Archives for category: San Francisco

Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

Dallas at ATLANTA, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 93 (Dallas), 82 (Atlanta); XM: 382 (Dallas), 82 (Atlanta)

Cleveland at Detroit, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta; SIRIUS: 119 (Cleveland), 135 (Detroit);| XM: 387 (Cleveland), 228 (Detroit)

New York Jets at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon; SIRIUS: 133 (New York Jets), 121 (Tampa Bay); XM: 385 (New York Jets), 229 (Tampa Bay)

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 132 (Pittsburgh), 81 (Indianapolis); XM: 381 (Pittsburgh), 81 (Indianapolis)

Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; SIRIUS: 136 (Los Angeles Chargers), 157 (Jacksonville); XM: 383 (Los Angeles Chargers), 227 (Jacksonville)

Minnesota at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: John Sadak, Mike Mayock; SIRIUS: 103 (Minnesota), 134 (Washington); XM: 386 (Minnesota), 225 (Washington)

Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Peter Schrager (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 113 (Green Bay), 83 (Chicago); XM: 380 (Green Bay), 83 (Chicago)

New Orleans at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Kristina Pink (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 112 (New Orleans), 82 (Buffalo); XM: 384 (New Orleans), 82 (Buffalo)

Cincinnati at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 93 (Cincinnati), 146 (Tennessee); XM: 382 (Cincinnati), 226 (Tennessee)

Houston at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Lee, Brady Poppinga; SIRIUS: 132 (Houston), 81 (Los Angeles Rams); XM: 381 (Houston), 81 (Los Angeles Rams)

New York Giants at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 133 (New York Giants), 83 (San Francisco); XM: 380 (New York Giants), 83 (San Francisco)

New England at Denver, 8:30 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, Jason Taylor; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New England), 83 (Denver); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New England), 83 (Denver)

Miami at Carolina, 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: WW1: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Max Starks; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Miami), 83 (Carolina); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Miami), 83 (Carolina)

Sunday and Monday Referees
Dallas at ATLANTA, 4:25 p.m.: Ed Hochuli
Cleveland at Detroit, 1 p.m.: Carl Cheffers
New York Jets at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.: Brad Allen
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Clete Blakeman
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Ronald Torbert
Minnesota at Washington, 1 p.m.: Bill Vinovich
Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Tony Corrente
New Orleans at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: Terry McAulay
Cincinnati at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Jeff Triplette
Houston at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.: Pete Morelli
New York Giants at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.: Jerome Boger
New England at Denver, 8:30 p.m.: Walt Coleman
Miami at Carolina, 8:30 p.m. Monday: Gene Steratore

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home team in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite                Spread       Underdog                 O/U
ATLANTA                 –  3         Dallas                   48 1/2
Minnesota               –  1 1/2     WASHINGTON               41 1/2
CHICAGO                 –  5 1/2     Green Bay                37 1/2
Pittsburgh              – 10         INDIANAPOLIS             45
JACKSONVILLE            –  4 1/2     Los Angeles Chargers     40 1/2
NEW YORK JETS           –  2 1/2     Tampa Bay                43 1/2
TENNESSEE               –  4 1/2     Cincinnati               40 1/2
New Orleans             –  3         BUFFALO                  47 1/2
DETROIT                 –  9 1/2     Cleveland                41
LOS ANGELES RAMS        – 12         Houston                  45 1/2
New York Giants         –  2 1/2     New York Giants          42
New England             –  7 1/2     DENVER                   44 1/2

Monday’s Game
Favorite                Spread       Underdog                 O/U
CAROLINA                –  9         Miami                    38 1/2

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

Dallas at Atlanta, 4:25 p.m.

Dallas

OUT: RB Ezekiel Elliott (Suspension), K Dan Bailey (Groin)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Dez Bryant (Knee), T Tyron Smith (Back), CB Chidobe Awuzie (Hamstring), DT Maliek Collins (Foot)

Atlanta
OUT: LB Duke Riley (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: G Andrew Levitre (Knee)

New Orleans at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

New Orleans
OUT: S Kenny Vaccaro (Groin)
QUESTIONABLE: T Terron Armstead (Chest), G Lawrence Warford (Abdomen)

Buffalo
OUT: T Cordy Glenn (Foot), WR Isaiah Jones (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Charles Clay (Knee), CB Edwin Gaines (Hamstring)

Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Green Bay
OUT: T Bryan Bulaga (Knee), S Morgan Burnett (Groin), DT Quinton Dial (Chest)  Did Not Participate In Practice Out
QUESTIONABLE: TE Martellus Bennett (Shoulder), LB Ahmad Brooks (Back), G Justin McCray (Ankle), LB Joe Thomas (Ankle)

Chicago
QUESTIONABLE: CB Bryce Callahan (Knee), T Thomas Compton (Ankle), CB Sherrick McManis (Hamstring), DE Roy Robertson-Harris (Hamstring), TE Dion Sims (Illness), LB Danny Trevathan (Calf), G Kyle Long (Finger)

Cleveland at Detroit, 1 p.m.

Cleveland
QUESTIONABLE: DT Olumide Ogunjobi (Groin)

Detroit
OUT: G Thomas Lang (Concussion), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Ankle)
DOUBTFUL: DE Ezekiel Ansah (Back)
QUESTIONABLE: S Don Carey (Knee), WR Kenneth Golladay (Hamstring) Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh
OUT: LB James Harrison (Back)

Indianapolis
OUT: WR Kamar Aiken (Hamstring), LB John Simon (Neck)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Eugene Hilton (Groin), CB Quincy Wilson (Knee)

Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers
QUESTIONABLE: T Joseph Barksdale (Foot), LB Hayes Pullard (Neck)

Jacksonville
QUESTIONABLE: G Aaron Cann (Triceps), WR Marqise Lee (Knee), G Patrick Omameh (Knee), T Jermey Parnell (Knee)

New York Jets at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

New York Jets
OUT: RB Matt Forte (Knee), DT Edward Stinson (Neck)
QUESTIONABLE: C Jonathan Harrison (Hand), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (Shoulder), CB Morris Claiborne (Foot), G Brian Winters (Abdomen)

Tampa Bay
OUT: DE William Gholston (Neck), QB Jameis Winston (Right Shoulder)
DOUBTFUL: CB Robert McClain (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Robert Ayers (Ankle), T Demar Dotson (Hamstring), T Donovan Smith (Knee), CB Brent Grimes (Shoulder), DT Gerald McCoy (Shoulder), G Justin Sweezy (Knee)

Cincinnati at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati
OUT: RB Jeremy Hill (Ankle), LB Kevin Minter (Elbow), DT Patrick Sims (Calf)
DOUBTFUL: S Shawn Williams (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: K Randol Bullock (Back)

Tennessee
OUT G Quinton Spain (Toe)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Delanie Walker (Ankle)

Minnesota at Washington, 1 p.m.

Minnesota
OUT: T Mike Remmers (Concussion), G Jeremiah Sirles (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Everson Griffen (Foot), S Anthony Harris (Hamstring), DE Stephen Weatherly (Knee)

Washington
OUT: DE Matthew Ioannidis (Hand), DT Arthur Jones (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Zach Brown (Ankle), TE Miles Paul (Concussion), T Trent Williams (Knee), WR Jamison Crowder (Hamstring), G
Shawn Lauvao (Stinger), C Spencer Long (Knee), T Morgan Moses (Ankle), S Montae Nicholson (Shoulder), T Attauyo Nsekhe (Core Muscle), WR Brian Quick (Concussion), TE Jordan Reed (Hamstring), G Brandon Scherff (Knee)

Houston at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.

Houston
OUT: LB Dylan Cole (Hamstring), DE Joel Heath (Knee)

Los Angeles Rams
OUT: RB Malcolm Brown (Knee)
DOUBTFUL: TE Derek Carrier (Hamstring), LB Robert Quinn (Illness)

New York Giants at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.

New York Giants
OUT: LB B.J. Goodson (Ankle), LB Devon Kennard (Quadricep), LB Keenan Robinson (Quadricep)
DOUBTFUL: CB Donte Deayon (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Jonathan Casillas (Neck), LB Calvin Munson (Quadricep), DE Olivier Vernon (Ankle), DE Kerry Wynn (Knee)

San Francisco
OUT: TE George Kittle (Ankle), LB Elijah Lee (Knee), WR Trent Taylor (Ribs), DE Aaron Lynch (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Solomon Thomas (Knee), CB K’Waun Williams (Quadricep)

New England at Denver, 8:30 p.m.

New England
OUT: DT Malcom Brown (Ankle), T Marcus Cannon (Ankle), WR Chris Hogan (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Danny Amendola (Knee), CB Stephon Gilmore (Concussion), DE Cassius Marsh (Shoulder), CB Nelson Rowe (Groin)

Denver
QUESTIONABLE: WR Emmanuel Sanders (Ankle), LB Todd Davis (Ankle), T Donald Stephenson (Calf)

Miami at Carolina, 8:30 p.m. on Monday

Miami
QUESTIONABLE: S Michael Thomas (Knee), RB Damien Williams (Illness), LB Michael Hull (Shoulder), G Ted Larsen (Biceps), CB Bobby McCain (Hamstring), WR Jakeem Grant (Illness)

Carolina
OUT: C Ryan Kalil (Neck)

Sunday and Monday Weather
Dallas at ATLANTA, 4:25 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, overcast with a 50 percent chance of showers and 48 degrees
Cleveland at Detroit, 1 p.m.:  Game indoors
New York Jets at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 80 degrees
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Game indoors, if roof is open, overcast with a 40 percent chance of rain and 43 degrees
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 75 degrees
Minnesota at Washington, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 45 degrees
Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 42 degrees
New Orleans at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 45 degrees
Cincinnati at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 57 degrees
Houston at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 70 degrees
New York Giants at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.: Sunny and 64 degrees
New England at Denver, 8:30 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 47 degrees
Miami at Carolina, 8:30 p.m. Monday: Clear and 52 degrees

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

9 weeks down.

8 to go.

Week 9 is in the books.

With the season at the halfway point, 19 teams are at the .500 mark or better. For those teams that are struggling, there’s still time. As for San Francisco and Cleveland, who have yet to win a game, they need to run the table to have any chance of a playoff spot.

We’re now into week 10. There’s a lot of football left and no playoff spots have been decided.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz each threw four touchdown passes in their teams’ victories today. Goff, who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw four touchdown passes in the Rams’ 51-17 win at the New York Giants. Wentz, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw four touchdown passes in the Eagles’ 51-23 win against Denver. Sunday marks the first time in NFL history in which quarterbacks selected No. 1 and 2 overall in the same NFL Draft each threw four touchdown passes on the same day.

•Philadelphia defeated Denver 51-23 to improve to 8-1. It marks the fifth time in franchise history the Eagles have started a season 8-1 or better (1949, 1960, 1980 and 2004) and the team advanced to the NFL Championship/Super Bowl in each of the previous four instances. In the Super Bowl era, 91 teams have previously started 8-1 or better through the first nine games and 88 made the playoffs (96.7 percent). Of those 91 teams, 40 reached the Super Bowl (44 percent) and 22 won the Super Bowl (24.2 percent).

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw four touchdown passes in today’s win and leads the league with 23 touchdown passes. Wentz’s 23 touchdown passes are the most by an Eagles quarterback through the team’s first nine games of a season, passing the mark set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin (20) in 1960.

•New Oleans defeated Tampa Bay 30-10 to improve to 6-2. The Saints, who have won six consecutive games after starting 0-2, are the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. The other two teams to accomplish the feat – 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants – both won the Super Bowl in that season.

Saints quarterback DREW BREES completed 22 of 27 passes (81.5 percent) for 263 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.9 passer rating. Brees has 225 career passing touchdowns at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the most in NFL history by a quarterback at a single stadium.

•The Los Angeles Rams defeated the New York Giants 51-17 in the Meadowland and recorded the team’s third victory of at least 30 points this season. The Rams are the 11th team in the Super Bowl era to post at least three wins with a margin of victory of 30+ points in the team’s first eight games of a season. Of the previous 10 teams in the Super Bowl era to accomplish the feat, seven advanced to the Super Bowl (70 percent).

•Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and added a rushing touchdown in the Cowboys’ 28-17 win over Kansas City. Prescott has 39 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in his career and joined Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to have at least 35 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in their first two seasons.

Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill had a 56-yard touchdown reception against Dallas, his ninth career touchdown of at least 50 yards. Hill, who was playing in his 25th career game, trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (10) for the most 50+ yard touchdowns in a player’s first 25 games to begin a career.

•Indianapolis wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had five catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 20-14 win at Houston. Hilton has 10 career games with at least 150 receiving yards, tied with Julio Jones for the fourth-most 150-yard receiving games in a player’s first six seasons. The only players with more such games in their first six seasons are Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Alworth (13) and Jerry Rice (13) and Randy Moss (12).

•Tennessee safety Kevin Byard had two interceptions in the Titans’ 23-20 win over Baltimore in Nashville. Byard, who had three interceptions in the team’s last game (Week 7 at Cleveland), has recorded five interceptions in his past two games, tied for the most by an NFL player in consecutive games since the 1970 merger. The other four players to accomplish the feat since 1970 are Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes (1976), Willie Buchanon (1978), Albert Lewis (1985) and De Angelo Hall (2010).

THE WEEK THAT WAS WEEK NINE: SURGING SAINTS: New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay 30-10 last week to improve to 6-2.

The Saints, who have won six consecutive games after starting 0-2, are the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. The other two teams to accomplish the feat – 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants – both won the Super Bowl in that season.

New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES completed 22 of 27 passes (81.5 percent) for 263 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.9 passer rating in the Saints’ win. Brees has 225 career passing touchdowns at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the most in NFL history by a quarterback at a single stadium.

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes at a single stadium in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (STADIUM – TD PASSES)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (Mercedes Benz Superdome – 225)
Tom Brady – New England (Gillette Stadium – 221)
Brett Favre – Green Bay and Minnesota (Lambeau Field – 214)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz passed for four touchdowns in the Eagles’ 51-23 win against Denver in Week 9. Wentz, who leads the NFL with 23 touchdown passes, has the most passing touchdowns by an Eagles quarterback through the team’s first nine games of a season, passing the mark set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin (20) in 1960.

Wentz, who is 24 years old, has the fourth-most touchdown passes in his team’s first nine games of a season by a quarterback at the age of 25 or younger.

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in their team’s first nine games of a season at the age of 25 or younger:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; AGE – TD PASSES IN 1ST 9 GAMES OF SEASON)
Dan Marino – Miami (1984; 23 – 27)^
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2014; 25 – 26)
Bobby Layne – Detroit (1951; 24 – 24)^
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia (2017; 24 – 23)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (2007; 25 – 22)

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Wentz is the only quarterback in NFL history at the age of 25 or younger with at least 20 touchdown passes (23) and five or fewer interceptions (five) in his team’s first nine games of a season.

STAFFORD REACHES 200: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 26 of 33 passes (78.8 percent) for 361 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 132.4 passer rating in the Lions’ 30-17 win at Green Bay on Monday Night Football.

Stafford, who is 29 years old, passed for his 200th and 201st career touchdowns on Monday night and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach 200 career touchdown passes before his 30th birthday.

The quarterbacks in NFL history to reach 200 career passing touchdowns before the age of 30:

PLAYER, TEAM (AGE AT TIME OF 200TH TD PASS)
Dan Marino, Miami (28 years, 2 days)^
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (28 years, 242 days)
Brett Favre, Green Bay (29 years, 36 days)^
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (29 years, 272 days)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

AGELESS WONDER: Arizona running back Adrian Peterson had a career-high 37 carries for 159 yards in the Cardinals’ 20-10 win at San Francisco in Week 9.

Peterson, who has 19 career games with at least 150 rushing yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric ickerson (18) and Emmitt Smith (18) for the fourth-most games with at least 150 rushing yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders (25), Jim Brown (22) and Walter Payton (20) have more such games in their careers.

The players with the most career games with at least 150 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); GAMES WITH 150+ RUSHING YARDS
Barry Sanders – Detroit; 25^
Jim Brown – Cleveland; 22^
Walter Payton – Chicago; 20^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota and Arizona; 19
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis; 18^
Emmitt Smith – Dallas; 18^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Peterson, who is 32 years old, is the third-oldest player in NFL history with at least 150 rushing yards in a game, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers John Riggins (35 years old, 165 rushing yards) and JOHN HENRY JOHNSON (34 years old, 200 rushing yards).

The oldest players with at least 150 rushing yards in a game in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (DATE; AGE – RUSHING YARDS)
John Riggins – Washington (October 14, 1984; 35 – 165)^
John Henry Johnson – Pittsburgh (October 10, 1964; 34 – 200)^
Adrian Peterson – Arizona (November 5, 2017; 32 – 159)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MATTY ICE AT 150: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 313 yards with two touchdowns in the Falcons’ Week 9 loss at Carolina.

Ryan, who played his 150th career game on Sunday, has 39,858 career passing yards, the most by a player in NFL history in his first 150 games.

The quarterbacks with the most passing yards in their first 150 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); PASSING YARDS
Matt Ryan – Atlanta; 39,858
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 39,297
Dan Marino – Miami; 39,285^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis; 39,164
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay; 38,212*
*Through 148 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Ryan’s 3,465 career completions are the second most in NFL history by a player in his first 150 career games, trailing only Drew Brees (3,494).

The quarterbacks with the most completions in their first 150 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); COMPLETIONS
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 3,494
Matt Ryan – Atlanta; 3,465
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis; 3,269
Carson Palmer – Cincinnati, Oakland an, Arizona; 3,196
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay; 3,162*
*Through 148 career games

CLIMBING THE LEADERBOARDS: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 220 yards with two touchdowns in the team’s Week 9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Manning, who has 50,034 career passing yards in 14 seasons with the Giants, became the seventh quarterback in NFL history with at least 50,000 passing yards.

The quarterbacks with at least 50,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER PASSING YARDS
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver; 71,940
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota; 71,838^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 68,325
Tom Brady – New England; 64,123
Dan Marino – Miami; 61,361^
John Elway – Denver; 51,475^
Eli Manning – New York Giants; 50,034
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had five catches for 70 yards in the Cardinals’ 20-10 victory at San Francisco last week.

Fitzgerald, who has 14,953 career receiving yards in 14 seasons with the Cardinals, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown (14,934) for the sixth-most receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER RECEIVING YARDS
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle; 22,895^
Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati; 15,934
Randy Moss – Minnesota, Oakland, New England, Tennessee and San Francisco; 15,292
Isaac Bruce – Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and San Francisco; 15,208
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and Atlanta; 15,127
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona; 14,953
Tim Brown – Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay; 14,934^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted both of his field-goal attempts, including a 53-yarder and both extra-point attempts in the Colts’ 20-14 win at Houston in Week 9.

Vinatieri, who has 2,442 career points, surpassed GARY ANDERSON (2,434) for the second-most points scored in NFL history.

The players with the most points scored in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER POINTS
Morten Andersen – New Orleans, Atlanta, New York Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota; 2,544^
Adam Vinatieri – New England and Indianapolis; 2,442
Gary Anderson – Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minnesota and Tennessee; 2,434
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

RISING ROOKIES: Through the first nine weeks of the season, rookies have accumulated 12,146 yards from scrimmage, the second-highest total by rookies through Week 9 since 1970.

The seasons with the most yards from scrimmage by rookies through Week 9 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST SCRIMMAGE YARDS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 9*
2014 – 12,504
2017 – 12,146
2013 – 11,105
1983 – 10,829
2012 – 10,321
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (1,131)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (732)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (652)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (589)
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati (488)

Rookies have also totaled 91 touchdowns through Week 9, the second-most through the first nine weeks of a season since 1970.

The seasons with the most touchdowns by rookies through Week 9 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST TOUCHDOWNS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 9*
2014 – 96
2017 – 91
1983 – 88
2013 – 85
1971 – 75
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most touchdowns in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (7)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (6)
Corey Clement, Philadelphia (5)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (5)
Evan Engram, New York Giants (4)
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh (4)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 10: TOP BILLING: New England head coach Bill Belichick has 269 career wins, including the postseason, in his 23-year head coaching career with the Browns and Patriots.

With a victory on Sunday night at Denver, Belichick would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Landry (270) for the third-most total wins by a head coach in NFL history.

The head coaches with the most total wins (including the postseason) in NFL history:

COACH – TEAM(S)(WINS-LOSSES-TIES, WIN PCT.)
Don Shula – Baltimore Colts and Miami (347-173-6, .666)^
George Halas – Chicago (324-151-31, .682)^
Tom Landry – Dallas (270-178-6, .603)^
Bill Belichick – Cleveland and New England (269-127-0, .679)
Curly Lambeau – Green Bay, Chicago Cardinals and Washington (229-134-22, .631)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

COMPLETE PLAYERS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (3,984) and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (3,972) enter Week 10 ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, on the NFL’s all-time completions list.

This week, Rivers and Roethlisberger can become the eighth and ninth players in NFL history to record at least 4,000 career completions. Rivers and the Chargers are at Jacksonville, while Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh travels to Indianapolis to face the Colts.

The players with at least 4,000 career completions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); CAREER COMPLETIONS
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota; 6,300^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver; 6,125
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans; 6,033*
Tom Brady – New England; 5,450*
Dan Marino – Miami; 4,967^
Eli Manning – New York Giants; 4,259*
John Elway, – Denver; 4,123^
Philip Rivers – San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers; 3,984*
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh; 3,972*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active

STELLAR STREAK: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who became the seventh player in NFL history with 50,000 career passing yards (50,034) in Week 9, has started 207 consecutive games.

With a start on Sunday at San Francisco, Manning would tie his brother, Peyton (208), for the second-longest streak of consecutive starts in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (297) has started more
consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive starts in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SEASONS; CONSECUTIVE GAMES STARTED)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (1992-2010; 297)^
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (1998-2010; 208)
Eli Manning – New York Giants (2004-present; 207)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

DAK ATTACK: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 28-17 victory against Kansas City in Week 9. Prescott, who is in his second NFL season, has five career games with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown.

This Sunday at Atlanta, Prescott can tie Cam Newton (six) for the most games with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in a player’s first two career seasons.

The players with the most games with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in their first two seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEARS; GAMES WITH 2+ TD PASSES AND RUSH TD)
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011-12; 6)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2016-17; 5)*
Steve Grogan, New England (1975-76; 5)
*In second season

AWESOME ADRIAN: Arizona running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 159 yards on a career-high 37 carries in the Cardinals’ 20-10 victory at San Francisco in Week 9. The performance marked Peterson’s 19th career game with at least 150 rushing yards.

On Thursday night against Seattle, Peterson can join Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders (25), Jim Brown (22) and Walter Payton (20) as the only players in NFL history with 20 career games with at least 150 rushing yards.

The players with the most career games with at least 150 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S); GAMES WITH 150+ RUSHING YARDS

Barry Sanders – Detroit; 25^
Jim Brown – Cleveland; 22^
Walter Payton – Chicago; 20^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota and Arizona; 19
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

DYNAMIC DUO: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell (979 scrimmage yards) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (835) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the NFL in scrimmage yards.

If Bell and Brown each reach 1,000 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Indianapolis, it would mark the seventh time in NFL history that a pair of teammates had at least 1,000 scrimmage yards each in their team’s first nine games of a season.

Bell and Brown, who also accomplished the feat in 2014, would join Indianapolis’ Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison (1999 and 2000) as the only pairs of teammates in NFL history to each record at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in their team’s first nine games of a season multiple times.

The pairs of teammates in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards each in the first nine games of a season:

TEAM – SEASON (PLAYER – SCRIMMAGE YARDS; PLAYER – SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Atlanta – 2015 (Devonta Freeman – 1,141; Julio Jones – 1,029)
Pittsburgh – 2014 (Le’Veon Bell – 1,144; Antonio Brown – 1,009)
St. Louis – 2000 (Marshall Faulk – 1,326; Isaac Bruce – 1,019)^
Indianapolis – 2000 (Edgerrin James – 1,294; Marvin Harrison – 1,004)
Indianapolis – 1999 (Edgerrin James – 1,221; Marvin Harrison – 1,000)^
Dallas – 1995 (Emmitt Smith – 1,361; Michael Irvin – 1,023)^
Pittsburgh – 2017 (Le’Veon Bell – 979; Antonio Brown – 835)*
^Irvin, Smtih and Harrison are Pro Football Hall of Famers
*Through eight games

CATCHING CHRISTIAN: Carolina rookie running back Christian McCafferyY ranks third in the NFL and leads all running backs with 54 catches.

With eight catches on Monday against Miami, McCaffrey would surpass Reggie Bush (61 in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in their team’s first 10 games
of a season:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS IN TEAM’S 1ST 10 GAMES)
Reggie Bush – New Orleans (2006, 61)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2017, 54)*
Earl Cooper, San Francisco (1980, 53)
*Through nine games

EVERY DAY EVERSON: Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen ranks third in the
NFL with 10 sacks and has recorded a sack in all eight of Minnesota’s games this
season.

With a sack on Sunday at Washington, Griffen would become the first player to record a sack in each of his team’s first nine games to start a season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney (2009) and ROBERT MATHIS (2005) are the only other players to each record a sack in their team’s first eight games of a season.

The players to record a sack in each of their team’s first eight games of a season since 1982:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; SACK IN EACH GAME TO START A SEASON)
Everson Griffen – Minnesota (2017 – 8)*
Dwight Freeney – Indianapolis (2009 – 8)
Robert Mathis – Indianapolis (2005 – 8)
*Active streak

TERRIFIC TITAN: Tennessee safety Kevin Byard, who had three interceptions in Week 7, had two interceptions in the Titans’ 23-20 victory over Baltimore in Week 9.

With an interception on Sunday against Cincinnati, Byard, who has five interceptions in the Titans’ past two games (Tennessee had a bye in Week 8), will join Jarius Byrd (2009), Albert Lewis (1985) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Kenny Easley (1984) and Mike Haynes (1976) as the only players in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) with six interceptions over a three-game span in a single season.

With two interceptions on Sunday, Byard would become the first player in the Super Bowl era with seven interceptions over a three-game span in a single season.

The players with the most interceptions over a three-game span in a single season in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON; WEEKS; INTERCEPTIONS IN 3-GAME SPAN
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo (2009; 6-8; 6)
Albert Lewis, Kansas City (1985; 14-16; 6)
Kenny Easley, Seattle (1984; 9-11; 6)^
Mike Haynes, New England (1976; 9-11; 6)^
Mike Haynes, New England (1976; 10-12; 6)^
Kevin Byard, Tennessee (2017; 7, 9; 5)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In two games

The second half of the NFL season is here and the race to the playoffs is in full swing.

Thirteen teams have won at least five games, led by the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles. This is the fifth time in franchise history the Eagles have started a season 8-1 or better (1949, 1960, 1980 and 2004) and the team advanced to the NFL Championship/Super Bowl in each of the previous four instances. In the Super Bowl era, 91 teams have previously started 8-1 or better through the first nine games and 88 advanced to the playoffs (96.7 percent). Of those 91 teams, 40 reached the Super Bowl (44 percent) and 22 won the Super Bowl (24.2 percent).

