Archives for category: Thursday Night Football

They’re still standing.

New England (6-0) and San Francisco (5-0) are still standing as the only two unbeaten teams in the National Football League.

While the Patriots and 49ers revel in the spotlight, Cincinnati (0-6) and Miami (0-6) remain winless and search for their first wins this week. Washington and the New York Jets picked up their first wins last week in close contests… but as they say, a win is a win. As for Bengals and Dolphins fans, hold your heads up and remember, an NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint.

MOST COMPETITIVE CONTESTS EVER: No other season through six weeks has produced more games decided by seven-or-fewer points than 2019. This year, 51 of 92 games (55.4 percent) have been decided by seven-or-fewer points, including nine of 14 games in Week 6. This season also is tied for the most one-point games through Week 6 since the 1970 merger.

The seasons with the most games decided by one- and seven-or-fewer points through six weeks:

GAMES DECIDED BY ONE-OR-FEWER POINTS, THROUGH WEEK 6, SINCE 1970

2019 – 9
2016 – 9
1997 – 9
1972 – 9
1999 – 8

GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN-OR-FEWER POINTS, THROUGH WEEK 6, ALL-TIME

2019 – 51
2016 – 50
1999 – 50
2018 – 47
2015 – 47
2011 – 47

100TH OF THE 100TH: One of the early contests Sunday will mark the 100th game of the NFL’s 100th season. The league has completed 92 games entering this week. As the 100th kickoff approaches, several NFL players and teams are on pace to challenge some of the game’s most esteemed records.

On Sunday afternoon, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens travel to the Pacific Northwest to meet Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson has a passer rating over 100 in each of Seattle’s first six games and is on pace to break two single-season NFL records held by Aaron Rodgers, his 122.5 passer rating in 2011 and his 0.34 interception percentage in 2018. Meanwhile, Jackson last week had 236 passing yards and a career-high 152 rushing yards with a touchdown in a 23-17 win over Cincinnati. His 152 rushing yards were the fourth-most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history, including the postseason. Jackson, who registered his third career game with at least 115 rushing yards, is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to register at least 115 rushing yards in at least three games in his first two seasons.

PLENTY OF HEARTBEATS REMAINING: Hope is in plentiful supply across the NFL. That’s because in 2018 after Week 7, five of the 12 teams that qualified for the playoffs were either .500 or below in the NFL standings. After this week concludes on Monday night at MetLife Stadium, it’s very likely that at least one team sitting at .500 or below will still make the playoffs. Since 2011, at least one team has qualified for the playoffs after beginning the year at-or-below .500 through Week 7.

The playoff teams that were at-or-below .500 through seven weeks, since 2011:

YEAR – PLAYOFF TEAMS AT OR BELOW .500 THROUGH SEVEN WEEKS
2018 – *Chicago, *Dallas, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle*
2017 – ATLANTA
2016 – Miami
2015 – *Houston, Kansas City, Seattle, *Washington
2014 – *Carolina, *Seattle
2013 – *Carolina, *Philadelphia
2012 – Cincinnati, *Denver, Indianapolis, *Washington
2011 – *Denver
*won division

BARRETT & GARRETT, LLC: Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett and Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett have earned their byes this week. Both players are off in Week 7 after beginning the season on a torrid pace. Barrett and Garrett are tied for the NFL lead with nine sacks. The last time multiple players had nine-or-more sacks through six weeks was in 2013 (Robert Mathis and Justin Houston each had 9.5).

RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS ON UPWARD SLOPE: NFL clubs have combined for 167 rushing touchdowns through six weeks of play. Only the 1979 and 1976 seasons had more in NFL history entering Week 7.

At the quarterback position alone, NFL signal-callers have rushed for 31 touchdowns during the 2019 season, surpassing 2002 (28) for the most rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks through the first six weeks of a season since the 1970 merger. In Week 6, quarterbacks totaled 10 rushing touchdowns, surpassing Week 13 of the 2015 season (nine) for the most in a single week since 1970.

