Archives for category: Santa Clara

And there were four.

The NFL’s answer to the NCAA’s Final Four is here. When the 2019 playoffs got underway, there were 12 teams in the group.

The group has now been narrowed to four and when play concludes Sunday night, two teams will be fighting for the right to win a Lombardi Trophy.

As we’ve said before, we’ll say again.

You win, you move on.

You lose, your next game is next September.

The two winners? They’ll get a week off to prepare and have microphones in their faces, answering the same questions over and over and over again. It’s the nature of the beast and for the other teams that aren’t in the post-season party, they will look at their seasons and wonder what they could have done to be in that spot.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND

NEW FACES ON CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND: The NFL will have a new Super Bowl Champion for a 15th consecutive season as four teams vie to secure their place in Super Bowl LIV. In the AFC Championship Game, presented by Intuit TurboTax, Tennessee (11-7) takes on Kansas City (13-4), while Green Bay (14-3) travels west to Levi’s Stadium to take on San Francisco (14-3) in the NFC Championship Game, presented by Intuit TurboTax.

Of the teams appearing on Championship Sunday, three teams – Green Bay, San Francisco and Tennessee – missed the postseason in 2018, marking the sixth time that at least three teams have advanced to the Championship games after failing to make the postseason the previous year since the NFL instituted the 12-team playoff format in 1990 and the second time in the past three seasons.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: With a 28-12 victory over the number 1 seed Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Tennessee (11-7) became the sixth number 6 seed to advance to a Conference Championship since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990 and first since the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets in 2010.

With a win over Kansas City on Sunday, Tennessee would join the 2010 GREEN BAY PACKERS and the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers as the only number 6 seeds to appear in the Super Bowl since 1990 when the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format. Both the Packers and Steelers would go on to win the Super Bowl in those seasons.

The No. 6 seeds to reach the Super Bowl since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990:

SEASON – TEAM (CONFERENCE; ADVANCED TO)
2010 – Green Bay (NFC; Won Super Bowl XLV)
2005 – Pittsburgh (AFC; Won Super Bowl XL)
2019 – Tennessee (AFC; ??)

Additionally, Tennessee could also join the 2010 Green Bay Packers and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers as the only teams to defeat each of the top three seeds in their conference in a single postseason since 1990.

KING HENRY CONTINUES HIS REIGN: Tennessee running back Derrick Henry rushed for a postseason franchise-record 195 yards in the Titans’ Divisional Playoff win last week. After rushing for 182 yards and a touchdown on Wild Card Weekend against New England, Henry became the first player with at least 180 rushing yards in consecutive postseason games in NFL history.

With at least 150 rushing yards on Sunday, Henry would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis (1998-99) as the only players with at least 150 rushing yards in three consecutive postseason games in NFL history.

With at least 123 rushing yards on Sunday against Kansas City, Henry would join Pro Football Hall of Famers John Riggins (610 rushing yards in 1982) and Terrell Davis (581 in 1997) as the only players with at least 500 rushing yards in a single postseason in NFL history.

The players with the most rushing yards in a single postseason in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RUSHING YARDS)
John Riggins, Washington (1982 – 610)(HOF)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1997 – 581)(HOF)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998 – 468)(HOF)
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (1983 – 466)(HOF)
Eddie George, Tennessee (1999 – 449)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee (2019 – 377)*
*Entering Sunday

Henry has 561 rushing yards in four career postseason games. With at least 112 rushing yards on Sunday, he would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis (672 yards) for the most rushing yards through a player’s first five career postseason games in NFL history.

Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards in the regular season in 2019. With a win on Sunday, Henry would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Terrell Davis (1998) and Emmitt Smith (1992-93, 1995), as well as Shaun Alexander (2005) as the only single-season rushing leaders to reach the Super Bowl in the same season.

The single-season rushing leaders to reach the Super Bowl in the same season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RUSHING YARDS; SUPER BOWL)
Shaun Alexander, Seattle (2005 – 1,880; XL)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998 – 2,008; XXXIII)(HOF)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995 – 1,773; XXX)(HOF)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1993 – 1,486; XXVIII)(HOF)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1992 – 1,713; XXVII)(HOF)

AFC GOES THROUGH CHIEFS KINGDOM: Kansas City advanced to their second consecutive AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history with a 51-31 win over Houston in the Divisional Playoffs. In the victory, Kansas City became the first team to win a game by at least 20 points after trailing by at least 20 points in the same game in NFL history.

Kansas City’s comeback in the Divisional Playoffs marked the second comeback of at least 16 points in the postseason this year after Houston erased a 16-point deficit in an overtime win over Buffalo on Wild Card Weekend. This marks the second time in which there have been two comebacks of at least 16 points in a single postseason in NFL history (2002).

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the comeback with 321 passing yards and five touchdowns without an interception for a 134.6 passer rating and added 53 yards on the ground, becoming the first player with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdown passes, and 50 rushing yards in a single postseason game in NFL history.

If Mahomes, who has eight touchdown passes in three career postseason games, has at least three touchdown passes on Sunday against Tennessee, he would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (11) for the most touchdown passes through a player’s first four career postseason games in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in their first four postseason games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAMS (TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (11)(HOF)
Dan Marino, Miami (10)(HOF)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (10)
Alex Smith, San Francisco and Kansas City (10)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (8)*
*In three games

Additionally, with at least four touchdown passes, Mahomes would become the first player with at least four touchdown passes in consecutive postseason games in NFL history.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce recorded postseason career-highs in receptions (10), receiving yards (134) and receiving touchdowns (three) last week, becoming the third tight end with at least three touchdown receptions in a single postseason game in the Super Bowl era.

If Kelce, who has three career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards, has at least 100 receiving yards against Tennessee, he would tie for the most such career postseason games by a tight end in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAMS (GAMES WITH 100+ RECEIVING YARDS)
Vernon Davis, San Francisco (4)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (4)
Keith Jackson, Philadelphia, Miami and Green Bay (4)
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis (3)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (3)*
Greg Olsen, Chicago and Carolina (3)

HUNTING MORE TITLES IN TITLETOWN: Green Bay advanced to their first Conference Championship since 2016 with a 28-23 victory over Seattle in the Divisional Playoffs. With the victory, Green Bay tied Dallas (35 wins) for the third-most postseason victories in NFL history.

With a win against the 49ers, who rank fifth on the all-time list with 31 postseason wins, on Sunday (6:40 PM ET, FOX), the Packers would tie Pittsburgh (36 wins) for the second-most postseason victories in NFL history.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM (WINS, SUPER BOWL WINS
New England (37, 6)
Pittsburgh (36, 6)
Dallas (35, 5)
Green Bay (35, 4)
San Francisco (31, 5)

Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur became the first head coach to reach a Conference Championship in his first season since JIM HARBAUGH led San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game in 2011.

With a win on Sunday, LaFleur would become the sixth rookie head coach to appear in the Super Bowl.

The rookie head coaches to appear in the Super Bowl:

HEAD COACH, TEAM (SEASON – RESULT)
Don McCafferty, Baltimore Colts (1970 – W 16-13, Super Bowl V)
Red Miller, Denver (1977 – L 27-10, Super Bowl XII)
George Seifert, San Francisco (1989 – W 55-10, Super Bowl XXIV)
Bill Callahan, Oakland (2002 – L 48-21, Super Bowl XXXVII)
Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis (2009 – L 31-17, Super Bowl XLIV)
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay (2019 – ??)

With LaFleur (40 years, 66 days old) and San Francisco head coach KYLE SHANAHAN (40 years, 36 days old), Sunday’s NFC Championship Game will be the first Conference Championship Game featuring two head coaches under the age of 41 since 1970.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns without an interception for a 113.7 passer rating last week, marking Rodgers’ sixth consecutive postseason game with at least two touchdown passes.

With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday, Rodgers would tie Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw (seven games) and Joe Montana (seven), as well as Drew Brees (seven), for the second-longest streak of postseason games with at least two touchdown passes in NFL history. Only Joe Flacco (eight games) had a longer such streak in league history. Additionally, with two touchdown passes, Rodgers would tie Peyton Manning (40) for the fourth-most career postseason touchdown passes in NFL history.

The players with the most career postseason touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Tom Brady, New England (73)
Joe Montana, San Francisco and Kansas City (45)(HOF)
Brett Favre, Green Bay and Minnesota (44)(HOF)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis and Denver (40)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (38)*
*Entering Sunday

(HOF) Hall of Fame

Rodgers, who has 4,700 passing yards in 17 career postseason starts, needs at least 300 passing yards on Sunday to become the sixth player with at least 5,000 career postseason passing yards in NFL history, joining Tom Brady (11,388), Peyton Manning (7,339), Pro Football Hall of Famers Brett Favre (5,855) and Joe Montana (5,772) and Ben Roethlisberger (5,256).

NEW GOLDEN ERA: With a 27-10 win over Minnesota in the Divisional Playoffs, San Francisco became the fifth team since 1990 to advance to a Championship Game after winning four-or-fewer games the previous season, and the second team in three years, joining Jacksonville in 2017.

With a victory on Sunday against Green Bay, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan, whose father – Mike Shanahan – won Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII as head coach of the Denver Broncos, would become the first father-son duo to each appear in a Super Bowl as a head coach in NFL history. In their Divisional Playoff victory, the 49ers defense tallied six team sacks, tied for the second-most in a single postseason game in franchise history.

With at least six sacks on Sunday against Green Bay, the 2019 San Francisco 49ers would join the 1984 San Francisco 49ers as the only teams with at least six sacks in two consecutive postseason games in the Super Bowl era. 49ers rookie defensive lineman Nick Bosa recorded two sacks in his postseason debut last week. With at least two sacks on Sunday, Bosa would join Lamarr Woodley as the only players with at least two sacks in each of their first two postseason games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Bosa would also become the first rookie to accomplish the feat since 1982.

As is the case for the playoffs and the Super Bowl, this weekend’s games are “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Championship Sunday begins with the AFC Championship Game, presented by Intuit TurboTax, between Tennessee (11-7) and Kansas City (13-4), followed by the NFC Championship Game, presented by Intuit TurboTax, featuring Green Bay (14-3) and San Francisco (14-3). For the 15th consecutive season, there will be a new Super Bowl champion.

Three of the four remaining teams – Green Bay, San Francisco and Tennessee – are making a Championship game appearance after missing the playoffs last season. This marks the sixth time that at least three teams have advanced to the Championship games after failing to make the postseason the previous year since the NFL instituted the 12-team playoff format in 1990 and the second time in the past three seasons. Additionally, San Francisco is the fifth team since 1990 to advance to a Championship Game after winning four-or-fewer games the previous season and the second in three years, joining Jacksonville in 2017.

In the NFC, this marks the third consecutive year in which the Championship Game features the conference’s top-two seeds. The AFC, meanwhile, sees the number six seed Titans traveling to the two-seeded Chiefs. The Titans are the first six seed to reach the Conference Championship since the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers in 2010. The Chiefs join New England (2011-12, 2016-17) as the only teams to host the AFC Championship in consecutive seasons since 2000.

Each game features a quarterback making his first career appearance in a Conference Championship, as both Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill and San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo take center stage for the first time on Sunday. Tannehill led the NFL with a 117.5 passer rating in 2019, the fourth-highest single-season mark in NFL history among qualified passers. Garoppolo has compiled a 22-5 record, including postseason, as a starting quarterback in his career.

Both Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers are making a return to Championship Sunday as starting quarterbacks. After leading the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game last season, Mahomes will become the eighth quarterback to start two Championship games in his first three seasons since 1970. Rodgers, meanwhile, makes his fourth Championship Game appearance, the third-most among active quarterbacks.

Each contest is a rematch of a memorable 2019 regular-season game. In Week 10, Tennessee defeated Kansas City in Nashville, 35-32, as the two teams combined for over 900 yards of total offense. The game featured five lead changes and the Titans overcame a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Chiefs, thanks to Tannehill’s touchdown pass in the final minute and a blocked potential game-tying Kansas City field goal as time expired. In their Week 12 meeting at Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco defeated Green Bay, 37-8, on Sunday Night Football, as the 49ers’ defense held the Packers to their lowest point total of the season. For the winners in the first meeting, it’s a chance to prove that it was not a fluke or luck; for the losers, it’s revenge.

Last week was a pretty good week, going 3-1 and for the season 146-118. With that, here are this weekend’s championship picks.

AFC Championship: Tennessee (9-7, 2nd Wild Card, 6th seed) at Kansas City (12-4, AFC West champion, 2nd seed), 3:05 p.m. on CBS. They met in week 10 in the Music City. They meet again in the Show-Me State and this time, a trip to Miami’s on the line. Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes hosts Tennesee and Ryan Tannehill for the AFC Championship.

Tennessee first shocked the football world by beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxboro in the AFC Wild Card round, then proceeded to shock the football world again by taking Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens to task last Saturday evening in Charm City, taking a 28-12 AFC Divisional Round win at M&T Bank Stadium.

Holding the number-one seeded Ravens to a pair of Jeff Tucker field goals in the first half, Tennessee took a 14-6 lead with them to the break, proceeding to score 14 third-quarter points unchallenged to seal the Ravens’ fate before Jackson would finally get his team into the end zone, connecting with TE Hayden Hurst on a 15-yard TD toss early in the fourth quarter.

In the contest that featured five Heisman winners, Tennessee’s Derrek Henry and Jackson were in Heisman form, as Henry rushed for 195 yards and had a TD pass, while Jackson tallied 143 in the Saturday night contest; Tennesee would out-rush Baltmore 217-185 and Jackson threw for 365 yards with the fourth quarter TD (Jackson was sacked four time and picked off twice), while Tannehill threw for 88 and a pair of TDs. The Titans were 7 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:54, while the Ravens actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 32:06, going 11 of 18 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In a comeback that would have made Lazarus jealous, Kansas City rallied from 24 points down in the first half, then proceeded to score 41 points unchallenged to take the 51-31 win over Houston in the AFC Divisional Round game at Arrowhead. The Chiefs trailed 24-0 with 9:55 left before the half before the Chiefs went to work, denting the scoreboard when Mahomes and RB Damien Willams hooked up on a 17-yard TD toss. Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce would then connect on three TD passes in the half (a pair of 5-yard tosses and one from 6 yards) to take the lead for keeps. Williams would then add a pair of rushing TDs in the third quarter to all but ice the contest away, with a Mahomes to TE Blake Bell and a Harrison Butker field goal to close the scoring out.

Kansas City out-rushed Houston (the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs) 118-95 and Mahomes threw for 321 yards with the five TDs without a sack, while Houston’s DeSean Watson threw for 388 yards with four TDs (connecting with TE Darren Fells on one of the tosses) and was sacked four times (neither Mahomes or Watson threw an interception). Kansas City was 2 of 8 on third down tries at Arrowhead, keeping the ball for 25:25, while the Texans were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 34:35, while going 5 of 15 on third down, 1 for 5 on fourth down.

The two clubs meet in Nashville in week 10 and the Titans held off a late Chiefs rally in that contest to come away 35-32 winners at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee and Kansas City went into the intermission tied at 13-13 before the Chiefs took a 32-27 lead when Butker connected on a 39-yard field goal with 3:14 left in the contest.

Tennessee did not waste a lot of time on their drive to reclaim the lead, getting the ball back with 81 seconds after a Chiefs’ field goal try failed, using 4 plays, 61 yards and 58 seconds to reclaim the lead when WR Adam Humphries and Tannehill connected on a 23-yard TD toss. Tannehill then took matters into his own feet when he scored on the two-point conversion.

The Chiefs were not going away and got the ball back with 23 seconds left in the contest and made their way down the field, getting as close as Tennessee’s 34-yard and stayed there after Mahomes threw an incompletion, setting the Chiefs up for what they hoped would be the score that would have sent the contest into overtime.

Kansas City fans would get their hearts broken as Kalu broke through the line, blocked the kick and ended the Chiefs threat. Henry led all rushers with 188 yards and a pair of TDs as the Titans out-rushed Kansas City 225-97 and Mahomes threw for 446 and three TDs (connecting with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on two of the passes), while Tannehill threw for 181 yards and a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) to go with his two-point try (neither threw an interception; Mahomes was sacked twice, while Tannehill was sacked four times). Kansas City was 7 of 14 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:51, including the final 23 seconds of the game, while the Titans, keeping the ball for 22:09, went 2 of 8 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week 10 contest in the Music City, the Chiefs were favored by 3 1/2 and the Titans would win by 2. The two clubs did manage to cover the 48 1/2 over/under by tallying 67 points. This time, the Chiefs are favored again, this time by 7 1/2 with a 52 over/under. They’ve met only three times in the post-season and the Chiefs have prevailed in two of the contests, winning 28-20 in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers in the AFC Wild Card Round. Tennessee’s lone win in the series came in 2017 at Arrowhead by a final of 22-21 in the AFC wild Card round.

The winner will be going to Miami in two weeks. The loser will be second-guessed from the end of the game until the start of the 2020 season. Titans fans, it was fun while it lasted. The carriage is about to turn back into a pumpkin and the horsemen go back to being white mice. Tennessee makes it closer than 7 1/2 but the Chiefs prevail and return to the Super Bowl as AFC champs.

NFC Championship: Green Bay (13-3, NFC North champion, 2nd seed) at San Francisco (13-3, NFC West champion, 1st seed), 6:40 p.m. on FOX. Championshsip weekend concludes in wine country as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers make their way to Santa Clara to square off against Jimmy Garroppolo and the San Francisco 49ers at Levis Stadium Sunday afternoon. Both teams were winners at home to advance to the championship round.

Green Bay held off a late Seattle rally at Lambeau Field last Sunday afternoon as the Packers prevailed 28-23. The Packers led 21-3 at the intermission in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst before Seattle rallied in the second half, outscoring Green Bay 20-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling to within 5 with 9:33 left in the contest when Marshawn Lynch scored from a yard out.

Seattle out-rushed Green Bay 110-109 and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson leading all rushers with 64 yards, while Packers RB Aaron Jones tallied 62 yards with a pair of rushing TDs (Lynch had a pair of rushing TDs for Seattle). Rodgers threw for 243 yards, connecting with WR DeVonte Adams (eight catches for 160 yards) twice, while Wilson threw for 277 yards and a TD to WR Tyler Lockett (Rodgers was sacked twice, Wilson was sacked five times and neither threw an interception). Green Bay was 9 of 14 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 29:29, while Seattle ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:31, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

San Francisco erased a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter against Minnesota last Saturday afternoon at Levis Stadium, coming away 27-10 Divisional Round winners. 49ers RB Tevin Coleman gave his team the lead for keeps with 7:10 left before the intermission before Vikings K Dan Bailey pulled Minnesota to within 4 with 39 seconds left, booting a 39-yard field goal. Coleman would add a second rushing TD in the third quarter and 49ers K Robbie Gould would add to the home team’s scoring as they tallied their final 13 points of the game unchallenged to take control of the contest.

Coleman rushed for 105 yards on 22 carries as San Francisco out-rushed Minnesota 186-21 and Garoppolo threw for 131 yards and a TD to WR Kendrick Bourne, while Kirk Cousins threw for 172 yards and a TD toss to Stefon Diggs (Cousins was sacked six times, Garoppolo was sacked twice and neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 5 of 12 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 38:27, while the Vikings, who kept the ball for 21:33, went 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

They met in Santa Clara in week 12 and the 49ers prevailed 38-7 at Levis’ Stadium. San Francisco scored 23 first-half points unchallenged to lead 23-0 at the break. The Packers would score their only points in the contest when Rodgers and DeVante Adams connected on a 2-yard TD pass and a two-point conversion late in the third quarter before San Francisco floored the gas in the half, using a 61-yard TD pass from Garoppolo to TE George Kittle and a 15-yard run by Mostert to seal the win.

While Green Bay out-rushed San Francisco 117-112, Garoppolo threw for 253 yards with a pair of TDs, with Rodgers throwing for 104 yards and a TD (Rodgers was sacked five times, Garoppolo sacked three times, neither threw an interception). Green Bay was a dismal 1 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, as kept the ball for 35:16, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 24:44, going 3 of 9 on third down tries.

In the week 12 contest in Santa Clara, the 49ers easily covered the 3-point spread, winning by 31 but Green Bay and San Francisco barely missed the 46 over/under, tallying 45 points. They’ve met seven times in post-season play and Green Bay has won four of the meetings, outscoring San Francisco 188-154. San Francisco has won the last two meetings in the post-season, including a 23-20 win in 2013 at Lambeau in the NFC Wild Card Round; Green Bay’s last playoff win also came at Lambeau in 2001 in the NFC Championship by a final of 25-15. In this meeting in wine country, the 49ers are favored by 7 with the over/under at 45. Both numbers make sense. San Francisco is looking to go back to the Super Bowl, while the Packers are hoping for a return to the big game and perhaps a meeting with Kansas City in a rematch of the very first Super Bowl. GO PACK GO! San Francisco keeps it close but Green Bay prevails in wine country and takes the win.

Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

Tampa Bay (3-7) at ATLANTA (3-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (field reporter); SIRIUS: 105 (Tampa Bay), 81 (ATLANTA); XM: 385 (Tampa Bay), 225 (ATLANTA)

Denver (3-7) at Buffalo (7-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (field reporter); SIRIUS: 134 (Denver), 146 (Buffalo); XM: 389 (Denver), 228 (Buffalo)

New York Giants (2-8) at Chicago (4-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (field reporter); SIRIUS: 138 (New York Giants), 83 (Chicago); XM: 387 (New York Giants), 226 (Chicago)

Pittsburgh (5-5) at Cincinnati (0-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, James Schiffren (field reporter); SIRIUS: 135 (Pittsburgh), 108 (Cincinnati); XM: 388 (Pittsburgh), 229 (Cincinnati)

Miami (2-8) at Cleveland (4-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (field reporter); SIRIUS: 94 (Miami), 111 (Cleveland); XM: 390 (Miami), 230 (Cleveland)

Carolina (5-5) at New Orleans (8-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (field reporter); SIRIUS: 133 (Carolina), 82 (New Orleans); XM: 386 (Carolina), 227 (New Orleans)

Seattle (8-2) at Philadelphia (5-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (field reporter); SIRIUS: 127 (Seattle), 98 (Philadelphia); XM: 381 (Seattle), 233 (Philadelphia)

Oakland (6-4) at New York Jets (3-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Melanie Collins (field reporter); SIRIUS: 121 (Oakland), 113 (New York Jets); XM: 391 (Oakland), 231 (New York Jets)

Detroit (3-6-1) at Washington (1-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Lindsay Czarniak (field reporter); SIRIUS: 211 (Detroit), 119 (Washington); XM: 392 (Detroit), 232 (Washington)

Jacksonville (4-6) at Tennessee (5-5), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (field reporter); SIRIUS: 105 (Jacksonville), 81 (Tennessee); XM: 385 (Jacksonville), 225 (Tennessee)

Dallas (6-4) at New England (9-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Kristina Pink (field reporter); SIRIUS: 82 (Dallas), 83 (New England); XM: 227 (Dallas), 226 (New England)

Green Bay (8-2) at San Francisco (9-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, Jason Taylor; SIRIUS: 81 (Green Bay), 83 (San Francisco); XM: 225 (Green Bay), 226 (San Francisco)

Baltimore (8-2) at Los Angeles Rams (6-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Amber Theoharis (field reporter); SIRIUS: 81 (Baltimore), 83 (Los Angeles Rams); XM: 225 (Baltimore), 226 (Los Angeles Rams)

Sunday and Monday Officials
Tampa Bay at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.: Clay Martin
Denver at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: Jerome Boger
New York Giants at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Shawn Hochuli
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.: Adrian Hill
Miami at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Brad Rodgers
Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Alex Kemp
Seattle at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.: Walt Anderson
Oakland at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Clete Blakeman
Detroit at Washington, 1 p.m.: Bill Vinovich
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m.: Shawn Smith
Dallas at New England, 4:25 p.m.: Scott Novak
Green Bay at San Francisco, 8:20 p.m.: Carl Cheffers
Baltimore at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Craig Wrolstad

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home teams in CAPS; Byes: Arizona, Minnesota, Kansas City and Los Angeles Chargers)

Sunday
Favorite Spread Underdog O/U
ATLANTA – 4 1/2 Tampa Bay 52
CLEVELAND – 10 Miami 44
BUFFALO – 4 Denver 37
Pittsburgh – 7 CINCINNATI 39
CHICAGO – 6 New York Giants 40 1/2
Oakland – 3 NEW YORK JETS 46
NEW ORLEANS – 9 1/2 Carolina 46 1/2
Detroit – 3 1/2 WASHINGTON 42
PHILADELPHIA – 2 1/2 Seattle 49
TENNESSEE – 3 Jacksonville 41 1/2
NEW ENGLAND – 6 1/2 Dallas 45 1/2
SAN FRANCISCO – 3 Green Bay 46

Monday
Favorite Spread Underdog O/U
Baltimore – 3 LOS ANGELES RAMS 46 1/2

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

Tampa Bay at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay
OUT: LB Anthony Nelson (hamstring), CB M.J. Stewart (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Carl Nassib (groin)

ATLANTA
OUT: RB Devonta Freeman (foot), TE Austin Hooper (knee), S Kemal Ishmael (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: DE John Cominsky (ankle), DE Takkarist McKinley (shoulder), CB Kendall Sheffield (illness)

Denver at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Denver
OUT: LB Justin Hollins (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Jeff Heuerman (knee), T Ja’Wuan James (knee), LB Joseph Jones (foot), G Ronald Leary (shoulder, neck), C Connor McGovern (back), WR Tim Patrick (shoulder), G Dalton Risner (ankle)

Buffalo
OUT: S Siran Neal (concussion), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)

New York Giants at Chicago, 1 p.m.

New York Giants
OUT: TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), TE Evan Engram (foot)

Chicago
OUT: TE Adam Shaheen (foot), LB Danny Trevathan (elbow)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Isaiah Irving (quadricep)

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh
OUT: RB James Conner (shoulder), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion, knee)
DOUBTFUL: CB Artie Burns (knee)

Cincinnati
OUT: WR A.J. Green (ankle), TE Drew Sample (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Stanley Morgan (illness), WR Auden Tate (concussion)

Miami at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Miami
DOUBTFUL: CB Ken Webster (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Taco Charlton (elbow)

Cleveland

OUT: S Eric Murray (knee), DE Olivier Vernon (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Joe Schobert (groin)

Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m.

