Archives for category: Matt Ryan

It’s finally here.

32 teams fighting for their Lombardi. One team trying to keep theirs and perhaps add another. For the other 31 teams, they’re the hunters, which makes Tampa Bay prey.

This time, it’s not win and you advance; lose and your next game is next year. This IS next year. Win or lose, your next game is next week.

Welcome to the first Sunday of the 2021 NFL regular season.

Tampa Bay began their defense of the Lombardi Trophy with a win in their contest Thursdsay night against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in the Sunshine State. The 2021 season is underway and fans will actually be allowed to enter stadiums. That means that places that didn’t have fans in the seats will be able to do so. Granted, America is still in the grip of COVID but with the vaccine and those that have already gotten their shots, the grip is loosening somewhat and includes all 32 teams, who have COVID protocols in place.

The 2021 National Football League regular season got to see daylight in Tampa to open things up and concludes January 9. 276 games on the schedule and all 32 teams are involved. There are games in London for the first time since 2019 but no games in Mexico and this time, there’s a 18th week to the season, which means that everyone plays 17 games instead of 16 (there’s still the BYE week, so don’t panic!)

“Life starts all over again,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “when it gets crisp in the fall.”

And this fall in the National Football League, that initial autumn breeze means an enhanced 18-week, 272-game regular-season schedule. Each team is playing 17 regular-season games for the first time, providing fans an extra week of action. It marks the first change to the season structure since the 1978 campaign ushered in an era of 16 regular-season and four preseason games.

Life starting all over again also means 32 clubs are tied for first place and that means every NFL coach, player and fan has insatiable hope. Why so much hopeful optimism entering 2021?

Currently, the average team has waited just 1.8 years since its last playoff berth. Three quarters of the league’s teams, 24 of 32, have been to the playoffs at least once in the past four seasons.

Over the past 18 seasons (2003-20), the average number of division winners that missed the postseason the year prior is 3.3 – including 26 division champions that finished last the year before. Both Pittsburgh (AFC North) and Washington (NFC East) won their divisions in 2020 after missing the postseason in 2019, and at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 17 of the past 18 years.

Since 1990, 5.8 teams per year have qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason the previous year. Over that stretch – a streak of 31 consecutive seasons – 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 2019 – Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington – accomplished the feat in 2020 and no team has won consecutive Super Bowls since the 2003-04 New England Patriots, the longest stretch in NFL history without a repeat Super Bowl champion.

ROOKIE RESPECT: In 13 consecutive seasons, at least one rookie quarterback has started a Week 1 game, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The top two overall selections in the 2021 draft – Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (Number 1 – Jacksonville) and Brigham Young’s Zach Wilson (Number 2 – New York Jets) – are expected to extend the streak early in the afternoon on Sunday. Both signal-callers will be on the road; the Jaguars meet the Texans and the Jets travel to Carolina to play their former quarterback Sam Darnold, acquired by the Panthers in an offseason trade. Darnold’s new teammates include rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn (selected Number 8 overall), expected to make his NFL debut for Carolina.

The last two starting quarterbacks at the University of Alabama will square off in New England Sunday when Patriots rookie Mac Jones (Number 15 overall) opens his NFL career against the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa, the fifth overall selection in the 2020 draft. Both players joined the Alabama program in 2017 and combined to lead the Crimson Tide to a berth in three of the past four national championship games. The AFC East showdown is also expected to feature the debut of former Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, the sixth-overall selection in the 2021 draft.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris (24th overall) is expected to make his NFL debut when Pittsburgh makes the short trip to open the season Sunday at reigning AFC East champion Buffalo.

Two potential offensive stars – Atlanta tight end Kyle Pitts (Number 4 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft – the highest selected tight end in the common-draft era) and Philadelphia wide receiver DeVonta Smith (Number 10, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner) – will be on opposite sidelines at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when Pitts’ Falcons host the Eagles on Sunday.

In Cincinnati on Sunday, Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (Number 5 overall) will line up for the first time with his college quarterback, Joe Burrow (Number 1 overall in 2020), when the Bengals host former LSU teammate Justin Jeffersno and the Vikings. The last time the trio was on the same field, the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, Burrow threw for 463 yards and five touchdowns while Chase had nine catches for 221 yards with two touchdowns and Jefferson nine receptions for 106 yards.

Several rookie offensive linemen, including Lions tackle Penei Sewell (Number 7 overall), Chargers tackle Rashawn Slater (Number 13), Jets guard Alijan Vera-Tucker (Number 14) and Las Vegas tackle Alex Leatherwood (Number 17), are expected to make their NFL debuts on Sunday.

On the defensive side, rookie linebackers Micah Parsons (Number 12, Dallas), Zaven Collins (Number 16, Arizona) and Jamin Davis (Number 19, Washington) are expected to anchor the middle of their respective defenses this weekend, while cornerback Pat Surtain (Number 9, Denver) and defensive end Kwity Paye (Number 21, Indianapolis) will also make their first NFL appearances.

YOUTH MOVEMENT IN AFC EAST: All four quarterbacks expected to start for their AFC East teams this weekend, including Tua Tagovailoa (23 years old) and Mac Jones (23) in New England on Sunday, are under the age of 26 to open the season. If Josh Allen (25) starts for Buffalo and Zach Wilson (22) opens for the Jets, it will mark the first time in 36 years that four starting quarterbacks in the same NFL division were under the age of 26 at the start of a season. In 1985, Tony Eason (25) of New England, Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (23) of Miami, Ken O’Brien (24) of the Jets and Art Schlichter (25) of Indianapolis began the year under center in the AFC East. The Dolphins, Jets and Patriots reached the playoffs that season and New England earned a berth in Super Bowl XX.

CONSISTENTLY PRODUCTIVE: When Green Bay meets New Orleans for a Sunday showdown between 2020 NFC division winner, two of the NFL’s most consistently productive players will be in action. Only six individuals have rushed for at least 700 yards in each of the past three seasons (2018-20), including the Packers’ Aaron Jones and the Saints’ Alvin Kamara.

The players with at least 700 rushing yards in each of the past three seasons:

PLAYER-TEAM; RUSHING YARDS (2018-20)/SCRIMMAGE YARDS (2018-20)
Nick Chubb – Cleveland; 3,557/4,134
Gus Edwards – Baltimore; 2,152/2,346
Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas; 3,770/5,095
Derrick Henry – Tennessee; 4,626/5,045
Aaron Jones – Green Bay; 2,916/3,951
Alvin Kamara – New Orleans; 2,612/4,610

PLAYOFF TEAMS FACE OFF: That Packers-Saints contest is one of five games on the Week 1 docket featuring two teams that qualified for the 2020 playoffs.

Included in that group is a rematch of an AFC Divisional game between Cleveland and Kansas City on Sunday at Arrowhead. Including the postseason, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is 8-0 against the Browns, 4-0 with Philadelphia and 4-0 with Kansas City. Kansas City defeated Cleveland, 22-17, last postseason and became the first team since Reid’s 2002-04 Philadelphia Eagles to host three consecutive championship games. Both the Packers and Chiefs will be looking to extend the league’s longest active winning streak on Kickoff Weekend. Each club has won its first game in six consecutive seasons.

Another tilt on the Kickoff Weekend card features Seattle traveling to the Hoosier State to take on Indianapolis on Sunday. Including the playoffs, Seattle in the Eastern Time Zone has won 12 of its past 13 games. Quarterback Russell Wilson in those 13 games is 12-1 with a 117.9 passer rating, 3,598 passing yards, 26 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

In a marquee early game Sunday, Pittsburgh – who ranked third in the NFL last year in total defense (305.8 yards per game) and finished second in scoring defense (19.5 points per game) – faces Buffalo, whose offense was second in the league in both yards per game (396.4) and points per game (31.3).

The Los Angeles Rams will welcome fans to SoFi Stadium for the first time when Chicago pays a visit on Sunday Night Football. Chicago has 55 wins on Kickoff Weekend, the second-most in NFL history, while the Rams have won four consecutive Week 1 games.

REIGNING ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: For the second straight season and fourth time in NFL history, the defending Associated Press rookies of the year will clash on Kickoff Weekend. At FedExField on Sunday, 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert will lead the Chargers against 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young and Washington. Last season, Herbert recorded the most touchdown passes (31) and most completions (396), and second-most passing yards (4,336) by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. Young, meanwhile, led all rookies with 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss and tied for the lead among rookies with four forced fumbles.

Last season, 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray guided the Cardinals to a season-opening win at San Francisco against defending Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa.

Prior to 2020, the last time defending rookies of the year met in Week 1 was September 10, 1989, when the Patriots and running back John Stephens defeated the Jets and defensive back Erik McMillan 27-24, at Giants Stadium. The first time it happened was September 21, 1975, when San Diego Chargers running back Don Woods and Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert met at Jack Murphy Stadium, where the Steelers won 37-0, en route to a Super Bowl X championship.

RAVING ABOUT THE RAVENS: Las Vegas also welcomes fans to their home, Allegiant Stadium, for the first time, hosting Baltimore on Monday Night Football. Since 2016 in Week 1 games, Baltimore is 5-0 and has outscored its opponents 177-26. The Ravens haven’t allowed more than 10 points in any of those five Kickoff Weekend games.

OPTIMISTIC STATE OF MIND: New leaders and new outlooks will dot the NFL’s landscape this weekend.

Seven new head coaches enter the 2021 season – Dan Campbell in Detroit, David Culley in Houston, Urban Meyer in Jacksonville, Robert Saleh with the New York Jets, Nick Sirianni with Philadelphia, Arthur Smith with Atlanta and Brandon Staley with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Over the last four seasons, seven head coaches in their first year with a new club have led their teams to the playoffs: Ron Rivera (Washington) and Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland) in 2020, Matt LaFleur (Green Bay) in 2019, Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) in 2018 and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) and Sean McDermott (Buffalo) in 2017.

Two games this weekend will feature first-year head coaches on opposite sidelines: Meyer and Culley will meet in Houston on Sunday while Sirianni and Smith will battle in Atlanta. Coaches in their first year at the reins of an NFL team have played a Week 1 game only five times over the past 38 seasons and never twice in the same opening weekend.

The last five meetings of rookie NFL head coaches on Kickoff Weekend:

DATE: WINNING COACH – TEAM/LOSING COACH – TEAM (FINAL)
September 7, 2014: Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans/Jay Gruden – Washington (17-6)
September 3, 2000: Al Groh – New York Jets/Mike Sherman – Green Bay (20-16)
September 12, 1999: Dick Jauron – Chicago/Gunther Cunningham – Kansas City (20-17)
September 6, 1992: Dennis Green – Minnesota/Mike Holmgren – Green Bay (23-20 in OT)
September 4, 1983: John Robinson – Los Angeles Rams/Bill Parcells – New York Giants (16-6) (Parcells is a member of the HOF)

SAME FACES, NEW PLACES: Several notable players were on the move since the end of the 2020 season, including quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater (Denver), Andy Dalton (Chicago), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Washington), Jared Goff (Detroit), Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams), Tyrod Taylor (Houston) and Carson Wentz (Indianapolis); running backs James Conner (Arizona), Mike Davis (Atlanta), Kenyan Drake (Las Vegas), Phillip Lindsay (Houston) and Sony Michel (Los Angeles Rams); wide receivers Corey Davis (New York Jets), A.J. Green (Arizona), Julio Jones (Tennessee) and Kenny Golladay (New York Giants); tight ends Hunter Henry (New England) and Jonnu Smith (New England); offensive linemen Orlando Brown (Kansas City), Trent Brown (New England), Corey Linsley (Los Angeles Chargers), Alex Mack (San Francisco) and Joe Thuney (Kansas City); defensive linemen Trey Hendrickson (Cincinnati), Yannick Ngakoue (Las Vegas) and J.J. Watt (Arizona); linebackers Bud Dupree (Tennessee), Justin Houston (Baltimore) and Haason Reddick (Carolina) and defensive backs Kyle Fuller (Denver), Mike Hilton (Cincinnati), John Johnson (Cleveland) and Patrick Peterson (Minnesota).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2021 (PLAYERS, TEAMS AND COACHES)

DaVante Adams (Green Bay), Green Bay, can become the fourth player since 1970 to lead the league or tie for the lead in touchdown receptions in consecutive seasons, joining Jerry Rice (1986-87; 1989-91), Terrell Owens (2001-02) and Larry Fitzgerald (2008-09). Adams led the NFL with 18 touchdown receptions in 2020. Adams also needs at least 12 TD receptions to become the fifth player with 12 in four of his first eight seasons, joining Jerry Rice (five seasons), Calvin Johnson (four), Randy Moss (four) and Terrell Owens (four). Adams needs at least 110 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards to become the fourth in NFL history with 110 and 1,300 in three seasons, joining Antonio Brown (three seasons), DeAndre Hopkins (three) and Wes Welker (three).

Josh Allen (Buffalo) needs nine rushing touchdowns to surpass Cam Newton (33) for the most by a quarterback in his first four seasons. Allen has 25 career rushing touchdowns and also needs eight rushing TDs to become the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least eight in four consecutive seasons. Allen needs four games with both a passing and rushing touchdown to join Cam Newton (24 games) as the only quarterbacks with at least 20 such games through their first four seasons. Allen has 16 such games

Keenan Allen (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 95 receptions to join Antonio Brown (six seasons, 2013-18) as the only players with at least 95 in fiveor-more consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Bill Belichick (New England) ranks third all-time with 311 total victories and needs 14 to surpass George Halas (324) for the secondmost by a head coach in NFL history. Belichick can Can tie Don Shula (19) for the most postseason berths as a head and is currently tied with Tom Landry (18) for second.

Tom Brady (Tampa Bay) needs 1,155 passing yards to surpass Drew Brees (80,358) for the most career passing yards in NFL history. Brady ranks second all-time with 79,204 and also needs 4,000 passing yards to join Peyton Manning (14 seasons) as the only players with at least 4,000 passing yards in 13 seasons.

Brady needs 25 TD passes to tie Peyton Manning (16 seasons) for the most seasons with at least 25. Brady ranks second with 15 such seasons, needs 40 TD passes to join Aaron Rodgers (three seasons) as the only players with at least 40 in three seasons and can also join Brees (2011-12) as the only players in NFL history to record 40 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons.

Brady needs 365 completions to surpass Drew Brees (7,142) for the most in NFL history. Brady ranks second all-time with 6,778 career and one game with at least 300 passing yards to join Brees (123 games) as the only players with at least 100 career games of 300-or-more passing yards in NFL history, needs five games with at least three touchdown passes to surpass Drew Brees (97 games) for the most such games in NFL history and five games with at least four touchdown passes to surpass Drew Brees (37 games) for the most such games in NFL history.

Antonio Brown (Tampa Bay) needs 22 receptions in his first 11 games to surpass Marvin Harrison (907) for the most by a player through his first 150 career games. Brown has 886 in 139 career games.

Joe Burrow (Cincinnati) needs five games with at least 300 passing yards to become the third quarterback in NFL history with 300 in 10 games during his first two seasons, joining Patrick Mahomes (10) and Dan Marino (10). Burrow had five as a rookie in 2020.

Derek Carr (Las Vegas) needs 3,104 passing yards to become the fifth player with at least 30,000 through his first eight seasons in NFL history. Carr has 26,896 career passing yards and also needs 3,000 passing yards to become the fourth player with at least 3,000 in each of his first eight seasons.

Nick Chubb (Cleveland) needs at least 950 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to become the sixth player to do so in each of his first four seasons.

Dalvin Cook (Minnesota) needs at least 1,500 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns to become the fifth player to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons. Cook also needs at least 13 rushing touchdowns to become the seventh player to accomplish the feat in three consecutive seasons.

Amari Cooper (Dallas) needs at least five receiving touchdowns to become the eighth player with five in each of his first seven seasons.

Kirk Cousins (Minnesota) needs at least 25 touchdown passes to become the fifth player to accomplish the feat in seven consecutive seasons, joining Peyton Manning (13 seasons), Drew Brees (11), Philip Rivers (11) and Tom Brady (10). Cousins also needs 10 touchdown passes in his first four games to become the fifth-fastest player (113 games) to reach 200 career TD passes. Cousins has 190 touchdown passes in 109 career games.

Stefon Diggs (Buffalo) needs at least 125 receptions and 1,500 receiving yards to join Antonio Brown (2014-15) as the only players to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams) needs 14.5 sacks to become the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, with 100 sacks in his first eight seasons, joining Reggie White (124 sacks), DeMarcus Ware (111) and Jared Allen (105). Donald has 85.5 sacks in his first seven seasons and needs eight sacks to become the fourth player since 1982 with at least eight sacks in each of his first eight seasons, joining Derrick Thomas (10 seasons), DeMarcus Ware (eight) and Reggie White (14).

Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers) needs two TD receptions to surpass Danny Woodhead (17) for the most by an undrafted running back in the common-draft era. Ekeler has 16 career touchdown receptions and needs six touchdown receptions to surpass Chuck Foreman (21) for the most by a running back in his first five seasons and needs 884 receiving yards to surpass Priest Holmes (2,962) for the most by an undrafted running back in the common-draft era. Ekeler has 2,079 career receiving yards.

Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas) needs at least 1,250 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns to join LaDainian Tomlinson as the only players to accomplish the feat in each of their first six seasons.

Zach Ertz (Philadelphia) needs 39 receptions to become the ninth tight end with at least 600 career receptions in NFL history.

Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the first player with at least 1,000 in each of his first eight seasons.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (Pittsburgh) needs one interception-return touchdown to become the fourth player since 2000 to return an interception for a TD in four consecutive seasons, joining Charles Woodson (six seasons), Nate Clements (four) and Aqib Talib (four).

Melvin Gordon (Denver) needs eight rushing TDs to become the fifth running back in NFL history with at least eight in six consecutive seasons, joining LaDainian Tomlinson (nine seasons), Jim Brown (seven), Adrian Peterson (seven) and Emmitt Smith (seven).

Jimmy Graham (Chicago) has 8,339 career receiving yards and needs 661 to become the fifth tight end in NFL history with at least 9,000. Graham also has 699 career receptions and needs 44 to surpass Greg Olsen (742) for the fifth-most by a tight end in NFL history.

Rob Gronkowski (Tampa Bay) needs 516 receiving yards to become the fifth tight end with at least 9,000. Gronkowski has 8,484 career receiving yards. Gronkowski also needs 1,000 receiving yards to join Travis Kelce (five) as the only tight ends in NFL history with five career 1,000-yard seasons. Gronkowski needs three games with at least 100 receiving yards to surpass Tony Gonzalez (31 games) for the most such games by a tight end in NFL history. Gronkowski (29) ranks second all-time among tight ends.

Derrick Henry (Tennessee) needs 1,500 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns to become the first player to accomplish the feat in three consecutive seasons. Henry also needs 15 rushing TDs to join LaDainian Tomlinson (four, 2004-07) as the only players to accomplish the feat in three consecutive seasons. Needs 2,000 rushing yards to become the first player to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons. Henry needs two games with at least 200 rushing yards to surpass Adrian Peterson (six) and O.J. Simpson (six) for the most in NFL history and can join Steve Van Buren (1947-49), Jim Brown (1957-61, 1963-65), Earl Campbell (1978-80) and Emmitt Smith (1991-93) as the only players to lead the league in rushing yards in three consecutive seasons. Henry can also join Steve Van Buren (1947-49) as the only players in NFL history to lead the NFL in rushing yards, rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns for three consecutive seasons.

Justin Hebert (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 38 touchdown passes to surpass Dan Marino (68) for the most by a player through his first two seasons. Herbert had an NFL-rookie record 31 in 2020. Herbert also needs 30 touchdown passes to become the first in league history to accomplish the feat in each of his first two seasons and needs 3,861 passing yards to surpass Andrew Luck (8,196) for the most by a player through his first two seasons.

Hebert needs 4,000 passing yards to join Jameis Winston as the only players to reach 4,000 in each of their first two seasons in NFL history, needs three games with at least 300 passing yards to surpass Patrick Mahomes (10 games) and Dan Marino (10) for the most by a player in his first two seasons and needs 10 games with at least two touchdown passes to join Dan Marino (22 games) as the only players with 20 in their first two seasons.

Tyreek Hill (Kansas City) needs three games with at least two touchdowns to surpass Bob Hayes (16) for the third most by a wide receiver in his first six seasons. Hill has 14 games with at least two touchdowns in his first five seasons.

T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis) needs 640 receiving yards to reach 10,000 career and become the third player in franchise history to reach the mark, joining Marvin Harrison (14,580) and Reggie Wayne (14,345). The Colts would become the first team to have three players reach 10,000 career receiving yards.

DeAndre Hopkins (Arizona) needs 99 receptions to surpass Marvin Harrison (845) for the most receptions by a player through his first nine seasons in NFL history. Hopkins has 747 career and needs 100 receptions to become the third player in NFL history with at least 100 in four consecutive seasons and needs 991 receiving yards to become the seventh in NFL history with at least 11,000 receiving yards through his first nine seasons. Hopkins has 10,009 through his first eight seasons.

Hopkins needs 800 receiving yards to become the third in NFL history with at least 800 in each of his first nine seasons, joining Jerry Rice (12 seasons) and Gary Clark (nine).

Xavien Howard (Miami) can become the third since 1970 to lead the NFL or tie for the lead in interceptions in three seasons, joining Ed Reed (2004, 2008, 2010) and Everson Walls (1981-82, 1985). Howard is tied for the lead with seven in 2018 and led with 10 in 2020 and also needs seven interceptions to join Ed Reed (three seasons) as the only players with at least seven interceptions in three of their first six seasons since 1990.

Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia) needs one game with at least 100 rushing yards to join Lamar Jackson (2018-19) as the only quarterbacks to record a 100-yard rushing game in each of their first two seasons.

Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) needs 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns to become the first quarterback in NFL history to reach those marks in three consecutive seasons. Jackson also needs three games with at least 100 rushing yards to surpass Michael Vick (10) for the most by a quarterback in NFL history. Jackson ranks second all-time among QBs with eight 100-yard rushing games and needs 2,915 passing yards and 594 rushing yards to become the first quarterback to throw for 10,000 and rush for 3,500 in his first four seasons. No QB has reached those marks in his first five seasons.

Justin Jefferson (Minnesota) needs 1,356 receiving yards to surpass Odell Beckham Jr. (2,755) for the most by a player through his first two seasons. Jefferson also needs 1,250 receiving yards to join Beckham and Randy Moss as the only players to reach 1,250 in each of their first two seasons.

Chandler Jones (Arizona) needs 17 sacks to become the third player since 1982 with three career seasons of at least 17. Jones had 17 in 2017 and 19 in 2019.

Deion Jones (ATLANTA) needs one interception-return touchdown to become the fourth since 2000 to return an interception for a touchdown in four consecutive seasons, joining Charles Woodson (six seasons), Nate Clements (four) and Aqib Talib (four).

Julio Jones (Tennessee) needs 802 receiving yards to surpass Marvin Harrison (13,697) for the second-most through a player’s first 11 seasons in NFL history. Jones has 12,896 career. Jones also needs 95 receptions to surpass Jerry Rice (942) for the second most through a player’s first 11 seasons in NFL history. Jones has 848 career and needs two games with at least 100 receiving yards to become the third player in NFL history with 60 career 100-yard receiving games, joining Jerry Rice (76) and Randy Moss (64).

Alvin Kamara (New Orleans) needs 33 receptions to surpass Roger Craig (358) for the most by a running back in his first five seasons. Kamara has 326 career. Kamara also needs 80 receptions to join Marshall Faulk (five seasons) as the only running backs with at least 80 in five consecutive seasons.

Kamara needs 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards to become the third player to accomplish the feat in five consecutive seasons, joining Marshall Faulk (five seasons) and Lydell Mitchell (five). Kamara needs 176 receiving yards to become the third running back with at least 3,000 in his first five seasons, joining Lenny Moore (3,509) and Roger Craig (3,234). Kamara has 2,824 career and needs 18 touchdowns to become the fifth player with three career seasons of at least 18.

Travis Kelce (Kansas City) needs 85 receptions and 29 receiving yards to surpass Jason Witten (696 receptions, 7,909 receiving yards) for the most receptions and most receiving yards by a tight end in his first nine seasons. Kelce has 612 receptions for 7,881 receiving yards in his first eight seasons and also needs seven touchdown receptions to become the sixth tight end with at least 55 in his first nine seasons. Kelce has 48 career and he needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with six career seasons of at least 1,000. Kelce has at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past five seasons.

Kelce needs 80 receptions to become the first tight end in NFL history to record at least 80 in six consecutive seasons. He has at least 80 in each of the past five seasons and also needs six games with at least 100 receiving yards to tie Tony Gonzalez (31) for the most by a tight end. Kelce ranks third all-time among tight ends with 25 career 100-yard games.

George Kittle (San Francisco) needs 85 receptions to surpass Jason Witten (348) for the second most by a tight end in his first five seasons. Kittle has 264 career. Kittle also needs 921 receiving yards to become the third tight end with at least 4,500 in his first five seasons, joining Jimmy Graham (4,752) and Kellen Winslow Sr. (4,513). Kittle has 3,579 career.

Jarvis Landry (Cleveland) needs 70 receptions to become the first player in NFL history to record at least 70 receptions in each of his first eight seasons. Landry also needs 64 receptions to become the sixth with at least 700 receptions through his first eight seasons. Landry has 636 career.

Darius Leonard (Indianapolis) needs three interceptions to become the fourth linebacker since 2000 with at least 10 in his first four seasons, joining Luke Kuechly (11), Sean Lee (11) and Cato June (10). Leonard has seven interceptions in his first three seasons.

Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City) needs 4,000 passing yards to join Peyton Manning (four seasons) as the only quarterbacks with at least 4,000 in four of their first five seasons. Mahomes has at least 4,000 in each of the past three seasons. Mahomes also can become the first quarterback in NFL history to reach 15,000 career passing yards in 50-or-fewer games. Mahomes enters 2021 with 14,152 in 46 career games.

Mahomes needs four games with at least 300 passing yards to surpass Kurt Warner (29) for the most by a quarterback in his first five seasons. Mahomes has 26 career games with at least 300 passing yards. Mahomes needs 35 TD passes to become the first with at least 35 in three of his first five seasons. Mahomes had 50 in 2018 and 38 in 2020 and needs 25 touchdown passes to surpass Peyton Manning (138) for the second-most touchdown passes by a quarterback in his first five seasons. Mahomes has 114 career.

Mahomes needs one game with at least three touchdown passes to surpass Kurt Warner (21 games) for the second most such games by a quarterback in his first five career seasons. Mahomes has 21 career games with at least three touchdown passes and needs 10 games with a passer rating of 100-or-higher to surpass Russell Wilson (38) for the most by a quarterback in his first five career seasons. Mahomes has 29 such career games.

Baker Mayfield (Cleveland) needs 3,500 passing yards to join Peyton Manning (1998-2001) as the only players with at least 3,500 in each of their first four seasons. With 3,885 passing yards and 25 touchdown passes, Mayfield can join Dan Marino and Peyton Manning as the only players with at least 15,000 and 100 through their first four seasons. Mayfield has 11,115 career passing yards and 75 career touchdown passes.

Christian McCaffrey (Carolina) needs 39 receptions to surpass Roger Craig (358) for the most by a running back in his first five seasons. McCaffrey has 320 career. McCaffrey also needs 80 receptions to become the fourth running back with at least 80 in four different seasons, joining Marshall Faulk (five), Larry Centers (four) and Alvin Kamara (four). McCaffery needs 328 receiving yards to become the third running back with at least 3,000 in his first five seasons, joining Lenny Moore (3,509) and Roger Craig (3,234) and also needs one game with both a rushing and receiving touchdown to surpass Chuck Foreman (nine) for the most such games through a player’s first five seasons.

D.K. Metcalf (Seattle) needs 1,250 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns to become the fourth player to accomplish the feat in at least two of his first three seasons in NFL history, joining Odell Beckham Jr. (three), Randy Moss (three) and A.J. Green (two).

Von Miller (Denver) can become the fifth player since 1982 with at least 120 sacks in his first 150 career games, joining Reggie White (145), DeMarcus Ware (125), Jared Allen (122) and Bruce Smith (121). Miller has 106 sacks in 135 career games.

Kyler Murray (Arizona) can become the fourth quarterback in NFL history with at least 3,500 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes in each of his first three seasons. Murray also needs 500 rushing yards to become the third quarterback since 1970 with 500 in each of his first three seasons.

Murray needs 637 rushing yards to become the third quarterback since 1970 with 2,000 through his first three seasons. Murray has 1,363 career and needs five rushing touchdowns to become the third quarterback since 1970 to rush for at least 20 through his first three seasons. Murray has 15 career and needs 10 rushing touchdowns to become the first quarterback since 1970 to rush for at least 10 in consecutive seasons.

Cordarrelle Patterson (ATLANTA) needs one kickoff-return touchdown to surpass Josh Cribbs (eight) and Leon Washington (eight) for the most in NFL history.

Dak Prescott (Dallas) needs three rushing touchdowns to join Cam Newton as the only quarterbacks with at least three in each of their first six seasons. Prescott also needs six rushing touchdowns to join Cam Newton (48) as the only quarterbacks with at least 30 through their first six seasons in the Super Bowl era. Prescott has 24 career.

Calvin Ridley (ATLANTA) needs seven receiving touchdowns to become the fourth in NFL history with at least seven in each of his first four seasons.

James Robinson (Jacksonville) needs 1,000 scrimmage yards to become the fourth undrafted player with at least 1,000 in each of his first two seasons in the common-draft era. Robinson had 1,414 as a rookie in 2020. Robinson also needs 1,000 rushing yards to join Phillip Lindsay (2018-19) as the only undrafted players with at least 1,000 in each of their first two seasons in the common-draft era. Robinson had 1,070 in 2020 and needs 10 touchdowns to become the first undrafted player with at least 10 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons in the common-draft era. Robinson had 10 (seven rushing, three receiving) in 2020.

Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) needs nine touchdown passes to surpass Dan Marino (420) for sixth in NFL history, and 10 to surpass Philip Rivers (421) for fifth. Rodgers ranks seventh all-time with 412. Rodgers also needs 40 touchdown passes to join Drew Brees (2011-12) as the only players with at least 40 in consecutive seasons. Rodgers led the NFL with 48 in 2020 and his three seasons with at least 40 (2011, 2016, 2020) are the most in NFL history.

Rodgers needs 30 touchdown passes to become the fifth in league annals with at least 30 in eight seasons. He needs 4,000 passing yards to become the sixth in NFL history to reach 4,000 in 10 seasons, needs 755 passing yards over his first three games to become the fourth with at least 52,000 in his first 200 career contests. Rodgers has 51,245 passing yards in 197 games and needs seven games with a passer rating of 100-or-higher to surpass Peyton Manning (112) for the third-most such games in NFL history. Rodgers ranks sixth all-time with 106.

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) needs 3,093 passing yards to surpass Philip Rivers (63,440) for fifth most in NFL history. Roethlisberger ranks seventh all-time with 60,348. Roethlisberger also needs four games with at least 300 passing yards to become the fifth in NFL history with 70 career 300-yard games. Roethlisberger ranks sixth all-time with 66. Roethlisberger needs four touchdown passes to become the eighth with 400 career. Roethlisberger ranks eighth all-time with 396.

Matt Rtyan (ATLANTA) needs 4,000 passing yards to join Drew Brees (12 seasons from 2006-17) as the only players with at least 4,000 passing yards in 11 consecutive seasons. Ryan also needs 4,500 passing yards to tie Drew Brees (eight) for the most seasons with at least 4,500. Ryan ranks second all-time with seven, needs 4,233 passing yards to become the eighth with 60,000. Ryan ranks ninth all-time with 55,767 career and needs 3,721 passing yards to surpass Peyton Manning (59,487) for the most through a player’s first 14 seasons.

Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams) can become the eighth in NFL history to reach 300 career touchdown passes in 175-or-fewer games. Stafford has 282 touchdown passes in 165 career games. Stafford needs 3,733 passing yards to surpass Dan Marino (48,841) for the fourth most by a quarterback in his first 13 career seasons. Stafford has 45,109 career.

Michael Thomas (New Orleans) needs 55 receptions to surpass Jarvis Landry (564) for the most by a player in his first six seasons. Thomas has 510 receptions in 70 career games. Thomas also can become the fastest to reach 600 career receptions, surpassing Keenan Allen (96 games) and Antonio Brown (96). Thomas needs two games with at least 10 receptions to become the third with 20 such games, joining Antonio Brown (22) and Andre Johnson (22). Thomas has 18 career games with at least 10 receptions.

Justin Tucker (Baltimore) needs 108 points to surpass Stephen Gostkowski (1,330) for the most through a player’s first 10 seasons. Tucker also needs six games with multiple field goals made to surpass Stephen Gostkowski (95 games) for the most such performances through a player’s first 10 seasons.

Darren Waller (Las Vegas) needs 90 receptions to join Travis Kelce as the only tight ends with at least 90 in three consecutive seasons. Waller also needs 100 receptions to become the first tight end to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons. Waller had 107 receptions in 2020. Needs 1,100 receiving yards to join Travis Kelce as the only tight ends with at least 1,100 in three consecutive seasons.

DeShaun Watson (Houston) needs 4,461 passing yards to become the fifth player with at least 19,000 through his first five seasons. Watson has 14,539 career. Watson also needs 35 touchdown passes to surpass Peyton Manning (138) for the second most by a player through his first five seasons in NFL history. Watson has 104 career and needs 3,500 passing yards and 25 touchdown passes to join Peyton Manning (five seasons) as the only players to accomplish the feat in at least four of their first five seasons in NFL history.

J.J. Watt (Arizona) needs nine sacks to become the eighth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to reach 110 in 145-or-fewer games. Watt has 101 sacks in 128 career games.

T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh) needs 13 sacks to become the second player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least 13 in four consecutive seasons, joining Reggie White, who did it twice (1985-88 and 1990-93). Watt led the NFL with 15 sacksbin 2020. Watt also needs 15.5 sacks to become the fourth player since 1982 to record at least 65 sacks over his first five seasons, joining Reggie White (81), J.J. Watt (74.5) and Derrick Thomas (66). Watt has 49.5 sacks in 62 career games.

Russell Wilson (Seattle) needs eight wins to surpass Peyton Manning (105) for the most by a starting quarterback in his first 10 seasons. Wilson has won 98 starts in his first nine seasons. Wilson also needs six wins to surpass Peyton Manning (112) for the most victories, including postseason, by a starting quarterback over his first 10 seasons. Wilson has won 107 starts, including postseason, since entering the NFL in 2012.

Wilson needs 3,000 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns to join Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to reach those marks in each of their first 10 seasons and needs 40 touchdown passes to surpass Peyton Manning (306) for the most by a player through his first 10 seasons. Wilson has 267 career, needs 30 touchdown passes to become the third in NFL history with at least 30 in five-or-more consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (nine) and Brett Favre (five).

Wilson also needs 1,835 passing yards to surpass Joe Flacco (35,780) for the fifth most by a player through his first 10 seasons. Wilson has 33,946 career. Needs a season passer rating of at least 105 to become the first to accomplish the feat in four consecutive seasons (min. 250 attempts), needs 11 games with at least three touchdown passes to surpass Dan Marino (48) and Peyton Manning (48) for the most such games by a player through his first 10 seasons and needs three games with at least four touchdown passes to surpass Dan Marino (17) and Peyton Manning (17) for the most such games by a player through his first 10 seasons.

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES: Below is a list of the estimated round-trip distance for every regular-season road game, including International Games, for each team in 2021. (Please return your trays to the upright position and follow the flight attendant’s instructions.)

TEAM – MILES TO TRAVEL

  1. San Francisco – 28,260
  2. Seattle – 28,050
  3. Jacksonville – 26,707
  4. Los Angeles Rams – 25,760
  5. Los Angeles Chargers – 25,467
  6. Miami – 23,459
  7. Arizona – 22,186
  8. Las Vegas – 21,224
  9. ATLANTA – 20,306
  10. Dallas – 18,779
  11. New York Jets – 18,428
  12. New York Giants – 18,350
  13. New Orleans – 17,367
  14. Houston – 16,749
  15. New England – 16,746
  16. Denver – 16,538
  17. Minnesota – 16,032
  18. Tampa Bay – 16,010
  19. Chicago – 14,999
  20. Tennessee – 14,651
  21. Indianapolis – 14,416
  22. Detroit – 14,073
  23. Kansas City – 14,012
  24. Washington – 13,934
  25. Philadelphia – 13,810
  26. Carolina – 13,509
  27. Green Bay -13,333
  28. Baltimore – 12,963
  29. Buffalo – 12,631
  30. Cleveland – 9,880
  31. Pittsburgh – 9,776
  32. Cincinnati – 9,462

• The total distance traveled by all teams during the regular season will be 558,287 miles.

• The teams of the NFC West (104,676) have the highest combined mileage total of all divisions.

• The remaining division totals ranking from highest to lowest are the AFC West (83,648), AFC South (72,523), AFC East (71,264), NFC South (67,192), NFC East (64,873), NFC North (58,437) and AFC North (42,081).

• Five teams – San Francisco (28,680), Seattle (28,050), Jacksonville (26,707), the Los Angeles Rams (25,760) and the Los Angeles Chargers (25,467) – will “travel around the world” at least once. A trip around the globe is 25,000 miles.

IT’S HARD TO GET ON TOP, IT’S EVEN HARDER TO STAY THERE: Not all Super Bowl winners fared well the following season, as eight teams that won the Lombardi repeated, while six teams that won the Super Bowl the year before lost. Seven teams (Green Bay, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas, New England, Denver, Pittsburgh) were repeat winners, while six teams were losers the following season. 16 teams that won the Lombardi the year before won their season openers the following season.

KICKOFF WEEKEND NOTES: Kickoff Weekend began on Thursday, as the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed Dallas to Raymond James Stadium. Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:

Kansas City hosts Cleveland on Kickoff Weekend. The defending AFC champions have won their past six Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the AFC and tied for the longest active streak in the NFL.

Baltimore visits the Las Vegas Raiders in the desert on Monday Night Football in Week 1. The Ravens have won their last five Kickoff Weekend games, the AFC’s secondlongest active streak. Since 2016, Baltimore has outscored their opponents 177-26 on Kickoff Weekend and haven’t allowed more than 10 points in any of their previous five Week 1 games.

Reigning NFC Division champs meet in Jacksonville, not New Orleans as Green Bay (NFC North) takes on New Orleans (NFC South) at EverBank Stadium. Green Bay has won 58 games on Kickoff Weekend, Weekend, the most in the NFL. The Packers have won their past six Kickoff Weekend games, tying them with Kansas City for the longest active streak in the NFL.

Chicago heads west to visit the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. Chicago has 55 wins on Kickoff Weekend, the second-most in the NFL, while the Rams have won four consecutive Week 1 games, the second-longest active streak in the NFC.

HEAD COACHES: New England’s Bill Belichick is 18-8 (.692) on Kickoff Weekend and his 18 wins are the most among active head coaches. Belichick, Baltimore’s John Harbaugh (10-3; .769) and Kansas City’s Andy Reid (14-8; .636) are the only active head coaches who have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games. Reid has won six consecutive games on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches. Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay (4-0 and Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur (2-0) are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend.

Seven head coaches – Detroit’s
DAN CAMPBELL, Houston’s David Culley,
Jacksonville’s URBAN MEYER, New York
Jets’ ROBERT SALEH, Philadelphia’s NICK
SIRIANNI, Atlanta’s ARTHUR SMITH and the
Los Angeles Chargers’ BRANDON STALEY –
make their Kickoff Weekend debuts

PUT ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE: The 2021 NFL season was expanded by one game as each team will now play 17 games instead of 16. Fear not, fans. The bye week is still in effect, so don’t worry.

Here’s how things work out or how the 2021 regular season schedule came into being (pay attention, there’s going to be a quiz afterward).

Under the scheduling formula, every team plays 17 regular-season games with one bye week.
Clubs will host 10 games overall – either nine regular-season games and one preseason game or eight regular-season games and two preseason games.
• Home and away against its three division opponents (six games).
• The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (four games).
• The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (four games).
• Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (two games). These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.
• One interconference game based on the prior year’s standings on a rotating four-year cycle (one game). These games match a first-place team from one division against a first-place team from one division against a first-place team in an opposite coference division that the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place and fourth-place teams in each division are matched in the same way each year. The home conference for this game will rotate each season.

NFL Kickoff Weekend began Thursday night with the regular season coming to an end Sunday, January 9, 2022. The 2022 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, February 6 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and the season will conclude with Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13, 2022.

The enhanced season will ensure that beginning in 2022, all 32 clubs will play internationally at least once every eight years. The scheduling of up to four neutral-site games per year in a country outside the United States will focus initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom. In addition, interested clubs can continue to volunteer to play home games internationally, as is currently the case.

AS LONG AS YOU HAVE HOPE, YOU HAVE A CHANCE: 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 2020 season. Week 17 once again came right down to the wire as seven playoff spots and two division titles – the AFC South and NFC East – 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 2021 season with a trip to Los Angeles and Super Bowl LVI in mind and below are a few reasons why.

• Both Pittsburgh (AFC North) and Washington (NFC East) won their division after missing the postseason in 2019 and at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 17 of the past 18 years.

Teams to win their division a season after missing the postseason since 2003:

SEASON AND NEW DIVISION WINNERS AFTER MISSING POSTSEASON THE PREVIOUS SEASON
2020 – Pittsburgh, Washington*
2019 – Green Bay, San Francisco
2018 – Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston
2017 – Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, Minnesota, Philadelphia
2016 – ATLANTA, Dallas*
2015 – Houston, Minnesota, Washington*
2014 – Dallas, Pittsburgh
2013 – Carolina, Philadelphia
2012 – Washington*
2011 – Denver, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco
2010 – ATLANTA, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle 2009 – Cincinnati, Dallas, New England, New Orleans
2008 – Arizona, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota 2007 – Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay
2006 – Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego 2005 – Chicago, Cincinnati, New York Giants, Tampa Bay*
2004 – ATLANTA, Pittsburgh, San Diego
2003 – Baltimore, Carolina, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis Rams
*worst to first

Since 1990 – a streak of 31 consecutive seasons – 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 2019 – Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington – accomplished the feat in 2020.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

SEASON AND PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 – 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 – 5 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 – 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 – 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 – 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 – 4 (ATLANTA, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 – 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 – 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 – 5 (Arizona, ATLANTA, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 – 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 – 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 – 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 – 5 (ATLANTA, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 – 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 – 5 (ATLANTA, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 – 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 – 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 – 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 – 7 (Arizona, ATLANTA, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 – 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 – 5 (ATLANTA, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 – 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 – 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 – 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 – 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 – 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 – 6 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 – 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
2018 – 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)
2019 – 5 (Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco, Tennessee)
2020 – 7 (Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington)

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! The NFL will be celebrating historic milestones in 2021.

125th – The Allegheny Athletic Association fields the first completely professional team (1896).
115th – The first authenticated forward pass completion is recorded as George (Peggy) Parratt of Massillon throws a completion to Dan (Bullet) Riley (10/25/1906).
100th – A.E. Staley turns the Decatur Staleys over to player-coach George Halas, who moves the team to Cubs Park in Chicago (1921).
100th – Fritz Pollard of the Akron Pros becomes the first black head coach (1921).
85th – The Eagles make University of Chicago HB and Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger the first player ever selected in the NFL Draft (2/8/1936).
80th – The official NFL Record Manual is published for the first time by the league (1941).
75th – The Cleveland Rams move to Los Angeles (1946).
75th – Kenny Washington (March 21) and Woody Strode (May 7) sign with the Los Angeles Rams to become the first African-Americans to play in the NFL in the modern era (1946).
75th – Bill Willis (August 6) and Marion Motley (August 9) join the Cleveland Browns, becoming the first African-Americans to play in the All-America Football Conference (1946).
75th – The Cleveland Browns, coached by Paul Brown, win the All-America Football Conference’s first championship (1946).
70th – The NFL Championship Game is televised coast-to-coast for the first time on the DuMont Network. The Los Angeles Rams defeat the Cleveland Browns 24-17 (12/23/1951).
65th – CBS becomes the first network to broadcast NFL regular-season games to selected television markets across the nation (1956).
55th – A series of meetings regarding a possible AFL-NFL merger takes place in the spring between Lamar Hunt of Kansas City and Tex Schramm of Dallas. On June 8, Commissioner Pete Rozelle announces the merger of the AFL and NFL (1966).
55th – Atlanta and New Orleans are awarded an NFL franchises to begin play in 1967 (11/1/1966).
50th – The Miami Dolphins defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in sudden-death overtime in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game. The contest lasts 82 minutes, 40 seconds, making it the longest game in NFL history (12/25/1971).
45th – The first NFL game outside of North America is played before 38,000 fans at Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo, Japan as St. Louis defeats San Diego 20-10 in a preseason contest (8/16/1976).
30th – The NFL launches the World League of American Football, the first sports league to operate on a weekly basis on two separate continents (3/23/1991).
20th – NFL owners unanimously approve a realignment plan and new scheduling format for the league starting in 2002. Seven clubs change divisions and the Seattle Seahawks switch conferences (5/22/2001).
15th – Roger Goodell becomes the eighth chief executive of the NFL when he is chosen to succeed Paul Tagliabue as commissioner by a unanimous vote of the clubs at a three-day meeting in Chicago (8/8/2006).
15th – The NFL Network broadcasts its first-ever regular-season game as the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Denver Broncos 19-10 at Arrowhead Stadium on Thanksgiving night (11/23/2006).
10th – The NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee announced a new standardized sideline concussion assessment protocol for team medical personnel. The new protocol includes a symptom checklist, limited neurologic examination and balance assessment (2/25/2011)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK ONE:

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 55 Super Bowl winners have a 44-10-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who hosted Dallas in the league’s annual primetime Kickoff Game Thursday night, became the first eventual Super Bowl winners to lose the opening game of their championship season since New England in 2014.

Kansas City, appearing in each of the past two Super Bowls, hosts Cleveland in an AFC Divisional playoff rematch on Sunday. Kansas City has won its past six Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the AFC and tied for the longest active streak in the NFL (Green Bay).

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 those that lose an opening game. This season will feature a 17-game schedule for each team for the first time ever.

Of the 633 teams that won openers, 333 went to the playoffs (204 won division titles).
Of the 632 teams that lost openers, 151 went to the playoffs (86 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 2020, the 14 playoff teams compiled an 11-3 record on Kickoff Weekend, with the eight division winners going a perfect 8-0.

STARTING STREAKS: The Chiefs aren’t the only team to have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of other notable active NFL Kickoff Weekend milestones and streaks:

Baltimore, who visits Las Vegas on Monday Night Football in Week 1, has won their last five Kickoff Weekend games, the AFC’s second-longest active streak. Since 2016, Baltimore has outscored its opponents 177-26 on Kickoff Weekend and hasn’t allowed more than 10 points in any of its previous five Week 1 games.

Reigning NFC North division champion Green Bay opens their season on the road on Sunday against reigning NFC South division champion New Orleans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Packers have won 58 games on Kickoff Weekend, the most in the NFL. Green Bay has won its past six Kickoff Weekend games, tied with Kansas City for the longest active streak in the NFL.

Chicago visits the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. Chicago has 55 wins on Kickoff Weekend, the second-most in the NFL, while the Rams have won four consecutive Week 1 games, the second-longest active streak in the NFC.

START ’EM EARLY: Jacksonville rookie quarterback TREVOR LAWRENCE, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, New York Jets rookie quarterback ZACH WILSON (No. 2), and New England rookie quarterback MAC JONES (No. 15), are each expected to make their first career starts on Sunday, when Jacksonville travels to Houston, the Jets visit Carolina and New England hosts Miami.

With a start by any of the three players, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 14 consecutive seasons, extending the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

This season is expected to join 2012 (five rookie quarterbacks) as the only seasons since 1970 in which at least three rookie quarterbacks started in Week 1. It can also become the first time that multiple rookie quarterbacks each start in Week 1 since 2016 (DAK PRESCOTT and CARSON WENTZ).

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:

SEASON – QUARTERBACK, TEAM (STARTING RECORD AS ROOKIE)
2008 – Joe Flacco, Baltimore (11-5)
2008 – Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (11-5)
2009 – Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (8-7)
2009 – Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2-8)*
2010 – Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (7-9)*
2011 – Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (9-7)
2011 – Cam Newton, Carolina (6-10)*
2012 – Robert Griffin III, Washington (9-6)
2012 – Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (11-5)*
2012 – Ryan Tannehill, Miami (7-9)
2012 – Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (5-10)
2012 – Russell Wilson, Seattle (11-5)
2013 – E.J. Manuel – Buffalo (4-6)
2013 – Geno Smith, New York Jets (8-8)
2014 – Derek Carr, Oakland (3-13)
2015 – Marcus Mariota, Tennessee (3-9)
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 (5-10-1)*
2020 – Joe Burrow, Cincinnati (2-7-1)*
2021 – Mac Jones, New England^
2021 – Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville*^
2021 – Zach Wilson, New York Jets^
*No. 1 overall pick
^Expected to start Week 1

TITANS DEBUT: Tennessee wide receiver Julio Jones enters his first year as a Titan with 848 receptions for 12,896 receiving yards and 60 receiving touchdowns in 135 career games.

Jones needs two receptions on Sunday against Arizona to become the second-fastest player (136 games) to reach 850 receptions in NFL history, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (140 games).

The players to reach 850 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (GAMES TO REACH 850 RECEPTIONS)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh, New England and Tampa Bay (133)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (140)(HOF)
Andre Johnson – Houston Texans (142)
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (135)*
*Has 848 receptions entering Sunday

With at least 104 receiving yards, Jones can also become the fastest player ever to reach 13,000 career receiving yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (154 games).

Additionally, Jones enters this season with at least 100 receiving yards in 58 career games. With at least 100 receiving yards on Sunday, he will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (59 games) for the third-most such games in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAMS (GAMES WITH 100+ REC. YARDS)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (76)(HOF)
Randy Moss – Minnesota, Oakland and New England (64)(HOF)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (59)(HOF)
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (58)*
*Active

DUAL-THREAT BACKS: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey has totaled 5,817 scrimmage yards (3,145 rushing, 2,672 receiving) and 45 touchdowns (29 rushing, 16 receiving) in his first four seasons, while also recording nine games with both a rushing and receiving touchdown, the most ever by a player through his first four seasons.

With both a rushing and receiving touchdown against the Jets on Sunday, McCaffrey will surpass Chuck Foreman (nine games) for the most such games by a player through his first five seasons in NFL history. New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara, who is also entering his fifth season, has eight such career games and can tie Foreman when New Orleans takes on Green Bay Sunday in Jacksonville.

The players with the most games with both a rushing and receiving touchdown in their first five seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (GAMES)
Chuck Foreman – Minnesota (9)
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina (9)*
Abner Haynes – Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs (8)
Alvin Kamara – New Orleans (8)*
*Entering fifth season

ROOKIES NO MORE: The 2020 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and the 2020 Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year, Washington defensive end Chase Young, will meet in Week 1, when the Chargers travel to Landover to visit Washington.

It will mark the fourth time in NFL history and second-consecutive season, that the two reigning Rookies of the Year will meet on Kickoff Weekend. In 2020, Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray and San Francisco defensive lineman Nick Bosa met in Week 1.

The Kickoff Weekend matchups featuring the reigning Associated Press Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year in NFL history:

SEASON – REIGNING OROY (TEAM)/REIGNING DROY (TEAM)(WEEK 1 RESULT)
2021 – QB Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)/DE Chase Young (Washington)(???)
2020 – QB Kyler Murray (Arizona)/DL Nick Bosa (San Francisco)(Arizona 24, San Francisco 20)
1989 – RB John Stephens (New England)/DB Erik McMillan (New York Jets)(New England 27, New York Jets 24)
1975 – RB Don Woods (San Diego Chargers)/LB Jack Lambert (Pittsburgh)(Pittsburgh 37, San Diego 0)$

$Lambert is a member of the Hall of Fame

Since this is week one, we’re going to make all the games this Sunday and Monday “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 Sunday 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 62 last June and dates a 46-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the 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?”)

Last season, we went 167-83, which wasn’t bad, given that we had to deal with games being moved because of COVID-19. Having said all of that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week one.

Philadelphia (4-11-1) at ATLANTA (4-12), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV xxx. The first Sunday game of the 2021 season gets underway in the Big Peach with cheesesteak meeting chicken and waffles as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons host the Philadelphia Eagles in the Big Peach. The Sunday opener features the debut of two new coaches (Philadelphia – Nick Sirianni and Atlanta – Arthur Smith). Both clubs look to improve from their 2020 seasons.

Philadelphia leads the series 17-14-1 and have outscored the Falcons 690-598. Their last meeting? 2019 in the Big Peach and Ryan and the Falcons prevailed 24-18, while Philadelphia’s last win in the series came in 2018 in the City of Brotherly Love by a final of 18-12. Atlanta’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Big Peach with the over/under at 48. Both numbers make a lot sense as the two clubs have new coaches roaming the sidelines. Falcons win in the Big Peach but expect the Eagles to make it closer than 3 1/2.

Pittsburgh (12-4) at Buffalo (13-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. Two playoff teams meet in upstate New York as Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills host Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh holds a 14-10 lead in the series and have outscored the Bills 535-434. Their last meeting was last year in week 14. Pittsburgh’s last win in the series came along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 27-20 in 2016, while the Bills have won the last two meetings, including a win last year in upstate New York. They met in the Steel City in week 14 and after winning their first 11 contests, Buffalo gave Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger their second loss in as many weeks, taking down the Steelers 26-15 Sunday night in upstate New York. Buffalo trailed 7-0 early in the second quarter (the two clubs played a scoreless first quarter), then took a 9-7 lead at the intermission, using a Tyler Bass field goal and a Taron Johnson 51 yard interception return with 52 seconds left before the break. The Bills then pulled away from the Steelers in the last 30 minutes of action, outscoring Pittsburgh 17-8 in the final two periods at Bills’ Stadium.

Buffalo out-rushed the struggling Steelers 104-47 with Bills RB Zack Moss leading the way with 43 yards. Allen threw for 238 yards with a pair of TDs, connecting with Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis on both tosses, with a sack and an interception, while Roethlisberger threw for 187 yards, throwing TDs to JuJu Smith-Schuester and James Washington (both men were sacked once, Allen threw an interception, while Roethlisberger threw two). The Bills were 7 for 14 on third down and they ruled the clock, holding the ball for 35:15, while the Steelers were a dismal 1 of 10 on third down, keeping the ball for 24:45. The Steelers were favored by 1 1/2 and the Bills covered in upstate New York, leaving 11-point winners but the two clubs missed the 47 1/2, tallying 41 points. The Bills are favored by 6 1/2 with the over/under 49. Pittsburgh’s looking for revenge, while the Bills want to prove that the first time was not a fluke. Bills win this one in upstate New York but expect the Steelers to make it closer than 6 1/2.

New York Jets (2-14) at Carolina (5-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling teams meet in the Tar Heel State as the New York Jets make their way down I-95 to take on the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.

Carolina leads the series 4-3, have outscored GangGreen 160-143 and have taken wins in the last two meetings, including a 35-27 win in the Meadowlands in 2017, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! last win came in the Meadowlands in 2009 by a final of 17-6. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Panthers as 5-point favorites in the Tar Heel State and the over/under’s 45. Normally, we would tell you to take a pass on games like this one but since this is week one, every game this week is “Drill Worthy.” Panthers are finer in Carolina and take the win at home, covering the 5.

Minnesota (7-9) at Cincinnati (4-11-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A healthy Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals play host to the Minnesota Vikings along the shores of the Ohio River at Paul Brown Stadium. Both teams are hoping to make the post-season after somewhat disasterous campaigns in 2020, with Burrow leaving after tearing his ACL and MCL in his left knee against Washington in week 11.

The Vikings lead the series 7-6 and have outscored the Bengals 287-243. They last met in the Twin Cities in 2017 and the Vikings would prevail 34-7 (Cincinnati’s last win came in 2013 along the shores of the Ohio River by a 42-14 final. Minnesota’s favored by 3 with a 48 over/under. This might be one of the more entertaining games this week. Vikings win in Cincy and cover the 3.

San Francisco (6-10) at Detroit (5-11), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Dan Campbell makes his regular-season head coaching debut as the Detroit Lions welcome the San Francisco 49ers to Ford Field. Lions fans are hopeful that he can get the team into the post-season and challenge Green Bay for the NFC North crown.

Including contests at Tiger Stadium, Keezar Stadium, the Silverdome and Candlestick Park, the 49ers lead the series 37-27-1 and have outscored the Lions 1,425-1,361. They last met on the West Coast in wine country in 2018 and San Francsico came away with a 30-27 win, while Detroit’s last win in the series came in the Motor City in 2015 by a final of 32-17. San Francisco’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. While the 49ers won’t cover the 7 1/2, they’ll take the win in the Motor City.

Jacksonville (1-15) at Houston (4-12), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 711. A pair of new head coaches, Urban Meyer (Jacksonville) and David Culley meet in the Lone Star State as AFC South bottom-dwellers meet at NRG Stadium. Both teams are looking for better seasons than they had in 2020. Jacksonville went on a 15-game losing streak after winning their season opener, while the Texans are looking to end a five-game losing streak to close their season out.

Houston carries a 25-13 lead in the series, have outscored Jacksonville 843-732 and have won the last six meetings in a row, including sweeping last year’s series (Jacksonville’s last win over Houston? 2017 by a final of 45-7 in the Sunshine State and the Jaguars swept the series that year).

Jacksonville and Houston met twice in the 2020 season and the Texans prevailed in both meetings. Their first meeting was in week five in the Lone Star State and Houston picked up their first win of the 2020 season under interim head coach Romeo Crennel, taking down their AFC South rivals 30-14 at NRG Stadium. Jacksonville actually led 10-7 at the intermission after the two teams played a scoreless first quarter before Houston took charge of things in the second half, outscoring the Jaguars 20-7. Houston out-rushed Jacksonville 129-75 in the win and Texans RB David Johnson led all rushers with 96 yards on the ground. Passing-wise, DeShaun Watson threw for 359 yards in the win with three TDs, while Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew threw for 301 yards and a pair of TDs (Minshew was sacked three times, Watson was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions). Houston was 5 of 10 on third down tries (the Texans were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:01, while Jacksonville actually ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 31:59, going 8 for 16 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Houston swept the series, this time traveling down I-10 to Jacksonville and left the Sunshine State 27-25 winners at TIAA Bank Field in week nine. Houston led 20-16 at the intermission in north Florida, then took a 27-19 lead into the final 15 minutes of play as Jacksonville scored twice in the half, once on a Josh Lambo field goal late in the third quarter and then again when backup QB Jake Luton scored on a 13-yard run with 90 seconds left in the contest. Jacksonville missed the try for two to even things up and hopefully send the contest into overtime and tried an onside kick, which Houston recovered and the Texans would run out the clock to take the win. Jacksonville out-rushed Houston 115-107, with Jaguars RB James Robinson leading all rushers with 99 yards and a rushing TD, while Watson led the Texans with 50 yards. Watson threw for 281 yards with TD passes to Willie Fuller and Brandon Cooks, while Luton threw for 304 yards with a TD pass to D.J. Chark Jr. (Luton threw the game’s only interception, while both men were sacked twice). Houston was 6 for 15 on third down and held the ball for 27:53, while the Jaguars would actually rule the clock and keep the pigskin for 32:07, going 6 for 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Housotn covered the 5-point spread in the week five contest in the Lone Star State with the 16-point win but both teams missed the 54 over/under by 10 points. As for the week nine contest in the Sunshine State? While Houston won, they did not cover the 7-point spread, winning by 2 but the two clubs covered 50 1/2 over/under, tallying 52 points. Jacksonville’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45. Both clubs are looking to right their ships in 2021. As Yogi Berra once said, “when you’re down, the only place you can go is up.” Jacksonville keeps it interesting but Houston prevails at home with the win and could cover the 3.

Seattle (12-4) at Indianapolis (11-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. They were both in the post-season last year and both were bounced out in the first round. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks make their way to the Hoosier State for a 10 a.m. Seattle time kickoff against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts lead the series 7-5 and have outscored Seattle and have outscored Indy 294-259. Their last meeting was in 2017 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and the Seahawks came away 46-18, while the Colts’ last win in the series came in the Hoosier States in 2013 by a final of 34-28. Seattle’s favored by 3 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 48. Seattle takes care of business in the Hoosier State and covers the 3.

Arizona (8-8) at Tennessee (11-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A couple of contending teams meet in the Music City as Tennessee hosts Arizona at Nissan Stadium in the Music City. Arizona barely missed the playoffs last year, while the Titans look to erase their post-season loss at home to Baltimore last year.

Including contests played in Houston (when the Titans were known as the Oilers) and in St. Louis, the Desert Angry Birds lead the series 7-4 and have outscored the Titans 259-226. The teams last met in 2017 in the desert and the Desert Angry Birds were 12-7 winners, while Tennessee’s last win in the series came in the Music City in 2009 by a final of 20-17. The Titans are 3-point favorites in the Music City and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Tennessee covers the 3 in the Volunteer State and takes the win at home.

Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) at Washington (7-9), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. They were both 7-9 last year but one made the playoffs and won their division while the other made a change in the head coaching position. Washington and Ron Rivera, winners of the NFC East, host the Los Angeles Chargers and new head coach Brandon Staley to FedEx Field in Landover.

Including contests that were played in San Diego and at RFK Stadium, Washington leads the series 7-4 and have outscored the Bolts 268-239. The Chargers would win the last meeting in the series, which took place on the West Coast in 2017 by a final of 30-13, while Washington’s last win came in Landover in 2013, when they needed overtime to take a 30-24 win. The Chargers are favored by a point and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both numbers sound reasonable. Hail To The Football Team! Washington covers the 1 in Landover and takes the win.

Cleveland (11-5) at Kansas City (14-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. It’s an AFC Divisional rematch as Patrick Mahomes and the defending AFC champions welcome Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns to Arrowhead in a late Sunday afternoon contest in the Show-Me State.

The defending AFC champions lead the series 13-11-2, have outscored Cleveland 537-518 and have won the last three regular season meetings, including a 17-13 win at Arrowhead in 2015, while Cleveland’s last win in the series came in 2012 along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 30-7. They met last year in the post-season and it was a contest for the ages, as the Chiefs would advance to the AFC Championship Game, dashing Cleveland’s playoff hopes in the process.

Mahomes and Mayfield met in the AFC Divisional Round and the Chiefs survived a late charge by Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, coming away 22-17 winners. Kansas City led 6-3 at the end of the first quarter, then proceeded to scored 13 second-quarter points unchallenged, thanks to a 20-yard TD pass from Patrick Mahomes to TE Travis Kelce and a pair of Harrison Butker field goals to lead 19-3 at the half. After Mayfield and WR Josh Landry connected on a 4-yard TD toss to pull Cleveland to within nine, Butker would push the Chiefs back to a 12-point lead with 4:24 left in the third. Cleveland was not about to go away quietly and the Browns would cause some angst for Chiefs fans, as they would use an 18-play, 75-yard drive that used 8:17 of clock with Kareem Hunt getting some measure of revenge on his old team, scoring from three yards out early in the final quarter.

The Chiefs would find themselves in a bind as Mahomes would be knocked out of the contest with a concussion, putting backup QB Chad Henne into the contest. After holding off the Browns and forcing a Cleveland punt, Kansas City would get the ball back with 4:09 left in the contest and it would be the last time the Cleveland would see the ball, as Henne would run out the clock, throwing a 5-yard pass to WR Tyree Hill to basically end the contest. Kansas City out-rushed Cleveland 123-112 with Darrell Williams leading the way with 78 yards, while Cleveland was led by Nick Chubb with 69 yards on the ground; Mahomes threw for 255 yards with the TD pass to Kelce and had a rushing TD of his own to open the scoring in the contest before leaving, while Mayfield threw for 204 yards with the game’s only sack and had an interception (Henne threw for 66 yards with a sack and an interception). Kansas City went 5 for 10 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 2 for 2 (including the fourth down try that sealed the contest) and were rulers of the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:37, while the Browns, who kept the pigskin for 29:23, went 6 of 13 on third down, 3 for 3 on fourth down.

The Chiefs were favored by 10 in the AFC Divisional contest but would win only by 5 and both teams missed the 56 over/under, tallying just 39 points. Vegas likes the Chiefs as 6-point favorites at Arrowhead and the over/under 53. Cleveland and Mayfield are seeking revenge, while Mahomes and the Chiefs want to remind the Browns who runs the Show-Me State. Will it be close? Yes… but the Chiefs prevail at Arrowhead and cover the 5.

Miami (10-6) at New England (7-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. AFC East rivals meet in Foxboro as former Alabama QBs Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones meet in a late-afternoon contest in western Massachusetts. Both teams look to knock Buffalo out of the top spot in the division. Miami came close to making the post-season, while New England struggled to stay out of the AFC East basement.

While Miami holds a 56-52 lead in the series (which includes contests that took place at Fenway Park, the Orange Bowl and in Tampa), New England has outscored Miami 2,368-2,299. Miami and New England met twice last year, each winning in their home facilities and spliting the series in the process.

In the week one meeting in Foxboro, Miami found themselves being taken to task by Cam Newton and the New England Patriots in Foxboro, as the Pats took care of the ‘Fins 21-11 at Gillette Stadium. New England led 7-3 at intermission, then took control of things in the second half, outscoring Miami 14-8 in the final 30 minutes of play. New England out-rushed Miami 217-87 and Newton (155 yards, two sacks) ran for a pair of TDs and led all rushers with 75 yards, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 191 yards with three interceptions and a sack. Miami went 4 of 11 on third down conversion and held the ball for 25:11, while the Patriots were kings of the clock, holding on to the pigskn for 34:49 and went 5 of 10 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Miami ended New England’s string of playoff appearances in the Sunshine State in their week 15 rematch, as Newton and the Pats found themselves staying home for the post-season after their 22-12 loss at Miami at Hard Rock Stadium. Using a pair of Nick Folk field goals, New England led 6-0 at the intermission before Miami took the lead for the first time on a 1-yard run by Saheed Ahmed with 10:32 left in the third, before Folk added another field goal to reclaim the lead at 9-7. That lead would not last long as Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa took matters into his own feet, scoring on a 3-yard TD run, then hooking up with Ahmed on the two-point conversion. Folk would then add his fourth field goal of the day, putting New England to within three with 9:03 left in the contest before Tagovailoa scored his second rushing TD of the day from a yard out.

Ahmed led all rushers with 122 yards and the TD as Miami out-rushed New England 250-117 (Sony Michel led New England with 74 yards) and Tagovailoa threw for 145 yards, throwing the contest’s only interception, while Newton threw for 209 yards (Newton was sacked three times, Tagovailoa was sacked twice). Miami was 7 for 12 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down and were rulers of the clock, holding the ball for 37:26, while the Patriots were 22:34 in time of possession, going 2 for 9 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

New England, who waived Newton before the season started, covered the 6-point spread in their week one contest in Foxboro winning by 10 but the two clubs missed the 43 over/under with 32 points. As for the week 15 rematch in the Sunshine State? The ‘Fins covered the 2-point spread, winning by 10 but the teams missed the over/under (41 1/2), tallying 32 points at Hard Rock. New England’s favored by 3 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 43. Given how good both QBs are, the over/under could be reached by halftime. The winner may or may not have a clear shot at the AFC East but the loser will have to make up ground. (In case you’re wondering, Miami’s last win in Foxboro came in 2019 when they beat Brady and the Pats 34-33 in week 17.) Miami gets revenge in Foxboro and leaves with the win on the road.

Green Bay (13-3) at New Orleans (12-4) in Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. Drew Brees is retired and the Jameis Winston era begins as the New Orleans Saints take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Cheese, meet gumbo. The site for this contest was going to be New Orleans but after Ida hit the Big Easy, the NFL moved the contest to Jacksonville’s EverBank Stadium.

The Packers lead the series 17-9 (includings contests played in Milwaukee and at Tulane Stadium) and have outscored the Saints 734-618. New Orleans’ last win in the series came at Lambeau by a final of 26-17 in 2017, while Rodgers and the Packers prevailed against Brees and the Saints last year in the Big Easy.

Brees and the Saints watched Green Bay wipe away a 17-13 halftime lead at New Orleans Sunday night in week three, holidng off the Saints and leaving the Big Easy 37-30 winners. Using a 49-yard field goal by Mason Crosby and a 1-yard TD toss from Rodgers to TE Robert Tonyan, the Packers would take the lead back for keeps before Saints K Will Lutz made it a 7-point affair with 32 seconds left. The Saints would try an onside kick, which Green Bay recovered. The Packers then ran out the clock and left the Big Easy with the win. While New Orleans did out-rushed Green Bay 122-98, Rodgers threw for 283 yards, while Drew Brees threw for 288 yards (both men threw three TDs without an interception and Brees was sacked twice, while Rodgers was sacked once). Both teams wer4e 5 of 11 on third down tries (the Packers were 1 of 2 on fourth down, while the Saints went 1 of 1) and Green Bay ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:40 to New Orleans’ 28:20.

New Orleans was favored in the week three meeting in the Big Easy by 3 but the Packers covered, winning by 7 and the two clubs covered the 51 1/2 over/under with 67 points. Vegas likes the Packers by 4 in the Big Easy with a 50 over/under. The Saints are seeking revenge, while Rodgers and the Packers look to take two wins in a row. GO PACK GO! Green Bay covers the 4 and takes the road win.

Denver (5-11) at New York Giants (6-10), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 717. A pair of teams that played better than their records would indicate meet in upstate New Jersey as the New York Giants welcome the Denver Broncos into MetLife Stadium for a late Sunday afternoon affair along the Jersey shore.

The two teams have met 12 teams and each team has six wins to their credit, with Denver outscoring Big Blue 242-213. Their last meeting was in 2017 in the Mile High City and the Giants left Denver 23-10 winners, while Denver’s last win in the series came in 2013 in upstate New Jersey by a final of 41-23. Denver’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense. The Giants were one of those teams that could have won the NFC East last year, while Denver’s looking to get back into the AFC West spotlight and take it from Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes in the process. Giants pull off the upset in the Meadowlands and take the win in upstate New Jersey, covering the 2 1/2.

Chicago (8-8) at Los Angeles Rams (10-6), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They meet again on the West Coast again. Da Bears make their way west to take on Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood in prime time.

Including games played in Cleveland, at Wrigley Field and in St. Louis, Da Bears lead da series 53-37-3 and have outscored Los Angeles 2,133-1,870. Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2018 in the Windy City by a final of 15-6, while the Rams have won the last two meetings, including their meeting last year at SoFi Stadium.

They met in week seven on the West Coast and the Rams prevailed 24-10 on the West Coast. Los Angeles led 10-3 at the break, then pulled away from Chicago in the second half to take the win in prime time. Los Angeles out-rushed Chicago 161-49 and Nick Foles threw for 261 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Rams signal caller Jarred Goff threw for 219 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Gerald Everett). Da Bears were 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 4 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:25, while the Rams were clock hogs, keeping the ball for 32:35, going 4 of 13 on third down tries. The Rams were favored by 6 in the Monday night week seven contest and covered, winning by 14 but both clubs failed to cover the 45 over/under, tallying a mere 34 points. The Rams are favored again, this time by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. History has a way of repeating itself and this will be the case. While the Rams win this one, expect Da Bears to make it closer than the 7 1/2.

Baltimore (11-5) at Las Vegas (8-8), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN/ABC. Week one closes out in the desert as the Baltimore Ravens make their way to Sin City for a Monday night contest with the Las Vegas Raiders at Alligent Stadium. The Ravens were in the post-season in 2020, while the Raiders look to return to prominence in the 2021 campaign.

Baltimore leads the series 8-3 and have outscored the Silver and Black 301-192. The Ravens have won the last two meetings in the series, including a 34-17 win in 2018 in Charm City, while Las Vegas’ last win came in 2015 when they were on the Eastern side of San Francisco by by a final of 37-33. On Monday nights, the Ravens are 14-12 and split their two meetings last year. As for the Silver and Black? Including games in Los Angeles and Oakland, they’re 22-25 and the Raiders lost their only MNF contest last year. Baltimore’s favored by 4 1/2 with a 51 1/2 over/under. It may not be the best Monday night game of the year but it’s better than nothing. Ravens prevail in the desert by taking the win and covering the 4 1/2.