The Eagles (seven) and New Orleans Saints (six) currently have the longest active winning streaks in the league. New Orleans, which started the season 0-2, is the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. The other two teams to accomplish the feat – 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants – both won the Super Bowl in that season.

As the season moves into the second half, it’s all still to be decided, with plenty of football left to play. So don’t count anyone out. Since 2000, 44 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season. Last year, there were four such teams: Detroit (4-4), Green Bay (4-4), Miami (4-4) and Pittsburgh (4-4).

Of those 44 clubs, seven have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including both the Packers and Steelers last season. The 2001 New England Patriots reached the midway point with a 4-4 record and went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

Byes this week? Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland and Philadelphia. Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England and Pittsburgh come back from their week-long vacations and join in the week 10 action.

Last week? UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH! 5-8 for the week (which is a lot better than going 0-13). For the year, 72-55. Still pretty good. There’s still a lot of football left on the docket between now and Super Bowl LII (52 for those that like Roman numerals). Week 10 got underway in the desert as Seattle defeated Arizona 22-16 last Thursday and concludes in the Tar Heel State on Monday evening as Miami travels to Charlotte to face off against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. Here are Sunday and Monday’s picks for week 10.

Dallas (5-3) at ATLANTA (4-4), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. Dak Prescott vs. Matt Ryan. A pair of young guns take the field in the Big Peach as the defending NFC champs host the Dallas Cowboys in a late afternoon NFC contest. The contest will have drama on the field and off.

How, you ask?

To bring you up to speed (ICYMI)… The Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals dened Ezekiel Elliot’s request for an emergency injuction that would have allowed him to play, which means his six-game suspension is back on. A series of injunctions and restraining orders have allowed the 22-year old Elliott to play to this point but a three-judge panel decided another injunction wasn’t in the cards for the Cowboys running back. The NFL Players’ Association requested an expedited appeal and the court responded later Thursday by scheduling a hearing for December 1, meaning Elliott is guaranteed to miss at least the next four games.

The NFLPA has argued a suspension would irreparably harm Elliott’s career. The NFL, however, said roughly 100 players have been suspended for approximately 500 games over the past season and a half, therefore “Elliott’s claim of irreparable injury is indistinguishable from those that could be made by 100 other players.”

Elliott is second in the NFL with 783 rushing yards and tied for the league lead with seven rushing scores. If his six-game suspension is upheld at the December 1 hearing, he would be eligible to return the field on Christmas Eve afternoon when the Cowboys, currently 5-3, face the Seahawks at home. The games that Elliott would miss are at Atlanta Sunday, home against Philadelphia on the 19th, home against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thanksgiving Day, home against Washington on November 30th, at the Giants on December 10th and at Oakland on December 17.

The six-game suspension stems from a domestic violence allegation by Elliott’s former girlfriend in July of 2016. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell initially decided there was enough “persuasive evidence supporting” Tiffany Thompson’s allegations of domestic abuse. The union immediately appealed Goodell’s decision and Elliott has been able to play while the case works its way through the legal system and led to hard feelings between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Goodell.

That was the legal stuff.

Now back to the two teams.

Dallas earned a 28-17 victory over Kansas City last Sunday in Jerry World (AT&T Stadium). Prescott threw for 249 yards and a pair of touchdown passes – both to wide receiver Cole Beasley – and added a rushing TD. Prescott joined Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to have at least 35 touchdown passes (39) and 10 rushing touchdowns (10) in their first two seasons. Dallas led 14-10 at the intermission before the Chiefs took their only lead of the contest in the third quarter when Alex Smith and TE Travis Kelce connected on a 2-yard TD pass to open the scoring in the third quarter. Dallas then took the lead for keeps when RB Ezekiel Elliott scored from 2 yards out and Beasley caught his second TD pass, good from seven yards, to seal Kansas City’s fate. Dallas outrushed Kansas City 131-68 and went 7 of 12 on third down conversions and ruled the clock, as they held the ball for 31:17, while the Chiefs, who went 4 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:43.

Atlanta let a 10-0 first quarter lead get away from them as Carolina would take over and take the lead for keeps, taking a 20-17 win over the defending NFC champions in Charlotte last Sunday afternoon. Ryan passed for 313 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s loss in Charlotte and played in his 150th game, has 39,858 career passing yards, the most in NFL history by a player in his first 150 games. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who caught one of the two Ryan tosses (WR Mohammed Sanu caught the other), leads the NFC with 658 receiving yards. In his career, Jones is averaging 95 receiving yards per game (8,268 yards in 87 games), the highest mark in NFL history (minimum 50 games). Carolina outrushed Atlanta 201-53, while Cam Newton threw for 137 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest. Atlanta was 4 of 12 on third down (0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:08, while the Panthers kept the ball for 32:52, while going 4 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Dallas leads the series 14-10 and the Cowboys have outscored Atlanta 590-469. However…. Atlanta has won the last two meetings, including coming away 39-28 winners in the Lone Star State in 2015, while Dallas’ last win over Atlanta came in 2009 in Irving by a final of 37-21.

The oddsmakers like the Falcons as 3 point favorites in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Is this one “DRILL WORTHY?” We think so. (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?”

Both clubs were playoff teams last year. Both are looking to go back. Atlanta’s still king of the NFC until they’re knocked off and the king’s not going anywhere. Atlanta “RISES UP” and covers the 3 in the Big Peach.

Cleveland (0-8) at Detroit (4-4), 1 p,m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. One team’s looking to win their first game. The other team’s looking to return to the playoffs. Detroit hosts the winless Cleveland Browns in the Motor City at Ford Field.

Cleveland returns from their bye week after the Browns dropped a 33-16 decision to Minnesota at London’s Twickenham Stadium in Week 8. Although they trailed 13-12 at the break across the pond, Cleveland found themselves outscored 21-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. While Cleveland did outrush Minnesota 115-88, Vikings QB Case Keenum, who took over for Sam Bradford (knee), threw for 288 yards and a pair of TDs, while rookie QB DeShone Kizer threw for 179 yards with three sacks. Minnesota went 6 of 16  on third downs and held on to the ball for 37:52, while the struggling Browns were 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 22:08.

Detroit led from start to finish at Green Bay and came away 30-17 winners at Lambeau Field last Monday night. The Lions led 14-3 at the break and never looked back, although the Packers outrushed Detroit 78-64 in the Monday night contest. Matthew Stafford threw for 361 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Marvin Jones on both tosses, while Brett Hundley, who is under center while Aaron Rodgers recovers from a broken collarbone, threw for 245 yards. Detroit on third down tries went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 36:55, while the Packers were 2 of 9 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:05.

Including games that were played in old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Lions lead the series 15-4, they have outscored the Browns 479-336 and Detroit has won the last three contests, taking a 31-17 win in Cleveland in 2013, while the Browns’ last win over the Lions came in 2001 along the shores of Lake Erie by a final of 24-14. Detroit’s favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under is 43 1/2. Cleveland will make it interesting and make it close but Detroit takes this one in the Motor City and could very well cover the 9 1/2.

New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay (2-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling teams square off in the Sunshine State as the New York Jets make their way to Raymond James Stadium for a meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

GangGreen returns to action in the Sunshine State after they took Buffalo to task, getting revenge on their AFC East rivals by taking a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium last Thursday night. The Jets led 10-7 at the intermission on the Jersey Shores before pulling away in the final 30 minutes of action. Tyrod Taylor ran for one TD and threw for another, tallying 285 yards in the air but was sacked seven times. The Bills, who were outrushed by the Jets 194-63, went 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:30, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, led by Josh McCown’s 140 yards (with a TD pass and a rushing TD), went 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:30.

Tampa Bay lost at New Orleans 30-10 last week in the Big Easy. The Buccaneers trailed 16-3 at the break and the Saints took control of the second half, where things got somewhat chippy when Saints DB Marshon Lattimore and Tampa Bay RB Mike Evans were involved in a scuffle on the Bucs’ sideline in the third quarter. Evans would eventually be suspended for one game for his actions on the field.

New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 151-87 and Drew Brees threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs, while knocking Jameis Winston (67 yards) out of the contest with a shoulder injury. Winston is out for the contest and Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center for the Buccaneers. New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Big Easy and kept the ball for 32:18, while Tampa Bay, who was 27:42 in time of possession, went 4 of 13 on third downs.

Including games that were played at Shea Stadium and old Tampa Stadium, GangGreen leads the series 10-1, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have outscored Tampa Bay 291-162 and GangGreen has won the last eight meetings, taking an 18-17 win in the Meadowlands in 2013, while Tampa Bay’s lone win in the series came all the way back in 1984, when the Buccaneers wore the creamsicle uniforms and came away 41-21 in the old Sombrero. The Jets are favored by 2 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under is 43 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this game (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams) and watch that “Bar Rescue” marathon on Spike (there’s nothing cooler than seeing Jon Tepper blow his stack!). Jets cover the 2 1/2 and win in the Sunshine State.

Pittsburgh (6-2) at Indianapolis (3-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Brissett vs. Roethlisberger. A pair of AFC QBs meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium.

After falling to Jacksonville at home, the Steelers have won three consecutive games and are tied with New England for the best record in the AFC at 6-2. Pittsburgh had a bye last week and defeated Detroit 20-15 in Week 8. The Lions led at the half 12-10 before Pittsburgh went to work and tamed the Lions in the second half. Pittsburgh outrushed Detroit 75-71 and Ben Roethilsberger threw for 317 yards and a TD pass to rookie WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster leads all NFL rookies with 424 receiving yards, while his teammate, WR Antonio Brown leads the NFL with 57 catches and 835 receiving yards and is on pace to record his fifth consecutive season with at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards. Pittsburgh was 7 of 14 on third down tries in the Sunday night contest in the Motor City and kept the ball for 28:23, while the Lions were 2 of 12 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the pigskin for 31:37.

The Steelers lead the series 17-6 (which includes games that were played in Baltimore and at Three Rivers Stadium), they have outscored the Colts 584-393 and have won the last four meetings, including a 28-7 win in the Hoosier State last year (Indy’s last win came in 2008 in the Steel City by a final of 24-20.

The two clubs met in the Hoosier State in week 12 in a Thanksgiving night affair and the Steelers took a 21-7 lead at the half and never looked back, shutting out the Colts (who probably overate their Thanksgiving meal) in the final 30 minutes of play. LeVeon Bell ran for 120 yards and a TD, as the Steelers outrushed 148-91 and Roethlisberger threw for 221 yards and three TD strikes to WR Antonio Brown. The Steelers were 7 of 11 on third down tries at Lucas Oil Stadium and kept the ball for 28:15, while the Colts, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:45, went 8 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh covered the 3-point spread in the Thanksgiving night contest like gravy on dressing with their 21-point win but neither club covered the 53 1/2 over/under, as they combined for only 35 points. Pittsburgh’s favored again, this time by 10 and the over/under’s 45. The 44 1/2? Makes sense. The 10 point spread? Not so much. The Colts have struggled this year but they’re not 10 point bad. Pittsburgh wins in the Hoosier State but doesn’t cover the 10.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville (5-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Los Angeles Chargers make the 2,421-mile trip down I-10 to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Sunshine State.

The Bolts come back to action from their bye after their 21-13 loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxboro the weekend before. The defending Super Bowl champs led the Bolts 15-7 at the break and the two clubs played even football the rest of the contest. Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski connected for a 2-yard TD pass as the second quarter was getting underway, while Philip Rivers (212 yards) and WR Travis Benjamin connected on a 24-yard TD strike with 8:30 left in regulation. Los Angeles managed to outrush New England 157-97 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 132 yards and a TD), while Brady threw for 333 yards for the Pats. New England on third down was 9 of 19 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:59, while the Chargers were 23:01 in time of possession, going 3 of 10 on third down (both teams were successful in their only fourth down tries).

Jacksonville pounced on Cincinnati last Sunday at EverBank Field, coming away 23-7 winners over the Bengals in the Sunshine STate. Jacksonville led 13-7 at the half in the Sunshine State, then shut out the Bengals in the second half. After Cincy”S A.J. Green and Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey were tossed out for fighting, the Jaguars put a final nail in the Bengals’ coffin when Jayden Mickens returned a punt 63 yards for a TD. Jacksonville, who went 12 of 18 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth) held the Bengals were held to 29 yards rushing, while the Jaguars tallied 149 and Blake Bortles threw for 259 yards with a TD and had no interceptions or sacks, while Andy Dalton threw for 136. The Bengals on third down were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 and kept the ball for 19:46, while Jacksonville ruled the clock and kept the ball for 40:14.

Including contests that were played in San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 7-2, the Bolts have outscored Jacksonville 274-158 and the Chargers have won the last six contests in the series, including coming away 38-14 winners last year at Qualcomm, while Jacksonville’s last win came in the Sunshine State by a final of 24-17 in 2007.

The 2016 contest took place on the West Coast in week two and the Chargers led 35-0 after 45 minutes of action (San Diego led 21-0 at the intermission) before the Jaguars would score their only points in the final period. Rivers threw for 220 yards and four TDs, two of them to WR Travis Benjamin, while the Chargers outrushed Jacksonville 150-69 (San Diego’s Melvin Gordon ran for 102 of those yards with a TD), while Blake Bortles (329 yards) was sacked twice and picked off twice. throwing a pair of TDs in the contest. The Chargers were 7 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 34:52, while Jacksonville held the pigskin for 25:08, going 2 of 11 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The Chargers’ 24-point win allowed them to cover the 3-point spread and both teams took care of the 47 over/under, scoring 52 points. The boys and girls in vegas like the Jaguars as 4 1/2 point favorites in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Jacksonville has already surpassed their win total from last year and the Jaguars are making noise in the AFC South, while the Chargers are coming back to life in the AFC West. Jacksonville covers the 4 1/2 in north Florida and wins at home.

Minnesota (6-2) at Washington (4-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The first-place Minnesota Vikings travel to Landover for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

The Vikings, who had a bye last week, defeated Cleveland 33-16 at London’s Twickenham Stadium in Week 8. Running back Jerick McKinnon had 122 scrimmage yards (72 receiving, 50 rushing) and a touchdown against the Browns. Minnesota led 13-12 at the break across the pond before they outscored the winless Browns 21-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. While Cleveland did outrush Minnesota 115-88, Vikings QB Case Keenum, who took over for Sam Bradford (knee), threw for 288 yards and a pair of TDs. Minnesota went 6 of 16  on third downs and held on to the ball for 37:52, while the struggling Browns were 4 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 22:08.

Washington held off Seattle to come away 17-14 winners in the Pacific Northwest last week. Washington led 7-2 at the half, thanks to a 1-yard run by RB Rob Kelly after the Seahawks sacked QB Kirk Cousins (247 yards, 6 sacks) for a safety to open the scoring. Washington then held off Seattle in the final 30 minutes of action and stopped a Seattle rally in the final seconds when Wilson’s pass to TE Jimmy Graham fell incomplete. Seattle, who outrushed Washington 148-51, went 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:19, while the Redskins kept the ball for 27:41, going 4 of 13 on third down tries.

The series is even at 10-10 (which includes games played at RFK Stadium, Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome) and the Vikings have outscored Washington 500-451. Their last meeting took place last year in Landover and the ‘Skins escaped wtih a 26-20 win (Minnesota’s last win over Washington came in 2014 in the Twin Cities, when the Vikings came away 29-26 winners).

They met in week 10 at FedEx Field and the Redskins trailed 20-14 at the half before Washington scored the final 14 points of the contest unchallenged, using four Dustin Hopkins field goals to seal the deal. Washington outrushed Minnesota 128-47, while Cousins threw for 262 yards for Washington, while Bradford threw for 307 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs). The Redskins went 6 of 12 on third down conversions in the home win, keeping the ball for 29:56, while the Vikings ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 30:04, going 5 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Washington was favored by 2 and covered the spread, winning by 6 and both clubs covered the 41 1/2 with 46 points. Minnesota’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. While this one’s not “Drill Worthy,” it’s worth your time to watch. Redskins fans were singing “Hail To The Redskins” last week after their win on the West Coast. They’ll be singing “Hail to the Redskins” this week too. Washington covers the 1 1/2 and wins in Landover.

Green Bay (4-4) at Chicago (3-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Windy City as Green Bay makes its way to Soldier Field for a Sunday afternoon contest with Chicago.

Green Bay trailed from start to finish and wound up on the short end of a 30-17 loss to Detroit at Lambeau Field last Monday night. The Packers trailed 14-3 at the break in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and could never get on track, although the Packers outrushed Detroit 78-64 in the Monday night contest. Matthew Stafford threw for 361 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Marvin Jones on both tosses, while Brett Hundley, who is under center while Aaron Rodgers recovers from a broken collarbone, threw for 245 yards. Detroit on third down tries went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 36:55, while the Packers were 2 of 9 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:05.

Da Bears gave New Orleans a scare, coming up short in the Big Easy as they fell to the Saints 20-12. (Chicago had a bye last week) The Saints led 14-3 at the intermission before Da Bears managed to outscore the Saints 9-6 in the last 30 minutes of play. New Orleans found themselves outrushed by Chicago 157-101 and Chicago’s Jordan Howard ran for 102 yards to lead all rushers. Brees threw for 299 yards, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 164 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The series? Tied 93-93-6 (which includes contests that were played at Wrigley Field and in Milwaukee) and Da Bears, who were known as the Staleys prior to 1922, have outscored Green Bay 3,300-3,284. Green Bay has taken wins in six of the last eight meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Chicago’s last win over the Packers came in 2015 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as Da Bears suprised Green Bay 17-13.)

Meeting number one… week 7 at Lambeau. Rodgers (326 yards, 3 TDS) and WR Devonte Adams connected on a pair of TDs in the 26-10 win in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. Green Bay led 6-3 at the intermission and never looked back, as they outrushed Chicago 103-69 in the first meeting. The Packers were 9 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 39:36, while Da Bears were 2 of 8 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 20:24.

Round two… the Windy City and Soldier Field… week 15. Temperature at gametime? A balmy 11 degrees with a -4 wind chill (compared to 47 degrees in Green Bay in the first meeting and that contest had a 42 wind chill). Green Bay led 27-10 at the end of three quarters before Chicago roared back in the final period to tie things up. Green Bay took it upon themselves in the frosty Chicago air in the final 79 seconds of the contest after Conner Barth tied things up with a 22-yard field goal, using all the 79 seconds they had left with a 5-play, 59-yard drive that ended with Matt Crosby connecting on a 32-yard field goal as time expired to win 30-27. Green Bay outrushed Chicago 226-95 (Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery led all rushers with 162 yards and a TD), while Rodgers threw for 252 yards, despite being sacked four times (Chicago’s Matt Barkley threw for 362 yards with a pair of TDs but was the victim of three interceptions). The Packers on third down? 3 of 10 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down), while Da Bears were 3 of 8. As far as the clock was concerned? Green Bay ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:47 (including the game-winning drive), while Chicago kept the ball for 27:13.

In the week 7 contest, played on a Thursday night, while the Packers covered the 8 1/2 point spread winning by 16, neither club covered the 45 1/2 over/under, tallying only 36 points. Green Bay was favored by 6 1/2 in the week 15 contest at Soldier Field but came away 3-point winners but both teams covered the over/under (which was 42) as they combined for 57 points. Chicago’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 37 1/2. It’s almost safe to say that both teams are in survival mode to an extent and both are better than their records show. Green Bay wins in the Windy City and covers the 3.

New Orleans (6-2) at Buffalo (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. It’s gumbo vs. chicken wings as the New Orleans Saints travel to upstate New York to face off against the Buffalo Bills.

New Orleans, who defeated Tampa Bay 30-10 last week, has won six consecutive games and are the third team in the Super Bowl era to win its next six games immediately following an 0-2 start. Leading 16-3 at the break, the Saints took control of the second half, where things got somewhat chippy when Saints DB Marshon Lattimore and Tampa Bay RB Mike Evans were involved in a scuffle on the Bucs’ sideline in the third quarter. Evans would eventually be suspended for one game for his actions on the field.

New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 151-87 and Drew Brees threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs, while knocking Jameis Winston (67 yards) out of the contest with a shoulder injury. New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Big Easy and kept the ball for 32:18, while Tampa Bay, who was 27:42 in time of possession, went 4 of 13 on third downs.

Buffalo was taken to task last Thursday night in East Rutherford, as the Jets got their revenge on their AFC East rivals by taking a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium last Thursday night. The Jets led 10-7 at the intermission on the Jersey Shores before pulling away in the final 30 minutes of action. Tyrod Taylor ran for one TD and threw for another, tallying 285 yards in the air but was sacked seven times. The Bills, who were outrushed by the Jets 194-63, went 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:30, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!, led by Josh McCown’s 140 yards (with a TD pass and a rushing TD), went 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 33:30.

New Orleans holds a 6-4 lead in the series, the Saints have outscored the Bills 236-183 and have won the last four meetings in the series, including taking a 35-17 win in the Big Easy in 2013 (Buffalo’s last win over the Saints came in 1998 in the Big Easy by a final of 45-33).

New Orleans is favored by 3 on the road and the over/under’s 47 1/2. The Saints are trying to unseat Atlanta as king of the NFC South mountain, while the Bills have been giving the NFC South problems this year. Wings beats gumbo. Bills circle the wagons and cover the 2 1/2 in upstate New York.

Cincinnati (3-5) at Tennessee (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Andy Dalton vs. Marcus Mariota. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Music City as the Tennessee Titans host the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium.

The Bengals were suprised by Jacksonville last Sunday, losing to the Jaguars 23-7 at EverBank Field. Cincinnati trailed 13-7 at the half in the Sunshine State, then found themselves shut out in the second half but it was non-football action that was the star of the show as Cincy”S A.J. Green and Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey were tossed out for fighting. Jacksonville then got its composure back and iced the game away when Jayden Mickens returned a punt 63 yards for a TD. The Bengals were held to 29 yards rushing, while the Jaguars tallied 149 and Blake Bortles threw for 259 yards with a TD and had no interceptions or sacks, while Dalton threw for 136. The Bengals on third down were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 and kept the ball for 19:46, while Jacksonville ruled the clock and kept the ball for 40:14, going 12 of 18 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Tennessee held off Baltimore 23-20 at Nissan Stadium last Sunday afternoon. The Titans led 16-6 at the half before the Ravens made it a closer contest than Titan fans would have wanted when Joe Flacco (261 yards, two sacks, two interceptions) threw a pair of fourth quarter TD passes, one to RB Javarious Allen and the other to WR Mike Wallace with 46 seconds left to play. Baltimore then tried the onside kick and the Titans recovered the ball and ran out the clock. Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier rushing-wise and the Ravens barely outrushed Tennessee 73-71, while Mariota threw for 218 yards with a pair of TDs. Baltimore went 6 of 16 on third down tries but struck paydirt on fourth down, as they went 3 of 4 and the Ravens ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:22, while the Titans were 3 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:38.

Tennessee leads the series 39-33-1, including contests that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers but the Bengals have outscored Tennessee 1,693-1,687 and Cincinnati has won the last two meetings, including coming away 33-7 winners along the shores of the Ohio River in 2014, while Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2008, with the Titans taking down the Bengals 24-7 in Cincinnati. Tennessee’s favored by 4 1/2 in the Music City and the over/under’s 40 1/2. The Titans are trying to keep Jacksonville at bay in the AFC South, while the Bengals are looking up at Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC North. Cincy bounces back from the drubbing in Jacksonville and makes sour music for the Titans in the Music City, covering the 4 1/2.

Houston (3-5) at Los Angeles Rams (6-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. The struggling Texans make their way westward to face off against the Los Angeles Rams, who are in the top spot in the NFC West.

Houston gave Indianapolis a scare before losing to the Colts 20-14 at Houston last week. On the final play of the game, which started at the Indianapolis seven-yard line, Colts linebacker Jabaal Sheard sacked Texans QB Tom Savage and forced a fumble – which was recovered by linebacker Barkevious Mingo – to seal the victory. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had five catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the win at Houston. Indy led 10-7 at the break in the Lone Star State and then held off the late Texans rally to seal the win. Houston did manage to outrush the Colts 94-92 and Jacoby Brissett, who took over for Andrew Luck (shoulder), threw for 308 yards and a pair of TDs, while Savage threw for 219 yards and a TD and was sacked twice, with the second coming at the end of the contest. Both teams were 4 of 19 on third down conversions, the Texans were 0 pf 1 on fourth down and the Colts ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:59 to Houston’s 29:01.

The Rams broke a 7-7 first quarter tie with the New York Giants in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon and proceeded to outscore the Giants 44-10 in the last three quarters, taking a 51-17 win in the process. Taking a 27-10 with them to the half, the Rams stepped on the gas in the second half and never looked back. Todd Gurley ran for a couple of TDs at Met Life Stadium, while Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 311 yards, while the Giants’ Eli Manning threw for 220 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Rams outrushed New York 162-111 and went 6 of 12 on third down conversions (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Giants, who held the ball for 29:30, went 8 of 16 on third downs.

The Rams lead the series 2-1 (which includes one contest when the Rams were in St. Louis) and they have outscored the Texans 84-56. Los Angeles won the last meeting, which took place in the Lone Star State, as they came away 38-13 winners in 2013, while Houston’s lone win over the Rams came in 2009 in St. Louis by a final of 16-13. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Rams as 12 point favorites and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Houston keeps this one closer than 12 but the Rams prevail in Tinsletown and takes the win on the West Coast.

New York Giants (1-7) at San Francisco (0-9), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. It’s a battle of last-place teams in wine country as the New York Giants and San Francisco meet in Santa Clara at Levis’ Stadium.

The Giants and Eli Manning saw the Los Angeles Rams break a 7-7 first quarter tie in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon and then proceed to lose 51-17 in the process. New York trailed 27-10 at the half, then watched the Rams step on the gas in the second half and never looked back. Todd Gurley ran for a couple of TDs at Met Life Stadium, while Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 311 yards, while Manning threw for 220 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Rams outrushed New York 162-111 and went 6 of 12 on third down conversions (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Giants, who held the ball for 29:30, went 8 of 16 on third downs.

The winless 49ers trailed Arizona 14-3 at the half against NFC West foe Arizona and dropped a 20-10 decision to the Cardinals in Santa Clara in a contest that got chippy when Arizona’s Frostee Rucker and San Francisco’s Carlos Hyde were both ejected from the contest for fighting in the fourth quarter. Arizona outrushed San Francisco 167-63, with Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson leading all rushers with 159 yards, while Drew Stanton threw for 201 yards and a pair of TDs and San Francisco’s C.J. Bethard threw for 294 yards with a rushing TD but was sacked five times in the 10-point loss. San Francisco went 6 of 17 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:38, while the Cardinals, who ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 36:22, went 7 of 16 on third down tries.

The Giants lead the series 16-15, including contests that took place at Yankee Stadium, Keezar Stadium, the Yale Bowl and Candlestick Park, Big Blue has outscored San Francisco 619-606. New York won the last meeting with San Francisco, coming away 30-27 winners in the Meadowlands in 2015, while the 49ers’ last win also came in the Meadowlands, as they would win 16-10 in 2014. New York’s favored by 2 1/2 in wine country and the over/under’s 42. Take a pass on this one and beg your wife, girlfriend or significant other to take you on that early Christmas shopping. Your heart will thank you, the economy will thank you and so will your sanity. San Francisco breaks their losing streak at home and covers the 1 1/2.

