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The National Football League and FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) announced today quarterbacks Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs), Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles) and Tom Brady (New England Patriots) are the finalists for the 2017 FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year honors, while running backs Kareem Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs), Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams) are the finalists for the 2017 FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year.

In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII, fans have the chance to cast their vote for the one quarterback and one running back they feel had the year’s best Air & Ground performances. Through February 1 at 3 p.m. Eastern, fans can cast their vote for each category at nfl.com/fedex​ or on Twitter by tweeting @FedEx using the hashtag #AirandGround and listing their nominee’s last name to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year.

As part of the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year program, FedEx will donate $100,000 to the USO – $50,000 in each player’s name. The donation will be used to support the USO, a military support organization dedicated to connecting service members and their families to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.

Throughout the 2017-18 season, FedEx supported its commitment to serving the community by making weekly $2,000 donations to the USO in each of the weekly winning players’ names. The total contribution will amount to $168,000 this season.

New this year, NFL Network Analyst, 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, 2006 FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year and former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson served as the primary voice for the program.

FedEx will announce the 2017 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year winners at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 3, the night before Super Bowl LII, at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on NBC.

A closer look at the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year finalists:

•Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith led the NFL with a 104.7 passer rating. Smith threw for 4,042 yards with five interceptions and became the first player in league history to record five consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards and fewer than 10 interceptions. Smith ranked 3rd in the NFL with a 67.5% completion percentage, completing 341 of 505 passes.

•Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz’s 33 touchdown passes were the second-most in the NFL despite missing the final three games of the season due to injury. Wentz threw for 3,296 yards and had the league’s fourth best passer rating at 101.9. A 2018 Pro Bowl selection, Wentz led the Eagles to a 13-3 record and the NFC’s number one seed in the playoffs.

•New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl. Brady led the NFL with 4,577 passing yards and ranked third in touchdown passes with 32 and passer rating with a 102.8 rating. With eight interceptions this season, Brady joined Alex Smith as the only players in NFL history to have four consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards and fewer than 10 interceptions.

A closer look at the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year finalists:

•Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt led the league with 1,327 rushing yards and ranked third in scrimmage yards with 1,782. Hunt is the second rookie not selected in the first round to lead the league in rushing yards in the common draft era, since 1967. The 2018 Pro Bowl selection is the only rookie to have two games in a single season with at least 200 scrimmage yards, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.

•Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell led the AFC with 1,946 scrimmage yards and finished tied for the AFC lead with nine rushing touchdowns. Bell was selected to his third Pro Bowl and led all players in Pro Bowl fan voting with 855,539 total votes. Bell’s 1,946 scrimmage yards and 1,291 rushing yards are both the second-most in his five-year career.

•Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley led the NFL with 2,093 scrimmage yards and 19 total touchdowns. The 2018 Pro Bowl selection set career highs in rushing yards, 1,305, and rushing touchdowns, 13. Gurley is the third different player in NFL history to have at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five touchdown catches in a single season.

As the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, FedEx is proud to sponsor the 15th annual FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year awards. The awards highlight the league’s leaders at the quarterback and running back positions, recognizing the players that consistently delivered the best results throughout the season.

The $100,000 donation is part of the company’s FedEx Cares global giving platform, in which FedEx will invest $200 million in more than 200 communities by 2020 to create opportunities and deliver solutions around the world.

For more information, visit nfl.com/fedex or follow the conversation on Twitter at @NFL.

About FedEx Corporation: FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $62 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 400,000 team members to remain “absolutely, positively” focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. To learn more about how FedEx connects people and possibilities around the world, please visit about.fedex.com.

About the USO: The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.

In other NFL award news…

The National Football League announced the five finalists for the 2017 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR award.

2017 PEPSI NEXT NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

Player Position Team
Alvin Kamara, Running Back – New Orleans Saints
Christian McCaffrey, Running Back – Carolina Panthers
Kareem Hunt, Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
Leonard Fournette, Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars
Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback – New Orleans Saints

Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com/Rookies through Thursday, January 25 to determine the 2017 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR.

The 2017 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR award will be recognized in Minneapolis during Super Bowl LII festivities and online at NFL.com/Rookies.