Three teams remain unbeaten (Seattle, Pittsburgh and Tennessee).

Two teams picked up their first win of the 2020 campaign (Atlanta and New York Giants).

One team (New York Jets) is searching for their first win.

Welcome to week seven. If nothing else, this has been a somewhat interesting season and it’s going to get even more interesting.

The Week 7 NFL menu showcases a historic showdown in Music City, a two-decade-old rivalry renewing in Las Vegas and a pair of defensive headliners squaring off on Monday Night Football. Still hungry?

Don’t worry. With the high volume of close, competitive games and the number of exciting young players making significant contributions on a weekly basis, there’s certain to be something for every NFL palate this week.

CLASH OF NFL TITANS IN NASHVILLE SUNDAY: Two of the NFL’s three remaining undefeated teams square off Sunday when Pittsburgh travels to meet Tennessee in Nashville. It’s only the sixth contest in the Super Bowl era and just the eighth overall NFL game, matching teams that have at least five wins and zero losses.

The games between teams with at least five wins and zero losses​ in NFL history:

DATE: MATCHUP (RESULT)
October 25, 2020: Pittsburgh (5-0) at Tennessee (5-0) (???)
November 1, 2015: Green Bay (6-0) at Denver (6-0)(Denver 29-10)*
November 4, 2007: New England (8-0) at Indianapolis (7-0)(New England 24-20)+
October 14, 2007: New England (5-0) at Dallas Cowboys (5-0)(New England 48-27)+
October 24, 2004: New York Jets (5-0) at New England (5-0)(New England 13-7)*
October 28, 1973: Los Angeles Rams (6-0) at Minnesota Vikings (6-0)(Minnesota 10-9)+
November 4, 1923: Canton Bulldogs (5-0) at Chicago Cardinals (5-0)(Canton 7-3)*
November 13, 1921: Akron Pros (7-0) at Buffalo All-Americans (6-0)(Tie 0-0)
*Won Super Bowl/league championship
+Advanced to Super Bowl

Pittsburgh is off to its best start since opening 7-0 in 1978 en route to a Super Bowl XIII victory. Tennessee has authored the second-best start in franchise history, behind its 10-0 record to open the 2008 season.

The Titans (422.0 yards per game) rank second in the NFL in total offense while the Steelers (285.2 yards allowed per game) rank second in the NFL in total defense.

Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill (364 passing yards) and running back Derrick Henry (212 rushing yards) combined last week to make Tennessee the first team in NFL history to have a player eclipse 350 passing yards and another rush for at least 200 yards in the same game.

Henry, who also recorded 211 rushing yards in Week 17 of the 2019 season and 238 rushing yards in Week 14 of the 2018 season, is the first player to record a game with at least 200 rushing yards in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.

The Steelers defense recorded four sacks and two interceptions in Week 6 at home against Cleveland and joined the 1985 New York Giants as the only teams in NFL history to record at least three sacks and an interception in each of their first five games of a season. Ten Steelers this season have at least one sack, led by Bud Dupree (five) and T.J. Watt (4.5), tied for second and fourth, respectively, in the AFC. Seven Steelers have at least one interception, led by Steven Nelson (two), tied for third in the conference.

Ball security has been a hallmark of each team’s early season success. The Titans rank second in the NFL with three giveaways, while the Steelers (four) rank tied for third. Including postseason, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry has gone 321 consecutive touches (304 carries, 17 receptions) without a fumble. Pittsburgh running back James Conner has gone 198 consecutive touches (157 carries, 41 receptions) without a fumble. Tennessee is tied for the league lead with a plus-six turnover ratio. Pittsburgh (plus-five) is tied for fourth.

Tannehill (113.5) and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (109.1) rank second and fourth, respectively, in AFC passer rating. Roethlisberger has won 13 of his past 19 starts, while Tannehill has won 12 of his past 15, including playoffs.

OLD RIVALS MEET IN LAS VEGAS: Sunday Night Football rekindles a 19-year-old rivalry that started in the 2001 Divisional playoffs. When Las Vegas hosts Tampa Bay on Sunday, Las Vegas head coach Jon Gruden and Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady will meet for the third time in their careers.

The most memorable meeting was the first, on January 19, 2002, a snowy evening at Foxboro Stadium, where Brady rallied his Patriots to a 16-13 overtime win over the Raiders to earn his first career playoff win en route to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams. One year later, Gruden won his own Super Bowl after joining the Buccaneers in a unique trade, leading Tampa Bay to victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Fast forward nearly two decades and Gruden is back guiding the Raiders and Brady is the field general of Gruden’s former team, the Buccaneers. And while those two may have changed teams, the Buccaneers defense as it was in the early 21st Century is again dominating the NFL.

Tampa Bay’s defense, guided by coordinator Todd Bowles, leads the NFL in fewest total yards allowed per game (282.0), fewest total yards allowed per play (4.6), fewest rushing yards allowed per game (64.3) and fewest first downs allowed per game (16.8), while tying for second in the league with 11 total takeaways. Last week, the Buccaneers held the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, Green Bay, to 10 points.

Depending on the amount of touchdown passes thrown earlier in the day by all-time leader Drew Brees (556), Brady (555) on Sunday night could leave the field for the first time as the NFL’s career leader in that category.

Brady last week helped the Buccaneers overcome a 10-point deficit in their win over the Packers. In the NFL this season, there have been 19 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win this season, tied with the 2011 season (19 games) for the most such games through Week 6 in league history.

There have been six games that have featured a team overcoming a deficit of at least 17 points to win this season, the second-most such games through Week 6 in a single season in NFL history. Only the 2011 season (seven games) had more.

MONSTERS OF THE COMEBACK: NFC North-leading Chicago (5-1) has registered two of their five wins by overcoming deficits of at least 16 points (a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit in Week 1 and a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit in Week 3). Thanks in part to Chicago, 2020 marks the first year in which at least one NFL team has overcome a deficit of 16-or-more points to win in each of the first six weeks of a season. The Bears also earned a tough road win at Carolina last week, one of eight NFL games in Week 6 within one score in the fourth quarter.

The Bears travel from one coast to the other this week when they play at the Los Angeles Rams Monday night. The matchup features stalwarts on each defense that have combined to account for three of the last four Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year awards, the Rams’ Aaron Donald (2017-18) and the Bears’ Khalil Mack (2016 with the Raiders).

Donald, Mack and Arizona’s Chandler Jones are the NFL’s only three players with at least 65 sacks and 17-or-more forced fumbles since 2014, when Donald and Mack entered the league eight selections apart in the first round of the NFL Draft. Donald leads the NFL with 7.5 sacks this year while Mack leads the Bears with 4.5. Chicago leads the NFL this season in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns on just 36.4 percent of opponent drives inside the 20-yard line. And if the game is within one score in the fourth quarter – like 62 of 91 NFL games (68.1 percent) so far this season – that defense will be tested by Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who leads the NFL in fourth-quarter passer rating (141.1).

MAHOMES MEETS LOCK IN DENVER: Last week, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, appearing in his 37th career game, became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 90 career touchdown passes, surpassing the previous mark held by Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (40 games). Mahomes returns on Sunday to Denver, where he made his first NFL start at the end of the 2017 season. Denver quarterback Drew Lock, who guided the Broncos to a win at New England last week, is 5-3 in his career as a starting quarterback.

Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce needs 65 receiving yards to become the third tight end in NFL history with at least 7,000 receiving yards in his first eight seasons, joining Rob Gronkowski (7,179) and Antonio Gates (7,005). Kelce has 6,935 receiving yards in 102 career games.

CLUTCH ROOKIES: The Justin Herbert story adds another chapter this week when the Los Angeles Chargers hosts Jacksonville. The Chargers’ rookie quarterback leads qualified NFL passers in a key metric, third-down passer rating (150.9), significantly ahead of the next-best mark, Patrick Mahomes (136.0). Herbert also leads NFL rookies with an overall 107.1 passer rating.

The other starter in the Chiefs’ backfield, rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, leads all NFL players with 682 scrimmage yards (505 rushing, 177 receiving) and ranks second in the NFL with 505 rushing yards, trailing only Derrick Henry (588). Edwards-Helaire ran for a season-high 161 yards to help the Chiefs beat Buffalo in Week 6.

Pittsburgh rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has six touchdowns (four receiving, two rushing) in his first five career games, tied with Martavis Bryant (2014), Willie Gault (1983), Calvin Ridley (2018) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998) for the most touchdowns by a rookie wide receiver in his first five career games since 1970.

Rookie wide receiver Ceedee Lamb, whose Dallas Cowboys travels to Landover to play Washington, is tied for the NFL lead in third-down receptions (12). Overall, Lamb leads NFL rookies with 36 receptions and looks to extend his NFL record this week by catching at least five passes in a seventh consecutive game to open a career.

SEAHAWKS, CARDINALS GO HEAD-TO-HEAD SUNDAY: Seattle, 5-0 and off to their best start in franchise history, comes off a bye with a stiff road test at Arizona (4-2) on Sunday.

Seattle in games after its bye under head coach Pete Carroll has an NFC best 7-3 record since he took the reins of the team in 2010. In the NFL, only Baltimore’s John Harbaugh (8-2) and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (8-3) have better records after the bye in that span.

Quarterback Russell Wilson in games after a bye has a 6-1 career record, the NFL’s best mark by a starting quarterback since he entered the league in 2013 (minimum four starts). Wilson, who leads the NFL this year with 19 touchdown passes, needs four on Sunday to become the third quarterback in NFL history with at least 250 touchdown passes in his first nine seasons. Wilson, who would join Peyton Manning (275) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (266), has 246 touchdown passes in 133 career games.

The Seahawks have a four-year winning streak in games after a bye. Their last loss was Week 10 of the 2015 season to the Cardinals, in Seattle, 39-32. In that contest, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 10 receptions for 130 yards.
Fitzgerald, who has 1,399 career receptions in 256 games, needs one reception on Sunday to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,549) as the only players in NFL history with 1,400 career catches.

Arizona wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (100.2) and Seattle wide receiver D.K. Metcalf (99.2) are the NFL’s top players, respectively, in receiving yards per game this season.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, October 18, the sixth week of the 2020 season.

Indianapolis overcame a 21-point deficit to defeat Cincinnati, 31-27, in Week 6. Indianapolis is the first team to overcome a deficit of at least 21 points to win in the regular season since Week 1 of the 2016 season (Kansas City trailed 24-3 and defeated the San Diego Chargers, 33-27, in overtime).

The 2020 season is the first season in NFL history in which at least one team has overcome a deficit of 16-or-more points and won in each of the first six weeks of the season.

Tampa Bay overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat Green Bay, 38-10, on Sunday. There have been 19 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win this season, tied with the 2011 (19 games) and 1987 (19) seasons for the most such games through Week 6 in NFL history.

Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady passed for two touchdowns with a 104.9 rating while tight end Rob Gronkowski had 78 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers’ Week 6 win.

Including the postseason, Brady and Gronkowski have connected for 91 touchdowns, surpassing Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates (90 touchdowns) for the third-most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver pairing in NFL history. Only Peyton Manning and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (114 touchdowns) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame combination of Steve Young and Jerry Rice (92) had more.

Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 371 yards and three touchdowns, his 30th career game with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes, in the Colts’ Week 6 win.

Rivers is the sixth player to reach 30 career games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in NFL history, joining Drew Brees (67), Tom Brady (51), Peyton Manning (46), Aaron Rodgers (36) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (33).

Colts tight end Trey Burton had two touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing) in Week 6. He is the fourth tight end since 2000 with both a receiving and rushing touchdown in a single game, joining Eric Ebron (Week 10, 2018), Coby Fleener (Week 6, 2016) and Rob Gronkowski (Week 13, 2011).

Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed for 364 yards and four touchdowns, running back Derrick Henry totaled a career-high 264 scrimmage yards (212 rushing, 52 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns, including a 94-yard touchdown run, and tight end Anthony Firsker had 113 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Titans’ 42-36 overtime win over Houston.

Tennessee is the third team to have a 300-yard passer, 200-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same regular-season game in league annals, joining Cleveland (September 16, 2007) and Kansas City (January 1, 2006).

Henry, who also recorded 211 rushing yards in Week 17 of the 2019 season and 238 rushing yards in Week 14 of the 2018 season, is the first player to record a game with at least 200 rushing yards in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Henry, who also had a 99-yard touchdown run in Week 14 of the 2018 season, is the fifth player in league annals with multiple career rushing touchdowns of at least 90 yards, joining Ahmah Green (two), Bo Jackson (two), Chris Johnson (two) and Lamar Miller (two).

Henry has five career rushing touchdowns of at least 70 yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders (five) and O.J. SIMPSON (five) for the third-most in NFL history. Only Chris Johnson (seven) and Adrian Peterson (seven) have more.

Appearing in his fifth career game, Pittsburgh rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool registered a rushing touchdown in the Steelers’ 38-7 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

Claypool has six touchdowns (four receiving, two rushing) in his first five career games, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998), Martavis Bryant (2014), Willie Gault (1983) and Calvin Ridley (2018) for the most touchdowns by a rookie wide receiver in his first five career games since 1970.

The Steelers defense recorded four sacks and two interceptions in Week 6 and joined the 1985 New York Giants as the only teams in NFL history to record at least three sacks and an interception in each of their first five games of a season.

Denver kicker Brandon McManus converted all six of his field goal attempts, including field goals of 52 and 54 yards, in the Broncos’ 18-12 win at New England in Week 6.

McManus has six career games with at least two 50-yard field goals, tied with Justin Tucker (six) for the most such games in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK SEVEN

THE FUTURE IS NOW: Through the first six weeks of the 2020 NFL season, rookies are making immediate impacts around the league.

Entering Week 7, Kansas City running back Clyde Edward-Helaire leads the NFL in scrimmage yards (682) and ranks second in rushing yards (505). Pittsburgh wide receiver Chase Claypool ties for fifth in the NFL with six touchdowns (four receiving, two rushing), while Minnesota wide receiver Justin Jefferson ranks fifth in the league with 537 receiving yards.

Including Jefferson, four rookie wide receivers have at least 300 receiving yards this season [Dallas’ Ceedee Lamb (497), Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins (339) and Claypool (335)], tied with the 2013 and 1986 seasons for the most though Week 6 since 1970.

Overall, rookies have combined for a total of 8,509 scrimmage yards in 2020. With at least 1,305 combined scrimmage yards in Week 7, 2020 will surpass the 2017 season (9,813) for the most combined scrimmage yards by rookies through Week 7 since 1970 (not including the 1987 season with replacement players).

The seasons with the most combined scrimmage yards by rookies through Week 7 since 1970 (not including 1987):

SEASON – SCRIMMAGE YARDS
2017 – 9,813
2018 – 9,239
2014 – 9,027
2020 – 8,509*
2019 – 8,253
*Through Week 6

YOUNG SLINGERS: In addition to rookie backs and receivers taking the league by storm, rookie quarterbacks are also finding success early in their careers. Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow ranks second in the NFL in completions (160) and eighth in passing yards (1,617). Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert ranks ninth among qualified passers with a 107.1 passer rating through his first four career starts.

If Burrow reaches the 300-yard passing mark at Cleveland on Sunday, he will become the fourth rookie quarterback with at least five 300-yard passing games in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2012 – 6)
Daniel Jones – New York Giants (2019 – 5)
Kyler Murray – Arizona (2019 – 5)
Joe Burrow – Cincinnati (2020 – 4)*
*Entering Week 7

Herbert needs at least three touchdown passes on Sunday against Jacksonville to join DeShaun Watson (four consecutive games in 2017) as the only rookie quarterbacks in NFL history with at least three touchdown passes in three consecutive games. Herbert threw three touchdown passes in Week 4 and four touchdown passes in Week 5.​

With at least 250 passing yards, Herbert can join Patrick Mahomes as the only players in NFL history with at least 250 passing yards in each of their first five career games. Mahomes had at least 250 passing yards in each of his first 10 games.

FEELING 100: Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr enters Week 7 leading all qualified passers in completion percentage (73.1), while ranking second in passer rating (115.9). In 99 career starts, Carr has 24,235 passing yards, 2,248 completions and 154 touchdown passes, all the most in Raiders franchise history.

With at least 15 completions against Tampa Bay on Sunday night, Carr will surpass Tony Romo (2,262 completions) for the second-most career completions by a player through his first 100 starts in NFL history. Only Matthew Stafford (2,410) has more.

The players with the most career completions through their first 100 starts in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (COMPLETIONS)
Matthew Stafford – Detroit (2,410)
Tony Romo – Dallas (2,262)
Derek Carr – Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2,248)*
*Expected to make his 100th career start on Sunday night

HISTORIC CONNECTION: Last week, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski connected for their first touchdown as members of the Buccaneers. It marked the 91st touchdown connection in their careers, including the postseason, surpassing Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates (90 touchdowns) for the third-most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver pairing in NFL history.

With another touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski at Las Vegas Sunday night, the pair will tie the Pro Football Hall of Fame combination of Steve Young and Jerry Rice (92 touchdowns) for the second-most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver pairing in NFL history, including the postseason. Only Peyton Manning and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (114) have more.

The quarterback-receiver pairings with the most touchdowns in NFL history, including the postseason:

QUARTERBACK/RECEIVER (TOUCHDOWNS)

Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison (114)HOF
Steve Young/Jerry Rice (92)HOF
Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski (91)

(Harrison, Young and Rice and in Hall of Fame)

SECOND-YEAR SURGE: Through five games, Seattle wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is averaging 99.2 receiving yards per game, the second-highest mark in the league this season and has recorded at least 90 receiving yards in each game.

With at least 90 receiving yards on Sunday at Arizona, Metcalf will become the fifth player to record at least 90 receiving yards in each of his team’s first six games of a season in NFL history.

The players with at least 90 receiving yards in the most consecutive games to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, GAMES)
Michael Irvin – Dallas (1995, 9) HOF
Dwight Clark – San Francisco (1982 – 8)
Adam Thielen – Minnesota (2018 – 8)
Charley Hennigan – Houston Oilers (1961 – 7)
D.K. Metcalf – Seattle (2020 – 5)*
*Active streak

125 IN 35: Last week, Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones recorded eight receptions for 137 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season, his 34th-career game with at least 125 receiving yards.

With at least 125 receiving yards on Sunday against Detroit, Jones will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (35 games) for the second-most games with at least 125 receiving yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (49) has more such games.

The players with the most career games with at least 125 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (GAMES)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (49)HOF
Randy Moss – Minnesota, Oakland and New England (35)HOF
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (34)

A FANTASTIC FIRST 50: In four games this season, San Francisco tight end George Kittle has totaled 30 receptions for 380 yards, ranking third and second among tight ends, respectively. In 49 career games, Kittle has 246 receptions for 3,325 receptions.

With at least 112 receiving yards on Sunday at New England, Kittle will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka (3,436 receiving yards) for the most receiving yards by a tight end through his first 50 career games in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in their first 50 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (RECEIVING YARDS)
Mike Ditka – Chicago (3,436)HOF
Kellen Winslow Sr.- San Diego Chargers (3,420)HOF
George Kittle – San Francisco (3,325)*
*Appearing in 50th game on Sunday

With at least three receptions on Sunday, Kittle will surpass Kellen Winslow Jr. (248 receptions) for the third-most receptions by a tight end through his first 50 career games in NFL history. Only Jordan Reed (266) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr. (262) have more.

The tight ends with the most receptions in their first 50 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (RECEPTIONS)
Jordan Reed – Washington (266)
Kellen Winslow Sr. – San Diego Chargers (262)HOF
Kellen Winslow Jr. – Cleveland and Tampa Bay (248)
George Kittle – San Francisco (246)*

*Appearing in 50th game on Sunday

As for last week? 8-6. Not bad. For the season? 58-33. There’s still a lot of football left on the docket and in the words of ESPN’s Chris Berman, “that’s why they play the games!” In case you missed it, there’s been a change in the schedule for this week. The Tampa Bay/Las Vegas game, which was scheduled to be in prime time Sunday night, has been moved to Sunday afternoon and the Seattle/Arizona game, which was to be a 4:25 p.m. start, will be the NBC Sunday night game.

Week seven began in the City of Brotherly Love as the Eagles squeaked by the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field Thursday night and ends in Los Angeles as the Los Angeles Rams hosts Da Bears Monday night. Byes this Week? Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami and Minnesota. Seattle, New Orleans, Las Vegas and the Los Angeles Chargers return to action from their break. Having said that, here are the picks for Sunday and Monday in week seven.

Detroit (2-3) at ATLANTA (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. A pair of sub-.500 teams meet in the Big Peach as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons hosts Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Both teams were road winners in last week’s play.

Stafford and the Lions were 36-16 winners over Jacksonville in the Sunshine State last Sunday. Detroit led 17-3 at the half, then proceeded to tale control of things at TIAA Bank Stadium, outscoring the Jaguars 17-13 in the last 30 minutes of play. The Lions held Jacksonville to 44 yards of rushing, while tallying 180 of their own, with rookie RB DeAndre Swift leading everyone with 116 yards and a pair of TDs and teammate Adrian Peterson chipping with 40 yards and a TD of his own. Stafford threw for 233 yards and a TD (Kenny Golloday led all recievers with 105 yards), while Gardner Minshew III threw for 243 and a TD (Minshew was sacked once, both Minshew and Stafford threw an interception in the contest). Detroit was 3 of 12 on third down tries in the Sunshine State (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:57, while the Jaguars were 24:03 in time of possession, going 7 of 13 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Atlanta ended their five-game losing streak under interim head coach Raheem Morris in the Twin Cities last Sunday, leaving US Bank Stadium with the 40-23 win. The Falcons scored the first 23 points of the contest uncontested, taking a 20-0 lead with them to the break in the process.

Atlanta out-rushed Minnesota 99-32 with Falcons RB Todd Gurley leading the way with 47 yards. Ryan threw for 371 yards and four TDs (connecting with Julio Jones on two; Calvin Ridley and TE Hayden Hurst had the other two catches), while Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 343 yards with three TDs but also threw three interceptions (two of them leading to Atlanta scoring drives) and was sacked once (Ryan was sacked twice but threw no interceptions).

The Falcons were 9 of 17 on third down tries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (Atlanta was perfect on fourth down, going 3 of 3) and they ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 40:07, while the Vikings, who kept the pigskin for 19:53, went 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Detroit leads the series (which includes games played at Fulton County Stadium, Tiger Stadium, the Georgia Dome, Ford Field and the Silverdome) 24-13 and have outscored the Falcons 829-774. Detroit’s last win over the Falcons did not come in North America; instead, the two teams traveled to London and the Lions were 22-21 winners at Wembley Stadium in 2014, while Atlanta would get revenge on the Lions in the Motor City in 2017, taking down the Lions 30-26. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Falcons as 2 1/2 point favorites in the Big Peach with a 55 over/under. Both teams are better than their records and both are looking to catch Chicago and New Orleans in the NFC North and South, respectively. Atlanta finished strong last year on a four-game winning streak. Could the Falcons be starting a new streak? Their fan base hopes so. Falcons rise up in the Big Peach and covers the 2 1/2 with a win at home.

Cleveland (4-2) at Cincinnati (1-4-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Baker Mayfield vs. Joe Burrow, Round 2. It’s Round 2 of the Buckeye State series as the Browns make their way south to face off against Cincinnati along the banks of the Ohio River. Both teams took losses on the road in last week’s action.

Cleveland was held to a second quarter TD by WR Richard Higgins as the Steelers took the Browns to task 38-7 last Sunday at Heinz Field. The Browns trailed 24-7 at the intermission, then watched Pittsburgh take control of things in the second half, scoring their final 14 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged. The Steelers held Cleveland to 75 yards of rushing, while tallying 129, with James Conner leading all rushers with 101 yards and a TD and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 162 yards and a TD, despite being sacked twice, while Baker Mayfield threw for 119 yards and the Higgins TD but was picked off twice and sacked four times. Cleveland was a somewhat dismal 1 of 12 on third down tries (the Browns were not much better on fourth down, going 0 of 3) and they would keep the ball for 25:54, while the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:06, going 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Bengals let a 24-21 lead at Indianapolis get away from them as Philip Rivers and the Colts stormed back in the second half to come away 31-27 winners at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday. The Colts scored 10 fourth quarter points unchallenged to take the win in the Hoosier State, using a 14-yard TD toss from Rivers to TE Jack Doyle and a 40-yard field goal from rookie K Rodrigo Blankenship to seal the deal.

Cincinnati out-rushed the Colts 98-59, with Bengals RB Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 54 yards and a TD (Jonathan Taylor lead the Colts with 60 yards. Rivers threw for 371 yards and three TDs, while Burrow threw for 313 yards (Burrow was sacked twice, Rivers was sacked once and each man threw an interception). The Colts were 7 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 25:32, while the Bengals actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 34:28, going 8 of 17 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The contest along the shores of the Ohio River is a rematch of a week two contest that saw the Browns hold off their AFC North and instate rival 35-30 at First Energy Field. Leading 21-13 at the intermission along the shores of Lake Erie, the Browns would hold off a late Cincinnat rally in the fourth quarter, when the Bengals made it a five-point contest with 43 seconds left when Herbert and WR Travis Boyd connected on a 9-yard TD strike.

Cleveland out-rushed Cincinnati 215-68 with Nick Chubb leading all rushers with 124 yards and a pair of TDs (Cincinnati was led by Joe Mixon with 46 yards on the ground). Mayfield threw for 219 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Odell Beckham, Jr.) with an interception but no sacks, while Hebert threw for 316 yards and three TDs (connecting with Mixon and Boyd on two) and was sacked three times without an interception.

Cleveland was 5 of 8 on third down (the Browns were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:21, while the Bengals actually ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 33:39, while going 8 of 18 on third down, 5 of 5 on fourth down. In the week two contest in Cleveland, the Browns were favored by 7 1/2 in the Thursday night contest but would win by only five. The two clubs did managed to cover the 46 over/under, tallying 65 points. Vegas likes the Browns again, this time as a 3-point road favorite with a 50 1/2 over/under. For the Bengals, it’s trying to keep their heads (and paws) above water. For the Browns, it’s a chance to put themselves a bit closer to the post-season. Cleveland rocks… and they win in Cincinnati, covering the 3.

Green Bay (4-1) at Houston (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay limp into Houston to face off against DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans in the Lone Star State at NRG Stadium. Both teams lost on the road in their contests last week.

Green Bay took a 10-0 lead against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, only to see that lead vanish as the Bucs scored 38 points unchallenged to take a 38-10 win at home. The Packers, knocked out of the ranks of the unbeatens, led 10-0 before the wheels would come off the bus, as Tampa Bay CB Jamel Dean picked off Rodgers and returned it 32 yards for a TD. Tampa Bay RB Ronald Jones II gave Tampa Bay the lead for good with a 2-yard TD run and from that point, things went from bad to worse for the Packers.

Jones ran for 113 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bucs out-rushed Green Bay 158-94 in the late afternoon contest in the Sunshine State. Brady threw for 166 yards and a pair of TDs (one to favorite target TE Ron Gronkowski), while Rodgers threw for 160 yards with four sacks and a pair of interceptions. Neither club had a fourth down attempt in the contest; Green Bay on third down was 7 of 17, while the Bucs were 5 of 12 and the clock was the ally of Green Bay, who held the ball for 31:37 to Tampa Bay’s 28:23.

Houston watched Tennessee rally late from a 7-point deficit against Houston as the Titans would take a 42-36 overtime win over the Texans last Sunday. Tennessee led 21-10 at the intermission before the Texans would rally and lead 36-29 with 1:50 left in regulation when Brandon Cooks and DeShaun Watson conected on a 1-yard TD toss (Houston went for two and did not make the conversion) before the home team rallied with four seconds left when Ryan Tannehill and WR A.J. Brown connected on a 7-yard TD toss to tie the contest at 36-36.

Tennessee would win the toss to start overtime and they made sure that the Texans would never see the ball again, as they used 6 plays, chewed up 82 yards of field and used 3:30 of clock with Derrick Henry sending Titans fans home happy with a 5-yard TD run, his second of the day.

Tennessee out-rushed Houston 263-92 and Henry led all rushers with 212 yards and the two scores (including the game-winner); Tannehill threw for 364 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 335 yards (Tannehill threw the contest’s only interception; both men were sacked twice and both threw four TDs). Both clubs did well on third down conversions; Houston was 7 of 14 (the Texans were 3 of 3 on fourth down), while the Titans were 6 of 10 and time was the ally of the Titans, who held on to the ball for 31:50 to Houston’s 31:40.

The Packers lead the series 3-1, they’ve outscored the Texans 100-74 and have won the last two meetings in the brief series, including a 21-13 win at Lambeau Field in 2016, while Houston’s lone win in the series also came at Lambeau Field in 2008 by a final of 24-21. Green Bay’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. The Texans are looking for their first win at home, while the Packers look to wash the stench of losing at Tampa Bay off. Scrub-a-dub-dub. Packers cover the 3 1/2 in Houston and wins on the road.

Carolina (3-3) at New Orleans (3-2), 1 p.m.:n FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy as Teddy Bridgewater returns to New Orleans to face off against Drew Brees and the Saints.

A Carolina rally at home at Bank of America Stadium fell short last Sunday as the Panthers came out on the short end of a 23-16 loss to Chicago. Carolina trailed 13-6 at halftime and would pull themselves to within 7 with 7:46 left in the contest on a 48-yard field goal by Jeff Slye. Carolina would get the ball back with 92 seconds left when Teddy Bridgewater’s first down pass attempt was picked off by Bears CB DeAndre Houston-Carson, ending the drive.

Carolina out-rushed Da Bears 112-63 and Bridgewater threw for 216 yards with four sacks and two interceptions (including the one that ended the Carolina rally), while Nick Foles threw for 198 yards with a TD toss to TE Cole Kmet (Foles threw an interception but was not sacked). Carolina was 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and the Panthers kept the ball for 31:06, while Chicago, who kept the ball for 28:54, went 7 of 14 on third down tries.

The Saints come back to action after their bye and their 30-27 overtime win over Justin Hebert and the Los Angeles Chargers i in the Big Easy two weeks ago. The Bolts led 20-10 at the intermission before the Saints would rally in the fnal 30 minutes of regulation, tying things up with 52 seconds left when backup QB Taysom Hill scored on a 9-yard run. New Orleans would get the ball to start the overtime and used a 9-play, 48-yard drive that would use 4:52 of clock with Wil Lutz connecting on a 36 yard field goal with 5:08 left in the overtime.

The Chargers, needing to either tie things up with a field goal or a TD to win the contest, got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff at their 25-yard line. With some help from a roughing the passer penalty on the Saints, the Chargers would get as close as their own 44-yard line, where four Herbert passes fell incomplete and the Saints took the win. While the Chargers out-rushed the Saints 111-95, Brees threw for 325 yards and a TD, while Hebert threw for 264 yards and four TDs (Brees threw the only interception in the contest and was sacked twice, while Hebert was sacked three times). New Orleans was 5 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:01, while the Chargers held on to the pigskin for 30:42 and went 8 of 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The series? Tied 25-25, with the Saints outscoring Carolina 1,115-1,097. New Orleans swept the series last year, taking wins in the Big Easy and in the Tar Heel State (Carolina’s last win over the Saints came in 2018 in the Big Easy by a final of 33-14).

Their first meeting? Week 12 in the Big Easy and the two teams went at it back and forth and it would be Wil Lutz sending Saints fans home happy with a 34-31 win in the final seconds. Leading 17-15 at the intermission, the Saints would watch Carolina chip away at the lead, using a 4-yard TD run by Christian McCaffrey and a D.J. Moore TD pass from Allen to even things up before the Saints used an 11-play, 65-yard drive that used the remaining 1:56 of the contest with Lutz connecting on the 33-yard field goal try as time expired.

While Carolina out-rushed New Orleans 121-118, Brees burned the Panthers for 311 yards, while Allen threw for 256 yards (both men threw three TDs, Allen was sacked four times, while Brees was sacked twice and threw the contest’s only interception). Carolina was 5 of 13 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and they would rule the clock and held on to the ball for 31:33, while the Saints were 4 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the pigskin for 28:27, including the final 1:56 of the contest.

The Saints completed the series sweep in Charlotte, taking a 42-10 win in the season finale. New Orleans led 28-3 at the break and held Carolina in check in the final 30 minutes of play. New Orleans out-rushed Carolina 115-41 and Brees threw for 253 yards with three TDs, while Allen threw for 295 with an interception (Allen was sacked once, Brees did not have a sack or interception). New Orleans went 4 for 11 on third down and kept the ball for 35:40, while Carolina kept the pigskin for 24:20, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 12 contest in the Big Easy, the Saints were favored by 9 1/2 but won by three. Both teams did cover the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 65 points. New Orleans covered the 13-point spread in the week 17 finale, winning by 32 and both teams took covered the 46 over/under with 52 points. The Saints are favored by 7 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 51. The Saints are trying to repeat as NFC South champs, while the Panthers want to stop that train at the station. Carolina pulls off the upset, taking the win in the Big Easy but expect things to be closer than 7 1/2.

Buffalo (4-2) at New York Jets (0-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They met in week one in upstate New York. This time, Buffalo shuffles its way to upstate New Jersey to face off against the New York J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, who are searching for their first win. Both teams lost their contests in last week’s action.

Buffalo kept Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champions close at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, before Kansas City pulled away and left upstate New York 26-17 winners last Monday. Trailing 13-10 at the intermission, Kansas City went on to outscore the Bills 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of play.

Kansas City out-rushed the Bills 245-84 with Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading all rushers with 161 yards in the make-up contest. Mahomes threw for 225 yards and a pair of TDs to TE Travis Kelce with one sack, while Buffalo’s Josh Allen threw for 122 yards with a pair of TDs and the only interception in the contest.

The Chiefs were 9 of 14 on third down tries (the defending Super Bowl champs were perfect on fourth down in their only try) and they would lay claim to the ball for 37:45, while the Bills, who held on the pigskin for 22:15, went 4 of 9 on third down tries.

GangGreen would find themselves shutout in Miami 24-0 at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday. The Dolphins scored all of their points unchecked, taking a 21-0 lead at the intermission. Even though the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! out-rushed Miami 115-110, Joe Flacco (taking over for Sam Darnold) threw for 186 yards with three sacks and an interception, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 191 yards and three TDs (Fitzpatrick was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Neither the Dolphins or Jets breached the 50 percent mark on third down (GangGreen was 2 of 17, 2 of 2 on fourth down; Miami was 1 of 9) and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:55 to Miami’s 28:05.

It’s a rematch from week one in upstate New York as the Bills circled the wagons in Orchard Park, taking a 27-17 win. Buffalo led 14-3 at the break, although GangGreen would outscore the Bills 14-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. Allen led all rushers with 57 yards as the Bills out-rushed GangGreen 98-52, with Allen throwing for 312 yards and a pair of TDs, while Darnold threw for 215 yards and a TD toss to Jamison Crowder (both Allen and Darnold were sacked three times and Darnold threw the contest’s only interception). Buffalo was 7 of 14 on third down but struck gold on fourth down, going 1 of 1, keeping the ball hostage for 41:16, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the pigskin for a mere 18:44, while going 4 for 11 on third down.

Buffalo’s 10-point win in the season opener in upstate New York allowed them to cover the 6 1/2-point spread and the 44 combined points easily covered the 39 over/under. Buffalo’s favored by 12 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 45. The 45? Makes a lot of sense. 12 1/2? That’s a little steep. Granted, GangGreen is bad but not 12 1/2 bad. Still, if nothing else, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! will throw everything at the Bills but Buffalo circles the wagon and takes the win on the road.

Pittsburgh (5-0) at Tennessee (5-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTv 705. They both have five wins under their belts. They’re both unbeaten and they meet at Nissan Stadium Sunday afternoon in the Music City. Pittsburgh and Tennessee meet in the battle of unbeaten teams. Both took wins at home in their last contests.

Pittsburgh held Baker Mayfield and Cleveland to a second quarter TD by WR Richard Higgins as the Steelers took the Browns to task 38-7 last Sunday at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 24-7 at the intermission, then floored the gas as they would proceed to score their final 14 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged. The Steelers held Cleveland to 75 yards of rushing, while tallying 129, with James Conner leading all rushers with 101 yards and a TD and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 162 yards and a TD, despite being sacked twice, while Baker Mayfield threw for 119 yards and the Higgins TD but was picked off twice and sacked four times. Cleveland was a somewhat dismal 1 of 12 on third down tries (the Browns were not much better on fourth down, going 0 of 3) and they would keep the ball for 25:54, while the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:06, going 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Tennessee rallied late from a 7-point deficit against Houston as the Titans needed overtime to take a 42-36 win over the Texans last Sunday. Tennessee led 21-10 at the intermission before the Texans would rally and lead 36-29 with 1:50 left in regulation when Brandon Cooks and DeShaun Watson conected on a 1-yard TD toss (Houston went for two and did not make the conversion) before the home team rallied with four seconds left when Ryan Tannehill and WR A.J. Brown connected on a 7-yard TD toss to tie the contest at 36-36.

Tennessee would win the toss to start overtime and they made sure that the Texans would never see the ball again, as they used 6 plays, chewed up 82 yards of field and used 3:30 of clock with Derrick Henry sending Titans fans home happy with a 5-yard TD run, his second of the day.

Tennessee out-rushed Houston 263-92 and Henry led all rushers with 212 yards and the two scores (including the game-winner); Tannehill threw for 364 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 335 yards (Tannehill threw the contest’s only interception; both men were sacked twice and both threw four TDs). Both clubs did well on third down conversions; Houston was 7 of 14 (the Texans were 3 of 3 on fourth down), while the Titans were 6 of 10 and time was the ally of the Titans, who held on to the ball for 31:50 to Houston’s 31:40.

Including games played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and games played at the Astrodome and Three Rivers Stadium, the Steelers lead series 43-31, Pittsburgh has outscored the Titans 1,546-1,294 and have won the last two meetings, including a 40-17 win in the Steel City in 2017, while Tennessee’s last win came at Heinz Field in 2013 by a final of 16-9. Tennessee’s favored by 1 in the Music City and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Since these two are unbeaten, it’s only fitting that this one becomes “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 61 last June and dates a 45-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?”)

In the end, one team’s staying unbeaten. The other? They’ll think about what might have been. Steelers roll on, cover the 1 with the win in the Music City and takes the win.

Dallas (2-4) at Washington (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Forget the records. These two teams don’t like each other. They’re not Facebook friends and don’t expect them to break bread anytime soon. Dallas and Washington, the NFC’s answer to the Hatfields and McCoys gets underway in Landover as the first-place Cowboys face off against Washington at FedEx Field. Both teams look to right their ships after losses last week.

A Washington rally in the Meadowlands fell short as the Giants broke their five-game losing streak at home in the Meadowlands, coming away 20-19 winners over Washington at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. The Giants took a 13-10 lead with them to the intermission before Washington chipped way and tied things up with 8:56 left in the contest on a 28-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins. Big Blue would reclaim the lead with 3:29 left when rookie LB Tae Crowder lived a lineman’s dream, recovering a fumble and returning the ball 42 yards for his first career NFL TD.

Washington made things a lot closer than Giants fans would have liked when they used a 10-play, 75 yard drive that used 2:53 of clock to pull themselves to within one when WR Cam Sims and QB Kyle Allen connected on a 22-yard TD toss. Washington then went for the two-point try in an effort to leave upstate New Jersey with the win but Allen’s pass failed. Washington then went for the onside kick, which the Giants successfully recovered and they would run out the clock to take the win.

New York outrushed Washington 132-86 and Doug Jones threw for 112 yards and a TD, leading all rushers in the contest with 74 yards (Jones was sacked once), while Allen threw for 280 yards and a pair of TDs (including the toss to Sims; Jones was sacked once, Allen was sacked three times and both men threw an interception). The Giants were 7 of 11 on third down conversions at Met Life Stadium and held the ball for 26:30, while Washington ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 33:30, going 8 of 15 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

A Dallas team with Andy Dalton under center in place of Dak Prescott was taken to task last Monday night at AT&T Stadium by Arizona as the Cardinals came away 38-10 winners over the Cowboys. Dallas trailed the Desert Angry Birds led 21-3 at the break after a scoreless first quarter, then watched the Cardinals floored the gas, outscoring the Cowboys 17-7 in the last 30 minutes of play.

Dallas was out-rushed by Arizona 261-97 with Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake leading all rushers with 164 yards and a pair of TDs (Dallas was led by Ezekiel Elliott with 49 yards). Murray threw for 188 yards with a pair of TDs to Christian Kirk, while Dalton, making his first start in almost a year, threw for 266 yards with a TD toss to Amari Cooper (Dalton threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked three times, while Murray was sacked once). Arizona was 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 26:23, while the Cowboys ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 33:37, going 6 of 15 on third down tries (both teams were successful on fourth down tries; Arizona was 1 of 1, Dallas went 3 of 3).

Including contests played in the Cotton Bowl, RFK Stadium and AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys lead the series 73-43-2, has outscored Washington 2,787-2,275 and won the last three meetings in the series, including sweeping last year’s series. (Washington’s last win over the Cowboys? 2018 in Landover, when they left FedEx Field 20-17 winners.)

The first meeting? Landover in week two. After a scoreless first quarter, Dallas took a 14-7 lead with them to the half and left FedEx Field 31-21 winners. Elliott ran for 111 yards and a TD as the Cowboys out-rushed Washington 213-47. Prescott threw for 269 yards and three TDs (connecting with Jason Whitten and Amari Cooper on two of the tosses), while Case Keenum threw for 221 yards and a pair of TDs. (both QBs were sacked once and Prescott threw the contest’s only interception). Dallas was 7 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:22, while Washington, keeping the ball for 26:38, went 2 of 4 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Dallas made the series a clean sweep at AT&T Stadium in the week 17 season finale, coming away 47-16 winners. Dallas led 20-10 at the intermission in what would be Jason Garrett’s final game as Cowboys head coach, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes, outscoring Washington 27-6 in that period. Again, Elliott would lead all rushers, tallying 122 yards and a rushing TD (he also had a catch for a TD) as Dallas out-rushed Washington 223-88, while Prescott threw for 303 yards and four TDs (connecting with Michael Gallup on three of them) with Keenum throwing for 206 yards and a TD (Keenum was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Prescott was sacked three times). Dallas was 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and the Cowboys kept the ball for 34:15, while Washington closed out the season, going 1 of 12 and 0 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the pigskin for 25:45.

In the week two contest at Landover, Dallas was favored by 5 and covered, winning by 10 at FedEx Field and both teams took care of the 46 1/2 over/under with 52 points. Dallas’ 31-point win in the season finale at AT&T allowed them to cover the 11-point spread and both teams surpassed the 44 1/2 over/under, tallying 63 points. In this year’s first meeting, Washington’s favored by 1 with a 46 over/under. Both numbers make sense and both teams are chasing Philadelphia for the top spot in the NFC East. Dallas pulls off the upset in Landover, covering the 1.

Jacksonville (1-5) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-4), 4:25 on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of struggling teams face off in southern California as Jacksonville makes the long trip down I-10 to face the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams lost in last week’s action.

Jacksonville watched Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions take a 36-16 win in the Sunshine State last Sunday. The Jaguars trailed 17-3 at the half, then Detroit tale control of things at TIAA Bank Stadium, outscoring the Jaguars 17-13 in the last 30 minutes of play. Jacksonville was held to 44 yards of rushing, while Detroit was tallying 180 of their own, with rookie RB DeAndre Swift leading everyone with 116 yards and a pair of TDs and teammate Adrian Peterson chipping with 40 yards and a TD of his own.

Stafford threw for 233 yards and a TD (Kenny Golloday led all recievers with 105 yards), while Gardner Minshew III threw for 243 and a TD (Minshew was sacked once, both Minshew and Stafford threw an interception in the contest). Detroit was 3 of 12 on third down tries in the Sunshine State (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:57, while the Jaguars were 24:03 in time of possession, going 7 of 13 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

A Chargers drive in overtime fell short as Los Angeles fell to New Orleans 30-27 in the Big Easy two weeks ago. New Orleans trailed 20-10 at the intermission before the Saints rallied in the fnal 30 minutes of regulation, tying things up with 52 seconds left when backup QB Taysom Hill scored on a 9-yard run. New Orleans would get the ball to start the overtime and used a 9-play, 48-yard drive that would use 4:52 of clock with Wil Lutz connecting on a 36 yard field goal with 5:08 left in the overtime.

The Chargers, needing to either tie things up with a field goal or a TD to win the contest, got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff at their 25-yard line. With some help from a roughing the passer penalty on the Saints, the Chargers would get as close as their own 44-yard line, where four Herbert passes fell incomplete and the Saints took the win. While the Chargers out-rushed the Saints 111-95, Brees threw for 325 yards and a TD, while Hebert threw for 264 yards and four TDs (Brees threw the only interception in the contest and was sacked twice, while Hebert was sacked three times). New Orleans was 5 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:01, while the Chargers held on to the pigskin for 30:42 and went 8 of 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down. The Chargers are favored by 8 and the over/under’s 49. Both numbers make sense. Chargers take this one on the West Coast but expect the Jaguars to make things closer than 8.

Kansas City (5-1) at Denver (2-3), 4:25 p.m, on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of AFC/AFL rivals meet in the Mile High City as the defending Super Bowl champs travel to Denver to face off against Denver. Both clubs were road winners in their contests last week.

Buffalo kept Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champions close at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, before Kansas City pulled away and left upstate New York 26-17 winners last Monday. Trailing 13-10 at the intermission, Kansas City went on to outscore the Bills 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of play.

Kansas City out-rushed the Bills 245-84 with Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading all rushers with 161 yards in the make-up contest. Mahomes threw for 225 yards and a pair of TDs to TE Travis Kelce with one sack, while Buffalo’s Josh Allen threw for 122 yards with a pair of TDs and the only interception in the contest.

The Chiefs were 9 of 14 on third down tries (the defending Super Bowl champs were perfect on fourth down in their only try) and they would lay claim to the ball for 37:45, while the Bills, who held on the pigskin for 22:15, went 4 of 9 on third down tries.

Denver used six Brian McManus field goals in Foxboro to take down Cam Newton and the New England 18-12 in Foxboro last Sunday. The Broncos led 12-3 at the intermission before the Patriots would pull themselves to within six with 3:23 left on a 38-yard field goal by Nick Folk.

Denver out-rushed New England 135-117 with Broncos RB Patrick Lindsey leading the way with 101 yards (Newton led New England with 76 yards and had the contest’s only TD, scoring from a yard out). Denver went 4 of 14 on third down at Gillette Stadium and held on to the ball for 32:30. As for New England, the Patriots were 27:30 in time of possession and went 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests played when the Chiefs called Houston home and were known as the Texans and games were played at Swope Field and Mile High Stadium, the Chiefs lead the series 65-54, have outscored Denver 2,773-2,428 and have won the last nine meetings, including sweeping last year’s contests in the Show Me State and the Mile High City (Denver’s last win? 2015 at Arrowhead by a final of 31-24).

Empower Field at Mile High was the site of the first meeting, a week seven Thursday night affair in the Mile High City and the Chiefs and Mahomes prevailed 30-6. Denver was held to a first-quarter TD by Royce Freeman and trailed 10-7 after one quarter of play. From that point, Kansas City would score the next 20 points of the contest unchallenged, leading 20-6 at the intermission.

Kansas City out-rushed Denver 80-71 with LeSean McCoy leading all rushers with 64 yards. Mahomes threw for 76 yards and TD before being pulled from the contest when the game was settled, while Joe Flacco threw for 213 yards with eight sacks, while Mahomes was untouched (neither man threw an interception). The Chiefs were 5 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 32:13, while Denver, keeping the pigskin for 27:47, went a dismal 1 of 13 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The Chiefs completed the sweep of the series at Arrowhead in week 15 in a snowstorm and came away 23-3 winners. Holding the Broncos to a McManus field goal in the second quarter, the Chiefs led 15-3 at the half and scored eight third quarter points without a challenge. As was the case in the meeting in Denver, neither team breached the 100-yard barrier but the Chiefs managed to out-rush Denver 92-52 and Mahomes threw for 340 yards and a pair of TDs to Tyreek Hill, while Lock threw for 208 yards (Lock was sacked twice, Mahomes was sacked three times and each QB threw an interception). The Chiefs were 6 of 11 on third down tries in the Show-Me State and they would hold on to the ball for 33:33, while Denver would keep the pigskin for 26:27, going 5 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

In the week seven Thursday contest in the Mile High City, Kansas City won by 24, allowing them to cover the 2-point spread but the 43 1/2 over/under was intact as the two clubs merged for 36 points. Kansas City was favored again in the week 15 rematch at Arrowhead, this time by 11 and the Chiefs didn’t disappoint the boys and girls in Vegas, covering with the 20-point win but the 47 over/under was intact, as the two clubs combined for 26 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Chiefs as 9 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 45. Chiefs may not cover the 9 1/2 but they’ll leave the Mile High City with the win.

San Francisco (3-3) at New England (2-3), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Sourdough meets chowder as the San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garroppolo met Cam Newton and the New England Patriots square off in Foxboro in a late afternoon affair Sunday at Gillette.

San Francisco held off the Los Angeles Rams 24-16 at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday night. The 49ers led their NFC West and in-state rivals 21-6 at the intermission in wine country, then held off the Rams, who outscored them 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Francisco out-rushed the Rams 122-113 and Garoppolo threw for 268 yards and three TDs (one to George Kittle), while Jarred Goff threw for 198 yards with a pair of TDs (neither man was sacked and Goff threw the contest’s only interception). San Francsico went 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down tries and kept the ball for 37:55, while the Rams kept the pigskin for 22:05, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver used six Brian McManus field goals in Foxboro to take down Cam Newton and the New England 18-12 in Foxboro last Sunday. The Broncos led 12-3 at the intermission before the Patriots would pull themselves to within six with 3:23 left on a 38-yard field goal by Nick Folk.

Denver out-rushed New England 135-117 with Broncos RB Patrick Lindsey leading the way with 101 yards (Newton led New England with 76 yards and had the contest’s only TD, scoring from a yard out). Denver went 4 of 14 on third down at Gillette Stadium and held on to the ball for 32:30. As for New England, the Patriots were 27:30 in time of possession and went 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests played when the Chiefs called Houston home and were known as the Texans and games were played at Swope Field and Mile High Stadium, the Chiefs lead the series 65-54, have outscored Denver 2,773-2,428 and have won the last nine meetings, including sweeping last year’s contests in the Show Me State and the Mile High City (Denver’s last win? 2015 at Arrowhead by a final of 31-24).

San Francisco leads the series 8-5 and the 49ers have outscored New England 322-262. New England won the last meeting, as the Patriots left Levis’ Stadium 30-17 winners in 2016, while the 49ers last win over the Patriots came in 2012 in Foxboro by a final of 41-34. New England’s favored by 2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 43 1/2. This one might not be “Drill Worthy” but it’ll be entertaining. Pats bounce back and cover the 1 in Foxboro.

Tampa Bay (4-2) at Las Vegas (1-4), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Tampa Bay and Tom Brady travels to Sin City for a Sunday night meeting with the Silver and Black. The contest, scheduled for prime time, was moved to the late afternoon slot by the NFL.

Green Bay took a 10-0 lead against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, only to see that lead vanish as the Bucs scored 38 points unchallenged to take a 38-10 win at home. The Packers, knocked out of the ranks of the unbeatens, led 10-0 before the wheels would come off the bus, as Tampa Bay CB Jamel Dean picked off Aaron Rodgers and returned it 32 yards for a TD. Tampa Bay RB Ronald Jones II gave Tampa Bay the lead for good with a 2-yard TD run and from that point, things went from bad to worse for the Packers.

Jones ran for 113 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bucs out-rushed Green Bay 158-94 in the late afternoon contest in the Sunshine State. Brady threw for 166 yards and a pair of TDs (one to favorite target TE Ron Gronkowski), while Rodgers threw for 160 yards with four sacks and a pair of interceptions. Neither club had a fourth down attempt in the contest; Green Bay on third down was 7 of 17, while the Bucs were 5 of 12 and the clock was the ally of Green Bay, who held the ball for 31:37 to Tampa Bay’s 28:23.

The Raiders return to play after their bye week and a 40-32 win at Kansas City two weeks ago. Breaking a 24-24 tie at the end of three quarters (it was 24-24 at the half), the Raiders scored 16 fourth quarter points unthreatened to take the road win. Las Vegas out-rushed the defending Super Bowl champs 144-80 with Raiders RB Josh Jacobs leading the way with 77 yards and a pair of TDs. Carr threw for 347 yards and three TDs in the Show-Me State, while Patrick Mahomes had 340 yards with TD to Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins (Mahomes was sacked three times, Carr was sacked once and each man threw an interception).

The Silver and Black lead the series 7-2 (including games played in Los Angeles) and have outscored Tampa Bay 279-182. The Raiders were 30-24 overtime winners in their last meeting, which took place in Tampa in 2016 in their last meeting, while Tampa Bay’s last win came in Oakland in 2012 by a final of 42-32. Tampa Bay’s favored by 3 1/2, according to the boys and girls in Vegas and they’ve given this one a 52 1/2 over/under. If for no other reason, this one might be an entertaining one to watch. Bucs cover the 3 1/2 in Sin City and takes the road win.

Seattle (5-0) at Arizona (4-2), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Russell Wilson vs. Kyler Murray. They meet again as a pair of NFC West contending teams meet in Glendale at State Farm Stadium. Both teams were winners in their last contests; Seattle coming off a bye, while Arizona beating Dallas in prime time Monday night.

Seattle returns from their bye week after their 27-26 win over Minnesota two Sundays ago at Century Link Field. Trailing 13-0 at the intermission in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, Wilson and the Seahawks would go to work in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Vikings 27-13 in that time frame and took the lead for keeps with 15 seconds left when they would use a 13-play, 94-yard drive that would use 1:42 of clock and ended with Wilson connecting with D.K. Metcalf on a 6-yard TD toss with 15 seconds left in regulation.

In the contest that had four lead changes, Minnesota out-rushed Seattle 201-124 and Vikings RB Alexander Mattison led all rushers with 112 yards, while Wilson led Seattle with 58 yards. Wilson threw for 217 yards and three TDs (including the game-winner), while Kirk Cousins threw for 249 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Adam Thielen (Cousins was sacked three times, Wilson was sacked four and each threw an interception). Seattle was 0 for 7 on third down but found success on fourth down at 2 of 2 and the Seahawks kept the ball for 20:32, while the Vikings, who actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 39:28, went 6 of 14 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Arizona took a Dallas team with Andy Dalton under center in place of Dak Prescott to task last Monday night at AT&T Stadium and came away 38-10 winner over the Cowboys. The Desert Angry Birds led 21-3 at the break after a scoreless first quarter, then floored the gas, outscoring the Cowboys 17-7 in the last 30 minutes of play.

Dallas was out-rushed by Arizona 261-97 with Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake leading all rushers with 164 yards and a pair of TDs (Dallas was led by Ezekiel Elliott with 49 yards). Murray threw for 188 yards with a pair of TDs to Christian Kirk, while Dalton, making his first start in almost a year, threw for 266 yards with a TD toss to Amari Cooper (Dalton threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked three times, while Murray was sacked once). Arizona was 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 26:23, while the Cowboys ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 33:37, going 6 of 15 on third down tries (both teams were successful on fourth down tries; Arizona was 1 of 1, Dallas went 3 of 3).

Seattle leads the series with the Desert Angry Birds 21-20-1 (including contests played in St. Louis and at the Kingdome) and Seattle has outscored Arizona 1,036-811. While the two clubs split last year’s contests, they were winners in the other team’s building.

They met in the desert in week four and Seattle came out of State Farm Stadium 27-10 winners. The Seahawks led 20-3 at the break and the two clubs stuck close to each other in the second half. Both clubs ran for 115 yards in the contest, with Carson leading the way with 104 yards. Wilson threw for 240 yards and a TD, while Murray threw for 241 yards (both men were sacked four times, with Murray throwing the game’s only interception). Seattle went 4 of 10 on third down and held the ball for 33:24, while the Desert Angry Birds, going 3 of 9 on third down, kept the pigskin for 26:36.

Arizona sought revenge in the rematch in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and they would get that revenge in week 16, taking a 27-13 win at Century Link Field. The Desert Angry Birds erased a 7-7 first quarter tie, scoring 10 second-quarter points unchallenged and then floored the gas, outscoring Seattle 10-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. This time, Arizona ran roughshod over Seattle, with the Desert Angry Birds out-rushing Seattle 253-91 and Drake would lead all rushers with 166 yards and a pair of TDs. Murray threw for 118 yards in the Pacifc Northwest, while Wilson threw for 169 yards (both men threw a TD pass without an interception, Wilson was sacked five times while Murray was sacked once). Arizona was 5 of 15 on third down conversions but struck gold in their only fourth down try (1 of 1) and the Desert Angry Birds ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:53, while Seattle kept the pigskin for 25:07, going a somewhat dismal 1 of 12 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Seattle was favored by 5 in the week four contest in the desert and they covered with their 17-point win. The 48 over/under? It was intact as the two clubs combined for only 37 points. In the week 16 contest in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, Seattle was again favored, this time by 9 1/2 points and the Desert Angry Birds covered, winning by 14 and the 49 1/2 over/under was safe and sound as the two teams would merge to tally 40 points. Seattle’s favored by 3 1/2 in the desert and the over/under’s 56. Arizona would love nothing more than to give Seattle their first loss. As for the Seahawks? They’re not exactly interested in losing this time around. Seattle covers the 3 1/2 and takes the road win against the Desert Angry Birds.

Chicago (5-1) at Los Angeles Rams (4-2), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Nick Foles vs. Jared Goff. They meet in Inglewood on a Monday night as Da Bears face off against the Los Angeles Rams.

Da Bears held off a late Carolina rally at Bank of America Stadium fell short last Sunday as Chicago came away 23-16 winners at Charlotte. Carolina trailed 13-6 at halftime and would pull themselves to within 7 with 7:46 left in the contest on a 48-yard field goal by Jeff Slye. Carolina would get the ball back with 92 seconds left when Teddy Bridgewater’s first down pass attempt was picked off by Bears CB DeAndre Houston-Carson, ending the drive.

Carolina out-rushed Da Bears 112-63 and Bridgewater threw for 216 yards with four sacks and two interceptions (including the one that ended the Carolina rally), while Nick Foles threw for 198 yards with a TD toss to TE Cole Kmet (Foles threw an interception but was not sacked). Carolina was 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and the Panthers kept the ball for 31:06, while Chicago, who kept the ball for 28:54, went 7 of 14 on third down tries.

San Francisco held off the Rams 24-16 at Levis’ Stadium last Sunday night. The 49ers led their NFC West and in-state rivals 21-6 at the intermission in wine country, then held off the Rams, who outscored them 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Francisco out-rushed the Rams 122-113 and Garoppolo threw for 268 yards and three TDs (one to George Kittle), while Jarred Goff threw for 198 yards with a pair of TDs (neither man was sacked and Goff threw the contest’s only interception). San Francsico went 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down tries and kept the ball for 37:55, while the Rams kept the pigskin for 22:05, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests in Cleveland, Anaheim, St. Louis and games played at the corners of Waveland, Clark, Sheffield and Addison (Wrigley Field), Da Bears lead the series 53-36-3 and have outscored the Rams 2,123-1,846. The two teams have met the last two seasons and each team has taken wins at home; the Rams’ last win came in Los Angeles last year by a final of 17-7, while Da Bears were 15-6 winners in the Windy City the year before.

They met on the West Coast in week 11 at the Coliseum and the Rams led 10-0 at the half after the two teams were scoreless after the first quarter of play, using a 38-yard field goal by Greg Zeurlein and a 1-yard TD run by Todd Gurley. Chicago would end Los Angeles’ bid for a shut out in the third quarter when Mitchell Trubisky and Tarik Cohen connected on a 14-yard TD toss before Los Angeles restored order in the fourth quarter as RB Malcom Brown scored from 5 yards out.

Gurley led all rushers with 97 yards as the Rams out-rushed Chicago 110-74 and Goff threw for 173 yards and Trubisky threw for 190 yards and the TD toss (Goff and Trubisky each threw an interception, with Trubisky being sacked once). The Rams were 3 of 10 on third down and kept the ball for 27:16, while Da Bears actually ruled da clock, keeping the ball for 32:44, going 6 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Chicago on Monday night? 32-38 but Da Bears won their only Monday night contest last year, while the Rams are 28-33 and lost their only Monday contest last year. The Rams were 6 1/2 point favorites in the week 11 Sunday night contest on the West Coast and the Rams covered, winning by 10 but the 40 1/2 was safe and untouched as the two teams merged for only 24 points. Los Angeles is favored by 6 on the West Coast and the over/under’s 44 1/2. It’s possible that these two teams could very well meet in the post-season and their last two contests in the last two years have been nail-biters. Rams win this one in Cali but expect Da Bears to keep it closer than the 6.

To call week four crazy is an understatement.

Stephen King could not have written a better screenplay.

3 teams (Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Denver) picked up their first wins.

4 teams remain unbeaten (Seattle, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Buffalo)

4 teams are still looking for that first win (New York Jets, New York Giants, Houston and Atlanta)

And then there were two games that were interupted by the COVID 19 virus. New England-Kansas City and Pittsubrgh-Tennessee were slated to play Sunday but had those plans altered by the virus. The Patriots-Chiefs game moved to Monday night, while the Steelers-Titans will play on October 25th. As for this week, Denver and New England, who would have played Monday night in Foxboro, had their plans changed thanks to the virus and that game was postponed and will be made up at a later date and time, according to league sources. Buffalo and Tennessee would find themselves moved to Tuesday night in prime time in Nashville and even that contest is in question.

To say the 2020 NFL regular season has been strange has been an understatement. At least the murder hornets haven’t suited up yet.

Welcome to week five.

Hope thrives in the NFL.

Just ask any of the teams that have erased leads of at least 16 points and won a game in 2020: Dallas, Tampa Bay, Washington or Chicago, who’ve actually done it twice. This year is the first in which at least one team has overcome a deficit of 16-or-more points and won in each of the first four weeks of the season in NFL history.

And while comebacks in games are frequent of late, comebacks in seasons the year after missing the playoffs are common as well.

Six teams that missed the 2019 playoffs have started this season with three wins: Chicago (3-1), Cleveland (3-1),Indianapolis (3-1), Los Angeles Rams (3-1), Pittsburgh (3-0) and Tampa Bay (3-1). Since 1990, at least four teams each season have qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason the year before.

Only five rookie head coaches since 2009 have guided their teams to a season-opening record of 4-1 or better. Browns head coach KEVIN STEFANSKI can join that group with a win this week.

The last five rookie head coaches to open their careers 4-1 or better:

COACH, TEAM (YEAR, RECORD)
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay (2019, 13-3)*
Dan Quinn, ATLANTA (2015, 8-8)
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco (2011, 13-3)*
Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis (2009, 14-2)+
Josh McDaniels, Denver (2009, 8-8)

+Won division and advanced to Super Bowl
*Won division and advanced to conference championship

Green Bay (4-0), who has already this year had opened 3-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1965-66, are off to their best start in five years. Head coach Matt LaFleur has started his career 17-3 (.850), tied for the second-most wins in NFL annals over a coach’s first 20 regular-season games.

The head coaches with the most wins over their first 20 regular-season games in NFL history:

COACH, TEAM (YEARS, WINS)
George Seifert, San Francisco (1989-90, 18)
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay (2019-20, 17)
Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns (1950-51, 17) HOF
Dick Rauch, Pottsville Maroons (1925-26, 17)
Guy Chamberlin, Canton Bulldogs (1922-23, 17) HOF

The Packers and Browns, who with a win over the Colts would have their best season-opening stretch since beginning the 1994 season 6-1, are two of several clubs off to notable starts in 2020.

Kansas City (4-0) is the first team in NFL history to start 4-0 in four consecutive seasons (2017-20). Seattle (4-0) has been 4-0 only twice in franchise history, this year and their Super Bowl XLVIII championship season of 2013. The Seahawks can improve to 5-0 for the first time ever when they host Minnesota Sunday night.

Buffalo (4-0) with a win against Tennessee at Nissan Stadium Sunday, can mark their best start in 29 years, since opening the 1991 season 5-0 en route to a Super Bowl XXVI appearance.

Pittsburgh (3-0), who hosts Philadelphia on Sunday at Heinz Field, has an opportunity for just their third 4-0 start in franchise history and first since 1979, when they won Super Bowl XIV.

The 10 teams this month bidding for their best starts in at least five years:

TEAM, RECORD (BIDS FOR BEST START SINCE…)
Baltimore, 3-1 (Team opened 4-1 in 2012)
Buffalo, 4-0 (Team opened 5-0 in 1991; also 5-0 in 1980; best franchise start was 9-0 in 1964)
Chicago, 3-1 (Team opened 4-1 in 2012; Bears won 7 of first 8 that year)
Cleveland, 3-1 (Team opened 4-1 in 1994; Browns won 6 of first 7 that year)
Green Bay, 4-0 (Team opened 6-0 in 2015; team has bye in Week 5)
Indianapolis, 3-1 (Team opened 4-1 in 2013)
Pittsburgh, 3-0 (Team opened 4-0 in 1979 ;also 4-0 in 1973; best franchise start was 7-0 in 1978)
Seattle, 4-0 (franchise has never been 5-0; team has opened 4-0 twice, 2013 and 2020)
Tampa Bay, 3-1 (Team opened 4-1 in 2005)
Tennessee, 3-0 (Team opened 4-0 in 2008; franchise has opened 4-0 once, in 2008 and never been 5-0)

BILLS, TITANS RENEW MUSIC CITY RIVALRY: Tennessee (3-0) hosts Buffalo (4-0) on Tuesday in an AFC battle of first-place teams. The Titans, who are 10-3 over their last 13 games including postseason, have a plus-five turnover ratio, tied for second in the NFL. Titans running back DERRICK HENRY enters the week ranked fourth in the NFL with 319 rushing yards. Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN ranks second in the NFL in passing yards (1,326) and third in passer rating (122.7) and touchdown passes (12). The Titans also are in a 34-day stretch between road games.

BREES MEETS FORMER CLUB: New Orleans and the Los Angeles Chargers, who square off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Monday night, have a unique history. Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who currently holds the league’s all-time marks in passing yards (78,422) and touchdown passes (555), started his career with the Chargers. In five years with the Chargers (2001-05), Brees threw for 12,348 yards and 80 touchdowns.

On Monday Night Football, Brees ranks third all-time in both career passing yards (7,868) and passing touchdowns (57). Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino (9,654 passing yards, 74 touchdowns) and Brett Farve (9,068 passing yards, 69 touchdowns) rank first and second, respectively, in both categories.

The 32nd-overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft, Brees was actually a second-round choice one year before the expansion Houston Texans first took the field as the league’s 32nd franchise.

The first player the Chargers selected that day, RB LaDanian Tomlinson, is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tomlinson so far is one of two Hall of Famers from that 2001 draft, in addition to Steve Hutchinson, selected by the Seahawks at number 17 overall.

Former Chargers general manager John Butler that year acquired the selections used to draft Tomlinson and Brees by trading away the number 1 overall choice to Atlanta. The Falcons then drafted Michael Vick.

PENNSYLVANIA PROMINENCE: Philadelphia crosses the Keystone Sttate to meet Pittsburgh on Sunday in a battle of the top pass-rushing defenses so far in 2020. Philadelphia leads the NFL with 17 sacks while the Steelers rank second with 15.

It’s the 79th installment in a venerable series between franchises that once merged to form one team. In 1943, with the nation in the middle of World War II and many players and coaches serving their country, the “Steagles” went 5-4-1 in the NFL’s Eastern Division.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has 36 enshrined individuals who are Pennsylvania natives. Additionally, 35 Pro Football Hall of Famers attended high school in the state, including quarterbacks George Blanda, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas.

This season, Kickoff Weekend rosters included 60 players that graduated from Pennsylvania high schools, including running backs from both teams in Sunday’s game, Pittsburgh’s James Conner and Philadelphia’s Miles Sanders.

QUARTERBACK COMPARISON: Two of those Pennsylvania quarterbacks, Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Joe Montana, once met as young stars in Super Bowl XIX, when the 49ers defeated the Dolphins, 38-16. Miami and San Francisco meet again Sunday at Levi’s Stadium). And as they were when Marino and Montana were dominating the NFL, young quarterbacks across the league have been outstanding in 2020.

This season, of the 13 quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or better, six are 25 years old or younger: the Bills’ Josh Allen, the Rams’ Jarred Goff, the Chargers’ Justin Herbert, the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahones and the Jaguars’ Gardner Minshew.

Through four weeks, quarterbacks age 25 or younger have a combined 56 starts. And in those 56 starts, those young quarterbacks have won 24 times.

Cincinnati rookie quarterback Joe Burrow passed for 300 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a 92.4 rating in the Bengals’ 33-25 win over Jacksonville in Week 4, his first career victory. Burrow, who passed for 316 yards in Week 2 and 312 yards in Week 3, is the first rookie quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards in three consecutive games in NFL history.

Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert passed for 290 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 137.9 rating in Week 4 against Tampa Bay. Herbert, who threw touchdown passes of 72 and 53 yards, is the first rookie quarterback with two touchdown passes of at least 50 yards since DeShaun Watson (Week 8, 2017). Herbert has 931 passing yards this season, the second-most passing yards by a rookie quarterback in his first three career starts in NFL history. Only Cam Newton (1,012 in 2011) had more.

DEFENSES ON THE DEFENSIVE: NFL teams have combined to score 371 total touchdowns, 359 offensive touchdowns (passing and rushing combined) and 3,233 total points, all the most in NFL history through Week 4.

Despite those figures, five teams – Indianapolis (14.0), Kansas City (17.5), San Francisco (17.8), Baltimore (18.3) and Pittsburgh (19.3) – remarkably are holding opponents under 20 points per game.

There has been an average of 51.3 points per game scored (both teams combined), the highest total through Week 4 since 1970.

MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN FIRST FOUR WEEKS, NFL HISTORY
2020 – 371
2018 – 344
2015 – 332
2012 – 327
2019 and 2013 – 324

MOST OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS IN FIRST FOUR WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – OFFENSIVE TDs
2020 – 359
2018 – 325
2019 – 304
2015 – 301
2016 – 298

MOST TOTAL POINTS IN FIRST FOUR WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – TOTAL POINTS
2020 – 3,233
2018 – 3,030
2012 – 2,986
2011 – 2,916
2015 – 2,914

MOST POINTS SCORED PER GAME (BOTH TEAMS) IN FIRST FOUR WEEKS, SINCE 1970

SEASON – TOTAL POINTS
2020 – 51.3
2018 – 48.1
2012 – 47.4
2015 – 46.3
2014 – 46.2

Green Bay (152 points) leads the NFL in total points scored through the first four weeks, followed by Seattle (142), Dallas (126), Cleveland (124), Buffalo (123) and New Orleans (123). Through the first four weeks, eight teams are averaging at least 30 points per game, the most teams in a single season through Week 4.

THE TEAMS AVERAGING 30+ POINTS PER GAME IN 2020
Green Bay – 38.0
Seattle – 35.5
Dallas – 31.5
Cleveland – 31.0
Buffalo – 30.8
New Orleans – 30.8
Baltimore – 30.5
Tampa Bay – 30.0

SEASONS WITH THE MOST TEAMS AVERAGING 30+ POINTS THROUGH WEEK 4, NFL HISTORY

TEAMS – POINTS PER GAME
SEASON – TEAMS
2020 – 8
2002 – 6
1968 – 6
Many tied – 5

SEVEN FROM LAST SUNDAY: Here is a look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, October 4, the fourth week of the 2020 season.

Tampa BAY overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4. 2020 is the first season in which at least one team has overcome a deficit of 16-or-more points and won in each of the first four weeks of the season in NFL history. Additionally, New Orleans overcame a 14-point deficit to win at Detroit on Sunday.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 360 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 112.4 rating in the Seahawks’ 31-23 win at Miami in Week 4. Seattle advanced to 4-0 for the first time since 2013, when they went on to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Wilson has 16 touchdown passes through the first four games of the 2020 season, tied with PEYTON MANNING (16 touchdown passes in 2013) for the most by a player in his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for a career-high 502 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 112.9 rating in Week 4 against Cleveland. Prescott, who passed for 450 yards in Week 2 and 472 yards in Week 3, is the first player with at least 450 passing yards in three consecutive games in NFL history.