New England (6-2) at Denver (3-5), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The defending Super Bowl champs return to the Mile High City as Tom Brady and the Pats take on the struggling Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, closing out Sunday action in week 10.

New England and Brady return to action from their bye after they downed the Los Angeles Chargers 21-13 in Foxboro the weekend before. The defending Super Bowl champs led the Bolts 15-7 at the break and the two clubs played even football the rest of the contest. Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski connected for a 2-yard TD pass as the second quarter was getting underway, while Philip Rivers (212 yards) and WR Travis Benjamin connected on a 24-yard TD strike with 8:30 left in regulation. Los Angeles managed to outrush New England 157-97 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 132 yards and a TD), while Brady threw for 333 yards for the Pats. New England on third down was 9 of 19 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:59, while the Chargers were 23:01 in time of possession, going 3 of 10 on third down (both teams were successful in their only fourth down tries).

Denver spun its wheels in Philadelphia last Sunday and took a 51-23 loss out of the City of Brotherly Love last Sunday. The Broncos could never get on track last week, trailing 31-9 at the half and used Brock Osweiler under center for the slumping Trevor Siemian. Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw for 199 yards and four TDS, while Osweiler threw for 208 yards with a TD to WR  Demaryius Thomas, while he was sacked three times and picked off twice. Philly easily outrushed Denver 197-35, with newly accquired RB Jay Ajayi leading all rushers with 77 yards and a TD. Denver went 3 of 13 on third down conversions at Lincoln Financial Field (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:06, while the Eagles, who kept the ball for 29:54, was 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Denver leads the series 26-21 (including games played in Boston when the Pats called Fenway Park home) and they have outscored New England 1,077-1,023. New England won the last meeting with the Broncos, taking a 16-3 win in the Mile High City last year (Denver’s last regular season win over the Pats came a year earlier, also in Denver, when the Broncos, led by Peyton Manning, beat Brady and the Pats 30-24 in overtime.

The last meeting was played in week 15 in somewhat chilly conditions at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, with a game-time temperature of 18 (wind chill? 7). New England used three Steven Gostkowski field goals and a 1-yard run by LeGarrett Blount, while holding the Broncos to a Brad McMannus first quarter field goal to take the 13-point road win. New England outrushed Denver 136-58 and Brady threw for 188 yards, while Siemian threw for 282 yards but was sacked four times (Brady was sacked twice). New England went 5 of 17 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:36, while the Broncos were 2 of 12 and held the ball for 26:24 (both teams were 0 of 1 on fourth down).

In the week 15 contest in the Rockies, the Pats covered the 3-point spread, winning by 13 but neither club covered the 44 over/under, scoring only 19 points. New England is favored by 7 1/2 on the road and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Denver’s trying to restore some order and get themselves back in the playoff hunt, even if it means being a wild card team, while the Pats are trying to stay on top of the NFL mountain. New England won’t cover the 7 1/2 but they take the win on the road.

Miami (4-4) at Carolina (6-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 10 closes out in the Tar Heel State as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers entertain the Miami Dolphins at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

Miami trailed Oakland 13-9 at the half last Sunday night in Miami, then rallied to keep things close before falling to the Raiders 27-20 at Hard Rock Stadium in the Sunshine State. There were two bright spots for the Dolphins. First, they outrushed Oakland 86-84 in front of the home crowd; second, Jay Cutler threw for 311 yards with three TDs and no interceptions (Oakland’s Derek Carr threw for 300 yards). Miami went 5 of 12 on third down Sunday night (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:04, while the Raiders were 30:56 in time of possession, while going 8 of 15 on third downs.

Carolina erased a 10-0 first quarter deficit against Atlanta and took the lead for keeps, taking a 20-17 win over the defending NFC champions in Charlotte last Sunday afternoon. Carolina outrushed Atlanta 201-53, while Cam Newton threw for 137 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest. Atlanta, led by Matt Ryan with 313 yards and a pair of TDs, was 4 of 12 on third down (0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:08, while the Panthers kept the ball for 32:52, while going 4 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Miami leads the series 4-1, the Dolphins have outscored the Panthers 103-76 and Miami won the first four meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 2009 in Charlotte by a final of 24-17, while Carolina’s lone win in the series came in 2013 in Miami by a final of 20-16.

The Dolphins on Monday nights are 41-41, while the Panthers are 9-6 under the prime time lights. Carolina’s favored by 9 and the over/under is 38 1/2. While it’s not one of the better Monday night matchups, it’s worth your time, so you might want to tape “Scorpion” this week. Miami pulls the upset in Charlotte and they’ll be finer in Carolina, taking the road win.

The NFL rolls into Week 7 with 14 teams with two losses or fewer, including the league’s lone unbeaten club, the Minnesota Vikings (5-0), who are looking to improve to 6-0. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 34 of the 36 previous teams (94.4 percent) that started 6-0 made the playoffs, 75 of the previous 91 clubs (82.4 percent) that started 5-1 advanced to the postseason and 117 of 185 teams (63.2 percent) that started 4-2 qualified for the playoffs.

However, there’s still plenty of football left to be played and things can change quickly. Since 1990, 84 clubs have made the playoffs after starting 3-3 or worse. Last year, four teams with a losing record through six games advanced to the postseason – Houston (2-4), Seattle (2-4), Washington (2-4) and Kansas City (1-5).

“It’s huge to get a win,” said New York Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas after the team’s 27-23 victory over Baltimore which evened the Giants’ record at 3-3. “It’s not going to get any easier going down the stretch for the rest of these games, so we had to win this game.”

The next stretch of games for New York starts this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams at 9:30 a.m. on NFLN at London’s Twickenham Stadium, the first-ever NFL game at the UK’s famed rugby venue. For the Rams, this will be the team’s first trip to London since 2012. The Giants played in the first International Series game in 2007, defeating the Miami Dolphins 13-10 en route to winning Super Bowl XLII that season.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 7

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: The 2016 International Series continues in Week 7 with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the New York Giants at London’s Twickenham Stadium at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on NFL Network. It will be the second of three games played in London this season and the first-ever NFL game at Twickenham. Next week, on Sunday, October 30, the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. on FOX.

The NFL will also return to Mexico City on Monday, November 21 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN when the Oakland Raiders host the Houston Texans in the first-ever Monday Night Football game to be played outside the United States.

The International Series has seen some very close contests since its inception in 2007. In the first 15 games in London, eight have been decided by one score.

The 15 regular-season games played in London, England:

DATE (WEEK) – SCORE
October 2, 2016 (4) – Jacksonville 30, Indianapolis 27
November 1, 2015 (8) – Kansas City 45, Detroit 10
October 25, 2015 (7) – Jacksonville 34, Buffalo 31
October 4, 2015 (4) – New York Jets 27, Miami 14
November 9, 2014 (10) – Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17
October 26, 2014 (8) – Detroit 22, ATLANTA 21
September 28, 2014 (4) – Miami 38, Oakland 14
October 27, 2013 (8) – San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10
September 29, 2013 (4) – Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27
October 28, 2012 (8) – New England 45, St. Louis Rams 7
October 23, 2011 (7) – Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18
October 31, 2010 (8) – San Francisco 24, Denver 16
October 25, 2009 (7) – New England 35, Tampa Bay 7
October 26, 2008 (8) – New Orleans 37, San Diego 32
October 28, 2007 (8) – New York Giants 13, Miami 10

CLOSE GAMES: Through the first six weeks of the 2016 season, 50 games have been decided by seven points or fewer, tied for the most in a season’s first six weeks in NFL history (1999).

With eight games decided by seven points or fewer in Week 7, the 2016 season would set the NFL record for the most games decided by seven points or fewer through the first seven weeks of a season.

The most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 7:?

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 7
2012 – 57
1999 – 55
2011 – 54
2010 – 54
2015 – 53
2016 – 50*

*Through 6 weeks

ELECTRIC ELI: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 403 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 27-23 win over Baltimore, becoming the eighth player in NFL history with 300 career touchdown passes (302) and surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (300) for the seventh-most touchdown passes all-time.

Manning, who ranks 10th in NFL history with 45,975 passing yards, needs 259 passing yards on Sunday against Los Angeles to pass Vinny Testaverde for the ninth-most passing yards ever.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (YEARS, CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (1998-2015, 71,940)
Brett Favre – Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (1991-2010, 71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (2001-present, 62,637)*
Dan Marino – Miami (1983-1999, 61,361)^
Tom Brady – New England (2000-Present, 58,810)*
John Elway – Denver (1983-1998, 51,475)^
Warren Moon – Houston Oilers, Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City (1984-2000, 49,325)^
Fran Tarkenton – Minnesota and New York Giants (1961-1978, 47,003)^
Vinny Testaverde – Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Baltimore, New York Jets, Dallas, New England and Carolina (1987-2007, 46,233)
Eli Manning – New York Giants (2004-Present, 45,975)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

AUTOMATIC ADAM: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri made three field goals without a miss in Indianapolis’ 26-23 overtime loss vs. Houston last week.

Vinatieri, who leads the NFL with 62 points, has converted all 16 of his field goal attempts this season and has not missed a field goal since Week 2 of 2015. With two field goals made without a miss on Sunday at Tennessee, Vinatieri would set the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made.

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

PLAYER – TEAMS (YEARS, MOST CONSECUTIVE FIELD GOALS MADE)
Mike Vanderjagt – Indianapolis (2002-2004, 42)
Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis (2015-present, 41)*
Gary Anderson – San Francisco and Minnesota (1997-1998, 40)
Matt Stover – Baltimore (2005-2006, 36)
Active streak

GLEEFUL GRONKOWSKI: New England tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI had seven catches for 162 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 35-17 win over Cincinnati.

Gronkowski, who has an NFL-best 66 receiving touchdowns since 2010, has 393 receptions in 84 career games. With seven receptions against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Gronkowski would tie Kellen Winslow, Jr. as the third-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 400 career receptions.

The tight ends to reach 400 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (FEWEST GAMES TO REACH 400 RECEPTIONS)
Kellen Winslow – San Diego (72)^
Jimmy Graham – New Orleans (81)
Kellen Winslow, Jr. – Cleveland (85)
Jeremy Shockey – New York Giants (90)
Jason Witten – Dallas (91)
Rob Gronkowski – New Engalnd (???)*

*Has 393 receptions is 84 career games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MAGNIFICENT MARCUS: Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters recorded his fifth interception of the season in last week’s 26-10 victory over Oakland.

Peters, who had two interceptions in consecutive weeks earlier this season (list the weeks here), leads the NFL with five interceptions. With two interceptions on Sunday against New Orleans, Peters would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson (1993) and Ross Fichtner (1966) for the most interceptions through a team’s first six games in the Super Bowl era.

The players with the most interceptions through a team’s first six games:

PLAYER – YEAR, TEAM (INTERCEPTIONS THROUGH TEAM’S FIRST SIX GAMES)
Rod Woodson – 1993, Pittsburgh (7)^
Ross Fichtner – 1966, Cleveland (7)
Marcus Peters – 2016, Kansas City (5)*

*Has five interceptions through first five games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Carolina and Dallas have byes this week and return to action next week. Week 7 began on Thursday night with an NFC North contest as Green Bay beat Chicago 26-10 at Lambeau Field. The week 7 docket concludes with a pair of primetime matches as the Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC West showdown on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and the Houston Texans visit the Denver Broncos on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

As for last week, not the best week we’ve had at 7-7 (57-34 for the season). It’s a brand new week and that’s why they play the game, as Chris Berman once said. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week seven.

San Diego (2-4) at ATLANTA (4-2), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of young gun QBs (Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan) meet in the Big Peach as Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers travel to Atlanta for a late afternoon contest with the first-place Atlanta Falcons.

San Diego broke their three-game losing streak, taking down the defending Super Bowl champs 21-13 at Qualcomm Stadium last Thursday night. The Chargers led 10-3 at the half and then held off a late Denver rally to seal the win.

Atlanta saw their four-game win streak come to an end in the Pacifc Northwest by Seattle, losing to the Seahawks 26-24 at Century Link Field. The Falcons let a 24-23 lead get away from them as Seahawks K Stephen Hauschka connected on a 44-yard field goal with 1:57 left to play in regulation. Atlanta saw their last and best chance to take the lead back and the win fall when four Ryan pass attempts fell incomplete. Ryan threw for 335 yards and three TDs, including one to All-Pro WR Julio Jones (7 catches for 139 yards).

Atlanta leads the series 8-1, have outscored San Diego 183-97 and won the last six meetings, with the last Falcons’ win coming in 2012 in San Diego by a final of 27-3, while San Diego’s lone win in the series came in 1988 in Atlanta (when the Falcons called Fulton County Stadium home) by a final of 10-7.

Atlanta’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense, both teams could easily reach the over/under by halftime. Both teams know something about close losses and this one could be closer than the 6 1/2. Atlanta bounces back in the Big Peach and takes this one, even though it may be closer than the 6 1/2.

New York Giants (3-3) at Los Angeles (3-3), 9:30 a.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. London) on NFLN. It’s fish and chips, round 2. The NFL’s second game on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean gets on track Sunday morning as a pair of .500 teams meet in   the first NFL game played at London’s Twickenham Stadium.

The Giants come to Merry Old England with a 27-23 win over Baltimore in the Meadowlands under their belts. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. had eight catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns last week in New York’s fourth-quarter win, while Giants QB Eli Manning becaume the eighth player in NFL history with 300 career TD passes, connecting with Beckham on the game-winning 66-yard score with 1:24 remaining in the game.

The Rams enter the Sunday morning contest at Twickenham with a 31-28 loss at Detroit. Case Keenum set a franchise record with 19 consecutive completions, while Los Angeles wide receiver Kenny Britt had seven catches for 136 yards and 2 TDs against the Lions, his 11th career 100-yard game and his third multi-TD performance.

Including contests that were played in Cleveland, St. Louis, Yankee Stadium and the Yale Bowl, the Rams lead the series 25-15 and have outscored Big Blue 927-764. However, Giants fans can take heart and consolation that they have come away winners in the last six contests, the last win coming in 2014 in St. Louis by a final of 37-27. The Rams’ last win over the Giants would come also in St. Louis in 2001 by a 15-14 final.

New York’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 44. If you’re a fan of either of these teams and you live on the East coast, set the VCR if you have an early church service. If you’re on the West coast, this might be a good time to eat breakfast before heading off to mass. Giants rule Britainia and the Rams in the process, covering the 3.

Cleveland (0-6) at Cincinnati (2-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. It’s a Buckeye State battle along the shores of the Ohio River as a pair of struggling AFC North teams meet in Cincinnati.

Cleveland remains winless after they fell 28-26 to Tennessee in Nashville last Sunday. The Browns trailed 14-13 at the intermission in the Music City and made a dash for their first win of the 2016 campaign but fell short. Cleveland would eventually putt to within 2 points with 27 seconds left when RB Duke Johnson scored from a yard out.

The Bengals found themselves getting manhandled by Tom Brady and New England, as they fell to the Pats 35-17 in Foxboro. Cincinnati led once in the contest, when Andy Dalton scored on a 2-yard run with 3:10 left before the half. From then on, the wheels of the Bengals’ bus fell off, as they would trail 10-7 at the intermisson. In his first home game back, Brady burned Cincy for 376 yards and three TDs, one to his favorite target, TE Rob Gronkowski. The lone bright spot in the contest was that the Bengals did manage to outrush New England 120-79.

The Bengals hold a 46-29 lead in the series (which includes games that took place at old Municipal Stadium along the shores of Lake Erie and Riverfront/Synergy Stadium) and they’ve outscored Cleveland 1,833-1,695. Cincinnati swept the series last year, winning both games in the Buckeye State (Cleveland’s last win over their in-state rivals came in 2014, when they came away 24-3 winners in Cincinnati).

Week nine in Cincinnati… the Bengals led Cleveland 14-10 at the half and then proceeded to pull away from the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium, taking a 31-10 win in front of the home folks. Dalton (234 yards) and Todd Eifert connected on three TD passes at home and Cincinnati racked up 152 yards rushing, holding Cleveland to 69, sacking QB Johnny Manziel three times. The Bengals went 8 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, as they kept the ball for 36:03, while the Browns were 4 of 13 on third down tries and 1 of 2 on fourth downs, keeping the pigskin for 23:57.

Game two… Cleveland along the shores of Lake Erie in week 13 and the Bengals proved that the win in south Ohio was no fluke, as they held the Browns to a Travis Coons’ field goal in the second quarter, coming away 37-3 winners. The Bengals led 20-3 at the break and proceeded to shut out the Browns in the second half, scoring their final 17 points of the game unchallenged. Dalton threw for 220 yards, ran for a TD and threw for two more, connecting with his favorite target, WR A.J. Green in the second quarter. Cincy ran amok on the Browns’ defense, tallying 144 yards on the ground, while holding Cleveland to 68 and sacked backup QB Austin Davis three times, picking him off once.

The Bengals in the second contest along the shores of Lake Erie went 5 of 12 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:58, while the Browns were 6 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 29:02.

The Bengals are favored by 10 at home and the over/under’s 46. Cincinnati’s trying to get back to the .500 mark, while Cleveland’s trying to win a game. Cleveland’s bad but they’re not 10 points bad and they’ve played a lot better than their record indicates. The Bengals are the lesser of the evils and they’ll take the win here, although expect Cleveland to make it closer than the 10.

Oakland (4-2) at Jacksonville (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The Silver and Black head East for an early afternoon contest in the Sunshine State with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Oakland fell to Kansas City at home 26-10. Although they trailed 13-10 at the half, the Chiefs managed to pull away from their AFC West rivals, shutting them out in the second half 13-0. Oakland was held to 65 yards on the ground, while the Chiefs’ Spencer Ware ran for 131 of his team’s 183.

Jacksonville suffered no ill effects from their bye week and pulled off a 17-16 win over Chicago last Sunday in the Windy City. Trailing 10-0 at the half at Soldier Field, Jacksonville pulled off the upset on the road, outscoring Chicago 17-6 in the final 30 minutes of play and took the lead for good when WR Arrelious Benn and QB Blake Bortles connected on a TD pass with 2:49 left to play.

The Jaguars lead the series 4-3 and have outscored the Silver and Black 155-119. However, the Raiders were victors in their last two meetings with Jacksonville, coming away 19-0 winners in Oakland in 2013 (Jacksonville’s last win over Oakland came in 2010 in the Sunshine State by a 38-31 count. Jacksonville’s favored by 1 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 49. This one’s not the best one to watch but there is some entertainment value here. Raiders come back to life in the Sunshine State and covers the spread with the win.

Buffalo (4-2) at Miami (2-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC East rivals with opposite records meet in the Sunshine State as Buffalo circles their wagons for a date with the Miami Dolphins.

Both teams took wins last week at home. Bills running back Le Sean McCoyOY rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 45-16 win over San Francisco. Buffalo led San Francisco and Ryan Kaepernick 17-13 at the break and then pulled away from the 49ers in upstate New York, outscoring them 28-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. McCoy ties for second in the NFL with seven total touchdowns (six rushing, one receiving) this season. The Bills have won four consecutive games – all by 10+ points – and has outscored its opponents 124-53 in those contests.

Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, made his second career start, rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 30-15 victory over Pittsburgh and sealed the win with a 62-yard TD run with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Miami sacked Ben Roethlisberger twice and picked him off twice in the win at Hard Rock Stadium, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 252 yards without a sack or interception.

Miami leads the series (which includes games played at old War Memorial Stadium, the Orange Bowl and one contest in Toronto) 57-42-1 and the ‘Fins have outscored Buffalo 2,127-1,897. However, the Bills swept the series in 2015, winning in upstate New York and in the Sunshine State.

Week three in Miami Gardens… Buffalo manhandled Miami 41-14. The Bills led 27-0 at the half at Sun Life Stadium (before the name change), while RB Karlos williams ran for 110 yards (Buffalo outrushed the ‘Fins 151-102). Buffalo managed to sack Tannehill (297 yards) twice and pick him off three times, while Taylor threw for 277 yards and three TDs without being sacked or turning the ball over. Buffalo went 7 of 13 on third down conversions in south Florida and kept the ball for 31:53, while the ‘Fins 4 of 13 and 1 of 4 on third and fourth down and held the pigskin for 28:07.

The second meeting… upstate New York in week nine. Wind chill? A balmy 46 (temperature at kickoff was 49). Buffalo led 19-7 at the half at Ralph Wilson Stadium, coming away 33-17 winners when the dust had finally settled. Although the Miami run game was much better in the second meeting and the Dolphins ran for 108 yards, they found themselves being outrushed by the Bills, who tallied 266, with Williams rushing for 110 yards and a pair of TDs, while LeSean McCoy chipped in with 112 and a TD to complete the series sweep. Buffalo again ruled third down tries, going 8 of 13 and possessed the pigskin for 31:13, while Miami kept the ball for 28:47, going 4 of 9 on third down in upstate New York. Buffalo’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 45. Buffalo’s in a race to catch Tom Brady and the Pats, while the ‘Fins are trying to keep up. Bills circle the wagons in the Sunshine State and take the win at Hard Rock.

Baltimore (3-3) at New York Jets (1-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Baltimore makes its second trip to the Meadowlands in as many weeks they square off against the struggling New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

The Ravens saw a 23-20 against the New York Giants get away from them as Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr. connected on their second TD pass of the afternoon to fall 27-23. The Ravens led 10-7 at half and led by 3 with 1:24 left to play before Big Blue took the lead for keeps on the Manning TD strike. Baltimore had one last chance to take the win on the road and had help from the Giants thanks to a pair of penalties but Joe Flacco’s (307 yards) final pass fell incomplete.

GangGreen continued to stumble and lost their fourth in a row to Arizona 28-3. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! lone score in the Monday night affair in the desert came on a 39-yard field goal by Nick Folk in the second quarter. From there, the New York offense struggled, rushing for a somewhat dismal 33 yards, as the defense allowed Arizona to tally 171, with David Johnson (3 TDs) ran for 111 of those yards.

Baltimore leads the series 8-1 and after GangGreen won the first meeting in 1997 by a final of 19-16 in overtime in the Meadowlands, the Ravens have managed to pull off eight wins in a row, including a 19-3 win in Charm City in 2013. The Jets are a 1-point favorite at home in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Baltimore may be average at best but they’re the only other NFC North team that’s above .500 right now, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have been a dumpster fire of late. Ravens get out of New Jersey with a win this time and covers the 1.

Indianapolis (2-4) at Tennessee (3-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A struggling Colts team, coming off an overtime loss to Houston, travels to the Music City for a meeting with Tennessee at Nissan Stadium in an AFC South affair.

Indy and Andrew Luck let a 23-16 lead against Houston get away from them last Sunday night in the Lone Star State and fell to the Texasn 26-23 in overtime at NRG Stadium. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz and K Nick Novak scored Houston’s final 10 points in the contest unchallenged to take the win in the contest that went an extra period. Indy outrushed Houston 161-158 and Frank Gore (106 yards) and Lamar Miller (149 yards, TD) each led their clubs.

The Titans matched their win total from 2015 and came away 28-26 over Cleveland last Sunday after trailing 14-13 at the intermission in the Music City. The Browns managed to pull to within 2 points with 27 second left when RB Duke Johnson ran in fromy a yard away but Tennessee did not allow the Browns to come any closer.

Including games played in Baltimore and in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers, Indy leads the series 29-13, have outscored Tennessee 1,085-814 and have won 9 of the last 10 meetings (Tennessee’s last win over the Colts came in 2011 when they were 27-10 winners in the Music City) and swept the series in 2015.

Their first meeting took place in week three in the Music City and the Colts found themselves down 27-14 with 3:04 left in regulation before Luck tossed a pair of TD passes late in the fourth to take a 35-33 win over the Titans at Nissan Stadium. Indy led 14-10 at the break before the Titans took the lead in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in the quarter without a challenge. TD passes to Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief proved to be the undoing of Tennessee, as the Colts took the lead back with 5:53 left to play. The Colts outrushed Tennessee 133-88 and while both Luck and Mariota each had a pair of TDs, both were sacked twice and picked off twice. Both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions in the first meeting, while Indy was 4 of 11 and Tennessee was 4 of 13 on third down tries. Tennessee did manage to rule the clock, keeping the ball for 34:59, while the Colts kept the pigskin corraled for 25:01.

Round two,,, the Colts found themselves back home again in Indiana and they pulled off the sweep in the week 17th matchup, coming out on top 30-24. Indy trailed with 2:25 left in regulation when Adam Vinateri connected on a 35-yard field goal to give the Colts the lead for keeps. The Colts led 20-14 at the break before rallying in the second half after Tennessee took the lead on a 1 yard run by David Cobb with 10:25 left before intermission and although they did lose the contest, Tennessee did outrush Indy 137-127. Indy on third down tries was 7 of 17 and kept the ball for 33:17, while the Titans kept it for 26:43, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions.

Tennessee’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 48 1/2. The Colts are trying to right their ship, while the Titans are trying to win one more game than they did last year. Sorry, Tennessee, as the old ad once said. You’ll have to wait a week. Colts ride off into the sunset and takes this one, covering the 2 1/2.

Washington (4-2) at Detroit (3-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. The defending NFC East champs travel to the Motor City for a contest in the great indoors of Ford Field against the Detoit Lions.

Both teams took wins at home last week. Washington led Philadelphia 21-14 at the half at FedEx Field last Sunday and came away 27-20 winners in Landover. Washington’s Matt Jones led all rushers with 135 yards (the Redskins tallied 230, holding the Eagles to 94) and Kirk Cousins threw for three TDs, while the Washington defense sacked Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz five times. As for Detroit, they were also winners at home, winning over Los Angeles 31-28. Tied 21-21 after three quarters, the Lions eventually managed to come away with the 3-point win when Matt Prater connected on a 34-yard field goal with 1:29 left to play.

Including games that took place when the Lions played in Portsmouth and were known as the Spartans and the Redskins played their home games in Boston and called themselves the Braves, the Redskins the lead series 27-13 and have outscored the Lions 854-655. However, the Lions have roared themselves toward a trio of wins in the last three meetings, including a 27-20 win in Landover in 2013. Washingoton’s last win in the series came in the Motor City by a final of 25-17 in 2008.

The Lions are a 1 1/2 point favorite at home and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both teams are actually pretty decent, even though they’re in somewhat tough divisons. Lions roar at home and cover the 1 1/2.

New Orleans (2-3) at Kansas City (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. After a tough battle with NFC South foe Carolina last Sunday in the Big Easy, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints head to the Midwest for a showdown at Arrowhead with the Andy Reid-led Kansas City Chiefs.

The Saints found themselves in a battle with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers last Sunday at the Superdome and needed a 52-yard field goal from rookie kicker Will Lutz with 11 seconds left to take a 41-38 win over the defending NFC champs. New Orleans led 31-17 after three quarters of play before allowing Carolina to come back in the final quarter of action. Carolina tied things up at 38-38 when Newton scored on a 2-yard TD run with 2:58 left in the contest. Brees threw for 465 yards and four TDs in the contest, while Newton, coming back from a concussion, threw for 322 and a pair of TDs of his own.

