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The NFL has entered the second half of the season and the excitement is building as playoff races tighten. Ten weeks down, seven to go.

Seventeen teams are currently in or within one game of playoff position, including nine teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. But a slow start does not mean a team can be counted out. Since 1990, 27 teams have qualified for the playoffs with a losing record through nine games. (Yes, Cleveland… there’s even hope for you!)

Five teams are currently riding win steaks of at least four games, led by the New Orleans Saints, which have won eight consecutive games. The Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers have both won six straight games, while Pittsburgh and Kansas City have won five and four consecutive games, respectively. The Texans, which began the season 0-3, are the second team since 1970 to win six consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start, joining the 1970 New York Giants.

Last week, 19 of the league’s 28 starting quarterbacks (67.9 percent) recorded a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 15 attempts), the most in a single week in NFL history, surpassing the previous high of 17 set in Week 2 of the 2018 season.    Four quarterbacks – Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisbergers (158.3), Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (151.2), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (150.4) and Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky (148.6) – recorded a passer rating of at least 145 (minimum 20 attempts) in Week 10. The four quarterbacks with a 145+ passer rating (minimum 20 attempts) last week were the most in a single week in NFL history, surpassing the previous high of three which occurred four different times, most recently in Week 3 of the 2017 season.

One of the season’s most anticipated matchups takes place on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams, both at 9-1, meet at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a battle of two of the league’s top contenders. This is the fifth meeting between teams with one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later since 1970 and the first since November 17, 2013 (Denver (8-1) vs. Kansas City (9-0)).

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (3,150 passing yards, 117.4 passer rating) and Rams quarterback Jard Goff (3,134 passing yards, 113.0 passer rating) rank first and second, respectively, in the NFL in passing yards and are two of only eight quarterbacks in league history with at least 3,000 passing yards and a 110+ passer rating in their team’s first 10 games of a season. Each of the previous six quarterbacks to accomplish the feat captured Associated Press Most Valuable Player honors in their respective seasons.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY

•Four quarterbacks – Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (158.3), Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (151.2), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (150.4) and Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky (148.6) – have recorded a passer rating of at least 145 (minimum 20 attempts) through Sunday afternoon.

The four quarterbacks with a 145+ passer rating (minimum 20 attempts) in Week 10 are the most in a single week in NFL history, surpassing the previous high of three which occurred four different times, most recently in Week 3 of the 2017 season.

•New Orleans defeated Cincinnati, 51-14, at Paul Brown Stadium, marking the team’s eighth consecutive win. The Saints have scored at least 40 points in five games this season and joined the 2013 Denver Broncos and 2000 St. Louis Rams as the only teams in NFL history to score 40 or more points in five of its first nine games of a season.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 22 of 25 (88 percent) for 265 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 150.4 passer rating and added a rushing touchdown in the win. Brees, who has 509 career touchdown passes, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (508) for the second-most passing touchdowns in league annals. Only PEYTON MANNING (539) has more career touchdown passes.

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara had 102 scrimmage yards (56 rushing, 46 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Saints’ win. Kamara, who played in his 25th career game on Sunday, recorded his ninth game with at least two touchdowns since entering the league in 2017. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Curtis Martin (10) and Steve Van Bure (10) and Edgerrin James (10) have more multi-touchdown games in their first 25 career games in league history.

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas had eight catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Thomas has 274 catches in 40 career games and surpassed Odell Beckham, Jr. (266) for the most receptions by a player in his first 40 career games in NFL history.

Thomas (78) is tied with Minnesota’s Adam Thielen (78) for the league lead in catches this season. Thomas and Thielen joined Julio Jones (80 catches in 2015) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (75 in 2002) as the only players in NFL history with at least 75 catches in their team’s first nine games of a season.

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 21 of 28 passes (75 percent) for 249 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 125.4 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 26-14 victory over Arizona.

Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 31 touchdown passes this season, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson (30 touchdown passes in 1964) for the most touchdown passes in a single season in franchise history.

•Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck completed 21 of 29 passes (72.4 percent) for 285 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 123.5 passer rating in the Colts’ 29-26 victory against Jacksonville. Luck has thrown at least three touchdown passes in each of his past six games and is one of three quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least six consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes in a single season, joining Tom Brady (10 consecutive games in 2007) and Peyton Manning (eight in 2004). Brady and Manning were each named Associated Press Most Valuable Player in those respective seasons.

Colts tight end Eric Ebron had three catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown in the victory. Ebron joined New England’s Rob Gronkowski (two receiving, one rushing on December 4, 2011 vs. Indianapolis) as the only tight ends in NFL history to record at least two touchdown catches and one rushing touchdown in a single game.

•Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and rookie running back Nick Chubb had 209 scrimmage yards (176 rushing, 33 receiving) with two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Browns’ 28-16 win over Atlanta.

Mayfield completed 17 of 20 passes (85 percent), including his first 13 pass attempts of the game, for 216 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 151.2 passer rating in the win. Mayfield is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to record a passer rating of at least 150 on 20 or more pass attempts in a single game.

Chubb scored on a 92-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, the longest rushing touchdown in franchise history and the second-longest touchdown run by a rookie in NFL history. Only the Steelers’ Bobby Gage (97 yards in 1949) has a longer touchdown run as a rookie.

•Buffalo running back Le Sean McCoy rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 41-10 victory at the New York Jets​. McCoy has 10 career games with at least 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, joining Adrian Peterson (17) as the only active players with at least 10 such games.

Bills quarterback Matt Barkley passed for 232 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 117.4 passer rating in his Buffalo debut.

Barkley’s 117.4 passer rating is the second-highest by a Bills quarterback making his team debut behind only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly’s 119.8 rating on September 7, 1986 (minimum 20 attempts).

•Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had six catches for 50 yards in the Cardinals’ Week 10 loss at Kansas City. Fitzgerald has 15,952 career receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens (15,934) for the second-most receiving yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (22,895) has more career receiving yards.

◦New England q​uarterback Tom Brady passed for 254 yards in the Patriots’ loss at Tennessee. Brady appeared in his 300th career game (including the postseason), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve(326) as the only quarterbacks in league annals to appear in 300 career games.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley had 160 scrimmage yards (120 rushing, 40 receiving) and a rushing touchdown in the Rams’ 36-31 win against Seattle. Gurley has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Rams’ first 10 games this season and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (14 games in 1975), Lenny Moore (14 in 1964) and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch (10 in 1951) as the only players in league annals to score a touchdown in each of their team’s first 10 games of a season.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ loss at Cleveland.  Jones, who has 10,094 career receiving yards, reached 10,000 receiving yards in his 104th career game, surpassing Calvin Johnson (115) for the fewest games in NFL history to reach the milestone.

Jones has 45 career games with at least 100 receiving yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (45) for the most such games by a player in his first eight career seasons.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 11

KC VS. THE SUNSHINE BAND: Kansas City (9-1) and the Los Angeles Rams (9-1), the league’s top two teams by winning percentage, are set to face off on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The matchup between the Chiefs and Rams marks the fifth game since 1970 between opposing teams where each had one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later.

The games in which opposing teams each had one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later since 1970:

DATE – MATCHUP
November 12, 2018 – Kansas City (9-1) at Los Angeles Rams (9-1)
November 17, 2013 – Kansas City (9-0) at Denver (8-1)
November 29, 2007 – Green Bay (10-1) at Dallas (10-1)
December 3, 1990 – New York Giants (10-1) at San Francisco (10-1)
November 27, 1977 – Baltimore Colts (9-1) at Denver (9-1)

Through their team’s first 10 games of the season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 3,150 passing yards and has a 117.4 passer rating, while Rams quarterback JARED GOFF ranks second in passing yards (3,134) and has a 113.0 passer rating.

Mahomes and Goff are two of seven different quarterbacks in NFL history to have at least 3,000 passing yards and a passer rating of 110 or higher through their team’s first 10 games of a season. Each of the five previous quarterbacks to accomplish the feat were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons, with Tom Brady accomplishing the feat twice (2007 & 2017).