The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2017 NFL season.  Each week, five nominees were chosen for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner on NFL.com. Those results were used to help determine the finalists.

A closer look at the finalists:

•New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara: Kamara, a 2018 Pro Bowl selection, led all rookies with 14 total touchdowns and ranked second with 1,554 scrimmage yards. He joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (1965) as the only rookies in NFL history to have at least five rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a kickoff-return touchdown. Kamara led all rookies with 81 receptions, the third-most by a rookie running back in NFL history.

•Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey: McCaffrey set the Carolina Panthers franchise rookie record and ranked second among NFL rookies with 80 receptions, the fourth-most by a rookie running back in NFL history. He also set the franchise rookie record with 1,086 scrimmage yards and was one of four rookies with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards this season.

•Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt: Hunt, a 2018 Pro Bowl selection, led the league with 1,327 rushing yards and is the second rookie not selected in the first round to lead his league in rushing yards in the common draft era (since 1967). He became the second rookie in NFL history to record at least 1,000 scrimmage yards through his team’s first seven games and began his career with seven consecutive games of at least 100 scrimmage yards, an NFL rookie record. Hunt, who had six games with at least 100 rushing yards, finished with eight rushing touchdowns and 1,782 scrimmage yards, the most among NFL rookies.

•Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette: Fournette led all rookies and tied for third in the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns. He ranked second among rookie running backs with 1,040 rushing yards and was one of nine running backs to rush for at least 1,000 yards during the 2017 season. Fournette rushed for more than 100 yards on five occasions and helped the Jaguars win their division for the first time since 1999 (AFC Central).

•New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore: Lattimore, a 2018 Pro Bowl selection, led all rookies and tied for fifth in the NFL with five interceptions. He finished the season with 52 tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble and 18 passes defensed, tied for the most by a rookie during the 2017 season.

This is Pepsi’s 16th year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the 15th year that Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.

About PepsiCo: PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated approximately $63 billion in net revenue in 2016, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our goal to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth and shareholder value. In practice, Performance with Purpose means providing a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; finding innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our operating costs; providing a safe and inclusive workplace for our employees globally; and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities where we operate. For more information, visit http://www.pepsico.com.

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The National Football League is giving its fans another early Christmas gift as a pair of game grace the gridiron on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Indianapolis (3-11) at Baltimore (8-6), 4:30 p.m. on NFL Network. Week 16 action opens in Charm City as the Baltimore Ravens host the struggling Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts let a a 7-3 halftime lead against Denver in Indianapolis last Thursday night get away from them. the watched the Broncos take control of things at Lucas Oil Stadium, outscoring the Colts 18-3 in the final 30 minutes of play, dropping a 25-13 decision. Denver’s C.J. Anderson ran amok, leading all rushers with 158 yards in the contest, as his team outrushed Indy 213-70, while Brock Osweiler, who took over for Trevor Siemian (left the contest with an injury), threw for 194 yards and a pair of TDs (Indy’s Jacoby Brissett threw for 158 yards with no TDs or interceptions but had a sack). Denver on third down tries went 7 of 15 (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down tries) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:51, while the Colts kept the pigskin for 23:09, going 6 of 13, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Ravens manhandled a winless Cleveland Browns club last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie and came away 27-10 winners at First Energy Field. Baltimore led 17-10 at the half, then pulled away from the Browns and scored their final 10 points of the contest unchallenged. Although the Browns outrushed Baltimore 130-97, Joe Flacco burned the Browns for 288 yards and a TD to TE Benjamin Watson, while Cleveland’s DeShone Kizer threw for 146 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Ravens on third down conversions went 7 of 16 and kept the ball for 36:48, while the Browns were 5 of 14, holding the pigskin for 23:12 (both clubs were 0 of 1 on fourth down tries).

Indy leads the series 8-3 and the Colts have outscored the Ravens 272-210. Indy came away 20-13 winners in the Hoosier State in 2014, while Baltimore’s last win came in 2011 in Charm City by a final of 24-10. Baltimore’s favored by 13 and the over/under is 41. The Ravens are trying to get into the playoffs, while the Colts are trying to maintain some order for their season. While Indy will make this one close, Baltimore takes the win at home in Charm City.