Kansas City went to the West Coast to take on Oakland and came away 26-10 winners over the Raiders. After leading 13-10 at the break, the Chiefs went on to shutout Oakland 13-0 in the last 30 minutes of action. RB Spencer Ware ran for 131 of the Chiefs’ 183, while Kansas City held Oakland to 65 and Smith threw for 224 yards without a TD or interception in the contest.

Each team has a Super Bowl to speak of and the series between the Saints and Chiefs is even at 5-5, with Kansas City outscoring New Orleans 233-226. Each team’s last win in the series came in the other team’s stadium; Kansas City’s last win in the series came in 2012 in the Big Easy by a final of 27-24, while the Saints won at Arrowhead.

The oddsmakers like Kansas City as 6 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. This could be a shootout or it could be a blowout. In any case, everything’s up to date in Kansas City and the Chiefs take this one at Arrowhead, although the Saints will make it a lot closer than the 6 1/2.

Minnesota (5-0) at Philadelphia (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. The lone undefeated team in the NFL comes to the City of Brotherly Love for a meeting with a Philly team that finds themselves on a 2-game losing streak.

The Vikings enter the contest after a bye last week, taking down Houston 31-13 the weekend before in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Philly dropped their second contest in a row, losing in Landover to NFC East foe Washington 27-20. Carson Wentz was sacked five times and the Eagles were held to 94 yards rushing, allowing Washington to run for 230 (RB Matt Jones easily led all rushers with 135).

Minnesota holds a 13-9 lead in the series, the Vikings have outscored Philly 533-507 and have won the last two meetings with the Eagles and won the last two meetings, with the last win coming in 2013 in the Twin Cities by a final of 48-30, while Philly’s last win over the Purple Gang also came in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in 2007 in the Metrodome 23-16.

Minnesota’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 40. Both Wentz and Sam Bradford can put the ball in the air but the Eagles are trying to find themsevles, while the Vikings are looking to stay unbeaten for as long as they can. That streak’ll continue in the City of Brotherly Love as Minnesota covers the 2 1/2 and wins in Philly.

Tampa Bay (2-3) at San Francisco (1-5), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling teams meet in Wine country in a late afternoon contest when Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay travels to Santa Clara to face the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick.

Tampa Bay returns to action after their Monday night win over Carolina two weeks ago in Charlotte, while the 49ers limp back home to Levis’ Stadium after their 45-16 loss to Buffalo last Sunday in upstate New York. San Francsico trailed 17-13 at the intermission before the Bills pulled away, outscoring the 49ers 28-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. Kaepernick did manage to throw for 187 yards and a TD (his first since week six of the 2015 season) and no interceptions and for 49ers fans, that was the good news. The bad news? They were outrushed by the Bills 312-133, with Bills RB LeSean McCoy doing most of the damage, rushing for 140 yards and three TDs.

San Francisco leads the series 17-4, the 49ers have outscored Tampa Bay 494-295 and they have taken wins in the last two meetings, including a 2013 win over the Bucs by a final of 33-14 in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay’s last win over the 49ers came in 2010, when they shut out the 49ers 21-0 on the West Coast at Candlestick Park.

Tampa Bay’s a 1 1/2 point favorite in wine country and the over/under’s 47 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA Network (Ziva smacking Tony on the head is STILL funny, people!). The Bucs are the lesser evil here and they’ll win and cover the 1 1/2.

New England (5-1) at Pittsburgh (4-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Tom Brady makes his third trip back from “Deflategate” as the Pats travel to the Steel City for a late afternoon contest with the Steelers in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field.

The Pats erased a 7-3 deficit against Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals and came away 35-17 winners in Foxboro. Brady threw for 376 yards and three TDs, connecting with his favorite target, TE Rob Gronkowski on one of those throws.

For the Steelers, things went from bad to worse against Miami. First, they trailed the Dolphins 16-8 at the half at Hard Rock Stadium in the Sunshine State, then they lost Ben Roethlisberger (189 yards, TD, 2 interceptions) to a knee injury in the contest, losing 30-15. So instead of Big Ben, the Steelers will put backup QB Landry Jones under center.

Pittsburgh has a 14-10 lead in the series and they may have outscored the Pats 564-520 but… New England won the last two meetings and both contests took place in Foxboro, with the Pats taking a 28-21 last year, while Pittsburgh’s last win in the series came in 2011 in the Steel City by a final of 25-17 at Heinz Field.

In the week one contest at Gillette Stadium on a Thursday night, New England led 21-11 at the end of three quarters before Pittsburgh would make things closer, outscoring the Pats in the final 15 minutes of play. Gronkowski and Brady (288 yards, four TDS) hooked up for three TD passes in the contest, while Roethlisberger threw for 351 yards (both men were sacked twice and Roethlisberger threw an interception). New England was 7 of 11 on third down conversions and the Pats possessed the ball for 27:55, while the Steelers were 7 of 15 on third down but found success on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:05.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Pats as a 7-point favorite and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Even though this not the Brady/Roethlisberger battle that some had longed for, this one’s still is a clash of the titans. Pittsburgh makes this one closer than the 7 but the Pats take the win on the road in the Steel City.

Seattle (4-1) at Arizona (3-3), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. They meet in the desert. Seattle and Arizona, fresh off wins in their home parks, meet in Glendale for a Sunday night NFC West contest.

The Seahawks erased a 24-23 fourth quarter deficit against Atlanta and came away 26-24 winners on a 44-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka with 1:57 left in the contest at CenturyLink Field. Although he was outpaced by Matt Ryan, who threw for 335 yards and three TDs (one to All-Pro WR Julio Jones), Seahawks QB Russell Wilson tallied 270 yards in the air, while the Seahawks, who held off a late Atlanta rally, outrushed the Falcons in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks 72-52.

Arizona manhandled the New York Jets Monday night in Glendale, taking GangGreen 28-3 in the desert. The Desert Angry Birds finally scored a first-quarter TD, thanks to a 59-yard run by RB David Johnson (111 yards, 3 TDs) and never looked back, holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to a 39-yard field goal by Nick Folk in the second quarter. Carson Palmer threw for 213 yards without a TD or interception in the desert last Monday evening, while the Arizona defense forced a pair of turnovers in the win.

The series? Tied 17-17 and the Seahawks have outscored Arizona 866-651 (which includes contests that took place in St. Louis). The two teams split last year’s meetings, each winning in the other team facility.

Meeting number one took place in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and the Desert Angry Birds came away 39-32 winners. After a scoreless first quarter in the week 10 contest, Arizona led 22-7 at the break. Arizona then proceeded to hold off Seattle, outscoring the Seahawks 17-15 in the final 30 minutes of action at CenturyLink Field. Arizona BARELY outrushed Seattle 117-115 and Palmer threw for 363 yards and three TDs (three sacks), while Wilson threw for 240 yards, a TD and two sacks (each man threw an interception). Seattle was a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 on third down tries and held the ball for 21:08 (the Seahawks had success in their only fourth down try in the contest), while the Desert Angry Birds were 8 of 17 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 38:52.

Round two… week 17 in the desert and Seattle gained a huge measure of revenge, as they held the Desert Angry Birds to a second quarter TD pass from Palmer to Fitzgerald, taking Arizona to the woodshed and coming away from Glendale 36-6 winners. Seattle led 30-6 at the intermission and never looked back, taking the 30-point win on the road. Seattle ran for 145 yards, with Christine Michael doing his best Marshawn Lynch impression, rushing for 102 and the Seahawks defense held Arizona to 27. While Wilson threw three TD passes without an interception, Arizona would not be as fortunate as Palmer and Drew Stanton combined for three interceptions and two sacks. Seattle in the desert was 8 of 15 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:37, while Arizona held it for 23:23, going 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

These two were playoff teams last year and they’re in the hunt for the NFC West title. With that, this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 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?”

Arizona’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. There’s a strong chance that one of these teams could win the NFC West and the other could be a Wild Card team. Seattle covers the 1 1/2 in the desert and pulls off the upset against the Desert Angry Birds in Glendale.

Houston (4-2) at Denver (4-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week seven closes out in the Rocky Mountains as Houston travels westward for a Monday night date wit the defending Super Bowl champs.

Houston needed overtime to come away 26-23 winners over Indianapolis last Sunday in the Lone Star State. The Texans scored their final 10 points of the contest unchallenged thanks to a 26-yard TD pass to TE C.J. Fiedorowicz from QB Brock Osweiler with 49 seconds left in regulation to tie things up and then getting a 33-yard field goal from Nick Novak with 8:10 left in the extra period. Houston’s Lamar Miller and Indianapolis’ Frank Gore each put on a rushing clinic at NRG Stadium in primetime, with Miller rushing for 149 yards and a TD, while Gore had 106 (the Colts outrushed Houston 161-158). The opposing QBs chipped in on the offensive side as well, with Osweiler throwing for 269 yards and Andrew Luck throwing for 252.

The defending Super Bowl champs limp their way back to Sports Authority Field after their 21-13 loss to San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium last Thursday night. Denver and Trevor Siemian trailed the Chargers 10-3 at the half and made things a lot closer than Charger fans would have liked as the defending champs made it an 8-point contest when WR Bennie Fowler caught a 5-yard TD pass with 8:08 left to play and added a 46-yard field goal by Brandon McManus with 27 seconds remaining. After the late field goal, Denver recovered the onside kick, then proceeded to march down the field for the winning score but found themselves stopped short when Siemian’s final pass attempt fell short.

Denver leads the series 3-2 and have outscored the Texans 130-111. The defending Super Bowl champs won the last meeting with the Texans, taking a 37-13 win in the Lone Star State in 2013, while the Texans’ last win came in 2012 in the Mile High City by a final of 31-25.

On Monday night, the Broncos suprisingly are below .500 at 30-37-1, while the Texans are 4-5 with both teams winning their only Monday night contest last year. Denver’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under is 41. Denver’s trying to catch the Raiders and keep pace with them, while the Texans are kings of the mountain in the AFC South. There have been some pretty good Monday night games of late and this one should be no exceptions. Denver gets back to winning and they’ll do it at home to close out week seven, although expect Houston to make it closer than the 7 1/2.

And then there was one.

The Vikings, like the cheese in the children’s fairy tale, stands alone.

As the NFL enters Week 6, there are 10 teams with one loss or fewer, including the league’s only unbeaten club, the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 44 of the previous 49 teams (89.8 percent) to start 5-0 made the playoffs.

“We have good players and they do things right,” says Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer about his team’s 5-0 start. “I don’t think it’s a big secret. They go out and they perform.”

The Vikings are only the second team since 1933 to start 5-0 and have no interceptions, joining the 1969 Los Angeles Rams. Minnesota has started two quarterbacks this season – Shaun Hill (1-0) and Sam Bradford (4-0). Bradford, who was acquired via trade by the Vikings before the start of the regular season, is the first quarterback since 1973 (John Hadl) to win each of his first four career starts with a new team while throwing at least six touchdown passes with no interceptions.

Minnesota is one of three teams – Atlanta (four) and Dallas (four) – which has currently won at least four consecutive games.

The Falcons, who lead the NFC South, handed the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos their first loss of the season last week by posting a 23-16 win at Denver. Atlanta, which defeated the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers 48-33 in Week 4, are the third team to defeat the previous season’s Super Bowl clubs in back-to-back games (1982 San Diego Chargers and 1985 Detroit Lions).

“That was a very good team win for us,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the victory in Denver. “We knew it was going to be an all-day fight and it certainly was. I think our toughness and resiliency was certainly on hand and our guys battled. And now we reset and go through our process to get ready to play ball again.”

Dallas, led by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, sits in first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys are the first team in NFL history to have a rookie quarterback with at least 1,000 passing yards (Prescott, 1,239 yards) and a rookie running back with at least 500 rushing yards (Elliott, NFL-best 546 yards) in the team’s first five games of a season.

“We just have to take it one game at a time, one week at a time, one day at a time,” Prescott told the Dallas Morning News. “We’ve done a great job of putting the past behind us – win or lose – and just focusing on what’s in front of us. Right now, that’s the next team.”

There are still plenty of games remaining in the season for teams to turn it around. Since 1990, 54 teams have advanced to the postseason after starting the season 2-3 or worse. There were four such teams last season – Houston (1-4), Kansas City (1-4), Seattle (2-3) and Washington (2-3) – including two teams which rebounded from 1-4 starts.

So don’t count anyone out. The only thing predictable about the NFL is the unpredictability.

UNDEFEATED ONE: Minnesota improved to 5-0 with a 31-13 victory over Houston in Week 5. Since 1990, when the 12-team playoff format was adopted, 44 of the 49 (89.8 percent) previous teams to start 5-0 made the playoffs.

Quarterback Sam Bradford completed 22 of 30 passes (73.3 percent) for 271 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 123.1 passer rating in the Vikings’ win. Minnesota is only the second team since 1933 to start 5-0 without throwing an interception, joining the 1969 Los Angeles Rams.

CLOSE GAMES: There have been 58 games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 5, the most such games in the first five weeks of a season in NFL history.

Most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 5:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN THE 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 5
2016 – 58
2013 – 57
2004 – 56
2011 – 55
1999 – 53
2007 – 53
2015 – 53

STARTING ROOKIES: Denver rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch made his first career start in Week 5, joining Dallas’ Dak Prescott (five starts), Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz (four), Cleveland’s Cody Kessler (three) and New England’s Jacoby Brissett (two) as the fifth rookie quarterback to start a game this season.

The five rookie quarterbacks to start a game in 2016 is tied with the 2012 season for the most rookie quarterbacks to start a game in the first five weeks of a season in the past 25 years.

RARE ROOKIES: Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 227 yards and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 134 yards in the Cowboys’ 28-14 win over Cincinnati.

This season, Prescott has 1,239 passing yards and Elliott has 546 rushing yards. The Cowboys are the first team in NFL history to have a rookie quarterback with at least 1,000 passing yards and a rookie running back with at least 500 rushing yards in the first five games of a season.

Elliott’s 546 rushing yards this season are the fifth-most in NFL history over a player’s first five games.

The players with the most rushing yards through their first five career games:

PLAYER, YEAR – TEAM (RUSHING YARDS IN FIRST FIVE CAREER GAMES)
Eric Dickerson, 1983 – Los Angeles Rams (645)
Adrian Peterson, 2007 – Minnesota (607)
Todd Gurley, 2015 – St. Louis Rams (575)
Billy Sims, 1980 – Detroit (560)
Ezekiel Elliott, 2016 – Dallas (546)

PROLIFIC IN PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 124.4 passer rating in the Steelers’ 31-13 win over the New York Jets.

Roethlisberger has now thrown a touchdown pass in 41 consecutive home games, the third-longest streak in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive home games with a touchdown pass:
PLAYER, YEARS (TEAM, CONSECUTIVE HOME GAMES WITH TD PASS)
Drew Brees, 2009-present (New Orleans, 56)*
Tom Brady, 2009-2014 (New England, 47)
Ben Roethlisberger, 2010-present (Pittsburgh, 41)*
Dan Marino, 1983-1988 (Miami, 39)

Aaron Rodgers, 2008-2012 (Green Bay, 35)

*Active streak

RISING RIDDICK: Detroit running back Theo Riddick had two touchdown catches, both in the first quarter, in the Lions’ 24-23 victory against Philadelphia in Week 5.

Riddick joins Jamaal Charles (2010 and 2013) as the only running backs in the past 25 years to record two touchdown catches in the first quarter of a game.

PRODUCTIVE PATS: New England quarterback Tom Brady completed 28 of 40 passes (70 percent) for 406 yards with three touchdowns for a 127.7 passer rating in the Patriots’ 33-13 win at Cleveland. Brady now has 38 career games with at least 350 passing yards, trailing only Drew Brees (51) for the second-most such games in NFL history.

The Patriots’ win marked head coach Bill Belichick’s 250th career victory (including the postseason). Belichick joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Don Shula (347), Georgie Halas (324) and Tom Landry (270) as the only coaches in NFL history to reach 250 career victories.

The coaches with the most career victories in NFL history:

COACH – TEAM(S) (TOTAL CAREER VICTORIES)
Don Shula – Baltimore Colts, Miami (347)
George Halas – Chicago (324)
Tom Landry – Dallas (270)
Bill Belichick – Cleveland, New England (250)*
*Active

CLIMBING BACK: Since the current 12-team playoff format was instituted in 1990, 17 teams have rebounded from being at least three games under .500 after the season’s first five weeks or later to qualify for the postseason. That includes seven 1-4 teams that won their division.

Last year, the Houston Texans bounced back from a 2-5 record after 7 games to win the AFC South, while the Kansas City Chiefs rebounded from a 1-5 start and advanced to the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Since 1990, the teams that were three or more games below .500 after Week 5 or later and made the playoffs:

YEAR – TEAM (RECORD; FINAL RECORD, ADVANCED TO)
1990 – New Orleans (2-5; 8-8, NFC Wild Card)
1992 – San Diego (1-4; 11-5, AFC Divisional)
1993 – Houston Oilers (1-4; 12-4, AFC Divisional)
1994 – New England (3-6; 10-6, AFC Wild Card)
1995 – Detroit (2-5, 3-6; 10-6, NFC Wild Card)
1995 – San Diego (4-7; 9-7, AFC Wild Card)
1996 – Jacksonville (3-6, 4-7; 9-7, AFC Championship Game)
2002 – Tennessee (1-4; 11-5, AFC Championship Game)
2002 – New York Jets (1-4, 2-5; 9-7, AFC Divisional)
2004 – Green Bay (1-4; 10-6, NFC Wild Card
2008 – San Diego (4-7, 4-8, 5-8; 8-8, AFC Divisional)
2010 – Seattle (6-9; 7-9, NFC Divisional)
2011 – Denver (1-4, 2-5; 8-8, AFC Divisional)
2012 – Washington (3-6; 10-6, NFC Wild Card)
2014 – Carolina Panthers (3-6-1, 3-7-1, 4-8-1, 5-8-1; 7-8-1, NFC Divisional)
2015 – Houston Texans (1-4, 2-5; 9-7, AFC Wild Card)
2015 – Kansas City Chiefs (1-4, 1-5, 2-5; 11-5, AFC Divisional)

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. has 27 catches this season, bringing his career total to 988.

With 12 catches on Sunday against the New York Giants, Smith would become the 14th player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions.

The players with 1,000 or more career receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER – CAREER RECEPTIONS
Jerry Rice – 1,549
Tony Gonzalez – 1,325
Marvin Harrison – 1,102
Cris Carter – 1,101
Tim Brown – 1,094
Terrell Owens – 1,078
Reggie Wayne – 1,070
Andre Johnson – 1,062
Larry Fitzgerald – 1,049
Jason Witten – 1,044
Anquan Boldin – 1,030
Isaac Bruce – 1,024
Hines Ward – 1,000
Steve Smith, Sr. – 988

AIR SHOW: Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger leads the NFL with 15 passing touchdowns this season, followed by Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (12), Oakland’s Derek Carr (11) and San Diego’s Philip Rivers (11).

If Ryan, Carr and Rivers reach 15 touchdown passes this week, it will be the second time in NFL history four different quarterbacks have thrown for at least 15 touchdowns in the first six weeks of a season.

SACKING THE COMPETITION: Buffalo’s Lorenzo Alexander tallied three sacks last week to bring his season total to seven. With another three-sack performance on Sunday against San Francisco, Alexander would be tied for the most sacks through the first six weeks of a season in the past 15 years.

The players with the most sacks through the first six weeks of a season since 2001:

PLAYER, TEAM; SACKS THROUGH WEEK 6, SEASON
Elvis Dumervil, Denver; 10 in 2009
Jared Allen, Minnesota; 9.5 in 2011
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans; 9.5 in 2012
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis; 9.5 in 2013
Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo; 7 in 2016*
*Through Week 5

MAGNIFICENT MARCUS: Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota accounted for four touchdowns last week (three passing, one rushing). This marked the fourth time in his career Mariota had four touchdowns in a single game, making him the second quarterback to have four four-touchdown games in the first 17 games of his career (Charlie Coneryl, 1948-49).

With another four-touchdown performance on Sunday against Cleveland, Mariota would become the first quarterback to have five four-touchdown games in his first 18 games in NFL history.

ROLLING ROETHLISBERGER: Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdown passes last week to bring his league-leading total to 15. With another four-touchdown performance on Sunday against Miami, Roethlisberger would be tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns through the first six games of a season in the Super Bowl era.

The players with the most passing touchdowns through the first six games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER – TEAM (TOUCHDOWNS – SEASON)
Peyton Manning – Denver (22 – 2013)
Tom Brady – New England (21 – 2007)
Brett Favre – Green Bay (20 – 1996)
Peyton Manning – Denver (19 – 2014)
Daunte Culpepper – Minnesota (19 – 2004)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (15 – 2016)*
*Through five games

Week 6 began on Thursday night with a divisional contest as the Chargers broke their four-game losing streak, beating Denver 21-13 in San Diego and the week concludes with a pair of primetime matches as the Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC South showdown on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and the New York Jets visit the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night at 8:30 pm ESPN.

Teams with byes this week? Minnesota and Tampa Bay. As for week five, not the greatest weeks… but not the worst. We were still above the .500 mark last week at 8-5 (50-27 for the year) and that’s always a good sign. Here are the games and picks for week 6.

ATLANTA (4-1) at Seattle (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. Atlanta won on the road in Denver, while Seattle had a bye week and returns to action in the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks leads the series 9-5 and have outscored Atlanta 381-333. Both team’s last wins in the series came in the other team’s stadium. Seattle’s last win over Atlanta came in 2013 in the Big Peach by a final of 33-10, while Atlanta’s last win came in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2011 by a 30-28 count.

Seattle’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. Both teams right now are playoff contenders and there is the off chance they could meet in the post-season. But… let’s worry about the regular season. Although they won’t cover the 6 1/2, Atlanta leaves the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks with the win.

Jacksonville (1-3) at Chicago (1-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of divisional cellar-dwellers meet in the Windy City as Jacksonville travels to Chicago for a date with the Chicago Bears.

The Jaguars come off their bye week after their 30-27 win over Indianapolis in London two weeks ago, while Da Bears were 29-23 losers at Indianapolis.

Da Bears lead the series with Jacksonville 4-2, have outscored the Jaguars 153-99 and came away winners in their last two meetings, including a 41-3 win on the First Coast in 2012, while Jacksonville’s last win in the series also came in the Sunshine State by a final of 22-3 in 2004. Chicago’s favored by 2 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 47. It would seem that the Cubs are not the only game in town this weekend. Chicago wins at home and covers the 2.

Pittsburgh (4-1) at Miami (1-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Two teams going in opposing directions meet in the Sunshine State as Miami hosts Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers took a 31-13 win over the New York Jets last Sunday at Heinz Field, while the struggling Dolphins fell to Tennessee at Hard Rock Stadium by a final of 30-17.

Pittsburgh leads the series 12-10 but the Dolphins have outscored the Steelers 447-421. Miami won the last meeting between the two clubs, taking a 34-28 win in the Steel City in 2013, while Pittsburgh’s last win over the ‘Fins came in 2010 in the Sunshine State by a final of 23-22. The oddsmakers like the Steelers as a 7-point favorite and the over/under’s 48. Miami’s bad of late, while the Steelers have been taking care of business. Steelers may not cover the 7 but they do take the win in the Sunshine State.

Cincinnati (2-3) at New England (4-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Brady is back and Pats fans couldn’t be happier! Tom Brady and New England hosts the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium in western Massachusetts.

The Pats took Cleveland to the woodshed last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie, coming away 33-13 winners over the winless Browns, while the Bengals were manhandled in Dallas by the Cowboys 28-14.

While the Patriots lead the series 15-9, the Bengals have outscored Brady and the Pats 501-489. New England’s last win in the series came in Foxboro in 2014, when the Patriots took a 43-17 win, while the Bengals’ last win over New England came in 2013 in Cincy by a final of 13-6. New England’s favored by 8 and the over/under’s 47. The over/under makes sense. The 8 can leave a person wondering about that. The Bengals are not 8 points bad and while New England will win this one at home, Cincy will make it a lot closer than the 8.

Baltimore (3-2) at New York Giants (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Ravens make their first trip to the Meadowlands this week (they have another trip next week against the Jets) as they travel to the Jersey shore for a meeting with Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Both teams took losses last Sunday and both are looking to bounce back. The Ravens fell to Washington 16-10 in Charm City, while the Giants dropped a 23-16 decision at Lambeau to the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.

The Ravens and Giants have met only four times and Baltimore has a 3-1 lead in the series, outscoring Big Blue 104-81 in those meetings. New York’s lone win in the series came in the Meadowlands in 2008 as the G-Men were 30-10 victors, while Baltimore’s last win came in Charm City in 2012 by a 33-14 final. New York’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 44 and 1/2. We hope the Ravens packed extra clothes this week, because they’ll have to swing right back around and make another trip to the Jersey shores. Start spreading the news! Giants reach the .500 mark with the win at home and covers the 3.

Cleveland (0-5) at Tennessee (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. It’s a little bit country vs. a little bit rock and roll as the Titans host the Cleveland Browns in the Music City.

Including contests that took place when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers and the Browns were in Cleveland before they moved to Baltimore, Cleveland leads the series 35-28, have outscored Tennessee 1,252-1,226 and were winners in their last two contests, including taking a 28-14 win along the shores of Lake Erie last year, while Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2011, also in Cleveland by a final of 31-13.

They met in week two at FirstEnergy Stadium and Cleveland led 21-0 at the half before they would be outscored by the Titans in the second half. Johnny Manziel threw a pair of TD passes in the win, connecting twice with TE Travis Benjamin in the contest. Tennessee did manage to outrush the Browns 166-116 and Marriota did outpace Manziel 257-172 in the battle of former Heisman QBs (each had a pair of TDs). Cleveland was 4 of 11 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:49, while the Titans, who turned the ball over three times, was 7 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 35:11. Tennessee’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. It’s country music (Grand Ole Opry) vs. rock and roll (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) in Nashville this week. Cleveland’s bad but not 7 points bad and while they’ll clash with the Titans, Tenneseee comes away with the win.

San Francisco (1-4) at Buffalo (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. San Francisco makes their way to the East for an afternoon affair with the Bills in upstate New York.

The 49ers, who will have Colin Kaepernick under center this week, were taken to task by NFC West rival Arizona 33-21 last Thursday night, while the Bills circled their wagons last Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles and ended the Rams’ three-game win streak with a 30-19 win at the Coliseum.

San Francisco leads the series 6-5, have outscored Buffalo 253-189 and have won the last two meetings, including a 45-3 win in Candlestick in 2012, while Bufflao’s last win also came in Candlestick in 2004 by a final of 41-7. Buffalo’s a 7 1/2 point favorite in upstate New York and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Kaepernick will probably too much of a distraction, while the Bills are looking to win three in a row. Bills circle the wagons in upstate New York and take the win, even though San Francisco could make this a closer contest.

Los Angeles (3-2) at Detroit (2-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Los Angeles travels to the Motor City for an early morning (Pacific Time) contest against Detroit at Ford Field.