The quarterbacks with at least 3,000 passing yards and a passer rating of 110 or higher through their team’s first 10 games of a season in league history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, PASSING YARDS/PASSER RATING)
Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams (2018; 3,134/113.0
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2018; 3,150/117.4)
Tom Brady – New England (2017; 3,147/110.9)#
Matt Ryan – ATLANTA (2016; 3,247/115.1)#
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013; 3,572/118.3)#
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2011; 3,168/128.8)#
Tom Brady – New England (2007; 3,059/134.0)#
Dan Marino^ – Miami (1984; 3,094/113.7)#^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP

WINNING IN WASHINGTON: The Washington Redskins lead the NFC East with a 6-3 record this season and have won 599 regular-season games since the franchise’s inception in 1932.

With a win on Sunday against Houston at 1 p.m. on CBS at FedEx Field, Washington would become the fifth franchise in league history to register 600 regular-season wins, joining Chicago (755 wins), Green Bay (741), the New York Giants (689) and Pittsburgh (620).

The NFL franchises with the most regular-season victories:

TEAM – REGULAR SEASON WINS
Chicago – 755
Green Bay – 741
New York Giants – 689
Pittsburgh – 620
Washington – 599

80 FOR ANDREW: Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck ranks second in the NFL with 26 touchdown passes this season and has thrown at least three touchdowns in each of his past six games, the third-longest streak within a single season in NFL history.

Luck, who has 158 touchdown passes in 79 career games, needs two touchdown passes on Sunday against Tennessee at 1 p.m. on  CBS to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (182 touchdowns) and Aaron Rodgers (160) as the players with at least 160 touchdown passes in their first 80 career games in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Dan Marino – Miami (182)^
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (160)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (158)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In 79 career games

RYAN ON A ROLL: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan ranks third in the league with 3,015 passing yards and has thrown for at least 325 yards in each of his past four games.

With 325 passing yards on Sunday against Dallas at 1 p.m. on FOX, Ryan would become the fourth different quarterback in league annals with at least 325 passing yards in five consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 325 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Rich Gannon, Oakland (2002 – 6)#
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 5)
Kurt Warner, Arizona (2008 -5)^
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (2000 – 5^)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2018 – 4)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

ELECTRIC CHARGERS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers ties for fourth in the NFL with 21 touchdown passes in 2018 and has thrown for at least two touchdowns in each of the Chargers’ first nine games of the season.

Rivers, who plays against Denver at 4:05 p.m. on CBS, can become the sixth quarterback in league history to throw at least two touchdown passes in each of his team’s first 10 games to start a season. Four of the five previous quarterbacks to accomplish the feat were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2011, 13)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004, 13)#
Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts (1959, 12)^
Tom Brady, New England (2007, 10)#
Dan Marino, Miami (1984, 10)^#
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (2018, 9)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon ranks third in the AFC with 1,033 scrimmage yards and has recorded at least 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his past five games.

With 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on Sunday, Gordon would become the fifth player in league annals to record six consecutive games with at least 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City (2005, 7)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2006, 6)^#
Fred Taylor, Jacksonville (2000, 6)
Franco Harris, Pittsburgh (1972, 6)^
Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers (2018, 5)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

ELITE ELLIOTT: Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott has 4,339 scrimmage yards and 31 touchdowns in 34 career games.

Elliott, who will play in his 35th career game on Sunday at Atlanta at 1 p.m. on FOX, needs 161 scrimmage yards to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only players in NFL history with at least 4,500 scrimmage yards and 30 touchdowns in their first 35 career games.

The players with at least 4,500 scrimmage yards and 30 touchdowns in their first 35 games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS – TOUCHDOWNS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (4,842 – 38)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (4,731 – 38)^
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (4,339 – 31)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In 34 career games

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara has 1,019 scrimmage yards (546 rushing, 473 receiving) and ranks second in the NFL with 14 touchdowns (11 rushing, three receiving) this season.

Kamara, who has scored 28 touchdowns (19 rushing, eight receiving and one kickoff return) in 25 career games, needs two touchdowns on Sunday against Philadelphia at 4:25 p.m. on FOX to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (26 games) for the fourth-fewest games to reach 30 career touchdowns in league annals.

The players to reach 30 career touchdowns in the fewest number of games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM; GAMES TO REACH 30 TOUCHDOWNS
Gale Sayers, Chicago; 23^
Steve Van Buren, Philadelphia 23^
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis; 25
Jim Brown, Cleveland; 26^
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans; 25*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 28 career touchdowns

Kamara, who had 826 receiving yards and 728 rushing yards as a rookie last season, needs 27 receiving yards against the Eagles to become the fourth player in NFL history with both 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons.

The players with both 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in each of their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RUSHING YARDS – RECEIVING YARDS)

Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (1999, 1,553 – 586); Indianapolis (2000, 1,709 – 594)
Herschel Walker, Dallas (1986, 737 – 837); Dallas (1987, 891 – 715)
Abner Haynes, Dallas Texans (1960, 875 – 576); Dallas Texans (1961, 841 – 558)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017, 728 – 826); New Orleans (2018, 546 – 473)*
*Entering Week 11

800 FOR AB: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown has 790 receptions for 10,600 yards and 69 touchdowns in his nine-year NFL career.

With 10 catches on Sunday at Jacksonville at 1 p.m. on CBS, Brown can become the third player in league annals with at least 800 receptions in their first nine career seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (845 catches) and Torry Holt (805).

The players with at least 800 receptions in their first nine career seasons in league history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEIVING YARDS IN 1ST 8 SEASONS)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (845)^
Torry Holt, St. Louis (805)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (790)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In ninth NFL season

Baltimore, Denver, Houston and Minnesota all return from their bye week vacays, while Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami, New England, New York Jets and San Francisco will have some much deserved time off. Eight of the 12 games that are on the docket for week 11 are rematches from last year.

A change of note and it involves a venue. The Kansas City/Los Angeles Rams game that was scheduled to be played in Mexico City has been moved to Los Angeles. The move was made Tuesday after the league and the NFLPA determined that the playing surface at Estadio Azteca did not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday. Under NFL rules, a team that forgoes a home game to play internationally are required to keep their home stadium available as a contingency.

As for last week? 8-6. Not bad but it could have been better. For the season? 92-52. There’s still football left to play in the 2018 season.

Highlights of the Week 11 schedule include:

Houston and Washington Redskins square off in a battle of first-place teams at FedExField at 1 p.m. on CBS. Texans wide receiver De Andre Hopkins had 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in Houston’s Week 9 win at Denver. Since 2017, Hopkins has four games with at least 10 catches, 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception, the most in the NFL over the span. Houston defensive end J.J. Watt ties for third in the league with nine sacks this season and is one of three players with at least eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss (11), joining the Rams’ Aaron Donald (12.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss) and the Vikings’ Danielle Hunter (11.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss). Washington, led by defensive end Matt Ioannidis (7.5 sacks) and safety D.J. Swearinger (four interceptions), is tied for second in the NFC allowing 19.4 points per game.

The Indianapolis Colts welcome the Tennessee Titans to Lucas Oil Stadium in a key AFC South contest at 1 p.m. on CBS. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota passed for 228 yards with two touchdowns, rushed for 21 yards and had a 21-yard reception in Tennessee’s Week 10 win over New England. Mariota became the third quarterback in league history with at least 200 passing yards, 20 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards in a single game, joining Carolina’s Cam Newton (December 4, 2011) and Chicago’s Jim McMahon (October 21, 1984). Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck threw three touchdown passes in the Colts’ 29-26 victory against Jacksonville last week and is one of three quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least six consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes in a single season, joining Tom Brady (10 consecutive games in 2007) and Peyton Manning (eight in 2004). Brady and Manning were each named Associated Press Most Valuable Player in those respective seasons.

On Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints at 4:25 p.m. on FOX in a showdown of 2017 NFC playoff teams. Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz is one of two players in the NFL (Atlanta’s Matt Ryan) to average at least 300 passing yards per game (306.9) while completing at least 70 percent of his passes (71.0) this season. Saints quarterback Drew Brees leads the league with a 77.3 completion percentage which is on pace to surpass the NFL record of 72.0 percent, which was set by Brees last season, by 5.3 percentage points.

​Sunday’s nightcap is a battle for first place in the NFC North between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen has 78 catches this season, tied with New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (78) for the most in the NFL. Thielen and Thomas, along with Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (75), join Julio Jones (80 catches in 2015), and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (75 in 2002) as the only players in NFL history with at least 75 catches in their team’s first nine games of a season. Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky recorded a 148.6 passer rating in the Bears’ Week 10 win over Detroit and is one of two NFL quarterbacks (Cam Newton) this season with a 100+ passer rating (101.6), at least 300 rushing yards (320) and three rushing touchdowns (three).