Prescott has 1,690 passing yards in 2020 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (1,557 passing yards in 2000) for the most passing yards by a player in his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history.

Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady passed for 369 yards with five touchdowns and one interception for a 117.0 rating in the Buccaneers’ 38-31 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4. Brady became the third quarterback in NFL history with 30 career games of at least four touchdown passes, joining Drew Brees (36) and Peyton Manning (35).

Week 4 marked Brady’s seventh career game with at least five touchdown passes, the third-most such games in league annals, trailing only Drew Brees (11) and Peyton Manning (nine). Brady now has 93 career games with at least 300 passing yards, tied with Peyton Manning (93) for the second-most in NFL history. Only Drew Brees (121) has more.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen passed for 288 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 115.8 rating and added a rushing touchdown in the Bills’ 30-23 win at Las Vegas. The Bills advanced to 4-0 for the first time since 2008.

Allen, who had two touchdown passes with one rushing touchdown in Week 1 and four touchdown passes with one rushing touchdown in Week 3, joins Steve Grogan (1976) as the only quarterbacks with at least two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown in three of his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history. Allen recorded his 20th career rushing touchdown in his 32nd game on Sunday, becoming the second-fastest quarterback to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns in NFL history. Only Cam Newton (27 games) reached the mark faster.

Cincinnati rookie quarterback Joe Burrow passed for 300 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a 92.4 rating in the Bengals’ 33-25 win over Jacksonville in Week 4, his first career victory. Burrow, who passed for 316 yards in Week 2 and 312 yards in Week 3, is the first rookie quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards in three consecutive games in NFL history.

Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert passed for 290 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 137.9 rating in Week 4 against Tampa Bay. Herbert, who threw touchdown passes of 72 and 53 yards, is the first rookie quarterback with two touchdown passes of at least 50 yards since Deshaun Watson (Week 8, 2017).

Herbert has 931 passing yards this season, the second-most passing yards by a rookie quarterback in his first three career starts in NFL history. Only Cam Newton (1,012 in 2011) had more.

Cleveland wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. recorded 154 scrimmage yards (81 receiving, 73 rushing) and three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in the Browns’ 49-38 win at Dallas in Week 4. Beckham is the fourth wide receiver with two receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in a single game since 2000, joining David Patten (Week 6, 2001), Javon Walker (Week 9, 2006) and Mike Williams (Week 15, 2018).

Browns running back Kareem Hunt rushed for two touchdowns in the Week 4 victory. Hunt (five touchdowns) and Cleveland running back Nick Chubb (four touchdowns) are the third set of running-back teammates each with at least four scrimmage touchdowns through their team’s first four games of a season in the Super Bowl era, joining Cincinnati’s James Brooks and Larry Kinnebrew (1985) and Buffalo’s Jim Braxton and Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson (1975).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK FIVE

RECORD-SETTING SCORING, CLOSE GAMES & COMEBACKS: Through Week 4, league-wide scoring continues to trend at a historic rate, as the totals for touchdowns (371) and points scored (3,233) are both the most in NFL history through the first four weeks of a season.

Eight teams are averaging at least 30 points per game, the most ever in a single season through Week 4, and the 51.3 total points per game scored (both teams combined) is the highest total through the first four weeks of a season since 1970.

SEASON – TOUCHDOWNS
2020 – 371
2018 – 344

SEASON – POINTS SCORED
2020 – 3,233
2018 – 3,030

SEASON – TOTAL POINTS PER GAME
2020 – 51.3
2018 – 48.1

While scoring has been up across the league, the games have remained as competitive as ever and are proving that teams are truly never out of a game.

This season, 45 games have been within one score (eight points or fewer) in the fourth quarter, tied for the third-most in league history through Week 4.

There have been 21 games in which teams have come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter, tied for the second-most through Week 4 in NFL history.

This is the first season in which at least one team has overcome a deficit of 16-or-more points and won in each of the first four weeks of the season in NFL history.

GREEN MACHINES: Green Bay and Seattle are each 4-0 and have scored at least 30 points in each of their first four games of the 2020 season. Seattle hosts Minnesota Sunday night in Week 5, while Green Bay has a bye.

With at least 30 points against the Vikings, the Seahawks would become the sixth team to score at least 30 points in each of their first five games to start a season in NFL history. Four of the previous five teams to accomplish the feat advanced to the Super Bowl.​

The teams with the most consecutive games of at least 30 points to start a season in NFL history:

TEAM – SEASON (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 30+ POINTS TO START SEASON)
Denver – 2013 (8)#
New England – 2007 (8)#
St. Louis Rams – 2000 (8)
Los Angeles Rams – 2018 (5)#
New England – 2011 (5)#
Green Bay – 2020 (4)^*
Seattle – 2020 (4)*
*Active streak
^Bye in Week 5

Advanced to Super Bowl

DAK DROPPING DIMES: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott leads the league with 1,690 pass yards this season, the most passing yards by a player in his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history. Prescott – who passed for 450 yards in Week 3, 472 yards in Week 4 and a career-high 502 yards in Week 4 – is the first player in NFL history with at least 450 passing yards in three consecutive games.

With another performance of at least 400 passing yards this season, Prescott – who faces the New York Giants in Week 5 – can become the fourth quarterback with four games of at least 400 passing yards in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least 400 passing yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay (2018 – 4)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 4)
Dan Marino, Miami (1984 -4) HOF
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2020 – 3)

Prescott, who has seven career games with at least 400 passing yards, can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (seven games) for the most games with at least 400 passing yards in a player’s first five seasons in league annals.

MAHOMES MAGIC: In 35 career starts, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has averaged 301.3 passing yards per game, including 19 career games with at least 300 passing yards. Mahomes has reached 300 passing yards twice this season (302 yards in Week 2 and 385 yards in Week 3).

With at least 300 passing yards on Sunday against Las Vegas, Mahomes can become the fourth quarterback with 20 games of at least 300 passing yards in his first four seasons in league annals.

The players with the most games with at least 300 passing yards in their first four seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM – GAMES
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams – 26 (HOF)
Dan Marino, Miami – 22 (HOF)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis – 21
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams – 19
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City – 19*
*in fourth season

MVP VS. NO. 1: Last season, at 22 years, 358 days old, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson became the youngest quarterback to win league MVP. In 2020, Jackson has eight touchdowns (seven passing, one rushing), a 111.3 passer rating and ranks second among quarterbacks with 235 rushing yards.

Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, the number 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, ranks second in the NFL with 116 completions this season and became the first rookie quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards in three consecutive games in league annals.

The two AFC North quarterbacks will meet for the first time when the Ravens host the Bengals on Sunday. It will mark the fifth instance in NFL history in which the reigning league MVP and the most recent number 1 overall pick meet as starting quarterbacks. The reigning MVP has won three of the previous four meetings.

The games featuring the reigning league MVP and most recent number 1 overall pick as starting quarterbacks in NFL history:

MVP (TEAM) vs. NO. 1 OVERALL PICK (TEAM) – DATE OF GAME (RESULT)
Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) vs. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati) – October 11, 2020 (???)
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) vs. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) – October 7, 2012 (INDIANAPOLIS 30, GREEN BAY 27)
Peyton Manning (Indianapolis) vs. Alex Smith (San Francisco) – October 9, 2005 (INDIANAPOLIS 28, SAN FRANCSICO 3)
Ken Stabler (Oakland) vs. Steve Bartkowski (ATLANTA) – November 30, 1975 (OAKLAND 37, ATLANTA 34)+
John Brodie (San Francisco) vs. Jim Plunkett (New England) – October 31, 1971 (SAN FRANCISCO 27, NEW ENGLAND 10)

  • Stabler is in the Hall of Fame

80 FOR ODELL: In 79 career games, Cleveland wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has recorded 480 receptions for 6,747 yards and 51 touchdowns.

With at least 38 receiving yards against Indianapolis, Beckham would surpass Torry Holt (6,784 receiving yards) for the third-most receiving yards by a player in his first 80 career games in NFL history.

The players with the most receiving yards in their first 80 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RECEIVING YARDS)
Lance AlworthH – San Diego Chargers (7,854) OF
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (7,676)
Torry Holt – St. Louis Rams (6,784)
Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants and Cleveland (6,747)*
*in 79 career games

With three receptions on Sunday, Beckham would surpass Keenan Allen (482 receptions) for the third-most receptions yards by a player in his first 80 career games in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RECEPTIONS)
Anquan Boldin – Arizona (502)
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (501)
Keenan Allen – San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (482)
Jarvis Landry – Miami and Cleveland (481)
Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants and Cleveland (480)*
*in 79 career games

RIDICULOUS ROOKIE RECEIVERS: Minnesota wide receiver Justin Jefferson leads all rookies with 348 receiving yards this season, including at least 100 receiving yards in each of the past two weeks.

With at least 100 receiving yards against Seattle Sunday night, Jefferson can become the second player with at least 100 receiving yards in three of his first five career games in the Super Bowl era, joining Byron Williams (1983).

Dallas wide receiver Ceedee Lamb leads all rookie with 21 receptions this season and has had at least five receptions in each of his first four games.

With at least five receptions on Sunday against the New York Giants, Lamb can become the second player with at least five receptions in each of his first five career games in NFL history, joining Terry Glenn (1996).

ALVIN & THE TOUCHDOWNS: In 49 career games, New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara has recorded 5,033 scrimmage yards and 44 scrimmage touchdowns, including 16 career games with at least two touchdowns.

With at least two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Chargers Monday night, Kamara can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers Marcus Allen (16 games) and Steve Van Buren (16), as well as Chuck Foreman (16) for the second-most games with at least two touchdowns in their first 50 career games in NFL history. Only Larry Johnson (18 games) had more.

The players with the most games with at least two touchdowns in their first 50 career games in NFL history:​

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City (18)
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (16)HOF
Chuck Foreman, Minnesota (16)
Steve Van Buren, Philadelphia (16)HOF
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (16)*
*in 49 career games

HERE’S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: Jacksonville running back James Robinson leads all rookies with 446 scrimmage yards this season, while recording at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of the last three games.

With at least 90 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Houston, Robinson will become the sixth player with at least 90 scrimmage yards in each of his first five career games in NFL history. He would become the first undrafted player to accomplish the feat.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 90 scrimmage yards to begin a career in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018 – 13)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983 – 11)HOF
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (2017 – 7)
Glenn Davis, Los Angeles Rams (1950 – 5)
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (2007 – 5)
James Robinson, Jacksonville (2020 – 4)*
*Active streak

GARRETT GAME-CHANGER: Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett ties for the NFL lead in sacks (five) and forced fumbles (three) this season. In each of his last three games, Garrett has recorded both a sack and forced fumble.

With a sack and forced fumble on Sunday against Indianapolis, Garrett will become the fourth player to record a sack and forced fumble in four consecutive games since 2000. Each of the previous three players to accomplish the feat have gone on to lead their respective team in sacks on the way to the postseason.

The players with the most consecutive games with at a sack and forced fumble since 2000:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Khalil Mack, Chicago (2018 – 4)
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis (2005 – 4)
Simeon Rice, Tampa Bay (2002 – 4)
Myles Garrett, Cleveland (2020 – 3)*
*Active streak

Week five got underway in the Windy City as Nick Foles and Da Bears held off a late Tom Brady rally at Soldier Field in a Super Bowl QB rematch Thursday night and ends tenatively Tuesday night in Nashville as Buffalo takes on Tennessee at Nissan Stadium. Pittsburgh and Tennessee return from their unplanned bye week, while Detroit and Green Bay have their scheduled week off, with Denver and New England taking byes as well after the postponment of their Monday night contest in Foxboro. As for last week, it was a decent week, as we went 9-6 and for the season, that puts us at 40-23. Because we have more chaos schedule-wise, 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 61 last June and dates a 45-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?”)

With that, there’s stil a lot of football left to play. Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week five.

Carolina (2-2) at ATLANTA (0-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. They’re separated by 245 miles along I-85 and they meet in the Big Peach as NFC South rivals Carolina and Atlanta meet. Teddy Bridgewater and Carolina, sitting in second in the NFC South, travels to Atlanta face off against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, who are still in search of their first win.

Bridgewater and the Panthers took care of Arizona 31-21 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte last Sunday. After scoring the first 14 points of the contest in the first quarter unchallenged, Carolina led 21-7 at the intermission, even though they were outscored by the Desert Angry Birds 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Carolina outrushed Arizona 168-129 with Panthers RB Mike Davis as the leading rusher with 84 yards and a TD, while Kyler Murray led Arizona with 78 yards. Bridgewater threw for 276 yards and a pair of TD passes along with a rushing TD, while Murray threw for 133 yards and three TDs (Bridgewater threw an interception but was not sacked, while Murray was sacked once without being picked off). Carolina went 7 of 11 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (the Panthers were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:08, while Arizona, keeping the pigskin for 22:52, went 3 for 9 on third down.

The Falcons dropped their fourth contest in as many tries in the 2020 campaign, as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 30-16 at Lambeau Field last Monday night. Green Bay led from start to finish in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst, taking a 20-3 lead with them to the break. Atlanta was out-rushed by Green Bay 88-78 with Packers RB Aaron Jones leading the way with 71 yards, while Todd Gurley led Atlanta with 57 yards and a pair of TDs. Ryan threw for 285 yards but found himself being sacked four times, while Rodgers threw for 327 yards and four TDs (connecting with TE Robert Tonyan on three of the passes) without an interception (Rodgers was sacked once). Atlanta went 3 of 12 on third down tries at Lambeau (the Falcons were 2 of 4 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:22, while the Packers, who held on to the pigskin for 29:38, went 6 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Atlanta leads the series 32-18, the Falcons have outscored Carolna 1,097-966 and have won the last five meetings, including sweeping last year’s series (Carolina’s last win over Atlanta came in 2017 in Charlotte by a final of 20-17).

Meeting number one… week 11 at Bank of America Stadium in the Tar Heel State and the Falcons held Carolina to a Joey Slye field goal late in the game to leave Charlotte 29-3 winners. Atlanta scored the first 26 points of the game unchallenged, taking a 20-0 lead with them to the break.

Carolina did manage to out-rush Atlanta 77-54 and Kyle Allen threw for 325 yards but was sacked five times and threw four interceptions, while Ryan threw for 311 yards and a TD to Calvin Ridley, while he was sacked four times but did not turn the ball over (Ridley had eight cathches for 143 yards, with Falcons teammate Julio Jones chipping in with 91 yards, while Carolina was paced by Colin McCaffery with 121 yards on 11 catches). Atlanta went 6 of 14 on third down (the Falcons were successful in their only fourth down try of the afternoon) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:26, while the Panthers, holding on to the pigskin for 28:34, went 2 of 14 on third down, 3 for 5 on fourth down.

The two clubs met in the Big Peach in week 14 and the Falcons made the sweep of the series a reality, taking a 40-20 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The home fans watched Atlanta take a 13-10 lead with them to the intermission, then floored the gas in the second half, outscoring Carolina 27-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. This time, it would be Atlanta’s turn to out-rush Carolina, tallying 159 yards on the ground, while the Panthers had 100 yards of rushing. Ryan threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Ridley, the other to Olamide Zaccheaus) with one sack but no interceptions, while Allen threw for 293 yards and TD but was sacked five times and picked off twice. Neither club had a fourth down try in the contest and the Panthers were 3 of 10 on third down, while the Falcons were 5 of 12. Atlanta once again ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 31:45, while the Panthers kept it for 28:15.

In the week 11 contest in Charlotte, the Panthers were favored by 5 1/2 but Atlanta’s win by 26 allowed them to cover the spread. Both teams missed the 49 1/2 over/under, as they only could muster 35 points. In the week 14 affair in the Big Peach, the boys and girls in Vegas liked the Falcons and favored them by only 2 points. Atlanta not only prevailed in that contest, they covered as they would win by 20 and the two teams merged for 60 points, easily covering the 48 over/under. Atlanta’s favored by 2 in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 54. Carolina’s looking to end their losing streak against Atlanta, while the Falcons and Ryan look to end their losing streak. Falcons RISE UP in the Big Peach and picks up their first win of the season, covering the 2.

Cincinnati (1-2-1) at Baltimore (3-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in Charm City as Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens host Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. Both teams took wins in last week’s play.

Cincinnati picked up their first win of the 2020 season at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday, holding off Garner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-25. The Bengals trailed 13-10 at the intermission, then proceeded to outscore the Jaguars 23-12 in the last 30 minutes of play, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged. Bengals RB Joe Mixon led the way for all rushers with 151 yards and a pair of TDs as Cincinnati out-rushed Jacksonville 205-89 and Burrow threw for 300 yards and a TD to Mixon, while Minshew threw for 351 yards and a pair of TDs to WR D.J. Chark, Jr. (both Burrow and Minshew threw an interception; Burrow was sacked once, while Minshew was sackced three times). Both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down tries; on third down conversions, Jacksonville was 2 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:49, while the Bengals, keeping the ball for 33:11, went 4 of 11 on third down.

Baltimore returns to Charm City with a 31-17 win over Washington under their belts at FedEX Field. The Ravens led 21-10 at the break and never looked back in the win over their next-door neighbors. Baltimore out-rushed Washington 144-69 at Landover and Jackson (193 yards, sack, interception) led the Ravens with 53 yards rushing and had a rushing TD of his own, while throwing a pair of TD passes to TE Mack Andrews. Washington’s Dwayne Haskins threw for 314 yards without a TD or sack but did not throw an interception. Baltimore went 5 of 11 on third down (the Ravens were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and kept the ball for 29:22, while Washington actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:38, went 4 of 13 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Ravens hold a 25-23 lead in the series, have outscored Cinicinnati 1,061-899 and have won the last three meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Cincinnati’s last win over the Ravens came in 2018 when they were 34-23 winners along the shores of the Ohio River).

Round one… week six in Charm City at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore, leading 17-10 at the half, held on to take the 23-17 win. The Bengals came to within seven with 1:28 left in the contest when Andy Dalton scored on a 2-yard run but did not recover the onside kick, allowing the Ravens to run out the clock and take the win. Jackson led all rushers with 152 yards and a TD as the Ravens, rushing for 269 yards (Mark Ingram chipped in with 52 yards and a TD), would hold the Bengals to 33 yards rushing and pick off Dalton (235 yards, two sacks) once, with Jackson throwing for 236 yards with a sack but no interceptions. The Bengals were 5 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 20:18, while the Ravens were rulers of the clock, keeping toe pigskin for 39:42, going 9 of 15 on third down (neither team had a fourth down try).

Baltimore made it a sweep along the shores of the Ohio River in week 10 at Paul Brown Stadium as the Ravens manhandled the Bengals 49-13. Baltimore took a 28-10 lead with them to the break before flooring the gas in the second half, outscoring Cincinnati 21-3 in the last 30 minutes of play. The Bengals did manage to outrush Baltimore 157-136 with Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon leading the way with 114 yards, while Jackson, throwing for 223 yards and three TDs (two to Mark Andrews), ran for 65 yards for Baltimore. Ryan Finley, who took over for Dalton, threw for 167 yards and a TD but was sacked twice and threw an interception (Jackson was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Baltimore was 4 of 6 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 23:49, while the Bengals ruled the clock and played keep-away with the pigskin for 36:11, while going 7 of 14 and 1 of 4 on third and fourth downs.

The odds-makers in Vegas liked the Ravens as 11-point favorites in the week six contest in Charm City and the Ravens came away covering with the 14-point win. However, both teams missed the 48 over/under, tallying only 40 points. Baltimore in the week 10 rematch along the shores of the Ohio River was favored by 9 1/2 and covered that, winning by 36 points. This time, the two teams covered the 45 1/2 over/under with 62 points. The Ravens find themselves being favored as 12-point favorites with a 51 over/under. We can live with the over/under, it’s the 12 that keeps us up at night. Cincinnati’s not 12 points bad and they’ll make it closer than the 12 but the Ravens prevail in Charm City with the win.

Jacksonville (1-3) at Houston (0-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC South rivals, trying to stay out of the cellar in the division, meet in the Lone Star State as DeShaun Watson, J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans host Garner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both look to right their ships after losses last week.

Jacksonville watched Joe Burrow and Cincinnati pick up their first win of the 2020 season at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday, holding off Garner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-25. Jacksonville led 13-10 at the intermission, then watched that lead get away from them as the Bengals proceeded to outscore the Jaguars 23-12 in the last 30 minutes of play, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged.

Bengals RB Joe Mixon led the way for all rushers with 151 yards and a pair of TDs as Cincinnati out-rushed Jacksonville 205-89 and Burrow threw for 300 yards and a TD to Mixon, while Minshew threw for 351 yards and a pair of TDs to WR D.J. Chark, Jr. (both Burrow and Minshew threw an interception; Burrow was sacked once, while Minshew was sackced three times). Both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down tries; on third down conversions, Jacksonville was 2 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:49, while the Bengals, keeping the ball for 33:11, went 4 of 11 on third down.

Houston enters the contest with a new coach on the sideline as head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien was relieved of his duties Monday after their loss to Minnesota last Sunday and replaced with Romeo Crennel on an interim basis. The Texans also look to pick up their first win of the 2020 season after they were taken to task by Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings 31-23 last Sunday at NRG Stadium. Houston trailed 17-7 at the break but managed to keep the contest close, outscoring the Vikings 17-14 in the final 30 minutes of play.

Minnesota’s Delvin Cook led all rushers with 130 yards and a pair of TDs as his team out-rushed Houston 162-96 and Cousins threw for 260 yards and a TD toss to Adam Thielen, while Watson threw for 300 yards and a pair of TDs (both Cousins and Watson were sacked three times but did not throw an interception). Minnesota was 5 of 12 on third down (the Vikings were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:31 to Houston’s 23:29 (the Texans were 3 of 12 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down).

The Texans lead the series 23-13, have outscored Jacksonville 786-693 and have won the last four meetings in the series, inclding sweeping last year’s contests (Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2017, when the Jaguars swept the series that season).

Houston held off a late Jacksonville rally to come away 13-12 winners at NRG Stadium in their first meeting, a week two contest in the Lone Star State. The Texans led 6-3 at the intermission, then held off the Jaguars with 30 seconds left in regulation when D.J. Chark and Minshew connected on a 4-yard TD toss. Jacksonville missed the two-point try that would have given them the lead and went for the onside kick, which the Texans recovered, allowing them to run out the clock.

Houston out-rushed Jacksonville 126-103, with Texans RB Carlos Hyde leading all rushers with 90 yards, while Minshew led Jacksonville with 56. Watson threw for 159 yards and had a rushing TD, while Minshew threw for 213 yards and a TD (both men were sacked four times but did not throw an interception). Houston was 6 of 15 on third down (the Texans were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:59, while the Jaguars were rulers of the clock, holding the ball for 30:01, while going 3 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Houston made the sweep a reality in week nine but not in north Florida… instead, things shifted East, as in the other side of the Atlantic Ocean at Wembley Stadium and the Texans held Jacksonville to a second quarter field goal by Josh Lambo to take the 26-3 win. Houston led 9-3 at the break, then proceeded to score their next 17 points of the second half unchallenged. Hyde accounted for 160 yards to lead all rushers as the Texans out-rushed Jacksonville 216-74. Watson threw for 201 yards and a pair of TDs with a sack (Watson did not have an interception), while Minshew struggled, throwing for 309 yards with a three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Both teams wer 4 of 11 on third down and Houston kept the ball to themselves for 32:33 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down), while the Jaguars held the pigskin for 27:27 and went 0 of 2 on fourth down.

While Houston was favored by 7 in their week two meeting in Houston, the Texans would come way winning by only 1 and the 43 over/under stayed safe, as both teams mustered only 25 points. In the week nine contest on the other side of the Big Pond, the Texans were favored by 1 in the London contest and covered, winning by 23 but the teams missed the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying a mere 29 points. Houston’s favored by 6 in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 54 1/2. Both numbers are somewhat reasonable. To paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, “they’re not bad teams, they just play that way.” Texans give Crenrel his first win at NRG Stadium but expect Jacksonville to make things closer than the 6.

Las Vegas (1-3) at Kansas City (4-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They meet again. They STILL don’t like each other. Even though they’ve changed cities over the years, the hate is still there.

Cats vs. Dogs. Capulets vs. Montagues. North vs. South.

Football’s answer to the Hatfields vs. McCoy takes another turn as Pat Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champs host the Las Vegas Raiders at Arrowhead.

Buffalo entered Allegiant Stadium in Vegas last Sunday and came away 30-23 winners in the desert. The Silver and Black trailed 17-13 at the break and made the contest a bit closer than the Bills would have like with 89 second left in regulation when Derek Carr and WR Nelson Agholor connected on a 7-yard strike. The Raiders actually out-rushed Buffalo 86-62 and Carr threw for 311 yards, while Bills signal caller Josh Allen threw for 288 yards (both threw a pair of TDs without an interception; Carr was sacked twice, while Allen was sacked once). The Raiders, who fumbled twice in the contest, went 8 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down and ruled time, keeping the ball for 31:42, while the Bills held the pigskin for 28:18 , going 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Chiefs became the first time in the history of the National Football League to win games on consecutive Monday nights as they took care of the Cam Newton-less New England Patriots, taking the 26-10 win at Arrowhead Stadium. The defending Super Bowl champs led 6-3 at the intermission, then proceeded to out-pace New England 20-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Even though New England out-rushed Kansas City 185-94 (Patriots RB Damian Harris led all rushers with 100 yards), Mahomes burned the Pats for 236 yards and a pair of TDs (connecting with WR Tyreek Hill on one of the tosses), while Blaine Hoyer, taking over for Newton, threw for 130 yards (Hoyer was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Mahomes was sacked once without an interception) in the Monday night affair. Kansas City was 4 of 11 on third down tries at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 28:26, while the Patriots actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 31:34 and went 6 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Chiefs lead the series 65-52-2 (including contests that were played in Dallas when the Chiefs were known as the Texans and the Raiders were in Oakland and Los Angeles), have outscored the Silver and Black 2,564-2,272 and have taken wins in the last five meetings, inclding sweeping the series last year (the Raiders’ last win in the series came in 2017 in Oakland by a final of 31-30).

Mahomes and the Chiefs erased a 10-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, scoring 28 second quarter points unchallenged to win 28-10 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in their week two meeting. Using four TD passes (two to Demarcus Robinson, one to Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman), the Chiefs took the lead into the break (the two teams then went scoreless in the final 30 minutes of play) and never looked back.

Although the Chiefs were held to 31 yards rushing (the Raiders ran for 129 yards, with Oakland RB Josh Jacobs leading all rushers with 99 yards), Mahomes threw for 443 yards with the four TDs tosses with no interceptions, while Carr threw for 198 yards and the Raiders’ only TD in the contest (Mahomes was sacked twice, Carr was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions). Kansas City went 8 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:35; the Raiders, keeping the ball for 27:25, went 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Chiefs would sweep the series, with the teams meeting at Arrowhead Stadium in week 13 and took a 40-9 win over the Raiders. Kansas City scored their first 30 points unchallenged, leading 21-0 at the half and 31-0 at the end of the third quarter before the Raiders would score their only points of the contest, first with Daniel Carlson connecting on a 34-yard field goal and TE Derek Carrier connecting with Carr on a 4-yard TD toss, only to see Chiefs CB Charvarius Ward score on a 2-point defensive conversion.

Oakland out-rushed the Chiefs 122-96 with Josh Jacobs leading the way with 104 yards and Carr threw for 222 yards and the TD, while Mahomes threw for 175 yards and a TD (Mahomes was sacked once without a pick, while Carr was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). The Chiefs were 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:19, while the Silver and Black were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 31:41, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The oddsmakers liked Kansas City as 6 1/2-point favorites in the week two contest and the Chiefs covered, winning by 18. The two clubs only tallied 38 points, missing the 53 over/under. Int he week 13 contest in the Show-Me State, the Chiefs covered the 10-point spread, winning by 31 points but the two clubs barely missed the 51 over/under with 49 ponts. Vegas likes the Chiefs as 12-point favorites in the Show-Me State and the over/under’s 55. The Raiders would love nothing more than to put an end to their misery regarding the Chiefs. As for the Chiefs? They want to stay unbeaten. Kansas City’s going to get their wish and take the win at Arrowhead but expect the Raiders to make the contest closer than the 12.

Arizona (2-2) at New York Jets (0-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV710. Arizona makes their way to upstate New Jersey for an early afternoon contest with the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium. Both teams took losses in their contests last week.

Arizona watched Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers come away 31-21 winners at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte last Sunday. After the Panthers would score the first 14 points of the contest in the first quarter unchallenged, Arizona trailed 21-7 at the intermission, even though the Desert Angry Birds would outscore Carolina 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Carolina outrushed Arizona 168-129 with Panthers RB Mike Davis as the leading rusher with 84 yards and a TD, while Kyler Murray led Arizona with 78 yards. Bridgewater threw for 276 yards and a pair of TD passes along with a rushing TD, while Murray threw for 133 yards and three TDs (Bridgewater threw an interception but was not sacked, while Murray was sacked once without being picked off). Carolina went 7 of 11 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (the Panthers were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:08, while Arizona, keeping the pigskin for 22:52, went 3 for 9 on third down.

GangGreen is still searching for that elusive first win and found themselves on the short end of a 37-28 loss to Denver last Sunday at Met Life Stadium. The Broncos erased a 7-3 deficit at the end of the first quarter, taking a 17-13 lead with them to the break and proceeded to floor the gas the rest of the way, outscoring the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 20-15 in the final 30 minutes of play.

While the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! out-rushed Denver 129-117, Denver’s Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 107 yards and a pair of TDs, while Darnold, throwing for 230 yards, led GangGreen with 84 yards and had a rushing TD (Darnold was sacked six times but did not throw an interception; Denver’s Brett Rypien threw for 242 yards with a pair of TDs, while he was picked off three times).

GangGreen leads the series 6-3 (which includes games played in St. Louis, Phoenix, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium) and the Desert Angry Birds have outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 164-161. Their last meeting was 2016 in Glendale andh the Cardinals were 28-3 winners at State Farm Stadium, while GangGreen’s last win came in 2012 at Giants Stadium by a final of 7-6. Arizona’s favored by 7 1/2 in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 47. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! aren’t a bad football team, although they play like one at times. While Arizona will take this one on the East Coast, don’t expect the Desert Angry Birds to cover the 7 1/2.

Philadelphia (1-2-1) at Pittsburgh (3-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. They’re separated by 304 miles along I-76 and share the same state. Ben Roethlisberger and the undefeated Steelers host the Eagles at Heinz Field in an early afternoon Keystone State contest.

Philadelphia held off a late San Francisco rally on the West Coast last Sunday night as the Eagles left Levis’ Stadium 25-20. The Eagles led 8-7 at the intermission before San Francisco passed them, taking a 14-11 lead with them to the end of the third quarter. A 42-yard pass from Carson Wentz to WR Terry Fulgham and an interception return for a TD by LB Alex Singleton would give the Eagles a 25-14 before the 49ers narrowed the gap with 2:02 when RB Jerick McKinnon scored on a 1-yard run. San Francisco then went for two and failed to convert on the try. San Francisco then forced the Eagles to go three and out and got the ball back with 1:40 left and got as close as Philadelphia’s 33-yard line before time expired.

San Francisco out-rushed the Eagles 116-93 and Wentz threw for 193 yards and the Fulgham TD pass, while Nick Mullins, who took over for Jimmy Garoppolo, threw for 200 yards and a TD to TE George Kittle (Mullins was four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Wentz threw an interception and was sacked three times). Philadelphia went 4 of 13 on third down tries (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and would keep the ball for 29:29, while the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:31 (including the final 1:40 of the contest) and went 5 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh had an unscheduled bye last week as their contest with the Tennessee Titans was pushed back to October 25th because of the COVID 19 virus outbreak that hit the Titans. Their last contest was two Sundays ago at Heinz Field against the Houston Texans and the Steelers rallied to come away 28-21 winners. Trailing the Texans and DeShaun Watson 21-17 at the break, Pittsburgh would score their last 11 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 6:24 when RB James Conner scored on a 12-yard run and Roethlisberger and WR JuJu Smith-Schuester connected on a 2-point conversion. Pittsburgh out-rushed Houston 169-29 with Conner leading all rushers with 109 yards and the game-winning TD. Roethlisberger threw for 237 and a pair of TDs (connecting with Smith-Schuester on one of the tosses) and was sacked twice without an interception, while Watson threw for 264 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked five times and picked off once.

Philadelphia leads the series 47-28-3 (including games that were played in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, New York, Charleston, West Virginia as well as games played when the two teams merged and were known as the Steegals and the Steelers were known as the Pirates and games played at Forbes Field, JFK Stadium, Three Rivers and Veterans Stadium) and the Eagles have outrscored the Steelers 1,477-1,116. Philadelphia won the last meeting, which took place in the City of Brotherly Love in 2016 by a final of 34-3, while Pittsburgh’s last win came in the Steel City in 2012 by a final of 16-14.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Steelers at 7 1/2-point favorites in western Pennsylvania and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Expect the Eagles to make this one close but the Steelers keep the unbeaten streak going, winning at home.

Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Washington (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams make their way to Landover for an early afternoon showdown (early morning Los Angeles time) with Washington at FedEx Field. Washington looks to pick up their first home win since week one, while the Rams took to keep themselves in the NFC West hunt.

The Rams bounced back from their loss at Buffalo as they took the New York Giants to task 19-7 at SoFi Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles took a 10-6 lead with them to the break and never looked back to take the win on the West Coast. While the Giants did out-rush the Rams 136-58, Goff burned Big Blue for 200 yards with a TD toss to Cooper Kupp; for the Giants, Daniel Jones threw for 190 yards with five sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 5 of 13 on third down tries in southern California (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:43, while Big Blue actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 33:17, going 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Washington returns to Landover with a 31-17 loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at FedEX Field last Sunday. Baltimore led 21-10 at the break and never looked back in the win over their next-door neighbors. The Ravens out-rushed Washington 144-69 at Landover and Jackson (193 yards, sack, interception) led the Ravens with 53 yards rushing and had a rushing TD of his own, while throwing a pair of TD passes to TE Mack Andrews. Washington’s Dwayne Haskins threw for 314 yards without a TD or sack but did not throw an interception. Baltimore went 5 of 11 on third down (the Ravens were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and kept the ball for 29:22, while Washington actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:38, went 4 of 13 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Washington leads the series 24-11-1 (which includes contests that were played in Boston when the Washington team were known as the Braves, as well as games played in Anaheim and St. Louis) and have outscored the Rams 837-691. Washington has won the last two contests in the series, inclding a 27-20 win in Los Angeles in 2017, while the Rams’s last win over Washington came in 2014 in Landover as they would pitch a 24-0 shutout at FedEx Field. The Rams are favored by 7 in Landover with the over/under at 46 1/2. Los Angeles takes care of business in Landover, taking the win and covering the 7.

Miami (1-3)at San Francisco (2-2), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of struggling teams meet in wine country as Miami travels to Santa Clara for a meeting at Levis’ Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams took home losses in last week’s contests.

Miami watched Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks remained unblemished after their 31-23 win oin the Sunshine State last week. While Miami did manage to out-rush Seattle 103-98 but Wilson took the Miami secondary to school, burning them for 360 yards and a pair of TDs, despite being sacked twice and picked off once, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 315 yards with a sack and a pair of interceptions. Seattle was 4 of 10 on third down (the Seahawks were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 26:51, while the Dolphins were ball hawks, holding on to the pigskin for 33:09, going 7 of 13 on third down tries.

A late San Francisco rally on the West Coast last Sunday night fell short as the 49ers dropped a 25-20 decision at Levis Stadium against Philadelphia. The Eagles led 8-7 at the intermission before San Francisco passed them, taking a 14-11 lead with them to the end of the third quarter. A 42-yard pass from Carson Wentz to WR Terry Fulgham and an interception return for a TD by LB Alex Singleton would give the Eagles a 25-14 before the 49ers narrowed the gap with 2:02 when RB Jerick McKinnon scored on a 1-yard run. San Francisco then went for two and failed to convert on the try. San Francisco then forced the Eagles to go three and out and got the ball back with 1:40 left and got as close as Philadelphia’s 33-yard line before time expired.

San Francisco out-rushed the Eagles 116-93 and Wentz threw for 193 yards and the Fulgham TD pass, while Nick Mullins, who took over for Jimmy Garoppolo, threw for 200 yards and a TD to TE George Kittle (Mullins was four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Wentz threw an interception and was sacked three times). Philadelphia went 4 of 13 on third down tries (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and would keep the ball for 29:29, while the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:31 (including the final 1:40 of the contest) and went 5 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Including games played at the Orange Bowl, Keezar Park and Candlestick Park, Miami leads the series 7-5 but the 49ers have outscored the ‘Fins 258-198. They last met in 2016 in the Sunshine State and the Dolphins prevailed 31-24, while San Francisco’s last win came on the West Coast in 2012 by a final of 27-13. San Francisco’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 56 1/2. If nothing else, take a pass on this one (unless you’re a fan of either team) and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA (the idea of Ziva head-slapping Tony? CLASSIC!) San Francisco wins this one but expect the Dolphins to make this one closer than the 9 1/2.

Indianapolis (3-1) at Cleveland (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Philip Rivers and the Indianpolis Colts travel to the shores of Lake Erie for a late afternoon contest with Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Both teams found themselves in the winners’ circle in last week’s action.

Rivers and the Colts gave Chicago their first loss of the 2020 season, as Indianapolis came away from Soldier Field 19-11 winners last Sunday afternoon. The Colts led 13-3 at the break but managed to hold off Da Bears, who would outscore the Colts 8-6 in the final 30 minutes of play to keep the contest close. Indinapolis held Chicago to a season-low 28 yards along the shores of Lake Michigan as the Colts ran for 103 yards. Rivers threw for 190 yards with a TD toss to Mo Alie-Cox, while Foles threw for 249 yards and a TD to Allen Robinson II (Robinson had seven catches for 101 yards; both Foles and Rivers were sacked once and Foles threw the game’s only interception). Chicago went 4 of 14 on third down tries in the Windy City and kept the ball for 27:32, while the Colts ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:28 and went 8 of 19 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

The Browns shocked the football world last Sunday as Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Cleveland went into AT&T Stadium last Sunday and beat Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys 49-38. Dallas led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter before Cleveland took off in the second and third quarters, scoring 34 points unchallenged (the Browns led 31-14 at the intermission) in those two periods. Cleveland out-rushed Dallas 307-85 and Mayfield threw for 165 yards and a pair of TDs to Beckham (who had a rushing TD as well), while Prescott threw for a season-high 502 yards and four TDs (connecting with rookie WR CeeDee Lamb on two of the tosses; Mayfield was sacked twice, Prescott was sacked three times and threw the game’s only interception). Cleveland on third down tries? 5 for 11 and the Browns were miserly with the clock, keeping the ball for 33:27, while the Cowboys, keeping the pigskin for 26:33, went 6 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including games played in Baltimore, the Colts lead the series 15-14 but the Browns have outscored the Colts 600-558. The Colts have come away with wins in the last three meetings, including a 31-28 win in the Hoosier State in 2017, while Cleveland’s last win in the series came in 2011 in Indy by a final of 27-19. Cleveland’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. The winner moves themselves a bit closer to the post-season. Cleveland takes the win along the shores of Lake Erie, covering the 1 1/2.

New York Giants (0-4) at Dallas (1-3), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Forget tre records. A pair of NFC East rivals, trying to stay out of the cellar in their division, meet at AT&T Stadium. Each team took losses in last week’s play.

The Giants dropped their fourth contest in a row as Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams took Big Blue to task 19-7 at SoFi Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles took a 10-6 lead with them to the break and never looked back to take the win on the West Coast. Although the Giants did out-rush the Rams 136-58, Goff burned Big Blue for 200 yards with a TD toss to Cooper Kupp; for the Giants, Daniel Jones threw for 190 yards with five sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 5 of 13 on third down tries in southern California (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:43, while Big Blue actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 33:17, going 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas let a 7-0 lead get away from them against Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns at Jerry World (AT&T Stadium) as Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns took Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to task 49-38. The Cowboy let a 14-7 at the end of the first quarter get away from them as Cleveland took off in the second and third quarters, scoring 34 points unchallenged (the Browns led 31-14 at the intermission) in those two periods. Cleveland out-rushed Dallas 307-85 and Mayfield threw for 165 yards and a pair of TDs to Beckham (who had a rushing TD as well), while Prescott threw for a season-high 502 yards and four TDs (connecting with rookie WR CeeDee Lamb on two of the tosses; Mayfield was sacked twice, Prescott was sacked three times and threw the game’s only interception). Cleveland on third down tries? 5 for 11 and the Browns were miserly with the clock, keeping the ball for 33:27, while the Cowboys, keeping the pigskin for 26:33, went 6 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests played at Yankee Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, the Yale Bowl, Cowboys Stadium and Giants Stadium, the Cowboys lead the series 68-45-2, have outscored Big Blue 2,626-2,215 and have won the last six contests, including sweeping last year’s series (the Giants’ last win in the series came in 2016 when they were 10-6 winners in the Meadowlands).

Their first meeting? Week one in Jerry World (AT&T Stadium) and the Cowboys scored 14 second quarter points unchallenged to take a 35-17 win. Dallas led 21-7 at the intermission, taking the lead for good when Prescott and TE Jason Whitten connected on a 4-yard TD toss. A second Prescott pass to Amari Cooper with 73 seconds left before the intermission would seal the deal for Dallas.

While Big Blue out-rushed Dallas 151-89 with Giants RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 120 yards (Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliot had 53 yards with a rushing TD), Prescott burned the Giants for 405 yards in the air with four TDs, no sacks or interceptions, while Eli Manning threw for 306 yards with a TD (Manning was sacked once; Dallas’ Michael Gallup led all recievers with 158 yards, Cooper had 106 yards, while New York was paced by Evan Engram, who had 116 yards and a TD). Dallas went 6 of 10 on third down tries and played keep-away the ball for 32:18, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 27:42 and went 2 of 11 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Dallas made the series a clean sweep as they travel to Met Life Stadium in upstate New Jersey, breaking a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter and coming out on top 13-12 at the break, winning 37-18 in the week nine rematch. Dallas ruled the seocnd half of the contest, outscoring Big Blue 24-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. Elliott ran for 139 yards as Dallas would out-rush Big Blue 172-100 and Prescott threw for 257 yards and three TDs, while Daniel Jones, taking over for Manning, threw for 210 yards and a TD (Prescott and Jones each threw an interception, with Jones being sacked five times). Dallas went 4 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 28:04, while the Giants were ballhogs, holding on to the pigskin for 31:56, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week one contest at Jerry World, the Cowboys covered the 7-point spread with their 18 point win and the 52 combined points allowed both teams to take care of the 45 1/2 over/under. Dallas in the week nine Monday night affair was favored by 7 and the Cowboys covered the spread, winning by 19 and the two combined for 55 points, covering the 48 over/under. Dallas is favored by 8 1/2 in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 54. Both teams are looking for something resembling stabilty; the Giants look for their first win, the Cowboys looking to get back on track. Dallas wins this one at home and could cover the 8 1/2.

Minnesota (1-3) at Seattle (4-0), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They’re still standing. Russell Wilson and the 4-0 Seattle Seahawks welcome Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings to the Pacific Northwest for a Sunday evening primetime contest.

Minnesota picked up their first win of the 2020 season, as Cousins and the Vikings took the Houstn Texans to task 31-23 last Sunday at NRG Stadium. Minnesota took a 17-7 lead at the break but Houston managed to keep the contest close, outscoring the Vikings 17-14 in the final 30 minutes of play.

Minnesota’s Delvin Cook led all rushers with 130 yards and a pair of TDs as his team out-rushed Houston 162-96 and Cousins threw for 260 yards and a TD toss to Adam Thielen, while Watson threw for 300 yards and a pair of TDs (both Cousins and Watson were sacked three times but did not throw an interception). Minnesota was 5 of 12 on third down (the Vikings were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:31 to Houston’s 23:29 (the Texans were 3 of 12 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down).

Seattle remained unblemished after their 31-23 win over Miami in the Sunshine State last week. The Seahawks led 17-9 and stayed one step ahead of Miami throughout the contest. Miami did manage to out-rush Seattle 103-98 but Wilson took the Miami secondary to school, burning them for 360 yards and a pair of TDs, despite being sacked twice and picked off once, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 315 yards with a sack and a pair of interceptions. Seattle was 4 of 10 on third down (the Seahawks were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 26:51, while the Dolphins were ball hawks, holding on to the pigskin for 33:09, going 7 of 13 on third down tries.

The Seahawks lead the series 11-5, have outscored the Purple Gang 432-361 and have won the last five regular season meetings, including a 37-30 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks on a Monday night (Minnesota’s last win came in 2009 in the Twin Cities by a final of 35-9).

Minnesota led 17-10 at the intermission in the week 13 contest at Century Link Field before Seattle stromed back in the second half, outscoring the vikings 27-13 in the last 30 minutes of action, taking the lead for good with 5:46 left in the third on a 29-yard field goal by Josh Myers. Minnesota would get a couple of TD passes from Cousins (one to Laquon Treadwell, the other to Kyle Rudolph) to pull themselves to within four before Myers would connect on a 38-yard field goal to seal the win for Seattle.

Seattle out-rushed Minnesota 218-78 with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading the way with 102 yards and a TD, with teammate Rashaad Penny chipping with 74 yards and a TD. Wilson threw for 240 yards, while Cousins threw for 276 for the Vikings (both men threw a pair of TDs and an interception, Wilson was sacked twice). Seattle went 7 of 15 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and had time on their side (apologies to Mick Jagger!), as they kept the ball for 39:45, while the Vikings, keeping the pigskin for 20:15, went 5 of 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week 13 prime time contest in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks were favored by 3 and covered, winning by 7 and both clubs took care of the 49 over/under with 67 points. Seattle’s favored by 7 with a 56 1/2 over/under. The Seahawks would love nothing more than to stay unbeaten, while the Vikings look to knock Seattle out of the ranks of the unbeaten. Seattle doesn’t see that happening. Seattle wins in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The Los Angeles Chargers continue their Southern swing through the NFC South as they travel to take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the Big Easy.

The Chargers watched Tom Brady and the Buccaneers erase a 24-14 deficit at Raymond James Stadium, allowing Tampa Bay to come away 38-31 winners in the Sunshine State last Sunday. Trailing by 10 at the intermission, Tampa Bay proceeded to outscore the Chargers 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of action, taking the lead for good as they would use a 9-yard TD toss from Brady to RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn and a Ryan Succop field goal to take the win. Tampa Bay’s Ronald Jones led all rushers with 111 yards as the Bucs out-rushed the Bolts 115-46. Brady threw for 369 yards and five TDs without a sack, while Los Angeles’ Justin Hebert threw for 290 yards with three TDs and was sacked twice (both men threw an interception; Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans led all recievers with 122 yards and a TD). Tampa Bay went 5 of 11 on third down conversions and ruled the clock as they held on the ball for 34:55, while the Chargers, keeping the pigskin for 25:05, was 4 of 10 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down.

New Orleans erased a 14-7 first quarter deficit and scored 21 second quarter points unchallenged and came away 35-29 winners at Detroit last Sunday. Brees and the Saints held off a late Lions rally at Ford Field as Detroit made it a 6-point contest with 3:40 when Adrian Peterson scored on a 5-yard run and TE T.J. Hockerson connected with QB Matthew Stafford on a 2-point try. New Orleans would get the ball back and ran out the clock for the road win in the Motor City.

New Orleans easily out-rushed the Lions 164-90 with Saints RB Alvin Kamara leading the way with 83 yards and a TD (Peterson led Detroit with 36 yards) and Brees threw for 246 yards and a pair of TDs to Tre’Quan Smith, while Stafford threw for 206 yards and a pair of TDs (including one to Hockerson; both were picked off once, Stafford was sacked three times, Brees was sacked twice). New Orleans went 10 of 14 on third down (the Saints were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and clung to the ball for 36:46, while the Lions, holding the ball for 23:14, went 7 of 14 on third down, 3 of 3 on fourth down.

Including games played in San Diego, London and Tulane Stadium, the Chargers lead the series 7-5 and have outscored the Saints 323-234. New Orleans has taken wins in the last three meetings, including a 35-34 win in San Diego in 2016, while the Chargers’ last win in the series came in 2004 on the West Coast by a final of 43-17.

The Chagers on Monday night are 22-24 and took a loss in their only meeting last year, with their last win coming in 2013, while the Saints are 22-22 but won their only meeting in prime time last year. New Orleans is favored by 7 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 51. If nothing else, this one might be somewhat entertaing to watch. The Chargers have actually played better than the 1-3 record and could make things closer than the 7 1/2 but New Orleans prevails in the Big Easy.

The hunter becomes the hunted. When the 2019 National Football League season got underway, the Kansas City Chiefs were hurting from their loss to Tom Brady in the AFC championship game at Arrowhead. When the 2019 season ended in Miami at the Super Bowl, the Chiefs were holding their first Lombardi Trophy in almost five decades. Since that time, the NFL has had to deal with race and social issues and the Covid 19 virus, among other things.

The draft wasn’t normal as we know it. Instead of being on the Vegas strip as many hoped, it was held in the basement of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. There were very few if any OTAs and there were no pre-season games this year.

Still, there’s going to be football. Granted, there will be some stadiums that will not have fans at all this season or only taking 25 percent of their capacity. There won’t be any games in London or Mexico this year, which marks the first time in nearly two decades that the NFL has not crossed over the Big Pond (Atlantic Ocean) or headed south of the border. The season kicked off in the Show-Me State Thursday night as the Chiefs came away winners against Houston and was the first of 256 contests that will be played in the regular season.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL: 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 2019 season. Again, Week 17 came right down to the wire as two playoff spots and two division titles – the NFC East and NFC 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 2020 season with a trip to Tampa Bay and Super Bowl LV in mind and below are a few reasons why.
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. Five teams that missed the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo (10-6),
Green Bay (13-3), Minnesota (10-6), San Francisco (13-3) and Tennessee (9-7) – accomplished the feat in 2019.

Speaking of the playoffs…. (playoffs? playoffs? are you kidding me?) NFL clubs voted to expand the postseason by two teams beginning with the 2020 season. Expanding the NFL postseason was addressed in the new NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players and clubs both recognized that nothing energizes fans like the chance to see their team qualify for
the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl.

The vote during a league meeting in March held remotely follows the recommendation of the Competition Committee, Management Council Executive Committee and Media Committee on increasing the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14.

Two additional Wild Card teams – one each in the American and National Football Conferences – will qualify for the playoffs. The No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye in the Wild Card round. The remaining division champions in each conference with the best records will be seeded 2, 3, and 4, followed by the next three teams per conference with the best records seeded 5, 6 and 7.

AFC and NFC Wild Card games will feature the 2 seed hosting the 7 seed, the 3 seed hosting the 6 seed and the 4 seed hosting the 5 seed.

Wild Card Weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games on Saturday, January 9 and three games on Sunday, January 10, 2021.

CBS will broadcast one additional Wild Card game on January 10 with kickoff at approximately 4:40 p.m. Eastern. The game will also be available via a livestream on CBS All Access. Additionally, as part of CBS’ coverage, a separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon, tailored for a younger audience.

NBC, its new streaming service Peacock, as well as Telemundo will all broadcast an additional Wild Card game on January 10 with kickoff at approximately 8:15 p.m. Eastern.

The NFL last expanded the playoffs for the 1990 season, increasing from 10 to 12 the number of teams to qualify for the postseason. Since 1990, at least four new teams have qualified for the playoffs that missed the postseason the year before – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons.

COME FLY WTIH ME: This is your captain speaking. We’re going to be flying around a lot this season, so you might want to buckle that seat belt, turn off the electronic devices and follow the instructions of the flight attendant.

  1. Seattle 28,878
  2. San Francisco 25,485
  3. Los Angeles Chargers 25,387
  4. New England 24,560
  5. Miami 24,528
  6. Las Vegas 24,100
  7. Arizona 22,598
  8. Los Angeles Rams 22,062
  9. New York Jets 21,122
  10. Buffalo 20,026
    11, Dallas 19,295
  11. Denver 18,525
  12. Tampa Bay 15,834
  13. Washington 15,778
  14. Kansas City 15,636
  15. Jacksonville 15,425
  16. Philadelphia 14,826
  17. Houston 14,597
  18. New Orleans 14,013
  19. Carolina 12,634
  20. Minnesota 12,618
  21. Green Bay 12,285
  22. Atlanta 12,143
  23. New York Giants 11,610
  24. Detroit 10,328
  25. Tennessee 9,096
  26. Indianapolis 8,811
  27. Chicago 8,693
  28. Cincinnati 7,496
  29. Cleveland 7,426
  30. Pittsburgh 6,639
  31. Baltimore 6,292

All together, teams will travel approximately 508,846 miles during the 2020 season. The teams of the NFC West (99,023) have the highest combined mileage total of all divisions. For the first time in nearly two decades, all 256 games in the NFL will be on American soil, as the games in London and Mexico City were postponed because of the Covid 19 virus. Each team will travel an average of 15,901 miles this season (Seattle will fly the most, Baltimore will fly the fewest). Oh… and please return your tray to the upright position.

The remaining division totals ranking from highest to lowest are the AFC East (90,236), AFC West (83,648), NFC East (61,509), NFC South (54,624), AFC South (47,929), NFC North (44,024) and AFC North (27,853).

Three teams – Seattle (28,878), San Francisco (25,485) and Los Angeles Chargers (25,387) – will “travel around the world” at least once. A trip around the globe is 25,000 miles. That’s a lot of frequent flyer miles.

SPECIAL PATCHES AND LOGOS: The National Football League will celebrate the start of a new century in 2020 with the kickoff of its 101st season. At least five NFL teams will be dawning special patches in 2020. Dallas and Minnesota will be celebrating their 60th seasons with jersey patches and/or helmet decals, while Baltimore will be celebrating their 25th anniversary with a jersey patch.

Miami will wear a jersey patch commemorating the life of Pro Football Hall of Famer and legendary Dolphins head coach Don Shula, with his name and the number “347”, to signify his all-time career wins, the most in NFL history and the New York Jets will also wear a patch in memory of Betty Wold Johnson, mother of Jets CEO Christopher Johnson.

WHAT HAPPENED IN KICKOFF WEEKEND 2019 (ICYMI): A look back at statistical highlights from games played on Sunday, September 8, the first week of the 2019 season.

There were a total of 13 offensive touchdowns of 40-or-more yards, the second-most on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history. Only Kickoff Weekend of the 1991 season (14) had more such offensive scores of at least 40 yards. 13 quarterbacks had a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts) in Week 1, surpassing Week 3 of the 2017 season (12) for the most in any week since 1970.

Four rookies – Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown (100 receiving yards), Baltimore wide receiver Marquise Brown (147), Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson(131) and Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin (125) – each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts on Kickoff Weekend. It marked the first week in which three-or-more rookies have each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their debuts in NFL history. With 131 receiving yards, Hockenson surpassed Monty Stickles (123 receiving yards on September 25, 1960) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in his NFL debut in league history.

Baltimore defeated Miami 59-10 on Kickoff Weekend. The Ravens scored 42 points in the first half, the most by any team in the first half of a season-opening game in NFL history. The Ravens, who scored 47 points on Kickoff Weekend in 2018, are the fifth team in league annals and first since the 1967-68 Oakland Raiders to score at least 40 points in consecutive season-opening games.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 17 of 20 attempts for 324 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the victory. Jackson is the seventh quarterback in NFL history and first since Ben Roethlisberger (November 11, 2018) with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdowns and a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, in a single game in NFL history.

Baltimore rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown recorded touchdowns of 47 and 83 yards on his first two catches in his NFL debut. Brown became the first player in NFL history with two touchdown receptions of at least 40 yards in his NFL debut and his 83-yard touchdown reception is the second-longest by a player in his NFL debut in the Super Bowl era, trailing only Rick Upchurch (90-yard touchdown reception on September 21, 1975).

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns for a 143.2 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 40-26 win at Jacksonville. Mahomes, who has 5,759 passing yards in 18 career games, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (5,613 passing yards) for the most passing yards by a player in his first 20 career games in NFL history. Mahomes’ 53 touchdown passes are also the most by any player in his first 20 career games.

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins had nine receptions for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Watkins is the fourth player in NFL history to record at least 195 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions in a season-opening game, joining Frank Clarke (September 16, 1962), Irving Fryar (September 4, 1994) and Hugh Taylor (September 28, 1947).

Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 88 percent of his pass attempts (22 of 25), the highest completion percentage (minimum 15 attempts) by a quarterback in his NFL debut in league annals. Minshew completed his first 13 pass attempts, the longest streak to start a career among players who made their NFL debut over the past 40 seasons.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott completed 25 of 32 attempts for 405 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 rating in the Cowboys’ 35-17 victory against the New York Giants. Prescott is the fourth quarterback to register a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, on 30-or-more pass attempts in NFL history, joining Jared Goff (33 attempts on September 27, 2018), Ken O”Brien (32 attempts on November 2, 1986) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (30 attempts on October 1, 2000).

The Los Angeles Chargers defeated Indianapolis 30-24 in overtime while Arizona and Detroit played to a 27-27 tie at State Farm Stadium on Kickoff Weekend. At least one game on Kickoff Weekend has gone to overtime in five of the past six seasons.

The contest between the Cardinals and Lions marked the second consecutive season in which a game ended in a tie in Week 1 and the third tie overall on Kickoff Weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns tied on September 9, 2018, while the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos played to a 10-10 tie on September 19, 1971.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler totaled 154 scrimmage yards (96 receiving, 58 rushing) and three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in the victory. Ekeler is the first undrafted player to record at least 150 scrimmage yards, two receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game since Dan Reeves (156 scrimmage yards, two receiving touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns) on November 5, 1967.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald recorded eight catches for 113 yards and one touchdown, the 117th touchdown catch of his NFL career. He surpassed Antonio Gates (116 touchdown receptions) for the sixth-most in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Kickoff Weekend 2019 include:

Carolina running back Christian McCaffery had 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns, along with 10 receptions for 81 yards, in the Panthers’ Week 1 loss. McCaffrey, who also had 125 rushing yards and 11 receptions in Week 12 of the 2018 season, is the first player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 120 rushing yards and 10 receptions in multiple games.

New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell totaled 92 scrimmage yards (60 rushing, 32 receiving) and a touchdown reception in the Jets’ Week 1 loss. Bell, who has 8,088 scrimmage yards in 63 career games, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (64 games) to become the fastest player to reach 8,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

NEW FACES, NEW PLACES: Three key players have changed uniforms and teams. Tom Brady, who for years called Foxboro and the New England Patriots home, headed to the Gulf Coast of Florida where he will be wearing the colors of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South, Philips Rivers traded in his powder blue and lighting bolt of the Los Angeles Chargers for the Hoosier State and the Indianapolis Colts, Cam Newton heads to Foxboro after years with the Carolina Panthers and Jameis Winston stays in the NFC South but heads to New Orleans after a stint with the Bucs. Also moving… Andy Dalton, who returns to the Lone Star State as a back up to Dak Prescott as he suits up for the Dallas Cowboys after a long stint with Cincinnati.

There are five new coaches that will be roaming the sidelines when things get underway. Joe Judge (New York Giants), Mike McCarthy (Dallas), Matt Ruhle (Carolina), Ron Rivera (Washington) and Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland) will be on the sidelines this season. There will also be new places as well. The Chargers and Rams will call SoFi Stadium in downtown Los Angeles home after the Rams spent time in the Coliseum and the Chargers were residents at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson and the Raiders leave the Black Hole of the Oakland Coliseum for the desert for the great indoors of Allegiant Stadium. Not to be left out of the change party, the Washington team will no longer be called the Redskins and for the season, they’ll be refered to as the Washington football team. They’ll keep the colors they’ve had since they moved to our nation’s capital from Boston in the 1920s.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR (PLAYERS)

Josh Allen, Buffalo: needs three rushing touchdowns to become the second quarterback with at least 20 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons in NFL history joining Cam Newton (28). Allen also needs eight rushing touchdowns to become the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least eight touchdowns in three consecutive seasons.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants: needs 57 receptions to become the seventh running back in NFL history with at least 200 receptions through his first three seasons. Barkley also needs 10 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards to become the third player in NFL history with 30 such games through their first three seasons, joining Eric Dickerson (34) and Edgerrin James (32).

Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland: needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the 10th player with at least 1,000 receiving yards in six of his first seven seasons in NFL history.

Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets: needs 60 receptions to become the sixth running back in NFL history with five seasons of at least 60 receptions. Bell also needs 72 receptions to become the fourth running back with at least 450 receptions in his first seven seasons in NFL history. Bell enters 2020 with 378 career receptions in 77 career games.

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay: needs 16 starts to surpass Brett Favre (298 games) for the most games started by a quarterback in NFL history. Brady also needs two games with at least 300 passing yards to surpass Peyton Manning (93 games) for the second-most such games in NFL history, trailing only Drew Brees (120). With eight games with at least three touchdown passes, Brady would surpass Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (93 games) for the most such games in NFL history. Brady needs one more Pro Bowl berth to surpass Tony Gonzalez (14), Peyton Manning (14), Bruce Matthews (14) and Merlin Olsen (14) for the most Pro Bowl berths in NFL history.

Drew Brees, New Orleans: needs 10 starts to become the third quarterback in NFL history to start 300 games, including the postseason, joining Tom Brady (324) and Brett Favre (322). Brees also needs 25 touchdown passes to join Peyton Manning (16 seasons) as the only players in NFL history to have at least 15 seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes. Brees needs one game with at least two touchdown passes to surpass Peyton Manning (165 games) for the second-most such games in NFL history, trailing only Tom Brady (173). With one game with at least three touchdown passes, Brees would surpass Peyton Manning (93 games) for the most such games in NFL history. Brees needs one game with a passer rating of 125 or higher to surpass Peyton Manning (50 games) for the most such games in NFL history.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee: needs at least 1,000 receiving yards, 50 receptions and five receiving touchdowns to become the ninth player in NFL history to accomplish the feat in each of his first two seasons. Brown also needs five games with at least 100 receiving yards to become the ninth player in NFL history with 10 such games through his first two seasons.

Kevin Byard, Tennessee: needs three interceptions and two sacks to become the sixth player in NFL history with at least 20 interceptions and five sacks through his first five seasons in NFL history.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota: needs 893 passing yards in his first three games of the 2020 season to become the third-fastest player (96 career games) to reach 25,000 career passing yards in NFL history, behind Matthew Stafford (90 games) and Dan Marino (92 games).

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams: needs eight sacks to become the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least eight sacks in each of his first seven seasons. Donald also needs 13 sacks to become the fourth player since 1982 to record at least 85 sacks in his first seven seasons, joining Reggie White (110), DeMarcus Ware (99.5) and Derrick Thomas (85). Donald has 72 sacks in 94 career games.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers: needs 953 scrimmage yards to become the third undrafted player in the common draft era (since 1967) with at least 4,000 scrimmage yards in his first four seasons, joining Arian Foster (6,052) and Willie Parker (4,818). Ekeler has 3,047 scrimmage yards in his first three seasons.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas: needs at least 1,300 rushing yards to the eighth player with at least 1,300 rushing yards in four of their first five seasons in NFL history. Elliott also needs 1,523 yards from scrimmage to surpass Chris Johnson (8,546) for the fifth-most yards from scrimmage through a player’s first five seasons in league history.

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia: needs 93 receptions to surpass Jason Witten (617) for the most receptions by a tight end in his first eight seasons in NFL history.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay: needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the first player in NFL history to begin his career with seven consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona: needs 22 receptions for 1,400 career receptions, trailing only Jerry Rice (1,549) for most in NFL history. Fitzgerald has 1,378 receptions in 250 career games. Fitzgerald also needs nine touchdown receptions to surpass Marvin Harrison (128) for the fifth-most touchdown receptions in NFL history. Fitzgerald has 120 receiving touchdowns in 16 career seasons. Fitzgerald needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the third player in NFL history with 10 career 1,000-yard seasons, joining Jerry Rice (14) and Randy Moss (10).

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay: needs 139 receiving yards to reach 8,000 career receiving yards, joining Jason Witten (8,948 receiving yards), Tony Gonzalez (8,710) and Antonio Gates (8,321) as the only tight ends with at least 8,000 receiving yards in their first 10 seasons. Gronkowski also needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with five career 1,000-yard seasons. Gronkowski needs 976 receiving yards to become the fifth tight end in NFL history with 10,000 career receiving yards, including postseason. With nine receiving touchdowns, he would become the third tight end in NFL history with 100 career receiving touchdowns, including the postseason. Gronkowski needs four games with at least 100 receiving yards to surpass Tony Gonzalez (31 games) for the most such games by a tight end in NFL history.

Todd Gurley, Atlanta: needs 12 total touchdowns to surpass Jim Brown (81) for the fifth-most total touchdowns through a player’s first six seasons in NFL history. Gurley also needs 10 rushing touchdowns to become the seventh player with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in five of their first six seasons in NFL history.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee: needs 1,500 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns to become the fourth player in NFL history to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons. Henry also needs two games with at least 200 rushing yards to become the third player in NFL history with four such games in his first five seasons.

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona: needs 68 receptions to become the fifth player in NFL history with 700 receptions in his first eight seasons. Hopkins has 632 receptions in 110 career games. Hopkins also needs at least 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions to become the fifth player in NFL history with four such seasons. Hopkins reached those marks during the 2015, 2017 and 2018 seasons. Hopkins needs 800 receiving yards to become the third player in NFL history with at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first eight seasons, joining Gary Clark and Jerry Rice.

Danielle Hunter, Minnesota: could join Reggie White (1986-88, 1990-92) and Jared Allen (2007-09) as the only players with at least 14 sacks in three consecutive seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official NFL statistic. Hunter recorded 14.5 sacks in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore: needs 132 rushing yards to surpass Cam Newton (2,032 yards) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history. Jackson also needs four games with at least 100 rushing yards to tie Michael Vick (10 games) for the most such games by a quarterback in NFL history. With 672 passing yards and 599 rushing yards, Jackson would become the first player with at least 5,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards through his first three seasons in NFL history.

Chandler Jones, Arizona: needs 21.5 sacks to surpass Jared Allen (117) and DeMarcus Ware (117) for the second-most sacks by a player in his first nine seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Reggie White had 137 sacks in his first nine NFL seasons. Jones also needs 17 sacks to become the third player since 1982 with three career seasons of at least 17 sacks. Jones had 17 sacks in 2017 and 19 sacks in 2019.

JULIO JONES, Atlanta: needs 1,151 receiving yards to surpass Jerry Rice (13,275 yards) for the most receiving yards through a player’s first 10 seasons in NFL history. Jones also could become the first player with at least 1,250 receiving yards in seven consecutive seasons in NFL history. Jones needs at least 100 receptions and 1,500 receiving yards to become the first player to reach those marks in four different seasons in NFL history.

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans: needs at least 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards to become the first player in NFL history to have at least 500 rushing and receiving yards in each of his first four seasons. Kamara also needs 92 rushing yards and 432 receiving yards to join Roger Craig and Christian McCaffrey as the only players with at least 2,500 rushing and 2,500 receiving yards in their first four seasons in NFL history. If Kamara reaches 3,000 rushing yards, he would join Craig as the only players with at least 3,000 rushing yards and 2,500 receiving yards in their first four seasons. Kamara enters 2020 with 2,408 rushing yards and 2,068 receiving yards.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City: needs 93 receptions to become the second tight end with at least 600 receptions in his first eight seasons, joining Jason Witten (617). Kelce also needs 535 receiving yards to become the third tight end in NFL history with at least 7,000 receiving yards in his first eight seasons, joining Rob Gronkowski (7,179) and Antonio Gates (7,005). Kelce has 6,465 receiving yards in 96 career games. Kelce needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with five career seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. Kelce had at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons. Kelce needs 90 receptions to become the first tight end in NFL history to record at least 90 receptions in three consecutive seasons. Kelce had 103 receptions in 2018 and 97 receptions in 2019.

Ryan Kerrigan, Washington: needs five sacks to become the ninth player to record at least five sacks in each of his first 10 seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Kerrigan also needs at least five sacks and one forced fumble to join Derrick Thomas as the only players since 1982 to do so in each of their first 10 seasons.

George Kittle, San Francisco: needs 919 receiving yards to surpass Jimmy Graham (3,863) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in his first four seasons in NFL history. Kittle has 2,945 receiving yards in 45 career games. Kittle also needs 84 receptions to join Jimmy Graham (301) as the only tight ends in NFL history with at least 300 receptions in their first four seasons. Kittle has 216 receptions in his first three seasons.

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland: needs at least 80 receptions to become the first player in NFL history to record at least 80 receptions in each of his first seven seasons. Landry also needs 102 receptions to surpass Marvin Harrison (665) for the most receptions through a player’s first seven seasons in NFL history.

Darius Leonard, Indianapolis: needs three interceptions to become the third linebacker in NFL history with at least 10 interceptions through his first three seasons.

Phillip Lindsay, Denver: needs 1,000 rushing yards to become the first undrafted player since 1967 to record at least 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first three seasons. Lindsay had 1,037 rushing yards in 2018 and 1,011 rushing yards in 2019. Lindsay also needs 1,200 scrimmage yards to become the fifth undrafted running back since 1967 to record at least three career seasons of 1,200 scrimmage yards. Lindsay had 1,278 scrimmage yards in 2018 and 1,207 scrimmage yards in 2019.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland: needs at least 3,500 passing yards to join Andrew Luck (2012-14), Peyton Manning (1998-2000) and Jameis Winston (2015-17) as the only players with at least 3,500 passing yards in each of their first three seasons in NFL history. With at least 3,500 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes, Mayfield would join Luck and Manning as the only players to do so in each of their first three seasons in league history.

Christian McCaffery, Carolina: needs at least 1,000 receiving and 1,000 rushing yards to become the first player in NFL history to accomplish the feat in multiple seasons. McCaffrey also needs 97 receptions to become the third player in NFL history with 400 receptions through his first four seasons, joining Michael Thomas (470) and Jarvis Landry (400). McCaffrey needs at least 2,000 scrimmage yards to become the 11th player in NFL history to record 2,000 scrimmage yards in consecutive seasons. With 1,557 scrimmage yards, he would become the seventh player in NFL history with at least 7,000 scrimmage yards through his first four seasons. McCaffrey need 80 rushing yards and 477 receiving yards to become the first player in NFL history with 3,000 rushing and 3,000 receiving yards in his first four seasons. With six rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns, he would become the first player in NFL history with 30 rushing touchdowns and 20 receiving touchdowns in his first four seasons.

Kyler Murray, Arizona: can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history with at least 3,500 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons. Murray also needs 500 rushing yards to become the fourth quarterback since 1970 to rush for at least 500 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons.

Adrian Peterson, Detroit: needs 1,054 rushing yards to surpass Barry Sanders (15,269) for fourth place on the all-time rushing list. Peterson also needs 13 rushing touchdowns to surpass Marcus Allen (123) for third place on the all-time rushing touchdown list. Peterson needs 750 rushing yards to become the third player in NFL history to accomplish the feat in at least 11 different seasons, joining Emmitt Smith (14 seasons) and Frank Gore (12). With five rushing touchdowns, he would become the fourth player in NFL history to do so in at least 11 different seasons, joining Marcus Allen (13), Emmitt Smith (12) and Walter Payton (11).

Dak Prescott, Dallas: could join Peyton Manning (1998-2002) and Russell Wilson (2012-16) as the only players with at least 3,000 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes in each of their first five seasons in NFL history. Prescott also needs four rushing touchdowns and three touchdown passes to join Cam Newton (2011-15) as the only players with at least 100 touchdown passes and 25 rushing touchdowns through their first five seasons in NFL history.

