept the ball for 31:36, going 4 of 13 on third down conversions (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Houston and Philadelphia have met four times and the Eagles have won all four meetings, outscoring the Texans 124-72. Philadelphia’s last win in the series came in 2014 in the Lone Star State by a final of 31-21 at NRG Stadium. The Eagles are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. There’s a lot at stake for both teams; the Eagles are trying to get into the playoffs and possibly repeat as Super Bowl champs, while the Texans want to clinch the AFC South. Houston pulls the upset on the road and covers the 1 in the City of Brotherly Love.

Los Angeles Rams (11-3) at Arizona (3-11), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of NFC West teams meet in the desert as the struggling Rams travel to Glendale for a late-afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals, with both teams coming away with losses in their last contests.

The Rams watched the defending Super Bowl champs break a 13-13 tie at the intermission as the Eagles would outscore Los Angeles 17-10 in the last 30 minutes of play to fall 30-23 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last Sunday night. Los Angeles had a final chance in the closing seconds of the prime time contest but Jared Goff’s pass attempt to Josh Reynolds went incomplete. The Eagles, who scored 17 third quarter points unchallenged, outrushed Los Angeles 111-82 (Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley and Philadelphia’s Wendell Smallwood each had 48 yards of rushing with a pair of TDs) and Goff threw for 339 yards with a sack and a pair of interceptions, while Nick Foles (who took over for Carson Wentz) threw for 270 yards (Goff and Foles did not throw a TD pass and Foles threw an interception but was not sacked). The Rams were 4 for 12 on third down and held the ball for 28:24, while the Eagles kept the ball for 31:36, going 4 of 13 on third down conversions (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Arizona watched an 7-0 lead early in the first quarter against Atlanta, then watched the Falcons proceed to score 40 points unchallenged in heir home finale, breaking their five-game losing streak and came away with the 40-14 win in the Big Peach. Atlanta led 26-7 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the second half, using a 43-yard run from RB Tevin Coleman and a 5-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Justin Hardy to all but seal Arizona’s fate. Atlanta outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 215-60 with Coleman leadng the way on the ground with 145 yards on 11 carries, Ryan threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (one to WR Julio Jones) and had a rushing TD of his own, while Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 132 yards in the lopsided loss, throwing a pair of interceptions to go with six sacks. Atlanta went 5 of 13 on third down tries in the home finale and ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:40, while the Cardinals were 3 for 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:20.

The two NFC West clubs met in week two and Arizona was taken to the woodshed by the Rams, watching the defending NFC West champs score 34 points in their contest with the Desert Angry Birds unchalleged and shutting them out 34-0. Todd Gurley was good for three TDs in the contest as the Rams led 19-0 at the break, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, keeping Arizona in check. The Rams outrushed Arizona 90-54 and held Sam Bradford to 90 yards passing, while Jeff Goff threw for 354 yards and a TD for Los Angeles. The Rams on third down 8 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:08, while Arizona kept the pigskin for 25:52, going 3 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs. Los Angeles covered the 12 1/2-point spread, winning easily by 34 points but the 46 over/under stayed intact. This time in the desert, the Rams are 14-point favorites and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Granted, the Desert Angry Birds have struggled of late and while they’re bad, they’re not 14 points bad. Los Angeles will prevail in this one to complete the series sweep but expect Arizona to make things closer than 14 points.

Chicago (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of teams going in opposite directions face off in northern California as Chicago makes its way to Santa Clara for a late-after contest with the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams took wins at home in their last contests.

Chicago knocked Green Bay out of the playoff party and took the NFC North title at Soldier Field, holding off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 24-17 in the Windy City last Sunday. Da Bears led 14-3 at the intermission before the Packers would rally in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Monsters of the Midway 14-10 and the Packers would pull to within 3 with 11 seconds left when Packers K Mason Crosby connected on a 45-yard field goal. Green Bay would try the onside kick, which Chicago recovered and Da Bears would run the clock out, taking the win at home. Da Bears outrushed Green Bay 97-88 and the Monsters of the Midway sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and picked him off once, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions. Chicago was 3 of 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:23, while the struggling Packers were 5 for 14 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:37.