Carolina
QUESTIONABLE: CB Ross Cockrell (quadricep), G Dennis Daley (groin), T Greg Little (knee)

New Orleans
OUT: WR Deonte Harris (hamstring), RB Zach Line (knee), G Andrus Peat (forearm)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring)

Seattle at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

Seattle
QUESTIONABLE: DE Jadeveon Clowney (knee, hip), CB Neiko Thorpe (groin)

Philadelphia
OUT: S Rudy Ford (abdomen), T Lane Johnson (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Nelson Agholor (knee), RB Jordan Howard (shoulder), WR Alshon Jeffery (ankle)

Oakland at New York Jets, 1 p.m.

Oakland
OUT: T David Sharpe (calf)
QUESTIONABLE: S Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring)

New York Jets
OUT: LB C.J. Mosley (groin)
DOUBTFUL: S Matthias Farley (quadricep), CB Darryl Roberts (calf), LB Paul Worrilow (quadricep)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Henry Anderson (shoulder), T Kelvin Beachum (ankle), LB Brandon Copeland (hip, thumb), T Chuma Edoga (ankle), LB Neville Hewitt (neck, knee), G Alex Lewis (elbow, shoulder), DT Steve McLendon (neck), WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring)

Detroit at Washington, 1 p.m.

Detroit
OUT: CB Jamal Agnew (ankle), DE Trey Flowers (concussion), DE Da’Shawn Hand (ankle), C Frank Ragnow (concussion), QB Matthew Stafford (hip, back), S Tracy Walker (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Rashaan Melvin (ribs)

Washington
OUT: TE Vernon Davis (concussion)
DOUBTFUL: DT Da’Ron Payne (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Josh Norman (hamstring), RB Adrian Peterson (toe), RB Chris Thompson (toe)

Jacksonville at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m.

Jacksonville
OUT: TE Seth DeValve (oblique)

Tennessee
DOUBTFUL: G Kevin Pamphile (knee), TE Delanie Walker (ankle)

Dallas at New England, 4:25 p.m.

Dallas
OUT: LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Joe Thomas (illness), G Connor Williams (knee), S Donovan Wilson (illness)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (knee), QB Tom Brady (elbow), T Marcus Cannon (illness), S Patrick Chung (heel, chest), WR Phillip Dorsett (concussion), S Nate Ebner (ankle, back), WR Julian Edelman (shoulder), RB Damien Harris (hamstring), CB Jason McCourty (groin), WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle), DE John Simon (elbow), WR Matt Slater (hamstring)

Green Bay at San Francisco, 8:20 p.m.

Green Bay
OUT: G Cole Madison (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Robert Tonyan (hip), RB Dan Vitale (knee)

San Francisco
OUT: DE Dee Ford (quadricep, hamstring), T Joe Staley (finger)
DOUBTFUL: RB Matt Breida (ankle), K Robbie Gould (right quadricep)
QUESTIONABLE; TE George Kittle (knee, ankle), WR Deebo Samuel (shoulder), WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs)

Baltimore at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. Monday

Baltimore
DOUBTFUL: DT Michael Pierce (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Chris Moore (thumb), G Ben Powers (thumb), T Ronnie Stanley (ankle)

Los Angeles Rams
OUT: T Rob Havenstein (knee), CB Darious Williams (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Natrez Patrick (illness)

Sunday and Monday Weather
Tampa Bay at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, sunny and 51 degrees
Denver at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 39 degrees
New York Giants at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 45 degrees
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 45 degrees
Miami at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Partly clouudy and 41 degrees
Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Game indoors
Seattle at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 44 degrees
Oakland at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Overcast with a 40 percent chance of light rain and 45 degrees
Detroit at Washington, 1 p.m.: Sunny and 50 degrees
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m.: Sunny and 52 degrees
Dallas at New England, 4:25 p.m.: Overcast with a 40 percent chance of rain and 48 degrees
Green Bay at San Francisco, 8:20 p.m.: Clear and 60 degrees
Baltimore at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Clear and 63 degrees

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

11 weeks down.

6 weeks to go.

Nothing’s been decided as far as division winners or Wild Card spots.

There’s still a lot of football left on the docket and these games don’t play themselves. It’s still the time of year where you lose, your next game’s next week, unlike the post-season, where you lose, your next game’s next year.

17 of the 32 teams (53 percent) are at .500 or better and there are a few teams that are near that mark as well. As for the Bengals? They’re still winless and have a slim chance of making the post-season. When the dust does settle at the end of week 17, 12 teams will have their magic tickets punched and get to go to the playoff party. For the other 20 teams, they’ll get lovely parting gifts, as they say on those game shows.

For those on top, it’s another chance to stay on top; for those that are contending, it’s a chance to put themselves one step closer to their intended goal.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 11: The Baltimore Ravens rushed for 263 yards in their 41-7 win over Houston in Week 11. Baltimore, with 2,038 rushing yards through its first 10 games of the season, is the seventh team since 1970 and first since the 1978 New England Patriots (2,029 rushing yards) with at least 2,000 rushing yards in its first 10 games of a season. The Ravens’ 2,038 rushing yards are the fifth-most through a team’s first 10 games of a season since 1970. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, who had 86 rushing yards, has recorded at least 60 rushing yards in seven consecutive games, surpassing Michael Vick (six games in 2004) for the longest such streak by a quarterback in league annals. Jackson has 1,483 career rushing yards, surpassing Cam Newton (1,447) for the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons in NFL history.

Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had seven receptions, including the 600th of his career, in Week 11. At 27 years and 164 days old, Hopkins is the second-youngest player in league annals to reach 600 career receptions, trailing only Larry Fitzgerald (27 years and 110 days old).

Minnesota overcame a 20-0 halftime deficit to defeat Denver, 27-23, in Week 11. The Vikings are the first team in the regular season since the San Diego Chargers (vs. San Francisco on December 20, 2014), who trailed 35-7 at halftime and won 38-35 in overtime, to overcome a halftime deficit of at least 20 points and win.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 444 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 116.6 rating in the Cowboys’ 35-27 win at Detroit. Prescott has four games with at least 375 passing yards and two touchdown passes in 2019, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana (four games in 1990) for the most such games through their team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history. Only Peyton Manning, who had six games with at least 375 passing yards and two touchdown passes in 2013, had more in a full season.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 311 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions for a 111.1 rating in the Falcons’ 29-3 win at Carolina. Ryan, currently in his 12th season, has 60 career games with at least 300 passing yards and joins Drew Brees (67 games) as the only quarterbacks with at least 60 such games in their first 12 seasons in NFL history. Ryan has 49,383 career passing yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon (49,325 passing yards) for the 10th-most passing yards in NFL history.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey recorded 191 scrimmage yards (121 receiving, 70 rushing) along with 11 receptions in Week 11. McCaffrey has seven career games with at least 10 catches, surpassing Larry Centers (six) and Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (six) for the most by a running back in NFL history. Since entering the NFL in 2017, McCaffrey has 12 career games with at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards, tied with Herschel Walker (12 games) for the most such games by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history. McCaffrey, who has 1,576 scrimmage yards and 14 scrimmage touchdowns in 2019, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards and 14 scrimmage touchdowns in his team’s first 10 games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson (1983), O.J. Simpson (1975) and Emmitt Smith (1995) as well as Ahman Green (2003).

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 117.7 rating and added 56 rushing yards with a touchdown in the Bills’ 37-20 win over Miami.

Allen, who has 13 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns in 2019, joined Cam Newton (2011-12) as the only players with at least 10 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Allen recorded his 15th career rushing touchdown in his 22nd career game, the second-fewest games to reach 15 career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history. Only Cam Newton (18 games) reached 15 career rushing touchdowns in fewer games among quarterbacks.

Miami kick returner Jakee Grant, in his fourth NFL season, had a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Week 11, his second career kick-return touchdown of at least 100 yards. Grant, who also has two career punt-return touchdowns of at least 70 yards, is the fourth player in NFL history with at least two kick-return touchdowns of 100 yards and two punt-return touchdowns of 70 yards in his first four seasons, joining Ted Ginn (2007-10), Trindon Holliday (2011-14) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ollie Matson (1952, 1954-56).

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 34-17 win at Tampa Bay. Thomas has 94 receptions in 2019 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (89 receptions in 2002) and Julio Jones (89 in 2015) for the most by a player in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history. Thomas, who has the most receptions (415) by a player in his first four seasons in league annals, is the first player in NFL history with at least 90 receptions in each of his first four seasons.

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams had three sacks in the team’s 34-17 win at Washington. Adams, who had two sacks in Week 10, is the third defensive back to record at least two sacks in consecutive weeks since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining Aaron Beasley (Weeks 5-6 in 2000) and Carnell Lake (Weeks 14-15 in 1997). Adams’ five sacks over a two-week span are tied with Carnell Lake (five sacks in Weeks 14-15 in 1997) for the most by a defensive back over a two-game span since 1982.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a match-up of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s Oakland-New York Jets match-up as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest is a nod to an earlier meeting that forever changed the way football is consumed. On November 17, 1968, Heidi unexpectedly became part of sports vernacular when East Coast viewers suddenly lost the NBC broadcast of Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath’s Jets trying to hold off a Raiders fourth-quarter comeback. While a large portion of the national audience saw the opening scenes of a made-for-TV movie featuring an orphan girl living with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica was throwing a 43-yard, go-ahead touchdown to Charlie Smith with 42 seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, with the Jets down 36-32 and Heidi’s melodious tones airing in most American living rooms, Oakland’s Bill Budness forced a fumble and teammate Preston Ridelhuber returned it for a touchdown to seal the game. While NBC made a valiant last-second effort to avoid cutting away from the AFL game, several affiliates aired the musical during the Raiders’ comeback. Six weeks later, the Jets got revenge, turning away Oakland at New York’s Shea Stadium in the AFL Championship Game, giving Namath an opportunity to guarantee victory at Super Bowl III.

FLURRY OF TIEBREAKER GAMES ON WEEK 12 SLATE: Week 12 will go down as pivotal in determining the 12 teams that comprise the NFL’s 2019 playoff field in five weeks. That’s because 12 games this week match up teams from the same conference, carrying head-to-head, division- or conference-tiebreaker implications.

PACKERS CLASH WITH NINERS ON SNF: Another intriguing intra-conference game is on Sunday Night Football in San Francisco, where the 49ers (9-1) puts the NFC’s best record on the line against Green Bay (8-2), who leads the NFC North. Over the last 13 seasons, on only five occasions have teams with two-or-fewer losses met this late in a season. The winners of the last two games have won the Super Bowl.

The NFL games featuring teams with two-or-fewer losses in Week 12 or later since 2007:

DATE – VISITOR (RECORD) at HOME (RECORD); RESULT
11/29/2015 – New England (10-0) at Denver (8-2); Denver 30-24 (OT)*
12/2/2013 – New Orleans (9-2) at Seattle (10-1); Seattle 34-7*
12/1/2013 – Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (9-2); Denver 35-28*
12/6/2010 – New York Jets (9-2) at New England (9-2); New England 45-3
11/29/2007 – Green Bay (10-1) at Dallas (10-1); Dallas 37-27
*Played in Super Bowl

Other games with playoff implications are Denver at Buffalo, where the Bills look to improve their record in AFC games, a key Wild Card tiebreaker, to 6-2; Carolina at New Orleans, where the Saints can gain important ground in both the NFC South and the race for the NFC’s top seed by improving their conference record to 7-2; and Seattle and Philadelphia, where the Seahawks can improve their conference record to 6-1 and the Eagles can remain well in contention.

ANOTHER YOUNG QUARTERBACK IN PRIMETIME: Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson leads the Ravens into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to close Week 12 on Monday Night Football. The Ravens rushed for 263 yards in their 41-7 win over Houston in Week 11. Baltimore, with 2,038 rushing yards through its first 10 games of the season, is the seventh team since 1970 and first since the 1978 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2,029 rushing yards) with at least 2,000 rushing yards in its first 10 games of a season. The Ravens’ 2,038 rushing yards are the fifth-most through a team’s first 10 games of a season since 1970.

Jackson, who had 86 rushing yards last week, has recorded at least 60 rushing yards in seven consecutive games, surpassing Michael Vick (six games in 2004) for the longest such streak by a quarterback in league annals. Jackson has 1,483 career rushing yards and surpassed Cam Newton (1,447) for the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons in NFL history.

WINNING FRANCHISES MEET IN FOXBORO: With a win last week, New England secured a 19th consecutive winning season. In NFL history, the only team to string together at least 19 winning seasons was Dallas, who assembled a streak of 20 winning campaigns from 1966-85. Those teams meet on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Additionally, the Patriots (9-1) have the opportunity to win a 10th game and reach 17 consecutive seasons with 10-or-more victories. New England would break a tie with San Francisco, which won 10 games in 16 straight years (1983-98). The Patriots have won at least 10 games every year since going 9-7 in 2002.

Sunday’s battle also features the NFL’s top offense, Dallas, vs. the league’s top defense, New England. The Cowboys are averaging an NFL-leading 444.6 yards per game while New England is holding the NFL to a league-low 249.9 yards per contest.

CROSBY, RAIDERS RETURN EAST TO MEET JETS: 6-4 Oakland meets the New York Jets Sunday in a contest that features a pair of unique sack artists.

Raiders rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby had four sacks in Oakland’s 17-10 win over Cincinnati in Week 11. Since the sack became an official individual statistic in 1982, Crosby became the fourth rookie with at least four sacks in a game, joining Leslie O’Neal (five on November 16, 1986), Cornelius Bennett (four on December 27, 1987) and Brian Orakpo (four on December 13, 2009).

Jets safety Jamal Adams had three sacks in the team’s 34-17 win at Washington last week. Adams, who had two sacks in Week 10, is the third defensive back to record at least two sacks in consecutive weeks since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining Aaron Beasley (Weeks 5-6 in 2000) and Carnell Lake (Weeks 14-15 in 1997). Adams’ five sacks over a two-week span are tied with Lake (five sacks in Weeks 14-15 in 1997) for the most by a defensive back over a two-game span since 1982. Adams, who leads the Jets with a career-high six sacks, could become the first NFL defensive back to lead his team in sacks since Roman Harper led the Saints with 7.5 in 2011.

JACKSONVILLE’S ALLEN SEES KEARSE RECORD ON HORIZON: Another rookie pass-rusher, Jacksonville DE/LB Josh Allen, has eight sacks through 10 games and is on pace for 13 sacks. Allen and the Jaguars this week travel to play Tennessee, who 20 years ago saw Jevon Kearse establish the NFL’s rookie record with 14.5 sacks in 1999. Allen, San Francisco defensive lineman Nick Bosa (seven) and Oakland defensive end Maxx Crosby (6.5) lead NFL rookies in sacks this season. The 76 sacks by NFL rookies this year are tied with 2018 for the second-most through 11 weeks in NFL history, trailing only the 1987 season.

The seasons with the most sacks by rookies through the first 11 weeks in NFL history:

SEASON – SACKS BY ROOKIES THROUGH 11 WEEKS
1987 – 84
2019 – 76
2018 – 76

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 12

HISTORY IN FOXBORO: New England enters Week 12 with the best record in the AFC at 9-1. Since 2003, the Patriots have had at least 10 wins in 16 consecutive seasons – tied with San Francisco (1983-98) for the most consecutive 10-win seasons in NFL history. With a win over NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, New England would surpass San Francisco (16 seasons) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins in NFL history.

The teams with the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins in NFL history:

TEAM, YEARS (CONSECUTIVE 10+ WIN SEASONS)
New England, 2003-18 (16)*
San Francisco, 1983-98 (16)
*Active streak

New England quarterback Tom Brady enters Week 12 with 2,752 passing yards, the third-most in the AFC in 2019. With 248 passing yards on Sunday, Brady would surpass Drew Brees (16 seasons) and Peyton Manning (16) for the second-most seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (18) has more.

The players with the most seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER (TEAMS – SEASONS WITH 3,000 PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre (Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota – 18)
Tom Brady (New England – 16)*
Drew Brees (San Diego and New Orleans – 16)*
Peyton Manning (Indianapolis and Denver – 16)

*Active

NFC SHOWDOWN BY THE BAY: In every season since the NFL expanded to 32 teams and realigned into eight divisions in 2002, at least one team has won its division the season after missing the playoffs. After both missed the playoffs in 2018, San Francisco (9-1) and Green Bay (8-2) currently stand as the top two seeds in the NFC, lead their respective divisions through 10 games and are positioned to continue that trend.

With a win over Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, San Francisco – who finished 4-12 last season – would join the 2016 Dallas Cowboys as the only teams to win 10 of their first 11 games in a season after winning four or fewer games the previous year in NFL history.

DEFENSIVE NIGHTMARE: Through 10 games this season, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson has 2,258 passing yards and 781 rushing yards – the most rushing yards by a quarterback through 10 games of a season in NFL history. Since entering the NFL in 2018, Jackson has 3,459 passing yards and 1,476 rushing yards in 26 career games.

With 24 rushing yards on Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams, Jackson would become the first player with at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards over his first two seasons in NFL history.

CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 1,576 scrimmage yards this season and became the first player with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history.

McCaffrey, who has 20 rushing touchdowns and 14 receiving touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2017, needs one receiving touchdown against New Orleans (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to join Chuck Foreman (1973-75) as the only players with at least 20 rushing touchdowns and 15 receiving touchdowns through their first three seasons in NFL history.

BALLING IN BIG EASY: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas leads the NFL with 94 receptions – the most receptions by a player in his team’s first 10 games of a season in NFL history – and 1,141 receiving yards in 2019. Last week, Thomas had eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown, his fourth-consecutive game with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards.

With at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards on Sunday against Carolina, Thomas would become the fourth player with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards in five consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)

Isaac Bruce, St. Louis Rams (1995 – 6)
Anquan Boldin, Arizona (2005 – 5)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012 – 5)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2019 – 4)*
*Active streak

Additionally, with six receptions and 59 receiving yards, Thomas would become the fifth player to have at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEARS; CONSECUTIVE SEASONS)

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2013-18; 6)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2002; 4) HOF
Herman Moore, Detroit (1995-97; 3)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1994-96; 3) HOF
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2017-18; 2)*
*Active streak
HOF – Hall of Fame

ERTZ GOES FOR 500: Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz has 492 receptions for 5,448 yards and 31 touchdowns in 101 career games. With eight receptions against Seattle on Sunday, Ertz would become the second-fastest tight end to reach 500 career receptions in NFL history.

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

PLAYER (TEAMS, GAMES TO 500 RECEPTIONS)

Kellen Winslow, Sr. (San Diego, 101) HOF
Jimmy Graham (New Orleans and Seattle, 106)
Jason Witten (Dallas, 107)
Rob Gronkowski (New England, 108)
Zach Ertz (Philadelphia, 102)*
*On Sunday
HOF – Hall of Fame

Week 12 got underway as Houston edged Indianapolis in the Lone Star State and concludes on Monday night in Hollywood as the Rams and Ravens meet at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The final byes for the 2019 season go to Arizona, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota. Green Bay, the New York Giants, Seattle and Tennessee come back to action from their week long vacation. As for last week? 8-6 was pretty good and for the season, 72-65. There’s a lot of football left. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 12.

Tampa Bay (3-7) at ATLANTA (3-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC South rivals, separated by 450 miles and 7 hours of driving, meet in Atlanta as Matt Ryan and the Falcons host Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay struggled against New Orleans last Sunday in the Sunshine State as the Saints bounced back from their loss to Atlanta at home and left Tampa Bay with a 34-17 win in hand. The Saints led 20-7 at the intermission, then watched the Buccaneers pull themselves to within 10 with 82 seconds left in the third before restoring order in the fourth when Marcus Williams picked off Winston for a 55-yard interception return for a TD. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 109-36 and Brees threw for 228 yards and a TD, while Winston threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down at Raymond James Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 37 minutes, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 23 minutes, went 5 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Atlanta scored the first 26 points of their contest at Carolina unchallenged, holding the Panthers to a fourth-quarter field to leave Charlotte with a 29-3 win. After Youngho Koo opened the scoring for the Falcons with a 38-yard field goal, the Falcons’ special teams went to work as KR Kenjon Barner returned a punt 78 yards for a TD with 59 seconds left in the first. From there, Atlanta, picking up their second win in a row and second win in the NFC South, floored the gas in the contest, leading 20-0 at the half and took a 26-0 lead into the third quarter before Carolina broke Atlanta’s chance for a shutout on a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Slye early in the quarter. Carolina did manage to outrush Atlanta 77-54 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading everyone with 70 of those yards. Ryan threw for 311 yards and a TD toss to Calvin Ridley with no interceptions (he was sacked three times), while Kyle Allen threw for 325 yards with five sacks and four interceptions. Atlanta was 6 of 14 on third down at Bank of America Stadium but had success in their only fourth down try in the contest and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:26, while Carolina held on to the pigskin for 28:34 and went 2 of 14 on third down, 3 of 5 on fourth down.

While the Falcons lead the series 27-24, Tampa Bay has outscored Atlanta 1,113-1,095. The Falcons have won the last five meetings, including sweeping the last two series and swept last year’s contests (Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in 2016 in the Big Peach by a final of 31-24.

The first meeting? Week six in the Big Peach. The Falcons would take a 21-13 lead over the Buccaneers and never looked back, coming away 34-29 winners at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ryan (354 yards, three TDs) and Winston (395 yards, four TDs, two interceptions) combined for seven TD passes in the NFC South contest as Tampa Bay outrushed Atlanta 123-70 (Winston was sacked twice, Ryan once). Both clubs did quite well on third down tries; the Falcons were 8 of 13, while the Buccaneers were 5 of 8 and the Falcons ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:39 to Tampa Bay’s 28:21.

The two clubs closed out the 2018 season at Raymond James Stadium and for Atlanta, second verse, same as the first. The Falcons completed the sweep, rallying from behind in the closing seconds of the contest to take a 34-32 win in the Sunshine State. Atlanta trailed 17-7 at the intermission, then rallied to take the lead for the first time with 10:51 left in regulation when Ryan and Ridley connected on a 7-yard TD pass to lead 31-20. Winston then responded with a pair of TD passes in the final quarter, one to Mike Evans, the other to Chris Godwin to lead by one with 5:10 left in the contest (Tampa Bay missed on a pair of two-point conversions in the fourth). The Falcons would use all of the 5:10 that was left in the contest, using a 13-play, 56-yard drive, eating all of the clock and ending as Matt Bryant kicked a 37-yard field goals as the clock struck :00. This time, Atlanta outrushed Tampa Bay 109-92 and Ryan threw for 378 yards and a pair of TDs (including one to Julio Jones), while Winston threw for 345 yards with four TDs (two to Goodwin, two to Evans; each was sacked once and threw an interception). Atlanta was 6 for 13 on third down tries and ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 34:46 (including the final 5:10 of the contest), while Tampa Bay in keeping the ball for 25:14, went 4 for 10 on third down tries.

In the week six contest in Atlanta, the Falcons covered the 3-point spread, winning by 5 and both clubs covered the 58 over/under with 63 points. Tampa Bay was the favorite by 2 points in the season finale in the Sunshine State and Atlanta covered, winning the contest by 3 and both teams easily covered the 51 1/2 over/under with 66 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like Atlanta as 4 1/2-point favorites with a 52 over/under. History does have a way of repeating itself and that will favor Atlanta. Falcons prevail at home and cover the 4 1/2.

Denver (3-7) at Buffalo (7-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Old AFL foes Denver and Buffalo meet in upstate New York as the Bills, in the playoff hunt, host the struggling Denver Broncos.

The Broncos’ last second rally against Minnesota fell short as the Vikings prevailed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes last Sunday afternoon 27-23 at US Bank Stadium. Denver led 20-0 at the intermission, scoring those points unchecked before the Vikings went to work in the second half and scored 20 fourth quarter points of their own unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 6:01 left in the contest when WR Kyle Rudolph caught a 32-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins to lead 27-23. After the teams exchanged the ball, Denver got it back with 5:55 left in the contest and from their 40-yard line, drove themselves all the way to Minnesota’s 4-yard line where three Brock Allen passes fell incomplete, including the final try that came with 2 seconds left to play that would have given Denver the win.

Denver did outrush Minnesota 124-37 with Patrick Lindsay leading the way with 67 yards, while Allen threw for 240 yards and TD with a pair of sacks and an interception (Cousins, despite being sacked five times, threw for 319 yards with three TDs, including the game-winner to Rudolph with no interceptions). Denver went 5 for 18 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43 (including the final 5:55 of the contest), while the Vikings held on to the ball for 23:17, going 5 of 121 on third down (the Broncos were 4 of 4 on fourth down, while Minnesota was 2 of 2).

Buffalo completed the sweep of AFC East rival Miami, taking the Dolphins to task 37-20 at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday. Buffalo led 23-14 at the half, despite a 101-yard kickoff return by Jakee Grant. Josh Allen would give the Bills a 16-point lead at 30-14 as he would score on an 8-yard run with 6:55 left in the third before Miami’s Jakeem Grant scored on a 7-yard run early in the fourth before the Bills iced the game away with 10:38 left in the contest on a 9-yard TD pass from Allen to WR John Brown.

Buffalo rushed for 168 yards in the contest, holding Miami to a dismal season-low 23 yards, sacking Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (323 yards, no interceptions), while Allen threw for 256 yards with no sacks or interceptions. Buffalo went 5 of 14 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:09, while the Dolphins were 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 4 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 29:51.

Including contests that were played at War Memorial Stadium and Mile High Stadium, the Bills lead the series 20-16-1 and Buffalo has outscored Denver 881-811. They last met in upstate New York in 2017 and the Bills came away 26-16 victors, while Denver’s last win came in the Mile High City by a final of 24-17 in 2014. Buffalo’s favored by 4 in upstate New York and the over/under’s 37. Denver’s been struggling of late, while Buffalo has played some decent football. Bills circle the wagons in Orchard Park by taking the win and covering the 4.

New York Giants (2-8) at Chicago (4-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Struggling teams meet in the Windy City as the New York Giants make their way to Soldier Field for a contest with the Chicago Bears.

Da Bears could never get themselves on track in Los Angeles as the Monsters of the Midway fell to Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams 17-7 last SUnday night on the West Coast. After a scoreless first quarter on the West Coast, Greg Zuerlen (38-yard field goal) and Todd Gurley (1-yard TD run) would send the Rams to a 10-0 lead at the break. Chicago would pull themselves to within 3 with 7:10 left in the third when RB Tank Cohen and Trubisky connected on a 14-yard toss. Los Angeles would then restore order in the fourth quarter, with RB Malcom Brown scoring from 5 yards out to push the lead back to 10, then stopped a late Bears rally to seal the win at home.

