Archives for category: Peyton Manning

And there was one.

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

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

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK SEVEN

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

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

The players with the most touchdown passes in NFL history:

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

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

The players with the most points scored in NFL history:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK SIX:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK SEVEN:

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

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

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

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

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

MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN FIRST SIX WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

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

MOST TOTAL POINTS IN FIRST SIX WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capulets vs. Montagues.

Hatfields vs. McCoys.

Dogs vs. Cats.

Get the picture?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And then there were two.

Two undefeated teams remain – Kansas City (5-0) and the Los Angeles Rams (5-0) – as the NFL enters Week 6. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 45 of the previous 51 teams (88.2 percent) to start a season 5-0 advanced to the postseason. The Chiefs began the 2017 with a 5-0 record and won the AFC West.

Hope still remains for teams across the league. For the first time since 1990, every team in the NFL has won at least one game through Week 5 and 19 teams are currently in or within one game of first place in their respective divisions.

Week 5 featured close contests across the board, as seven games were decided by eight points or fewer, including four decided by game-winning field goals in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime. At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first five weeks of the 2018 season, marking the first time that a season has featured at least one overtime game in each of its first five weeks. Cleveland has played in overtime three times this season, tied with the 2002 Buffalo Bills, 1995 Indianapolis Colts and 1987 Green Bay Packers for the most such games in a team’s first five games of a season since the regular-season overtime rule was instituted in 1974.

Scoring continues to trend at a record pace at the onset of the 2018 season. Through Week 5, there have been 424 total touchdowns and 3,739 total points scored, both the most in NFL history through the first five weeks of a season. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the league with nine touchdowns (seven rushing, two receiving), while Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes paces the NFL with 14 touchdown passes.

MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN FIRST FIVE WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – TOUCHDOWNS
2018 – 424
2015 – 404
2011 – 396
2014 – 395

MOST TOTAL POINTS IN FIRST FIVE WEEKS, NFL HISTORY

SEASON – TOTAL POINTS
2018 – 3,739
2013 – 3,566
2011 – 3,566
2015 – 3,562

Veterans and rookies combined to make Week 5 one for the record books. Last week, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who has 72,103 career passing yards, became the NFL’s all-time leading passer and New England quarterback Tom Brady, who threw his 500th career touchdown pass on Thursday, became the third quarterback in NFL history to reach 500 career touchdown passes. Four rookie quarterbacks – Arizona’s Josh Rosen, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold – were victorious in Week 5, marking the first time in the Super Bowl era that rookie quarterbacks went 4-0 or better in a single week.

Quarterbacks combined for 8,126 net passing yards last week, marking the third time the league has eclipsed 8,000 net passing yards in a single week this season. In NFL history, only eight weeks have featured at least 8,000 net passing yards and no other season in league annals has had more than two such weeks.

As the schedule turns to Week 6, the NFL returns to London for the 12th consecutive season as Seattle and Oakland met at Wembley Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. London time). The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Wembley for their first game in London.

The following two weeks, October 21 and 28, two additional teams – Tennessee and Philadelphia –  will make their London debuts as visiting teams. In Week 7, the Titans will face the Los Angeles Chargers and in Week 8, the Eagles will face Jacksonville  in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams.

The NFL kicked off its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on their way to winning Super Bowl XLII. By the end of the 2018 season, the NFL will have played 24 regular-season games in London, with 29 of 32 teams having participated.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Cleveland defeated Baltimore, 12-9, in overtime this week. The Browns have played in overtime three times this season, tied with the 2002 Buffalo Bills, 1995 Indianapolis Colts and 1987 Green Bay Packers for the most such games in a team’s first five games of a season since the regular-season overtime rule was instituted in 1974.

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

Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 342 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the win. Mayfield, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, became the sixth quarterback selected with the first overall pick to win his first-career home start in the common draft era. The other five to accomplish the feat are New England’s Jim Plunkett (September 19, 1971), Atlanta’s Michael Vick (November 11, 2001), Houston’s David Carr (September 8, 2002), Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer (September 19, 2004) and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (September 16, 2002).

Cleveland wide receiver Jarvis Landry had five catches for 69 yards in the victory. Landry has 429 career receptions in five seasons and surpassed Larry Fitzgerald (426 from 2004-08) for the most receptions by a player in his first five seasons in NFL history.

•The Los Angeles Rams defeated Seattle Seahawks 33-31 at Century Link Field, to improve to 5-0 this season. The Rams are the fifth team to score at least 30 points in each of their first five games to start a season in NFL history, joining the 2013 Denver Broncos (eight consecutive games), 2011 New England Patriots (five), 2007 Patriots (eight) and 2000 St. Louis Rams (eight). The 2013 Broncos, 2011 Patriots and 2007 Patriots all advanced to the Super Bowl.

•Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 30 of 37 passes (81.1 percent) for 301 yards with one touchdown for a 109.6 passer rating and wide receiver Adam Thielen had 116 receiving yards and one touchdown in the Vikings’ 23-21 win at Philadelphia.

Cousins, who completed 35 passes in Week 2, 40 passes in Week 3 and 36 passes in Week 4, is the first player in NFL history to complete at least 30 passes in four consecutive games.

Thielen is the third player in NFL history with at least 100 receiving yards in each of his team’s first five games to start a season, joining Charkey Hennigan of the Houston Oilers (seven games in 1961) and BOB BOYD of the Los Angeles Rams (five in 1954).

•Pittsburgh running back James Conner rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns and had four catches for 75 yards in the Steelers’ 41-17 victory over Atlanta.

Conner, who had 135 rushing yards, 60 receiving yards and two rushing touchdowns against Cleveland in Week 1, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (1963) as the only players with multiple games with at least 100 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and two rushing touchdowns in their team’s first five games of a season.

Conner, who is in his second professional season, joined Chris Johnson (2009) as the only first or second-year players in NFL history with multiple games of 100+ rushing yards, 50+ receiving yards and two or more rushing touchdowns in a single season.

•Carolina kicker Graham Gano converted the game-winning 63-yard field goal with one second remaining in the fourth quarter in the Panthers’ 33-31 victory over the New York Giants.

Gano’s 63-yarder is tied for the longest game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter or overtime in NFL history. New Orleans kicker TOM DEMPSEY converted a 63-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of the Saints’ 19-17 victory over Detroit on November 8, 1970. Gano’s 63-yard field goal is tied for the second-longest in NFL history, trailing only Denver’s Matt Prater, who converted a 64-yarder vs. Tennessee on December 8, 2013.

•New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell had 15 carries for a franchise-record 219 rushing yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run, in the Jets’ 34-16 win over Denver.

Crowell, who averaged 14.6 yards per carry on Sunday, became the fourth player in NFL history with at least 200 rushing yards on 15 or fewer carries, joining the New York Giants’ DERRICK WARD (December 21, 2008 vs. Carolina), Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell (November 15, 1959 at Washington) of the Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Rams’ Dan Towler (November 22, 1953 at the Baltimore Colts).

Jets rookie quarterback Samn Darnold threw three touchdown passes, including a 76-yarder to wide receiver Robby Anderson, in the victory. The Jets became the sixth team since the 1970 merger to score on both a 75+ yard touchdown pass and a 75+ yard touchdown run in the same contest, and the first since Seattle did it on December 21, 2014.

•New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had eight catches for 131 yards with a touchdown and threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to rookie running back Saquan Barkley in the Giants’ Week 5 loss to Carolina.

Beckham became the fourth player in NFL history with at least 100 receiving yards and a 50+ yard touchdown pass in the same game, joining New England’s David Patten (October 21, 2001 at Indianapolis), Pittsburgh’s Tom Tracy (December 13, 1958 vs. the Chicago Cardinals) and Philadelphia’s Bill Ray Barnes (November 16, 1958 vs. the Chicago Cardinals). Beckham and Patten are the only two players in league history to accomplish the feat with a touchdown catch.

Barkley had 129 scrimmage yards (81 receiving, 48 rushing) and two touchdown catches on Sunday. Barkley is the third player in NFL history to record at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first five games to begin a career. Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt (seven games in 2017) and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (five in 2007) are the only other players to accomplish the feat.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 6

SUNDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN: New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 341 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for a 102.6 rating in the Patriots’ win last week and became the third player in NFL history to throw at least 500 career touchdown passes.

With a win against Kansas City Sunday night, Brady can become the first quarterback in league annals to record 200 career regular-season wins.

The quarterbacks with the most regular-season wins in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (REGULAR-SEASON WINS)
Tom Brady – New England (199)*
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (186)^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (186)
John Elway – Denver (148)^
Dan Marino – Miami (147)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 14 touchdown passes through Week 5 and has won each of his first six NFL starts.

With a win on Sunday night at New England, Mahomes would become the sixth quarterback since 1970 to win each of his first seven career starts.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive wins to begin their career since 1970:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS, MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS TO BEGIN CAREER)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (2004-05, 15)
Mike Tomczak – Chicago (1986-87, 10)
Dieter Brock – Los Angeles Rams (1985, 7)
Daunte Culpepper – Minnesota (2000. 7)
Jimmy Garoppolo – New England and San Francisco (2016-17, 7)
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2017-18, 6)*
*Active streak

HOME COOKING: Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 342 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Browns’ Week 5 overtime win against Baltimore, his first career start at home.

Mayfield, who plays at home against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday afternoon, can become the first quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era (1967) to win his first two career home starts.

AIR OF SUCCESS: Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson passed for 375 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Texans’ Week 5 overtime win against Dallas. Watson has thrown for at least 375 yards in each of his past three games.

Watson, who plays against Buffalo Sunday, can become the first player in NFL history with 375 passing yards in four consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 375 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 375+ PASSING YARDS)
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Tampa Bay (2018, 3)
Deshaun Watson – Houston (2018, 3)*
Tom Brady – New England (2011 – 3)
Kurt Warner – St. Louis Rams (2000 – 3)^
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles, who passed for 388 yards in Week 4 and 430 yards in Week 5, can become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 375 passing yards in three consecutive games.

PRIDE OF DELAWARE: Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco ranks fifth in the NFL with 139 completions and has completed at least 25 passes in each of his past eight games, dating back to Week 15 of the 2017 season.

With at least 25 completions at Tennessee on Sunday, Flacco would become the third different quarterback in NFL history to complete at least 25 passes in nine consecutive games. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees accomplished the feat twice.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 25 completions in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 25+ COMPLETIONS)

Drew Brees, New Orleans (2012-13, 11)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011, 10)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013, 9)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2017-18, 8)*
*Active streak

TODD CAN DO IT ALL: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has 5,244 scrimmage yards (3,711 rushing, 1,533 receiving) and 44 touchdowns (36 rushing, eight receiving) in 49 career games.

With a touchdown on Sunday at Denver, Gurley can become the fourth player in NFL history with at least 3,500 rushing yards, 1,500 receiving yards and 45 offensive touchdowns through his first 50 career games.

The players with at least 3,500 rushing yards, 1,500 receiving yards and 45 scrimmage touchdowns in their first 50 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RUSHING YARDS/RECEIVING YARDS, TOUCHDOWNS)
Chuck Foreman, Minnesota (3,590/2,167, 55)^
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (3,688/2,078, 51)^
Arian Foster, Houston (4,425/1,508, 49)
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (3,711/1,533, 44)*
*In 49 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

GRONK SMASH: New England tight end ROB Gronkowksi has 497 receptions for 7,487 yards and 77 touchdowns in 107 career games.

With three receptions on Sunday Night, Gronkowksi would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (101 games), Jimmy Graham (106) and Jason Witten (107) as the only tight ends in NFL history reach 500 career catches in fewer than 110 games.

The tight ends to reach 500 career receptions in the fewest games NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAMS (GAMES TO REACH 500 CATCHES)
Kellen Winslow, San Diego (101)^
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans and Seattle (106)
Jason Witten, Dallas (107)
Antonio Gates, San Diego (113)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (107)*
*Has 497 career receptions
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

POWERS OF 10: Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz recorded 10 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ Week 5 loss to Minnesota.

Ertz, who had 10 catches for 112 yards in Week 4, can become the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in three consecutive games on Thursday at the New York Giants.

The players with the longest streaks with at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 10+ CATCHES & 100+ RECEIVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012, 4)
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (2017, 3)
Andre Johnson, Houston (2008, 3)
Brett Perriman, Detroit (1995, 3)
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia (2018, 2)*
*Active streak

ELITE COMPANY: Denver linebacker Von Miller has 87.5 sacks in 109 career games. Miller, who will appear in his 110th career game on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, needs 2.5 sacks to become the fourth player to have at least 90 sacks in his first 110 career games since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players to record 90 sacks in their first 110 career games since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SACKS)
Reggie White, Philadelphia (114)^
DeMarcus Ware, Dallas (96)
Bruce Smith, Buffalo (94)^
Von Miller, Denver (87.5)*
*In 109 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

FAMILY AFFAIR: Houston defensive end J.J. Watt has 82 career sacks during his eight-year NFL career while his brother, Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt, has 13 sacks in his first two NFL seasons.

With five combined sacks, the Watts would become the fifth pair of brothers or father-son duos to record at least 100 combined sacks since 1982, where each player recorded at least one sack.

The pairs of brothers or father-son duos with at least 100 combined sacks since 1982, where each player recorded at least one sack:

PLAYERS – COMBINED SACKS
Clay/Clay Matthews – 150
Howie/Chris Long – 148.5^
John/Ervin Randle – 145.5^
Jackson/Jim Jeffcoat – 103.5
J.J./T.J. Watt – 95*
*Both active
^Howie Long and John Randle are Pro Football Hall of Famers

Week 6 kicked off with the 171st meeting (including the postseason) as the defending Super Bowl champs held the New York Giants in check in the Meadowlands Thursday night. Other key games this week features an AFC North showdown between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium that highlights Sunday’s early slate of games and Sunday’s schedule concludes with undefeated Kansas City traveling to Foxboro and Gillette Stadium to face the New England at 8:20 p.m. on NBC and week six ends in Green Bay as the Packers host San Francisco on Monday night at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.

Detroit and New Orleans have byes this week, while Chicago and Tampa Bay return from their week-long vacations. As for last week, While 8-7 wasn’t great, it kept us above .500 for another week, which makes us 42-31 for the season. There’s still a lot of football left and anything can happen… and we mean ANYTHING. Here are Sunday and Monday’s picks for Week 6.

Tampa Bay (2-2) at ATLANTA (1-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of NFC South rivals fighting to stay out of the cellar in that division meet in the Big Peach as Tampa Bay and Atlanta square off. Both teams took losses in their last meeting.

Tampa Bay, who will have Jameis Winston under center Sunday, returns from their bye after their 48-10 loss at Chicago two weeks ago in the Windy City. The Bucs trailed 38-3 at the intermission at Soldier Field and could never really get on track after that. Da Bears held Tampa Bay to 60 yards rushing, while tallying 139 yards of their own and made life miserable for QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick (126 yards, two sacks, interception) and Winston (145 yards, TD, two sacks, two interceptions) in the lopside win, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 354 yards with six TDs and no interceptions. Chicago went 4 of 8 on third down conversions in the Windy City and the Monsters of the Midway held the ball for 28:06, while Tampa Bay kept the pigskin for 31:54, going 3 of 12 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Atlanta struggled at Pittsburgh last Sunday, taking a 41-17 loss against the Steelers at Heinz Field. Atlanta trailed 13-10 at the intermission before the Steelers took control of the action in the second half, outscoring the Falcons 28-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Faclons saw RB James Connor rush for 110 yards and a pair of TDs and Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown connect for a pair of passing TDs, as Pittsburgh outrushed Atlanta 131-62. Roethlisberger threw for 250 yards and three TDs (WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuster caught the other TD pass), while Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw for 285 yards and a TD to WR Mohamed Sanu but was sacked six times in the Steel City. Atlanta was 6 of 14 on third down (the Falcons were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:52, while the Steelers kept the ball for 29:08 and went 9 of 12 on third down tries.

Atlanta leads the series 25-24, while Tampa Bay has outscored Atlanta 1,052-1,027. Atlanta swept the series last year and has won the last three meetings with the Bucs (Tampa Bay’s last win over Atlanta came in 2016, when they took a 31-24 win in Atlanta)

Atlanta erased a 3-3 first quarter tie against Tampa Bay, took a 20-6 lead with them to the break and came away 34-20 winners in the week 12 contest in the Big Peach. Falcons WR Julio Jones burned Tampa Bay for 253 yards with a pair of TD catches, one from Ryan, the other from fellow WR Mohamed Sanu, as the Falcons outrushed Tampa Bay 148-94, with Ryan throwing for 317 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Fitzpatrick, subbing for Winston, threw for 283 yards with a sack. The Falcons were 11 for 14 on third down tries at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and kept the ball for 30:06, while Tampa Bay was 4 for 11 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:54.

The Falcons made it a clean sweep of the series as the two teams met in the Sunshine State on a Monday night and it was the Falcons coming away 24-21 at Raymond James Stadium in week 15. Although they trailed 10-7 at the intermission, Tampa Bay would eventually pull themselves to within 3 with 4:07 left in regulation when Winston and WR Adam Humphries connected on a 16-yard TD toss and could have sent the contest into overtime but Patrick Murray’s 54-yard field goal try as time expired sailed wide right. Atlanta outrushed Tampa Bay 201-84, with Falcons RB DeVonta Freeman leading everyone with 126 yards and a TD. Ryan threw for 212 yards and a TD, while Winston paced Tampa Bay with 299 yards and three TDS (neither threw an interception, Ryan was sacked once, Winston twice). Atlanta was 9 of 16 on third down tries in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 33:15, while the Buccaneers were 4 of 8 on third down and held the ball for 26:45.

In the week 12 contest in the Big Peach, the Falcons covered the 8 1/2-point spread with their 14-point win and both clubs covered the 48 over/under with 54 points. In the Monday night contest in Tampa Bay in week 15, while Atlanta won the contest, they did not cover the 6 1/2-point spread, winning by 3 and the 48 over/under was safe and sound, as both clubs combined for 45 points. Atlanta’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 58. Both teams would love nothing more than to get out of the NFC South cellar and overtake New Orleans. Atlanta covers the 3 1/2 and wins in the Big Peach.

Pittsburgh (2-2-1) at Cincinnati (4-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. They still don’t like each other. Don’t expect any Facebook friend requests or Christmas Cards exchanged.

Bengals.

Steelers.

A pair of AFC North rivals meet along the shores of the Ohio River as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers make their way to Cincinnati to face off against Andy Dalton and the first-place Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

Pittsburgh took Atlanta to the woodshed last Sunday at Heinz Field, coming away 41-17 winners over the Falcons in the Steel City. Pittsburgh held a slim 13-10 lead at the intermission before taking control of the action in the second half, outscoring the Falcons 28-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Steelers RB James Connor rushed for 110 yards and a pair of TDs and Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown connect for a pair of passing TDs, as Pittsburgh outrushed Atlanta 131-62. Roethlisberger threw for 250 yards and three TDs (WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuster caught the other TD pass), while Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw for 285 yards and a TD to WR Mohamed Sanu but was sacked six times in the Steel City. Atlanta was 6 of 14 on third down (the Falcons were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:52, while the Steelers kept the ball for 29:08 and went 9 of 12 on third down tries.

Cincinnati erased a 14-0 deficit at the half against Miami at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday and came away 27-17 winners. The Benglas scored all 27 of their second half points unchallenged to take the win over the Dolphins, who actually outrushed the Bengals 128-103. Dalton threw for 248 yards and a TD to HB Joe Mixon for the winners, while Miami was paced by Ryan Tannehill’s 185 yards and a TD (Tannehill was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Dalton threw an interception with a pair of sacks). The Bengals were 2 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:35, while the Dolphins were 4 of 13, 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 29:25.

The Steelers lead the series 60-35 (which includes games played at Riverfront Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium), they’ve outscored the Bengals 2,100-1,673 and have won the last five regular season contests, including a sweep of the 2017 series (the Bengals’ last win over Pittsburgh came in 2015, when they were 16-10 winners in Pittsburgh).

Week seven… the Steel City. Pittsburgh came away with the 29-14 win at Heinz Field. The Steelers led 20-14 at the break before they would separate themselves from the Bengals in the second half. Roethlisberg and Dalton each threw a pair of TD passes but it was the Chris Boswell show as he connected on five field goals in the contest (Boswell’s longest was 49 yards with 5:28 left in the third). LeVeon Bell rushed for 134 yards as the Steelers outrushed Cincy 152-71, while Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards (Dalton threw for 140 yards with four sacks and two interceptions). The Steelers were 2 of 11 on third down (1 of 3 on fourth down conversions) and held the ball for 35:15, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 24:45, going 3 of 11 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

Week 13 saw the Steelers complete the series sweep, taking a 23-20 win at Paul Brown Stadium in week 13. After trailing 17-3 at the half, Pittsburgh erased that deficit in the second half by outscoring the Bengals 20-3, holding Cincy to a 41-yard field from Randy Bullock in the third quarter. The lone bright spot for the Bengals was that they did outrush Pittsburgh 130-92 but Roethlisberger torched the Bengals for 290 yards, while Dalton threw for 234 yards. Steelers WR Antonio Brown let all recievers with 101 yards on eight catches (Brown was targeted 15 times), while Bengals WR A.J. Green caught seven balls for 77 yards with a pair of TDs. The Bengals were 50 percent on third down tries, going 7 of 14 and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 30:11, while the Steelers kept the pigskin for 29:49, going 4 of 12 on third down tries, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh’s 15-point win in the week seven contest allowed them to cover the 5 1/2 point spread and both teams covered the 40 over/under with 43 points. The Steelers were favored by 5 1/2 in the week 13 contest at Paul Brown Stadium and while they took the win, they did not cover the spread and the 43 1/2 barely stayed intact as both teams missed it by 1/2 points. Cincinnati’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 53. Both numbers make sense and both teams can score points when they want or need to. Right now, the Bengals are the kings of the AFC North mountain, while the Steelers would like to take that spot back. Steelers prevail on the road and covers the 2 1/2.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-2) at Cleveland (2-2-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and 706. Contenders meet along the shores of Lake Erie as the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Cleveland for a showdown with the much-improved Browns at First Energy Field. Both clubs took wins at home in last week’s action.

The Chargers used a pair of Philip Rivers TD passes to take care of Oakland 26-10 at Stub Hub Center. Los Angeles led 17-3 at the intermission in southern California and never looked back, outscoring the Silver and Black 9-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Diego outrushed Oakland 79-41 and Rivers threw for 339 yards and the two TDs without an interception, while Derek Carr threw for 268 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception. The Chargers were 7 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:40, while the Silver and Black held the ball for 25:20, going 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Once again, the Browns went into an overtime contest at home but this time, Cleveland prevailed as they escaped with a 12-9 win over Baltimore last Sunday at home. Cleveland led 6-3 at the break before the Ravens would rally in the third and fourth quarters to even things up, thanks to a pair of Jeff Tucker field goals in the second half. Cleveland’s Rashard Higgins would score the game’s only TD when he and rookie QB Baker Mayfield connected on a 19-yard TD pass with 40 seconds left before the intermission. Greg Joseph would miss the extra point but would kick two more field goals, including the game-winner with two seconds left in overtime to take the win. While Baltimore outrushed Cleveland 116-112, Mayfield threw for 342 yards, with Baltimore’s Joe Flacco throwing for 298 yards (Flacco was sacked twice, Mayfield was sacked five times and each man threw an interception) in the overtime contest. The Ravens were 4 of 16 on third down (Baltimore was 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:42, while the Browns, who picked up their first win on a Sunday since December of 2015, kept the ball for 36:16 (including the overtime) and went 6 of 19 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions. The Browsns’ three overtime games in 2018 ties them for most by team in 1st 5 games of season since regular season overtime rule was adopted in 1974.

The Chargers lead the series 16-9-1 (which includes games that were played in San Diego) and have outscored the Browns 612-  498. The Chargers were 19-10 victors in their last meeting, which took place last year on the West Coast (Cleveland’s last win over the Chargers came on Christmas Eve of 2016, when tney won 20-17). After a scoreless first quarter in the week 13 contest, the Chargers led 9-7 at the intermission and took a 19-7 lead into the third quarter, holding the Browns to a Zane Gonzalez field goal in the fourth quarter. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing mark but the Chargers did outrush Cleveland 94-89 and Rivers threw for 344, while DeShone Kizer threw for 215 yards (each threw a TD pass, Kizer was sacked three times and threw an interception, Rivers was sacked once) on the West Coast. Los Angeles went 8 of 15 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) in the 9-point win at Stub Hub and kept the ball for 34:57, while Cleveland held the ball for 25:03, gokng 5 for 11 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The West Coast week 13 contest saw the Chargers as 14-point favorites. While they did win the game, they did not cover the spread, winning by 9 and the 43 over/under stayed safe, as both teams combined for only 29 points. Cleveland’s favored by 1 with a 44 over/under. The Cleveland Browns right now are “Must See TV” this season and they’re already better than most expected. Browns cover the 1 in Cleveland and take the win at home.

Buffalo (2-3) at Houston (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Buffalo and Houston meet in the Lone Star State for an AFC showdown at NRG Stadium. Both teams are coming off home wins in last Sunday’s action.

Buffalo rallied from a 12-10 deficit in the final seconds of the contest to take a 13-12 win over Tennessee, thanks to a 46-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka as time expired. The Bills led 7-6 at the half and led 10-9 before the Titans’ Ryan Succop connected on a 50-yard field goal with 4:43 left to lead 12-10. The Bills then proceeded to use all of the 4:43 that was left, using an 11-play, 47-yard drivet to set up Hauschka’s game winner. Rookie QB Josh Allen threw for 82 yards and scored the game’s lone TD from 14 yards out to open the scoring in the game. After that, the kickers took over all the scoring in the game in upstate New York as Succop accounted for all four of Tennesee’s field goals, while Hauschka tallied two, including the game-winner. Buffalo outrushed Tennessee 144-100 and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota threw for 129 yards in the loss (both Mariota and Allen threw an interception, Mariota was sacked twice, Allen was sacked once). The Bills were 4 of 13 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 33:49 (including the final 4:43 of the contest), while the Titans were 6 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:11.

Houston needed overtime at NRG Stadium Sunday evening to take instate rival Dallas 19-16. Houston led 10-6 at the break before the Cowboys took control and took a 13-10 lead with 11:52 left in the third quarter on a 3-yard TD toss from Dak Prescott to WR Allen Hurns. Houston’s Ka’imi Fairbairn would then give his team the lead back with a pair of field goals for a 16-13 lead. Dallas would tie the contest with 5:39 left in regulation when Brett Maher connected on a 48-yard field goal. The teams then went into the overtime and Dallas got the ball first but could only get to the Texans’ 42-yard line before punting and that would be the last time Dallas would see the ball as Houston would engineer an 8-play, 72 yard drive that took 3:43 of clock and ended with Fairbairn booting the game-winner with 1:50 left in the overtime. While Dallas outrushed Houston 98-88, DeShaun Watson outpaced Prescott, throwing for 375 yards with a TD toss to WR Keke Coutee (Prescott threw for 208 yards; Watson was picked off once and sacked once, while Prescott was sacked twice and threw two interceptions). Hpuston went 5 of 15 on third down tries (the Texans were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:38, while Dallas held on to the ball for 31:32, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Buffalo and Houston have met 8 times and each team has won four games, with the Texans outscoring the Bills 160-153. The Bills were 30-21 winners in 2015 along the shores of Lake Erie, while Houston’s last win came in the Lone Star State in 2014 by a final of 23-17. The odds makers like Houston as 10 point favorites at home with aa 41 over/under. The Bills may not be the second coming of the 67 Packers and they’re not 10 points bad. They’ll make it close for the Texans, who take this one at home in the Lone Star State.

Indianapolis (1-4) at New York Jets (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling teams meet in the Meadowlands as the Colts and Andrew Luck face off against the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium.

Indy watched Tom Brady throw three TDs and rush for one as they were taken to task by New England 38-24 at Gillette Stadium last Thursday night. Although they trailed 7-0 after the first 15 minutes of action, the Colts would trail 24-3 at the intermission, even though they would outscore New England in the final 30 minutes by a 21-14 margin. New England outrushed Indy 97-84 and Luck threw for 365 yards, while Brady threw for 341 yards in the Thursday night contest (both men threw three TD passes, each threw a pair of interceptions). New England was 5 of 10 on third down tries at Foxboro and kept the ball for 27:34, while the Colts ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:26, going 7 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down conversions.

GangGreen erased a 7-0 deficit against Denver last Sunday at Met Life Stadium and took a 34-16 win over the Broncos last Sunday. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! took a 21-10 lead with them to the locker room at the half, then proceeded to outpace Denver 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. Rookie QB Sam Darnold threw three TD passes in the win, as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! outrushed Denver 323-92, with New York RB Isiah Crowell ran amok for 219 yards with Darnold throwing for 198 yards and an interception (Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 377 yards with four sacks and a pair of TDs with four interceptions, Darnold threw a pick and had a sack). New York went 6 of 13 on third down and held the ball for 28:54, while the Broncos were 4 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 31:06.

Including games that were played in Baltimore, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium, the Colts lead the series 41-28 and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have outscored the Colts 1,413-1,407. Their last meeting was in the Meadowlands in 2016 and the Colts would leave 41-10 winners, while GangGreen’s last win came in the Hoosier State in 2015 by a final of 20-7. GangGreen’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “Law & Order: SVU” marathon on USA (there’s nothing sexier than seeing Olivia Benson deal with a criminal!). Jets cover the 2 1/2 and win in the Meadowlands.

Chicago (3-1) at Miami (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710, A pair of contenders meet in the Sunshine State as Chicago makes their way to South Beach for an afternoon contest with the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Da Bears come back from their bye week with a 48-10 win over Tampa Bay at Chicago two weeks ago in the Windy City. Chicago took control of things, leading 38-3 at the intermission at Soldier Field and never allowing the Buccaneers to really get on track after that. Da Bears held Tampa Bay to 60 yards rushing, while tallying 139 yards of their own and made life miserable for QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick (126 yards, two sacks, interception) and Jameis Winston (145 yards, TD, two sacks, two interceptions) in the lopside win, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 354 yards with six TDs and no interceptions. Chicago went 4 of 8 on third down conversions in the Windy City and the Monsters of the Midway held the ball for 28:06, while Tampa Bay kept the pigskin for 31:54, going 3 of 12 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Miami saw a 14-0 halftime lead against Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium last Sunday get away from them as the Bengals roared their way to a 27-17 win. The Benglas scored all 27 of their second half points unchallenged to take the win over the Dolphins, who actually outrushed the Bengals 128-103. Dalton threw for 248 yards and a TD to HB Joe Mixon for the winners, while Miami was paced by Ryan Tannehill’s 185 yards and a TD (Tannehill was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Dalton threw an interception with a pair of sacks). The Bengals were 2 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:35, while the Dolphins were 4 of 13, 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 29:25.

Miami holds an 8-4 lead in the series and they have outscored Da Bears 304-208. Miami came to the Windy City in their last meeting and came away 27-14 winners in 2014, while Chicago’s last win over the Dolphins came in the Sunshine State in 2010 by a 16-0 final. Chicago’s favored by 3 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Da Bears are the kings of the NFC North mountain, while the Dolphins are chasing Brady and the Pats in the AFC East. Dolphins send Da Bears back into hibernation and takes the win and covers the 3.

Arizona (1-4) at Minnesota (2-2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of dome teams meet in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Arizona travels to the Twin Cities to meet the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium.

The Desert Angry Birds broke their four-game losing streak, picking up their first win of the 2018 campaign with a 28-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara. Arizona led 14-6 at the break, then proceeded to outpace the 49ers 14-12 in the final 30 minutes of action. Although they were outrushed by the 49ers 147-56 and C.J. Beathard threw for  349 yards and a pair of TDs, they saw Josh Rosen throw for 170 yards with a TD and forced five San Francisco turnovers (Beathard threw a pair of interceptions and San Francisco fumbled three times) to take the win. Arizona went 2 of 12 on third down tries in wine country and kept the ball for 19:48, while the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball to themselves for 40:12, going 10 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Holding off a late Philadelhia rally, Minnesota came away 23-21 winners in a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game in the City of Brotherly Love. The Purple Gang led 17-3 at the half before the defending Super Bowl champrs would go on to outscore the Vikings 18-6 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Vikings broke a 3-3 tie with 4:12 left before the intermission when Vikings DL Linval Joseph lived a lineman’s dream as he picked up a Carson Wentz fumble and returned it 64 yards for a TD to take the lead. WR Adam Thielen and QB Kirk Cousins would then tack on a 3-yard TD pass before the intermission to give the Vikings a 17-3 at that point. Philadelphia would chip away at Minnesota’s lead, pulling to within two with 69 seconds left when TE Zach Ertz and Wentz connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Philadelphia’s onside kick faled as the Vikings recovered and ran out the clock. Philadelphia outrushed Minnesota 81-77 and Wentz threw for 311 yards with a pair of TDs, while Cousins threw for 301 yards with a TD (neither man threw an interception, Wentz was sacked three times, Cousins sacked once). Philadelphia was 2 of 9 on third down but found success on their only fourth down try and kept the ball for 27:13, while the Vikings ruled the clock, holding the ball for 32:47, going 4 of 11 on third down to take the 2-point win.
Including games played in St. Louis, Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington and the Metrodome, the Vikings lead the series 14-11 and the Vikings have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 595-559. The Vikings won the last meeting with the Cardinals, coming away 30-24 in the Twin Cities in 2016, while Arizona’s last win over Minnesota came in the desert in 2015 by a final of 23-20. Minnesota’s favored by 10 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under’s 42 1/2. While the 42 1/2 makes sense, the 10 1/2 is a bit steep. The Cardinals aren’t that bad and they’ll make it closer than that but the Vikings prevail in the Twin Cities.

Seattle (2-3) at Oakland (1-4), 1 p.m. (5 p.m. in London) on FOX and DirecTV 712. The two furthest teams in the NFL make their way across the Atlantic as Seattle and Oakland meet at Tottenham Stadium in London in the first international game of the 2018 season. Both teams were on the wrong end of the score board last Sunday and both are looking for redemption.

Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams exchanged the lead in their NFC West contest five times in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks before the Rams kept their unbeaten streak intact, falling to the Rams 33-31 at Century Link Field. The Rams and Seahawks entered the intermission even at 17-17 and Seattle had the Rams on the ropes, leading 31-30 with 14:54 before Rams RB Todd Gurley pulled them back to within one with 14:54 left in regulation on a 5-yard run. Los Angeles would take the lead back for keeps with 6:05 left when Greg Santos (who had replaced the injured Greg Zuerlein) kicked a 39-yard field goal to take a 33-31 lead. Los Angeles would then go on to hold off the Seahawks to take the two-point road win. Seattle RB Chris Carson picked up his third consecutive 100-yard game, rushing for 116 yards (Gurley hadd 77 yards rushing to lead the Rams) as Seattle outrushed Los Angeles 190-155 in the contest. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 321 yards with a TD, while Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 198 yards with three TDs and no interceptions (Goff was picked off once and threw a pair of interceptions, Wilson was sacked twice). Seattle was 7 of 12 on third down in the Pacific Northwest and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Rams held the ball for 29:30 and went 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Oakland saw their AFC West rivals from Los Angeles use a pair of Philip Rivers TD passes to take a 26-10 win at Stub Hub Center last Sunday. Los Angeles led 17-3 at the intermission in southern California and never looked back, outscoring the Silver and Black 9-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Diego outrushed Oakland 79-41 and Rivers threw for 339 yards and the two TDs without an interception, while Derek Carr threw for 268 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception. The Chargers were 7 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:40, while the Silver and Black held the ball for 25:20, going 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Oakland leads the series 28-24 (which includes contests that were played in Los Angeles and in the Kingdome) and the Silver and Black have outscored the Seahawks 1,174-1,108. Seattle did win the last meeting, taking a 30-24 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2014, while Oakland’s last win in the series came in 2010 on the East side of San Francisco Bay by a final of 33-3. Seattle’s favored by 3 on the other side of the Atlantic and the over’under’s 47 1/2. While this one’s not exactly “DRILL WORTHY,” it might be worth your time watching. Oakland makes this one interesting but Seattle prevails on the other side of the Big Pond.

Carolina (3-1) at Washington (2-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton make a 6-hour, 45-mintue trip up I-95 to face off against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Eli Manning and the Giants saw Carolina and Graham Gano take victory from their hands last Sunday in Charlotte, falling on the short end of a 33-31 loss at Bank of America Stadium. Trailing 20-10 at the intermission, the Giants would later pull their way into the lead when Manning and WR Odell Beckham caught a 33-yard TD pass with 8:08 left in regulation (Beckham, who had eight catches for 131 yards, threw a 57-yard TD pass to rookie RB Sequan Barkley earlier in the game, became the first player to have a TD pass and catch in the same contest since Mark Clayton did it for Baltimore in week eight in 2008). Gano would give the Panthers the lead back with 2:16 left, booting a 39-yard try before Manning and Barkley connected on a 15-yard TD toss with 65 seconds left. Carolina would then drive almost the length of the field with no time outs, using an 8-play, 30-yard drive that used 67 seconds of clock, allowing Gano to kick the game winner with one second left on the clock. Carolina outrushed Big Blue 118-50 and Manning threw for 326 yards and a pair of TDs, while Cam Newton threw for 237 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Collin McCaffery, the other to Curtis Samuel; both Manning and Newton threw a pair of interceptions and both were sacked once). The Giants found themselves going 0 of 7 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 24:33, while Carolina ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:27, going 4 of 13 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

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

While the Redskins lead the series 7-6, Carolina has outscored the ‘Skins 296-262 and have won the last five contests in the series, the last coming in Landover in 2016 by a final of 26-15. Washington’s last win? 2006, also in Landover 17-13. Washington’s favored by 1 1/2 points and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both numbers make some sense. Carolina’s trying to keep pace with the Saints in the NFC South, while the Redskins are trying to stay on top of the NFC East mountain. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Washington covers the 1 1/2 and wins in Landover.

Los Angeles Rams (5-0) at Denver (2-3), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. The unbeaten Rams travel to Denver for a showdown with the struggling Broncos in the Mile High City. Both clubs enter the late afternoon contest in opposite directions.

The Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks had a slugfest in their NFC West meeting at Century Link Field and Los Angeles managed to prevail, coming away 33-31 winners in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, The Rams and Seahawks entered the intermission even at 17-17 and Seattle had the Rams on the ropes, leading 31-30 with 14:54 before Rams RB Todd Gurley pulled them back to within one with 14:54 left in regulation on a 5-yard run. Los Angeles would take the lead back for keeps with 6:05 left when Greg Santos (who had replaced the injured Greg Zuerlein) kicked a 39-yard field goal to take a 33-31 lead. Los Angeles would then go on to hold off the Seahawks to take the two-point road win. Seattle RB Chris Carson picked up his third consecutive 100-yard game, rushing for 116 yards (Gurley hadd 77 yards rushing to lead the Rams) as Seattle outrushed Los Angeles 190-155 in the contest. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 321 yards with a TD, while Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 198 yards with three TDs and no interceptions (Goff was picked off once and threw a pair of interceptions, Wilson was sacked twice). Seattle was 7 of 12 on third down in the Pacific Northwest and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Rams held the ball for 29:30 and went 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver saw a 7-0 lead against the New York Jets last Sunday at Met Life Stadium get away from them as the Jets took a 34-16 win over the Broncos last Sunday. Denver trailed 21-10 at the half, then the Jets proceeded to outpace Denver 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of play. Rookie QB Sam Darnold threw three TD passes in the win, as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! outrushed Denver 323-92, with New York RB Isiah Crowell ran amok for 219 yards with Darnold throwing for 198 yards and an interception (Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 377 yards with four sacks and a pair of TDs with four interceptions, Darnold threw a pick and had a sack). New York went 6 of 13 on third down and held the ball for 28:54, while the Broncos were 4 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 31:06.

Including games played first at the Coliseum, then St. Louis at Mile High Stadium, the Rams lead the series 8-5, have outscored the Broncos 282-278 and have won the last three contests in the series, including a 22-7 win in St. Louis in 2014, while Denver’s last win came in the Mile High City in 2002 by a final of 23-16. The Rams are favored by 7 with a 53 over/under. Will the Broncos stay unbeatend or will the Broncos be the one to knock the kings off the mountain? The Rams stay on top and take the win, although Denver will make things closer than the 7.

Jacksonville (3-2) at Dallas (2-3), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Jacksonville and Dallas meet in a late-afternoon contest at AT&T Stadium as a pair of interconference teams meet in the Lone Star State. Both clubs lost road games last week and look to right their respective ships.

Jacksonvile saw Kansas City take a 20-0 at the break at Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday, then pulled away to a 30-14 win over the Jaguars. The Chiefs outrushed Jacksonville 126-101 but Blake Bortles threw for 430 yards, while Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes threw for 313 for the winners (Bortles threw for one TD to T.Y. Yeldon, picked off four times and sacked five, while Mahomes threw a pair of interceptions with a sack). Kansas City was 4-12 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:43, while the Jaguars were 7 of 16 on third down, 3 of 5 on fourth down tries and kept the ball for 27:17.