Week 11 opened in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as Seattle edged Green Bay at Century Link Field Thursday night and ends south of the border as a pair of first place teams meet on Monday night when Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams square off in prime time. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 11.

Dallas (4-5) at ATLANTA (4-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of teams chasing the leaders in their respective divisions meet in the Big Peach as Atlanta and Matt Ryan host the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams were on the road last Sunday, with the Cowboys coming into Atlanta with a win under their belts, while Atlanta returns home with a loss.

The Cowboys led the defending Super Bowl champions 13-3 at the half in Philadelphia, then watched the Eagles tie the contest with 7:27 left in regulation when Zach Ertz caught a 2-yard TD pass from Carson Wentz, rallied to reclaim the thanks to a 1-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott with 3:19 left, then held off a late Philly rally to come away from Lincoln Financial Field 27-20 winners Sunday night. The Eagles managed to tie the contest at 13-13 late in the third quarter when Ertz and Wentz connected on a 15-yard toss before Dallas took the lead back when Elliott and Dak Prescott connected on a 7-yard TD toss early in the final quarter of play. After the two teams exchanged TDs later in the period and Dallas re-claimed the lead for a second time, Philadelphia marched their way down the field and got as close as Dallas’ 32-yard line when Philadelphia used several laterals to get the ball into the end zone to no avail.

Elliott led all rushers with 151 yards on the ground with the rushing TD as the Cowboys outrushed Philadelphia 171-71. Prescott threw for 270 yards and a TD with four sacks, while Wentz threw for 360 yards and the two Ertz catches for scores (Wentz was sacked twice and threw an interception). Dallas was 8 for 16 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:22, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 26:38, going 4 for 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Atlanta returns home after they saw Gregg Williams take his first win as interim head coach as the Browns took the Falcons to task, falling to Cleveland 28-16 at FirstEnergy Field. After leading 10-7 with 5:04 left before the intermission after Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 1-yard TD toss, Cleveland would take the lead back and for keeps when RB Nick Chubb and rookie QB Baker Mayfield connected on a 13-yard toss with 55 seconds left to take a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission. Mayfield, who completed his first 13 pass attempts, was not finished as he would connect with RB Duke Johnson on an 11-yard TD toss late in the third quarter. Chubb would not be outdone, as the Falcons thought they had the Browns pinned deep in their territory after a punt. Such was not the case, as Chubb would dash his way into history with the longest rush by a Browns RB since 1952, scampering 92 yards for the score that would all but put things out of reach for Atlanta.

The Falcons would have two more chances to score and eventually did, when Ryan and TE Austin Hooper connected on a 3-yard pass with 4:24 left in regulation. Atlanta then went for the 2-point conversion but Cleveland was successful in stopping the try. Atlanta found themselves outrushed 211-71 with Chubb doing the majority of the damage, leading all rushers with 176 yards on 20 carries. Ryan outpaced the rookie Mayfield, throwing for 330 yards and the two TD tosses, while Mayfield threw for 216 yards with three TDs (neither man threw an interception and Ryan was sacked twice). Atlanta was 5 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down conversions and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:23, while Cleveland kept the pigskin for 28:37, going 4 for 8 on third down.

Dallas leads the series 14-11 and they’ve outscored Atlanta 590-469. However… the Falcons have won the last three meetings, including a 27-7 win in the Big Peach last year, while Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2009 by a final of 37-21 in Irving.

They met in week 10 in Atlanta and the Cowboys were without Elliot, who had started his six-game suspension for violating the NFL conduct policies and it was not a good day for Dallas, as the Falcons erased a 7-3 first quarter deficit, took a 10-7 lead at the intermission, then proceeded to score their final 17 points in the second half unchallenged to take the win. Atlanta outrushed Dallas 132-107 (Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 83 yards) and Ryan burned Dallas for 215 yards with a pair of TDs, connecting with Justin Hardy and Austin Hooper on both tosses (Ryan was sacked once and threw an interception), while Prescott, who had Dallas’ only score late in the first quarter with a rushing TD, threw for 176 yards but was sacked eight times. The Falcons were 7 for 13 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 32:06, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 27:54 and were 5 of 11 on third down conversions (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Atlanta easily covered the 3-point spread at home in the Big Peach but both clubs did not cover the 48 over/under, as Dallas and Atlanta would merge to score 34 points. Vegas loves the Falcons and the boys and girls in the desert made Atlanta 3 1/2 point favorites at home with a 48 over/under. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams are one game below the .500 mark in their respective divisions and both will play games on Thanksgiving Day, which makes it a short week for both clubs. Falcons repeat history at home and takes the win over Dallas, covering the 3 1/2.

Cincinnati (5-4) at Baltimore (4-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC North rivals square off in Charm City as Cincinnati and Baltimore, both coming off home losses, meet at M&T Bank Stadium.

Andy Dalton and the Bengals were manhandled by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, as the visitors came away 51-14 winners. New Orleans broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter and proceeded to outscore the Bengals 44-7 in the final three quarters of action, taking a 35-7 lead with them to the intermission. New Orleans outrushed Cincinnati 244-110 and Saints RB Mark Ingram rushed for 104 yards in the lopsided win. Brees led the Saints with 265 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Michael Thomas on two of those passes and Ingram on the other (Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Dalton threw for 153 yards for the Bengals with a TD to WR John Ross but was sacked four times and picked off twice. The Bengals were a dismal 0 for 6 on third down (they were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they kept the pigskin for 20:14, while the Saints ruled time, holding the ball for 39:46, while going 7 for 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh got their revenge on Baltimore from their week four loss to Baltimore at Heinz Field and took down the Ravens 23-16 at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City, giving the Ravens their third loss in a row two Sundays ago. Pittsburgh led 14-6 at the intermission, then held off the Ravens as they were outscored by Baltimore 10-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. Pittsburgh outrushed Baltimore 113-61, with Steelers RB James Conner leading everyone with 107 yards. Roethlisberger threw for 270 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown, the other to Conner), while Joe Flacco led Baltimore with 209 yards (Roethlisberger was sacked once, Flacco was sacked twice; neither man threw an interception). Pittsburgh was 10 for 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:29, while the Ravens, who held the pigskin for 23:31, went 4 for 12 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In 44 meetings between the two clubs, Cincinnati and Baltimore have each won 22 games, with the Ravens outscoring Cincinnati 942-814. They split last season’s meetings, with each team winning in the other team’s facility and both teams starting and finishing the 2017 campaign.

Week one in Cincinnati… Flacco (124 yards, TD) and the Ravens shutout the Bengals 20-0 at Paul Brown Stadium. Baltimore led 17-0 at the intermission and never looked back as the Ravens scored all of their points in the contest without a challenge. The Ravens outrushed the Bengals 157-77, while sacking Dalton (170 yards) five times and picking him off four (Flacco was sacked once and picked off once). Baltimore went 6 of 14 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 34 minutes, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 26, going 4 for 13 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

That was game one.

Game 2? Week 17 in Baltimore and for the Ravens, the stakes were high and a playoff spot was on the line. Baltimore was fighting Buffalo for the final spot in the AFC and needed to win and for the Bills to lose in Miami. Well, the Bills kept their hopes alive as they went on to beat Miami in Miami, which meant that the Ravens had to win at home in Charm City to make it to the post-season party. The Bengals were determined to make sure that if they weren’t going to the post-season, then neither would the Ravens. Cincinnati would get revenge on the Ravens and take a 31-27 win out of Charm City in the season finale.

Cincinnati took a 17-10 lead with them to the half and led 24-20 with 13:08 left to play when Baltimore took the lead for the first time, as Flacco and WR Mike Wallace connected on a 6-yard TD toss with 8:46 left to play. After the two teams kept the ball at least twice, the Bengals would get the ball back with 2:43 left in regulation, using an 11-play, 90-yard drive that was aided by a pair of Ravens penalties to lead 31-27. Baltimore would get the ball back with 44 seconds left but could not get anything going as Flacco was sacked and the Ravens’ drive came up short, as the Bengals got the ball back, ran out the clock, knocked Baltimore out of the playoffs and put Buffalo in the post-season. The Bengals outrushed Baltimore 146-114 with RB Joe Mixon leading the way with 96 yards and Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner to Tyler Boyd (Dalton was sacked once but did not throw an interception), while Flacco threw for 203 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception (Flacco was sacked once). Cincinnati went 5 for 13 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:39, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 31:21, going 5 of 17 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

While the Bengals were favored by 3 in the week one contest, the Ravens covered the spread with ease, winning by 20 but the 42 over/under was intact as Baltimore was responsible for all 20 points in the contest. In the season finale in Charm City, the Ravens were 9 1/2 point favorites but the Bengals would come away winning by only 4. The two teams did manage to cover the 40 1/2 over/under with 58 points. This time, the odds-makers like Baltimore as 4 point favorites in Charm City with a 43 1/2 over/under. While nothing’s been decided in the AFC North, this one could be worth your time. Bengals pull off the upset in Charm City and covers the 4.