Minnesota (11-3) at Green Bay (7-7), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Minnesota and Green Bay square off at Lambeau Field, as the Vikings have already clinched the NFC North, while the Packers look to somehow slow down the Purple Wave in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst on Saturday night.

The Vikings clinched the NFC North with a convincing 38-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday at US Bank Stadium. Minnesota, who scored their first 27 points unchallenged (they led 20-0 at the half), held the Bengals to a 6-yard run by HB Giovanni Bernard with 6:22 left in the contest, when the game was all but settled. Minnesota outrushed the Bengals 124-46 and sacked Andy Dalton three times and picked him off twice, while Case Keenum threw for 236 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Sean Diggs and TE Kyle Rudolph on both tosses. Minnesota was 4 of 12 on third down tries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, while keeping the ball for 35:52. As for the Bengals? They were a somewhat dismal 1 of 13 on third down, went 1 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 24:08.

For the first time since 2008, the Green Bay Packers will not make the NFL Playoffs. The Packers welcomed the return of Rodgers but it wasn’t enough for them in Charlotte as they fell to Cam Newton and Carolina 31-24 at Bank of America Stadium. Rodgers threw his first of three TD passes of the afternoon as time expired in the first quarter when he and WR DaVonte Adams connected on a 13-yard TD strike after Carolina’s Cam Newton threw a 7-yard TD pass to Christian McCaffery to open the scoring in the contest. Green Bay would eventually take a 14-10 into the intermission when Rodgers and RB Randall Cobb hooked up on a 33 yard TD strike before Carolina took control of things, outscoring the Packers 21-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Green Bay would eventually pull to within a touchdown with 2:43 left in the contest when WR Richard Rodgers caught a 24-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay then recovered the onside kick and got the ball as far as the Panthers’ 38-yard line when Geronimo Allison caught a 10-yard pass from Rodgers but fumbled the ball, which Carolina promptly recovered. Carolina then ran the clock out and took the win at home.

Rodgers threw for 290 yards and the three TDs but was picked off three times, while Newton threw for 242 yards and four TDs in the Tar Heel State. Carolina outrushed 151-120, the Panthers were 6 of 12 on third down conversions and held the ball for 33:57, while the Packers kept the pigskin for 26:03, going 4 of 11 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The NFC North affair is a rematch of the team’s week six contest in the Twin Cities (Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone), which the Vikings won 23-10 at US Bank Stadium. Minnesota led 14-10 at the half and the Vikings shut the Packers out in the second half. Minnesota outrushed Green Bay 112-72 and Keenum threw for 239 yards and a pair of TDs, while Brett Hundley, taking over for Rodgers, threw for 157 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off three times. Green Bay went 4 of 17 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:51

In the week six contest, the Packers were favored by 3 and the Vikings covered with the 13 point win in the Twin Cities. As for the 46 1/2 over/under? It was safe, as both clubs combined for only 33 points. In the rematch on the eve before Christmas Eve, the Vikings are favored by 9 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. The Vikings want to be home for the holidays and the playoffs. As for the Packers? They want to be the Grinch. You’re a mean one, Green Bay. Packers put a lump of coal and switches in the Vikings stocking, pull the upset at Lambeau and take the win in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst.

Cleveland-Baltimore Broadcast Information – 4:30 p.m. on NFL Network: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl (Field reporter)
NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Scott Graham, Mike Mayock, Scott Kaplan (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (Indianapolis), 83 (Baltimore); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (Indianapolis), 83 (Baltimore)

Referee: Tony Corrente

Injury Report

Indianapolis
OUT: T Denzelle Good (Knee), WR Donte Moncrief (Ankle), TE Brandon Williams (Concussion), CB Rashaan Melvin (Hand)

Baltimore
DOUBTFUL: WR Jeremy Maclin (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Maurice Canady (Knee), DT Carl Davis (Shoulder), S Anthony Levine (Thigh)

Weather: Overcast with a 60 percent chance of rain and 62 degrees

Minnesota-Green Bay Broadcast Information – 8:30 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter)
NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Brandon Gaudin, Ross Tucker, Hub Arkush (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (Minnesota), 83 (Green Bay); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (Minnesota), 83 (Green Bay)