Dallas took instate rival Houston to overtime at NRG Stadium Sunday evening and eventually fell to the Texans 19-16 in the extra period. The Cowboys led 13-10 with 11:52 left in the third quarter (Houston led 10-6 at the half) on a 3-yard TD toss from Dak Prescott to WR Allen Hurns. Houston’s Ka’imi Fairbairn would then give his team the lead back with a pair of field goals for a 16-13 lead. Dallas would tie the contest with 5:39 left in regulation when Brett Maher connected on a 48-yard field goal. The teams then went into the overtime and Dallas got the ball first but could only get to the Texans’ 42-yard line before punting and that would be the last time Dallas would see the ball as Houston would engineer an 8-play, 72 yard drive that took 3:43 of clock and ended with Fairbairn booting the game-winner with 1:50 left in the overtime. While Dallas outrushed Houston 98-88, DeShaun Watson outpaced Prescott, throwing for 375 yards with a TD toss to WR Keke Coutee (Prescott threw for 208 yards; Watson was picked off once and sacked once, while Prescott was sacked twice and threw two interceptions). Hpuston went 5 of 15 on third down tries (the Texans were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:38, while Dallas held on to the ball for 31:32, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

They’ve met six times and each club has three wins to their credit, with the Jaguars outscoring Dallas 140-129. Dallas needed to go across the Atlantic to pick up their last win in the series, with the Cowboys coming out on top 31-17 in 2014, while Jacksonville’s last win came in Dallas in 2010 by a final of 35-17. Jacksonville’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 40. Both numbers make sense. Jacksonville covers the 3 in the Lone Star State and wins on the road.

Baltimore (3-2) at Tennessee (3-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. A pair of teams that took last second losses on the road meet in Music City as the Titans host the Baltimore Ravens at Nissan Stadium in a late-afternoon AFC contest.

Raven fans experienced heartbreak last Sunday in Cleveland as the Browns would take a 12-9 win last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie. Baltimore trailed 6-3 at the break before the Ravens would rally in the third and fourth quarters to even things up, thanks to a pair of Jeff Tucker field goals in the second half. Cleveland’s Rashard Higgins would score the game’s only TD when he and rookie QB Baker Mayfield connected on a 19-yard TD pass with 40 seconds left before the intermission. Greg Joseph would miss the extra point but would kick two more field goals, including the game-winner with two seconds left in overtime to take the win. While Baltimore outrushed Cleveland 116-112, Mayfield threw for 342 yards, with Baltimore’s Joe Flacco throwing for 298 yards (Flacco was sacked twice, Mayfield was sacked five times and each man threw an interception) in the overtime contest. The Ravens were 4 of 16 on third down (Baltimore was 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:42, while the Browns kept the ball for 36:16 (including the overtime) and went 6 of 19 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions.

The Titans saw victory taken away from them in Buffalo last Sunday as the Bills ralled to take a 13-12 win in upstate New York. Tennessee led 12-10 in the final seconds of the contest before Bills K Stephen Hauschka booted a 46-yard field goal as time expired. Buffalo led 7-6 at the half and led 10-9 before the Titans’ Ryan Succop connected on a 50-yard field goal with 4:43 left to lead 12-10. The Bills then proceeded to use all of the 4:43 that was left, using an 11-play, 47-yard drivet to set up Hauschka’s game winner. Rookie QB Josh Allen threw for 82 yards and scored the game’s lone TD from 14 yards out to open the scoring in the game. After that, the kickers took over all the scoring in the game in upstate New York as Succop accounted for all four of Tennesee’s field goals, while Hauschka tallied two, including the game-winner. Buffalo outrushed Tennessee 144-100 and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota threw for 129 yards in the loss (both Mariota and Allen threw an interception, Mariota was sacked twice, Allen was sacked once). The Bills were 4 of 13 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 33:49 (including the final 4:43 of the contest), while the Titans were 6 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:11.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers, Tennessee leads the series 10-9, while the Ravens have outscored the Titans 351-324. Tennesse would win the last meeting, coming away 23-20 winners in the Music City last year, while Baltimore’s last win over the Titans came in 2014 in Charm City by a final of 21-7.

The week nine contest in the Music City saw Tennessee pull out to a 16-6 lead after 30 minutes of action before they would need to hold off a Baltimore second half rally at Nissan Stadium. While the Ravens did outrush Tennessee 73-71 and Flacco threw for 261 yards, Tennessee’s defense did force a pair of Flacco interceptions in the game, with Mariota throwing for 218 yards. (Both men threw a pair of TDs, Mariota was sacked three times and picked off once, Flacco was sacked twice). Baltimore’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 41. It’s a slight possibilty that these two clubs could very well meet in the post-season but we have to pick a winner. Tennessee takes the win at home but expect the Ravens to make this one closer than 3 points.

Kansas City (5-0) at New England (3-2), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Week six action ends in Foxboro as a pair of division leaders meet at Gillette Stadium. The unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs travel to western Massachusetts for a Sunday evening meeting with Tom Brady and the New England Patiots in what could be an AFC playoff matchup.

Kansas City led Jacksonvile 20-0 at the break at Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday, then pulled away to a 30-14 win over the Jaguars. The Chiefs outrushed Jacksonville 126-101 but Blake Bortles threw for 430 yards, while Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes threw for 313 for the winners (Bortles threw for one TD to T.Y. Yeldon, picked off four times and sacked five, while Mahomes threw a pair of interceptions with a sack). Kansas City was 4-12 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:43, while the Jaguars were 7 of 16 on third down, 3 of 5 on fourth down tries and kept the ball for 27:17.

Brady throw three TDs and rush for one as they took Indianapolis and Andrew Luck to task with their 38-24 win at Gillette Stadium last Thursday night. New England led 7-0 after the first 15 minutes of action, then take a 24-3 lead at the intermission, even though the Colts would outscore New England in the final 30 minutes by a 21-14 margin. New England outrushed Indy 97-84 and Luck threw for 365 yards, while Brady threw for 341 yards in the Thursday night contest (both men threw three TD passes, each threw a pair of interceptions). New England was 5 of 10 on third down tries at Foxboro and kept the ball for 27:34, while the Colts ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:26, going 7 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down conversions.

Including contests played in Dallas when the Chiefs were known as the Texas, as well as contests at Fenway Park, Swope Field and Schafer Stadium, Kansas City leads the series 18-13-3 and have outscored New England 838-694. They met last year in Foxboro as the two teams opened the 2017 season with the Patriots raising their Super Bowl banner at Gillette Stadium (New England’s last win over the Chiefs came in Foxboro in 2011, when they were 34-3 winners). New England led 17-14 at the half before Kansas City roared back in the final 30 minutes of action to come away 42-27 winners. The Chiefs got a pair of fourth quarter TDs from RB Kareem Hunt and teammate Charcandrick West added a 21-yard run late in the game to seal the deal. Hunt rushed for 148 yards and had one rushing TD, while the Chiefs outrushed New England 185-124. Chiefs QB Alex Smith threw for 368 and four TDs in the come-from-behind win, while Brady threw for 267 yards in the season opener (both men were sacked three times and did not throw an interception). The Chiefs were 4 of 11 on third down conversions and ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 30:14, while the Patriots were 29:46 in time of possession, going 5 of 15 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Kansas City won by 15 in the 2017 season opener, whici allowed them to cover the 9-point spread (New England was favored) and the 48 over/under was easily taken care of, as the two teams would combine for 69 points. New England’s favored by 3 1/2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 60. Just the fact that these two teams were in the post-season last year and the Chiefs are one of two unbeaten teams makes this contest “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

The Chiefs are trying to stay unbeaten, while the Pats want revenge from last year’s loss at home. Sorry, New England fans… the revenge plot will have to take a week off. Kansas City may not cover the 3 1/2 but they pull off the upset in Foxboro.

San Francisco (1-4) at Green Bay (2-2-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week six action concludes in the land of beer, cheese and BRatwurst as the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers meet at Lambeau Field, with both teams coming off losses in last week”s action.

San Francisco saw Arizona pick up their first win of the 2018 campaign as the Cardinals broke their four-game losing streak with a 28-18 win at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara. Arizona led 14-6 at the break, then proceeded to outpace the 49ers 14-12 in the final 30 minutes of action. Although they were outrushed by the 49ers 147-56 and C.J. Beathard threw for  349 yards and a pair of TDs, they saw Josh Rosen throw for 170 yards with a TD and forced five San Francisco turnovers (Beathard threw a pair of interceptions and San Francisco fumbled three times) to take the win. Arizona went 2 of 12 on third down tries in wine country and kept the ball for 19:48, while the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball to themselves for 40:12, going 10 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Green Bay dropped a 31-23 decision at Detroit last Sunday. The Packers trailed 24-0 at the intermission in the Motor City but would outscore the Lions 23-7 in the second half. Green Bay outrushed Detroit 98-94 and Aaron Rodgers threw for 442 yards and three TDs, while Lions signal caller Matthew Stafford threw for 183 yards and three TDs (neither threw an interception, Rodgers was sacked four times, Stafford was sacked three times). Green Bay, who fumbled the ball three times at Ford Field, went 3 of 10 on third down (2 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 33:20, while the Lions were 5 of 13 on third down conversions, holding the ball for 26:40.

Green Bay leads the series 31-27-1 (which includes contests that took place in Milwaukee, Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park) and have outscored the 49ers 1,210-1,203. Green Bay won the last meeting with San Francisco, taking a 17-3 win at Levis’ Stadium in 2015, while San Francisco’s last win in the series came in 2013 in San Francisco by a final of 34-28.

Prime time has been kind to both clubs and the Packers and 49ers doing quite well on Monday night. San Francisco is 48-25 and is making their first MNF appearance since 2016, while Green Bay is 31-32-1, losing their only prime time appearance last year. Green Bay’s favored by 8 1/2 in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Depending on your point of view, this one might be one worth watching or not. Packers may not cover the 8 1/2 but they take the win at Lambeau.

Four weeks gone.

13 to go.

The NFL heads into the second quarter of the regular season after an exciting Week 4 which saw seven games decided by three points or fewer, including three games in overtime. At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first four weeks of the 2018 season, joining the 1979, 1983 and 2002 seasons as the only campaigns to feature at least one overtime game in each of its first four weeks since the regular-season overtime rule was adopted in 1974.

Five teams – Dallas, Houston, Oakland, Seattle at Tennessee – all pulled rabbits out of their hats and scored game-winning points on the final play of their respective contests last week. Additionally, Cincinnati scored a go-ahead touchdown with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Bengals a 37-36 win over Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last week. This is the first time since Week 3 of the 2012 season (six) that at least six games had the game-winning points scored in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Close games and high-powered offenses have highlighted a thrilling first four weeks. Week 5 promises more of the same.

Two of the NFL’s all-time greats at the quarterback position – New England’s TOM BRADY and New Orleans’ Drew Brees – enter Week 5 with their eyes on history.

With 201 passing yards on Monday night against Washington, Brees (71,740 passing yards) can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940) to become the NFL’s all-time leading passer. In Week 3, Brees (6,344 completions) passed Favre (6,300) for the most completions in league annals.

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (71,740)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brady, who ranks third in NFL history with 500 career touchdown passes and Brees, whose 496 touchdown passes are the fourth-most in league history, can become the third and fourth quarterbacks to throw for at least 500 career touchdown passes, joining Manning (539) and Favre (508). Brady reached the milestone Thursday night in their win over Indianapolis at Gillette Stadium.

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (508)^
Tom Brady – New England (500)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (496)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Through Week 4, passing figures league-wide continue to trend at historic rates, as the marks for completions (2,999), completion percentage (65.4 percent), net passing yards (32,215), touchdown passes (228) and passer rating (94.5) are all the highest in NFL history through the first four weeks of a season.

SEASON – COMPLETIONS
2018 – 2,999
2016 – 2,903

SEASON – COMPLETION PCT.
2018 – 65.4
2014 – 64.3

SEASON – TD PASSES
2018 – 228
2013 – 205

SEASON – NET PASSING YARDS
2018 – 32,215
2016 – 31,616

SEASON – RATING
2018 – 94.5
2014 – 91.5

Veteran signal callers and young quarterbacks on the rise have been performing at a high level from the onset this season.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisbergers, in his 15th season, leads the NFL with 1,414 passing yards, while Rams quarterback JARED GOFF, who is in his third season, ranks second with 1,406 yards. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who has made five career starts, leads the NFL with 14 touchdown passes through Week 4 with Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatick, Goff and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers tied for second with 11 touchdown passes apiece. Goff (127.3) and Mahomes (126.5) rank first and second, respectively, in passer rating this season with Brees (115.3) following closely behind.

Collectively, 11 quarterbacks have thrown for at least 1,200 yards through Week 4, the most in league history through the first four weeks of a season, surpassing the previous high of seven in 2011. Five quarterbacks – Goff (465 passing yards), Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (464), Oakland’s Derek Carr (437), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins (422) and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (419) – passed for at least 400 yards last week. There have been 12 individual performances with at least 400 passing yards this season, the most in NFL history through the first four weeks of a sea­son. The five individual 400-yard passing performances in Week 4 were the most in a single week in league annals.

Seven quarterbacks have thrown at least 10 touchdown passes in the first four weeks of the 2018 season, the most in league annals through Week 4. No other season has featured more than four such QBs through Week 4. Ten quarterbacks have a passer rating of at least 100 (minimum 80 attempts), tied with the 2015 season for the most through the first four weeks of a season in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK FIVE

RECORD-SETTING SCORING & CLOSE GAMES: Through Week 4, league-wide scoring continues to trend at a historic rate, as the totals for points scored (3,030), touchdowns (344) and touchdown passes (228) are all the highest in NFL history through the first four weeks of a season.

SEASON – POINTS SCORED
2018 – 3,030
2012 – 2,986

SEASON – TOUCHDOWNS
2018 – 344
2015 – 332

SEASON – TOUCHDOWN PASSES
2018 – 228
2013 – 205

While scoring has been up across the league, the games have remained as competitive as ever.

The average margin of victory has been 9.90 points per game, a mark that would be the lowest in a full season in 86 years, since the NFL record was set in 1932 (9.13).

38 games have been decided by eight points or fewer, the most in league history through Week 4.

45 games have been within one score (eight points or fewer) in the fourth quarter, tied for the third-most in league annals through Week 4. In other words, DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL!

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has thrown for 71,740 yards during his 18-year NFL career.

With 201 passing yards against the Redskins Monday evening, Brees will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940) for the most passing yards in league annals.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (71,740
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

New England quarterback Tom Brady ranks third in NFL history with 500 career touchdown passes and defeated Indianapolis Thursday night in Foxobor. Brady and Brees, who ranks fourth with 500 career touchdown passes, joined Manning (539) and Favre (508) as the only players in NFL history to throw 500 career touchdown passes.

The players with the most touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (508)^
Tom Brady – New England (500)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (496)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

GREATEST SHOW ON SURF: The Los Angeles are 4-0 for the first time since 2001 and have scored at least 30 points in each of their first four games of the 2018 season.

With at least 30 points at Seattle Sunday, the Rams would become the fifth team to score at least 30 points in each of their first five games to start a season in NFL history. Three of the previous four teams to accomplish the feat advanced to the Super Bowl.

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

TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 30+ POINTS TO START SEASON)
Denver (2013, 8)#
New England (2007 – 8)#
St. Louis Rams (2000 – 8)
New England (2011 -5)#
Los Angeles Rams (2018 – 4)*
*Active streak
#Advanced to Super Bowl

The Rams, who have at least 500 net yards of offense in each of their past two games, can join the San Diego Chargers (1982) and San Francisco (1998) as the only teams in NFL history with three consecutive games with at least 500 net yards of offense within a single season.

The teams with at least 500 net yards of offense in three consecutive games within a single season in NFL history:

TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 500+ NET YARDS OF OFFENSE)
San Diego Chargers (1982 – 3)
San Francisco (1998 – 3)
Los Angeles Rams (2018 – 2)*
*Active streak

ON TARGET: Kansas City quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes passed for 304 yards and one touchdown in the Chiefs’ Week 4 victory over Denver.

Mahomes, who has a league-leading 14 touchdown passes and zero interceptions this season, needs two touchdown passes without an interception against Jacksonville at Arrowhead to become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 16 touchdown passes without an interception to begin a season.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, TD PASSES WITHOUT INT TO START SEASON)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013, 20)
Nick Foles, Philadelphia (2013, 19)
Alex Smith, Kansas City (2017, 18)
Milt Plum, Cleveland (1960, 16)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018, 14)*
*Active streak

MORE THAN A THIELEN: Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen recorded eight catches for 135 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 and has at least 100 receiving yards in each of the Vikings’ first four games of the season.

Thielen needs 100 receiving yards at Philadelphia on Sunday to become the third player in NFL history with at least 100 receiving yards in each of his team’s first five games to start a season.

The players with the most consecutive team games of at least 100 receiving yards to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE TEAM GAMES WITH 100+ RECIEVING YARDS TO BEGIN SEASON)
Charley Hennigan, Houston Oilers (1961, 7)
Bob Boyd, Los Angeles Rams (1954, 5)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2018, 4)*
*Active streak

CATCHING UP WITH JULIO: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones has 614 receptions for 9,556 yards and 43 touchdowns in 99 career games.

Jones, who already holds the record for the most receiving yards by a player in his first 100 career games, needs nine catches on Sunday at Pittsburgh at Heinz Field to surpass Antonio Brown (622) for the most receptions by a player in first 100 career games in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in their first 100 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RECEPTIONS IN FIRST 100 CAREER GAMES)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (622)
Anquan Boldin – Arizona and Baltimore (614)
Julio Jones – Atlanta (614)*
*In 99 career games

The players with the most receiving yards in their first 100 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEIVING YARDS IN FIRST 100 CAREER GAMES)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (9,556)*
Lance Alworth, San Diego (9,019)^
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (8,740)
*In 99 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

NUMBERS GAME: Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott has 3,040 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns in 29 career games.

Elliott, who leads the NFL with 426 rushing yards in 2018, needs one rushing touchdown on Sunday night at Houston to become the sixth player in league annals with at least 3,000 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns in their first 30 career games.

The players with at least 3,000 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns in their first 30 career games in league annals:

PLAYER – TEAM (RUSHING YARDS/RUSHING TDS)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (3,206/34)^
Earl Campbell – Houston Oilers (3,013/31)^
Clinton Portis – Denver and Washington (3,247/30)
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams (3,600/29)^
Edgerrin James – Indianapolis (3,022/26)
Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas (3,040/24)*
*In 29 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Three games – Houston’s 37-34 win at Indianapolis, Tennessee’s 26-23 win against Philadelphia and Oakland’s 45-42 victory over Cleveland – were decided in overtime this week.

At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first four weeks of the 2018 season, joining the 1979, 1983 and 2002 seasons as the only campaigns to feature at least one overtime game in each of its first four weeks.

•Five quarterbacks – the Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff (465 passing yards), Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (464), Oakland’s Derek Carr (437), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins (422) and Atlanta’s Matt RyanN (419) – passed for at least 400 yards this week.

With two games remaining in Week 4, there have been 12 individual performances with at least 400 passing yards this season, the most in NFL history through the first four weeks of a season. The five individual 400-yard passing performances in Week 4 are the most in a single week in league annals.

•Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed 19 of 26 passes (73.1 percent) for 354 yards and six touchdown passes with no interceptions for a 154.6 passer rating in the Bears’ 48-10 win over Tampa Bay.

Trubisky threw five first-half touchdown passes to five different receivers – Josh Bellamy, Trey Burton, Tarik Cohen, Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson – and became the second quarterback in league history to throw at least five touchdown passes to five different receivers in the first half of a single game. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes to five different receivers in the first half against the Bears on November 9, 2014.

Trubisky, who threw for 289 yards and rushed for 53 yards in the first half, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (December 23, 1991) and Michael Vick (November 15, 2010) as the only players since 1991 with at least 250 passing yards and 50 rushing yards in the first half of a single game.​

•Houston defensive end J.J. Watt recorded two sacks and two forced fumbles in the Texans’ 37-34 overtime victory at Indianapolis.

Watt, who played his 92nd career game Sunday, has 23 games with at least two sacks, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Richard Dent (23) for the second-most games with at least two sacks by a player in his first 100 career games since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White (29) has more such games in his first 100 career games.

Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn converted three field goals, including both a game-tying 29-yard field goal and game-winning 37-yarder in overtime. Fairbairn is the third kicker to convert both a game-tying and game-winning field goal in overtime since the overtime-rule modification in 2012, joining Graham Gano (November 2, 2015 vs. Indianapolis) and Cairo Santos  (November 27, 2016 vs. Denver).

Houston rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee had 11 catches in his NFL debut today, the second-most in league history by a player in his first-career game. Only the Houston Oilers’ Sid Blanks (13 catches on September 12, 1964) had more catches in an NFL debut.

•New England quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 274 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for a 94.2 passer rating in the Patriots’ 38-7 victory over Miami.

With his 55-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Corradelle Patterson in the second quarter, Brady has thrown at least one touchdown pass to 70 different receivers in his career, tied with Vinny Testaverde (70) for the most by a player NFL history.

•Colts quarterback Andrew Luck passed for a career-high 464 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 108.5 passer rating and kicker Adam Vinatieri converted two field goals in the Colts’ overtime loss to Houston.

Luck became the 11th quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 450 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in a single game – and the second quarterback to accomplish the feat this week, joining Rams’ quarterback JARED GOFF, who passed for 465 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions against Minnesota on Thursday. Goff and Luck are the first pair of quarterbacks in league history to accomplish the feat in the same week.

Vinatieri, who has 567 career field goals, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Morten Andersen (565) for the most converted field goals in NFL history.

•Other notable highlights from Sunday’s action include:

Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton connected on a go-ahead 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver A.J. Green with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Bengals a 37-36 victory at Atlanta.

This is the second time in franchise history that the Bengals recorded a game-winning touchdown pass with under 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the first since October 10, 1999.

◦Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott totaled a career-high 240 scrimmage yards (152 rushing, 88 receiving) and had a touchdown catch in the Cowboys’ 26-24 win over Detroit.

Elliott is the third player in franchise history to record at least 150 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith (January 2, 1994) and Herschel Walker (November 15, 1987).

Elliott is the sixth player in league history to record at least 150 rushing yards, 85 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in a winning effort and the first since the Rams’ Steven Jackson (December 24, 2006 vs. Washington).

◦Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had nine catches for 173 yards and rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley had two touchdown receptions in the Falcons’ loss to Cincinnati.

Jones, who appeared in his 99th career game Sunday, has 41 games with at least 100 receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (40) for the most 100-yard receiving games in a player’s first 100 career games in NFL history.

Ridley has six touchdown catches in the Falcons’ first four games of 2018, the most by a rookie in his team’s first four games of a season. Prior to Ridley, only Green Bay’s Billy Howton (1952) had at least five touchdown catches in his team’s first four games of a season.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass in the Giants’ loss to New Orleans.

Manning has 343 career touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (342) for the seventh-most touchdown passes in league history.

◦Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 250 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 97.2 passer rating in the Chargers’ 29-27 win over San Francisco.

Rivers has 51,504 career passing yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the eighth-most passing yards in NFL history.

Week 5 kicked off Thursday night as New England held off Indianapolis and concludes in the Big Easy as Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints host Washington on Monday night in prime time. This week’s action also features the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs hosting Jacksonville, the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams traveling to Seattle for an NFC West contest in the Pacific Northwest, a rematch of the 2017 NFC Championship game as the defending Super Bowl champs host the Minnesota Vikings in the City of Brotherly Love and the Sunday night contest is a Lone Star State battle as the Houston Texans host Dallas at NRG Stadium on Sunday night.

As for last week? 10-6. For the season? 34-24, not bad at all. Carolina and Washington return to action from their byes last week, while Tampa Bay and Da Bears are off this week. Here are week five’s Sunday and Monday picks.

ATLANTA (1-3) at Pittsburgh (1-2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Sunday action in week five opens in the Steel City as the Atlanta Falcons travel to the Steel City for a showdown with Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both team enter the Sunday intraconference contest at Heinz Field with losses at home from last week under their respective belts.

The Falcons found themselves in a shootuout with Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last Sunday afternoon and came out on the short end of a 37-36 final. Atlanta trailed 28-24 at the break, then chipped away at the Bengals, using a pair of Matt Bryant field goals before taking the lead when Matt Ryan and WR Calvin Ridley connected on their second TD toss of the day to take a 33-28 lead with 14:25 left in regulation. Cincinnati would pull to within two when Randy Bullock connected on a 36-yard field goal and Bryant would respond with a 32-yard try of his own, giving the Falcons a 36-31 lead with 4:15 left in regulation. The Bengals would get the ball back and aided by a pair of Atlanta penalties, used a 16-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:08 and ended with Andy Dalton throwing a 13-yard TD pass to WR A.J. Green to seal Atlanta’s fate. The Bengals outrushed Atlanta 99-92, with Ryan throwing for 419 yards, while Dalton threw for 337 (each man threw three TDs and each was sacked three times with no interceptions). The Bengals were 7 of 12 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:38, while the Falcons were 11 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs in the Big Peach and kept the ball for 29:22.

Pittsburgh saw Baltimore K Jeff Tucker connect on four second half field goals to break a 14-14 tie at Heinz Field last Sunday night and drop a 26-14 decision to the Ravens. The Steelers were held to a dismal season-low 19 yards of rushing, while the Ravens tallied 96, with Roethlisberger throwing for 274 yards and a TD to WR Antonio Brown, while Joe Flacco threw for 363 yards and a pair of TDs (Flacco was sacked twice, Roethlisberger was sacked once and threw an interception). Pittsburgh was a somewhat dismal 2 of 12 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:57, while the Ravens were ball hawks, holding the pigskin for 35:03, going 8 of 17 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Steelers lead the series 13-2-1, have outscored the Falcons 479-303 and have won the last two meetings, including taking a 27-20 win in the Big Peach in 2014, while Atlanta’s last win in the series also came in Atlanta by a final of 41-38 in overtime in 2006. Pittsburgh’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 57 1/2. Both numbers sound reasonable and both teams would like to hit the reset button from last week. Atlanta pulls the road upset and covers the 3.

Tennessee (3-1) at Buffalo (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Fresh off an overtime win against the defending Super Bowl champs, the Tennessee Titans head to the shores of Lake Erie for a meeting with the Buffalo Bills in upstate New York.

The Bills were on the outside looking in against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers as they were shut out 22-0 at Lambeau Field last Sunday. Green Bay led 16-0 at the break and then used a pair of Mason Crosby field goals in the second half to seal Buffalo’s fate. While the Packers ran for 141 yards, they held the Bills to 58 yards and sacked QB Josh Allen (151 yards, two interceptions) seven times. Rodgers threw for 298 yards with a TD pass to Jimmy Graham to take the shutout win in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst. The Packers were 11 of 19 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:37, while the Bills, who kept the ball for 25:23, went 3 of 16 on third down conversions.

Tennessee broke the hearts of Eagles fans last Sunday in Nashville as the defending Super Bowl champs led 23-20 in overtime, only to see Tennessee score on a 10-yard TD pass from Marcus Mariota to WR Corey Davis to take a 26-23 win at Nissan Stadium. Philadelphia led 10-3 at the intermission and 17-10 at the end of three quarters before the Titans rallied in the fourth to take a 20-17 lead with 5:01 left in regulation before Philly’s Jake Elliott connected on a 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds left. Elliott would open the scoring in the overtime, booting a 37-yarder with 6:19 left in the extra period. Tennessee then used all but five seconds of available clock left, mounting a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:14, ending with the Mariota to Davis connection for the game-winner. Philadelphia outrushed Tennessee 117-70 and Carson Wentz threw for 348 yards, while Mariota tallied 344 (both men threw a pair of TDs, Wentz was sacked four times and Mariota sacked three times with an interception). Tennessee was 5 of 15 on third down (they were 3 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:30, while the Eagles were 5 of 15 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 34:25.

Including games played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and at old War Memorial Stadium, the Titans lead the series 27-15 and have outscored the Bills 924-815. Buffalo won the last meeting with Tennessee, taking a 14-13 win in the Music City in 2015, while the Titans’ last win came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2012 by a final of 35-34. Tennessee’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense. Tennessee makes it two in a row and covers the 3 with the win.

Miami (3-1) at Cincinnati (3-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of 3-1 teams meet along the shores of the Ohio River as Miami comes to Cincinnati for a meeting with Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Miami fell from the ranks of the unbeatens after their 38-7 loss to Tom Brady and New England at Foxboro last Sunday. The Patroits scored the first 38 points of the contest unchallenged and the Dolphins trailed 24-0 at thee intermission before finally tallying their lone score in the contest when Frank Gore and Brock Osweiler connected on a 6-yard TD toss with 2:42 left to play. Miami found themselves held to 56 yards rushing, while the Patroits would tally 175 of their own (with Sony Michel leading all rushers with 112 yards and a TD) and Brady throwing for 274 yards and a pair of TD passes. New England was 10 of 16 on third down and held on the ball for 36:22, while the Dolphins were 23:38 in time of possession, going 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Dalton and the Bengals found themselves in a slugfest last Sunday with Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last Sunday afternoon and they would have the final say, coming away 37-36 winners. Cincinnati led 28-24 at the break, then saw the Falcons chip away at the Bengals, using a pair of Matt Bryant field goals before taking the lead when Matt Ryan and WR Calvin Ridley connected on their second TD toss of the day to take a 33-28 lead with 14:25 left in regulation. Cincinnati would pull to within two when Randy Bullock connected on a 36-yard field goal and Bryant would respond with a 32-yard try of his own, giving the Falcons a 36-31 lead with 4:15 left in regulation. Cincinnati then got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and aided by a pair of Atlanta penalties, used a 16-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:08 and ended with Andy Dalton throwing a 13-yard TD pass to WR A.J. Green to seal Atlanta’s fate. The Bengals outrushed Atlanta 99-92, with Ryan throwing for 419 yards, while Dalton threw for 337 (each man threw three TDs and each was sacked three times with no interceptions). The Bengals were 7 of 12 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:38, while the Falcons were 11 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs in the Big Peach and kept the ball for 29:22.

Miami leads the series 15-6 (including games played at the old Orange Bowl and Riverfront Stadium) and the ‘Fins have outscored the Bengals 469-365. Cincy won the last meeting with Miami, taking a 22-7 win in Cincinnati in 2016, while Miami took matters into their own fins and came away 22-20 overtime winners in the Sunshine State in 2013. Cincinnati’s favored by 6 at home and the over/under’s 50. Both numbers sound reasonable and both could see action in the post-season. Bengals win at home in Cincy but expect the Dolphins to make things closer than the 6.

Baltimore (3-1) at Cleveland (1-2-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC North rivals meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Baltimore travels to Cleveland for a contest with the Browns and rookie QB Baker Mayfield.

Baltimore got four second half field goals from K Jeff Tucker a 14-14 tie at Heinz Field last Sunday night to come away 26-14 winners against Pittburgh in an AFC North contest in the Steel City. Baltimore held the Steelers to 19 yards of rushing, while the Ravens tallied 96, with Roethlisberger throwing for 274 yards and a TD to WR Antonio Brown, while Joe Flacco threw for 363 yards and a pair of TDs (Flacco was sacked twice, Roethlisberger was sacked once and threw an interception). Pittsburgh was a somewhat dismal 2 of 12 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:57, while the Ravens were ball hawks, holding the pigskin for 35:03, going 8 of 17 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Cleveland and Oakland went to a 42-42 tie with 30 seconds left in regulation when Derek Carr and TE Jared Cook connect on a 7-yard TD toss, then saw the Raiders take a 45-42 win in overtime on a 29-yard field goal by Mike McCrane. Cleveland led 17- 14 at the intermission in Mayfield’s first career NFL start, then had its biggest lead at 28-14 with 7:26 left in the 3rd before Oakland would take their first lead of the game with a 19-yard TD toss from Carr (437 yards, 3 sacks) to Jordy Nelson and McCrane would add a field goal for a six point lead with 10:46 left in regulation. Cleveland would not be denied, scoring twice on TD runs from Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb to reclaim the lead and give Browns fans hope of a second win in a row. Those hopes would be shattered thanks to the Carr-Cook combo and the McCrane game-winning field goal. Cleveland outrushed the Raiders 208-139, with Chubb rushing for 105 yards and a pair of TDs, while Raiders RB Mashawn Lynch ran for 130. (Both Mayfield and Carr threw a pair of interceptions; Mayfield accounted for a pair of TDs, Carr threw four; Mayfield was sacked twice, while Carr was sacked three times)

Baltimore leads the series 29-9, the Ravens have outscored Cleveland 892-562 and they have won the last five meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Cleveland’s last win over the Ravens came in 2015 in Charm City, when the Browns needed overtime to come away 33-30 winners).

Week two… first meeting… Charm City. Baltimore pulled out to a 21-7 lead at the break and came away with the 24-10 win. Baltimore outrushed Cleveland 136-93 and Flacco threw for 217 yards and a pair of TDs, while DeShone Kizer (who left the contest with an injury) threw for 182 yards with three interceptions and a pair of sacks (Kevin Hogan, who replaced Kizer, threw for 118 yards and a TD to TE David Njoku with an interception). Baltimore, who took advantage of five Cleveland turnovers (the Browns lost a fumble) went 4 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:24, while the Browns were 2 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:36.

Baltimore made it a clean sweep of the series and traveled to the shores of Lake Erie, taking a 27-10 win out of Cleveland. Leading 17-10 at the break in the week 15 contest at First Energy Field, Baltimore would go on to add 10 more second half points unchallenged for the win. Cleveland did outrush Baltimore 130-97 but Flacco burned Cleveland for 288 yards in the air with a TD, while Kizer threw for 146 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Browns, victimized by four turnovers, went 5 for 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 23:12, while the Ravens were 7 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:48.

The Ravens covered the 7 1/2-point spread in the week two contest, winning by 14 but the 40 1/2 over/under was intact, as both clubs merged for 34 points. In the week 15 contest, the Ravens’ 17-point win allowed them to cover the 7-point spread but neither team covered the 40 over/under, missing by 3. Baltimore may be on the road but the odds makers like them as 3 point favorites and the over/under’s 47. The Browns have played some pretty decent football of late and they have made some noise in the AFC North, however… Baltimore covers the 3 on the road and takes the win.

Jacksonville (3-1) at Kansas City (4-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of playoff teams from 2017 meet in the Show Me State as Jacksonville takes on the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead.

Jacksonville bounced back from their first loss of the season as they manhandled the New York Jets 31-12 last Sunday at TIAA Bank Field. Leading the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 16-0 at the intermission, the Jaguars would take control of the second half, keeping GangGreen at bay by outscoring them 15-12 in the final 30 minutes of action. Jacksonville outrushed New York 126-34 and Blake Bortles burned the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! for 388 yards and a pair of TDs and an interception, while New York rookie QB Sam Darnold threw for 167 yards and a TD (Darnold was sacked three times, while Bortles was sacked twice). Jacksonville was 6 of 15 on third down (the Jaguars were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:35, while GangGreen was 3 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 22:25.

Kansas City stayed in the ranks of the unbeatens as they rallied at Denver to beat the Broncos 27-23 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Chiefs trailed 13-10 at the break, then proceeded to outscore the Broncos 17-10, with the game-winning score coming with RB Kareem Hunt scoring from a yard out with 1:39 left to play. The winning score was part of an 8-play, 60-yard drive that used 2:56 of clock and saw Pat Mahomes throw a pass with his left hand. Although the Broncos outrushed Kansas City 159-142, Hunt led all rushers with 121 yards and the game-winning TD. As for Mahomes, he threw for 304 yards and a TD to TE Travis Kelce, while Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 245 yards and an interception (Keenum was sacked four times, while Mahomes was sacked once.) While the Chiefs were 7 of 15 on third down tries, they were 2 of 2 on fourth down conversions and held the ball for 35:02, while Denver kept the pigskin for 24:58, going 2 of 11 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

While Jacksonville leads the series 6-5, the Chiefs have outscored the Jaguars 240-223 and have taken wins in the last three contests, including a 19-14 win at Arrowhead in 2016, while Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2009 in the Sunshine State by a final of 24-21. Kansas City’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 48. Jacksonville’s pretty good but the Chiefs are better. Kansas City covers the 3 and wins in the Show Me State.

Denver (2-2) at New York Jets (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of old AFC rivals meet in upstate New Jersey as Denver comes east to take on the New York Jets in the Meadowlands with both clubs taking losses in last week’s action.

Denver to beat the Broncos 27-23 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Chiefs trailed 13-10 at the break, then proceeded to outscore the Broncos 17-10, with the game-winning score coming with RB Kareem Hunt scoring from a yard out with 1:39 left to play. The winning score was part of an 8-play, 60-yard drive that used 2:56 of clock and saw Pat Mahomes throw a pass with his left hand. Although the Broncos outrushed Kansas City 159-142, Hunt led all rushers with 121 yards and the game-winning TD. As for Mahomes, he threw for 304 yards and a TD to TE Travis Kelce, while Denver’s Case Keenum threw for 245 yards and an interception (Keenum was sacked four times, while Mahomes was sacked once.) While the Chiefs were 7 of 15 on third down tries, they were 2 of 2 on fourth down conversions and held the ball for 35:02, while Denver kept the pigskin for 24:58, going 2 of 11 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Jets were taken to task by Jacksonville last Sunday in the Sunshine State, as the Jagaurs took a 31-12 win last Sunday at TIAA Bank Field. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 16-0 at the intermission and the Jaguars would take control of the second half, keeping GangGreen at bay by outscoring them 15-12 in the final 30 minutes of action. Jacksonville outrushed New York 126-34 and Blake Bortles burned the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! for 388 yards and a pair of TDs and an interception, while New York rookie QB Sam Darnold threw for 167 yards and a TD (Darnold was sacked three times, while Bortles was sacked twice). Jacksonville was 6 of 15 on third down (the Jaguars were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:35, while GangGreen was 3 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 22:25.

The Broncos lead the series 19-15-1 (including contests that were played when the Jets were known as the Titans and the Jets played their home games at Shea Stadium), they have outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 854-731 and have won the last three meetings, including a 23-0 win last year in the Mile High City (GangGreen’s last win over the Broncos came in 2010 in Denver by a final of 24-20)

Denver pulled out to a 13-0 lead at the break, then scored their final 10 points of the contest unchallenged to take the win in the Rocky Mountains in week 14. Trevor Siemian threw for 200 yards and a TD to WR Demaryius Thomas, while the Broncos outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 84-59 in the shutout win (the Jets’ Josh McCown threw for 46 yards with four sacks and an interception). Denver was 7 of 17 on third down (the Broncos were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 37:35, while the Jets were 3 of 13, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 22:25.

While the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were favored by 1 1/2, Denver easily covered with the 23-point win but neither club touched the 41 over/under, as Denver scored all 23 points in the contest. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are favored by a mere two points with the over/under at 43 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both teams have either been hot or cold. We wouldn’t blame you if you took a pass on this one and did that pre-Christmas shopping done. GangGreen covers the 2 and wins in the Meadowlands.

New York Giants (1-3) at Carolina (3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Eli Manning vs. Cam Newton. A pair of superstar QBs square off in the Tar Heel State at the Giants square off against the Carolina Panthers.

The Giants enter Sunday’s contest at Bank of America Stadium with a 33-18 loss to New Orleans under their belts. Leading 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Giants saw that lead get away from them as Saints K Will Lutz kicked four field goals in the second to take a 12-7 lead at the intermission. Big Blue would eventually pull themselves to within eight with 3:44 left to play when rookie RB Sequan Barkley scored from a yard out. New Orleans, who outrushed the Giants 170-65, would seal the deal for themselves and seal New York’s fate when Alvin Kamara (134 yards to lead all rushers) scored his third TD of the contest with 2:06 left. Manning threw for 255 yards and a TD to Sterling Shepherd, while Saints signal called Drew Brees threw for 217 yards (Manning was sacked three times, Brees sacked once). The Saints were 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31 minutes, while the Giants kept the ball for 29 minutes, going 5 of 10 on third down tries in the Meadowlands.

Carolina comes back to action after their bye week. Before they went on their week-long break, the Panthers manhandled Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals 31-21 at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina and Newton led 21-14 at the intermission, then went on to outscore the Bengals 10-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Newton threw for 150 yards and a pair of TDs, while teammate Collin McCafferty ran for 184 yards (Carolina outrushed the Bengals 230-66) for the win (Dalton threw for 352 yards with a pair of TDs, four interceptions and a pair of sacks). Carolina was 6 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:55, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 26:05, going 4 of 10 on third down conversions.

Carolina leads the series 5-4 and have outscored Big Blue 247-213, winning their last meeting, taking a 38-35 win in the Meadowlands in 2015, while the Giants’ last win over the Panthers came in 2012 in the Tar Heel State by a final of 36-7. Carolina’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Panthers are finer in Carolina and win this one but Giants make it closer than 7.

Green Bay (2-1-1) at Detroit (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. An NFC North rivalry almost as old as football itself draws life in the Motor City as the Matthew Stafford-led Lions host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field.

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers shut down and shut out Buffalo 22-0 at Lambeau Field last Sunday. The Packers scored all of their points in the contest without a challenge and led 16-0 at the break before using a pair of Mason Crosby field goals in the second half to seal Buffalo’s fate. The Packers outrushed Buffalo 141-58 yards, sacked QB Josh Allen (151 yards, two interceptions) seven times, while Rodgers threw for 298 yards with a TD pass to Jimmy Graham to take the shutout win in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst. The Packers were 11 of 19 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:37, while the Bills, who kept the ball for 25:23, went 3 of 16 on third down conversions.