Carolina (6-3) at Detroit (3-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Cats vs. Cats. The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton travel to the Motor City for a showdown with Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Both teams took road losses in last week’s action.

Newton and the Panthers were manhandled by the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday night as the Steelers took a 52-21 win at Heinz Field. The Panthers trailed 31-14 at the intermission and could never really get on track in the Steel City, as the Panthers were outrushed 138-95. Newton was sacked five times in the loss, throwing for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to Collin McCaffery (McCaffery also had a rushing TD to account for Carolina’s scoring), while Ben Roethlisberger threw for 328 yards and five TDs (Rothlisberger was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the blowout win. Carolina was 4 for 11 on third down (they were successful on fourth down, going 1 for 1) and kept the ball for 29:25, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:35, while going 8 for 11 on third down.

Detroit found themselves being taken to the woodshed by Chicago at Soldier Field last Sunday, as Da Bears were 34-22 winners in the Windy City. Despite outscoring Chicago 15-8 in the final 30 minutes of play, the Monsters of the Midway took a 26-7 lead with them to the break and never looked back. While Detroit did manage to outrush Chicago 76-54, Stafford struggled with six sacks and a pair of interceptions while throwing for 274 yards. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky had a better time than his Lions’ counterpart, throwing for 355 yards with no interceptions and three TDs while being sacked only once. While the Lions were 4 of 15 on third down, they had success on fourth down conversions, going 4 of 5 and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32 minutes, while Da Bears kept the pigskin in hibernation for 28 minutes, going 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Carolina leads the kitty series 6-2, the Panthers have outscored Detroit 198-167 and Carolina has won the last two meetings, including taking a 27-24 win in the Motor City last year, while Detroit’s last win over Carolina came in 2011 by a final of 49-35 in the Motor City.

Their week five meeting took place at Ford Field and the Panthers broke a 3-3 first quarter tie to lead 17-10, even though Detroit would outscore Carolina 14-10 in the second and made the contest a 3-point contest with 3:22 left in regulation when Stafford and Darren Fells connected on their second TD toss of the contest but the Lions could not pull any closer. While Detroit did outrush Carolina 50-28, Newton threw for 355 yards and three TDs (hooking up with McCaffrey, Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin) while Stafford tallied 229 yards of passing and the two TDs (Stafford was sacked six times, Newton was sacked three times, neither man threw an interception). Carolina was 7 of 16 on third down tries at Ford Field and the Panthers kept the ball for 35:23, while the Lions were 5 of 13 and 0 for 1 on third and fourth downs, holding the pigskin for 24:37.

In the week five contest in the Motor City, the Lions were favored by 3 and the Panthers covered the spread, winning by that margin and the 51 combined points in the contest was more than enough to cover the 44 over/under. Carolina’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 51. Both numbers make sense and both QBs are pretty good. Newton and the Panthers are trying to keep pace with the Saints in the NFC South, while the Lions are trying to claw their way out of the NFC North cellar. Carolina may be playing in the Motor City but they’re finer and take the win in Detroit, covering the 4.

Tennessee (5-4) at Indianapolis (4-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Hoosier State as Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both team took big home wins in last week’s contests.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel became the second former player/coach under Patriots head coach Bill Belicheck to beat their former mentor (Detroit’s Matt Patrica was the other) to beat their mentor this season, as Tennessee took care of Tom Brady and New England 34-10 at Nissan Stadium last Sunday. The Titans led 24-10 at the half, then shutout New England in the final 30 minutes of action in the Music City to take the win. Tennessee outrushed New England 150-40 and kept Brady out of the TD column (Brady threw for 254 yards with no sacks or interceptions), while Mariota threw for 228 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. Tennessee went 5 for 12 on third down and held on to the ball for 32:57, while the Pats were 3 for 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 27:03.

 

Including games that were played in Houston and Baltimore when the two teams called those cities home, the Colts lead the series 31-15 and have outscored Tennessee 1,181-913. Tennessee swept the series in their meetings last year (the Colts’ last win over Tennessee came in 2016, when swept the series that year).

The first meeting, a week six contest, took place in Nashville at Nissan Stadium and the Titans trailed 13-9 at the half, then rallied in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Colts 27-9 to take a 36-22 win. Tennessee’ Derrick Henry ran for 131 yards and a TD as the Titans outrushed Indy 168-85 in front of the home crowd. Mariota threw for 306 yards with an interception and a sack, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 212 yards (both threw a TD pass in the contest) for the Colts. Tennessee went 6 for 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:53, while the Colts kept the pigskin for 24:07, going 2 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Tennessee made the series a clean sweep in the Hoosier State in week 12, taking a 20-16 win. Tennessee erased a 13-6 deficit at the half and proceeded to outscore the Colts 14-3 in the final 30 minutes of action at Lucas Oil Stadium. While neither club came close to the 100-yard barrier, it was the Titans that would outrush Indy, this time by a 92-89 margin and once again, Henry led all rushers with 79 yards on the ground. While Brissett threw for 196 yards without an interception, he was sacked eight times in the loss at home. As for Mariota, he threw for 184 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions but no sacks. Tennessee went 3 for 8 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 28:38, while the Colts ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:22, going 6 for 14 on third down tries (neither team had a fourth down attempt).

In the week six contest, a Monday night affair, the Titans were favored by 8 and covered the spread, winning by 14 and both teams covered the 48 over/under with 58 points. As for the week 12 contest in the Hoosier State? The Titans BARELY covered the 3 1/2 point spread with their 4-point win. The 44 over/under stayed safe as the two teams merged for 36 points. Indy’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 48. Both numbers are reasonable. The Titans would like to make it three in a row over their AFC South rivals. As for the Colts? That’s not on their agenda. Luck and the Colts take care of business at Lucas Oil and covers the 2 1/2.

Pittsburgh (6-2-1) at Jacksonville (3-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Pittsburgh travels to north Florida for an early afternoon meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Sunshine State.

The Steelers led Carolina last Thursday night from start to finish as they took a 52-21 win at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 31-14 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Cam Newton and the Panthers 21-8. Pittsburgh outrushed Carolina 138-95 and the Steeler defense sacked Newton five times with an interception in the loss, Newton threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to Collin McCaffery (McCaffery also had a rushing TD to account for Carolina’s scoring), while Ben Roethlisberger threw for 328 yards and five TDs (Rothlisberger was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the blowout win. Carolina was 4 for 11 on third down (they were successful on fourth down, going 1 for 1) and kept the ball for 29:25, while the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:35, while going 8 for 11 on third down.

Jacksonville lost their fifth contest in a row, taking a 29-26 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday. Indianapolis would lead 29-16 at the intermission, then the Colts would need to hold off a late Jaguar rally as Jacksonville would score their 10 second half points unchallenged, then holding off a last-second threat that would have at the very least sent the contest into overtime. The one bright spot for Jaguar fans was that Jacksonville did manage to outrush the Colts 91-81 and Blake Bortles threw for 320 yards and three TDs with no sacks or interceptions, while Luck threw for 285 yards with a pair of TDs, an interception and no sacks. Both clubs did quite well on third down tries at Lucas Oil Stadium; Jacksonville was 9 of 17 (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 35:10, while the Colts were 6 for 11 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 24:50.

Jacksonville holds a 12-11 lead in the series and the Jaguars have outscored Pittsburgh 422-384. They met twice last year, once in the regular season and once in the post-season and the Jaguars won both meetings at Heinz Field (Pittsburgh’s last win over Jacksonville came in 2014 in Jacksonville by a final of 17-9).