The Rams outrushed Chicago 110-74, with Gurley leading all rushers with 97 yards and Jared Goff threw for 173 yards, while Trubisky (who left the game with an injury) threw for 190 yards and a sack (both threw interceptions). The defending NFC champs were 3 for 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:16, while Chicago ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:44 and went 6 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

Da Bears lead the series 28-21-2 (which includes games that took place at Yankee Stadium, Giants Stadium and Wrigley Field and have outscored the Giants 896-722. The Giants have come out on top in their last two contests, including last year’s meeting in the Meadowlands, where the Giants needed overtime to take a 30-27 win (Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2013 in the Windy City by a final of 27-21.

They met in week 13 at Met Life Stadium and Da Bears took a 14-10 lead with them into the half before the Giants rallied in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in the period unchallenged, using a TD pass from Odell Beckham Jr. to Sterling Shepherd, then Beckham and Eli Manning connecting on a 1-yard toss to lead 24-14 at the end of the third quarter. Chicago would eventually tie the contest as time expired in regulation when RB Tank Cohen and Anthony Miller connected on a 1-yard TD toss, evening things at 27-27.

The Giants got the ball to start the overtime and Manning engineered an 8-play, 49-yard drive that used 4:03 of clock and took the lead back on a 44-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas with 5:57 left in the extra period. Chicago got the ball back after a kickoff and made their way downfield, getting themselves in position to either tie the contest up with a field goal or win with a TD but Chase Daniel, who took over for Trubisky, was sacked for a 6-yard loss. Chicago then burned a time out and had one last chance to either extend the contest or end it. Chicago got neither, as Daniel’s pass to Taylor Gabriel was incomplete.

New York outrushed Da Bears 141-118, with Saquan Barkley leading all rushers with 125 (Jaquan Howard led Chicago with 76) and Manning threw for 170 yards with the TD toss to Beckham (Manning was sacked three times and threw an interception), while Daniel threw for 285 yards with five sacks and two interceptions. The Giants were 6 of 17 on third down (they perfect in their two fourth down tries) and including the overtime, kept the ball for 33:13, while Chicago held on to the ball for 33:58, going 2 of 15 on third down, 4 of 5 on fourth down.

Chicago was favored by 4 in the week 13 contest in the Meadowlands and while New York came away with the win, they did not cover, winning by only 3. The two clubs did take care of the 44 1/2 over/under, as they combined for 57 points. Chicago’s favored by 6 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 40 1/2. If you’re a fan of one of these teams, watch; otherwise, may we suggest the “Bar Rescue” marathon on Paramount Network. The Giants will actually keep this one close but Da Bears win at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon.

Pittsburgh (5-5) at Cincinnati (0-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They meet again. A pair of AFC North rivals face off against each other, this time meeting along the shores of the Ohio River as Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, both taking losses on the road, meet in a week four rematch at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cleveland managed to prevail over AFC North rival Pittsburgh 21-7 at First Energy Stadium Thursday night in a contest that was marred by a bench-clearing brawl late in the contest. The Browns took a 14-0 lead at the intermission as Baker Mayfield ran for a TD to open the scoring and Josh Landry catching a 1-yard toss from Mayfield, closing out the scoring in the half. Pittsburgh would break the shutout bid up as Mason Rudolph and WR RB Jaylen Samuels connected on a 3-yard TD pass in the third before the Browns restored order in the fourth, with Mayfield and rookie TE Stephen Carlson connected on an 8-yard TD toss to close out the scoring.

Later in the contest, with Cleveland having victory secured, Pittsburgh had the ball at their 11-yard with 1:40 left in the contest. The Steelers would get themselves as close as their 36-yard before Rudolph was sacked twice before completing an 11-yard pass to Trey Edmonnds. While that play was going on, Rudolph and Myles Garrett were involved in a scuffle, with Garrett pushing Rudolph to the ground. Rudolph then tried to take off Garrett’s helmet at which that time, things really got heated as Garrett took Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him, hitting him in the head. Rudolph’s teammates then came to his aid and there would be more pushing and shoving. When the dust finally settled, Garrett was ejected from the contest, along with Larry Ogunjobi and Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey.

Garrett would be suspended without pay indefinitely by the league – at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason – and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement. He was also fined an additional amount. As for Pouncey and Ogunjobi? Pouncey has been suspended without pay for three games and fined an additional amount for fighting, including punching and kicking an opponent. Ogunjobi has been suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation and the two clubs were both fined $250,000. (Cleveland’s Damarious Randall was already disqualified from the contest for a hit on Dioante Johnson in the third quarter)

Cleveland outrushed the Steelers 104-58, with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. Mayfield threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD (Mayfield was sacked once), while Rudolph threw for 221 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off four times. Cleveland, flagged eight times for 121 yards, went 6 of 16 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 33:56, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:04.

Oakland handed Cincinnati their 10th loss in a row, erasing a 7-0 first quarter deficit and coming away 17-10 winners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum last Sunday. Cincinnati scored first on a 3-yard run by RB Joe Mixon late in the first quarter before the Raiders responded in the second, as QB Derek Carr and TE Foster Moreau connected on a 2-yard run to even things up at 7-7. Carr then took matters into his own feet, scoring on a 3-yard romp with 97 seconds left before intermission to take the lead for good. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would put the Bengals to within 4 with a 40-yard field goal before Raiders K Daniel Carlson responded with a 20-yard field to push the lead back to seven. After a Raider punt with 1:54 left in the contest, Cincinnati had the ball for only two plays and their hopes of tying the contest ended when backup QB Ryan Finley was picked off by Trayvon Mullen.

Cincinnati outrushed Oakland 173-113 (Mixon led the Bengals with 86 yards, while Raiders RB Josh Jacobs led all rushers with 112 yards) and Carr threw for 292 yards and the TD to Moreau to go with his rushing TD (Carr was sacked three times and picked off once), while Finley threw for 115 with five sacks and the interception that ended the Bengals’ hopes. Oakland was 7 for 15 on third down tries (the Silver and Black was 1 for 1 on fourth down) and they would hold on to the ball for 35:22, while the winless Bengals kept the pigskin for 24:38, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They met in the Steel City in week four at Heinz Field and Cincinnati led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Bengals then watched as Pittsburgh scored the next 27 points of the contest unchallenged, taking a 27-3 win at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 10-3 at the intermission, then floored the gas in the second, taking control of the contest from that point onward. While Cincinnati did outrush the Steelers 73-33, Rudolph threw for 229 yards with a pair of TDs without a sack or interception, while Dalton threw for 171 yards and was sacked eight times and threw an interception. Pittsburgh was 3 of 9 on third down (the Steelers were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:46, while the Bengals actually ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:14, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on third down.

In the week four Monday night contest in the Steel City, the Steelers were favored by 4 and covered, winning by 24 at Heinz Field. The 44 over/under stayed safe, as the two teams merged for only 30 points. Pittsburgh’s favored by 7 in the rematch and the over/under’s 39. The Bengals are free-falling, as the Tom Petty song says and it’s not going to get any better. Pittsburgh wins on the road and covers the 7.

Miami (2-8) at Cleveland (4-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Miami makes its way to Cleveland to square off against the Browns.

The struggling Dolphins watched Buffalo complete the sweep of AFC East rival Miami, taking the Dolphins to task 37-20 at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday. While they trailed 23-14 at the half, Miami’s one bright spot came on a 101-yard kickoff return by Jakee Grant. Buffalo’s Josh Allen would give the Bills a 16-point lead at 30-14 as he would score on an 8-yard run with 6:55 left in the third before Miami’s Jakeem Grant scored on a 7-yard run early in the fourth before the Bills iced the game away with 10:38 left in the contest on a 9-yard TD pass from Allen to WR John Brown.

Buffalo rushed for 168 yards in the contest, holding Miami to a dismal season-low 23 yards, sacking Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (323 yards, no interceptions), while Allen threw for 256 yards with no sacks or interceptions. Buffalo went 5 of 14 on third down conversions (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:09, while the Dolphins were 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 4 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 29:51.

In a contest marred by three Cleveland ejections, the Browns managed to prevail over AFC North rival Pittsburgh 21-7 at First Energy Stadium Thursday night. The Browns took a 14-0 lead at the intermission as Baker Mayfield ran for a TD to open the scoring and Josh Landry catching a 1-yard toss from Mayfield, closing out the scoring in the half. Pittsburgh would break the shutout bid up as Mason Rudolph and WR RB Jaylen Samuels connected on a 3-yard TD pass in the third before the Browns restored order in the fourth, with Mayfield and rookie TE Stephen Carlson connected on an 8-yard TD toss to close out the scoring.

Later in the contest, with Cleveland having victory secured, Pittsburgh had the ball at their 11-yard with 1:40 left in the contest. The Steelers would get themselves as close as their 36-yard before Rudolph was sacked twice before completing an 11-yard pass to Trey Edmonnds. While that play was going on, Rudolph and Myles Garrett were involved in a scuffle, with Garrett pushing Rudolph to the ground. Rudolph then tried to take off Garrett’s helmet at which that time, things really got heated as Garrett took Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him, hitting him in the head. Rudolph’s teammates then came to his aid and there would be more pushing and shoving. When the dust finally settled, Garrett was ejected from the contest, along with Larry Ogunjobi and Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey.

Garrett would be suspended without pay indefinitely by the league – at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason – and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement. He was also fined an additional amount. As for Pouncey and Ogunjobi? Pouncey has been suspended without pay for three games and fined an additional amount for fighting, including punching and kicking an opponent. Ogunjobi has been suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation and the two clubs were both fined $250,000. (Cleveland’s Damarious Randall was already disqualified from the contest for a hit on Dioante Johnson in the third quarter)

Cleveland outrushed the Steelers 104-58, with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. Mayfield threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD (Mayfield was sacked once), while Rudolph threw for 221 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off four times. Cleveland, flagged eight times for 121 yards, went 6 of 16 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 33:56, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:04.

While Miami leads the series 9-8, the Browns have actually outscored the Dolphins 335-322. Miami has won the last two meetings with Cleveland, with the last win coming in 2016 in the Sunshine State as the Dolphins needed overtime to come away with the 30-24 win, while Cleveland’s last win in the series came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2011 by a final of 17-16. Cleveland’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 44. Take a pass on this one and shop for that Christmas tree. Miami will make it closer than 10 but Cleveland prevails along the shores of Lake Erie.

Carolina (5-5) at New Orleans (8-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. BBQ meets Gumbo. A pair of NFC South rivals square off in the Big Easy as the struggling Carolina Panthers make their way to New Orleans to face off against the Saints and Drew Brees.

The Panthers had trouble with NFC South rival Atlanta last Sunday in the Tar Heel State, as they were held to a fourth-quarter field to leave Charlotte with a 29-3 loss. After Atlanta’s Youngho Koo opened the scoring for the Falcons with a 38-yard field goal, the Falcons’ special teams went to work as KR Kenjon Barner returned a punt 78 yards for a TD with 59 seconds left in the first. In the process of picking up their second win in a row and second win in the NFC South, floored the gas in the contest, leading 20-0 at the half and took a 26-0 lead into the third quarter before Carolina broke Atlanta’s chance for a shutout on a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Slye early in the quarter.

Carolina did manage to outrush Atlanta 77-54 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading everyone with 70 of those yards. Matt Ryan threw for 311 yards and a TD toss to Calvin Ridley with no interceptions (he was sacked three times), while Kyle Allen threw for 325 yards with five sacks and four interceptions. Atlanta was 6 of 14 on third down at Bank of America Stadium but had success in their only fourth down try in the contest and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:26, while Carolina held on to the pigskin for 28:34 and went 2 of 14 on third down, 3 of 5 on fourth down.

New Orleans bounced back from their loss to Atlanta at home and left Tampa Bay with a 34-17 win in hand. The Saints led 20-7 at the intermission, then watched the Buccaneers pull themselves to within 10 with 82 seconds left in the third before restoring order in the fourth when Marcus Williams picked off Jameis Winston for a 55-yard interception return for a TD. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 109-36 and Brees threw for 228 yards and a TD, while Winston threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Brees was not sacked and did not throw an interception). New Orleans was 7 of 13 on third down at Raymond James Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 37 minutes, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 23 minutes, went 5 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Carolina holds a slim 25-23 lead in the series and the Panthers have outscored New Orleans 1,056-1,039. The two NFC North rivals met last year and split the two contests, each winning in the other team’s facility.

Meeting number one… week 15 in the Tar Heel State on a Monday night and the Saints came away 12-9 winners. Carolina led 7-6 at the intermission and took that lead with them to the fourth quarter before Brees and the Saints would take the lead for good with 12:12 left in the contest on a 16-yard run by Kamara. The Saints then went for two but the try for two failed as Carolina’s Dante Jackson returned the ball for 2 points for the Panthers. Caroline and New Orleans would trade punts after that and the Panthers would get the ball back with 1:44 left in hopes of taking the prime-time win but the drive stalled at their 39-yard line, where Newton’s 4th-down try went incomplete. New Orleans would then get the ball back and seal the win on the road.

New Orleans outrushed Carolina in the Monday night match-up 155-98 and Kamara led all rushers with 67 yards, while teammate Mark Ingram tallied 63 yards (Carolina was led by McCaffery with 53 yards) and Brees threw for 203 yards, while Newton threw for 131 yards (Brees was sacked twice, while Newton was sacked four times, with each throwing an interception). New Orleans went 4 of 13 on third down conversions (the Saints were perfect in their only fourth down try) and held on to the ball for 35:09, while the Panthers went 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 24:51.

The Panthers got their revenge in the Big Easy in the season finale, as the Saints rested most of their starters and Carolina would leave the Mercedes-Benz Superdome 33-14 winners. Carolina scored the first 23 points of the contest unchallenged and took a 23-0 lead with them to the half. Carolina took a 30-0 with them at the end of three quarters before the Saints broke Carolina’s bid for a shutout in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard TD toss from Teddy Bridgewater to WR Tre’Quan Smith with 13:28 left in the contest. Carolina’s Chris Catanzaro would then add a 51-yard field goal to pretty much sealed New Orleans’ fate.

New Orleans outrushed Carolina 184-111, with Saints RB Dwayne Washington leading the way with 108 yards in the contest. Bridgwater, taking over for Brees, threw for 118 yards and the TD toss (Bridgewater was sacked twice and threw an interception), while Allen, taking over for Newton, threw for 228 yards with a pair of TDs without a sack or interception. Carolina was 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:26 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down), while the Saints kept the ball for 26:34, going 4 of 10 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week 15 match-up in the Tar Heel State on a Monday night, while the Saints were favored by 6 1/2, they would wind up winning by only 3 and the over/under of 52 was intact, as the two teams combined for only 21 points. New Orleans was favored in the match-up in the Big Easy two weeks later as a 9-point favorite and Carolina would win by 19, easily covering the spread and the 47 combined points by the two teams covered the 45 over/under. The Saints are favored by 9 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both teams are smarting from losses to Atlanta in consecutive weeks and both would love to get themselves back on track in the NFC South. Carolina may not cover the 9 1/2 but they take the win in the Big Easy.

Seattle (8-2) at Philadelphia (5-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Grunge and Salmon meets cheesesteak as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks travel to the City of Brotherly Love for a meeting with Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Seattle knocked San Francisco out of the ranks of the undefeated, coming away 27-24 winners in overtime against their NFC West rivals. The 49ers led Seattle 10-7 at the half before the Seahawks took control of things in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in that frame unchallenged when Javeon Clowney recovered a fumble, returning it 10 yards for a TD and added a 1-yard run by Chris Carson for a 21-10 lead. San Francisco would storm back in the final 15 minutes of action in regulation and tied things up with one second left on a Chris McLaughlin field goal from 47 yards.

Seattle would get the ball in the overtime and made their way down the field in hopes of ending the contest with a TD but Russell Wilson was picked off by LB Dre Greenlaw, who ran the ball back to Seattle’s 49-yard line, ending the drive. The 49ers then had a chance to send their fans home happy but the football gods were not going the 49ers way, as the drive stalled and McLaughlin missed a 47-yard try that would have ended the contest.

The Seahawks got the ball back and San Francisco held them in check, forcing a Seattle punt. San Francisco could not do anything after three Jimmy Garapollo passes went incomplete. The 49ers punted the ball back to Seattle with 85 seconds left in the extra period and Seattle made sure the 49ers would never see the pigskin again, using a 7-play, 40-yard drive that took 85 seconds of clock and ended when Jason Myers connected on a 42-yard field goal to end the 49ers’ bid for a perfect season. Seattle outrushed San Francisco 147-87, with Carson leading all rushers with 89 yards and the TD. Wilson threw for 232 yards in the overtime contest, while Garapollo threw for 248 yards (both threw a TD, both were sacked five times and both threw an interception) in the Monday night affair. San Francisco went 6 for 15 on third down tries in Santa Clara (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:41, while Seattle kept the ball for 35:19, while going 7 for 15 on third down tries.

Philadelphia watched the defending Super Bowl champions erase a 10-9 lead at the half and came out of Lincoln Financial Field 17-10 winners last Sunday in Philadelphia. This time, it was not Tom Brady that threw a TD pass for the Patriots in the contest; instead, it was Julian Edelman throwing a 15-yard TD toss to WR Philip Dorsett with 10:49 left in the third quarter. The Pats then went for two and were successful, as RB James White carried the ball in for the two. That would be the only score in the second half and the Patriots would hold off a late Philadelphia rally in the closing seconds of the contest, as the Eagles got as close as their 42-yard line before Wentz’ last ditch pass fell incomplete.

The Eagles outrushed New England 81-74 and Brady threw for 216 yards with a sack, while Wentz threw for 214 yards and a TD to TD Dallas Goedert early in the second quarter (neither threw an interception). New England was 5 for 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:25, while Philadelphia went 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:35.

Seattle leads the series 9-7, the Seahawks have outscored the Eagles 347-296 and have won the last four contests, including a 24-10 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2017, while Philadelphia’s last win in the series also came in the Pacific Northwest, with the Eagles coming away 26-7 winners. Philly’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 49. While this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” this one is going to be entertaining. Eagles cover the 2 1/2 in the City of Brotherly Love and takes the win.

Oakland (6-4) at New York Jets (3-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC/AFL teams meet in upstate New Jersey as the Oakland Raiders make their way east to face off against the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium. Both clubs were winners in their Sunday games last week.

Oakland handed Cincinnati their 10th loss in a row, erasing a 7-0 first quarter deficit and coming away 17-10 winners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum last Sunday. Cincinnati scored first on a 3-yard run by RB Joe Mixon late in the first quarter before the Raiders responded in the second, as QB Derek Carr and TE Foster Moreau connected on a 2-yard run to even things up at 7-7. Carr then took matters into his own feet, scoring on a 3-yard romp with 97 seconds left before intermission to take the lead for good. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would put the Bengals to within 4 with a 40-yard field goal before Raiders K Daniel Carlson responded with a 20-yard field to push the lead back to seven. After a Raider punt with 1:54 left in the contest, Cincinnati had the ball for only two plays and their hopes of tying the contest ended when backup QB Ryan Finley was picked off by Trayvon Mullen.

Suprisingly, Cincinnati outrushed Oakland 173-113 (Mixon led the Bengals with 86 yards, while Raiders RB Josh Jacobs led all rushers with 112 yards) and Carr threw for 292 yards and the TD to Moreau to go with his rushing TD (Carr was sacked three times and picked off once), while Finley threw for 115 with five sacks and the interception that ended the Bengals’ hopes.
Oakland was 7 for 15 on third down tries (the Silver and Black was 1 for 1 on fourth down) and they would hold on to the ball for 35:22, while the winless Bengals kept the pigskin for 24:38, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

GangGreen made life somewhat miserable for Washington last Sunday in Landover, taking the Redskins 34-17 at Fed Ex Field. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led 20-3 at the intermission and never looked back, taking their second win in a two-week span. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw four TD passes in the first half as GangGreen led from start to finish. GangGreen outrushed Washington 115-54 and Darnold threw for 293 yards with the four TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception), while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (one to TE Jeremy Sprinkle) but was sacked six times and threw a pick. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 5 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:19, while the struggling Redskins were 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:41.

Including games that were played when the Jets were known as the Titans, games played at Shea Stadium, Giants Stadium and in Los Angeles, the Silver and Black lead the series 23-17-2, have outscored GangGreen 1,005-918 and have won the last two contests, including a 45-20 win on the West Coast in 2017, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!’ last win over the Raiders came in 2014 in the Meadowlands by a final of 19-14.

Sunday’s Raiders/Jets contest marks the 51st anniversary of “The Heidi Game or Heidi Bowl.” Played on November 17th, 1969, the game was notable for its exciting finish, in which Oakland scored two touchdowns in the final minute to win the game 43–32 but got its name for a decision by the game’s television broadcaster, NBC, to break away from its coverage of the game on the East Coast to broadcast the television film Heidi, causing many viewers to miss the Raiders’ comeback.

A high-scoring contest, together with a number of injuries and penalties for the two bitter AFL rivals, caused the game to run long. NBC executives had originally ordered that Heidi begin at 7 p.m. Eastern but then decided to allow the game to air to its conclusion. However, communicating this revised plan to the technicians running NBC’s master control proved impossible — as 7 p.m. approached, NBC’s switchboards were jammed by viewers phoning to inquire about the night’s schedule, preventing the planned change from being communicated. Heidi began as scheduled, preempting the final moments of the game and the two Oakland touchdowns in the eastern half of the country, to the outrage of viewers.

Response to the pre-emption by viewers and other critics was negative; the family members of several Jets players were unaware of the game’s actual conclusion, while NBC received further criticism for its poor timing in displaying the final score of the game during the Heidi movie. NBC’s president Julian Goodman formally apologized for the incident. The Jets and Raiders met again in the AFL Championship Game, with the Jets winning 27–23. They later defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

In the aftermath of the incident, NBC installed special “Heidi phones”, with a connection to a different telephone exchange from other network phones, to ensure that network personnel could communicate under similar circumstances. The game also had an influence on sports broadcasting practices; the future National Football League would contractually stipulate that all game telecasts be shown to their conclusion in the markets of the visiting team, while other major leagues and events adopted similar mandates. In 1997, the Heidi Game was voted the most memorable regular season game in pro football history. The Raiders would go on to win that contest 43-32 at Shea Stadium that afternoon.

In the modern-day “Heidi,” game, the Raiders are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46. For GangGreen, it’s been a somewhat dismal season and they would love nothing more than taking care of the Raiders in their building. They’ll get that chance this Sunday. GangGreen covers the 3 and wins in upstate New Jersey.

Detroit (3-6-1) at Washington (1-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s a pair of NFC teams struggling to get out of the cellars of their respective divisions as Detroit makes its way to Landover to face off against the struggling Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field. Both teams took losses at home in last week’s action.

Washington last Sunday in Landover against the New York Jets last Sunday, as the Jets would wind up taking the Redskins 34-17 at Fed Ex Field. Washington trailed 20-3 at the intermission and could never get themselves on track in the contest. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw four TD passes in the first half as GangGreen led from start to finish. GangGreen outrushed Washington 115-54 and Darnold threw for 293 yards with the four TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception), while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (one to TE Jeremy Sprinkle) but was sacked six times and threw a pick. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 5 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:19, while the struggling Redskins were 6 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:41.

A late Detroit Dallasrally at Ford Field last fell short last Sunday against Dallas, as it would be the Cowboys taming the Lions 35-27 last Sunday. Detroit led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before Dallas would wind up taking control and a 24-14 lead with them to the intermission. Detroit would make it a three-point game with 9:15 left in the third when Lions backup QB Josh Driskel (who took over for Matthew Stafford) and WR Marvin Jones connected on an 11-yard TD toss. A Brett Maher field late in the third and a Prescott TD toss to RB Ezekiel Elliott in the fourth all but sealed Detroit’s fate. Jones and Driskell would connect again with 5:49 left in the contest to make it an 8-point contest (the Lions went for a 2-point conversion and failed).

Detroit outrushed Dallas 121-75 and Prescott threw for 444 yards with three TDs with one sack, while Driskel threw for 209 yards with a pair of TDs and three sacks (neither threw an interception). Dallas went 8 for 14 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:54, while the Lions kept the pigskin for 29:06, going 6 of 13 on third down.

The Redskins lead the series 27-14 (which includes contests that were played when the Lions were in Portsmouth and known as the Spartans) and have outscored Detroit 871-675. However…. the Lions have come away with wins in their last four meetings, including a 20-17 win in 2016 in the Motor City, while the Redskins’ last win also came in Detroit by a final of 25-17 in 2008. Detroit’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 42. Washington fans have been singing “Hell, it’s the Redskins” a lot this year. They’ll be singing it again this week. If for some reason you choose to take a pass on this one, we’ll understand. Detroit wins in Landover, although Washington could make this one closer than the 3 1/2.

Jacksonville (4-6) at Tennessee (5-5), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. They’re both trying to catch Houston in the AFC South. Jacksonville and Tennessee meet in Nashville in a late-afternoon week three rematch. The Jaguars are looking to right their ship after a loss last week, while the Titans are coming back from their bye week.

Jacksonville could never get themselves on track in Indianapolis as they fell to Jacoby Brissett and the Colts 33-13 at Lucas Oil Stadium. After Jacksonville’s D.J. Chark gave them a 7-0 lead in the first, the Colts evened things up with 35 seconds left in the quarter on a 13-yard run by RB Marlon Mack. Indianapolis then broke the tie on a 34-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri to take a 10-3 lead with them to the intermission, then scored 14 third quarter points unchallenged and added a 7-yard TD run by Nyheim Hines to widen the deficit. Jacksonville would score again late in the contest when Chark scored on a 20-yard TD toss from Nick Foles but the Colts then proceeded to add insult to injury when rookie LB Bobby Okereke scored on a defensive 2-point conversion to close things out.

The Colts rushed for 264 yards in the win, with Jonathan Williams (116 yards) and Mack (109 yards) leading the way, while Indianapolis held Jacksonville to a dismal season-low 29 yards. Brissett returned to the lineup, throwing for 148 yards with a TD toss to Marcus Johnson and had a rushing TD of his own, while Foles threw for 296 yards and the two TDs to Chark but was sacked twice and Brissett was sacked three times (both men threw an interception). The Colts went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 33:52, while Jacksonville, keeping the ball for 26:08, went 6 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Tennessee stopped a Kansas City rally in Nashville two weeks ago to come away 35-32 winners over the Chiefs. The Chiefs had a chance to send their contest with Tennessee into overtime last Sunday in Nashville but Harrison Butker’s 52-yard attempt as time expired was blocked by Titans DB Joshua Kalu to end the threat. Tennessee and Kansas City went into the intermission tied at 13-13 before the Chiefs took a 32-27 lead when Butker connected on a 39-yard field goal with 3:14 left in the contest. Tennessee did not waste a lot of time on their drive to reclaim the lead, getting the ball back with 81 seconds after a Chiefs’ field goal try failed, using 4 plays, 61 yards and 58 seconds to reclaim the lead when WR Adam Humphries and Ryan Tannehill connected on a 23-yard TD toss. Tannehill then took matters into his own feet when he scored on the two-point conversion.