Referee: Carl Cheffers

Injury Report

Minnesota
OUT: CB Tramaine Brock (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Mackensie Alexander (Rib), T Riley Reiff (Ankle), S Andrew Sendejo (Ankle)

Green Bay
OUT: WR Davante Adams (Concussion), CB Demetri Goodson (Hamstring)
DOUBTFUL: LB Nicholas Perry (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: G Jahri Evans (Knee), LB William Matthews (Hamstring), CB Davon House (Shoulder)

Weather: Clear and 10 degrees

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel

 

On Saturday, December 16, NFL Network EXCLUSIVELY broadcasts a doubleheader of Week 15 games starting with the Detroit Lions hosting the Chicago Bears at 4:30 p.m., followed by the Kansas City Chiefs facing the Los Angeles Chargers at 8:25 p.m. in a crucial AFC West divisional matchup. (All times listed are Eastern)

For Bears-Lions, Mike Tirico and Kurt Warner, along with Heather Cox call the action from Ford Field in Detroit. Bears-Lions will also be available on local stations in Chicago (WMAQ) and Detroit (WDIV).

For Chargers-Chiefs, Greg Gumbel and Trent Green, along with Jamie Erdahl call the action from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Chargers-Chiefs will also be available on local stations in Los Angeles (KCAL) and Kansas City (KCTV).

Coverage on Saturday kicks off at 2 p.m. with NFL GameDay Kickoff. Host Rich Eisen is joined by analysts Michael Irvin and Steve Mariucci in Los Angeles to provide news and analysis of the day’s games, as well as preview the rest of the Week 15 schedule. At 3:30 p.m. on NFL Network, Eisen, Irvin and Mariucci provide additional pregame coverage of Bears-Lions on Football Night in Detroit, joined by Randy Moss and Kurt Warner from Ford Field.

Featured on NFL GameDay Kickoff is former Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner Jason Taylor visiting with Detroit Lions nominee Haloti Ngata to discuss the Haloti Ngata Family Foundation, which honors his mother’s memory by providing educational assistance.

At halftime, Eisen, Irvin and Mariucci break down the first half. Immediately following the game, the postgame show airs live from Ford Field with Tirico, Warner and Cox providing highlights, analysis and live interviews.

At 7:30 p.m., NFL GameDay Kickoff airs with Eisen, Irvin and Mariucci taking viewers up to kickoff of Chargers-Chiefs, along with Amber Theoharis and Terrell Davis live from Arrowhead Stadium. During NFL GameDay Kickoff, Kansas City Chiefs Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee Alex Smith discusses the Alex Smith Foundation, which provides foster children with tools and resources needed as they transition to adulthood, as well as college scholarships.

Host Chris Rose, and analysts Deion Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson provide live halftime and postgame coverage of Chargers-Chiefs. Additional postgame coverage continues at Midnight ET from Los Angeles with Rose, James Jones and Reggie Bush on NFL Total Access: Endgame.

Start the day on Saturday, December 16 with Good Morning Football: Weekend at 9 a.m. on NFL Network. Colleen Wolfe, Michael Robinson and Mike Garafolo host the three-hour show from NFL Films in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, providing the latest news and analysis from around the NFL.

The entire 18-game NFL Network schedule will also be streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (NFL.com/mobile), the NFL app on Xbox One and Windows 10, and through Watch NFL Network on tablets, PCs and various connected TV devices (NFL.com/watch), with participating television providers. Learn all of the ways to watch at NFL.com/TNF. An audio broadcast of the game is available on SiriusXM, TuneIn and Westwood One Radio Sports.

ABOUT NFL MEDIA: NFL Media is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL.com, NFL Now, NFL Mobile from Verizon and NFL RedZone.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.

For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming can also be streamed live on smartphones through NFL Mobile from Verizon, as well as other digital platforms such as TuneIn.com and through Watch NFL Network on tablet (NFL Mobile, Watch NFL Network and NFL on Windows 10 apps), PC (NFL.com/watch), Xbox One and Xbox 360 (NFL on Xbox app) and other connected TV devices (NFL app on Apple TV, PlayStation 4, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV). Watch NFL Network access is available for NFL Network subscribers of participating TV providers. For more information, go to NFL.com/nflnetwork.