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis: needs 2,091 passing yards to surpass Dan Marino (61,361) for fifth place on the all-time passing yards list. Rivers also needs 24 touchdown passes to surpass Dan Marino (420) for fifth place on the all-time passing touchdowns list. With 60 completed passes, Rivers would surpass Dan Marino (4,967) for fifth place on the all-time completions list. Rivers needs 4,000 passing yards for his eighth consecutive season with at least 4,000 passing yards, tied with Peyton Manning for the third-longest such streak in NFL history.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: needs 3,054 passing yards to become the 11th quarterback to reach 50,000 career passing yards in NFL history. Rodgers also needs three touchdown passes to surpass Eli Manning (366) for the seventh-most career touchdown passes in NFL history.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: needs one game with at least 300 passing yards to tie Brett Favre (62 games) for the seventh-most such career games in NFL history. Roethlisberger also needs two games with at least 300 passing yards to tie Dan Marino (63 games) for the sixth-most such games in league history. Roethlisberger needs one game with at least three touchdown passes to become the eighth quarterback to have at least 50 games with at least three touchdown passes in NFL history.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta: needs at least 4,000 passing yards to join Drew Brees (12 seasons from 2006-17) as the only players with at least 4,000 passing yards in 10 consecutive seasons in NFL history. Ryan also needs 3,643 passing yards to surpass Peyton Manning (54,828 yards) for the most passing yards through a player’s first 13 seasons in NFL history.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit: needs 4,149 passing yards to surpass Dan Marino (45,173) for the fourth-most passing yards through a player’s first 12 seasons in NFL history.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans: needs 1,000 receiving yards to become the fourth player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first five seasons, joining Mike Evans, A.J. Green and Randy Moss. Thomas also needs 100 receptions to become the third player in NFL history to have at least 100 receptions in four consecutive seasons, joining Antonio Brown (six seasons) and Marvin Harrison (four). Thomas needs 90 receptions to become the first player in NFL history with at least 90 receptions in each of his first five seasons. With 1,273 receiving yards he would surpass Torry Holt (6,784 receiving yards) for the most receiving yards in a player’s first five seasons in NFL history. Thomas needs 12 receptions to surpass Jarvis Landry (481 receptions) for the most receptions in a player’s first five seasons in NFL history.

T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh: needs at least 13 sacks to join Reggie White (four seasons) and Derrick Thomas (three) as the only players to record at least 13 sacks in three of their first four seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official NFL statistic. Watt recorded 13 sacks in 2018 and 14.5 sacks in 2019.

Russell Wilson, Seattle: needs seven wins to surpass Peyton Manning (92) for the most wins by a quarterback in his first nine seasons in NFL history. Wilson has won 86 games in his first eight seasons. Wilson also needs seven wins to surpass Tom Brady (101) for the most wins, including the postseason, by a quarterback in his first nine seasons in NFL history.

Jason Witten, Las Vegas: needs 60 receptions for his 16th career season with at least 60 receptions, the second-most in NFL history, trailing only Jerry Rice (17). Witten needs 85 receptions to become the second tight end and fourth player in NFL history with at least 1,300 career receptions. With 23 receiving yards, he would become the second tight end in NFL history with 13,000 receiving yards, joining Tony Gonzalez (15,127).

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 cham​pionship is to win in Week 1.

The 54 Super Bowl winners have a 44-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City Chiefs, who hosted Houston in the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game on Thursday, have won their past five Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the AFC and tied for the longest active streak in the NFL (Green Bay).

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 617 teams that won openers…322 went to the playoffs (196 won division titles).
Of the 616 teams that lost openers…148 went to the playoffs (86 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 2019, the 12 playoff teams compiled an 11-1 record on Kickoff Weekend and all four participants in the conference championships – Green Bay, Kansas City, San Francisco and Tennessee – were victorious in Week 1.

STARTING STREAKS: The Chiefs aren’t the only team to have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of other notable active NFL Kickoff milestones and streaks:

The defending AFC North champion Baltimore Ravers, who hosts Cleveland on Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS, have won their last four Kickoff Weekend games, the AFC’s second-longest active streak.

Green Bay opens their season on the road against Minnesota in the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOx. The Packers have won 57 games on Kickoff Weekend, the most in the NFL. Green Bay has won its past five Kickoff Weekend games while the Vikings enter the 2020 season having won their past four openers.

Dallas and Dak Prescott visit the Los Angeles Rams in prime time on Sunday Night Football in Week 1 at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. With a winning percentage of .661 (39-20-1), the Cowboys own the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFC.

In the first of two Monday Night Football games on Kickoff Weekend, the New York Giants host Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN. The Giants have 50 wins on Kickoff Weekend, third-most among all teams, while Pittsburgh’s 43 wins are the most among AFC teams.

Denver begins the season by hosting Tennessee in the second Monday Night Football contest at 10:20 p.m. on ESPN. The Broncos have also posted a .661 winning percentage (39-20-1) on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the AFC. Denver has won seven of its past eight Kickoff Weekend games.

*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 Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has 39 touchdown passes in 18 career Week 1 games, while Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady has 37 touchdown passes in 17 career Kickoff Weekend games. The two rank first and second in NFL history, respectively, in career touchdown passes on Kickoff Weekend and face off this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on FOX.

Brees also leads all players with 5,406 career passing yards on Kickoff Weekend, while Brady ranks third with 4,693. With at least 44 passing yards on Sunday, Brady will surpass Peyton Manning (4,736) for second place on the all-time list.

Detroit running back Adrian Peterson has 999 rushing yards in 12 career season-opening games and needs one rushing yard on Sunday against Chicago at Ford Field at 1 p.m. on FOX 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), Edgerrin James (1,062) and Jim Brown (1,043).

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.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who recorded eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown on Kickoff Weekend in 2019, has 92 receptions in 16 career Kickoff Weekend games, tied for the most all-time. With at least one reception on Sunday at San Francisco at 4:25 p.m. on FOX, Fitzgerald will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (92 receptions) for the most career receptions in season-opening games in NFL history.

Fitzgerald has 1,181 receiving yards in Week 1 games and with at least 45 receiving yards on Sunday can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers Randy Moss (1,194) and Andre Reed (1,225) for the second-most in NFL history. Rice has the most receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend with 1,385.

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had 154 receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend in 2019, has six career games with at least 100 yards receiving in Week 1, tied for the most all-time. With at least 100 receiving yards against Washington on Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX, Jackson would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (six) for the most 100-yard receiving games on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

START ’EM EARLY: Cincinnati rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, the number 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, is expected to make his first career start on the West Coast against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. With a start by Burrow, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 13 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:

SEASON – QUARTERBACK (TEAM, STARTING RECORD AS ROOKIE)
2008 – Joe Flacco (Baltimore, 11-5)
2008 – Matt Ryan (ATLANTA, 11-5)
2009 – Mark Sanchez (New York Jets, 8-7)
2009 – Matthew Stafford (Detroit, 2-8)*
2010 – Sam Bradford (St, Louis Rams, 7-9)*
2011 – Andy Dalton (Cincinnati, 9-7)
2011 – Cam Newton (Carolina, 6-10)*
2012 – Robert Griffin III (Washington, 9-6)
2012 – Andrew Luck (Indianapolis, 11-5)*
2012 – Ryan Tannehill (Miami, 7-9)
2012 – Brandon Weeden (Cleveland, 5-10)
2012 – Russell Wilson (Seattle, 11-5)
2013 – EJ 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, 5-10-1)*
2020 – Joe Burrow (Cincinnati) *^
*No. 1 overall pick
^Expected to start Week 1

BRADY & BREES: Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees will face off as division rivals for the first time, as Tampa Bay travels to New Orleans on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. Brady (age 43) and Brees (41) are the two oldest active players in the NFL, and Sunday’s meeting will be the first in league history between two starting quarterbacks both age 40 or older.

The pair enter the 2020 season as the league’s top-two all-time leaders in passing yards and touchdown passes. Their Week 1 meeting marks the first game since at least 1950 between the league’s top-two all-time leaders in touchdown passes.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING YARDS)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (77,416)
Tom Brady – New England (74,517)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (547)
Tom Brady – New England (541)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)

With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday, Brees (165 games) will surpass Peyton Manning for the second-most such games in NFL history, trailing only Brady (173). With at least three touchdown passes, Brees (93 games) will surpass Manning for the most such games in league annals. Brady enters the season third on the all-time list with 86 games with at least three touchdown passes.

The players with the most career games with at least two touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES)
Tom Brady – New England (173)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (165)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (165)

The players with the most career games with at least three touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (93)
Peyton Manning – Denver and Indianapolis (93)
Tom Brady – New England (86)

If Brees records a passer rating of 125 or higher, he would also surpass Manning (50 games) for the most such games in NFL history.

Other career passing milestones that can be reached in Week 1:

With at least three touchdown passes on Sunday at Jacksonville at 1 p.m. on CBS, Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers (397 career touchdown passes) can become the sixth player with 400 career touchdown passes in NFL history.

With at least 290 passing yards on Sunday against Seattle at 1 p.m. on FOX, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan (51,186 career passing yards) can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for ninth place on the league’s all-time list.

With at least 58 passing yards on Sunday at Minnesota at 1 p.m. on FOX, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers (46,946 career passing yards) can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (47,003) for 12th place on the all-time list.

With at least 266 passing yards on Sunday at Atlanta, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson can reach 30,000 career passing yards, becoming the 11th player to do so in his first nine seasons in league history.

RUSHING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson became the youngest quarterback to win league MVP in NFL history last season after leading the league with 36 touchdown passes and rushing for 1,206 yards, the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.

Jackson had five games with at least 100 rushing yards last season, the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history, and enters 2020 with 1,901 career rushing yards through his first two seasons.

With at least 132 rushing yards on Sunday against Cleveland, Jackson can surpass Cam Newton (2,032 rushing yards) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in his first three seasons in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most rushing yards in their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RUSHING YARDS)
Cam Newton, Carolina (2,032)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (1,901)*
Russell Wilson, Seattle (1,877)
*Entering third season

RECEPTIONS LEADER: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas led the NFL with 149 receptions for 1,725 receiving yards last season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (143 receptions in 2002) for the most receptions in a single season in NFL history. He also registered nine games with at least 10 receptions, the most in a single season in league annals.

Thomas enters his fifth NFL season with 470 career receptions and needs at least 12 receptions on Sunday against Tampa Bay to surpass Jarvis Landry (481 receptions) for the most receptions by a player in his first five seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in their first five seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RECEPTIONS)
Jarvis Landry – Miami and Cleveland (481)
Michael Thomas – New Orleans (470)*
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (426)
*Entering fifth season

CLOSING IN ON 800: Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES has 797 receptions for 12,125 yards and 57 touchdowns in 126 career games. Jones needs three receptions on Sunday against Seattle to become the second-fastest player to reach 800 receptions in NFL history.

The players to reach 800 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 800 RECEPTIONS)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (126)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (131) HOF
Andre Johnson, Houston (137)
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (126)*
*Has 797 receptions entering Sunday

ROOKIES NO MORE: The 2019 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray and the 2019 Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year, San Francisco defensive lineman Nick Bosa, will meet each other in Week 1, when the 49ers host the Cardinals on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on FOX.

It will mark the third time in NFL history that the two reigning Rookies of the Year will meet on Kickoff Weekend. New England running back John Stephens and New York Jets defensive back Erik McMillan met in Week 1 of the 1989 season, while San Diego Chargers running back Don Woods and Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert met in the season opening game in 1975.

The Kickoff Weekend matchups featuring the reigning Associated Press Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year in NFL history:

SEASON: REIGNING OROY (TEAM); REIGNING DROY (TEAM) – WEEK 1 RESULT
2020: QB Kyler Murray (Arizona); DL Nick Bosa (San Francisco) – ???
1989: RB John Stephens (New England); DB Erik McMillan (New York Jets) – New England 27, New York Jets 24
1975: RB Don Woods (San Diego); LB Jack Lambert (Pittsburgh)(HOF) – Pittsburgh 37, San Diego 0

Thanksgiving will feature a tripleheader on Thursday, November 26. The first game will send the Texans to Detroit to face the Lions at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The late afternoon game will feature Washington visiting Dallas at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX. The Thanksgiving Day festivities conclude with an AFC North showdown as the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh and Heinz Field to face the Steelers on NBC at 8:20 p.m. Eastern

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, January 3. For the 11th consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications. The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 5 and end in Week 13. “Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time.

For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to January 3. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.

Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights. In each of Weeks 15 and 16, up to three of five designated matchups will be played on Saturday with the remainder to be played on Sunday. Specific dates and start times for such designated Week 15 and Week 16 matchups will be determined and announced no later than four weeks prior to game day.

Week one got underway at Arrowhead as the Chiefs raised their championship bannder and got their rings as World Champions Thursday night and concludes in the Mile High City as Denver hosts Tennessee. As our tradition, we’re going to make all the games for week 1 and 17 “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 61 last June and dates a 45-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?”), Last year was a pretty good year pick-wise, as we went 149-119 for the season. Having said all of that, it’s time for the picks for Sunday and Monday in week 1.

Seattle (11-5) at ATLANTA (7-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Salmon meets chicken and waffles as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks travel to the Big Peach for a showdown with Matt Ryan, newly accquired RB Todd Gurley and the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Seattle leads the series 11-8 and the Seahawks have outscored Atlanta 465-411. Seattle has also won three of the last four regular season meetings, including a 27-20 win in the Big Peach last year (Atlanta’s last win in the series came in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, as the Falcons held off Seattle 34-31 in 2017).

They met in week eight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Seahawks scored 24 first-half points unchecked at the intermission. Atlanta, with Matt Schaub under center (Ryan was injured the week before), proceeded to outscore Seattle 20-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. Seattle outrushed Atlanta 151-69 and Seahawks RB Chris Carson led all rushers with 90 yards and a TD, while DeVonta Freeman led Atlant with 39. Wilson threw for 182 yards and a pair of TDs (both to WR D.K. Metcalf), while Schaub threw for 460 yards and a TD to TE Austin Hooper (Schaub was picked off once, Wilson did not throw an interception; both men were sacked twice). Atlanta, who turned the ball over three times (two fumbles, Schaub interception), went 1 of 1 on fourth down (both teams were 3 for 9 on third down) and actually ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 30:47, while Seattle kept the ball for 29:13.

Seattle was favored by 3 1/2 in the week eight contest in the Big Peach and their 7-point road win but both clubs missed the 53 1/2 over/under, as they tallied 47 points. In the first Sunday meeting of the 2020 campaign, Seattle’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 49. Seattle would like to prove that last year’s win was not a fluke. Atlanta would love nothing more than revenge. Revenge wins out here. Atlanta covers the 1 1/2 in the Big Peach and takes the win in the Deep South.

Cleveland (6-10) at Baltimore (14-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of former top draft QBs meet along Baltimore Harbor in Charm City as Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens take on Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns square off in the first of two AFC North meetings.

The Ravens lead the series 31-11 and have outscore the Browns 983-653. The two clubs split their two meetings in the 2019 campaign, each taking wins in their home facilty. Their first meeting was in week four in Charm City and the Browns would prevail 40-25 at M&T Bank Stadium. Cleveland led 10-7 at the intermission, then proceeded to hit the gas in the second half, outscoring the Ravens 30-18 in the final 30 minutes of play. Cleveland outrushed Baltimore 193-173 with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 165 yards and three TDs, while Mark Ingram led Baltimore with 71 yards. Mayfield threw for 342 yards in the contest with a TD and an interception, while Jackson threw for 247 yards and three TDs (Mayfield was sacked once; Jackson was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions.). The Ravens (who turned the ball over three times) went 4 of 10 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:43, while the Browns ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:17, going 6 for 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Ravens got revenge in week 16 along the shores of Lake Erie as Baltimore 31-15 at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. After a scoreless first quarter in the chill of northern Ohio, Baltimore took a 14-6 lead with them to the break and never looked back, outpacing Cleveland 17-9 in the final 30 minutes of play. This time, Jackson would not only lead with his arm, he led with his feet, leading all rushers with 103 yards, as Baltimore outrushed Cleveland 243-49 (the Ravens held Chubb to 45 yards rushing). Jackson threw for 238 yards and three TDs without a sack or interception, while Mayfield threw for 192 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Beckham) with an interception. Baltimore went 7 of 11 on third down tries (the Ravens were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:19, while the Browns, keeping the pigskin for 25:41, went 3 of 12 on third down tries.

In the week four contest in Charm City, the Ravens were favored by 6 1/2 and the Browns covered, winning by 15. Both teams covered the 45 over/under with 65 points. The Ravens were favored again in their week 16 showdown along the shores of Lake Erie, by 9 1/2 and the Ravens covered, winning by 16 but both clubs missed the 49 1/2 over/under, tallying 46 points. Baltimore’s favored by 8 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. The 48 1/2 makes sense, it’s the 8 that has us scratching our heads. Cleveland’s better than their 6-10 record and while they could make things closer than 8, the Ravens prevail in Charm City and takes the win.

New York Jets (7-9) at Buffalo (10-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of Empire State teams meet in upstate New York as the Buffalo Bills welcome their AFC East rivals from the Jersey Shore to Orchard Park.

The Bills lead the series 62-56 (which includes contests played at Shea Stadium, War Memorial Stadium and when the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were known as the Titans) and have outscored GangGreen 2,459-2,408. They met twice in the 2019 campaign, splitting the two contests to start and end the season and taking wins in the other team’s facility.

Meeting number one… week one in the Meadowlands and the Bills erased a 16-10 deficit in the fourth quarter to take a 17-16 win at Met Life Stadium. GangGreen led 6-0 at the break and took a 16-3 lead with them to the fourth quarter before Buffalo circled their wagons and scored 14 fourth quarter points unchallenged, including the game winner when Josh Brown and Josh Allen connected on a 38-yard TD toss with three mintues left in regulation. The Bills then held off a late J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! rally to take the win in upstate New Jersey.

Buffalo outrushed GangGreen 128-68 and Allen threw for 254 yards and the TD to Brown (he also had a rushing TD in the fourth quarter), while Sam Darnold threw for 175 yards and a TD to LeVeon Bell (Allan was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Darnold was sacked four times). Buffalo was 5 of 10 on third down tries (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while GangGreen actually ruled the clcok, keeping the pigskin hostage for 32:01, while going 7 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The two teams closed out the season in upstate New York and this time, GangGreen prevails 13-6 at New Era Stadium. Darnold and WR Jamison Crowder connected for the contest’s only TD early in the final quarter of play (GangGreen led 3-0 at the half) to take the win, holding off a late Bills’ rally as K Stephen Hauschka connected on a 49-yard field goal with 47 seconds left, then recovering the onside kick to seal the win. Neither club breached the 100-yard mark in the rematch and it would be GangGreen outrushing Buffalo 86-73. Arnold threw for 199 yards and the fourth quarter TD, while backup QB Matt Barkley threw for 199 yards (Barkley was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Darnonld threw a pick and was sacked twice). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 5 of 14 on third down and held on to the ball for 31:21, while the Bills kept the pigskin for 28:39, going 4 of 14 on third down conversions.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were favored by 2 1/2 in the week one contest in the Meadowlands and while the Bills came away victors, they did not cover, winning by 1 point and both missed the 40 1/2 over/under, tallying only 33 points. Buffalo in the week 16 rematch found themselves favored by 1 1/2 and GangGreen did cover, winning by 7 in upstate New York. As for the 36 over/under? It was as safe as can be, as they merged for only 19 ponits. The Bills are favored by 6 1/2 in upstate New York and the over/under’s 39. These two teams are trying to knock New England off the AFC East mountain and the winner has the edge to completing that task. Bills circle the wagons in Orchard Park and takes the win in upstate New York, covering the 6 1/2.

Las Vegas (7-9) at Carolina (5-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of teams that were struggling last year meet in the Tar Heel State as Carolina begins life without Cam Newton or Ron Rivera as they host Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders. You are reading that correctly. After years of playing in Oakland, the Silver and Black have moved to the desert.

The two teams find themselves tied 3-3 and the Silver and Black has outscored Carolina 140-137. The Raiders were 35-32 winners on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay in Oakland in 2016, while Carolina’s last win in the series came in the Tar Heel State in 2012 by a final of 17-6. The Raiders are favored by 3 in the Tar Heel State and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Raiders ‘Just Win, Baby” in the Tar Heel State and covers the 3 in Charlotte.

Chicago (8-8) at Detroit (3-12-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Motor City as Chicago and Detroit, both looking to unseat Green Bay on the divisional throne, meet at Ford Field in the season opener for both.

Including games played in Portsmouth, when the Lions were known as the Spartans, games played at Tiger Stadium, Wrigley Field, the Pontiac Silverdome and Champaign-Urbana, Da Bears lead da series 101-74-5, have outscored Detroit 3,510-3,223 and have won the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Detroit’s last win over Chicago came in 2017 in the Motor City by a final of 20-10).

Their first meeting took place in the Windy City in week 10 and Chicago held off a late Detroit rally at Solider Field to come away with the 20-13 win. Trubisky (173 yards) threw three TD passes in the contest as Chicago led 7-6 at the intermisson. The one bright spot for the Lions in the contest was that they did outrush Da Bears 98-83 and Jeff Driskell, taking over for the injured Matthew Stafford, threw for 269 yards and a TD to Kenny Golloday (Driskell was sacked twice and threw and interception, while Trubisky was sacked five times without a pick). Detroit went 7 of 18 on third down tries at Soldier Field (the Lions were 0-2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 31:54, while Da Bears were 2 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the pigskin for 28:06.

Round two… the Motor City in week 13 on Thansgiving Day and the Lions let a 20-17 lead with 2:17 left in regulation get away from them as Da Bears’ David Montgomery caught a 3-yard TD toss from Trubisky to reclaim the lead, taking a 24-20 win at Ford Field. The Lions, leading 17-10 at the intermission, broke a 17-17 tie thanks to a 24-yard field goal by Matt Prather, before Chicago went on a 9-play, 90-yard drive that took 4:23 of clock to reclaim the lead. Chicago then went on to hold off a late Detroit rally to complete the sweep and take the win. Detroit once again outrushed Chicago, this time tallying 105 yards (Detroit’s Bo Scarbrough led all rushers with 83 yards, Montgomery led Chicago with 75 yards), while Chicago ran for 88 yards. Trubisky threw for 338 yards and three TDs (including the game winner), while David Blough, making his first start in the NFL as he took over for Stafford, threw for 280 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Golladay), while Trubisky threw for 338 yards and three TDs (including the game winner; Trubisky was sacked once, Blough was sacked twice and both threw an interception). Both teams were 50 percent on third down tries in the Thanksgiving Day affair in the Motor City (Chicago was 5 of 10, Detroit was 8-16) and both teams went 0 for 1 on fourth down tries. Chicago ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:50, while Detroit kept the pigskin for 29:10.

Chicago covered the 2 1/2-point spread in the week 10 contest, winning by 6 but the 41 1/2 over/under was safe, as the two teams merged for 33 points. Da Bears were favored in the Thanksgiving Day contest in the Motor City as 2 1/2-point favorites and they would cover, winning by four. This time, both teams covered the 39 over/under, tallying 44 points. Detroit’s favored by 3 in the Motor City and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Lion fans, get readsy to get your hearts broken… again. Da Bears win in the Motor City and covers the 3.

Indianapolis (7-9) at Jacksonville (6-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC South rivals open their 2020 seasons in north Florida as Jacksonville hosts the Indianapolis Colts in the Sunshine State.

The Colts lead the series 24-14 and have outrscored Jacksonville 889-779. The two AFC South foes split their meetings last year, each winning at home.

Indy took control of things in the first meeting, a week 11 contest at Lucas Oil Stadium, coming away 33-13 winners in the Hoosier State. The Colts led 10-3 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the third quarter, scoring a pair of TDs in the quarter unchallenged to all but seal the game away. Jacksonville was held to 29 yards of rushing as Colts RBs Jordan Williams (116 yards) and Marlon Mack (109 yards, TD) ran roughshod over the Jaguars. Jacoby Brissette threw for 148 yards with a TD pass to WR Marcus Johnson and had a rushing TD of his own, while Nick Foles threw for 296 yards and a pair of TDs to D.J. Chark for the Jaguars (both Brissett and Foles threw an interception; Brissett was sacked twice, Foles sacked once). The Colts were 4 0f 11 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 33:52, while Jacksonville, keeping the pigskin for 26:08, went 6 of 14 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Jacksonville would get their revenge in week 17 in the Sunshine State, coming away 38-20 winnners at TIAA Bank Field to close the season. Jacksonville scored 22 second half points unchallenged, erasing a 20-16 deficit at the intermission. The Colts once again outrushed Jacksonville by a 132-67 margin but this time around, Gardner Minshew II, taking over for Foles, threw for 295 yards and three TDs, while Brissett threw for 162 yards (both men were sacked three times, with Minshew throwing the game’s only interception). The victorious Jaguars were 9 of 14 on third down tries in north Florida and kept the ball for 33:53, while the Colts, keeping the pigskin for 26:07, went 4 for 12 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Colts covered the 3-point spread in the week 11 contest in the Hoosier State, winning by 20 and both clubs took care of the 43 1/2 over/under with 46 points. In the week 17 rematch in the Sunshine State, while the Colts were favored by 4, Jacksonville covered the spread as they would win by 13 and both clubs took care of the 43 over/under with 53 points. Indy’s favored by 8 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense. Jacksonville will give the Colts a scare and make it closer than 8 1/2 but Indy prevails in the Sunshine State.

Green Bay (13-3) at Minnesota (10-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of old-fashined NFC North rivals meet in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers travel to the Twin Cities to meet up against Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings,

Including games played at County Stadium, Metropolitain Stadium and the Metrodome, the Packers lead the series 61-53-3 and have outscored the Purple Gang 2,549-2,268. Green Bay swept the series in 2019, taking wins at Lambeau and in the Twin Cities (Minnesota’s last win in the series came in 2018, when the Vikings took a 24-17 win at US Bank Stadium.).

They met in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst in week two at Lambeau and the Packers held off Minnesota 21-16. Green Bay led 21-10 at the intermission before Minnesota would pull themselves to within five with 9:12 left in the third when WR Stefan Diggs connected with Cousins on a 45-yard TD toss. Minnesota out-rushed Green Bay 198-144 with Vikings RB Delvin Cook leading all rushers with 154 yards, while Aaron Jones led the Packers with 116 yards (both men had a rushing TD in the contest). Rodgers threw for 209 yards and a pair of TD (Rodgers did not have an interception), while Cousins threw for 230 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Rodgers was sacked twice, Cousins was sacked once). Green Bay was 5 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and the Packers would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:06, while the Vikings, who kept the pigskin for 25:54, went 4 of 13 on third down at Lambeau.

Green Bay completed the sweep in the series in 2019, meeting in week 16 on a Monday night at U.S. Bank Stadium and for the Packers, it was a win they needed to clinch the NFC North title, taking a 23-10 win in the Twin Cities. Green Bay trailed 10-9 at the half, then proceeded to score 14 second-half points unchallenged to take the win on the road. This time around, it would be Green Bay that would outrush Minnesota, as the Packers tallied 184 yards to Minnesota’s 57. Once again, Jones accounted for all of Green Bay’s yardage, tallying a pair of TDs in the second half to go with his 154 yards on the ground. Rodgers, despite being sacked three times and throwing an interception, managed to account for 216 yards with a TD to Diggs (Cousins was sacked five times and threw an interception). In the second meeting, Green Bay was 5 of 15 on third down tries and once again, ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 37:32, while the Vikings, holding on to the ball for 22:28, went 4 for 15 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Green Bay’s 5-point win in the week two contest at Lambeau allowed them to cover the 3-point spread but neither team touched the 43 1/2 over/under, as the two clubs tallied 37 points. In the primetime contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Vikings were favored by 4 1/2 and once again, the Packers covered, winning by 13. As was the case in the first meeting, the over/under was untouched (46) as both clubs merged to score 33 points. The Vikings are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46. Green Bay wants to be king of the NFC North mountain for a while, while Minnesota would love nothing more than to dethrone the Packers. Long live the kings. Green Bay wins in the Twin Cities and covers the 3.

Miami (5-11) at New England (12-4), 1 p.n. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Cam Newton makes his Foxboro debut as Tom Brady’s replacement as the Patriots host AFC East rival Miami at Gillette Stadium.

While the Dolphins lead the series 55-51, the Patriots have outscored the ‘Fins 2,335-2,266. They split last year’s contests, each taking wins on the road in the series.

Their first meeting? week two in the Sunshine State and the Patriots and Brady scored 43 points unchallenged to take a 43-0 win over Miami at Hard Rock Stadium. Leading 13-0 at the intermission, the Patriots would go on to tally 30 more points in the second half to pitch the shutout. New England outrushed Miami 126-42 with Sony Michel leading the way with 85 yards and a TD. Brady threw for 264 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown, he also had a rushing TD in the contest), while the New England defense sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick four times (three interceptions) and Josh Rosen three times (Rosen threw an interception). New England was 6 for 11 on third down in the Sunshine State and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:30 to Miami’s 23:30 (the Dolphins were 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down).

Miami would get revenge and knock the Patriots out of the one seed in the AFC playoff race, coming away 27-24 winners in Foxboro to close out the 2019 campaign. Breaking a 10-10 tie at the intermission, the ‘Fins outscored Brady and the Pats 17-10 in the final 30 minutes of action and then held off a late New England rally that would have either evened things up and sent the contest into overtime or given the Pats the win. New England outrushed Miami again, this time by a 135-63 margin and once again, it was Michel that led all rushers with 74 yards and a TD. Brady threw for 221 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked once and threw an interception, while Fitzpatrick (two sacks) threw for 320 yards and a TD without an interception. New England went 3 of 9 on third down tries and held the ball for 26:09, including the final 24 seconds of the game, while the ‘Fins were 5 of 12 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:51.

New England in the week two contest in the Sunshine State easily covered the 19-point spread with the 43-point win but barely missed the 47 1/2 over/under. In the rematch in Foxboro to close out the 2019 season, the Pats were favored by 15 but Miami prevailed by only 3. The two teams did manage to cover the 44 1/2 over/under with 51 points. New England’s favored by 6 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 43. Miami could make this one interesting but the Patriots take the win in Foxboro and could very well cover the 3.

Philadelphia (9-7) at Washington (3-13), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. One is the defending NFC East champ. The other changed their team name after nearly 80 years. Philadelphia and Washington meet in Landover to open action Sunday.

While Washington leads the series 85-79-5, which includes contests played in Boston, at RFK Stadium and JFK and Veterans’ Stadiums, the Eagles have outscored Washington 3,587-3,362 and have won the last six meetings, including a sweep of last year’s series (Washington’s last win over the Eagles came in 2016, when they left the City of Brotherly Love 27-22 winners).

They met right off the bat in the City of Brotherly Love in week one and the Eagles left Lincoln Financial Field 32-27 winners. Erasing a 20-7 deficit at the intermission, the Eagles would go on to outscore Washington 25-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, with Carson Wentz throwing a pair of TDs in the half to take the lead for keeps. The Eagles outrushed Washington 123-28 and Wentz threw for 313 yards, while Case Keenum threw for 380 yards (each man threw three TDs without an interception and was sacked once). Philadelphia was 11 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 34:27, while Washington, keeping the ball for 25:33, went 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Philadelphia completed the sweep in the series in Landover in week 15, taking a 37-27 win out of FedEx Field in Landover. Trailing 14-10 at the intermission, the Eagles went to work, outscoring Washington 27-13 in the final 30 minutes of action to seal the win. Philadelphia outrushed Washington 157-101 with Miles Sanders leading all rushers with 122 yards and a TD. Wentz threw for 266 yards and three TDs without an interception (despite being sacked twice), while Washington’s Dwayne Haskins threw for 261 yards and a pair of TDs. Philadelphia was 11 of 16 on third down and played keep away with the ball, holding the pigskin for 36:57 to Washington’s 23:03 (Washington was 4 for 10 on third down).

In the week one contest in the City of Brotherly Love, the Eagles won by five, which meant they didn’t cover the 10-point spread. The two teams did manage to take care of the 44 over/under, tallying 59 points. The Eagles not only took care of business in the week 15 contest in Landover, they cover the 6-point spread winning by 10 and both teams took care of the 40 1/2 over/under with 64 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Eagles as 6-point favorites in Landover with a 43 over/under. Fly, Eagles, Fly! Philly covers the 6 in Landover and takes the win on the road.

Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) at Cincinnati (2-14), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. They’re both looking to right their ships. Los Angeles and Cincinnati meet along the shores of the Ohio River in a late-afternoon contest at Paul Brown Stadium.

Including contests that were played at Qualcomm, Riverfront and Nippert Stadiums, the Chargers lead series 20-14 and have outscored the Bengals 814-743. Their last meeting was in 2018 on the West Coast and the Chargers would prevail 26-21 (Cincinnati’s last win in the series came in 2015 along the shores of the Ohio River by a final of 24-19). The Chargers are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Both clubs want nothing more than to be out of the cellars in their respective divisions. Chargers prevail in Cincy and covers the 3 1/2.

Tampa Bay (7-9) at New Orleans (13-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees. Seven Super Bowl rings between them and they meet in the Big Easy as two NFC South clubs square off in the Superdome. New Orleans leads the Saints lead series 35-21, the Saints have outscored Tampa Bay 1,281-1,068 and have won the last three meetings, including sweeping last year’s series (Tampa Bay’s last win came in 2018 when they left the Big Easy 48-40 winners).

First meeting? Week five in the Big Easy and the Saints held off a late Tampa Bay rally in the fourth quarter to come out on top 31-24. The Saints led 17-10 at the intermission and the two clubs played even football in the final 30 minutes of play, as Tampa Bay would pull themselves to within seven with 13 seconds left when Jameis Winston and WR Chris Godwin connected on a 26-yard TD toss. Tampa Bay would attempt an onside kick, which New Orleans recovered and the Saints would then run the clock out to take the win. Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 62 yards as the Saints out-rushed Tampa Bay 112-94. Winston threw for 204 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked 6 times), while Teddy Bridgewater, taking over for Brees, threw for 314 yards and four TDs with an interception. The Saints went 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:27, while Tampa Bay held the pigskin for 26:33 and went 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Brees would return from his thumb injury in week 11 as the Saints would complete the sweep in the Sunshine State at Raymond James Stadium. New Orleans led from start to finish, as they left Tampa with the 34-17 win under their belts. New Orleans led 20-7 at the intermission and then floored the gas in the second half, outscoring Tampa Bay 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Brees threw for 228 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions as the Saints outrushed Tampa Bay 109-36 (Kamara led all rushers with 75 yards) and picked Winston (313 yards, two TDs, two sacks) off four times. New Orleans went 7 of 13 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37 minutes, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 23 minutes, was 5 of 13 on third down and 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week five contest, New Orleans covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 5 and both teams took care of the 47 over/under, tallying 51 points. New Orleans covered the 5 1/2-point spread in the week 11 contest in the Sunshine State and both clubs took care of the 49 1/2 by combining for 51 points. The Saints are favored by 3 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 49 1/2. It’s the first of two meetings and the winner (for now) will have first place in the NFC South all to themselves. Tampa Bay pulls off the upset and leaves the Big Easy with the win but expect New Orleans to keep things closer than 3 1/2.

Arizona (5-10-1) at San Francisco (13-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. Jimmy Garoppolo and the defending NFC champions open their regular season against NFC West foe Arizona in wine country. For the 49ers, it’s a chance to go back to the Super Bowl, while for the Desert Angry Birds from Glendale, they look to get themselves out of the NFC West cellar.

Including games that were played in St. Louis at Busch Stadium and at Candlestick Park, the 49ers lead the series 31-26 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,301-1,174. San Francisco swept the series last year, taking wins in Santa Clara and in Glendale (Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2018, when they 18-15 winners in the desert; the Desert Angry Birds would win the series that year).

Their first meeting was in the desert in week nine and San Francisco held off a late Cardinals’ rally to come away 28-25 winner at State Farm Stadium. Although San Francisco led 21-7 at the intermission, Arizona managed to outscore the 49ers 18-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, coming to within 3 with 4:53 left in regulation when Kyler Murray and WR Andy Isabella connected on an 88-yard TD pass.

It would be as close as Arizona would get as the 49ers and Garapollo would run out the clock to seal the win. Arizona out-rushed San Francisco 153-101 with Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake leading all rushers with 110 yards and a TD; Garoppolo threw for 317 yards and four TDs (connecting with Emmanuel Sanders and George Kittle on two of the tosses; Sanders had 112 yards on nine catches), while Murray threw for 241 yards and a pair of TDs (neither threw an interception; Garapollo was sacked once, Muaray was sacked three times). The 49ers were 11 of 17 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and San Francisco ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:31, while the Cardinals, who kept the pigskin for 25:29, went 2 of 8 on third down.

They didn’t have very long to wait and they met two weeks later in week 11 at Levis’ Stadium and San Francisco erased a 16-10 first half deficit to come away with the 36-26 win to sweep the series. The 49ers took the win by outscoring Arizona 26-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. As was the case in the week nine contest, Arizona out-rushed San Francisco, tallying 135 yards to San Francisco’s 34 (Drake would lead all rushers again, running for 67 yards; Murray also had 67 rushing yards in the contest). Garapollo tool Arizona’s secondary to task, throwing for 424 yards and four TDs, while Murray threw for 150 yards and a pair of TDs (Garapollo threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice, while Murray was sacked four times).

Neither team breached the 50 percent barrier on third down tries (Arizona was 3 of 10, San Francisco was 6 of 13; the Cardinals were 1 of 1 on fourth down, while the 49ers went 0 of 2) and this time, it was the Cardinals ruling the clock, keeping the ball for 31:23 to San Francisco’s 28:37.

In the week nine contest in the desert (a Thursday night affair), the 49ers were favored by 10 but only came away 3-point winners. As for the 43 over/under? The two clubs took care of it with 53 points in the contest. The odds makers liked the 49ers in the week 11 meeting in Santa Clara but San Francisco would win by only 10 but the two clubs did cover the 45 over/under, tallying 62 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the 49ers as 7-point favorites and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Both numbers are somewhat reasonable. Arizona’s better than their record indicates but the 49ers are the defending NFC champs. 49ers prevail in Santa Clara and cover the 7.

Dallas (8-8) at Los Angeles Rams (9-7), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of .500 teams that missed the playoffs meet in an new facility as Mike McCarthy, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys travel to the West Coast for a Sunday night primetime contest with Sean McVay, Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams, as the Rams open the doors to SoFi Stadium.

Dallas holds a slim 14-12 lead in the series (which includes contests that were played in Los Angeles, St. Louis, the Cotton Bowl and Texas Stadium) and have outscored the Rams 622-585. They met last year at AT&T Stadium and the Cowboys prevailed in that contest by final of 44-21 (the Rams’ last win in the series came in 2017 by a final of 35-30 in Dallas).

Their 2019 meeting took place in Arlington in week 15 and the Cowboys erased a 7-7 tie by scoring 30 points unchallenged to seal the win, leading 28-7 at the break. The Rams found themselves held to a season-low 22 yards rushing, while Dallas ran for 263 yards (Tony Pollard – 131 yards, TD and Ezekiel Elliot – 117 yards and a pair of TDs led all rushers). Prescott threw for 212 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Jason Witten) without being sacked or picked off, while Goff threw for 284 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp), while he was sacked twice and threw an interception. Dallas on third down went 7 of 13 but found success in their only try on fourth down and held on to the ball for 36:06, while the Rams kept the pigskin for 23:54, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In their week 15 contest in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys covered the 3-point spread, winning by 23 and both clubs covered the 47 over/under with 65 points. In the primetime game on the Peacock Network, the Cowboys are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 52. This one’s is well worth your time, even if there will not be any fans in the seats at SoFi Sunday night and it could be closer than the 3 but in the end, the Rams get their revenge at home and takes the win, even though Dallas could make it closer than 3.

Pittsburgh (8-8) at New York Giants (4-12), 7:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The first of 16 Monday night games in the 2020 season takes place in upstate New Jersey as the New York Giants host Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Met Life Stadium. The Monday night contest is the debut of new Giants head coach Joe Judge, who looks to unseat the Eagles in the NFC East.

Including games played at Forbes Field, Yankee Stadium, the Yale Bowl, Giants Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium, the Giants lead the series 44-30-3 and have outscored Pittsburgh 1,514-1,294. The Steelers, who were known as the Pirates until 1940, have won the last two meetings in the series, including a 24-14 win at Heinz Field in 2016, while New York’s last win in the series came in 2008 in the Steel City by a final of 21-14.

The Steelers on Monday nigh have had some success, going 48-24 all time and winning both of their contests under the lights last year. As for the Giants? 25-41-1 and Big Blue is 0-2 in their two 2019 contests. Pittsburgh’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 48. This may not be one of the better ones to watch but it could be somewhat entertaining. Pittsburgh covers the 6 and wins along the Jersey shore.

Tennessee (9-7) at Denver (7-9), 10:10 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week one closes out in the Mile High City as Denver hosts Tennessee at Empower Field at Mile High. The Titans look to bounce back after being bounced out of the 2019 post-season party by Kansas City, while the Broncos are looking to make some noise and perhaps unseat the Chiefs in the AFC West. Including games that were played when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers, the Titans lead the series 22-16-1 and have outscored Denver 993-866. They met last year in the Mile High City and the Broncos pitched a 16-0 shutout in that affair (Tennessee’s last win over Denver came in 2016 in the Music City by a final of 13-10).

They met in week six in the Mile High City and Denver used three Brad McManus field goals and a 2-yard TD run by Phillip Lindsay to take the win, scoring all the points without challenge and taking a 6-0 lead with them into the intermission. Lindsay led all rushers with 70 yards as Denver out-rushed Tennessee 103-39 and Joe Flacco threw for 177 yards with one interception and one sack, while Marcus Mariotta (63 yards) and Ryan Tannehill (144 yards) were sacked seven times (Mariotta threw a pair of interceptions, while Tannehill threw a pick). Both clubs went 2 of 14 on third down (the Titans were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Titans would actually rule the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:14 to Denver’s 29:46.

Denver’s 16 points allowed the Broncos to easily cover the 2-point spread but the 39 over/under was untouched as the Broncos could muster only 16 points. Tennessee on Monday night? 23-18 but the Titans have not played under the lights since 2018, where they played two contests and split them. Denver? 32-41-1 on Monday night and lost their only meeting last year. The Broncos are favored by 1 1/2 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Denver covers the 1 1/2 and wins in the Mile High City.

Black Monday has come and gone. Teams not in the post-season have made changes in the front office and coaching staffs and are preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft. 20 teams are at home, clearing out lockers, getting ready for next season, their dreams of holding the Lombardi Trophy shattered because of injuries, bad decisions on and sometime off the field damaging those hopes. 256 games in the regular season have been played. The regular season is over and in the books and the second season begins this Saturday.

For the 12 teams that are left standing, either as champions of their divisions or winners of that coveted Wild Card spot, it’s their second season. It’s a chance to hit the reset button and extend their season, even if it means by one game. There’s a SMALL plot twist in all of this.

You win this week, you’re playing next week.

You lose…. you’re clearing out your locker and your next game is September of 2020.

The NFL’s 100th season has reached the playoffs and the playoff field is as strong as it’s ever been. Six playoff teams – Baltimore (14-2), Kansas City (12-4) and New England (12-4) from the AFC and San Francisco (13-3), Green Bay (13-3) and New Orleans (13-3) from the NFC – won at least 12 regular-season games, tied for the most such teams in a single postseason in NFL history.

The seasons with the most playoff teams that won 12-or-more regular-season games:

SEASON – TEAMS
2019 – 6
2011 – 6
2003 – 6
Many – 5

The combined winning percentage (.708, 136-56) of this season’s field is the highest in 14 years, since it was .719 (138-54) in 2005.

The playoffs continue with the Divisional round on January 11-12, the Conference Championship Games on January 19 and Super Bowl LIV on February 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on FOX at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

It’s football’s version of the children’s game of “Musicial Chairs.” As long as there’s a chair and the music is playing, everyone has a chance. It’s when the music stops and everyone scrambles for a chair that there’s chaos. One by one you take a chair out and start over until there’s a winner. It’s finality but it makes the NFL worth watching, even if your team is not in the mix.

New teams making the playoffs, terrific turnarounds, consistent teams excelling again, records falling and young players making their mark. The 2019 season had it all.

Youth and success at the quarterback position highlighted the 2019 regular season as 208 games featured at least one starting quarterback under the age of 27, the most in a single season in NFL history. In total, quarterbacks under the age of 27 started 287 games and recorded 144 wins in those starts this season, both the highest single-season totals since 1970. Three quarterbacks under the age of 25 – Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (2018 NFL Draft), Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (2017 NFL Draft) and Houston’s DeShaun Watson (2017 NFL Draft) – have led their respective teams to division titles in each of the past two seasons.

Competitiveness was a constant theme throughout the regular season as 68 percent of games (174 of 256) were within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter, tied for the fifth-most such games in a single season in NFL history, while 52.3 percent of games (134 of 256) were decided by eight-or-fewer points, also tied for the fifth-most such games in single season in league annals. Additionally, 57 games saw a team come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter.

Week 17 came down to the wire, as two playoff spots and two divisions titles – the NFC East and NFC West – were decided on the final day of the season. Sunday’s excitement was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010.

Five of the 12 playoff teams are new to the postseason in 2019: Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco and Tennessee and since 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. Both Green Bay (NFC North) and San Francisco (NFC West) won their division after missing the postseason in 2018 and at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 years.

Teams to win their division a season after missing the postseason since 2003:

SEASON – NEW DIVISION WINNERS AFTER MISSING POSTSEASON THE PREVIOUS SEASON
2019 – Green Bay, San Francisco
2018 – Baltimore, Chicago*, Dallas, Houston*
2017 – Jacksonville*, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, Minnesota, Philadelphia*
2016 – ATLANTA, Dallas*
2015 – Houston, Minnesota, Washington*
2014 – Dallas, Pittsburgh
2013 – Carolina*, Philadelphia*
2012 – Washington*
2011 – Denver*, Houston*, New York Giants, San Francisco
2010 – ATLANTA, Chicago, Kansas City*, Pittsburgh, Seattle
2009 – Cincinnati, Dallas, New England, New Orleans*
2008 – Arizona, Carolina, Miami*, Minnesota
2007 – Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay*
2006 – Baltimore*, New Orleans*, Philadelphia*, San Diego
2005 – Chicago*, Cincinnati, New York Giants, Tampa Bay*
2004 – ATLANTA*, Pittsburgh, San Diego*
2003 – Baltimore, Carolina*, Kansas City*, New England, St. Louis Rams
*Worst to first

OFFENSIVE TRENDS: The 2019 season will go down as one of the most prolific offensive seasons in league history.

Teams combined to score 1,332 total touchdowns, the third-most in a single season in NFL history, while the 11,680 total points were tied for the third-most in league annals.

MOST TOUCHDOWNS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – TOUCHDOWNS
2018 – 1,371
2013 – 1,338
2019 – 1,332
2015 – 1,318

MOST TOTAL POINTS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – TOTAL POINTS
2013 – 11,985
2018 – 11,952
2019 – 11,680
2015 – 11,680

With five teams – Baltimore (33.2 points per game), San Francisco (29.9), New Orleans (28.6), Tampa Bay (28.6) and Kansas City (28.2) – averaging at least 28 points per game, the 2019 season joined 2014 (six teams) as the only seasons with at least five teams averaging at least 28 points per game since 1970.

The Ravens, who scored at least 40 points in five different games this season, led the NFL with 3,296 rushing yards and surpassed the 1978 New England Patriots (3,165) for the most rushing yards by a team in a single season in NFL history.

PROLIFIC PASSERS: In 2019, league-wide passing numbers continued to trend at a historic pace, as the marks for passer rating (90.4 – second), completion percentage (63.5 percent – second), total completions (11,331 – fourth) and touchdown passes (797 – fifth) were all ranked in the top five for highest in a single season in NFL history.

SEASON – RATING
2018 – 92.9
2019 – 90.4
2015 – 90.2
2016 – 89.3
2014 – 88.9

SEASON – COMPLETION PCT.
2018 – 64.9
2019 – 63.5
2016 – 63.0
2015 – 63.0
2014 – 62.6

SEASON – COMPLETIONS
2015 – 11,527
2016 – 11,526
2018 – 11,462
2019 – 11,331
2014 – 11,200

SEASON – TD PASSES
2018 – 847
2015 – 842
2014 – 807
2013 – 804
2019 – 797

Eleven quarterbacks passed for at least 4,000 yards in 2019, including four with at least 4,500 passing yards: Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston (5,109), Dallas’ Dak Prescott (4,902), the Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff (4,638) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers (4,615).

Twelve quarterbacks threw at least 25 touchdown passes this season, including four with at least 30 touchdown passes: Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON (36), Winston (33), Seattle’s Russell Wilson (31) and Prescott (30).

Three rookie quarterbacks – New York Giants’ Daniel Jones, Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew and Arizona’s Kyler Murray – each passed for at least 20 touchdowns this season, marking the second season in league annals in which at least three rookie quarterbacks each passed for at least 20 touchdowns (2012 – Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson).

Nine quarterbacks had a passer rating of 100 or higher in 2019, including three with a passer rating of at least 110: Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill (117.5), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (116.3) and Jackson (113.3). The nine quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher were tied with the 2018 season for the most in a single season in NFL history.

The seasons with the most quarterbacks having a passer rating of 100 or higher in NFL history:

SEASON – QUARTERBACKS WITH 100+ PASSER RATING
2019 – 9
2018 – 9
2013 – 7

ALL-PURPOSE BACKS: Sixteen players rushed for at least 1,000 yards, including four players with at least 1,300 rushing yards, this season: Tennessee’s Derrick Henry (1,540), Cleveland’s Nick Chubb (1,494), Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey (1,387) and Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (1,357).

Seven players recorded at least 10 rushing touchdowns in 2019: Henry (16), Green Bay’s Aaron Jones (16), McCaffrey (15), Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook (13), Elliott (12), the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley (12) and Baltimore’s Mark Ingram (10).

Twenty-six running backs totaled at least 1,000 scrimmage yards, including eight with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards, this season: McCaffrey (2,392), Elliott (1,777), Chubb (1,772), Henry (1,746), Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette (1,674), Cook (1,654), Jones (1,558) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Austin Ekeler (1,550).

Three running backs – Jones (19 scrimmage touchdowns), McCaffrey (19) and Henry (18) – each recorded at least 18 scrimmage touchdowns this season.

2019 was the third season in NFL history with three players totaling at least 18 scrimmage touchdowns each, joining 2005 (Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson and Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson) and 1962 (Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Jim Taylor and Abner Haynes).

RIDICULOUS RECEIVERS: Twenty-nine players had at least 1,000 receiving yards, including five with at least 1,200 receiving yards this season: New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (1,725), Atlanta’s Julio Jones (1,394), Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin (1,333), Kansas City’s Travis Kelce (1,229) and Miami’s Devante Parker (1,202).

Five players had at least 100 receptions in 2019: Thomas (single-season NFL record 149), Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey (116), the Los Angeles Chargers’ Keenan Allen (104), Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins (104) and New England’s Julian Edleman (100).

Three players had at least 10 touchdown catches this season: Detroit’s Kenny Golladay (11), Baltimore’s Mark Andrews (10) and the Los Angeles Rams’ Cooper Kupp (10).

Five rookies recorded at least seven touchdown receptions in 2019: Tennessee’s A.J. Brown (eight), the New York Giants’ Darius Slayton (eight), Baltimore’s Marquise Brown (seven), Washington’s Terry McLaurin (seven) and Seattle’s D.K. Metcalf (seven). In total, rookies combined for 110 touchdown receptions in 2019 and surpassed 2014 (109 touchdown catches) for the most combined touchdown receptions by rookies in a single season since 1970.

DOMINANT DEFENDERS: Eighteen players recorded at least 10 sacks, including five with at least 14 sacks, in 2019: Tampa Bay’s Shaquil Barrett (19.5), Arizona’s Chandler Jones (19), New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan (15.5), Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter (14.5) and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt (14.5).

Five players registered at least five forced fumbles this season: Jones (eight), Watt (eight), Barrett (six), Washington’s Ryan Anderson (five) and Chicago’s Khalil Mack (five). 2019 was the first season since 2002 (Dwight Freeeney and Leonard Little) that two players had at least eight forced fumbles in the same season.

Ten players recorded at least five interceptions, including three with six interceptions, this season: New England’s Stephon Gilmore (six), Minnesota’s Anthony Harris (six) and Buffalo’s Tre’Davious White (six).

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 17: Five of the 12 teams to qualify for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2019, having missed the playoffs a year ago: Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco and Tennessee.

Since 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Baltimore won the AFC North and finished as the AFC’s number 1 seed and the Ravens will have home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs. Kansas City won the AFC West, are the number 2 seed and the Chiefs clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. New England won the AFC East. The Patriots are the number 3 seed and will host number 6 seed Tennessee in the Wild Card round. The Titans clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons. Houston won the AFC South, are the number 4 seed and the Texans will host number 5 seed Buffalo in the Wild Card round. The Bills clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons.

San Francisco defeated Seattle and became the number 1 seed and have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Green Bay won the NFC North and clinched the numbere 2 seed and a bye in the first round of the NFC playoffs. New Orleans won the NFC South and became the number 3 seed in the post-season tournament. They will face number 6 seed Minnesota in New Orleans. Philadelphia won the NFC East for the second time in the past three seasons, are the number 4 seed and the Eagles will host either Seattle in the NFC Wild Card round.

Three rookie quarterbacks – New York Giants’ Daniel Jones, Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew and Arizona’s Kyler Murray – each passed for at least 20 touchdowns this season, marking the second season in league annals in which at least three rookie quarterbacks each passed for at least 20 touchdowns (2012 – Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson).

Jones led all rookie quarterbacks with 24 touchdown passes in 2019, the fourth-most by a rookie quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Only Baker Mayfield (27 in 2018), Peyton Manning (26 in 1998) and Russell Wilson (26 in 2012) had more.

Murray passed for 3,722 yards and rushed for 544 yards this season and joined Cam Newton (2011) as the only rookies with at least 3,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in NFL history.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 253 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 123.3 rating in the Saints’ 42-10 win at Carolina. Brees has 93 career games with at least three touchdown passes, tied with Peyton Manning (93) for the most in NFL history. Brees recorded his fourth consecutive game with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions and joined Russell Wilson (five games in 2015), Tom Brady (four in 2007) and Aaron Rodgers (four in 2014) as the only players with at least four consecutive games of at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a single season in league annals.

In 2019, Brees recorded a 74.3 completion percentage (281 of 378), the second-highest single-season completion percentage in NFL history, trailing only the mark he set in 2018 (74.4 percent).

Carolina running back Christian McCAaffery recorded seven receptions and 98 scrimmage yards (72 receiving, 26 rushing) with a rushing touchdown on Sunday. McCaffrey led the NFL with 2,392 scrimmage yards this season, the third-most scrimmage yards in a single season in NFL history, trailing only Chris Johnson (2,509 in 2009) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (2,429 in 1999).

McCaffrey totaled 1,387 rushing yards and 1,005 receiving yards in 2019 and joined Roger Craig (1985) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1999) as the only players with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in league annals. McCaffrey has 303 receptions since entering the NFL in 2017 and joined Michael Thomas (321 receptions) as the only players with at least 300 receptions in their first three seasons in NFL history.

Tennessee rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown had a 51-yard touchdown reception in the Titans’ Week 17 win. Brown has four touchdown catches of at least 50 yards in 2019 and joined Isaac Curtis (five in 1973), Willie Gault (four in 1983) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (five in 1998) as rookies with at least four touchdown receptions of 50-or-more yards since 1970.

Kansas City rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman recorded a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win. Hardman, who also had an 83-yard touchdown reception in 2019, is the fourth player and first rookie in NFL history with a kick return touchdown of at least 100 yards and touchdown reception of at least 80 yards in the same season in NFL history.

Detroit rookie quarterback David Blough, New England linebacker Elandon Roberts and Atlanta tackle Ty Sambrailo each recorded touchdown receptions in Week 17. Blough, who caught a 19-yard touchdown pass against Green Bay, joined Marcus Mariota (December 13, 2015) as the only rookie quarterbacks to register a touchdown reception since 1970.

Roberts caught a 38-yard touchdown pass against Miami, the longest touchdown reception by a linebacker since 1970.

Sambrailo recorded a 35-yard touchdown reception against Tampa Bay, the longest touchdown reception by an offensive lineman since 1970.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Batlimore led the NFL with 3,296 rushing yards in 2019 and surpassed the 1978 New England Patriots (3,165) for the most rushing yards by a team in a single season in NFL history.

New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for two touchdowns with one interception in Week 17 against Miami. Brady has 541 career touchdown passes and surpassed Peyton Manning (539) for the second-most touchdown passes in NFL history. Only Drew Brees (547) has more.

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards in 2019 and became the eighth different quarterback to throw for at least 5,000 yards in a single season in league annals.

Denver running back Phillip Lindsay had 1,011 rushing yards in 2019 and became the first undrafted player to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons since 1967.

Atlanta linebacker Deion Jones registered a game-winning 27-yard interception return for a touchdown on the first play of overtime in the Falcons’ 28-22 win at Tampa Bay. Jones is the seventh player with a game-winning interception return for a touchdown in overtime since 2002 and the first since Robert Alford (October 11, 2015).

Buccaneers rookie linebacker Devin White recorded a 91-yard fumble return for a touchdown in Week 17. White, who also had a 14-yard fumble return for a touchdown in Week 13, is the first rookie to return two opponent fumble recoveries for a touchdown in a single season since 1970.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WILD CARD WEEKEND

NEW YEAR, NEW TEAMS: This season, five teams qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco and Tennessee – three of which will be active on Wild Card Weekend (Buffalo at Houston, Saturday at 4:35 p.m. on ESPN/ABC; Tennessee at New England, Saturday at 8:15 p.m. on CBS and Minnesota at New Orleans, Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on FOX).

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

POSTSEASON DEBUTS: Three quarterbacks – Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz and Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill – are expected to make their first-career postseason starts on Wild Card Weekend.

The players with the most passing yards in their first-career postseason start:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – ROUND, PASSING YARDS)
Kelly Holcomb, Cleveland (2002 – AFC Wild Card, 429)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2009 – NFC Wild Card, 423)
Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia (1988 – NFC Divisional, 407)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1999 – NFC Divisional, 391) (HOF)
Neil Lomax, St. Louis Cardinals (1982 – NFC Wild Card – 385)

YOUNG QUARTERBACKS KICK OFF WILD CARD WEEKEND: Saturday afternoon’s game featuring Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen (23 years, 228 days old) and Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson (24 years, 112 days old) marks the sixth postseason matchup between two quarterbacks under the age of 25 in the Super Bowl era.

In four of the five such matchups in the Super Bowl era, the quarterback of the home team has won.

Postseason matchups between starting quarterbacks under the age of 25 in the Super Bowl era:

SEASON – ROUND (HOME TEAM, QUARTERBACK; VISITOR, QUARTERBACK)(RESULT)
1985 – AFC Divisional (Miami, Dan Marino; Cleveland, Bernie Kozar)(Miami 24, Cleveland 21)(HOF)
2000 – NFC Wild Card (Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb; Tampa Bay, Shaun King)(Philadelphia 21, Tampa Bay 3)
2000 – NFC Divisional (Minnesota, Daunte Culpepper; New Orleans, Aaron Brooks)(Minnesota 34, New Orleans 16)
2011 – AFC Wild Card (Houston, T.J. Yates; Cincinnati, Andy Dalton)(Houston 31, Cincinnati 10)
2012 – NFC Wild Card (Washington, Robert Griffin III; Seattle, Russell Wilson)(Seattle 24, Washington 14)

CLASH OF THE TITANS: Saturday night’s matchup between Tennessee (9-7) and AFC East Champion New England (12-4) pairs the league’s top-rated quarterback Ryan Tannehill (117.5 passer rating) and the league’s leading rusher Derrick Henry (1,540 rushing yards), against a Patriots defense that led the NFL in total defense (275.9 yards per game) and scoring defense (14.1 points against per game) in 2019.

Tennessee is the fourth team since 1970 to have the league’s top-rated quarterback and league-leading rusher in the same season.

New England is the first team to allow an average of 15 or fewer points per game since the 2013 Seattle Seahawks (14.4). Seattle would go on to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has led New England to 11 consecutive division titles and six overall Super Bowl championships, is the postseason’s all-time leader in games played (40), passing yards (11,179) and touchdown passes (73).

New England running back Sony Michel led the NFL with six rushing touchdowns in the 2018 postseason – tied for the second-most in a single postseason in league history. If Michel, who had at least one rushing touchdown in each of his first three career postseason games, has a rushing touchdown against Tennessee, he would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Terrell Davis and Curtis Martin, as well as Arian Foster, as the only players with a rushing touchdown in each of their first four career postseason games in NFL history.

New England wide receiver Julian Edelman has 115 receptions for 1,412 receiving yards in 18 career postseason games – both the second-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (151 receptions, 2,245 receiving yards) has more.
In Super Bowl LIII, Edelman had 10 receptions for 141 receiving yards and was named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, marking his sixth-career postseason game with at least 100 receiving yards.

With at least 100 receiving yards against Tennessee, Edelman would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (six games) for the second-most career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (8) (HOF)
Julian Edelman, New England (6)
Michael Irvin, Dallas (6) (HOF)

EASY BREESY: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees will make his 16th career postseason start on Sunday against Minnesota. Brees currently ranks in the top five in both postseason completion percentage and passer rating (minimum of 150 attempts) in league history.

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason passer rating (min. 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK (COMPLETIONS/ATTEMPTS – YARDS; TD/INTERCEPTIONS, RATING)
Bart Starr (130/213 – 1,753; 15/3, 104.8)(HOF)
Kurt Warner (307/462 – 3,952; 31/14, 102.8)(HOF)
Matt Ryan (237/351 – 2,672; 20/7, 100.8)
Drew Brees (408/615 – 4,759; 33/11, 100.0)*
Aaron Rodgers (378/595 – 4,457; 36/10, 99.4)*
*Active in 2019 playoffs

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason completion percentage (min. 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK (COMPLETIONS/ATTEMPTS, PCT.)
Nick Foles (143/210, 68.1)
Matt Ryan (237/351, 67.5)
Kurt Warner (307/462, 66.5)(HOF)
Drew Brees (408/615, 66.3)*
Ken Anderson (110/166, 66.3)

*Active in 2019 playoffs

Additionally, Brees has 4,759 career postseason passing yards. With at least 241 passing yards on Sunday, he would become the sixth player in NFL history with at least 5,000 career postseason passing yards, joining Tom Brady (11,179), Peyton Manning (7,339), Pro Football Hall of Famers Brett Farve (5,855) and Joe Montana (5,772), as well as Ben Roethlisberger (5,256).

BATTLE OF THE BIRDS: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 4,110 passing yards this season and joined Peyton Manning and Cam Newton as the only players with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of their first eight seasons in NFL history. Wilson also became the first quarterback in league history to finish with a winning record in each of his first eight seasons.

Wilson has 94 career wins (including postseason) since entering the NFL in 2012, the second-most in a player’s first eight seasons in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most career wins, including postseason, in their first eight seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS; WINS)
Tom Brady, New England (2000-07; 100)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2012-19; 94)*
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2004-11; 90)
*In eighth season

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch has recorded at least 100 rushing yards in six of his 11 career postseason appearances. With at least 100 rushing yards against Philadelphia, Lynch would tie Pro Football Hall of Famers Terrell Davis (seven games) and Emmitt Smith (seven games) for the most career postseason games with at least 100 rushing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most career postseason games with at least 100 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – GAMES WITH 100+ RUSHING YARDS
Terrell Davis – 7 (HOF)
Emmitt Smith – 7 (HOF)
Marshawn Lynch – 6*
John Riggins – 6 (HOF)
Thurman Thomas – 6 (HOF)
(HOF)- Hall of Fame
*Entering postseason

Since this is the post-season, we’re going to make every post-season contest (including the Super Bowl) “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?”)

As good as things were in week 16 (12-4), we kinda slipped in week 17, going 7-9 and for the season, 141-115. Wild Card weekend gets underway in the Lone Star State as Houston welcomes the return of DL J.J. Watt as they host the Buffalo Bills and concludes in the City of Brotherly Love as Philadelphia and Seattle meet in a week 12 rematch at Lincoln Financial Field. Here are the Saturday and Sunday picks for Wild Card Weekend.

Buffalo (10-6, 1st Wild Card) at Houston (10-6, AFC South champion), 4:35 p.m. Saturday on ESPN, with simulcast on ABC. The AFC gets center stage all to themselves as a pair of 10-6 teams meet in the Lone Star State Saturday afternoon. Houston, winners of the AFC South, host the Buffalo Bills, who circled their wagons and won the 1st AFC Wild Card spot, meet at NRG Stadium. Both clubs enter the contest with home losses under their belts last Sunday.

The Bills, seeking their first playoff win since 1995, watched Sam Darnold and the New York Jets erase a 3-3 tie at the end of the third quarter in Orchard Park, taking a 13-6 loss to their AFC East rival in upstate New York. Buffalo trailed 3-0 at the intermission as Jets K Steve Ficken opened the scoring in the contest with a 30-yard field goal (the two clubs played a scoreless first quarter). The Bills’ Stephen Hauschka would even things up in the third quarter, connecting on a 28-yard field goal with 89 seconds left in the third. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would reclaim the lead for keeps early in the fourth quarter as Darnold and WR Jamison Crowder connected on a 1-yard TD toss. Ficken would boost GangGreen’s lead to 10 with 2:05 left before Hauscka connected on a 29-yard field goal with 47 seconds left in the contest. Buffalo then went for the onside kick, which the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would recover and the vistors would run the clock out to take the win.

Neither club would breach the 100-yard barrier in upstate New York but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would out-rush Buffalo 86-73 with LeVeon Bell leading the way with 41 yards in the contest. Darnold threw for 199 yards with the TD in the third quarter (he was sacked twice and threw an interception), while Josh Allen threw for 5 yards before backup QB Matt Barkley took over, throwing for 232 yards with a sack and a pair of interceptions. Buffalo went 4 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 28:39, while GangGreen ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:21, while going 5 of 14 on third down.

Houston found themselves on the short end of a 35-14 loss against Tennessee in the Lone Star State. The Titans, needing to win to get into the post-season party, broke a 7-7 after the first quarter and proceeded take a 14-7 lead into the intermission on a 1-yard TD toss from Ryan Tannehill to TE MyCole Pruitt with 9:42 left in the half. Titans RB Derrick Henry would give Tennesee a 2-TD lead early in the third on the first of his three TDs in the contest before Texans backup QB A.J. McCarron (taking over over DeShaun Watson) scored from a yard out with 69 seconds left in the quarter to narrow the gap to seven. Henry was not finished, as he would score on a 1-yard run early in the final 15 minutes of play, then put a dagger in the hearts of Texans fans, as he would run 53 yards untouched for his final TD of the afternoon.

Henry led all rushers with 211 yards and the three TDs as Tennessee out-rushed Houston 245-109 with Tannehill throwing for 198 yards with a pair of TDs, no sacks or interceptions, while McCarron threw for 225 yards with four sacks and an interception. Tennessee went 5 of 10 on third down tries and they held the ball for 28:21, while the Texans actually were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:39, while going 3 of 12 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

This is the first playoff meeting between the two teams in the history of the franchises and for the Bills, it’s their second trip in the last three seasons, while the Texans will be making their fourth consecutive trip to the post-season party. Houston is favored by 3 with a 42 1/2 over/under. For the Bills, they would like to at least move on to the next round; for the Texans, they have the same goal. The winner advances… the loser is done. Texans cover the 3 at home in the Lone Star State and advance to the Divisional Round.

Tennessee (9-7, 2nd Wild Card) at New England (12-4, AFC East champion), 8:15 p.m. Saturday on CBS. Saturday Wild Card action concludes in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions host the Tenneseee Titans at Gillette Stadium. The Titans look to knock off the champs in their building, while the Patriots look to right their ship from last week against Miami.

Breaking a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, Tennesse floored the gas in Houston and came away 35-14 winners in the Lone Star State. The Titans, needing to win to get into the post-season party, broke a 7-7 after the first quarter and proceeded take a 14-7 lead into the intermission on a 1-yard TD toss from Ryan Tannehill to TE MyCole Pruitt with 9:42 left in the half. Titans RB Derrick Henry would give Tennesee a 2-TD lead early in the third on the first of his three TDs in the contest before Texans backup QB A.J. McCarron (taking over over DeShaun Watson) scored from a yard out with 69 seconds left in the quarter to narrow the gap to seven. Henry was not finished, as he would score on a 1-yard run early in the final 15 minutes of play, then put a dagger in the hearts of Texans fans, as he would run 53 yards untouched for his final TD of the afternoon.

Henry led all rushers with 211 yards and the three TDs as Tennessee out-rushed Houston 245-109 with Tannehill throwing for 198 yards with a pair of TDs, no sacks or interceptions, while McCarron threw for 225 yards with four sacks and an interception. Tennessee went 5 of 10 on third down tries and they held the ball for 28:21, while the Texans actually were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:39, while going 3 of 12 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

New England lost their chance to have a first-round bye as AFC East rival left Foxboro and Gillette Stadium 27-24 winners in the season finale. The Patriots trailed 17-10 at the intermission before tying things up with 4:26 left in the third when Brady and LB Elandon Roberts connected on a 38-yard TD pass. Miami reclaimed the lead with 8:29 left in the contest on a 32-yard field goal by Jason Sanders to lead by 3 before New England took the lead back, as Brady and RB James White connected on a 13-yard TD pass with 3:53 left in regulation. Miami would respond and reclaim the lead on a 5-yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to WR Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds left. New England got the ball on their 25-yard line with the 24 seconds left and got as close as their 37-yard line with 2 seconds left when they tried several lateral passes in hope of either scoring a TD or getting a defensive penalty. Neither of those two things came to pass as Miami would hold off their efforts.

New England did manage to out-rush Miami 135-63 with Patriots RB Sony Michel leading the way with 74 yards and a TD; Brady threw for 221 yards and the two TDs (Brady was picked off once and sacked once), while Fitzpatrick threw for 320 yards with a rushing TD of his own in addition to the Gesicki TD (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). New England was 3 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:09, while Miami was 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:51.

The Titans/Patriots game is the sixth playoff meeting in the history of the NFL where an opposing coach has played for another coach (Titans coach Mike Vrabel played for Bellicheck from 2001 to 2008). They’ve met in the post-season three times and the Patriots lead the series 2-1 and including games that were played in Houston and at Fenway Park, the Patriots have outscored Tennessee 66-59. Their last post-season meeting took place in 2017 in Foxboro and the Patriots came away with the 35-14 win in the Divisonal round, while Tennessee’s lone win in post-season came in 1978, when the team was known as the Oilers and they left Foxboro 31-14 (also in the Divisional round) winners. New England’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Tennessee would like nothing more than to knock off New England in their back yard. The Patriots? They have other plans and look to right their ship from the loss in the season finale at home. New England may not cover the 4 1/2 but the Pats get their ducks in a row and move on to the next round.

Minnesota (10-6, 2nd Wild Card) at New Orleans (13-3, NFC South champion), 1:05 p.m. Sunday on FOX. It’s the NFC’s turn to have the stage as Minnesota and New Orleans meet in the NFC’s Wild Card round in the Big Easy. The Saints, the number 3 seed in the post-season, take on the 6th-seeded Vikings, with Minnesota coming off a loss at home to Chicago, while the Saints manhandled Carolina in the Tar Heel State in their regular-season finales.

The Vikings dropped a 21-1 decision to NFC North rival Chicago at US Bank Stadium last Sunday. Minnesota trailed 11-6 at the intermission, then took a 19-18 lead with 4:53 left in the contest on a 34-yard field goal by Dan Bailey before Chicago reclaimed the lead for good with 10 seconds left on a 22-yard field goal by Eddie Pinerio.