The Chiefs were not going away and got the ball back with 23 seconds left in the contest and made their way down the field, getting as close as Tennessee’s 34-yard and stayed there after Mahomes threw an incomplete pass, setting the Chiefs up for what they hoped would be the score that would have sent the contest into overtime. Chiefs fans would get their hearts broken as Kalu broke through the line, blocked the kick and ended the Chiefs threat.

Tennessee’s Derrek Henry led all rushers with 188 yards and a pair of TDs as the Titans outrushed Kansas City 225-97 and Mahomes threw for 446 and three TDs (connecting with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on two of the passes), while Tannehill threw for 181 yards and a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) to go with his two-point try (neither threw an interception; Mahomes was sacked twice, while Tannehill was sacked four times). Kansas City was 7 of 14 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:51, including the final 23 seconds of the game, while the Titans, keeping the ball for 22:09, went 2 of 8 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

They met in the Sunshine State in week three and Jacksonville took care of business at TIAA Stadium, coming away 20-7 winners. Jacksonville took a 14-0 lead with them to the intermission and led 17-0 at the end of three quarters before Tennessee dented the scoreboard in the fourth on a 1-yard run by Henry early in the fourth. Tennessee did outrush Jacksonville 91-88 (Fournette led all rushers with 66 yards) and Gardner Mihshew threw for 204 yards with a pair of TDs, while Marcus Mariota threw for 304 yards without a TD or interception but was sacked nine times. Jacksonville was 2 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 24:44, while the Titans actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:16, while going 8 of 17 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Tennessee was favored by 1 1/2 in the week three contest in the Sunshine State on a Thursday night and the Jaguars handled things, covering the spread with their 13-point win. The 39 over/under stayed safe, as both clubs merged for only 27 points. Tennessee’s favored again, this time by 3 with a 41 1/2 over/under. The Titans are looking to even the series and get some revenge, while the Jaguars are looking for the sweep and let Tennessee know that the first meeting was not a fluke. Jacksonville completes the sweep, taking the win on the road and covering the 3.

Dallas (6-4) at New England (9-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of first place teams meet in a late afternoon contest in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium. Both teams were winners on the road in last week’s action.

Dallas held off a late Detroit rally at Ford Field last Sunday, taming the Lions 35-27 last Sunday. The Cowboys trailed 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before taking a 24-14 lead with them to the intermission. Detroit would make it a three-point game with 9:15 left in the third when Lions backup QB Josh Driskel (who took over for Matthew Stafford) and WR Marvin Jones connected on an 11-yard TD toss. A Brett Maher field late in the third and a Prescott TD toss to RB Ezekiel Elliott in the fourth all but sealed Detroit’s fate. Jones and Driskell would connect again with 5:49 left in the contest to make it an 8-point contest (the Lions went for a 2-point conversion and failed).

Detroit outrushed Dallas 121-75 and Prescott threw for 444 yards with three TDs with one sack, while Driskel threw for 209 yards with a pair of TDs and three sacks (neither threw an interception). Dallas went 8 for 14 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:54, while the Lions kept the pigskin for 29:06, going 6 of 13 on third down.

The defending Super Bowl champions erased a 10-9 lead at the half and came out of Lincoln Financial Field 17-10 winners last Sunday in Philadelphia. This time, it was not Brady that threw a TD pass for the Patriots in the contest; instead, it was Julian Edelman throwing a 15-yard TD toss to WR Philip Dorsett with 10:49 left in the third quarter. The Pats then went for two and were successful, as RB James White carried the ball in for the two. That would be the only score in the second half and the Patriots would hold off a late Philadelphia rally in the closing seconds of the contest, as the Eagles got as close as their 42-yard line before Wentz’ last ditch pass fell incomplete.

The Eagles outrushed New England 81-74 and Brady threw for 216 yards with a sack, while Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz threw for 214 yards and a TD to TD Dallas Goedert early in the second quarter (neither threw an interception). New England was 5 for 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:25, while Philadelphia went 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:35.

While Dallas holds a 7-5 lead in the series, the Patriots have outscored Dallas 246-240 and have won the last five meetings, including leaving the Lone Star State 30-6 winners in 2015, while Dallas’ last win in the series came all the way back in 1996 in Irving by a final of 12-6. New England’s favored by 6 1/2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 45. New England prevails in this one, even though you can expect Dallas to make it closer than the 6 1/2.

Green Bay (8-2) at San Francisco (9-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. First place teams with Super Bowl trophies to their credit. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers travel to wine country for a prime-time show down with San Francsico at Levis Stadium. Green Bay is coming off a bye from their last contest at home, while the 49ers rallied to sweep NFC West rival Arizona last Sunday.

Green Bay held off a late rally at snowy Lambeau Field fell short by Carolina as Rodgers and Green Bay held off Carolina 24-16 two Sundays ago. Green Bay used a pair of Aaron Jones TDs in the first 30 minutes of play to take a 14-10 lead, then the Panthers stopped a late Green Bay rally in the closing seconds of the first half, as Greg McCoy stopped Packers RB Jaamal Williams short of the goal line to close things out.

The Packers would score 10 more points in the third quarter unchallenged on Jones’ third TD of the day and a Mason Crosby field goal before the Panthers would pull themselves to within eight with 11:58 left in the contest when Christan McCaffrey scored on a 3-yard run. Carolina then went for two in hopes of making their defict six but Kyle Allen’s try was incomplete. Green Bay would later punt the ball back to Carolina, who took the ball at their 11-yard line. They would make their way down the field and using a pair of Green Bay penalties, had four tries inside the 5-yard line.

Three incomplete passes later, the Panthers decided that the best course of action would be to use McCaffery, who got as close as the goal line but did not break the plane. The play was reviewed by replay and the ruling on the field became the law of the land. Green Bay outrushed Carolina 163-120 and McCaffrey led all rushers with 108 yards (Jones led Green Bay with 93 yards) and Allen threw for 307 yards and three sacks and an interception to go with the TD toss, while Rodgers threw for 233 yards and a pair of sacks but no interceptions. Carolina was 4 of 10 on third down (they were 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 28:38, including the final 2:25 of the contest, while the Packers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:22, going 4 of 9 on third down conversions.

After their loss to Seattle on Monday night that knocked them out of the ranks of the unbeatens, the 49ers rallied in the second half against Arizona last Sunday to come away 36-26 winners at Levis’ Stadium. The Desert Angry Birds led 16-10 at the intermission before San Francisco got themselves off the deck in the second half, outscoring Arizona 26-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. San Francisco got a pair of TDs late in the fourth quarter, first Jimmy Garappolo connecting with RB Jeff Wilson on a 25-yard TD with 31 seconds left in the contest and DB D.J. Reed Jr. closing out the contest on a 4-yard scoop and score as time expired. While Arizona outrushed the 49ers 135-34, Garappolo burned Arizona for 424 yards and four TDs, including the game-winner (Garappolo was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Arizona QB Kyler Murray threw for 150 yards with a pair of TD tosses and had a rushing TD of his own (Murray was sacked four times). San Francisco was 6 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 28:37, while the Desert Angry Birds actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:23, going 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Green Bay leads the series 32-27-1 (including games played in Milwaukee, Keezar Stadium and Candlestick Park), have outscored the 49ers 1,243-1,233 and have won the last two contests, including taking a 33-30 win last year at Lambeau Field (San Francisco’s last win in the series came in 2013 at Candlestick by a final of 34-28).

They met at Lambeau Field on a Monday night in week six and Green Bay trailed 24-20 at the intermission before taking control of things, tying the contest up at 30-30 with 1:55 left in regulation when Rodgers and WR Davante Adams connected on a 16-yard TD toss. San Francisco would get the ball back but C.J. Beathard’s pass late in the quarter was picked off by Kevin King with 65 seconds left. The Packers would use all 65 seconds left in the contest, using 10 plays and 81 yards, ending the drive and game on a 27-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to give the Packers the come-from-behind win. San Francisco outrushed Green Bay 174-116 and Rodgers threw for 425 yards and a pair of TDs to Adams (including the one that tied the contest) with three sacks and no interceptions, while Beathard threw for 245 yards wtih a pair of TDs to Marquise Goodwin with a pair of sacks and an interception. Green Bay went 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 31:08 (including the final 65 seconds of the game), while the 49ers held the ball for 28:52, going 2 of 9 on third down.

In the week six Monday night contest in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, Green Bay was favored by 8 1/2 but won by only 3 but both clubs managed to cover the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 63 points. This time, the 49ers are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46. Because both teams are in first and both could very well meet in the post-season, this one’s going to be “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

There’s a really good chance these clubs could make the post-season and meet. The winner has a clear shot of being the number one seed in the post-season; as for the loser, they’re not out of the post-season picture but will have to work a little harder to get that one seed. Green Bay pulls the upset in Santa Clara and could cover the 3.

Baltimore (8-2) at Los Angeles Rams (6-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 12 concludes in Los Angeles as Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens make their way westward to face off against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams were winners at home in last Sunday’s contests.

The Ravens and Jackson took control of Houston Sunday afternoon in Charm City, manhandling the Texans 41-7. After a scoreless first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens took a 14-0 lead with them to the break and scored 13 more points in the third quarter unchallenged as they would lead 27-0 after three quarters of play. Houston ended Baltimore’s bid for a shutout when RB Carlos Hyde scored from a yard away early in the fourth quarter. Baltimore outrushed the Texans 263-122 and Hyde led the Texans with 65 yards while Baltimore’s Gus Edwards led all rushers with 112 yards and a TD. Jackson burned Houston for 222 yards with four TDs and a sack and no interceptions, while DeShaun Watson threw for 169 yards with an interception and six sacks. Houston went 2 of 10 on third down tries (they were 1 of 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:41, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 36:19, going 5 for 9 on thrid down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Rams shined in prime time Sunday night in Los Angeles, taking Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears to task 17-7 at the Coliseum. After a scoreless first quarter on the West Coast, Greg Zuerlen (38-yard field goal) and Todd Gurley (1-yard TD run) would send the Rams to a 10-0 lead at the break. Chicago would pull themselves to within 3 with 7:10 left in the third when RB Tank Cohen and Trubisky connected on a 14-yard toss. Los Angeles would then restore order in the fourth quarter, with RB Malcom Brown scoring from 5 yards out to push the lead back to 10, then stopped a late Bears rally to seal the win at home.

The Rams outrushed Chicago 110-74, with Gurley leading all rushers with 97 yards and Jared Goff threw for 173 yards, while Trubisky (who left the game with an injury) threw for 190 yards and a sack (both threw interceptions). The defending NFC champs were 3 for 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:16, while Chicago ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:44 and went 6 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

The Ravens lead the series 4-2, have outscored the Rams 144-114 and have won the last three contests, including coming away 16-13 winners in Charm City in 2015, while the Rams’ last win came in 2003 in St. Louis by a final of 33-22.

The Ravens on Monday night? 14-12 and they won their lone meeting last year. The Rams? 10-14, with Los Angeles playing twice on Monday night last year and taking losses in both contests. Baltimore’s favored by 3 on the West Coast and the over/under’s 46 1/2. You might want to tape “All Rise,” “Dancing With The Stars” and “Bull” this week. Los Angeles closes out week 12 with the win on the West Coast and covers the 3.

Week two of the 2018 NFL season is in the books. Buffalo, Baltimore, Kansas City, New England, Dallas, Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams remain with unblemished records after two games. For those teams that have evened their records or looking for that first win, there’s still time. After all, the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Nine teams – Baltimore, Buffalo, Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams, New England, San Francisco and Seattle – improved to 2-0 on Sunday, the first time since 2015 at least nine teams have begun the season 2-0.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 120 yards in the Ravens’ 23-17 win over Arizona. He is the first player with at least 250 passing yards and 120 rushing yards in a single game in NFL history.

Jackson, who had 119 rushing yards in Week 11 of the 2018 season, is the fourth quarterback since 1970 with two career games of at least 115 rushing yards, joining Michael Vick (six games), Randall Cunningham (two) and Bobby Douglas (two).

Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray passed for 349 yards in the loss. Murray, who threw for 308 yards in his first career start in Week 1, joins Cam Newton (2011) as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in each of their first two career games in NFL history

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 443 yards and four touchdowns with a 131.2 rating in the Chiefs’ 28-10 win at Oakland.

Through the first two weeks, Mahomes has four touchdown passes of at least 40 yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Otto Graham (four in 1952) and Joe Namath (four in 1972), as well as Ryan Fitzpatrick (four in 2018) as the only quarterbacks to record at least four touchdown passes of 40-or-more yards in their teams’ first two games of a season in NFL history.

Mahomes, who has played in 19 career games, recorded his sixth game with at least 300 passing yards and four touchdowns, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino (five games) and Kurt Warner (five) for the most games with at least 300 yards and four passing touchdowns in a player’s first 40 career games in NFL history.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 300 yards and three touchdowns with a 131.0 passer rating in the Seahawks’ 28-26 win at Pittsburgh.

Wilson, who has 201 touchdown passes in 114 career games, surpassed Tom Brady (116 games) as the fifth-fastest player to reach 200 career passing touchdowns in NFL history.

Pittsburgh wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had 84 receiving yards in the loss. At 22 years and 297 days old, Smith-Schuster, who has 2,505 career receiving yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (22 years, 310 days) as the youngest player to reach 2,500 career receiving yards in NFL history.

New England recorded a 43-0 victory at Miami in Week 2 after defeating Pittsburgh, 33-3, in Week 1.

The Patriots, who have a +73 point differential through their first two games, are the fourth team in the Super Bowl era with a +70 point differential through their first two games, joining the 1967 Oakland Raiders (+79), 1970 Detroit Lions (+75) and 1975 Washington Redskins (+74).

Additionally, New England became the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to allow three points or fewer through their first two games, joining the 1970 Detroit Lions, 1976 Houston Oilers and 1981 Buffalo Bills.

With a receiving touchdown on Sunday, Patriots running back James White recorded his 20th career touchdown catch and joined Chuck Foreman (23 receiving touchdowns) and Brian Westbrook (23) as the only running backs with at least 20 touchdown receptions in their first six seasons in NFL history.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen passed for 253 yards and one touchdown and rushed for a touchdown in the Bills’ 28-14 win at the New York Giants.

Allen, who has 10 rushing touchdowns in 14 career games, is the second-fastest quarterback to reach 10 career rushing touchdowns in NFL history, trailing only Cam Newton (11 games).

Buffalo, who defeated the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in Week 1, are the fifth team since 1950 to win consecutive road games at the same stadium, joining the 1987 Dallas Cowboys, 1999 Washington Redskins, 2003 Dallas Cowboys and 2006 Chicago Bears.

Dallas tight end Jason Witten registered his 70th career touchdown reception in the Cowboys’ 31-21 victory at Washington.

Witten is the fifth tight end in NFL history with at least 70 career touchdown receptions, joining Antonio Gates (116 touchdown catches), Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (111), Rob Gronkowski (79) and Jimmy Graham (72).

Washington running back Adrian Peterson recorded his 107th career rushing touchdown in the loss, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (106 rushing touchdowns) for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK THREE

COMEBACKS ARE EN VOGUE: The season’s first two weeks have proven that insurance points are important. Fans, coaches and players, if your team is down, help yourself to a slice of hope. In 32 games to date, 11 have featured a team coming from behind in the second half to win, including seven teams that trailed at halftime. Six of those games have seen a team win after erasing a fourth-quarter deficit. The Seattle Seahawks have overcome a second-half deficit in each of their two victories. And those numbers don’t include the exciting Week 1 comebacks by the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals, who sent their respective games to overtime. Eight games have had teams come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter.

MILESTONE FRANCHISE WINS: Three clubs can reach milestone victories in their franchise histories this week. Both Denver and Minnesota can record their 500th wins, including postseason. Among the original eight franchises that launched the American Football League in 1960, Denver would become the second to reach 500 wins, as only the Boston/New England Patriots (539) have eclipsed that landmark. The Carolina Panthers, who began in 1995, bid for the 200th win in franchise history, including postseason.

PROLIFIC POINT DIFFERENTIAL: New England enters Week 3 having outscored opponents by 73 points, 76-3. With a point-differential of at least 24 points this week, their season-opening point-differential would reach comparisons to teams as old as the NFL itself. Defensively speaking, should the Patriots allow nine or fewer points, they’d also establish the fewest points allowed over a season’s initial three games in the Super Bowl era.

The highest point-differentials by a team through a season’s first three games in NFL history:

TEAM – SEASON (POINTS SCORED/POINTS ALLOWED, POINT DIFF)
Rock Island Independents – 1920 (119/0, +119)
Buffalo All-Americans – 1921 (110/0, +110
Dallas Cowboys – 1968 (132/33, +99)
Buffalo All-Americans – 1920 (111/13, +98)
Canton Bulldogs – 1920 (97/0, +97)

The fewest points allowed through a season’s first three games during the Super Bowl era (1966-present):

TEAM (SEASON – POINTS ALLOWED, SEASON RESULT)
Denver (2009 – 16, Missed playoffs
Indianapolis (2005 – 16, AFC Divisional playoffs)
Seattle (2004 – 13, NFC Wild Card playoffs)
Green Bay (2001 – 13, NFC Divisional playoffs)
Philadelphia (1980 – 16, Lost Super Bowl XV)

TOUCHDOWN MAKER: Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield needs a touchdown pass on Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams to reach historic company. He enters the week having thrown for a touchdown in each of his first 15 NFL starts, tied with Brad Johnson for the second-longest streak to begin a career (since at least 1950). Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner authored a longer career-opening streak, throwing for a touchdown in his first 23 NFL starts.

SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE: In the Super Bowl era, only two players over the first two games of a season have started with at least seven TD passes, no interceptions and a completion percentage of 70 or higher. Those two players, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, meet on Sunday. With three more TD passes and no interceptions against the Ravens, Mahomes can join even more elite company.

The players with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in each of their team’s first three games to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2010)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2019)*
*Entering Week 3

PRESCOTT EYES HISTORIC FOURTH STRAIGHT START: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has picked up where he left off last season and has authored two impressive efforts to lead the Cowboys to a 2-0 start. This week at home vs. Miami in the NFL100 Game of the Week, Prescott can do something only two players have ever done: Record at least four consecutive games with three-plus touchdown passes and a 120-or-better passer rating.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 120 or higher in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON(S) – GAMES WITH 3+ TD PASSES & 120+ RATING)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2015 – 5)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2018 – 4)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2018-19 – 3)*
*Active streak

RIVERS REMAINS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (55,282) last week became just the eighth player in NFL history to reach 55,000 career passing yards. This week, he can climb another prestigious list in NFL history. With 300 yards passing at home vs. Houston, Rivers (63) will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (63) for sole possession of fourth on the NFL’s all-time list of 300-yard passing games, trailing only Drew Brees (116), Peyton Manning (93) and TomBrady (88).

MILESTONE COACHING WINS: Kansas City head coach Andy Reid this week leads the Chiefs into their home-opener against 2-0 Baltimore Sunday. Reid (209-138-1) needs a victory to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Noll(209-156-1) for sole possession of sixth place on the NFL’s all-time wins list, including postseason.

The most wins by an NFL head coach, all-time, including postseason:

RK. COACH, TEAM(S) (W-L-T, PCT.)

1. Don Shula, Baltimore Colts and Miami (347-173-6, .666), HOF)
2. George Halas, Chicago Bears (324-151, 31, HOF)
3. Bill Belichick, Cleveland and New England Patriots (294-134-0, .687)#
4.Tom Landry, Dallas (270-178-6, .603) HOF
5. Earl (Curly) Lambeau, Green Bay, Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins (229-134-22, .631, HOF)
6. Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh (209-156-1, .572, HOF)
7. Andy Reid, Philadelphia and Kansas City (209-138-1, 602)#
8. Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington and San Diego (205-139-1, .596)
9. Dan Reeves, Denver, New York Giants and ATLANTA (201-174-2, .536)
10. Chuck Knox, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo and Seattle (193-158-1, .550)

#Active
*From 1920-71, tie games were not included in winning percentage.

Last week, Seattle’s Pete Carroll earned his 100th win with the Seahawks and became just the fifth active head coach to achieve that mark with his current club. He joined Bill Belichick (257 with New England), Mike Tomlin (133 with Pittsburgh), Sean Payton (127 with New Orleans) and John Harbaugh (116 with Baltimore).

Finally, Oakland’s Jon Gruden has an opportunity Sunday to improve his regular-season record against Minnesota to 5-0 and become just the second active head coach with an undefeated record against a single opponent (minimum five games). Over his career, Andy Reid has a 7-0 mark against Cleveland.

The best regular-season records among active head coaches against a single opponent, minimum five games:

COACH – TEAM(S); OPPONENT (W-L-T, PCT.)
Andy Reid – Philadelphia and Kansas City; Cleveland (7-0-0, 1.000)
Bill Belichick – Cleveland and New England; Houston Texas (8-1-0, .889)
Bill Belichick – Cleveland, New England; Oakland (7-1-0, .875)
John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens; Miami (7-1-0, 875)
John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens; Cleveland (19-3-0, .864)

RARIFIED AIR: Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (1,316) needs 10 receptions on Sunday against Carolina to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez for second on the NFL’s all-time list of career receptions. Fitzgerald also owns the league’s longest active streak of games with a reception (229).

The players with the most career receptions in NFL history:

RK. PLAYER – TEAM(S)(SEASONS; RECEPTIONS)
1. Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (1985-2004; 1,549, HOF)
2. Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and ATLANTA (1997-2013; 1,325, HOF)
3. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (2004-10; 1,316)#
4. Jason Witten – Dallas (2003-19; 1,159)#
5. Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (1996-2008; 1,102, HOF)
6. Cris Carter – Minnesota, Philadelphia and Miami (1987-2002; 1,101, HOF)
7. Tim Brown – Oakland and Tampa Bay (1988-2004; 1,094, HOF)
8 . Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati (1996-2010; 1,078; HOF)
9. Anquan Boldin – Arizona, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco and Detroit (2003-16; 1,076)
10. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis (2001-14; 1,070)
#Active

DEFENSIVE STALWARTS & THE CENTURY MARK: Three players entered this season nearing their 100th career sacks. Tennessee’s Cameron Wake, who now owns 100.5 sacks, was the first to reach the mark in Week 1. Denver’s Von Miller (98) needs just two more and Houston’s J.J. Watt (92) stands eight away. Arizona’s Terrell Suggs (134.5) leads all active players, while Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan (85.5), the Los Angeles Rams’ Clay Matthews (85.5) and Jacksonville’s Calais Campbell (81.5) also are within striking distance of the 100 mark this season.

SAQUON WITHIN SIGHT OF 2,500: New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (18 games) stands just 198 scrimmage yards from the 2,500 plateau, and he could become among the fastest in NFL history to get there. Barkley enters the week with 2,302 scrimmage yards (1,534 rushing, 768 receiving). Barkley also needs at least 100 scrimmage yards in the Giants’ game at Tampa Bay to match the NFL’s most games of 100-plus scrimmage yards over a player’s first 20 games (Edgerrin James, 16 games) – and Barkley has played only 18 games entering this week.

The players to reach 2,500 scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES)

Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (19, HOF)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (19)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (20)
Ottis Anderson, St. Louis Cardinals (21)
Billy Sims, Detroit (21)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (18)*
*Has 2,302 scrimmage yards

The players with the most games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in their first 20 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (1999-2000, 16)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (2018-19, 15)*
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983-84, 15; HOF)
*In 18 career games

COMPLIMENTS TO THE COOK: Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is off to a resounding start this season. When Minnesota hosts Oakland on Sunday, Cook can continue his climb up a prestigious chart in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 110 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, GAMES WITH 110+ RUSH YARDS & RUSH TD)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1958, 6; HOF)
O.J. Simpson Buffalo (1975, 5; HOF)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995, 4; HOF)
Curtis Martin, New York Jets (2004, 3; HOF)
Dalvin Cook (Minnesota 2019, 2)*
*Entering Week 3

HARD TO KEEP UP WITH THIS JONES: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones stands just 132 receiving yards from 11,000 during his career. Over his first 113 NFL games, he’s established a blistering pace and could shatter the record for fastest player to 11,000 receiving yards in NFL history when the Falcons travel to Indianapolis Sunday. And with triple-digit receiving yards Sunday, Jones would notch his 51st career 100-yard receiving game, which would tie Andre Johnson, Steve Smith and Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens for fourth in NFL annals.

The players to reach 11,000 career receiving yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (127)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (129)
Torry Holt, St. Louis (131)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (133, HOF)
Andre Johnson, Houston (136)
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (113)*
*Has 10,868 receiving yards

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

PLAYER – GAMES WITH 100+ RECEIVING YARDS

Jerry Rice – 76 (HOF)
Randy Moss – 54 (HOF)
Marvin Harrison – 59 (HOF)
Andre Johnson – 51
Terrell Owens – 51 (HOF)
Steve Smith – 51
Julio Jones – 50

NO DOUBTING MICHAEL THOMAS: New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS is expected to play his 50th NFL game on Sunday when the Saints travel to Seattle. With 1 receiving yard in his 50th game, Thomas would join Odell Beckham Jr. and Anquan Boldin as the only players in NFL history with at least 300 catches and 4,000 receiving yards in their first 50 games.

The players with at least 300 receptions and 4,000 receiving yards in their first 50 games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (RECEPTIONS/RECEIVING YARDS)
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (337/4,695)
Anquan Boldin, Arizona (314/4,150)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (341/3,999)*#

*In 49 career games

#Most receptions by a player in his first 50 career games

Last week was much better than week one. For the week, 8 and 8. For the season, 15 and 17. There’s still a lot of time left in the 2019 season. There’s a lot of football left between now and the Super Bowl. Week three began in Jacksonville on Thursday night as the Jaguars took care of Tennessee and ends in Landover when Washington hosts Da Bears on Monday night. Having said all of that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week three.

ATLANTA (1-1) at Indianapolis (1-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Sunday action in week three opens in the Hoosier State as a pair of teams that evened their records meet at Lucas Oil Stadium when Jacoby Brissett and Indianapolis welcomes Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta trailed Philadelphia late in their contest, rallied to reclaim the lead, then held off a late Eagles rally in the final minutes of their contest last Sunday night in the Big Peach and came away with the 24-20 win over the Eagles. Atlanta led 10-6 at the half and took a 17-6 lead with them to the third quarter before Carson Wentz and the Eagles would take their only lead of the game with 3:13 left, as he scored from a yard out to take a 20-17 lead. That lead would not last very long, as Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 54-yard strike as part of a 6-play, 75-yard drive that used only 63 seconds of clock to reclaim the lead for good. Atlanta would then hold off the Eagles, run out the clock themselves and take the win at home.