Chicago (4-9) at Detroit (7-6), 4:30 p.m. on NFL Network. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Motor City as Chicago comes to Detroit with hopes of knocking the Lions out of the playoff race.

Chicago held Cincinnati to a first-quarter TD by Brandon LaFell and came away 33-7 winners last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Da Bears took a 7-0 lead to open the scoring in the contest when Jordan Howard scored from 21 yards out. After LaFell gave the Bengals a brief 7-6 lead with 2:15 left in the first, Da Bears would go on to score their next 27 points of the game unchallenged, taking a 12-7 lead with them to the intermission. Chicago ran amok on the ground, tallying 232 yards, with Howard accounting for 147 yards and a pair of TDs, while holding the Bengals to 70 yards rushing, while Mitch Trubinsky threw for 271 yards and Andy Dalton throwing for 141 yards and an interception for the Bengals (each QB was sacked twice and threw a TD pass). Chicago was 4 of 11 on third down (Da Bears were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 38:09, while the Bengals were 21:51 as far as time of possession was concerned, going 3 of 12, 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

The Lions used all nine of their lives in Tampa last Sunday and came out of Raymond James Stadium 24-21 over the Buccaneers. Detroit led 14-7 at the half and took a 21-7 lead with them into the final 15 minutes of action before Tampa Bay managed to storm back and tie the contest with 8:05 left in regulation when QB Jameis Winston allowed OT Leonard Wester to live a linesman’s dream when he caught a 2-yard TD toss. After Tampa Bay punted the ball back to Detroit with 2:54 left in regulation, the Lions made their way down the field from their 23 yard line, using a 9-play drive that used 49 yards of real estate and 2:34 of clock, ending when Detroit K Matt Prater connected on a 46-yard field goal with 26 seconds left to play. The Bucs, without a time out, would get the ball back on the kick off with 15 seconds left but Winston was sacked by DE Ezekiel Ansah, ending the game and ending Tampa’s hopes for the win. In a twist of irony, Tampa Bay outrushed Detroit 133-53 and Winston threw for 285 yards and a pair of TDs, while Matthew Stafford threw for 381 yards and a TD, even though he was picked off twice. The Lions on third down conversions went 5 of 11 and kept the ball for 29:47, while Tampa Bay was 4 of 8 o third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball for 30:13.

They met in the Windy City in week 11 and the Lions erased a 10-0 deficit after 15 minutes of play, taking a 21-17 lead at the half and coming away 27-24 winners at Soldier Field. Detroit’s Matt Prater gave the Lions the lead back with 1:35 left when he connected on a 52-yard field goal, then held off a late Chicago rally in the final moments of the contest. Chicago did outrush Detroit 222-65, with Bears RB Jordan Howard leading the way with 125 yards and a TD. Stafford threw for 299 yards and a pair of TDs for Detroit, while Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky threw for 179 yards and a TD. Detroit on third down? 3 of 10. Da Bears? 3 of 9 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Lions ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:36 to Chicago’s 29:24.

In the week 11 affair in the Windy City, which took place before Thanksgiving Day, Detroit was favored by 3 and won by 3, covering the spread and both teams also took care of the 41 over/under by combining to score 51 points. Detroit’s favored by 5 this time around in the Motor City and the over/under’s 44. Chicago would love nothing more than to put a dent in the Lions’ playoff hopes. Detroit? They want nothing to do with that plan. Lions cover the 5 and win at home in the Motor City.

Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) at Kansas City (7-6), 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network. They meet again.

This time, it’s in the Show-Me State.

Chargers.

Chiefs.

This one could decide the AFC West.

Both teams enter the Saturday evening contest with wins under their belts from action last Sunday.

The Chargers took Washington to the woodshed last Sunday at Stub Hub Center, beating the Redskins 30-13, leading 23-6 at the half. Washington was outrushed by the Chargers 174-65 and saw Philip Rivers throw for 319 yards and a pair of TDs, while ‘Skins QB Kirk Cousins threw for 151 yards with a TD, an interception and two sacks. The Chargers were 6 of 15 on third down conversions and held the ball for 35:20, while Washington was 2 of 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 24:40.