San Francsico put a dent in the playoff plans for Seattle as the 49ers needed overtime to come away 26-23 winners at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday afternoon, breaking a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks in the process. San Francisco led 17-13 at the half, then took a 20-13 lead into the fourth quarter before Seattle rallied in the final 15 minutes of regulation, tying things up when RB Chris Carson scored on a 1-yard TD run with 13:51 left. Robbie Gould would give San Francisco the lead back with 9:51 on a 45-yard field goal but that lead would not last long as Seahawks K Sebastian Janikowski booted a 48-yard field to tie things back up at 23-23 with 5:21 left in regulation. The two clubs would go into the overtime and Seattle would win the toss and get the ball first in the extra period. The Seahawks’ attempt to score first failed as they would only get to their 18-yard line. After a Seattle punt, it would be San Francisco’s turn, knowing if they scored, they would win. The 49ers would go on a 7-play, 44-yard drive that stopped at Seattle’s 18-yard line, where Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with a 36-yard game-winning field goal. Seattle outrushed San Francisco 168-94 and Carson led the way with 119 yards on the ground. Russell Wilson threw for 237 yards for the Seahawks and Nate Mullins threw for 275 for the 49ers (Wilson threw a pair of TD passes to Doug Baldwin, while Mullens threw a TD pass to TE Garrett Celek; both men were sacked three times but neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 for 10 on third down and kept the ball for 29:40 (including the overtime), while Seattle, plauged by 14 penalties for 148 yards, went 9 of 19 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Seahawks actually ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 37:14.

Including games played at Wrigley Field, Keezar Stadium, the University of Illinois-Champaign and Soldier Field, the series is tied 31-31-1 and the 49ers have outscored Da Bears 1,386-1,289. Their last meeting was last year in the Windy City and the 49ers would prevail 15-14 (Chicago’s last win came in 2016 in the Windy City by a final of 26-6).

They met at Soldier Field in week 13 and the 49ers erased a 14-9 deficit at the break, scoring the final six points of the contest unchalleged, as Robbie Gould kicked a pair of second-half field goals, with the game-winner coming from 24 yards away with four seconds left. San Francisco outrushed Chicago 110-62 and Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 293 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Trubisky threw for 102 yards and a TD pass with a pair of sacks but no interceptions. San Franciso was 10 of 18 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 38:47, while Da Bears kept the ball for 21:13, going 5 for 10 on third down conversions.

In the week 13 contest at Soldier Field, Chicago was a 3 1/2-point favorite but San Francisco came away winning by 1. The 40 over/under was untouched as both teams scored only 29 points. Chicago’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Da  Bears have nothing to prove, having won the NFC North title; as for the 49ers, they’re playing with house money and would like to add another feather in their caps if they beat Chicago. 49ers fans are going to be heart-broken. Da Bears win on the road and cover the 3 1/2.

Pittsburgh (8-5-1) at New Orleans (12-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. A pair of playoff contenders that could meet in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII meet in the Big Easy as Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees square off. Both teams were close winners in last week’s contests.

Pittsburgh stopped a last second New England rally at Heinz Field as the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger held off Tom Brady and the Patriots 17-10. New England trailed 14-7 at the half, then narrowed the gap to four with 17 seconds left in the third when Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 33-yard field goal before Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell restored order in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard field goal with 2:30 left in regulation. New England had one last chance to tie the contest up in regulation late and that chance would die when Brady’s pass attempt to Josh Edleman sailed incomplete, giving the Steelers the win in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh outrushed New England 158-96, with Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels leading the way with 142 yards on the ground. Brady threw for 279 yards with a TD, an interception and a sack, while Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown), while throwing a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice. New England was 3 for 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:11, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:49, while going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