Atlanta outrushed Philadelphia 57-49 and Ryan threw for 320 yards with three TDs (two to Jones, including the game-winner and one to Calvin Ridley) and three interceptions, while Wentz threw for 231 yards with a TD to Nelson Agholor with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Atlanta was 3 of 10 on third down at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:06, while the Eagles ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 32:54 and went 9 of 18 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Tennessee trailed Indianapolis 13-7 at the half, then took their only lead of the contest when Henry and K Carlos Santos helped their team put 10 third-quarter points on the board to take a 17-13 lead with 4:35 left in the period. That lead would not last long as the Colts would reclaim it for themselves and for keeps with 4:38 left in the contest when Brissett and WR T.Y. Hilton connected on a 4-yard TD toss. The Titans would catch a huge break when Colts K Adam Vinatieri missed the extra point, giving them a chance to take the win at home. After the Colts punted the ball late in the fourth, Tennessee would make their way down the field and get as close as Indianapolis’ 45-yard line, where the drive stalled and the Colts would come away with the win.

The Colts out-rushed Tennessee 167-123 and Mariota threw for 154 yards and a TD (he was sacked four times but did not throw an interception), while Brissett threw for 146 yards with three TDs (including the game-winner) to go with four sacks and an interception. Tennessee was a somewhat dismal 1 of 10 on third down conversions (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and the Titans would hold on to the ball for 28:06, while the Colts were 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and ruled the clock as they would keep the ball for 31:54.

Indianapolis leads the series 14-2 (including contests that were played in Baltimore, at Fulton County Stadium and the Georgia Dome) and have outscored the Falcons 432-251. Indy won the last meeting in 2015, as the Colts were 24-21 winners in the Big Peach, while Atlanta’s last win came in the Hoosier State in 2011 by a final of 31-7. The Colts are favored by 2 and the over/under is 47. The Colts run out of luck with their horseshoe as Atlanta pulls off the upset in the Hoosier State by taking the win and covering the 2.

Cincinnati (0-2) at Buffalo (2-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of teams heading in opposite directions meet in upstate New York as the Bills welcome the Cincinnati Bengals in their 2019 home opener.

Cincinnati dropped their second contest of the 2019 campaign as the San Francisco 49ers came to Paul Brown Stadium and left the Queen City with a 41-17 win over the Bengals. Cincinnati trailed 24-10 at the half and could never get on track in the second half, as San Francisco would outscore them 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Francisco out-rushed Cincinnati 259-25, with 49ers RB Matt Breida ran for 121 yards in the contest to lead all rushers. Dalton threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked four times, while 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 297 yards and three TDs with no sacks (both men threw an interception). Both teams did quite well on third down conversions last Sunday (San Francisco was 5 of 9, Cincinnati was 9 of 18; the Bengals were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:19 to Cincinnati’s 27:41.

The Bills made it 2 for 2 in the Meadowlands as they took Eli Manning and the New York Giants to task and came away 28-14 winners at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. Buffalo led 21-7 at the break and never looked back to win their second game in as many weeks in upstate New Jersey. Buffalo out-rushed New York 151-129, while Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 107 yards and a TD (Buffalo was paced by Frank Gore, who ran for 68 yards and a TD). Manning threw for 250 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 253 yards with three sacks (both men threw a TD pass, Manning was sacked once). Buffalo went 5 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 32:38, while the Giants were 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:22.

Buffalo holds a 16-13 lead in the series and have outscored the Bengals 707-639. Cincinnati won the last meeting along the shores or the Ohio River in 2017 by a final of 20-16, while the Bills’ last win came in 2016 in Cincinnati by a 16-12 final. Buffalo’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 44. The Bills are looking to challenge Tom Brady and New England in the AFC East, while the Bengals are trying to keep their heads above water. Circle the wagons! Bills take the win in upstate New York but expect the contest to be closer than the 6.

Miami (0-2) at Dallas (2-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins make their way to the Lone Star State to face off against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys at JerryWorld (AT&T Stadium). While Dallas picked up their second win of the season and within the NFC East, the Dolphins are looking their first win period.

Miami was manhandled by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots last Sunday afternoon at home. Brady accounted for a pair of TDs tosses (including one to Antonio Brown) and ran for another as the Patriots took a 13-0 lead with them into the break before scoring their remaining 30 points of the contest unchallenged. New England held Miami to a season-low 42 yards rushing, while they tallied 126 (Sony Michel led all rushers with 85 yards) and made life less than pleasant for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (89 yards, four sacks and three interceptions). Brady threw for 264 and while he was sacked twice, he did not throw an interception. New England was 6 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 36:30, while the Dolphins were 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 23:30.

After a scoreless first quarter at Washington, the Cowboys erased a 7-0 deficit in the second quarter and came away 31-21 winners at Fed Ex Field, thanks in part to TDs from Prescott to Devin Smith and Jason Witten to take the 14-7 lead with them to the break. Dallas would lead 21-7 with 4:30 left in the third period before Case Keenum (221 yards, TD, sack) and WR Paul Richardson Jr. connected on a 9-yard TD toss to pull themselves to within seven. Dallas would eventually restore order and come out of Landover with the win. Dallas out-rushed Washington 213-47, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards and a TD, while Prescott threw for 269 yards and three TDs (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception). Dallas went 7 of 11 on third down tries at Landover and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:38, going 2 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

While Miami leads the series 7-6 (which includes contests that took place at old Texas Stadium and the Orange Bowl), Dallas has outscored Miami 265-248 and have won the last three meetings, including a 24-14 win in the Sunshine State in 2015, while Miami’s last win also came in the Lone Star State, as they would take a 40-21 win in 2003. The Cowboys are a 21 1/2-point favorite in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 47. The 47 makes sense, the 21 1/2? HUH? Right now, the Dolphins are a bad football team. They’re not 21 1/2 points bad. Dallas wins this one at home but expect Miami to make this one closer than 21 1/2.

Denver (0-2) at Green Bay (2-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Denver makes their way to the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as they face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Denver let victory get away from them in the Mile High City last Sunday against Chicago as the Bears stormed back as the clock struck :00 to take a 16-14 loss. Trailing 6-3 at the break and 13-3 at the intermission, the Broncos proceeded to chip away at Chicago’s lead, using a 32-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to pull themselves to within 7 early in the fourth, then took their first and only lead of the contest when WR Emmanuel Sanders and QB Joe Flacco connected on a 7[yard TD pass and the two-point conversion. Chicago, with one time out left, got the ball back with 30 seconds left and got the ball back after the kickoff. Chicago would get help from two Denver penalties and after burning their final timeout, called on K Eddie Pineiro to try a 53-yard attempt. Pineiro made the field goal as the clock struck :00, sending Broncos fans home with their second loss of the season.

Chicago out-rushed Denver 153-90 and Flacco threw for 292 yards and the TD to Sanders with a sack and an interception, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 120 yards without a TD, sack or interception. Denver was 3 of 14 on third down (the Broncos were perfect on fourth down, going 3 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:59, while Chicago kept the ball for 27:01 (including the final 30 seconds of the game) and went 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

Green Bay won their second game of the 2019 season and their second in the NFC North, taking care of divisional foe Minnesota 21-16 at Lambeau. Rodgers and the Packers led 21-10 at the break, then held the Vikings to a third quarter TD from Kirk Cousins to WR Stefon Diggs (Minnesota missed the extra point) and the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter. Minnesota out-rushed Green Bay 198-144 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota was led by Dalvin Cook, who ran for 154 yards, while Green Bay was led by Aaron Jones with 116; both men had a TD), while Rodgers threw for 209 yards, with two TDs (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception) and Cousins threw for 230 yards with the lone TD (he was sacked once and threw two interceptions). Green Bay was 5 of 15 on third down (the Packers were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:06, while Minnesota went 4 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:54.

The series between the Packers and Broncos is even at 6-6-1 and the Packers have outscored Denver 284-240. Denver won the last meeting with Green Bay in the Mile High City, taking a 29-10 win in 2015, while Green Bay’s last win in the series came in 2011 at Lambeau by final of 49-23. Green Bay’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 48. Green Bay wants to go 3-0 under Matt LaFleur, while the Broncos want to right their ship. Packers leap at home at Lambeau and takes the win, although Denver will make it closer than 7 1/2.

Baltimore (2-0) at Kansas City (2-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Unbeaten teams meet in the Show-Me State as Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes host the Baltimore Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Ravens held off a late Arizona rally in their contest in Charm City as Baltimore would take a 23-17 win over the Desert Angry Birds at M&T Bank Stadium. Leading 17-6 at the break, Arizona would proceed to out-score Baltimore 11-6 in the final 30 minutes of play, coming to within three with 12:52 left in the contest when Cardinals RB David Johnson scored from a yard out. Arizona then went for two and was successful as rookie QB Kyler Murray and WR KeeSean Johnson connected on the try. Baltimore then restored order as Jeff Tucker connected on a 51-yard field goal to seal the win. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson not only threw for 272 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked twice), he led all rushers with 120 yards. Baltimore out-rushed Arizona 182-20 and Murray threw for 349 yards with no sacks, TDs or interceptions. The Ravens were 7 of 14 on third downs (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and were ball hogs, keeping the pigskin for 37:38, while Arizona went 2 of 11 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:22.

The Chiefs come back to Arrowhead after their 28-10 win at Oakland last Sunday on the West Coast at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mahomes and Kansas City erased a 10-0 first quarter deficit and scored all 28 of their points in the second quarter unchallenged. The two clubs would then play the final 30 minutes of the contest scoreless. Oakland out-rushed Kansas City 129-31 but Mahomes burned the Raiders for 443 yards with four TD passes (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 198 yards with TD, three sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Chiefs were 8 of 14 on third down tries and ruled time as they kept the ball for 32:35. As for Oakland? They were 6 for 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:25.

Kansas City leads the series 5-3, the Chiefs have outscored Baltimore 180-147 and have won the last two meetings, including taking a 27-24 overtime win last year at Arrowhead. (Baltimore’s last win came in 2012, also at Arrowhead by a 9-6 final). Kansas City led the Ravens 17-10 at the half in the week 14 meeting at Arrowhead, only to watch Baltimore out-score them in the final 30 minutes of play, forcing the overtime. The Chiefs then got the ball to start the overtime and made their way down the field in the extra period, with the drive stalling at Baltimore’s 17-yard line. This allowed Chiefs K Harrison Butker to connect on a 35-yard field goal with 4:42 left in the extra period. Baltimore, needing a field goal to re-tie the contest or a TD to win it, got the ball back. The Ravens would get as close as their 41-yard when a pair of Robert Griffin III passes fell incomplete, giving Kansas City the win at Arrowhead. Baltimore did out-rush the Chiefs 198-94 but Mahomes burned Baltimore for 377 yards in the air and a pair of TDs (one to TE Travis Kelce), while Lamar Jackson threw for 147 yards and two TDs of his own (Mahomes was sacked three times and picked off once, while Jackson was three times but did not throw an interception).

Kansas City was favored by 7 in the week 14 contest at Arrowhead but won by only 3 and the two clubs barely missed the 53 1/2 over/under, tallying 50 points. Kansas City’s favored by 6 1/2 in the Show-Me State and the over/under’s 53 1/2. To not make this contest “DRILL WORTHY!” would be a crime… with that, here it is. (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

It’s possible that these two teams could meet in the post-season and it’s even plausible that this could go to overtime like last year. In the bigger picture, only one team will come away with the win. Although Baltimore will make things closer than the 6 1/2 but the Chiefs prevail in Arrowhead and takes the win.

Oakland (1-1) at Minnesota (1-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The Silver and Black meets the Purple and Gold as the Oakland Raiders travel to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to face the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium. Both clubs come into the Sunday contest in the Twin Cities with losses under their belts.

Oakland watched AFC West foe Kansas City take a 28-10 win at Oakland last Sunday on the West Coast at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs trailed 10-0 after the first 15 minutes of play, then erased the deficit and scored all 28 of their points in the second quarter unchallenged. The two clubs would then play the final 30 minutes of the contest scoreless. Oakland out-rushed Kansas City 129-31 but Mahomes burned the Raiders for 443 yards with four TD passes (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 198 yards with TD, three sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Chiefs were 8 of 14 on third down tries and ruled time as they kept the ball for 32:35. As for Oakland? They were 6 for 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:25.

Minnesota returns home to the Twin Cities, evening their record as Green Bay won their second game of the 2019 season and their second in the NFC North, taking care of the Vikings 21-16 at Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers led 21-10 at the break, then held the Vikings to a third quarter TD from Kirk Cousins to WR Stefon Diggs (Minnesota missed the extra point) and the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter. Minnesota out-rushed Green Bay 198-144 and both clubs had 100-yard rushers (Minnesota was led by Dalvin Cook, who ran for 154 yards, while Green Bay was led by Aaron Jones with 116; both men had a TD), while Rodgers threw for 209 yards, with two TDs (he was sacked twice but did not throw an interception) and Cousins threw for 230 yards with the lone TD (he was sacked once and threw two interceptions). Green Bay was 5 of 15 on third down (the Packers were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:06, while Minnesota went 4 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:54.

Oakland leads the series 9-5 and the Silver and Black have outscored Minnesota 335-280. Minnesota won the last meeting, which took place in Oakland in 2015 by a final of 30-14, while the Raiders’ last win in the series came in the Twin Cities in 2011 by a final of 27-21. Minnesota’s favored by 8 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Both teams are looking to get off the deck from last week. Vikings take care of business in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as they take the win at home and covers the 8 1/2.

New York Jets (0-2) at New England (2-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the Pats host the New York Jets.

New York Jets, already without QB Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), lost backup QB Trevor Siemian to a season-ending ankle injury, were to a second-quarter field goal as they fell to Cleveland 23-3 last Monday night in the Meadowlands. The Browns led 16-3 at the break and held off a pair of Jets’ drives that would have made the contest closer. While the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! out-rushed Cleveland 93-70, Mayfield threw for 325 yards and a TD to WR Odell Beckham Jr and the Browns defense knocked Jets QB Trevor Siemian (3 yards) out of the contest with an ankle injury as he took over for Darnold. Cleveland went 4 of 13 on third down and kept the ball in the Monday night affair in the Meadowlands for 29:41, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 30:19 and went 2 of 14, 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Brady and the Patriots last Sunday afternoon took Miami to the woodshed in the Sunshine State, leaving with a 43-0 road blowout win. Brady accounted for a pair of TDs tosses (including one to Antonio Brown, who was since released by the team) and ran for another as the Patriots took a 13-0 lead with them into the break before scoring their remaining 30 points of the contest unchallenged. New England held Miami to a season-low 42 yards rushing, while they tallied 126 (Sony Michel led all rushers with 85 yards) and made life less than pleasant for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (89 yards, four sacks and three interceptions). Brady threw for 264 and while he was sacked twice, he did not throw an interception. New England was 6 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 36:30, while the Dolphins were 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 23:30.

New England leads the series 63-53-1 (which includes contests that were played at Shea Stadium, Fenway Park and Schafer Stadium and the Jets were known as the Titans), they have outscored GangGreen 2,694-2,409 and have won the last six meetings, including sweeping last year’s series (New York’s last win in the series came in 2015 in the Meadowlands, when they needed overtime to beat Brady and the Patriots 26-20).

Meeting one… the Meadowlands in week 12. The Pats and the Jets went into the intermission tied at 10-10 before moving on in the second half to outscore the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 17-3 to take a 27-13 win at Met Life Stadium. New England out-rushed GangGreen 215-74, with RB Sony Michel leading the way for 133 yards and a pair of TDs. Brady threw for 283 yards with a pair of TD passes to Edelman and Rob Gronkowski with no sacks or interceptions, while Josh McCown threw for 276 yards and a TD (McCown was sacked twice and picked off once). New England was 5 of 12 on third down conversions in upstate New Jersey (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Patriots kept the ball for 34:26, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs and would hold on to the ball for 25:34.

Brady and the Patriots made it a clean sweep in the series, taking down GangGreen in Foxboro by a 38-3 final. Holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to a first quarter field goal, New England led 21-3 at the intermission, then shut out New York 17-0 in the final 30 minutes of play. GangGreen did a little better rushing-wise in the second meeting but New England still managed to out-rush New York 131-104 and Brady threw for 250 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked once), while Sam Darnold threw for 167 yards with four sacks (Darnold did not throw a TD or interception). Neither club had success on fourth down (New England was 0 of 1, GangGreen was 0 of 2) and the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 4 fo 13 on third down, while the Pats were 5 of 11. Time was on the side of the Patriots, as New England kept the ball for 32:13 to New York’s 27:47.

New England easily covered the 9 1/2-point spread in the week 12 contest in upstate New Jersey but the 46 over/under was safe, as both clubs merged to score 40 points. In the week 17 meeting (the regular season finale for both teams), New England’s 35-point win in Foxboro allowed them to easily cover the 13 1/2-point spread but neither team covered the 45 1/2 over/under, as they tallied 41 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Patriots… a lot… as in a 22-point favorite (the largest spread this season) and the over/under is 43 1/2. We can live with the 43 1/2, it the 22 that has us scratching our heads. GangGreen is bad but they’re not 22 points bad. New England takes this one and might cover the 22.

Detroit (1-0-1) at Philadelphia (1-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face off against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Lions, coming off their tie in the desert against Arizona, erased a 10-6 deficit against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers as they would rally to come away 13-10 winners at Ford Field. Los Angeles 10-6 at the break in the Motor City and after the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter, the Lions would go to work, taking the lead for good with 7:21 left in the contest as Stafford and WR Kenny Golladay connected on a 31-yard TD pass. Detroit would go on to hold off the Chargers in the final minutes of the contest to take their first win of the season.

Los Angeles out-rushed Detroit 137-94 and Stafford threw for 245 yards with a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) and a pair of interceptions, while Rivers threw for 293 yards with a sack and an interception. Detroit went 4 of 10 on third down tries in the Motor City (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:41, while the Chargers were rulers of the clock, holding the ball for 31:19 and went 6 of 13 on third down tries.

The Eagles led Atlanta late 20-17 last Sunday night, then watched the Falcons reclaim the lead in the final minutes of their nest last Sunday night in the Big Peach as Atlanta came away with the 24-20 win over the Eagles. Atlanta led 10-6 at the half and took a 17-6 lead with them to the third quarter before Carson Wentz and the Eagles would take their only lead of the game with 3:13 left, as he scored from a yard out to take a 20-17 lead. That lead would not last very long, as Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 54-yard strike as part of a 6-play, 75-yard drive that used only 63 seconds of clock to reclaim the lead for good. Atlanta would then hold off the Eagles, run out the clock themselves and take the win at home.

Philadelphia found themselves out-rushed by Atlanta 57-49 and Ryan threw for 320 yards with three TDs (two to Jones, including the game-winner and one to Calvin Ridley) and three interceptions, while Wentz threw for 231 yards with a TD to Nelson Agholor with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Atlanta was 3 of 10 on third down at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:06, while the Eagles ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 32:54 and went 9 of 18 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The series is tied 15-15-2 (which includes games that were played in Portsmouth and the Lions were known as the Spartans) and the Eagles have outscored Detroit 654-646. However… Detroit has come away with wins in the last two meetings, including a 24-23 win in the Motor City in 2016, while the Eagles’ last win came in the City of Brotherly Love in 2013 by a final of 34-20. The Eagles are favored by 6 with a 46 over/under. These are two pretty good teams and with any luck, could be in the post-season party. Eagles may not cover the 6 but they fly away in the city of Brotherly Love with the win.

Carolina (0-2) at Arizona (0-1-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A Carolina Panthers team without Cam Newton (foot) pay a visit to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale. Both clubs are still looking for their first win of the 2019 season. With the injury to Newton, Kyle Allen will be under center for the Panthers.

Carolina fell to NFC South rival Tampa Bay 20-14 in Charlotte last Thursday night. Tampa Bay led 10-9 at the break, breaking a 3-3 tie after the first quarter came to an end. Carolina would pull themselves to within three when LB Luke Kuechly sacked Tampa Bay RB Peyton Barber in the end zone for a safety but the Bucs pushed the lead back to six with 2:26 left in the contest when rookie K Matt Gay connected on a 22-yard field. goal. In the battle of former Heisman winners, Newton threw for 324 yards, while Jameis Winston threw for 208 yards (neither threw an interception and both were sacked three times), with Winston accounting for the game’s only TD with 80 seconds left in the first half, connecting with WR Chris Godwin. Carolina was 3 of 14 on third down (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:07, while Tampa Bay went 2 of 12 on third down, ruling the clock and holding the ball for 33:53.

A late Arizona rally against Baltimore in their contest in Charm City was rebuffed by the Ravens as Baltimore would take a 23-17 win over the Desert Angry Birds at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore led 17-6 at the break, then Arizona would proceed to out-score Baltimore 11-6 in the final 30 minutes of play and came to within three with 12:52 left in the contest when Cardinals RB David Johnson scored from a yard out. Arizona then went for two and was successful as Murray and WR KeeSean Johnson connected on the try. The Ravens proceeded to restore order as Jeff Tucker connected on a 51-yard field goal to seal the win. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson not only threw for 272 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked twice), he led all rushers with 120 yards. Baltimore out-rushed Arizona 182-20 and Murray threw for 349 yards with no sacks, TDs or interceptions. The Ravens were 7 of 14 on third downs (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and were ball hogs, keeping the pigskin for 37:38, while Arizona went 2 of 11 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:22.

The Panthers lead the series 9-4 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 288-236. Carolina’s last win in the series came in Charlotte in 2016 as Newton and the Panthers came away 30-20 winners at Bank of America Stadium, while Arizona’s last win came in the desert in 2013 by a final of 22-6. Carolina’s favored by 2 1/2 with the over/under at 46 1/2. We wouldn’t blame you one bit if you took a pass on this one and watched that Bugs Bunny marathon on Cartoon Network (Wile Coyote blowing himself up is STILL funny!). Carolina covers the 2 1/2 in the desert against the Desert Angry Birds and wins the battle of the Heisman winners.

New York Giants (0-2) at Tampa Bay (1-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. The 0-2 Giants, with rookie QB Daniel Jones under center Sunday after Eli Manning was benched, travels to the Sunshine State to face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a late afternoon Sunday match-up on Florida’s West Coast.

Eli and the New York Giants were taken to task as the Buffalo Bills made it 2 for 2 in the Meadowlands, coming away 28-14 winners at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. Big Blue could never get themselves on track as Buffalo led 21-7 at the break and never looked back to win their second game in as many weeks in upstate New Jersey. Buffalo out-rushed New York 151-129, while Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 107 yards and a TD (Buffalo was paced by Frank Gore, who ran for 68 yards and a TD). Manning threw for 250 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Josh Allen threw for 253 yards with three sacks (both men threw a TD pass, Manning was sacked once). Buffalo went 5 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 32:38, while the Giants were 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:22.

Tampa Bay came away 20-14 winners over NFC South rival Carolina in Charlotte last Thursday night. Tampa Bay led 10-9 at the break, breaking a 3-3 tie after the first quarter came to an end. Carolina would pull themselves to within three when LB Luke Kuechly sacked Tampa Bay RB Peyton Barber in the end zone for a safety but the Bucs pushed the lead back to six with 2:26 left in the contest when rookie K Matt Gay connected on a 22-yard field. goal. In the battle of former Heisman winners, Newton threw for 324 yards, while Jameis Winston threw for 208 yards (neither threw an interception and both were sacked three times), with Winston accounting for the game’s only TD with 80 seconds left in the first half, connecting with WR Chris Godwin. Carolina was 3 of 14 on third down (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:07, while Tampa Bay went 2 of 12 on third down, ruling the clock and holding the ball for 33:53.

Big Blue leads the series 14-7 and they have outscored the Bucs 395-364. The Giants won the last meeting last year in the Meadowlands by a final of 38-35 (Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2017 by a final of 25-23).

Winston and Manning met at Met Life Stadium in week 11 and it was a slug-fest from start to finish. New York led 14-7 as the half and took a 24-14 lead with them into the fourth quarter before Tampa Bay would score twice in the fourth quarter to make the contest a bit too close for Giants fans, as New York would lead 31-28 with 5:11 left to play. Barkley would then restore some order as he would score his third TD (second rushing TD) of the contest, giving the Giants a 10-point lead with 3:52. Tampa Bay was not going to go away any time soon and pulled themselves back to within three with 2:22 left when Mike Evans and Winston connected on a 41-yard TD pass.

It would be as close as the Giants would let Tampa Bay get to them, as they would hold off a last second drive in the final seconds of the contest to seal the win. Barkley ran for 142 yards for the Giants, while Tampa Bay’s Peyton Barber ran for 106 yards and a TD. NeW York out-rushed Tampa Bay 163-151 and Manning threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs (connecting with Odell Beckham Jr. and Barkley), while Winston (who replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 167 yards but threw three interceptions) tallied 199 yards and a pair of TDs with an interception). The Giants were 4 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 27:53, while Tampa Bay actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin, keeping the ball for 32:07, going 6 of 9 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 11 contest in the Meadowlands, the Giants were favored by 1 point and they covered, winning by 3. Both teams took care of the 52 over/under by tallying 73 points in the chilly afternoon air in upstate New Jersey. Tampa Bay’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. The Giants would like to prove that last year’s win was not a fluke. Tampa Bay is looking for revenge. Revenge wins out here in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay might not cover the 6 1/2 but they take the win at home.

Houston (2-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV. DeSean Watson and Philip Rivers. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet in Los Angeles in a late-afternoon AFC contest.

Houston denied the Jacksonville Jaguars their first win of the 2019 campaign after they held off the Jaguars 13-12 last Sunday. Houston led 6-3 at the intermission before the Jaguars made it a 1-point contest with 30 seconds left in the contest when Minshew and Chark connected on a 4-yard TD toss. Jacksonville would then miss the two-point conversion at NRG Stadium and went for the on-side kick, which Houston recovered. The Texans would then go on to run out the clock and take the win. Houston outrushed Jacksonville 126-103 and Minshew threw for 213 yards with the late contest TD, while DeSean Watson threw for 159 yards without a TD (both men were sacked four times but neither threw an interception). While Jacksonville was 3 of 13 on third down and the Texans were 6 of 15, both teams had success on fourth down tries, with Jacksonville going 2 of 2 and Houston going 1 of 1. Jacksonville actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:01 to Houston’s 29:59.