Kansas City got revenge on Oakland for their one-point loss in northern California in week seven and beat up the Raiders 26-15 at Arrowhead last Sunday. The Chiefs led 16-0 at half and took a 26-0 lead with them to the fourth quarter before the Raiders scored their only points in that period unchallenged. Kansas City outrushed their AFC West rivals 165-70, rookie RB Kareem Hunt led all rushers with 116 yards and Alex Smith threw for 268 yards, despite being sacked four times and picked off once, while the Chiefs’ defense forced three turnovers, forcing a Raiders fumble and picking off Derek Carr (211 yards) twice, sacking him three times. Both teams were 5 of 13 on third down tries at Arrowhead (the Raiders were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and time was the BFF of Kansas City, who held the ball for 36:40 to Oakland’s 23:20.

The two AFC West/AFL foes met on the West Coast in week three and the Chiefs were 24-10 winners at Stub Hub Center. Kansas City led 17-10 at the break, then pulled away from the Chargers in the second half, shutting out Los Angeles in the last 30 minutes of action. Kansas City outrushed their West Coast hosts 189-104, with rookie RB Kareem Hunt leading the way with 172 yards and a TD, while Alex Smith threw for 155 yards with a pair of TDs despite being sacked five times. The Chargers were paced by Rivers’ 237 yards but he was picked off three times in the loss at home. The Chiefs on third down tries went 4 of 12 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and Kansas City kept the ball for 30:26, while the Chargers were 5 of 13, holding the ball for 29:34.

Kansas city was favored by 3 on the West Coast in the week three contest and the Chiefs would win by 14. The 46 over/under was untouched, as both clubs combined for 34 points at Stub Hub Center. The boys and girls in Vegas think this one’s going to be a little closer the second time around but they like the Chiefs as a 1 point favorite on Saturday night and the over/under this time is 46 1 1/2. For the winner, it’s almost a clear shot to the AFC West title. The loser? Their playoff hopes, while damaged, are still alive. Chiefs pull off the sweep in the Show-Me State with the win and covers the 1.

Chicago-Detroit Broadcast Information – 4:30 p.m. on NFL Network: Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner, Heather Cox (Field reporter)
NATIONAL RADIO: WW1: Brandon Gaudin, Mike Mayock, Ed Werder (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Chicago), 83 (Detroit); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Chicago), 83 (Detroit)

Referee: Jeff Triplette

Injury Report

Chicago
QUESTIONABLE: S Adrian Amos (Hamstring), DT Eddie Goldman (Hip), S DeAndre Houston-Carson (Ankle), TE Adam Shaheen (Chest)

Detroit
OUT: C Travis Swanson (Concussion), T Richard Wagner (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: G Thomas Lang (Foot), T Emmett Cleary (Ankle), DE Ezekiel Ansah (Ankle)

Weather Information: Game indoors

Los Angeles Chargers-Kansas City Broadcast Information – 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: WestWood1: John Sadak, Ross Tucker, Max Starks (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Los Angeles Chargers), 83 (Kansas City); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Los Angeles Chargers), 83 (Kansas City)

Referee: Walt Anderson

Injury Report

Los Angeles Chargers
QUESTIONABLE: CB Casey Hayward (Calf)

Kansas City
OUT: C Mitchell Morse (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: S Eric Murray (Ankle), LB Tamba Hali (Knee), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (Quadricep)

Weather Information: Clear and 49 degrees

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel

 

Denver (4-9) at Indianapolis (3-10), 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime. A pair of AFC teams with almost no playoff hopes open action in week 15 as the Indianapolis Colts return to Indianapolis to face off against the Denver Broncos.

Denver aims for its second consecutive win after defeating the New York Jets 23-0 in Week 14. The Broncos led 13-0 at halftime at Sports Authority Field, then added more fuel to the fire by scoring their last 10 points of the contest unchallenged. Denver outrushed the Jets 84-59 and held Josh McCown to 46 yards passing, sacking him four times and knocking him out of the contest with a broken hand, while Trevor Siemian threw for 200 yards, connecting with WR Demaryius Thomas on a 20-yard TD strike in the first quarter. Denver went 7 of 17 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:35, while New York was 3 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the pigskin for 22:25.