Minnesota out-rushed Da Bears 174-158 with Viking RB Mike Boone leading all rushers with 148 yards, while Chicago was led by David Montgomery with 113 yards (both men had a rushing TD in the contest). Sean Mannion, taking over for Kirk Cousins (rest) threw for 126 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 207 yards and was sacked four times (neither threw a TD pass). Minnesota went 4 of 9 on third down tries in the Twin Cities and held on to the ball for 22:20, while Da Bears kept the pigskin in hibernation for 37:40, going 7 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The Saints gave Carolina their eighth loss in a row in Charlotte, coming out of the Tar Heel State 42-10 winners at Bank of America Stadium. Saints running back Alvin Kamara (39 rushing yards) opened the scoring with a pair of first-quarter TDs as the Saints would go on to lead 35-3 at the break. New Orleans out-rushed Carolina 115-41 as Drew Brees threw for 253 yards and three TDs without a sack or interception (he would be replaced by Teddy Bridgewater), while Kyle Allen threw for 295 yards with a sack and an interception. The Saints were 4 of 11 on third down and held on to the pigskin for 35:40, while the Panthers, keeping the pigskin for 24:20, went 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In post-season play, the Vikings lead the series 3-1 and Minnesota has outscored the Saints 135-81. New Orleans’ lone win in the post-season series came in the Big Easy in 2009 as the Saints needed overtime to win 31-28 in the Superdome. It was their last meeting in the Twin Cities in 2017 that was a classic as the Vikings rallied to win 29-24 in the NFC Divisional playoff.

In that meeting, Minnesota and New Orleans played in a manner that not even Hollywood could have expected, with the plot line turning Minnesota’s way as the Vikings rallied to take the win over Drew Brees and the Saints at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings led 17-0 at the intermission against New Orleans before the Saints’ Michael Thomas ended Minnesota’s bid for a shutout when he and Drew Brees connected on a 14-yard TD pass with 1:18 left in the third quarter. Brees and Thomas would connect again with 13:09 left in the contest when they connected on a 3-yard toss.

After Kyle Horbath gave the Vikings a 20-14 lead with 10:12 left to play, New Orleans took the lead for the first time in the game when rookie RB Alvin Kamara caught a 14 yard TD pass from Brees with 3:01 left to. That lead would not last long, as once again it was Horbath putting the Vikings back on top with a 52-yard field goal with 89 seconds left.

New Orleans was not about to be outdone as they would use an 11-play, 50-yard drive that used 64 seconds of clock and took the lead back when K Wil Lutz connected on a 43-yard field goal with 25 seconds left. Minnesota, without time outs, engineered a drive that almost didn’t see the light of day as Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs opened with a 19-yard pass to their 39-yard line. After two Keenum passes were incomplete, the Vikings needed and got a miracle when Diggs caught Keenum’s desparation pass and took it into the end zone for a 61-yard TD pass as time expired for a walk-off TD to send Minnesota fans home happy and the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.

Minnesota out-rushed New Orleans 95-80 and Keenum threw for 318 yards, while Brees threw for 294 (both men were sacked twice, Keenum threw an interception, while Brees threw two) and Diggs led all recievers with 137 yards on six catches, including the game-winner. Minnesota on third down was 10 of 17 and held the ball for 33:17, including the game-winning drive, while the Saints held the pigskin for 26:43, going 2 of 9 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota in the 2017 Divisional was favored by 3 1/2 and the Vikings covered with their 5-point last-second win and the 44 1/2 over/under was taken care of, as the two clubs combined for 53 points. The Saints are favored by 8 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 48. The winner gets to go to Green Bay next week and the Saints would like to make travel plans for next week, while the Vikings could get another shot at their NFC North rival with a win. Minnesota pulls off the upset in the Big Easy and could cover the 8.

Seattle (11-5, 1st Wild Card) at Philadelphia (9-7, NFC East champion), 4:40 p.m. Sunday on NBC. They met in the regular season. They meet again. Starbucks vs. Cheesesteak. Carson Wentz and the Eagles host Russell Wilson and Seattle in the late afternoon Wild Card game in the City of Brotherly Love.

A Seattle rally in the final seconds in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks fell short as San Francisco held off the Seahawks 26-21 at Century Link Field last Sunday night, in a contest that gave the 49ers the NFC West title and revenge for their week 10 overtime loss in Santa Clara.

Seattle, 5-0 against Philadelphia since 2010 when Pete Carroll took over, trailed 13-0 at the break as the 49ers scored their first half points unchallenged before the home team would break San Francsico’s bid for a shutout when Wilson and WR Tyler Lockett connected on a 14-yard TD toss late in the third quarter.
San Francisco made it a 19-7 contest when RB Raheem Mostert scored from 2 yards away but the 49ers would miss the two-point conversion with 3:25 left in the quarter. Newly re-accquired RB Marshawn Lynch then pulled his team to within five with 9:55 left in the contest when he scored on a 1-yard run. Mostert pushed the 49ers lead back up to 12 with 5:51 left when he scored on a 13-yard run before Seattle stormed back again, trailing by only 5 with 3:36 left when Wilson and WR DK Metcalf connected on a 14-yard scoring pass.

Seattle would get the ball back with 2:27 left after a 49ers punt and made their way downfield, getting as close as San Francsico’s 1-yard line when Wilson tried to spike the ball to stop the clock. The Seahawks, out of time outs, were then flaggled for a delay of game penalty and passes to Lockett and Josh Hollister fell incomplete. With 12 seconds left, Wilson and Hollister would connect on a 4-yard pass but Hollister did not cross the goal line, as 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw tackled Hollister at the one-foot line. Replay would confirm that Hollister did not break the plane, which meant that Seattle did not score. San Francisco would then run out the clock and take the win in the Pacific Northwest.

San Francisco out-rushed Seattle 128-125 and Mostert led all rushers with 57 yards and the two TDs, while Seattle was led by RB Travis Homer with 62 yards (Lynch had 34 yards on 12 carries with the TD). Wilson threw for 233 yards with a pair of TDs and a sack, while Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 285 yards with a pair of sacks (neither qb threw an interception). Seattle was 8 of 14 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 32:56, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 27:04, going 4 of 8 on third down.

The Eagles, in a need-to-win situation in the Meadowlands last Sunday, erased a 17-17 tie at the end of the third quarter, scoring 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged to win the East against the New York Giants by a final of 34-17 at Met Life Stadium. Philadelphia led 10-3 at the half after taking that lead when Wentz and TE Josh Perkins connected on a 24-yard TD toss with 1:52 left in the half. New York would tie the contest halfway through the third quarter when WR Golden Tate and QB Daniel Jones connected on a 20-yard TD toss. Philadelphia then took the lead back on a 7-yard run with 2:21 left in the quarter but the Giants re-tied the contest on a 68-yard run by RB Sequan Barkley with 2:05 left in the quarter. Perkins would then chip in with a 50-yard run and Scott would add a pair of 2-yard runs to seal New York’s fate and take the NFC East title.

Big Blue BARELY out-rushed the Eagles 122-121 with Barkley leading all rushers with 92 yards and Scott tallying 54 for the Eagles with the three TDs. Wentz threw for 289 yards and the Perkins TD (Wentz was sacked once but did not throw an interception), while Jones tallied 301 yards with the Tate TD pass (Jones was sacked four times and threw an interception). The Eagles were 4 of 15 on third down conversions at Met Life Stadium and ruled the clock, as they held the ball for 31:25, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 28:35 (both clubs were at the 50 percent mark on fourth down; Philadelphia was 1 of 2, the Giants were 2 of 4).

While this is their first meeting in post-season play, they did meet in the City of Brotherly Love in week 12 and the Seahawks would prevail, leaving Lincoln Financial Field 17-9 winners. Seattle erased a 3-0 lead with a Wilson TD pass to WR Malik Turner, then took a 10-3 at the half on a Justin Myers field goal late in the second quarter. Seattle RB Rashaad Penny then gave his team a 10-point lead with 11:56 left in the contest on a 58-yard run before the Eagles would rally, pulling themselves to within 8 with 20 seconds left when Wentz and TE Zach Ertz connected on a TD toss. The Eagles then went for two in hopes of knocking the deficit down to six but the try failed. Philadelphia then tried an onside kick, which Seattle promptly recovered. Seattle then ran out the clock and took the win on the East Coast in the late afternoon affair.

Penny led all rushers with 129 yards and the TD as Seattle out-rushed the Eagles 174-106 (Miles Sanders led the Eagles with 63 yards) and Wilson threw for 200 yards with the Turner TD toss (he was sacked six times and threw an interception), while Wentz was good for 256 yards with the Ertz TD toss (Wentz was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions). Seattle was 5 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 28:07, while the Eagles actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:53, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 12 contest, Philadelphia was favored by 2 1/2 in the late afternoon contest in the Keystone State and Seattle would cover, winning by 8. The 49 over/under? It went untouched, as the two clubs combined for only 26 points. In the rematch, the Seahawks are a 1 1/2-point favorite in the City of Brotherly Love and the over/under’s 46. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both teams can score points if need to and this one could be a repeat of their last meeting. The only difference will be the result. The winner gets to play next weekend, while the loser gets to go home. Fly, Eagles, Fly! Like a cheesesteak with peppers, Philadelphia covers the 1 1/2 and wins in the City of Brotherly Love.

The end is near.

The season began in Foxboro with the New England Patriots raising another banner and getting their rings and ends in Seattle as the Seahawks and 49ers decide who will be NFC West champs.

When the final game of the 2019 NFL regular season comes to an end in the Pacific Northwest, there will be 12 teams that will continue their season and make their way to the post-season.

As for the other 20 teams? They’ll be making changes in their rosters and coaching staffs. Monday will NOT be a good day to be a head coach in the NFL if your team doesn’t make the playoffs. For teams that won’t be playing in the post-season, lockers will be cleaned out and those teams will be second-guessed and picked over like the bones of a Christmas Turkey.

For those 12 that are still standing, it’s their second season with one twist.

Win. Advance to the next round.

Lose. Your next game is in September of 2020.

when the Super Bowl comes to an end in Miami in February, one team will be holding a Lombardi Trophy.

There’s still football left for this Sunday, though. All the games this week are rematches, which makes some of them for all the marbles. It’s a chance for the teams that won the first time to prove that the first time was not a fluke, while the losers are looking for revenge and a chance to knock a team out of the post-season party. Think of it as football’s answer to Dirty Santa without the spiked egg nog.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Baltimore defeated Cleveland, 31-15, to clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Ravens are the number one seed in the AFC for first time in franchise history.

With their 23-20 win at Tampa Bay on Saturday, Houston clinched their second-consecutive AFC South division title.

Minnesota clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams’ loss at San Francisco on Saturday night. Green Bay can clinch the NFC North division title with a victory on Monday.

On Saturday, New England defeated Buffalo 24-17, to clinch their 11th-consecutive AFC East division title, the most consecutive division titles won by one team in NFL history.

Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota and San Francisco have each qualified for the postseason after missing the playoffs last season. From 1990-2019 – a streak of 30 consecutive years – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had 12 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 38-28 victory at Tennessee.

Thomas has 145 receptions in 2019 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (143 in 2002) for the most receptions in a single season in NFL history. Thomas, who leads the NFL with 1,688 receiving yards this season, has 5,475 receiving yards in his first four seasons and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (5,396) for the most receiving yards in a player’s first four seasons in league annals.

Baltimore rushed for 243 yards in their Week 16 win at Cleveland. The Ravens are the seventh team since 1970 and first since the 1978 Kansas City Chiefs (eight) and 1978 New England Patriots (11) with at least eight games of 200-or-more rushing yards in a single season. Baltimore has 3,073 rushing yards in 2019 and joined the 1978 New England Patriots (3,165 rushing yards) and 1973 Buffalo Bills (3,088) as the only teams with at least 3,000 rushing yards in a single season in league annals.

With quarterback Lamar Jackson (1,206 rushing yards) and running back Mark Ingram (1,018), the Ravens are the seventh team in NFL history and first since the 2009 Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams) to have two players with at least 1,000 rushing yards in a single season.

Indianapolis running back Nyheim Hines recorded punt return touchdowns of 84 and 71 yards in the Colts’ 38-6 win against Carolina. Hines is the fifth player with at least two punt return touchdowns of 70-or-more yards in a single game in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Christiansen (November 22, 1951) as well as Darrien Gordon (November 9, 1997), Leroy Irvin (October 11, 1981) and Eric Metcalf (October 24, 1993).

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had 15 receptions and 173 scrimmage yards (119 receiving, 54 rushing) on Sunday.

McCaffrey has 109 receptions in 2019, surpassing his total in 2018 (107) for the most catches in a single season by a running back in NFL history and became the first running back in league annals with multiple career seasons of at least 100 receptions. McCaffrey has nine games with at least 150 scrimmage yards this season and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1999 and 2001) and Chris Johnson (2009) as the only players with at least nine such games in a single season in NFL history.

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones passed for 352 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 132.1 rating in the teams’ 41-35 overtime victory at Washington. Jones is the first rookie with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a single game in NFL history. Jones, who also had four touchdowns passes in both Week 8 and Week 10, is the third rookie quarterback with at least three games of four-or-more touchdown passes in league annals, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (1961) and DeShaun Watson (2017).

Giants running back Saquon Barkley totaled a career-high 279 scrimmage yards (189 rushing, 90 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Week 16 victory. Barkley is the fifth player with at least 275 scrimmage yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game since 1970, joining Priest Holmes (Week 13, 2001 and Week 12, 2002), Chris Johnson (Week 2, 2009), Herschel Walker(Week 15, 1986) and Delvin Williams (Week 9, 1976).

Barkley also joined Billy Cannon (December 10, 1961), Delvin Williams (November 7, 1976) and Priest Holmes (November 24, 2002) as the only players in NFL history with at least 175 rushing yards, 90 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a single game.

Washington running back Adrian Peterson rushed for a touchdown on Sunday. Peterson has 111 career rushing touchdowns and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton (110) for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in NFL history.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 10 receptions for 166 yards in the Falcons’ 24-12 win over Jacksonville. Jones, appearing in his 125th career game, has 12,047 receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (142 games) as the fastest player to reach 12,000 career receiving yards in NFL history. Jones registered his 15th career game with at least 150 receiving yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (30 games), Lance Alworth (17), Terrell Owens (17) and Don Maynard (15), as well as Calvin Johnson (15) as the only players with at least 15 such games in league annals.

Arizona linebacker Chandler Jones recorded four sacks and two forced fumbles in the Cardinals’ 27-13 win at Seattle. Jones, who had 17 sacks in 2017, has a career-high 19 sacks this season and joined J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15), Elvis Dumervil (2009 and 2014), Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (2001 and 2003) and DeMarcus Ware (2008 and 2010) as the only players with at least 17 sacks in multiple seasons since 2000.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz had four receptions in the Eagles’ 17-9 win against Dallas and has 525 receptions during his seven-year NFL career, surpassing Jason Witten (523) for the most catches by a tight end in his first seven seasons in league annals.

Miami rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had his first-career touchdown reception in the Dolphins’ 38-35 overtime win against Cincinnati. Wilkins joins William “The Refrigerator” Perry (November 3, 1985) as the only rookie defensive linemen to record a receiving touchdown in the Super Bowl era.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week has featured an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is 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 has designated the San Francisco-Seattle game as the NFL 100 Game of the Week because the division rivals engaged in an epic NFC Championship Game on January 19, 2014. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 23-17, to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII after overcoming an early 10-0 deficit. In the third quarter, Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch scored on a 40-yard run to knot the game at 10-10. After Anquan Boldin caught a 26-yard touchdown from Colin Kaepernick to vault San Francisco back on top, 17-10, Doug Baldwin returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards to set up a Stephen Hauschka field goal. In the fourth quarter, QB Russell Wilson and WR Jermaine Kearse connected on 4th-and-7 for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give Seattle its first lead at 20-17. The Seahawks used three fourth-quarter takeaways – a Michael Bennett fumble recovery (forced by a Cliff Avril sack) and interceptions by Kam Chancellor and Malcom Smith, with an athletic assist from Richard Sherman – to seal the victory.

Five teams remain in contention for two remaining playoff berths. Six clubs will fight for three remaining first-round byes. Home-field advantage and two division titles are up for grabs in the NFC. 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 LIV.

Including 2019 with the Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota and San Francisco, since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

It’s all on the line in Week 17. Ten of the 12 playoff teams have been determined. Six of the eight divisions have been clinched and there’s still plenty to play for in Week 17.

In the AFC, five teams have already punched their tickets to the postseason: Baltimore (13-2, AFC North and home-field advantage), Buffalo (10-5, playoff berth), Houston (10-5, AFC South), Kansas City (11-4, AFC West) and New England (12-3, AFC East). The Bills are locked in as the number five seed in the post-season.

Oakland (7-8), Pittsburgh (8-7) and Tennessee (8-7) are vying for the final AFC Wild Card berth, while the Chiefs and Patriots are fighting for the AFC’s lone remaining first-round bye.

In the NFC, five teams have locked up playoff spots: Green Bay (12-3, NFC North), Minnesota (10-5, playoff berth), New Orleans (12-3, NFC South), San Francisco (12-3, playoff berth) and Seattle (11-4, playoff berth). Minnesota is locked in as the six seed in the post-season.

San Francisco and Seattle play on Sunday Night Football. The winner captures the NFC West and possibly home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, while the loser enters the playoffs with an NFC Wild Card berth.

In the NFC, the road to Super Bowl LIV in Miami will go through one of four cities, as Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle all have an opportunity to earn the conference’s top seed on Sunday.

Philadelphia needs a win at the New York Giants to lock up the NFC East. A Giants win opens the door for Dallas, which would then get into the postseason with a home win over the Redskins.

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 17: Playoff scenarios abound in the final week of the regular season. While all four AFC divisional spots are taken, there is one more wild card spot left. As for the NFC? Two division titles (East and West) are up for grabs. Pay close attention… this is going to cause more confusion than a mouse in a Burlesque show (apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!)

AFC

CLINCHED:
Baltimore – AFC North and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs
Houston – AFC South
Kansas City – AFC West
New England – AFC East
Buffalo – playoff berth

Kansas City (11-4) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (5-10), 1 p.m. on CBS

Kansas City clinches a first-round bye with:
Kansas City win + New England loss

New England (12-3) vs. Miami (4-11), 1 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches a first-round bye with:
New England win or tie OR
Kansas City loss or tie

Oakland (7-8) at Denver (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Oakland clinches a playoff berth with:
Oakland win + Pittsburgh loss + TEN loss + IND win + OAK clinches strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Pittsburgh*
*Oakland clinches strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Pittsburgh if ONE of the following teams win or tie:

Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles Chargers OR New England

Pittsburgh (8-7) at Baltimore (13-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:

Pittsburgh win + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh tie + Tennessee loss OR
Tennessee loss + Indianapolis win + Oakland loss or tie OR
Tennessee loss + Indianapolis win + Pittsburgh ties Oakland in strength-of-victory tiebreaker*

*Pittsburgh ties Oakland in strength-of-victory tiebreaker if ALL of the following teams win:
Minnesota, Green Bay, Kansas City and Miami

Tennessee (8-7) at Houston (10-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:

Tennessee win OR
Tennessee tie + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh loss + IND loss or tie

NFC

CLINCHED:
Green Bay – NFC North
New Orleans – NFC South
Minnesota – playoff berth
San Francisco – playoff berth
Seattle – playoff berth

Dallas (7-8) vs. Washington (3-12), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Dallas clinches NFC East division with:
Dallas win + Philadelphia loss

Green Bay (12-3) (at Detroit (3-11-1), 1 p.m. on FOX

Green Bay clinches a first-round bye with:
Green Bay win OR
New Orleans loss OR
Green Bay tie + SF loss OR
Green Bay tie + New Orleans tie

Green Bay clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
Green Bay win + San Francisco loss or tie OR
Green Bay tie + San Francisco loss + New Orleans loss or tie

New Orleans (12-3) at Carolina (5-10), 1 p.m. on FOX

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:
New Orleans win + Green Bay loss or tie OR
New Orleans win + San Francisco loss or tie OR
New Orleans tie + Green Bay loss OR
New Orleans tie + San Francisco loss OR
San Francisco loss + Green Bay win or tie

New Orleans clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
New Orleans win + Green Bay loss or tie + San Francisco loss or tie OR
New Orleans tie + Green Bay loss + San Francisco loss

Philadelphia (8-7) at New York Giants (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Philadelphia clinches NFC East division with:
PHI win or tie OR
Dallas loss or tie

San Francisco (12-3) at Seattle (11-4), 8:20 p.m. on NBC

San Francisco clinches NFC West division title with:
San Francisco win or tie

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye with:
San Francisco win OR
San Francisco tie + Green Bay loss or tie OR
San Francisco tie + New Orleans loss or tie

San Francisco clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
San Francisco win OR
San Francisco tie + Green Bay loss or tie + New Orleans loss or tie

Seattle (11-4) vs. San Francisco (12-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Seattle clinches NFC West division with:
Seattle win

Seattle clinches a first-round bye with:
Seattle win + Green Bay loss

Seattle clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
Seattle win + Green Bay loss + New Orleans loss

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 17

PLAYOFF PUSH: All 16 games are division contests in Week 17 and there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV.

In 15 of the past 16 years, at least two teams have won their division the season after missing the playoffs. With a win over Minnesota on Monday Night Football in Week 16, Green Bay (12-3) clinched the NFC North.

If San Francisco (12-3) defeats Seattle (11-4) on Sunday Night Football, the 49ers would clinch the NFC West, marking the 16th time in the last 17 seasons at least two teams have won their division the season after missing the playoffs.

In the AFC, five teams have already punched their tickets to the postseason, including all four division winners: Baltimore (13-2, AFC North and home-field advantage), Houston (10-5, AFC South), Kansas City (11-4, AFC West), New England (12-3, AFC East) and Buffalo (10-5, playoff berth).

Five teams have also locked up playoff berths in the NFC: Green Bay (12-3, NFC North), New Orleans (12-3, NFC South), Minnesota (10-5, playoff berth), San Francisco (12-3, playoff berth) and Seattle (11-4, playoff berth).

WILSON WINNER: Seattle’s Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to the postseason for the seventh time in eight seasons as the team’s starting quarterback and is the first quarterback to lead his team to a winning record in each of his first eight seasons in NFL history.

With a win over San Francisco on Sunday Night Football, Seattle will capture the NFC West division title and Wilson will earn his 87th regular-season win, surpassing Tom Brady (86 wins) for the most regular-season wins by a quarterback through his first eight seasons in NFL history.

SAINTS GO MARCHING INTO RECORD BOOKS: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 279 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a Week 16 victory, as the Saints earned at least 12 wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.

With another performance of at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions on Sunday at Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Brees will become the fourth player with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in at least four consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2015 – 5)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2014 – 4)
Tom Brady, New England (2007 – 4)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

​​Brees also leads the league with a 75.3 completion percentage in 2019 (among qualified passers) and is on pace to break his own single-season completion percentage record for the second-consecutive season. The 19-year veteran entered 2019 with four of the top five single-season completion percentages in league annals. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr (71.1 percent) and Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill (70.7) also each own completion percentages over of at least 70 percent entering Week 17.

The players with the highest single-season completion percentages in NFL history among qualified passers:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – COMPLETION PERCENTAGE)

Drew Brees, New Orleans (2019 – 75.3)*
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2018 – 74.4)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2017 – 72.0)
Sam Bradford, Minnesota (2016 – 71.6)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 71.2)
Derek Carr, Oakland (2019 – 71.1)*
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (2019 – 70.7)*
*Entering Week 17

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas leads the NFL with 145 receptions in 2019 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (143 in 2002) for the most receptions in a single season in NFL history. Both Thomas and Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins have recorded at least five receptions in all 15 games this season.

If Thomas has at least five receptions at Carolina and Hopkins has at least five receptions on Sunday against Tennessee, they would become the fifth and sixth different receivers with at least five receptions in all 16 games of a regular season since 1978, when the 16-game schedule was implemented.

The players with at least five receptions in all 16 games of a regular season since 1978:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)
Jarvis Landry, Miami (2017)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2014)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2013)
Pierre Garcon, Washington (2013)
Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville (2001)
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (2019)*
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2019)*
*In 15 games

Additionally, with at least 12 receptions on Sunday, Thomas would become the first player with at least 12 receptions in three consecutive games in NFL history.

DUAL-THREAT BACKS: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey registered 173 scrimmage yards (119 receiving, 54 rushing) last week, his ninth game with at least 150 scrimmage yards this season.

With at least 150 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New Orleans, McCaffrey, who leads the league with 2,294 scrimmage yards in 2019, would tie Chris Johnson (10 games in 2009) for the most games with at least 150 scrimmage yards in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least 150 scrimmage yards in a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Chris Johnson, Tennessee (2009 – 10)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (2001 – 9)(HOF)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (1999 – 9)(HOF)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 9)*
*Through 15 games
(HOF) – Hall of Fame

With at least 216 scrimmage yards on Sunday, McCaffrey would surpass Johnson (2,509 scrimmage yards in 2009) for the most scrimmage yards in a single season in league annals.

Additionally, McCaffrey ranks second among all running backs this season with 933 receiving yards, trailing only the Los Angeles Chargers’ Austin Ekeler (950). If McCaffrey has at least 67 receiving yards against New Orleans and Ekeler has at least 50 receiving yards at Kansas City, they would become the fourth and fifth running backs with at least 1,000 receiving yards in a single season since 1970.

The running backs with at least 1,000 receiving yards in a season since 1970:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEIVING YARDS)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (1999 – 1,048)(HOF)
Lionel James, San Diego (1985 – 1,027)
Roger Craig, San Francisco (1985 – 1,016)
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (2019 – 950)*
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 933)*
*Through 15 games

McCaffrey, who ranks second in the NFL with a career-high 1,361 rushing yards this season, can join Roger Craig (1985) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1999) as the only players with at least 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history.

HISTORY DOWN SOUTH: In his 125th career game, Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones, who has 12,047 career receiving yards, had 10 catches for 166 yards in the Falcons’ Week 16 victory and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (142 games) as the fastest player to reach 12,000 career receiving yards in NFL history.

Jones, who ranks third in the league with 1,316 receiving yards in 2019, needs at least 84 receiving yards on Sunday at Tampa Bay, to tie Rice (six seasons) for the most seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards in NFL history.

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston leads the league with a career-high 4,908 passing yards entering the season’s final week and has thrown for at least 375 yards in five different games in 2019.

With at least 375 passing yards on Sunday against Atlanta, Winston would tie Peyton Manning (six games in 2013) for the most games with at least 375 passing yards in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least 375 passing yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 375+ PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 6)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2013 – 5)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (2019 – 5)*
*Through 15 games

REMARKABLE ROOKIE RECEIVERS: Tennessee’s A.J. Brown (927 receiving yards) and Washington’s Terry McLaurin (919) lead all rookies in receiving yards this season and each have a chance to reach 1,000 receiving yards in their first NFL seasons.

If Brown has at least 73 receiving yards at Houston and McLaurin has at least 81 receiving yards at Dallas, the 2019 season would join 2014 and 1986 as the only seasons featuring multiple rookies with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history.

The seasons featuring multiple rookies with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history:

SEASON: ROOKIES (TEAM – RECEIVING YARDS)
2014: Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants – 1,305), Mike Evans (Tampa Bay – 1,051), Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina – 1,008)
1986: Bill Brooks (Indianapolis – 1,131), Ernest Givins (Houston Oilers – 1,062)
2019: A.J. Brown (Tennessee – 927), Terry McLaurin (Washington – 919)*
*Entering Week 17

Because it’s the final weekend of the regular season and it’s the Christmas season, we’re going to do what we did to start the season and make every Sunday contest “DRILL WORTHY!” (even the bad games!) (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?”)

Last week? Best. Week. EVER. 12-4 for the week, 134-106 for the season. That being said, here are the Sunday picks for week 17.

ATLANTA (6-9) at Tampa Bay (7-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and 712. They meet again. Matt Ryan vs. Jameis Winston. Atlanta and Tampa Bay meet in the Sunshine State at Raymond James Stadium in an NFC South rematch. The Falcons closed out their home season with a huge win against Jacksonville, while the Buccaneers saw their playoff hopes come to an end at the hands of the Houston Texans last Saturday afternoon.

Atlanta picked up a win against the AFC South as they took down Jacksonville 24-12 in the Big Peach Sunday afternoon. The Falcons led from start to finish in the home finale, using a pair of first-quarter TDs from DeVonta Freeman (one rushing, one passing), taking a 17-3 lead with them to the break.

Atlanta out-rushed Jacksonville 135-115 with Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette leading all rushers with 71 yards (Brian Hill led Atlanta with 66 yards), while Ryan threw for 384 yards and a TD to Freeman (Ryan’s favorite target, Julio Jones, led all recievers with 10 catches, good for 166 yards) with Gardner Minshew II throwing for 181 yards and a TD to Chris Conley (Ryan was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Minshew was sacked three times). Atlanta was 7 of 13 on third down in the Big Peach and was somewhat “Grinch-like” with the ball, keeping it for 33:07, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:53, going 3 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay watched Houston erase a 17-17 tie at the intermission last Saturday afternoon, then had a final-minute drive stall as the Texans left Tampa Bay with the AFC South title and a 23-20 win. Houston opened the first half scoring when Winston was picked off by CB Bradley Roby, who returned the ball 27 yards for a TD before the fans were settled in their seats. Winston would eventually atone for that error, as Tampa Bay would tie things up with 13 second left when he and WR Justin Watson scored on an 8-yard TD toss. Kai Fairbairn and Matt Gay would trade field goals in the third quarter, tying the contest at 20-20 before Fairbairn gave Houston the lead for good with 7:11 left in the contest on a 37-yard field goal.

Tampa Bay would get the ball back with 21 seconds left in the contest after the teams traded punts after the Fairburn field goal and the hopes of a win for the Buccaneers came to an end when Winston was picked off by Issac Hyman to end the threat. Tampa Bay out-rushed Houston 106-68 with Ronald Jones leading the way for all rushers with 77 yards and a TD (Houston was led by DeShaun Watson with 37 yards, Carlos Hyde had Houston’s lone rushing TD). Winston threw for 335 yards and the Justin Watson TD but was sacked three times with four interceptions (including the one that ended the contest), while DeShaun Watson threw for 184 with five interceptions and a sack. Tampa Bay went 9 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and including the final 21 seconds of the contest, kept the ball for 30:28, while the Texans kept the pigskin for 29:32, going 4 of 14 on third down but had success in their only fourth down try.

They met in the Big Peach in week 12 and Tampa Bay came away with the 35-22 win over their NFC South rivals. Atlanta led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, then watched the Buccaneers score 12 second-quarter points unchallenged to lead 19-10 at the intermission. Tampa Bay, who would get TDs from DL Veta Vea and DT Ndamukong Suh, outscored Atlanta 16-12 in the final 30 minutes of action to seal Atlanta’s fate. Tampa Bay out-rushed Atlanta 133-57 and Winston threw for 313 yards with a pair of TDs (Winston was picked off twice), while Ryan threw for 271 yards, was sacked six times and picked off once before being replaced by Matt Schaub (55 yards, TD to Calvin Ridley). Tampa Bay went 6 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 28:22, while the Falcons actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for for 31:38, while going 4 of 16 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

In the week 12 contest in the Big Peach, Atlanta was favored by 4 1/2 and Tampa Bay covered, winning by 13 and both teams covered the 52 over/under, tallying 57 points. This time, the odds-makers in Vegas like Tampa Bay as 1 1/2-point favorites and the over/under comes in at 47 1/2. A Tampa Bay win gives the Bucs second place to themselves behind New Orleans in the NFC South, while the Falcons are looking for revenge from their loss in the Big Peach from their week 12 contest and a win for them would tie them with Tampa Bay. The tie binds here. Atlanta covers the 1 1/2 in the Sunshine State and wins in Tampa Bay for the second straight year.

New York Jets (6-9) at Buffalo (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. They met in the Meadowlands to start the season and now they meet in upstate New York to close things out. Buffalo hosts the New York Jets in Orchard Park to close out the 20199 regular season.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! damaged Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes last Sunday at Met Life Stadium, holding off the Steelers 16-10 in upstate New Jersey. The Steelers and Jets went into the locker room tied at 10-10 after Robbie Anderson and Steven Ficken opened New York’s scoring (Anderson scoring on a 23-yard pass from Sam Darnold and a 54-yard field goal by Ficken for the Jets) before Chris Boswell (49-yard field goal) and WR Dioante Johnson (29-yard TD pass from Mason Rudolph) evened things up. Ficken would give the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! the lead back for keeps with a pair of field goals to make it a 16-10 contest, then held off a late Pittsburgh rally to seal the win in the Meadowlands.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier in the contest but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did manage to out-rush Pittsburgh 85-75 and Darnonld threw for 183 yards and a TD without an interception (he was sacked twice), while Rudolph (taking over for Delvin Hodges) threw for 129 yards and a TD with a sack. GangGreen went 4 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:28, while the Steelers actually ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 31:32, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Bills watched Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take the AFC East title in Foxboro last Saturday, falling to the Patriots 24-17 at Gillette Stadium. The two AFC East rivals went to the intermission tied at 10-10 before the Bills would take the lead with 7:25 left in the third when Josh Allen and John Brown connected on a 53-yard TD toss. New England then proceeded to chip away at the lead with 10:45 left in regulation when Nick Folk connected on a 20-yard field goal, then took the lead for keeps with 5:06 left in the contest when Patriots RB Rex Burkhead scored from a yard out. New England then went for two and Brady and WR Josh Edleman connected on the try. Buffalo would get the ball back and made their way down the field, getting as close as the Patroits’ 15-yard line before the drive stalled as Allen’s pass to Cole Beasley sailed in complete.

New England out-rushed Buffalo 143-92 with Patriots RB Sony Michel leading the way with 96 yards; Allen threw for 208 yards with a pair of TDs, while Brady threw for 271 yards and a TD to Matt LaCosse (Allen was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The Bills were a dismal 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:08, while New England ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 38:52, while going 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They got things started right away, meeting in week one in the Meadowlands and the Bills circled their wagons, coming away 17-16 winners at Met Life Stadium. GangGreen led 6-0 at the break and took a 16-3 lead with them to the start of the fourth quarter before the Bills responded with 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged, using a 3-yard run by Allen and a 38-yard pass from Allen to WR John Brown to take the lead for keeps. The Bills would then go on to stop a GangGreen rally that could have given the home team the win in the closing seconds of the contest.

Buffalo out-rushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 128-68 with Bills RB Devin Singletary leading the way with 70 yards, while LeVeon Bell led New York with 60. Allen threw for 254 yards with the TD pass to Brown (in addition to his rushing TD) and was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Darnold threw for 175 yards with a TD to Bell and was sacked four times. Buffalo was 5 of 10 on third down tries in the Meadowlands (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were rulers of time, keeping the ball for 32:01, going 7 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

GangGreen was favored by 3 in the week one opener in the Meadowlands and while Buffalo won, they did not cover the spread, winning by 1 and the 40 1/2 over/under? It would stay intact, as both teams combined for 33 points. This time, the Bills are favored in upstate New York by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 36. In GangGreen’s defense, they have been playing some decent football of late but they’re not going to the post-season. Bills prove that the first meeting was not a fluke, circles the wagons and covers the 1 1/2 in upstate New York.

Cleveland (6-9) at Cincinnati (1-14), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling Buckeye State teams meet along the shores of the Ohio River as Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals host Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Both teams took losses in last week’s contests.

The Browns struggled against Baltimore and Lamar Jackson as the Ravens left First Energy Field 31-15 winners. After a scoreless first quarter, Cleveland took the lead with 11:53 left before the half when Mayfield and TE Demetrius Harris connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Baltimore would later respond with a pair of TD passes from Jackson to TE Mark Andrews to lead by seven at the break. Cleveland would eventually pull themselves to within nine with 8:01 left in the contest when Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. connected on a 3-yard TD toss (Cleveland would miss the two-point try). It would be as close as the Browns would get, as the Ravens’ Justice Hill put the nail in Cleveland’s coffin, scoring on an 18-yard run.

Jackson led all rushers with 103 yards, while throwing three TD passes (he threw for 238 yards and was not sacked or intercepted) as the Ravens out-rushed Cleveland 243-49, with Mayfield throwing for 192 yards with the pair of TD passes and an interception. The Ravens were 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:19 to Cleveland’s 25:41 (the Brown were 3 of 12 on third down tries).

A Cincinnati rally that sent their contest with Miami into overtime went for nothing as the Dolphins stormed back in overtime and came away 38-35 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins led 21-6 at the intermission and took a 28-12 lead into the final quarter of regulation before the Bengals went on their tear in that period, scoring their last 22 points in that frame unchallenged, tying the contest up as time expired in regulation when TE Tyler Eifert and Andy Dalton connected on a 25-yard TD toss to put them to within 2. Dalton then took matters into his own feet, scoring on the two-point try to send the contest into the extra period. Each team would get the ball twice and each punted to the other team. With 3:19 left in the extra period, Miami would get the ball back and make the most of it, using all of the 3:19 left on the clock on a 10-play, 51-yard drive, sending Dolphins fans home happy with Jason Sanders booting a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

Neither the Bengals or Dolphins breached the 100-yard barrier but Miami did come close and out-rushed Cincinnati 96-59. Fitzpatrick, who has now thrown four TD passes in a game for five different teams, threw for 419 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Dalton threw for 396 yards with four TDs (two to Tyler Boyd) and was sacked four times. The Bengals were 4 of 18 on third down but perfect in their three fourth down tries, holding on to the ball for 33:36, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and including the final 3:19 of overtime, kept the ball for 36:24, while going 6 of 16 on third down.

They met in week 14 along the shores of Lake Erie and the Browns came away 27-19 winners at First Energy Field. Cleveland led their in-state rivals 14-13 at the intermission, then proceeded to outscore the Bengals 13-6 in the second half, using a pair of Austin Siebert field goals to ice the contest away. Cincinnati out-rushed Cleveland 179-146 with Bengals RB Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 146 yards and a rushing TD, while the Browns were led by Nick Chubb, who tallied 106 yards on 15 carries. Mayfield threw for 192 yards and had a rushing TD, while Dalton threw for 262 yards (Mayfield was sacked once and picked off twice, while Dalton was picked off once and sacked twice). The Browns went 7 of 12 on third down tries and held the ball for 25:29, while the Bengals ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 34:31 and 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Cleveland was favored by 8 1/2 in the week 14 contest along the shores of Lake Erie and barely missed the spread, winning by 8. The two clubs did manage to cover the 42 1/2 over/under, tallying 46 points in the contest. Cleveland’s favored again, this time by 3 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Neither team is going anywhere this year and the Browns are looking to finish strong, while the Bengals are preparing to pick first in the 2020 NFL Draft. Cleveland covers the 3 and closes out the season with the win on the road in the Buckeye State.

Miami (4-11) at New England (12-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC East rivals close out the 2019 campaign in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Both teams were winners at home in their contests last week.

Miami overcame a Cincinnati rally that sent their contest with the Bengals into overtime and came away 38-35 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins led 21-6 at the intermission and took a 28-12 lead into the final quarter of regulation before the Bengals went on their tear in that period, scoring their last 22 points in that frame unchallenged, tying the contest up as time expired in regulation when TE Tyler Eifert and Andy Dalton connected on a 25-yard TD toss to put them to within 2. Dalton then took matters into his own feet, scoring on the two-point try to send the contest into the extra period. Each team would get the ball twice and each punted to the other team. With 3:19 left in the extra period, Miami would get the ball back and make the most of it, using all of the 3:19 left on the clock on a 10-play, 51-yard drive, sending Dolphins fans home happy with Jason Sanders booting a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

Neither the Bengals or Dolphins breached the 100-yard barrier but Miami did come close and out-rushed Cincinnati 96-59. Fitzpatrick, who has now thrown four TD passes in a game for five different teams, threw for 419 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Dalton threw for 396 yards with four TDs (two to Tyler Boyd) and was sacked four times. The Bengals were 4 of 18 on third down but perfect in their three fourth down tries, holding on to the ball for 33:36, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and including the final 3:19 of overtime, kept the ball for 36:24, while going 6 of 16 on third down.

Brady and the New England Patriots took the AFC East title in Foxboro last Saturday, beating AFC East rival Buffalo 24-17 at Gillette Stadium. The two AFC East rivals went to the intermission tied at 10-10 before the Bills would take the lead with 7:25 left in the third when Josh Allen and John Brown connected on a 53-yard TD toss. New England then proceeded to chip away at the lead with 10:45 left in regulation when Nick Folk connected on a 20-yard field goal, then took the lead for keeps with 5:06 left in the contest when Patriots RB Rex Burkhead scored from a yard out. New England then went for two and Brady and WR Josh Edleman connected on the try. Buffalo would get the ball back and made their way down the field, getting as close as the Patroits’ 15-yard line before the drive stalled as Allen’s pass to Cole Beasley sailed in complete.

New England out-rushed Buffalo 143-92 with Patriots RB Sony Michel leading the way with 96 yards; Allen threw for 208 yards with a pair of TDs, while Brady threw for 271 yards and a TD to Matt LaCosse (Allen was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The Bills were a dismal 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:08, while New England ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 38:52, while going 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New England’s win gives them their 11th consecutive division title, extends record for most consecutive division titles since 1970 (Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams 7). The Patriots 16th consecutive win over Buffalo ties them for the 3rd longest NFL win streak vs. single opponent and New England’s 13th 12-win season since merger, ties them for the most all-time (San Francisco). As for Brady, his 32nd career win vs. Bills extends the NFL record for wins vs. single opponent.

They met in week two in the Sunshine State and Brady and the Pats pitched a 43-0 shutout at Hard Rock Stadium. New England led 13-0 at the intermission, then proceeded to floor the gas in the second half, scoring their last 30 points of the contest unchallenged. New England out-rushed Miami 126-42 with Michel leading all rushers with 85 yards and a TD, while Brady threw for 264 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked twice) and Fitzpatrick throwing for 89 yards with three interceptions before being benched in favor of Josh Rosen (who threw an interception with 97 yards in the air). New England went 6 of 11 on third down and were misers with the ball, holding on it for 36:30, while the Dolphins, who kept the pigskin for 23:30, while going 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

In the week two contest in Miami, the Patriots easily covered the 19-point spread, winning by 43 but missed the 47 over/under by 4 points. New England’s favored again, this time by 15 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The Dolphins have actually gotten better over the last few weeks but their dream comes to an end in Foxboro. While Miami makes it closer than 15, Brady and the Pats win in Foxboro.

New Orleans (12-3) at Carolina (5-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. New Orleans and Carolina meet in the Tar Heel State to close out the 2019 season at Bank of America Stadium. while the Saints rallied on the road to win in Nashville, the Panthers took another loss, this time losing in the Hoosier State.

New Orleans trailed Tennessee 14-10 at the half, then went on a 28-14 run in the second half to come away 38-28 winners at Nissan Stadium. Saints RB Alvin Kamara’s 40-yard run early in the third quarter gave the Saints the lead for good at 17-14. Kamara would then score again in the quarter, scoring from a yard out to give New Orleans a 24-14 lead late in the quarter before Titans WR Tajaé Sharpe would score the first of his two TDs, connecting with Ryan Tannehill from 36 yards to pull them to within 3. New Orleans then pushed the lead back to 10 with 73 seconds left in the third when Drew Brees and TE Jared Cook connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tennessee would not go away quietly as Sharpe and Tannehill connected on a second TD pass, this one from seven yards with 7:27 left in regulation.

The Titans would get the ball back with 4:25 left but turned the ball over when WR Kalif Raymond fumbled at the Saints’ 38-yard line and New Orleans’ Chauncey Gardner-Johnson would recover in decent field position. The Saints, with a short field, would then go on a 6-play, 25-yard drive that used 1:56 of clock to put a nail in Tennessee’s coffin as WR Michael Thomas, who surpassed Marvin Harrison for the all-time passes caught record, caught a 2-yard TD toss from Brees with 2:10 left. New Orleans then held off a late Tennessee rally, ran out the clock and took the win in the Music City.

Tennessee actually out-rushed New Orleans 149-102 but Kamara led all rushers with 80 yards and the two rushing TDs, while Brees threw for 279 yards and three TDs (two of them to Cook, one to Thomas; Thomas had 12 catches for 136 yards), while Tannehill threw for 272 yards with three TDs (Brees was sacked three times, Tannehill was sacked five times and neither man threw an interception). Both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down; the Saints were 4 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:04, while the Titans held the pigskin for 28:56, going 5 of 13 on third down.

Carolina watched Indianapolis use a pair of punt returns from running back Nyheim Hines (84 and 71 yards) in their 38-6 win last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Carolina was held to a pair of Jeff Slye field goals, trailed 21-3 at the half, then watched the Colts floor the gas in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, outpacing the Panthers 17-3.

The Colts out-rushed Carolina 218-87 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 95 yards and a TD, while Collin McCaffrey led Carolina (who lost their seventh contest in a row, with interm head coach Perry Fewell looking for his first win) with 54 yards. Brissett threw for 119 yards and while he did not have a passing TD or interception, he did have a rushing TD in the win, while Will Grier (taking over for Kyle Allen) threw for 224 yards (Grier was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, while Brissett was sacked three times). The Panthers were 4 of 14 on third down (they went 2 of 4 on fourth down) and would actually rule the clock, keeping the ball for 32:21, while the Colts, holding the pigskin for 27:39, went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The contest in week 12 in the Big Easy was a nail-biter to the end and the Saints’ Wil Lutz kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to take the 34-31 win. New Orleans led 17-15 at the intermission before Carolina chipped away at the lead, first pulling to within seven with 88 seconds left in the third when Christian McCaffrey scored on a 4-yard run, then tying things up with 9:23 when WR D.J. Moore and Allen connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Carolina had a chance to take the lead in regulation with two minutes left but Jeff Slye’s 28-yard field goal try sailed wide right. That miss gave the Saints the ball with 1:56 left in regulation and they would use all of that 1:56 on an 11-play, 65-yard drive with Lutz’s try sailing through the uprights.

Carolina actually out-rushed New Orleans 121-118 and both McCaffery and Saints RB Latavius Murray rushed for 64 yards with a TD; Brees threw for 311 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Allen threw for 256 yards with four sacks (each threw three TDs in the contest). New Orleans was 4 of 10 on third down tries (the Saints were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and including the final 1:56 of the contest, kept the ball for 28:27, while the Panthers actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:33, while going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 12 contest in the Big Easy, the Saints were favored by 9 1/2 but won by only three but New Orleans and Carolina cleared the 46 1/2 over/under with 65 combined points. The Saints are favored this time by 13 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The 44 1/2 is reasonable…. the 13 sounds a bit steep. Carolina took them to the edge in their last meeting in the Big Easy and under Fewell, the Panthers have actually played some decent football. New Orleans wants to be home for the playoffs, while the Panthers look for revenge in the Tar Heel State. Carolina’s finer in Charlotte as the Panthers give Perry Fewell his first win as interim head coach, pulling off the upset at Bank of America Stadium.

Green Bay (12-3) at Detroit (3-11-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. The top team in the NFC North (or Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman calls it) meets the bottom team in the divison as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers travel to the Motor City to face off against the Detroit Lions.

Green Bay won the NFC North title in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, overcoming three turnovers (Rodgers interception, two fumbles) to take a 23-10 win over Kirk Cousins and Minnesota Monday night. The Packers trailed 10-9 at the intermission at US Bank Stadium, then proceeded to score their final 14 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged, with Green Bay’s Aaron Jones scoring a pair of TDs in the half, including a 56-yard run that sealed the fate of the Vikings.

Jones led all rushers with 154 yards as the Packers out-rushed Minnesota 184-57, with Rodgers throwing for 216 yards and three sacks, while Cousins threw for 122 yards and a TD to WR Stefon Diggs with five sacks (both QBs threw an interception). Green Bay went 5 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 37:32, while the Vikings kept the pigskin for 22:28, going 4 of 15 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Detroit lost their eighth contest in a row as Denver erased a 10-10 tie at the intermission and came away with the 27-17 win Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High. Broncos kicker Brian McManus gave the home team the lead for good, connecting on a 26-yard field goal early in the third quarter. Detroit’s Kenny Golladay would then catch a 3-yard TD pass from Daniel Blough to pull them to within four with 3:51 in the third before Denver scored 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged, using TDs from WR DaeSean Hamilton and RB Phillip Lindsay to seal the win.

Lindsay led all rushers with 109 yards with the TD as the Broncos out-rushed Detroit 150-96 and Drew Lock threw for 192 yards with the Hamilton TD with no sacks or interceptions, while Blough threw for 117 yards with the Golladay TD with 4 sacks but no interceptions. Detroit went 4 of 11 on third down (the Lions were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:52, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 36:08, going 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Green Bay and Detroit met at Lambeau in week six on a Monday night and the Packers prevailed 23-22 in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst. The Lions led 13-10 at the intermission before the Packers went to work to erase the lead, tying things at 13-13 with 12:35 left in the third on Mason Crosby’s 48-yard field goal. Detroit’s Matt Prather would give Detroit the lead back with three field goals, with the last score coming with 12:17 left in regulation from 54 yards out. That would be the last that the Lions would see the lead as Green Bay would pull themselves to within two with 9:03 left in the contest when Rodgers and WR Allen Lazard connected on a 35-yard TD pass. After a Detroit punt, Green Bay got the ball back with 6:46 left in the contest and they would use all of that 6:46 to go on a 14-play, 77-yard drive, sending Packers fans home happy campers as Crosby would connect on a 23-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

Green Bay out-rushed the Lions 170-56 with Packers RB Jamaal Williams leading all rushers with 104 yards; Rodgers threw for 283 yards with the two TDs, a sack and an interception, while Matthew Stafford threw for 265 yards with three sacks and no TDs but no interceptions. Green Bay was 4 of 12 on third down and including the final 6:46 of the contest, kept the ball for 33:04, while the Lions held the pigskin for 26:56, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In their Monday night week six contest at Lambeau, the Packers were favored by 4 1/2 but won by 1 and the two teams tallied for 45 points, missing the over/under by 2. Green Bay’s favored by 12 1/2 in the Motor City and the over/under’s 43. Granted, the Lions are bad but they’re not 12 1/2 bad and they would love nothing more than to spoil Green Bay’s playoff plans. Sorry, kitties… not gonna happen. Detroit may make it closer than the 12 1/2 but Rodgers and the Packers prevail in the Motor City with the win.

Chicago (7-8) at Minnesota (10-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Chicago and Minnesota, NFC North rivals, meet in the season finale in the 2019 campaign in the Twin Cities. Both teams look to rebound after losing at home last week.

The Monsters of the Midway were held to a 46-yard field goal by Eddie Pinerio as time expired in the third quarter as Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes would take a 26-3 win over Da Bears at Soldier Field. Kansas City led 17-0 at the intermission as Mahomes used a rushing TD in the first and a TD pass to TE Travis Kelce as part of that scoring binge, tallying all of those first half points unchallenged. Kansas City out-rushed Chicago 106-101 with Chiefs RB Damien Williams leading all rushers with 65 and Mahomes threw for 251 yards with a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 157 yards (neither threw an interception, Trubisky was sacked three times, Mahomes was sacked once). Kansas City was 6 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 33:24, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 26:36, went 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down.

Vikings fans watched Green Bay win the NFC North title in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as the Packers overcame three turnovers (Rodgers interception, two fumbles) to take a 23-10 win over Kirk Cousins and Minnesota Monday night. The Packers trailed 10-9 at the intermission at US Bank Stadium, then proceeded to score their final 14 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged, with Green Bay’s Aaron Jones scoring a pair of TDs in the half, including a 56-yard run that sealed the fate of the Vikings.

Jones led all rushers with 154 yards as the Packers out-rushed Minnesota 184-57, with Rodgers throwing for 216 yards and three sacks, while Cousins threw for 122 yards and a TD to WR Stefon Diggs with five sacks (both QBs threw an interception). Green Bay went 5 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 37:32, while the Vikings kept the pigskin for 22:28, going 4 of 15 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

They met in week four in the Windy City and Minnesota left Chicago on the short end of a 16-6 loss to Da Bears. 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.

Da Bears covered the 2-point spread in the Windy City, winning by 10 at Soldier Field but the 22 total points that the Monsters of the Midway and Minnesota tallied came nowhere near the 38 over/under that was given. Minnesota’s favored by 1 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under’s 36 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense. For Da Bears, it’s a chance to make their way to the .500 mark, while for the Vikings (locked in as the 5th seed), they’re preparing for a Wild Card game next week. Minnesota covers the 1 in the Twin Cities and win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Los Angeles Chargers (5-10) at Kansas City (11-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They met South of the Border in their first meeting. This time, a pair of AFC West/AFC rivals meet in the Show-Me State as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs host Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead.

The Chargers closed out their home half of the 2019 campaign falling short against Oakland last Sunday in Carson at Dignity Health Sports Park, falling to the Raiders 24-17 last Sunday. The Bolts trailed 14-7 at the intermission, then pulled themselves to within seven with 89 seconds left in the contest on a 27-yard field goal by Mark Badgley. Los Angeles then tried an onside kick, which Oakland recovered. The Raiders then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win in their final contest in the state of California.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier but Oakland out-rushed the Chargers 99-19 with Raiders RB DeAndre Washington leading the way with 85 yards and a TD. Rivers threw for 279 yards and was sacked once, while Derek Carr threw for 291 yards and a TD toss to WR Hunter Renfrow (Renfrow had seven catches for 107 yards; Carr was sacked three times, Rivers was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Oakland was 7 of 14 on third down and kept the ball to themselves for 33:24, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 26:36, while going 3 of 11 on third down (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

The Chiefs, winners of the AFC West, held Chicago to a 46-yard field goal by Eddie Pinerio as time expired in the third quarter to take a 26-3 win over Da Bears at Soldier Field. Kansas City led 17-0 at the intermission as Mahomes used a rushing TD in the first and a TD pass to TE Travis Kelce as part of that scoring binge, tallying all of those first half points unchallenged. Kansas City out-rushed Chicago 106-101 with Chiefs RB Damien Williams leading all rushers with 65 and Mahomes threw for 251 yards with a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 157 yards (neither threw an interception, Trubisky was sacked three times, Mahomes was sacked once). Kansas City was 6 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 33:24, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 26:36, went 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down.

Their week 11 meeting was south of the border in Mexico City and the Chiefs would hold off the Chargers 24-17 at Azteca Stadium. Kansas City led 10-9 at the intermission in the Monday night contest and pushed their lead to 15 with 4:56 left in the third when the Mahomes-Kelce combo connected on a 23-yard TD toss before the Chargers made the contest a 7-point affair with 1:44 left in regulation when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Kansas City then stopped a Chargers’ rally in the final second of the contest when Rivers was picked off by Daniel Sorensen in the end zone to end the threat.

Kansas City out-rushed the Chargers 130-93 with Chargers RB Melvin Gordon leading all rushers with 69 yards, while Mahomes, who threw for 182 yards (TD to Kelce, sack, interception), had a rushing TD. Rivers threw for 353 yards with the Allen TD and was sacked twice, throwing four interceptions, including the one that ended Los Angeles’ hopes of tying the contest in regulation (Chargers RB Austin Ekeler led all receivers with 108 yards on eight catches, Kelce had 92 yards on seven catches). The Chiefs were 6 of 13 on third downs and held on to the ball for 28:58, while the Chargers kept the ball for 31:02, going 5 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 11 contest in Mexico City, the Chiefs covered the 3-point spread, winning by 7 but the two teams missed the 52 1/2 over/under, tallying 41 points. The Chiefs are the darlings of the boys and girls in Vegas and the powers in the desert have made them 9-point favorites in the Show-Me State and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The Chargers are playing with house money, while the Chiefs would love nothing more than to win and have a bye next week. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City, including the Chiefs. KC covers the 9 and wins at Arrowhead.

Philadelphia (8-7) at New York Giants (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX on FOX and DirecTV 718. The first-place Philadelphia Eagles make the 90-minute, 95-mile trip down I-95 to face off against the New York Giants in a rematch of NFL East rivals. Both teams were huge winners in last week’s action.

The Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive in the City of Brotherly Love as they held off Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys 17-9 at Century Link Field. The Eagles, in first place in the East, held the Cowboys to three Kai Forbath field goals in the late-afternoon contest, took a 10-6 lead with them to the break, while leading from start to finish, holding off a last-ditch Dallas rally in the closing minutes of the contest. Philadelphia held Dallas to 54 yards, while rushing for 118 yards, with Eagles RB Miles Sanders leading the way with 79 yards, including a 38-yard run that sealed the win for the home team. Carson Wentz threw for 319 yards and a TD to TE Dallas Goedert, while Dallas’ Dak Precott threw for 265 yards (Prescott was sacked twice, Wentz was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Philadelphia was 6 of 14 on third down (the Eagles were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball to themselves for 36:12, while Dallas held the pigskin for 23:48, going 3 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Daniel Jones and the New York Giants need overtime against Washington last Sunday before Big Blue prevailed in Landover, coming away 41-35 winners at Fed Ex Field. New York led 28-14 at the intermission before Washington rallied in the second half of the contest, tying things up with 29 seconds left in regulation when Case Keenum (who took over for DeWayne Haskins) scored on a 1-yard run. It would be the last time that Washington would see the football as the Giants won the toss in overtime and Redskins fans watched with horror as the Giants used an 11-play, 66-yard drive that used 5:45 of the extra period and ending with Jones and Kenny Smith scoring on a 3-yard TD toss with 4:15 left to take the win.

Big Blue out-rushed Washington 206-80 with Sequan Barkley leading the way with 189 yards and a TD; Keenum threw for 158 yards and a passing TD to WR Cam Sims after taking over for Haskins (133 yards, 2 TD, 2 sacks, no interceptions), while Jones threw for 352 yards and five TDs (including the game-winner in overtime) with a sack but no interceptions. Both clubs were 8 of 14 on third down (neither had a fourth down attempt at Fed Ex Field) and Washington actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:48, while the Giants held the pigskin for 31:57.

They met in week 14 in the City of Brotherly Love on a Monday night and the Giants welcomed the return of Eli Manning under center, only to watch Philadelphia and Carson Wentz rally late in that contest, falling to the Eagles 23-17 in overtime at Lincoln Financial Field. After a scoreless first quarter in the City of Brotherly Love, the Giants took a 17-3 lead with them to the break in the Monday night contest, using a pair of Manning TD passes to WR Darius Slayton, only to see the Eagles chip away at the lead as they would rally to pull themselves to within seven with 1:28 left in the third when RB Boston Scott scored on a 2-yard run, then tie things up with 1:53 left in regulation when Wentz and TE Zach Ertz would connect on the first of their two TD passes, the first coming from 2 yards out. Philadelphia would win the toss in overtime and kept Manning (who took over for Daniel Jones, who had an ankle injury) on the bench, as the Eagles marched their way down the field, using an 8-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:50 of clock, ending with Wentz and Ertz connecting on their second TD pass of the night.

Philadelphia out-rushed their NFC East rivals 118-73 (Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 66 yards) and Manning threw for 203 yards, while Wentz threw for 325 yards in the overtime affair (Manning was sacked twice, Wentz was sacked three times but neither threw an interception). The Giants on third down were a somewhat dismal 2 of 12 and kept the ball for 21:59, while the Eagles ruled the clock and including the overtime would keep the ball for 42:51, going 9 of 21 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 14 contest, the Eagles were favored by 8 in the Monday night contest at Lincoln Financial Field but wound up winning by only 6 and both teams missed the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 40 points. In the rematch in the Meadowlands, the Eagles are again favored, this time by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. For the Giants, they want nothing more than to slow down the Eagles’ march to the post-season, if not stop it all together. As for the Eagles? Win and you’re in. Eagles cover the 4 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and win in the Meadowlands.

Tennessee (8-7) at Houston (10-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC South rivals meet in the Lone Star State as Tennessee, hoping for a playoff spot, travels to Houston to take on division champion Houston at NRG Stadium.

Tennessee let a 14-10 lead at the half against New Orleans get away from them, then watched as the Saints went on a 28-14 run in the second half to come away 38-28 winners at Nissan Stadium. Saints RB Alvin Kamara’s 40-yard run early in the third quarter gave the Saints the lead for good at 17-14. Kamara would then score again in the quarter, scoring from a yard out to give New Orleans a 24-14 lead late in the quarter before Titans WR Tajaé Sharpe would score the first of his two TDs, connecting with Ryan Tannehill from 36 yards to pull them to within 3. New Orleans then pushed the lead back to 10 with 73 seconds left in the third when Drew Brees and TE Jared Cook connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tennessee would not go away quietly as Sharpe and Tannehill connected on a second TD pass, this one from seven yards with 7:27 left in regulation.

The Titans would get the ball back with 4:25 left but turned the ball over when WR Kalif Raymond fumbled at the Saints’ 38-yard line and New Orleans’ Chauncey Gardner-Johnson would recover in decent field position. The Saints, with a short field, would then go on a 6-play, 25-yard drive that used 1:56 of clock to put a nail in Tennessee’s coffin as WR Michael Thomas, who surpassed Marvin Harrison for the all-time passes caught record, caught a 2-yard TD toss from Brees with 2:10 left. New Orleans then held off a late Tennessee rally, ran out the clock and took the win in the Music City.

Tennessee actually out-rushed New Orleans 149-102 but Kamara led all rushers with 80 yards and the two rushing TDs, while Brees threw for 279 yards and three TDs (two of them to Cook, one to Thomas; Thomas had 12 catches for 136 yards), while Tannehill threw for 272 yards with three TDs (Brees was sacked three times, Tannehill was sacked five times and neither man threw an interception). Both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down; the Saints were 4 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:04, while the Titans held the pigskin for 28:56, going 5 of 13 on third down.

Houston erased a 17-17 tie against Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay at the intermission last Saturday afternoon, then shut down a final-minute drive as the Texans left Tampa Bay with the AFC South title and a 23-20 win. Houston opened the first half scoring when Winston was picked off by CB Bradley Roby, who returned the ball 27 yards for a TD before the fans were settled in their seats. Winston would eventually atone for that error, as Tampa Bay would tie things up with 13 second left when he and WR Justin Watson scored on an 8-yard TD toss. Kai Fairbairn and Matt Gay would trade field goals in the third quarter, tying the contest at 20-20 before Fairbairn gave Houston the lead for good with 7:11 left in the contest on a 37-yard field goal.

Tampa Bay would get the ball back with 21 seconds left in the contest after the teams traded punts after the Fairburn field goal and the hopes of a win for the Buccaneers came to an end when Winston was picked off by Issac Hyman to end the threat. Tampa Bay out-rushed Houston 106-68 with Ronald Jones leading the way for all rushers with 77 yards and a TD (Houston was led by Watson with 37 yards, Carlos Hyde had Houston’s lone rushing TD). Winston threw for 335 yards and the Justin Watson TD but was sacked three times with four interceptions (including the one that ended the contest), while DeShaun Watson threw for 184 with five interceptions and a sack. Tampa Bay went 9 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and including the final 21 seconds of the contest, kept the ball for 30:28, while the Texans kept the pigskin for 29:32, going 4 of 14 on third down but had success in their only fourth down try.

They met in week 15 in the Music City and Tennessee wound up on the short end of a 24-21 loss to AFC South rival Houston in Nashville. After a scoreless first quarter at Nissan Stadium, Houston scored a pair of second-quarter TD passes from Watson to Kevin Stills to lead 14-0 at the break. Tennessee would even things up in the second half as Titans QB Ryan Tannehill would score on a 3-yard run in the third and a Tannehill TD pass to A.J. Brown early in the fourth quarter before the Texans would take the lead back for good when RB Carlos Hyde scored on a 10-yard run and added to that lead with a 29-yard field goal by Kai Forbath with 3:26 left in regulation. Tennessee would not go away quietly, narrowing the lead to 3 with 2:04 left when Tannehill and RB Dion Lewis connected on an 11-yard pass. Houston later sealed the win in the final seconds of the contest when they sacked Tannehill for an eight-yard loss at their 4-yard line. With no time outs, Tannehill spiked the ball in an effort to stop the clock. There was one problem… there was one second left in the contest and when he spiked the ball, that ended the contest.

Tennessee out-rushed Houston 163-140 and Hyde led all rushers with 104 yards along with the TD, while Derrek Henry led Tennessee with 86; Watson threw for 243 yards and the two first-half TDs to Stills, while Tannehill threw for 279 yards and a pair of TDs (Watson was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions, Tannehill was sacked twice and threw an interception). Houston was 5 of 10 on third down conversions and held the ball for 31:20, while the Titans kept the pigskin for 28:40 (including the final 2:04 of the contest) and were 4 of 10 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 15 contest in the Music City, Tennessee was favored by 3 and the Texans covered, winning by 3 but both teams missed the 48 over/under, tallying 45 points. Houston’s favored this time, as the boys and girls in Vegas like them as 3 1/2-point favorites in the Lone Star State with a 45 1/2 over/under. For the Titans, it’s win and wait, while the Texans have their hay in the barn. Houston covers the 3 1/2 in the Lone Star State and takes the win at home.

Pittsburgh (8-7) at Baltimore (13-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. They again, this time they will meet in Charm City. One’s already in the post-season party, the other’s hoping to get an invite. Pittsburgh, with slim playoff hopes, travels to Baltimore to face off against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes took a hit last Sunday at Met Life Stadium against the New York Jets, as they would hold off the Steelers 16-10 in upstate New Jersey. The Steelers and Jets went into the locker room tied at 10-10 after Robbie Anderson and Steven Ficken opened New York’s scoring (Anderson scoring on a 23-yard pass from Sam Darnold and a 54-yard field goal by Ficken for the Jets) before Chris Boswell (49-yard field goal) and WR Dioante Johnson (29-yard TD pass from Mason Rudolph) evened things up. Ficken would give the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! the lead back for keeps with a pair of field goals to make it a 16-10 contest, then held off a late Pittsburgh rally to seal the win in the Meadowlands.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier in the contest but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did manage to out-rush Pittsburgh 85-75 and Darnonld threw for 183 yards and a TD without an interception (he was sacked twice), while Rudolph (taking over for Delvin Hodges) threw for 129 yards and a TD with a sack. GangGreen went 4 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:28, while the Steelers actually ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 31:32, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore and Lamar Jackson took home field advantage for the 2019 AFC playoffs as the Ravens left First Energy Field 31-15 winners last Sunday. After a scoreless first quarter, Cleveland took the lead with 11:53 left before the half when Mayfield and TE Demetrius Harris connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Baltimore would later respond with a pair of TD passes from Jackson to TE Mark Andrews to lead by seven at the break. Cleveland would eventually pull themselves to within nine with 8:01 left in the contest when Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. connected on a 3-yard TD toss (Cleveland would miss the two-point try). It would be as close as the Browns would get, as the Ravens’ Justice Hill put the nail in Cleveland’s coffin, scoring on an 18-yard run.

Jackson led all rushers with 103 yards, while throwing three TD passes (he threw for 238 yards and was not sacked or intercepted) as the Ravens out-rushed Cleveland 243-49, with Mayfield throwing for 192 yards with the pair of TD passes and an interception. The Ravens were 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:19 to Cleveland’s 25:41 (the Brown were 3 of 12 on third down tries).

They met in the Steel City in week 5 and Baltimore needed overtime at Heinz Field to leave 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 out-rushed 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.

Batlimore was favored by 3 1/2 in the Steel City in the week 5 meeting and won the overtime contest by 3 points. The two clubs did cover the 44 1/2 over/under with 49 points. Pittsburgh’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 37 1/2. The Steelers’ playoff hopes are on the line, while the Ravens hold on to the top spot in the AFC playoff party. For the Steelers, it was fun while it lasted. Ravens cover the 1 1/2 and win in Charm City.

Indianapolis (7-8) at Jacksonville (5-10), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of AFC South rivals close things out in the Sunshine State as Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts travel to TIAA Stadium for a late afternoon contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Colts used a pair of punt returns from running back Nyheim Hines (84 and 71 yards) in their 38-6 win over struggling Carolina last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis, holding Carolina to a pair of Jeff Slye field goals, led 21-3 at the half, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, outpacing the Panthers 17-3.

The Colts out-rushed Carolina 218-87 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 95 yards and a TD, while Collin McCaffrey led Carolina (who lost their seventh contest in a row, with interim head coach Perry Fewell looking for his first win) with 54 yards. Brissett threw for 119 yards and while he did not have a passing TD or interception, he did have a rushing TD in the win, while Will Grier (taking over for Kyle Allen) threw for 224 yards (Grier was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, while Brissett was sacked three times). The Panthers were 4 of 14 on third down (they went 2 of 4 on fourth down) and would actually rule the clock, keeping the ball for 32:21, while the Colts, holding the pigskin for 27:39, went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Jacksonville continued their struggle of a 2019 season, taking a 24-12 loss in Atlanta Sunday afternoon. Jacksonville trailed from start to finish, as the Falcons used a pair of first-quarter TDs from DeVonta Freeman (one rushing, one passing), taking a 17-3 lead with them to the break.

Atlanta out-rushed Jacksonville 135-115 with Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette leading all rushers with 71 yards (Brian Hill led Atlanta with 66 yards), while Ryan threw for 384 yards and a TD to Freeman (Ryan’s favorite target, Julio Jones, led all receievers with 10 catches, good for 166 yards) with Gardner Minshew II throwing for 181 yards and a TD to Chris Conley (Ryan was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Minshew was sacked three times). Atlanta was 7 of 13 on third down in the Big Peach and was somewhat “Grinch-like” with the ball, keeping it for 33:07, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:53, going 3 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

They met in week 11 in the Hoosier State and Jacksonville could never get themselves on track in Indianapolis as they fell to Jacoby Brissett and the Colts 33-13 at Lucas Oil Stadium. After Jacksonville’s D.J. Chark gave them a 7-0 lead in the first, the Colts evened things up with 35 seconds left in the quarter on a 13-yard run by RB Marlon Mack. Indianapolis then broke the tie on a 34-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri to take a 10-3 lead with them to the intermission, then scored 14 third quarter points unchallenged and added a 7-yard TD run by Nyheim Hines to widen the deficit. Jacksonville would score again late in the contest when Chark scored on a 20-yard TD toss from Nick Foles but the Colts then proceeded to add insult to injury when rookie LB Bobby Okereke scored on a defensive 2-point conversion to close things out.

The Colts rushed for 264 yards in the win, with Jonathan Williams (116 yards) and Mack (109 yards) leading the way, while Indianapolis held Jacksonville to a dismal season-low 29 yards. Brissett returned to the lineup, throwing for 148 yards with a TD toss to Marcus Johnson and had a rushing TD of his own, while Foles threw for 296 yards and the two TDs to Chark but was sacked twice and Brissett was sacked three times (both men threw an interception). The Colts went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 33:52, while Jacksonville, keeping the ball for 26:08, went 6 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Colts were favored by 5 in the week 11 contest in the Hoosier State and easily covered, winning by 20 and both teams combined for 46 points, covering the 43 1/2 over/under. In round two in the Sunshine State, the Colts are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 43. Neither team will be going to the post-season and both teams will make their draft preparations on Monday. Colts cover the 4 in the Sunshine State and takes the win in north Florida.

Oakland (7-8) at Denver (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of AFC West/AFL foes meet in the Mile High City as Oakland travels to Denver to face off against the Broncos.

The Silver and Black played their final game in the state of California and came away with a 24-17 last Sunday over AFC West/AFL rival Los Angeles Chargers. Oakland led 14-7 at the intermission, then watch the Chargers pull themselves to within seven with 89 seconds left in the contest on a 27-yard field goal by Mark Badgley. Los Angeles then tried an onside kick, which Oakland recovered. The Raiders then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win in their final contest in the state of California.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier but Oakland out-rushed the Chargers 99-19 with Raiders RB DeAndre Washington leading the way with 85 yards and a TD. Rivers threw for 279 yards and was sacked once, while Derek Carr threw for 291 yards and a TD toss to WR Hunter Renfrow (Renfrow had seven catches for 107 yards; Carr was sacked three times, Rivers was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Oakland was 7 of 14 on third down and kept the ball to themselves for 33:24, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 26:36, while going 3 of 11 on third down (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Denver gave Detroit their eighth contest in a row as the Broncos erased a 10-10 tie at the intermission and came away with 27-17 winners Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High. Broncos kicker Brian McManus gave the home team the lead for good, connecting on a 26-yard field goal early in the third quarter. Detroit’s Kenny Golladay would then catch a 3-yard TD pass from Daniel Blough to pull them to within four with 3:51 in the third before Denver scored 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged, using TDs from WR DaeSean Hamilton and RB Phillip Lindsay to seal the win.