Detroit dropped a 26-24 heartbreaker at Dallas last Sunday in the final seconds at AT&T Stadium. Dallas led 13-10 at the intermisson before Stafford and the Lions chipped away at the lead, eventually leading 24-23 with 2:17 left when Stafford and WR Golden Tate connected on a 38-yard TD pass. Dallas would then use all of the 2:17 that was available to them, driving 55 yards in nine plays and using a pass play from Dak Prescott (255 yards, two TDs) to RB Ezekiel Elliott to set up a 38-yard field goal by Brett Maher as time expired. Elliott rushed for 152 yards in the thriller at Jerry World as Dallas outrushed the Lions 183-96, while Stafford threw for 307 yards and a pair of TDs (both to Tate). Detroit was 6 of 11 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 29:55, while the Cowboys were 5 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 30:05, including the final 2:17 of the contest.

Including games played at Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome and Milwaukee County Stadium, the Packers lead the series 98-70-7 and have outscored the Lions 3,714-3,230. However… the Lions swept the series last year, taking wins in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and in the Motor City (Green Bay’s last win in the series came in 2016, when they took a 31-24 win in the Motor City).

Round one… week nine at Lambeau. The Rodgers-less Packers trailed Detroit 14-3 at the intermisson and took a 30-17 in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst. Although Green Bay outrushed Detroit 78-64, Stafford burned the Packers for 361 yards and a pair of TDs, while Brock Hundley threw for 245 yards with three sacks. The Lions were 8 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 36:55, while the Packers were 2 of 9 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the pigskin for 23:05.

That was round one.

Round two?

Week 17 in the Motor City and the Lions made it a sweep of the series and took the 35-11 win at Ford Field in the season finale for both clubs. Detroit led 20-3 at the break and never looked back to take the series. As was the case in the first game, Green Bay outrushed Detroit 103-51 but Stafford burned the Packers for 323 yards and three TDs, while Hundley threw for 172 with a TD, four sacks and a pair of interceptions. Third down tries? Green Bay was 4 of 14 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down), while the Lions were 4 of 12 and the clock was on the side of Green Bay, who held the ball for 31:47 to Detroit’s 28:13.

Detroit’s 13-point win at Lambeau Field allowed them to cover the 2 1/2-point spread and both clubs covered the 43 1/2 over/under in the Monday night affair, tallying 47 points. Detroit also covered the spread in the week 17 contest, winning by 24 (they were favored by 7) and as was the case in the first meeting, the Lions and Packers covered the over/under (43) with 46 points. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Packers as 1 1/2 point favorites in the Motor City with a 51 over/under. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Green Bay gets revenge on their NFC North rivals and covers the 1 1/2 with the win on the road.

Oakland (1-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. It’s another round of an AFC West rivalry that has seen action in Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego. The Raiders make the 372-mile trip to southern California for a meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers at Stub Hub Center.

Oakland went to a 42-42 tie with 30 seconds left in regulation with Cleveland last Sunday when Derek Carr and TE Jared Cook connect on a 7-yard TD toss, then take a 45-42 win in overtime on a 29-yard field goal by Mike McCrane. The visiting Browns led 17-14 at the intermission in Mayfield’s first career NFL start, then had its biggest lead at 28-14 with 7:26 left in the 3rd before Oakland, who would give head coach Jon Gruden his first win as a head coach since 2001, would take their first lead of the game with a 19-yard TD toss from Carr (437 yards, 3 sacks) to Jordy Nelson and McCrane would add a field goal for a six point lead with 10:46 left in regulation. Cleveland would not be denied, scoring twice on TD runs from Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb to reclaim the lead and give Browns fans hope of a second win in a row. Those hopes would be shattered thanks to the Carr-Cook combo and the McCrane game-winning field goal. Cleveland outrushed the Raiders 208-139, with Chubb rushing for 105 yards and a pair of TDs, while Raiders RB Mashawn Lynch ran for 130. (Both Mayfield and Carr threw a pair of interceptions; Mayfield accounted for a pair of TDs, Carr threw four; Mayfield was sacked twice, while Carr was sacked three times)

Los Angeles’ Caleb Sturgis was the man of the moment for the Chargers as he connected on a 21-yard field goal late in their contest with San Francisco to give the Chargers a 29-27 win at Stub Hub Center. The 49ers and Chargers took a 17-17 tie with them to the intermission before the Bolts would claim the lead for the first time with 10:35 left in the third quarter on a 6-yard TD toss from Philip Rivers to Melvin Gordon. San Francisco would take the lead back at 26-24 with 12:39 left in regulatoin on a Robbie Gould field goal from 33 yards before Sturgis would give his team the back on a 21-yard try. The Chargers, who would hold off a late 49ers rally in the contest, outrushed San Francisco 126-76, with Rivers throwing for 250 yards and three TDs (TE Antonio Gates had one of them), while C.J. Bethard threw for 298 yards and a pair of TDs (Bethard was sacked once and picked off twice) for San Francisco. The 49ers were 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 27:34, while the Chargers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:26, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Including contests that were played in San Diego when the Chargers called Qualcomm Stadium home and Los Angeles when the Silver and Black played at the Coliseum, the Raiders lead the series 62-52-2 and have outscored the Bolts 2,547-2,509. The Chargers swept last year’s contests, winning in Oakland and Los Angeles (Oakland’s last win over the Chargers came in San Diego in 2016 by a final of 19-16).

Nick Novak gave the Chargers a 17-16 win in Oakland in week six to open the series. The Silver and Black led 10-6 at the break and through the end of the third quarter before the Bolts would take control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Oakland 10-6 in that frame. Oakland would lead 16-14 with 4:09 left in regulation when the Chargers would burn all of the 4:09 that was left as Novak connected on a 32-yard field goal as time expired. The Silver and Black outrushed the Bolts 109-80, with Rivers throwing for 268 yards, while Carr had 171 yards (each man threw a TD pass, Rivers connected with Gordon, Carr with Michael Crabtree; both men were sacked once and Rivers threw an interception) in the first meeting. The Chargers were 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 32:03, while the Raiders were 6 of 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 27:57.

If one win was good for the Chargers, then another win was better and they swept the series in front of the home folks in week 17. Despite having their playoff hopes dashed, they managed to take control of things at Stub Hub Center, winning 30-10 in Los Angeles. After a scoreless first quarter, the Chargers took a 20-10 lead with them to the intermission, then scored 10 more points in the third quarter without a challenge. The Chargers outrushed the Silver and Black 115-105 with Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch leading the way with 101 in the win and Rivers threw for 387 yards with three TDs and no interceptions, while Carr threw for 243 yards and a TD to Amari Cooper (Carr was sacked twice and picked off once, while Rivers was sacked once). The Chargers were 7 of 13 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:20, while the Raiders held the pigskin for 26:40, going 4 of 11 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down.

While the Raiders were favored by 3 1/2, the Chargers won by a single point in the week six contest and the 53 1/2 over/under was intact as both clubs could tally only 33 points. However… in the week 17 contest in Los Angeles, the Chargers easily covered the 7 1/2-point spread with their 10 win and both clubs barely missed the 43 1/2 over/under by 3 points. The oddsmakers like the Chargers as 5 1/2 point favorites with a 53 1/2 over/under. Granted, these two teams don’t particularly like each other given their history and while the Raiders picked up their first win of the 2018 campaign, the Chargers have flexed some muscle of late. If history has a way of repeating itself, it will favor the Chargers. Oakland will make it closer than the 5 1/2 but the Chargers win at home.

Minnesota (1-2) at Philadelphia (2-2), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. It’s a rematch in the City of Brotherly Love as the defending Super Bowl champs host the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC Championship rematch at Lincoln Financial Field.

Minnesota went to the West Coast last Thursday against the Los Angeles Rams and came away on the short end of a 38-31 loss at the Coliseum. The Purple Gang trailed 28-17 at the half, then made the contest close with a 45-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins to WR Adam Thielen and a 40-yard field goal from Dan Bailey with 3:46 left in regulation. Los Angeles outrushed Minnesota 100-54 and Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 465 yards and five TDs, connecting with WR Cooper Kupp on two of the passes, while Cousins threw for 422 yards and three TDs (Adrian Robinson caught two of those tosses) and the Rams’ Todd Gurley led all rushers with 83 yards. The Rams were 1 of 6 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:46, while the Vikings kept the ball for 32:14, going 8 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Eagles fans had their hearts broken last Sunday in Nashville as they led 23-20 in overtime, only to see Tennessee score on a 10-yard TD pass from Marcus Mariota to WR Corey Davis to take a 26-23 win at Nissan Stadium. Philadelphia led 10-3 at the intermission and 17-10 at the end of three quarters before the Titans rallied in the fourth to take a 20-17 lead with 5:01 left in regulation before Philly’s Jake Elliott connected on a 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds left. Elliott would open the scoring in the overtime, booting a 37-yarder with 6:19 left in the extra period. Tennessee then used all but five seconds of available clock left, mounting a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:14, ending with the Mariota to Davis connection for the game-winner. Philadelphia outrushed Tennessee 117-70 and Carson Wentz threw for 348 yards, while Mariota tallied 344 (both men threw a pair of TDs, Wentz was sacked four times and Mariota sacked three times with an interception). Tennessee was 5 of 15 on third down (they were 3 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:30, while the Eagles were 5 of 15 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 34:25.

The Vikings lead the regular season series 13-10 and have outscored Philadelphia 543-528. Their last regular season meeting was in 2016 in the City of Brotherly Love and the Eagles were 21-10 winners, while Minnesota’s last win in regular season action took place in the Twin Cities in 2013 by a final of 48-30.

They met in the NFC Championship game last season and the Vikings scored the first seven points of the contest when Case Keenum and Kyle Rudolph connected on a 25-yard TD pass to open the scoring. Philadelphia went on to score their 38 points of their contest unchallenged as they would march on to a 38-7 win to advance to Super Bowl 52. Philadelphia led 24-7 at the intermission and never looked back, taking the win in front of the home crowd at Lincoln Financial Field. Minnesota was outrushed by the Eagles 110-70 and while Keenum did throw for 271 yards and a TD, he would be sacked once and picked off twice. As for Nick Foles, who took over for Wentz, he threw for 352 yards and three TDs with no picks (Philadelphia’s Joseph Ajayi led all rushers with 73 yards). The Eagles, who would go on to win Super Bowl 52 two Sundays later, went 10 of 14 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:04, while the Vikings were 6 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:56.

In the NFC Championship Game in the City of Brotherly Love, the Eagles covered the 3-point spread, winning by 31 and both clubs covered the 38 over/under with 45 points. The oddsmakers like the defending champs as 3-point favorites in the City of Brotherly Love and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The fact that this is a rematch from last season makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Could this be a preview of a playoff rematch? Anything’s possible… but as ESPN’s Chris Berman once said, “that’s why they play the games.” Eagles win this one at home in the City of Brotherly Love but expect the Vikings to make things close.

Arizona (0-4) at San Francisco (1-3), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of NFC West rivals meet in wine country as the 49ers host Arizona at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara. Both clubs took close losses in last week’s action and look to rebound.

Seattle took the Desert Angry Birds to the final seconds of their contest in Glendale with Seattle coming away 20-17 winners, thanks to a 52-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time expired. Arizona led 10-7 at the break before Seattle would rally to take a 17-10 lead with 60 seconds left in the third quarter. That lead would not last long as Arizona would tie things back up with 8:59 left in regulation when WR Chad Williams and QB Josh Rosen connected on a 22-yard TD strike. That would keep things even until Seattle got the ball back with 1:50 left to play and used all of that 1:50 to go on a 7-play, 31-yard drive which allowed the veteran Janikowski to boot the game winner as time expired. Seattle outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 171-92, with Seahawks RB Mike Davis leading the way with 101 yards and a pair of TDs in the win. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 172 yards and no interceptions (two sacks), while Rosen threw for 180 yards and the lone TD. The Seahawks on third down were 0 for 10 on third down but were 1 of 2 on fourth down tries and held the ball for 31:46 (which included the final 1:50 of the game), while the Cardinals were 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:14.

A late San Francsico rally against the Los Angeles Chargers fell short as Chargers K Caleb Sturgis was the man of the moment, connecting on a 21-yard field goal to give the Chargers a 29-27 win at Stub Hub Center. Tied 17-17 tie at the half, the Bolts would claim the lead for the first time with 10:35 left in the third quarter on a 6-yard TD toss from Philip Rivers to Melvin Gordon. San Francisco would take the lead back at 26-24 with 12:39 left in regulatoin on a Robbie Gould field goal from 33 yards before Sturgis would give his team the back on a 21-yard try. The Chargers, who would hold off a late 49ers rally in the contest, outrushed San Francisco 126-76, with Rivers throwing for 250 yards and three TDs (TE Antonio Gates had one of them), while C.J. Bethard threw for 298 yards and a pair of TDs (Bethard was sacked once and picked off twice) for San Francisco. The 49ers were 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 27:34, while the Chargers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:26, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

San Francisco leads the series 29-24 (including contests that were played in St. Louis, Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park) and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,204-1,077. On the other side of the coin, the Cardinals have won the last six contests, including sweeping last year’s NFC West contests (San Francisco’s last win over the Desert Angry Birds came in 2014, when they were 20-17 winner in San Francisco).

The first meeting? Week four in Glendale. The Desert Angry Birds would need overtime to take the 18-15 win. The endzone had the day off until 32 seconds left in overtime when WR Larry Fitzgerald scored the contest’s only TD with 32 seconds left in the overtime as San Francisco’s Robbie Gould and Arizona’s Pat Lawson exchanged field goals in the contest that was tied 6-6 at the intermission and 12-12 at the end of regulation as Gould would give the 49ers a 15-12 lead with a 23-yard field goal with 2:24 left before Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer connected on the game-winner. San Francisco outrushed Arizona 95-51 and Palmer threw for 357 yards and the lone TD toss (Palmer was sacked six times, Blaine Hoyer was sacked three times; both threw an interception), while Hoyer threw for 234 yards. Arizona was 5 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 36:15, while the 49ers were 33:13 in time of possession, going 5 of 19 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

For the Cardinals, it was second verse, same as the first. Arizona completed the sweep in week nine, holding off the 49ers to take a 20-10 win in Santa Clara. The Cardinals led 14-3 at the intermission, then kept San Francisco in check in the second half to take the win and the series. Drew Stanton (201 yards) threw a pair of TD passes and Gould chipped in with a pair of field goals for Arizona, while Beathard threw for 294 yards with five sacks and an interception. Arizona easily outrushed the 49ers 167-63, with Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 159 yards. The Cardinals were 7 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 36:22, while the 49ers held the pigskin for 23:38, going 6 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week four contest in Glendale, Arizona was favored by 7 but the Cardinals would win up winning by 3. The 44 over/under was untouched as both clubs scored 33 points. In the week nine contest at Santa Clara, the Cardinals covered the 2 1/2-point spread with the 10-point win but the 39 1/2 over/under was intact as both clubs scored 30 points. San Francisco’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 41. If you can take a pass on this one, by all means do so and go to your cousin’s birthday party. 49ers cover the 4 and takes the win in Santa Clara.

Los Angeles Rams (4-0) at Seattle (2-2), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. The unbeaten Rams travel up the West Coast along I-5, making the 1,137-mile trip north to face off against the Seattle Seahawks in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks with both teams taking close wins last week.

Los Angeles held off a late Minnesota and came away 38-31 winners over Minnesota at the Coliseum. The defending NFC West champs led 28-17 at the half before Minnesota made the contest closer than Rams fans would have liked with a 45-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins to WR Adam Thielen and a 40-yard field goal from Dan Bailey with 3:46 left in regulation. Los Angeles outrushed Minnesota 100-54 and Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 465 yards and five TDs, connecting with WR Cooper Kupp on two of the passes, while Cousins threw for 422 yards and three TDs (Adrian Robinson caught two of those tosses) and the Rams’ Todd Gurley led all rushers with 83 yards. The Rams were 1 of 6 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:46, while the Vikings kept the ball for 32:14, going 8 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Seattle went down to the wire in Glendale against the Desert Angry Birds before leaving the desert 20-17 winners, thanks to a 52-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time expired. Arizona led 10-7 at the break before Seattle would rally to take a 17-10 lead with 60 seconds left in the third quarter. That lead would not last long as Arizona would tie things back up with 8:59 left in regulation when WR Chad Williams and QB Josh Rosen connected on a 22-yard TD strike. That would keep things even until Seattle got the ball back with 1:50 left to play and used all of that 1:50 to go on a 7-play, 31-yard drive which allowed the veteran Janikowski to boot the game winner as time expired. Seattle outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 171-92, with Seahawks RB Mike Davis leading the way with 101 yards and a pair of TDs in the win. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 172 yards and no interceptions (two sacks), while Rosen threw for 180 yards and the lone TD. The Seahawks on third down were 0 for 10 on third down but were 1 of 2 on fourth down tries and held the ball for 31:46 (which included the final 1:50 of the game), while the Cardinals were 5 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:14.

Seattle leads the series with the Rams 23-16, including contests that were played in St. Louis and have outscored the Rams 834-766. The NFC West foes met twice last season, with each team taking a win in the other team’s stadium.

Their first meeting took place in Los Angeles in week five and the Seahawks broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission, using a pair of Blair Walsh field goals to take the 16-10 win at the Coliseum. Seattle outrushed the Rams 100-62 and wilson threw for 198 yards and a TD to Jimmy Graham, while Goff threw for 288 yards with three interceptions (Wilson was sacked three times, Goff was sacked twice). Seattle was 8 of 17 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:16, while the Rams were 8 of 15 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:44.

Los Angeles would get their revenge in week 15 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as they would blow the doors off Seattle’s hopes of winning the NFC West, taking a 42-7 win at Century Link Field. Los Angeles led 34-0 at the intermission and took control of things throughout the game. Los Angeles outrushed Seattle 244-78 and Todd Gurley did damage, rushing for 152 yards and three TDs with Goff throwing for 120 yards and a pair of TDs, while Wilson was sacked seven times, throwing for 142. Los Angeles was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:46, while the Seahawks were 23:14 in time of possession, going 4 of 14 on third down.

In the week five contest in Los Angeles, the Rams were favored by 2 1/2 and the Seahawks covered with the 6-point win. The 46 1/2 over/under was in tact, as both clubs combined for 26 points. The week 15 contest in Seattle saw the Rams cover the 1 1/2 point spread (Seattle was favored) both clubs barely covered the 48 over/under by 1 point. In the late afternoon affair on the West Coast, the Rams are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 51. Seattle would love nothing more than to ruin the Rams’ hope of running the table in the NFC, while the Rams want to stay kings of the NFC West mountain. Long live the king. Los Angeles may not cover the 7 but they take the win in the Pacific Northwest.

Dallas (2-2) at Houston (1-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of Lone Star State foes square off in Houston as the Dallas Cowboys make the 239-mile trip south to face off against the Texans at NRG Stadium.

Dallas got a last-second field goal from K Brett Maher as they edged Detroit 26-24 heartbreaker last Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Dallas led 13-10 at the intermisson before Stafford and the Lions chipped away at the lead, eventually leading 24-23 with 2:17 left when Stafford and WR Golden Tate connected on a 38-yard TD pass. Dallas would then use all of the 2:17 that was available to them, driving 55 yards in nine plays and using a pass play from Dak Prescott (255 yards, two TDs) to RB Ezekiel Elliott to set up a 38-yard field goal by Maher as time expired. Elliott led all rushers as he ran for 152 yards in the thriller at Jerry World, while as Dallas outrushed the Lions 183-96. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw for 307 yards and a pair of TDs (both to Tate). Detroit was 6 of 11 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 29:55, while the Cowboys were 5 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 30:05, including the final 2:17 of the contest.

Houston used a pair of Ka’imi Fairbairn field goals in overtime to take a 38-34 win over Indianpolis and Andrew Luck in the Hoosier State last Sunday. Houston took a 21-10 lead with them to the half, before Indianapolis would rally to pull even with 45 seconds left in regulation when Luck and rookie RB Nyheim Hines connected on a 9-yard TD toss. The Colts, who were outrushed by the Texans 119-41, scored first in the overtime on a 44 yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri to take a 3-point lead. That lead would not last very long as Fairbairn connected on a 29-yard field goal with 1:50 left in the period. Houston then got the ball back after a Colts punt and the Texans used all 24 seconds left and took the win when Fairbairn connected on a 37-yard field goal as time expired to pick up their first win of the season. Houston’s DeShaun Watson threw for 375 yards with a pair of TD but was sacked seven times, while Luck was sacked four times. Indy was 10 of 17 on third down (the Colts were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:56, while the Texans kept the ball for 40:04, going 8 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series with their Lone Star rivals 3-1 and they have outscored Houston 91-55. Houston’s lone win in the series came in their first meeting, a 19-10 home victory at then-Reliant Stadium in 2002, while Dallas has won the last three contests, taking a 20-17 win in Arlington in 2014. Houston’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. While this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” it might be a good one to watch. Texans win this one but expect Dallas to make it closer than the 3 1/2.

Washington (2-1) at New Orleans (3-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week five closes out in the Big Easy as the Saints and Redskins meet in the great indoors.

Washington returns to action after their bye week and a 31-17 win over Green Bay in Landover. The Redskins led 28-10 at the break and held off a late Green Bay rally to take the win. Redskins RB Adrian Peterson ran for 120 yards and a pair of TDs as Washington outrushed Green Bay 166-100 but Aaron Rodgers outpaced Alex Smith, as Rodgers threw for 265 yards, while Smtih threw for 220 yards for the win (Rodgers was sacked four times and both men threw a pair of TDs, with Smith throwing an interception). Green Bay was 6 of 12, 0 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions and actually ruled the clock as kept the ball for 30:55, while Washington was 5 of 11 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 29:05.

The Saints survived a scare from the New York Giants in the Meadowlands last Sunday and came away from Met Life Stadium with the 33-18 win under their belts. Erasing a 7-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, New Orleans took the lead for keeps as Saints K Will Lutz kicked four field goals in the second to take a 12-7 lead at the intermission. The Giants would pull themselves to within eight with 3:44 left to play when rookie RB Sequan Barkley scored from a yard out. New Orleans, who outrushed the Giants 170-65, restored order and would seal the deal for themselves and seal New York’s fate when Alvin Kamara (134 yards to lead all rushers) scored his third TD of the contest with 2:06 left. Manning threw for 255 yards and a TD to Sterling Shepherd, while Saints signal called Drew Brees threw for 217 yards (Manning was sacked three times, Brees sacked once). The Saints were 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31 minutes, while the Giants kept the ball for 29 minutes, going 5 of 10 on third down tries in the Meadowlands.

Washington leads the series 17-9 and the Redskins have outscored the Saints 640-514. They met last year in the Big Easy and the Saints needed overtime to take the 34-31 win (Washington’s last win over New Orleans came in 2015 in Lanover, with the Redskins prevailing 47-14). In the week 11 contest in the Big Easy, Washington led  17-13 at the half, then took a 24-13 lead with them to the end of the 3rd quarter before the Saints would get a pair of TD passes from Brees (one to TE Josh Hill, the other to RB Alvin Karama) to tie things up. After the Kamara score that came with 65 seconds left, Washington got the ball back and came close to setting up a game-winning field goal, when QB Kirk Cousins completed his first three passes for a total of 41 yards to advance Washington to the New Orleans 34-yard line. However, Cousins and the Redskins were then assessed an intentional grounding penalty along with a ten second runoff that backed them up to the 44 on the next play. On the final play of regulation, S Vonn Bell sacked Cousins for a nine-yard loss, which burned the time that was left in regulation, sending the contest into overtime.  Washington won the coin toss in overtime and took the ball first but New Orleans forced a quick three-and-out and after a Washington punt, the Saints would use a 3-play, 51-yard drive that used 1:29 of clock to give K Will Lutz a chance to win the game for the home team. Lutz did not disappoint, connecting on a 28-yard field goal to send Saints fans home happy.

NeW Orleans outrushed Washington 160-156, with Mark Ingram leading all rushers with 134 yards, while Washington’s Samaje Perine rushed for 117 yards in the contest (both men scored a TD) in the overtime affair. Brees threw for 385 yards with a pair of sacks, while Smith threw for 322 yards in the game (Smith threw three TDs to Brees’ two, both men were sacked twice and Brees threw an interception). Both clubs were 4 for 12 on third down tries and on fourth down conversions, Washington was 2 of 2, while the Saints were 1 for 1. Washington did rule the clock and kept the ball for 32:11, while New Orleans kept it for 30:24.

Prime time has not exactly been kind to either team; the Saints are 18-22 (New Orleans was 0-1 in their only MNF contest last year), while Washington is 28-42, going 0-2 in their two Monday night affairs last year.

The Saints in their week 11 contest in the Big Easy were favored by 7 1/2 but won by three. That was the bad news. The good news? Both teams covered the 51 over/under by tallying 65 points. In the Monday night affair in the Big Easy, the Saints are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 52 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. You might want to consider taping “Magnum PI” and “Bull” this week. Hail to the Redskins! Washington pulls the upset on the road and takes the win but won’t cover the 6 1/2.

As the NFL wraps up the first quarter of the 2018 season, three undefeated teams remain – Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams and Miami – all stand at 3-0. But as they say, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and while a fast start helps, it does not guarantee you a trip to the postseason. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 102 of the 138 teams (73.9 percent) to start 3-0 have qualified for the postseason. Last season, the Falcons and Chiefs both qualified for the postseason after starting 3-0.

Fourteen teams enter Week 4 with a sub-.500 record but hope still remains. Since 1990, 74 teams with a losing record after the first three games made the playoffs, including the 2017 New Orleans Saints, who became the first team in the Super Bowl era to win its next eight games immediately following an 0-2 start.

As the league enters the quarter turn, quarterbacks across the NFL continue to shine. Entering Week 4, league-wide passing numbers continue to trend at a record pace, as the marks for completions (2,248), completion percentage (65.5 percent), touchdown passes (168) and passer rating (93.2) are all the highest in NFL history through the first three weeks of a season.

SEASON – COMPLETIONS
2018 – 2,248
2016 – 2,202

SEASON – COMPLETION PCT.
2018 – 65.5
2015 – 64.6

SEASON – TD PASSES
2018 – 168
2015 – 157

SEASON RATING
2018 – 93.2
2015 – 91.1

Through Week 3, nine quarterbacks have a passer rating of at least 100 (min. 60 attempts), tied with the 2015 and 2008 seasons for the most in NFL history through three weeks of a season. There have been 42 individual performances, including 15 last week, with a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimunm of 15 attempts) through Week 3, the most in league annals through the first three weeks of a season. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has a 137.4 passer rating through Week 3, the third-highest mark in NFL history by a quarterback through the first three weeks of a season, trailing only Tom Brady (141.8 in 2007) and Randall Cunningham (141.2 in 1992).

Six quarterbacks have completed at least 70 percent of their passes (min. 60 attempts) through the first three weeks of the season, the second-most in league history through Week 3, trailing only the 2015 season (seven). New Orleans’ quarterback Drew Drees leads the NFL with an 80.6 completion percentage, the highest ever by a quarterback through Week 3. Oakland’s Derek Carr (76.6 percent) has the fourth-highest completion percentage through the first three weeks of a season in league history.

As familiar faces continue to excel across the league, a new wave of quarterbacks is set to take the stage. Four rookie QBs are expected to start in Week 4 – Arizona’s Josh Rosen (first-career start), Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (first-career start) and the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold. This marks the fourth time in the Super Bowl era (excluding the 1987 season) that at least four rookie quarterbacks will have started a game in the first four weeks of a season, joining the 2016 (four), 2012 (five) and 1971 (five) seasons.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 4

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Six active quarterbacks – New Orleans’ Drew Brees, New England’s Tom Brady, the Los Angeles Chargers’ PHILIP RIVERS, the New York Giants’ Eli  Manning, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers – rank in the top 10 in NFL history in passing touchdowns.

Brees needs four touchdown passes to become the third player in league annals with 500 career touchdown passes, joining PEYTON MANNING (539) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (508).

Manning, who faces off against Brees and the Saints on Sunday, needs one touchdown pass to break a tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (342 touchdowns) and move into sole possession of seventh place on the league’s all-time touchdown passes list.

The players with the most touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (508)^
Drew Brees – San Diego amd New Orleans – (496)*
Tom Brady – New England (494)*
Dan Marino – Miami (420)^
Philip Rivers – San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (350)*
Eli Manning – New York Giants (342)*
Fran Tarkenton – Minnesota amd New York Giants (342)^
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (336)*
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (319)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Five active quarterbacks – Brees, Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger and Rivers – rank in the top 10 in league history in passing yards.

With 316 passing yards against the Giants, Brees will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (71,838) for the second-most passing yards in league annals.

With 222 passing yards on Sunday against San Francisco on Sunday, Rivers will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the eighth-most passing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (71,523)*
Tom Brady – New England (66,803)*
Dan Marino – Miami (61,361)^
Eli Manning – New York Giants (52,482)*
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (52,205)*
John Elway – Denver (51,475)^
Philip Rivers – San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (51,254)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LIKE A FINE WINE: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri has made 565 career field goals during his 23-year career. With his next converted field goal, Vinatieri will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Morten Andersen (565) for the most made field goals in NFL history.

The players with the most career made field goals in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (CAREER FIELD GOALS
Morten Andersen – New Orleans, Atlanta, New York Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota (565)^
Adam Vinatieri – New England and Indianapolis (565)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Vinatieri is the only player in NFL history to make at least 250 field goals with two different teams, converting 263 with New England (1996-2005) and 302 with Indianapolis (2006-present).

THREE’S COMPANY: Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 411 yards and three touchdowns Week 3, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 400 yards in three consecutive games.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 24 of 38 attempts (63.2 percent) for 314 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 115.5 passer rating in the Chiefs’ Week 3 victory over San Francisco. Mahomes has 13 touchdowns passes through the Chiefs first three games this season, the most by a player in his team’s first three games to start a season in NFL history.

Fitzpatrick and Mahomes, who have both thrown at least three touchdown passes in each of their team’s first three games of the season, can join TOM BRADY (2007) and Pro Football Hall of Famers STEVE YOUNG (1998) and KURT WARNER (1999) as the only players in NFL history to throw at least three touchdown passes in each of their team’s first four games to begin a season.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 3+ TD PASSES TO BEGIN SEASON)
Tom Brady, New England (2017, 10)#
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998, 5)^
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1999, 4)^#
Many tied with 3
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay (2018, 3)*
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018, 3)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named MVP

BETTER TOGETHER: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisbergerwere both named Offensive Player of the Week in their respective conferences after leading their teams to victory in Week 3.

Among active head coach and quarterback tandems, the Saints duo of Sean Payton and Brees and the Steelers combination of Mike Tomlin and Roethlisberger have each recorded 107 regular-season wins together.

With their next respective victories, the duos would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw (107) for the third-most wins by a head coach and quarterback tandem in NFL history.

The head coach and quarterback tandems with the most wins in NFL history:

TEAM – HEAD COACH AND QUARTERBACK (REGULAR SEASON WINS)
New England – Bill Belichick and Tom Brady (197)*
Miami – Don Shula and Dan Marino (116)^
Pittsburgh – Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw (107)^
New Orleans – Sean Payton and Drew Brees (107)*
Pittsburgh – Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger (107)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SHAKE AND BAKER: Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the number 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, completed 17 of 23 attempts (73.9 percent) for 201 yards and caught a two-point conversion while leading Cleveland to their first win of the season in his NFL debut last week.

Mayfield is slated to make his first-career start on Sunday at Oakland and can join David Carr (2002), Michael Vick (2001), Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY (1983) and Jim Plunkett (1971) as quarterbacks selected number 1 overall in the Super Bowl era to win their first-career start. Of the four quarterbacks taken number 1 overall to win their first career start, Elway was the only QB to accomplish the feat on the road.

The quarterbacks selected number 1 overall in the Super Bowl era with the highest passer ratings in their first-career start:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – PASSER RATING)
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011 – 110.4)
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (2003 – 105.2)
JaMarcus Russell, Oakland (2007 – 91.3)
Jeff George, Indianapolis (1990 – 88.9)
Jim Plunkett, New England (1971 – 82.5)

The quarterbacks selected No. 1 overall in the Super Bowl era with the most passing yards in their first-career start:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – PASSING YARDS)
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011 – 422)
Vinny Testaverde, Tampa Bay (1987 – 369)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2012 – 309)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (1998 – 302)
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (2010 – 253)

LIKE MIKE: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas recorded 10 receptions for 129 yards in the Saints’ Week 3 overtime win at Atlanta. Thomas has 38 receptions in the Saints’ first three games of the season, the most by a player in his team’s first three games of a season in NFL history and has recorded at least 10 receptions in every game this season.

With 10 receptions at the New York Giants on Sunday, Thomas can join Calvin Johnson (four games in 2012) as the only players in NFL history to record at least 10 receptions in four consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive games of at least 10 receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 10+ RECEPTIONS)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012 – 4)
Many tied with 3
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2018 – 3)*
*Active streak

KEEP IT 100: New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley had 117 scrimmage yards (82 rushing, 35 receiving) and a rushing touchdown in the Giants’ Week 3 victory at Houston. Barkley has totaled at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first three career games.

With 100 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New Orleans, Barkley can become the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first four career games.

The players with the most consecutive games of at least 100 scrimmage yards to begin their career in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS TO BEGIN CAREER)

Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (2017 – 7)
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (2007 – 5)
Billy Sims, Detroit (1980 – 4)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2001 -4)^
Many tied with 3
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018 – 3)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY

•New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees completed 39 of 49 passes (79.6 percent) for 396 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 120.7 passer rating and rushed for two touchdowns in the Saints’ 43-37 overtime victory at Atlanta.

Brees, who has 6,326 completions in his 18-year NFL career, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (6,300) for the most completions in NFL history.

Brees became the first player in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards, three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns without an interception in a single game.

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas had 10 catches for 129 yards in the win. Thomas has 38 catches through three games in 2018, the most by a player in his team’s first three games of a season in league history. Thomas is the first player in NFL history to record at least 10 catches in each of his team’s first three games to start a season.

Saints running back Alvin Kamara had a career-high 15 catches for 124 yards and rushed for 66 yards in the win. Kamara’s 15 receptions tied William Andrews (November 15, 1981) and Rickey Young (December 16, 1979) for the second-most catches by a running back in a single game in NFL history. Only Clark Gaines (17 on September 21, 1980) recorded more catches as a running back in a single game in league annals.

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 314 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 115.5 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 38-27 win against San Francisco.

Mahomes has 13 touchdown passes in the Chiefs’ first three games of the season and surpassed Peyton Manning (12 in 2013) for the most touchdown passes by a player in his team’s first three games of a season in NFL history.

The Chiefs, who scored 38 points in Week 1 and 42 points in Week 2, are the third team in league history to score at least 38 points in each of their first three games of a season. The 2007 New England Patriots and 1967 Baltimore Colts are the only other teams to accomplish the feat.

•Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff completed 29 of 36 (80.6 percent) for 354 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 123.8 passer rating in the Rams’ 35-23 win against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Goff, who threw for 354 yards and completed 75 percent of his passes (24 of 32) in Week 2, is the third quarterback in league history with at least 350 passing yards and a completion percentage of 75 or higher in consecutive games. Kansas City’s Trent Green accomplished the feat in consecutive games in Weeks 8-9 of the 2004 season and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, who plays Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football in Week 3, has thrown for at least 350 yards with a completion percentage of at least 75 in each of the Buccaneers’ first two games of the 2018 season.

•Miami wide receiver Albert Wilson threw a 52-yard touchdown pass and caught a 74-yard touchdown pass in the Dolphins’ 28-20 win against Oakland.

Wilson is the fourth player in league history to throw a touchdown pass of at least 50 yards and have a touchdown reception of at least 50 yards in the same game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jimmy Conzelman (December 9, 1923), Tom Tracy  (September 24, 1960) and David Patten (October 21, 2001).

•Washington running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins’ 31-17 victory over Green Bay.

Peterson has 102 career rushing touchdowns and moved into sole possession of seventh place on the all-time rushing touchdown leaderboard.

Peterson, who has 25 career games with at least two rushing touchdowns, tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, Shaun Alexander and Priest Holmes for the fourth-most games in NFL history with at least two rushing touchdowns. The three players with more such games are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: La Danaian Tomlinson (38 games), Emmitt Smith (36) and Jim Brown (27).

•Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had two touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns in the Panthers’ 31-21 win against Cincinnati.

Newton has 57 career rushing touchdowns – the most by a quarterback in NFL history – and has three career games with at least two touchdown passes and at least two rushing touchdowns, the second-most in league annals. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (four) has more such games in NFL history.

•Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs recorded 1.5 sacks and kicker Justin Tucker connected on two 52-yard field goals in the Ravens’ 27-14 win over Denver.

Suggs, who has 128 sacks in his 16-year career with the Ravens, has the fifth-most sacks by a player with a single team since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. The four players to record more sacks with a single franchise are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Bruce Smith (171 sacks with Buffalo), Michael Strahan (141.5 with the New York Giants), Lawrence Taylor (132.5 with the New York Giants) and Jason Taylor (131 with Miami).

Tucker has six-career games with multiple converted field goals of at least 50 yards, the most such games by a player in NFL history.

Last week, we went 9-7 (for the season, 34-18) and while that’s not great, it means that we’ve gone .500 or better for the 30th consecutive week in a row. Carolina and Washington have byes this week and return to action next week. Week 4 kicked off on Thursday night as Los Angeles Rams remained unbeaten, defeating Minnesota on the West Coast and concludes in Denver as a pair of AFC West foes square off as Denver hosts the Kansas City Chiefs in prime time.

Cincinnati (2-1) at ATLANTA (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Week four Sunday afternoon action gets underway in the Big Peach as Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Atlanta to meet Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Both teams enter the Sunday afternoon affair with losses under their belts.

The Bengals fell out of the ranks of the unbeatens after their 31-21 loss to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte last Sunday afternoon. Although they trailed 21-14 in the Tar Heel State at the break, Newton and the Panthers would pull away in the second half as they would outscore the Bengals 10-7. Newton, sacked once, threw for 150 yards with a pair of passing TDs and a pair of rushing TDs, while RB Christian McCaffrey ran for 184 yards (the Panthers outrushed Cincinnati 230-66) in the win. Dalton threw for 352 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked twice and picked off four times. Carolina was 6 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:55, while the Bengals kept the ball for 26:05, going 4 of 10 on third down conversions.

Atlanta went through a back and forth battle with NFC South foe New Orleans last Sunday in the Big Peach and came out on the short of a 43-37 overtime loss to the Saints.  Atlanta trailed 16-14 at the intermission and actually rallied to take a 37-30 lead with 6:58 left in regulation thanks to Ryan tossing a 5-yard TD strike to WR Mohammaed Sanu. That lead would not last long as Saints QB Drew Brees tied things up at 37-37 with 75 seconds left on a 5-yard scamper into the endzone. The Saints then won the toss to start the overtime and made sure that Ryan and the Falcons would not get the ball back, going on a 15- play, 80 yard drive that used 7:05 of clock and ended with Brees scoring from a yard out. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 143-48 and Brees threw for 396 yards and three TDs, while Ryan (sacked three times) threw for 374 yards and five TDs, connecting with rookie WR Calvin Ridley on three of those tosses (Ridley finished with seven catches for 146). Atlanta was 4 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 29:20, while the Saints went 7 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, holding on to the ball for 37:45, including the overtime.

The Bengals hold an 8-5 lead in the series and have outscored Atlanta 310-276. Cincinnati won the last meeting, taking a 24-10 win along the shores of the Ohio River in 2014, while Atlanta’s last win came in the Big Peach by a final of 39-32 in 2010 at the old Georgia Dome. Atlanta’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Both teams would like to bounce back from their losses from last week. Atlanta will bounce a little higher Sunday in the Big Peach. Falcons may not cover the 6 but they take the win at home.

Buffalo (1-2) at Green Bay (1-1-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. It’s wings vs. Bratwurst as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers host Buffalo at Lambeau Field in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst.

Buffalo comes to Green Bay with a 27-6 win over Minnesota at US Bank Stadium under their belts. The Bills outrushed Minnesota 128-14 and led 27-0 at the intermission before the Vikings tallied their only points of the contest with 2:59 left to play when Kirk Cousins and KYle Rudolph connected on a 4-yard TD pass (Minnesota missed the extra point). Buffalo on third down tries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes went 4 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 35:45, while the Vikings kept the ball for 24:15, going 5 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down in the loss.

Rodgers and the Packers struggled against Washington last Sunday in Landover, falling to the Redskins 31-17 at FedEx Field. Green Bay trailed 28-10 at the intermission, although they would outscore Washington in the second half by a 7-3 margin. Washington outrushed Green Bay 166-100, with Redskins RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 120 yards and a pair of TDs. Rodgers, despite being sacked four times, threw for 265, while Alex Smtih threw for 220 (both men threw a pair of TDs, with Smtih throwing the lone interception in the contest). Green Bay went 6 of 14 on third down in Landover (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while Washington kept the ball for 29:05, going 5 of 11 on third down conversions.