Rivers and the Chargers watched Detroit and Matthew Stafford erase a 10-6 deficit, as the Bolts would come away with a 13-10 loss at Ford Field. Los Angeles led 10-6 at the break in the Motor City and after the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter, the Lions would go to work, taking the lead for good with 7:21 left in the contest as Stafford and WR Kenny Golladay connected on a 31-yard TD pass. Detroit would go on to hold off the Chargers in the final minutes of the contest to take their first win of the season.

Los Angeles out-rushed Detroit 137-94 and Stafford threw for 245 yards with a pair of TDs (including the game-winner) and a pair of interceptions, while Rivers threw for 293 yards with a sack and an interception. Detroit went 4 of 10 on third down tries in the Motor City (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:41, while the Chargers were rulers of the clock, holding the ball for 31:19 and went 6 of 13 on third down tries.

Including games in San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 5-1 and have outscored the Texans 164-100. Los Angeles’s last meeting with Houston came in 2016 and the Chargers prevailed 21-13 in the Lone Star State, while the Texans’ last win came on the West Coast in San Diego in 2013, coming away 31-28 winners. Los Angeles finds themselves as 3-point favorites on the West Coast and the over/under’s 47 1/2. The Chargers are looking to right their ship, the Texans are looking to stay unbeaten. Chargers prevail at home, although the Texans will try to make things closer than 3.

New Orleans (1-1) at Seattle (1-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. It’s gumbo vs. Salmon, Grunge and Starbucks as New Orleans, without Drew Brees (thumb) continues their trip on the West Coast as they face off against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest.

For the Saints, it was second verse, same as the first against the Rams. A blown call and a loss to Los Angeles, with Jarred Goff and the Rams coming away 27-9 winners at the Coliseum. First, they lose Brees early in the contest with the thumb injury (Teddy Bridgewater will be under center in the Pacific Northwest), then they had a pass by Goff that was ruled incomplete, then ruled a fumble after the Saints challenge the first ruling. Trey Hendrickson scooped up the ball and returned it for what was thought a TD to no avail. While the Saints did get the ball back, they lost the TD and things went downhill from that point. New Orleans trailed 6-3 at the intermission, then the Rams would floor the gas and outscore the Saints 21-6 in the second half. The Rams out-rushed New Orleans 115-57 and Brees threw for 38 yards with an interception before leaving the contest with the injury, while Goff threw for 283 yards and a TD (Bridgewater threw for 165 yards and had a pair of sacks) and Rams RB Todd Gurley III led all rushers with 63 yards and a TD. New Orleans was 4 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:39, while the Rams were 5 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 30:21.

Pittsburgh took a 10-7 lead with them to the break against Seattle, only to see the Seahawks take control of the final 30 minutes of play at Heinz Field as the Seahawks and Wilson left the Steel City with a 28-26 win. In evening their record to 1-1, the Seahawks outscored Pittsburgh 21-13 in the second half. Roethlisberger threw for 75 yards with a sack before leaving the contest with the injury. Rookie QB Mason Rudolph (who took over for Roethlisberger) threw for 112 yards with a pair of TDs to Vance McDonald in relief. Seattle out-rushed Pittsburgh 151-81 and Wilson threw for 300 yards and despite being sacked four times, managed to throw three TDs. Pittsburgh went 3 of 11 on third down tries at Heinz Field and kept the ball for 24:14, while the Seahawks took control of the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:46, while going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While New Orleans holds a slim 7-6 in the series, the Seahawks have outscored the Saints 310-266. New Orleans won the last meeting with Seattle, coming away with a 25-20 win in the Big Easy in 2016, while Seattle’s last win over the Saints came in 2013 by a final of 34-7 in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 45. While Bridgewater’s a good QB, he’s not Drew Brees and for Saints fans, that will show. Seahawks cover the 4 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks Sunday.

Pittsburgh (0-2) at San Francisco (2-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. Pittsburgh, without Ben Roethlisberger (arm), travels to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara at Levis Stadium. The 49ers are looking to go 2-0, while the struggling Steelers are looking for win number one.

After a scoreless first quarter, Pittsburgh took a 10-7 lead with them to the break, only to see Seattle take control of the final 30 minutes of play at Heinz Field as the Seahawks and Wilson left the Steel City with a 28-26 win. In evening their record to 1-1, the Seahawks outscored Pittsburgh 21-13 in the second half. Roethlisberger threw for 75 yards with a sack before leaving the contest with the injury. Rookie QB Mason Rudolph (who took over for Roethlisberger and will be under center Sunday) threw for 112 yards with a pair of TDs to Vance McDonald in relief. Seattle out-rushed Pittsburgh 151-81 and Russell Wilson threw for 300 yards and despite being sacked four times, managed to throw three TDs. Pittsburgh went 3 of 11 on third down tries at Heinz Field and kept the ball for 24:14, while the Seahawks took control of the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:46, while going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

San Francisco came to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and left the Queen City with a 41-17 win over the Bengals. Leading 24-10 at the half, San Francisco would outscore them 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Francisco out-rushed Cincinnati 259-25, with 49ers RB Matt Breida ran for 121 yards in the contest to lead all rushers. Dalton threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked four times, while 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 297 yards and three TDs with no sacks (both men threw an interception). Both teams did quite well on third down conversions last Sunday (San Francisco was 5 of 9, Cincinnati was 9 of 18; the Bengals were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:19 to Cincinnati’s 27:41.

San Francisco leads the series 11-10 but the Steelers have outscored San Francisco 447-409. Pittsburgh won the last meeting with the 49ers, coming away 43-18 winners in the Steel City in 2015, while San Francisco’s last win came at Candlestick Park in 2011 by a final of 20-3. San Francisco’s favored by 6 1/2 in Santa Clara and the over/under’s 44. The 49ers look to stay unbeaten, while the Steelers look for win number one. Pittsburgh will have to wait another week. 49ers cover at home and send the Steelers to 0-3.

Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at Cleveland (1-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Jarred Goff vs. Baker Mayfield. A pair of young QBs meet along the shores of Lake Erie as the Browns play in their second prime time game of the season. Both teams come into the Sunday night contest with wins under their belts.

The Rams proved that their playoff win against New Orleans last year in the Big Easy was not a fluke as Goff and Los Angeles came away 27-9 winners over Drew Brees and the Saints. The Saints once again had to deal with the officials as well as the Rams as blown call took the wind out of their sails at the Coliseum last Sunday. First, New Orleans loses Drew Brees early in the contest with the thumb injury (Teddy Bridgewater will be under center in the Pacific Northwest), then they had a pass by Goff that was ruled incomplete, then ruled a fumble after the Saints challenge the first ruling. Trey Hendrickson scooped up the ball and returned it for what was thought a TD to no avail. While the Saints did get the ball back, they lost the TD and things went downhill from that point. New Orleans trailed 6-3 at the intermission, then the Rams would floor the gas and outscore the Saints 21-6 in the second half. The Rams out-rushed New Orleans 115-57 and Brees threw for 38 yards with an interception before leaving the contest with the injury, while Goff threw for 283 yards and a TD (Bridgewater threw for 165 yards and had a pair of sacks) and Rams RB Todd Gurley III led all rushers with 63 yards and a TD. New Orleans was 4 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:39, while the Rams were 5 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 30:21.

Cleveland held the New York Jets to a second-quarter field goal as they took care of the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 23-3 last Monday night in the Meadowlands. The Browns led 16-3 at the break and held off a pair of Jets’ drives that would have made the contest closer. While the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! out-rushed Cleveland 93-70, Mayfield threw for 325 yards and a TD to WR Odell Beckham Jr and the Browns defense knocked Jets QB Trevor Siemian (3 yards) out of the contest with an ankle injury as he took over for Sam Darnold (mononucleosis). Cleveland went 4 of 13 on third down and kept the ball in the Monday night affair in the Meadowlands for 29:41, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 30:19 and went 2 of 14, 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

The Rams lead the series 11-9 (which includes contests that were played in St. Louis) and have outscored the Browns 451-426. The Rams’ last win in the series came in St. Louis, where they came away 24-6 winners in 2016, while the Browns’ last win also came in the Gateway City, with Cleveland taking a 27-20 win in 2007. The Rams are 3-point favorites in the Buckeye State and the over/under’s 46. You might want to consider taping “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Madame Secretary” this week. Rams cover the 2 in Cleveland and remains unbeaten.

Chicago (1-1) at Washington (0-2), 8:20 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Two of the NFL’s oldest franchises conclude week three action as Chicago and Washington meet in Landover at Fed Ex Field.

Da Bears took a last-second win in the Mile High City last Sunday against Denver, as they stormed back as the clock struck :00 to take a 16-14 win on the road. Chicago led 6-3 at the break and 13-3 at the intermission, then watched as the Broncos proceeded to chip away at Chicago’s lead, using a 32-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to pull themselves to within 7 early in the fourth, then took their first and only lead of the contest when WR Emmanuel Sanders and QB Joe Flacco connected on a 7[yard TD pass and the two-point conversion. Chicago, with one time out left, got the ball back with 30 seconds left and got the ball back after the kickoff. Chicago would get help from two Denver penalties and after burning their final timeout, called on K Eddie Pineiro to try a 53-yard attempt. Pineiro made the field goal as the clock struck :00, sending Broncos fans home with their second loss of the season.

Chicago out-rushed Denver 153-90 and Flacco threw for 292 yards and the TD to Sanders with a sack and an interception, while Mitchell Trubisky threw for 120 yards without a TD, sack or interception. Denver was 3 of 14 on third down (the Broncos were perfect on fourth down, going 3 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:59, while Chicago kept the ball for 27:01 (including the final 30 seconds of the game) and went 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

After a scoreless first quarter at Washington, the Cowboys erased a 7-0 deficit in the second quarter and came away 31-21 winners at Fed Ex Field, thanks in part to TDs from Prescott to Devin Smith and Jason Witten to take the 14-7 lead with them to the break. Dallas would lead 21-7 with 4:30 left in the third period before Case Keenum (221 yards, TD, sack) and WR Paul Richardson Jr. connected on a 9-yard TD toss to pull themselves to within seven. Dallas would eventually restore order and come out of Landover with the win. Dallas out-rushed Washington 213-47, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards and a TD, while Prescott threw for 269 yards and three TDs (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception). Dallas went 7 of 11 on third down tries at Landover and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:38, going 2 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

While Washington leads the series 22-20-1 (which includes contests that were played in Boston when the Redskins were known as the Braves and the Bears were the Chicago Staleys and played their home games at Wrigley Field), Chicago has outscored the Redskins 876-804. Washington has won the last seven meetings in the series, taking a 41-21 win in the Windy City in 2016, while Chicago’s last win came in 2003 at Soldier Field by a final of 27-24.

On Monday night, Da Bears are 18-23 but they did play three games under the lights last year, winning two of them. As for the Redskins? They’re 18-17-1 but have not played on MNF since 2017, when they won their lone contest. Chicago’s favored by 4 on the road in Landover and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Will it be “Hail to the Redskins” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins?” Washington fans will have their hearts broken again this week. Da Bears cover the 4 and wins at Landover.

Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information (All times Listed are Eastern)

ATLANTA at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: John Sadak, Al Groh; SIRIUS: 137 (Atlanta), 82 (New Orleans); XM: 380 (Atlanta), 82 (New Orleans)

Cleveland at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Tom McCarthy, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 119 (Cleveland), 135 (Chicago); XM: 383 (Cleveland), 227 (Chicago)

Miami at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jenny Dell (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 134 (Miami), 113 (Kansas City); XM: 388 (Miami), 230 (Kansas City)

Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 108 (Buffalo), 83 (New England); XM: 385 (Buffalo), 83 (New England)

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter)
SIRIUS: 93 (Los Angeles Chargers), 133 (New York Jets); XM: 382 (Los Angeles Chargers), 225 (New York Jets)

Denver at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta; SIRIUS: 138 (Denver), 121 (Washington); XM: 381 (Denver), 229 (Washington)

Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Kristina Pink (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 112 (Tampa Bay), 132 (Carolina); XM: 384 (Tampa Bay), 228 (Carolina)

Detroit at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter)
SIRIUS: 157 (Detroit), 81 (Cincinnati); XM: 386 (Detroit), 81 (Cincinnati)

Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 136 (Los Angeles Rams), 145 (Tennessee); XM: 387 (Los Angeles Rams), 226 (Tennessee)

Jacksonville at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Brady Poppinga; SIRIUS: 138 (Jacksonville), 81 (San Francsico); XM: 381 (Jacksonville), 81 (San Francisco)

New York Giants at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth; SIRIUS: 93 (New York Giants), 83 (Arizona); XM: 382 (New York Giants), 83 (Arizona)

Seattle at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 137 (Seattle), 82 (Dallas); XM: 380 (Seattle), 82 (Dallas)

Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 p.m. Monday on NBC and NFL Network: Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner, Heather Cox (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, Dan Fouts, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (Pittsburgh), 83 (Houston); XM: 88 (WestWwood1), 82 (Pittsburgh), 83 (Houston)

Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Boomer Esiason, Scott Kaplan (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (Oakland), 83 (Philadelphia); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (Oakland), 83 (Philadelphia)

Sunday and Monday Oficials
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Pete Morelli
Cleveland at Chicago, 1 p.m.:  Terry McAulay
Miami at Kansas City, 1 p.m.: Brad Allen
Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m.: Craig Wrolstad
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Clete Blakeman
Denver at Washington, 1 p.m.: Ed Hochuli
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m.: Jerome Boger
Detroit at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.: Gene Steratore
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Walt Anderson
Jacksonville at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.: Jeff Triplette
New York Giants at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.: John Parry
Seattle at Dallas, 4:25 p.m.: John Hussey
Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 p.m. Monday: Bill Vinovich
Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. Monday: Ronald Torbert

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home Teams in Caps)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite                  Spread      Underdog          O/U
NEW ORLEANS               –  5 1/2    Atlanta           52
Detroit                   –  5        CINCINNATI        43
Los Angeles Rams          –  6 1/2    TENNESSEE         48 1/2
Los Angeles Chargers      –  7        NEW YORK JETS     42 1/2
CHICAGO                   –  6 1/2    Cleveland         38 1/2
CAROLINA                  –  9 1/2    Tampa Bay         46 1/2
WASHINGTON                –  3 1/2    Denver            41
KANSAS CITY               – 10        Miami             43 1/2
NEW ENGLAND               – 11 1/2    Buffalo           47
Jacksonville              –  4 1/2    SAN FRANCSICO     42 1/2
ARIZONA                   –  4 1/2    New York Giants   40
DALLAS                    –  4 1/2    Seattle           47

Monday’s Games
Favorite                  Spread      Underdog          O/U
Pittsburgh                – 10        HOUSTON           44
PHILADELPHIA              –  9        Oakland           47 1/2

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

ATLANTA at New Orleans, 1 p.m.

ATLANTA
QUESTIONABLE: G Andrew Levitre (Triceps)

New Orleans
OUT: TE Garrett Griffin (Foot), DE Collins Hendrickson (Ankle), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (Concussion)

Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay
OUT: DE Robert Ayers (Shoulder), WR DeSean Jackson (Ankle)
DOUBTFUL: CB Ryan Smith (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Cameron Brate (Hip), LB Lavonte David (Hamstring), DT Gerald McCoy (Biceps), DE Ryan Russell (Shoulder)

Carolina
OUT: G Trai Turner (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Mario Addison (Hip), WR Devin Funchess (Shoulder), WR Russell Shepard (Shoulder), G Tyler Larsen (Foot), LB Sha’Quille Thompson (Foot)

Cleveland at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Cleveland
QUESTIONABLE: CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (Knee), WR Charles Hazel (Hamstring), CB Jamar Taylor (Foot)

Chicago
DOUBTFUL: G Josh Sitton (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: T Thomas Compton (Concussion), S Christopher Prosinski (Concussion), TE Adam Shaheen (Chest)

Detroit at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Detroit
OUT: Travis Swanson (Concussion)
DOUBTFUL: G Thomas Lang (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: T Richard Wagner (Ankle)

Cincinnati
OUT: T Cedric Ogbuehi (Shoulder), T Andre Smith (Knee), LB Nicholas Vigil (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: S George Iloka (Shoulder)

Miami at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Miami
DOUBTFUL: QB Matt Moore (Foot), RB Damien Williams (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: WR DeVante Parker (Ankle), S Micheal Thomas (Knee), DE Orlandus Branch (Knee), DE Terrence Fede (Knee), S Tim MoDonald (Shoulder), CB Cordrea Tankersley (Ankle)

Kansas City
QUESTIONABLE: LB Justin Houston (Illness)

Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m.

Buffalo
OUT: WR Andre Holmes (Neck)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Kyle Williams (Groin), WR Kelvin Benjamin (Knee), CB Edwin Gaines (Knee), G John Miller (Ankle), TE Nick O’Leary (Back)

New England – New England reports no injuries

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers
OUT: DT Corey Liuget (Knee), LB Denzel Perryman (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: T Joseph Barksdale (Hip), T Russell Okung (Groin), RB Austin Ekeler (Hand)

New York Jets
OUT: G Brian Winters (Abdomen)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Matt Forte (Knee), RB Elijah McGuire (Illness), C Wesley Johnson (Hip)

Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams
OUT: LB Matt Longacre (Back)

Tennessee
QUESTIONABLE: CB Logan Ryan (Ankle)

Denver at Washington, 1 p.m.

Denver
QUESTIONABLE: WR Emmanuel Sanders (Ankle), WR Cody Latimer (Thigh), QB Paxton Lynch (Ankle)

Washington
OUT: LB Orlando Anderson (Knee), LB Zach Brown (Achilles), T Trent Williams (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Maurice Harris (Back), WR Jamison Crowder (Hamstring), CB Kendall Fuller (Foot), DE Terrell McClain (Toe),
T Morgan Moses (Illness), RB Samaje Perine (Groin)

Jacksonville at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Jacksonville
OUT: WR Marqise Lee (Ankle), WR Larry Pinkard (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Lerentee McCray (Neck), WR Allen Hurns (Ankle)

San Francisco
DOUBTFUL: CB Gregory Mabin (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Garrett Celek (Knee)

New York Giants at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.

New York Giants
OUT: LB B.J. Goodson (Ankle), WR Tavarres King (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: S Landon Collins (Ankle), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Finger), S Natneal Berhe (Hamstring)

Arizona
OUT: LB Joshua Bynes (Ankle), TE Troy Niklas (Ankle), G Earl Watford (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Chad Williams (Illness), S Antoine Bethea (Knee), WR John Brown (Toe), LB Karlos Dansby (Knee), LB Gabriel Martin (Hamstring), DT Olsen Pierre (Illness), RB Kerwynn Williams (Quadricep)

Seattle at Dallas, 4:25 p.m.

Seattle
OUT: LB Donell Alexander (Concussion)
DOUBTFUL: DT Nazar Jones (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: S Bradley McDougald (Knee), TE Nicholas Vannett (Shoulder), DE Frank Clark (Toe)

Dallas
OUT: DE David Irving (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Richard Ash (Shoulder), DE Benson Mayowa (Back), T Tyron Smith (Back), WR Brice Butler (Foot), T La’el Collins (Back), CB Orlando Scandrick (Back)

Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 p.m. on Monday

Pittsburgh
OUT: WR Antonio Brown (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: G Ramon Foster (Concussion), CB Coty Sensabaugh (Shoulder)

Houston
OUT: G Jeffery Allen (Concussion), T Kendall Lamm (Concussion), LB LaTroy Lewis (Shoulder)

Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. on Monday

Oakland
OUT: DT Treyvon Hester (Ankle), DE Mario Edwards (Ankle)
DOUBTFUL: CB David Amerson (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: C Rodney Hudson (Ankle), DE Denico Autry (Hand), WR Amari Cooper (Ankle), LB Bruce Irvin (Concussion), S Keith McGill (Knee)

Philadelphia
QUESTIONABLE: LB Marvin Kendricks (Foot), CB Jalen Mills (Ankle), G Stefen Wisniewski (Ankle)

Sunday and Monday Weather
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Game Indoors
Cleveland at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Overcast with a 20 percent chance of snow and 23 degrees
Miami at Kansas City, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 25 degrees
Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 35 degrees
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 41 degrees
Denver at Washington, 1 p.m.: Cloudy and 43 degrees
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 55 degrees
Detroit at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.: Cloudy and 37 degrees
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Cloudy and 44 degrees
Jacksonville at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.: Cloudy and 57 degrees
New York Giants at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, partly cloudy and 64 degrees
Seattle at Dallas, 4:25 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, partly cloudy and 45 degrees
Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 p.m. Monday: Game indoors; if roof is open, partly cloudy and 47 degrees
Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. Monday: Clear and 33 degrees

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

 

PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Three more spots have been filled in the NFL post-season party.

Jacksonville, Minnesota and New England got their dance cards punched last Sunday (Jacksonville won a playoff spot after their win over Houston at EverBank Field, while New England won the AFC East and the Vikings took the NFC North). They join Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as being playoff bound.

There’s still room at the party, there are seven spots left in the post-season. For those teams that were eliminated, there’s still a chance to ruin someone else’s party, spiking their egg-nog, if you will.

Two more weeks of regular season football. When that ends, the outcomes will be different. Unlike the regular season, it’s you lose, your next game is next week. You lose, your next game is next year. You win, you advance. It’s so simple even a first-grader gets it.

For those teams that were eliminated, there’s selecting a new head coach and general manager, if they choose that route, then prepare for the draft and the upcoming 2018 season, which gets underway on Thursday, September 6th. Mark those calendars now.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: The Philadelphia Eagles, already clinching the NFC East, defeated the New York Giants 34-29 to secure a first-round bye. The Eagles have started 12-2 or better for the second time in franchise history (13-1 in 2004).

The Minnesota Vikings, who knocked off Cincinnati 34-7, locked up the NFC North division title. It marks the second division title for the Vikings in the past three seasons.

The New England Patriots, who defeated Pittsburgh 27-24, secured the AFC East division title. It marks the ninth consecutive division title for the Patriots (2009-17), the longest streak in NFL history.

The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated Houston 45-7 at EverBank Field and clinched a playoff berth. It marks the Jaguars’ first playoff berth since 2007.

•New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 298 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ win at Pittsburgh. Brady (five Super Bowl wins) and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (two) have combined for seven Super Bowl victories, the most by opposing starting quarterbacks in a game in NFL history.

•Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, making his first start of the season, threw four touchdown passes in the Eagles’ win over the Giants. Last week, Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz threw four touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Rams before leaving with a knee injury.

The Eagles are the first team since the 2011 Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn, Weeks 16-17) to have different starting quarterbacks throw at least four touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks. It is also the first time in franchise history that different Eagles starting quarterbacks have accomplished the feat in consecutive weeks. Philadelphia’s Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz each had a touchdown catch in the victory. Jeffery (nine touchdown catches), Agholor (eight) and Ertz (eight) each have at least eight touchdown catches this season.

The Eagles are the fourth team in NFL history to have at least three players with eight or more receiving touchdowns through their team’s first 14 games of a season, joining the 1961 Houston Oilers, 2004 Indianapolis Colts and 2013 Denver Broncos.

Buffalo running back Le Sean McCoy rushed for 50 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Bills’ 24-16 win over Miami. McCoy reached 10,000 career rushing yards on his 2,145th carry and became the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to achieve the milestone. The only players to reach 10,000 career rushing yards in fewer attempts are Jim Brown (1,936), Adrian Peterson (2,004), Barry Sanders (2,020) and O.J. Simpson (2,085). Brown, Sanders and Simpson are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

•Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for 152 yards with three touchdowns and added three catches for 28 yards with a touchdown in the team’s 42-7 win at Seattle. Gurley joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (October 20, 2002) as the only Rams in franchise history to have at least 150 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown in a single game.

•New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets. Thomas, who had 92 catches as a rookie last season, has a career-high 94 receptions this year. He joins Odell Beckham, Jr. as the only players in NFL history to record at least 90 receptions in each of their first two seasons. Beckham accomplished the feat in each of his first three seasons (2014-16).

•Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw four touchdown passes and rushed for 58 yards in the Panthers’ 31-24 victory against Green Bay. Newton, who leads all quarterbacks with 643 rushing yards this year, has four career seasons with at least 600 rushing yards, tied with Michael Vick (four) for the most such seasons by a quarterback in NFL history.

Panthers running back Christian McCaffery had six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown in the win. McCaffrey, who has 73 catches and five receiving touchdowns this season, is the only rookie running back in NFL history with at least 70 receptions and five touchdown catches.

Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers recorded a half-sack on fourth-and-14 with 5:46 remaining in the fourth quarter in today’s victory. Peppers, who has 10 sacks this season, is the fourth player in NFL history to have at least 10 seasons with 10+ sacks, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Bruce Smith (13 seasons), Reggie White (12) and Kevin Greene (10).

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 16

AFC

CLINCHED: New England – AFC East division title

Pittsburgh – AFC North division title

Jacksonville – Playoff berth

New England (11-3) vs. Buffalo (8-6), Sunday

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) New England win + Pittsburgh loss + Jacksonville loss or tie

New England clinches a first-round bye with:

1) New England win + Pittsburgh loss OR

2) New England win + Jacksonville loss or tie OR

3) New England tie + Jacksonville loss

Pittsburgh (11-3) at Houston (4-10), Monday

Pittsburgh clinches a first-round bye with:

1) Pittsburgh win + Jacksonville loss or tie OR

2) Pittsburgh tie + Jacksonville loss

Jacksonville (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10), Sunday

Jacksonville clinches AFC South division title with:

1) Jacksonville win or tie OR

2) Tennseeee loss or tie

Kansas City (8-6) vs. Miami (6-8), Sunday

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:

1) Kansas City win OR

2) Los Angeles Chargers loss OR

3) Kansas City tie + LAC tie

Tennessee (8-6) vs. Los Angeles Rams (10-4), Sunday

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Tennessee win + Baltimore loss + Buffalo loss

NFC

CLINCHED: Philadelphia – NFC East division title and first-round bye

Minnesota – NFC North division title

Philadelphia (12-2) vs. Oakland (6-8), Monday night

Philadelphia clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) Philadelphia win OR

2) Minnesota loss OR

3) Philadelphia tie + Minnesota tie

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Tennessee (8-6), Sunday

Los Angeles Rams clinch NFC West division title with:

1) Los Angeles Rams win or tie OR

2) Seattle loss or tie

Los Angeles Rams clinch a playoff berth with:

1) Detroit loss or tie + Carolina loss + Atlanta loss

New Orleans (10-4) vs. Atlanta (9-5), Sunday

New Orleans clinches NFC South division title with:

1) New Orleans win + Carolina loss

New Orleans clinches a playoff berth with:

1) New Orleans win or tie OR

2) Dallas-Seattle tie

Carolina (10-4) vs. Tampa Bay (4-10), Sunday

Carolina clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Carolina win or tie OR

2) Dallas-Seattle tie

Atlanta (9-5) at New Orleans (10-4), Sunday

Atlanta clinches a playoff berth with:

1) Atlanta win OR

2) Atlanta tie + Dallas-Seattle tie + Detroit loss or tie (Atlanta has the tiebreakers head to head with Dallas, Seattle and Detroit)

THE WEEK THAT WAS WEEK 15

TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: Philadelphia (NFC East, first-round bye), Minnesota (NFC North) and Jacksonville (playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All three teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

Entering Week 16, five of the eight divisions have a team either in or tied for first place that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

This weekend, four clubs – Carolina, the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans and Tennessee – have a chance to join Philadelphia, Minnesota and Jacksonville as teams who clinched a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

KANDID KAMARA: New Orleans rookie running back Alvin Kamara had 89 scrimmage yards (45 receiving, 44 rushing) and a receiving touchdown in the Saints’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets last week.