The most overall rushing touchdowns by NFL players through six weeks in NFL history:

YEAR – RUSH TD
1979 – 187
1976 – 175
2019 – 167
1984 – 167
Many – 158

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs had seven receptions for 167 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ 38-20 win over Philadelphia.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffery and wide receiver Curtis Samuel each had a rushing and receiving touchdown in the Panthers’ 37-26 win over Tampa Bay at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The London series continues in Week 8 when the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams face off at Wembley Stadium. McCaffrey and Samuel are the third pair of teammates to each record a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game since 1980 and first since November 10, 2013, when New Orleans Saints running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas each had a rushing and receiving touchdown.

Carolina recorded seven sacks and five interceptions in the win, becoming the first team with at least seven sacks and five interceptions in a single game since Miami (eight sacks, six interceptions) on December 6, 1998.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson had 236 passing yards and a career-high 152 rushing yards with a touchdown in the Ravens’ 23-17 win over Cincinnati. His 152 rushing yards are the fourth-most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history, including the postseason.

Jackson is the second quarterback to record at least 200 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in a single game in NFL history, including the postseason, joining Colin Kaepernick on January 12, 2013 (263 passing yards, 181 rushing yards in NFC Divisional playoffs). Jackson, who registered his third career game with at least 115 rushing yards, is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to register at least 115 rushing yards in at least three games in his first two seasons.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 117.6 passer rating and added a rushing touchdown in the Seahawks’ 32-28 win at Cleveland. Wilson, who has recorded a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of Seattle’s first six games of the season, joined Aaron Rodgers (12 games in 2011), Tom Brady (eight in 2007) and Carson Palmer (six in 2005) as the only quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history.

Wilson, who is playing in his eighth NFL season, recorded his 67th career game with at least two touchdown passes and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (67 games) for the third-most such games in a player’s first eight seasons in league annals. Only Peyton Manning (74 games) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (72) had more such games in their first eight seasons.

Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson passed for 280 yards and had three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) in the Texans’ 31-24 win at Kansas City.

Watson has 7,508 passing yards in 29 career games and tied Marc Bulger (29 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (29) and Matthew Stafford (29) as quarterbacks to reach 7,500 career passing yards in the second-fewest games in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (27 games) reached 7,500 passing yards in fewer games.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold passed for 338 yards and two touchdowns, including a 92-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, in the Jets’ 24-22 win against Dallas. Darnold, at 22 years and 130 days old, is the youngest player in the Super Bowl era with a touchdown pass of at least 90 yards. As the first half expired, Dallas kicker Brett Maher converted a 62-yard field goal, his second career field goal of at least 60 yards, and joined Sebastian Janikowski (two) and Greg Zuerlein (two) as the only kickers with at least two career field goals of 60-or-more yards in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 243 yards in the 49ers’ 20-7 win at the Los Angeles Rams. San Francisco advanced to 5-0 for the first time since 1990. Garoppolo, making his 15th career start, improved to 13-2 as a starting quarterback and became the eighth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win 13 of his first 15 career starts.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 356 yards and four touchdowns in the Falcons’ Week 6 loss at Arizona. Ryan, who has recorded at least 300 passing yards in each of Atlanta’s first six games, joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (six) and Steve Young (six) as quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in each of their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK SEVEN

KNOCKING ON THE 150 CLUB: New England enters Week 7 as the lone undefeated team (6-0) in the AFC and lead the NFL in both points per game (31.7) and points allowed per game (8.0). Through six games, New England’s point differential (+142) is the third-highest at this point of a season in the Super Bowl era, trailing only the 1999 St. Louis Rams (+154) and the 1968 Dallas Cowboys (+149).

Against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), the Patriots can become the fifth team with a +150 point differential through a team’s first seven games in the Super Bowl era.