New Orleans survived a 12-9 scare from NFC South foe Carolina last Monday night in Charlotte. The Panthers led 7-6 at the intermission at Bank of America Stadium before the Saints would take the lead away from the Panthers when Alvin Kamara scored on a 16-yard run with 12:12 left in the contest. New Orleans then attempted a 2-point conversion to make the contest a five-point affair but Drew Brees’ 2-point attempt to WR Michael Thomas was picked off by Dante Jackson, who ran the ball back for a defensive two point conversion to keep the Panthers close. Carolina would later get the ball back after New Orleans fumbled it out of the endzone, creating a touchback and giving the Panthers the ball on their 20-yard line. Newton and the Panthers would eventually get as close as their 39-yard line but could not get any closer as Newton’s fourth-down pass attempt was incomplete, which gave the Saints the ball back and New Orleans would run the clock out and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 155-98 and Newton threw for 131 yards with four sacks, while Brees threw for 203 yards (both men threw an interception, Newton was sacked four times, Brees twice). Carolina was 7 of 15 on third down (the Panther were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:09, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Saints lead the series 8-7, while the Steelers have outscored New Orleans 327-289. New Orleans won the last two contests, taking a 35-32 win in the Steel City, while Pittsburgh’s last win in the series came in 2006 at Heinz Field by a final of 38-31. New Orleans is favored by 5 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 54. Because there are two future Hall of Fame QBs involved in this one, we think that this one is “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

New Orleans is already in the post-season party, taking the NFC South for the second straight year. The Steelers are looking to restore some order in the AFC North. The winner will make lives for themselves a little easier, while the loser will get a lump of coal and switches in their stocking. Steelers take the upset in the Big Easy and covers the 5 1/2.

Kansas City (11-3) at Seattle (8-6), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Patrick Mahomes vs. Russell Wilson. A pair of up and coming QBs meet in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as Kansas City and Seattle meet in prime time in the Pacific Northwest. Both clubs took heart-breaking losses in last week’s contests.

The Chiefs watched the Los Angeles Chargers erase a 14-7 deficit at the break at Arrowhead last Thursday night as the Chargers took a 29-28 come-from-behind AFC West win, clinching a playoff spot in the process. Los Angeles proceeded to chip away at that deficit, outscoring the Chiefs (who got a pair of rushing TDs from RB Damien Williams) 22-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. Chargers WR Mike Williams had a pair of TDs in the second half, one rushing from 19 yards out with 4:57 left in the third and the second a 1-yard toss from Phililp Rivers that would pull the Chargers to within one with four seconds left. Williams and Rivers would then connect on the two-point try to take the road win and pull themselves even with the Chiefs at 11-3.

Seattle’s plans for a playoff spot took a hit in Santa Clara as the 49ers needed overtime to come away 26-23 winners at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday afternoon. San Francisco led 17-13 at the half, then took a 20-13 lead into the fourth quarter before Seattle rallied in the final 15 minutes of regulation, tying things up when RB Chris Carson scored on a 1-yard TD run with 13:51 left. Robbie Gould would give San Francisco the lead back with 9:51 on a 45-yard field goal but that lead would not last long as Seahawks K Sebastian Janikowski booted a 48-yard field to tie things back up at 23-23 with 5:21 left in regulation. The two clubs would go into the overtime and Seattle would win the toss and get the ball first in the extra period. The Seahawks’ attempt to score first failed as they would only get to their 18-yard line. After a Seattle punt, it would be San Francisco’s turn, knowing if they scored, they would win. The 49ers would go on a 7-play, 44-yard drive that stopped at Seattle’s 18-yard line, where Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with a 36-yard game-winning field goal. Seattle outrushed San Francisco 168-94 and Carson led the way with 119 yards on the ground. Russell Wilson threw for 237 yards for the Seahawks and Nate Mullins threw for 275 for the 49ers (Wilson threw a pair of TD passes to Doug Baldwin, while Mullens threw a TD pass to TE Garrett Celek; both men were sacked three times but neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 for 10 on third down and kept the ball for 29:40 (including the overtime), while Seattle, plauged by 14 penalties for 148 yards, went 9 of 19 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Seahawks actually ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 37:14.