The Rams saw their 3-game win streak come to an end at home against Buffalo, falling to the Bills 33-21, while the Lions ended Philadelphia’s hopes of a perfect season with a 24-23 win over the Eagles at Ford Field.

Including games that took place in Portsmouth when the Lions played there and were called the Spartans, the Rams played in Cleveland before moving to Los Angeles, then St. Louis and games played in the Los Angeles Coliseum, Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Rams lead the series 43-39-1. Los Angeles has also outscored Detroit 1,626-1,530 in those meetings. Los Angeles won the last meeting with the Lions, which took place last year in St. Louis (the Lions’ last win in the series came in 2012 in the Motor City by a final of 27-23). After the two clubs played a scoreless first quarter, the Rams led 7-0 at the intermisson. Rams RB Todd Gurley ran for a pair of TDs in the contest and St. Louis managed to overcome a pair of Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate TD passes in the win. Gurley accounted for 140 of St. Louis’ 203 yards on the ground, while the Lions tallied 111 yards. The Rams were 4 of 11 on third down conversions in the contest that took place in the Edward Jones Dome, keeping the ball for 26:10, while Detroit ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:50, going 5 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

The Lions are 3 1/2 points favorites and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both teams are pretty decent but not great. Los Angeles is trying to stay close to Seattle in the NFC West, while the Lions are trying to claw their way to the top of the NFC North. Lions cover the 3 1/2 in the Motor City and wins at home.

Carolina (1-4) at New Orleans (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of struggling NFC South foes meet in the Big Easy as Carolina and Cam Newton travel to New Orleans for a meeting with Drew Brees and the Saints.

Carolina, without Newton under center last Monday night against Tampa Bay (concussion) lost a heartbreaker to Tampa Bay 17-14 in the final seconds. New Orleans returns to action after their bye week, beating San Diego 35-34 on the West Coast the weekend before.

Carolina leads the series 23-19, have outscored the Saints 919-887 and won three of the last four contests with their NFC South rivals, including taking wins in the Tar Heel State and the Big Easy (New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2014, a 28-10 win in Charlotte).

Meeting one… week 3 in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina held off a late New Orleans rally and took a 27-22 win over Lance McCown (who took over for Brees) and the Saints. Tied 10-10 at the half, Carolina took a 27-16 lead with them late in the contest before New Orleans rallied to make things a little closer than Panther fans wanted when Kevin Robinson scored on a 2 yard TD run with 4:50. The Saints’ try for two failed and they then tried an onside kick, which also failed and with that, New Orleans’ chances of winning faded away. Carolina outrushed New Orleans 119-70 and Newton threw for 315 yards and a pair of TD passes to TE Greg Olsen, while McCown threw for 310 yard. Carolina, forcing a pair of Saints turnovers, went 5 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down, while the Saints were 7 of 12 and 1 of 1 in the same catagories. Despite the loss, time was on the sise of the Saints, who kept the ball for 32:44 to Carolina’s 27:16.

Meeting two… week 13 in the Big Easy at the Superdome. In the second meeting, Carolina trailed 16-13 at the intermission before bouncing back in the last 30 minutes of action to come away 41-38 winners. Carolina tallied the winning score, using an 11-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:16 of clock when Newton and WR Jerricho Cotchery connected on a 15-yard TD pass with 65 seconds left to play. Saints RB Mark Ingram had given New Orleans the lead before when he scored on a 9-yard TD run with 5:21 before Carolina took matters into their own hands (or paws) and took the lead back and took it for keeps. Carolina outrushed New Orleans 175-70 and Newton outpaced Brees in passing yardage 331-282 and each combined for eight TDs passes (Newton with 5, Brees with 3). While Carolina was 3 of 8 on third down conversions, they did find success on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and held the ball for 36:34, while the Saints were 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 23:26.

Carolina’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 53 1/2. Given that there are two pretty good QBs in the contest, the 53 1/2 could be reached by halftime. Both teams are trying to catch Atlanta in the NFC South (Atlanta beat both teams in consecutive weeks). Carolina’s finer in the Big Easy and they come away with the win, covering the 2 1/2.

Philadelphia (3-1) at Washington (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of NFC East rivals, both in the hunt and chasing Dallas in the process, meet in Landover Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field as the Eagles make the drive down I-95 to face the defending NFC East champs.

While Philadelphia fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing 24-23 to Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions, Washington rallied in Baltimore and came away 16-10 winners in Charm City.

Washington leads the series 83-73-5, while the Eagles have outscored the ‘Skins 3,360-3,200. However… Washington has won three of the last four meetings in the series, including sweeping the two contests in 2015 (Philly’s last win over Washington came in 2014 when they came away 37-34 winners in the City of Brotherly Love).

The first contest in Landover took place in week four and Washington squeeked by Philadelphia 23-20. Washington trailed 20-16 with 26 seconds left when Cousins and WR Pierre Garcon hooked up on a 4-yard TD pass at Fed Ex Field. Washington led 13-0 at the intermission before the Eagles roared back to take the lead late in the contest. While holding the Eagles to 87 yards on the ground, Washington managed to tally 127 of their own and Cousins threw for 290 yards, while Sam Bradford accounted for 270 with three TDs. Washington was 9 of 17 on third down tries in Landover and kept the ball for 41:08, while the Eagles held the ball for 18:52, going 4 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

That was game one.

Game two… Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field in week 16, the Saturday after Christmas. The Eagles had just fired Chip Kelly and their playoff hopes at best were on the line. The Redskins clinched the NFC East title, putting Eagles fans out of their misery and Washington would come away with the 38-24 win. Washington led 16-10 at the half and then proceeded to pull away from the Eagles in the road win. Neither club came close to rushing for 100 yards in the second meeting and that was the bad news. The good news? Washington outrushed Philadelphia 67-45 and Cousins burned the Eagles for 365 yards and four TDs, while Bradford was sacked five times, throwing for 380. Washington went 5 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 34:15, while the Eagles were 7 of 19 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth) and held the ball for a mere 25:45.

The Eagles are favored by 2 and the over/under’s 45. These two are trying to catch Dallas in the NFC East. Washington fans will have a chance to sing “Hail to the Redskins” this week instead of “Hell! It’s the Redskins.” Washington pulls off the upset and covers the 2 at home in Landover.

Kansas City (2-2) at Oakland (4-1), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Cats and Dogs. Capulets vs. Montagues. Hatfields vs. McCoys. These two teams DON’T like each other. They meet again and there’s a lot a on the line here. Kansas City travels to Oakland for a meeting with their most hated AFC West rival.

Did we mention they DON’T like each other? Just seeing if you were paying attention.

Kansas City returns to play after their bye week, losing to Pittsburgh two weeks ago in the Steel City by a final of 43-14. Meanwhile, Oakland held off two San Diego attempts for a comeback and came away 34-31 winners over AFC West rivals San Diego last Sunday in northern California.

Kansas City has a 58-51-2 lead in the series, which includes contests that were played when the Chiefs were in Dallas and known as the Texans and the Silver and Black played in Los Angeles. Kansas City has also outsored Oakland 2,318-2,148 and the Chiefs have come away winners in three of their last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Oakland’s last win over the Chiefs came in 2014, when they won on the West Coast by a final of 24-20).

Meeting number one… week 13 in Oakland. The Chiefs scored 20 fourth quarter points unchallenged and came away 34-20 winnners at O.co Coliseum. Trailing 14-7 at the intermission, Kansas City rallied as WR Jeremy Maclin and Smith (162 yards) connected on a pair of fourth quarter TDs and S Todd Branch picked off Carr (four sacks, three interceptions 283 yards) to seal the Raiders’ fate. The Chiefs on third down were 3 of 8 and kept the ball for 25:32, while the Raiders clung to the ball for 34:28, going 6 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Meeting two… week 17 in Kansas City at Arrowhead. While the second conest was closer than the first meeting on the West Coast, the outcome stayed the same, as Kansas City would march into the post-season with a 23-17 win to close out the regular season. The Chiefs led 14-10 at the break and held off the Raiders in the second half and outscored Oakland 9-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Maclin and Smith connected on a 25-yard TD pass to open the scoring in the game and the Chiefs’ special teams would get into the act as D.J. Alexander blocked an Oakland punt for a safety. This time, the Chiefs breached the 100-yard barrier, tallying 189 on the ground (in the first meeting, Kansas City had 89, while Oakland had 99) to Oakland’s 48 and Kansas City sacked Carr six times in the contest. Third down tries in the second contest were not a thing to write home about at Arrowhead, with Kansas City going 6 of 13 and Oakland going 3 of 14 (on fourth down, the Chiefs were 1 of 2, while the Raiders were 1 of 1) and the clock was on the side of the Chiefs at 34:55 to Oakland’s 25:05. Kansas City’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 47. Given that both clubs DON’T like each other, there’s a lot at stake. Oakland makes this one interesting but the Chiefs cover the 2 and win on the road.

Dallas (4-1) at Green Bay (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. It’s not Ice Bowl but they do meet again in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwust. Green Bay hosts the Tony Romo-less Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau in a late afternoon affair.

Both teams won at home last week. Dallas took Cinncinnati and Andy Dalton to the woodshed, coming away 28-14 winners in Arlington, while the Packers held off Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Lambeau, taking a 23-13 win Sunday night.

Green Bay leads the series with Dallas 14-12 (which includes contests that took place at County Stadium in Milwaukee, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and Cowboys Stadium in Irving), have outscored Dallas 604-545 and won last year’s meeting at Lambeau by a final of 28-7 (Dallas’ last win in the series? 2008, when they took a 27-16 win in Green Bay.

In the week 14 meeting at Lambeau, the Rodgers-led Panthers led 14-0 at the half after a scoreless first quarter and pulled away after Dallas’ Robbie Turbin scored on a 7-yard TD run for their first points in the third quarter. Green Bay would respond with a pair of fourth quarter TDs to seal the deal for the Packers. Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy (124) and Dallas’ Darren McFadden (111) each tallied 100 yards of their own as their teams breached the 100-yard mark on the ground (Green Bay outrushed Dallas 230-171) and Rodgers threw for 218 yards and a pair of TDs, while Matt Cassell, taking over for Romo (back) threw for 114 yards (each man was sacked twice and Cassell threw an interception). While Green Bay was 7 of 14 on third down at Lambeau, they struggled on fourth down tries, going 0 of 1 and kept the ball for 37:48; Dallas was a dismal 1 of 11 on third down conversions and went 0 of 2 on fourth down, while holding the ball for 22:12.

Green Bay’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Two contending teams in an historic ballpark. That alone 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?”

Dallas has had some luck on their side of late, winning four in a row after getting taken to task by the Giants in week one. The Packers are playing their third home game in the state of Wisconsin and won three of four. Be it ever so humble. Packers cover the 3 1/2 at home like onions on Bratwurst and takes the win.

Indianapolis (2-3) at Houston (3-2), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The first place Texans, without the services of J.J. Watt, host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in a Sunday night contest in the Lone Star State.

Houston failed in their attempt to pin Minnesota with their first loss, falling to the Vikings 31-13 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, while the Colts took care of Chicago 29-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday.

Indy leads the series 23-5 and have outscored the Texans 751-544. They spilt the two meetings last year and each took wins in the other team’s facility.

First meeting… Houston, week five on a Sunday night. Indy held off a late Texans rally and came away 27-20 winners at NRG Stadium. Matt Hasselbeck (who took over for Luck) and WR Andre Johnson connected on a pair of TD passes in the 7-point win, while Frank Gore ran for a TD for the Colts. Indy led 13-10 at the half, then tried to pull away from Houston, who came to within a TD when Texans K Nick Novak connected on a 49-yard try with 6:07 left in regulation. The Colts outrushed Houston 110-82, while Houston’s Blake Hoyer outpaced Hasslebeck 312-213 in passing yardage. Houston was 8 of 16 on third down tries, 1 of 1 on fourth downs and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 32:27. As for the Colts? They kept the pigskin for 27:33, going 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Round two… Indy in week 15 and the Texans got their revenge, erasing a 10-6 deficit at the half to take a 16-10 win in the Hoosier State. Houston shut out Indy in the second half, scoring their final 13 points of the game unchallenged and took the lead for keeps when QB Brandon Weeden and WR Jaelen Strong connected on an 8-yard pass and Novak sealed the deal with a 32-yard field with 1:56 left to play. Texans RB Alfred Blue ran for 107 of his team’s 150 yards in the second contest, while the Texans held Indy to 50 yards rushing. In the second contest, both teams struggled on third down tries (Houston was 5 of 15, Indy was 4 of 13) but the Texans struck paydirt on fourth down tries, going 2 of 2. Houston ruled the clock in the second contest, as they did in the first, holding the ball for 33:56 to Indy’s 26:04.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Texans as 3 point favorites in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 48. This one will be an interesting contest to watch on Sunday night. Houston covers the 3 and wins at home.

New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona (2-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week six closes out in the desert as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! take on Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! crashed and burned in Pittsburgh last SUnday, losing to the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger 31-13 at Heinz Field, while the Cardinals broke their game with San Francisco open last Thursday night, beating the 49ers 33-21 on the West Coast.

GangGreen leads the series 6-2, have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 158-136 and took wins in the last six meetings, including a 7-6 win in the Meadowlands in 2012, while Arizona won the first two meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 1975, when the Cards were in St. Louis, by a final of 37-6 in New York at old Yankee Stadium.

Records on Monday night… GangGreen’s 21-29 but won their only MNF meeting last year, while the Cardinals are 8-15-1 and like their opponents, they took a win in their only meeting last year.

The Cardinals are 7 1/2 points favorites on Monday night and the over/under’s 46 1/2. These teams aren’t bad but they’re not great. We will gladly understand if you decide to watch “Scorpion” Monday night. Arizona does come away with this one but they’re not going to cover the 7 1/2.

Four weeks down… 13 to go.

Welcome to the quarter pole in the 2016 NFL season.

The first quarter of the NFL season is over and more than half of the league’s teams (18) have a .500 or better record. But there’s a lot of season left to be played.

“We had a pretty good first quarter,” Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones told WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the team’s 3-1 start to the season. “There’s still a lot of improvement we have to do, but it comes with practice. Repetition is the key. We’ve got to keep practicing, getting better and playing for each other.”

There are three unbeaten teams remaining – Denver (4-0), Minnesota (4-0) and Philadelphia (3-0). Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 64 of the previous 77 teams (83.1 percent) to start 4-0 have made the playoffs.

But all 32 teams know there’s room for improvement. And while not every club has gotten off to a great start, nothing is a given in the NFL.

Since 1990, 117 teams (37.5 percent of the 312 playoff clubs) have advanced to the postseason after starting the season 2-2 or worse. There were six such teams – Houston (1-3), Kansas City (1-3), Minnesota (2-2), Pittsburgh (2-2), Seattle (2-2) and Washington (2-2) – last season, including three division winners (Houston, Minnesota and Washington).

“I feel a lot better,” says Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan about the Bills evening their record at 2-2 after an 0-2 start. “We know we have a good football team and we’ve just got to stick together. That’s exactly what we’ve done and how we’ve dug ourselves out of this 0-2 hole.”

That’s all part of the unpredictability of the NFL. So entering Week 5, while it certainly helps to be near the top of the standings, don’t count anyone out. As the saying goes, “on any given day…”

Following are highlights from the first quarter of the 2016 NFL season:

NFL MILESTONES
•CLOSE GAMES: Through Week 4, 47 games have been decided by eight points or fewer, tied for the most in a season’s first four weeks in NFL history (2004).

Most games decided by eight points or fewer through Week 4:

SEASON- GAMES DECIDED BY EIGHT POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 4
2016 – 47
2004 – 47
2007 – 45
2011 – 45
2013 – 45

COMEBACKS: Through Week 4, five games have been won by teams which trailed by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter, the fourth-most in NFL history.

Most games won after trailing by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter through Week 4:

SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING BY 10+ POINTS IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 4
1999 – 7
2011 – 7
1989 – 6
2016 – 5

TEAMS
•UNDEFEATED: Three NFL teams are left standing unbeaten – Denver (4-0), Minnesota (4-0) and Philadelphia (3-0) – are undefeated through Week 4. Philadelphia had a bye last week and squares off against the Lions in Detroit, while the defending Super Bowl champs host Atlanta in the Mile High City and Minneosta has a date with the Houston Texans in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Since 1990, 64 of 77 teams (83.1 percent) that started the season 4-0 have qualified for the playoffs.

•FLYING FALCONS: In Week 4, the Atlanta Falcons defeated Carolina 48-33 to improve to 3-1 and take first place in the NFC South. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan (503 passing yards) and wide receiver Julio Jones (300 receiving yards) each set single-game franchise records against NFC South foe Carolina last week at home. The Falcons became the first team in NFL history to have a 500-yard passer and 300-yard receiver in the same game.

•MONSTROUS MINNESOTA: The Minnesota Vikings had eight sacks in the team’s 22-10 victory at Carolina in Week 3. The eight sacks are tied for the third-most in a road game in team history and the most in a road game by the Vikings since December 28, 2003 at Arizona.

•In Week 1, the Kansas City Chiefs extended their regular-season winning streak to 11 games with a 33-27 overtime victory over San Diego at Arrowhead. The Chiefs overcame a 21-point deficit and are the first team in NFL history to extend a winning streak of at least 10 games with a 21+ point comeback victory.

PLAYERS

•CLIMBING THE CHARTS:

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has 62,172 career passing yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (61,361) for the third-most all-time.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has 45,373 career passing yards and surpassed Drew Bledsoe (44,611) to move into 10th place in NFL history.

Indianapolis running back Frank Gore has 12,293 career rushing yards and passed Marcus Allen (12,243), Edgerrin James (12,246) and Marshall Faulk (12,279) to move into 10th place in NFL history.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has three touchdown catches this season, bringing his career total to 101. He surpassed Don Huston (99), Steve Largent (100) and Tim Brown (100) for eighth place all-time.

Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. has 14,213 career receiving yards and moved into ninth place in NFL history.

Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski has 53 career 50+ yard field goals and passed Jason Hanson (52) for the most in NFL history.

•Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the Seahawks’ 27-17 win at the New York Jets in Week 4. Wilson has 25 career games with multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most by a player in NFL history in his first five seasons to begin a career.

•Washington tight end Jordan Reed had nine catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins’ 31-20 win over Cleveland in Week 4 in Landover. Reed has 207 career catches and reached 200 receptions in his 38th game. He is the fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 200 career catches, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (39 games).

•RISING ROOKIES:

Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott completed 23 of 32 passes (71.9 percent) for 245 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Cowboys’ 24-17 win at San Francisco in Week 4. Prescott has no interceptions in his first 131 attempts, the most pass attempts by a rookie without an interception to begin a career. Prescott’s 131 pass attempts are also the most by a player who did not throw an interception in his first four career games.

Philadelphia rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who had a bye in Week 4, has not thrown an interception in his first 102 pass attempts during the first three games of his career. Wentz, who has passed for 769 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions this season, is the only rookie in NFL history with a touchdown pass and no interceptions in each of his first three games in a season.

Houston rookie wide receiver Will Fuller had a five-yard touchdown reception and a 67-yard punt-return TD in the Texans’ 27-20 win over Tennessee in Week 4. Fuller is the fourth rookie in the past 15 years to record both a touchdown catch and a punt-return TD in the same game, the only rookie in NFL history to have 300 or more receiving yards (323) and a punt-return touchdown in his team’s first four games of a season and the only rookie in NFL history to have 300 or more receiving yards (323) and a punt-return touchdown in his team’s first four games of a season.

STILL IN THE MIX: Since the current playoff format (12 teams) was instituted in 1990, 27 teams have rebounded from a losing record after four weeks to qualify for the postseason. Four of those clubs advanced to their Conference Championship Games, including the 2001 New England Patriots (1-3) en route to a Super Bowl XXXVI victory.

Since 1990, the teams that started 1-3 or worse and made the playoffs:
YEAR – TEAM (RECORD, ADVANCED TO:)
1990 – New Orleans (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1990 – Philadelphia (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1991 – New York Jets (1-3, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1992 – San Diego (0-4, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
1993 – Green Bay (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
1993 – Houston Oilers (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
1995 – Detroit (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1995 – Philadelphia (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
1996 – Dallas (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
1996 – Jacksonville (1-3, AFC Championship Game)
1997 – New York Giants (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1998 – Buffalo (1-3, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2000 – New Orleans (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2001 – New England (1-3, Won Super Bowl XXXVI)
2002 – Atlanta (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2002 – Tennessee (1-3, AFC Championship Game)
2002 – New York Jets (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2002 – Pittsburgh (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2004 – Green Bay (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2005 – Chicago (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2007 – San Diego (1-3, AFC Championship Game)
2008 – Minnesota (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2011 – Denver (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2013 – Carolina (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2013 – Philadelphia (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2015 – Houston (1-3, Wild Card Playoffs)
2015 – Kansas City (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)

MARVELOUS MANNING: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who looks to earn his 100th regular-season win on Sunday, has 298 touchdown passes in his 13-year career.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday night at Green Bay, Manning will become the eighth quarterback in NFL history with 300 touchdown passes.

The quarterbacks with 300 career touchdown passes:

PLAYER – CAREER TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Peyton Manning – 539
Brett Favre – 508
Drew Brees – 438
Tom Brady – 428
Dan Marino – 420
Fran Tarkenton – 342
John Elway – 300
Eli Manning – 298

FANTASTIC FRANK: Indianapolis running back Frank Gore has 12,293 rushing yards in his 12-year career.

With 20 rushing yards on Sunday against Chicago, Gore will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (12,312) for the ninth-most rushing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most career rushing yards in NFL history:
PLAYER – CAREER RUSHING YARDS
Emmitt Smith – 18,355
Walter Payton – 16,726
Barry Sanders – 15,269
Curtis Martin – 14,101
LaDainian Tomlinson – 13,684
Jerome Bettis – 13,662
Eric Dickerson – 13,259
Tony Dorsett – 12,739
Jim Brown – 12,312
Frank Gore – 12,293*
*Active

DAZZLING DAK: Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has completed 89 of 131 pass attempts (67.9 percent) for 1,012 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in four starts this season. Prescott’s 131 pass attempts without an interception are the most pass attempts by a rookie without an interception to begin a career.

Philadelphia rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has completed 102 passes without an interception in three career games, second only to Prescott (131) for the most pass attempts by a rookie without an interception to begin a career.

Prescott, with 32 pass attempts and no interceptions on Sunday against Cincinnati, will surpass Tom Brady (162) for the most pass attempts without an interception to start a career. He is currently tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon (131).

The players with the most pass attempts without an interception to start a career:

PLAYER – PASS ATTEMPTS WITHOUT INTERCEPTION TO START CAREER
Tom Brady – 162
Warren Moon – 131
Dak Prescott – 131*
*Active streak

FAST STARTER: Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian has led the Broncos to a 4-0 start. Siemian, who made his first career start in Week 1, has passed for 824 yards with six touchdowns for a 99.6 passer rating this season.

With a win on Sunday against Atlanta, the Broncos would become the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to start 5-0 with a quarterback who had never previously started a game entering the season.

The teams to start a season 5-0 with a quarterback who never previously started a game (since 1966):
TEAM – YEAR (STARTING QUARTERBACK, RECORD THROUGH 5 GAMES)
Los Angeles Rams – 1985 (Dieter Brock, 5-0)
St. Louis Rams – 1999 (Kurt Warner, 5-0)
Minnesota Vikings – 2000 (Daunte Culpepper, 5-0)
Denver Broncos – 2016 (Trevor Siemian, 4-0)*
*Through 4 games

Week 5 began on Thursday night with a divisional contest as the Arizona Cardinals visited and took down the San Francisco 49ers 33-21 and concludes with a pair of primetime matches as the Green Bay Packers host the New York Giants on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Carolina Panthers on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Byes this week: Jacksonville (recovering from jet lag), Kansas City, New Orleans and Seattle. As for last week? 11-5, which means for the season, we’re 42-22, which is not bad. It could be better but it’s not bad. With that, here are the picks for Sunday and Monday’s NFL Week 5 contests.

ATLANTA (3-1) at Denver (4-0), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of first-place teams meet in the Mile High City as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons travel westward to face off against the defending Super Bowl champs.

Both teams come into the week five contest at Sports Authority Field at Mile High with victories under their respective belts.

Atlanta once again beat Cam Newton and Carolina in the Georgia Dome, this time manhandling the defending NFC Champs 48-33. Atlanta led 17-10 at the break and then the two teams slugged it out in the final 30 minutes of action. Ryan threw for 503 yards and four TDs, including one to All-Pro wR Julio Jones (300 yards on 12 catches), while Newton threw for 165 yards and a TD before being taken out of the contest with a concussion. Atlanta outrushed their NFC South rivals 90-49 and forced two Carolina turnovers, turning one of them into a TD to ice the contest away. Atlanta was 8 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 33:49, while Carolina was 7 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth), keeping the ball for 26:11.

Denver broke a 7-7 first quarter tie at Tampa Bay last Sunday and came away 27-7 winners in the Sunshine State. Denver led 17-7 at the break and then went on to shutout the Buccaneers 10-0 in the final 30 minutes of play, which included for the second Sunday in a row a weather delay in Tampa. Denver outrushed Tampa Bay 89-72 and sacked Jameis Winston five times, picking him off twice. The defending Super Bowl champs were 3 of 13 on third down tries, while keeping the ball for 31:24. As for Tampa Bay, they were 5 of 16 and 0 of 1, holding on to the ball for 28:36.

Denver leads the series 8-5 and have outscored Atlanta 362-312. Atlanta won the last meeting in 2012 by a final of 27-21 in the Big Peach, while Denver last beat Atlanta 24-20 in 2008, also in the Big Peach. The Broncos are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Both teams are in first place in their respective divisons, both teams took big wins last week and this one could be one of the best games to watch this week. In fact, 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 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?”

When play started, there were three teams that were unbeaten. At the end of the day, there’ll be two. Atlanta pulls the upset out west and cover the 3 1/2.

New England (3-1) at Cleveland (0-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Tom Brady makes his return to the NFL as the New England Patriots travel to the shores of Lake Erie for a meeting with the struggling Browns. This was to be known as the “Suspension Bowl” as Brady would come back from his suspension for “Deflategate,” while Gordon was coming off his 4-game suspension for substance abuse. Brady is back. Gordon decided that rehab would be the best course for him, so he’s done for the year.

New England fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last Sunday in Foxboro, losing to Buffalo 16-0 at Gillette Stadium. Le Sean McCoy scored the game’s only TD in the contest early and the Pats could never really recover, trailing 13-0 at the intermisson. Buffalo outrushed New England 134-90 and backup QB Jacoby Brissett (205 yards) was sacked three times, while Bills signal caller Tyrod Taylor (246 yards, TD) was sacked twice. The Brady-less Pats were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:49, while the Bills held on to the ball for 36:11, going 7 of 15 on third down.