The teams with the highest point differential through their first seven games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

TEAM – SEASON (POINT DIFFERENTIAL, SEASON RESULT)
Dallas Cowboys – 1966 (+160, Advanced to NFL Championship)
New England – 2007 (+159, Advanced to Super Bowl XLII)
Chicago – 2006 (+152, Advanced to Super Bowl XLI)
St. Louis Rams – 1999 (+151, Won Super Bowl XXXIV)
Washington – 1991 (+149, Won Super Bowl XXVI)
New England – 2019 (+142, ???)*
*Through six games

DANGERUSS: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks’ Week 6 victory. Wilson has passed for at least two touchdowns in five of his first six games in 2019 and now has 67 games with at least two touchdown passes in his eight-year career.

With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday against Baltimore, Wilson would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (67) for the third-most games with at least two touchdown passes through a player’s first eight seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least two touchdown passes in their first eight seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES WITH 2+ TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (74)
Dan Marino, Miami (72) HOF
Brett Favre, Green Bay (67) HOF
Russell Wilson, Seattle (67)*
*In eighth season
HOF – Hall of Fame

Wilson has 14 touchdown passes and zero interceptions for a league-leading 124.7 passer rating this season. With two touchdown passes and no interceptions on Sunday, Wilson would tie Milt Plum (16 in 1960) for the fourth-most touchdown passes without an interception to begin a season in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, TD PASSES WITHOUT INT TO START SEASON)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013, 20) #
Nick Foles, Philadelphia (2013, 19)
Alex Smith, Kansas City (2017, 18)
Milt Plum, Cleveland (1960, 16)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2019, 14)*
*Active Streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

MATTY ICE’S HOT START: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 15 touchdown passes this season and ranks second in the league with 2,011 passing yards entering Week 7.

Ryan, who has passed for at least 300 yards in each of his first six games, needs 300 passing yards on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams to become the first player with at least 300 passing yards in each of his team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history.

The players to pass for at least 300 yards in the most consecutive team games to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 300+ PASSING YARDS TO BEGIN SEASON)

Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2019 – 6)*
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (2000 – 6) HOF
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998 – 6) HOF
*Active streak
HOF – Hall of Fame

Additionally, Ryan has passed for at least three touchdowns on four occasions in 2019. By throwing for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, Ryan would join Peyton Manning (2013) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (1998) as the only players with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdowns in five of their team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history.

The players with the most performances of 300 passing yards and three touchdowns in their team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 300+ YARDS & 3 TDs

Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 5)#
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998 – 5) HOF
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (2019 – 4)*
*Through six games
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player
HOF – Hall of Fame

TOP 10 SHOWDOWN: Arizona rookie quarterback KYyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, and New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, the number 6 overall selection, will face off Sunday, for the first time in their careers.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, has 15 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards, the most in the NFL since entering the league.

Appearing in his 20th career game on Sunday, Barkley needs at least 100 scrimmage yards to tie Edgerrin James (16) for the most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards through a player’s first 20 career games in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (16)
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (15)*
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (15) HOF
*19 games
HOF – Hall of Fame

DYNAMIC DUO IN DALLAS: Over his last four games against NFC East opponents, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is 4-0 with 1,516 passing yards (379 yards per game) and 14 touchdowns for a 125.4 passer rating.

With three passing touchdowns against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football, Prescott would become the fifth quarterback to pass for at least three touchdowns in five consecutive games against divisional opponents since 1970.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes against divisional opponents since 1970:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, GAMES WITH 3+ PASS TDs)

Dan Marino, Miami (1986-87, 6) HOF
Brett Favre, Green Bay (1994-95, 5) HOF
Steve Beuerlein, Carolina (1999-2000, 5)
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia (2003-04, 5)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (2018-19, 4)*
*Active streak

Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL with 5,877 scrimmage yards since entering the league in 2016.