Los Angeles outrushed the Chiefs 119-60 and Rivers threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs, including the game-winner, while Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes threw for 243 with a pair TDs as well (Rivers was sacked five times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Mahomes was sacked twice but did not throw a pick). Both teams went 6 for 10 on third down, the Chargers were 1 of 1 on fourth down and they held the ball for 33:16, while the Chiefs kept the pigskin for 26:44. Kansas City’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. The Chiefs look to take the AFC West, while the Seahawks look to right their ship and get themselves into the post-season. Seattle may have to wait a week. Chiefs rebound from their heart-breaking loss at home to the Chargers and cover the 2 1/2, taking the win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

Denver (6-8) at Oakland (3-11), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The final Monday night game of the 2018 season takes place on the East side of San Francsico Bay as a pair of AFC West/AFL foes meet in Oakland. While most of America will be getting ready for Midnight Mass, the Raiders host the Denver Broncos in a contest that really has no bearing on the AFC playoffs.

Denver watched the Cleveland Browns erase a 13-10 deficit at the end of the third quarter at Denver last Saturday night and came away 17-16 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, ending Denver’s slim hopes for a playoff bid. Cleveland and Denver entered halftime tied at 10-10 before the Broncos took the 13-10 lead with 1:41 left in the third on a Brandon McManus field goal to go into the fourth quarter on top. That would not be the case as the Browns would take the lead with 11:44 left in regulation when rookie QB Baker Mayfield and rookie WR Antonio Callaway connected on a 2-yard TD strike to take a four-point lead. McMannus would pull the Broncos to within one with 4:35 left thanks to a 29-yard field goal and Denver would eventually get the ball back after Cleveland punted with 1:49. The Broncos would get as close as midfield as Denver QB Case Keenum would throw three interceptions and was sacked by CB Jabril Peppers to end any hopes of Denver winning the contest. Cleveland outrushed Denver 134-32, with rookie RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 100 yards on the ground, Mayfield threw for 188 yards and a pair of TDs for the Broncos, while Keenum threw for 257 yards with a rushing TD, while throwing a pair of interceptions (both Mayfield and Keenum were sacked twice). Cleveland was 5 of 12 on third down, Denver was 5 of 14 and the Broncos actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:39, while the Browns kept it for 27:21 (both clubs went 1 of 2 on fourth down).

The Silver and Black watched Cincinnati break a five-game losing streak as they fell to the Bengals 30-16 at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday. Although they would outscore the Bengals 13-10 in the second half, Oakland would find themselves trailing 20-7 at the intermission. Bengals HB Joe Mixon led all rushers with 129 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bengals outrushed the Silver and Black 171-68 and the Cincinnati defense sacked Derek Carr (263 yards, TD) five times, while Josh Driskell threw for 130 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd, a sack and an interception. The Bengals were 8 for 19 on third down conversions (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:19, while the Raiders went 3 for 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:41.

Oakland saw AFC West rival Denver go on a scoring binge in the final 15 minutes of play and watched the Broncons come away 20-19 winners at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in their week two matchup. The Silver and Black, dropping their second in a row, led 12-0 at the break and took a 19-7 lead late into the third quarter before Denver took control of things in the final few minutes of the game. Denver’s winning points came with 6 seconds left when K Brian McMannus connected on a 36-yard field goal to give the home team the lead for the first time and for good. Denver outrushed Oakland 168-92 (Denver’s Patrick Lindsey led all rushers with 107 yards, while Oakland was led by Marshawn Lynch wtih 65 yards and a TD) and Case Keenum threw for 222 yards in the contest, while Derek Carr threw for 288 yards and a TD (each was sacked once). Denver was 8 of 16 on third down (the Broncos were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:04, while the Raiders, who had a final rally come to an end in the closing seconds, went 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 32:56.

Both teams have done reasonably well on Monday night; Denver’s record is 32-38-1 (they went 1 of 1 in their two 2017 contests), while the Raiders are 38-28-1 and lost their only MNF contest last year. Denver was a 6-point favorite in the week two contest in the Rocky Mountains and while Denver did win the contest, they did not cover, as they would win by only a point and the 45 over/under was untouched as both teams combined to score 39 points in that first meeting. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Broncos again, this time making them 2 1/2-point favorites with a 44 over/under. Skip this one and go to Midnight Mass (be sure to slip an extra $20 in the collection plate!). Broncos put Oakland fans out of their misery and covers the 2 1/2 with the win.