Buffalo leads the series 8-4 and the Bills have outscored Green Bay 258-212. The Bills won the last meeting, which took place in upstate New York in 2014, as they would circle the wagons and come away 21-13, while Green Bay’s last win in the series took place in 2010 at Lambeau by a final of 34-7.  Green Bay’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 45. The 45 is reasonable. The 10? A bit steep. Buffalo will give Green Bay problems at Lambeau and while the Packers won’t cover, they will take the win at home.

Houston (0-3) at Indianapolis (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC South rivals square off in the Hoosier State as Houston travels to Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Andrew Luck and the Colts.

Trailing the New York Giants throughout their contest at NRG Stadium last Sunday, the Texans fell to Eli Manning and Big Blue 27-22 in the Lone Star State. Trailing 20-6 at halftime, the Texans eventually did manage to pull to within five on a 4-yard TD toss from DeShaun Watson (385 yards) to RB Lamar Miller with :01 second left. Houston was outrushed by the Giants 114-59 (Saquon Barkley led all rushers with 82 yards and a TD), while Manning threw for 297 yards in the contest (both men threw a pair of TDs, Watson was sacked three times and picked off once, Manning was sacked four times). The Giants were 7 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:30, while the Texans, who kept the ball for 24:30, went 5 of 12 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Colts are coming back to Indiana after they were taken to task by Philadelphia 20-16 at Lincoln Financial Field. Trailing 10-3 at the half, the Colts would eventually take the lead with 14:20 left in regulation when K Adam Vinatieri nailed a 28-yard field for a 16-13. Luck and the Colts then watched the Eagles burn as much time as they could off the clock, using an 17-play, 75-yard drive that took 11:18 of clock to give the defending Super Bowl champs the lead back for keeps when Wendell Smallwood scored with 3:02 left from a yard out. The Colts had one final chance to come away with the road win but their final drive was stalled at their 46-yard line. Philadelphia outrushed Indianapolis 152-68 and Carson Wentz, making his first start in over a year, threw for 255 yards, while Luck threw for 164 yards (both threw a TD pass in the contest, Wentz was sacked five times, Luck was sacked twice). The Colts were 2 of 12 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down tries) and held the ball for 19:40, while the Eagles were stingy with the clock and the ball, keeping it for 40:20, while going 6 of 14 on third down.

Indy leads the series 25-7 and the Colts have outscored the Texans 833-619. The Colts swept the series last year, taking wins in the Hoosier State and the Lone Star State (Houston’s last win over the Colts came in 2016, when they swept the series that year).

The first meeting took place in Houston in week nine and the Colts came away 20-14 winners at NRG Stadium. The Colts led 10-7 and the half and Jacoby Brissett threw for 308 yards and a pair of TDs, while Tom Savage threw for 219 yards and a TD (Brissett was sacked three times, Savage sacked twice). The Texans outrushed Indy 94-92 and each team fumbled the ball once. Both clubs were 4 of 14 on third down (the Texans were 0 of 1 on fourth) and the Colts kept the ball for 30:59 to Houston’s 29:01.

Indy made it a clean sweep of the series in the season finale at Lucas Oil Stadium, coming away 22-13 winners. Erasing a 13-7 deficit at the half, the Colts scored the final 15 points of the contest without a challenge. Indy outrushed Houston 146-85, with Colts RB Frank Gore leading the way with 100 yards on the ground. The Colts were 6 of 13 on third down in the Hoosier State and held on to the ball for 31:13, while the Texans kept the ball for 28:47, going 5 of 11 on third down conversions.

In the week nine contest, the Texans were favored by 7 but the Colts won by only 6. The 45 1/2 over/under was safe, as both teams could only muster 34 points. Indy covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 9 but both teams missed the 41 over/under by 6 points. The oddsmakers like the Colts as a 2-point favorite in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Houston’s trying to win their first game, while the Colts are looking to pull even. Houston gets win number one and pulls the upset n the Hoosier state, covering the 2 on the road.

Miami (3-0) at New England (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in Foxboro as the unbeaten Dolphins and New England meet at Gillette Stadium,

The unbeaten Dolphins rallied in the final seconds in the Sunshine State against Oakland, scoring twice in the final quarter against the Raiders to take a 28-20 win at Hard Rock Stadium. The Raiders led 17-14 with 55 seconds left in the third quarter when Miami went on their scoring rampage in the third when WR Jakeem Grant caught TD passes from QB Ryan Tannehill and WR Albert Wilson to take an eight-point lead. Oakland would eventually make it an 8-point contest with 20 seconds left when K Matt Nugent connected on a 52-yard field goal to pull themselves closer than Dolphin fans would have wanted. Although the Raiders outrushed Miami 109-41 and Derek Carr threw for 345 yards with a TD, Tannehill threw for 289 yards and three TDs to take the win. Miami, taking advantage of three Oakland turnovers (two Carr interceptions and a fumble), went 2 of 8 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 21:29, while the Raiders kept the ball for 38:31, going 7 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Pats and Tom Brady struggled against Detroit in the Motor City last Sunday night as they faced off against their former defensive co-ordinator Matt Patrica, falling to the Lions 26-10 at Ford Field. Brady and New England trailed 13-3 at the break and could never get on track as the Lions would get their first 100-yard rusher in six years as rookie RB Kerryon Johnson ran for 101 yards, while Matthew Stafford threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs (Brady threw for 133 yards with a TD but was sacked twice, both Brady and Stafford threw an interception). New England was 2 of 9 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 20:45, while the Lions ruled the clock and kept the ball for 39:15, going 7 of 14 on third down conversions in the Sunday night contest.

Miami leads the series 53-49 and the Dolphins have outscored New England 2,198-2,197. Taking wins last year at their home fields, the two clubs split the season series.

Week 12… Foxboro. Brady was good for four TDs and 227 yards as they took Miami to task 35-15 at Gillette Stadium. New England led 21-10 at the break, then proceeded to outscore Miami 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of action in western Massachusetts. New England outrushed Miami 196-67, with Patriots RB Dion Lewis leading the way with 112. The Patriots, who forced three Miami turnovers, went 5 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:41. As for the Dolphins? They were 2 of 11 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 27:19.

Miami would get their revenge two weeks later in the Sunshine State at Hard Rock Stadium in week 14. Leading 13-10 at the intermisson, the Dolphins held off a late New England rally and came away 27-20 winners at home. Miami held New England to 25 yards rushing, while tallying 120, with Kenyan Drake leading the way with 114 yards. Jay Cutler threw for 263 yards and three TDs, while Brady threw for 233 yards with a TD (Brady and Cutler were sacked twice, with Brady throwing a pair of interceptions). Miami was 4 of 14 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 36:09, while the Patriots were a dismal 0 for 11 on third down and held the pigskin for 23:51.

In the week 12 contest, the Pats covered the 16-point spread with the 18-point win and both clubs covered the 47 1/2 over/under with 52 points. New England was favored by 11 in the week 14 contest on a Monday night in the Sunshine State; while Miami did win the contest, they did not cover the 11-point spread, winnning by only 7 but both clubs matched the 47 over/under with the 47 combined points. Even though they’re one game below .500, the oddsmakers like the Patroits as 7-point favorites and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Can the Dolphins remain unbeaten? Can Brady and the Pats right their ship? It’ll be closer than the 7 but Miami prevails on the road against their AFC East rivals.

Tampa Bay (2-1) at Chicago (2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of 2-1 teams meet in the Windy City when Tampa Bay travels to Chicago to face the Monsters of the Midway at Soldier Field.

Tampa Bay trailed Pittsburgh 30-10 at the intermission last Monday night at Raymond James Stadium, then scored their last 17 points in the second half unchallegened but still lost to the Steelers 30-27. The Bucs, dropping their first contest of the season, was paced by Ryan Fitzpatrick (who took over for the suspended Jameis Winston), who threw for 411 yards, while Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw for 353 yards (each man threw three TDs and was sacked three times, Roethlisberger threw an interception, while Fitzpatrick threw three picks). Tampa Bay, outrushed by Pittsburgh 78-63, went 3 of 9 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 29:39, while the Steelers held the pigskin for 30:21, going 3 for 11 on third down.

Da Bears erased a 14-3 deficit against Arizona in the desert and they did manage to come away 16-14 winners in Glendale. The Monsters of the Midway used a 1-yard TD run from Jordan Howard (who led all rushers with 61 yards), a pair of Cody Parkey field goals and a last-second stop of an Arizona drive to take the lead and the road win at State Farm Stadium. Chicago outrushed Arizona 122-53 and Mitch Trubisky threw for 220 yards, with an interception, while Sam Bradford threw for 157 yards and a pair of TDs (both Bradford and Trubisky were sacked three times, while Bradford threw a pair of interceptions). Chicago was 5 of 14 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:21, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 23:39, going 3 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Chicago leads the series 38-20 and they have outscored Tampa Bay 1,231-952. Tampa Bay has won the last two meetings, including taking a 29-7 decision last year in the Sunshine State (Chicago’s last win over Tampa Bay came in 2015 in Tampa by a final of 26-21.

The week two contest last year at Raymond James Stadium saw Tampa Bay score their 29 points unchallenged before Da Bears got on the scoreboard with 1:43 left to play when WR Deonte Thompson and QB Mike Glennon connected on a 14-yard TD toss as the Buccaneers had the game in hand. Leading 26-0 at the intermission, Tampa Bay outrushed Chicago 117-20 and Glennon threw for 301 yards with the TD and a pair of interceptions, while Jameis Winston threw for 204 yards with a TD and a pair of sacks.
Chicago was 7 of 14 on third down (Da Bears were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:49, while Tampa Bay ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 33:11, going 8 for 15 on third down conversions.

Tampa Bay covered the 7-point spread with the 22-point win but the 45 over/under stayed intact as both clubs combined for only 36 points. Chicago’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 48. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both teams look pretty decent so far in the 2018 campaign. Da Bears prevail at home in the Windy City and cover the 2 1/2.

Detroit (1-2) at Dallas (1-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of sub-.500 teams meet in the Lone Star State as Dallas hosts the Detroit Lions at Jerry World (AT&T Stadium).

Detroit pulled off a major upset in the Motor City last Sunday night as head coach Matt Patrica faced off against his former team and beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 26-10 at Ford Field. Brady and New England trailed 13-3 at the break and could never get on track as the Lions would get their first 100-yard rusher in six years as rookie RB Kerryon Johnson ran for 101 yards, while Matthew Stafford threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs (Brady threw for 133 yards with a TD but was sacked twice, both Brady and Stafford threw an interception). New England was 2 of 9 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 20:45, while the Lions ruled the clock and kept the ball for 39:15, going 7 of 14 on third down conversions in the Sunday night contest.

Dallas was held in check by Russell Wilson and Seattle in the Pacific Northwest as the Seahawks took a 24-13 win at Century Link Field last Sunday. The Cowboys trailed 17-3 at the half and could never really get on track, even though they did outscore Seattle 10-3 in the second half. Dallas did outrush Seattle 166-113, with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 127 yards, while Seattle was paced by Chris Carson, who ran for 102 yards and a rushing TD. wilson threw for 192 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dak Prescott threw for 168 yards with five sacks and picked off twice by CB Earl Thomas. Seattle was 7 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 32:44, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 27:16, going 3 of 13 on third down conversions, 1 of 2 on fourth down tries.

Including contests that took place at Tiger Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium and the Silverdome, the Cowboys lead the series 13-11 and they have outscored Detroit 650-458. Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2016 in Arlington by a final of 42-21, while Detroit’s last win came in 2013 in the Motor City by a slim 31-30 final. Dallas is favored by 3 at Jerry World and the over/under is 43 1/2. Are either of these teams playoff bound? Hard to say. The Cowboys are coming off a tough loss on the Pacific Coast, while the Lions are coming off a huge win last Sunday night. Dallas prevails at Jerry World and covers the 3.

New York Jets (1-2) at Jacksonville (2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of East coast teams with losses under their belts meet in the Sunshine State as the New York Jets make the 947-mile trip down I-95 to face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

GangGreen let a 14-3 halftime lead against the Cleveland Browns get away from them as the home team would rally to pick up a 21-17 come-from-behind win over the New York Jets along the shores of Lake Erie on a Thursday night. The Browns rallied in the second half, outscoring GangGreen 18-3 in the final 30 minutes of action, with RB Carlos Hyde scoring with 2:04 left to play from a yard away to take the lead for good. Tyrod Taylor struggled under center for the Browns and left the contest of rookie QB Baker Mayfield, who threw for 201 yards without an interception in the win (Mayfield also caught a two-point conversion in the contest as well, Taylor threw for 19 yards and was sacked three times). Hyde rushed for 98 yards and a pair of TDs as Cleveland outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 133-107 in the win at home, while Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 169 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions (Isiah Crowell had a pair of TDs for the Jets, while teammate Bial Powell led his team with 73 yards on 14 carries). The Browns were 7 of 18 on third down and kept the ball for 30:52, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:08.

Jacksonville saw their hopes of an unbeaten season come to an end in the Sunshine State as they fell to AFC South foe Tennessee 9-6 at TIAA Bank Field. Going into the intermission tied at 3-3, thanks to field goals from Jacksonville’s Josh Lambo and Tennessee’s Ryan Succop. The two men would late exchange field goal to tie things back up at 6-6 before Succop would give the Titans the lead back for good with a 28-yard field goal with 4:09 left in regulation. Tennessee outrushed Jacksonville 150-87 and Marcus Mariota threw for 100 yards in the win, while Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles threw for 155 yards with three sacks (Mariota was sacked once and neither man threw an interception). Jacksonville was 5 of 14 on third down tries (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:13, while the Titens ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:47, going 5 of 15 on third down tries.

They’ve met 12 times and each team has six wins in their ledger and the Jaguars have outscored GangGreen 232-208. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have won the last four contests, including taking a 23-20 win in overtime last year (Jacksonville’s last win came in 2009 in the Meadowlands by a final of 24-22). Tied 10-10 at the intermission at Met Life Stadium in week four, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! took a 20-10 lead going into the fourth quarter before Jacksonville would tie things up with 10 points of their own in the fourth quarter to re-tie things up and send the contest into overtime. Each team kept the ball twice in the extra period and could not dent the scoreboard and after Jacksonville had the ball once more, they punted it back to the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, who used a 4-play, 2-yard drive that used 70 seconds of clock, sending their fans home happy when Chris Catanzaro connected on a 41-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the overtime. GangGreen outrushed Jacksonville 256-175 with Bilal Powell leading the way with 163 yards and a rushing TD, while Josh McCown threw for 224 yards with five sacks and an interception (Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles threw for 140 yards and a TD toss to Leonard Fournette). GangGreen was 6 of 17 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 34:24 (including the overtime), while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 35:08, going 4 of 15 on third down tries.

Jacksonville was favored by 3 1/2 and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! won by 3, missing the spread. Both teams did manage to cover the 39 1/2 over/under by merging to score 43 points in the overtime affair in upstate New Jersey. Jacksonville’s favored by 7 1/2 at home and the over/under’s 38. This one might be an entertaining game to watch. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! and the Jaguars are coming off heartbreaking losses from last week’s action and in the end, someone will check into the Heartbreak Hotel. It won’t be the Jaguars. Jacksonville recovers and wins at home, covering the 7 1/2.

Philadelphia (2-1) at Tennessee (2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of 2-1 teams square off in the Music City as the defending World Champs travel to Nashville for an afternoon showdown with the Tennessee Titans.

Philadelphia used a long fourth quarter drive against the Indianapolis Colts and took a 20-16 win at Lincoln Financial Field. Although they took a 10-3 at the half, the Colts would eventually take the lead with 14:20 left in regulation when K Adam Vinatieri nailed a 28-yard field for a 16-13. Luck and the Colts then watched the Eagles burn as much time as they could off the clock, using an 17-play, 75-yard drive that took 11:18 of clock to give the defending Super Bowl champs the lead back for keeps when Wendell Smallwood scored with 3:02 left from a yard out. The Colts had one final chance to come away with the road win but their final drive was stalled at their 46-yard line. Philadelphia outrushed Indianapolis 152-68 and Carson Wentz, making his first start in over a year, threw for 255 yards, while Luck threw for 164 yards (both threw a TD pass in the contest, Wentz was sacked five times, Luck was sacked twice). The Colts were 2 of 12 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down tries) and held the ball for 19:40, while the Eagles were stingy with the clock and the ball, keeping it for 40:20, while going 6 of 14 on third down.

The Titans dashed Jacksonville’s hopes of an unbeaten season as they would leave the Sunshine State with a 9-6 win over their AFC South rivals at TIAA Bank Field. Going into the intermission tied at 3-3, thanks to field goals from Jacksonville’s Josh Lambo and Tennessee’s Ryan Succop. The two men would late exchange field goal to tie things back up at 6-6 before Succop would give the Titans the lead back for good with a 28-yard field goal with 4:09 left in regulation. Tennessee outrushed Jacksonville 150-87 and Marcus Mariota threw for 100 yards in the win, while Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles threw for 155 yards with three sacks (Mariota was sacked once and neither man threw an interception). Jacksonville was 5 of 14 on third down tries (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:13, while the Titens ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:47, going 5 of 15 on third down tries.

Philadelphia leads the series 7-4 and the Eagles have outscored the Titans 257-220, which includes games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers. Philly won the last meeting, taking a 43-24 win in the City of Brotherly Love in 2014, while Tennessee’s last win over the Eagles came in 2010 in the Music City by a final of 37-19. Philadelphia’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Eagles may not cover the 3 1/2 but they do win in the Music City.

Seattle (1-2) at Arizona (0-3), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of NFC West rivals meet in the desert as Seattle heads to Glendale for a late-afternoon meeting with the Arizona Cardinals.

Seattle held Dallas and Dak Prescott in check last Sunday in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, as they took the Cowboys to task by a 24-13 final at Century Link Field.. Seattle led 17-3 at the half and kept the Cowboys in check in the second half, although Dallas did outscore Seattle 10-3 in the second half. Dallas did outrush Seattle 166-113, with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 127 yards, while Seattle was paced by Chris Carson, who ran for 102 yards and a rushing TD. wilson threw for 192 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dak Prescott threw for 168 yards with five sacks and picked off twice by CB Earl Thomas. Seattle was 7 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 32:44, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 27:16, going 3 of 13 on third down conversions, 1 of 2 on fourth down tries.

Arizona let a 14-3 lead against Chicago get away from them in the desert, allowing Da Bears to rally to come away 16-14 winners in Glendale. Chicago used a 1-yard TD run from Jordan Howard (who led all rushers with 61 yards), a pair of Cody Parkey field goals and a last-second stop of an Arizona drive to take the road win. Chicago outrushed Arizona 122-53 and Mitch Trubisky threw for 220 yards, with an interception, while Sam Bradford threw for 157 yards and a pair of TDs (both Bradford and Trubisky were sacked three times, while Bradford threw a pair of interceptions). Chicago was 5 of 14 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:21, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 23:39, going 3 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Desert Angry Birds lead the series 19-18-1 (including games that took place in St. Louis and in the old Kingdome) and the Seahawks have outscored Arizona 949-733. The NFC West foes met twice last year and each took wins in the other team’s ballpark.

They met in the desert in week 10 and Seattle led 15-7 at the half, coming away 22-16 winners at University of Phoenix Stadium. Seattle outrushed Arizona 75-34 and Wilson threw for 238 yards and a pair of TDs to TE Jimmy Graham, despite being sacked five times, while Darren Dalton threw for 273 yards and a TD. The Seahawks on third down conversions in Glendale went 3 of 13 and kept the ball for 30:53, while Arizona was 29:07 in time of possession, going 6 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Arizona would get revenge in their second meeting, a week 17 affair in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, coming away 26-24 winners at Century Link Field in the closing moments. Arizona led 20-3 at the intermission in the season finale for both clubs, then trailed 24-23 with 10:24 left in regulation when Wilson and WR Doug Baldwin connected on a 29-yard TD toss to give Seattle the lead briefly. Arizona would eventually take the lead back for good, using a 10-play, 62-yard drive that used  4:50 of clock and ending when Pat Dawson connected on a 42-yard field goal with 2:21 left. Seattle could have won the contest in the final seconds at home in the Pacific Northwest but Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal try sailed wide to the right. Arizona then got the ball back and ran out the clock to win the contest. Arizona outrushed Seattle 116-101 and Wilson  threw for 221 yards and the two TD passes (both to Graham), while Stanton threw for 145 yards and a TD (Wilson was sacked three times, Stanton was sacked once). While Seattle was a dismal 1 of 12 on third down, they were perfect on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 27:44. The Desert Angry Birds? They ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:16, while going 4 of 14 on third down.

In the week 10 contest in the desert, the Seahawks covered the 6-point spread, winning by 6 and the two clubs barely missed the 41 1/2 over/under, tallying 38 points. As for the week 17 contest in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, Seattle was favored by 8 but Arizona won by 2 but both clubs easily covered the 38 1/2 over/under by scoring 50 points. Seattle’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 39. Both clubs are trying to keep pace with the Los Angeles Rams, who picked up their third win of the season last Thursday night. The Seahawks look to make it two in a row, while the Desert Angry Birds look to right their ship. Seahawks prevail in the desert and cover the 3.

Cleveland (1-1-1) at Oakland (0-3), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. One’s coming off their first win since Christmas Eve 2016, while the other looks for their first win. The Browns and Raiders meet on the Eastern Side of San Francisco Bay for a early afternoon Pacific time contest.

Cleveland fans finally had something to celebrate after their 21-17 come-from-behind win over the New York Jets along the shores of Lake Erie on a Thursday night. The Browns trailed 14-3 at the intermission, then rallied in the second half, outscoring GangGreen 18-3 in the final 30 minutes of action, with RB Carlos Hyde scoring with 2:04 left to play from a yard away to take the lead for good. Tyrod Taylor struggled under center for the Browns and left the contest of rookie QB Baker Mayfield, who threw for 201 yards without an interception in the win (Mayfield also caught a two-point conversion in the contest as well, Taylor threw for 19 yards and was sacked three times). Hyde rushed for 98 yards and a pair of TDs as Cleveland outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 133-107 in the win at home, while Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 169 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions (Isiah Crowell had a pair of TDs for the Jets, while teammate Bial Powell led his team with 73 yards on 14 carries). The Browns were 7 of 18 on third down and kept the ball for 30:52, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:08.

Oakland watched Miami rally in the final seconds in the Sunshine State against, as they would score twice in the final quarter against the Raiders to take a 28-20 win at Hard Rock Stadium. The Raiders led 17-14 with 55 seconds left in the third quarter when Miami went on their scoring rampage in the third when WR Jakeem Grant caught TD passes from QB Ryan Tannehill and WR Albert Wilson to take an eight-point lead. Oakland would eventually make it an 8-point contest with 20 seconds left when K Matt Nugent connected on a 52-yard field goal to pull themselves closer than Dolphin fans would have wanted. Although the Raiders outrushed Miami 109-41 and Derek Carr threw for 345 yards with a TD, Tannehill threw for 289 yards and three TDs to take the win. Miami, taking advantage of three Oakland turnovers (two Carr interceptions and a fumble), went 2 of 8 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 21:29, while the Raiders kept the ball for 38:31, going 7 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Silver and Black leads the series 12-10 (which includes games that were played in Los Angeles) and the Raiders have outscored Cleveland 467-400. Oakland won the last meeting, coming away 27-20 winners in Cleveland in 2015, while Cleveland’s last win took place in 2014 along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 23-13. Oakland’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Feel free to take a pass on this one (unless you’re a fan of either team) and get that Halloween shopping done. Oakland wins this one but it could be closer than the 2.

San Francisco (1-2) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of California teams meet in Los Angeles as San Francisco and the Los Angeles Chargers look to even their records.

San Francisco, who is making the 393-mile trip down I-5, suffered two losses last Sunday. First, they lost 38-27 at Arrowhead to the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs, then they lost the services of QB Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending knee injury. The Chiefs led 28-10 at the half before watching the 49ers outscore them in the final 30 minutes of play by a 17-3 margin. San Francisco did manage to outrush the Chiefs 178-77 but Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 314 yards and three TDs, while Garoppolo threw for 251 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks before he left the contest with a knee injury. The Chiefs were 7 of 11 on third down tries (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions) at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 30:01, while the 49ers were 2 of 9 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down tries and they would keep the ball for 29:59.

The Chargers lost the Battle of Los Angeles to the crosstown Rams 35-23 at the Coliseum. The defending NFC West champs led 21-13 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the second half, outscoring the Bolts 14-10 to take the win. The Rams outrushed the Chargers 171-141, with RB Todd Gurley leading the way with 105 yards and a TD, while Jarred Goff threw for 354 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Robert Woods on two of the tosses (Philip Rivers threw for 226 and a pair of TDs for the Chargers). The Rams were 8 of 11 on third down and held the ball for 34:16, while the Chargers were 7 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 25:44.

The Chargers lead the series 7-6, which includes contests that were played in San Diego and Candlestick Park, while the 49ers have ourscored the Bolts 347-294. The Chargers have come away winners in the last four contests, including a 38-35 overtime win in San Francisco in 2014, while the 49ers’ last win over the Chargers came in 2000, when they were 45-17 winners in San Diego. The Chargers are favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. The 47 1/2 is reasonable, it’s the 10 1/2 that has us worried. The 49ers are not that bad and while the Chargers may not cover the 10 1/2, they will take the win at home.

New Orleans (2-1) at New York Giants (1-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. The Big Easy meets the Big Apple as the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants meet in upstate New Jersey in a late afternoon NFC contest.

Brees and the Saints prevailed a back and forth battle with NFC South foe Atlanta last Sunday in the Big Peach and took a 43-37 overtime win to the Saints. The Saints led 16-14 at the intermission and saw the Falcons rally to take a 37-30 lead with 6:58 left in regulation thanks to Matt Ryan tossing a 5-yard TD strike to WR Mohammaed Sanu. That lead would not last long as Brees tied things up at 37-37 with 75 seconds left on a 5-yard scamper into the endzone. The Saints then won the toss to start the overtime and made sure that Ryan and the Falcons would not get the ball back, going on a 15- play, 80 yard drive that used 7:05 of clock and ended with Brees scoring from a yard out. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 143-48 and Brees threw for 396 yards and three TDs, while Ryan (sacked three times) threw for 374 yards and five TDs, connecting with rookie WR Calvin Ridley on three of those tosses (Ridley finished with seven catches for 146). Atlanta was 4 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 29:20, while the Saints went 7 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, holding on to the ball for 37:45, including the overtime.

The Giants led throughout their contest against Houston at NRG Stadium last Sunday, taking the Texans to a 27-22 in the Lone Star State. While the Giants led 20-6 at halftime, the Texans eventually did manage to pull to within five on a 4-yard TD toss from DeShaun Watson (385 yards) to RB Lamar Miller with :01 second left. Houston was outrushed by the Giants 114-59 (Saquon Barkley led all rushers with 82 yards and a TD), while Manning threw for 297 yards in the contest (both men threw a pair of TDs, Watson was sacked three times and picked off once, Manning was sacked four times). The Giants were 7 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:30, while the Texans, who kept the ball for 24:30, went 5 of 12 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests played in New Haven, Connecticut, Yankee Stadium, Tulane Stadium and the Meadowlands, the Giants lead the series 16-13 and they have outscored the Saints 663-636. The Giants were 16-13 winners in the last meeting in 2016 in the Meadowlands, while the Saints’ last win in the series came in 2015 in the Big Easy by a final of 52-49. The Saints are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 50. Both numbers are reasonable and make a lot of sense. Both QBs can put up points if need be. The Saints may march into the Meadowlands on Sunday but the Giants pulled the upset and march out with the win, covering the 3 1/2.

Baltimore (2-1) at Pittsburgh (1-1-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of AFC North rivals that don’t like each other meet in prime time in the Steel City as Pittsburgh hosts Baltimore at Heinz Field.

Baltimore erased a 14-10 first quarter deficit against Denver last Sunday in Charm City and came away 27-14 winners at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens then took a 20-14 lead with them to the break, then scored their final seven points of the contest unchallenged. The good news for Denver? They did outrush Baltimore 120-77. The bad news? Joe Flacco burned the Broncos for 277 yards with a TD toss to RB Javorius Allen, while Case Keenum threw for 192 yards (Keenum was sacked three times and picked off once, while Flacco was sacked twice). Baltimore was 8 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 30:14, while the Broncos were 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 29:46.

Pittsburgh led Tampa Bay 30-10 at the intermission last Monday night at Raymond James Stadium, then watched the Buccaneers score their last 17 points in the second half unchallegened before hanging on to knock Tampa Bay out of the ranks of the unbeatens 30-27. Tampa Bay was paced by Ryan Fitzpatrick (who took over for the suspended Jameis Winston), who threw for 411 yards, while Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw for 353 yards (each man threw three TDs and was sacked three times, Roethlisberger threw an interception, while Fitzpatrick threw three picks). Tampa Bay, outrushed by Pittsburgh 78-63, went 3 of 9 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 29:39, while the Steelers held the pigskin for 30:21, going 3 for 11 on third down.

Pittsburgh leads the series 24-20, the Steelers have outscored the Ravens 894-861 and they won the last three game, sweeping the season series last year, taking wins in Charm City and the Steel City (Baltimore’s last win over the Steelers came in 2016, when they were 21-14 winners in Charm City).

They squared off in week four in Baltimore and the Steelers held Baltimore to 9 third quarter points to take a 26-9 win on the road in Charm City. Pittsburgh, outrushing Baltimore 173-82, led 19-0 at the half and never let their foot off the gas as LeVeon Bell rushed for 144 yards and a pair of TDs, while Roethlisberger threw for 216 yards. For Baltimore, Flacco threw for 235 yards with a pair of interceptions and four sacks (both Roethlisbeger and Flacco threw a TD pass, Roethlisberger was sacked once and picked off once). Pittsburgh was 7 of 15 on third down and ruled the clock as held the ball for 35:29, while Baltimore was 5 of 13, 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 24:31.

Pittsburgh needed to rally late in the final seconds of their week 14 rematch in the Steel City and prevailed 39-38 at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led the Ravens 20-14 at the break before they saw the Ravens take the lead back, trailing 38-36 with 3:29 left in regulation before taking the lead back for good, using a 10-play, 55-yard drive that took 1:43 and ended with Chris Boswell connecting on a 46-yard field goal with 42 seconds left. This time, it was Baltimore’s turn to outrush the Steelers, tallying 152 yards, while the Steelers had 59 (the Ravens’ Alex Collins led the way with 120. Roethlisberger outpaced Flacco in the rematch, throwing for 506 yards, while Flacco chipped in with 269 yards (each man threw a pair of TDs, Roethilsberger was sacked three times, Flacco was sacked once and threw an interception). The Steelers were much better on third down tries, going 12 of 18 and held on to the ball for 33:50, while the Ravens were 4 of 10 on third down, holding the ball for 26:10.

In the week four contest, Pittsburgh covered the 3-point spread, winning by 17 but the 44 over/under was intact as both teams merged for 35 points. Pittsburgh won the rematch in week 14 but did not cover the 7-point spread, winning by one but both teams easily covered the 41 over/under by tallying 77 combined points. In the prime time Sunday night contest in the Steel City, Pittsburgh’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 48 1/2, which makes this one “DRILL WORRTHY!” (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?”

)The Steelers would like nothing more than to have a leg up on the Ravens in the AFC North, while the Ravens look to go to 3-1. Steelers cover the 3 in the Steel City on Sunday night and takes the win at home.

Kansas City (3-0) at Denver (2-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Forget the records. It’s a pair of AFC West teams that aren’t exactly crazy about each other as Denver hosts the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs at Broncos Stadium at Mile High to close out week four action.

The Chiefs stayed unbeatend after their 38-27 win at Arrowhead over the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs led 28-10 at the half before watching the 49ers outscore them in the final 30 minutes of play by a 17-3 margin. San Francisco did manage to outrush the Chiefs 178-77 but Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 314 yards and three TDs, while the 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 251 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks before he left the contest with a knee injury. The Chiefs were 7 of 11 on third down tries (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions) at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 30:01, while the 49ers were 2 of 9 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down tries and they would keep the ball for 29:59.

Denver watched a a 14-10 first quarter deficit against Baltimore last Sunday in Charm City and lost to the Ravens 27-14 at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore then proceeded to take a 20-14 lead with them to the break, then scored their final seven points of the contest unchallenged. While Denver did outrush Baltimore 120-77, Ravens QB Joe Flacco burned the Broncos for 277 yards with a TD toss to RB Javorius Allen, while Case Keenum threw for 192 yards (Keenum was sacked three times and picked off once, while Flacco was sacked twice). Baltimore was 8 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 30:14, while the Broncos were 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 29:46.

The Chiefs lead the series 61-54 (including games played in Dallas when the team was known as the Texans), Kansas City has outscored Denver 2,663-2,373 and have won the last five meetings, including sweeping last year’s series (Denver’s last win over the Chiefs came in 2015, when the Broncos were 31-24 winners at Arrowhead).

Meeting one… week eight… Arrowhead. Kansas City led 17-3 at the intermission and came away 29-19 winners in the first meeting. Although Denver won the second half 16-12, the Chiefs used five Harrison Butker field goals to take the home win. Although they were outrushed by Denver 177-79, Alex Smtih burned Denver for 202 yards and a TD, while picking off Trevor Siemian (198 yards) three times and sacked him three times. Kansas City went 2 of 12 on third down tries at Arrowhead, keeping the ball for 28:37, while the Broncos ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 31:23, going 5 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In chilly 17 degree weather (wind chill of 14 with snow flurries), the Chiefs completed the sweep of the series at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on New Years Eve afternoon in week 17, taking the Broncos 27-24 in the final seconds of the contest. Kansas City led 14-10 at the half and took a 24-10 lead with them to the start of the final 15 minutes of action before Denver got a pair of TDs; first, LB Zaire Anderson returning a fumble 38 yards for a TD, then WR Demaryius Thomas scpromg on a 6-yard TD toss from Paxton Lynch that would tie things up with 2:53 left in the contest. The Chiefs would then use all of the 2:53 that was left in the contest, taking 11 plays and 67 yards with Butker connecting on a 30-yard field goal as time expired. Each club rushed for 110 yards in the finale and Mahomes threw for 284 yards, while Lynch threw for 254 yards with a pair of TDs and five sacks (Lynch was picked off twice, Mahomes was picked off once amd sacked twice). The Chiefs were 4 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:03, while the Broncos ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:57, going 5 of 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions.

In the week eight contest in the Show Me State on a Monday night, the Chiefs covered the 7 1/2-point spread, winning by 10 and both clubs covered the 43 over/under. As for the New Year’s Eve afternoon finale in the Mile High State in week 17, Kansas City BARELY missed the 3 1/2-point spread with the 3-point win but as was the case in the first meeting, both clubs covered the over/under (which was 38) by scoring 51 points. Denver on Monday night is 32-38-1 (the Broncos lost their only contest in prime time last year), while the Chiefs are 25-18 and swept their two MNF contests in the 2017 campaign. Kansas City’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 56. This might be the best MNF game of the 2018 season, so you may want to tape “Big Bang” this week. Chiefs remain unbeaten and cover the 5.

Close games, record-setting performances and memorable moments from stars both established and new highlighted an exciting Kickoff Weekend. With eight divisional matchups and a rematch of the 2017 AFC Championship Game on the schedule, Week two promises more of the same. If week one was good, fans can expect week two to be better. Five games were decided by 6 points or less in week one, while threw contests were blowouts.

Every team wants to get off to a fast start as history has shown that teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to advance to the playoffs as teams that lose their opener. But an 0-1 start is not impossible to overcome as nearly 25 percent of teams that lose a season opener advance to the playoffs, including three teams in 2017 –   New England, New Orleans and Tennessee.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 52.1 percent (306 of 587) of teams that won their season opener advanced to the postseason:

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 that the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.)

Ten games in Week 1 were decided by eight points or fewer and eight games were won by teams that did not advance to the 2017 postseason. Twelve of 16 games were within one score in the fourth quarter and five teams – Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Green Bay and Philadelphia – won or tied a game after trailing in the fourth quarter. Green Bay, who defeated NFC North rival Chicago 24-23 at Lambeau Field in Week 1 after trailing 20-0 in the third quarter, became the eighth team in league history to win a season-opening game after trailing by at least 20 points.

Led by the New York Jets (48 points), Tampa Bay (48) and Baltimore (47), there were 765 total points scored across the league on Kickoff Weekend, the third-most in NFL history in Week 1. There were 12 return touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend, the second-most in Week 1 since the 1970 merger (13 in 2011). The Jets, who scored two return touchdowns in their win at Detroit in Week 1, became the third team in NFL history to score a touchdown via pass, rush, interception and punt return in a season-opening game.

Last week saw incredible performances from rookies and veterans alike. New England quarterback Tom Brady became the third player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in a season-opening game at the age of 41 or older, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers George Blanda and Warren Moon, in the Patriots’ 27-20 win over Houston. New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who became the youngest quarterback (21 years, 97 days old), to start a season-opening game in the Super Bowl era, threw two touchdown passes in the Jets’ Week 1 win over Detroit. With two interceptions against Pittsburgh in his NFL debut, Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward became the first rookie to record multiple interceptions in a season-opening game since Indianapolis’ Eugene Daniel on September 2, 1984 against the New York Jets.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: There were several notable Kickoff Weekend records set and milestones reached on Sunday.

The 88 combined points by Tampa Bay (48) and New Orleans (40) are the most points scored in a single game on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history. The previous record was held by the Philadelphia Eagles (45) and Washington Redskins (42) who combined for 87 points on September 28, 1947. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for three touchdowns against Tampa Bay and has 37 career touchdown passes in season-opening games, the most in NFL history, surpassing the previous record of 34 held by Peyton Manning. New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas recorded a career-high 16 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown against Tampa Bay. Thomas’ 16 catches are the most by a player on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history, surpassing the previous record of 15 held by Keenan Allen (September 13, 2015 vs. Detroit).

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 76 receiving yards against Washington. Fitzgerald (1,068 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches) is one of five players with at least 1,000 career receiving yards and eight touchdown catches in season-opening games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (1,385 yards, nine touchdowns), Andre Reed (1,225, 10), Randy Moss (1,194, 10) and Don Maynard (1,025, nine).

• Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 417 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions and rushed for a touchdown in the Buccaneers’ 48-40 win at New Orleans. With his performance, Fitzpatrick joined Washington’s Mark Rypien (November 10, 1991 against Atlanta) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 400 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions and rush for a touchdown in a single game.

Buccaneers wide receiver De Sean Jackson had 146 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including a 58-yard touchdown catch, in the win. Jackson has 27 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Alworth and Terrell Owens for the third-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (36) and Randy Moss (29) have more in league annals.

New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 277 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 102.2 passer rating in the Patriots’ 27-20 win over Houston. Brady, who is 41 years, 37 days old, became the third quarterback in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in a season-opening game at the age of 41 or older, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers George Blanda (45 years, 0 days) and Warren Moon (41 years, 292 days).

• Washington running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown and had 70 receiving yards in the Redskins’ 24-6 win at Arizona. Peterson, who has 12,372 career rushing yards and 100 career rushing touchdowns, became the seventh player in NFL history to record at least 12,000 rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns. The six other players to accomplish the feat – Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith and LaDanian Tomlinson – are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Peterson surpassed Faulk (12,279) and Brown (12,312) for the 10th-most rushing yards in NFL history.

Kansas City wide receiver/punt returner Tyreek Hill had seven catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns, including a 58-yard touchdown catch, and a 91-yard punt-return touchdown in the Chiefs’ 38-28 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers. Hill joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Hayes (December 8, 1968 vs. Pittsburgh) and Tavon Austin (November 10, 2013 at Indianapolis) as the only players in NFL history to record a 50+ yard touchdown catch and a 90+ yard punt-return touchdown in a single game. Hill has 13 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards (six receiving, four punt-return, two rushing, one kick-return) in 32 career games and is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers and Devin Hester for the most 50+ yard touchdowns in a player’s first 35 career games in NFL history.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald recorded seven catches for 76 yards in the Cardinals’ loss to Washington. Fitzgerald has recorded at least one reception in 212 consecutive games and surpassed Tony Gonzalez (211) for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a catch in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice holds the record with at least one catch in 274 consecutive games from 1985-2004.

Cleveland and Pittsburgh played to a 21-21 tie at FirstEnergy Stadium along the shores of Lake Erie. Sunday’s game marked the first Kickoff Weekend game to end in a tie since September 19, 1971, when the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos played to a 10-10 tie. Cleveland rookie cornerback Denzel Ward recorded two interceptions in his NFL debut. Ward, who is 21 years, 134 days old, became the fourth-youngest player in NFL history with at least two interceptions in a single game. Only Dicky Moegle (21 years, 39 days on October 23, 1955), Marcus Williams (21 years, 114 days on December 31, 2017) and Champ Bailey (21 years, 117 days on October 17, 1999) accomplished the feat at a younger age. Ward became the first rookie to record multiple interceptions in a season-opening game since Indianapolis’ Eugene Daniel on September 2, 1984 against the New York Jets.

Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Brown has 10,003 receiving yards in 116 career games and tied Torry Holt (116) for the second-fewest games to reach 10,000 receiving yards in NFL history. Only Calvin Johnson (115 games) reached the milestone in fewer career games.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: NO NEED TO PANIC: Since realignment in 2002, 116 of the 192 playoff teams (60.4 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including eight teams last season and six division champions – Jacksonville (AFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota (NFC North), New England (AFC East), New Orleans (NFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East).