Kamara, who has seven rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns this year, is the fourth rookie in NFL history with at least five rushing and five receiving touchdowns, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Doak Walker (1950), Charley Taylor (1964) and Gale Sayers (1965).

The rookies with at least five rushing and five receiving touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON) (RUSHING TOUCHDOWN)(RECIEVEING TOUCHDOWNS)
Doak Walker, Detroit (1950) (5)(6)^
Charley Taylor, Washington (1964) (5)(5)^
Gale Sayers, Chicago (1965)(14)(6)^
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017)(7)(5)*
*Through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

BIG GAME HUNTING: Kansas City rookie running back Kareem Hunt had 206 scrimmage yards (155 rushing, 51 receiving), one rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the Chiefs’ 30-13 win against the Los Angeles Chargers last week.

Hunt, who had 246 scrimmage yards (148 rushing, 98 receiving), one rushing touchdown and two receiving touchdowns in Week 1, is the only rookie in NFL history to have two games with at least 200 scrimmage yards, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.

RISING ROOKIES: Through the first 15 weeks of the season, rookies have accumulated 22,219 yards from scrimmage, the second-most through Week 15 since 1970, excluding the 1987 season.

The seasons with the most yards from scrimmage by rookies through Week 15 since 1970 (excluding the 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST SCRIMMAGE YARDS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 15*
2014 – 22,229
2017 – 22,219
2013 – 19,771
2012 – 19,523
2015 – 19,086
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (1,641)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (1,336)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (1,136)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (974)
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (804)

Rookies have also totaled 157 touchdowns through Week 15, the second-most through the first 15 weeks of a season since 1970, excluding the 1987 season.

The seasons with the most touchdowns by rookies through Week 15 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON – MOST TOUCHDOWNS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 15*
2014 – 160
2017 – 157
2013 – 154
1983 – 142
2010 – 135
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most touchdowns in 2017:

PLAYER, TEAM (TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (12)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (9)
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (9)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (7)
Many tied with 6

MARVELOUS MC COY: Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 50 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Bills’ 24-16 win over Miami in Week 15.

McCoy reached 10,000 career rushing yards on his 2,145th carry, becoming the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to achieve the milestone. The only players to reach 10,000 career rushing yards in fewer attempts are Jim Brown (1,936), Adrian Peterson (2,004), Barry Sanders (2,020) and O.J. Simpson (2,085). Brown, Sanders and Simpson are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with the fewest attempts to reach 10,000 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (FEWEST ATTEMPTS TO REACH 10,000 RUSHING YARDS)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (1,936)^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota (2,004)
Barry Sanders – Detroit (2,020)^
O.J. Simpson – Buffalo (2,085)^
LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia and Buffalo (2,145)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

GRON-K: New England tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine receptions for 168 yards in the Patriots’ 27-24 win at Pittsburgh in Week 15.

Gronkowski, who leads all NFL tight ends with 1,017 receiving yards, reached 1,000 receiving yards for the fourth time in his career. Gronkowski tied Tony Gonzalez (four) and Jason Witten (four) for the most seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards among tight ends in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most 1,000+ receiving yard seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS WITH 1,000+ RECEIVING YARDS)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (4)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (4)*
Jason Witten, Dallas (4)*
Todd Christensen, Los Angeles Raiders (3)
Greg Olsen, Carolina (3)*
Shannon Sharpe, Denver (3)^
Kellen Winslow, San Diego (3)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

FOOTBALL IS FAMILY: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 434 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s Week 15 loss to Philadelphia.

Manning’s first touchdown pass of the day, the 336th of his career, gave the Manning family 1,000 total combined regular-season touchdown passes over their careers. Eli’s brother, Peyton, threw 539 touchdown passes in his 17-year career, the most in NFL history. Their father, Archie, recorded 125 touchdown passes during his 14-year career.

PLAYER – TEAM (CAREER TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Eli Manning – New York Giants (338)*
Archie Manning – New Orleans, Houston Oilers and Minnesota (125)
Total – 1,002
*Active

TOSS IT TO THOMAS: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had nine receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ win against the Jets.

Thomas, who had 92 catches as a rookie last season, has a career-high 94 receptions in 14 games this year. He joins Odell Beckham, Jr. as the only players in NFL history to have at least 90 catches in each of their first two NFL seasons. Beckham (2014-16) reached 90+ receptions in each of his first three NFL seasons.

The players to record at least 90 catches in each of their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON-RECEPTIONS)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2016-82)(2017-94)*
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (2014-91)(2015-96)(2016-101)
*Through Week 15

BLOCK PARTY: Philadelphia rookie defensive end Derek Barnett blocked a PAT, linebacker KAMU GRUGIER-HILL blocked a punt and safety MALCOLM JENKINS blocked a field goal in the Eagles’ 34-29 win over the Giants in Week 15.

The Eagles are the first team since the 1979 Minnesota Vikings (November 25, 23-22 win at Tampa Bay) to block all three types of kicks in a win.

GOOD AS GOULD: San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould converted all six field-goal attempts, including the game-winning 45-yard field goal as time expired, in the 49ers’ 25-23 win over the Titans last week.

Gould, who made five field goals at Chicago in Week 13 and four at Houston in Week 14, is the first player in NFL history to make at least 15 field goals over a three-game span.

The most made field goals over a three-game span in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)(WEEKS)(FIELD GOALS MADE)
Robbie Gould, San Francisco (2017)(13-15)(15)
Neil Rackers, Arizona (2005)(2-4)(14)
Olindo Mare, Miami (1989)(4-6)(14)
John Carney, San Diego (1992-93)(16-17, 1)(14)
Jim Turner, New York Jets (1968)(9-11)(14)
Gino Cappelletti, Boston Patriots (1964)(2-4)(14)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 16:

TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: Philadelphia (NFC East, first-round bye), Minnesota (NFC North) and Jacksonville (playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All three teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

Entering Week 16, five of the eight divisions have a team either in or tied for first place that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

This weekend, four clubs – Carolina, the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans and Tennessee – have a chance to join Philadelphia, Minnesota and Jacksonville as teams who clinched a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Jacksonville can secure the AFC South division this weekend with a win or a Tennessee loss and join Philadelphia as teams to go from “worst-to-first” this season.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their division since 2003:

SEASON – TEAM (RECORD, PRIOR SEASON RECORD)
2003 – Carolina (11-5, 7-9)
2003 – Kansas City (13-3, 8-8)**
2004 – ATLANTA (11-5, 5-11)
2004 – San Diego (12-4, 4-12)**
2005 – Chicago (11-5, 5-11)
2005 – New York Giants (11-5, 6-10)**
2005 – Tampa Bay (11-5, 5-11)
2006 – Baltimore (13-3, 6-10)**
2006 – New Orleans (10-6, 3-13)
2006 – Philadelphia (10-6, 6-10)
2007 – Tampa Bay (9-7, 4-12)
2008 – Miami (11-5, 1-15)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3, 8-8)***
2010 – Kansas City (10-6, 4-12)
2011 – Denver (8-8, 4-12)
2011 – Houston (10-6, 6-10)**
2012 – Washington (10-6, 5-11)
2013 – Carolina (12-4, 7-9)**
2013 – Philadelphia (10-6, 4-12)
2015 – Washington (9-7, 4-12)
2016 – Dallas (13-3, 4-12)
2017 – Philadelphia (12-2, 7-9)*
2017 – Jacksonville (10-4, 3-13)*
* Through Week 15
** Tied for last place
*** Won Super Bowl

THE BELL TOLLS: Pittsburgh Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell, who leads the NFL with 1,849 scrimmage yards this season, has 7,899 scrimmage yards in 61 career games.

Bell, who plays at Houston on Monday, can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (64 games) for the fewest games to reach 8,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

The players to reach 8,000 career scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (FEWEST GAMES TO 8,000 SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (64)^
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (65)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (65)^
Jim Brown, Cleveland (67)^
Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (68)^
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (61)*
*Has 7,899 career scrimmage yards
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

JONES-ING FOR MORE: Atlanta Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones ranks third in the NFL with 1,215 receiving yards this season.

With 85 yards on Sunday at New Orleans, Jones will record his fourth consecutive season with at least 1,300 receiving yards, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and Demaryius Thomas for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Only TORRY HOLT (six) from 2000-05 has a longer streak in league annals.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with at least 1,300 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS) (MOST CONSECUTIVE 1,300 RECEIVING YARD SEASONS)
Torry Holt, (St. Louis Rams, 2000-2005) (6)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2002) (4)^
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2012-2015) (4)
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (2014-2016) (3)*
*Has 1,215 rec. yards through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

KEEP IT 100: Arizona Pro Bowl wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD ranks second in the NFC with 92 receptions this season.

With eight receptions against the New York Giants on Sunday, Fitzgerald will record his fifth career season with at least 100 receptions, tying ANTONIO BROWN, ANDRE JOHNSON and WES WELKER for the second-most 100-catch seasons in NFL history.

Brown, who leads the NFL with 101 receptions this season, reached the 100-catch mark for the fifth time and trails only BRANDON MARSHALL (six) for the most such seasons all-time.

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

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS)
Brandon Marshall – Denver, Chicago and New York Jets (6)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (5)
Andre Johnson – Houston (5)
Wes Welker – New England (5)
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (4)*
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (4)^
Jerry Rice –  San Francisco (4)^
Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis (4)
*Has 92 receptions through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

CLIMBING THE CHARTS: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning ranks seventh in NFL history with 51,287 career passing yards.

With 189 passing yards at Arizona on Sunday, Manning would pass Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the sixth-most passing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (69,961)*
Tom Brady – New England (65,745)*
Dan Marino, Miami (61,361)^
John Elway, Denver (51,475)^
Eli Manning – New York Giants (51,287)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Fame

New Orleans Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees, who plays against Atlanta on Sunday, has 69,961 career passing yards and needs 39 yards to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940) as the only players in NFL history with at least 70,000 career passing yards.

PLAYER – TEAMS (CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (69,961)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Fame

ACE OF THE STAFF: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who plays at Cincinnati on Sunday, has thrown at least 25 pass attempts and completed 75 percent or better of his passes in each of his past three games. He can join Tom Brady (2007) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four consecutive games with at least 25 pass attempts and a 75 or better completion percentage.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 25 pass attempts and a 75 or better completion percentage in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON; WEEKS)(CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 25+ PASSES AND 75% COMPLETION PERCENTAGE)
Tom Brady – New England (2007; 1-4)(4)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2017; 13-15) (3)*
*Active streak

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford ranks third in the NFL with 3,920 passing yards and New Orleans Pro Bowl quarterback DREW BREES ranks fourth in the league with 3,850 passing yards.

With 80 passing yards this weekend, Stafford will reach 4,000 passing yards for the seventh consecutive season and surpass Peyton Manning (six seasons, 1999-2004) and Matt Ryan (six, 2011-16) for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

Ryan, who has 3,490 passing yards this season, has recorded at least 4,000 passing yards in each of the past six seasons and can extend his streak to seven consecutive seasons with 510 passing yards over the next two weeks.

Brees needs 150 passing yards to extend his NFL-record streak to 12 consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards.

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

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS) (SEASONS WITH 4,000+ PASSING YARDS)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2006-16) (11)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (1999-2004) (6)
Matt Ryan – ATLANTA (2011-16) (6)*
Matthew Stafford – Detroit (2011-16) (6)*
*Active streak

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara leads all NFL rookies and ties for second in the league with 12 total touchdowns this season.

With a touchdown reception on Sunday, Kamara, who has seven rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns, can join Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (1965) as the only rookies in NFL history with at least six rushing and six receiving touchdowns.

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS/RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS)
Gale Sayers, Chicago (1965, 14/6)^
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017, 7/5)*
*Through Week 15
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

GO THE DISTANCE: Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill had a 64-yard touchdown catch in the Chiefs’ Week 15 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Since entering the league in 2016, Hill has 11 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards.

With a 50+ yard touchdown on Sunday against Miami, Hill would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (11) for the second-most touchdowns of at least 50 yards in a player’s first two seasons in NFL history. Only Devin Hester (13) had more such touchdowns in his first two seasons.

The players with the most touchdowns of at least 50 yards in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (50+ YARD TOUCHDOWNS IN 1ST 2 SEASONS)
Devin Hester, Chicago (13)
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City (11)*
Gale Sayers, Chicago (11)^
*In second season
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

Week 16 got underway in Baltimore as the Ravens edged Indianapolis 23-16 Saturday afternoon and the Saturday action finished in Green Bay as the Packers were shutout by Minnesota 16-0 at chilly Lambeau Field. Action in week 16 continues on Sunday with a near full slate of contests and the Sunday action concludes in Dallas when the Dallas Cowboys welcome the Seattle Seahawks to AT&T Stadium on Christmas Eve afternoon. The next-to-last week of the season concludes with a pair of Christmas games when the Steelers travels to Houston to face the Texans and the Eagles host the Oakland Raiders in the final Monday night contest of the season.

Time is running out. With two weeks to go in the NFL regular season, it’s time for teams to make their final playoff push.

Through the first 15 weeks, five postseason berths have been clinched. Philadelphia (NFC East, first-round bye), Minnesota (NFC North), New England (AFC East) and Pittsburgh (AFC North) have each won its division. Jacksonville has secured a playoff berth. And with two weeks left in the regular season, there are still 19 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LII.

In the AFC, New England (11-3, clinched AFC East) can secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage. Pittsburgh (11-3, clinched AFC North) can lock up a first-round bye. Jacksonville (10-4, clinched playoff berth) can win the AFC South. Kansas City (8-6) can clinch the AFC West. And Tennessee (8-6) can secure a playoff berth.

In the NFC, Philadelphia (12-2, clinched NFC East and first-round bye) can lock up home-field advantage. Minnesota (11-3, clinched NFC North) can secure a first-round bye. The Los Angeles Rams (10-4) can clinch the NFC West or a playoff berth. New Orleans (10-4) can lock up the NFC South or a playoff berth and Carolina (10-4) and Atlanta (9-5) can each clinch a playoff berth.

By winning the NFC East, the Eagles have completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons. Both the Jaguars (lead AFC South by two games) and Panthers (tied for NFC South lead) are either in or tied for first place entering Week 16 and can join the Eagles as teams making a “worst-to-first” turnaround. If both Jacksonville and Carolina match Philadelphia as teams accomplishing the feat, 2017 would tie the 2005 and 2006 seasons for the most such “worst-to-first” clubs in NFL history.

As for last week… 11-5 is pretty good and for the season, 135-90. That’s not bad and there’s still a lot of football left, including the playoffs (PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?). Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 16 (be sure to leave milk and cookies for Santa and hay for the reindeer… we hear he likes Chocolate chip).

ATLANTA (9-5) at New Orleans (10-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Matt Ryan.

Drew Brees.

They meet again and this time, it’s Peach Pie squaring off against Gumbo as the Falcons travel to the Big Easy for an important NFC South matchup for both clubs.

Atlanta erased a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter at Tampa Bay and came away 24-21 winners last Monday evening at Raymond James Stadium. The defending NFC champs took a 17-7 lead with them to the locker room and held off two Tampa Bay rallies as the Bucs pulled to within 7 with 4:07 left in regulation when Jameis Winston and WR Adam Humphries connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tampa Bay then had a chance to tie the contest up with five seconds left but saw their playoff hopes come to an end when Pat Murray’s 54 yard field goal sailed wide right, giving Atlanta the win and sweeping the series in the process. Atlanta outrushed Tampa Bay 201-84 and DeVonta Freeman led the way with 126 yards and a 32-yard TD run that all but sealed the deal for the Falcons, while Ryan threw for 212 yards and a TD, with Winston throwing for 299 yards and three TDs. Both clubs did reasonably well on third down, as the Falcons were 9 of 15, while Tampa Bay was 4 of 8 (neither team went for it on fourth down) and time was on the side of Atlanta, who kept the ball for 33:15 to Tampa Bay’s 26:45.

New Orleans ended the New York Jets’ hopes of a playoff spot as they came away 31-19 winners in the Superdome last Sunday. New Orleans led 17-10 at the half before the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! pulled to within 5 with 1:51 left in the contest when Bryce Petty (who took over for Josh McCown) connected on a 2-yard TD pass but missed the two-point conversion. GangGreen then tried an onside kick, which New Orleans recovered and it would be Mark Ingram that would seal the Jets’ fate with a 50-yard run with 93 seconds left in regulation to take the win when he scored his second TD of the day. New Orleans outrushed the Jets 131-124 and Brees threw for 285 yards and a pair of TDs, one to RB Alvin Kamara, who returned from a concussion he suffered against Atlanta, while Petty threw for 179 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. New Orleans was 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:10, while the Jets actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:50, going 5 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries in the Big Easy.

The meeting in the Big Easy is a rematch of the week 14 contest in Atlanta that saw the Falcons take a 20-17 win in the Big Peach. New Orleans broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission and took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter before Atlanta would score their last 10 points of the contest unchallenged in that quarter. While Ryan did throw three interceptions, he did manage to throw for 221 yards and connect with WR Mohammed Sanu on an 8-yard TD strike with 9:55 left in the contest. Matt Bryant then added a 52-yard field goal with 3:49 left to play to take the lead back for good.

Atlanta then held off a late New Orleans rally in the closing minutes of the game when Brees (271 yards, two TDs) was picked off by LB Deion Jones in the end zone. The Falcons then secured the win after Sean Payton was penalized for being on the field, which moved the ball up and allowed Atlanta to run out the clock. Atlanta outrushed New Orleans 132-50, with Falcons RB DeVonta Freeman leading the way with 91 yards and a TD and the Falcons went 7 of 12 on third down conversions at Mercedes Benz Stadium, keeping the ball for 34:41, while New Orleans held the ball for 25:19, going 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 14 contest on a Thursday night, New Orleans was favored by 1 and the Falcons covered, winning by 3. The 52 1/2 over/under was untouched, as both teams combined for 37 total points. The odds makers this time like the Saints again, this time as 5 1/2 point favorites with a 52 over/under. There is a lot at stake here, which makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

History has a way of repeating itself. For the Falcons, all they have to do is run the table and they repeat as NFC South champs. The Saints are trying to be “Grinches” and stop their plans and take the NFC South for themselves. Sorry, Saints fans. you’re about to get a lump of coal in your stocking. Falcons complete the sweep and cover the 5 1/2 in the Big Easy.

Cleveland (0-14) at Chicago (4-10), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. It’s the NFL’s version of the “Pit of Misery” as the winless Cleveland Browns travel to the Windy City for a Christmas Eve afternoon contest with Chicago at Soldier Field. Both teams are coming off losses.

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

Da Bears were outmanned by Detroit last Saturday at Ford Field as the Lions took them to task, coming away on the short end of a 20-10 loss in the Motor City. Chicago trailed 13-3 at the intermission and could never really get on track in the NFC North rematch, as the Lions outrushed them 91-43 and picked off Mitch Trubisky (314 yards, TD) three times. For Detroit, Matt Stafford suffered no ill effects from the hand injury he suffered in Baltimore, throwing for 237 yards and a pair of TDs in the win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Chicago on third down went 5 of 12 (Da Bears were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Lions went 6 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 29:05.

Chicago’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 38 1/2. You might want to take a pass on this one and watch that “Grumpy Cat” movie on Lifetime. Chicago covers the 6 1/2 and wins in the Windy City.

Miami (6-8) at Kansas City (8-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of old AFL/AFC rivals meet in the Show-Me State as the Kansas City Chiefs host the struggling Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead.

Miami saw their playoff hopes damaged in Orchard Park as they fell to Buffalo 24-16. Although they trailed 21-6 at the half, Miami managed to outscore the Bills 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling to within 8 with 39 seconds left when Chris Parkey connected on a 26-yard field goal. Miami then managed to get the ball back thanks to a successful onside kick but turned the ball over one play later when Jay Cutler’s pass was picked off by Tre’Davious White. The Bills got the ball back, ran out the clock and took the win. Buffalo outrushed Miami 116-100 and LeSean McCoy scored a pair of TDs in the contest (one on a 4-yard run in the first quarter, the other coming from a 16 yard TD pass from Tyrod Taylor). Cutler threw for 274 yards but was sacked three times and picked off three times, while Taylor threw for 224 yards and the lone TD toss. Miami on third down tries went 5 of 16 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:25, while the Bills were 27:35 in time of possession, going 7 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Kansas City all but secured their chance of winning the AFC West title after their 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday night at Arrowhead. The Chiefs led 13-6 at the half, trailed 13-10 with 9:20 left in the third, then took the lead back for keeps with 2:07 left in the quarter when Kareem Hunt and Alex Smtih connected on a 3-yard TD pass. After Heath Butker connected on a pair of field goals for Kansas City, Hunt sealed the Chargers’ fate with a 5-yard run with 3:57 left in regulation. Kansas City outrushed Los Angeles 174-98, with Hunt leading the way with 155 yards. Smith threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Kansas City defense picked off Philip Rivers (227 yards) three times (he had a TD pass to TE Antonio Gates in the contest), taking the ball away four times. The Chiefs were 6 of 14 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:21, while the Chargers, who held the pigskin for 26:39, went 4 of 11, 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The series between these two AFC foes is even at 13-13 (which includes games that were played at Swope Field and the Orange Bowl), the Chiefs have outscored Miami 538-501 and Kansas City won the last meeting in the series, taking a 34-15 win in the Sunshine State in 2014, while the Dolphins were 31-3 winners in 2011 at Arrowhead. Kansas City’s favored by 10 at Arrowhead and the over/under’s 43 1/2. The Chiefs are starting to get their groove back, while the Dolphins are looking to cause chaos in the AFC West. Groove wins this one. Miami makes it closer than the 10 but the Chiefs pull themselves closer to the AFC West title with the win at Arrowhead.

Buffalo (8-6) at New England (11-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The defending Super Bowl champs return to Foxboro for an AFC East matchup with the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.

Buffalo put a dent in Miami’s playoff hopes as they held off the Dolphins 24-16 at New Era Stadium. Buffalo led 21-6 at the half, before Miami managed to outscore the Bills 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling to within 8 with 39 seconds left when Chris Parkey connected on a 26-yard field goal. The Dolphins then found new life and managed to get the ball back thanks to a successful onside kick but Buffalo forced a turn over one play later when Jay Cutler’s pass was picked off by Tre’Davious White. The Bills got the ball back, ran out the clock and took the win. Buffalo outrushed Miami 116-100 and LeSean McCoy scored a pair of TDs in the contest (one on a 4-yard run in the first quarter, the other coming from a 16 yard TD pass from Tyrod Taylor). Cutler threw for 274 yards but was sacked three times and picked off three times, while Taylor threw for 224 yards and the lone TD toss. Miami on third down tries went 5 of 16 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:25, while the Bills were 27:35 in time of possession, going 7 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Brady and the Pats erased a 17-10 deficit against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers and left Heinz Field with a 27-24 win last Sunday to clinch the AFC East title. The Steelers led 24-19 with 56 seconds left in regulation when New England’s Deion Lewis scored on an 8-yard run and took the lead when Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski, coming off his one-game suspension, hooked up on the two-point try to take the 3-point lead. Steelers fans had their hopes dashed twice in the contest. Pittsburgh got the ball back and marched downfield, getting as close as New England’s 10-yard line when Ben Roethlisberger and TE Jesse James connected on what they thought would be the game-winning score. The play was reviewed and the call was changed from catch to no catch. After that, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a short pass to New England’s 7-yard line and the Steelers scrambled to the line without any times and Roethlisberger threw a pass into the endzone that was deflected and picked off by Duron Harmon. New England ran out the clock and took the win.

Pittsburgh outrushed New England 143-77, with LeVeon Bell leading all rushers with 117 yards, while Roethlisbeger threw for 281 yards and a TD. Pittsburgh also lost the services of All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, who had 24 yards on two catches before leaving the contest with a torn calf muscle (Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster had 114 yards on six catches for the Steelers), while Brady threw for 298 yards and a TD (both were sacked twice and both threw an interception). Pittsburgh on third down went 10 of 16 and kept the ball for 35:07, while the Pats were 24:53 in time of possession, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down at Heinz Field.

They met in week 13 along the shores of Lake Erie in upstate New York and the Pats were 23-3 winners in that meeting. New England held Buffalo to a 49-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka with 3:05 left before the intermssion and got a pair of rushing TDs in the second half by RB Rex Burkhead to seal Buffalo’s fate. While the Pats outrushed Buffalo 191-183, Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy led all rushers with 93 yards, while Brady threw for 258 yards despite getting sacked four times. The Pats on third down conversions went 5 of 12 (the Bills were 5 of 13, 0 of 3 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:01 to Buffalo’s 25:59.

In the week 13 contest in Orchard Park, New England covered the 8 1/2-point spread, winning by 20 but neither club touched the 46 over/under, scoring only 26 points. This time, the Pats are favored by 11 1/2 and the over/under is 47. Buffalo’s wanting to go to the playoffs for the first time since the Clinton adminstration, while the Pats look to stay home for as long as they’re in the playoffs. New England wins this one but expect Buffalo to make things closer than 11 1/2.

Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) at New York Jets (5-9), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling AFC meet in upstate New Jersey as the New York Jets host the Los Angeles Chargers at Met Life Stadium.