Meeting one… the Steel City in week five in somewhat warm Pittsburgh (temp at game time? A somewhat balmy 73 degrees) and the Jaguars held Pittsburgh to three Chris Boswell field goals to take a 30-9 road win. Jacksonville erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit and took a 7-6 lead with them to the break, then outscored Pittsburgh 23-3 in the final 30 minutes of play in western Pennsylvania. Leonard Fournette tallied 181 yards with a TD to lead all rushers, as Jacksonville held Pittsburgh to 70 yards on the ground, rushing for 231 yards of their own. Blake Bortles didn’t have to throw the ball very much, tossing for 95 yards with an interception, while Roethlisberger threw for 312 yards with five picks (neither threw a TD and both were sacked twice). Jacksonville went 6 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:52, while the Steelers won the clock battle and held on to the pigskin for 31:08, going 7 for 15 on third down (neither club had a fourth down attempt).

That was meeting one.

Meeting number also took place at Heinz Field and the fans that were in attendance experienced somewhat different weather conditions (73 degrees at kickoff in the week five meeting) in the AFC Divisional Game, where things were somewhat frightful (17 degrees). For Jacksonville, it was the same result… a road win, this time by a final of 45-42. Fournette scored a pair of first quarter TDs to give Jacksonville the lead, then the Jaguars would take a 28-14 at the half. Pittsburgh would then pull themselves to within seven with 9:09 left in the third when LeVeon Bell and Roethlisberger connected on a 19-yard TD toss. Jacksonville would push the lead back to 14 at 42-35, only to see the lead drop to seven again when Bell ran for eight yards almost untouched. Jacksonville’s Josh Lambo would boot a 45-yard field goal with 1:45 left in the contest to make it a 10-point contest. Pittsburgh was not going quietly into the good night and made the contest a 3-point affair with one second left when WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuester and Roethlisberger connected on a 4-yard TD toss for the final score of the contest. Fournette again led all rushers, tallying 109 yards with three TDs and while the Jaguars outrushed Pittsburgh 164-83, Roethlisberger outpaced Bortles, throwing five TDs to go with 469 (Roethlisberger was sacked twice and picked off once), while Bortles threw for 214 yards with a TD and no sacks or interceptions. Jacksonville was 8 for 14 on third down conversions and went 1 for 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 28:50, while the Steelers ruled the clock again, keeping the pigskin for 31:10, going 7 of 16 on third down and 4 for 4 on fourth down.

In the week five contest, the odds-makers liked Pittsburgh as 8 1/2-point favorites and the Jaguars won by 21, covering the spread. The two clubs missed the over/under of 44 by five points. Pittsburgh in the Divisional playoff game was favored again, this time by 7. While Jacksonville did win the contest, they did not cover the spread, winning by 3. As for the 41 over/under? Both teams took care of that, as they combined to score 87 points. The Steelers are favored by 5 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 47 1/2. For Jaguar fans, they hope that the third time will be the charm to break their current losing streak; for the Steelers, they would love nothing more than to erase the memories of the 2017 campaign. Jacksonville pulls off the upset and takes the win but expect Pittsburgh to make it closer than 5 1/2.

Tampa Bay (3-6) at New York Giants (2-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of teams trying to stay out of their respective division cellars meet in upstate New Jersey as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make their way to Met Life Stadium for a meeting with Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.

Tampa Bay was held to a second-quarter field goal by Chris Catanzaro as Washington took a 16-3 win over the Buccaneers last Sunday in Tampa. While Tampa Bay trailed 6-3 at the break, Washington would then shut them out in the second half, scoring 10 fourth quarter points unchallenged to take the road win. Washington outrushed Tampa Bay 116-103 and Redskins RB Adrian Peterson led all rushers with 68 yards, while QB Alex Smith threw for 178 yards with a TD and no interceptions. Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the benched Jameis Winston, threw for 406 yards but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions in their loss. Washington was 5 of 13 on third down conversions at Raymond James Stadium and kept the ball for 28:48, while Tampa Bay would rule the clock and keep the pigskin for 31:12 and did pretty well on third down, going 6 of 10 in the contest (neither club had a fourth down try).

The Giants ended a five-game losing streak and took a 27-23 come-from-behind win over the San Francisco 49ers Monday night at Levis’ Stadium. New York trailed 13-10 at the break, then proceeded to chip away at the deficit and came away with the win when Manning and WR Sterling Shepard connected on a 3-yard TD toss with 53 seconds left in the contest, erasing a 23-20 deficit. San Francisco outrushed Big Blue 124-97 with 49ers RB Matt Breida led all rushers with 101 yards and a TD, while Giants RB Sequan Barkley ran for 67 yards in the contest. Manning threw for 188 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Odell Beckham, Jr. on two of the passes as well as Shepard’s game-winner, while San Francisco’s Nate Mullens threw for 250 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Manning was sacked once without an interception). The Giants were 5 of 12 on third down tries in the Monday night West Coast contest and kept the ball for 25:46, while the 49ers kept the ball for 34:14, going 8 for 13 on third down tries (neither club had a fourth down attempt).

Big Blue leads the series 13-7 and the Giants have outscored Tampa Bay 357-329. Tampa Bay won the last meeting, taking a 25-23 win over the Giants last year in the Sunshine State (New York’s last win in the series came in 2015 in Tampa by a final of 32-18).

They met in Tampa Bay in week four and the Buccaneers took a 13-10 lead at the half, then held off Eli and the Giants in the second half to seal the win. Tampa Bay outrushed New York 111-91 and Jameis Winston threw for 332 yards and three TDs, while Manning threw for 288 yards with a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked once and neither man threw an interception). Third down tries? The Giants were 8 of 17, while Tampa Bay was 3 for 11 and the clock favored New York, who kept the ball for 34:13 to Tampa Bay’s 25:47 (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Although Tampa Bay pulled off the win in the week four contest in the Sunshine State, they did not cover the 3-point spread, winning by only 2. That was the bad news. The good news? The two teams did cover the 44 over/under by tallying 48 points. The Giants are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 52. Both teams are struggling and to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, “they’re not bad, they just play that way sometimes.” If you take a pass on this one and watch that “Grumpy Cat Movie” on Lifetime, we wouldn’t blame you. Tampa Bay pulls the road upset and covers the 1 in the Meadowlands.

Houston (6-3) at Washington (6-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of first-place teams meet in Landover as the Houston Texans, first in the AFC South, travel to FedEX Field for a Sunday contest with the Washington Redskins, first in the NFC East.

After the Texans picked up WR Demaryius Thomas from Denver, the Texans would hold off the Broncos and take a 19-17 win at Mile High two Sundays ago. Houston led 16-10 at the intermission, then watched the Broncos take a 1-point lead with 5:57 left in the third when Case Keenum and TE Jeff Heuerman connected on a 12-yard TD toss. That lead would not last very long as both teams went into the fourth quarter and the Texans would take the lead back with 14:06 when Houston K Kai Fairbairn nailed a 37-yard field goal through the uprights. Denver had a chance to win the contest in regulation and send Bronco fans home happy but Brandon McMannus’ 51-yard try sailed wide right. Houston outrushed Denver 98-75 and Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Keenum led everyone with 290 yards and a TD (both men did not throw and interception, Keenum was sacked twice, Watson sacked four times). Denver went 5 of 14 on third down (they did have success on fourth down, going a perfect 2 for 2) and kept the ball for 27:31, while the Texans were 4 for 13 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:29.

Washington held Tampa Bay to a second-quarter field goal by Chris Catanzaro and took a 16-3 win over the Buccaneers last Sunday in Tampa. The Redskins took a 6-3 lead at the break, then went on to shutout Tampa Bay in the second half, scoring 10 fourth quarter points unchallenged to take the road win. Washington outrushed Tampa Bay 116-103 and Redskins RB Adrian Peterson led all rushers with 68 yards, while QB Alex Smith threw for 178 yards with a TD and no interceptions. Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the benched Jameis Winston, threw for 406 yards but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions in their loss. Washington was 5 of 13 on third down conversions at Raymond James Stadium and kept the ball for 28:48, while Tampa Bay would rule the clock and keep the pigskin for 31:12 and did pretty well on third down, going 6 of 10 in the contest (neither club had a fourth down try).

They’ve met four times and each team has won twice in the series, with the Redskins outscoring the Texans 90-72. After Washington won the first two contests in the series, the Texans have won the last two meetings (Washington’s last win over Houston came in 2006 in Houston by a final of 31-15) and Houston’s last win came in the Lone Star State by a final of 17-6 in 2014. Houston’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Both teams are playoff contenders and they have been playing some decent football of late. However… Houston will have a problem. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Redskins cover the 3 and wins at FedEx.