Last season, the New Orleans Saints began the season 0-2 and advanced to the playoffs after becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to win eight consecutive games following an 0-2 start.

A look at how playoff clubs in 2016 and 2017 began their seasons:

Team (After 2 games, 2016 Playoff result)
Atlanta (1-1, Advanced to Super Bowl LI)
Dallas (1-1, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Detroit (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Green Bay (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
Houston (2-0, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Kansas City (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Miami (0-2, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
New England (2-0, Won Super Bowl LI)
New York Giants (2-0, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Pittsburgh (2-0, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Oakland (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Seattle (1-1, Advanced to Divisional)

Team (After 2 games, 2017 Playoff Result)
Atlanta (2-0, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Buffalo (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Carolina (2-0, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Jacksonville (1-1, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Kansas City (2-0, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Los Angeles Rams (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Minnesota (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
New England (1-1, Advanced to Super Bowl LII)
New Orleans (0-2, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Philadelphia (1-1, Won Super Bowl LII)
Pittsburgh (2-0, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Tennessee (1-1, Advanced to Divisional)

MOVING UP THE RANKS: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has 51,400 career passing yards in his 15-year NFL career.

With 76 passing yards on Sunday against Kansas City at Heinz Field, Roethlisberger will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the seventh-most passing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (70,884)*
Tom Brady – New England (66,436)*
Dan Marino – Miami (61,361)^
Eli Manning – New York Giants (51,906)*
John Elway – Denver (51,475)^
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (51,400)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Three quarterbacks – New Orleans’ Drew Brees (439 passing yards), Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers (424) and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick (417) – each threw for at least 400 yards on Kickoff Weekend.

With 400 passing yard performances in Week 2, Brees, Rivers and Fitzpatrick can join TOM BRADY (2011) and Cam Newton (2011) as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least 400 yards in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history.

The players to throw for at least 400 yards in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER (SEASON – TEAM; GAME 1 PASSING YARDS/GAME 2 PASSING YARDS)
Tom Brady (2011 – New England; 517/423)
Cam Newton (2011 – Carolina; 422/432)
Drew Brees (2018 – New Orleans; 439/???)
Philip Rivers ((2018 – Los Angeles Chargers; 424/???)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018 – Tampa Bay; 417/???)

Two quarterbacks – Fitzpatrick and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes – each threw four touchdown passes in Week 1.

With four touchdown passes in Week 2, Fitzpatrick and Mahomes would join Drew Bledsoe (1997) as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history.

The players to throw for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER (SEASON – TEAM; GAME 1 PASSING TDS/GAME 2 PASSING TDS)
Drew Bledsoe (1997 – New England; 4/4)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018 – Tampa Bay; 4/???)
Patrick Mahomes (2018 – Kansas City; 4/???)

BURSTING ONTO THE SCENE: New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley rushed for 106 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown, in his NFL debut last week.

With another 100-yard performance in Week 2 against the Cowboys Sunday night in Arlington, Barkley can become the first rookie since 2005 (Cadillac Williams) with at least 100 rushing yards in each of his team’s first two games of the season.

The rookies with at least 100 rushing yards in each of his team’s first two games of the season since 1970:

PLAYER (TEAM – SEASON)
Cadillac Williams (Tampa Bay – 2005)
Edgerrin James (Indianapolis – 1999)
Marshall Faulk (Indianapolis – 1994)^
Billy Sims (Detroit – 1980)
Ottis Anderson (St. Louis Cardinals – 1979)
William Andrews (Atlanta – 1979)
Earl Campbell (Houston Oilers – 1978)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LIKE MIKE: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas recorded a career-high 16 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, the most by a player on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

With 11 receptions on Sunday against Cleveland, Thomas can surpass Andre Rison (26) for the most receptions by a player in his team’s first two games to start a season in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in his team’s first two games of the season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS IN TEAM’S 1ST 2 GAMES)
Andre Rison, Atlanta (1994, 26)
Rod Smith, Denver (2001, 23)
Julian Edelman, New England (2015, 22)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (2015, 22)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2018, 16)*
*Through Week 1

Week one was a pretty good week for picks, as we went 11-5 to open the season. One week gone. 16 to go. Week 2 kicked off with an AFC North showdown on Thursday Night Football as Cincinnati took care of Baltimore along the shores of the Ohio River and concludes in the Windy City as Seattle travels to Chicago for a Monday night contest with Da Bears.

Here are the picks for week two’s Sunday and Monday games.

Carolina (0-1) at ATLANTA (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Matt Ryan. Cam Newton. A pair of NFC South foes, separated by 245 miles, meet in the Big Peach as Atlanta and Carolina square off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Carolina and Cam Newton took care of Dallas 16-8 last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Newtown threw for 161 yards, despite being sacked three times and had a rushing TD in the contest to open the scoring. Scorless at the end of the first quarter, the Panthers took a 10-0 lead into the intermission, although Dallas did manage to outscore Carolina 8-6 in the final period play, with the Cowboys getting their only points on a 4-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott and a Dak Prescott two-point conversion. Carolina outrushed Dallas 147-94, with Elliott leading all rushers with 69 yards (Newton tallied 58), while Prescott threw for 170 yards with six sacks. Dallas was 2 of 11 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:24, while Carolina kept the pigskin for 30:36, going 4 of 12 on third down.

Atlanta looks to even their record after their 18-12 loss at Philadelpha in the season opener for both clubs. The Falcons let two leads get away from them in the City of Brotherly Love; first taking a 6-3 lead into the half and then leading 12-10 with 2:19 left in regulation when Eagles RB Joseph Ajayi scored on an 11-yard run and added the two-point conversion.. Atlanta was held to 74 yards rushing, while the Eagles tallied 113 in the NFC Divisonal rematch. Ryan threw for 251 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Eagles QB Nick Foles threw for 117 yards with two sacks and an interception. As was the case in the NFC Divisonal game, Atlanta rallied to take the win out of Philadelphia but once again, the drive fell short and the Eagles took the win. Atlanta was 4 of 15 on third down (the Falcons were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:50, while the defending Super Bowl champs were 8 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 32:10.

The Falcons lead the series 28-18, have outscored Carolina 973-909 and have won four of their last five contests, including spliting last year’s series, each team winning at home.

Meeting number one… Charlotte in week nine. Atlanta let a 10-0 first quarter lead get away from them as the Panthers would lead 14-10 at the intermission and survive a late Atlanta rally, taking a 20-17 win at Bank of America Stadium. Although Ryan threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs, it was the one near TD that could have given the Falcons the lead when WR Julio Jones dropped what was a sure TD. Carolina outrushed Atlanta 201-53, with Newton leading all rushers with 86 yards and a rushing TD, while teammate Collin McCaffery rushed for the other score. Atlanta was 4 of 12 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and the Falcons held on to the ball for 27:08, while Carolina was 4 of 13 on third, 1 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 32:52.

Atlanta would get revenge in the Big Peach in week 17, using four Matt Bryant field goals to take the 22-10 win. Tied at 7-7 at the half and with both teams headed to the post-season, Atlanta outscored the Panthers 15-3 in the final 30 minutes of action at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Both Ryan and Newton had TD passes in the contest but Newton (180 yards) was picked off three times and sacked twice, while Ryan threw for 317 yards in the win. Carolina outrushed Atlanta 87-60 but Atlanta took advantage of the three interceptions on the afternoon. Atlanta on third down in the Big Peach went 6 of 13 and held on to the ball for 34:42, while Carolina held the ball for 25:18, gonig 5 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Atlanta was favored by 2 in the week nine contest in Charlotte and Carolina covered the spread, winning by 3. The 42 over/under was safe as both clubs combined for 37 points. In the season finale in the Big Peach, Atlanta covered the 3 1/2 point spread with the 12-point win but the 46 over/under was untouched, as both clubs merged for 32 points. This time around, the Falcons are favored at home by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Both numbers sound reasonable and both teams can put up offense. Carolina’s looking to stay unbeatend, while Atlanta looks for revenge. Revenge wins out. Atlanta may not cover the 5 1/2 but they win in the Big Peach.

Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) at Buffalo (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC rivals that took losses last weekend meet in upstate New York as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Orchard Park for a showdown with the Buffalo Bills.

The Chargers trailed Kansas City 17-12 at StubHub Center at the intermission and the Chiefs would go on to take a  38-28 AFC West win last Sunday. Los Angeles did manage to outrush Kansas City 123-106 and Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and three TDs, while the Chiefs’ Pat Mahomes threw for 256 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was sacked once, while Rivers was sacked once and picked off once). The Chargers were 3 of 11 on third down but found success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 34:26, while the Chiefs kept the ball for a mere 25:34, going 4 of 10 on fourth down.

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens took Buffalo to task last Sunday in Charm City as the Ravens took care of the Bills 47-3. Flacco completed 25 of 34 passes and threw three touchdowns, including scoring passes to John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead. Buffalo was on the short end of a 26-0 deficit at the intermission and saw the Ravens take a 40-3 lead into the fourth quarter as they were manhandled the team they replaced in the 2017 post-season. The Bills were held to 83 yards, Baltimore ran for 117 yards and Flacco threw for 236 yards with the three TDs and no interceptions, while Nate Peterman was sacked three times, throwing for 24 yards. The Ravens in their opener win were 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 35:14, while the Bills kept the ball for 24:46 and went 2 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played at old War Memorial Stadium and San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 23-10-2, the Bolts have outscored the Bills 868-589 and have won the last three meetings, including a 54-24 win in Los Angeles last season (Buffalo’s last win over the Chargers came in 2008 in upstate New York by a final of 23-14).

Buffalo was manhandled in that week 11 contest on the West Coast, trailing 37-10 at the intermission and could never get on track in the lopsided loss. Buffalo did manage to outrush the Chargers 173-146, with Bills RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 114 yards on the afternoon. Bills QB Normam Peterman threw for 66 yards with five interceptions before being replaced by Tyrod Taylor (158 yards, TD), while Rivers threw for 251 yards and a pair of TDs to Keenan Allen for the win. The Chargers, who went 7 of 14 on third down conversions, held the ball for 36:05 and forced six turnovers on the day and scored twice on defense to keep the Bills in check in the contest at Stub Hub Stadium. As for the Bills? They were 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 23:55.

In the week 11 contest on the West Coast, the Chargers easily covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 30 and both clubs covered the 44 over/under with 78 points. The oddsmakers like the Chargers as 7 1/2 point favorites in upstate New York and the over/under’s 43. You might want to consider taking a pass on this one (unless you just happen to like one or both teams) and get that Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas shopping out of the way. Chargers recover from their loss at home and takes the road win but the Bills may make it closer than 7 1/2.

Miami (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They meet again. A pair of AFC East foes that have been around since the AFC was formed meet in usptate New Jersey unbeaten, with each coming in with wins under their belts.

Miami endured two lightning delays at Hard Rock Stadium that totaled almost three and half hours and came away 27-20 winners over Tennessee last Sunday in the Sunshine State. Leading 7-3 at the half, Miami managed to hold off the Titans 20-17 in the heat and humidity of South Beach to take the win. Tennessee would eventually pull to within three with 11 seconds left when Ryan Succop connected on a 53-yard field goal and the game featured a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns; first, Miami’s Jakeem Grant returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD to take a 17-10 lead with 14:04 left in the contest. Tennessee would not be outdone, as Titans WR Darius Jennings returned a fourth quarter kickoff 94 yards to pull his team to within 7 with 10:11 left in the contest. The two clubs would then trade field goals in the final minutes of the quarter, with Succop’s effort making the contest closer than Dolphins fans would have wanted. Miami outrushed Tennessee 120-116 with Marcus Mariota throwing for 103 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Ryan Tannehill throwing for 230 yards and a pair of TDs to Kenny Stills, who had 106 yards on four catches, to take the win. Miami on third down went 2 of 10 (the Dolphins were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:25, while Tennessee was 6 of 14 and 0f for 2 on fourth down, holding the ball for 29:35.

GangGreen led Detroit 17-10 in the Motor City at halftime Monday night and then went on to outpace the Lions, scoring 31 points in the second half unchallenged to come out on top 48-17. Isaiah Crowell’s 102 yards and two TDs led the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to the come-from-behind win in the Monday night contest, while GangGreen outrushed Detroit 169-39, forcing Matthew Stafford (286 yards, TD) to throw four interceptions. Rookie signal called Sam Darnold made his NFL debut a good one, throwing for 198 yards and a pair of TDs. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 14 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs, while holding on to the ball for 33:07; the Lions were 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:53.

Including contests that took place at Shea Stadium, New Haven and the Orange Bowl, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! lead the series 54-49-1, while Miami has outscored GangGreen 2,274-2,247. They met twice last year and the two teams split the series, each winning at home.

Meeting number one… the Meadowlands in week three and GangGreen held the ‘Fins to a 3-yard TD toss as time expired to take a 20-6 win. Leading 20-0 at the end of three quarters, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! held Miami to 30 yards rushing (they tallied 103) and kept them off the scoreboard until the clock struck :00 when Jay Cutler (220 yards) and WR DeVante Parker connected on a 6-yard toss. Josh McCown and Robby Anderson connected on the game’s first TD after Chris Catanzaro connected on a 40 yard field goal to open the scoring in the game, with RB Bilal Powell and Catanzaro accounting for the other two New York scores in the contest. Miami was a somewhat dismal 1 of 12 on third down tries (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:52, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 36:08, going 4 for 13 on third down.

Miami didn’t have to wait very long to get their revenge and they were at home at Hard Rock Stadium for the rematch in week seven. Miami settled the score with their AFC East foes, rallying to take a 31-28 win over GangGreen in the Sunshine State. The Jets led 21-14 at the half and led 28-14 after three quarters of play before Miami would take control of things in the final quarter of play, scoring their final 17 points of the game unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 22 seconds left when Chris Parkey connected on a 39-yard field goal for the win. The ground game was not the order of the day as neither team breached the 100-yard barrier but as was the case in the first meeting, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! managed to outrush Miami 92-53, with McCown throwing for 209 yards and three TDs, while being sacked three times. Third down tries? New York was 4 of 11, Miami was 5 of 13 and the Dolphins ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:58 to New York’s 28:02.

Miami in the week three contest was favored by 6 and GangGreen covered the spread, winning by 13. The 41 1/2 over/under was not touched, as both teams merged for only 27 points. The oddsmakers liked Miami at home in the week seven rematch, making them 3 point favorites and they covered the spread with the 3-point win and both clubs covered the 38 1/2 over/under, tallying 59 points. The Jets are favored by 3 in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 44. Both teams are looking to unseat New England as king of the AFC East mountain. The Jets are good but Miami’s better. ‘Fins cover the 3 and win in the Meadowlands.

Kansas City (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They meet again, this time in the Steel City. A pair of AFC playoff teams square off at Heinz Field as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City took a 17-12 lead at StubHub Center at the intermission against their AFC foes the Los Angeles Chargers and went on to take a 38-28 AFC West win last Sunday. While Los Angeles did manage to outrush Kansas City 123-106 and Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and three TDs, while the Chiefs’ Pat Mahomes threw for 256 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was sacked once, while Rivers was sacked once and picked off once). The Chargers were 3 of 11 on third down but found success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 34:26, while the Chiefs kept the ball for a mere 25:34, going 4 of 10 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh let a 21-7 lead at the end of the third quarter get away from them as Cleveland would go on to score 14 fourth quarter points unchallenged, then held off Roethlisberger and the Steelers to a 21-21 tie at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. While the Browns outrushed Pittsburgh 177-159, Pittsburgh’s James Conner led all rushers with 135 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground. Roethlisberge threw for 335 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off three; for the Browns, rookie QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 197 yards and a TD toss to WR Josh Gordon but was sacked seven times and picked off once. Pittsburgh was 7 of 15 on third down and kept the ball for 35:12, while the Browns held the ball for 34:48, going 5 of 18, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Steelers lead the series 22-10 (which includes contests played at Swope Field and Three Rivers Stadium) and have outscored Kansas City 763-576. They met last year at Arrowhead and the Steelers would come away with a 19-13 win at Arrowhead (Kansas City’s last win in the series came in 2015, also at Arrowhead, by a final of 23-13). Pittsburgh led 12-3 at the break in the late afternoon contest and took that lead into the fourth quarter before the Chiefs would rally in the final 15 minutes of action to make the game closer than the Steelers would have wanted it when Chiefs QB Alex Smith connected with WR De’Anthony Thomas for a 57-yard touchdown toss with 6:13 left to play. Pittsburgh would then restore order as Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown connected on a 51-yard touchdown strike.

Pittsburgh easily outrushed Kansas City 194-28, with LeVeon Bell leading the way with 179 yards and a TD, while Roethlisberger threw for 252 yards and a score (Smith threw for 246 yards but was sacked three times). Pittsburgh went 4 of 11 on third down tries at Arrowhead, keeping the ball for 36:39, while the Chiefs, who kept the ball for 23:21, went 3 of 11 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down. In the week six contest, the Steelers covered the 4-point spread (the Chiefs were favored) but the 46 over/under stayed intact, as the two clubs combined for 32 points at Arrowhead. Pittsburgh’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 52 1/2, While this one’s not “Drill Worthy,” it’s worth your time to watch. Chiefs make this one interesting but the Steelers prevail in western Pennsylvania.

Houston (0-1) at Tennessee (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of winless AFC South foes meet in the Music City when Houston makes a visit to Nissan Stadium to take on the Tennessee Titans.

A Texans rally in Foxboro fell short for DeShaun Watson and Houston as they would fall to Tom Brady and New England 27-20 last Sunday afternoon. Trailing 21-6 at the half, Houston would rally in the second half, eventually making the contest a 7-point affair with 2:08 left when Watson and WR Bruce Ellington connected on a 5-yard, putting them closer. That would be as close as they would get to Tom Brady and the Patriots, who would hold them off for the win. While the Texans did outrush New England 167-122, Brady burned Houston for 277 yards and three TDs, connecting with TE Rob Gronkowski on one of those tosses. Watson did manage to throw for 176 yards with the TD but was sacked three times and picked off once. Houston was 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:50, while the defending AFC champs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:10, going 4 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Although Tennessee endured two lightning delays at Hard Rock Stadium that totaled almost three and half hours, it was Miami that came away 27-20 winners over Tennessee last Sunday in the Sunshine State. The Titans trailed 7-3 at the half, while Miami managed to hold off the Titans 20-17 in the heat and humidity of South Beach to take the win. Tennessee would pull to within three with 11 seconds left when Ryan Succop connected on a 53-yard field goal and the game featured a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns; first, Miami’s Jakeem Grant returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD to take a 17-10 lead with 14:04 left in the contest. Tennessee would not be outdone, as Titans WR Darius Jennings returned a fourth quarter kickoff 94 yards to pull his team to within 7 with 10:11 left in the contest. The two clubs would then trade field goals in the final minutes of the quarter, with Succop’s effort making the contest closer than Dolphins fans would have wanted. Miami outrushed Tennessee 120-116 with Marcus Mariota throwing for 103 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Ryan Tannehill throwing for 230 yards and a pair of TDs to Kenny Stills, who had 106 yards on four catches, to take the win. Miami on third down went 2 of 10 (the Dolphins were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:25, while Tennessee was 6 of 14 and 0f for 2 on fourth down, holding the ball for 29:35.

The Titans lead the series 17-15 (which includes games that were played in Memphis) but the Texans have outscored the former Houston team 754-643. The two AFC South foes split their meetings in 2017, each taking wins at home.

Houston took a 30-14 lead at the intermission in the week four contest at NRG Stadium and came away 57-14 winners. The Texans outscored Mariota and the Titans 27-0 in the final 30 minutes of play in the Lone Star State to seal Tennessee’s fate. Houston outrushed Tennessee 173-86 in the contest, with Watson throwing for 283 yards and four TDs (Mariota threw for 96 yards with two interceptions). Houston was 6 of 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions in the Lone Star State, keeping the ball for 39:41, while the Titans kept the ball for 20:19, going 2 of 8 on third downs.

Tennessee got their revenge in the Music City in week 13, taking down the Texans 24-13. The Titans, after erasing a 3-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission and pulled away from Houston with a pair of second half TDs for the win. Tennessee pounded Houston for 198 yards on the ground, holding the Texans to 53 and sacking QB Tom Savage (365 yards, TD), who took over for DeShaun Watson four times. While both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down, the Texans were 8 of 16 on third down, keeping the ball for 33:49 to Tennessee’s 26:11 (the Titans were 5 of 11 on third down tries).

In the week four contest at NRG Stadium, Tennessee was a 1 1/2-point favorite and the Texans easily covered that spread, winning by 43 points and both teams took care of the 44 over/under, tallying 71 points. Tennessee was again the favorite in the week 13 rematch in the Music City and the Titans covered the 6-point spread, winning by 13. The 43 over/under was in check as the two clubs merged for 37 points. Houston’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 44 1/2. There’s a lot of bad blood between Houston and Nashville and that could very well rear its ugly head (the Oilers were taken from Houston to Nashville, where they were called the Tennessee Oilers before the NFL stepped in and basically told the Tennessee team to change their names). Houston covers the 1 1/2 on the road and takes the win in the Music City.

Indianapolis (0-1) at Washington (1-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. The Colts look to pull themselves even as they travel to Landover for a contest with the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

The Colts watched Andy Dalton and the Bengals take a 34-23 victory at Indianapolis in the season opener in the Hoosier State. Dalton threw for 243 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bengals scored 24 unanswered points in the second half, punctuated by an 83-yard fumble-return touchdown by safety Clayton Fejedelem with 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.  Indy, who were leading 16-10 at the half, found themselves being held to 75 yards on the ground and Andrew Luck threw for 319 yards and a pair of TDs while being sacked twice. Cincinnati, outscoring Indy 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, went 4 of 8 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 27:12, while the Colts had time on their side (apologies to Mick Jagger!) and held the ball for 32:48, going 11 of 17 on third down conversions.

Washington returns to Landover with a 24-6 win at Arizona last Sunday afternoon in the desert. The Redskins led 21-0 at the half, using a pair of Alex Smith (255 yards) TD tosses and adding a 31-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins before Arizona’s David Johnson ended the shutout bid with a 2-yard run with 5:47 left. Washington ran for 182 yards, with RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 96 yards and a TD, while the Redskins held Arizona to 68 yards rushing. Washington was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:08, while the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 8 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 21:52.

The Colts lead ther series 20-10, which includes contests that were played in Baltimore and at old RFK Stadium, the Colts have outscored Washington 780-602 and won the last three meetings, including a 49-27 win in the Hoosier State in 2014; as for the Redskins, their last win in the series came in 2002 at Fed Ex Field by a final of 26-21. Washington’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Hail To The Redskins! Washington makes their return home a successful one and covers the 5 1/2.

Minnesota (1-0) at Green Bay (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. It’s an NFC North (NFC Norris) showdown in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as Minnesota travels to Green Bay to face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field. Both teams enter the contests with wins under their belts.

Minnesota held off a late San Francisco rally last Sunday at US Bank Stadium, coming away 24-16 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Leading 10-3 at the intermission, the Vikings barely outscored Jimmy Graffalo (261 yards, TD, three interceptions) and the 49ers 14-13 in the second half to take the win. Minnesota outrushed San Francisco 116-90, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 244 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Stefon Diggs on one of the tosses. Minnesota, who forced four San Francisco turnovers, went 7 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth downs) and held the ball for 31:09, while the 49ers were 5 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:51.

Packers fans held their breath as their star QB Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of their Sunday night contest against Chicago at Lambeau, only to see the Packers rally to take a 24-23 NFC North win over Da Bears. Trailing 17-0 at the intermission, Packer fans saw Rodgers come out of the contest with what some thought was a knee injury, only to give Green Bay fans hope, as they outscored Chicago 24-6 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Chicago outrushed Green Bay 139-69, Rodgers burned Da Bears for 286 yards with three TDs, with the game-winner going to Randall Cobb to send Green Bay’s fan base home happy. Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky threw for 171 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest but the Green Bay defense made things less than pleasant for him, sacking him four times on the evening. Green Bay was 5 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:38, while Chicago kept the pigskin for 33:22, going 7 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

While Green Bay leads the series 59-52-2 and the Packers have outscored the Purple Gang 2,459-2,189, Minnesota has won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Green Bay’s last win over the Vikings came in the 2016 season, when they came away 38-25 winners at Lambeau).

The first meeting? Week six in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Vikings knocked Rodgers out of the contest (shoulder) and came away 23-10 winners at US Bank Stadium. After a scoreless first quarter, Minnesota took a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission and held Green Bay in check in the second half, shutting the Packers out in the process. Rodgers threw for 18 yards in the contest before his departure and Brett Hundley would take over, throwing for 157 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off three, while Vikings QB Case Keenum threw for 239 yards with a TD and no interceptions. Minnesota, who outrushed Green Bay 112-72, was 4 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:09, while the Packers kept the ball for 27:51, going 4 of 17 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Minnesota made it a clean sweep in the series, shutting out the Packers 16-0 at Lambeau (temperature, you wonder? A somewhat balmy 10 degrees with a 0 wind chill) Field in week 16. Minnesota led 10-0 at the intermission in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and scored the final six points of the game in the second half unchallenged, thanks to a pair of Kyle Forbath field goals. Green Bay barely outrushed Minnesota 113-112 in the rematch and Hundley threw for 130 yards with a pair of interceptions and a sack, while Keenum threw for 139 yards (three sacks) with a TD toss to WR Stefan Diggs to take the win. Both clubs were 4 of 15 on third down (the Packers were 0 of 4 on fourth down) and Minnesota ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:37, while the Packers held the pigskin for 28:23.

Green Bay was favored by 3 in the week six contest and the Vikings covered with the 13-point win. The 46 1/2 over/under? It was untouched, as the two clubs combined for 33 points. In the week 16 contest at Lambeau, Minnesota’s 16-point win easily covered the 9-point spread but neither team came anywhere near the 40 1/2 over/under as Minnesota scored all 16 points. Green Bay’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 46. Both numbers make a lot of sense. These two teams don’t exactly like each other and Packer fans would like some revenge on the team that knocked them out of the post-season. Packers get revenge in the land of beer, Bratwurst and cheese and takes the win, covering the 2.

Cleveland (0-0-1) at New Orleans (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. One team looks to not go winless. The other looks for their first win. The Cleveland Browns travel to the Big Easy for a showdown with New Orleans.

The Browns avoided their 17th consecutive loss as they erased a 21-7 deficit against Pittsburgh to tie the Steelers.  Cleveland would go on to score 14 fourth quarter points unchallenged, then held off Roethlisberger and the Steelers to a 21-21 tie at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 177-159, with Pittsburgh’s James Conner leading all rushers with 135 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground. Roethlisberge threw for 335 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off three; for the Browns, rookie QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 197 yards and a TD toss to WR Josh Gordon but was sacked seven times and picked off once. Pittsburgh was 7 of 15 on third down and kept the ball for 35:12, while the Browns held the ball for 34:48, going 5 of 18, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Saints came out on the short end of a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay last Sunday in the Big Easy. Although they trailed 31-24 at the half, the Buccaneers managed to take control of things in the second half, outscoring the Saints 17-16 in the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 112-43, while Drew Brees threw for 439 yards with three passing TDs and Alvin Kamara chipping in with a pair of rushing TDs. For Tampa Bay, Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the suspended Jameis Winston, threw for 417 yards and four TDs in the win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Saints went 4 of 9 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 27:51.

Cleveland leads series 13-4. the Browns have outscored New Orleans 397-290 and Cleveland has won the last two contest, including taking a 26-24 win in Cleveland in 2016 (New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2006 in Cleveland by a final of 19-14. New Orleans is favored by 8 1/2 and the over/under’s 50. The 50 makes sense, the 8 1/2 doesn’t. Neither team looked that good last week and both teams would like to get the taste of losing out of their mouths. Cleveland will make this one close but New Orleans prevails, even though they won’t cover the 8 1/2.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Tampa Bay (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of unbeatens meet on Florida’s west coast as Philadelphia plays their second NFC South foe in as many weeks when they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

The defending Super Bowl champs survived an 18-12 scare from Atlanta in the season opener for both clubs. The Falcons let two leads get away from them in the City of Brotherly Love; first taking a 6-3 lead into the half and then leading 12-10 with 2:19 left in regulation when Joseph Ajayi scored on an 11-yard run and added the two-point conversion. Atlanta was held to 74 yards rushing, while the Eagles tallied 113 in the NFC Divisonal rematch. Ryan threw for 251 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Eagles QB Nick Foles threw for 117 yards with two sacks and an interception. As was the case in the NFC Divisonal game, Atlanta rallied to take the win out of Philadelphia but once again, the drive fell short and the Eagles took the win. Atlanta was 4 of 15 on third down (the Falcons were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:50, while the defending Super Bowl champs were 8 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 32:10.

Tampa Bay held off New Orleans 48-40 last Sunday in the Big Easy. The Buccaneers led 31-24 at the half, then took control of things in the second half, outscoring the Saints 17-16 in the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 112-43, while Drew Brees threw for 439 yards with three passing TDs and Alvin Kamara chipping in with a pair of rushing TDs. For Tampa Bay, Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the suspended Jameis Winston, threw for 417 yards and four TDs in the win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Saints went 4 of 9 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 27:51.

Philadelphia holds an 8-6 lead in the series and the defending Super Bowl champs have outscored Tampa Bay 260-244. Tampa Bay did pick up a win in their last meeting, coming out on top 45-17 in the City of Brotherly Love in 2015, while the Eagles’ last win came in Tampa Bay in 2013 by a final of 31-20. Although Tampa Bay’s at home, the Eagles are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Philly makes it two in a row and covers the 3 with the win.

Arizona (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of NFC West rivals meet on the West Coast as Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum in the Monday night season opener for both.

Arizona’s offense could never get on track in Glendale last Sunday as they dropped a 24-6 decision to Washington last Sunday in the desert. The Desert Angry Birds trailed the Redskins led 21-0 at the half, as Washington would use a pair of Alex Smith (255 yards) TD tosses and adding a 31-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins before Arizona’s David Johnson ended the shutout bid with a 2-yard run with 5:47 left. Washington ran for 182 yards, with RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 96 yards and a TD, while the Redskins held Arizona to 68 yards rushing. Washington was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:08, while the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 8 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 21:52.

Los Angeles took a 13-10 deficit at Oakland last Monday and turned it into a 33-13 win on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay. Los Angeles would go in the second half to score their final 23 points of the game uncontested, holding the Rams to 95 yards rushing and picking David Carr (303 yards) off three times, while the Rams rushed for 140 yards (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 108 yards) and Jared Goff threw for 233 yards and a pair of TDs. The Rams were 4 of 11 on third down and held on to the ball for 28:29, while the Raiders were 5 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:31.

Includling games that were played in Chicago and St. Louis when the Cardinals called those cities home and games in Cleveland, Los Angeles and St. Louis, the series is tied at 38-38-2, with the Rams outscoring Arizona  1,522-1,520. The Rams swept the series last year, taking wins on the other side of the Atlantic and in the desert (Arizona’s last win came in 2016, taking a 44-6 win in Los Angeles).

Meeting number one… London in week seven. The Rams imposed their will on the Desert Angry Birds and took Arizona to the woodshed, shutting them out 33-0 at Twickenham Stadium. After taking a 23-0 lead to the intermission, the Rams would score the final 10 points of the contest unchallenged, holding Arizona to a dismal 25 yards. Meanwhile, Todd Gurley ran for 106 of his team’s 197 yards with a TD, while Jared Goff threw for 235 yards with a TD. The Rams were 13 of 19 on third down tries and kept the ball for 39:01, while the Cardinals held on to the pigskin for 20:59, going 3 of 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

The Rams made it a clean sweep of the series in week 13, leaving University of Phoenix Stadium with a  32-16 road win. Arizona made things interesting at the half, trailing 19-13 at the break before the Rams took control of things in the second half and outscored Arizona 13-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Arizona did outrush Los Angeles 118-90, Goff did manage to throw for 220 yards and a pair of TDs, while Blaine Gabbert struggled, throwing for 221 yards with a TD to Larry Fitzgerald with six sacks and a pair of interceptions. While the Rams were 3 of 11 on third down, they were successful on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and didn’t need to keep the ball that long, holding the pigskin for 28:58, while the Cardinals ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:02, going 7 of 15 on third down conversions in the desert.

The Rams easily covered the 3 1/2-point spread with their shutout win but the 47 1/2 over/under stayed intact, as Los Angeles was responsible for all 33 points in the meeting in London. In the week 13 contest in the desert, the Rams covered the 7-point spread, winning by 13 and both teams covered the 45 over/under with 48 points. This meeting has the Rams as 12 1/2 point favorites and the over/under is 46. The 46 makes sense. The 12 1/2 is a little steep. The Cardinals are not 12 1/2 bad. Granted, they’ll give the Rams problems in Los Angeles but the Rams will prevail on the West Coast.

Detroit (0-1) at San Francisco (0-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Two clubs looking for their first win meet in wine country as Detroit travels westward to take on the San Francisco 49ers.

The Matt Patrica era in Detroit started off well for the Lions against the New York Jets, then the wheels came off the bus, they would let a 17-10 halftime lead get away from them in the Motor City at halftime Monday night, allowing the Jets to score 31 points in the second half unchallenged to come out on top 48-17. Isaiah Crowell’s 102 yards and two TDs led the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to the come-from-behind win in the Monday night contest, while GangGreen outrushed Detroit 169-39, forcing Matthew Stafford (286 yards, TD) to throw four interceptions. Rookie signal called Sam Darnold made his NFL debut a good one, throwing for 198 yards and a pair of TDs. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 14 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs, while holding on to the ball for 33:07; the Lions were 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:53.

A late San Francisco rally last Sunday at Minnesota’s US Bank Stadium fell short, with the Vikings coming away 24-16 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The 49ers trailed 10-3 at the intermission before the Vikings barely outscored Jimmy Graffalo (261 yards, TD, three interceptions) and the 49ers 14-13 in the second half to take the win. Minnesota outrushed San Francisco 116-90, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 244 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Stefon Diggs on one of the tosses. Minnesota, who forced four San Francisco turnovers, went 7 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth downs) and held the ball for 31:09, while the 49ers were 5 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:51.

Including games that took place at Keezar Stadium, Tiger Stadium, the Pontiac Silverdome and Candlestick Park, the 49ers lead the series 36-27-1 and they have outscored Detroit 1,395-1,334. Detroit won the last meeting, taking a 32-17 win in Detroit, while the 49ers picked up a 27-19 win on the West Coast in 2012. San Francisco’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2.

Oakland (0-1) at Denver (1-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. They’re back. They still don’t like each other. Don’t expect any warm fuzzy greetings between these two teams. Oakland makes their way to the Rocky Mountains for an AFC West contest with their rivals from Denver.

Oakland let a 13-10 lead get away from them as the Los Angeles Rams turned that deficit at Oakland last Monday and turned it into a 33-13 win on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay. The Rams took control in the second half and score their final 23 points of the game uncontested, holding the Rams to 95 yards rushing and picking David Carr (303 yards) off three times, while the Rams rushed for 140 yards (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 108 yards) and Jared Goff threw for 233 yards and a pair of TDs. The Rams were 4 of 11 on third down and held on to the ball for 28:29, while the Raiders were 5 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:31.

Denver held off a late Seahawks rally at Broncos Stadium At Mile High to come away 27-24 winners in the season opener for both teams. The Broncos led Russell Wilson and the Seahawks 17-10 at the intermisson before Seattle would outscore Denver in the second half 14-10. Case Keenum threw for 329 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Demariyus Thomas on one toss, while Denver outrushed Seattle 146-64 in the three-point win. Russell Wilson threw for 298 yards with three TDs but was sacked six times in the loss on the road. Denver was 4 of 12 on third down conversions and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 35:08, while Seattle was 24:52 and kept the ball for 24:52.

The Silver and Black lead the series 62-51-2, which includes contests that took place in Los Angeles and at old Mile High Stadium and the Raiders have outscored Denver 2,443-2,360. They split last year’s meetings, each taking wins in their home facility.

Denver held off a late Oakland rally at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, taking a 16-10 win in the week four contest in the Rocky Mountains. The Broncos led 10-7 at the half before the Raiders’ final drive late in the contest fell short. Denver outrushed Oakland 143-24 and Trevor Siemian threw for 179 yards with a TD and no interceptions, while Carr threw for 143 yards with a TD and a pair of sacks (Siemian was sacked four times). Denver was 5 of 16 on third down and the Broncs held the ball for 32:57, while the Raiders were 27:03 in time of possession, going 2 of 17 and 0 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

The Silver and Black would get their revenge at home in week 12, holding off a late Denver rally to come away 21-14 winners at the Coliseum. Oakland led 14-0 at the half and took a 21-0 lead into the final 15 minutes of play before Denver scored their lone points in that quarter unchallenged. Oakland outrushed Denver 104-59 (Marshawn Lynch led all rushers with 67 yards and a TD) and Carr threw for 253 yards with a pair of TDs (two sacks), while Siemian threw for 149 yards and a pair of TDs that came in the final quarter. Denver was 5 of 14 on third down conversions (the Broncos were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 24:06, while the Silver and Black was 5 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 35:54.

Denver’s 6-point week four win allowed them to cover the 2 1/2-point spread but the 46 1/2 over/under was untouched as both clubs merged for only 26 points. In the week 12 contest, Oakland covered the 5-point spread with their 7-point win but the 35 points that the two teams combined was short of the 43 1/2 over/under. Denver’s favored by 6 and the over/under is 45. The Raiders would like to even their record in this matchup, while the Broncos are hoping to be 2-0. Oakland will make this one close but Denver prevails at home and could cover the 7.

New England (1-0) at Jacksonville (1-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. It’s the AFC Championshp rematch Jaugar fans have been waiting for since last January and this time, they meet in much warmer weather and in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville hosts Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in northern Florida in a key AFC matchup

Jacksonville took a 13-6 lead against the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium at the half, then held off the Giants to come away with a 20-15 win. Jacksonville outrushed the Giants 137-114, Blake Bortles threw for 176 yards with a Td, while Eli Manning threw for 224 yards (both men threw an interception and Manning was sacked twice). New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. led all recievers with 111 yards with rookie RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 106 yards and his first NFL rushing TD. Both the Jags and the Giants were 4 of 13 on third down conversions (the Giants were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Giants ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:29, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 29:31.

Brady and the Pats held off a late Texans rally in Foxboro, coming away 27-20 winners last Sunday afternoon last Sunday against DeShaun Watson and Houston. The Pats would lead 21-6 at the half before Houston would rally in the second half, eventually making the contest a 7-point affair with 2:08 left when Watson and WR Bruce Ellington connected on a 5-yard, putting them closer. That would be as close as they would get to Tom Brady and the Patriots, who would hold them off for the win. While the Texans did outrush New England 167-122, Brady burned Houston for 277 yards and three TDs, connecting with TE Rob Gronkowski on one of those tosses. Watson did manage to throw for 176 yards with the TD but was sacked three times and picked off once. Houston was 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:50, while the defending AFC champs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:10, going 4 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

New England leads the regular season series 7-0 and have outscored the Jaguars 214-119. The Patriots’ last win in the regular season series came in 2015 in Foxboro as New England took a 51-17 win in that contest. They did meet in the post-season in Foxboro in the AFC Championship game and the Pats used a pair of fourth quarter TD passes from Brady (290 yards) to WR Danny Amendola to take a 24-20 win at Gillette Stadium. Jacksonville led 14-10 at the half and took a 20-10 lead in the latter part of the fourth quarter before the Patriots rallied to take the lead for keeps and earn a trip to Super Bowl 52. Jacksonville actually outrushed New England 101-46, with Jaguar RB Leonard Fournette leading the way with 76 yards and a TD. The Jaguars, who had their final drive of the contest stall when QB Blake Bortles’ (293 yards, TD) final two passes fell short of their marks (both Brady and Bortles were sacked three times). Jacksonville was 6 of 15 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as kept the ball for 35:08, while New England was 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth) and held the ball for 24:52.

New England was favored by 9 in the AFC Championship game but only won by 4 and both clubs barely missed the 46 over/under with 44 points. Vegas likes the Pats as 2-point favorites and the over/under’s 45. This one could very well be a post-season preview, which makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Jacksonville’s looking for revenge, while the Pats look to maintain their status in the AFC. New England wins this one in the Sunshine State but expect Jacksonville to make things closer than the 2.

New York Giants (0-1) at Dallas (0-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Throw out the records. This rivalry is somewhat of a big deal. Dallas hosts NFC East rival the New York Giants in a Sunday night contest in Jerry World. Both clubs look to bounce back after losses to open the 2018 season.

In their opener in Charlotte against Carolina and Cam Newton, the Panthers kept Dallas in check and the Cowboys were on the short end of a 16-8 loss last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Despite the Cowboys sacking him three times, Newtown threw for 161 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest to open the scoring. The contest was a scorless affair at the end of the first quarter, then saw the Panthers take a 10-0 lead into the intermission, although Dallas did manage to outscore Carolina 8-6 in the final period play, with the Cowboys getting their only points on a 4-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott and a Dak Prescott two-point conversion. Carolina outrushed Dallas 147-94, with Elliott leading all rushers with 69 yards (Newton tallied 58), while Prescott threw for 170 yards with six sacks. Dallas was 2 of 11 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:24, while Carolina kept the pigskin for 30:36, going 4 of 12 on third down.