Cleveland let a 20-17 lead against Washington leave their grasp as the Redskins bounced back in the fourth quarter to fall 31-20 in Landover. The Browns led with 9:25 left in the third on a 45-yard field goal by Chris Parkey before Washington stormed back to retake the lead for keeps. Chris Thompson and Matt Jones gave Washington the lead for good with their TDs in the fourth quarter as the Browns fell to their fourth loss in as many tries. Cleveland outrushed Washington 163-145 in the contest at Landover (Jones led all rushers with 117, while Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell ran for 112), while Cody Keesler threw for 223 yards and a TD, while Kirk Cousins had 183 yards with three TDs and three sacks. Washington on third down? 4 of 8 and the Redskins kept the ball for 31:03, while the Browns kept the pigskin for 28:57, going 8 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Suprisingly, the Browns hold a 12-10 lead in the series and have outscored the Pats 415-379. They last met in 2013 in Foxboro and the Pats came away with a 27-26 win, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2010 along the shores of Lake Erie, taking a 34-14 win in the process.

New England’s favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. While the Browns are bad, they’re not 10 1/2 bad. Cleveland will make things close but Brady makes his return to the gridiron a good one. New England’s taking this one but they won’t cover the 10 1/2.

Tennessee (1-3) at Miami (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling clubs meet in the Sunshine State as Tennessee travels to South Beach for a meeting with the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Tennessee made things a little close for their fan base in Nashville last Sunday as they rallied to tie Houston 20-20 with 56 seconds left in the third before the Texans’ Will Fuller broke Titans hearts with a 67-yard punt return to beat Tennessee 27-20 in the Lone Star State. Tennessee did manage to outrush Houston 124-115 and Marcus Mariota threw for 202 yards with a sack and an interception (DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 95 yards and a pair of TDs), while Brock Osweiler threw for 254 yards with a pair of TDs. Both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down tries and on third down, the Titans were 7 of 15, while Houston was 5 of 12 and the clock favored Tennessee at 31:42 to Houston’28:18.

Miami led briefly at Cincinnati last Thursday night on a 74-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill to WR Kenny Stills with 9:04 left in the first quarter before the Bengals’ Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green connected on a 7-yard TD pass of their own to drop Miami 22-7. Miami trailed led 16-7 at the intermission and the Dolphins offense never got on track as Mike Nugent would close out the scoring in the contest with four field goals to seal Miami’s fate. Cincy outrushed Miami 77-62 and Dalton outpaced Tannehill in passing 296-189, while the Bengal defense sacked Tannehill five times and forced a pair of turnovers. Cincinnati was somewhat dismal on third down tries, going 3 of 15 (they did find perfection in their only fourth down conversion) and ruled the clock, as they held the ball for 38:02, while the Dolphins held on to the pigskin for 21:58, while going 2 of 11 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Miami leads the series 19-15 and have outscored Tennessee 650-635 (which includes contests that took place in the old Orange Bowl and games that took place in Houston when the team was known as the Oilers). Miami won the last meeting between the two clubs in the Music City last year, taking a 38-10 win at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee’s last win in the series? 2012, when the Titans won in the Sunshine State by a 37-3 final.

In the week six contest, Miami led 17-3 at the half and held Tennessee and Mariota (219 yards) in check in the final 30 minutes of play. Tennessee was held to 63 yards on the ground, while Miami ran for 180 (RB Lance Miller ran for 113 of those yards). Tannehill threw for 266 yards and a pair of TDs in the road win, while Mariota was sacked five times and picked off twice. Miami, in taking advantage of four Tennessee turnovers, was 5 of 9 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:53, while the Titans kept it for 28:07, going 2 of 10 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Miami’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. This one could be affected by the weather and could be closer than the 3 1/2. Tennesee will make this interesting but Miami comes away with the win.

Houston (3-1) at Minnesota (4-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Houston travels to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a meeting with the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings in a battle of contending teams.

Houston broke a 20-20 tie in with 56 seconds left in the third thanks to a Will Fuller 65-yard punt return to beat Tennessee 27-20 in the Lone Star State. The Texans led 20-17 at the break before Ron Succop kicked a 26-yard field Goal with 7:04 left in the third. Although Tennessee did manage to outrush Houston 124-115, Brock Osweiler threw for 254 yards and a pair of TDs, while Marcus Mariota threw for 202 yards with a sack and an interception (DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 95 yards and a pair of TDs). Both clubs failed in their only fourth down conversion try at NRG Stadium and Houston was 5 of 12 on third down, while the former Houston team went 7 of 15. Time was on the side of the Titans’ who held the ball for  31:42 to Houston’s 28:18.

Minnesota took Eli Manning and the Giants to the woodshed Monday night at US Bank Stadium, coming away 24-10 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Vikings led 14-3 at the break in the great indoors and never looked back, holding the Giants to 78 yards on the ground (Minnesota tallied 104 yards of rushing). The Purple Gang forced a pair of turnovers in the primetime contest, while Sam Bradford barely outpaced Manning 262-261 but Bradford threw a TD pass to TE Kyle Rudolph in the contest. Minnesota went 8 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 35:32, while the Giants were 2 of 12 (0 of 2 on fourth), holding the ball for 24:28.

They’ve only met three times and the Vikings are 3-0 in the meetings, with Minnesota’s last win coming in 2012 in Houston by a final of 23-6. Minnesota has also outscored the Texans 85-55 in the series. Minnesota’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 39 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Houston’s good but the Vikings are a little better and they’ll stay unbeaten, even though they may not cover the 6.

New York Jets (1-3) at Pittsburgh (3-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTv 708. A pair of AFC teams going in opposite directions meet in the Steel City as Pittsburgh hosts the New York Jets.

Seattle QB Russell Wilson (309 yards) threw three TDs as the Seahawks took GangGreen 27-17 at Met Life Stadium. Seattle led 14-10 at the break and never looked back, holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to 58 yards rushing (Seattle ran for 66) and sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick (261 yards, 3 interceptions) four times. GangGreen was 7 of 15 on third down tries, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:15, while Seattle held the pigskin for 30:45 and went 3 of 10 on third down conversions.

The Steelers bounced back from their loss to cross-state rival Philadelphia and took Kansas City 43-13. Pittsburgh scored the first 36 points of the Sunday night contest at Heinz Field unchallenged and were never challenged by Alex Smith (287 yards, 2 TDs, 4 sacks, interception) and the Chiefs. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell did his best Jerome Bettis impression, rushing for 144 of Pittsburgh’s 149 yards, while the Steel Curtain held Kansas City to 87. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger bounced back from his bad performance in Philly and threw for 300 yards and five TDs with no interceptions, although the Chiefs’ defense made things somewhat hard for him, sacking him twice. Pittsburgh went 6 of 11 on third down tries last Sunday night and held on to the ball for 29:24, while Kansas City ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:36 and went 8 of 17 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Pittsburgh leads the series 17-5 with GangGreen and the Steelers have outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 489-273 (which includes contests that were played in New York City when GangGreen played their home games at Shea Stadium). Both clubs took their last wins in the series along the Jersey shore; New York came away 20-13 winners in 2014, while the Steelers’ last win came in 2013 by a final of 19-6. Pittsburgh’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are bad right now but they’re not 7 points bad. Still, they’re on the road and they’re in Pittsburgh. Steelers may not cover the 7 but they do win at Heinz.

Washington (2-2) at Baltimore (3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. They sit 38 miles apart from each other and for only the sixth time, Washington and Baltimore meet as the Redskins travel to Charm City for a meeting with the Baltimore Ravens.

The defending NFC East champs trailed Cleveland 20-17 in Landover and rallied with a pair of fourth quarter TDs by Chris Thomspson and Matt Jones scored a pair of TDs to take the 31-20 win over the winless Browns. Cleveland led by three with 9:25 left in the third on a 45-yard field goal by Chris Parkey before Washington stormed back to retake the lead for keeps. The Browns outrushed Washington 163-145 in the contest at Landover (Jones led all rushers with 117, while Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell ran for 112), while Cody Keesler threw for 223 yards and a TD, while Kirk Cousins had 183 yards with three TDs and three sacks. The Redskins on third down were 4 of 8 and the Redskins kept the ball for 31:03, while the Browns kept the pigskin for 28:57, going 8 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Ravens allowed a 27-21 lead against Oakland get away from them and came away on the short end of a 28-27 loss to the Silver and Black last Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City. Baltimore, who trailed 14-6 at the break, outscored Oakland in the second half 21-14 and led late in the game when David Carr (199 yards, 4 TDs) and Michael Crabtree connected on their third TD of the afternoon, a 23-yard strike that gave the Raiders the lead for keeps. Baltimore then saw a late rally fizzle when Joe Flacco (298 yards, TD) threw four consecutive incomplete passes to end any chance of a comeback.

Ravens RB Terrance West led all rushers with 113 yards and a TD, while his team tallied 130, outpacing Oakland, who had 62. Baltimore was 5 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions in Charm City, while they kept the ball for 34:44. The Raiders, who held the pigskin for 25:16, went 3 of 12 on third down conversions.

Baltimore leads the series 3-2 and have outscored Washington 92-78. Washington came away 31-28 overtime winners in Landover in 2012 in the last meeting, while the Ravens’ last win  came in 2008 in Charm City by a final of 24-10.

Baltimore’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Baltimore makes this one close but they’ll fall short. Redskins fans will once again sing “Hail To The Redskins” instead of “Hell! It’s the Redskins” this week. Washington covers the 4 and wins in Charm City.

Philadelphia (3-0) at Detroit (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. The unbeaten Eagles come back to action from their vacation to travel to the Motor City for a meeting with the Lions at Ford Field.

Philly comes back from their bye week after taking Ben Roethlisberger (257 yards, interception) and the Steelers to the woodshed two Sundays ago 34-3. The Eagles led 13-3 at the half and shut out the Steelers in the second half, scoring their final 21 points unchallenged. Philadelphia held the Steeler ground game in check in the City of Brotherly Love, holding them to a season-low 29 yards (they ran for 125) and Wentz threw for 301 yards and a pair of TDs without an interception (connecting with WR Darrell Sproles on one toss), while sacking Roethlisberger four times at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles went 4 of 10 on third down and kept the ball for 34:56, while the Steelers were 4 of 11 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, holding on to the pigskin for 25:04.

Detroit came away on the short end of a 17-14 loss to Chicago last Sunday at Solider Field. Chicago led 7-3 at the break but Detroit managed to outscore Da Bears in the second half 11-10 to make things closer than Bears fans wanted. Chicago Rookie RB Jordan Howard ran for 111 of Chicago’s 114 yards, while the Lions tallied 66 and Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and a pair of TDs, while Matthew Stafford threw for 213 and was picked off twice. Chicago on third down was 5 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:14, while the Lions were 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:46.

Including contests that took place in Portsmouth when the Lions were known as the Spartans, the Eagles lead the series   15-14-2 and have outscored the Lions 631-622. The Lions were 45-14 winners on Thanksgiving Day last year in the Motor City, while Philly’s last win over Detroit came in 2013 in the City of Brotherly Love by a final of 34-20.

In the week 12 Turkey Day contest, Detroit led 24-7 at the break and it would not be a good day for the Eagles, as they held to 68 yards rushing, Mark Sanchez was sacked six times and Stafford and Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) connected for three TDs in front of the home crowd at Ford Field. Stafford threw for 337 yards, while Johnson caught eight passes for 93 yards. Detroit was 5 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 37:11, while the Eagles were on third down 6 of 14, keeping the ball for 22:49.

Philly’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46. It’s possible that the over/under could be reached by halftime, given that both QBs are pretty good. That’s where things come to an end. Eagles fly off with the win in the Motor City and covers the 3.

Chicago (1-3) at Indianapolis (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of 1-3 teams meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts and Andrew Luck host Da Bears.

Chicago took Detroit to task in the Windy City last Sunday, coming away 17-14 winners at Solider Field. Although they led 7-3 at the break, Detroit managed to outscore Da Bears in the second half 11-10 to make things closer than Bears fans wanted. Rookie RB Jordan Howard ran for 111 of Chicago’s 114 yards, while the Lions tallied 66 and Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and a pair of TDs, while Matthew Stafford threw for 213 and was picked off twice. Chicago on third down was 5 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:14, while the Lions were 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:46.

Indianapolis returns to the United States after their trip across the Big Pond, coming out on the short end of a 30-27 loss to Jacksonville in London at Wembley Stadium Sunday morning. The Colts trailed 17-6 at the half but did manage to rule the second half, outscoring the Jaguars 21-13 in the final 30 minutes of action. Jacksonville did outrush Indy 136-94 but Luck outpassed Blake Bortles 234-207, with each man throwing a pair of TDs (Luck was sacked six times in the loss). Indy on third down was 9 of 17 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:39, while the Jaguars were 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the ball for 27:21.

Including contests that took place in Baltimore and at Wrigley Field, the Colts lead the series 22-19 and have outscored Da Bears 869-849. Chicago won the last two meetings in the series, including a 41-21 win in the Windy City in 2012, while the Colts’ last win came in 2004 (also in the Windy City) by a 41-10 tally.

Indy’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2 and those numbers sound right. We’d understand if you took a pass on this one and watched that “Mythbusters” marathon on Science Channel but if you’re a fan of either of these teams, by all means watch. Indy gets to reject your reality and substitute its own and takes the win back home again in Indiana, covering the 4 1/2.

Cincinnati (2-2) at Dallas (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. Cincinnati, trying to right itself, travels to the Lone Star State for a late afternoon contest in Arlington as the Cowboys host the Bengals in JerryWorld (aka AT&T Stadium).

Cincinnati trailed briefly against Miami on a 74-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill to WR Kenny Stills with 9:04 left in the first quarter before Dalton and WR A.J. Green connected on a 7-yard TD pass of their own to come away 22-7 winners last Thursday night. The Bengals led 16-7 at the intermission and never looked back as Mike Nugent would close out the scoring in the contest with four field goals to seal Miami’s fate. Cincy outrushed Miami 77-62 and Dalton outpaced Tannehill in passing 296-189, while the Bengal defense sacked Tannehill five times and forced a pair of turnovers. Cincinnati was somewhat dismal on third down tries, going 3 of 15 (they did find perfection in their only fourth down conversion) and ruled the clock, as they held the ball for 38:02, while the Dolphins held on to the pigskin for 21:58, while going 2 of 11 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Dallas erased a 14-14 tie at the intermission and came away 24-17 winners at Levi’s Stadium. Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot (TD) ran for 138 of his team’s 194 yards, while San Francisco tallied 106, while 49ers QB Blaine Gabbard threw for 196 yards with a TD, sack and an interception. For Dallas, rookie QB Dak Prescott threw for 245 yards and a pair of TDs on the West Coast. San Francisco was 8 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions and kept the ball for 23:33, while Dallas ruled the clock, holding the ball for 36:27 and going 6 of 14 on third down tries.

Dallas holds a 7-4 lead in the series, has outscored the Bengals 283-258 and won the last two meetings, including a 20-19 win in Cincy in 2012. The Bengals’ last win? 2004 in Cincy, coming away 26-3 winners. Dallas is favored by 1 and the over/under is 45 1/2. Both teams can be either really good or really bad. Which team will show up is the bigger question. The Dallas team that took San Francisco to task will be the one that shows up this week. Cowboys cover the 1 and win at home.

Buffalo (2-2) at Los Angeles (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. It’s Buffalo wings vs. California spring rolls as the Bills take their wagons to Hollywood for a late afternoon date with the rams.

Buffalo knocked New England from the ranks of the unbeaten last Sunday in Foxboro, shutting out the Pats 16-0 at Gillette Stadium. Le Sean McCoy scored the game’s only TD in the contest early and the Pats could never really recover, trailing 13-0 at the intermisson. Buffalo outrushed New England 134-90 and backup QB Jacoby Brissett (205 yards) was sacked three times, while Bills signal caller Tyrod Taylor (246 yards, TD) was sacked twice. Buffalo played keep-away with the ball, holding it for 38:11 and going 7 of 15 on third down tries, while the Brady-less Pats were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:49.

Arizona led Los Angeles 13-10 at the end of 45 minutes of play before the Rams rallied to take the lead with a 4 yard TD pass from Case Keenum to WR Brian Quick with 2:36 left in regulation, giving the Rams a 17-13 win in Glendale. Arizona and Los Angeles were tied 10-10 at the half before the Desert Angry Birds took the lead on a 21 yard fieid goal by Chandler Catanzaro as the third quarter came to an end. Arizona held Los Angeles to 41 yards on the ground, while rushing for 119 and Keenum threw for 266 yards an a pair of TDs in the desert. Los Angeles forced five turnovers, held the ball for 27:51, going 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, while Arizona was 6 of 13 third down-wise, keeping the ball for 32:09.

Buffalo leads the series 6-5, which includes contests that were played in Los Angeles and St. Louis and the Bills have outscored the Rams 262-220. Each team’s last wins in the series came in the other team’s ballparks; The Rams took a 15-12 win along the shores of Lake Erie in 2012, while Buffalo’s last win came in 2008 by final of 31-14 in St. Louis.

The Rams are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 39 1/2. While both teams are pretty decent, it’s still early and there’s a lot of football left on the docket. Los Angeles has three of their wins coming by 6 points or less and that could be the case this week. Bills make it interesting but Rams fans will love LA. Los Angeles covers the 2 1/2 and wins in Tinseltown.

San Diego (1-3) at Oakland (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. They’re separated by 491 miles up I-5 and are six hours away from each other. They once shared the same city in Southern California and they get to square off against each other Sunday afternoon as the Chargers and Raiders meet in a huge AFC West showdown.

Once again, San Diego blew another lead and this time, it was at the hands of one of their former players. Leading New Orleans 24-14 at the half, the Chargers allowed the Saints to first chip away at the lead and then see that lead eventually leave as they would lose to Drew Brees and the Saints 35-34 last Sunday at Qualcomm.

Neither club did much to write about rushing-wise and neither club broke the 100-yard barrier but New Orleans did outrush San Diego 83-38 and Brees threw for 207 yards and a interception, while Rivers threw for 321 yards in a losing cause (both men threw a pair of TDs passes). San Diego on third down tries went 6 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:21, while the Saints hung on to the pigskin for 32:39 and was 11 of 18 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Oakland trailed 27-21 lead at Baltimore and came away 28-27 winners against the Ravens last Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City. Oakland led 14-6 at the break, found themselves being outscored by the Ravens the second half 21-14 and led late in the game when David Carr (199 yards, 4 TDs) and Michael Crabtree connected on their third TD of the afternoon, a 23-yard strike that gave the Raiders the lead for keeps. Baltimore then saw a late rally fizzle when Joe Flacco (298 yards, TD) threw four consecutive incomplete passes to end any chance of a comeback.

Baltimore outrushed Oakland 130-62, with Ravens RB Terrance West leading all rushers with 113 yards and a TD. Baltimore was 5 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions in Charm City, while they kept the ball for 34:44. Oakland, who held the pigskin for 25:16, went 3 of 12 on third down conversions.

Including contests that took place when BOTH teams were in Los Angeles, the Silver and Black lead the series 60-50-2, have outscored the Bolts 2,468-2,415 and swept last year’s meetings (San Diego swept the year before).

First round… week seven down the coast at Qualcomm. Oakland led 30-6 at the half and then held off the Chargers in the second half, coming away 37-29 winners. Oakland outrushed San Diego in the first meeting 130-90 and while both Carr (289 yards) and Rivers (336 yards) each threw three TD passes, both men were sacked once and Rivers threw a pair of interceptions downstate. The Chargers, despite losing by 8, was 8 of 16 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 29:11, while the Raiders ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:49, going 5 of 12 third down-wise.

That was round one.

Second round… week 16 in Oakland on Christmas Eve. Oakland trailed 17-10 at the half and rallied to tie things up, outscoring San Diego 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of regulation and then taking the win in overtime 23-20 as K Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 31-yard field goal in the extra period. Oakland again outrushed San Diego 106-72 and as was the case in the first meeting, both Carr (204 yards, 3 sacks) and Rivers (277 yards) each had at least one TD pass in the contest and each team turned the ball over once. Neither club did much in the third down catagory (San Diego was 5 of 16, 0 of 1 on fourth down; Oakland was 4 of 15) and San Diego ruled the clock in the second contest, keeping the ball for 35:04 to Oakland’s 33:21.

Oakland’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 50. Those numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams have been playing decent football but not great football and both teams are trying to keep pace with the defending Super Bowl champs in the AFC West. This one could go to overtime, given the histories of the two teams. Oakland will make this one interesting but San Diego stays classy and takes the win on the road, even though they may not cover the 3 1/2.

New York Giants (2-2) at Green Bay (2-1), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Eli Manning. Aaron Rodgers. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet at Lambeau on Sunday night as the Packers host the New York Giants.

Manning and the Giants were taken to the woodshed Monday night at US Bank Stadium, coming away 24-10 losers to the Vikings in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. New York trailed 14-3 at the break in the great indoors and could never get on track and were held to 78 yards on the ground (Minnesota tallied 104 yards of rushing). The Purple Gang forced a pair of turnovers in the primetime contest, while Sam Bradford barely outpaced Manning 262-261 but Bradford threw a TD pass to TE Kyle Rudolph in the contest. Minnesota went 8 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 35:32, while the Giants were 2 of 12 (0 of 2 on fourth), holding the ball for 24:28.

Green Bay comes back from their bye week after getting some revenge on Detroit two Sundays ago, taking a 34-27 win over the Lions and Matthew Stafford at Lambeau. Green Bay led 31-10 at the half and then held off a late Lions’ second half rally to take the win in the land of Bratwrust, beer and cheese. Eddie Lacy ran for 103 of the Packers’ 123 yards on the ground, while the Lions tallied 50 and Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four TDs, with Stafford tossing three TDs and 385 yards in the air.

Including contests played at Yankee Stadium, Milwaukee County Stadium and the Yale Bowl, while Green Bay leads the series 27-23-2. the Giants have outscored Green Bay by a slim 924-923 and won the last two meetings, including a 27-13 win in the Meadowlands in 2012, while the Pack came away 38-35 winners in 2011, also in the Meadowlands. Green Bay’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under is 48. Both numbers sound reasonable. The Pack came into the week with a win before their bye week and they’ll start their second half of the schedule with the win. Green Bay may not cover the 7 1/2 but they do win at home.

Tampa Bay (1-3) at Carolina (1-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The final game of week five features a pair of NFC South rivals squaring off in the Tar Heel State. It would have featured a pair of Heisman Trophy winners but now it’ll be Jameis Winston having the stage to himself as the defending NFC champs without Cam Newton host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium.

Newton and Carolina were manhandled by Atlanta in the Georgia Dome last Sunday, this time falling to the Falcons 48-33. Atlanta, who led througout the entire contest, led 17-10 at the break and then the two teams slugged it out in the final 30 minutes of action. Matt Ryan burned Carolina for 503 yards and four TDs, including one to All-Pro wR Julio Jones (300 yards on 12 catches), while Newton (concussion) threw for 165 yards and a TD before being taken out of the contest. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 90-49 and the Panthers turned the ball over twice, allowing Atlanta to turn one of them into a TD to ice the contest away. Atlanta was 8 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 33:49, while Carolina was 7 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth), keeping the ball for 26:11.

Tampa Bay let a 7-7 tie against Denver get away from them, falling to the defending Super Bowl champs 27-7 in the Sunshine State. For the second week in a row, the Bucs trailed at the half, as Denver led 17-7 at the break and then went on to shutout the Buccaneers 10-0 in the final 30 minutes of play and for the second week in a row, Mother Nature got into the act, stopping play because of lightning in the area. Denver outrushed Tampa Bay 89-72 and sacked Winston five times, picking him off twice. The defending Super Bowl champs were 3 of 13 on third down tries, while keeping the ball for 31:24. As for Tampa Bay, they were 5 of 16 and 0 of 1, holding on to the ball for 28:36.

Carolina leads Tampa Bay 20-11 in the series, have outscored the Bucs 695-538 and won the last six contests in the series, including a sweep in the series last year (Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in 2012, when they swept the series, taking wins in the Sunshine and Tar Heel States).

The first meeting took place in Tampa in week four and it was the first time that the two Heisman winners met. Both Newton (124 yards) and Winston (287 yards) threw a pair of TDs and each was sacked twice but Winston was picked off four times as Carolina took a 37-23 win at Raymond James Stadium. Carolina led 17-10 at the intermission and then proceeded to pull away from Tampa Bay, outscoring the Bucs 20-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ran for 106 (TD) of his team’s 141 yards, outpacing Carolina, who had 133. Although Tampa Bay turned the ball over five times, they kept it for 32:08, going 8 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth downs, while Carolina was 3 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:52.

Second meeting? Charlotte… Bank of America Stadium… week 17. While the Bucs were out of the playoff picture, Carolina was preparing to take home-field advantage for the post-season and made that fact known, taking a 24-3 lead at the half and coming away 38-10 winners. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay in the second contest 111-77 and while Winston threw for 325 yards, he was sacked twice and picked off twice, while Newton was sacked four times but still managed to throw for 293 yards and threw for a pair of TDs and ran for two more. In the second meeting, both teams did quite well on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (Carolina was 7 of 10, Tampa Bay 8 of 16, 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Panthers ruled the clock in the second contest, keeping the ball for 31:50 to Tampa Bay’s 28:10.

On Monday night… Carolina is 8-5 and won their only MNF contest last year, while the Bucs are 10-9 under the lights and will play their first Monday game since 2013, where they were 1-0 in their only contest. Carolina’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. It’s a pair of 1-3 teams in the NFC South basement and we wouldn’t blame you at all if you watched Scorpion this week instead of this game. Even without Cam, Carolina’s finer on Monday night and takes this one and could even cover the 4 1/2.

Arizona (1-3) at San Francisco (1-3), 8:25 p.m. on CBS, NFL Network and Twitter. A pair of NFC West rivals, sitting in the division cellar, meet in wine country Thursday afternoon to open play in week five. Both teams enter the NFC West contest with losses under their belts.

Arizona led Los Angeles 13-10 at the end of 45 minutes of play before the Rams rallied to take the lead with a 4 yard TD pass from Case Keenum to WR Brian Quick with 2:36 left in regulation, giving the Rams a 17-13 win in Glendale. Arizona and Los Angeles were tied 10-10 at the half before the Desert Angry Birds took the lead on a 21 yard fieid goal by Chandler Catanzaro as the third quarter came to an end.

While Arizona ran for 118 yards, they held Los Angeles to 41 in the contest and Carson Palmer threw for 288 yards and a TD (he was sacked three times) before leaving the contest with a shoulder injury. Keenum threw for 266 yards and a pair of TDs, both to Quick, including the game-winner. Arizona, who turned the ball over five times, went 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Rams were 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the pigskin for 27:51.

San Francisco was also tied at the half on Sunday, as they squared off against the Tony Romo-less Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara last Sunday. Dallas erased a 14-14 tie at the intermission and came away 24-17 winners at Levi’s Stadium. Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot (TD) ran for 138 of his team’s 194 yards, while San Francisco tallied 106, while 49ers QB Blaine Gabbard threw for 196 yards with a TD, sack and an interception. For Dallas, rookie QB Dak Prescott threw for 245 yards and a pair of TDs on the West Coast. San Francisco was 8 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions and kept the ball for 23:33, while Dallas ruled the clock, holding the ball for 36:27 and going 6 of 14 on third down tries.