Oakland (1-8) at Arizona (2-7), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. A pair of somewhat dismal teams meet in Glendale as the Oakland Raiders travel to the desert for a late-afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Both clubs come into the week 11 contest with losses under their belts.

The Raiders watched Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers won their sixth game of their last seven, taking a 20-6 loss  on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay to sweep the series and give the Raiders their fifth loss in a row. Los Angeles erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit, scored 10 second quarter points unchallenged and took a 10-3 lead with them to the locker room at the half. The Chargers then held Oakland to a second Matt Bagley field goal in the second half, as they took control of things at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Oakland barely outrushed the Bolts 114-113 and David Carr threw for 243 yards but was sacked four times, while Rivers threw for 223 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception. While the Chargers were 2 of 10 on third down tries, they were successful on their only fourth down try and kept the ball for 28:50, while the Silver and Black got to keep the ball for 31:10, going 5 for 15 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Arizona found themselves on the short end of a 26-14 loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead last Sunday. While the Desert Angry Birds trailed 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, Kansas City would floor the gas and take a 20-7 lead at the break. Arizona was outrushed 118-94 and Josh Rosen threw for 208 yards and a TD but was sacked five times and picked off twice, while Mahomes threw for 249 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was also sacked five times). Arizona was 50 percent on third and fourth downs, going 7 of 12 and 1 of 2 respectively and kept the ball for 31:47, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 28:13, while going 4 for 11 on third down.

Oakland leads the series 5-4 (including contests that took place in St. Louis and Los Angeles) and the Raiders have outscored Arizona 210-189. The Desert Angry Birds have come away with wins in their last two meetings, coming out on top 24-13 in Oakland in 2014, while the Raiders’ last win in the series came in 2006 by a final of 22-9 in Oakland. Arizona’s favored by 3 1/2 in the desert and the over/under is 41. We wouldn’t blame you if you took a pass on this one and watched that “Grumpy Cat Movie” on Lifetime (that cat may be grumpy but he’s funny as hell!). Desert Angry Birds cover the 3 and win at home.

Denver (3-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (7-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. The Los Angeles Chargers return home after being away for 41 days to face off against AFC West/AFL foe Denver at Stub Hub Center in Los Angeles. The Broncos come back to action from their bye, while the Chargers finish their long trip on the road with a win away from home.

After trading WR Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans, the Broncos would go on to lose to Houston 19-17 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High two Sundays ago. Denver trailed 16-10 at the intermission, then took a 1-point lead with 5:57 left in the third when Case Keenum and TE Jeff Heuerman connected on a 12-yard TD toss. That lead would not last very long as both teams went into the fourth quarter and the Texans would take the lead back with 14:06 when Houston K Kai Fairbairn nailed a 37-yard field goal through the uprights. Denver had a chance to win the contest in regulation and send Bronco fans home happy but Brandon McMannus’ 51-yard try sailed wide right. Houston outrushed Denver 98-75 and Texans QB DeSean Watson threw for 213 yards and a pair of TDs, while Keenum led everyone with 290 yards and a TD (both men did not throw and interception, Keenum was sacked twice, Watson sacked four times). Denver went 5 of 14 on third down (they did have success on fourth down, going a perfect 2 for 2) and kept the ball for 27:31, while the Texans were 4 for 13 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:29.

Rivers and the Chargers won their sixth game of their last seven, taking the Oakland Raiders 20-6 on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay to sweep the series and give the Raiders their fifth loss in a row. Los Angeles erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit, scored 10 second quarter points unchallenged and took a 10-3 lead with them to the locker room at the half. The Chargers then held Oakland to a second Matt Bagley field goal in the second half, as they took control of things at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Oakland barely outrushed the Bolts 114-113 and David Carr threw for 243 yards but was sacked four times, while Rivers threw for 223 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception. While the Chargers were 2 of 10 on third down tries, they were successful on their only fourth down try and kept the ball for 28:50, while the Silver and Black got to keep the ball for 31:10, going 5 for 15 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The Broncos lead the series 64-51-1, which includes contests that took place in Los Angeles, San Diego and at Mile High Stadium, while the Bolts have outscored Denver 2,495-2,471. The two AFC West foes met twice last year and both teams took wins at home.

Round 1… week one in Denver at what was called Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Denver took a 14-7 lead at the half, then held off the Chargers to come away 24-21 winners in the season opener for both clubs. Denver would hold off a late Los Angeles charge in the final 30 minutes of action in the Rocky Mountains to seal the win for head coach Vance Joseph, who  became the 12th head coach in Broncos history to win his regular-season debut. Denver outrushed the Chargers 140-64 and Trevor Siemian threw for 219 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception, while Rivers threw for 192 yards with three TDs and a pick (Siemian was sacked four times, while Rivers was sacked once). Denver was 8 for 15 on third down (they did not have a fourth down try in the contest) and kept the ball for 34:13, while the Chargers went 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and clung to the pigskin for 25:47.

The Chargers did not have to wait very long for revenge and they got that revenge at home at Stub Hub Centre in week seven, pitching a 21-0 shutout of their divisional rivals on the West Coast. Los Angeles scored 14 first half points unchallenged to lead by that margin at the break, then added a fourth quarter TD to seal Denver’s fate. Rivers threw for 183 yards and threw a pair of TDs to WR Travis Benjamin, while the Chargers outrushed Denver 80-69, Siemian threw for 207 yards with an interception and five sacks as the Broncos saw their 394-game scoring streak come to an end, the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Third down tries were nothing to write home for both teams (Denver was 3 for 14, Los Angeles was 3 of 12) and both clubs struggled on fourth down, with the Chargers going 0 for 1, while the Broncos were 0 for 2. The lone bright spot for Denver was that they ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:04, while Los Angeles kept the pigskin for 28:56.

In the season opener in the Mile High City, the Broncos covered the 3-point spread, winning by that margin and both clubs covered the 43 over/under with 45 points. In the week seven contest in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, the Chargers’ shutout win easily allowed them to cover the 1 1/2-point spread, winning by 21 but the 41 1/2 over/under was untouched as the Chargers were responsible for all 21 points. Los Angeles is favored by 7 at Stub Hub and the over/under’s 47. Denver’s struggling, while the Chargers are trying to keep pace with Kansas City in the AFC West. Los Angeles wins this one but expect the Broncos to make this one closer than 7.

Philadelphia (4-5) at New Orleans (8-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. Carson Wentz vs. Drew Brees. Both have Super Bowl rings and both were first round draft picks. Their teams meet in the Big Easy in a late Sunday afternoon NFC contest.

The defending Super Bowl champions trailed Dallas 13-3 at the half in Philadelphia, then tied the contest with their NFC East rivals with 7:27 left in regulation when Zach Ertz caught a 2-yard TD pass from Wentz, rallied to reclaim the thanks to a 1-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott with 3:19 left, then watched the Cowboys hold off a late Philly rally to come away from Lincoln Financial Field 27-20 winners Sunday night. The Eagles managed to tie the contest at 13-13 late in the third quarter when Ertz and Wentz connected on a 15-yard toss before Dallas took the lead back when Elliott and Dak Prescott connected on a 7-yard TD toss early in the final quarter of play. After the two teams exchanged TDs later in the period and Dallas re-claimed the lead for a second time, Philadelphia marched their way down the field and got as close as Dallas’ 32-yard line when Philadelphia used several laterals to get the ball into the end zone to no avail.