Appearing in his 47th career game, Elliott needs 123 scrimmage yards against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (47 games) and Le’Veon Bell (47) as the second-fastest player to reach 6,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

The players to reach 6,000 scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 6,000 SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (44)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (47) HOF
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (47)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (48) HOF
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (46)*
*Has 5,877 scrimmage yards
HOF – Hall of Fame

SCARY TERRY: Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin leads all rookies in receptions (23), receiving yards (408) and receiving touchdowns (five) in 2019, and has recorded at least 50 receiving yards in each of his first five career games.

With at least 50 receiving yards on Sunday against San Francisco, McLaurin would join Earl McCullouch (seven games in 1968) as the only players to with 50 receiving yards in each of their first six career games in NFL history.

Byes in week seven? Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Buffalo, Chicago, Indianapolis and Oakland return to action this week.

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 matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated Sunday’s Raiders-Packers matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest involves teams that made indelible memories in three previous meetings. Most memorable was Super Bowl II, January 14, 1968, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, the final game of Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay coaching career. The Packers, fresh off their Ice Bowl win over the Cowboys, held off the AFL champion Raiders, 33-14. Nearly 25 years later, late in a frigid game against the Los Angeles Raiders on December 26, 1993, LeRoy Butler forced a Raiders fumble recovered by Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White.

After rumbling 10 yards, White lateraled to Butler, who covered the remaining 25 yards into the end zone and invented the Lambeau Leap as Green Bay clinched a playoff berth. Then, on December 22, 2003, in Oakland, Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve, only a day after his father’s death, threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns before a Monday Night Football television audience, leading Green Bay to a pivotal win that catapulted the Packers to the playoffs. Incidentally, following the Raiders’ loss to Lombardi’s Packers in Super Bowl II, the Raiders won the next five meetings with Green Bay and wouldn’t lose to the Packers again for 23 years, capturing three Super Bowls in that span.

As for last week, 7-7 for the week, 47-48 for the season. The leaves are falling, the weather’s getting a little chillier but there’s still lots of football left. Week seven got underway in Denver as Kansas City shutdown Denver in an AFC/AFL matchup and concludes in the Jersey Meadowlands as the defending Super Bowl champs travel to Met Life Stadium for a Monday night showdown with the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! Here are week seven’s Sunday and Monday picks.

Los Angeles Rams (3-3) at ATLANTA (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of teams with losing streaks under their belts meet in the Big Peach as Atlanta and Matt Ryan host the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Both teams found themselves on the losing side of the ledger in last week’s action.

The Rams opened the scoring against NFC West foe San Francisco last Sunday as WR Robert Wood scored on a 9-yard run in the first quarter, then watched the 49ers scored their 20 points of the contest unchallenged as they were 20-7 losers at the Coliseum. Los Angeles and San Francisco went into the break tied at 7-7 after Tevin Coleman answered the Rams’ TD with a TD of his own in the first quarter, then their last 13 points of the game to take the road win, using a 1-yard run by Jimmy Garoppolo and a pair of Robbie Gould field goals to close out the scoring. The Rams outrushed San Francisco 109-99 and Jared Goff threw for 78 yards but was sacked four times, while Garoppolo threw for 243 yards wtih a pair of sacks and an interception. The defending NFC champs were a dismal 0 of 9 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 21:08, while the 49ers, going 8 of 17 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down), ruled the clock and kept the ball for 38:52.

Atlanta dropped their fourth contest in a row, dropping a 34-33 heartbreaker at Arizona last Sunday. Atlanta led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before the Cardinals scored 17 second-quarter points unchallenged, giving them a 20-10 lead at the half. Atlanta later trailed by 17 with 11:25 left in the third, then proceeded to chip away at the lead and would tie the contest up at 27-27, using a Matt Bryant field goal and two TD passes from Matt Ryan to RB Devonta Freeman and TE Austin Hooper to pull themselves even. Arizona reclaimed the lead with 5:12 left in the contest when RB David Johnson and rookie QB Kyler Murray connected on their second TD toss of the afternoon. The Falcons then used a 7-play, 75-yard drive take took 3:19 of clock and put themselves in a position to tie the contest or take the lead when Freeman and Ryan connected on their second TD pass (a 12-yard toss) with 1:53 left in regulation. Atlanta then chose to go for the tie and send Bryant out to kick the PAT. Bryant’s PAT try sailed wide right of the intended mark, giving the Cardinals the win as Arizona ran out the clock.