The Colts return home from chilly and snowy Buffalo and looks to rebound following a 13-7 overtime loss at Buffalo last week. Colts running back Frank Gore rushed for 130 yards at New Era Stadium in a contest that was played pretty much in a blizzard (game time temperature? 32 degrees with snow and a wind chill of 16) in upstate New York. Indy trailed 7-0 at the break, then tied things up with 76 seconds left in regulation when TE Jack Doyle and QB Jacoby Brissett connected on a 3-yard TD strike, sending the contest into overtime. Buffalo won the toss in overtime but failed to score in their first possession and the Colts did likewise when they had the ball in the overtime.

The Bills then got the ball back after a Colts punt with 2:25 left in the extra period and they wasted little time to take the win, using a five-play, 65-yard drive that took 52 seconds, sending their fans home happy if not warm when LeSean McCoy dashed through the snow and scored from 21 yards out to take the win. Buffalo rushed for 227 yards (McCoy led all rushers with 156 yards), while the Colts tallied 163 in the overtime loss. Brisset threw for 65 yards while Nick Peterman threw for 57. The Colts went 4 of 16 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down and held the ball for 36:02, while Buffalo kept the pigskin for 32:25, going 10 of 18 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver leads the regular season series 13-10 (including games that took place in Baltimore) and the Broncos have outscored the Colts 526-483 in those contests. Denver won the last meeting with the Colts in the Mile High City last year, taking a 34-20 win last year (Indy’s last win over the Colts came in 2015 in the Hoosier State by a final of 27-24).

They met in week 2 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and the Broncos broke a 3-3 first quarter tie, taking a 13-6 lead with them to the break, then outscoring the Colts in the second half by a 21-14 margin. Denver outrushed Indy 134-83, Siemian threw for 266 yards for Denver, while Andrew Luck threw for 197 yards with a TD but was sacked five times and picked off once. Denver was 5 of 11 on third down and the Broncos ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:41, while the Colts went 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:19.

In the week two contest in the Rocky Mountains, Denver was favored by 6 and covered the spread, winning by 14. Both clubs combined for 54 points, covering the 46 over/under. In the Thursday evening contest in Indy, Denver’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 40 1/2. It’s safe to say that neither team will reach the .500 mark or will be going to the post-season, so feel free to watch “Big Bang Theory” and “Scandal” this week. Denver covers the 1 1/2 and wins in the Hoosier State.

Broadcast Information – 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kenny Albert, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Denver), 83 (Indianapolis);| XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Denver), 83 (Indianapolis)

Referee: Terry McAulay

Injury Report

Denver
OUT: QB Paxton Lynch (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Domata Peko (Knee)

Indianapolis
OUT: WR Donte Moncrief (Ankle), C Ryan Kelly (Concussion), TE Darrell Daniels (Hamstring), CB Nathan Hairston (Concussion), CB Rashaan Melvin (Hand)

Weather Information: Game indoors; if roof is open, cloudy and 27 degrees

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the Nation Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel

New Orleans (9-3) at ATLANTA (7-5), 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime. They came into the league at the same time. They don’t like each other. One city’s hosted an Olympics, the other’s hosts Mardi Gras. It’s Peach Pie vs. Gumbo as NeW Orleans travels to Atlanta for an important NFC contest to open play in week 14.

The Saints swept their series with Carolina Sunday afternoon in the Big Easy, as New Orleans came away 31-21 winners over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Carolina trailed 21-14 at the intermission before the Saints pulled away in the second half to take the win. Carolina made it a 10-point contest with 3:57 left in regulation when Newton (183 yards) and WR Devin Funchess connected on a 24-yard TD pass (it was the second TD pass of the day for Newton; he had connected with WR Christian McCaffrey in the first half to pull the Panthers to within seven). Carolina then tried an onside kick which they thought was successful but Funchess’ effort to keep the ball failed after the Saints challenged the call. New Orleans won the challenge and took control after that. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 148-112 and it was the Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara show as Ingram ran for 85 yards and TD, while Kamara chipped in with 60 yards and a pair of rushing TDs of his own and Brees threw for 269 yards in the contest in the Big Easy without being intercepted. New Orleans was 6 of 15 on third down conversions in the rematch (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:21, while the Panthers were 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and held on to the pigskin for 26:39.