The Chargers saw their hopes of winning the AFC West get damaged by Kansas City last Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium, falling 30-13 to the Chiefs. The Chiefs led 13-6 at the half before the Chargers would take the lead for the first and only time of the contest when Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates connected on a 10-yard TD strike with 9:20 left in the third, then watched the Chiefs take the lead back for keeps with 2:07 left in the quarter when Kareem Hunt and Alex Smtih connected on a 3-yard TD pass. After Heath Butker connected on a pair of field goals for Kansas City, Hunt sealed the Chargers’ fate with a 5-yard run with 3:57 left in regulation. Kansas City outrushed Los Angeles 174-98, with Hunt leading the way with 155 yards. Smith threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Kansas City defense picked off Philip Rivers (227 yards) three times (he had a TD pass to TE Antonio Gates in the contest), taking the ball away four times. The Chiefs were 6 of 14 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 33:21, while the Chargers, who held the pigskin for 26:39, went 4 of 11, 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

New York’s hopes of a playoff spot were ground as the Jets were 31-19 losers in New Orleans to the Saints at Superdome last Sunday. GangGreen trailed 17-10 at the half before they would pull themselves to within 5 with 1:51 left in the contest when Bryce Petty (who took over for Josh McCown) connected on a 2-yard TD pass but missed the two-point conversion. GangGreen then tried an onside kick, which New Orleans recovered and it would be Mark Ingram that would seal the Jets’ fate with a 50-yard run with 93 seconds left in regulation to take the win when he scored his second TD of the day. New Orleans outrushed the Jets 131-124 and Brees threw for 285 yards and a pair of TDs, one to RB Alvin Kamara, who returned from a concussion he suffered against Atlanta, while Petty threw for 179 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. New Orleans was 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:10, while the Jets actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:50, going 5 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries in the Big Easy.

Including games that were played at Shea and Qualcomm Stadiums and when the Jets were known as the Titans, the Chargers lead the series 21-12-1, they have outscored GangGreen 982-698 and won the last two meetings in the series, including a 24-0 win in 2014 at Qualcomm, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!’ last win over the Chargers came in 2011 in the Meadowlands by a final of 27-21.

The Chargers are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. While this one is not exactly “DRILL WORTHY,” it’s worth watching as both teams have had decent seasons if not great seasons. The Chargers may not cover the 7 but they take the win in upstate New Jersey.

Denver (5-9) at Washington (6-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of teams that once met in a Super Bowl meet in Landover as the Redskins and Broncos, both out of the playoff picture, meet at FedEx Field on Christmas Eve afternoon.

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

While the Redskins saw their playoff hopes vanish, they made sure that Arizona didn’t leave Landover with a victory as they held off the Cardinals 20-15 at FedEx Field. Washington led 14-9 at the half and held Arizona in check the rest of the way. The Desert Angry Birds would eventually pull themselves to within 2 with 13:37 left in the third on a 34-yard field goal by Pat Dawson before the Redskins took control of things in the contest. While Arizona outrushed Washington 141-31, Kirk Cousins threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Arizona Blaine Gabbard threw for 189 yards with five sacks and an interception. The Redskins were 1 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 23:44, while Arizona kept the pigskin for 36:16, going 4 of 19 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Denver leads the series 7-5, Washington has outscored the Broncos 271-243 and the Broncos were 45-21 winners in their last meeting at Mile High Stadium in 2013, while Washington’s last win came in 2009 by a final of 27-17. The odds makers like the ‘Skins as 3 1/2 point favorites with a 41 over/under. Redskins fans got to sing “Hail to the Redskins” last week, instead of “Hell, it’s the Redskins.” They’ll get to sing “Hail” again this time. Washington covers the 3 1/2 in Landover and takes the win.

Tampa Bay (4-10) at Carolina (10-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. It’s round two of a pair of former Heisman QBs as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers host Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay pulled even with Atlanta at Raymond James Stadium last Monday, going into the second quarter tied at 7-7 tie, only to see their slim playoff hopes melt like a sunburned snowman, as the Faclons were 24-21 winners. The defending NFC champs took a 17-7 lead with them to the locker room and held off two Tampa Bay rallies as the Bucs pulled to within 7 with 4:07 left in regulation when Winston and WR Adam Humphries connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tampa Bay then had a chance to tie the contest up with five seconds left but saw their playoff hopes come to an end when Pat Murray’s 54 yard field goal sailed wide right, giving Atlanta the win and sweeping the series in the process. Atlanta outrushed Tampa Bay 201-84 and DeVonta Freeman led the way with 126 yards and a 32-yard TD run that all but sealed the deal for the Falcons, while Ryan threw for 212 yards and a TD, with Winston throwing for 299 yards and three TDs. Both clubs did reasonably well on third down, as the Falcons were 9 of 15, while Tampa Bay was 4 of 8 (neither team went for it on fourth down) and time was on the side of Atlanta, who kept the ball for 33:15 to Tampa Bay’s 26:45.

Newton and Carolina held off the return of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 31-24 at Bank of America Stadium last Sunday afternoon. After ewton threw a 7-yard TD pass to Christian McCaffery to open the scoring in the contest. Rodgers threw his first of three TD passes of the afternoon as time expired in the first quarter when he and WR DaVonte Adams connected on a 13-yard TD strike to tie things up. Green Bay would eventually take a 14-10 into the intermission when Rodgers and RB Randall Cobb hooked up on a 33 yard TD strike before Carolina took control of things, outscoring the Packers 21-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Green Bay would eventually pull to within a touchdown with 2:43 left in the contest when WR Richard Rodgers caught a 24-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay then recovered the onside kick and got the ball as far as the Panthers’ 38-yard line when Geronimo Allison caught a 10-yard pass from Rodgers but fumbled the ball, which Carolina promptly recovered. Carolina then ran the clock out and took the win at home.

They met in the Sunshine State in week eight and the Bucs were held ot a 41-yard field goal by Patrick Murray to fall to Carolina 17-3 at Raymond James Stadium. Carolina led 10-0 at the intermission and never looked back, holding the Bucs to 85 yards rushing (the Panthers ran for 100 yards) and sacking Winston (210 yards) three times and picking him off twice, while Newton threw for 154 yards and a TD (Newton threw an interception in the contest). Carolina was 8 of 17 on third down and kept the pigskin for 32:11, while Tampa Bay was 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 27:49.

In the week eight affair on Florida’s west coast, the Bucs were favored by 2 1/2 and the Panthers covered, winning by 14 but neither club touched the 44 over/under, as both tallied only 20 points. This time, the Panthers are favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The Bucs would love nothing more than to ruin Carolina’s playoff party, while Caroline would like nothing more than to put Tampa Bay out of their misery. Tampa Bay makes this one interesting but Carolina’s finer and sweeps the series with the win.

Detroit (8-6) at Cincinnati (5-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. It’s a battle for the Litter Box as the Cincinnati Bengals host Detriot with the Lions fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC, while the Bengals look to play the role of spoiler.

Detroit officially knocked Chicago out of the post-season party last Saturday at Ford Field as they took Da Bears to task, winning 20-10 in the Motor City. Detroit led from start to finish and took a 13-3 lead at the intermission in the NFC North rematch, outrushing Chicago 91-43 and picking off Mitch Trubisky (314 yards, TD) three times. For Detroit, Matt Stafford suffered no ill effects from the hand injury he suffered in Baltimore, throwing for 237 yards and a pair of TDs in the win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Chicago on third down went 5 of 12 (Da Bears were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Lions went 6 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 29:05.

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

Cincinnati leads the series 8-3, which includes contests that took place at the Silverdome, Riverfront and Tiger Stadiums, they have outscored Detroit 274-222 and have won the last five meetings, including taking a 27-24 win in the Motor City in 2013, while Detroit’s last win came in Cincinnati in 1992 by a final of 19-13. Detroit’s favored by 5 in Cincy and the over/under’s 43. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Cincinnati is not going to the post-season, while the Lions are hoping that they have a spot at the post-season party. If nothing else, things could get a little catty in Cincy. Lions cover the 5 and win along the shores of the Ohio River.

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Tennessee (8-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Hollywood meets Dollywood as the Los Angeles Rams travel to the Music City for a showdown at Nissan Stadium with Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans.

The Rams got revenge on Seattle last Sunday in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, taking down the Seahawks 42-7 at CenturyLink Field. Los Angeles scored the first 40 points of the game unchallenged, leading 34-0 at halftime and 40-0 lat in the third quarter before Seattle ended the Rams’ dreams of a shutout when Russell Wilson and TE Luke Willson hooked up on a 26-yard toss with 87 seconds left in the period. Los Angeles then put Seahawks fans out of their misery when Wilson was sacked in the endzone for a safety. Seattle was outrushed by the Rams 244-78 and Todd Gurley led everyone with 152 rushing yards and three TDs, the longest being 57 yards with 28 seconds left before the half. Wilson threw for 142 yards and the lone TD but was sacked seven times, while Jared Goff threw for 120 yards and a pair of TDs (one toss going to Gurley, the other going to WR Robert Woods). The Rams went 6 of 16 on third down (1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:46, while the Seahawks, who lost three of their last five games, kept the pigskin for 23:14 and went 4 of 14 on third down conversions in the Paciifc Northwest.

The Titans checked themselves into the Heartbreak Hotel after their 25-23 loss to San Francisco last Sunday in Santa Clara with a game-winning field goal as time expired. San Francisco led 16-10 at the intermission before allowing the Titans to storm back in the second half, outscoring the 49ers 10-9. Tennessee led 23-22 with 67 seconds lefr thanks to a 50-yard field goal by Ryan Succop before San Francisco went to work to take the win, using a 7-play, 48-yard drive that took all of the 67 seconds and ended with Gould’s 45-yard effort. Tennessee managed to outrush San Francisco 90-51 but 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 381 yards and a TD, while Marcus Mariota threw for 341 yards and a pair of TDs. Both clubs were 50 percent on third down tries (Tennessee was 6 of 12, San Francisco was 7 of 14) and the Titans were 1 of 1 on fourth down, holding the ball for 27:25, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 32:35.

Including games in St. Louis and Houston, when the Titans were known as the Oilers, Los Angeles leads the series 6-5, while the Titans have outscored the Rams 247-229, taking wins in the last two meetings, including a 28-21 win in St. Louis in 2013, while the Rams were 31-27 winners in the Gateway City in 2005. The Rams are favored by 6 1/2 in the Music City and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Both clubs are looking for an invite to the playoff party in two weeks. The Titans are trying to catch Jacksonville in the AFC South, while the Rams want to remain as king of the mountain in the NFC  West. Rams take a huge step toward winning the NFC West and wins in Music City, covering the 6 1/2.

Jacksonville (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. A pair of improving teams meet in wine country as Jacksonville travels to Santa Clara for a late-afternoon contest with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Jaguars advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 when they took Houston to the woodshed last Sunday in Jacksonville, taking a 45-7 win over the Texans at EverBank Field. Jacksonville clawed their way to a 31-0 lead at the break and held the Texans to a third quarter TD with 8:12 left in that quarter when Tyler Yates and WR DeAndre Hopkins connected on a 25-yard strike. Jacksonville outrushed Houston 138-87 and sacked Yates (128 yards) four times and picked him off once. Jacksonville, led by Blake Bortles’ 326 yards of passing (three TDs), went 3 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:18, while the struggling Texans kept the pigskin for 26:42 and went 4 of 16 on third down tries in the Sunshine State.

Robbie Gould sent 49ers fans home happy after their 25-23 win over Tennessee last Sunday in Santa Clara with a game-winning field goal as time expired. San Francisco, who doubled their win total from 2016 (they were 2-14) led 16-10 at the intermission before allowing the Titans to storm back in the second half, outscoring the 49ers 10-9. Tennessee led 23-22 with 67 seconds lefr thanks to a 50-yard field goal by Ryan Succop before San Francisco went to work to take the win, using a 7-play, 48-yard drive that took all of the 67 seconds and ended with Gould’s 45-yard effort. Tennessee managed to outrush San Francisco 90-51 but 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 381 yards and a TD, while Marcus Mariota threw for 341 yards and a pair of TDs. Both clubs were 50 percent on third down tries (Tennessee was 6 of 12, San Francisco was 7 of 14) and the Titans were 1 of 1 on fourth down, holding the ball for 27:25, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 32:35.

They’ve only met four times and the series is even at 2-2. San Francisco has outscored the Jaguars 74-64 and the 49ers have won the last two meetings, including a 42-10 win in 2013 in London, while the Jaguars’ last win came in the Sunshine State by a final of 10-9 in 2005. Jacksonville’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under is 42 1/2. San Francisco’s played some pretty decent football of late, while the Jaguars want to make history and at least host one playoff game in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville covers the 4 1/2 in wine country and takes the win.

New York Giants (2-12) at Arizona (6-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. A pair of teams that will not make the playoff party meet in the desert as Eli Manning and the New York Giants travel to Glendale for a late afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Both teams enter the contest with losses on the East coast under their belts.

After leading Philadelphia 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, Philly took a 21-20 at the intermisison, outscored the Giants 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of action and then held off a late New York rally that would have given interim head coach Steve Spagnola the win at home and took the win when Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 20-yard field goal with 3:56 left in the contest, dropping a 34-29 NFC East decision to the Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Philadelphia outrushed the Giants 108-75 and Nick Foles, who took over for Carson Wentz (knee), threw for 237 yards and three TDs, while Manning, in his second contest after he was benched, threw for 434 yards and four TDs (each man was sacked once and Manning threw an interception). The Eagles were 6 of 13 on third down tries in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 30:53, while the Giants held the ball for 29:07, going 10 of 18 on third down tries (both clubs were 0 of 1 on fourth down).

Arizona’s playoff hopes were crushed in Landover by the Redskins as Washington came away 20-15 winners at FedEx Field. Washington led 14-9 at the half and held Arizona in check the rest of the way. The Desert Angry Birds would eventually pull themselves to within 2 with 13:37 left in the third on a 34-yard field goal by Pat Dawson before the Redskins took control of things in the contest. While Arizona outrushed Washington 141-31, Kirk Cousins threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Arizona Blaine Gabbard threw for 189 yards with five sacks and an interception. The Redskins were 1 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 23:44, while Arizona kept the pigskin for 36:16, going 4 of 19 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Including games that were played at Yankee Stadium and New Haven when the Giants played in those stadiums and games played in Chicago and St. Louis when the Cardinals called those cities home, the Giants lead the series 80-43-2 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 2,760-2,151. Arizona won the last meeting with Big Blue, taking a 25-14 win in 2014 in the Meadowlands, while New York’s last win came in the desert in 2011 by a final of 31-27. Arizona’s favored by 4 1/2 in the desert and the over/under’s 40. Take a pass on this one and make that last-minute trip to get that ugly sweater for your cousin Larry. Arizona puts Giants fans a little closer out of their misery and wins at home, covering the 4 1/2 in the process.

Seattle (8-6) at Dallas (8-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. It’s basically an elimination game in the Lone Star State as the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys meet in a game of football “Survivor,” with the winner still having some playoff hope, while the loser is done for the year.

Seattle found themselves being taken to task by the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, as the Rams took down the Seahawks 42-7 at CenturyLink Field. Los Angeles took control of things early and scored the first 40 points of the game unchallenged, leading 34-0 at halftime and 40-0 lat in the third quarter before Seattle ended the Rams’ dreams of a shutout when Russell Wilson and TE Luke Willson hooked up on a 26-yard toss with 87 seconds left in the period. Los Angeles then put Seahawks fans out of their misery when Wilson was sacked in the endzone for a safety. Seattle was outrushed by the Rams 244-78 and Todd Gurley led everyone with 152 rushing yards and three TDs, the longest being 57 yards with 28 seconds left before the half. Wilson threw for 142 yards and the lone TD but was sacked seven times, while Jared Goff threw for 120 yards and a pair of TDs (one toss going to Gurley, the other going to WR Robert Woods). The Rams went 6 of 16 on third down (1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:46, while the Seahawks, who lost three of their last five games, kept the pigskin for 23:14 and went 4 of 14 on third down conversions in the Paciifc Northwest.

Dallas, who gets RB Ezekiel Elliott back from his 6-game suspension, led Oakland 10-0 at the half last Sunday night on the West Coast, then survived a late Raiders rally and escaped northern California with a 20-17 win. Oakland rallied in the second half and managed to tie things up at 17-17 with 10:35 left in regulation when Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Later in the quarter, the Cowboys used an 11-play, 69-yard drive that took 4:46 to take the lead back when K Dan Bailey connected on a 19-yard field goal with 1:44 left. The Raiders were not about to go away, got the ball back and got as close as the Cowboys’ 8-yard line, when Carr tried to run the ball in to take the lead with 39 seconds left but fumbled the pigskin through the endzone, giving Dallas the ball back on their 20-yard line. Dallas then ran out the clock and took the win. Dallas outrushed Oakland 126-122 and Dak Prescott threw for 212 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest, while Carr threw for 171 yards and the two TDs tosses to Crabtree. Dallas was 2 of 10 on third down tries but was successful on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:20, while the Silver and Black went 8 of 15 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:40.

Dallas leads the series 10-6 and they have outscored Seattle 399-283. Seattle did come away with a win in their last meeting with Dallas in the Lone Star State, coming away 13-12 winners in 2015, while Dallas won in the Pacific Northwest in 2014 by a final of 30-23.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Cowboys as 4 1/2 point favorites in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 47. The winner’s hopes are still alive and will get more hope in their stocking. As for the loser? They’ll get knocked out of the playoffs and a lump of coal in their stockings. Both are trying to catch Atlanta for that last playoff spot (Atlanta has the tiebreaker with both teams) and both know they’re on the football naughty list. Seahawks get themselves off the list and pulls the upset in the Lone Star State.

Pittsburgh (11-3) at Houston (4-10), 4:30 p.m. Monday on NBC and NFL Network. It’s the first of two Christmas Day games as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Houston to face off against the struggling Texans at NRG Stadium.

Pittsburgh comes into the Christmas Day contest in less-than Jolly mood after blowing a 17-10 lead against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and came up on the short end of a 27-24 loss at Heinz Field last Sunday. The Steelers led 24-19 with 56 seconds left in regulation when New England’s Deion Lewis scored on an 8-yard run and took the lead when Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski, coming off his one-game suspension, hooked up on the two-point try to take the 3-point lead. Steelers fans had their hopes dashed twice in the contest. Pittsburgh got the ball back and marched downfield, getting as close as New England’s 10-yard line when Ben Roethlisberger and TE Jesse James connected on what they thought would be the game-winning score. The play was reviewed and the call was changed from catch to no catch. After that, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a short pass to New England’s 7-yard line and the Steelers scrambled to the line without any times and Roethlisberger threw a pass into the endzone that was deflected and picked off by Duron Harmon. New England ran out the clock and took the win.

Pittsburgh outrushed New England 143-77, with LeVeon Bell leading all rushers with 117 yards, while Roethlisbeger threw for 281 yards and a TD. Pittsburgh also lost the services of All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, who had 24 yards on two catches before leaving the contest with a torn calf muscle (Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster had 114 yards on six catches for the Steelers), while Brady threw for 298 yards and a TD (both were sacked twice and both threw an interception). Pittsburgh on third down went 10 of 16 and kept the ball for 35:07, while the Pats were 24:53 in time of possession, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down at Heinz Field.

The dismal season for the Texans continued in the Sunshine State as Jacksonville took them to task last Sunday at EverBank Field, dropping a 45-7 AFC South decision. Houston had a problem and trailed Jacksonville 31-0 lead at the break, as the Jaguars held the Texans to a third quarter TD with 8:12 left in that quarter when Tyler Yates and WR DeAndre Hopkins connected on a 25-yard strike. Jacksonville outrushed Houston 138-87 and sacked Yates (128 yards) four times and picked him off once. Jacksonville, led by Blake Bortles’ 326 yards of passing (three TDs), went 3 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 33:18, while the struggling Texans kept the pigskin for 26:42 and went 4 of 16 on third down tries in the Sunshine State.

The Steelers lead the series 3-2, Pittsburgh has outscored Houston 111-88 and won their last meeting with the Texans, coming away 30-23 winners in the Steel City in 2014, while the Texans were 17-10 winners in 2011 at then-Reliant Stadium.  Pittsburgh’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 44. The 44 makes sense. The 10 is a little high. While the Texans have at times played some pretty good football, they’re not the same without Watt or Watson. Pittsburgh takes the win but expect Houston to give the Steelers a hard time in the Lone Star State.

Oakland (6-8) at Philadelphia (12-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The final Monday night game of the season takes place on Christmas Night in the City of Brotherly Love as Philadelphia hosts the Oakland Raiders at Lincoln Financial Field.

Oakland trailed Dallas 10-0 at the half last Sunday night on the West Coast, then rallied to even things up, only to see their playoff hopes wither away as the Cowboys survived a late Raiders rally, taking a 20-17 loss. Oakland rallied in the second half and managed to tie things up at 17-17 with 10:35 left in regulation when Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Later in the quarter, the Cowboys used an 11-play, 69-yard drive that took 4:46 to take the lead back when K Dan Bailey connected on a 19-yard field goal with 1:44 left. The Raiders were not about to go away, got the ball back and got as close as the Cowboys’ 8-yard line, when Carr tried to run the ball in to take the lead with 39 seconds left but fumbled the pigskin through the endzone, giving Dallas the ball back on their 20-yard line. Dallas then ran out the clock and took the win. Dallas outrushed Oakland 126-122 and Dak Prescott threw for 212. yards and had a rushing TD in the contest, while Carr threw for 171 yards and the two TDs tosses to Crabtree. Dallas was 2 of 10 on third down tries but was successful on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and kept the ball for 32:20, while the Silver and Black went 8 of 15 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:40.

The Eagles have an NFL-best 12-2 record and have already clinched the NFC East and a first-round bye and got that bye thanks to a 34-29 win over the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium last Sunday. After erasing a 14-7 deficit at the end of the first quarter, Philly took a 21-20 at the intermisison, outscored the Giants 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of action and then held off a late New York rally that would have given interim head coach Steve Spagnola the win at home and took the win when Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 20-yard field goal with 3:56 left in the contest. Philadelphia outrushed the Giants 108-75 and Nick Foles, who took over for Carson Wentz (knee), threw for 237 yards and three TDs, while Eli Manning, in his second contest after he was benched, threw for 434 yards and four TDs (each man was sacked once and Manning threw an interception). The Eagles were 6 of 13 on third down tries in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 30:53, while the Giants held the ball for 29:07, going 10 of 18 on third down tries (both clubs were 0 of 1 on fourth down).

While the Eagles lead the series 6-5 (which includes games that were played in Los Angeles when the Raiders called that city home), the Raiders have outscored the Eagles 232-209. Philly won the last meeting with the Silver and Black in 2013, taking a 49-20 win in Oakland, while the Raiders were 13-9 winners in Oakland in 2009. The Eagles are favored by 9 and the over/under is 47 1/2. Both numbers make sense. While the Eagles have a Monday night win under their belts this year, taking Washington to task in week seven at home, Oakland is 38-27-1 under the primetime lights and won their only meeting last year. The Raiders are all but out of the post-season, while the Eagles want to stay home for the post-season. There’s no place like home for the playoffs and the Eagles can cancel that trip to the airport. Philly covers the 9 like cheese on a cheesesteak sandwich and takes the win at home.

 

Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information (All Times Listed are Eastern)

Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Beth Mowins, Jay Feely; SIRIUS: 113 (Miami), 145 (Buffalo); XM: 385 (Miami), 228 (Buffalo)

Green Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Derek Rackley; SIRIUS: 112 (Green Bay), 82 (Carolina); XM: 384 (Green Bay), 82 (Carolina)

Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Tom McCarthy, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker (Field reporter), Melanie Collins (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 93 (Baltimore), 132 (Cleveland); XM: 380 (Baltimore), 225 (Cleveland)

Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 138 (Houston), 83 (Jacksonville); XM: 381 (Houston), 83 (Jacksonville)

Cincinnati at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 119 (Cincinnati), 135 (Minnesota); XM: 386 (Cincinnati), 226 (Minnesota)

New York Jets at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Otis Livingston (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 133 (New York Jets), 137 (New Orleans); XM: 383 (New York Jets), 229 (New Orleans)

Philadelphia at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Peter Schrager (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 134 (Philadelphia), 81 (New York Giants); XM: 382 (Philadelphia), 81 (New York Giants)

Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Kristina Pink (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 157 (Arizona), 146 (Washington); XM: 387 (Arizona), 227 (Washington)

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 136 (Los Angeles Rams), 83 (Seattle); XM: 388 (Los Angeles Rams), 83 (Seattle)

New England at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 93 (New England), 82 (Pittsburgh); XM: 380 (New England), 82 (Pittsburgh)

Tennessee at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; SIRIUS: 138 (Tennessee), 81 (San Francisco); XM: 381 (Tennessee), 81 (San Francisco)

Dallas at Oakland, 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 (Dallas), 83 (Oakland); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Dallas), 83 (Oakland)

ATLANTA at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: WestWood1: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Atlanta), 83 (Tampa Bay); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Atlanta), 83 (Tampa Bay)

Sunday and Monday Officials
Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: Jerome Boger
Green Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m.: Craig Wrolstad
Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Clete Blakeman
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Carl Cheffers
Cincinnati at Minnesota, 1 p.m.: Walt Coleman
New York Jets at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Ronald Torbert
Philadelphia at New York Giants, 1 p.m.: Brad Allen
Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m.: Pete Morelli
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.: Ed Hochuli
New England at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m.: Tony Corrente
Tennessee at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.: John Parry
Dallas at Oakland, 8:30 p.m.: Gene Steratore
ATLANTA at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m. Monday: John Hussey

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home teams listed in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games

Favorite         Spread     Underdog          O/U
Philadelphia     –  7 1/2   NEW YORK GIANTS   40
CAROLINA         –  3       Green Bay         45
MINNESOTA        – 10 1/2   Cincinnati        42
BUFFALO          –  3 1/2   Miami             42
JACKSONVILLE     – 10 1/2   Houston           39
NEW ORLEANS      – 15       New York Jets     47
WASHINGTON       –  4 1/2   Arizona           43 1/2
Baltimore        –  7       CLEVELAND         40
SEATTLE          –  1 1/2   Los Angeles Rams  48
New England      –  2 1/2   PITTSBURGH        53 1/2
SAN FRANCISCO    –  2       Tennessee         44 1/2
Dallas           –  3       OAKLAND           45 1/2

Monday’s Game

Favorite         Spread     Underdog          O/U
Atlanta          –  6 1/2   TAMPA BAY         48

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

Sunday and Monday Weather
Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 26 degrees
Green Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 51 degrees
Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 36 degrees
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 72 degrees
Cincinnati at Minnesota, 1 p.m.: Game indoors
New York Jets at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Game indoors
Philadelphia at New York Giants, 1 p.m.: Cloudy and 35 degrees
Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 50 degrees
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.: Overcast with a 40 percent chance of rain and 46 degrees
New England at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m.: Overcast and 40 degrees
Tennessee at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.: Sunny and 62 degrees
Dallas at Oakland, 8:30 p.m.: Sunny and 62 degrees
ATLANTA at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m. Monday: Partly cloudy and 70 degrees

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