The Giants saw Jacksonville take a 13-6 lead at Met Life Stadium at the half, then watched the Jaguars hold them off as Jacksonville left upstate New Jersey with a 20-15 win. Jacksonville outrushed the Giants 137-114, Blake Bortles threw for 176 yards with a Td, while Eli Manning threw for 224 yards (both men threw an interception and Manning was sacked twice). New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. led all recievers with 111 yards with rookie RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 106 yards and his first NFL rushing TD. Both the Jags and the Giants were 4 of 13 on third down conversions (the Giants were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Giants ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:29, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 29:31.

Including games that were played at Yankee Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, Giants Stadium and Cowboys Stadium, Dallas leads the series 64-45-2, have outscored the Giants 2,498-2,132 and swept last year’s series (New York’s last win over the Cowboys came in the Meadowlands in 2016 when they were 10-7 winners; they would sweep the series that year). In the first meeting in Arlington in week one, the Cowboys held Big Blue to a third-quarter field goal, taking a 19-3 win in the Lone Star State. Dallas outrushed NeW York 129-35, with RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 104 yards, while Prescott (268 yards) and TE Jason Whitten connected on a 12-yard TD strike before halftime (Manning threw for 220 yards with three sacks and an interception). Dallas was 8 of 15 on third down in the Sunday night matchup and held the ball for 34:14, while the Giants were 4 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 25:46.

Dallas made it two for two in the series and pulled off the sweep, coming to the Meadowlands and leaving with a 30-10 win in week 14. The Elliott-less Cowboys broke a 10-10 halftime tie and scored their final 20 points of the contest in the fourth quarter unchallenged, outrushing the Giants 122-102. Prescott threw 332 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Dez Bryant on one of the tosses, while Manning threw for 228 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. Dallas in the rematch went 7 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:07, while the Giants kept the ball for 32:53, going 6 of 16 on third down.

Dallas covered the 4 1/2-point spread, winning by 16 in the first meeting in Arlington but both clubs could only muster 22 points, missing the 48 over/under. In the week 14 contest in the Meadowlands, the Cowboys won by 10, meaning they did cover the 5-point spread but both clubs missed the 42 over/under by 2 points. There’s nothing that says you can’t have two “DRILL WORTHY” game, so that’s what we have. (for “Drill” instructions, see the New England-Jacksonville game) Dallas is favored by 3 on Sunday night in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 42. Both clubs look to break away from the winless ranks. Dallas covers at home in Jerry World and wins the Sunday night contest in the Lone Star State.

Seattle (0-1) at Chicago (0-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week two concludes in the Windy City as Salmon and Starbucks meets deep-dish pizza at Soldier Field as Seattle and Chicago face off.

Seattle’s late rally against Denver fell short at Broncos Stadium At Mile High as the Broncos came away 27-24 winners in the season opener for both teams. Denver led Russell Wilson and the Seahawks 17-10 at the intermisson before Seattle would outscore Denver in the second half 14-10. For the winning Broncos, Case Keenum threw for 329 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Demariyus Thomas on one toss, while Denver outrushed Seattle 146-64 in the three-point win. Russell Wilson threw for 298 yards with three TDs but was sacked six times in the loss on the road. Denver was 4 of 12 on third down conversions and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 35:08, while Seattle was 24:52 and kept the ball for 24:52.

Da Bears saw their dreams of beating Green Bay at Lambeau Field shattered last Sunday as they would knock QB Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of their Sunday night contest, only to see the Packers rally to take a 24-23 NFC North win over Da Bears. Trailing 17-0 at the intermission, Packer fans saw Rodgers come out of the contest with what some thought was a knee injury, only to give Green Bay fans hope, as they outscored Chicago 24-6 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Chicago outrushed Green Bay 139-69, Rodgers burned Da Bears for 286 yards with three TDs, with the game-winner going to Randall Cobb to send Green Bay’s fan base home happy. Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky threw for 171 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest but the Green Bay defense made things less than pleasant for him, sacking him four times on the evening. Green Bay was 5 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:38, while Chicago kept the pigskin for 33:22, going 7 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

The Seahawks lead the series 11-4, they’ve outscored Chicago 333-290 and Seattle has won the last four meetings, including a 26-0 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, while Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2009 in Seattle by a final of 25-19. Da Bears are 30-38 on Monday night, while the Seahawks are 23-9; both teams played on Monday night last year and both came away with losses. Chicago’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make sense and both teams are trying to get their first win. Seattle prevails in the Windy City and covers the 3 1/2.

The end is near.

The 2017 NFL regular season comes to an end and for those teams that will not be in the post-season, it’s a chance to regroup, evaluate where they are as a team, where they need to be and the talent that they have on the field and on their coaching staffs. This coming Sunday could be a chance to ruin playoff chances for those teams that still have a shot.

For those that are moving on, their journey starts Janaury 6th with the AFC and NFC Wild Card games as they march to Minneapolis and Super Bowl LII on February 4th. For those 12 teams, it’s their second season and things are a little different.

Win. Advance.

Lose. Kickoff is next year.

It’s a concept that is so easy even a five-year old could figure it out.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 16: New England has already won the AFC East and defeated Buffalo 37-16, secured a first-round bye with Sunday’s win combined with Jacksonville’s loss at San Francisco.

The Los Angeles Rams, who defeated Tennessee 27-23 in Nashville, clinched the NFC West division title for the first time since 2003.

Kansas City, who knocked off Miami 29-13 at Arrowhead, secured the AFC West division title for the second consecutive season.

Jacksonvile, who had already clinched a playoff berth, locked up the AFC South division title with Tennessee’s loss to the Rams. It marks Jacksonville’s first division title since 1999 (AFC Central).

New Orleans, who defeated Atlanta 23-13 and the Carolina, who knocked off Tampa Bay 22-19, both clinched a playoff berth.

Philadelphia, who defeated Oakland Monday night, have already won the NFC East and secured a first-round bye and earned themselves home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Pittsburgh defeated Houston Monday afternoon, clinched a first-round bye with the win. The Steelers have have already won the AFC North division title.

New England improved to 12-3 with today’s win over Buffalo. The Patriots have won at least 12 games in eight consecutive seasons (2010-17), surpassing the 2003-09 Indianapolis Colts for the longest such streak in NFL history.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley had 118 rushing yards, 158 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in the Rams’ win at Tennessee. Gurley is the third player in NFL history to have at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Ollie Matson (1954) and Herschel Walker (1986).

Gurley, who has 2,093 scrimmage yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and six receiving touchdowns this season, 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. The other two players to accomplish the feat are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: O.J. Simpson (1975) and Marshall Faulk (2000 and 2001).

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 239 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ win over Atlanta. Brees has 70,200 career passing yards and joined Peyton Manning (71,940) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (71,838) as the only players in NFL history to reach 70,000 passing yards. Brees reached the milestone in his 248th career game and is the fastest in league history to accomplish the feat.

Brees, who has 4,089 passing yards this season, reached 4,000 passing yards for a 12th consecutive season, extending his NFL record.

Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith threw a touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill had 109 receiving yards and rookie running back Kareem Hunt rushed for a score in the Chiefs’ win against Miami.

The Chiefs are the second team in NFL history with a 4,000-yard passer (Smith, 4,042), 1,000-yard rusher (Hunt, 1,292) and both a wide receiver (Hill, 1,183) and tight end (Kelce, 1,038) with at least 1,000 receiving yards each in a single season.

The 1981 San Diego Chargers – with Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Fouts (4,802 passing yards), Charlie Joiner (1,188 receiving yards) and Kellen Winslow (1,075 receiving yards) and Chuck Muncie (1,144 rushing yards) – are the only other team to accomplish the feat.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals’ 23-0 win against the New York Giants in Glendale. This season, Fitzgerald has 101 catches for 1,101 yards and six touchdowns.

Fitzgerald has five seasons with at least 100 catches, tied for the second-most in NFL history. Only Brandon Marshall (six) has more such seasons.

Fitzgerald has nine seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards, tied for the third-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (14) and Randy Moss (10) have more such seasons.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen had five catches for 63 yards and added an interception in the team’s 14-7 win at the New York Jets. Allen, who has 93 catches for 1,260 yards this season, is the first player in NFL history to record at least 90 catches and an interception in the same season. He is also the third player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receiving yards and an interception in the same season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Hutson (1942) and Randy Moss (2009).

THE WEEK THAT WAS WEEK 16: TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: Jacksonville clinched the AFC South division title and joined the Philadelphia (NFC East, home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs) as teams to go from “worst-to-first” this season. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

If Carolina, who has already clinched a playoff berth, wins the NFC South, 2017 would tie the 2005 and 2006 seasons for the most such “worst-to-first” clubs in NFL history.

Carolina (playoff berth), the Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota (NFC North) and New Orleans (playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All four teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

Entering Week 17, five of the eight divisions have a team either in or tied for first place that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

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. This season, six teams – Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans and Philadelphia – have all qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason last year.

This weekend, four clubs – Baltimore, Buffalo, the Los Angeles Changers and Tennessee – are vying for the final two playoff spots in the AFC. In total, eight teams will clinch a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016, tied with the 2003 season for the most such teams since 1990.

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 (Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia)*

*Two of Baltimore, Buffalo, Los Angeles Chargers & Tennessee will qualify for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2016

GURLEY DOES IT ALL: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley totaled a career-high 276 scrimmage yards (158 receiving yards, 118 rushing yards) and had two touchdown receptions in the team’s 27-23 win over Tennessee in Week 16.

Gurley is the third player in NFL history to have at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Ollie Matson (November 28, 1954) and Herschel Walker (December 14, 1986).

The players with at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a single game in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (DATE; RUSHING YARDS/RECEIVING YARDS)
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (December 24, 2017; 118/158)
Herschel Walker, Dallas (December 14, 1986; 122/170)
Ollie Matson, Chicago Cardinals (November 28, 1954; 115/161)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Gurley, who has 2,093 scrimmage yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and six receiving touchdowns this season, 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. The other two players to accomplish the feat are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: O.J. Simpson (1975) and Marshall Faulk (2000 and 2001).

The players with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five touchdown catches in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(SCRIMMAGE YARDS/RUSHING TDS/RECIEVEING TDS)
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (2017) (2,093/13/6)*
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (2001) (2,147/12/9)^
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (2000) (2,189/18/8)^
O.J. Simpson, Buffalo (1975) (2,243/16/7)^
*Through Week 16
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PROLIFIC PASSERS: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 239 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 23-13 win over Atlanta last week.

Brees, who has 70,200 career passing yards, joined Peyton Manning (71,940) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (71,838) as the only players in NFL history with at least 70,000 career passing yards.

PLAYER – TEAMS (CCAREER PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (70,200)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brees, who ranks fifth in the NFL with 4,089 passing yards, extended his NFL-record streak to 12 consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who leads the NFC with 4,123 passing yards, surpassed 4,000 passing yards for the seventh consecutive season, the second-longest streak in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS)(SEASONS WITH 4,000+ PASS YARDS)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2006-17)(12)*
Matthew Stafford – Detroit (2011-17)(7)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (1999-2004)(6)
Matt Ryan – ATLANTA (2011-16)(6)*
*Active streak (Ryan has 3,778 yards in 2017)

Ryan, who has 3,778 passing yards this season, has recorded at least 4,000 passing yards in each of the past six seasons and can extend his streak to seven consecutive seasons with 222 passing yards against Carolina in Week 17.

PHENOMENAL FITZ: Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had nine receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals’ 23-0 win over the New York Giants in Week 16.

Fitzgerald, who ties for second in the league with 101 receptions, has five career seasons with at least 100 catches, tied for the second-most in NFL history. Only Brandon Marshall (six) has more such seasons.

The players with the most 100-catch seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS)
Brandon Marshall – Denver, Chicago and New York Jets (6)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (5)
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (5)
Andre Johnson – Houston (5)
Wes Welker – New England (5)

Fitzgerald, who ranks fourth in the NFC with 1,101 receiving yards, registered his ninth season with at least 1,000 receiving yards, tied for the third-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (14) and RANDY MOSS (10) have more such seasons.

The players with the most seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 1,000+ REC. YARDS)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco and Oakland (14)^^
Randy Moss – Minnesota, Oakland and New England (10)
Tim Brown – Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders (9)^
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (9)
Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas (9)
Jimmy Smith – Jacksonville (9)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LUCKY NUMBER 13: Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith passed for 304 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ 29-13 victory over Miami last week.

Smith, a 13-year NFL veteran, has a career-high 4,024 passing yards and is the third quarterback in NFL history to reach 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career in his 13th season or later.

The players to record their first season with at least 4,000 passing yards in their 13th career season or later:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(EXPERIENCE – PASSING YARDS)
Alex Smith, Kansas City (2017)(13 – 4,024)*
Rich Gannon, Oakland (2002)(14 – 4,689)
Steve Beuerlein, Carolina (1999)(13 – 4,436)
*Through Week 16

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 17: TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: Carolna – who enters the weekend with an 11-4 record and play at Atlanta on Sunday – have clinched a playoff berth and can win the NFC South division title with a win combined with a New Orleans loss at Tampa Bay.

If the Panthers win the NFC South, they would join Philadelphia (NFC East) and Jacksonville (AFC South) as teams to go from “worst-to-first” this season. With three “worst-to-first” teams, 2017 would tie the 2005 and 2006 seasons for the most such clubs in NFL history. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

The Panthers (playoff berth), Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota (NFC North) and New Orleans (playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All four teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

With either Carolina or New Orleans winning the NFC South, five of the eight divisions will be won by a team that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

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. This season, six teams – Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans and Philadelphia – have all qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason last year.

This weekend, four clubs who missed the postseason in 2016 – Baltimore, Buffalo, the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee – are vying for the final two playoff spots in the AFC. In total, eight teams will clinch a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016, tied with the 2003 season for the most such teams since 1990.

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 (Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia)*

*Two of Baltimore, Buffalo, Los Angeles Chargers & Tennessee will qualify for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2016

SHINING STEELERS: Entering Week 17, Pittsburgh Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown leads the NFL with 1,533 receiving yards and Steelers Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell ranks third in the league with 1,291 rushing yards, only 14 yards behind the league-leader Todd Gurley (1,305).

The Steelers are looking to join the 1999 Indianapolis Colts and the 1991 Dallas Cowboys as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to finish the year with the league’s leading rusher and receiver.

The teams to finish a season with the league’s leading rusher and receiver in the Super Bowl era:

TEAM – SEASON (RUSHER – RUSHING YARDS)(RECEIVER – RECIEVING YARDS)
Indianapolis – 1999 (Edgerrin James – 1,553)(Marvin Harrison – 1,663)^
Dallas – 1991 (Emmitt Smith – 1,563)(Michael Irvin – 1,523)^
Pittsburgh – 2017 (Le’Veon Bell – 1,291)(Antonio Brown – 1,533)*
*Through Week 16
^Harrison, Smith and Irvin are Pro Football Hall of Famers

LARRY LEGEND: Arizona Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald ties for second in the NFL with 101 catches and has recorded at least one reception in 210 consecutive games.

Fitzgerald, who plays at Seattle on Sunday, can tie 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, TEAMS (SEASONS, MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A CATCH)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco and Oakland (1985-2004, 274)^
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City and Atlanta (2000-2013, 211)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (2004-Present, 210)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

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

The players with the most touchdown catches in NFL history:

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

PRECISION PASSER: New Orleans Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees has completed 364 of 506 passes for a league-leading 71.9 completion percentage this season.

Brees, who plays at Tampa Bay on Sunday, can surpass SAM BRADFORD (71.6 percent in 2016) for the highest single-season completion percentage in NFL history. Entering the season, Brees held two of the top three single-season completion percentages in league annals.

The quarterbacks with the highest single-season completion percentages in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS, COMPLETION PERCENTAGE)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2017)(364-506, 71.9)*
Sam Bradford, Minnesota (2016)(395-552, 71.6)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011)(468-657, 71.2)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2009)(363-514, 70.6)
*Through Week 16

GURLEY DOES IT ALL: Los Angeles Rams Pro Bowl running back TODD GURLEY leads the NFL with 2,093 scrimmage yards (1,305 rushing, 788 receiving) and 19 total touchdowns this season.

Gurley, who plays against San Francisco on Sunday, can become the second player in NFL history with at least 1,300 rushing yards, 800 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns in a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (2000). Faulk was named the Associated Press Most Valuable Player that season.

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(RUSHING YARDS)(RECEIVING YARDS)(TOTAL TDS)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (2000)(1,359)(830)(26)^
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (2017)(1,305)(788)(19)*
*Through Week 16
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

STREAKING STARS: Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith has a career-high 4,042 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes with five interceptions this season.

Smith has thrown for at least 3,000 yards and had fewer than 10 interceptions in each of the past four seasons and can become the first quarterback in NFL history to accomplish the feat in five consecutive seasons.

New England quarterback Tom Brady, who leads the NFL with 4,387 passing yards and has 30 touchdown passes with eight interceptions this season, can record his fourth consecutive season with at least 3,000 passing yards and fewer than 10 interceptions.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards and fewer than 10 interceptions:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 3,000+ PASS YARDS AND FEWER THAN 10 INTERCEPTIONS)
Alex Smith, Kansas City (2013-16, 4)*
Tom Brady, New England (2014-16, 3)*
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2014-16, 3)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2013-15, 3)
*Active streak

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PHENOM: Houston Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins leads the NFL with 13 touchdown receptions, ranks second with 1,378 receiving yards and is fifth with 96 catches this season.

Hopkins, who plays at Indianapolis on Sunday, can become the fourth player in NFL history to record at least 100 catches, 1,500 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (1995) and Marvin Harrison (2001) and Randy Moss (2003).

The players in NFL history with at least 100 catches, 1,500 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches in a single season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; RECEPTIONS – RECEIVING YARDS, TD CATCHES)

Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1995; 122 – 1,848, 15)^
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (2001; 109 – 1,524, 15)^
Randy Moss, Minnesota (2003; 111 – 1,632, 17)
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (2017; 96 – 1,378, 13)*
*Through Week 16
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SENSATIONAL SOPHOMORE: New Orleans Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas ranks fourth in the NFL with 98 catches this season and is one of two players in league annals (Odell Beckham, Jr.) with 90+ catches in each of his first two seasons.

With five catches at Tampa Bay on Sunday, Thomas, who has 190 catches since entering the league in 2016, can surpass Jarvis Landry (194) for the most catches by a player in his first two seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most catches in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, RECEPTIONS IN 1ST 2 SEASONS)
Jarvis Landry, Miami (2014-15, 194)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2016-17, 190)*
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (2014-15, 187)
*In second season

ROOKIES ON A ROLL: New Orleans Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara and Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey are tied for the league-lead among rookies with 75 catches each.

Kamara and McCaffrey can become the second pair of rookies in NFL history to each record 80 catches in the same season, joining Odell Beckham, Jr. (91 catches) and Jarvis Landry (84) in 2014.

With five catches each on Sunday, Kamara and McCaffrey can join Reggie Bush (88 catches in 2006) and Earl Cooper (83 in 1980) as the only rookie running backs in NFL history with at least 80 catches.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEPTIONS)
Reggie Bush, New Orleans (2006 – 88)
Earl Cooper, San Francisco (1980 – 83)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017 – 75)*
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2017 – 75)*
Terry Kirby, Miami (1993 – 75)
*Through Week 16

ELECTRIC EVANS: Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans leads the Buccaneers with 946 receiving yards this season.

Evans, who plays against New Orleans on Sunday, can join Randy Moss and A.J. Green as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first four seasons. Moss accomplished the feat in each of his first six seasons in the NFL while Green had five such seasons to begin his career.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards to start their careers:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE 1,000+ RECEIVING YARD SEASONS TO BEGIN CAREER)

Randy Moss, Minnesota (1998-2003, 6)
A.J. Green, Cincinnati (2011-15, 5)
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (2014-16, 3)*
*Has 946 receiving yards in fourth season

In case you didn’t look at the schedule when it came out in April, week 17 is all divisional games and all are rematches. There are no secrets hid, as the Book of Common Prayer says in Rite one and there is no Monday night game in week 17.

Week 17 gets underway in Indy as the Colts host the Texans and concludes in the Pacific Northwest as the Seattle Seahawks welcome Arizona to the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Since this is the final week of the regular season, as a combined Christmas/New Year’s gift, we’re going to make every game this Sunday “DRILL WORTHY!” (yes, you read that right. All 16 games, including the Browns) (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?”

That’s it in a nutshell. At the end of the day on Sunday, 12 teams will have playoff spots sealed up and the top two teams in the AFC and NFC will get byes and play in the Divisonal Round. For the other 20 teams that will not be going, they’ll be cleaing out the lockers, assessing what they had for this season and what they need and there may be some coaching changes as well. The playoffs start January 6 and end in Minneapolis with Super Bowl LII on February 3.

Nine of the 12 playoff teams have been determined. Seven of the eight divisions have been clinched. And there’s still plenty to play for in Week 17.

In the AFC, four teams have already punched their ticket to the postseason by winning their division: New England (12-3, AFC East), Pittsburgh (12-3, AFC North), Jacksonville (10-5, AFC South) and Kansas City (9-6, AFC West). The Patriots have clinched a first-round bye and can secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or a Pittsburgh loss. The Steelers, who have locked up a first-round bye, can earn the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a win combined with a New England loss.

Four teams are battling for the AFC’s two Wild Card spots: Baltimore (9-6), Tennessee (8-7), Los Angeles Chargers (8-7) and Buffalo (8-7). The Ravens and Titans are in control for their postseason berths and can each clinch with a win.

In the NFC, five teams have locked up playoff spots, including three division winners: Philadelphia (13-2, NFC East), Minnesota (12-3, NFC North), Los Angeles Rams (11-4, NFC West), New Orleans (11-4) and Carolina (11-4). The Eagles have secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Vikings can earn the conference’s other first-round bye with a win or a Carolina loss or a win by either New Orleans or the Rams. The Saints are in control in the NFC South and can lock up the division title with a win or a Carolina loss. The Panthers can win the NFC South with a win combined with a New Orleans loss. Carolina can also secure a first-round bye with a win combined with losses by New Orleans, Minnesota and the Rams.

Two teams remain alive for the NFC’s final playoff berth: Atlanta (9-6) and Seattle (9-6). The Falcons, who defeated the Seahawks 34-31 in Week 11, can clinch a playoff spot with a win or Seattle loss. The Seahawks can qualify for the postseason with a win combined with an Atlanta loss.

The Eagles and Jaguars have both completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons. If the Panthers win the NFC South, 2017 would tie the 2005 and 2006 seasons for the most such “worst-to-first” clubs in NFL history.

In case you’ve been asleep, here are some playoff scenarios for week 17. Some of these are simple, others could cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!). Here are the week 17 scenarios.

AFC

CLINCHED: New England – AFC East division title and first-round bye; Pittsburgh – AFC North division title and first-round bye
Jacksonville – AFC South division title; Kansas City – AFC West division title

New England vs. New York Jets (5-10), 1 p.m.

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) New England win OR

2) Pittsburgh loss OR

3) New England tie + Pittsburgh tie

Pittsburgh (12-3) vs. Cleveland (0-15), 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) Pittsburgh win + New England loss or tie OR

2) Pittsburgh tie + New England loss

Baltimore (9-6) vs. Cincinnati (6-9), 4:25 p.m.

Baltimore clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Baltimore win or tie OR

2) Buffalo loss or tie OR

3) Tennessee loss or tie

Tennessee (8-7) vs. Jacksonville (10-5), 4:25 p.m.

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Tennessee win OR

2) Tennessee tie + Buffalo loss or tie + Los Angeles Chargers loss or tie OR

3) Buffalo loss + Los Angeles Chargers loss

Los Angeles Chargers (8-7) vs. Oakland (6-9), 4:25 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Los Angeles Chargers win + Tennessee loss or tie + Buffalo loss or tie OR

2) Los Angeles Chargers win + Tennessee loss or tie + Baltimore win or tie OR

3) Los Angeles Chargers tie + Tennessee loss + Buffalo loss or tie

Buffalo (8-7) (at Miami (6-9), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Buffalo clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Buffalo win + Baltimore loss OR

2) Buffalo win + Los Angeles Chargers loss or tie + Tennessee loss or tie OR

3) Buffalo tie + Los Angeles Chargers loss + Tennessee loss

NFC

CLINCHED: Philadelphia – NFC East division title and home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs; Minnesota – NFC North division title
Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title; New Orleans – playoff berth; Carolina – playoff berth

Minnesota (12-3) vs. Chicago (5-10), 1 p.m.

Minnesota clinches a first-round bye with:

1) Minnesota win or tie OR

2) Carolina loss or tie OR

3) New Orleans win OR

4) Los Angeles Rams win

New Orleans (11-4) at Tampa Bay (4-11), 4:25 p.m.

New Orleans clinches NFC South division title with:

1) New Orleans win OR

2) Carolina loss OR

3) NO tie + Carolina tie

Carolina (11-4) at Atlanta (9-6), 4:25 p.m.

Carolina clinches NFC South division title with:

1) Carolina win + NO loss or tie OR

2) Carolina tie + NO loss

Carolina clinches a first-round bye with:

1) Carolina win + NO loss or tie + Minnesota loss + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie

ATLANTA (9-6) vs. Carolina (11-4), 4:25 p.m.

Atlanta clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Atlanta win OR

2) Seattle loss OR

3) Atlanta tie + Seattle tie

Seattle (9-6) vs. Arizona (7-8), 4:25 p.m.

Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Seattle win + Atlanta loss or tie OR

2) Seattle tie + Atlanta loss

Next week, it’s a totally diferent mindset and a totally different season.

Win. Move on.

Lose. Your next game’s kickoff is next year.

As for last week, we went 11-5 again (which wasn’t bad) and for the season, we’re 146-95.

Everything this week is on a Sunday and there are no Sunday or Monday night games on the docket, so when the Arizona-Seattle game comes to an end, the 2017 regular season comes to an end and the curtain will fall. The season comes to an end and for 20 teams that don’t make the post-season, they’ll be clearing out their lockers and teams will make changes in their coaching staffs and preparing for the draft. With that in mind, here are the week 17 picks.

Carolina (11-4) at ATLANTA (9-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Cam Newton vs. Matt Ryan, Round 2. This time, it’s Carolina that will make the trip down I-85 for an important NFC South meeting that could decide the fates of both clubs. Both clubs won the division the last two seasons and look to make their mark in the post-season.

Carolina comes into the late-afternoon contest after they took care of Tampa Bay 22-19 in Charlotte last Sunday. The Panthers led Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston 12-9 at the half in the battle of former Heisman QBs before the Bucs took a 16-12 lead with 10:27 left in the third when Winston and WR Bobo Wilson relived their FSU days and connected on a 18-yard TD pass in the contest. After Carolina’s Graham Gano pulled his club to within one with a 30-yard field goal at the 4:49 mark of the third quarter, Patrick Murray would put Tampa Bay back to a four-point lead with a 26-yard field with 14:57 left in regulation. That lead would stay that way until Newton engineered a 10-play, 59-yard drive that took 2:25 of clock, staring with three minutes left after Murray missed a 51-yard field goal and ended with Newton scoring on a three-yard TD run with 39 seconds left.

Carolina then had their fans crossing their fingers and holding their breaths as the Bucs got the ball back but took victory away from the Bucs as they would fumble and Julius Peppers would recover the ball at Tampa Bay’s 18-yard line. At than point, Winston was not a happy camper and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, making the penalty a half-the-distance foul and put the ball on the 9-yard line, where Carolina ran out the clock. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 115-66 and Newton threw for 160 with an interception, while Winston threw for 367 yards and a TD (Newton was sacked twice, while Winston was sacked six times). Carolina on third down tries went 4 of 13 but went 1 of 1 on fourth down at Bank of America Stadium and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Bucs were 6 of 11 third down wise, keeping the ball for 29:30.

Atlanta could never get on track against New Orleans last Sunday in the Big Easy, falling to the Saints 23-13. NeW Orleans led 13-0 at the intermission before the Falcons finally got on the board with 9:34 left in the third on a 37-yard field goal by Matt Bryant with 9:34. The Falcons later on thought they finally got into the end zone when Ryan and WR Julio Jones conntected on what they thought was a 5-yard TD pass but it would be later reversed after it was determined that Jones did not break the plain. Atlanta then got the ball on New Orleans’ 1-yard line but could not get into the end zone. After a second Bryant field goal, Tevin Coleman and Ryan connected on a 14-yard strike with 2:40 left in the contest to make it a 10-point affair. New Orleans then ran the clock out and took the win, avenging their week 15 loss in the Big Peach. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier and the Saints outrushed Atlanta 86-67 and Ryan threw for 288 yards and was sacked five times and picked off once, while Drew Brees threw for 239 yards and an interception with a sack (each man threw a TD pass). Atlanta went 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:12, while the Saints ruled the clock and held the ball for 33:48, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Carolina and Atlanta met in Charlotte in week nine and the Panthers held on for a 20-17 win at Bank of America Stadium. Atlanta led 10-7 going into halftime before Newton gave Carolina the lead for good, scoring on a 5-yard run with 23 seconds left. Leading 14-10 at the half, Carolina added two more Gano field goals in the third quarter before the Falcons made it a 7-point contest with 3:25 left when Coleman and Ryan connected on a 19-yard TD pass but that would as close as Atlanta would get. Carolina outrushed the defending NFC champs 201-53 and Newton threw for 137 yards and a sack, while Ryan threw for 313 yards with the two TDs and an interception, while being sacked twice. Carolina on third down? The Panthers were 4 of 13 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:52, while the Falcons were 4 of 12 on third down (0 of 3 on fourth down) and held the pigskin for 27:08.

Atlanta was favored by 2 in the week nine contest in the Tar Heel State and Carolina covered, winning by 3. The 42 over/under was untouched, as both clubs accounted for 37 points in the first meeting. The oddsmakers like the Falcons again, this time as 3 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 46. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Carolina would like to ruin the Falcons’ party, while the Falcons would like nothing more than to defend their NFC title. The Dirty Birds will get their wish. Falcons cover the 3 1/2 and win in the Big Peach.

Houston (4-11) at Indianapolis (3-12), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC South cellar-dwellers meet in the Hoosier State in the season finale as the Texans take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Texans wound up on Pittsburgh’s naughty list Christmas Day afternoon and dropped a 34-6 decision to the Steelers at NRG Stadium. Pittsburgh, leading from start to finish, led 20-0 at the intermission and held the Texans to a 3-yard TD pass from T.J. Yates to DeAndre Hopkins with 12:30 left in the contest. Pittsburgh, who got a first-round bye with the win, got 226 yards of passing from Ben Roethlisberger with a pair of TDs, while the Steeler defense held T.J. Yates in check, holding him to 83 yards with six sacks and an interception. Houston did outrush Pittsburgh 176-104, with Houston’s Alfred Blue leading the way with 108 yards. The struggling Texans were 3 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs at NRG Stadium and kept the ball for 29:04, while the Steelers, led by LeVeon Bell’s 69 yards rushing (TD), kept the ball for 30:56, going 7 of 12 on third down conversions in the Lone Star State.

Indianapolis almost damaged Baltimore’s playoff hopes but the Ravens prevailed in Charm City, coming away 23-16 winners last Saturday afternoon. Baltimore led 13-7 at the half at M&T Bank Stadium before the Colts managed to keep things close, thanks to three second half field goals by Adam Vinatieri and held off a late Colts rally in the final minutes of the contest. Baltimore outrushed Indy 103-93 and Joe Flacco threw for 237 yards and a pair of TDs, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 215 yards and a TD (Brissett was sacked twice, Flacco was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Baltimore was 6 of 14 on third down tries (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:48, while the Colts were 24:12 in time of possession, going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They met in week nine in the Lone Star State and the Colts prevailed 20-14 at NRG Stadium in that contest. WR T.Y. Hilton scored on a pair of Brissett TD passes as the Colts led 10-7 at the half and took control in the contest. Houston did outrush Indy 94-92 but Brissett threw for 308 yards and the two TD passes, while Tom Savage threw for for 219 yards and a TD to Hopkins (Brissett was sacked three times, while Savage was sacked twice). Both clubs were 4 of 14 on third down tries, the Texans were 0 of 1 on fourth down and Houston kept the ball for 29:01, while the Colts ruled the clock and held the ball for 30:59.

Houston was a 7-point favorite in the week nine contest at NRG Stadium and the Colts came away with the win but only by 6 points. As for the 45 1/2 over/under? It was safe, as both teams combined for only 39 points. The Colts are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 41. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “Mythbusters” marathon on Science Channel. This could very well be Chuck Pagano’s last game but the Colts will make it a good one. Indy covers the 3 1/2 back home again in Indiana and takes the win.

New York Jets (5-10) at New England (12-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFL/AFC East rivals meet again, this tim in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots welcome the New York Jets to Gillette Stadium in the regular season finale.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! saw the Los Angeles Chargers improve their slim playoff chances last Sunday at Met Life Stadium, coming out on the short end of a 14-7 loss. After a scoreless first quarter, GangGreen trailed 7-0 at the half when Philip Rivers and TE Antonio Gates connected on a 3-yard TD pass halfway through the second quarter. NeW York would tie things up at 7-7 with 10:00 left in the third when Bilal Powell ran 57 yards yards untouched for his team’s firat and only score of the contest. The Bolts would take the lead back and for good in the third quarter when RB Melvin Gordon scored from one yard out with 4:57 left. GangGreen outrushed Los Angeles 197-89, with Powell leading everyone with 145 yards, while Rivers threw for 290 yards and Bryce Petty threw for 119 yards for the Jets. New York on third down tries at Met Life Stadium went 3 of 14 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:02, while the Chargers held the ball for 32:58, going 5 of 16 on third down conversions.

The Pats and Brady took care of Buffalo 37-16 at Gillette Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Erasing a 3-0 deficit after the first 15 minutes, New England went to work and took a 13-13 tie with them to the intermision, then proceeded to outscore the Bills 24-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. New England outrushed Buffalo 193-84 and Pats RB Dion Lewis led all rushers with 129 yards on the ground, while Brady threw for 224 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Lewis and All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski on the two tosses. As for the Bills, Tyrod Taylor threw for 281 yards but was sacked six times in the loss. New England was 5 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:44, while the Bills, who kept the pigskin for 28:16, went 8 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down tries in eastern Massachusetts.

New England and GangGreen went into halftime tied at 14-14 before the Pats pulled away and took a 24-17 win at Met Life Stadium in week six. Brady (257 yards) and Gronkowski connected on a pair of TDs in the game as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would pull to within seven with 3:40 on a 28-yard field goal by Chris Catanzaro but could come no closer as the Pats ran out the clock and took the win. New England outrushed GangGreen 118-74, while Josh McGown threw for 354 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions. Both clubs did reasonably well on third down conversions (the Pats were 7 of 13, the Jets were 9 of 17 and 1 of 3 on fourth down) and the clock was on the side of the Jets, who held the ball for 33:40, while the Pats kept it for 26:20.

In the week six contest in upstate New Jersey, New England came away 7-point winners, missing the 9 1/2-point spread. The 47 1/2 over/under was untouched, as both teams merged for only 41 points. The odds makers New England a 15 point favorite in Foxboro and the over/under’s 45. The 45 makes sense. The 15 is a bit steep. GangGreen’s played some decent football and while they’re not going to the post-season, they’re not 15 points bad. New England wins this one but expect the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to make life hard for Brady and the Pats in Foxboro.

Cleveland (0-15) at Pittsburgh (12-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. The winless Browns travel to the Steel City for a Sunday afternoon date with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Heartbreak continued for Browns fans last Sunday along the shore of Lake Michigan as they lost to Chicago 20-3 at Solider Field. Cleveland trailed 6-3 at the half, thanks to a 48-yard field goal by Zeke Gonzalez with one second left before the intermission, then saw Da Bears pull away from Cleveland in the second half, getting rushing TDs from Jordan Howard, who already had one TD and Mitch Trubisky in the second half to put the contest away. Chicago outrushed Cleveland 97-75 and DeShon Kizer threw for 182 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Trubisky threw for 193 yards and five sacks. Cleveland was 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs in the Windy City, keeping the ball for 26:46, while Da Bears kept the ball in hibernation for 33:14, going 7 of 16 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh put Houston on their naughty list Christmas Day afternoon as they took care of the Texans 34-6 at NRG Stadium. Pittsburgh, who already won the AFC North, led from start to finish, taking a 20-0 lead at the intermission and held the Texans to a 3-yard TD pass from T.J. Yates to DeAndre Hopkins with 12:30 left in the contest. Pittsburgh, who got a first-round bye with the win, got 226 yards of passing from Ben Roethlisberger with a pair of TDs, while the Steeler defense held T.J. Yates in check, holding him to 83 yards with six sacks and an interception. Houston did outrush Pittsburgh 176-104, with Houston’s Alfred Blue leading the way with 108 yards. The struggling Texans were 3 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs at NRG Stadium and kept the ball for 29:04, while the Steelers, led by LeVeon Bell’s 69 yards rushing (TD), kept the ball for 30:56, going 7 of 12 on third down conversions in the Lone Star State.

The two clubs opened the 2017 campaign along the shores of Lake Erie and the Steelers were 21-18 winners at FirstEnergy Field. Pittsburgh led 14-7 at the half, then held off the Browns in the final 30 minutes of action as Cleveland would pull to within 3 with 3:36 left in the contest when Kizer and WR Corey Coleman connected on a 3-yard TD strike. Cleveland would come no closer and failed on their onside kick attempt, allowing the Steelers to take the ball and run out the clock. The Browns did manage to outrush Pittsburgh 57-35 but Roethlisberger threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs to TE Jesse James, while Kizer threw for 222 yards with seven sacks.

Pittsburgh, favored by 9 1/2 in the season opener, won by 3 along the shores of Lake Erie and the 46 1/2 over/under was intact, as both clubs combined for 39 points. Pittsburgh’s favored again, this time by 13 and the over/under’s 39 1/2. The Browns are just bad and Browns coach Hugh Jackson made a promise that if his team goes 0 for the season, he’d jump in Lake Erie. Pittsburgh may not cover the 13 but they take the win in the Steel City and Jackson takes the plunge.

Green Bay (7-8) at Detroit (8-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North teams that saw their playoff hopes come crashing down meet in the Motor City as Green Bay travels to Detroit to face off against the Detroit Lions.

With their playoff hopes dashed last Monday night by Atlanta in Tampa Bay, Green Bay watched Minnesota score all of their 16 points unchallenged last Saturday night at Lambeau as the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers were shut out 16-0 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. WR Stefon Diggs scored the game’s only TD when he caught a 4-yard TD pass from Case Keenum with 56 seconds left in the opening frame, then got a pair of Kai Horbath field goals in the final 30 minutes of action to seal Green Bay’s fate. Green Bay did manage to outrush the Purple Gang 113-112 and Keenum threw for 139 yards, while Brett Hundley threw for 130 yards and a pair of interceptions. Both clubs were 4 of 15 on third down and the Packers were 0 of 4 on fourth down tries and the Vikings ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:37 to Green Bay’s 28:23.

Detroit saw their playoff hopes die in Cincinnati last Sunday afternoon after their 26-17 loss to Andy Dalton and the Bengals along the shores of the Ohio River. The Lions let a 7-6 halftime lead get away from them as the Bengals pulled away in the final 30 minutes of action, outscoring Detroit 20-10 in that time. Cincy outrushed Detroit 142-87, Giovani Bernard ran for 116 yards and a TD and Dalton threw for 238 yards, while Matthew Stafford threw for 203 yards (both men threw a TD and an interception, Dalton was sacked three times, while Stafford was sacked twice). The Bengals were 7 of 14 on third down and held the ball for 32:29, while Detroit on third down was 6 of 15 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:31.

Detroit and Green Bay met at Lambeau in week nine and the Lions left the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst 30-17 winners. The Lions led 14-3 at the intermission and took control from that point onward. Green Bay did outrush Detroit 78-64 and Stafford threw for 361 yards and a pair of TDs, while Hundley threw for 245 yards with a pair of sacks (Hundley did have a rushing TD in the contest). Green Bay went 2 of 9 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 23:05, while the Lions were 8 of 13 on third down conversions, keepin the ball for 36:55.

In the week nine contest at Lambeau, the Lions were favored by 2 1/2 and covered the spread, winning by 13 and both clubs covered the 43 1/2 over/under, scoring 47 points. Detroit’s favored again, this time by 7 with a 43 over/under. Green Bay’s looking for revenge and they’ll get it. Packers cover the 7 and win in the Motor City.

Chicago (5-10) at Minnesota (12-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Chicago travels to the Twin Cities for an NFC North matchup with the Minnesota Vikings in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Da Bears gave Clevland fans even more heartache last Sunday at snowy Soldier Field, coming away 20-3 winners in the Windy City. Chicago led 6-3 at the half, then pulled away from Cleveland in the second half, getting rushing TDs from Jordan Howard, who already had one TD and Mitch Trubisky in the second half to put the contest away. Chicago outrushed Cleveland 97-75 and DeShon Kizer threw for 182 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Trubisky threw for 193 yards and five sacks. Cleveland was 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs in the Windy City, keeping the ball for 26:46, while Da Bears kept the ball in hibernation for 33:14, going 7 of 16 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota scored all of their 16 points against Green Bay unchallenged last Saturday night at Lambeau as they shut out the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers 16-0 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. WR Stefon Diggs scored the game’s only TD when he caught a 4-yard TD pass from Case Keenum with 56 seconds left in the opening frame, then got a pair of Kai Horbath field goals in the final 30 minutes of action to seal Green Bay’s fate. Green Bay did manage to outrush the Purple Gang 113-112 and Keenum threw for 139 yards, while Brett Hundley threw for 130 yards and a pair of interceptions. Both clubs were 4 of 15 on third down and the Packers were 0 of 4 on fourth down tries and the Vikings ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:37 to Green Bay’s 28:23.