Lindsay led all rushers with 109 yards with the TD as the Broncos out-rushed Detroit 150-96 and Drew Lock threw for 192 yards with the Hamilton TD with no sacks or interceptions, while Blough threw for 117 yards with the Golladay TD with 4 sacks but no interceptions. Detroit went 4 of 11 on third down (the Lions were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:52, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 36:08, going 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

They met in the season opener in Oakland and the Raiders held off a late Denver rally last Monday night at home to take a 24-16 decision. The Silver and Black led 14-0 at the half before Denver made their first dent on the scoreboard in the third when K Brian McManus kicked a pair of 26-yard field goals in the frame. Denver would pull themselves to within eight with 2:15 when Broncos QB Joe Flacco (269 yards, three sacks) and WR Emmanuel Sanders connected on a 1-yard toss. The Broncos then tried and failed on the onside kick attempt, giving Oakland the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock. Oakland outrushed Denver 98-95 and Flacco threw for 268 yards with three sacks, while Derek Carr threw for 259 yards with a TD and no sacks (both Flacco and Carr did not throw an interception). Denver on third down tries went 6 of 13 and the Broncos kept the ball for 27:15, while the Silver and Black held on to the pigskin for 32:45, going 10 of 14 on third down tries. (neither club had a fourth down attempt)

Oakland was favored by 7 in the season opener in northern California and they covered, winning by 8 but the two teams missed the 42 over/under, tallying 40 points. Denver’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 41. Oakland’s playoff hopes are pretty much on life support and the Raiders need a lot of things to happen if they want to be the six seed in the AFC Championship round. As for the Broncos, they would love nothing more than to put Oakland out of their misery. Denver covers the 3 1/2 in the Mile High City and knocks the Raiders out of the post-season.

Washington (3-12) at Dallas (7-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. The records? Forget them. They STILL don’t like each other and don’t expect the exchange of Christmas greetings this week. Dallas and Dak Prescott, fighting for its playoff lives, host Washington in a MUST win game for the Cowboys in Jerry World. Both teams took losses on the East Coast last week.

The Redskins, with nothing really to play for, took Daniel Jones and the New York Giants to overtime before Big Blue prevailed in Landover, falling to the Giants 41-35 at Fed Ex Field. Washington trailed 28-14 at the intermission before they rallied in the second half of the contest, tying things up with 29 seconds left in regulation when Case Keenum (who took over for DeWayne Haskins) scored on a 1-yard run. It would be the last time that Washington would see the football as the Giants won the toss in overtime and Redskins fans watched with horror as the Giants used an 11-play, 66-yard drive that used 5:45 of the extra period and ending with Jones and Kenny Smith scoring on a 3-yard TD toss with 4:15 left to take the win.

Washington was out-rushed by Big Blue 206-80 with Sequan Barkley leading the way with 189 yards and a TD; Keenum threw for 158 yards and a passing TD to WR Cam Sims after taking over for Haskins (133 yards, 2 TD, 2 sacks, no interceptions), while Jones threw for 352 yards and five TDs (including the game-winner in overtime) with a sack but no interceptions. Both clubs were 8 of 14 on third down (neither had a fourth down attempt at Fed Ex Field) and Washington actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:48, while the Giants held the pigskin for 31:57.

Dallas watched the Philadelphia Eagles keep their playoff hopes alive in the City of Brotherly Love, holding off Dak Prescott and the Cowboys 17-9 at Century Link Field. Dallas found themselves being held by the Eagles (in first place in the East), to three Kai Forbath field goals in the late-afternoon contest, trailing 10-6 at the break, as the Eagles, who led from start to finish, held off a last-ditch Dallas rally in the closing minutes of the contest. Philadelphia held Dallas to 54 yards, while rushing for 118 yards, with Eagles RB Miles Sanders leading the way with 79 yards, including a 38-yard run that sealed the win for the home team. Carson Wentz threw for 319 yards and a TD to TE Dallas Goedert, while Dallas’ Dak Precott threw for 265 yards (Prescott was sacked twice, Wentz was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Philadelphia was 6 of 14 on third down (the Eagles were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball to themselves for 36:12, while Dallas held the pigskin for 23:48, going 3 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They met in week two in Landover and after a scoreless first quarter at Washington, the Cowboys erased a 7-0 deficit in the second quarter and came away 31-21 winners at Fed Ex Field, thanks in part to TDs from Prescott to Devin Smith and Jason Witten to take the 14-7 lead with them to the break. Dallas would lead 21-7 with 4:30 left in the third period before Case Keenum (221 yards, TD, sack) and WR Paul Richardson Jr. connected on a 9-yard TD toss to pull themselves to within seven. Dallas would eventually restore order and come out of Landover with the win.

Dallas out-rushed Washington 213-47, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards and a TD, while Prescott threw for 269 yards and three TDs (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception). Dallas went 7 of 11 on third down tries at Landover and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:38, going 2 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

In the week two contest in Landover, the Cowboys were favored and their 10-point win allowed them to cover the 5-point spread and the 52 combined points was more than enough to cover the 46 1/2 over/under. Dallas at home? Favored by 11. The over/under? 44 1/2. There will be scoreboard watching in East Rutherford and Arlington to see what the other team is doing and for the Cowboys, it has been a somewhat strange season where they’ve had chance after chance after chance to win the East. For the Redskins, it was a season that fell well short of expectations and cost Jay Gruden his job midway through the season. Fans in Landover have been singing “Hell, it’s the Redskins” a lot this season. Not this time. “Hail” is the word of the day. Washington shocks the world and takes the win in Arlington, knocking Dallas out of the post-season party.

Arizona (5-9-1) at Los Angeles Rams (8-7), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 719. The Rams play their final home game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as they host Arizona in an NFC West contest on the West Coast. Both teams were on the road last week, with Arizona taking a win out of Seattle, while the Rams let a lead against San Francisco get away from in Santa Clara.

The Desert Angry Birds damaged Seattle’s hopes of winning the NFC West Sunday afternoon in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks last Sunday, leaving Century Link Field 27-13 winners. Arizona broke a 7-7 first quarter tie, scoring 10 second-quarter points unchallenged, holding the Seahawks to a pair of Josh Myers field goals in the fourth to take the win. Arizona out-rushed Seattle 253-91 with Cardinals RB Kyle Drake leading all rushers with 166 yards and a pair of TDs, with Kyler Murray throwing for 118 yards and a TD (he was sacked once but did not throw an interception) before leaving the contest with an ankle injury, while Russell Wilson threw for 169 yards and TD (Wilson was sacked five times). Arizona went 5 of 15 on third down (the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and Arizona ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:53, while the Seahawks were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 25:07.

The Rams let a 28-24 lead at the end of three quarters get away from them as San Francisco K Robbie Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with the 34-31 win at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara last Saturday evening. The Rams trailed 24-21 at the break, then took the lead with 5:06 left in the third when Jared Goff and WR Cooper Kupp connnected on a 21-yard TD toss. The 49ers would proceed to reclaim the lead with 6:06 left in the contest when QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Los Angeles then re-tied the contest on a 52-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein with 2:30 left in regulation. That would be all the time that the 49ers need, as they would use that entire 2:30, using 9 plays and 60 yards and ending with Gould booting a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

San Francisco out-rushed the Rams (who led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter) 119-72, with 49ers RB Raheem Mostert leading the way with 53 yards and a TD, while Todd Gurley led the Rams with 48 yards and a pair of TDs. Goff threw for 323 yards with a pair of TDs (including the toss to Kupp) and an interception (Rams TE Tyler Higbee led all recievers with 104 yards on nine catches, while teammate Robert Woods had eight catches for 117 yards), while Garoppolo threw for 248 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Garoppolo was sacked six times, while his favorite target, TE George Kittle, had five catches for 79 yards). The Rams were 5 of 13 on third down tries and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:21, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 27:39 (including the final 2:30 of the contest), going 4 for 10 on third down tries.

They would meet in week 13 in the desert and the Desert Angry Birds were held to a fourth-quarter TD by Murray as the Los Angeles Rams came into Glendale last Sunday and left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. Arizona had trouble getting themselves on track as the Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half. Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run.

Arizona would be held by the Rams to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest, the Rams were favored by 4 in Glendale and they would cover, winning by 27 but both teams missed the 46 1/2 over/under, as they would tally 41 points. The Rams are favored again, this time by 7 with the over/under 45. The Rams are trying to end their season above the .500 mark and move into their new stadium with a winning record, while the Desert Angry Birds are looking for revenge from their week 13 drubbing in Glendale. Arizona will have to keep looking. Rams cover the 7 and win on the Left Coast.

San Francisco (11-3) at Seattle (11-4), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. First place on the line in the NFC West as San Francisco makes their way up I-5 to face off against the Seattle Seahawks in prime time in the Pacific Northwest.

San Francisco K Robbie Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with the 34-31 win at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara last Saturday evening. The Rams trailed 24-21 at the break, then took a 28-24 lead with 5:06 left in the third when Jared Goff and WR Cooper Kupp would connect on a 21-yard TD toss. The 49ers reclaimed the lead with 6:06 left in the contest when QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Los Angeles then re-tied the contest on a 52-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein with 2:30 left in regulation. That would be all the time that the 49ers need, as they would use that entire 2:30, using 9 plays and 60 yards and ending with Gould booting a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

San Francisco out-rushed the Rams (who led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter) 119-72, with 49ers RB Raheem Mostert leading the way with 53 yards and a TD, while Todd Gurley led the Rams with 48 yards and a pair of TDs. Goff threw for 323 yards with a pair of TDs (including the toss to Kupp) and an interception (Rams TE Tyler Higbee led all recievers with 104 yards on nine catches, while teammate Robert Woods had eight catches for 117 yards), while Garoppolo threw for 248 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Garoppolo was sacked six times, while his favorite target, TE George Kittle, had five catches for 79 yards). The Rams were 5 of 13 on third down tries and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:21, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 27:39 (including the final 2:30 of the contest), going 4 for 10 on third down tries.

Seattle’s hopes of winning the NFC West Sunday afternoon in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks last Sunday were damaged by Arizona, with the Desert Angry Birds leaving Century Link Field 27-13 winners. Arizona broke a 7-7 first quarter tie, scoring 10 second-quarter points unchallenged, holding the Seahawks to a pair of Josh Myers field goals in the fourth to take the win.

Arizona out-rushed Seattle 253-91 with Cardinals RB Kyle Drake leading all rushers with 166 yards and a pair of TDs, with Kyler Murray throwing for 118 yards and a TD (he was sacked once but did not throw an interception) before leaving the contest with an ankle injury, while Russell Wilson threw for 169 yards and TD (Wilson was sacked five times). Arizona went 5 of 15 on third down (the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and Arizona ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:53, while the Seahawks were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 25:07.

They met on a Monday night week 10 in Santa Clara and San Francisco fell out of the ranks of the undefeated against Seattle, blowing a chance to win over their NFC West foes in overtime at Levis’ Stadium and fell to the Seahawks 27-24. The 49ers led Seattle 10-7 at the half before the Seahawks took control of things in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in that frame unchallenged when Javeon Clowney recovered a fumble, returning it 10 yards for a TD and added a 1-yard run by Chris Carson for a 21-10 lead. San Francisco would storm back in the final 15 minutes of action in regulation and tied things up with one second left on a Chris McLaughlin field goal from 47 yards.

Seattle would get the ball in the overtime and made their way down the field in hopes of ending the contest with a TD but Russell Wilson was picked off by LB Dre Greenlaw, who ran the ball back to Seattle’s 49-yard line, ending the drive. The 49ers then had a chance to send their fans home happy but the football gods were not going the 49ers way, as the drive stalled and McLaughlin missed a 47-yard try that would have ended the contest.

The Seahawks got the ball back and San Francisco held them in check, forcing a Seattle punt. San Francisco could not do anything after three Jimmy Garapollo passes went incomplete. The 49ers punted the ball back to Seattle with 85 seconds left in the extra period and Seattle made sure the 49ers would never see the pigskin again, using a 7-play, 40-yard drive that took 85 seconds of clock and ended when Jason Myers connected on a 42-yard field goal to end the 49ers’ bid for a perfect season.

Seattle out-rushed San Francisco 147-87, with Carson leading all rushers with 89 yards and the TD. Wilson threw for 232 yards in the overtime contest, while Garapollo threw for 248 yards (both threw a TD, both were sacked five times and both threw an interception) in the Monday night affair. San Francisco went 6 for 15 on third down tries in Santa Clara (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:41, while Seattle kept the ball for 35:19, while going 7 for 15 on third down tries.

In the week 10 contest in Santa Clara, the 49ers were favored by 6 1/2 but Seattle would wind up winning by 3. The two teams did manage to cover the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 51 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the 49ers again, this time making them 3-point favorites with a 47 over/under. A lot is at stake here. The winner? They are NFC West champs; the loser? they get to be the Wild Card team and play next Saturday or Sunday. The 49ers want revenge from their loss in Santa Clara in week 10, while the Seahawks, who reached into their history bag and resigned RB Marshawn Lynch, wants to win the West and perhaps have that first-round bye and possibly host. It’ll be closer than the 3 but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, crowning themselves kings of the West.

Winless no more!

The Cincinnati Bengals became the last team in the NFL to go without a win and they did it at home last Sunday against the New York Jets, coming away 22-6 winners at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals fans, you can finally exhale.

It’s week 14, which means that there’s not a lot of time left for those teams that want that playoff spot to get it. When the 2019 season comes to an end the Sunday before New Year’s Day, there will be 12 teams that will fight for the Lombardi Trophy, while the other 20 will be either hiring new coaches and/or getting ready for the draft.

Speaking of the playoffs (PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!… apologies to coach Jim Mora), there are more possible scenarios this weekend. That means that there’s going to be more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (sorry, Foghorn Leghorn!), so take notes. There will be a quiz afterward.

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 14

AFC

CLINCHED: None

Baltimore (10-2) at Buffalo (9-3), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:
Baltimore win + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
Baltimore tie + Pittsburgh loss

Baltimore clinches playoff berth with:
Baltimore win OR
Baltimore tie + Houston loss or tie OR
Baltimore tie + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie + Oakland-Tennessee tie

Buffalo (9-3) vs. Baltimore (10-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Buffalo clinches playoff berth with:
Buffalo win + OAK loss or tie + Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie

Kansas City (8-4) at New England (10-2), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:
Kansas City win + Oakland loss

New England (10-2) vs. Kansas City (8-4), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches playoff berth with:
New England win OR
New England tie + Pittsburgh loss OR
New England tie + Houston loss or tie OR
New England tie + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie + Oakland-Tennessee tie

NFC

CLINCHED: New Orleans Saints – NFC South Division

San Francisco (10-2) at New Orleans (10-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

San Francisco clinches playoff berth with:
San Francisco win + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie OR
San Francisco tie + Los Angeles Rams loss

Seattle (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-5), Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Seattle clinches playoff berth with:
Seattle win or tie

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 13: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ 20-17 victory over San Francisco. Jackson has four games with at least 100 rushing yards in 2019, surpassing Michael Vick (three games in both 2004 and 2006) and Russell Wilson (three in 2014) for the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Baltimore has rushed for 2,494 yards this season, the third-most rushing yards by a team in its first 12 games of a season since 1970. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins (2,586 rushing yards) and the 1975 Buffalo Bills (2,505) had more.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 125.4 passer rating in the Packers’ 31-13 win at the New York Giants. Rodgers has 23 career games with at least four touchdown passes, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (23 games) for the fourth-most such games in NFL history. Only Peyton Manning (35 games), Drew Brees (34) and Tom Brady (29, entering Sunday night) have more.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who appeared in his 25th career game, registered 115 scrimmage yards (83 rushing, 32 receiving) on Sunday. It marked his 17th career game with at least 100 scrimmage yards, tied with Billy Sims (17 games) for the fourth-most such games by a player in his first 25 career games. Only Edgerrin James (21 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (19) and Ezekiel Elliott (18) had more.

Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Delvin Hodges, making his second career start, threw a touchdown pass and recorded a 95.7 passer rating in the Steelers’ 20-13 win against Cleveland. Hodges, who won his first career start in Week 6, joins Ed Rubbert (1987) as the only undrafted rookie quarterbacks to win each of their first two career starts since 1970.

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown in the Titans’ 31-17 win at Indianapolis. Henry, who rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 and had 159 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns in Week 12, is the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 145 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1958), Eric Dickerson (1984) and O.J. Simpson (1976), as well as Adrian Peterson (2012).

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey registered seven receptions and 102 scrimmage yards (58 receiving, 44 rushing) in the Panthers’ Week 13 loss against Washington. He has 75 receptions through 12 games in the 2019 season. McCaffrey has recorded at least 75 catches in each of his first three NFL seasons and is the fifth running back in NFL history with at least three career seasons of at least 75 receptions, joining Le’Veon Bell (three seasons), Larry Centers (five), Roger Craig (three) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (five). McCaffrey has 2,162 career receiving yards and surpassed Roger Craig (2,118 receiving yards) for the most receiving yards by a running back in his first three seasons since 1966.

Three rookies – Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp (31-yard interception return), Kansas City safety Juan Thornhill (46-yard interception return) and Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White (14-yard fumble recovery) – each recorded a defensive touchdown on Sunday. With three defensive touchdowns, Week 13 marks the third week since 1990 in which three rookies each recorded a defensive touchdown, joining Week 17 of the 2004 season (Robert Geathers, DeAngelo Hall and Jonathan Vilma) and Week 6 of the 1999 season (Pro Football Hall of Famer Champ Bailey, Andy Katzenmoyer and Donald Mitchell).

Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders caught a one-yard touchdown pass from punter Matt Haack in the Dolphins’ 37-31 win over Philadelphia. Sanders, with his first career touchdown catch, is the first kicker with a receiving touchdown since Jim Turner (October 16, 1977).

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz registered three receptions on Sunday. He has 70 receptions in 2019, his fifth career season with at least 70 catches, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (five) for the fourth-most such seasons by a tight end in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passed for 424 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 118.0 passer rating in the team’s 34-7 win at Arizona. Goff, in his fourth NFL season, has passed for at least 400 yards and two touchdowns in four career games, tied with Dak Prescott (four) for the second-most such games in a player’s first four seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (seven) had more.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw his 70th career touchdown pass in the Chiefs’ 40-9 win over Oakland. Mahomes reached 70 career touchdown passes in his 27th career game, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (29 games) as the fastest player to reach 70 career touchdown passes in NFL history.

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 Cincinnati-Cleveland matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest includes the teams closest to the birthplace of the NFL. In 1920, the NFL formed in Northeast Ohio, where Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay organized the first meeting of fellow owners. Four years later, at nearby Massillon Washington High School, quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Brown discovered the sport that would shape his life. By 1946, as the first coach of the Cleveland franchise when it launched as part of the All-American Football Conference, Brown was so synonymous with success that by popular demand he became the team’s namesake, despite his humble objections. After entering the NFL in 1950, Brown’s team won three league championships (1950, 1954-55). When the AFL placed an expansion franchise in Cincinnati during the mid-1960s, Brown joined the team as general manager and head coach, then named his new team the Bengals in time for the club’s inaugural 1968 season. One of Brown’s first Cincinnati assistant coaches was Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Walsh.

BRADY, BREES IN RACE FOR HALLOWED MARK: As NFL teams jockey for position in the 2019 playoff race, New England quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees have one of the league’s most significant all-time records in their sights: Most career touchdown passes, currently held by Peyton Manning (539). Entering Week 14, Brady (535) and Brees (532) have Manning on their radar screens.

The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER: TEAMS (YEARS; TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning: Indianapolis and Denver (1998-2015; 539)
Tom Brady: New England (2000-present; 535)
Drew Brees: San Diego Chargers and New Orleans (2001-present; 532)
Brett Favre: ATLANTA, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (1991-2010; 508)(HOF)
Dan Marino: Miami (1983-99; 420)(HOF)
Philip Rivers: San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2004-present; 391)
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh (2004-present; 363)
Eli Manning: New York Giants (2004-present; 362)
Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay (2005-present; 360)
Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota and New York Giants (1961-1978; 342)(HOF)
(HOF) Hall of Fame

Brady, whose Patriots hosts Kansas City Sunday in Foxboro, is 47-12 (.797) during his career in starts following a regular-season loss.

EASTERN ILLINOIS CONNECTIONS IN THE BIG EASY: When San Francisco travels to the Big Easy to meet New Orleans Sunday in a matchup of 10-win teams, one former Eastern Illinois quarterback, the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, will square off against another former Eastern Illinois field general, Saints head coach Sean Payton. Also, the father of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, former Raiders, Broncos and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, also played at Eastern Illinois, where a serious injury ended his playing career but helped him discover his passion for coaching. The school also produced former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.

If San Francisco this week clinches a playoff berth, the 49ers would become the first NFL club that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season to earn a postseason invitation. In every season since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR’S NIGHTMARE: In one of Week 14’s premier games, Baltimore puts the league’s longest winning streak, eight games, on the line when they face Buffalo Sunday. The contest not only matches two of the AFC’s best teams, it also matches two of the NFL’s best dual-threat quarterbacks. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, whose 977 net rushing yards are more than five NFL teams this year, also ranks fourth in the NFL with a 109.6 passer rating. Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 430 rushing yards, has a fourth-quarter passer rating of 114.0.

Sunday’s game will have more combined rushing yards (1,407) by starting quarterbacks than any contest in NFL history.
Additionally, Jackson needs 23 rushing yards to become the second quarterback in NFL history with a 1,000-yard rushing season, and 63 to post the most rushing yards in a single season by an NFL quarterback, surpassing Michael Vick, who had 1,039 in 2006.

As a team, the Ravens are on pace for one of the most prolific rushing campaigns in the NFL’s 100 seasons. Since the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, Baltimore’s 207.8 net rushing yards per game are on pace to finish 10 yards better than any other team in that span.

The teams with the most net rushing yards per game since 1978:

TEAM – SEASON (GM; ATT-YARDS; YDS/GM)
Baltimore – 2019 (12; 445-2,494; 207.8)
New England – 1978 (16; 671-3,165; 197.8)
Kansas City – 1978 (16; 663-2,986; 186.6)
Chicago – 1984 (16; 674-2,974; 185.9)
ATLANTA – 2006 (16; 537-2,939; 183.7)

THE FOURTH QUARTER: As the NFL makes its final turn toward the regular-season finish line, each club has just four games remaining, and 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV. Two of those teams, Tennessee and oakland battle in a key AFC contest Sunday on the West Coast.

The game features several of the NFL’s top rookies. Oakland’s Josh Jacobs leads all NFL rookies in rushing yards (1,061), rushing touchdowns (seven) and scrimmage yards (1,207). Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown leads AFC rookies with 626 receiving yards. On defense, Oakland’s Maxx Crosby (7.5) and Clelin Ferrell (3.5) are the NFL’s only pair of rookie teammates with three-or-more sacks each.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS CONTINUE TO WIN GAMES: Arizona’s Kyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, leads Arizona at home against Pittsburgh Sunday. Murray and the Steelers’ Delvin Hodges, an undrafted rookie, are two of the six rookie quarterbacks to win a game this season. Last week, Denver’s Drew Lock joined a group that includes Washington’s Dwayne Haskins, the Giants’ Daniel Jones and Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. That group of six represents the second-highest number of rookie quarterbacks to win an NFL start in league history, trailing only the 1987 season (seven). Detroit’s David Blough, who plays at Minnesota Sunday, gives the 2019 rookies an opportunity to tie the single-season league record.

BATTLE OF OHIO: When Cincinnati makes the cross-state trip to play in Cleveland Sunday, the teams will meet for the 92nd time. Sunday marks the first Bengals-Browns game in 35 years in which each club has a first-year head coach. Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor and Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens are the first rookie head-coaching pair in the series since December 2, 1984, when the Bengals’ Sam Wyche beat the Browns’ Marty Schottenheimer on an overtime field goal, 20-17.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 14

RUSHING INTO HISTORY: Baltimore enters Week 14 with the league’s top rushing attack, having rushed for the third-most yards (2,494) by a team in its first 12 games of a season since 1970. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins (2,586 rushing yards) and the 1975 Buffalo Bills (2,505) had more.

Last week, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, surpassing Michael Vick (three games in both 2004 and 2006) and Russell Wilson (three in 2014) for the most games with at least 100 rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Jackson has now rushed for 977 yards in 2019.

With 63 rushing yards on Sunday at Buffalo, Jackson would surpass Vick (1,039 rushing yards in 2006) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.

50,000 IN SIGHT: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan ranks sixth in the NFL with 3,246 passing yards this season and has 49,966 passing yards in 185 games during his 12-year NFL career.

With 34 passing yards on Sunday against Carolina, Ryan would become the second-fastest player to reach 50,000 career passing yards in NFL history.

The players to reach 50,000 passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAMS (GAMES TO 50,000 PASS YARDS)
Drew Brees, San Diego and New Orleans (183)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (191)
Dan Marino, Miami (193) (HOF)
Philip Rivers, San Diego (196)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (186)*
*On Sunday

TAKING THE NEXT STEP IN TENNESSEE: Tennessee enters Week 14 on a three-game winning streak, averaging 36 points per game since Week 10 – the second-most in the NFL over that span.

Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill leads the NFL with a 113.9 passer rating entering Week 14, having completed more than 75 percent of his pass attempts with a passer rating of 130 or higher in each of his past two games.

On Sunday against Oakland, Tannehill can join Aaron Rodgers (three games in 2011) as the only players to complete at least 75 percent of their passes with a passer rating of 130 or higher (min. 10 attempts) in three consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

Additionally, with at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 125 or higher, Tannehill would join Russell Wilson (five games in 2015) as the only players with four consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 125 or higher in NFL history.

Since Week 10, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing yards (496) and rushing touchdowns (five).
With at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown against Oakland on Sunday, Henry can become the fifth player with at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games in NFL history.

The players with at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2006 – 4) (HOF)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City (2005 – 4)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002 – 4)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998 – 4) (HOF)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

FIRST TO 2,000: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 1,811 scrimmage yards through 12 games in 2019.

With at least 189 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Atlanta, McCaffrey would tie for the fewest games to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season in NFL history.

The players to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES TO REACH 2,000)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1963 – 13)(HOF)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002 – 13)
Chris Johnson, Tennessee (2009 – 13)
Walter Payton, Chicago (1977 – 13) (HOF)
O.J. Simpson, Buffalo (1975 – 13) (HOF)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 12)*
*Has 1,811 scrimmage yards entering Sunday

NFC SHOWDOWN IN BIG EASY: New Orleans (10-2), who clinched the NFC South last week, hosts San Francsico on Sunday in a matchup of two of the league’s most talented backfields.

Since entering the NFL in 2017, New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara ranks second among running backs with 1,979 receiving yards and ranks fourth across all players with 4,177 scrimmage yards.

Kamara – who has 587 rushing yards and 444 receiving yards this season – needs 56 receiving yards on Sunday against San Francisco, to become the third player with at least 500 rushing and 500 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons in NFL history.

The players with at least 500 rushing and 500 receiving yards in each of their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Abner Haynes, Dallas Texans (1960-62)
Herschel Walker, Dallas Cowboys (1986-88)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017-18)*
*Has 587 rushing yards and 444 receiving yards in 2019

Meanwhile, San Francisco features one of the most balanced rushing attacks in the NFL this season. Led by running backs Matt Breida (542 rushing yards), Raheem Mostert (539) and Tevin Coleman (454), the 49ers boast the NFC’s top rushing offense (148 yards per game) in 2019.

With 46 rushing yards from Coleman, San Francisco would become the first team with three running backs to each have at least 500 rushing yards in a season since the 2004 Kansas City Chiefs, when Priest Holmes (892 rushing yards), Larry Johnson (581) and Derrick BlaylockK (539) accomplished the feat.

Additionally, if Coleman reaches 500 rushing yards for the season on Sunday, San Francisco would become the first team to have three running backs with at least 500 rushing yards each in its first 13 games of a season since the 1978 New England Patriots.

AMONG THE GREATS: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce leads the AFC with 923 receiving yards this season. With at least 77 receiving yards on Sunday at New England, Kelce would become the fourth tight end with at least four seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS WITH 1,000+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (4)(HOF)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (4)
Jason Witten, Dallas (4)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (3)*
*Has 923 receiving yards in 2019

If Kelce reaches 1,000 receiving yards in 2019, he would become the first tight end with at least 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons in NFL history, surpassing Greg Olsen (three seasons from 2014-16).

MAN OF STEEL: The Pittsburgh Steeler defense leads the NFL with 30 takeaways and has an AFC-leading 43 sacks this season, led by linebacker T.J. Watt’s AFC-high 12.5 sacks.

If Watt – who has at least a half sack in nine consecutive games – records at least half a sack against Arizona on Sunday, he would become the fifth player to have at least half a sack in 10 consecutive games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with at least half a sack in 10 consecutive games in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Chris Jones, Kansas City (2018 – 11)
Michael Strahan, New York Giants (2002 – 10) (HOF)
Jevon Kearse, Tennessee (1999 – 10)
Simon Fletcher, Denver (1991 – 10)
T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh (2019 – 9)*

*Active streak

Week 14 got underway in the Windy City as Chicago held off Dallas at Soldier Field Thursday night and ends in the City of Brotherly Love as Philadelphia hosts the New York Giants in a game that Philadelphia needs for any chance in the post-season. As for last week? 8-8 for the week (while not great, isn’t bad because that keeps us at or above .500 for another week), 88-59 for the season. With all of that being said, here are the picks for Sunday and Monday in week 14.

Carolina (5-7) at ATLANTA (3-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of NFC South rivals who met a few weeks ago in Charlotte meet again, as it’s Carolina’s turn to make the 249-mile, 4-hour trip south to face off against Atlanta in the Big Peach. Both teams took losses at home in last week’s action and both look to gain a little ground on New Orleans in the division and Carolina will have new leadership on their sideline after the Panthers relieved Ron Rivera of his coaching duties, with secondary coach Perry Fewell in as the team’s interim coach.

Carolina let a 14-12 lead against Washington get away from them at Bank of America Stadium and saw their hopes of a last-second comeback fall short as the Panthers fell to the Redskins 29-21. Carolina took that 1-point into the intermission, thanks to a pair of Kyle Allen TDs in the first 30 minutes of action. Washington would use a pair of Daniel Hopkins field goals and a 1-yard TD run by Derek Guice to narrow the deficit, then went on to score 17 unchallenged points (Hopkins field goal and TDs from Guice and Adrian Peterson) in the second half before the Panthers would make the contest an 8-point affair with 1:51 when Allen scored on a 17-yard run. Carolina would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and got themselves as close as Washington’s 3-yard line when Allen was sacked and fumbled the ball, with Washington recovering to end the threat.

Washington outrushed Carolina 248-65 with Guice leading the way with 129 yards and a pair of TDs, while Peterson tallied 99 yards on the ground. Allen threw for 278 yards with a pair of TDs but found himself being sacked seven times with an interception, while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 147 yards and despite being sacked five times, did not have an interception. Carolina was 5 of 16 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:23, while the Redskins were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:37 and went 3 for 11 on third down.

Atlanta dropped their second NFC South game and their second home game, falling to divisional rival New Orleans 26-18 in the Big Peach Thanksgiving night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. New Orleans, who clinched the NFC South, would lead 17-9 at the intermission, then got three field goals from Will Lutz before Atlanta stormed back in the final period, using a 13-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Russell Gage, then a successful onside kick and a 43-yard field goal by Youngho Koo with 1:56 left in the contest.

Atlanta would get the jump on New Orleans again with another successful onside kick after Koo’s field goal, getting the ball on their 47-yard line. The Falcons’ final rally fell short as Ryan would be sacked by Cameron Jordan to seal the win. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 95-89 and Ryan threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, while Drew Brees threw for 184 yards (Ryan was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions). Atlanta was 6 of 16 on third down tries in the Big Peach (they were 2 of 4 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:37, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 24:23, going 2 of 10 on third down tried.

They met in the Tar Heel State in week 11 and the Falcons manhandled Carolina 29-3. Atlanta scored the first 26 points of the contest uncontested (they led 20-0 at the intermission) at Bank of America Stadium and never looked back, holding the Panthers to a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Slye early in the final quarter to take the win.

Atlanta, getting three field goals from Youngho Koo, a 78-yard punt return from Kenjon Barner and a 6-yard TD pass from Ryan to Calvin Ridley, held the Panthers to 77 yards of rushing (McCaffery would lead Carolina with 70 of those yards), while tallying 54 yards of their own. Ryan threw for 311 yards with the TD toss to Ridley with three sacks but no interceptions, while Allen threw for 325 yards with five sacks and four interceptions. Atlanta on third down? 6 of 14 but they were perfect on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball from the Panthers for 31:26, while Carolina, going 2 of 14 on third down (3 of 5 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:34.

In the week 11 contest at Bank of America Stadium, Carolina was favored by 6 1/2 and Atlanta pulled the upset, winning by 26. The 49 1/2 over/under stayed safe, as both clubs combined for only 32 points. The odds makers like the Falcons at home, favoring them by 2 with a 48 over/under. The Panthers are looking for revenge from their week 11 loss in Charlotte, while the Falcons would love nothing more than to let Carolina know that the first time was not a fluke. Atlanta completes the sweep at home in the Big Peach and covers the 2.

Baltimore (10-2) at Buffalo (9-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC contenders meet along the shore of Lake Erie as the Baltimore Ravens (first place in the AFC North) travel to Orchard Park to face off against the Buffalo Bills (second place in the AFC East). Both teams took huge wins in last week’s action.

Ravens K Jeff Tucker sent Baltimore fans home happy last Sunday in Charm City as Baltimore left M&T Bank Stadium 20-17 winners over San Francisco in a contest that some considered a possible Super Bowl matchup. The Ravens led the 49ers 17-14 at the break before the 49ers tied the contest with 3:37 left in the third on a 32-yard field goal. San Francisco and Baltimore exchanged the ball four times from the time the 49ers tied the contest until the 6:28 of the fourth quarter, when the Ravens went on a long drive that used 12 plays, 34 yards of field and all of the 6:28 left in the contest to give Tucker a chance to end the contest in regulation. Tucker did not disappoint Ravens fans that stayed in the rain and wind, booting a 49-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

Baltimore outrushed the 49ers 178-174 with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson leading the way with 101 yards and a rushing TD (Jackson also threw for 105 yards and a TD toss to TE Mark Andrews; San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 165 yards and a TD. Garoppolo was sacked twice, Jackson was sacked once and neither threw an interception), while San Francisco was led by Robert Mostert with 146 yards on the ground. Baltimore was 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Ravens were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and including the final 6:28 of the contest, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:26, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Buffalo erased a 7-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter against Dallas as the Bills came away with the 26-15 win last Thursday at AT&T Stadium. The Bills scored their 26 points from the second quarter to the midway point of the fourth quarter unchallenged to take the win in the Lone Star State. Although they trailed 13-7 at the intermission, Dallas could never really get themselves on track at home, as they would lose their second contest in three games.

Buffalo outrushed Dallas 124-103 with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading all rushers with 71 yards, while Dak Prescott threw for 355 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Jason Witten) with Bills QB Josh Allen throwing for 231 yards and a TD pass to former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (Beasley burned his former team for 110 yards on six catches). Allen, who had a rushing TD in the third quarter, did not have an interception, while Prescott threw a pick (both were sacked four times). Dallas was 7 of 13 on third down (the Cowboys were 1 for 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 26:42, while the Bills ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:18, while going 6 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 5-3, the Ravens have outscored the Bills 180-112 and Baltimore has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 47-3 win in Charm City last year (Buffalo’s last win in the series came in 2013 in upstate New York by a final of 23-20).

Their 2018 meeting was in Charm City at M&T Bank Stadium and the Ravens scored 26 first-half points in the season opener unchallenged to lead 26-0. Buffalo’s only points in the contest came in the third quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Stepehn Hauschka late in the period. Baltimore would then go in the contest to slam the door shut on the Bills.

While rushing for 117 yards in the win at home, the Ravens held Buffalo to 83 yards and Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw for 236 yards with three TDs and a sack but did not throw an interception, while Bills signal caller Nathan Peterman threw for 24 yards with a pair of interceptions and three sacks before being replaced by Josh Allen (74 yards), who was sacked three times himself. Baltimore was 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 35:14, while the Bills kept the pigskin for 24:46, going 2 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore’s win by 44 points easily allowed the Ravens to cover the 7 1/2 point spread in Charm City and both clubs covered the 39 1/2 over/under with 50 points. The odds makers in Vegas like the Ravens as 5 1/2 point favorites along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 43. Both clubs are looking to be part of the playoff party and both teams could get their invite and both clubs have played some pretty good football of late. Ravens make this one closer than the 5 1/2 but Buffalo circles the wagons in upstate New York and takes the win.

Cincinnati (1-11) at Cleveland (5-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They share the same state and the same divison. They’re separtated by 249 miles and a 3 1/2 drive up Interstate 71. A pair of AFC North rivals meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Cleveland and Baker Mayfield host the Cincinnati Bengals at First Energy Stadium.

Cincinati fans were in a very good mood last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium as they held the New York Jets to a pair of first half field goals, breaking their 13-game losing streak (they lost the last two games of the 2018 campaign) to take a 22-6 win along the shores of the Ohio River. Cincinnati led 17-6 at the intermission, then floored the gas as they would score five third quarter points (safety, Randy Bulloch field goal) unchallenged to seal New York’s fate.

GangGreen did outrush Cincinnati 62-44 and Sam Darnold threw for 239 yards, while Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton returned to action and threw for 243 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd (Dalton was sacked once, Darnold was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 7 of 17 on third down tries, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:19, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:41 and went 5 of 14 on third down.

Cleveland saw an early 10-0 lead at Pittsburgh get away from them last Sunday as the Steelers got a measure of revenge from their loss along the shores of Lake Erie two weeks ago to take a 20-17 win at Heinz Field. The Browns used a 31-yard field goal by Austin Siebert and a 15-yard TD toss from Mayfield to Kareem Hunt to score the first points of the contest unchallenged before the Steelers got themselves back on track, tying the contest with Chris Boswell’s 39-yard field goal and a 30-yard TD pass from Delvin Hodges to WR James Washigton with a minute left in the first half to send the teams into the intermission tied at 10-10.

Pittsburgh would then add a 1-yard run by Benny Snell, Jr. and a 29-yard field goal by Boswell to lead 20-10 early in the final period. Siebert then pulled the Browns to within seven with 7:30 left in regulation on a 34-yard field goal. The Browns and Steelers would each get the ball, only to punt to the other team after Siebert’s field goal and Cleveland would get the ball back with 1:45 left. After Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer, the Browns got the ball at their 35 and would get as close as their own 40, when the drive and Cleveland’s hopes ended when Mayfield was picked off by Joe Haden, ending the threat.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 124-106 with Snell leading the way with 63 yards (Cleveland was led by Nick Chubb, who ran for 58 yards on 16 carries). Hodges threw for 212 yards in the win, while Mayfield threw for 196 (both threw an interception as well as a TD; Mayfield was sacked five times, while Hodges was sacked once. Cleveland was 4 of 12 on third down (the Browns were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:06 to Pittsburgh’s 27:54; the Steelers were 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

The Bengals lead the series 50-41 and have outscored the Browns 1,986-1,806. Cleveland did sweep the series last year, taking both wins in the Buckeye State (Cincinnati’s last win in the series came in 2017, when the Bengals were 30-16 winners in Cincinnati).

The first meeting… week 12 along the banks of the Ohio River. Cleveland left Paul Brown Stadium in that first meeting 35-20. The Browns led 28-7 at the break and pretty much held their instate/AFC North rivals in check. While Cincinnati outrushed Cleveland 129-84 (Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon led all rushers with 89 yards, Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 88 yards), Mayfield threw for 258 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Chubb, who also had a rushing TD) without a sack or interception, while Jeff Driskel threw for 155 yards with a TD to Tyler Boyd before being replaced by Andy Dalton (100 yards, TD, interception). The Browns were 5 of 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:04, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 27:56, going 4 of 12 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Cleveland completed the sweep of the Buckeye State series in week 16 at First Energy Field, coming away 26-18 winners in the rematch. After a scoreless first quarter, the Browns took a 16-0 lead with them to the intermission, then led 23-0 at the end of 45 minutes of play before the Bengals would storm their way back to within eight with 2:56 left in the contest but got no closer. Chubb led all rushers with 112 yards as the Browns outrushed Cincinnati 146-102 (Mixon led the Bengals with 68 yards) and Mayfield threw for 284 yards and three TDs without a sack or interception, while Driskel (who took over for Dalton), threw for 133 yards with three TDs (Driskel was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Bengals were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:29, while the Browns ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 35:31 and was 5 of 12 on third down tries (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

In the week 12 contest in Cincinnati, the Bengals were favored by 3 and the Browns covered, winning by 15 and both clubs combined for 55 points, allowing the 47 1/2 over/under to be covered. In the week 16 affair at First Energy Field, the Browns barely covered the 7-point spread, winning by 8 but both clubs barely missed the 45 over/under by a single point. Cleveland’s favored by 8 1/2 along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 42 1/2. The Browns look to keep their playoff hopes in tact, while the Bengals look to take their second win in a row. Cincinnati wins on the road but expect Cleveland to make the contest closer than the 8 1/2.

Washington (3-9) at Green Bay (9-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Green Bay returns to the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst to face off against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field. Both teams were winners on the road, chipping away at early deficits in the process.

Washington chipped away at a 14-12 deficit lead against Carolina at Bank of America Stadium, then held off a late Carolina rally to give the Redskins a 29-21 win in the Tar Heel State. Carolina took that 1-point into the intermission, thanks to a pair of Kyle Allen TDs in the first 30 minutes of action. Washington would use a pair of Daniel Hopkins field goals and a 1-yard TD run by Derek Guice to narrow the deficit, then went on to score 17 unchallenged points (Hopkins field goal and TDs from Guice and Adrian Peterson) in the second half before the Panthers would make the contest an 8-point affair with 1:51 when Allen scored on a 17-yard run. Carolina would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and got themselves as close as Washington’s 3-yard line when Allen was sacked and fumbled the ball, with Washington recovering to end the threat.

Washington outrushed Carolina 248-65 with Guice leading the way with 129 yards and a pair of TDs, while Peterson tallied 99 yards on the ground. Allen threw for 278 yards with a pair of TDs but found himself being sacked seven times with an interception, while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 147 yards and despite being sacked five times, did not have an interception. Carolina was 5 of 16 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:23, while the Redskins were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:37 and went 3 for 11 on third down. It would be head coach Ron Rivera’s final game with the Panthers, as they relieved him of his duties Tuesday afternoon.

Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers went into Met Life Stadium last Sunday and left the Meadowlands 31-13 winners. The Packers erased a 7-7 after Russell Shepherd and Doug Jones connected on an 18 yard TD toss with 3:16 left in the first when Rodgers and rookie WR Allan Lazard connected on a 37-yard TD pass to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Big Blue trailed 17-10 at the half and would rally to make it a 4-point contest at the end of the third quarter before Green Bay would get TD passes from Rodgers to Davante Adams and Marcedes Lewis to seal New York’s fate.

New York did manage to outrush the Packers 95-79 with Giants RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 83 yards, while Rodgers threw for 243 yards with four TDs and no sacks or interceptions (Jones threw for 240 yards with the lone TD toss but was picked off three times). The Giants were 5 of 14 on third down tries in the snowy Meadowlands (they were 3 of 4 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:17, while the Packers, who held the pigskin for 28:43, went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests played in Boston, when the Redskins were known as the Braves, contests played in Milwaukee at County Stadium and RFK Stadium, the Packers lead the series 18-15-1 and have outscored Washington 663-580. Washington has won the last two meetings in the series, both in Landover, with the last win coming in 2018 by a final of 31-17 (Green Bay’s last win in the series came in 2013 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, with the Packers leaving Lambeau Field 38-20 winners).

They met in week three in Landover and Washington led 28-10 at the break as Peterson rushed for a pair of TDs (both 2-yard runs) in the first half, while Alex Smith threw a pair of TD passes (his longest going to Paul Richardson in the first quarter) in the first 30 minutes of play. Washington outrushed Green Bay 166-100 with Peterson leading all rushers with 120 yards to go with the two TDs; Smith threw for 220 yards with an interception to go with his two TDs, while Rodgers threw for 265 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks but no picks. Green Bay was 6 of 14 on third down (they were 0 for 2 on fourth down) and the Packers would keep the ball for 30:55, while Washington, who kept the ball for 29:05, went 5 of 11 on third down.

In the week three contest in Landover, Green Bay was favored by 3 and the Redskins would cover, winning by 14 and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under, tallying 48 points. Green Bay’s favored by 13 1/2 at Lambeau and the over/under’s 43. The 43 is reasonable, it’s the 13 1/2 that comes into question. Washington’s not that bad a team and while Green Bay takes this one, expect the Redskins to make it closer than the 13 1/2.

Denver (4-8) at Houston (8-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The first-place Houston Texans welcome the Denver Broncos to the Lone Star State in a early afternoon Sunday matchup at NRG Stadium. Both teams were home winners in last week’s contests.
Denver fought their way to the end against AFC West foe the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday and it would be K Brian McManus sending Broncos fans home with smiles on their faces as they came away 23-20 last-second winners at Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos led 17-10 at the break in the Mile High City and took that lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of football (the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter) before the Chargers would tie the contest up early in the fourth when Keenan Allen and QB Philip Rivers connected on a 36-yard TD pass.

McManus would give his team the lead back with 4:26 left in regulation, booting a 52-yard field goal through the uprights. That lead would not last long as the Chargers would tie the contest again with 14 seconds left on a 46-yard field goal by Michael Badgley. Denver would get the ball back with 14 seconds left after Los Angeles’ kickoff went into the endzone for a touchback. Broncos QB Drew Lock’s pass to Courtland Sutton was incomplete but Chargers CB Casey Heyward Jr. was flagged for interference at his team’s 35-yard line. The Chargers, hoping for overtime, then burned a timeout with three seconds left in an effort to ice McManus, who was going to try a 53-yard field goal for the win. McManus’ try went through the uprights as the clock stuck :00, giving Denver the win.

Houston led Tom Brady and the New England Patriots from start to finish, holding off a late rally by the defending Super Bowl champs to take a 28-22 win Sunday night at NRG Stadium. Houston led 14-3 at the intermission and New England found themselves playing catchup the entire contest. The Patriots did pull themselves to within six with 50 seconds left when Brady and WR Josh Edelman connected on a 20-yard TD toss. New England then went for the onside kick, which the Texans recovered and the home team would run out the clock and take the win.

New England outrushed Houston 145-52 and Brady threw for 326 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 234 yards with a TD reception (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked three times). New England did reasonably well on third down conversions, going 9 for 17 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:35, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 25:25, going 6 for 11 on third down.

The Chargers outrushed Denver 115-84 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 99 yards, while Patrick Lindsay led Denver with 58) and Lock threw for 134 yards, while Rivers threw for 265 (Rivers was sacked three times, both men threw a pair of TDs and both threw an interception). The Chargers on third down went 5 of 15 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:51 (including the final 14 seconds of regulation) and went 7 of 15 on third down.

Denver leads the series 4-3 and the Broncos have outscored Houston 174-139. Houston won the last meeting, which took place in Denver in 2018, by a final of 19-17, while the Broncos took a 27-9 win in Denver in 2016 for their last victory in the series. Houston’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. The Chargers are looking to derail Houston’s playoff drive, while the Texans want no part of that plan. Houston may not cover the 9 1/2 but they do take the win at home.

Detroit (3-8-1) at Minnesota (8-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Twin Cities as the Lions and Vikings meet in a week seven rematch at US Bank Stadium. Both teams, chasing Green Bay for the division lead, lost last week’s contests.

Detroit would watch Chicago leave the Motor City 24-20 winners Thanksgiving afternoon, thanks to a 3-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky to RB David Montgomery, rallying in the final minutes at Ford Field to take the win. Detroit led 17-10 at the intermission in the Motor City before Chicago tied the contest up at 17-17 when Trubisky and TE Jesper Horsted connected on an 18-yard TD toss late in the third quarter. Detroit’s Matt Prater would give the Lions the lead back with 10:47 in the contest, connecting on a 24-yard field goal to lead by three. The two clubs would exchange punts and Da Bears would get the ball back with 6:40 left in regulation, using a 9-play, 90-yard drive that took 4:23 of clock to reclaim the lead in the contest.

Detroit would get the ball back with 2:12 left in the contest and got themselves from their 17-yard line to Chicago’s 26, burning a timeout and the two-minute warning, only to see their hopes dashed when back QB David Blough (who took over for Matthew Stafford) was picked off by Eddie Jackson to seal Detroit’s fate. Detroit somehow managed to outrush Da Bears 105-88, with Lions RB Bobby Scarborough leading the way with 83 yards, while Montgomery led Chicago with 75. Trubisky threw for 338 yards and three TDs (including the game-winner), while Blough led Detroit with 280 yards and a pair of TDs, including his first NFL TD pass to Kenny Golladay early in the first quarter (Trubisky was sacked twice, Blough was sacked once and both men threw an interception; Golladay led all recievers with 158 yards on four catches, while Chicago’s Anthony Miller had 140 yards on nine catches). Chicago was 5 of 10 on third down tries Thanksgiving afternoon in the Motor City and kept the ball for 30:50, while Detroit held on to the pigskin for 29:10, going 8 of 16 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Minnesota let a 17-10 lead at Seattle get away from them in the Pacific Northwest Monday night as the Seahawks rallied to take a 37-30 win at Century Link Field. Safety Anthony Harris would give the Vikings a 14-7 lead when he picked off Seattle QB Russell Wilson, running the interception back 20 yards for a TD. Jason Myers would put Seattle to within four with a 29-yard field goal with 59 seconds left before Vikings K Dan Bailey responded with a 47-yard boot as time expired in the first half. Seattle would then take control of things in the second half, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged, using a 1-yard run by RB Rashaad Penny, a 29-yard field goal by Myers and a 60-yard pass from Wilson to David Moore in that quarter to lead 27-17. Penny would open the scoring in the final 15 minutes of play, catching a 13-yard toss from Wilson to lead by 17 before Minnesota responded with a pair of Cousins TD tosses (the first going to WR Laquon Treadwell and the second to TE Kyle Rudolph) to put themselves to within 4 with 7:14 left in the contest before Myers added his third field goal of the contest to all but ice the contest away.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 218-78, with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (the Seahawks held Delvin Cook to 29 yards on 9 carries with a TD) and Cousins threw for 276 yards, while Wilson tallied 240 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, both threw interceptions and Wilson was sacked once). Minnesota was 5 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 20:15, while Seattle ruled time in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, keeping the pigskin for 39:45, while going 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

They met in the Motor City in week seven and the Vikings took Detroit to task at Ford Field, taking a 42-30 win. Minnesota and Detroit were tied 21-21 at the intermission before the Vikings would pull away in the second half, taking the lead for keeps with 9:02 left in the third when Chris Ham caught a 5-yard TD toss from Cousins. Detroit’s Marvin Jones would later catch a 2-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to pull themselves to within five before Delvin Cook’s 4-yard run (his second of the contest) with 1:55 left in the contest sealed Detroit’s fate.

Minnesota outrushed their NFC North rivals 166-81 with Cook leading the way with 142 yards; Cousins threw for 337 yards without a sack or interception, while Stafford threw for 364 yards with an interception and two sacks (both threw four TD passes in the contest). Minnesota was 6 of 10 on third down at Ford Field and kept the ball for 32:10, while the Lions held the ball for 27:50 and went 6 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota covered the 1-point spread in the week seven contest at Ford Field and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under with 72 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Vikings again, this time favoring them by 14 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. We’re not sure about the 14; on the other hand, the 42 1/2 makes sense. Detroit’s not as bad as their record states but then again, we’re dealing with the Lions here. Detroit makes it closer than the 14 but the Vikings complete the sweep in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and takes the win in the Twin Cities.

San Francisco (10-2) at New Orleans (10-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of contending NFC teams that could very well meet in the post-season meet in the Big Easy as New Orleans and San Francsico square off at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

The 49ers got their hearts broken in Baltimore as Ravens K Jeff Tucker sent Baltimore fans home happy last Sunday in Charm City as Baltimore left M&T Bank Stadium 20-17 winners over San Francisco in a contest that some considered a possible Super Bowl matchup. The Ravens led the 49ers 17-14 at the break before the 49ers tied the contest with 3:37 left in the third on a 32-yard field goal. San Francisco and Baltimore exchanged the ball four times from the time the 49ers tied the contest until the 6:28 of the fourth quarter, when the Ravens went on a long drive that used 12 plays, 34 yards of field and all of the 6:28 left in the contest to give Tucker a chance to end the contest in regulation. Tucker did not disappoint Ravens fans that stayed in the rain and wind, booting a 49-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

It was a ground game fan’s dream as Baltimore outrushed the 49ers 178-174 with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson leading the way with 101 yards and a rushing TD (Jackson also threw for 105 yards and a TD toss to TE Mark Andrews; San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 165 yards and a TD. Garoppolo was sacked twice, Jackson was sacked once and neither threw an interception), while San Francisco was led by Robert Mostert with 146 yards on the ground. Baltimore was 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Ravens were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and including the final 6:28 of the contest, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:26, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New Orleans held off a late Atlanta rally as the Falcons dropped their second NFC South game and their second home game, coming away 26-18 winners in the Big Peach Thanksgiving night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. New Orleans, who clinched the NFC South, would lead 17-9 at the intermission, then got three field goals from Will Lutz before Atlanta stormed back in the final period, using a 13-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Russell Gage, then a successful onside kick and a 43-yard field goal by Youngho Koo with 1:56 left in the contest.

Atlanta would get the jump on New Orleans again with another successful onside kick after Koo’s field goal, getting the ball on their 47-yard line. The Falcons’ final rally fell short as Ryan would be sacked by Cameron Jordan to seal the win. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 95-89 and Ryan threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, while Drew Brees threw for 184 yards (Ryan was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions). Atlanta was 6 of 16 on third down tries in the Big Peach (they were 2 of 4 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:37, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 24:23, going 2 of 10 on third down tried.

Including contests played at Keezar Stadium, old Tulane Stadium and Candlestick Park, San Francisco leads the series 47-26-2 and have outscored the Saints 1,814-1,395. The Saints came away 41-23 winners in San Francsico in 2016, while the 49ers’ last win came in the Big Easy by a final of 27-24 in 2014. New Orleans’ favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense. The Saints have already punched their playoff ticket, while the 49ers are looking to get their ducks back in a row in hopes of either winning the NFC West or being a Wild Card team. San Francisco rights its ship from last week in the Big Easy and covers the 3 1/2 with the win.

Miami (3-9) at New York Jets (4-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling AFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey in a week nine rematch as the New York J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! host the Miami Dolphins at Met Life Stadium.

The Dolphins used trickery in their 37-31 win over Philadelphia Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-13 lead with 4:40 left before the intermission when K Jason Sanders and punter Matt Haack connected on a 1-yard TD pass as the Dolphins lined up for what some thought would be a field goal try. Philadelphia then took the lead back with 6 seconds left before half time on a 15-yard TD toss from Carson Wentz to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and added to their lead in the third quarter when Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery connected on a 10-yard toss.

Miami then used a pair of TD passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick (connecting with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki), a two-point conversion pass from Fitzpatrick to RB Patrick Patrick and a Sanders field goal in the second half, tallying 23 points unchallenged to lead 37-28 before Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 37-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the contest. Miami would get the ball back but could not make a first down that would have ended the contest and the Dolphins punted the ball back to Philadelphia, who had the pigskin for only two plays, when Wentz was picked off by S Chris Lammons, ending the threat.

Philadelphia outrushed Miami 92-52 and Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards, while Wentz threw for 310 yards (both threw an interception with three TDs; Wentz was sacked twice, Fitzpatrick was sacked three times) in the Sunshine State. Miami went 5 of 12 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and kept the ball for 31:18, while Philadelphia held on to the ball for 28:42, while going 7 for 14 on third down.

GangGreen found themselves being held by Cincinnati to a pair of first half field goals at Paul Brown Stadium as the Bengals broke their 13-game losing streak (they lost the last two games of the 2018 campaign) to take a 22-6 win along the shores of the Ohio River. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 17-6 at the intermission, then watched the Bengals score five third quarter points (safety, Randy Bulloch field goal) unchallenged to seal their fate.

GangGreen did outrush Cincinnati 62-44 and Sam Darnold threw for 239 yards, while Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton returned to action and threw for 243 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd (Dalton was sacked once, Darnold was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 7 of 17 on third down tries, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:19, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:41 and went 5 of 14 on third down.

Miami picked up their first win in their week nine meeting in the Sunshine State at Hard Rock Stadium 26-18. The Dolphins led 21-12 at the break, then things went sideways for GangGreen as they would give up a Jason Sanders field goal with 60 seconds left in the third quarter, then Jets RB Jonathan Harrison fumbled the ball out of the end zone, giving Miami two more points in the fourth quarter.

Neither club touched the 100-yard barrier in the contest but while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! outrushed Miami 83-50, Miami’s Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 288 yards with four TDs with no interceptions, despite being sacked four times (Darnold threw for 260 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception for GangGreen). Miami was 6 of 12 on third down and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 31:14, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! held the pigskin for 28:46, going 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest at Hard Rock Stadium, GangGreen was favored by 3 and the Dolphins would cover, winning by 8 and both clubs covered the 40 1/2 over/under with 44 points. This time, the Jets are favored in the Meadowlands by 6 with a 44 over/under. We don’t blame you if you decide not to watch this one and watch the “Grumpy Cat Christmas” movie (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams). Miami proves that the first time was not a fluke and wins in the Meadowlands, covering the 6.

Indianapolis (6-6) at Tampa Bay (5-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Jacoby Brissett and Indianapolis make their way to the Sunshine State to face off against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Colts’ playoff hopes took a hit Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil as Tennessee swept a 10-7 halftime deficit at Indianapolis away, outscoring the Colts 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a 31-17 win over their AFC South rivals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts RB Nyheim Hines would give Indianpolis a 17-7 lead with 10:23 left in the third before Tennessee would go on a tear, scoring their 24 second-half points unthreatened and got help from their special teams as S Tye Smith blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Adam Vinatieri, picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched. Tennesee outrushed Indianapolis 154-82, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 149 yards and a TD, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 182 yards and a pair of TDs (Brissett threw for 319 yards with a TD but was sacked three times; Tannehill was sacked six times but had no interceptions to his credit). Tennessee was 5 of 13 on third down (the Titans were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 27:29, while the Colts held on to the pigskin for 32:31, going 5 for 12 on third down.

Tampa Bay restored order in the Sunshine State last week in Jacksonville, as the Bucs manhandled the Jaguars 28-11 at TIAA Stadium. The Bucs led 25-0 at the intermission on the road, scoring all of their points in the first 30 minutes of play unchallenged to set the tone before Jacksonville would use a Josh Lambo field goal and a TD pass from Gardner Minshew II (who took over after Nick Foles was benched) to Dede Westbrook (the two combined for the two-point conversion).

Neither team breached the 100-yard barrier in the Sunshine State contest but Tampa Bay did manage to outrush Jacksonville 74-49 and Winston threw for 268 yards and while he did not throw a TD and was sacked four times, did not throw an interception, while Minshew threw for 147 yards with a pair of sacks and was picked off once (Foles threw for 93 yards with three sacks and an interception before he was taken out of the contest). Tampa Bay was 7 of 17 on third down tries (the Buccaneers went 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball hostage for 33:32, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:28, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Including games that took place in Baltimore, the Colts lead the series 8-5 and have outscored Tampa Bay 336-277. Their last meeting took place in the Hoosier State in 2015 and the Colts came away 25-12 winners, while Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2011 by a final of 24-17. Tampa Bay’s favored by 3 on Florida’s West Coast and the over/under’s 49. Tampa Bay would love nothing more than to dent or damage to Indianapolis’ playoff hopes, while the Colts are looking to bounce back from their loss at home. Colts pull off the upset on the road and cover the 3 in the Sunshine State.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-8) at Jacksonville (4-8), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet on the East Coast as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers take on Gordon Minshew II and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Chargers fans had their hearts broken last Sunday in Denver as the Broncos fought their way to the end against their AFC West foe and it would be K Brian McManus sending Broncos fans home with smiles on their faces as they came away 23-20 last-second winners at Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos led 17-10 at the break in the Mile High City and took that lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of football (the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter) before the Chargers would tie the contest up early in the fourth when Keenan Allen and QB Philip Rivers connected on a 36-yard TD pass.

McManus would give his team the lead back with 4:26 left in regulation, booting a 52-yard field goal through the uprights. That lead would not last long as the Chargers would tie the contest again with 14 seconds left on a 46-yard field goal by Michael Badgley. Denver would get the ball back with 14 seconds left after Los Angeles’ kickoff went into the endzone for a touchback. Broncos QB Drew Lock’s pass to Courtland Sutton was incomplete but Chargers CB Casey Heyward Jr. was flagged for interference at his team’s 35-yard line. The Chargers, hoping for overtime, then burned a timeout with three seconds left in an effort to ice McManus, who was going to try a 53-yard field goal for the win. McManus’ try went through the uprights as the clock stuck :00, giving Denver the win.

The Chargers outrushed Denver 115-84 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 99 yards, while Patrick Lindsay led Denver with 58) and Lock threw for 134 yards, while Rivers threw for 265 (Rivers was sacked three times, both men threw a pair of TDs and both threw an interception). The Chargers on third down went 5 of 15 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:51 (including the final 14 seconds of regulation) and went 7 of 15 on third down.

Jacksonville could never get themselves on track against in-state rival Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers took the Jaguars to task 28-11 at TIAA Stadium. Jacksonville trailed from start to finish and found themselve behind 25-0 at the intermission as the Buccaneers would score those points in the first 30 minutes of play unchallenged to set the tone before Jacksonville would use a Josh Lambo field goal and a TD pass from Gardner Minshew II (who took over after Nick Foles was benched) to Dede Westbrook (the two combined for the two-point conversion).

Neither team breached the 100-yard barrier in the Sunshine State contest but Tampa Bay did manage to outrush Jacksonville 74-49 and Winston threw for 268 yards and while he did not throw a TD and was sacked four times, did not throw an interception, while Minshew threw for 147 yards with a pair of sacks and was picked off once (Foles threw for 93 yards with three sacks and an interception before he was taken out of the contest). Tampa Bay was 7 of 17 on third down tries (the Buccaneers went 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball hostage for 33:32, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:28, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The Chargers hold a 7-3 lead in the series and have outscored the Jaguars 291-178. Jacksonville won the last meeting, which took place in the Sunshine State in 2017, needing overtime to take a 20-17 win, while the Chargers won on the West Coast the season before, coming away 38-14 winners in San Diego. The Chargers are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under 42 1/2. The winner keeps their playoff hopes alive, while the loser is all but done for the 2019 season. Chargers take the win in the Sunshine State and covers the 2 1/2.

Pittsburgh (7-5) at Arizona (3-8-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of rookie QBs meet in the desert as Pittsburgh and Delvin Hodges makes their west westward to face off against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.
Pittsburgh erased an early 10-0 deficit against Cleveland last Sunday, getting a measure of revenge from their loss along the shores of Lake Erie two weeks ago to take a 20-17 win at Heinz Field. Cleveland used a 31-yard field goal by Austin Siebert and a 15-yard TD toss from Mayfield to Kareem Hunt to score the first points of the contest unchallenged before the Steelers got themselves back on track, tying the contest with Chris Boswell’s 39-yard field goal and a 30-yard TD pass from Hodges to WR James Washigton with a minute left in the first half to send the teams into the intermission tied at 10-10.

Pittsburgh would then add a 1-yard run by Benny Snell, Jr. and a 29-yard field goal by Boswell to lead 20-10 early in the final period. Siebert then pulled the Browns to within seven with 7:30 left in regulation on a 34-yard field goal. The Browns and Steelers would each get the ball, only to punt to the other team after Siebert’s field goal and Cleveland would get the ball back with 1:45 left. After Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer, the Browns got the ball at their 35 and would get as close as their own 40, when the drive and Cleveland’s hopes ended when Mayfield was picked off by Joe Haden, ending the threat.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 124-106 with Snell leading the way with 63 yards (Cleveland was led by Nick Chubb, who ran for 58 yards on 16 carries). Hodges threw for 212 yards in the win, while Mayfield threw for 196 (both threw an interception as well as a TD; Mayfield was sacked five times, while Hodges was sacked once. Cleveland was 4 of 12 on third down (the Browns were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:06 to Pittsburgh’s 27:54; the Steelers were 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Arizona was held to a fourth-quarter TD by Murray as the Los Angeles Rams came into Glendale last Sunday and left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. Arizona had trouble getting themselves on track as the Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half. Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run. Arizona would be held by the Rams to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Including games that were played when the Cardinals were in Chicago and St. Louis, the Steelers were known as the Pirates and games were played at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh leads the series 33-23-3, have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,163-1,092 and have won the last two meetings, including a 25-13 win in 2015 at Heinz Field, while Arizona’s last win came in the desert in 2007, coming out on top 25-13. Pittsburgh’s a 1 1/2-point favorite in the desert and the over/under’s 43. The Steelers are looking to make it to the post-season party, while the Desert Angry Birds would love nothing more than to be the spoilers. Pittsburgh covers the 1 1/2 in the desert and wins this one in Glendale over the Desert Angry Birds.

Kansas City (8-4) at New England (10-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. They meet again for the third time in two seasons. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs head to Foxboro for an AFC Championship rematch with the NeW England Patriots.

Kansas City all but manhandled AFC West rival Oakland last Sunday at Arrowhead, coming away 40-9 winners. The Chiefs scored their first 31 points of the contest unchallenged, leading 21-0 at the half and took control of things from that point, holding the Silver and Black to a 4-yard TD toss from Derek Carr to TE Derek Carrier with 39 seconds left in the contest. Kansas City then proceeded to add insult to injury as CB Charvarius Ward picked off the two-point try and returned it for a defensive conversion.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 122-96 with Raiders RB Josh Jacobs leading the way with 104 yards, while Mahomes threw for 175 yards with a rushing TD and a TD pass to RB Darrel Williams, with a sack but no interceptions (Carr threw for 222 yards with the TD but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Kansas City was 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:19, while the Raiders clung to the pigskin for 31:41, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New England came out on the short end of a 28-22 loss to DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans Sunday night at NRG Stadium. The defending Super Bowl champions trailed 14-3 at the intermission and found themselves playing catchup the entire contest. New England did pull themselves to within six with 50 seconds left when Brady and WR Josh Edelman connected on a 20-yard TD toss. New England then went for the onside kick, which the Texans recovered and the home team would run out the clock and take the win.

New England outrushed Houston 145-52 and Brady threw for 326 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 234 yards with a TD reception (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked three times). New England did reasonably well on third down conversions, going 9 for 17 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:35, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 25:25, going 6 for 11 on third down.

The Chiefs lead the series 18-14-3 (which includes contests that took place in Houston when the Chiefs were known as the Texans and the Patriots played their home games at Fenway Park) and have outscored New England 878-737. The two clubs met twice last year, once in the regular season (Foxboro) and once in post-season play (Kansas City) and New England won both contests (Kansas City’s last win in the series? Foxboro in 2017 by a final of 42-27.

The first meeting? Foxboro in week six on a Sunday night. Brady and New England survived a slugfest with Mahomes and the Chiefs, coming away 43-40 winners at Gillette Stadium. New England led the Chiefs 24-9 after 30 minutes of play before the Chiefs stormed back in the second half, outscoring the Pats 31-19. The Chiefs would eventually take a 33-30 lead with 8:38 left in regulation when Tyreek Hill and Mahomes connected on a 1-yard TD toss. Brady would then take matters into his own feet, scoring on a 4-yard run with 5:25 left in the contest. Pats K Stephen Gostkowski would later connect on a 50-yard field goal to make it a seven-point contest before Mahomes and Hill hooked up again to tie the contest with 3:03 left in regulation. New England would get the ball back with the 3:03 left and used a 7-play, 65-yard drive to send their fans home from Gillette happy as Gostkowski connected on a 28 yard field goal as time expired.

New England outrushed Kansas City 173-94 and Pats RB Sony Michel led all rushers with 106 yards and a pair of TDs, while Kareem Hunt led Kansas City with 80 yards. Brady threw for 340 yards and a TD to WR Josh Edleman to go with his rushing TD, while Mahomes threw for 352 yards (Brady was sacked twice, Mahomes threw a pair of interceptions) with four TDs, three of them going to Hill. New England was 7 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:09 (including the final 3:03 of the contest), while the Chiefs, keeping the ball for 23:51, went 4 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

That was round one.

Round two?

The AFC championship at Arrowhead and like the regular season meeting in Foxboro, this contest was a slugfest but the Patriots earned their trip to Atlanta, needing overtime to win 37-31. New England led 14-0 at halftime before the Chiefs would push their way back into the contest and took a 28-24 lead with 2:03 left in the contest. Rex Burkhead would give New England the lead back with 39 seconds left, scoring on a 4-yard run. That lead would not last very long at Arrowhead Stadium, as Chiefs K Harrison Butker connected on a 39-yard field goal with eight seconds left to tie things back up.

New England would win the toss in overtime and the Chiefs would never see the pigskin again, as the Patriots would go on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:52 of clock and ended as Burkhead would score his second TD of the contest to give the Pats the overtime win. New England held Kansas City to 41 yards rushing, while they accounted for 176 yards and Michel would lead all rushers with 113 yards and a pair of rushing TDs. Brady threw for 348 yards with a TD but threw a pair of interceptions, while Mahomes threw for 295 yards with three TDs (two of them to Darnell Williams) with four sacks but no interceptions. New England in the AFC Championship game went 13 of 19 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 43:59 (including the 4:52 in overtime), while the Chiefs held the ball for 20:53 and went 4 of 9 on third down.

In the week six contest in Foxboro, the Pats were favored by 3 1/2 but won by only 3. The two clubs did manage to cover the 60 over/under, tallying 83 points. In the AFC championship contest at Arrowhead, Kansas City was favored by 3 and the Patriots covered, winning by 6 and as was the case, both teams covered the over/under (this time, it was 56) with 68 points.

This one’s “DRILL WORTHY,” given the history between the two clubs (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?”)

Tennessee (7-5) at Oakland (6-6), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. Tennesee, chasing Houston for the top spot in the AFC South, makes their way to the West Coast to face the struggling Oakland Raiders at the Coliseum.

The Titans swept a 10-7 halftime deficit at Indianapolis away as Tennessee would outscore the Colts 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a 31-17 win over their AFC South rivals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts RB Nyheim Hines would give Indianpolis a 17-7 lead with 10:23 left in the third before Tennessee would go on a tear, scoring their 24 second-half points unthreatened and got help from their special teams as S Tye Smith blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Adam Vinatieri, picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched. Tennesee outrushed Indianapolis 154-82, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 149 yards and a TD, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 182 yards and a pair of TDs (Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 319 yards with a TD but was sacked three times; Tannehill was sacked six times but had no interceptions to his credit). Tennessee was 5 of 13 on third down (the Titans were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 27:29, while the Colts held on to the pigskin for 32:31, going 5 for 12 on third down.

Oakland found themselves overmatched by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs as their AFC West rivals all but manhandled the Silver and Black last Sunday at Arrowhead, coming away 40-9 winners. Raiders fans watched with horror as the Chiefs scored their first 31 points of the contest unchallenged, leading 21-0 at the half and took control of things from that point, holding the Silver and Black to a 4-yard TD toss from Derek Carr to TE Derek Carrier with 39 seconds left in the contest but Kansas City then proceeded to add insult to injury as CB Charvarius Ward picked off the two-point try and returned it for a defensive conversion.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 122-96 with Raiders RB Josh Jacobs leading the way with 104 yards, while Mahomes threw for 175 yards with a rushing TD and a TD pass to RB Darrel Williams, with a sack but no interceptions (Carr threw for 222 yards with the TD but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Kansas City was 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:19, while the Raiders clung to the pigskin for 31:41, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played in Houston when the Texans were known as the Oilers and the Raiders played their home contests in Los Angeles, Oakland leads the series 26-20 but the Titans have outscored the Silver and Black 1,066-1,036. Oakland has won the last three contests (all in Nashville) with the last win coming in the Music City by a final of 26-17 in 2017, while the Titans’ last win came on the West Coast in 2013 by a final of 23-19. Tennessee’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both teams are looking for a playoff spot and hope to catch the teams in their respective divisions (Tennessee chasing Houston in the AFC South, Oakland chasing Kansas City in the AFC West). Raiders cover the 3 and just win baby in Oakland.