Atlanta was held without a TD for the first time since they were shutout at Carolina in 2015, scoring only three Matt Bryant field goals to fall to Minnesota 14-9 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta trailed 7-6 at the half, then took a 9-7 lead with 11:57 left in the third and took that lead into the fourth quarter, when Minnesota took the lead back for keeps when Vikings QB Case Keenum (227 yards, two sack) and TE Kyle Rudolph connected on a 6-yard TD pass to open play in the fourth quarter. Minnesota outrushed Atlanta 105-102 and held Matt Ryan to 173 yards in the air in the win. Atlanta on third down was a somewhat dismal 1 of 10 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 25:58, while the Vikings went 6 of 12, keeping the pigskin for 34:02.

They’ve met 95 times since joining the National Football League, the Falcons lead the series 50-45 and Atlanta has outscored the Saints 2,113-1,985. They met last year and Atlanta swept the series, taking wins in the Big Peach and the Big Easy (New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2015, when they swept the series that year).

Round 1… week 3… the Big Easy. Atlanta broke a 7-7 first quarter tie, took a 28-17 at the intermission and left the Mercedes Benz Superdome with a 45-21 under their belts. Ryan (240 yards) threw a pair of TDs, while Brees (376 yards, interception) threw three TD passes in the Monday night affair that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina almost destoryed it. (Each man was sacked twice) Atlanta outrushed New Orelans 217-115, with Falcons RB DeVonta Freeman leading all rushers with 152 yards. The Falcons on third down tries went 5 of 11 but found success on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and the Falcons kept the ball for 27:26, while the Saints ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:34, going 7 of 13 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down.

That was round one. There’s a sequel to the series, you know.

They met again in the Big Peach in week 17 to close out the season. Winning the NFC South the week before in Charlotte, the Falcons sealed the deal and swept the series, coming away 38-32 winners in the final regular season game in the Georgia Dome. Leading 35-13 at the half, the Falcons held off a late New Orleans rally that would have ruined things for the Falcons. Ryan (331 yards) threw four TD passes in the contest, while Brees (350 yards) threw two fourth quarter TDs in the contest. As was the case in the first meeting, Atlanta outrushed New Orleans, this time tallying 142 yards to New Orleans’ 132. Ingram led all rushers with 103 yards on the ground, while Freeman tallied 96 (each had a rushing TD in the contest). The Falcons on third down in the rematch went 6 of 11 and kept the ball for 29:45, while the Saints were 7 of 16 on third down, 3 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:15.

New Orleans was favored by 3 in the week 3 Monday night contest and the Falcons covered the spread, winning by 13. Both teams scored a combined 66 points, covering the 54. In the season finale, the Falcons were favored by 7 but barely won by 6. The two clubs easily took care of the 55 1/2 over/under, combining for 70 points.

In the Thursday night matchup in the Big Peach, the Saints are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. Atlanta would like nothing more than to catch the Saints (who they will play in New Orleans in two weeks) and rule the NFC South again. As for the Saints, they’re on top of the NFC South and want to stay there. Someone’s going to cover the 1 and that someone will be Atlanta. The Falcons prevail in the Big Peach and let the Saints know they rule the roost.

Broadcast Information: 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (Field reporter): NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New Orleans), 83 (Atlanta); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New Orleans), 83 (Atlanta)

Referee: Clete Blakeman

Injury Report

New Orleans
OUT: G Andrus Peat (Groin)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Mark Ingram (Toe), T Terron Armstead (Thigh), DE Collins Hendrickson (Knee), CB Marshon Lattimore (Ankle), S Marcus Williams (Groin)

Atlanta
OUT: G Andrew Levitre (Triceps), TE Eric Saubert (Back)

Weather: Game Indoors; if roof is open, Cloudy with a 60 percent chance of rain and 43 degrees

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel

The National Football League Monday announced the following scheduling change for Week 15 (Sunday, December 17)

The Houston at Jacksonville game will be cross-flexed to FOX and remain at 1 p.m.

The following is the final schedule for Week 15 (All times Eastern):

WEEK 15

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

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

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

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