Brees and the Saints manhandled Cincinnati last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, as the NFC South leaders came away 51-14 winners along the shores of the Ohio River. New Orleans broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter and proceeded to outscore the Bengals 44-7 in the final three quarters of action, taking a 35-7 lead with them to the intermission. New Orleans outrushed Cincinnati 244-110 and Saints RB Mark Ingram rushed for 104 yards in the lopsided win. Brees led the Saints with 265 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Michael Thomas on two of those passes and Ingram on the other (Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Dalton threw for 153 yards for the Bengals with a TD to WR John Ross but was sacked four times and picked off twice. The Bengals were a dismal 0 for 6 on third down (they were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they kept the pigskin for 20:14, while the Saints ruled time, holding the ball for 39:46, while going 7 for 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Elliott led all rushers with 151 yards on the ground with the rushing TD as the Cowboys outrushed Philadelphia 171-71. Prescott threw for 270 yards and a TD with four sacks, while Wentz threw for 360 yards and the two Ertz catches for scores (Wentz was sacked twice and threw an interception). Dallas was 8 for 16 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:22, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 26:38, going 4 for 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

The defending Super Bowl champs lead the series 16-11 and Philly has outscored New Orleans 635-535. Philadelphia took home a 39-17 win in the City of Brotherly Love in their last meeting in 2015, while New Orleans’ last regular season win in the series came in 2012 in the Big Easy by a final of 28-13. New Orleans is favored in this one, as the odds-makers in Vegas like them as 8-point favorites in the Big Easy with a 55 over/under. While this one’s not quite “DRILL WORTHY!” it’s well worth your time to watch this one. The Saints want to stay kings of the NFC South mountain, while the Eagles want to keep their march to repeat as champs going. The Saints may be marching in but they won’t cover, the Eagles march out of the Big Easy with the win.

Minnesota (5-3-1) at Chicago (6-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. It’s an old-fashioned NFC North (or NFC Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman once said) matchup as the first-place Chicago Bears host Minnesota at Soldier Field in the Windy City. Both clubs were winners at home in their last contest, with the Vikings coming off a bye week, while Da Bears were at home against NFC North foe Detroit.

The Vikings come of their bye week after they held Detroit in check last Sunday in Minneapolis, taking down the Lions 24-9 at US Bank Stadium. The Purple Gang led 17-6 at the break and never allowed Detroit to get on track in the NFC North contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 128-66 and Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times by the Purple Gang, despite throwing for 199 yards, while Kirk Cousins threw for 164 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen. Minnesota would put the Detroit out of their misery in the fourth quarter when Vikings DE Danielle Hunter fulfilled a defensive lineman’s dream and took a fumble and returned it 32 yards untouched for a TD. Detroit was 4 for 15 on third down tries, 3 of 3 on fourth down and held on to the pigskin for 36:45, while the Vikings needed only 23:15 of clock to keep the ball, while going 3 for 8 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Da Bears took Detroit to the woodshed by Chicago at Soldier Field last Sunday, coming away 34-22 winners in the Windy City. Although Detroit managed to outscore Chicago 15-8 in the final 30 minutes of play, the Monsters of the Midway took a 26-7 lead with them to the break and never looked back. While Detroit did manage to outrush Chicago 76-54, Chicago made life for Matthew Stafford less than pleasant as they would sack him six times and force a pair of interceptions while throwing for 274 yards. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky had a better time than his Lions’ counterpart, throwing for 355 yards with no interceptions and three TDs while being sacked only once. While the Lions were 4 of 15 on third down, they had success on fourth down conversions, going 4 of 5 and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32 minutes, while Da Bears kept the pigskin in hibernation for 28 minutes, going 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Including games that were played in Bloomington at old Metropolitan Stadium, the Metrodome and at the University of Illinois-Champaign, the Vikings lead the series 60-51-2, have outscored Da Bears 2,384-2,181 and the Purple Gang have won the last three contests, including sweeping the series last year (Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2016 in the Windy City by a final of 20-10).

Meeting number one took place in week five in the Windy City at Soldier Field. Minnesota led Da Bears by the baseball-like score of 3-2 at halftime, then outscored Chicago 17-15 to win 20-17 as K Kai Forbath booted a 26-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the contest. Minnesota outrushed Chicago 159-115 and Case Keenum threw for 140 yards for the Vikings, while Trubisky threw for 128 for Chicago (both threw a TD pass, Trubisky threw and interception and was sacked once). Minnesota was 6 for 15 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:24, while Chicago was 28:36 in time of possession, going 3 for 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Purple Gang made it a clean sweep in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in week 17. While Da Bears were out of the post-season, Minnesota, winners of the NFC North, used the season finale at US Bank Stadium as a tune-up for the post-season and would come away 23-10 winners. Leading 16-7 at the break, Minnesota would hold Chicago to a 55-yard field goal by Matt Nugent to take the win at home. Minnesota easily outrushed Chicago 147-30, with Vikings RB Latavius Murray leading everyone with 111 yards and a pair of TDs and the Vikings defense held Trubisky in check, holding him to 178 yards with a sack for a safety, while Keenum threw for 189 yards and a TD. Chicago was a dismal 1 for 12 on third down and an even worse 0 for 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 24:05, while the Vikings were 5 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 35:55.

In the week five Monday night contest in the Windy City at Soldier Field, the Vikings BARELY covered the 2 1/2-point spread, winning by 3 and the 37 total points scored by both clubs missed the 40 over/under by 3. In the season finale in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Vikings easily covered the 11 1/2-point spread as they won by 13. Neither team touched the 39 1/2 over/under as they merged to tally 33 points.

Da Bears are 16-22 on Sunday night with Chicago losing their last meeting in 2016, while Minnesota is 18-17, going 1-0 in their only contest last year. Chicago’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. These two clubs could decide who wins the NFC North and could make the post-season party. Minnesota would like to make it four in a row over Chicago, while Da Bears want nothing to do with that plan. BEAR DOWN, BEAR FANS! Da Bears win on Sunday night in the Windy City and the Monsters of the Midway cover the 3.

Kansas City (9-1) at Los Angeles Rams (9-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A potential Super Bowl match up that would have taken place South of the border returns to the Unite States as the Kansas City Chiefs, in first place in the AFC West, take on the Los Angeles Rams, who rule the NFC West mountain to close out play in week 11. Both clubs were at home last Sunday and both clubs took home wins. The decision to move the game was based on the determination – in consultation with the NFLPA and following a meeting and field inspection Tuesday afternoon by NFL and club field experts as well as local and independent outside experts – that the playing field at Estadio Azteca did not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by game day on Monday.

“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” NFL Executive Vice President of International Mark Waller told USA Today and NFL Network. “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium, have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game. As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”

As for the teams?

Kansas City won their ninth game in ten tries as they took care of Arizona 26-14 at Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday.  Mahomes and the Chiefs led the Desert Angry Birds 20-7 at the intermission and never looked back. Kansas City outrushed Arizona 118-94 and Cardinals QB Josh Rosen threw for 208 yards and a TD but was sacked five times and picked off twice, while Mahomes threw for 249 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was also sacked five times). Arizona was 50 percent on third and fourth downs, going 7 of 12 and 1 of 2 respectively and kept the ball for 31:47, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 28:13, while going 4 for 11 on third down.

Los Angeles held off a late Seattle rally last Sunday in Tinseltown and came out on top 36-31 against the Seahawks in an NFC West rematch. Seattle led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, then watched the Rams chip away at the lead and trailed 17-14 at the intermission. Seattle would then make things close and would pull themselves to within five with 1:56 left in regulation when TE Mike Davis and Wilson connected on a 3-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would eventually get the ball back after the Rams went three and out and took the ball on their 35-yard line. Seattle advanced to as close as Los Angeles’ 35-yard after the two teams got offsetting penalties and could not dent the endzone after three Wilson passes fell incomplete.

Sunday’s contest had a pair of running backs breach the 100-yard barrier; Seattle’s Rashaad Penny ran for 108 yards, while Rams RB Todd Gurley III led everyone with 120 yards (both men had a rushing TD in the contest) as the Seahawks outrushed the Rams 273-149. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 318 yards and a pair of TDs, while Wilson threw for 176 yards and three TDs (Wilson was sacked four times, Goff was sacked twice, neither man threw an interception). Seattle went 2 of 9 on third down and 0 of 1 fourth down, while keeping the ball for 30:37, while the Rams kept the ball for 29:23, going 5 for 10 on third down tries.

Including games played in Kansas City at old Swope Field and in St. Louis, the Chiefs lead the series 7-4, Kansas City has outscored the Rams 277-196 and have won the last six meetings, including a 34-7 win at Arrowhead in 2014, while the Rams’ last win came in 1994 (also at Arrowhead), as they shutout Kansas City 16-0.

The Chiefs are 25-18 on Monday night and Kansas City won their two meetings in 2017 play, while the Rams are now 27-32 (Los Angeles opened the 2018 season with a win in Oakland). The Rams are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 63 1/2. These numbers make a ton of sense because both offenses can almost score at the drop of a hat. Now normally we don’t make Monday night games “DRILL WORTHY.”