Seattle (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-5), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of contending NFC West rivals meet in Los Angeles as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks make the 1,138-mile trip down I-5 to face off against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams under the lights. Both teams took huge wins last week.

Seattle erased a 17-10 against Minnesota in the Pacific Northwest Monday night, rallying to take a 37-30 win at Century Link Field. Safety Anthony Harris would give the Vikings a 14-7 lead when he picked off Seattle QB Russell Wilson, running the interception back 20 yards for a TD. Jason Myers would put Seattle to within four with a 29-yard field goal with 59 seconds left before Vikings K Dan Bailey responded with a 47-yard boot as time expired in the first half. Seattle would then take control of things in the second half in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged, using a 1-yard run by RB Rashaad Penny, a 29-yard field goal by Myers and a 60-yard pass from Wilson to David Moore in that quarter to lead 27-17. Penny would open the scoring in the final 15 minutes of play, catching a 13-yard toss from Wilson to lead by 17 before Minnesota responded with a pair of Cousins TD tosses (the first going to WR Laquon Treadwell and the second to TE Kyle Rudolph) to put themselves to within 4 with 7:14 left in the contest before Myers added his third field goal of the contest to all but ice the contest away.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 218-78, with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (the Seahawks held Delvin Cook to 29 yards on 9 carries with a TD) and Cousins threw for 276 yards, while Wilson tallied 240 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, both threw interceptions and Wilson was sacked once). Minnesota was 5 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 20:15, while Seattle ruled time in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, keeping the pigskin for 39:45, while going 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The defending NFC champs held Arizona to a fourth-quarter TD by Kyler Murray as they left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. The Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half, while Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run. The Rams held Arizona to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

The two NFC West rivals met in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in week five and Seattle came away 30-29 winners at Century Link Field. Seattle led 14-13 at the break in the Thursday night contest before Los Angeles would storm their way back to lead 29-24 with 9:19 left as Rams K Greg Zeurlein would kick his third field goal of the evening. Seattle would reclaim the lead and take the win with 2:28 left when RB Chirs Carson and Wilson connnected on a 5-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would hold the Rams off in the closing minutes of the contest and take the win in front of the home folks.

The Rams were outrushed by Seattle 167-82 with Carson leading all rushers with 118 yards, while Todd Gurley II led the Rams with 52 yards and a pair of TDs. Wilson threw for 268 yards with four TDs (including the game-winner) and was sacked once, while Goff threw for 395 yards with a TD to Cooper Kupp and was picked off once. Seattle went 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 35:18, while the Rams, who held on to the pigskin for 24:42, went 3 for 11 on third down.

In the week five contest in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle was favored by 1 point and the Seahawks covered, winning by that margin and both teams took care of covering the 49 1/2 over/under by tallying 59 points. Seattle’s favored by 2 in Tinseltown and the over/under’s 47. Seattle’s sitting on top of the NFC West mountain, while the Rams look to restore some order. Seattle wins in Los Angeles and covers the 2.

New York Giants (2-10) at Philadelphia (5-7), 8:20 p,m. Monday on ESPN. Week 14 closes out in the City of Brotherly Love with an NFC East matchup as the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, separated by 96 miles and a 90-minute drive down I-95 square off. Both teams took losses in last week’s action.

Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers went into Met Life Stadium last Sunday and left the Meadowlands 31-13 winners. The Packers erased a 7-7 after Russell Shepherd and Doug Jones connected on an 18 yard TD toss with 3:16 left in the first when Rodgers and rookie WR Allan Lazard connected on a 37-yard TD pass to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Big Blue trailed 17-10 at the half and would rally to make it a 4-point contest at the end of the third quarter before Green Bay would get TD passes from Rodgers to Davante Adams and Marcedes Lewis to seal New York’s fate.

New York did manage to outrush the Packers 95-79 with Giants RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 83 yards, while Rodgers threw for 243 yards with four TDs and no sacks or interceptions (Jones threw for 240 yards with the lone TD toss but was picked off three times). The Giants were 5 of 14 on third down tries in the snowy Meadowlands (they were 3 of 4 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:17, while the Packers, who held the pigskin for 28:43, went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Miami used trickery in their 37-31 win over Philadelphia Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-13 lead with 4:40 left before the intermission (the Eagles led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter) when K Jason Sanders and punter Matt Haack connected on a 1-yard TD pass as the Dolphins lined up for what some thought would be a field goal try. Philadelphia then took the lead back with 6 seconds left before half time on a 15-yard TD toss from Carson Wentz to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and added to their lead in the third quarter when Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery connected on a 10-yard toss.

Miami then used a pair of TD passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick (connecting with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki), a two-point conversion pass from Fitzpatrick to RB Patrick Patrick and a Sanders field goal in the second half, tallying 23 points unchallenged to lead 37-28 before Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 37-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the contest. Miami would get the ball back but could not make a first down that would have ended the contest and the Dolphins punted the ball back to Philadelphia, who had the pigskin for only two plays, when Wentz was picked off by S Chris Lammons, ending the threat.

Philadelphia outrushed Miami 92-52 and Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards, while Wentz threw for 310 yards (both threw an interception with three TDs; Wentz was sacked twice, Fitzpatrick was sacked three times) in the Sunshine State. Miami went 5 of 12 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and kept the ball for 31:18, while Philadelphia held on to the ball for 28:42, while going 7 for 14 on third down.

The series? Tied at 83-83-2 and the Giants have outscored Philadelphia 3,241-3,209. History has been kind to the Eagles, however, as they have won the last five meetings, sweeping the last two series (including last year’s contests; The Giants’ last win in the series came in 2016 in the Meadowlands by a final of 28-23 at Met Life Stadium).

The first meeting took place in week six in upstate New Jersey at Met Life Stadium and the Eagles held Big Blue to seven points in the second half to take the 34-13 win. Philadelphia led from start to finish, taking a 24-6 lead with them to the intermission, then took control of the second half to take the road win.

New York did outrush Philadelphia 147-108 (Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 130 yards and a rushing TD, Barkley also had nine catches for 99 yards) and Eli Manning threw for 281 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Wentz threw for 278 yards and three TDs passes (two to Alshon Jeffery, the other to Ertz). The Giants went 4 of 14 on third down (Big Blue was 0 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 27:30, while the Eagles ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin to themselves for 32:30 and went 9 of 16 on third down conversions.

The Eagles made it a clean sweep, taking down Big Blue 25-22 in their week 12 rematach at Lincoln Financial Field. The Giants took a 19-11 lead with them to the intermission in the City of Brotherly Love, only to see that lead get away from them in the final 30 minutes of play. Philadelphia would take a 22-19 lead with 10:11 left in the contest on a 1-yard run by RB Josh Adams (Adams, who led Philadelphia with 84 rushing yards, also scored on the two-point conversion) before the Giants tied the contest with 5:49 left on an 29-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas. Philadelphia would get the ball back on the kickoff and used a 10-play, 50-yard drive, using 5:27 of clock and ending with a 43-yard game-winning field goal by Jake Elliot with 22 seconds left, then stopping a last-second Giants rally to take the win.

This time, Philadelphia outrushed the Giants 127-126 and once again, Barkley led all rushers with 101 yards and a TD. Manning threw for 297 yards with an interception and a pair of sacks, while Wentz threw for 236 yards with three sacks (each threw a TD pass). The Eagles were 3 of 11 on third down in the rematch (they were perfect on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 32:38, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 27:22, going 5 of 12 on third down.

The Giants on Monday night? 25-39-1 (they played two games in 2018 and split them). Philadelphia? 35-27; the Eagles played once on Monday night last year but found success in their only contest.

Philadelphia in the week six contest, played on a Thursday night, was favored by 3 and covered the spread, winning by 21. Both teams did take care of the 44 over/under, tallying 47 points. In the rematch in the City of Brotherly Love in week 12, the Eagles were favored by 6 but won by only three; they did take care of the 46 over/under, passing it by 1 point. Philadelphia’s favored by 8 with a 46 1/2 over/under. The Giants would love nothing more than to ruin Philadelphia’s playoff hopes, while the Eagles are looking to climb their way back into the post-season. Philadelphia may not cover the 8 but they take the Monday night win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Thanksgiving has come and gone.

Black Friday? Made its guest appearance and headed out.

It’s getting colder and somewhat windier.

Malls are getting crowded and Santa can now make his appearance.

It’s the Sunday/Monday part of week 13 in the National Football League and there have already been three games on the docket. 13 more remain.

For some teams, it’s a chance to hold on to those precious playoff spots. For those that are struggling, it’s their chance to right their ships and hope for either a Wild Card spot or a better spot in the upcoming draft. Time is running out for those that want to make their way into the Lombardi Party and they better get cracking if they want that invite. Only 12 can get in, which mean the other 20 are fighting for a spot.

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 13

AFC

CLINCHED: None

New England (10-1) at Houston (7-4), Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

New England clinches playoff berth with:

New England win + Oakland loss or tie OR
New England win + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
New England tie + Oakland loss + Pittsburgh loss OR
New England tie + Oakland loss + Indianapolis loss OR
New England tie + Pittsburgh loss + Indianapolis loss

NFC

CLINCHED: None

San Francisco (10-1) at Baltimore (9-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

San Francisco clinches playoff berth with:

San Francisco win + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie OR
San Francisco tie + Los Angeles Rams loss

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 12: New England defeated Dallas 13-9, in Week 12 and improved to 10-1 on the season. The Patriots have won at least 10 games in 17 consecutive seasons dating back to 2003 and surpassed San Francisco S (16 seasons from 1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories in NFL history. Wide receiver Matthew Slater blocked a punt for the Patriots in the first quarter. New England has blocked three punts in 2019, tied for the second-most in a team’s first 11 games of a season since 1990. Only the 1990 Kansas City Chiefs (five) had more.

Buffalo running back Frank Gore registered 65 rushing yards in the Bills’ 20-3 win over Denver. Gore, who has 15,289 career rushing yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15,269 rushing yards) for the third-most rushing yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (18,355) and Walter Payton (16,726) have more. Gore, who has 611 scrimmage yards in 2019, has recorded at least 500 scrimmage yards in 15 consecutive seasons, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens (15 seasons from 1996-2010) for the third-longest such streak in NFL history. Only Larry Fitzgerald (16 seasons from 2004-19) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (16 from 1998-2013) have a longer streak of seasons in league annals.

Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin recorded seven receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 35-22 win at Atlanta. It marked Godwin’s third game of the season in which he had at least 150 receiving yards. Godwin and Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans have each recorded at least 150 receiving yards in three games this season, becoming the first pair of teammates to each record three such performances in a single season in NFL history.

Godwin, who has 1,071 receiving yards this season, and Evans, who has 1,043 receiving yards in 2019, are the fourth pair of teammates each with at least 1,000 receiving yards in their team’s first 11 games, joining Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas (2014 Denver Broncos), Torry Holt and Isasc Bruce (2000 St. Louis Rams), and Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Maynard and George Sauer (1968 New York Jets). Evans, who registered 50 receiving yards on Sunday, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998-2003) as the only players with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first six seasons in NFL history.

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas recorded 10 receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 34-31 win over Carolina. Thomas is the fourth player with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards in five consecutive games in a single season in NFL history. Thomas has 104 receptions for 1,242 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 and became the fifth player with at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey recorded 133 scrimmage yards (69 receiving, 64 rushing) and both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Sunday against New Orleans. McCaffrey has eight career games with both a rushing and receiving touchdown, tied with Chuck Foreman (eight games from 1973-75) for the most such games in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history. McCaffrey has 13 career games with at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards, surpassing Herschel Walker (12 games from 1986-88) for the most such games in a player’s first three seasons in league annals.

McCaffrey, who has 21 rushing touchdowns and 15 receiving touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2017, joined Chuck Foreman (1973-75) as the only players with at least 20 rushing touchdowns and 15 receiving touchdowns through their first three seasons in NFL history.

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry registered 159 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the Titans’ 42-20 win against Jacksonville. In the third quarter, Henry recorded rushing touchdowns of 74 and seven yards in a 16-second span and became the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (two touchdowns in 15 seconds in Week 10, 2006) to score two touchdowns within a 20-second span in a single game.

With his 74-yard touchdown run, Henry joined Napoleon Kaufman (1997-99) and Robert Smith (1997-2000) as the only players in NFL history to record a rushing touchdown of at least 70 yards in three consecutive seasons.

Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz recorded 12 receptions, including the 500th of his career, for 91 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ Week 12 loss against Seattle. Ertz, appearing in his 102nd career game, became the second-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 500 career receptions, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr. (101 games).

Ertz has 11 career games with at least 10 receptions, tied with Jason Witten (11 games) for the second-most such games by a tight end in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (15) had more.

Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert registered four passes defensed and two interceptions in the Browns’ 41-24 win against Miami. Schobert, who also had two interceptions in Week 11, is the fourth linebacker to record multiple interceptions in consecutive games in the Super Bowl era, joining Al Beuchamp (Weeks 11-12 in 1971), Cato June (Weeks 5-6 in 2005) and Stan White (Weeks 7-8 in 1977).

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 match-up of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated Sunday’s San Francisco-Baltimore match-up as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest pairs the teams from one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory, Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh built a 28-6 lead on his younger brother, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, when Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones returned the second-half-opening kickoff 108 yards, the longest play in Super Bowl annals. Soon after Jones’ return, the stadium lost power, causing a 34-minute delay. San Francisco responded with Michael Crabtree’s touchdown catch, and TD runs by Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick to pull within 31-29 with just less than 10 minutes remaining. After a Justin Tucker field goal gave Baltimore a 34-29 advantage, the Ravens’ last-minute goal-line stand preserved their second Super Bowl victory. After using a safety to run out the clock, Baltimore won, 34-31.

HAVE ANOTHER SERVING OF HOPE: As the playoff races come into focus, Cleveland in the AFC and Carolina, Chicago and Philadelphia in the NFC are 5-6. In 13 of the past 15 seasons (2004-18), a team with a sub-.500 record through 11 games has made the playoff field. And since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was instituted, 21 such clubs in 29 seasons have steered their way to the postseason. Four of those clubs – the 1995 San Diego Chargers, the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars, the 2008 San Diego Chargers and the 2014 Carolina Panthers – earned playoff berths after starting with four-or-fewer wins through 11 games. The Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship that season and both the Chargers (2008) and Panthers (2014) advanced to their respective Divisional rounds.

Teams with a sub-.500 record through 11 games to qualify for the playoffs since 1990:

TEAM – SEASON (W-L-T, PCT)
Philadelphia – 2018 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2005 (5-6-0,. 455)
Green Bay – 2016 (5-6-0, .455)
St. Louis Rams – 2004 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2015 (5-6-0, .455)
Detroit – 1997 (5-6-0, .455)
Carolina – 2014 (3-7-1, .318)
Jacksonville – 1996 (4-7-0, .364)
San Diego – 2013 (5-6-0, .455)
Detroit – 1995 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2012 (5-6-0, .455)
San Diego – 1995 (4-7-0, .364)
Seattle – 2010 (5-6-0, .455)
Detroit – 1994 (5-6-0, .455)
New York Jets – 2009 (5-6-0, .455)
New England – 1994 (5-6-0, .455)
San Diego – 2008 (4-7-0, 364)
Minnesota – 1993 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2007 (5-6-0, .455)
New Orleans – 1990 (5-6-0, .455)
Philadelphia – 2006 (5-6-0, .455)

AN NFC RARITY: The Minnesota-Seattle contest on Monday Night Football features one of three NFC clubs (Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans) with nine-or-more wins. This season marks the first time in 18 years that three NFC clubs are 9-2 or better through 11 games. Since the conference was formed during the league merger in 1970, it’s happened only four other times (1986, 1990, 1991 and 2001).

Last year, Seattle’s Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to win at least nine games in each of his first seven seasons. Wilson, now in his eighth NFL season, led the Seahawks to their ninth win last week at Philadelphia.

DECEMBERS TO REMEMBER: San Francisco and Baltimore, who meet on Sunday, are two of the NFL’s best teams in December since 2017, when the 49ers acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from New England. Garoppolo is 5-0 in December since coming to San Francisco.

The NFL teams with highest winning percentages in December since 2017:

TEAM (W-L-T, PCT.)
Los Angeles Chargers (8-2-0, .800)
Dallas (6-2-0, .750)
Baltimore (7-3-0, .700)
Kansas City (7-3-0, .700)
New England (7-3-0, .700)
Philadelphia (7-3-0, .700)
San Francisco (7-3-0, .700)
New Orleans (6-3-0, .667)

PLETHORA OF EIGHT-WIN TEAMS: Green Bay, who heads east to play the New York Giants on Sunday, are one of eight NFL teams with eight-or-more wins in 2019, tying a single-season record through 11 games. This marks the first time in 16 years – and only the fifth time in history – that eight clubs have reached eight wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1997 and 2003.

PLETHORA OF NINE-WIN TEAMS: The Sunday Night Football contest pairs New England (10-1) on the road against Houston (7-4). The Patriots are one of five NFL teams with at least nine wins through 11 games, also tying a single-season league record. This marks just the second time in the past 28 seasons that five teams have nine-or-more wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1976, 1986, 1990, 1991 and 2015.

Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson ranks third in the NFL among quarterbacks with five rushing touchdowns. Only Buffalo’s Josh Allen (seven) and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (six) have more. Overall this season, NFL quarterbacks have rushed for 58 touchdowns. That’s on pace for 84, which would be 11 more than the most in a single season since the 1970 merger, 73, in 2002.

ROOKIES NOT ONLY PLAYING, THEY’RE WINNING: Cleveland makes the two-hour bus ride to play in Pittsburgh on Sunday in a game that features Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, the number 1 overall selection in the 2018 draft, against an undrafted rookie, Delvin Hodges. The 2018 and 2019 seasons are two of only four in NFL history that have had five-or-more quarterbacks win at least one start (Hodges won his first career start earlier this year). The league-record is seven, in 1987. Five rookie quarterbacks also started and won at least one game in 2012.

MAHOMES, JACKSON HAVE HISTORY IN THEIR SIGHTS: Oakland meets Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (age 24) enters the week ranked fifth in the NFL with a 110 passer rating. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson (age 22) enters the week ranked third with a 111.4 mark. Prior to 2019, only twice in 99 NFL seasons has a player under the age of 25 finished a season with a passer rating of 110 or higher: Mahomes in 2018 (113.8) and Nick Foles in 2013 (119.2).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 13

BATTLE IN BALTIMORE: Baltimore enters Week 13 with the NFL’s top scoring offense (35.1 points per game), while San Francisco has allowed 14.8 points per game, the fewest in the NFC this season.

Sunday’s match-up in Baltimore will mark the third time that a team averaging more than 35 points per game and a team averaging fewer than 15 points allowed per game will meet in Week 13 or later since 1970. In each of the previous two match-ups, one of the competing teams advanced to the Super Bowl that season.

The matchups featuring a team averaging at least 35 points per game and a team averaging fewer than 15 points per game in Week 13 or later since 1970:

SEASON/WEEK – TEAM (POINTS/GAME) vs. TEAM (POINTS ALLOWED/GAME)(RESULT)
2012/15 – New England (36.3) vs. San Francisco (14.2)(San Francisco 41, New England 34)#
2007/14 – New England (39.1) vs. Pittsburgh (12.9)(New England 34, Pittsburgh 13)#
2019/13 – Baltimore (35.1)* vs. San Francisco (14.8)*(??)
*Entering Sunday
#New England and San Francisco Advanced to Super Bowl

Baltimore enters December having scored at least 40 points in each of its past three games – 49 points in Week 10, 41 in Week 11 and 45 in Week 12. With at least 40 points against San Francisco on Sunday, the Ravens can become the fourth team to score at least 40 points in four consecutive games in NFL history.

The teams with the most consecutive games scoring at least 40 points in NFL history:

TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 40+ POINTS)
Indianapolis (2004 – 4)
St. Louis Rams (2000 – 4)
Los Angeles Chargers (1960 – 4)
Baltimore (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

In his past three games, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson has 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions for a 147.8 passer rating and has had a passer rating of 130-or-higher in each of those contests.

With a passer rating of 130-or-higher on Sunday against San Francisco, Jackson can become the third quarterback with four consecutive games with a passer rating of 130 or higher in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games with a passer rating of 130-or-higher in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 130+ RATING)

John Hadl, Los Angeles Rams (1973, 4)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2015, 4)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (2019, 3)*
*Active streak

SLINGING IT DOWN SOUTH: Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston ranks second in the NFL in passing yards (3,391) and third in passing touchdowns (22) and is one of four quarterbacks to average at least 300 passing yards per game (308.3) this season. Winston has passed for at least 300 yards and a touchdown in each of his past six games.

By passing for at least 300 yards and one touchdown on Sunday against Jacksonville, Winston would tie Peyton Manning (seven from 2012-13) for the fourth-most consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and a passing touchdown in NFL history. Winston would also join Andrew Luck (eight consecutive games in 2014) as the only players to do so in at least seven consecutive games in a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and a passing touchdown in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011-12, 9)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2012-13, 8)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2014, 8)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2012-13, 7)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (2019, 6)*
*Active streak

CMC REWRITING HISTORY: Entering Week 13, Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,123), rushing touchdowns (12) and scrimmage yards (1,709). McCaffrey also leads all running backs with 68 receptions in 2019.

With seven receptions on Sunday against Washington, McCaffrey would become the fifth running back with at least 75 receptions in three seasons in NFL history.

The running backs with the most seasons with at least 75 receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 75+ CATCHES)
Larry Centers – Arizona, Washington and Buffalo (5)
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis and St. Louis Rams (5) HOF
Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh (3)
Roger Craig – San Francisco (3)
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina (2)*
*Has 68 receptions in 2019

Last week, McCaffrey recorded, his fourth game with both a rushing and receiving touchdown in 2019.

With both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Sunday, McCaffrey would join Chuck Foreman (1975) as the only players with at least five games with both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single season in NFL history.

NOT DRAFTED? NOT A PROBLEM: In 2018, Denver running back Phillip Lindsay became the third undrafted rookie with at least 1,000 rushing yards since 1970. Lindsay has followed up his rookie year with 887 scrimmage yards in 11 games this season.

With 113 scrimmage yards on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Lindsay would become the third undrafted player with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two seasons in the common-draft era.

The undrafted players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two seasons in the common-draft era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Clark Gaines, New York Jets (1976-77)
Ryan Grant, Green Bay (2007-08)
Phillip Lindsay, Denver (2018-19)*
*Has 887 scrimmage yards in 2019

NEW ERA OF TIGHT ENDS: Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz leads all tight ends with 67 receptions this season, while Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce ranks second with 63.

If Ertz has at least three receptions against Miami or Kelce against Oakland has at least seven receptions on Sunday, they would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (five seasons) for the fourth-most seasons with at least 70 catches by a tight end in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 70 receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 70+ CATCHES)
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and Atlanta (14) HOF
Jason Witten – Dallas (9)
Antonio Gates – San Diego (6)
Shannon Sharpe – Denver and Baltimore (5) HOF
Zach Ertz – Philadelphia (4)*
Travis Kelce – Kansas City (4)#
*Ertz has 67 receptions in 2019
#Kelce has 63 receptions in 2019

Additionally, Kelce – who leads all tight ends with 833 receiving yards in 2019 – needs at least 167 receiving yards on Sunday to become the first tight end with 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, Buffalo and Dallas all played Thanksgiving Day to open play in week 13, so they have Sunday and Monday off. The Saints became the first team to win their divison this year after their win in Atlanta last Thursday night. There are no more byes on the 2019 schedule, as Arizona, Minnesota, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers return from their week of vacay. Last week was pretty good pick-wise, going 8-6 for the week, 80-61 for the season. With that on the docket, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 13.

San Francisco (10-1) at Baltimore (9-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. High powered offenses meet in Charm City as San Francisco (first place in the NFC West) faces off against Baltimore (first place in the AFC North) in what some could consider a Super Bowl preview. Both clubs were huge winners last week.

The 49ers held Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay to 8 third-quarter points in the second half at Levis’ Stadium and took a 37-8 win on the West Coast last Sunday night. San Francisco took a 23-0 lead with them to the intermission in the prime time affair unchallenged before the Packers and Rodgers would break the bid for a shutout late in the third when he and WR Davante Adams hooked up on a 2-yard TD pass. The combination would hook up again on the two-point try to make the contest a 15-point affair. San Francisco, leaders in the NFC West, would restore order in the contest, as TE George Kittle (61-yard TD pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in the third) and Raheem Mostert (15-yard TD run late in the fourth) would basically seal Green Bay’s fate.

Even though Green Bay barely outrushed San Francsico 117-112, Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and a pair of TDs (including the one to Kittle), while Rodgers threw for 104 yards and the third-quarter TD (Rodgers was sacked five times, Garoppolo was sacked twice and neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:44, while the Packers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:16, going a dismal 1 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Baltimore held the Los Angeles Rams to a pair of Greg Zuerlein field goals in the first half and sheared the Rams 45-6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Monday night. Baltimore led 28-6 at the intermission in the Monday night contest, then floored the gas in the second half, scoring 17 second half points unchallenged. Ravens RB Mark Ingram II was in Heisman form, leading all rushers with 111 yards and a TD as the Ravens held the Rams to 22 yards on the ground (Todd Gurley accounted for all of the Rams’ ground yardage), while Baltimore rushed for 285 yards. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (a Heisman winner himself) threw for 169 yards with five TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked twice (Jackson rushed for 95 yards), while Jared Goff struggled, throwing for 212 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Ravens were 9 of 15 on third down but struck gold on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and held the ball for 39:56, while the Rams, who kept the ball for 20:04, went 2 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 3-2 and the Ravens have outscored San Francisco 109-82. San Francisco won the last meeting in the series, coming away with the 25-20 win in 2015 in Santa Clara, while Baltimore’s last win came in Charm City in 2011 by a 16-6 final. Baltimore’s favored by 4 in Charm City and the over/under’s 46. There’s a chance that these two could meet in Miami in February. If this is a preview, the two teams should make the most of it. Baltimore takes care of business in Charm City and takes the win at home, nevermore.

Washington (2-9) at Carolina (5-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of struggling East Coast teams meet in Charlotte as the Carolina Panthers host Washington at Bank of America Stadium.

The Saints ended Carolina’s hopes of leaving the Big Easy with a win as New Orleans’ Wil Lutz booted a 33-yard field goal as the clock struck :00 to survive 34-31, dropping the Panthers to below the .500 mark. New Orleans led their NFC South rivals 17-15 at the intermission as Carolina’s Kyle Allen and RB Christian McCaffrey would connect on a 1-yard pass as time expired in the half. Carolina then went for two in hopes of going to the locker room tied but the try failed.

Washington picked up its first home win since week eight last year, breaking the hearts of Lions fans by eraseing a 16-13 deficit, using a pair of Dustin Hopkins field goals to come away 19-16 winnners at Fed Ex Field in Landover. Trailing 13-6 at the break, Detroit manged to tie things up in the third quarter on a 12-yard TD toss to WR Lance Thomas from Jeff Driskel. Detroit then took a 16-13 lead early in the final quarter of play on a 21-yard field goal by Matt Prater before Washington would storm their way back, as Hopkins kicked the first of his two field goals in the quarter from 42 yards, then connecting on a 39-yarder after the Redskins picked off Driskell, the second coming with 16 seconds left in the contest. Detroit would get the ball back with the time that was left on the clock and got themselves no further than their 24-yard line, where Driskel was picked off by Fabian Moreau, ending the threat and the drive.

Detroit somehow managed to outrush Washington 175-86 and Driskel threw for 207 yards and the TD to Thomas but sacked six times and threw three interceptions, including the one that ended the Lions’ hopes of tying or taking the lead, while Washington’s Dwayne Haskins threw for 156 yards with an interception and three sacks. Detroit went 6 of 15 on third down conversions and actually ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 33:30, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:30 and went 4 for 14 on third down tries.

Carolina, trailing by as much as 14 in the contest, would even things up at 31-31 with 9:23 left in regulation when Allen and WR D.J. Moore connected on a 2-yard TD toss. The two clubs exchanged punts and Carolina had a chance to take the lead with 1:56 left in the contest but fell short as Joey Slye’s 28-yard field goal sailed wide right. That gave New Orleans the ball and the Saints used all of the 1:56 left on the clock, making their way down the field to Carolina’s 15-yard line to set up Lutz’ game-winner. Carolina used a time out with three seconds left in an attempt to ice Lutz. The plan failed as Lutz’ try sailed through the uprights to send Saints fans home happy.

McCaffery and Saints RB Latavius Murray each lead their teams with 64 yards rushing (both had a rushing TD) as the Panthers actually outrushed New Orleans 121-118 and Brees threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs (two sacks, interception), while Allen had 256 yards with three TDs (four sacks) for Carolina. New Orleans was 4 of 10 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:27 (including the final 1:56 of the contest), while the Panthers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:33, going 5 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While the Redskins lead the series 8-6, Carolina has outscored them 313-285. They last met last year in Landover and the Redskins prevailed 23-17 (Carolina’s last win in the series also came in Landover in 2016 by a final of 26-15).

The 2018 contest took place in week six and the Redskins led 17-6 at the intermission. Washington would later hold off a late
Carolina rally in the final 30 minutes of the contest to take the win at Fed Ex Field. Washington outrushed Carolina 132-81, with Peterson leading all rushers in the contest with 97 yards and Alex Smith threw for 163 yards with three sacks and no interceptions, while Newton threw for 275 yards with a sack and an interception (both men threw a pair of TDs). Washington was 7 of 16 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:24, while Carolina held on to the ball for 24:36, while going 3 of 9 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Washington was favored by 1 1/2 in the week six contest at Landover and they covered, winning by 6 but both teams missed the 44 1/2 over/under by 4 points (the two clubs combined for 40). Carolina’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 40. For the Redskins, last week it was “Hail to the Redskins.” This week? “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” Carolina may not cover the 10 but the Panthers win in the Tar Heel State.

New York Jets (4-7) at Cincinnati (0-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling teams meet along the shores of the Ohio River as the New York Jets make their way to Paul Brown Stadim to face off against the winless Cincinnati Bengals.

GangGreen floored the gas against Oakland last Sunday in the Meadowlands, coming away 34-3 winners at Met Life Stadium. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! erased a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, scoring their last 31 points of the contest unchallenged, taking a 13-3 lead with them to the intermission.

Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did outrush Oakland 88-68 with Jets RB LeVeon Bell leading the way with 49 yards in upstate New Jersey. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 315 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD of his own (Darnold was sacked once but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 127 yards with a sack and an interception. GangGreen went 5 of 12 on third down tries and had time on their side, keeping the ball for 31:30, while the Raiders, who hung on to the pigskin for 28:30, was 5 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Bengals fans got their hearts broken (AGAIN!) as Cincinnati dropped their 11th contest in a row, falling to AFC North rival Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium 16-10. The Bengals led 7-3 at the intermission after WR Tyler Boyd caught a 15-yard TD toss from backup QB Ryan Finley (they played a scoreless first quarter; Pittsburgh took the lead with 3:21 left in the half on a 26-yard field goal by Chris Boswell), then watched as the Steelers took a 10-7 lead early in the third when Devlin Hodges (Who took over for Mason Rudolph) and WR James Washington connected on a 79-yard TD toss. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would connect on a 27-yard field goal to re-tie the contest before Boswell would connect on the first of two fourth quarter TDs to take the lead back for good.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cincinnati 160-86, with Steelers RB Benny Snell Jr. leading all rushers with 98 yards, while the Bengals were led by Joe Mixon with 79 yards. Rudolph threw for 85 yards with an interception before Hodges took over, throwing for 118 yards and the TD, while Finley threw for 192 yards (Finley was sacked four times, Rudolph was sacked once with a sack and an interception, while Hodges was sacked twice) for the Bengals. The Bengals were 2 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 25:20, while the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:40 and went 5 for 16 on third down.

GangGreen leads the series 15-9 (including games that were played at Shea Stadium and Riverfront Stadium/Cynergy Field) and GangGreen has outscored the Bengals 591-530. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 23-22 win in the Meadowlands in 2016, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 26-10 winners in 2010 at Giants Stadium.

GangGreen’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 in this post-Thanksgiving contest. We won’t blame you if you took a pass on this one (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams) and watched that Bugs Bunny Christmas Marathon (granted, the idea of Wile Coyote falling off that cliff is still funny!) GangGreen covers the 3 1/2 and wins, sending the Bengals to their 12th loss in a row.

Tennessee (6-5) at Indianapolis (6-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC South rivals square off in the Hoosier State as Tennessee and Indianapolis, tied for second in the division, meet at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tennesse enters the contest with a huge home win under their belts, while the Colts look to restore order after a road loss in the Lone Star State.

Tennessee manhandled Jacksonville 42-20 last Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium in the Music City. After a scoreless first quarter, Tennessee led 7-3 at the half, then the Titans would score four third quarter TDs (two of them from Derrek Henry) unchallenged to lead 35-3 before the Jaguars would respond as Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette scored the first of his two TDs (both one yard runs) and a two-point try by Nick Foles to WR D.J Chark to narrow the gap. The Titans would then ice the contest away with Ryan Tannehill scoring his second rushing TD of the day from a yard out to seal Jacksonville’s fate.

Tennessee outrushed Jacksonville 219-117 and Henry led all rushers with 159 yards and his two rushing TDs, while Fournette led Jacksonville with 97 yards (also with two TDs) in the AFC South contest. Tannehill would throw for 259 yards with a pair of passing TDs to go with his two rushing scores, while Foles threw for 272 yards (neither threw an interception, Tannehill was sacked once, while Foles was sacked three times). Tennessee was 4 for 8 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 23:04, while the Jaguars ruled time, keeping the ball for 36:56, while going 7 of 18 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Houston and DeShaun Watson took over first place in the AFC South as the Texans erased a 17-13 deficit early in the final quarter of play against Indianapolis last Thursday in Houston to take a 20-17 win over the Colts. Tied at 10-10 after a scoreless first quarter, the Colts would lead 17-10 with 5:36 left in the third on a 13-yard TD run by Jonathan Williams. Houston would make the contest a 4-point affair on a 36-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn late in the third before taking the lead for keeps early in the fourth on a 30-yard TD toss from Watkins to DeAndre Hopkins. Williams would lead all rushers with 104 yards and the TD as the Colts did manage to outrush Houston 175-99 but Winston threw for 298 yards and a pair of TDs to Hopkins (including the game winner), while Jacoby Brissett threw for 129 yards (both were sacked once and Watson threw the contest’s only interception). Houston went 6 of 12 on third down (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 26:43, while the Colts actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:17, while going of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Their last meeting was in Nashville in week two and the Colts left Nissan Stadium 19-17 winners. Leading 13-7 at the half, the Colts watched Tennessee score 10 points in the third quarted unfettered before Brissett and T.Y. Hilton would reclaim the lead for keeps with 4:38 left in the contest. Tennessee would threaten late in the contest, getting the ball back with 67 seconds left in hopes of winning but those hopes were dashed when Marcus Mariota’s fourth-down passed sailed incomplete.

Indianapolis outrushed Tennessee 167-123, with Colts RB Jordan Wilkins leading the way with 82, while Derek Henry for Tennessee tallied 81. Brissett threw for 146 yards with three TDs, three sacks and an interception, while Mariota threw for 154 yards with four sacks to go with a TD toss. The Colts were 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 31:54, while the Titans went 1 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:06.

Tennessee was favored by 3 in the week two contest in the Music City and while the Colts left the Volunteer State with the win, they would do so only by two and the 44 1/2 over/under was safe, as the two clubs merged for 36 points. This time, the oddsmakers like the Colts as 3 point favorites in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. The Titans want revenge from their earlier loss, while the Colts want to show Tennessee that the first meeting was not a fluke. Colts cover the 3 and win back home again in Indiana.

Tampa Bay (4-7) at Jacksonville (4-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They’re separated by 201 miles and a 3 1/2 hour drive down the Sunshine State. Jacksonville and Tampa Bay meet in north Florida for only the seventh time in the history of the series. While the visiting Bucs are coming off a win on the road, the Jaguars limp back to TIAA Stadium with a road loss under their belts.

Tampa Bay ended Atlanta’s brief 2-game win streak in the Big Peach as the Buccaneers stopped Matt Ryan and the Falcons 35-22. Atlanta saw a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter get away from them at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Tampa Bay would take control of things in the final 45 minutes of action, outscoring their NFC South rivals 28-12 in that frame. Atlanta would find themselves held to 57 yards on the ground (the Bucs rushed for 133 yards) and Tampa Bay, who pushed themselves back into third place in the NFC South all by themselves, would sack Ryan (271 yards) six times with an interception, while Jameis Winston threw for 313 yards with a three TDs and a pair of interceptions (one TD toss went to DL Vita Vea on a tackle-eligible play late in the first half. Vea would later live out a lineman’s dream as he would sack Ryan, forcing a fumble, which teammate Ndamukong Suh picked up and ran in for a TD. Atlanta was 4 of 16 on third down but had succcess on fourth down (2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:38, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 28:22, were 6 of 13 on third down tries.

Jacksonville found themselves being taken to task by Tennessee 42-20 last Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium in the Music City. After a scoreless first quarter, Tennessee led 7-3 at the half, then went on to score four third quarter TDs (two of them from Derrek Henry) unchallenged to lead 35-3 before the Jaguars would respond as Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette scored the first of his two TDs (both one yard runs) and a two-point try by Nick Foles to WR D.J Chark to narrow the gap. The Titans would then ice the contest away with Ryan Tannehill scoring his second rushing TD of the day from a yard out to seal Jacksonville’s fate.

Tennessee outrushed Jacksonville 219-117 and Henry led all rushers with 159 yards and his two rushing TDs, while Fournette led Jacksonville with 97 yards (also with two TDs) in the AFC South contest. Tannehill would throw for 259 yards with a pair of passing TDs to go with his two rushing scores, while Foles threw for 272 yards (neither threw an interception, Tannehill was sacked once, while Foles was sacked three times). Tennessee was 4 for 8 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 23:04, while the Jaguars ruled time, keeping the ball for 36:56, while going 7 of 18 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The Jaguars lead the series 4-2 and have outscored Tampa Bay 158-126. Tampa Bay won the last contest in the series, taking a 38-31 win in Tampa Bay in 2015, while Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in north Florida by a final of 41-14 in 2011. Jacksonville’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both clubs are trying to keep pace in their respective divisons. While this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” it’ll be interesting to watch. The Bucs stop here. Jacksonville covers in north Florida and takes the win at home.

Cleveland (5-6) at Pittsburgh (6-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Don’t expect these two to play nice and given all the bad blood between them in the last couple of weeks, expect things to be watched CLOSELY. It’s a rematch of the week 11 love/hate fest in Cleveland as the blood feud moves over to the Steel City at Heinz Field. Both teams took wins in last week’s contests.

Cleveland cruised their way to a 41-24 win over Miami at First Energy Stadium last Sunday. The Browns scored 28 first half points unchallenged, taking a 28-3 lead with them to the intermission. Miami would then score 14 third quarter points unchallenged, using an 11-yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to TE Mike Gesicki and an 8-yard run by Fitzpatrick to trail by 11 going into the final quarter of play.

Cleveland would then get a pair of Austin Siebert field goals and a 5-yard run by Nick Chubb to seal the game away for Cleveland. Chubb rushed for 106 yards with the fourth-quarter TD to lead all rushers, as the Browns outrushed Miami 147-92 (Fitzpatrick led Miami with 45 yards and the rushing TD). Baker Mayfield threw for 327 yards and three TDs (two of them to WR Josh Landry, who had 148 yards on 10 catches), while Fitzpatrick threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (Fitzpatrick was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Mayfield was sacked once with an interception). Cleveland went 4 of 8 on third down and played keep-away with the ball from the Dolphins, holding on to it for 36:06, while Miami kept the ball for 23:54, while going 6 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Cincinnati dropped their 11th contest in a row, falling to AFC North rival Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium 16-10. The Bengals led 7-3 at the intermission after WR Tyler Boyd caught a 15-yard TD toss from backup QB Ryan Finley (they played a scoreless first quarter; Pittsburgh took the lead with 3:21 left in the half on a 26-yard field goal by Chris Boswell), then watched as the Steelers took a 10-7 lead early in the third when Devlin Hodges (Who took over for Mason Rudolph) and WR James Washington connected on a 79-yard TD toss. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would connect on a 27-yard field goal to re-tie the contest before Boswell would connect on the first of two fourth quarter TDs to take the lead back for good.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cincinnati 160-86, with Steelers RB Benny Snell Jr. leading all rushers with 98 yards, while the Bengals were led by Joe Mixon with 79 yards. Rudolph threw for 85 yards with an interception before Hodges took over, throwing for 118 yards and the TD, while Finley threw for 192 yards (Finley was sacked four times, Rudolph was sacked once with a sack and an interception, while Hodges was sacked twice) for the Bengals. The Bengals were 2 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 25:20, while the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:40 and went 5 for 16 on third down.

They met two weeks ago along the shores of Lake Erie and things were somewhat chippy but the Browns managed to prevail over AFC North rival Pittsburgh 21-7 at First Energy Stadium Thursday night. The Browns took a 14-0 lead at the intermission as Baker Mayfield ran for a TD to open the scoring and Josh Landry catching a 1-yard toss from Mayfield, closing out the scoring in the half. Pittsburgh would break the shutout bid up as Mason Rudolph and WR RB Jaylen Samuels connected on a 3-yard TD pass in the third before the Browns restored order in the fourth, with Mayfield and rookie TE Stephen Carlson connected on an 8-yard TD toss to close out the scoring.

Later in the contest, with Cleveland having victory secured, Pittsburgh had the ball at their 11-yard with 1:40 left in the contest. The Steelers would get themselves as close as their 36-yard before Rudolph was sacked twice before completing an 11-yard pass to Trey Edmonnds. While that play was going on, Rudolph and Myles Garrett were involved in a scuffle, with Garrett pushing Rudolph to the ground. Rudolph then tried to take off Garrett’s helmet at which that time, things really got heated as Garrett took Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him, hitting him in the head. Rudolph’s teammates then came to his aid and there would be more pushing and shoving. When the dust finally settled, Garrett was ejected from the contest, along with Larry Ogunjobi and Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey.

Garrett would be suspended without pay indefinitely by the league – at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason – and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement. He was also fined an additional amount. As for Pouncey and Ogunjobi? Pouncey has been suspended without pay for three games and fined an additional amount for fighting, including punching and kicking an opponent. Ogunjobi has been suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation and the two clubs were both fined $250,000. (Cleveland’s Damarious Randall was already disqualified from the contest for a hit on Dioante Johnson in the third quarter)

Cleveland outrushed the Steelers 104-58, with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. Mayfield threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD (Mayfield was sacked once), while Rudolph threw for 221 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off four times. Cleveland, flagged eight times for 121 yards, went 6 of 16 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 33:56, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:04.

Cleveland was favored by 3 in their week 11 meeting along the shores of Lake Erie and the Browns covered winning by 14 but the 40 1/2 over/under was intact as both clubs combined to score 28 points. Cleveland’s favored again, this time by 2 1/2 in the Steel City and the over/under’s 39 1/2. The Steelers want revenge. The Browns want to prove that the first meeting was not a fluke. Revenge wins out. The bigger question…. will cooler heads prevail? Time will tell. Pittsburgh gets the revenge and covers the 2 1/2, winning at Heinz Field.

Philadelphia (5-6) at Miami (2-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of struggling teams meet in the Sunshine State Sunday afternoon as Miami hosts the Philadelphia Eagles at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams are coming off losses in last week’s action.

Philadelphia lost their second home game in a row, falling to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks 17-9 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles trailed 10-3 at the intermission and could never really get themselves on track, eventually scoring on a 2-yard pass from Carson Wentz to TE Zack Ertz with 20 seconds left in the contest. Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead with 7:29 left in the first on a 28-yard field goal by Josh Elliott, only to see that lead get away from them as Wilson and Malik Turner connected on a 33-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would add a Jason Myers field goal from 24 yards late in the second quarter to lead by 7 at the intermission. Seattle’s Rashaad Penny would then add to his team’s lead, running 53 yards untouched to give the Seahawks a 17-3 lead early into the fourth quarter before Wentz and Ertz would hook up on Philadelphia’s TD late in the game (the Eagles would try for two but failed).

Penny rushed for 129 yards, leading all rushers in the contest as the Seahawks outrushed Philadelphia 174-106; Wentz threw for 256 yards with the Ertz TD (he was sacked three times and picked off twice), while Wilson threw for 200 yards with the Turner TD (Wilson threw an interception and was sacked six times) for Seattle. Philadelphia went 4 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:53, while the Seahawks, who clung to the ball for 28:07, went 5 for 14 on third down tries.

Miami found themselves being taken to task by Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, falling to the Browns as Cleveland cruised their way to a 41-24 win over Miami at First Energy Stadium last Sunday. Cleveland scored 28 first half points unchallenged, taking a 28-3 lead with them to the intermission. Miami would then score 14 third quarter points unchallenged, using an 11-yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to TE Mike Gesicki and an 8-yard run by Fitzpatrick to trail by 11 going into the final quarter of play.

Cleveland would then get a pair of Austin Siebert field goals and a 5-yard run by Nick Chubb to seal the game away for Cleveland. Chubb rushed for 106 yards with the fourth-quarter TD to lead all rushers, as the Browns outrushed Miami 147-92 (Fitzpatrick led Miami with 45 yards and the rushing TD). Baker Mayfield threw for 327 yards and three TDs (two of them to WR Josh Landry, who had 148 yards on 10 catches), while Fitzpatrick threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (Fitzpatrick was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Mayfield was sacked once with an interception). Cleveland went 4 of 8 on third down and played keep-away with the ball from the Dolphins, holding on to it for 36:06, while Miami kept the ball for 23:54, while going 6 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

While Miami leads the series 8-6, the Eagles have outscored Miami 278-259. Miami sent Eagles fans home sad in their last meeting, which took place at Lincoln Financial Field in 2015, leaving the City of Brotherly Love 20-19 winners, while the Eagles’ last win came in Miami in 2011 by a final of 26-10. Philadelphia’s favored by 9 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 46. The loser of this one? All but done for the year. The winner? Their hopes stay alive for another week. Eagles may not cover the 7 1/2 but they’ll take the win in the Sunshine State.

Green Bay (8-3) at New York Giants (2-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Green Bay, tied for first in the NFC North, makes their way to upstate New Jersey to face off against the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium. Both teams were handed road losses in last week’s action.

Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay were held to 8 third-quarter points in the second half by San Francisco at Levis’ Stadium, allowing the 49es to take a 37-8 win on the West Coast last Sunday night. San Francisco took a 23-0 lead with them to the intermission in the prime time affair unchallenged before the Packers and Rodgers would break the bid for a shutout late in the third when he and WR Davante Adams hooked up on a 2-yard TD pass. The combination would hook up again on the two-point try to make the contest a 15-point affair. San Francisco, leaders in the NFC West, would restore order in the contest, as TE George Kittle (61-yard TD pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in the third) and Raheem Mostert (15-yard TD run late in the fourth) would basically seal Green Bay’s fate.

Even though Green Bay barely outrushed San Francsico 117-112, Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and a pair of TDs (including the one to Kittle), while Rodgers threw for 104 yards and the third-quarter TD (Rodgers was sacked five times, Garoppolo was sacked twice and neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:44, while the Packers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:16, going a dismal 1 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

A late New York Giants rally in the fourth quarter in Chicago fell short as the Monsters of the Midway took a 19-14 win at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon. Big Blue led 7-3 at the half in the Windy City, then watched as Chicago proceeded to score 16 third-quarter points unchallenged to take a 19-7 lead at the end of the period. Giants QB Daniel Jones and WR Golden Tate pulled themselves to within 5 with 4:10 left on a 23-yard TD toss but Chicago prevailed, holding off the Giants to take the win.

The Giants outrushed Chicago 109-65 but Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 278 yards with a TD toss to Allen Robinson and had a rushing TD of his own (Trubisky was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Jones threw for 150 yards with a pair of TDs (Jones was sacked once). Da Bears were 4 for 15 on third down conversions in the Windy City and kept the ball in hibernation for 33:11, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 26:49, going 1 of 12 on third down and 2 for 4 on fourth down.

Including games played at Milwaukee County Stadium, Yankee Stadium, the Yale Bowl and Giants Stadium, the Packers lead the series 28-23-2 and the Packers have outscored Big Blue 946-940. Green Bay’s last win in the series came at Lambeau Field, where they came away 23-16 winners in 2016, while the Giants’ last win in the series came in the Meadowlands in 2013 by a final of 27-13. Green Bay’s favored by 6 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 46. In all honesty, the Giants have been playing some decent but not great football of late. As for the Packers, they’re looking to restore some order in the NFC North. Giants will make things interesting in the Meadowlands but Green Bay restores order and takes the win in upstate New Jersey.

Los Angeles Rams (6-5) at Arizona (3-7-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of NFC West teams meet in the desert as the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals, both trying to catch San Francisco in the division. Both teams are coming off losses, with Arizona coming off a bye.

The Rams were held to a pair of Greg Zuerlein field goals in the first half as Baltimore took them apart 45-6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Monday night. Los Angeles trailed 28-6 at the intermission in the Monday night contest, then watched as the Ravens floored the gas in the second half, scoring 17 second half points unchallenged. Ravens RB Mark Ingram II was in Heisman form, leading all rushers with 111 yards and a TD as the Ravens held the Rams to 22 yards on the ground (Todd Gurley accounted for all of the Rams’ ground yardage), while Baltimore rushed for 285 yards. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (a Heisman winner himself) threw for 169 yards with five TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked twice (Jackson rushed for 95 yards), while Jared Goff struggled, throwing for 212 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Ravens were 9 of 15 on third down but struck gold on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and held the ball for 39:56, while the Rams, who kept the ball for 20:04, went 2 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

San Francisco rallied in the second half against Arizona two Sundays ago to come away 36-26 winners at Levis’ Stadium. The Desert Angry Birds led 16-10 at the intermission before San Francisco got themselves off the deck in the second half, outscoring Arizona 26-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. San Francisco got a pair of TDs late in the fourth quarter, first Jimmy Garappolo connecting with RB Jeff Wilson on a 25-yard TD with 31 seconds left in the contest and DB D.J. Reed Jr. closing out the contest on a 4-yard scoop and score as time expired. While Arizona outrushed the 49ers 135-34, Garappolo burned Arizona for 424 yards and four TDs, including the game-winner (Garappolo was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Arizona QB Kyler Murray threw for 150 yards with a pair of TD tosses and had a rushing TD of his own (Murray was sacked four times). San Francisco was 6 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 28:37, while the Desert Angry Birds actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:23, going 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and St. Louis (both teams called St. Louis home), the Series finds itself tied 40-38-2 and the Rams have not only outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,587-1,529, they’ve swept the last two series between the two teams (Arizona’s last win over the Rams came in Los Angeles in 2016 by a final of 44-6).

Their first meeting… Los Angeles in week two. After a scoreless first quarter at the Coliseum, the Rams went on to score the next 34 points of the contest unchecked, shutting out the Desert Angry Birds 34-0 (the Rams led 19-0 at the half). Gurley ran for three TDs in the contest as Los Angeles outrushed Arizona 90-54 and Goff threw for 354 yards and a TD to TE Tyler Higbee, while Sam Bradford threw for 90 yards with a sack (Goff was sacked twice, both men threw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down (they were 1 for 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:08, while Arizona held the ball for 25:52, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Los Angeles made it a sweep of the series in the desert in week 16, leaving Glendale 31-9 winners. The Rams led 21-9 at the intermission and shutout Arizona in the second half. Rams RB Charles Anderson led all rushers with 167 yards and a TD as Los Angeles outrushed Arizona 269-104 and Goff threw for 216 yards and a TD toss to WR Robert Woods, while Josh Rosen threw for 87 yards and was sacked four times. Los Angeles was 6 of 9 on third down tries in the desert and kept the ball 37:04, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 22:56, going a dismal 2 of 11 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down).

In the week two contest on the West Coast, the Rams’ 34-point win allowed them to easily covered the 12 1/2-point spread but both clubs tallied 34 points, missing the 46 over/under. In the week 16 meeting in the desert, Los Angeles was favored by 14 and again they would cover, winning by 21. As was the case in the first meeting, both clubs failed to cover the over/under of 47 1/2 with 40 points. In the meeting in the desert, the Rams are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The winner stays in the race for a chance to either catch San Francisco or take a Wild Card spot, while the loser will have a lot of work to do and perhaps find themselves out of the race. Rams cover the 4 in the desert and takes the win in Glendale.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-7) at Denver (3-8), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Forget the records. Despite fighting to see who stays in the AFC West cellar, A pair of AFC West/AFL rivals meet in a rematch in the Mile High City as Denver hosts the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams enter the late afternoon contest with losses under their belts.

A late Los Angeles Chargers rally two weeks ago against Kansas City in Mexico City fell short, as the first-place Chiefs left Estadio Asteca (Azteca Stadium) 24-17 winners. The Chiefs and Mahomes trailed Philip Rivers and the Chargers 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, then took a 10-9 lead with them to the intermission south of the border. Kansas City would lead by 15 with 1:44 left in the third when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 7-yard TD toss. The Bolts then went for two to make the contest a 7-point affair and the try for two was successful, as Rivers and Hunter Henry connected on the conversion. After a Chiefs punt later in the final quarter, Los Angeles would get the ball back with 1:53 left in the contest and they would make their way down the field, getting as close as Kansas City’s 14-yard line when Rivers was picked off by Daniel Sorensen in the end zone to end the threat and the Chiefs would kneel down to seal the win.

Kansas City outrushed the Chargers 130-93, with Mahomes leading Chiefs rushers with 59 yards, while Chargers RB Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 69 yards in the Monday night contest. Mahohmes threw for 182 yards and a TD toss to TE Travis Kelce (Mahomes was sacked once and threw an interception), while Rivers threw for 353 yards with the TD to Allen but was sacked twice and threw four interceptions. The Chiefs, leaders in the AFC West, were 6 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 28:58, while the Chargers were actual rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:02, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Buffalo held Denver to a Brad McManus field goal in the third quarter in upstate New York as the Bills circled their wagons last Sunday to take a 20-3 win over the Broncos last Sunday. The Bills used a pair of Stephen Hauschka field goals in the first half to lead 6-0 at the intermission. Josh Allen and WR Cole Beasley gave Buffalo a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter before McManus ended Buffalo’s shutout bid with a 45-yard field goal halfway in the third. Allen would connect with WR John Brown early in the final quarter to close out the scoring in the contest.

Buffalo’s Devin Singletary led all rushers with 106 yards as the Bills outrushed Denver 244-75 and Josh Allen (Buffalo) threw for 185 yards with a sack to go with the two TD passes, while Brad Allen (Denver) threw for 82 yards with four sacks (both threw an interception in the contest). Buffalo went 8 of 16 on third down conversions in upstate New York and ruled the clock as they would keep the ball for 35:04, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 24:56, going 2 of 11 on third down.

They met in week five in Los Angeles and Denver scored 17 first half points without being challenged by the Chargers, then rallied to take a 20-13 win at Dignity Health Sports Park. Chargers CB Desmond King ended Denver’s bid for a shutout with 31 seconds left in the third on a 61-yard punt return, then K Chris McLaughlin would score the first of his two field goals (45 yards) to make it a 7-point game with 6:47 left in regulation. McLaughlin would add a second field goal with 10 seconds left in the contest after McManus booted a 46-yarder with 1:55 in the period.

Denver’s Patrick Lindsay led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD in the first quarter to open the scoring in the contest, as the Broncos outrushed their AFL/AFC West rivals 191-35 and Joe Flacco threw for 182 yards and a TD (Flacco was sacked three times and picked off once), while Rivers threw for 211 yards with a pair of interceptions. The Chargers were 4 of 13 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:24, while Denver, in keeping the ball for 29:36, went 3 for 11 on third down.

In the week five contest on the West Coast, Denver’s 7-point win allowed them to cover the 6 1/2-point spread but the 33 combined points did not come anywhere near the 44 1/2 over/under. This time around, the Chargers are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 38 1/2. If nothing else, this one could be “very interesting” as Arte Johnson once said. Bolts get revenge in the Rocky Mountains and cover the 2 1/2 with the road win.

Oakland (6-5) at Kansas City (7-4), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. It’s round two. Chiefs vs. Raiders. Hatfields vs. McCoys. Capulets vs. Montagues. Dogs vs. cats. The two AFL/AFC West rivals meet again, this time in the Show-Me State.

Oakland struggled in East Rutherford against the New York Jets as GangGreen floored the gas last Sunday in the Meadowlands, coming away 34-3 winners at Met Life Stadium. Oakland watched the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! erase a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, scoring their last 31 points of the contest unchallenged, taking a 13-3 lead with them to the intermission.

Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did outrush Oakland 88-68 with Jets RB LeVeon Bell leading the way with 49 yards in upstate New Jersey. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 315 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD of his own (Darnold was sacked once but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 127 yards with a sack and an interception. GangGreen went 5 of 12 on third down tries and had time on their side, keeping the ball for 31:30, while the Raiders, who hung on to the pigskin for 28:30, was 5 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Kansas City held off a late Los Angeles Chargers rally two weeks ago in Mexico City, as the first-place Chiefs left Estadio Asteca (Azteca Stadium) 24-17 winners. The Chiefs and Mahomes trailed Philip Rivers and the Chargers 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, then took a 10-9 lead with them to the intermission south of the border. Kansas City would lead by 15 with 1:44 left in the third when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 7-yard TD toss. The Chargers then went for two to make the contest a 7-point affair and the try for two was successful, as Rivers and Hunter Henry connected on the conversion. After a Chiefs punt later in the final quarter, Los Angeles would get the ball back with 1:53 left in the contest and they would make their way down the field, getting as close as Kansas City’s 14-yard line when Rivers was picked off by Daniel Sorensen in the end zone to end the threat and the Chiefs would kneel down to seal the win.

Kansas City outrushed the Chargers 130-93, with Mahomes leading Chiefs rushers with 59 yards, while Chargers RB Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 69 yards in the Monday night contest. Mahohmes threw for 182 yards and a TD toss to TE Travis Kelce (Mahomes was sacked once and threw an interception), while Rivers threw for 353 yards with the TD to Allen but was sacked twice and threw four interceptions. The Chiefs, leaders in the AFC West, were 6 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 28:58, while the Chargers were actual rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:02, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The two AFC/AFL rivals met in Oakland in week two and the Chiefs were 28-10 winners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Chiefs erased a 10-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter and scored their 28 points in the second quarter unchallenged to take the win (the two clubs played a scoreless second half). Mahomes threw four TDs in the quarter, two of them to WR Demarcus Robinson, one to TE Travis Kelce and one to rookie WR Mecole Hardman to seal Okland’s fate.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 129-31 but Mahomes burned the Raiders for 443 yards and despite being sacked twice, did not throw an interception, while Carr threw for 198 yards with a TD, was picked off twice and sacked three times. Kansas City was 8 of 14 on third down conversions and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:35, while the Raiders, who held the ball for 27:25 and went 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week two contest on the West Coast, the Chiefs were favored by 7 1/2 and they coverved, winning by 18. As for the 53 1/2 over/under? It was safe and sound, as both teams merged for only 38 points. The Chiefs are favored again by Vegas, this time by 10 with the over/under at 51. The 51 is nice, the 10 is a bit on the naughty side. Oakland’s not that bad a team under Jon Gruden’s leadership and they’ll actually make this one interesting. Chiefs complete the sweep of the series in the Show-Me State but expect the Raiders to make things closer than the 10.

New England (10-1) at Houston (7-4), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of potential playoff teams meet in the Lone Star State as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Both teams took wins at home in last week’s action.

The defending Super Bowl champs held Dallas to three field goals from Brett Maher as New England took Prescott and the Cowboys 13-9 at Gillette Stadium in rainy Foxboro Sunday afternoon. After the defending Super Bowl champs blocked a Dallas punt, New England went to work, using only two plays and 12 yards for the contest’s only TD as Brady and rookie N’Keal Harry connected on a 10-yard TD toss. After that, it would be all field goals as New England’s Nick Folk and Maher would kick field goals to round out the scoring.

Dallas did outrush New England 109-101 with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 86 yards, while Sony Michel would lead New England with 85. Brady threw for 190 yards with the first quarter TD toss (he was sacked twice but threw no interceptions), while Prescott threw for 212 yards with a pick but was not sacked. Dallas, going 2 of 13 on third down, actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 30:22, while New England, keeping the ball for 29:38, went 3 for 14 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Watson and Houston took over first place in the AFC South as the Texans erased a 17-13 deficit early in the final quarter of play against Indianapolis last Thursday in Houston to take a 20-17 win over the Colts. The Texans and Colts went into the intermission tied at 10-10 after a scoreless first quarter, then the Colts would lead 17-10 with 5:36 left in the third on a 13-yard TD run by Jonathan Williams. Houston would make the contest a 4-point affair on a 36-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn late in the third before taking the lead for keeps early in the fourth on a 30-yard TD toss from Watkins to DeAndre Hopkins. Williams would lead all rushers with 104 yards and the TD as the Colts did manage to outrush Houston 175-99 but Winston threw for 298 yards and a pair of TDs to Hopkins (including the game winner), while Jacoby Brissett threw for 129 yards (both were sacked once and Watson threw the contest’s only interception). Houston went 6 of 12 on third down (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 26:43, while the Colts actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:17, while going of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

New England leads the series 8-1 and the defending Super Bowl champions have outscored Houston 283-165. New England took wins in their last two meetings, both in Foxboro with the Patriots taking a 27-20 win last year, while Houston’s lone win in the series came in 2009 in the Lone Star State by a final of 34-27.

New England and Houston wasted very little time meeting on the 2018 schedule, meeting in Foxboro in the season opener. New England led 21-6 at the intermission, then held off a late Texans rally as Houston would pull to within 7 with 2:08 left when Watson and WR Bruce Ellington connected on a 5-yard TD. Houston outrushed New England 167-122 but Brady torched Houston for 277 yards and three TDs (connecting with TE Rob Gronkowski on one of the tosses), while Watson threw for 176 yards and the fourth-quarter TD (Watson was sacked three times, Brady was sacked twice and both threw an interception). New England was 4 of 14 on third down tries at Gillette Stadium but struck pay dirt in their only fourth down try and the Pats kept the ball for 31:10, while Houston held the pigskin for 28:50, while going 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week one showdown in Foxboro, New England BARELY covered the 6 1/2-point spread, winning by 7 but both teams missed the 51 over/under, tallying only 47 points. New England’s favored again, this time by 3 in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense and since both are in first place in their respective divisions, it’s only fair 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?”)

There’s a strong chance these two could meet in the post-season party and they want to keep things that way. Meanwhile, the Patriots are kings of the NFL mountain and look to stay there. Houston makes it closer than the 3 1/2 but New England prevails, taking the win on the road in the Lone Star State.

Minnesota (8-3) at Seattle (9-2), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 13 closes out in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as a pair of teams chasing their respective division leaders meet in the Pacific Northwest. Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson square off in prime time at Century Link Field, with both teams winning in their last contests.

Minneosta, tied for first in the NFC North, held off a late Denver rally two Sundays ago against Denver as the Vikings prevailed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes Sunday afternoon 27-23 at US Bank Stadium. Denver led 20-0 at the intermission, scoring those points unchecked before the Vikings went to work in the second half and scored 20 fourth quarter points of their own unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 6:01 left in the contest when WR Kyle Rudolph caught a 32-yard TD pass from Cousins to lead 27-23. After the teams exchanged the ball, Denver got it back with 5:55 left in the contest and from their 40-yard line, drove themselves all the way to Minnesota’s 4-yard line where three Brock Allen passes fell incomplete, including the final try that came with 2 seconds left to play that would have given Denver the win.

Denver did outrush Minnesota 124-37 with Patrick Lindsay leading the way with 67 yards, while Allen threw for 240 yards and TD with a pair of sacks and an interception. As for Minnesota? Cousins, despite being sacked five times, threw for 319 yards with three TDs, including the game-winner to Rudolph with no interceptions). Denver went 5 for 18 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43 (including the final 5:55 of the contest), while the Vikings held on to the ball for 23:17, going 5 of 121 on third down (the Broncos were 4 of 4 on fourth down, while Minnesota was 2 of 2).

The Seahawks went East and gave Philadelphia their second loss in a row and their second home loss as Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks took down the Eagles 17-9 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles trailed 10-3 at the intermission and could never really get themselves on track, eventually scoring on a 2-yard pass from Carson Wentz to TE Zack Ertz with 20 seconds left in the contest. Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead with 7:29 left in the first on a 28-yard field goal by Josh Elliott, only to see that lead get away from them as Wilson and Malik Turner connected on a 33-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would add a Jason Myers field goal from 24 yards late in the second quarter to lead by 7 at the intermission. Seattle’s Rashaad Penny would then add to his team’s lead, running 53 yards untouched to give the Seahawks a 17-3 lead early into the fourth quarter before Wentz and Ertz would hook up on Philadelphia’s TD late in the game (the Eagles would try for two but failed).

Penny rushed for 129 yards, leading all rushers in the contest as the Seahawks outrushed Philadelphia 174-106; Wentz threw for 256 yards with the Ertz TD (he was sacked three times and picked off twice), while Wilson threw for 200 yards with the Turner TD (Wilson threw an interception and was sacked six times) for Seattle. Philadelphia went 4 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:53, while the Seahawks, who clung to the ball for 28:07, went 5 for 14 on third down tries.

Seattle leads the series 10-5 and the Seahawks have outscored Minnesota 395-331. Seattle has won the last four regular season meetings, including a 21-7 win last year in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks (Minnesota’s last win in the series came in 2009 in the Twin Cities by a final of 35-9.

They met in the Pacific Northwest in week 14 at CenturyLink Field and after a scoreless first quarter, Seahawks K Sebastian Janikowski gave Seattle their first points with a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter. That would be all the scoring in the first half, as the Seahawks took that 3-0 lead with them to the intermission. After a scoreless third quarter, Seattle would tally their next 18 points of the contest unchallenged, using a second Janikowski field goal (from 35 yards), adding a Chris Carson 2-yard run (the Seahawks went for two and had success as Wilson and WR Tyler Lockett connected on the try) and a 29-yard fumble recovery by CB Justin Coleman all but sealed Minnesota’s fate before the Vikings would score with 70 seconds left in the contest when RB Dalvin Cook and Cousins connected on a 6-yard TD toss.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 214-77, with Carson accounting for 90 of Seattle’s yards (Cook led Minnesota with 50) and Cousins threw for 208 yards, while Wilson had 72 yards in the air (Wilson was picked off once and both men were sacked twice). Seattle was 3 of 11 on third down but was successful in their only fourth down try in the contest, keeping the ball for 31:49, while the Vikings held the pigskin for 28:11 and 2 of 10 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 14 Monday night contest, the Seahawks were favored by 3 1/2 and covered, winning by 14. As for the 45 over/under? It was untouched, as the two teams merged for only 28 points.

Minnesota on Monday night? 29-32. The Vikings played once in prime time last year in the Pacific Northwest and lost. Seattle on Monday night? 24-10. Seattle played two MNF contests and split the two contests. Seattle’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 49. Both numbers are reasonable and make a ton of sense. Both teams could very well make the post-season, either as division winners or Wild Card team and this one could very well decide their futures. You might want to tape “All Rise” and “Bull” this Monday night. Minnesota will make this one closer than than the 3 but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. NFL

It’s Thanksgiving. That means it’s time to sit in crowded airports and bus stations, deal with the in-laws, the picky, bratty kids that won’t eat their veggies and deal with your sister’s bean and squash casserole (no wonder she’s still single!). It’s also time for NFL football as week 13 opens with three games on the docket. Detroit and Dallas will play their games at home, while the Falcons and Saints close things out in the Big Peach in prime time.

Like we said, it’s three games and it’s not just three games, it’s three contests that could very well decide who wins their division. Think of the early afternoon game as a snack of sorts, while the mid-afternoon game is the main meal with the Thursday night prime time contest as dessert.

For generations of Americans, the tradition of Thanksgiving Day and NFL football are historically intertwined. On Thanksgiving in 1925, a crowd of 36,000 – then the largest in professional football history – watched the Chicago Bears play the Chicago Cardinals to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and the defending world champion Bears squared off on Thanksgiving in the first NFL game nationally broadcast, with NBC radio on the call. This year, the three holiday games will be played inside stadiums (Ford Field, AT&T Stadium and Mercedes-Benz Stadium) with a combined capacity of over 215,000 and will be aired to millions across the country and around the world.

The Lions will play their 80th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 52nd since 1966. The Falcons will play in their fourth and the Saints will play in their third Thanksgiving game. Three games in three cities on three different networks. If nothing else, you’ll at least be spared from listening to Uncle Harry tell the same bad joke over and over again, being stuck at the kid’s table with your 13-year old cousin that’s as plain as a sheet of paper (and she has a crush on you!) and stuffing (or dressing, if you’re in the South) so bad even the squirrels won’t touch it.

For generations of Americans, the tradition of Thanksgiving Day and NFL football are historically intertwined.

On Thanksgiving in 1925, a crowd of 36,000 – then the largest in professional football history – watched the Chicago Bears play the Chicago Cardinals to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and the defending world champion Bears squared off on Thanksgiving in the first NFL game nationally broadcast, with NBC radio on the call. This year, the three holiday games will be played inside stadiums with a combined capacity of more than 215,000 (Dallas the largest at 85,000 while Detroit is the smallest venue at 64,500) and will be aired to millions across the country and around the world.

The 2019 installment of Thanksgiving Day football will feature a triple-header for the 14th consecutive season.

The first game showcases a battle of NFC North rivals as Chicago travels to Ford Field to face Detroit at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. The late afternoon game marks the 42nd consecutive Thanksgiving Day contest hosted in Arlington, as Dallas welcomes Buffalo to AT&T Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on CBS. The holiday concludes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Atlanta welcomes NFC South rival New Orleans in the 101st regular-season meeting at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

The Lions will play their 80th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 52nd since 1966. The Bears and Bills will play in their 36th and ninth games, respectively, on the holiday. The Falcons will play in their fourth and the Saints will play in their third Thanksgiving game.

The Thanksgiving Day records of the teams playing this Thursday:

TEAM (W-L-T)
ATLANTA (1-2-0)
Buffalo 3-4-1
Chicago (18-15-2)
Dallas (31-19-1)
Detroit (37-40-2)
New Orleans (2-0-0)

While most of America will be waiting in line for those Christmas deals, reading the Black Friday ads and making their lists, most of us will be stuffing our faces with food and stuffing our eyes with parades and football. It’s food. It’s football. It’s Tnanksgiving. Be sure to get seconds if you can and watch out for your cousin Connie (remmeber 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?”)

Two of the three games Thanksgiving Day (Chicago at Detroit, New Orleans at Atlanta) are rematches not only from this season but from last Thanksgiving and for the teams that won the first meeting, it’s a chance to establish themselves; for the losers, it’s revenge. If nothing else, at least they’ll get that Christmas shopping done early. With that, make sure that everyone’s on their best behavior and enjoy dinner… and football (not in that order) and avoid your aunt Charlotte’s fruitcake (it’s so laced with booze it could be its own drink!). With that, after you’ve watched the parade and hugged your cousin Marge, who always smells like gingerbread (a pretty damned good smell if we say so ourselves!), watch football. Here are the Thursday Thanksgiving Day picks.

New Orleans (9-2) at ATLANTA (3-8), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They meet again on Thanksgiving night and this time, it’s in the Big Peach. You can forget them breaking bread anytime soon… they still don’t like each other. Atlanta and Green Bay meet in the second round of their 2019 NFC South rivalry.

The Saints ended Carolina’s hopes of leaving the Big Easy with a win as New Orleans’ Wil Lutz booted a 33-yard field goal as the clock struck :00 to survive 34-31. New Orleans led 17-15 at the intermission as Carolina’s Kyle Allen and RB Christian McCaffrey would connect on a 1-yard pass as time expired in the half. Carolina then went for two in hopes of going to the locker room tied but the try failed.