San Francisco leads the 29-20 (which includes contests that were played at Keezar Stadium, Candlestick Park in San Francisco and old Busch Stadium in St. Louis) and the 49ers have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,138-983. But…. Arizona won the last two meetings, including sweeping last year’s series, taking wins in northern California and in the desert (San Francisco’s last win over Arizona came in 2014, when they were 20-17 winners at Candlestick Park).

Week three… Glendale. San Francisco was manhandled by Arizona 47-7. Colin Kaepernick scored the 49ers’ lone TD, a 12 yard run with 2:03 left before halftime. Arizona led 31-7 at the half and were never threatened by San Francisco after that. Arizona RB Chris Johnson (2 TDs) ran for 110 of his team’s 139 rushing yards in the contest, while San Francisco ran for 103. The Arizona defense managed to sack Kaepernick (67 yards passing) twice and picked him off four times in the lopsided contest, while Palmer threw for 311 yards, connecting with All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald on a pair of TD strikes. Arizona went 6 of 13 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions in the desert, keeping the ball for 36:32, while San Francisco kept the pigskin for 23:28, going 4 of 12 on third down.

Round two… Santa Clara in week 12. This time, things were closer for 49ers fans and that was the good news. The bad news? They came up short, losing to Arizona 19-13. Leading 6-3 after 15 minutes of action, the Desert Angry Birds needed to hold off a San Francisco rally that made the contest a bit too close for their liking when they tied things up at 13-13 with a 33 yard field goal by Phil Dawson with 1:28 left in the third quarter. Arizona would eventually take the lead back and for good when Palmer (271 yards) took it in himself from eight yards out with 2:28 left in regulation. This time, neither team breached the 100-yard barrier but Arizona did somehow manage to outrush San Francisco 70-67 and Blaine Gabbert, subbing for Kaepernick, threw for 318 yards in a losing cause. San Francisco, who turned the ball over twice in the loss, was 0 of 9 on third down tries (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:33, while Arizona was 7 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 37:27.

The oddsmakers like Arizona on the road as 4 point favorites and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make sense and both teams are somewhat bad, so if you decide that watching “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How To Get Away With Murder” this week is for you, we’re not going to hold it against you. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Desert Angry Birds and the favorite and we agree with them. Arizona covers the 4 and wins this one in Napa Valley.

At 6 p.m. on NFL Network, TNF GameDay Presented by KFC previews the Cardinals-49ers matchup from NFL Network’s studios in Los Angeles. Host Rich Eisen is joined by analysts Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk and Michael Irvin to provide news and analysis two hours before kickoff, while host Amber Theoharis and analyst LaDainian Tomlinson join from outside Levi’s Stadium. Reporters Tracy Wolfson and Steve Wyche join to provide the latest news leading up to kickoff.

At 7:30 p.m. on CBS, NFL Network and Twitter, NFL Thursday Night Kickoff airs from inside Levi’s Stadium with James Brown, Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher. Coverage continues at 8:00 PM ET with NFL Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Tostitos providing the final say leading up to kick-off between Cardinals-49ers.

Among the pregame topics are:
•Feature on veteran Cardinals star defensive lineman Calais Campbell, providing a glimpse into his life and family. Campbell was raised in Denver with seven brothers and sisters, nearly all of whom have moved to the Phoenix area to be close together
•Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher take to the field to break down the gameplan for Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton
•Essay by NFL Network’s Steve Wyche on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s social impact
•How do the Cardinals get back on track?
•How do the 49ers replace linebacker NaVorro Bowman?

At halftime, Brown, Sanders and Cowher break down the first half on the Lexus Halftime show.

Immediately following the game, the Mazda Postgame show airs live on NFL Network, CBS and Twitter from both Los Angeles and Levi’s Stadium providing highlights, analysis and live interviews.

Twitter will stream CBS’s broadcast of Cardinals-49ers, providing free, live streaming video on the Twitter platform on mobile phones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs. Fans can visit Twitter Moments or TNF.Twitter.com to view the live stream.

The entire 18-game Thursday Night Football schedule, including the live games and pre- and postgame shows, will also be streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (NFL.com/mobile), the NFL app on XBOX, including interactive features from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network on tablets, PCs and various connected TV devices (NFL.com/watch), with participating television providers. Learn all of the ways to watch at NFL.com/TNF. An audio broadcast of the game is available on SiriusXM, TuneIn & Westwood One Radio Sports.

Thursday Night Football is available in Spanish via SAP (Secondary Audio Program) with Roberto Abramowitz calling the action on CBS and NFL Network.

Broadcast Information – 8:25 p.m. on CBS, NFL Network and Twitter: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field
reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Mike Holmgren. SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (Arizona), 81 (San Francisco). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 226 (Arizona), 225 (San Francisco).

Referee – Carl Cheffers.

Injury Report

Arizona
OUT: TE Darren Fells (Shoulder), QB Carson Palmer (Concussion), DT Edward Stinson (Toe)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Justin Bethel (Foot), DT Josh Mauro (Chest), DT Frostee Rucker (Knee)

San Francisco
OUT: LB Navorro Bowman (Achilles), DT DeForest Buckner (Foot), CB Jimmie Ward (Quadricep)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Glenn Dorsey (Knee), WR Jeremy Kerley (Ankle), TE Vance McDonald (Hip)

Weather Forecast: Sunny and 74 degrees.

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

 

Two games down. Fourteen more to go.

Eight teams are off to strong starts at 2-0: Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minnesota, New England, the New York Giants, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Among the 2-0 teams are the Ravens, Giants and Eagles, who each missed the playoffs last season and are candidates to be turnaround teams in 2016. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

“We’re 2-0 and you can’t get any better than that,” Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. told the New York Times and USA Today. “It’s a lot of fun to be a part of. We’re going to keep taking it one step at a time. We’ve got a great opportunity to go to 3-0 and win another division game.”

The chances of making the playoffs after a 2-0 start are good but far from a sure thing. Since 1990, when the current playoff format was adopted, 134 of the 212 teams (63.2 percent) to start 2-0 have qualified for the postseason.

However, with 14 games remaining, there’s plenty of time to turn things around. Since realignment in 2002, nearly 60 percent of the playoff teams (59.5 percent, 100 of 169) started the season at either 1-1 or 0-2.

CLOSE GAMES: The 2016 NFL season is off to a thrilling start. Through Week 2, 21 of 32 games (65.6 percent) have been decided by seven points or fewer, the second-most in a season’s first two weeks in NFL history (22 in 2013).

Most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 2:

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 2
2013 – 22
2016 – 21
2010 – 19
2000 – 18
Many tied with 17

There have been 27 games through Week 2 within one score in the fourth quarter, tied for the most through a season’s first two weeks in NFL history (2013).

Most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 2:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN THE 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 2
2016 – 27
2013 – 27
2004 – 25
2015 – 24
2009 – 23
2007 – 23

The nine games decided by seven points or fewer in Week 2: New York Jets 37, Buffalo 31 (Thursday); Baltimore 25, Cleveland 20; Tennessee 16, Detroit 15; Houston 19, Kansas City 12; New England 31, Miami 24; New York Giants 16, New Orleans 13; Dallas 27, Washington 23; Los Angeles 9, Seattle 3; Atlanta 35, Oakland 28; Minnesota 17, Green Bay 14.

PROLIFIC PASS CATCHERS: A total of 247 players had at least one reception in the 16 NFL games played in Week 2, the most players with a reception in one week in NFL history.

The previous record was 242 players with at least one reception, which was set in Week 12 last season.

ALL-TIME PASSERS: New York Giants quarterback ELI MANNING passed for 368 yards in the Giants’ 16-13 win over New Orleans. Manning has 44,762 career passing yards, surpassing DREW BLEDSOE (44,611) to move into 10th place in NFL history.

New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 263 yards in Week 2 and now has 61,589 career passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (61,361) for the third-most in NFL history.

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

PLAYER (YEARS), CAREER PASSING YARDS
Peyton Manning (1998-2015), 71,940
Brett Favre (1991-2010), 71,838
Drew Brees (2001-present), 61,589
Dan Marino (1983-1999), 61,361
Tom Brady (2000-present), 58,028
John Elway (1983-1998), 51,475
Warren Moon (1984-2000), 49,325
Fran Tarkenton (1961-1978), 47,003
Vinny Testaverde (1987-2007), 46,233
Eli Manning (2004-present), 44,762

FRESH START: Eight teams are undefeated through the first two weeks of the season – Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minnesota, New England, the New York Giants, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – and hope to move to 3-0 this weekend.

While no guarantee of future success, a strong start to the season is a good omen – 75.6 percent of teams (99 of 131) that started 3-0 since 1990 made the playoffs.

And don’t count out any of the 1-1 or 0-2 teams. Since realignment in 2002, 99 of the 168 playoff teams (58.9 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including five teams last year.

IT’S STILL EARLY: History shows that 0-2 teams advance to the playoffs more often than people might think. Since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, 26 teams started 0-2 and still qualified for the postseason. So yes, Virginia, there is hope.

Last season, the Houston Texas started the season 0-2 and went on to win the AFC South.

The 1993 Dallas Cowboys started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XXVIII. The 0-2 New England Patriots of 1996 played in Super Bowl XXXI and in 2001, the 0-2 Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI. The 2007 New York Giants started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XLII.

The 0-2 teams since 1990 to qualify for the playoffs:

SEASON – TEAM (WINLESS START, ADVANCED TO:)
1990 – Houston Oilers (0-2, AFC Wild Card Playoffs); Philadelphia (0-2, NFC Wild Card Playoffs); New Orleans (0-2, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1991 – Atlanta (0-2, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1992 – San Diego (0-4, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
1993 – Pittsburgh (0-2, AFC Wild Card Playoffs); Dallas (0-2, Won Super Bowl XXVIII)
1994 – New England (0-2, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1995 – Detroit (0-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1996 – New England (0-2, Lost Super Bowl XXXI)
1998 – Arizona (0-2, NFC Divisional Playoffs); Buffalo (0-3, AFC Wild Card Playoffs); New York Jets (0-2, AFC Championship Game)
2001 – New England (0-2, Won Super Bowl XXXVI)
2002 – Atlanta (0-2, NFC Divisional Playoffs); Pittsburgh (0-2, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2003 – Philadelphia (0-2, NFC Championship Game)
2006 – Kansas City (0-2, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2007 – New York Giants (0-2, Won Super Bowl XLII);
2008 – Miami (0-2, AFC Wild Card Playoffs); Minnesota (0-2, NFC Wild Card Playoffs); San Diego (0-2, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2013 – Carolina (0-2, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2014 – Indianapolis (0-2, AFC Championship Game)
2015 – Houston Texans (0-2, AFC Wild Card Playoffs); Seattle (0-2, NFC Divisional Playoffs)

CHASING PERFECTION: Quarterbacks have gotten off to a fast start this season. Arizona’s Carson Palmer, New Orleans’ Drew Brees and San Diego’s Philip Rivers have all thrown for five touchdowns and no interceptions this season.

With three touchdown passes and no interceptions this week, these quarterbacks would tie for the fourth-most touchdown passes without an interception through a team’s first three games of any season. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning had 12 touchdown passes and no interceptions through the Broncos’ first three games in 2013.

The most TD passes without an INT through a team’s first three games of a season in NFL history:

THROUGH TEAM’S FIRST THREE GAMES OF ANY SEASON
PLAYER – TEAM (YEAR – MOST TD PASSES W/OUT INT)
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013 – 12)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (2010 – 9)
Don Meredith – Dallas (1966 – 9)
Donovan McNabb – Philadelphia (2004 – 8)
Randall Cunningham – Philadelphia (1992 – 8)
Roman Gabriel – Los Angeles Rams (1969 – 8)
Carson Palmer – Arizona (2016 – 5)*
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2016 – 5)*
Philip Rivers – San Diego (2016 – 5)*
*Through two games

WONDERFUL WENTZ: Philadelphia rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has completed 43 of 71 passes for 468 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 94.1 passer rating this season, while leading the Eagles to a 2-0 record. With a win against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Wentz would join Mark Sanchez (2009) as the only rookie quarterbacks since 1970 to start and win each of their teams’ first three games of the season.

AGELESS WONDER: Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams leads the NFL with 237 rushing yards. With 63 yards against Philadelphia, Williams (33 years old) would pass Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton (32) as the oldest player to rush for 300 yards in the first three weeks of a season.

RECORD-BREAKING RECEIVERS: Detroit wide receiver Anquan Boldin had his first touchdown reception as a member of the Lions in Week 2.

Boldin joined Terrell Owens as the only players in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receptions (1,016) and record a touchdown catch with four different teams (Arizona, San Francisco, Baltimore and Detroit).

Titans wide receiver Andre Johnson had a touchdown reception in the Titans’ 16-15 win over Detroit.

Johnson, who has 1,057 career catches, has recorded a touchdown reception with three different teams (Houston, Indianapolis and Tennessee) and joined Boldin, Owens and Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Cris Carter as the only players in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

HISTORIC WATT: Houston defensive end J.J. Watt recorded 1.5 sacks in the Texans’ 19-12 win over Kansas City in Week 2.

Watt has 76 sacks in 82 career games and is the second-fastest player to reach 75 sacks since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White accomplished the feat in 62 games.

The players to reach 75 career sacks in the fewest games since 1982:

PLAYER – GAMES TO REACH 75 SACKS
Reggie White – 62
J.J. Watt – 82
Bruce Smith – 85

TERRIFIC TIGHT ENDS: Tight ends Greg Olsen (78 yards) of Carolina and Vance McDonald (75 yards) of San Francisco each had a 75+ yard touchdown reception in the Panthers’ 46-27 win over the 49ers.

It marked the first game in NFL history in which a tight end on each team had a touchdown catch of at least 75 yards.

WENTZ’S WONDERFUL START: Philadelphia rookie quarterback Carson Wentz passed for 190 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions in the Eagles’ 29-14 victory against Chicago on Monday Night Football.

Wentz joins Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway, Ryan Leaf, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez as the only rookie quarterbacks since 1970 to win their first two starts to begin a season.

Wentz, who passed for 278 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions in Philadelphia’s Kickoff Weekend win, is the first rookie quarterback since 1970 to start and win the first two games of the season without throwing an interception.

The rookie quarterbacks to start and win their team’s first two games in a season since 1970:

YEAR – PLAYER, TEAM (OVERALL RECORD AS ROOKIE STARTER, PLAYOFF RESULT
1983 – John Elway, Denver (4-6, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
1998 – Ryan Leaf, San Diego (3-6, Missed playoffs)
2008 – Joe Flacco, Baltimore (11-5, Advanced to AFC Championship)
2009 – Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (8-7, Advanced to AFC Championship)
2016 – Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (2-0, ???)*
*Through 2 games

And with games so close this season, the difference between a win and a loss is small.

Twenty-seven games have been within one score in the fourth quarter, tied for the most ever through a season’s first two weeks (2013). And 21 games have been decided by seven points or fewer, the second-most through a season’s first two weeks in NFL history (22 in 2013).

“That’s the NFL,” says Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib – who had a key 46-yard interception-return touchdown last week – about the tightness of NFL games. “You look up at all the games and most of them are close where somebody needs to get a stop in the fourth quarter. That’s just the NFL and the nature of our league.”

Last week, we were a little down but only by one game… 10-6. Still not bad. For the year, 21-11. That’s pretty good. There’s still a lot of football left. Two weeks down, 15 to go. That’s why they play the games, as Chris Berman once said.

Week 3 got underway on Thursday night when New England shut out Houston 27-0 a showdown between a pair of 2-0 teams and it concludes on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN when the New Orleans Saints host the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC South matchup. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 3.

Denver (2-0) at Cincinnati (1-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A 2-0 Broncos team, looking to pick up its second Lombardi Trophy, travels east to southern Ohio for a date with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos improved to 2-0 with a 34-20 win over Indianapolis. The Denver defense scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to close out the victory. Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib had a 46-yard interception-return touchdown – the ninth of his career, tied for the fourth-most in NFL history – and linebacker Shane Ray returned a fumble 15 yards for a TD after a sack and forced fumble by linebacker Von Miller. Denver led 13-6 after the first 15 minutes of action and proceeded to outscore the Colts 21-14 the rest of the way. Trevor Semian threw for 266 yards, while Andrew Luck had 197 yards and a TD but was sacked five times, including the sack that caused the fumble and final Denver TD. The Broncos outrushed Indy 134-83 and went 5 of 11 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 30:41, while the Colts held the pigskin for 29:19, while going 6 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton leads the NFL with 732 passing yards and aims for his third consecutive game with at least 350 passing yards, while Bengals running back Giovani Bernard had nine catches for 100 yards and a touchdown last week at Pittsburgh. The Bengals are looking to bounce back after their 24-16 loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday in the Steel City. Pittsburgh outrushed Cincinnati 124-46 and led 10-6 at the break. Dalton threw for 366 yards, outpacing Ben Roethlisberger’s 259 in the loss and Cincinnati turned the ball over twice (2 fumbles). The winning Steelers went 7 of 17 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 32:55, while the Bengals kept it for 27:05, while on third and fourth downs, they were 4 of 16 and 1 of 1.

Denver leads the series 20-9 and the defending Super Bowl champs have outscored Cincy 626-548. The clubs met in the Mile High City in week 16 and the Broncos needed overtime to come away 20-17 winners. (the Bengals’ last win in the series came in 2014 in Cincy by a 37-28 final.)

It was the battle of the substitute QB as Brad Osweiler (ManningO) and A.J McCarron (Dalton) took the field in a somewhat frigid Sports Authority Field at Mile High (temperature at kickoff? A balmy 16 degrees with a wind chill of 7). Denver trailed 14-3 at the half and then managed to take the lead for the first time when RB C.J. Anderson ran in from 39 yards out with 11:17 left in regulation. That lead would not last very long as Bengals K Mike Nugent connected on a 52 yard field goal with 6:46 left.

In the overtime, Denver got the ball first and moved downfield before stalling, sending Brandon McManus into the contest to try a 37 yard field goal. McManus connected on the try, Denver took the lead and Cincinnati had a chance to either tie things up or take the win at home. McCarron’s first pass attempt in the overtime went incomplete. McCarron’s second try did not go well, as he fumbled the ball, allowing Denver’s DeMarcus Ware to recover the fumble and take the win for the home team. Each backup QB threw a pair of TD passes in the contest, while Oswelier (3) and McCarron (2) were sacked a combined five times. Denver outrushed Cincinnati 113-108 in the overtime affair on a Sunday night and Osweiler threw for 299 yards, while McCarron threw for 200 in the game. Cincinnati on third ddwn tries went 10 of 17 and kept the ball for 37:28, while the Broncos were 4 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:50.

The Bengals are a 3 1/2 point favorite at home and the over/under’s 42. There’s no longer the Peyton factor here and that’s sort of a good thing. Denver’s got three Super Bowl rings, while the Bengals are looking for their first. Denver covers the 3 1/2 and taeks the win on the road.

Baltimore (2-0) at Jacksonville (0-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of opposites meet in the Sunshine State as Baltimore makes the 757-mile trip down I-95 to face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are searching for their first win in the 2016 campaign.

Baltimore overcame a 20-12 deficit against Cleveland at the half to shut out the Browns in the final 30 minutes for a 25-20 win along the shores of Lake Erie. Although they were outrushed by Cleveland 145-80 and Joe Flacco (302 yards) was picked off twice, he did manage to throw a pair of TD passes in the five-point win. Josh McCown, who took over for Robert Griffin III, did manage to throw for 260 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Isaiah Crowell led all rushers with 133 yards and a TD. Both clubs did quite well on third down tries (Baltimore was 10 of 16, Cleveland was 8 of 15) but the Browns had the upper hand on fourth down tries, Cleveland going 1 of 1, while the Ravens were 0 for 1. Baltimore ruled the clock in upstate Ohio, keeping the ball for 30:59 to Cleveland’s 29:01.

Jacksonville returns from their 2,339-mile trip along I-10 to San Diego after their 38-14 loss to the Chargers last Sunday on the West Coast. Although they trailed 35-0 at the end of three quarters of play, the Jaguars did manage to outscore San Diego in the final 15 minutes of play, scoring their only points of the contest in the process, as QB Blake Bortles (329 yards) connected for a pair of TD passes in the quarter, one to TE Marcedes Lewis and one to RB Corey Grant. Philip Rivers (220 yards) was a thorn in the paw of Jacksonville last Sunday at Qualcomm, throwing four TD passes in the win. San Diego’s Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (San Diego ran for 150, while holding Jacksonville to 69) and San Diego’s defense forced three Jacksonville turnovers. San Diego on third down? 7 pf 13 and kept the ball for 34:52, while the Jaguars were 2 of 11 and 1 of 2 on third and fourh down tries and held on to the pigskin for 25:08.

The Jaguars lead the series 11-8, have outscored Baltimore 414-375 and Jacksonville won the last meeting between the clubs, a 22-20 win in Charm City last year (Baltimore’s last win over Jacksonville came the year before, also in Charm City by a final of 20-12). In that week 10 contest in Baltimore, Jacksonville trailed 14-10 at the half before rallying in the final 30 minutes of play for the road win. The Jaguars BARELY outrushed Baltimore 90-89 and Bortles was sacked three times, although he also threw a pair of TDs (Flacco threw three TDs but also threw a pair of picks). Baltimore went 8 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries at M&T Bank Stadium and held on to the ball for 29:28, while Jacksonville went 4 of 16, winning the time of possession battle as well as the game, holding the ball for 30:32.

Baltimore’s favored by a point (even though they’re the road team) and the over/unders’ 47 1/2. Both offenses are good but they’re not great. Ravens cover the 1 and win in the Sunshine State.

Cleveland (0-2) at Miami (0-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of winless teams meet in the Sunshine State as Cleveland travels to Miami to face off agianst the Dolphins.

Cleveland let a 20-12 halftime lead against Baltimore get away from them as they fell to the Ravens 25-20. Cleveland outrushed Baltimore 145-80, with Isiah Crowell leading the way with 133 yards and a TD. Josh McCown, who took over for Robert Griffin III, did manage to throw for 260 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked three times and picked off twice in the loss at home. Baltimore was 10 of 16 on third down tries, while Cleveland was 8 of 15 but the Browns had the upper hand on fourth down tries, Cleveland going 1 of 1, while the Ravens were 0 for 1 and the Ravens won the time of possession game,  keeping the ball for 30:59 to Cleveland’s 29:01.

Although the Dolphins lost 31-24 to New England in Foxboro last Sunday, they trailed 24-3 at the half before Pats QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) got hurt in the contest. That was all the momentum Miami needed in the contest, as they would rally to make things a lot closer than Pats fans wanted as the Fins would outscore New England in the second half 21-7. New England’s LeGarrette Blount led all rushers with 123 of the Patriots’ 161, outrushing Miami, who wound up with 70 and Garoppolo would throw for 234 yards and three TDs without an interception before the injury. Both teams were 50 percent on third down conversions in Foxboro (Miami was 5 of 10, New England 7 of 13 and the Pats were 0 of 1 on fouth down tries) and the Pats ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:46 to Miami’s 23:14.

The series? Tied 8-8 and Cleveland has outscored Miami 311-292. Miami’s last win in the series came in 2013 in Cleveland by a 23-10 final, while Cleveland’s last win in the series also came in the Buckeye State by a final of 17-16 in 2011. Miami’s favored by 10 and the over/under is 41 1/2. The 41 1/2 makes a lot of sense. Miami as a 10 point favorite with an 0-2 record? Not so much. Cleveland can play decent football when they need to and they’ll make it closer than the 10 but Miami comes away with the win in the Sunshine State.

Oakland (1-1) at Tennessee (1-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Oakland travels to the Volunteer State for a meeting with the Titans in the Music City.

The Raiders fell to 1-1 after their 35-28 loss to Atlanta on the West Coast last Sunday. After a scoreless 15 minutes of play, Atlanta would take a 13-7 lead to the locker room before the Raiders would take their only lead in the contest in the third quarter when TE Clive Walford and David Carr connected on a 31 yard pass with 11:17 left in the third. It would be the last that the Silver and Black would see the lead, as the Falcons went to work, outscoring Oakland 21-7 the rest of the contest. TE Jacob Tamme, along with WR Julio Jones and WR Justin Hardy each caught TD passes from Matt Ryan, who threw for 396 yards, while Carr tallied 299. Oakland did manage to outrush Atlanta 155-139 and picked off Ryan once in the game. Atlanta on third down went 5 of 10 and kept the ball for 27:15, while the Raiders controled the clock, holding the pigskin for 32:45 and went 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth.

Tennessee rallied in the Motor City, coming away 16-15 winners over the Lions in Detroit. The Titans trailed 12-3 at the break and outscored Detroit and Matthew Stafford (260 yards, TD, interception) 13-3 in the second half. Tennessee used an 13-play, 83-yard drive that lasted 5:51 and was completed when Marcus Mariotta and WR Arian Johnson connected on a 9-yard TD pass with 73 seconds left in regulation to give them the one-point lead and then would seal the deal when CB Perrish Cox picked off Stafford to end any Detroit threat. Tennessee outrushed Detroit 139-137 and Mariotta threw for 238 yards in the win. The Titans were 5 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 30:51, while the Lions were 7 of 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 29:09.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Texans were known as the Oilers and the Raiders played their home games in Los Angeles, the Silver and Black hold a 24-20 lead in the series but Tennessee has outscored Oakland 1,040-993. The two clubs met last year in the Music City and Oakland came away 24-21 winners. (Tennessee’s last win over Oakland came in 2013 in Oakland by a final of 23-19.)

In the week 12 match up at Nissan Stadium, Oakland led 10-6 at the half and held off the Titans in the final 30 minutes of play, as Tennessee would outscore Oakland 15-14. It wasn’t much of a rushing contest in Nashville as neither club reached the 100-yard barrier but Oakland outrushed Tennessee 84-44 and Carr outpassed Mariotta 330-218 (both men had three TDs passes). The Silver and Black went 8 of 15 on third down and held the ball for 34:55, while Tennessee kept the pigskin for 25:05, going 3 of 12 (both Oakland and Tennessee were 0 of 1 on fourth down tries).

Tennessee’s a 1 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 47. You might want to take a pass on this one (unless you’re a fan of one of the teams) and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA (there’s nothing like see Abby smack Tony on the head!) Titans send the Raiders home sad and take the win at home, covering the 1 1/2 in the process.

Arizona (1-1) at Buffalo (0-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The Desert Angry Birds head east for a meeting with the winless Bills along the shores of Lake Erie.

The Desert Angry Birds took their frustrations out on Tampa Bay last Sunday in Glendale, taking a 40-7 win in the process. The Bucs were held to a third-quarter TD when QB Jameis Winston and WR Mike Evans connected on a 19-yard pass for their only tally in the loss. Leading 24-0 at the half, Arizona held Tampa Bay in check the rest of the contest and the Bucs could never get on track in the desert. Arizona outrushed Tampa Bay 101-85 in the contest and Winston was picked off four times, while throwing for 243 yards. Cardinals QB Carson Palmer outpaced Winston, throwing for 308 yards and three TDs, connecting with All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald once. Tampa Bay was 5 of 13 on third down tries (0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:57, while the Cardinals were 6 of 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 29:03.