Da Bears and Minnesota met in the Windy City in week five and the Vikings were 20-17 winners. After taking a score of 3-2 that resembled a Twins-White Sox game (Minnesota had the lead), Minnesota and Chicago played a close second half but the Vikings prevailed in the final 30 minutes of action to take the win. Minnesota outrushed Chicago 159-115 and after taking over for Sam Bradford, Keenum threw for 140 yards, while Trubisky threw for 128 yards (each had a TD pass). Chicago was 3 of 12 on third down (Da Bears were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:36, while the Vikings ruled the clock and held on to the pigskin for 31:24, going 6 of 15 on third down.

In the week five contest in the Windy City on a Monday night, the Vikings were 2 1/2-point favorites and won by 3. Both teams barely missed the 40 over/under, as they combined for 37 points. Minnesota’s favored by 11 1/2 in the rematch and the over/under’s 39 1/2. Da Bears at times have played some decent football this year and while they’re going to miss the playoffs again, they’ll give the Vikings all they can handle to help John Fox keep his job but Minnesota prevails at home and takes the win, even though they’re not going to cover the 11 1/2.

Washington (7-8) at New York Giants (2-13), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins travel to upstate New Jersey for an early afternoon meeting with Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

The Redskins moved to within one game of the .500 mark after they defeated Denver 27-11 at FedEx Field in the home finale in Landover. Cousins threw three TDs passes in the contest as Washington erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit, led 10-3 at the intermission and proceeded to corral the Broncos in the second half. While the Broncos outrushed Washington 159-87, Cousins threw for 299 yards and the three TDs, while Brock Osweiler threw for 193 yards and four sacks (each threw an interception). Washington was 5 of 13 on third down tries in northern Maryland and kept the ball for 29:33, while Denver ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 30:27, going 5 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The dismal and somewhat disappointing season for the Giants continued in the desert last Sunday as New York and Eli were shutout by the Desert Angry Birds 23-0 in Glendale. Held to 43 yards rushing, the Giants saw Arizona score all of their points in the contest unchallenged and trailed 10-0 at the half, while rushing for 74 yards of their own. Manning threw for 263 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions, while Arizona’s Drew Stanton threw for 209 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald on one of those tosses. The Giants on third down were a somewhat dismal 1 of 14 on third down and 1 of 4 on fourth down in the desert, keeping the ball for 26:47, while the Desert Angry Birds were 5 of 14 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 33:13.

They met in Landover in week 12 and Washington came away 20-10 winners at FedEX Field. Washington broke a 10-10 tie after three quarters of play (the teams were tied 3-3 at the half) and scored their final 10 points in the fourth quarter without a challenge from the Giants. Washington’s Samaje Perine led all rushers with 100 yards, as the Redskins outrushed the Giants 122-84 and Cousins threw for 242 yards and a pair of TDs with six sacks, while Manning threw for 113 yards with four sacks (each man threw an interception). Washington was 4 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 34:37, while the Giants kept the ball for 25:23, going 2 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Washington covered the 7-point spread in the week 12 contest that was played on Thanksgiving night but the 44 over/under was safe as both teams combined for 30 points. Washington’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 38. Both numbers make sense. The Giants have been football’s answer to Mrs. Fletcher (and we’re not talking the character on “Murder, She Wrote”). Redskins fans have been singing “Hail To The Redskins” the last two weeks after their wins. Better warm up those pipes, kids. “Hail To The Redskins!” Washington covers the 3 1/2 and takes the win in upstate New Jersey.

Dallas (8-7) at Philadelphia (13-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. The Cowboys limp into the City of Brotherly Love, hoping to do some damage to the Eagles’ march to the playoffs.

Dallas saw their playoff hopes come to an end in Arlington last Sunday afternoon as they would fall to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks 21-12. Dallas took a 9-7 halftime lead with them to the intermission before Seattle woke up and took control of things in the second half to take a win in what some called an elimination game. Seattle got TDs from CB Josh Coleman (interception) and WR Doug Baldwin (TD pass from Russell Wilson) in the second half as they held the Cowboys to four Dan Bailey field goals and Ezekiel Elliot to 97 yards rushing. Dallas would have made the contest a 3-point affair late in the game but Bailey missed a pair of key field goals that could have made things closer. Dallas outrushed Seattle 128-76 and Dak Prescott threw for 182 yards, while Wilson threw for 93 yards with two TDs (Wilson connected with TE Jimmy Graham for the other TD strike). Dallas was 6 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 32:50, while Seattle kept the ball for 27:10, going 4 of 11 on third down.

The Eagles clinched home field advantage last Monday night as they defeated Oakland 19-10 in the City of Brotherly Love. After going to the half tied at 7-7, Oakland took a 10-7 lead on a 25-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio with 10:50 left in the third. That would be the last time Oaklahd would lead, as the Eagles got a pair of Josh Elliott field goals and closed things out when DE Derek Barnett lived a linesman’s dream and returned a Raiders’ fumble 23 yards for a game-ending TD. While the Eagles were held to 78 yards rushing and Oakland ran for 137 (Marshawn Lynch led all rushers with 95 yards), Philadelphia managed to force Oakland to turn the ball over five times, including the final turnover of the contest and Nick Foles threw for 163 yards, while Derek Carr threw for 140 (each threw a TD pass, Carr was picked off twice, Foles was picked off once). While the Eagles went 1 of 14 on third down tries, there were successful on fourth down tries, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 25:39, while the Raiders were 34:21 in time of possession, going 3 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Dallas and Philadelphia squared off in Arlington in week 11 and the Eagles took control of things AT&T Stadium, after they trailed 9-6 at the break. The Eagles then went on to score 30 second half points unchallenged to take the 37-9 NFC East win in the Lone Star State. Philly outrushed Dallas 215-112 and Carson Wentz threw for 168 yards and a pair of TDs, while Prescott threw for 145 yards with three interceptions and four sacks in the Sunday night contest. Philly was 5 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:29, while the Cowboys were 3 of 14, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, with the Cowboys keeping the ball for 30:31.

Philadelphia covered the 4-point spread in the contest that took place the Sunday before Thanksgiving, winning by 28 but both clubs missed the 48 1/2 over/under, scoring 46 points. Dallas is favored by 2 in the City of Brotherly Love and the over/under’s 41. The Eagles rule the NFC East and they’ve got a bye in the first round, while the Cowboys want to make things harder for them. Eagles soar in the City of Brotherly Love and cover the 2 with the win at home.

Jacksonville (10-5) at Tennessee (8-7), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 710. Jacksonville travels to the Music City for a rematch with the Tennesee Titans in a contest that could decide the fate of the host team. Both teams enter Sunday’s contest with losses under their belts.

The Jaguars, who won the AFC South title with Tennessee’s loss to the Rams, went into the half in their contest tied with San Francisco at 16-16, only to see the 49ers break the tie and take a 44-33 win at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara last Sunday. Blake Bortles threw for 382 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off twice, as Jacksonville was outrushed by the resurging 49ers 131-92, while the 49ers Jimmy Garaffalo threw for 242 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD of his own. San Francisco, who led 23-19 after three quarters of play, only needed to keep the ball for 29:11 while going 10 of 15 on third down tries. Jacksonville went 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:49.

Tennessee’s hopes of winning the AFC South title were dashes as the Los Angeles Rams left Nissan Stadium with the NFC West crown and a 27-23 win in Nashville last Sunday. Tennessee was outscored by the Rams 14-13 in the second half, as they broke a 13-13 tie at the intermission to take the win and the divisional title for the first time since 2003 when they were in St. Louis. Los Angeles outrushed Tennessee 116-97 and Todd Gurley led all rushers with 118 yards, catching a pair of Jared Goff TD passes in the win. Goff threw for 301 yards and four TDs in the win, while Tennessee Marcus Mariota threw for 275 yards with a sack and an interception. The Rams were 6 of 14 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 30:04, while Tennessee went 29:56 in time of possession, going 3 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Titans flexed some muscle in Jacksonville in their week two meeting at EverBank Field, taking a 37-16 win in the Sunshine State. Tennessee led 6-3 at the break, then broke away from the Jaguars in the final 30 minutes of action, outscoring the Jaguars 31-13 in that frame. Tennessee outrushed Jacksonville 179-99, Mariota threw for 215 yards and Blake Bortles threw for 223 yards (each man threw a TD pass, Mariota was sacked once and threw an interception, while Bortles was sacked twice and threw a pair of picks). Both clubs were 6 of 13 on third down in the home opener for Jacksonville, who kept the ball for 29:14, while the Titans held the pigskin for 30:46.

In the week two contest in the Sunshine State, the Titans covered the 1 1/2-point spread, winning by 21 and both clubs covered the 48 1/2 over/under by tallying 53 points. The Titans are favored by 5 1/2 in the rematch and the over/under’s 41. Jacksonville is set as the 3 seed in the AFC, while Tennessee is trying to crash the party. Jaguars get their revenge on Tennessee in the Music City and cover the 5 1/2 on the road.

Buffalo (8-7) at Miami (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC East foes meet in the Sunshine State as Miami hopes to ruin Buffalo’s playoff chances as they host the Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams enter the AFC East finale with road losses under their belts.

Buffalo’s playoff hopes took a hit at New England a the Bills fell to Tom Brady and the Pats 37-16 at Gillette Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Erasing a 3-0 deficit after the first 15 minutes, New England went to work and took a 13-13 tie with them to the intermision, then proceeded to outscore the Bills 24-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. New England outrushed Buffalo 193-84 and Pats RB Dion Lewis led all rushers with 129 yards on the ground, while Brady threw for 224 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Lewis and All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski on the two tosses. As for the Bills, Tyrod Taylor threw for 281 yards but was sacked six times in the loss. New England was 5 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:44, while the Bills, who kept the pigskin for 28:16, went 8 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down tries in eastern Massachusetts.

Miami would watch Kansas City take the AFC West as they lost to the Chiefs 29-13 at Arrowhead. The Dolphins trailed 17-13 at the intermission in the Show-Me State before the Chiefs scored their final nine points of the contest without a challenge, thanks to three Hank Butker in the final 30 minutes of action. Kansas City outrushed Miami 103-59 and Alex Smith threw for 304 yards, while Miami’s 286 (both men threw a TD pass without an interception, while Smith was sacked once). Miami was 0 of 8 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs and held on to the ball for 22:07, while Kansas City held on to the ball for 37:53, going 8 of 16 on third down.

They met two weeks ago in upstate New York and the Bills escacped with a 24-16 win in Orchard Park. Trailing 21-6 after the first 30 minutes of action, the Dolphins would eventually pull to within eight with 39 seconds left in regulation when K Chris Parkey connected on a 23-yard field goal to make it 24-16. Miami then tried the onside kick and failed, allowing the Bills to recover the ball and run out the clock. Buffalo outrushed Miami 116-100 and LeSean McCoy scored a pair of TDs in the contest, one rushing and one on a 16-yard TD pass from Tyrod Taylor in the second quarter. Taylor threw for 224 yards and the lone TD pass, while Jay Cutler threw for 274 yards but was picked off three times and sacked three times. Miami went 5 of 16 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:25, while the Bills possessed the pigskin for 27:35, going 7 of 15, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Bills covered the 3 1/2-point spread last week in upstate New York, winning by 8 but both teams barely missed the 42 over/under by 2 points. In the Sunshine State rematch, the Bills are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. The Dolphins figure if they can’t go to the playoffs, Buffalo’s not going either. Misery loves company and the Dolphins take revenge on the Bills and cover the 3 with the win at home.

Cincinnati (6-9) at Baltimore (9-6), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. If nothing else, Cincinnati comes to Charm City to face off against the Ravens for a chance to do some damage to Baltimore’s playoff plans.

Cincinnati put an end to Detroit’s playoff hopes last Sunday afternoon as they came away 26-17 winners along the shores of the Ohio River. The Lions let a 7-6 halftime lead get away from them as the Bengals pulled away in the final 30 minutes of action, outscoring Detroit 20-10 in that time. Cincy outrushed Detroit 142-87, Giovani Bernard ran for 116 yards and a TD and Dalton threw for 238 yards, while Matthew Stafford threw for 203 yards (both men threw a TD and an interception, Andy Dalton was sacked three times, while Stafford was sacked twice). The Bengals were 7 of 14 on third down and held the ball for 32:29, while Detroit on third down was 6 of 15 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:31.

The Ravens kept their playoff hopes alive in Charm City, coming away 23-16 winners last Saturday afternoon against Indianapolis. Baltimore led 13-7 at the half at M&T Bank Stadium before the Colts managed to keep things close, thanks to three second half field goals by Adam Vinatieri and held off a late Colts rally in the final minutes of the contest. Baltimore outrushed Indy 103-93 and Joe Flacco threw for 237 yards and a pair of TDs, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 215 yards and a TD (Brissett was sacked twice, Flacco was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Baltimore was 6 of 14 on third down tries (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:48, while the Colts were 24:12 in time of possession, going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Cincinnati and Baltimore opened the 2017 campaign at Paul Brown Stadium and the Ravens scored all 20 of their points unchallenged, shutting out the Bengals 20-0. Baltimore led 17-0 at the break and never looked back to take the season opener. Cincy was outrushed 157-77 and Dalton threw for 170 yards with five sacks and four interceptions, while Flacco threw for 121 yards and a TD. The Ravens on third down went 6 of 14 and kept the ball for 34 minutes, while the Bengals held the pigskin for 26 minutes, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Although they were the underdogs, the Ravens covered the 3-point spread, winning by 20 but both teams missed the 42 over/under, tallying only 20 points. The odds makers like Baltimore again, this time as 9 1/2 point favorites and the over/under coming in at 40 1/2. History has a way of repeating itself and that will be the case for the Ravens. They may or may not make the post-season but they’ll make life miserable for Marvin Lewis in what could be his last game in Cincy. Ravens may not cover the 9 1/2 but they’ll take the win.

New Orleans (11-4) at Tampa Bay (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. Drew Brees vs. Jameis Winston. They meet in the Sunshine State in a late afternoon affair as the Saints travel to Tampa Bay for a showdown with the Bucaneers.

Brees and the Saints manhandled Atlanta 23-13 in the Big Easy last Sunday. NeW Orleans led 13-0 at the intermission before the Falcons finally got on the board with 9:34 left in the third on a 37-yard field goal by Matt Bryant with 9:34. The Falcons later on thought they finally got into the end zone when Ryan and WR Julio Jones conntected on what they thought was a 5-yard TD pass but it would be later reversed after it was determined that Jones did not break the plain. Atlanta then got the ball on New Orleans’ 1-yard line but could not get into the end zone. After a second Bryant field goal, Tevin Coleman and Ryan connected on a 14-yard strike with 2:40 left in the contest to make it a 10-point affair. New Orleans then ran the clock out and took the win, avenging their week 15 loss in the Big Peach. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier and the Saints outrushed Atlanta 86-67 and Ryan threw for 288 yards and was sacked five times and picked off once, while Drew Brees threw for 239 yards and an interception with a sack (each man threw a TD pass). Atlanta went 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:12, while the Saints ruled the clock and held the ball for 33:48, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay fans had their hearts broken as they lost to Carolina 22-19 in Charlotte last Sunday. The Panthers led Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston 12-9 at the half in the battle of former Heisman QBs before the Bucs took a 16-12 lead with 10:27 left in the third when Winston and WR Bobo Wilson relived their FSU days and connected on a 18-yard TD pass in the contest. After Carolina’s Graham Gano pulled his club to within one with a 30-yard field goal at the 4:49 mark of the third quarter, Patrick Murray would put Tampa Bay back to a four-point lead with a 26-yard field with 14:57 left in regulation. That lead would stay that way until Newton engineered a 10-play, 59-yard drive that took 2:25 of clock, staring with three minutes left after Murray missed a 51-yard field goal and ended with Newton scoring on a three-yard TD run with 39 seconds left.

Tampa Bay fans had their hopes of an upset snatched away from them faster than a kid going after a Christmas cookie as the Bucs got the ball back on the ensuing kick off, only to see Winston fumble and Julius Peppers recover the ball at Tampa Bay’s 18-yard line. At than point, Winston was not a happy camper and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, making the penalty a half-the-distance foul and put the ball on the 9-yard line, where Carolina ran out the clock. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 115-66 and Newton threw for 160 with an interception, while Winston threw for 367 yards and a TD (Newton was sacked twice, while Winston was sacked six times). Carolina on third down tries went 4 of 13 but went 1 of 1 on fourth down at Bank of America Stadium and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Bucs were 6 of 11 third down wise, keeping the ball for 29:30.

They met in week nine in the Big Easy and the Saints took a 16-3 lead with them to the intermission and came away 30-10 winners. Brees threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs, while Winston tallied 67 yards of passing before leaving the contest in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had 68 yards and a TD pass (both Winston and Fitzpatrick were sacked twice)) in a contest that saw things get chippy when there was some pushing and shoving going on on the Tampa Bay sideline. New Orleans went 7 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 32:18, while the Bucs, who held the ball for 27:42, went 4 of 13 on third down.

In the week nine contest in the Big Easy, New Orleans covered the 7-point spread, winning by 20 and both teams missed the 52 over/under, scoring only 40 points. New Orleans is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. This one’s for all the chips in the NFC South and Tampa Bay would like nothing more than to turn the tables on the Saints. Tampa Bay wins this one in an upset and could cover the 7 in the process.

Kansas City (9-6) at Denver (5-10), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. Kansas City travels westward to Mile High for an late afternoon contest with the Denver Broncos in an AFC West game that means nothing to either club.

Kansas City took the AFC West as they took down Miami 29-13 at Arrowhead. The Dolphins trailed 17-13 at the intermission in the Show-Me State, then watched the Chiefs score their final nine points of the contest without a challenge, thanks to three Harrison Butker in the final 30 minutes of action. Kansas City outrushed Miami 103-59 and Alex Smith threw for 304 yards, while Miami’s 286 (both men threw a TD pass without an interception, while Smith was sacked once). Miami was 0 of 8 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs and held on to the ball for 22:07, while Kansas City held on to the ball for 37:53, going 8 of 16 on third down. Smith will take a break this week and Patrick Mahomes will start under center for Kansas City.

Denver was taken to task by Washington 27-11 at FedEx Field in Landover. Redskins QB Kirk Cousins threw three TDs passes in the contest as Washington erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit, led 10-3 at the intermission and proceeded to corral the Broncos in the second half. While the Broncos outrushed Washington 159-87, Cousins threw for 299 yards and the three TDs, while Brock Osweiler threw for 193 yards and four sacks (each threw an interception). Washington was 5 of 13 on third down tries in northern Maryland and kept the ball for 29:33, while Denver ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 30:27, going 5 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Meeting in Arrowhead on a Monday night in week eight, the Chiefs were 29-19 winners in the first meeting. Although Denver outscored the Chiefs 16-9 in the final 30 minutes of play, Kansas City led 17-3 at the break and held off the Broncos for the win. While Denver outrushed Kansas City 177-79, Alex Smith burned Denver for 202 yards, while Trevor Siemian threw for 196 for Denver (both men threw a TD pass, Smith connecting with TE Travis Kelce; Siemian threw three intercaptions with three sacks). Denver was 5 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries and held the ball for 31:23, while the Chiefs, who were 2 of 12 on third down, held the ball for 28:37.

In the Monday night contest at Arrowhead, the Chiefs won by 10, allowing them to cover the 7 1/2-point spread and the 43 over/under was also covered, as both clubs tallied 48 points. Denver’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 38. Both numbers make a lot of sense. The Chiefs are repeating as AFC West champs for the first time in history and will play at home in the first round as the four seed, while the Broncos want to derail the KC train. Chiefs pull the upset and takes the win in the Mile High City.

Oakland (6-9) at Los Angeles Chargers (8-7), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 718. Oakland makes their way down I-5 for an AFC West matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers in hope of damaging the Chargers’ playoff hopes at StubHub Center.

Oakland watched Philadelphia clinch home field advantage last Monday night as they defeated Oakland 19-10 in the City of Brotherly Love. After going to the half tied at 7-7, Oakland took a 10-7 lead on a 25-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio with 10:50 left in the third. That would be the last time Oaklahd would lead, as the Eagles got a pair of Josh Elliott field goals and closed things out when DE Derek Barnett lived a linesman’s dream and returned a Raiders’ fumble 23 yards for a game-ending TD. While the Eagles were held to 78 yards rushing and Oakland ran for 137 (Marshawn Lynch led all rushers with 95 yards), Philadelphia managed to force Oakland to turn the ball over five times, including the final turnover of the contest and Nick Foles threw for 163 yards, while Derek Carr threw for 140 (each threw a TD pass, Carr was picked off twice, Foles was picked off once). While the Eagles went 1 of 14 on third down tries, there were successful on fourth down tries, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 25:39, while the Raiders were 34:21 in time of possession, going 3 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Chargers improved their slim playoff chances last Sunday at Met Life Stadium, coming away from upstate New Jersey with a 14-7 win at Met Lief Stadium. After both clubs had a scoreless first quarter, GangGreen trailed 7-0 at the half when Philip Rivers and TE Antonio Gates connected on a 3-yard TD pass halfway through the second quarter. NeW York would tie things up at 7-7 with 10:00 left in the third when Bilal Powell ran 57 yards yards untouched for his team’s firat and only score of the contest. The Bolts would take the lead back and for good in the third quarter when RB Melvin Gordon scored from one yard out with 4:57 left. GangGreen outrushed Los Angeles 197-89, with Powell leading everyone with 145 yards, while Rivers threw for 290 yards and Bryce Petty threw for 119 yards for the Jets. New York on third down tries at Met Life Stadium went 3 of 14 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:02, while the Chargers held the ball for 32:58, going 5 of 16 on third down conversions.

They met in Oakland in week six and the Bolts left Oakland with a 17-16 come-from-behind win as Nick Novak connected on a 32-yard field goal as time expired. The Silver and Black took a 10-3 lead into the final 15 minutes of play (they led by that score at the half and the two teams went scoreless in the third quarter) before Los Angeles came away 1-point winners at the end of the contest. Oakland outrushed Los Angeles 109-90 and Carr threw for 171 yards, while Rivers threw for 268 yards in the AFC West showdown in northern California (each threw a TD pass and was sacked once, with Carr throwing two interceptions). Third down tries? Los Angeles was 6 of 14, Oakland was 6 of 12 (the Chargers were 1 of 2 on fourth down, Oakland went 0 for 1) and the Chargers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:03 to Oakland’s 27:57.

In the week six contest, Oakland was favored by 3 1/2 at home and the Chargers came away 1-point winners and the 53 1/2 over/under stayed untouched as both teams merged for 33 points. The Chargers are favored by 7 1/2 in Tinseltown and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Oakland’s out of the playoff hunt, while the Chargers are holding on for dear life and hope. Chargers may not cover the 7 1/2 or make the post-season but they’ll make their fans happy and take the win over Oakland at home.

San Francisco (5-10) at Los Angeles Rams (11-4), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 719. An improved San Francisco 49ers team makes its way down I-5 to face off against the Los Angeles Rams in Tinseltown. Both teams took huge wins last win in Sunday’s action, the 49ers winning at home in wine country, while the Rams were victors in the Music City.

San Francisco erased a 16-16 tie with Jacksonville and came away with a 44-33 win at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara last Sunday. Blake Bortles threw for 382 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off twice, as Jacksonville was outrushed by the resurging 49ers 131-92, while the 49ers Jimmy Garaffalo threw for 242 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD of his own. San Francisco, who led 23-19 after three quarters of play, only needed to keep the ball for 29:11 while going 10 of 15 on third down tries. Jacksonville went 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:49.

The Rams ended Tennessee’s hope of winning the AFC South title and claimed the NFC West crown with a 27-23 win in Nashville last Sunday. Outscoring the Titans 14-13 in the second half, the Rams broke a 13-13 tie at the intermission to take the win and the divisional title for the first time since 2003 when they were in St. Louis. Los Angeles outrushed Tennessee 116-97 and Todd Gurley led all rushers with 118 yards, catching a pair of Jared Goff TD passes in the win. Goff threw for 301 yards and four TDs in the win, while Tennessee Marcus Mariota threw for 275 yards with a sack and an interception. The Rams were 6 of 14 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 30:04, while Tennessee went 29:56 in time of possession, going 3 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Los Angeles survived a 41-39 nailbiter at Levis Stadium in week three to take the win over their instate and NFC West rivals in the first meeting. The Rams led 24-13 at the intermission in the Thursday night contest but would be outscored by San Francisco 26-17 in the final 30 minutes of action to make things close. Gurley ran for 113 yards and had three TDs in the contest, while the 49ers Carlos Hyde accounted for two rushing TDs in the loss (Hyde ran for 84 yards), as the Rams outrushed San Francisco 126-133 in the win. Goff threw for 292 yards with three TDs, connecting with Gurley on one and WR Sammy Watkins on the other two, while Blaine Hoyer threw for 332 yards with a pair of TDs, four sacks and an interception. Both clubs did reasonably well on third down tries in the Thursday night contest; the Rams were 8 of 12, San Francisco went 9 of 18 (the 49ers were 2 of 3 on fourth down) and time favored the 49ers, who held on to the ball for 30:17, while the Rams kept it for 29:43.

The 49ers were favored by 3 in the week three contest in wine country but the Rams were only able to win by two in that first meeting. Both teams combined for 80 points, allowing them to shatter the 40 1/2 over/under. The Rams are favored this time an the odds makers like them as 4 1/2 point favorites with a 45 1/2 over/under. The 49ers have actually played some decent football of late but that comes to an end. Rams cover the 4 1/2 and takes the win at home.

Arizona (7-8) at Seattle (9-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 720. A pair of NFC West rivals meet in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as Seattle hosts Arizona at Century Link Field in the final game of the week 17 docket.

New York and Eli Manning were shutout by the Desert Angry Birds 23-0 in Glendale. Arizona held the Giants to 43 yards rushing, as the Giants saw Arizona score all of their points in the contest unchallenged and trailed 10-0 at the half, while rushing for 74 yards of their own. Manning threw for 263 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions, while Arizona’s Drew Stanton threw for 209 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald on one of those tosses. The Giants on third down were a somewhat dismal 1 of 14 on third down and 1 of 4 on fourth down in the desert, keeping the ball for 26:47, while the Desert Angry Birds were 5 of 14 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 33:13.

Seattle kept their slim playoff hopes alive and ended Dallas’ hopes in Arlington, taking a 21-12 win out of Arlington in the process. Dallas took a 9-7 halftime lead with them to the intermission before Seattle woke up and took control of things in the second half to take a win in what some called an elimination game. Seattle got TDs from CB Josh Coleman (interception) and WR Doug Baldwin (TD pass from Russell Wilson) in the second half as they held the Cowboys to four Dan Bailey field goals and Ezekiel Elliot to 97 yards rushing. Dallas would have made the contest a 3-point affair late in the game but Bailey missed a pair of key field goals that could have made things closer. Dallas outrushed Seattle 128-76 and Dak Prescott threw for 182 yards, while Wilson threw for 93 yards with two TDs (Wilson connected with TE Jimmy Graham for the other TD strike). Dallas was 6 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 32:50, while Seattle kept the ball for 27:10, going 4 of 11 on third down.

They met in the desert in week 10 at University of Phoenix Stadium and the Seahawks were 22-16 winners on a Thursday night. Seattle led 15-7 at the half, then held off a late Arizona rally to take the win. Seattle outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 75-34 and Wilson threw for 238 yards and a pair of TDs to Graham, while Arizona’s Drew Stanton threw for 273 yards and a TD (wilson was sacked five times, while Stanton was sacked twice; neither threw an interception). Seattle was 3 of 13 on third down tries in the desert and held on to the ball for 30:53, while the Desert Angry Birds were 6 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 29:07.

While Seattle covered the 6-point spread in the desert with the 6-point win, both clubs missed the 41 1/2 over/under with 38 points. The powers that be like Seattle again, this time as 8 point favorites and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Seattle will have one eye on their game and one eye on the Carolina-Atlanta game. Arizona makes it closer than the 8 but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Three more spots have been filled in the NFL post-season party.

Jacksonville, Minnesota and New England got their dance cards punched last Sunday (Jacksonville won a playoff spot after their win over Houston at EverBank Field, while New England won the AFC East and the Vikings took the NFC North). They join Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as being playoff bound.

There’s still room at the party, there are seven spots left in the post-season. For those teams that were eliminated, there’s still a chance to ruin someone else’s party, spiking their egg-nog, if you will.

Two more weeks of regular season football. When that ends, the outcomes will be different. Unlike the regular season, it’s you lose, your next game is next week. You lose, your next game is next year. You win, you advance. It’s so simple even a first-grader gets it.

For those teams that were eliminated, there’s selecting a new head coach and general manager, if they choose that route, then prepare for the draft and the upcoming 2018 season, which gets underway on Thursday, September 6th. Mark those calendars now.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: The Philadelphia Eagles, already clinching the NFC East, defeated the New York Giants 34-29 to secure a first-round bye. The Eagles have started 12-2 or better for the second time in franchise history (13-1 in 2004).

The Minnesota Vikings, who knocked off Cincinnati 34-7, locked up the NFC North division title. It marks the second division title for the Vikings in the past three seasons.

The New England Patriots, who defeated Pittsburgh 27-24, secured the AFC East division title. It marks the ninth consecutive division title for the Patriots (2009-17), the longest streak in NFL history.

The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated Houston 45-7 at EverBank Field and clinched a playoff berth. It marks the Jaguars’ first playoff berth since 2007.

•New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 298 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ win at Pittsburgh. Brady (five Super Bowl wins) and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (two) have combined for seven Super Bowl victories, the most by opposing starting quarterbacks in a game in NFL history.

•Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, making his first start of the season, threw four touchdown passes in the Eagles’ win over the Giants. Last week, Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz threw four touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Rams before leaving with a knee injury.

The Eagles are the first team since the 2011 Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn, Weeks 16-17) to have different starting quarterbacks throw at least four touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks. It is also the first time in franchise history that different Eagles starting quarterbacks have accomplished the feat in consecutive weeks. Philadelphia’s Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz each had a touchdown catch in the victory. Jeffery (nine touchdown catches), Agholor (eight) and Ertz (eight) each have at least eight touchdown catches this season.

The Eagles are the fourth team in NFL history to have at least three players with eight or more receiving touchdowns through their team’s first 14 games of a season, joining the 1961 Houston Oilers, 2004 Indianapolis Colts and 2013 Denver Broncos.

Buffalo running back Le Sean McCoy rushed for 50 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Bills’ 24-16 win over Miami. McCoy reached 10,000 career rushing yards on his 2,145th carry and became the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to achieve the milestone. The only players to reach 10,000 career rushing yards in fewer attempts are Jim Brown (1,936), Adrian Peterson (2,004), Barry Sanders (2,020) and O.J. Simpson (2,085). Brown, Sanders and Simpson are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

•Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for 152 yards with three touchdowns and added three catches for 28 yards with a touchdown in the team’s 42-7 win at Seattle. Gurley joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (October 20, 2002) as the only Rams in franchise history to have at least 150 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown in a single game.

•New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets. Thomas, who had 92 catches as a rookie last season, has a career-high 94 receptions this year. He joins Odell Beckham, Jr. as the only players in NFL history to record at least 90 receptions in each of their first two seasons. Beckham accomplished the feat in each of his first three seasons (2014-16).

•Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw four touchdown passes and rushed for 58 yards in the Panthers’ 31-24 victory against Green Bay. Newton, who leads all quarterbacks with 643 rushing yards this year, has four career seasons with at least 600 rushing yards, tied with Michael Vick (four) for the most such seasons by a quarterback in NFL history.

Panthers running back Christian McCaffery had six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown in the win. McCaffrey, who has 73 catches and five receiving touchdowns this season, is the only rookie running back in NFL history with at least 70 receptions and five touchdown catches.

Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers recorded a half-sack on fourth-and-14 with 5:46 remaining in the fourth quarter in today’s victory. Peppers, who has 10 sacks this season, is the fourth player in NFL history to have at least 10 seasons with 10+ sacks, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Bruce Smith (13 seasons), Reggie White (12) and Kevin Greene (10).

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 16

AFC

CLINCHED: New England – AFC East division title

Pittsburgh – AFC North division title

Jacksonville – Playoff berth

New England (11-3) vs. Buffalo (8-6), Sunday

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) New England win + Pittsburgh loss + Jacksonville loss or tie

New England clinches a first-round bye with:

1) New England win + Pittsburgh loss OR

2) New England win + Jacksonville loss or tie OR

3) New England tie + Jacksonville loss

Pittsburgh (11-3) at Houston (4-10), Monday

Pittsburgh clinches a first-round bye with:

1) Pittsburgh win + Jacksonville loss or tie OR

2) Pittsburgh tie + Jacksonville loss

Jacksonville (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10), Sunday

Jacksonville clinches AFC South division title with:

1) Jacksonville win or tie OR

2) Tennseeee loss or tie

Kansas City (8-6) vs. Miami (6-8), Sunday

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:

1) Kansas City win OR

2) Los Angeles Chargers loss OR

3) Kansas City tie + LAC tie

Tennessee (8-6) vs. Los Angeles Rams (10-4), Sunday

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Tennessee win + Baltimore loss + Buffalo loss

NFC

CLINCHED: Philadelphia – NFC East division title and first-round bye

Minnesota – NFC North division title

Philadelphia (12-2) vs. Oakland (6-8), Monday night

Philadelphia clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) Philadelphia win OR

2) Minnesota loss OR

3) Philadelphia tie + Minnesota tie

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Tennessee (8-6), Sunday

Los Angeles Rams clinch NFC West division title with:

1) Los Angeles Rams win or tie OR

2) Seattle loss or tie

Los Angeles Rams clinch a playoff berth with:

1) Detroit loss or tie + Carolina loss + Atlanta loss

New Orleans (10-4) vs. Atlanta (9-5), Sunday

New Orleans clinches NFC South division title with:

1) New Orleans win + Carolina loss

New Orleans clinches a playoff berth with:

1) New Orleans win or tie OR

2) Dallas-Seattle tie

Carolina (10-4) vs. Tampa Bay (4-10), Sunday

Carolina clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Carolina win or tie OR

2) Dallas-Seattle tie

Atlanta (9-5) at New Orleans (10-4), Sunday

Atlanta clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Atlanta win OR

2) Atlanta tie + Dallas-Seattle tie + Detroit loss or tie (Atlanta has the tiebreakers head to head with Dallas, Seattle and Detroit)

THE WEEK THAT WAS WEEK 15

TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: Philadelphia (NFC East, first-round bye), Minnesota (NFC North) and Jacksonville (playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All three teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

Entering Week 16, five of the eight divisions have a team either in or tied for first place that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

This weekend, four clubs – Carolina, the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans and Tennessee – have a chance to join Philadelphia, Minnesota and Jacksonville as teams who clinched a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016.

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.

KANDID KAMARA: New Orleans rookie running back Alvin Kamara had 89 scrimmage yards (45 receiving, 44 rushing) and a receiving touchdown in the Saints’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets last week.

Kamara, who has seven rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns this year, is the fourth rookie in NFL history with at least five rushing and five receiving touchdowns, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Doak Walker (1950), Charley Taylor (1964) and Gale Sayers (1965).

The rookies with at least five rushing and five receiving touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON) (RUSHING TOUCHDOWN)(RECIEVEING TOUCHDOWNS)
Doak Walker, Detroit (1950) (5)(6)^
Charley Taylor, Washington (1964) (5)(5)^
Gale Sayers, Chicago (1965)(14)(6)^
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017)(7)(5)*
*Through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

BIG GAME HUNTING: Kansas City rookie running back Kareem Hunt had 206 scrimmage yards (155 rushing, 51 receiving), one rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the Chiefs’ 30-13 win against the Los Angeles Chargers last week.

Hunt, who had 246 scrimmage yards (148 rushing, 98 receiving), one rushing touchdown and two receiving touchdowns in Week 1, is the only rookie in NFL history to have two games with at least 200 scrimmage yards, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.

RISING ROOKIES: Through the first 15 weeks of the season, rookies have accumulated 22,219 yards from scrimmage, the second-most through Week 15 since 1970, excluding the 1987 season.

The seasons with the most yards from scrimmage by rookies through Week 15 since 1970 (excluding the 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST SCRIMMAGE YARDS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 15*
2014 – 22,229
2017 – 22,219
2013 – 19,771
2012 – 19,523
2015 – 19,086
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (1,641)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (1,336)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (1,136)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (974)
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (804)

Rookies have also totaled 157 touchdowns through Week 15, the second-most through the first 15 weeks of a season since 1970, excluding the 1987 season.

The seasons with the most touchdowns by rookies through Week 15 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST TOUCHDOWNS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 15*
2014 – 160
2017 – 157
2013 – 154
1983 – 142
2010 – 135
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most touchdowns in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (12)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (9)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (9)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (7)
Many tied with 6

MARVELOUS MC COY: Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 50 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Bills’ 24-16 win over Miami in Week 15.

McCoy reached 10,000 career rushing yards on his 2,145th carry, becoming the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to achieve the milestone. The only players to reach 10,000 career rushing yards in fewer attempts are Jim Brown (1,936), Adrian Peterson (2,004), Barry Sanders (2,020) and O.J. Simpson (2,085). Brown, Sanders and Simpson are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with the fewest attempts to reach 10,000 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (FEWEST ATTEMPTS TO REACH 10,000 RUSHING YARDS)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (1,936)^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota (2,004)
Barry Sanders – Detroit (2,020)^
O.J. Simpson – Buffalo (2,085)^
LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia and Buffalo (2,145)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

GRON-K: New England tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine receptions for 168 yards in the Patriots’ 27-24 win at Pittsburgh in Week 15.

Gronkowski, who leads all NFL tight ends with 1,017 receiving yards, reached 1,000 receiving yards for the fourth time in his career. Gronkowski tied Tony Gonzalez (four) and Jason Witten (four) for the most seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards among tight ends in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most 1,000+ receiving yard seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS WITH 1,000+ RECEIVING YARDS)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (4)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (4)*
Jason Witten, Dallas (4)*
Todd Christensen, Los Angeles Raiders (3)
Greg Olsen, Carolina (3)*
Shannon Sharpe, Denver (3)^
Kellen Winslow, San Diego (3)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

FOOTBALL IS FAMILY: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 434 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s Week 15 loss to Philadelphia.

Manning’s first touchdown pass of the day, the 336th of his career, gave the Manning family 1,000 total combined regular-season touchdown passes over their careers. Eli’s brother, Peyton, threw 539 touchdown passes in his 17-year career, the most in NFL history. Their father, Archie, recorded 125 touchdown passes during his 14-year career.

PLAYER – TEAM (CAREER TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Eli Manning – New York Giants (338)*
Archie Manning – New Orleans, Houston Oilers and Minnesota (125)
Total – 1,002
*Active

TOSS IT TO THOMAS: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had nine receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ win against the Jets.

Thomas, who had 92 catches as a rookie last season, has a career-high 94 receptions in 14 games this year. He joins Odell Beckham, Jr. as the only players in NFL history to have at least 90 catches in each of their first two NFL seasons. Beckham (2014-16) reached 90+ receptions in each of his first three NFL seasons.

The players to record at least 90 catches in each of their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON-RECEPTIONS)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2016-82)(2017-94)*
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (2014-91)(2015-96)(2016-101)
*Through Week 15

BLOCK PARTY: Philadelphia rookie defensive end Derek Barnett blocked a PAT, linebacker KAMU GRUGIER-HILL blocked a punt and safety MALCOLM JENKINS blocked a field goal in the Eagles’ 34-29 win over the Giants in Week 15.

The Eagles are the first team since the 1979 Minnesota Vikings (November 25, 23-22 win at Tampa Bay) to block all three types of kicks in a win.

GOOD AS GOULD: San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould converted all six field-goal attempts, including the game-winning 45-yard field goal as time expired, in the 49ers’ 25-23 win over the Titans last week.

Gould, who made five field goals at Chicago in Week 13 and four at Houston in Week 14, is the first player in NFL history to make at least 15 field goals over a three-game span.

The most made field goals over a three-game span in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)(WEEKS)(FIELD GOALS MADE)
Robbie Gould, San Francisco (2017)(13-15)(15)
Neil Rackers, Arizona (2005)(2-4)(14)
Olindo Mare, Miami (1989)(4-6)(14)
John Carney, San Diego (1992-93)(16-17, 1)(14)
Jim Turner, New York Jets (1968)(9-11)(14)
Gino Cappelletti, Boston Patriots (1964)(2-4)(14)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 16:

TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: Philadelphia (NFC East, first-round bye), Minnesota (NFC North) and Jacksonville (playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All three teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

Entering Week 16, five of the eight divisions have a team either in or tied for first place that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

This weekend, four clubs – Carolina, the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans and Tennessee – have a chance to join Philadelphia, Minnesota and Jacksonville as teams who clinched a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016.