But… since both teams are in first in their respective divisons, both teams have byes next week and most of America is off for Thanksgiving, we think that this one is the exception. (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

You might want to consider taping “Magnum, PI” and “Bull” this week. This one is too good to pass up. The Chiefs will make it interesting but the Rams prevail South of the border and close out week 11 with the win.

The NFL announced Tuesday that it will move the Monday, November 19, Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams game originally scheduled for Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

The decision is based on the determination – in consultation with the NFLPA and following a meeting and field inspection this afternoon by NFL and club field experts as well as local and independent outside experts – that the playing field at Estadio Azteca does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday.

“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” NFL Executive Vice President of International Mark Waller told USA Today and NFL Network.  “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium, have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game. As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”

Details on ticket reimbursement procedures will be announced in the days ahead. All NFL teams that forgo a home game to play internationally are required to keep their home stadium available as a contingency and the Rams will be announcing ticket information and other logistical details for Monday night’s game at the Los Angeles Coliseum as soon as possible.

The NFL announced this week the following schedule changes for Week 11 on Sunday, November 18. The league announced that the Minnesota-Chicago game will move from 1 p.m. on FOX to 8:20 p.m. on NBC, the Philadelphia-New Orleans game moves from 1 p.m. on FOX to 4:25 p.m. on FOX and the Pittsburgh-Jacksonville game originally scheduled at 8:20 p.m. on NBC will move to CBS at 1 p.m.

The following is the final Week 11 NFL schedule (all times Eastern):

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

Sunday, November 18
Dallas at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at New Orleans, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

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

The NFL announced today the following schedule changes for Week 11 on Sunday, November 18.

The Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears game will move from 1 p.m. on FOX to 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

The Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints game moves from 1 p.m. on FOX to 4:25 PM ET on FOX.

The Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars game originally scheduled at 8:20 p.m. on NBC will move to CBS at 1 p.m.

The following is the final Week 11 NFL schedule (all times Eastern):

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

Sunday, November 18
Dallas at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at New Orleans, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

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

Senior Bowl?

Check.

Draft?

Check.

Mini Camps and OTAs?

Check.

Training camp?

Check.

Preseason games?

Check.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MOST DIVISION TITLES AND PLAYOFF BERTHS SINCE REALIGNMENT IN 2002

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

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

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

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL TEAMS

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

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

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL HEAD COACHES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OWNER MILESTONES

NOTABLE OWNER MILESTONES FOR 2018

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

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

A SAMPLING OF 2018 NFL ANNIVERSARIES

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

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – KICKOFF WEEKEND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The players with the most touchdown catches in NFL history:

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

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

The players with the most rushing yards in NFL history:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 SPECIAL PATCHES & LOGOS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strength of Schedule

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

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

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

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

Be sure to return your trays to the upright position.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because this is the first week of the 2018 campaign, all the games are going to be designated “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”) Week one also features seven rematches from the 2017 campaign (Baltimore at Cincinnati, Houston at New England, Tennesse at Miami, Tampa Bay at New Orleans, Chicago at Green Bay, Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers and Washington at Arizona).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was week one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game one in the books, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Football fans, your wait is over.

Your patience has been rewarded, Grasshopper.

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

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

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

NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 9 when the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears at 8:20
p.m. at Lambeau Field in the 195th regular-season meeting between the storied franchises. Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 10 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. Detroit hosts the New York Jets at 7:10 p.m. in the Motor City in the first game followed by the Los Angeles Rams visiting Oakland in the nightcap at 10:20 p.m.

ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season
weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs. And fans will get to go to bed at a decent hour as prime time kickoffs will now be earlier – Thursday kickoffs that were at 8:25 p.m. will now be at 8:20 p.m., Sunday night games kick off at 8:20 instead of 8:30 and Monday games will now have an 8:15 kickoff, up 15 minutes from last year’s 8:30 p.m. start. Plus, as an added feature, all 32 teams are scheduled for at least one prime time game either on Thursday, Sunday or Monday night games (fans in Cleveland can rejoice).

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

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

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

Other highlights of the schedule include:

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

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

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

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

“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no
more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only
Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night
game would be moved to an afternoon start time. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before
the game.

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

For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 30. The schedule does
not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot.

Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance
to play their way into primetime. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights.

The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card
Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 5-6. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will
earn first-round byes.

Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday
and Sunday, January 12-13. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 20. The winners meet two weeks later on Sunday, February 3 in Super Bowl LIII at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium (CBS).

The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television
in local markets. All postseason games are televised nationally. Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL primetime games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 2

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

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

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

Week 3

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

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

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

Week 4

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

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

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

Week 5 (Byes: Chicago and Tampa Bay)

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

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

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

Week 6 (Byes: Detroit and New Orleans)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 13

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

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

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

Week 14

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

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

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

Week 15

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

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

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

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

Week 16

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

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

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

Week 17

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

Building off the tremendous success of the 2016 and 2017 games in Mexico, the NFL will return to Mexico City in 2018 when the Los Angeles Rams host the Kansas City Chiefs at Estadio Azteca, NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell announced at his press conference in Minneapolis in advance of Super Bowl LII.

The date and time of the game will be determined in conjunction with the release of the NFL schedule this spring. The game in Mexico is the fourth international game confirmed for 2018, adding to the three previously announced games in London and a testament to the NFL’s commitment to growing the game beyond the borders of the United States.

In November, the NFL and Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism announced an agreement to play three NFL regular-season games from 2019 to 2021. The previous agreement covered games from 2016 to 2018.

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

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

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

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

Fans interested in receiving information about tickets for the game, which will go on sale this summer, should register their interest at http://www.nfl.com/mexico/registration. Season ticket members of the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs will receive information directly from the clubs once tickets are ready for sale.

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Aprovechando el tremendo éxito de los juegos 2016 y 2017 en México, la NFL regresará a Ciudad de México en 2018 cuando los Rams de Los Ángeles reciban a los Jefes de Kansas City en el Estadio Azteca, el comisionado de la NFL Rodger Goodell anunció en su conferencia de prensa en Minneapolis por adelantado del Super Bowl LII.

La fecha y hora del juego se determinarán junto con el lanzamiento del calendario de la NFL esta primavera. El juego en México es el cuarto juego internacional confirmado para 2018, que se suma a los tres juegos anunciados previamente en Londres y un testimonio del compromiso de la NFL para hacer crecer el juego más allá de las fronteras de los Estados Unidos.

En noviembre, la NFL y el Ministerio de Turismo de México anunciaron un acuerdo para jugar tres partidos de la temporada regular de la NFL entre 2019 y 2021. El acuerdo anterior cubría los juegos de 2016 a 2018.

“En las últimas dos temporadas, hemos visto la extraordinaria pasión que existe por el fútbol de la NFL en México”, dijo Goodell. “Estamos entusiasmados por otro evento memorable en el Estadio Azteca, ya que los Rams de Los Ángeles y los Jefes de Kansas City se dirigirán a la Ciudad de México en 2018”.

Los Rams y los Chiefs jugarán su primer partido de temporada regular en México la próxima temporada. Los Chiefs jugaron un partido de pretemporada contra los Dallas Cowboys en Monterrey, México el 5 de agosto de 1996, ganando 32-6 a los Dallas Cowboys.

“El sur de California y México comparten fuertes lazos históricos y culturales y este juego brindará la oportunidad de celebrar la conexión especial entre estas dos regiones”, dijo el propietario / presidente de los Rams, E. Stanely Kroenke. “Es genial participar de nuevo en los juegos internacionales de la NFL y trabajar con la liga para hacer crecer el juego en el extranjero. México tiene una de las mayores bases de fanáticos de la NFL en el mundo y estamos muy contentos de llevar el fútbol Rams a los millones de fanáticos allí “.

“Estamos encantados de ser parte de las iniciativas internacionales de la NFL una vez más y estamos entusiasmados de enfrentar a los Rams en el histórico Estadio Azteca este otoño”, dijo el presidente y gerente general de Kansas Ctyy Chiefs, Clark Hunt. “El apoyo a la NFL en México ha crecido significativamente desde nuestro viaje inicial en 1996. Esperamos volver a México y conectarnos con una nueva generación de fanáticos esta temporada”.

Los fanáticos interesados ​​en recibir información sobre boletos para el juego, que saldrá a la venta este verano, deben registrar su interés en http://www.nfl.com/mexico/registration. Los miembros de los boletos de temporada de Los Angeles Rams y Kansas City Chiefs recibirán información directamente de los clubes una vez que los boletos estén listos para la venta.