Atlanta outrushed Arizona 103-102 and Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards, while Ryan threw for 356 yards and four TDs (connecting with Calvin Ridley on one toss) and Murray threw for 340 yards and three TDs (Ryan was sacked four times, neither Ryan or Murray threw an interception). Atlanta was 6 of 11 on third down conversions in the desert and kept the ball for 32:47, while the Cardinals kept the ball for 27:13, going 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games that were played in Anaheim, Fulton County Stadium and St. Louis, the Rams lead the series 47-28-2 and have outscored the Falcons 1,810-1,321. However… the Falcons have won the last four meetings in the series, with their last win coming in Los Angeles in 2016 by a final of 42-14 in what would be Jeff Fisher’s last game as the Rams’ head coach. The Rams’ last win? 2007 in St. Louis, taking down the Falcons 28-16. The Rams are a 3-point road favorite in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 54 1/2. For one team, their losing streak ends; for the other, the streak continues. Falcons RISE UP to the occasion in the Big Peach, covering the 3 and winning at home.

Miami (0-6) at Buffalo (3-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC rivals meet in upstate New York as Buffalo welcomes the winless Miami Dolphins to Orchard Park. Miami searches for their first win of the 2019 campaign, while the Bills come back to action from their bye week.

Miami dropped their sixth contest in a row as Washington held them off 17-16 last Sunday, giving interim head coach Bill Callahan at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State. After a scoreless first quarter, Washington took a 7-0 lead thanks to the first of two TD passes from Case Keenum to WR Terry McLaurin, took that lead with them to the break and then led 17-3 at the end of the third quarter before Miami would pull themselves to within one thanks to TDs by RB Kalen Ballage and WR DeVante Parker (Parker’s TD came with six seconds left in the contest; Miami would go for the onside kick, which Washington recovered and ran out the clock to take the win). Washington’s Adrian Peterson led all rushers 118 yards, as Washington outrushed the Dolphins 145-84 and Keenum threw for 166 yards and the two TD tosses to McLaurin, while Ryan Fitzpatrick (who took over for Josh Rosen) threw for 132 yards and the TD to Parker (Rosen threw for 85 yards with five sacks and a pair of interceptions). Washington was 2 of 11 on third down tries in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 27:21, while Miami actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:39, going 3 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Bills return from their bye week 14-7 winners at Tennessee two Sundays ago. After a scoreless first quarter in Nashville at Nissan Stadium, the Bills took a 7-0 lead with them to the intermission as WR Lane Smith and QB Josh Allen connected on an 8-yard TD toss. Tennessee would then proceed to tie the contest up with 7:02 left in the third when RB Derrick Henry scored from a yard out before the Bills reclaimed the lead for good in the fourth quarter when DUke Williams caught Allen’s second TD toss, this one from seven yards out with 9:46 left in the contest. The Bills then dodged a bullet with 6:35 left in the game when K Chris Santos’ 53-yard field goal try sailed wide left. After the teams traded punts, Buffalo got the ball back and after Tennessee burned all their time outs, the Bills ran out the clock and took the win on the road.

Bills RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 60 yards as Buffalo outrushed Tennessee 109-102 and Allen threw for 219 yards with the two TDs and an interception, while Marcus Mariota threw for 183 yards but was sacked five times in the contest (Mariota did not throw an interception). Buffalo went 4 of 13 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down conversions and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 31:12, while Tennessee, who kept the pigskin for 28:48, went 4 of 14 on third down tries in Music City.