Buffalo saw a 7-6 first quarter lead get away from them as the New York Jets took a 37-31 win in Orchard Park. Trailing 20-10 at the half, Buffalo managed to outscore the Jets 21-17 in the second half but came up short last Thursday night. New York’s Matt Forte (3 TDs) ran for 100 of his team’s 123 yards, while the Jets’ defense held Buffalo to 86. Buffalo was 3 of 10 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 20:48, while the Jets held the pigskin for 39:12, going 8 of 13 on third down.

They’ve met 10 times and the Bills lead the series 6-4, outscoring the Cardinals 229-219 (which includes contests that took place when the Cardinals were in St. Louis). Their last meeting took place in 2012 in the desert and the Bills came away 19-16 overtime winners, while Arizona’s last win in the series also came in the desert, as the Desert Angry Birds were 41-17 winners in 2008. Arizona’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. Both numbers make sense. Arizona comes away winners in this one along the shores of Lake Erie, although the Bills circle the wagons and make it closer than the 4 1/2.

Minnesota (2-0) at Carolina (1-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. It’s the battle of the banks as Minnesota travels to Charlotte to face off against the defending NFC champs in the Tar Heel State. It’s also a pair of Heisman QBs (Sam Bradford and Cam Newton) taking the field as well.

The Vikings opened U.S. Bank Stadium last Sunday night with a 17-14 victory over the division-rival Green Bay Packers. Making his first start with Minnesota, quarterback Sam Bradford passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs had nine catches for 182 yards and a touchdown in the win against Green Bay. Diggs has 285 receiving yards this season, the most by a Vikings player in the team’s first two games since 1969. Minnesota led 10-7 at the half before Green Bay rallied to pull closer to the Vikings. The Packers did manage to outrush the Purple Gang 83-30 and RB Adrian Peterson ran for only 19 yards before being knocked out of the contest with a knee injury. Peterson is expected to miss the rest of the 2016 season for the defending NFC North champs.

As far as third down conversions… not a lot to talk about. Green Bay? 6 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down). Minnesota? 4 of 14 (1 of 2 on fourth down). Time was on the side of the Vikings, who held the ball for 30:18, while Green Bay had it for 29:42.

The Panthers evened their record at 1-1 with a 46-27 win over San Francisco. Carolina has won 14 consecutive home games (including the postseason). In the victory over San Francisco, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw four touchdown passes, running back Fozzy Whitaker rushed for 100 yards and two Panthers – wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (108 yards, two touchdowns) and tight end Greg Olsen (122 yards, one touchdown) – each had 100+ receiving yards and a TD. Carolina outrushed the 49ers 176-65 and forced three San Francisco turnovers at Bank of America Stadium.  The defending NFC champions were 7 of 15 on third down conversions and played keep-away with the ball from San Francisco, holding it hostage for 35:54, while the 49ers were 4 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 24:06.

Minnesota leads the series 7-5 and the Panthers have outscored Minnesota 244-214. Both team’s last wins in the series came in the Twin Cities; Carolina’s last win came in 2013 by a final of 35-10, Minnesota’s last win came in 2014, a 31-13 decision. Carolina’s favored by 7 and the over/under is 43. Carolina may not cover the 7 but the Panthers are finer in Carolina and comes away with the win.

Detroit (1-1) at (1-1) Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC North rivals that don’t exactly like each other meet in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst as Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers return to the not-quite-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to square off against Detroit.

Detroit fell to Tennessee 16-15 in the Motor City. The Lions led 12-3 at the break and Matthew Stafford (260 yards, TD, interception) were outscored 13-3 in the second half. Tennessee used an 13-play, 83-yard drive that lasted 5:51 and was completed when Marcus Mariotta and WR Arian Johnson connected on a 9-yard TD pass with 73 seconds left in regulation to give them the one-point lead and then would seal the deal when CB Perrish Cox picked off Stafford to end any Detroit threat. Tennessee outrushed Detroit 139-137 and Mariotta threw for 238 yards in the win. The Titans were 5 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 30:51, while the Lions were 7 of 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 29:09.

The Packers are happy to return home to the land of beer, cheese and bratwurst. The two road games they have played this season have been the first road openers since 1924. Green Bay helped Minnesota open U.S. Bank Stadium last Sunday night for regular season play with a 17-14 loss over their  division-rivals. Sam Bradford made his first start for Minnesota, taking over for Teddy Bridgewater and passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs had nine catches for 182 yards and a touchdown in the win against Green Bay. Minnesota led 10-7 at the half before Green Bay rallied to pull closer to the Vikings. The Packers did manage to outrush the Purple Gang 83-30 and RB Adrian Peterson ran for only 19 yards before being knocked out of the contest with a knee injury. Peterson is expected to miss the rest of the 2016 season for the defending NFC North champs. Meanwhlle, Aaron Rodgers threw for 213 yards and a TD but was sacked five times and picked off once. Both clubs struggled on third down conversions; Green Bay was 6 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down), while Minnesota was 4 of 14 (1 of 2 on fourth down). Time was on the side of the Vikings, who held the ball for 30:18, while Green Bay had it for 29:42.

Green Bay leads the series 96-68-7 and have outscored Detorit, which includes games that were played in Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome and Milwaukee and have outscored the Lions 3,621-3,114. They spilt the two meetings in 2015 but both teams took wins in the other team’s stadium.

Meeting number one… Lambeau… week 10. Green Bay trailed Detroit 9-3 after three quarters of play before they rallied to pull within two and had a chance to win at home but fell short, losing to the Lions 18-16. Green Bay did outscore Detroit in the final 15 minutes of play and pulled to within two when TE Justin Perillo connected with Rodgers on a 11 yard TD pass with 32 seconds left. Green Bay then went for two and Detroit stopped them. With that, the Packers tried an onside kick and the Lions almost had the ball but WR Calvin Johnson funbled it and Green Bay’s Damarious Randall recovered the ball. With no timeouts left to their name, Rodgers marched his team down field, spiking the ball to stop the clock with eight seconds left. The Packers then lined up for what Green Bay fans though would be the game-winning field goal but Norm Crosby’s 52-yard attempt fell short of its intended mark, allowing Detroit to leave Lambeau with a win for the first time since the first Bush administration. The contest was
not much of a rushing battle, as neither club reached or came close to the 100-yard barrier but Green Bay did manage to outrush Detroit 47-45 and Rodgers outpassed Stafford 333-242, with each man throwing a pair of TDs. Both clubs also had their struggles with third down tries (Green Bay 9 of 19, Detroit 5 of 16 and 1 of 1 on fourth down) and Detroit ruled the clock, holding the ball for 30:40 to Green Bay’s 29:20.

That was round one.

Round two… Detroit… week 13. Green Bay overcame a 17-0 deficit at the half and pulled off a miracle in the final seconds to leave the Motor City 27-23 winners. In the second meeting, it was a Rodgers to Rodgers connection that sent Packers home happy when Aaron threw a “Hail Mary” pass into the endzone with :00 seconds left and TE Richard Rodgers caught the ball in the endzone for the win. Green Bay outscored Detroit 27-6 in the second half, although they were outrushed by the Lions 101-67. Like in the first meeting, Rodgers outpassed Stafford 273-200 and as was the case in the first meeting, each man threw a pair of TDs. As was the case in the week 10 contest, both Green Bay (3 of 12) and Detroit (6 of 16) struggled on third down but both hit paydirt on fourth down, each going 1 of 1 and once again, the Lions ruled the clock, keeping the ball for all of 33:04, while Green Bay kept it for 26:56.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Packers as 7 1/2 point favorites in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and the over/under in this contest is 48. Detroit is looking to repeat history. Green Bay is looking to stop them. The Packers will do that, even though this one will be closer than 7 1/2.

Washington (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC East rivals meet on the Jersey Shore as the defending NFC East champs travel to Met Life Stadium for a date with Eli Manning and the Giants.

The Redskins make the 226-mile, 3 and a half hour drive up I-95 after their 27-23 loss to Dallas last Sunday in Landover. Washington picked up their only lead of the game when Kirk Cousins and WR Jamison Crowder connected on an 11-yard TD toss early in the 3rd quarter. Washington trailed 13-10 at the intermission before taking the lead, only to see that lead get away from them. Dallas outrushed Washington 102-82, while rookie QB Dak Prescott (292 yards), taking over for Tony Romo (back) was sacked four times, while Cousins threw for 364 yards. Dallas was 6 of 12 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:51, while the “Skins were 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:09.

The Giants took care of New Orleans 16-13 in the Meadowlands last Sunday. Although they led 7-3 at the half, New Orleans did manage to outscore Eli and the Giants in the second half 10-9, making the score closer than Giants or Saints fans would have liked. While rushing for a mere 64 yards, the Giants did hold New Orleans to 41 yards on the ground and Manning outpaced Drew Brees in passing 368-263, with each QB getting sacked twice. Third downs? New Orleans was 3 of 13 and the Saints kept the ball for 25:53, while the Giants ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 34:07, while going 7 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

The series between these two rivals? New York has the edge, leading the series 97-65-4 (which includes contests that were played in Boston when the Redskins were known as the Boston Braves and the Giants played their home games in Yankee Stadium and the Yale Bowl) and the G-Men have outscored Washington 3,360-2,976. They met last year, split the series and each team took wins at home.

Round one… week three in the Meadowlands. New York opened the scoring, led from statt to finish, took a 15-6 lead into the halftime and came away 32-21 winners at Met Life Stadium. Although washington outrushed New York 88-84, Manning did burn the Redskins for 279 yards and a pair of TDs while Cousins was picked off twice. New York was 4 of 12 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:30. As for Washington, they were 6 of 15 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 28:30.

Round two… week 12… Landover. The defending NFC East champs were fighting to make it into the post-season party and even with some last second drama by Odell Beckham Jr. catching a 21-yard TD pass from Manning with 4:57 left to play, it was Washington coming out on top 20-14. Washington led 17-0 after three quarters of play at FedEx Field before the Giants scored a pair of TDs in the final quarter to make things closer. As was the case in the first meeting on the Jersey Shores, Washington outrushed New York 105-33 (Alfred Morris led all rushers with 78 yards)and Manning found himself being sacked three times and picked off three times. Third down tries in the second meeting were not much to write home about. Washington was 4 of 15 (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36 minutes, while the Giants were 3 of 15 third down-wise (2 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 24 mintes.

Big Blue’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Even though the Redskins are struggling and the Giants find themselves at 2-0, they’re still rivals… that means’ this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 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?”

Washington could make this one this one closer than 4 1/2 and they’ll knock the Giants out of the ranks of the unbeatens and take the win on the road.

San Francisco (1-1) at Seattle (1-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s wine country traveling up I-5 as San Francisco makes the 807-mile trek up the Pacific coast for an NFC West showdown with Seattle.

The 49ers did not have a good day in Charlotte last Sunday, losing 46-27 to Carolina. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw four touchdown passes, running back Fozzy Whitaker rushed for 100 yards and two Panthers – wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (108 yards, two touchdowns) and tight end Greg Olsen (122 yards, one touchdown) – each had 100+ receiving yards and a TD. Carolina outrushed the 49ers 176-65 and forced three San Francisco turnovers at Bank of America Stadium. The defending NFC champions were 7 of 15 on third down conversions and played keep-away with the ball from San Francisco, holding it hostage for 35:54, while the 49ers were 4 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 24:06.

Meanwhile, it was an all-field goal contest in Tinsletown for the Rams and Seahawks as all the scoring came thanks in part to their field goal kickers. as Steven Hauschka connected on a 23 yard field goal in the second quarter after Los Angeles’ Greg Zuerlein opened the scoring with a 39 yard try in the first. Zuerlein would then add a pair of field goals to take the 9-3 win over Seattle in the Rams’ home opener. Seattle did manage to outrush the Rams 67-64 and Russell Wilson did manage to outpass Case Keenum 254-239 but neither had a TD and both were sacked a combined five times (Wilson twice, Keenum three times).

Third down tries? Los Angeles went 3 of 12, while the Seahawks were 4 of 13 and Seattle actually ruled the clock, holding the ball for 30:03 to the Rams’ 29:57.

Seattle leads the series 19-15, they’ve outscored San Francisco 796-606 and have come away winners in five of their last six meetings, including sweeping the series last year (San Francisco’s last win over Seattle came in San Francisco in 2013 by a final of 19-17 in the “What’s your Deal?” bowl, when Jim Harbaugh was at San Francisco against Pete Carroll.

Meeting one… week seven in Santa Clara. Seattle held San Francisco to a Pat Dawson field goal late in the third quarter for the 20-3 win. Marshawn Lynch was in “Beast mode,” rushing for 122 of Seattle’s 176, while the Seahawk defense held the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick to 61 yards and sacked him six times. WR Tyler Lockett and QB Russell Wilson (235 yards) connected on the other Seahawk TD, while Hauschka contributed with a pair of field goals. Third down conversions were not a thing of beauty in the first meeting, as Seattle was 5 of 13 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:05, while the 49ers were 1 of 11, keeping the ball for all of 21:55.

Meeting two… wee 11 in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. For Seattle, second verse, same as the first. this time, Seattle came away 29-13 winners at CenturyLink Field. Seattle led 20-7 at the half and never looked back, outscoring San Francisco 9-6 in the final 30 minutes. Thomas Rawls did his best Marshawn Lynch impersonation and ran for 209 and a TD in the lopsided affair in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle outrushed San Francisco 255-99), while Wilson threw for 260 yards and three TDs. Seattle in the second meeting did much better on third down tries, going 8 of 14 and kept the ball for 37:39, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 22:21, going 2 of 11 on third down conversions.

Seattle’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. Seattle makes six of seven wins in the series, even though San Francisco makes it a lot closer than the 9 1/2.

Los Angeles (1-1) at Tampa Bay (1-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of 1-1’s take the stage in a late Sunday afternoon contest in the Sunshine State when the Rams take on Tampa Bay.

For the Rams, it was their first game in Los Angeles since 1994 and they made the most of it and it was an all-field goal contest in Tinsletown for the Rams and Seahawks as all the scoring came thanks in part to their field goal kickers. Greg Zuerlein opened the scoring with a 39 yard try in the first before Seattle’s Steven Hauschka tied the contest up, as he connected on a 23 yard field goal in the second quarter. Zuerlein would then add a pair of field goals to take the 9-3 win over Seattle in the Rams’ home opener. Seattle did manage to outrush the Rams 67-64 and Russell Wilson did manage to outpass Case Keenum 254-239 but neither had a TD and both were sacked a combined five times (Wilson twice, Keenum three times).

The Bucs were held to a third-quarter TD when QB Jameis Winston and WR Mike Evans connected on a 19-yard pass for their only tally in their 40-7 loss to Arizona last Sunday. Tampa Bay trailed 24-0 at the half and could never get on track in the desert. Arizona outrushed Tampa Bay 101-85 in the contest and Winston was picked off four times, while throwing for 243 yards. Cardinals QB Carson Palmer outpaced Winston, throwing for 308 yards and three TDs, connecting with All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald once. Tampa Bay was 5 of 13 on third down tries (0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:57, while the Cardinals were 6 of 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 29:03.

Including contests that took place when the Rams were in Los Angeles before moving to St. Louis and then back to LA, the Rams lead the series 13-8, while outscoring Tampa Bay 493-419. Los Angeles has won the last four meetings and they met in 2015 in St. Louis and the Rams got away with a 31-23 win in the great indoors (Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in 2010 in the Sunshine State by a final of 18-17). The Rams led 21-3 at the break before Tampa Bay rallied to make things closer than their fans wanted, outscoring St. Louis in the second half 20-10. Tampa Bay did outrush St. Louis 146-98 and Winston did outpass Keenum 363-234 but they turned the ball over twice in the Thursday night contest. Neither club did anything for their fan bases to be happy about on third down tries (Tampa Bay was 3 of 10 and 0 of 1 on fourth down; St. Louis was 2 of 1o) and in a twist of irony, the Bucs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:20 to St. Louis’ 28:40.

Tampa Bay’s favored by 5 with a 42 over/under. We love LA, just not this week. Bucs win in the Sunshine State and cover the 5.

San Diego (1-1) at Indianapolis (0-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Hoosier State as the Bolts make their way to Indianapolis for a late-afternoon meeting with the Colts.

In their 34-20 loss at Denver, the Broncos defense scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to close out the victory. Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib had a 46-yard interception-return touchdown – the ninth of his career, tied for the fourth-most in NFL history – and linebacker Shane Ray returned a fumble 15 yards for a TD after a sack and forced fumble by linebacker Von Miller. The Colts trailed 13-6 after the first 15 minutes of action and were outscored by Denver 21-14 the rest of the way. Trevor Semian threw for 266 yards, while Andrew Luck had 197 yards and a TD but was sacked five times, including the sack that caused the fumble and final Denver TD. The Broncos outrushed Indy 134-83 and went 5 of 11 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 30:41, while the Colts held the pigskin for 29:19, while going 6 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

San Diego evened their 2016 campaign record after they took care of Jacksonville 38-14 last Sunday on the West Coast at Qualcomm. San Diego led 35-0 at the end of three quarters of play, before the Jaguars managed to outscore San Diego in the final 15 minutes of play, scoring their only points of the contest in the process, as QB Blake Bortles (329 yards) connected for a pair of TD passes in the quarter, one to TE Marcedes Lewis and one to RB Corey Grant. Philip Rivers (220 yards) was a thorn in the paw of Jacksonville last Sunday at Qualcomm, throwing four TD passes (one to All-Pro TE Antonio GateS) in the win. San Diego’s Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (San Diego ran for 150, while holding Jacksonville to 69) and San Diego’s defense forced three Jacksonville turnovers. San Diego on third down? 7 pf 13 and kept the ball for 34:52, while the Jaguars were 2 of 11 and 1 of 2 on third and fourh down tries and held on to the pigskin for 25:08.

Including contests that were played when the Colts were in Baltimore, the Chargers lead the series 16-9 and San Diego leads in scoring 594-423. San Diego took a 19-9 win at home in 2013 for their last win in the series, while the Colts’ last win over the Chargers also came in San Diego, a 23-20 final in 2008.

Indy’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 52. Both numbers make a lot of sense. At the end of the day, both teams will be 1-2. Colts win at home again in Indiana, covering the 3.

New York Jets (1-1) at Kansas City (1-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. A pair of 1-1 teams meet in the Midwest as the Chiefs return to Arrown for a late afternoon meeting with the New York Jets.

GangGreen erased a 7-6 first quarter deficit against Buffalo in upstate New York and came away 37-31 winners in Orchard Park. Trailing 20-10 at the half, Buffalo managed to outscore the Jets 21-17 in the second half but came up short last Thursday night. New York’s Matt Forte (3 TDs) ran for 100 of his team’s 123 yards, while the Jets’ defense held Buffalo to 86. Buffalo was 3 of 10 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 20:48, while the Jets held the pigskin for 39:12, going 8 of 13 on third down.

Kansas City saw its 11-game regular season win streak come to an end at NRG Stadium, falling 19-12 to Houston last Sunday. The only TD in the contest was scored by Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins and QB Brock Osweiler, as they connected on for a 27-yard pass to open the scoring in the contest. After that, the kickers took the stage, as Houston’s Nick Novak and Kansas City’s Cairo Santos each kicked four field goals in the contest. The Chiefs did manage to outrush Houston 119-97, Osweiler did out pass Alex Smith 268-186, while the Texans defense sacked Smith four times. Kansas City turned the ball over three times in the loss and went 3 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:01, while the Texans got a little measure of revenge for their playoff loss to Kansas City, going 4 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 33:59.

The series is even at 17-17-1 and including contests that took place when the Chiefs were known as the Dallas Texans and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! played their home games at Shea Stadium, Kansas City has outscored GangGreen 795-695. The last meeting too place in 2014 in Kansas City and the Chiefs came away 24-10 winners, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! last win took place in the Meadowlands in 2011 by a final of 37-10.

Kansas City’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 43. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City and the Chiefs will start a new streak at home, covering the 3.

Pittsburgh (2-0) at Philadelphia (2-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. A pair of 2-0’s meet in the City of Brotherly Love as Pittsburgh makes the 304-mile, 5-hour drive east to face the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Steelers defeated division-rival Cincinnati 24-16 in Week 2 to move to 2-0 on the season. Pittsburgh outrushed Cincinnati 124-46 and led 10-6 at the break. Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards, outpacing Ben Roethlisberger’s 259 in the loss and Cincinnati turned the ball over twice (2 fumbles). The winning Steelers went 7 of 17 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 32:55, while the Bengals kept it for 27:05, while on third and fourth downs, they were 4 of 16 and 1 of 1.

The Eagles, led by first-year head coach Doug Pederson and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, improved to 2-0 with a 29-14 win at Chicago on Monday night. Pederson is only the second rookie head coach since 1970 to win his team’s first two games of a season by at least 15 points each. The other will be standing across the field from him on Sunday – Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, who accomplished the feat in 2007. Wentz is the first rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to start and win his team’s first two games without throwing an interception. For the season, Wentz has completed 43 of 71 passes (60.6 percent) for 468 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 94.1 passer rating. Philadelphia led from start to finish at Soldier Field last Monday night, holding Chicago to 64 yards on the ground, while they rushed for 100 yards even. The Eagles, forcing three Chicago turnovers, went 3 of 15 on third downs but was perfect on fourth down tries (3 of 3) and kept the ball to themselves for 36:05, while Chicago kept the pigskin for 23:55, going 4 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth.

Philly leads the series 46-28-3 and have outscored the Steelers 1,443-1,113. They last met in 2012 in the Steel City and Pittsburgh came away 16-14 winners, while Philly’s last win in the series came in 2008 in the city of Brotherly Love by a 15-6 final.

Pittsburgh’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. The 304-mile trip east will be well worth it. Steelers win in Philly but expect the Eagles to make it closer than the 5 1/2.

Chicago (0-2) at Dallas (1-1), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. It’s Sunday night deep in the heart of Texas as the Tony Romo-less Cowboys come back home to Arlington for a meeting with Chicago at AT&T Stadium (aka JerryWorld).

Da Bears got manhadled by Philadelphia Monday night in the Windy City, taking a 29-14 loss in the process. Chicago and Jay Cutler turned the ball over three times and were held to 64 yards on the ground, while the Eagles ran for 100. Philadelphia kept the ball for 36:05 and went 3 of 15 on third down, 1-1 on fourth, while Da Bears were 4 of 11 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the pigskin for 23:55.

Dallas earned its first win of 2016 with a 27-23 road victory at Washington. In the win over the Redskins, rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott each rushed for a touchdown. Prescott has 75 pass attempts and no interceptions, the most pass attempts without an interception in a player’s first two NFL games in league history. Washington picked up their only lead of the game when Kirk Cousins and WR Jamison Crowder connected on an 11-yard TD toss early in the 3rd quarter. Washington trailed 13-10 at the intermission before taking the lead, only to see that lead get away from them. Dallas outrushed Washington 102-82, while rookie QB Dak Prescott (292 yards), taking over for Tony Romo (back) was sacked four times, while Cousins threw for 364 yards. Dallas was 6 of 12 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:51, while the “Skins were 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:09

Dallas leads the series 12-11 and the team once known as America’s Team leads Chicago in scoring 476-456. The Cowboys wone the last meeting in 2014 in the Windy City 41-28, while Da Bears’ last win in the series also came in the Windy City by a final of 45-28 in 2013.

Dallas is favored on the Sunday night telecast in the Lone Star State by 4 1/2 and the over/under is 46 1/2. Both numbers make some sense. This might be the time to watch that “Mythbusters” marathon on the Science Channel (unless you’re a fan of either team). Da Bears break out of their hibernation and shock the Cowboys deep in the heart of Texas.

ATLANTA (1-1) at New Orleans (0-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week three conculdes in the Bayou as a pair of NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy. The Saints will host the Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday night, September 26. The game will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina when New Orleans – sparked by Steve Gleason’s blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown – defeated Atlanta 23-3 on Monday night, September 25, 2006.

Atlanta improved to 1-1 with a 35-28 victory at Oakland in Week two. After a scoreless 15 minutes of play, Atlanta would take a 13-7 lead to the locker room before the Raiders would take their only lead in the contest in the third quarter when TE Clive Walford and David Carr connected on a 31 yard pass with 11:17 left in the third. It would be the last that the Silver and Black would see the lead, as the vistors went to work, outscoring the Raiders 21-7 the rest of the contest. Matt Ryan connected with TE Jacob Tamme, WR Julio Jones and WR Justin Hardy on TD passes in the win on the West Coast. (Ryan threw for 396 yards, while Carr tallied 299.) Although they were outrushed by Oakland 155-139 and Ryan was picked off once, the Falcons did well on third down tries, going 5 of 10 and keeping the ball for 27:15, while the Raiders controled the clock, holding the pigskin for 32:45 and went 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth.

New Orleans took a 16-13 loss to the New York Giants in the Meadowlands last Sunday. Although they trailed 7-3 at the half, New Orleans did manage to outscore Eli and the Giants in the second half 10-9, making the score closer than Giants or Saints fans would have liked. While rushing for a mere 64 yards, the Giants did hold New Orleans to 41 yards on the ground and Manning outpaced Drew Brees in passing 368-263, with each QB getting sacked twice. New Orleans on third down? 3 of 13 and the Saints kept the ball for 25:53, while the Giants ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 34:07, while going 7 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

Atlanta leads the series 48-45 and have outscored New Orleans 2,030-1,921 but… New Orleans won the last two meetings, sweeping the series in 2015 after the Falcons did the deed in 2014.

Meeting number one… the Big Easy in a Thursday night affair in the Superdome to open week six. DeVonta Freeman led all rushers with 100 of Atlanta’s 150 yards but the Saints came away 31-21 winners. Brees outpaced Ryan in passing yardage 312-295 but Ryan did manage to throw a pair of TD passes, connecting with Freeman and WR Roddy White. The Saints were 50 percent on third down tries at 8 of 16 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:30, while Atlanta kept the pigskin for 27:30, going 3 of 12 and 3 of 4 on third and fourth downs.

That was game one.

Game two… the Big Peach in week 17 and while Atlanta had hopes for the post-season, New Orleans looked to crash the Falcons’ party and they did just that, erasing a 17-14 lead at the half, coming away 20-17 winners. The Saints would score their final six points of the contest unchallenged thanks to a pair of Kai Forbath field goals, the last coming in the fourth quarter as time expired. Atlanta once again outrushed New Orleans but in the second meeting, neither club reached the 100-yard barrier (Atlanta had 87, while the Saints had 67) and Ryan (334 yards, 2 TDS) outpaced Brees (323 yards, TD) and the Saints forced a pair of Atlanta tunrovers in the Georgia Dome. This time around, with everything on the line, both teams did quite well on third down conversions (Atlanta was 8 of 12, while the Saints were 6 of 10 and 0 of 2 on fourth downs) and Atlanta ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 30:26, while New Orleans kept it for 29:34.

The Saints are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. Ten years ago, the Superdome reopened after almost being blown off the face of the Earth by Katrina. Ten years ago, New Orleans beat Atlanta in the Superdome on a Monday night. Atlanta gets their revenge and takes this one in the Big Easy, covering the 2 1/2.