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.

Jacksonville can secure the AFC South division this weekend with a win or a Tennessee loss and join Philadelphia as teams to go from “worst-to-first” this season.

The 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 (13-3, 4-12)
2017 – Philadelphia (12-2, 7-9)*
2017 – Jacksonville (10-4, 3-13)*
* Through Week 15
** Tied for last place
*** Won Super Bowl

THE BELL TOLLS: Pittsburgh Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell, who leads the NFL with 1,849 scrimmage yards this season, has 7,899 scrimmage yards in 61 career games.

Bell, who plays at Houston on Monday, can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (64 games) for the fewest games to reach 8,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (FEWEST GAMES TO 8,000 SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (64)^
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (65)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (65)^
Jim Brown, Cleveland (67)^
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (68)^
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (61)*
*Has 7,899 career scrimmage yards
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

JONES-ING FOR MORE: Atlanta Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones ranks third in the NFL with 1,215 receiving yards this season.

With 85 yards on Sunday at New Orleans, Jones will record his fourth consecutive season with at least 1,300 receiving yards, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and Demaryius Thomas for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Only TORRY HOLT (six) from 2000-05 has a longer streak in league annals.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with at least 1,300 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS) (MOST CONSECUTIVE 1,300 RECEIVING YARD SEASONS)
Torry Holt, (St. Louis Rams, 2000-2005) (6)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2002) (4)^
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2012-2015) (4)
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (2014-2016) (3)*
*Has 1,215 rec. yards through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

KEEP IT 100: Arizona Pro Bowl wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD ranks second in the NFC with 92 receptions this season.

With eight receptions against the New York Giants on Sunday, Fitzgerald will record his fifth career season with at least 100 receptions, tying ANTONIO BROWN, ANDRE JOHNSON and WES WELKER for the second-most 100-catch seasons in NFL history.

Brown, who leads the NFL with 101 receptions this season, reached the 100-catch mark for the fifth time and trails only BRANDON MARSHALL (six) for the most such seasons all-time.

The players with the most 100-catch seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS)
Brandon Marshall – Denver, Chicago and New York Jets (6)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (5)
Andre Johnson – Houston (5)
Wes Welker – New England (5)
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (4)*
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (4)^
Jerry Rice –  San Francisco (4)^
Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis (4)
*Has 92 receptions through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

CLIMBING THE CHARTS: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning ranks seventh in NFL history with 51,287 career passing yards.

With 189 passing yards at Arizona on Sunday, Manning would pass Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the sixth-most passing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (69,961)*
Tom Brady – New England (65,745)*
Dan Marino, Miami (61,361)^
John Elway, Denver (51,475)^
Eli Manning – New York Giants (51,287)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Fame

New Orleans Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees, who plays against Atlanta on Sunday, has 69,961 career passing yards and needs 39 yards to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940) as the only players in NFL history with at least 70,000 career passing yards.

PLAYER – TEAMS (CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (69,961)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Fame

ACE OF THE STAFF: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who plays at Cincinnati on Sunday, has thrown at least 25 pass attempts and completed 75 percent or better of his passes in each of his past three games. He can join Tom Brady (2007) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four consecutive games with at least 25 pass attempts and a 75 or better completion percentage.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 25 pass attempts and a 75 or better completion percentage in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; WEEKS)(CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 25+ PASSES AND 75% COMPLETION PERCENTAGE)
Tom Brady – New England (2007; 1-4)(4)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2017; 13-15) (3)*
*Active streak

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford ranks third in the NFL with 3,920 passing yards and New Orleans Pro Bowl quarterback DREW BREES ranks fourth in the league with 3,850 passing yards.

With 80 passing yards this weekend, Stafford will reach 4,000 passing yards for the seventh consecutive season and surpass Peyton Manning (six seasons, 1999-2004) and Matt Ryan (six, 2011-16) for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

Ryan, who has 3,490 passing yards this season, has recorded at least 4,000 passing yards in each of the past six seasons and can extend his streak to seven consecutive seasons with 510 passing yards over the next two weeks.

Brees needs 150 passing yards to extend his NFL-record streak to 12 consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS) (SEASONS WITH 4,000+ PASSING YARDS)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2006-16) (11)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (1999-2004) (6)
Matt Ryan – ATLANTA (2011-16) (6)*
Matthew Stafford – Detroit (2011-16) (6)*
*Active streak

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara leads all NFL rookies and ties for second in the league with 12 total touchdowns this season.

With a touchdown reception on Sunday, Kamara, who has seven rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns, can join Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (1965) as the only rookies in NFL history with at least six rushing and six receiving touchdowns.

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS/RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS)
Gale Sayers, Chicago (1965, 14/6)^
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017, 7/5)*
*Through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

GO THE DISTANCE: Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill had a 64-yard touchdown catch in the Chiefs’ Week 15 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Since entering the league in 2016, Hill has 11 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards.

With a 50+ yard touchdown on Sunday against Miami, Hill would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (11) for the second-most touchdowns of at least 50 yards in a player’s first two seasons in NFL history. Only Devin Hester (13) had more such touchdowns in his first two seasons.

The players with the most touchdowns of at least 50 yards in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (50+ YARD TOUCHDOWNS IN 1ST 2 SEASONS)
Devin Hester, Chicago (13)
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City (11)*
Gale Sayers, Chicago (11)^
*In second season
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

Week 16 got underway in Baltimore as the Ravens edged Indianapolis 23-16 Saturday afternoon and the Saturday action finished in Green Bay as the Packers were shutout by Minnesota 16-0 at chilly Lambeau Field. Action in week 16 continues on Sunday with a near full slate of contests and the Sunday action concludes in Dallas when the Dallas Cowboys welcome the Seattle Seahawks to AT&T Stadium on Christmas Eve afternoon. The next-to-last week of the season concludes with a pair of Christmas games when the Steelers travels to Houston to face the Texans and the Eagles host the Oakland Raiders in the final Monday night contest of the season.

Time is running out. With two weeks to go in the NFL regular season, it’s time for teams to make their final playoff push.

Through the first 15 weeks, five postseason berths have been clinched. Philadelphia (NFC East, first-round bye), Minnesota (NFC North), New England (AFC East) and Pittsburgh (AFC North) have each won its division. Jacksonville has secured a playoff berth. And with two weeks left in the regular season, there are still 19 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LII.

In the AFC, New England (11-3, clinched AFC East) can secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage. Pittsburgh (11-3, clinched AFC North) can lock up a first-round bye. Jacksonville (10-4, clinched playoff berth) can win the AFC South. Kansas City (8-6) can clinch the AFC West. And Tennessee (8-6) can secure a playoff berth.

In the NFC, Philadelphia (12-2, clinched NFC East and first-round bye) can lock up home-field advantage. Minnesota (11-3, clinched NFC North) can secure a first-round bye. The Los Angeles Rams (10-4) can clinch the NFC West or a playoff berth. New Orleans (10-4) can lock up the NFC South or a playoff berth and Carolina (10-4) and Atlanta (9-5) can each clinch a playoff berth.

By winning the NFC East, the Eagles have completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons. Both the Jaguars (lead AFC South by two games) and Panthers (tied for NFC South lead) are either in or tied for first place entering Week 16 and can join the Eagles as teams making a “worst-to-first” turnaround. If both Jacksonville and Carolina match Philadelphia as teams accomplishing the feat, 2017 would tie the 2005 and 2006 seasons for the most such “worst-to-first” clubs in NFL history.

As for last week… 11-5 is pretty good and for the season, 135-90. That’s not bad and there’s still a lot of football left, including the playoffs (PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?). Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 16 (be sure to leave milk and cookies for Santa and hay for the reindeer… we hear he likes Chocolate chip).

ATLANTA (9-5) at New Orleans (10-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Matt Ryan.

Drew Brees.

They meet again and this time, it’s Peach Pie squaring off against Gumbo as the Falcons travel to the Big Easy for an important NFC South matchup for both clubs.

Atlanta erased a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter at Tampa Bay and came away 24-21 winners last Monday evening at Raymond James Stadium. The defending NFC champs took a 17-7 lead with them to the locker room and held off two Tampa Bay rallies as the Bucs pulled to within 7 with 4:07 left in regulation when Jameis Winston and WR Adam Humphries connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tampa Bay then had a chance to tie the contest up with five seconds left but saw their playoff hopes come to an end when Pat Murray’s 54 yard field goal sailed wide right, giving Atlanta the win and sweeping the series in the process. Atlanta outrushed Tampa Bay 201-84 and DeVonta Freeman led the way with 126 yards and a 32-yard TD run that all but sealed the deal for the Falcons, while Ryan threw for 212 yards and a TD, with Winston throwing for 299 yards and three TDs. Both clubs did reasonably well on third down, as the Falcons were 9 of 15, while Tampa Bay was 4 of 8 (neither team went for it on fourth down) and time was on the side of Atlanta, who kept the ball for 33:15 to Tampa Bay’s 26:45.

New Orleans ended the New York Jets’ hopes of a playoff spot as they came away 31-19 winners in the Superdome last Sunday. New Orleans led 17-10 at the half before the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! pulled to within 5 with 1:51 left in the contest when Bryce Petty (who took over for Josh McCown) connected on a 2-yard TD pass but missed the two-point conversion. GangGreen then tried an onside kick, which New Orleans recovered and it would be Mark Ingram that would seal the Jets’ fate with a 50-yard run with 93 seconds left in regulation to take the win when he scored his second TD of the day. New Orleans outrushed the Jets 131-124 and Brees threw for 285 yards and a pair of TDs, one to RB Alvin Kamara, who returned from a concussion he suffered against Atlanta, while Petty threw for 179 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. New Orleans was 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:10, while the Jets actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:50, going 5 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries in the Big Easy.

The meeting in the Big Easy is a rematch of the week 14 contest in Atlanta that saw the Falcons take a 20-17 win in the Big Peach. New Orleans broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission and took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter before Atlanta would score their last 10 points of the contest unchallenged in that quarter. While Ryan did throw three interceptions, he did manage to throw for 221 yards and connect with WR Mohammed Sanu on an 8-yard TD strike with 9:55 left in the contest. Matt Bryant then added a 52-yard field goal with 3:49 left to play to take the lead back for good.

Atlanta then held off a late New Orleans rally in the closing minutes of the game when Brees (271 yards, two TDs) was picked off by LB Deion Jones in the end zone. The Falcons then secured the win after Sean Payton was penalized for being on the field, which moved the ball up and allowed Atlanta to run out the clock. Atlanta outrushed New Orleans 132-50, with Falcons RB DeVonta Freeman leading the way with 91 yards and a TD and the Falcons went 7 of 12 on third down conversions at Mercedes Benz Stadium, keeping the ball for 34:41, while New Orleans held the ball for 25:19, going 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 14 contest on a Thursday night, New Orleans was favored by 1 and the Falcons covered, winning by 3. The 52 1/2 over/under was untouched, as both teams combined for 37 total points. The odds makers this time like the Saints again, this time as 5 1/2 point favorites with a 52 over/under. There is a lot at stake here, which makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 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?”

History has a way of repeating itself. For the Falcons, all they have to do is run the table and they repeat as NFC South champs. The Saints are trying to be “Grinches” and stop their plans and take the NFC South for themselves. Sorry, Saints fans. you’re about to get a lump of coal in your stocking. Falcons complete the sweep and cover the 5 1/2 in the Big Easy.

Cleveland (0-14) at Chicago (4-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. It’s the NFL’s version of the “Pit of Misery” as the winless Cleveland Browns travel to the Windy City for a Christmas Eve afternoon contest with Chicago at Soldier Field. Both teams are coming off losses

The winless Cleveland Browns’ season continued into a tailspin last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie as they came out on the short end of a 27-10 loss to Baltimore at 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).

Da Bears were outmanned by Detroit last Saturday at Ford Field as the Lions took them to task, coming away on the short end of a 20-10 loss in the Motor City. Chicago trailed 13-3 at the intermission and could never really get on track in the NFC North rematch, as the Lions outrushed them 91-43 and picked off Mitch Trubisky (314 yards, TD) three times. For Detroit, Matt Stafford suffered no ill effects from the hand injury he suffered in Baltimore, throwing for 237 yards and a pair of TDs in the win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Chicago on third down went 5 of 12 (Da Bears were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Lions went 6 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 29:05.

Chicago’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 38 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “Grumpy Cat” movie on Lifetime. Chicago covers the 6 1/2 and wins in the Windy City.

Miami (6-8) at Kansas City (8-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of old AFL/AFC rivals meet in the Show-Me State as the Kansas City Chiefs host the struggling Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead.

Miami saw their playoff hopes damaged in Orchard Park as they fell to Buffalo 24-16. Although they trailed 21-6 at the half, Miami managed to outscore the Bills 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling to within 8 with 39 seconds left when Chris Parkey connected on a 26-yard field goal. Miami then managed to get the ball back thanks to a successful onside kick but turned the ball over one play later when Jay Cutler’s pass was picked off by Tre’Davious White. The Bills got the ball back, ran out the clock and took the win. Buffalo outrushed Miami 116-100 and LeSean McCoy scored a pair of TDs in the contest (one on a 4-yard run in the first quarter, the other coming from a 16 yard TD pass from Tyrod Taylor). Cutler threw for 274 yards but was sacked three times and picked off three times, while Taylor threw for 224 yards and the lone TD toss. Miami on third down tries went 5 of 16 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:25, while the Bills were 27:35 in time of possession, going 7 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Kansas City all but secured their chance of winning the AFC West title after their 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday night at Arrowhead. The Chiefs led 13-6 at the half, trailed 13-10 with 9:20 left in the third, then took the lead back for keeps with 2:07 left in the quarter when Kareem Hunt and Alex Smtih connected on a 3-yard TD pass. After Heath Butker connected on a pair of field goals for Kansas City, Hunt sealed the Chargers’ fate with a 5-yard run with 3:57 left in regulation. Kansas City outrushed Los Angeles 174-98, with Hunt leading the way with 155 yards. Smith threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Kansas City defense picked off Philip Rivers (227 yards) three times (he had a TD pass to TE Antonio Gates in the contest), taking the ball away four times. The Chiefs were 6 of 14 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:21, while the Chargers, who held the pigskin for 26:39, went 4 of 11, 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The series between these two AFC foes is even at 13-13 (which includes games that were played at Swope Field and the Orange Bowl), the Chiefs have outscored Miami 538-501 and Kansas City won the last meeting in the series, taking a 34-15 win in the Sunshine State in 2014, while the Dolphins were 31-3 winners in 2011 at Arrowhead. Kansas City’s favored by 10 at Arrowhead and the over/under’s 43 1/2. The Chiefs are starting to get their groove back, while the Dolphins are looking to cause chaos in the AFC West. Groove wins this one. Miami makes it closer than the 10 but the Chiefs pull themselves closer to the AFC West title with the win at Arrowhead.

Buffalo (8-6) at New England (11-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The defending Super Bowl champs return to Foxboro for an AFC East matchup with the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.

Buffalo put a dent in Miami’s playoff hopes as they held off the Dolphins 24-16 at New Era Stadium. Buffalo led 21-6 at the half, before Miami managed to outscore the Bills 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling to within 8 with 39 seconds left when Chris Parkey connected on a 26-yard field goal. The Dolphins then found new life and managed to get the ball back thanks to a successful onside kick but Buffalo forced a turn over one play later when Jay Cutler’s pass was picked off by Tre’Davious White. The Bills got the ball back, ran out the clock and took the win. Buffalo outrushed Miami 116-100 and LeSean McCoy scored a pair of TDs in the contest (one on a 4-yard run in the first quarter, the other coming from a 16 yard TD pass from Tyrod Taylor). Cutler threw for 274 yards but was sacked three times and picked off three times, while Taylor threw for 224 yards and the lone TD toss. Miami on third down tries went 5 of 16 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:25, while the Bills were 27:35 in time of possession, going 7 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Brady and the Pats erased a 17-10 deficit against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers and left Heinz Field with a 27-24 win last Sunday to clinch the AFC East title. The Steelers led 24-19 with 56 seconds left in regulation when New England’s Deion Lewis scored on an 8-yard run and took the lead when Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski, coming off his one-game suspension, hooked up on the two-point try to take the 3-point lead. Steelers fans had their hopes dashed twice in the contest. Pittsburgh got the ball back and marched downfield, getting as close as New England’s 10-yard line when Ben Roethlisberger and TE Jesse James connected on what they thought would be the game-winning score. The play was reviewed and the call was changed from catch to no catch. After that, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a short pass to New England’s 7-yard line and the Steelers scrambled to the line without any times and Roethlisberger threw a pass into the endzone that was deflected and picked off by Duron Harmon. New England ran out the clock and took the win.

Pittsburgh outrushed New England 143-77, with LeVeon Bell leading all rushers with 117 yards, while Roethlisbeger threw for 281 yards and a TD. Pittsburgh also lost the services of All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, who had 24 yards on two catches before leaving the contest with a torn calf muscle (Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster had 114 yards on six catches for the Steelers), while Brady threw for 298 yards and a TD (both were sacked twice and both threw an interception). Pittsburgh on third down went 10 of 16 and kept the ball for 35:07, while the Pats were 24:53 in time of possession, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down at Heinz Field.

They met in week 13 along the shores of Lake Erie in upstate New York and the Pats were 23-3 winners in that meeting. New England held Buffalo to a 49-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka with 3:05 left before the intermssion and got a pair of rushing TDs in the second half by RB Rex Burkhead to seal Buffalo’s fate. While the Pats outrushed Buffalo 191-183, Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy led all rushers with 93 yards, while Brady threw for 258 yards despite getting sacked four times. The Pats on third down conversions went 5 of 12 (the Bills were 5 of 13, 0 of 3 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:01 to Buffalo’s 25:59.

In the week 13 contest in Orchard Park, New England covered the 8 1/2-point spread, winning by 20 but neither club touched the 46 over/under, scoring only 26 points. This time, the Pats are favored by 11 1/2 and the over/under is 47. Buffalo’s wanting to go to the playoffs for the first time since the Clinton adminstration, while the Pats look to stay home for as long as they’re in the playoffs. New England wins this one but expect Buffalo to make things closer than 11 1/2.

Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) at New York Jets (5-9), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling AFC meet in upstate New Jersey as the New York Jets host the Los Angeles Chargers at Met Life Stadium.

The Chargers saw their hopes of winning the AFC West get damaged by Kansas City last Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium, falling 30-13 to the Chiefs. The Chiefs led 13-6 at the half before the Chargers would take the lead for the first and only time of the contest when Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates connected on a 10-yard TD strike with 9:20 left in the third, then watched the Chiefs take the lead back for keeps with 2:07 left in the quarter when Kareem Hunt and Alex Smtih connected on a 3-yard TD pass. After Heath Butker connected on a pair of field goals for Kansas City, Hunt sealed the Chargers’ fate with a 5-yard run with 3:57 left in regulation. Kansas City outrushed Los Angeles 174-98, with Hunt leading the way with 155 yards. Smith threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Kansas City defense picked off Philip Rivers (227 yards) three times (he had a TD pass to TE Antonio Gates in the contest), taking the ball away four times. The Chiefs were 6 of 14 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:21, while the Chargers, who held the pigskin for 26:39, went 4 of 11, 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

New York’s hopes of a playoff spot were ground as the Jets were 31-19 losers in New Orleans to the Saints at Superdome last Sunday. GangGreen trailed 17-10 at the half before they would pull themselves to within 5 with 1:51 left in the contest when Bryce Petty (who took over for Josh McCown) connected on a 2-yard TD pass but missed the two-point conversion. GangGreen then tried an onside kick, which New Orleans recovered and it would be Mark Ingram that would seal the Jets’ fate with a 50-yard run with 93 seconds left in regulation to take the win when he scored his second TD of the day. New Orleans outrushed the Jets 131-124 and Brees threw for 285 yards and a pair of TDs, one to RB Alvin Kamara, who returned from a concussion he suffered against Atlanta, while Petty threw for 179 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. New Orleans was 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:10, while the Jets actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:50, going 5 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries in the Big Easy.

Including games that were played at Shea and Qualcomm Stadiums and when the Jets were known as the Titans, the Chargers lead the series 21-12-1, they have outscored GangGreen 982-698 and won the last two meetings in the series, including a 24-0 win in 2014 at Qualcomm, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!’ last win over the Chargers came in 2011 in the Meadowlands by a final of 27-21.

The Chargers are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. While this one is not exactly “DRILL WORTHY,” it’s worth watching as both teams have had decent seasons if not great seasons. The Chargers may not cover the 7 but they take the win in upstate New Jersey.

Denver (5-9) at Washington (6-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of teams that once met in a Super Bowl meet in Landover as the Redskins and Broncos, both out of the playoff picture, meet at FedEx Field on Christmas Eve afternoon.

Denver erased a 7-3 halftime lead against Indianapolis last Thursday night and took control of things at Lucas Oil Stadium, outscoring the Colts 18-3 in the final 30 minutes of play, taking a 25-13 win out of the Hoosier State in the process. 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 (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.

While the Redskins saw their playoff hopes vanish, they made sure that Arizona didn’t leave Landover with a victory as they held off the Cardinals 20-15 at FedEx Field. Washington led 14-9 at the half and held Arizona in check the rest of the way. The Desert Angry Birds would eventually pull themselves to within 2 with 13:37 left in the third on a 34-yard field goal by Pat Dawson before the Redskins took control of things in the contest. While Arizona outrushed Washington 141-31, Kirk Cousins threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Arizona Blaine Gabbard threw for 189 yards with five sacks and an interception. The Redskins were 1 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 23:44, while Arizona kept the pigskin for 36:16, going 4 of 19 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Denver leads the series 7-5, Washington has outscored the Broncos 271-243 and the Broncos were 45-21 winners in their last meeting at Mile High Stadium in 2013, while Washington’s last win came in 2009 by a final of 27-17. The odds makers like the ‘Skins as 3 1/2 point favorites with a 41 over/under. Redskins fans got to sing “Hail to the Redskins” last week, instead of “Hell, it’s the Redskins.” They’ll get to sing “Hail” again this time. Washington covers the 3 1/2 in Landover and takes the win.

Tampa Bay (4-10) at Carolina (10-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. It’s round two of a pair of former Heisman QBs as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers host Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay pulled even with Atlanta at Raymond James Stadium last Monday, going into the second quarter tied at 7-7 tie, only to see their slim playoff hopes melt like a sunburned snowman, as the Faclons were 24-21 winners. The defending NFC champs took a 17-7 lead with them to the locker room and held off two Tampa Bay rallies as the Bucs pulled to within 7 with 4:07 left in regulation when Winston and WR Adam Humphries connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tampa Bay then had a chance to tie the contest up with five seconds left but saw their playoff hopes come to an end when Pat Murray’s 54 yard field goal sailed wide right, giving Atlanta the win and sweeping the series in the process. Atlanta outrushed Tampa Bay 201-84 and DeVonta Freeman led the way with 126 yards and a 32-yard TD run that all but sealed the deal for the Falcons, while Ryan threw for 212 yards and a TD, with Winston throwing for 299 yards and three TDs. Both clubs did reasonably well on third down, as the Falcons were 9 of 15, while Tampa Bay was 4 of 8 (neither team went for it on fourth down) and time was on the side of Atlanta, who kept the ball for 33:15 to Tampa Bay’s 26:45.

Newton and Carolina held off the return of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 31-24 at Bank of America Stadium last Sunday afternoon. After ewton threw a 7-yard TD pass to Christian McCaffery to open the scoring in the contest. 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 to tie things up. 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.

They met in the Sunshine State in week eight and the Bucs were held ot a 41-yard field goal by Patrick Murray to fall to Carolina 17-3 at Raymond James Stadium. Carolina led 10-0 at the intermission and never looked back, holding the Bucs to 85 yards rushing (the Panthers ran for 100 yards) and sacking Winston (210 yards) three times and picking him off twice, while Newton threw for 154 yards and a TD (Newton threw an interception in the contest). Carolina was 8 of 17 on third down and kept the pigskin for 32:11, while Tampa Bay was 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 27:49.

In the week eight affair on Florida’s west coast, the Bucs were favored by 2 1/2 and the Panthers covered, winning by 14 but neither club touched the 44 over/under, as both tallied only 20 points. This time, the Panthers are favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The Bucs would love nothing more than to ruin Carolina’s playoff party, while Caroline would like nothing more than to put Tampa Bay out of their misery. Tampa Bay makes this one interesting but Carolina’s finer and sweeps the series with the win.

Detroit (8-6) at Cincinnati (5-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. It’s a battle for the Litter Box as the Cincinnati Bengals host Detriot with the Lions fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC, while the Bengals look to play the role of spoiler.

Detroit officially knocked Chicago out of the post-season party last Saturday at Ford Field as they took Da Bears to task, winning 20-10 in the Motor City. Detroit led from start to finish and took a 13-3 lead at the intermission in the NFC North rematch, outrushing Chicago 91-43 and picking off Mitch Trubisky (314 yards, TD) three times. For Detroit, Matt Stafford suffered no ill effects from the hand injury he suffered in Baltimore, throwing for 237 yards and a pair of TDs in the win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Chicago on third down went 5 of 12 (Da Bears were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Lions went 6 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 29:05.

Cincinnati found themselves out of the playoffs and saw Minnesota clinch the NFC North title with a 38-7 loss against the Vikings at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings shut out Cincinnati for the first three quarters as they scored their first 27 points unchallenged (they led 20-0 at the half), then 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.

Cincinnati leads the series 8-3, which includes contests that took place at the Silverdome, Riverfront and Tiger Stadiums, they have outscored Detroit 274-222 and have won the last five meetings, including taking a 27-24 win in the Motor City in 2013, while Detroit’s last win came in Cincinnati in 1992 by a final of 19-13. Detroit’s favored by 5 in Cincy and the over/under’s 43. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Cincinnati is not going to the post-season, while the Lions are hoping that they have a spot at the post-season party. If nothing else, things could get a little catty in Cincy. Lions cover the 5 and win along the shores of the Ohio River.

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Tennessee (8-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Hollywood meets Dollywood as the Los Angeles Rams travel to the Music City for a showdown at Nissan Stadium with Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans.

The Rams got revenge on Seattle last Sunday in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, taking down the Seahawks 42-7 at CenturyLink Field. Los Angeles scored the first 40 points of the game unchallenged, leading 34-0 at halftime and 40-0 lat in the third quarter before Seattle ended the Rams’ dreams of a shutout when Russell Wilson and TE Luke Willson hooked up on a 26-yard toss with 87 seconds left in the period. Los Angeles then put Seahawks fans out of their misery when Wilson was sacked in the endzone for a safety. Seattle was outrushed by the Rams 244-78 and Todd Gurley led everyone with 152 rushing yards and three TDs, the longest being 57 yards with 28 seconds left before the half. Wilson threw for 142 yards and the lone TD but was sacked seven times, while Jared Goff threw for 120 yards and a pair of TDs (one toss going to Gurley, the other going to WR Robert Woods). The Rams went 6 of 16 on third down (1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:46, while the Seahawks, who lost three of their last five games, kept the pigskin for 23:14 and went 4 of 14 on third down conversions in the Paciifc Northwest.

The Titans checked themselves into the Heartbreak Hotel after their 25-23 loss to San Francisco last Sunday in Santa Clara with a game-winning field goal as time expired. San Francisco led 16-10 at the intermission before allowing the Titans to storm back in the second half, outscoring the 49ers 10-9. Tennessee led 23-22 with 67 seconds lefr thanks to a 50-yard field goal by Ryan Succop before San Francisco went to work to take the win, using a 7-play, 48-yard drive that took all of the 67 seconds and ended with Gould’s 45-yard effort. Tennessee managed to outrush San Francisco 90-51 but 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 381 yards and a TD, while Marcus Mariota threw for 341 yards and a pair of TDs. Both clubs were 50 percent on third down tries (Tennessee was 6 of 12, San Francisco was 7 of 14) and the Titans were 1 of 1 on fourth down, holding the ball for 27:25, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 32:35.

Including games in St. Louis and Houston, when the Titans were known as the Oilers, Los Angeles leads the series 6-5, while the Titans have outscored the Rams 247-229, taking wins in the last two meetings, including a 28-21 win in St. Louis in 2013, while the Rams were 31-27 winners in the Gateway City in 2005. The Rams are favored by 6 1/2 in the Music City and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Both clubs are looking for an invite to the playoff party in two weeks. The Titans are trying to catch Jacksonville in the AFC South, while the Rams want to remain as king of the mountain in the NFC  West. Rams take a huge step toward winning the NFC West and wins in Music City, covering the 6 1/2.

Jacksonville (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. A pair of improving teams meet in wine country as Jacksonville travels to Santa Clara for a late-afternoon contest with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Jaguars advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 when they took Houston to the woodshed last Sunday in Jacksonville, taking a 45-7 win over the Texans at EverBank Field. Jacksonville clawed their way to a 31-0 lead at the break and held the Texans to a third quarter TD with 8:12 left in that quarter when Tyler Yates and WR DeAndre Hopkins connected on a 25-yard strike. Jacksonville outrushed Houston 138-87 and sacked Yates (128 yards) four times and picked him off once. Jacksonville, led by Blake Bortles’ 326 yards of passing (three TDs), went 3 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:18, while the struggling Texans kept the pigskin for 26:42 and went 4 of 16 on third down tries in the Sunshine State.

Robbie Gould sent 49ers fans home happy after their 25-23 win over Tennessee last Sunday in Santa Clara with a game-winning field goal as time expired. San Francisco, who doubled their win total from 2016 (they were 2-14) led 16-10 at the intermission before allowing the Titans to storm back in the second half, outscoring the 49ers 10-9. Tennessee led 23-22 with 67 seconds lefr thanks to a 50-yard field goal by Ryan Succop before San Francisco went to work to take the win, using a 7-play, 48-yard drive that took all of the 67 seconds and ended with Gould’s 45-yard effort. Tennessee managed to outrush San Francisco 90-51 but 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 381 yards and a TD, while Marcus Mariota threw for 341 yards and a pair of TDs. Both clubs were 50 percent on third down tries (Tennessee was 6 of 12, San Francisco was 7 of 14) and the Titans were 1 of 1 on fourth down, holding the ball for 27:25, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 32:35.

They’ve only met four times and the series is even at 2-2. San Francisco has outscored the Jaguars 74-64 and the 49ers have won the last two meetings, including a 42-10 win in 2013 in London, while the Jaguars’ last win came in the Sunshine State by a final of 10-9 in 2005. Jacksonville’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under is 42 1/2. San Francisco’s played some pretty decent football of late, while the Jaguars want to make history and at least host one playoff game in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville covers the 4 1/2 in wine country and takes the win.

New York Giants (2-12) at Arizona (6-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of teams that will not make the playoff party meet in the desert as Eli Manning and the New York Giants travel to Glendale for a late afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Both teams enter the contest with losses on the East coast under their belts.

After leading Philadelphia 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, Philly took a 21-20 at the intermisison, outscored the Giants 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of action and then held off a late New York rally that would have given interim head coach Steve Spagnola the win at home and took the win when Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 20-yard field goal with 3:56 left in the contest, dropping a 34-29 NFC East decision to the Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Philadelphia outrushed the Giants 108-75 and Nick Foles, who took over for Carson Wentz (knee), threw for 237 yards and three TDs, while Manning, in his second contest after he was benched, threw for 434 yards and four TDs (each man was sacked once and Manning threw an interception). The Eagles were 6 of 13 on third down tries in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 30:53, while the Giants held the ball for 29:07, going 10 of 18 on third down tries (both clubs were 0 of 1 on fourth down).

Arizona’s playoff hopes were crushed in Landover by the Redskins as Washington came away 20-15 winners at FedEx Field. Washington led 14-9 at the half and held Arizona in check the rest of the way. The Desert Angry Birds would eventually pull themselves to within 2 with 13:37 left in the third on a 34-yard field goal by Pat Dawson before the Redskins took control of things in the contest. While Arizona outrushed Washington 141-31, Kirk Cousins threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Arizona Blaine Gabbard threw for 189 yards with five sacks and an interception. The Redskins were 1 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 23:44, while Arizona kept the pigskin for 36:16, going 4 of 19 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Including games that were played at Yankee Stadium and New Haven when the Giants played in those stadiums and games played in Chicago and St. Louis when the Cardinals called those cities home, the Giants lead the series 80-43-2 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 2,760-2,151. Arizona won the last meeting with Big Blue, taking a 25-14 win in 2014 in the Meadowlands, while New York’s last win came in the desert in 2011 by a final of 31-27. Arizona’s favored by 4 1/2 in the desert and the over/under’s 40. Take a pass on this one and make that last-minute trip to get that ugly sweater for your cousin Larry. Arizona puts Giants fans a little closer out of their misery and wins at home, covering the 4 1/2 in the process.

Seattle (8-6) at Dallas (8-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. It’s basically an elimination game in the Lone Star State as the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys meet in a game of football “Survivor,” with the winner still having some playoff hope, while the loser is done for the year.

Seattle found themselves being taken to task by the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, as the Rams took down the Seahawks 42-7 at CenturyLink Field. Los Angeles took control of things early and scored the first 40 points of the game unchallenged, leading 34-0 at halftime and 40-0 lat in the third quarter before Seattle ended the Rams’ dreams of a shutout when Russell Wilson and TE Luke Willson hooked up on a 26-yard toss with 87 seconds left in the period. Los Angeles then put Seahawks fans out of their misery when Wilson was sacked in the endzone for a safety. Seattle was outrushed by the Rams 244-78 and Todd Gurley led everyone with 152 rushing yards and three TDs, the longest being 57 yards with 28 seconds left before the half. Wilson threw for 142 yards and the lone TD but was sacked seven times, while Jared Goff threw for 120 yards and a pair of TDs (one toss going to Gurley, the other going to WR Robert Woods). The Rams went 6 of 16 on third down (1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:46, while the Seahawks, who lost three of their last five games, kept the pigskin for 23:14 and went 4 of 14 on third down conversions in the Paciifc Northwest.

Dallas, who gets RB Ezekiel Elliott back from his 6-game suspension, led Oakland 10-0 at the half last Sunday night on the West Coast, then survived a late Raiders rally and escaped northern California with a 20-17 win. Oakland rallied in the second half and managed to tie things up at 17-17 with 10:35 left in regulation when Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Later in the quarter, the Cowboys used an 11-play, 69-yard drive that took 4:46 to take the lead back when K Dan Bailey connected on a 19-yard field goal with 1:44 left. The Raiders were not about to go away, got the ball back and got as close as the Cowboys’ 8-yard line, when Carr tried to run the ball in to take the lead with 39 seconds left but fumbled the pigskin through the endzone, giving Dallas the ball back on their 20-yard line. Dallas then ran out the clock and took the win. Dallas outrushed Oakland 126-122 and Dak Prescott threw for 212 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest, while Carr threw for 171 yards and the two TDs tosses to Crabtree. Dallas was 2 of 10 on third down tries but was successful on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:20, while the Silver and Black went 8 of 15 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:40.

Dallas leads the series 10-6 and they have outscored Seattle 399-283. Seattle did come away with a win in their last meeting with Dallas in the Lone Star State, coming away 13-12 winners in 2015, while Dallas won in the Pacific Northwest in 2014 by a final of 30-23.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Cowboys as 4 1/2 point favorites in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 47. The winner’s hopes are still alive and will get more hope in their stocking. As for the loser? They’ll get knocked out of the playoffs and a lump of coal in their stockings. Both are trying to catch Atlanta for that last playoff spot (Atlanta has the tiebreaker with both teams) and both know they’re on the football naughty list. Seahawks get themselves off the list and pulls the upset in the Lone Star State.

Pittsburgh (11-3) at Houston (4-10), 4:30 p.m. Monday on NBC and NFL Network. It’s the first of two Christmas Day games as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Houston to face off against the struggling Texans at NRG Stadium.

Pittsburgh comes into the Christmas Day contest in less-than Jolly mood after blowing a 17-10 lead against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and came up on the short end of a 27-24 loss at Heinz Field last Sunday. The Steelers led 24-19 with 56 seconds left in regulation when New England’s Deion Lewis scored on an 8-yard run and took the lead when Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski, coming off his one-game suspension, hooked up on the two-point try to take the 3-point lead. Steelers fans had their hopes dashed twice in the contest. Pittsburgh got the ball back and marched downfield, getting as close as New England’s 10-yard line when Ben Roethlisberger and TE Jesse James connected on what they thought would be the game-winning score. The play was reviewed and the call was changed from catch to no catch. After that, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a short pass to New England’s 7-yard line and the Steelers scrambled to the line without any times and Roethlisberger threw a pass into the endzone that was deflected and picked off by Duron Harmon. New England ran out the clock and took the win.

Pittsburgh outrushed New England 143-77, with LeVeon Bell leading all rushers with 117 yards, while Roethlisbeger threw for 281 yards and a TD. Pittsburgh also lost the services of All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, who had 24 yards on two catches before leaving the contest with a torn calf muscle (Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster had 114 yards on six catches for the Steelers), while Brady threw for 298 yards and a TD (both were sacked twice and both threw an interception). Pittsburgh on third down went 10 of 16 and kept the ball for 35:07, while the Pats were 24:53 in time of possession, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down at Heinz Field.

The dismal season for the Texans continued in the Sunshine State as Jacksonville took them to task last Sunday at EverBank Field, dropping a 45-7 AFC South decision. Houston had a problem and trailed Jacksonville 31-0 lead at the break, as the Jaguars held the Texans to a third quarter TD with 8:12 left in that quarter when Tyler Yates and WR DeAndre Hopkins connected on a 25-yard strike. Jacksonville outrushed Houston 138-87 and sacked Yates (128 yards) four times and picked him off once. Jacksonville, led by Blake Bortles’ 326 yards of passing (three TDs), went 3 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:18, while the struggling Texans kept the pigskin for 26:42 and went 4 of 16 on third down tries in the Sunshine State.

The Steelers lead the series 3-2, Pittsburgh has outscored Houston 111-88 and won their last meeting with the Texans, coming away 30-23 winners in the Steel City in 2014, while the Texans were 17-10 winners in 2011 at then-Reliant Stadium.  Pittsburgh’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 44. The 44 makes sense. The 10 is a little high. While the Texans have at times played some pretty good football, they’re not the same without Watt or Watson. Pittsburgh takes the win but expect Houston to give the Steelers a hard time in the Lone Star State.

Oakland (6-8) at Philadelphia (12-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The final Monday night game of the season takes place on Christmas Night in the City of Brotherly Love as Philadelphia hosts the Oakland Raiders at Lincoln Financial Field.

Oakland trailed Dallas 10-0 at the half last Sunday night on the West Coast, then rallied to even things up, only to see their playoff hopes wither away as the Cowboys survived a late Raiders rally, taking a 20-17 loss. Oakland rallied in the second half and managed to tie things up at 17-17 with 10:35 left in regulation when Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Later in the quarter, the Cowboys used an 11-play, 69-yard drive that took 4:46 to take the lead back when K Dan Bailey connected on a 19-yard field goal with 1:44 left. The Raiders were not about to go away, got the ball back and got as close as the Cowboys’ 8-yard line, when Carr tried to run the ball in to take the lead with 39 seconds left but fumbled the pigskin through the endzone, giving Dallas the ball back on their 20-yard line. Dallas then ran out the clock and took the win. Dallas outrushed Oakland 126-122 and Dak Prescott threw for 212. yards and had a rushing TD in the contest, while Carr threw for 171 yards and the two TDs tosses to Crabtree. Dallas was 2 of 10 on third down tries but was successful on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:20, while the Silver and Black went 8 of 15 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:40.

The Eagles have an NFL-best 12-2 record and have already clinched the NFC East and a first-round bye and got that bye thanks to a 34-29 win over the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. After erasing a 14-7 deficit at the end of the first quarter, Philly took a 21-20 at the intermisison, outscored the Giants 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of action and then held off a late New York rally that would have given interim head coach Steve Spagnola the win at home and took the win when Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 20-yard field goal with 3:56 left in the contest. Philadelphia outrushed the Giants 108-75 and Nick Foles, who took over for Carson Wentz (knee), threw for 237 yards and three TDs, while Eli Manning, in his second contest after he was benched, threw for 434 yards and four TDs (each man was sacked once and Manning threw an interception). The Eagles were 6 of 13 on third down tries in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 30:53, while the Giants held the ball for 29:07, going 10 of 18 on third down tries (both clubs were 0 of 1 on fourth down).

While the Eagles lead the series 6-5 (which includes games that were played in Los Angeles when the Raiders called that city home), the Raiders have outscored the Eagles 232-209. Philly won the last meeting with the Silver and Black in 2013, taking a 49-20 win in Oakland, while the Raiders were 13-9 winners in Oakland in 2009. The Eagles are favored by 9 and the over/under is 47 1/2. Both numbers make sense. While the Eagles have a Monday night win under their belts this year, taking Washington to task in week seven at home, Oakland is 38-27-1 under the primetime lights and won their only meeting last year. The Raiders are all but out of the post-season, while the Eagles want to stay home for the post-season. There’s no place like home for the playoffs and the Eagles can cancel that trip to the airport. Philly covers the 9 like cheese on a cheesesteak sandwich and takes the win at home.