Miami leads the series 60-45-1 (which includes contests that took place at the Orange Bowl and War Memorial Stadium) and the ‘Fins have outscored Buffalo 2,259-2,058. The two AFC East rivals split last season’s meetings and both were winners in front of their home fans.

Meeting number one… week 13 in Miami Gardens and Miami held off a late Buffalo rally in the second half to come away with the 21-17 win at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami led 14-6 at the break before the Bills outscored them in the second half to make the contest closer than Dolphin fans would like. Buffalo outrushed Miami 198-60 and Allen led all rushers with 135 yards in the contest. Allen threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while Tannehill threw for 137 yards and three TDs (Tannehill was sacked three times and threw an interception, while Allen was sacked twice with two intereceptions). Miami went 2 of 9 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 27:03, while the Bills ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:57, going 5 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They met again, this time in upstate New York and the weather was a bit chillier in that season final contest (Temperature in their first meeting? 86 degrees; the second meeting? A balmy 33 degrees with a 40 percent chance of snow showers and a wind chill of 25 degrees… to say it was cold is an understatement). Buffalo broke a 14-14 tie at the intermission at New Era Field in Orchard Park, sending their fan base home happy with a 42-17 win. Allen and WR Robert Foster connected on a 5-yard TD toss in the third to take the lead for keeps and the Bills would score 14 points in the fourth quarter unchallenged to seal Miami’s fate. As was the case in the meeting in the Sunshine State, Buffalo outrushed Miami, tallying 166 yards to Miami’s 95 and once again, Allen led all rushers with 95 yards and a pair of rushing TDs of his own, throwing for 224 yards and three TDs (Allen was sacked once and picked off once), while Tannehill threw for 147 yards with a pair of interceptions and four sacks. The Bills were 5 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and once again ruled the clock, holding the ball hostage for 30:18, while Miami kept it for 29:42, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest in the Sunshine State, Miami was favored by 4 1/2 but only won by 4. The two clubs tallied 38 points in that first meeting, missing the 40 over/under. Buffalo covered the 3 1/2 point spread in upstate New York in the season finale, winning by 25 and both teams shattered the 38 1/2 over/under with 59 points. The Bills are a 17-point favorite in upstate New York and the over/under’s 40 1/2. The 40 1/2 makes a ton of sense. The 17? That’s a bit on the steep side. Granted, the Dolphins are bad but not 17 points bad and they’ll make things hard for Buffalo but the Bills circle the wagons in upstate New York and comes away with the win.

Jacksonville (2-4) at Cincinnati (0-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirectV 706. A pair of struggling teams meet along the shores of the Ohio River as Jacksonville takes on Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

Jaguar fans left TIAA Bank Field heartbroken after Jacksonville lost to Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints 13-6 in the Sunshine State. For three quarters of football, Jaguars K Josh Lambo and Saints K Will Lutz exchanged field goals, as the teams entered the intermission tied at 3-3 and were tied at 6-6 at the end of the third quarter. TE Jared Cook would score the only TD of the contest when he and Bridgewater (240 yards, three sacks) connected on a 4-yard TD toss with 11:49 left in the contest. New Orleans then held off a Jacksonville rally and took the win after the Jaguars punted the ball away on a second possession in the contest, running out the clock and taking the win. Jacksonville was outrushed by New Orleans 104-75 and Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette led all rushers with 72, while Gardner Minshew threw for 163 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception. Jacksonville was 4 of 14 on third down in the Sunshine State, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 26:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:09, while going 5 for 13 on third down.

The winless Bengals return home after their 23-17 loss at Baltimore last Sunday. Cincinnati trailed 17-10 at the half at M&T Stadium, pulling themselves to within three with two seconds left on a Jeff Tucker field goal. The Bengals would then make things closer than Ravens fans wanted when Dalton scored on a 2-yard run with 88 seconds left in the contest. Dalton threw for 235 yards with the rushing TD, with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Lamar Jackson threw for 236 yards (Jackson was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the AFC North win in Charm City. Cincinnati was 5 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 20:18, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:42, while going 9 for 15 on third down.