The Panthers, who trailed by as much as 14 in the contest, would even things up at 31-31 with 9:23 left in regulation when Allen and WR D.J. Moore connected on a 2-yard TD toss. The two clubs exchanged punts and Carolina had a chance to take the lead with 1:56 left in the contest but fell short as Joey Slye’s 28-yard field goal sailed wide right. That gave New Orleans the ball and the Saints used all of the 1:56 left on the clock, making their way down the field to Carolina’s 15-yard line to set up Lutz’ game-winner. Carolina used a time out with three seconds left in an attempt to ice Lutz. The plan failed as Lutz’ try sailed through the uprights to send Saints fans home happy.

McCaffery and Saints RB Latavius Murray each lead their teams with 64 yards rushing (both had a rushing TD) as the Panthers actually outrushed New Orleans 121-118 and Brees threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs (two sacks, interception), while Allen had 256 yards with three TDs (four sacks) for Carolina. New Orleans was 4 of 10 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:27 (including the final 1:56 of the contest), while the Panthers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:33, going 5 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay ended Atlanta’s brief 2-game win streak in the Big Peach as the Buccaneers stopped Matt Ryan and the Falcons 35-22. Atlanta saw a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter get away from them at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Tampa Bay would take control of things in the final 45 minutes of action, outscoring their NFC South rivals 28-12 in that frame. Atlanta would find themselves held to 57 yards on the ground (the Bucs rushed for 133 yards) and Tampa Bay would sack Ryan (271 yards) six times with an interception, while Jameis Winston threw for 313 yards with a three TDs and a pair of interceptions (one TD toss went to DL Vita Vea on a tackle-eligible play late in the first half. Vea would later live out a lineman’s dream as he would sack Ryan, forcing a fumble, which teammate Ndamukong Suh picked up and ran in for a TD. Atlanta was 4 of 16 on third down but had succcess on fourth down (2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:38, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 28:22, were 6 of 13 on third down tries.

They met in week 10 in the Big Easy and the Falcons broke their seven-game losing streak as they manhandled Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints last Sunday, holding the NFC South leaders to three Will Lutz field goals to take a 26-9 win out of the Mercerdes Benz Superdome. Atlanta broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, took a 13-6 lead with them to the break and floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of action. New Orleans pulled themselves to within four with 6:05 left in the third before the Falcons scored their final 13 points of the contest unchallenged.

Holding New Orleans to 52 yards on the ground, Atlanta took care of business against their NFC South foes, tallying 143 yards with Brian Hill leading all rushers with 61 yards.

Ryan, returning from the ankle injury he suffered against Seattle, showed no ill effects, throwing for 182 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Hill, the other to Austin Hooper), while the Falcons defense sacked Brees (287 yards) six times, while Ryan was sacked once and threw an interception. Atlanta went 6 of 15 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:46, while the Saints kept the ball for 26:14, going 3 of 12 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 10 meeting in the Big Easy, the Saints were favored by 13 and Atlanta covered, winning by 17. As for the 51 1/2 over/under? Untouched, as both teams merged for 35 points. Vegas likes the Saints again and this time, the boys and girls in Vegas have favored them by 7 with the over/under at 49. New Orleans wants to do two things in Atlanta; one, get revenge from their week 10 loss in the Big Easy and two, clinch the NFC South. Atlanta is saying “you’ll get NOTHING and like it!” Falcons bounce back from their loss to Tampa Bay and takes the Turkey Day win in the Big Peach.

Chicago (5-6) at Detroit (3-7-1), 12:30 p.m. on FOX. A Thanksgiving rivalry older than the NFL itself gets things underway as Detroit hosts Chicago at Ford Field. While the Bears recovered from their loss on the West Coast to the Rams last Sunday, the Lions took a loss on the road in Landover.

Da Bears held off a late New York Giants rally in the fourth quarter as the Monsters of the Midway took a 19-14 win at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon. Chicago trailed 7-3 at the half in the Windy City, then proceeded to score 16 third-quarter points unchallenged to take a 19-7 lead at the end of the period. Giants QB Daniel Jones and WR Golden Tate pulled themselves to within 5 with 4:10 left on a 23-yard TD toss but Chicago prevailed, holding off the Giants to take the win.

The Giants outrushed Chicago 109-65 but Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 278 yards with a TD toss to Allen Robinson and had a rushing TD of his own (Trubisky was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Jones threw for 150 yards with a pair of TDs (Jones was sacked once). Da Bears were 4 for 15 on third down conversions in the Windy City and kept the ball in hibernation for 33:11, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 26:49, going 1 of 12 on third down and 2 for 4 on fourth down.

Lions fans saw their hearts get broken again as Washington erased a 16-13 deficit, using a pair of Dustin Hopkins field goals to come away 19-16 winnners at Fed Ex Field in Landover. Trailing 13-6 at the break, Detroit manged to tie things up in the third quarter on a 12-yard TD toss to WR Lance Thomas from Jeff Driskel. Detroit then took a 16-13 lead early in the final quarter of play on a 21-yard field goal by Matt Prater before Washington would storm their way back, as Hopkins kicked the first of his two field goals in the quarter from 42 yards, then connecting on a 39-yarder after the Redskins picked off Driskell, the second coming with 16 seconds left in the contest. Detroit would get the ball back with the time that was left on the clock and got themselves no further than their 24-yard line, where Driskel was picked off by Fabian Moreau, ending the threat and the drive.

Detroit somehow managed to outrush Washington 175-86 and Driskel threw for 207 yards and the TD to Thomas but sacked six times and threw three interceptions, including the one that ended the Lions’ hopes of tying or taking the lead, while Washington’s Dwayne Haskins threw for 156 yards with an interception and three sacks. Detroit went 6 of 15 on third down conversions and actually ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 33:30, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:30 and went 4 for 14 on third down tries.

They met in the Windy City in week 10 and Detroit watched a 6-0 lead against NFC North rival Chicago get away from them as the Bears stormed back to take a 20-13 win at Soldier Field. The Lions took that 6-0 lead with a pair of Matt Prahter field goals before the Bears would erase that lead with 25 seconds left before the break when Mitch Trubisky and TE Ben Braunecker connected on a 18-yard toss. Trubisky would add 3rd quarter TD passes to Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel to take the lead to 20-6 before Kenny Golladay and Jeff Driskell (taking over for Matthew Stafford – back) would put the Lions to within 7 with 5:53 left in the contest.

After Detroit and Chicago exchanged punts, the Lions got the ball back with 1:41 and would get themselves as close as Chicago’s 25-yard line, where the drive and game ended. Neither club breached the 100 yard barrier in the contest in the Windy City but Detroit did manage to outrush Chicago 98-81 and Driskell threw for 269 yards with the TD, while he was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Trubisky accounted for the three TDs with 173 yards of passing and five sacks. Detroit was 7 for 18 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and including the final 1:41 of the contest, kept the ball for 31:54, while the Bears kept the ball for 28:06, going 2 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 10 contest at Soldier Field, Da Bears won by 7, allowing them to cover the 2 1/2-point spread but both clubs missed the 41 1/2 over/under, tallying only 33 points. In the Thanksgiving Day rematch, Da Bears are favored, this time by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 39. History has a way of repeating and for the Lions, it’s Groundhog Day. For the Bears, they’ll pull themselves a little closer to Green Bay and Minnesota in the NFC North. Da Bears cover the 2 1/2 in the Motor City and wins on the road.

Buffalo (8-3) at Dallas (6-5), 4:30 p.m. on CBS. A pair of contending playoff teams meet in the middle Thanksgiving Day contest in the Lone Star State as Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys take on Buffalo at Jerry World (aka AT&T Stadium).

Buffalo held Denver to a Brad McManus field goal in the third quarter in upstate New York as the Bills circled their wagons last Sunday to take a 20-3 win over the Broncos last Sunday. The Bills used a pair of Stephen Hauschka field goals in the first half to lead 6-0 at the intermission. Josh Allen and WR Cole Beasley gave Buffalo a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter before McManus ended Buffalo’s shutout bid with a 45-yard field goal halfway in the third. Allen would connect with WR John Brown early in the final quarter to close out the scoring in the contest.

Buffalo’s Devin Singletary led all rushers with 106 yards as the Bills outrushed Denver 244-75 and Josh Allen (Buffalo) threw for 185 yards with a sack to go with the two TD passes, while Brad Allen (Denver) threw for 82 yards with four sacks (both threw an interception in the contest). Buffalo went 8 of 16 on third down conversions in upstate New York and ruled the clock as they would keep the ball for 35:04, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 24:56, going 2 of 11 on third down.

Dallas got three field goals from Brett Maher but it wasn’t enough as New England took Prescott and the Cowboys 13-9 at Gillette Stadium in rainy Foxboro Sunday afternoon. After the defending Super Bowl champs blocked a Dallas punt, New England went to work, using only two plays and 12 yards for the contest’s only TD as Tom Brady and rookie N’Keal Harry connected on a 10-yard TD toss. After that, it would be all field goals as New England’s Nick Folk and Maher would kick field goals to round out the scoring.

Dallas did outrush New England 109-101 with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 86 yards, while Sony Michel would lead New England with 85. Brady threw for 190 yards with the first quarter TD toss (he was sacked twice but threw no interceptions), while Prescott threw for 212 yards with a pick but was not sacked. Dallas, going 2 of 13 on third down, actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 30:22, while New England, keeping the ball for 29:38, went 3 for 14 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Dallas leads the series 6-4 and the Cowboys have outscored Buffalo 191-151. Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2011 in the Lone Star State as they came away with a 44-7 win, while Buffalo’s last win in the series came in upstate New York by a final of 16-6 in 2016. Dallas is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense. 4 of 5 Dallas’ losses have come by 4 points or less. As for the Bills? They’re still in the hunt if not for the AFC East, then for a Wild Card spot and there’s no shame in that. Bills circle the wagons in the Lone Star State and takes the win, even though Dallas could make it closer than the 7.

Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Brandon Gaudin, Tony Boselli, Laura Okmin (field reporter); SIRIUS: 82 (New Orleans), 83 (ATLANTA); XM: 225 (New Orelans), 226 (ATLANTA)

Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Kristina Pink (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Ross Tucker, Hub Arkush (field reporter); SIRIUS: 82 (Chicago), 83 (Detroit); XM: 225 (Chicago), 226 (Detroit)

Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: John Sadak, James Lofton, Scott Kaplan (field reporter); SIRIUS: 82 (Buffalo), 83 (Dallas); XM: 225 (Buffalo), 226 (Dallas)

Officials
New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m.: Shawn Smith
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.: Jerome Boger
Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.: Bill Vinovich

Injury Report

New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m.

New Orleans
QUESTIONABLE: C William Clapp (Back), WR Deonte Harris (Hamstring)

ATLANTA
OUT: TE Austin Hooper (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: S Sharrod Neasman (Shoulder), DE Takkarist McKinley (Shoulder), TE Luke Stocker (Back)

Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.

Chicago
OUT: TE Ben Braunecker (Concussion), WR Taylor Gabriel (Concussion), T Bobby Massie (Ankle), S Sherrick McManis (Groin), TE Adam Shaheen (Foot), LB Danny Trevathan (Elbow)

Detroit
OUT: CB Jamal Agnew (Ankle), WR Marvin Hall (Foot), CB Rashan Melvin (Ribs)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Jeff Driskel (Hamstring), DE Trey Flowers (Concussion), DE Da’Shawn Hand (Ankle), DT Damon Harrison (Knee), TE Thomas Hockenson (Shoulder)

Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.

Buffalo
OUT: T Attauyo Nsekhe (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Robert Foster (Hamstring), C Mitchell Morse (Hand)

Dallas
OUT: LB Leighton Vander Esch (Neck), DT Antwaun Woods (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: S Jeffrey Heath (Shoulder)

Weather
New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m.: Game indoors
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.: Game indoors
Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.: Game indoors

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

11 weeks down.

6 weeks to go.

Nothing’s been decided as far as division winners or Wild Card spots.

There’s still a lot of football left on the docket and these games don’t play themselves. It’s still the time of year where you lose, your next game’s next week, unlike the post-season, where you lose, your next game’s next year.

17 of the 32 teams (53 percent) are at .500 or better and there are a few teams that are near that mark as well. As for the Bengals? They’re still winless and have a slim chance of making the post-season. When the dust does settle at the end of week 17, 12 teams will have their magic tickets punched and get to go to the playoff party. For the other 20 teams, they’ll get lovely parting gifts, as they say on those game shows.

For those on top, it’s another chance to stay on top; for those that are contending, it’s a chance to put themselves one step closer to their intended goal.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 11: The Baltimore Ravens rushed for 263 yards in their 41-7 win over Houston in Week 11. Baltimore, with 2,038 rushing yards through its first 10 games of the season, is the seventh team since 1970 and first since the 1978 New England Patriots (2,029 rushing yards) with at least 2,000 rushing yards in its first 10 games of a season. The Ravens’ 2,038 rushing yards are the fifth-most through a team’s first 10 games of a season since 1970. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, who had 86 rushing yards, has recorded at least 60 rushing yards in seven consecutive games, surpassing Michael Vick (six games in 2004) for the longest such streak by a quarterback in league annals. Jackson has 1,483 career rushing yards, surpassing Cam Newton (1,447) for the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons in NFL history.

Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had seven receptions, including the 600th of his career, in Week 11. At 27 years and 164 days old, Hopkins is the second-youngest player in league annals to reach 600 career receptions, trailing only Larry Fitzgerald (27 years and 110 days old).

Minnesota overcame a 20-0 halftime deficit to defeat Denver, 27-23, in Week 11. The Vikings are the first team in the regular season since the San Diego Chargers (vs. San Francisco on December 20, 2014), who trailed 35-7 at halftime and won 38-35 in overtime, to overcome a halftime deficit of at least 20 points and win.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 444 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 116.6 rating in the Cowboys’ 35-27 win at Detroit. Prescott has four games with at least 375 passing yards and two touchdown passes in 2019, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana (four games in 1990) for the most such games through their team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history. Only Peyton Manning, who had six games with at least 375 passing yards and two touchdown passes in 2013, had more in a full season.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 311 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions for a 111.1 rating in the Falcons’ 29-3 win at Carolina. Ryan, currently in his 12th season, has 60 career games with at least 300 passing yards and joins Drew Brees (67 games) as the only quarterbacks with at least 60 such games in their first 12 seasons in NFL history. Ryan has 49,383 career passing yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon (49,325 passing yards) for the 10th-most passing yards in NFL history.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey recorded 191 scrimmage yards (121 receiving, 70 rushing) along with 11 receptions in Week 11. McCaffrey has seven career games with at least 10 catches, surpassing Larry Centers (six) and Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (six) for the most by a running back in NFL history. Since entering the NFL in 2017, McCaffrey has 12 career games with at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards, tied with Herschel Walker (12 games) for the most such games by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history. McCaffrey, who has 1,576 scrimmage yards and 14 scrimmage touchdowns in 2019, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards and 14 scrimmage touchdowns in his team’s first 10 games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson (1983), O.J. Simpson (1975) and Emmitt Smith (1995) as well as Ahman Green (2003).

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 117.7 rating and added 56 rushing yards with a touchdown in the Bills’ 37-20 win over Miami.

Allen, who has 13 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns in 2019, joined Cam Newton (2011-12) as the only players with at least 10 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Allen recorded his 15th career rushing touchdown in his 22nd career game, the second-fewest games to reach 15 career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history. Only Cam Newton (18 games) reached 15 career rushing touchdowns in fewer games among quarterbacks.

Miami kick returner Jakee Grant, in his fourth NFL season, had a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Week 11, his second career kick-return touchdown of at least 100 yards. Grant, who also has two career punt-return touchdowns of at least 70 yards, is the fourth player in NFL history with at least two kick-return touchdowns of 100 yards and two punt-return touchdowns of 70 yards in his first four seasons, joining Ted Ginn (2007-10), Trindon Holliday (2011-14) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ollie Matson (1952, 1954-56).

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 34-17 win at Tampa Bay. Thomas has 94 receptions in 2019 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (89 receptions in 2002) and Julio Jones (89 in 2015) for the most by a player in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history. Thomas, who has the most receptions (415) by a player in his first four seasons in league annals, is the first player in NFL history with at least 90 receptions in each of his first four seasons.

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams had three sacks in the team’s 34-17 win at Washington. Adams, who had two sacks in Week 10, is the third defensive back to record at least two sacks in consecutive weeks since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining Aaron Beasley (Weeks 5-6 in 2000) and Carnell Lake (Weeks 14-15 in 1997). Adams’ five sacks over a two-week span are tied with Carnell Lake (five sacks in Weeks 14-15 in 1997) for the most by a defensive back over a two-game span since 1982.

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 match-up of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s Oakland-New York Jets match-up as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest is a nod to an earlier meeting that forever changed the way football is consumed. On November 17, 1968, Heidi unexpectedly became part of sports vernacular when East Coast viewers suddenly lost the NBC broadcast of Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath’s Jets trying to hold off a Raiders fourth-quarter comeback. While a large portion of the national audience saw the opening scenes of a made-for-TV movie featuring an orphan girl living with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica was throwing a 43-yard, go-ahead touchdown to Charlie Smith with 42 seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, with the Jets down 36-32 and Heidi’s melodious tones airing in most American living rooms, Oakland’s Bill Budness forced a fumble and teammate Preston Ridelhuber returned it for a touchdown to seal the game. While NBC made a valiant last-second effort to avoid cutting away from the AFL game, several affiliates aired the musical during the Raiders’ comeback. Six weeks later, the Jets got revenge, turning away Oakland at New York’s Shea Stadium in the AFL Championship Game, giving Namath an opportunity to guarantee victory at Super Bowl III.

FLURRY OF TIEBREAKER GAMES ON WEEK 12 SLATE: Week 12 will go down as pivotal in determining the 12 teams that comprise the NFL’s 2019 playoff field in five weeks. That’s because 12 games this week match up teams from the same conference, carrying head-to-head, division- or conference-tiebreaker implications.

PACKERS CLASH WITH NINERS ON SNF: Another intriguing intra-conference game is on Sunday Night Football in San Francisco, where the 49ers (9-1) puts the NFC’s best record on the line against Green Bay (8-2), who leads the NFC North. Over the last 13 seasons, on only five occasions have teams with two-or-fewer losses met this late in a season. The winners of the last two games have won the Super Bowl.

The NFL games featuring teams with two-or-fewer losses in Week 12 or later since 2007:

DATE – VISITOR (RECORD) at HOME (RECORD); RESULT
11/29/2015 – New England (10-0) at Denver (8-2); Denver 30-24 (OT)*
12/2/2013 – New Orleans (9-2) at Seattle (10-1); Seattle 34-7*
12/1/2013 – Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (9-2); Denver 35-28*
12/6/2010 – New York Jets (9-2) at New England (9-2); New England 45-3
11/29/2007 – Green Bay (10-1) at Dallas (10-1); Dallas 37-27
*Played in Super Bowl

Other games with playoff implications are Denver at Buffalo, where the Bills look to improve their record in AFC games, a key Wild Card tiebreaker, to 6-2; Carolina at New Orleans, where the Saints can gain important ground in both the NFC South and the race for the NFC’s top seed by improving their conference record to 7-2; and Seattle and Philadelphia, where the Seahawks can improve their conference record to 6-1 and the Eagles can remain well in contention.

ANOTHER YOUNG QUARTERBACK IN PRIMETIME: Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson leads the Ravens into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to close Week 12 on Monday Night Football. The Ravens rushed for 263 yards in their 41-7 win over Houston in Week 11. Baltimore, with 2,038 rushing yards through its first 10 games of the season, is the seventh team since 1970 and first since the 1978 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2,029 rushing yards) with at least 2,000 rushing yards in its first 10 games of a season. The Ravens’ 2,038 rushing yards are the fifth-most through a team’s first 10 games of a season since 1970.

Jackson, who had 86 rushing yards last week, has recorded at least 60 rushing yards in seven consecutive games, surpassing Michael Vick (six games in 2004) for the longest such streak by a quarterback in league annals. Jackson has 1,483 career rushing yards and surpassed Cam Newton (1,447) for the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons in NFL history.

WINNING FRANCHISES MEET IN FOXBORO: With a win last week, New England secured a 19th consecutive winning season. In NFL history, the only team to string together at least 19 winning seasons was Dallas, who assembled a streak of 20 winning campaigns from 1966-85. Those teams meet on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Additionally, the Patriots (9-1) have the opportunity to win a 10th game and reach 17 consecutive seasons with 10-or-more victories. New England would break a tie with San Francisco, which won 10 games in 16 straight years (1983-98). The Patriots have won at least 10 games every year since going 9-7 in 2002.

Sunday’s battle also features the NFL’s top offense, Dallas, vs. the league’s top defense, New England. The Cowboys are averaging an NFL-leading 444.6 yards per game while New England is holding the NFL to a league-low 249.9 yards per contest.

CROSBY, RAIDERS RETURN EAST TO MEET JETS: 6-4 Oakland meets the New York Jets Sunday in a contest that features a pair of unique sack artists.

Raiders rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby had four sacks in Oakland’s 17-10 win over Cincinnati in Week 11. Since the sack became an official individual statistic in 1982, Crosby became the fourth rookie with at least four sacks in a game, joining Leslie O’Neal (five on November 16, 1986), Cornelius Bennett (four on December 27, 1987) and Brian Orakpo (four on December 13, 2009).

Jets safety Jamal Adams had three sacks in the team’s 34-17 win at Washington last week. Adams, who had two sacks in Week 10, is the third defensive back to record at least two sacks in consecutive weeks since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining Aaron Beasley (Weeks 5-6 in 2000) and Carnell Lake (Weeks 14-15 in 1997). Adams’ five sacks over a two-week span are tied with Lake (five sacks in Weeks 14-15 in 1997) for the most by a defensive back over a two-game span since 1982. Adams, who leads the Jets with a career-high six sacks, could become the first NFL defensive back to lead his team in sacks since Roman Harper led the Saints with 7.5 in 2011.

JACKSONVILLE’S ALLEN SEES KEARSE RECORD ON HORIZON: Another rookie pass-rusher, Jacksonville DE/LB Josh Allen, has eight sacks through 10 games and is on pace for 13 sacks. Allen and the Jaguars this week travel to play Tennessee, who 20 years ago saw Jevon Kearse establish the NFL’s rookie record with 14.5 sacks in 1999. Allen, San Francisco defensive lineman Nick Bosa (seven) and Oakland defensive end Maxx Crosby (6.5) lead NFL rookies in sacks this season. The 76 sacks by NFL rookies this year are tied with 2018 for the second-most through 11 weeks in NFL history, trailing only the 1987 season.

The seasons with the most sacks by rookies through the first 11 weeks in NFL history:

SEASON – SACKS BY ROOKIES THROUGH 11 WEEKS
1987 – 84
2019 – 76
2018 – 76

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 12

HISTORY IN FOXBORO: New England enters Week 12 with the best record in the AFC at 9-1. Since 2003, the Patriots have had at least 10 wins in 16 consecutive seasons – tied with San Francisco (1983-98) for the most consecutive 10-win seasons in NFL history. With a win over NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, New England would surpass San Francisco (16 seasons) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins in NFL history.

The teams with the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins in NFL history:

TEAM, YEARS (CONSECUTIVE 10+ WIN SEASONS)
New England, 2003-18 (16)*
San Francisco, 1983-98 (16)
*Active streak

New England quarterback Tom Brady enters Week 12 with 2,752 passing yards, the third-most in the AFC in 2019. With 248 passing yards on Sunday, Brady would surpass Drew Brees (16 seasons) and Peyton Manning (16) for the second-most seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (18) has more.

The players with the most seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER (TEAMS – SEASONS WITH 3,000 PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre (Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota – 18)
Tom Brady (New England – 16)*
Drew Brees (San Diego and New Orleans – 16)*
Peyton Manning (Indianapolis and Denver – 16)

*Active

NFC SHOWDOWN BY THE BAY: In every season since the NFL expanded to 32 teams and realigned into eight divisions in 2002, at least one team has won its division the season after missing the playoffs. After both missed the playoffs in 2018, San Francisco (9-1) and Green Bay (8-2) currently stand as the top two seeds in the NFC, lead their respective divisions through 10 games and are positioned to continue that trend.

With a win over Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, San Francisco – who finished 4-12 last season – would join the 2016 Dallas Cowboys as the only teams to win 10 of their first 11 games in a season after winning four or fewer games the previous year in NFL history.

DEFENSIVE NIGHTMARE: Through 10 games this season, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson has 2,258 passing yards and 781 rushing yards – the most rushing yards by a quarterback through 10 games of a season in NFL history. Since entering the NFL in 2018, Jackson has 3,459 passing yards and 1,476 rushing yards in 26 career games.

With 24 rushing yards on Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams, Jackson would become the first player with at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards over his first two seasons in NFL history.

CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 1,576 scrimmage yards this season and became the first player with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history.

McCaffrey, who has 20 rushing touchdowns and 14 receiving touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2017, needs one receiving touchdown against New Orleans (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to join Chuck Foreman (1973-75) as the only players with at least 20 rushing touchdowns and 15 receiving touchdowns through their first three seasons in NFL history.

BALLING IN BIG EASY: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas leads the NFL with 94 receptions – the most receptions by a player in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history – and 1,141 receiving yards in 2019. Last week, Thomas had eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown, his fourth-consecutive game with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards.

With at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards on Sunday against Carolina, Thomas would become the fourth player with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards in five consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)

Isaac Bruce, St. Louis Rams (1995 – 6)
Anquan Boldin, Arizona (2005 – 5)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012 – 5)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2019 – 4)*
*Active streak

Additionally, with six receptions and 59 receiving yards, Thomas would become the fifth player to have at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEARS; CONSECUTIVE SEASONS)

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2013-18; 6)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2002; 4) HOF
Herman Moore, Detroit (1995-97; 3)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1994-96; 3) HOF
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2017-18; 2)*
*Active streak
HOF – Hall of Fame

ERTZ GOES FOR 500: Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz has 492 receptions for 5,448 yards and 31 touchdowns in 101 career games. With eight receptions against Seattle on Sunday, Ertz would become the second-fastest tight end to reach 500 career receptions in NFL history.

The tight ends to reach 500 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER (TEAMS, GAMES TO 500 RECEPTIONS)

Kellen Winslow, Sr. (San Diego, 101) HOF
Jimmy Graham (New Orleans and Seattle, 106)
Jason Witten (Dallas, 107)
Rob Gronkowski (New England, 108)
Zach Ertz (Philadelphia, 102)*
*On Sunday
HOF – Hall of Fame

Week 12 got underway as Houston edged Indianapolis in the Lone Star State and concludes on Monday night in Hollywood as the Rams and Ravens meet at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The final byes for the 2019 season go to Arizona, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota. Green Bay, the New York Giants, Seattle and Tennessee come back to action from their week long vacation. As for last week? 8-6 was pretty good and for the season, 72-65. There’s a lot of football left. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 12.

Tampa Bay (3-7) at ATLANTA (3-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC South rivals, separated by 450 miles and 7 hours of driving, meet in Atlanta as Matt Ryan and the Falcons host Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay struggled against New Orleans last Sunday in the Sunshine State as the Saints bounced back from their loss to Atlanta at home and left Tampa Bay with a 34-17 win in hand. The Saints led 20-7 at the intermission, then watched the Buccaneers pull themselves to within 10 with 82 seconds left in the third before restoring order in the fourth when Marcus Williams picked off Winston for a 55-yard interception return for a TD. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 109-36 and Brees threw for 228 yards and a TD, while Winston threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down at Raymond James Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 37 minutes, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 23 minutes, went 5 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Atlanta scored the first 26 points of their contest at Carolina unchallenged, holding the Panthers to a fourth-quarter field to leave Charlotte with a 29-3 win. After Youngho Koo opened the scoring for the Falcons with a 38-yard field goal, the Falcons’ special teams went to work as KR Kenjon Barner returned a punt 78 yards for a TD with 59 seconds left in the first. From there, Atlanta, picking up their second win in a row and second win in the NFC South, floored the gas in the contest, leading 20-0 at the half and took a 26-0 lead into the third quarter before Carolina broke Atlanta’s chance for a shutout on a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Slye early in the quarter. Carolina did manage to outrush Atlanta 77-54 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading everyone with 70 of those yards. Ryan threw for 311 yards and a TD toss to Calvin Ridley with no interceptions (he was sacked three times), while Kyle Allen threw for 325 yards with five sacks and four interceptions. Atlanta was 6 of 14 on third down at Bank of America Stadium but had success in their only fourth down try in the contest and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:26, while Carolina held on to the pigskin for 28:34 and went 2 of 14 on third down, 3 of 5 on fourth down.

While the Falcons lead the series 27-24, Tampa Bay has outscored Atlanta 1,113-1,095. The Falcons have won the last five meetings, including sweeping the last two series and swept last year’s contests (Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in 2016 in the Big Peach by a final of 31-24.

The first meeting? Week six in the Big Peach. The Falcons would take a 21-13 lead over the Buccaneers and never looked back, coming away 34-29 winners at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ryan (354 yards, three TDs) and Winston (395 yards, four TDs, two interceptions) combined for seven TD passes in the NFC South contest as Tampa Bay outrushed Atlanta 123-70 (Winston was sacked twice, Ryan once). Both clubs did quite well on third down tries; the Falcons were 8 of 13, while the Buccaneers were 5 of 8 and the Falcons ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:39 to Tampa Bay’s 28:21.

The two clubs closed out the 2018 season at Raymond James Stadium and for Atlanta, second verse, same as the first. The Falcons completed the sweep, rallying from behind in the closing seconds of the contest to take a 34-32 win in the Sunshine State. Atlanta trailed 17-7 at the intermission, then rallied to take the lead for the first time with 10:51 left in regulation when Ryan and Ridley connected on a 7-yard TD pass to lead 31-20. Winston then responded with a pair of TD passes in the final quarter, one to Mike Evans, the other to Chris Godwin to lead by one with 5:10 left in the contest (Tampa Bay missed on a pair of two-point conversions in the fourth). The Falcons would use all of the 5:10 that was left in the contest, using a 13-play, 56-yard drive, eating all of the clock and ending as Matt Bryant kicked a 37-yard field goals as the clock struck :00. This time, Atlanta outrushed Tampa Bay 109-92 and Ryan threw for 378 yards and a pair of TDs (including one to Julio Jones), while Winston threw for 345 yards with four TDs (two to Goodwin, two to Evans; each was sacked once and threw an interception). Atlanta was 6 for 13 on third down tries and ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 34:46 (including the final 5:10 of the contest), while Tampa Bay in keeping the ball for 25:14, went 4 for 10 on third down tries.

In the week six contest in Atlanta, the Falcons covered the 3-point spread, winning by 5 and both clubs covered the 58 over/under with 63 points. Tampa Bay was the favorite by 2 points in the season finale in the Sunshine State and Atlanta covered, winning the contest by 3 and both teams easily covered the 51 1/2 over/under with 66 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like Atlanta as 4 1/2-point favorites with a 52 over/under. History does have a way of repeating itself and that will favor Atlanta. Falcons prevail at home and cover the 4 1/2.

Denver (3-7) at Buffalo (7-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Old AFL foes Denver and Buffalo meet in upstate New York as the Bills, in the playoff hunt, host the struggling Denver Broncos.

The Broncos’ last second rally against Minnesota fell short as the Vikings prevailed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes last Sunday afternoon 27-23 at US Bank Stadium. Denver led 20-0 at the intermission, scoring those points unchecked before the Vikings went to work in the second half and scored 20 fourth quarter points of their own unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 6:01 left in the contest when WR Kyle Rudolph caught a 32-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins to lead 27-23. After the teams exchanged the ball, Denver got it back with 5:55 left in the contest and from their 40-yard line, drove themselves all the way to Minnesota’s 4-yard line where three Brock Allen passes fell incomplete, including the final try that came with 2 seconds left to play that would have given Denver the win.

Denver did outrush Minnesota 124-37 with Patrick Lindsay leading the way with 67 yards, while Allen threw for 240 yards and TD with a pair of sacks and an interception (Cousins, despite being sacked five times, threw for 319 yards with three TDs, including the game-winner to Rudolph with no interceptions). Denver went 5 for 18 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43 (including the final 5:55 of the contest), while the Vikings held on to the ball for 23:17, going 5 of 121 on third down (the Broncos were 4 of 4 on fourth down, while Minnesota was 2 of 2).

Buffalo completed the sweep of AFC East rival Miami, taking the Dolphins to task 37-20 at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday. Buffalo led 23-14 at the half, despite a 101-yard kickoff return by Jakee Grant. Josh Allen would give the Bills a 16-point lead at 30-14 as he would score on an 8-yard run with 6:55 left in the third before Miami’s Jakeem Grant scored on a 7-yard run early in the fourth before the Bills iced the game away with 10:38 left in the contest on a 9-yard TD pass from Allen to WR John Brown.

Buffalo rushed for 168 yards in the contest, holding Miami to a dismal season-low 23 yards, sacking Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (323 yards, no interceptions), while Allen threw for 256 yards with no sacks or interceptions. Buffalo went 5 of 14 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:09, while the Dolphins were 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 4 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 29:51.

Including contests that were played at War Memorial Stadium and Mile High Stadium, the Bills lead the series 20-16-1 and Buffalo has outscored Denver 881-811. They last met in upstate New York in 2017 and the Bills came away 26-16 victors, while Denver’s last win came in the Mile High City by a final of 24-17 in 2014. Buffalo’s favored by 4 in upstate New York and the over/under’s 37. Denver’s been struggling of late, while Buffalo has played some decent football. Bills circle the wagons in Orchard Park by taking the win and covering the 4.

New York Giants (2-8) at Chicago (4-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Struggling teams meet in the Windy City as the New York Giants make their way to Soldier Field for a contest with the Chicago Bears.

Da Bears could never get themselves on track in Los Angeles as the Monsters of the Midway fell to Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams 17-7 last SUnday night on the West Coast. After a scoreless first quarter on the West Coast, Greg Zuerlen (38-yard field goal) and Todd Gurley (1-yard TD run) would send the Rams to a 10-0 lead at the break. Chicago would pull themselves to within 3 with 7:10 left in the third when RB Tank Cohen and Trubisky connected on a 14-yard toss. Los Angeles would then restore order in the fourth quarter, with RB Malcom Brown scoring from 5 yards out to push the lead back to 10, then stopped a late Bears rally to seal the win at home.

The Rams outrushed Chicago 110-74, with Gurley leading all rushers with 97 yards and Jared Goff threw for 173 yards, while Trubisky (who left the game with an injury) threw for 190 yards and a sack (both threw interceptions). The defending NFC champs were 3 for 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:16, while Chicago ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:44 and went 6 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Da Bears lead the series 28-21-2 (which includes games that took place at Yankee Stadium, Giants Stadium and Wrigley Field and have outscored the Giants 896-722. The Giants have come out on top in their last two contests, including last year’s meeting in the Meadowlands, where the Giants needed overtime to take a 30-27 win (Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2013 in the Windy City by a final of 27-21.

They met in week 13 at Met Life Stadium and Da Bears took a 14-10 lead with them into the half before the Giants rallied in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in the period unchallenged, using a TD pass from Odell Beckham Jr. to Sterling Shepherd, then Beckham and Eli Manning connecting on a 1-yard toss to lead 24-14 at the end of the third quarter. Chicago would eventually tie the contest as time expired in regulation when RB Tank Cohen and Anthony Miller connected on a 1-yard TD toss, evening things at 27-27.

The Giants got the ball to start the overtime and Manning engineered an 8-play, 49-yard drive that used 4:03 of clock and took the lead back on a 44-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas with 5:57 left in the extra period. Chicago got the ball back after a kickoff and made their way downfield, getting themselves in position to either tie the contest up with a field goal or win with a TD but Chase Daniel, who took over for Trubisky, was sacked for a 6-yard loss. Chicago then burned a time out and had one last chance to either extend the contest or end it. Chicago got neither, as Daniel’s pass to Taylor Gabriel was incomplete.

New York outrushed Da Bears 141-118, with Saquan Barkley leading all rushers with 125 (Jaquan Howard led Chicago with 76) and Manning threw for 170 yards with the TD toss to Beckham (Manning was sacked three times and threw an interception), while Daniel threw for 285 yards with five sacks and two interceptions. The Giants were 6 of 17 on third down (they perfect in their two fourth down tries) and including the overtime, kept the ball for 33:13, while Chicago held on to the ball for 33:58, going 2 of 15 on third down, 4 of 5 on fourth down.

Chicago was favored by 4 in the week 13 contest in the Meadowlands and while New York came away with the win, they did not cover, winning by only 3. The two clubs did take care of the 44 1/2 over/under, as they combined for 57 points. Chicago’s favored by 6 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 40 1/2. If you’re a fan of one of these teams, watch; otherwise, may we suggest the “Bar Rescue” marathon on Paramount Network. The Giants will actually keep this one close but Da Bears win at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon.

Pittsburgh (5-5) at Cincinnati (0-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They meet again. A pair of AFC North rivals face off against each other, this time meeting along the shores of the Ohio River as Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, both taking losses on the road, meet in a week four rematch at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cleveland managed to prevail over AFC North rival Pittsburgh 21-7 at First Energy Stadium Thursday night in a contest that was marred by a bench-clearing brawl late in the contest. The Browns took a 14-0 lead at the intermission as Baker Mayfield ran for a TD to open the scoring and Josh Landry catching a 1-yard toss from Mayfield, closing out the scoring in the half. Pittsburgh would break the shutout bid up as Mason Rudolph and WR RB Jaylen Samuels connected on a 3-yard TD pass in the third before the Browns restored order in the fourth, with Mayfield and rookie TE Stephen Carlson connected on an 8-yard TD toss to close out the scoring.

Later in the contest, with Cleveland having victory secured, Pittsburgh had the ball at their 11-yard with 1:40 left in the contest. The Steelers would get themselves as close as their 36-yard before Rudolph was sacked twice before completing an 11-yard pass to Trey Edmonnds. While that play was going on, Rudolph and Myles Garrett were involved in a scuffle, with Garrett pushing Rudolph to the ground. Rudolph then tried to take off Garrett’s helmet at which that time, things really got heated as Garrett took Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him, hitting him in the head. Rudolph’s teammates then came to his aid and there would be more pushing and shoving. When the dust finally settled, Garrett was ejected from the contest, along with Larry Ogunjobi and Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey.

Garrett would be suspended without pay indefinitely by the league – at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason – and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement. He was also fined an additional amount. As for Pouncey and Ogunjobi? Pouncey has been suspended without pay for three games and fined an additional amount for fighting, including punching and kicking an opponent. Ogunjobi has been suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation and the two clubs were both fined $250,000. (Cleveland’s Damarious Randall was already disqualified from the contest for a hit on Dioante Johnson in the third quarter)

Cleveland outrushed the Steelers 104-58, with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. Mayfield threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD (Mayfield was sacked once), while Rudolph threw for 221 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off four times. Cleveland, flagged eight times for 121 yards, went 6 of 16 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 33:56, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:04.

Oakland handed Cincinnati their 10th loss in a row, erasing a 7-0 first quarter deficit and coming away 17-10 winners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum last Sunday. Cincinnati scored first on a 3-yard run by RB Joe Mixon late in the first quarter before the Raiders responded in the second, as QB Derek Carr and TE Foster Moreau connected on a 2-yard run to even things up at 7-7. Carr then took matters into his own feet, scoring on a 3-yard romp with 97 seconds left before intermission to take the lead for good. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would put the Bengals to within 4 with a 40-yard field goal before Raiders K Daniel Carlson responded with a 20-yard field to push the lead back to seven. After a Raider punt with 1:54 left in the contest, Cincinnati had the ball for only two plays and their hopes of tying the contest ended when backup QB Ryan Finley was picked off by Trayvon Mullen.

Cincinnati outrushed Oakland 173-113 (Mixon led the Bengals with 86 yards, while Raiders RB Josh Jacobs led all rushers with 112 yards) and Carr threw for 292 yards and the TD to Moreau to go with his rushing TD (Carr was sacked three times and picked off once), while Finley threw for 115 with five sacks and the interception that ended the Bengals’ hopes. Oakland was 7 for 15 on third down tries (the Silver and Black was 1 for 1 on fourth down) and they would hold on to the ball for 35:22, while the winless Bengals kept the pigskin for 24:38, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They met in the Steel City in week four at Heinz Field and Cincinnati led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Bengals then watched as Pittsburgh scored the next 27 points of the contest unchallenged, taking a 27-3 win at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 10-3 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the second, taking control of the contest from that point onward. While Cincinnati did outrush the Steelers 73-33, Rudolph threw for 229 yards with a pair of TDs without a sack or interception, while Dalton threw for 171 yards and was sacked eight times and threw an interception. Pittsburgh was 3 of 9 on third down (the Steelers were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:46, while the Bengals actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:14, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on third down.

In the week four Monday night contest in the Steel City, the Steelers were favored by 4 and covered, winning by 24 at Heinz Field. The 44 over/under stayed safe, as the two teams merged for only 30 points. Pittsburgh’s favored by 7 in the rematch and the over/under’s 39. The Bengals are free-falling, as the Tom Petty song says and it’s not going to get any better. Pittsburgh wins on the road and covers the 7.

Miami (2-8) at Cleveland (4-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Miami makes its way to Cleveland to square off against the Browns.

The struggling Dolphins watched Buffalo complete the sweep of AFC East rival Miami, taking the Dolphins to task 37-20 at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday. While they trailed 23-14 at the half, Miami’s one bright spot came on a 101-yard kickoff return by Jakee Grant. Buffalo’s Josh Allen would give the Bills a 16-point lead at 30-14 as he would score on an 8-yard run with 6:55 left in the third before Miami’s Jakeem Grant scored on a 7-yard run early in the fourth before the Bills iced the game away with 10:38 left in the contest on a 9-yard TD pass from Allen to WR John Brown.

Buffalo rushed for 168 yards in the contest, holding Miami to a dismal season-low 23 yards, sacking Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (323 yards, no interceptions), while Allen threw for 256 yards with no sacks or interceptions. Buffalo went 5 of 14 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:09, while the Dolphins were 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 4 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 29:51.

In a contest marred by three Cleveland ejections, the Browns managed to prevail over AFC North rival Pittsburgh 21-7 at First Energy Stadium Thursday night. The Browns took a 14-0 lead at the intermission as Baker Mayfield ran for a TD to open the scoring and Josh Landry catching a 1-yard toss from Mayfield, closing out the scoring in the half. Pittsburgh would break the shutout bid up as Mason Rudolph and WR RB Jaylen Samuels connected on a 3-yard TD pass in the third before the Browns restored order in the fourth, with Mayfield and rookie TE Stephen Carlson connected on an 8-yard TD toss to close out the scoring.

Later in the contest, with Cleveland having victory secured, Pittsburgh had the ball at their 11-yard with 1:40 left in the contest. The Steelers would get themselves as close as their 36-yard before Rudolph was sacked twice before completing an 11-yard pass to Trey Edmonnds. While that play was going on, Rudolph and Myles Garrett were involved in a scuffle, with Garrett pushing Rudolph to the ground. Rudolph then tried to take off Garrett’s helmet at which that time, things really got heated as Garrett took Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him, hitting him in the head. Rudolph’s teammates then came to his aid and there would be more pushing and shoving. When the dust finally settled, Garrett was ejected from the contest, along with Larry Ogunjobi and Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey.

Garrett would be suspended without pay indefinitely by the league – at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason – and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement. He was also fined an additional amount. As for Pouncey and Ogunjobi? Pouncey has been suspended without pay for three games and fined an additional amount for fighting, including punching and kicking an opponent. Ogunjobi has been suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation and the two clubs were both fined $250,000. (Cleveland’s Damarious Randall was already disqualified from the contest for a hit on Dioante Johnson in the third quarter)

Cleveland outrushed the Steelers 104-58, with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. Mayfield threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD (Mayfield was sacked once), while Rudolph threw for 221 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off four times. Cleveland, flagged eight times for 121 yards, went 6 of 16 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 33:56, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:04.

While Miami leads the series 9-8, the Browns have actually outscored the Dolphins 335-322. Miami has won the last two meetings with Cleveland, with the last win coming in 2016 in the Sunshine State as the Dolphins needed overtime to come away with the 30-24 win, while Cleveland’s last win in the series came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2011 by a final of 17-16. Cleveland’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 44. Take a pass on this one and shop for that Christmas tree. Miami will make it closer than 10 but Cleveland prevails along the shores of Lake Erie.

Carolina (5-5) at New Orleans (8-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. BBQ meets Gumbo. A pair of NFC South rivals square off in the Big Easy as the struggling Carolina Panthers make their way to New Orleans to face off against the Saints and Drew Brees.

The Panthers had trouble with NFC South rival Atlanta last Sunday in the Tar Heel State, as they were held to a fourth-quarter field to leave Charlotte with a 29-3 loss. After Atlanta’s Youngho Koo opened the scoring for the Falcons with a 38-yard field goal, the Falcons’ special teams went to work as KR Kenjon Barner returned a punt 78 yards for a TD with 59 seconds left in the first. In the process of picking up their second win in a row and second win in the NFC South, floored the gas in the contest, leading 20-0 at the half and took a 26-0 lead into the third quarter before Carolina broke Atlanta’s chance for a shutout on a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Slye early in the quarter.

Carolina did manage to outrush Atlanta 77-54 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading everyone with 70 of those yards. Matt Ryan threw for 311 yards and a TD toss to Calvin Ridley with no interceptions (he was sacked three times), while Kyle Allen threw for 325 yards with five sacks and four interceptions. Atlanta was 6 of 14 on third down at Bank of America Stadium but had success in their only fourth down try in the contest and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:26, while Carolina held on to the pigskin for 28:34 and went 2 of 14 on third down, 3 of 5 on fourth down.

New Orleans bounced back from their loss to Atlanta at home and left Tampa Bay with a 34-17 win in hand. The Saints led 20-7 at the intermission, then watched the Buccaneers pull themselves to within 10 with 82 seconds left in the third before restoring order in the fourth when Marcus Williams picked off Jameis Winston for a 55-yard interception return for a TD. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 109-36 and Brees threw for 228 yards and a TD, while Winston threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down at Raymond James Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 37 minutes, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 23 minutes, went 5 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Carolina holds a slim 25-23 lead in the series and the Panthers have outscored New Orleans 1,056-1,039. The two NFC North rivals met last year and split the two contests, each winning in the other team’s facility.

Meeting number one… week 15 in the Tar Heel State on a Monday night and the Saints came away 12-9 winners. Carolina led 7-6 at the intermission and took that lead with them to the fourth quarter before Brees and the Saints would take the lead for good with 12:12 left in the contest on a 16-yard run by Kamara. The Saints then went for two but the try for two failed as Carolina’s Dante Jackson returned the ball for 2 points for the Panthers. Caroline and New Orleans would trade punts after that and the Panthers would get the ball back with 1:44 left in hopes of taking the prime-time win but the drive stalled at their 39-yard line, where Newton’s 4th-down try went incomplete. New Orleans would then get the ball back and seal the win on the road.

New Orleans outrushed Carolina in the Monday night match-up 155-98 and Kamara led all rushers with 67 yards, while teammate Mark Ingram tallied 63 yards (Carolina was led by McCaffery with 53 yards) and Brees threw for 203 yards, while Newton threw for 131 yards (Brees was sacked twice, while Newton was sacked four times, with each throwing an interception). New Orleans went 4 of 13 on third down conversions (the Saints were perfect in their only fourth down try) and held on to the ball for 35:09, while the Panthers went 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 24:51.

The Panthers got their revenge in the Big Easy in the season finale, as the Saints rested most of their starters and Carolina would leave the Mercedes-Benz Superdome 33-14 winners. Carolina scored the first 23 points of the contest unchallenged and took a 23-0 lead with them to the half. Carolina took a 30-0 with them at the end of three quarters before the Saints broke Carolina’s bid for a shutout in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard TD toss from Teddy Bridgewater to WR Tre’Quan Smith with 13:28 left in the contest. Carolina’s Chris Catanzaro would then add a 51-yard field goal to pretty much sealed New Orleans’ fate.

New Orleans outrushed Carolina 184-111, with Saints RB Dwayne Washington leading the way with 108 yards in the contest. Bridgwater, taking over for Brees, threw for 118 yards and the TD toss (Bridgewater was sacked twice and threw an interception), while Allen, taking over for Newton, threw for 228 yards with a pair of TDs without a sack or interception. Carolina was 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:26 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down), while the Saints kept the ball for 26:34, going 4 of 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week 15 match-up in the Tar Heel State on a Monday night, while the Saints were favored by 6 1/2, they would wind up winning by only 3 and the over/under of 52 was intact, as the two teams combined for only 21 points. New Orleans was favored in the match-up in the Big Easy two weeks later as a 9-point favorite and Carolina would win by 19, easily covering the spread and the 47 combined points by the two teams covered the 45 over/under. The Saints are favored by 9 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both teams are smarting from losses to Atlanta in consecutive weeks and both would love to get themselves back on track in the NFC South. Carolina may not cover the 9 1/2 but they take the win in the Big Easy.

Seattle (8-2) at Philadelphia (5-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Grunge and Salmon meets cheesesteak as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks travel to the City of Brotherly Love for a meeting with Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Seattle knocked San Francisco out of the ranks of the undefeated, coming away 27-24 winners in overtime against their NFC West rivals. The 49ers led Seattle 10-7 at the half before the Seahawks took control of things in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in that frame unchallenged when Javeon Clowney recovered a fumble, returning it 10 yards for a TD and added a 1-yard run by Chris Carson for a 21-10 lead. San Francisco would storm back in the final 15 minutes of action in regulation and tied things up with one second left on a Chris McLaughlin field goal from 47 yards.

Seattle would get the ball in the overtime and made their way down the field in hopes of ending the contest with a TD but Russell Wilson was picked off by LB Dre Greenlaw, who ran the ball back to Seattle’s 49-yard line, ending the drive. The 49ers then had a chance to send their fans home happy but the football gods were not going the 49ers way, as the drive stalled and McLaughlin missed a 47-yard try that would have ended the contest.

The Seahawks got the ball back and San Francisco held them in check, forcing a Seattle punt. San Francisco could not do anything after three Jimmy Garapollo passes went incomplete. The 49ers punted the ball back to Seattle with 85 seconds left in the extra period and Seattle made sure the 49ers would never see the pigskin again, using a 7-play, 40-yard drive that took 85 seconds of clock and ended when Jason Myers connected on a 42-yard field goal to end the 49ers’ bid for a perfect season. Seattle outrushed San Francisco 147-87, with Carson leading all rushers with 89 yards and the TD. Wilson threw for 232 yards in the overtime contest, while Garapollo threw for 248 yards (both threw a TD, both were sacked five times and both threw an interception) in the Monday night affair. San Francisco went 6 for 15 on third down tries in Santa Clara (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:41, while Seattle kept the ball for 35:19, while going 7 for 15 on third down tries.

Philadelphia watched the defending Super Bowl champions erase a 10-9 lead at the half and came out of Lincoln Financial Field 17-10 winners last Sunday in Philadelphia. This time, it was not Tom Brady that threw a TD pass for the Patriots in the contest; instead, it was Julian Edelman throwing a 15-yard TD toss to WR Philip Dorsett with 10:49 left in the third quarter. The Pats then went for two and were successful, as RB James White carried the ball in for the two. That would be the only score in the second half and the Patriots would hold off a late Philadelphia rally in the closing seconds of the contest, as the Eagles got as close as their 42-yard line before Wentz’ last ditch pass fell incomplete.

The Eagles outrushed New England 81-74 and Brady threw for 216 yards with a sack, while Wentz threw for 214 yards and a TD to TD Dallas Goedert early in the second quarter (neither threw an interception). New England was 5 for 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:25, while Philadelphia went 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:35.

Seattle leads the series 9-7, the Seahawks have outscored the Eagles 347-296 and have won the last four contests, including a 24-10 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2017, while Philadelphia’s last win in the series also came in the Pacific Northwest, with the Eagles coming away 26-7 winners. Philly’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 49. While this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” this one is going to be entertaining. Eagles cover the 2 1/2 in the City of Brotherly Love and takes the win.

Oakland (6-4) at New York Jets (3-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC/AFL teams meet in upstate New Jersey as the Oakland Raiders make their way east to face off against the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium. Both clubs were winners in their Sunday games last week.

Oakland handed Cincinnati their 10th loss in a row, erasing a 7-0 first quarter deficit and coming away 17-10 winners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum last Sunday. Cincinnati scored first on a 3-yard run by RB Joe Mixon late in the first quarter before the Raiders responded in the second, as QB Derek Carr and TE Foster Moreau connected on a 2-yard run to even things up at 7-7. Carr then took matters into his own feet, scoring on a 3-yard romp with 97 seconds left before intermission to take the lead for good. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would put the Bengals to within 4 with a 40-yard field goal before Raiders K Daniel Carlson responded with a 20-yard field to push the lead back to seven. After a Raider punt with 1:54 left in the contest, Cincinnati had the ball for only two plays and their hopes of tying the contest ended when backup QB Ryan Finley was picked off by Trayvon Mullen.

Suprisingly, Cincinnati outrushed Oakland 173-113 (Mixon led the Bengals with 86 yards, while Raiders RB Josh Jacobs led all rushers with 112 yards) and Carr threw for 292 yards and the TD to Moreau to go with his rushing TD (Carr was sacked three times and picked off once), while Finley threw for 115 with five sacks and the interception that ended the Bengals’ hopes.
Oakland was 7 for 15 on third down tries (the Silver and Black was 1 for 1 on fourth down) and they would hold on to the ball for 35:22, while the winless Bengals kept the pigskin for 24:38, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

GangGreen made life somewhat miserable for Washington last Sunday in Landover, taking the Redskins 34-17 at Fed Ex Field. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led 20-3 at the intermission and never looked back, taking their second win in a two-week span. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw four TD passes in the first half as GangGreen led from start to finish. GangGreen outrushed Washington 115-54 and Darnold threw for 293 yards with the four TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception), while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (one to TE Jeremy Sprinkle) but was sacked six times and threw a pick. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 5 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:19, while the struggling Redskins were 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:41.

Including games that were played when the Jets were known as the Titans, games played at Shea Stadium, Giants Stadium and in Los Angeles, the Silver and Black lead the series 23-17-2, have outscored GangGreen 1,005-918 and have won the last two contests, including a 45-20 win on the West Coast in 2017, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!’ last win over the Raiders came in 2014 in the Meadowlands by a final of 19-14.

Sunday’s Raiders/Jets contest marks the 51st anniversary of “The Heidi Game or Heidi Bowl.” Played on November 17th, 1969, the game was notable for its exciting finish, in which Oakland scored two touchdowns in the final minute to win the game 43–32 but got its name for a decision by the game’s television broadcaster, NBC, to break away from its coverage of the game on the East Coast to broadcast the television film Heidi, causing many viewers to miss the Raiders’ comeback.

A high-scoring contest, together with a number of injuries and penalties for the two bitter AFL rivals, caused the game to run long. NBC executives had originally ordered that Heidi begin at 7 p.m. Eastern but then decided to allow the game to air to its conclusion. However, communicating this revised plan to the technicians running NBC’s master control proved impossible — as 7 p.m. approached, NBC’s switchboards were jammed by viewers phoning to inquire about the night’s schedule, preventing the planned change from being communicated. Heidi began as scheduled, preempting the final moments of the game and the two Oakland touchdowns in the eastern half of the country, to the outrage of viewers.

Response to the pre-emption by viewers and other critics was negative; the family members of several Jets players were unaware of the game’s actual conclusion, while NBC received further criticism for its poor timing in displaying the final score of the game during the Heidi movie. NBC’s president Julian Goodman formally apologized for the incident. The Jets and Raiders met again in the AFL Championship Game, with the Jets winning 27–23. They later defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

In the aftermath of the incident, NBC installed special “Heidi phones”, with a connection to a different telephone exchange from other network phones, to ensure that network personnel could communicate under similar circumstances. The game also had an influence on sports broadcasting practices; the future National Football League would contractually stipulate that all game telecasts be shown to their conclusion in the markets of the visiting team, while other major leagues and events adopted similar mandates. In 1997, the Heidi Game was voted the most memorable regular season game in pro football history. The Raiders would go on to win that contest 43-32 at Shea Stadium that afternoon.

In the modern-day “Heidi,” game, the Raiders are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46. For GangGreen, it’s been a somewhat dismal season and they would love nothing more than taking care of the Raiders in their building. They’ll get that chance this Sunday. GangGreen covers the 3 and wins in upstate New Jersey.

Detroit (3-6-1) at Washington (1-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s a pair of NFC teams struggling to get out of the cellars of their respective divisions as Detroit makes its way to Landover to face off against the struggling Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field. Both teams took losses at home in last week’s action.

Washington last Sunday in Landover against the New York Jets last Sunday, as the Jets would wind up taking the Redskins 34-17 at Fed Ex Field. Washington trailed 20-3 at the intermission and could never get themselves on track in the contest. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw four TD passes in the first half as GangGreen led from start to finish. GangGreen outrushed Washington 115-54 and Darnold threw for 293 yards with the four TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception), while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (one to TE Jeremy Sprinkle) but was sacked six times and threw a pick. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 5 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:19, while the struggling Redskins were 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:41.

A late Detroit Dallasrally at Ford Field last fell short last Sunday against Dallas, as it would be the Cowboys taming the Lions 35-27 last Sunday. Detroit led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before Dallas would wind up taking control and a 24-14 lead with them to the intermission. Detroit would make it a three-point game with 9:15 left in the third when Lions backup QB Josh Driskel (who took over for Matthew Stafford) and WR Marvin Jones connected on an 11-yard TD toss. A Brett Maher field late in the third and a Prescott TD toss to RB Ezekiel Elliott in the fourth all but sealed Detroit’s fate. Jones and Driskell would connect again with 5:49 left in the contest to make it an 8-point contest (the Lions went for a 2-point conversion and failed).

Detroit outrushed Dallas 121-75 and Prescott threw for 444 yards with three TDs with one sack, while Driskel threw for 209 yards with a pair of TDs and three sacks (neither threw an interception). Dallas went 8 for 14 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:54, while the Lions kept the pigskin for 29:06, going 6 of 13 on third down.

The Redskins lead the series 27-14 (which includes contests that were played when the Lions were in Portsmouth and known as the Spartans) and have outscored Detroit 871-675. However…. the Lions have come away with wins in their last four meetings, including a 20-17 win in 2016 in the Motor City, while the Redskins’ last win also came in Detroit by a final of 25-17 in 2008. Detroit’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 42. Washington fans have been singing “Hell, it’s the Redskins” a lot this year. They’ll be singing it again this week. If for some reason you choose to take a pass on this one, we’ll understand. Detroit wins in Landover, although Washington could make this one closer than the 3 1/2.

Jacksonville (4-6) at Tennessee (5-5), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. They’re both trying to catch Houston in the AFC South. Jacksonville and Tennessee meet in Nashville in a late-afternoon week three rematch. The Jaguars are looking to right their ship after a loss last week, while the Titans are coming back from their bye week.

Jacksonville could never get themselves on track in Indianapolis as they fell to Jacoby Brissett and the Colts 33-13 at Lucas Oil Stadium. After Jacksonville’s D.J. Chark gave them a 7-0 lead in the first, the Colts evened things up with 35 seconds left in the quarter on a 13-yard run by RB Marlon Mack. Indianapolis then broke the tie on a 34-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri to take a 10-3 lead with them to the intermission, then scored 14 third quarter points unchallenged and added a 7-yard TD run by Nyheim Hines to widen the deficit. Jacksonville would score again late in the contest when Chark scored on a 20-yard TD toss from Nick Foles but the Colts then proceeded to add insult to injury when rookie LB Bobby Okereke scored on a defensive 2-point conversion to close things out.

The Colts rushed for 264 yards in the win, with Jonathan Williams (116 yards) and Mack (109 yards) leading the way, while Indianapolis held Jacksonville to a dismal season-low 29 yards. Brissett returned to the lineup, throwing for 148 yards with a TD toss to Marcus Johnson and had a rushing TD of his own, while Foles threw for 296 yards and the two TDs to Chark but was sacked twice and Brissett was sacked three times (both men threw an interception). The Colts went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 33:52, while Jacksonville, keeping the ball for 26:08, went 6 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Tennessee stopped a Kansas City rally in Nashville two weeks ago to come away 35-32 winners over the Chiefs. The Chiefs had a chance to send their contest with Tennessee into overtime last Sunday in Nashville but Harrison Butker’s 52-yard attempt as time expired was blocked by Titans DB Joshua Kalu to end the threat. Tennessee and Kansas City went into the intermission tied at 13-13 before the Chiefs took a 32-27 lead when Butker connected on a 39-yard field goal with 3:14 left in the contest. Tennessee did not waste a lot of time on their drive to reclaim the lead, getting the ball back with 81 seconds after a Chiefs’ field goal try failed, using 4 plays, 61 yards and 58 seconds to reclaim the lead when WR Adam Humphries and Ryan Tannehill connected on a 23-yard TD toss. Tannehill then took matters into his own feet when he scored on the two-point conversion.

The Chiefs were not going away and got the ball back with 23 seconds left in the contest and made their way down the field, getting as close as Tennessee’s 34-yard and stayed there after Mahomes threw an incomplete pass, setting the Chiefs up for what they hoped would be the score that would have sent the contest into overtime. Chiefs fans would get their hearts broken as Kalu broke through the line, blocked the kick and ended the Chiefs threat.

Tennessee’s Derrek Henry led all rushers with 188 yards and a pair of TDs as the Titans outrushed Kansas City 225-97 and Mahomes threw for 446 and three TDs (connecting with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on two of the passes), while Tannehill threw for 181 yards and a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) to go with his two-point try (neither threw an interception; Mahomes was sacked twice, while Tannehill was sacked four times). Kansas City was 7 of 14 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:51, including the final 23 seconds of the game, while the Titans, keeping the ball for 22:09, went 2 of 8 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

They met in the Sunshine State in week three and Jacksonville took care of business at TIAA Stadium, coming away 20-7 winners. Jacksonville took a 14-0 lead with them to the intermission and led 17-0 at the end of three quarters before Tennessee dented the scoreboard in the fourth on a 1-yard run by Henry early in the fourth. Tennessee did outrush Jacksonville 91-88 (Fournette led all rushers with 66 yards) and Gardner Mihshew threw for 204 yards with a pair of TDs, while Marcus Mariota threw for 304 yards without a TD or interception but was sacked nine times. Jacksonville was 2 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 24:44, while the Titans actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:16, while going 8 of 17 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Tennessee was favored by 1 1/2 in the week three contest in the Sunshine State on a Thursday night and the Jaguars handled things, covering the spread with their 13-point win. The 39 over/under stayed safe, as both clubs merged for only 27 points. Tennessee’s favored again, this time by 3 with a 41 1/2 over/under. The Titans are looking to even the series and get some revenge, while the Jaguars are looking for the sweep and let Tennessee know that the first meeting was not a fluke. Jacksonville completes the sweep, taking the win on the road and covering the 3.

Dallas (6-4) at New England (9-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of first place teams meet in a late afternoon contest in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium. Both teams were winners on the road in last week’s action.

Dallas held off a late Detroit rally at Ford Field last Sunday, taming the Lions 35-27 last Sunday. The Cowboys trailed 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before taking a 24-14 lead with them to the intermission. Detroit would make it a three-point game with 9:15 left in the third when Lions backup QB Josh Driskel (who took over for Matthew Stafford) and WR Marvin Jones connected on an 11-yard TD toss. A Brett Maher field late in the third and a Prescott TD toss to RB Ezekiel Elliott in the fourth all but sealed Detroit’s fate. Jones and Driskell would connect again with 5:49 left in the contest to make it an 8-point contest (the Lions went for a 2-point conversion and failed).

Detroit outrushed Dallas 121-75 and Prescott threw for 444 yards with three TDs with one sack, while Driskel threw for 209 yards with a pair of TDs and three sacks (neither threw an interception). Dallas went 8 for 14 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:54, while the Lions kept the pigskin for 29:06, going 6 of 13 on third down.

The defending Super Bowl champions erased a 10-9 lead at the half and came out of Lincoln Financial Field 17-10 winners last Sunday in Philadelphia. This time, it was not Brady that threw a TD pass for the Patriots in the contest; instead, it was Julian Edelman throwing a 15-yard TD toss to WR Philip Dorsett with 10:49 left in the third quarter. The Pats then went for two and were successful, as RB James White carried the ball in for the two. That would be the only score in the second half and the Patriots would hold off a late Philadelphia rally in the closing seconds of the contest, as the Eagles got as close as their 42-yard line before Wentz’ last ditch pass fell incomplete.

The Eagles outrushed New England 81-74 and Brady threw for 216 yards with a sack, while Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz threw for 214 yards and a TD to TD Dallas Goedert early in the second quarter (neither threw an interception). New England was 5 for 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:25, while Philadelphia went 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:35.

While Dallas holds a 7-5 lead in the series, the Patriots have outscored Dallas 246-240 and have won the last five meetings, including leaving the Lone Star State 30-6 winners in 2015, while Dallas’ last win in the series came all the way back in 1996 in Irving by a final of 12-6. New England’s favored by 6 1/2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 45. New England prevails in this one, even though you can expect Dallas to make it closer than the 6 1/2.

Green Bay (8-2) at San Francisco (9-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. First place teams with Super Bowl trophies to their credit. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers travel to wine country for a prime-time show down with San Francsico at Levis Stadium. Green Bay is coming off a bye from their last contest at home, while the 49ers rallied to sweep NFC West rival Arizona last Sunday.

Green Bay held off a late rally at snowy Lambeau Field fell short by Carolina as Rodgers and Green Bay held off Carolina 24-16 two Sundays ago. Green Bay used a pair of Aaron Jones TDs in the first 30 minutes of play to take a 14-10 lead, then the Panthers stopped a late Green Bay rally in the closing seconds of the first half, as Greg McCoy stopped Packers RB Jaamal Williams short of the goal line to close things out.

The Packers would score 10 more points in the third quarter unchallenged on Jones’ third TD of the day and a Mason Crosby field goal before the Panthers would pull themselves to within eight with 11:58 left in the contest when Christan McCaffrey scored on a 3-yard run. Carolina then went for two in hopes of making their defict six but Kyle Allen’s try was incomplete. Green Bay would later punt the ball back to Carolina, who took the ball at their 11-yard line. They would make their way down the field and using a pair of Green Bay penalties, had four tries inside the 5-yard line.

Three incomplete passes later, the Panthers decided that the best course of action would be to use McCaffery, who got as close as the goal line but did not break the plane. The play was reviewed by replay and the ruling on the field became the law of the land. Green Bay outrushed Carolina 163-120 and McCaffrey led all rushers with 108 yards (Jones led Green Bay with 93 yards) and Allen threw for 307 yards and three sacks and an interception to go with the TD toss, while Rodgers threw for 233 yards and a pair of sacks but no interceptions. Carolina was 4 of 10 on third down (they were 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 28:38, including the final 2:25 of the contest, while the Packers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:22, going 4 of 9 on third down conversions.

After their loss to Seattle on Monday night that knocked them out of the ranks of the unbeatens, the 49ers rallied in the second half against Arizona last Sunday to come away 36-26 winners at Levis’ Stadium. The Desert Angry Birds led 16-10 at the intermission before San Francisco got themselves off the deck in the second half, outscoring Arizona 26-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. San Francisco got a pair of TDs late in the fourth quarter, first Jimmy Garappolo connecting with RB Jeff Wilson on a 25-yard TD with 31 seconds left in the contest and DB D.J. Reed Jr. closing out the contest on a 4-yard scoop and score as time expired. While Arizona outrushed the 49ers 135-34, Garappolo burned Arizona for 424 yards and four TDs, including the game-winner (Garappolo was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Arizona QB Kyler Murray threw for 150 yards with a pair of TD tosses and had a rushing TD of his own (Murray was sacked four times). San Francisco was 6 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 28:37, while the Desert Angry Birds actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:23, going 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Green Bay leads the series 32-27-1 (including games played in Milwaukee, Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park), have outscored the 49ers 1,243-1,233 and have won the last two contests, including taking a 33-30 win last year at Lambeau Field (San Francisco’s last win in the series came in 2013 at Candlestick by a final of 34-28).

They met at Lambeau Field on a Monday night in week six and Green Bay trailed 24-20 at the intermission before taking control of things, tying the contest up at 30-30 with 1:55 left in regulation when Rodgers and WR Davante Adams connected on a 16-yard TD toss. San Francisco would get the ball back but C.J. Beathard’s pass late in the quarter was picked off by Kevin King with 65 seconds left. The Packers would use all 65 seconds left in the contest, using 10 plays and 81 yards, ending the drive and game on a 27-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to give the Packers the come-from-behind win. San Francisco outrushed Green Bay 174-116 and Rodgers threw for 425 yards and a pair of TDs to Adams (including the one that tied the contest) with three sacks and no interceptions, while Beathard threw for 245 yards wtih a pair of TDs to Marquise Goodwin with a pair of sacks and an interception. Green Bay went 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 31:08 (including the final 65 seconds of the game), while the 49ers held the ball for 28:52, going 2 of 9 on third down.

In the week six Monday night contest in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, Green Bay was favored by 8 1/2 but won by only 3 but both clubs managed to cover the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 63 points. This time, the 49ers are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46. Because both teams are in first and both could very well meet in the post-season, this one’s going to be “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 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?”)

There’s a really good chance these clubs could make the post-season and meet. The winner has a clear shot of being the number one seed in the post-season; as for the loser, they’re not out of the post-season picture but will have to work a little harder to get that one seed. Green Bay pulls the upset in Santa Clara and could cover the 3.

Baltimore (8-2) at Los Angeles Rams (6-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 12 concludes in Los Angeles as Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens make their way westward to face off against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams were winners at home in last Sunday’s contests.

The Ravens and Jackson took control of Houston Sunday afternoon in Charm City, manhandling the Texans 41-7. After a scoreless first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens took a 14-0 lead with them to the break and scored 13 more points in the third quarter unchallenged as they would lead 27-0 after three quarters of play. Houston ended Baltimore’s bid for a shutout when RB Carlos Hyde scored from a yard away early in the fourth quarter. Baltimore outrushed the Texans 263-122 and Hyde led the Texans with 65 yards while Baltimore’s Gus Edwards led all rushers with 112 yards and a TD. Jackson burned Houston for 222 yards with four TDs and a sack and no interceptions, while DeShaun Watson threw for 169 yards with an interception and six sacks. Houston went 2 of 10 on third down tries (they were 1 of 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:41, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:19, going 5 for 9 on thrid down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Rams shined in prime time Sunday night in Los Angeles, taking Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears to task 17-7 at the Coliseum. After a scoreless first quarter on the West Coast, Greg Zuerlen (38-yard field goal) and Todd Gurley (1-yard TD run) would send the Rams to a 10-0 lead at the break. Chicago would pull themselves to within 3 with 7:10 left in the third when RB Tank Cohen and Trubisky connected on a 14-yard toss. Los Angeles would then restore order in the fourth quarter, with RB Malcom Brown scoring from 5 yards out to push the lead back to 10, then stopped a late Bears rally to seal the win at home.

The Rams outrushed Chicago 110-74, with Gurley leading all rushers with 97 yards and Jared Goff threw for 173 yards, while Trubisky (who left the game with an injury) threw for 190 yards and a sack (both threw interceptions). The defending NFC champs were 3 for 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:16, while Chicago ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:44 and went 6 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

The Ravens lead the series 4-2, have outscored the Rams 144-114 and have won the last three contests, including coming away 16-13 winners in Charm City in 2015, while the Rams’ last win came in 2003 in St. Louis by a final of 33-22.

The Ravens on Monday night? 14-12 and they won their lone meeting last year. The Rams? 10-14, with Los Angeles playing twice on Monday night last year and taking losses in both contests. Baltimore’s favored by 3 on the West Coast and the over/under’s 46 1/2. You might want to tape “All Rise,” “Dancing With The Stars” and “Bull” this week. Los Angeles closes out week 12 with the win on the West Coast and covers the 3.