Jacksonville holds a 12-9 lead in the series and the Jaguars have outscored Cincinnati 469-378. Jacksonville won the last meeting, taking a 23-7 win in 2017 in the Sunshine State, while the Bengals’ last win took place along the shores of the Ohio River by a final of 33-23 in 2014. Jacksonville’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Both numbers make a lot of sense. We wouldn’t blame you one bit if you were to do your Halloween costume shopping and take a pass on this game. Jaguars cover the 3 1/2 on the road and keeps Cincinnati winless in the process.

Minnesota (4-2) at Detroit (2-2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They meet in the great indoors. A pair of NFC North rivals square off in the Motor City Sunday afternoon as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field.

Minnesota held Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles in check last Sunday in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, coming away 38-20 winners at US Bank Field. The Vikings and Kirk Cousins took a 24-10 lead with them to the break, then floored the gas, outscoring the Eagles 14-10 in the second half. Cousins threw for 333 yards with four TDs (three to Stefan Diggs) and a sack as Minnesota outrushed the Eagles 122-108, while Wentz threw for 306 yards with a pair of TDs and two sacks (both threw an interception). Minnesota was 2 of 10 on third down (the Vikings were 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions in the Twin Cities) and held on to the ball for 32:04, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:56, going 4 of 12 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

The Lions saw victory taken away from them last Monday night at Lambeau Field as Green Bay K Mason Crosby connected on a 23-yard field goal as time expired to give the Packers a 23-22 NFC North win. Detroit led 13-10 at the intermission before Crosby tied the contest up with 12:35 left when he booted a 48-yard field goal. Detroit reclaimed the lead witi three Matt Prather field goals and led 22-13 with 9:03 in the contest when Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Alan Lazard connected on a 35-yard TD pass to make it a 2-point contest. Green Bay then got the ball back after the Lions punted with 6:06 left and used all of that time to use a 14-play, 77-yard drjve, assisted by Detroit burning all three of their time outs and an illegal use of hands penalty on DE Trey Flowers to set up the game-winner.

Green Bay outrushed Detroit 170-56 and Packers RB Jamal Williams led all rushers with 104 yards; Rodgers threw for 283 yards and a pair of TDs, while Stafford threw for 265 yards (Stafford was sacked three times but did not throw an interception, while Rodgers was picked off once). Detroit was 3 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:56, while the Packers ruled the clock, holding the ball for 33:04 (including the final 6:06 of the contest), going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Including games that were played at Metropolitan Stadium, Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome and the Metrodome, the Vikings lead the series 74-39-2, the Viking have outscored Detroit 2,483-2,117. Minnesota has won the last three meetings and swept the series last year, while Detroit’s last win came in 2017 in the Twin Cities by a final of 14-7.

Meeting number one… US Bank Stadium in week nine. Minnesota held the Lions to three Matt Prater field goals, taking a 24-9 win in the Twin Cities. The Vikings led 17-6 at halftime and were never really threatened afterward. Minnesota outrushed Detroit 128-66 and Cook led all rushers with 89 yards on the ground. Cousins threw for 164 yards with a TD to Thielen (he was sacked once and threw an interception), while Stafford threw for 199 yards and was sacked 10 times but threw no interceptions. The Vikings were 3 of 8 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and 23:15, while the Lions ruled the clock and kept the ball for 36:45, going 4 of 15 on third down, 3 of 3 on fourth down.

Minnesota made it a clean sweep over their NFC North rival in week 16 as they once again held the Lions to three field goals in the first half and took a 27-9 win at Ford Field. The Vikings erased an early Lions lead (Detroit led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter), took a 14-9 lead with them to the locker room at the half, then scored their last 13 points of the contest unchallenged. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 100-86 (Cook led all rushers with 73 yards) and Cousins threw for 253 yards and three TD passes (two to Kyle Rudolph, the other to Stefon Diggs), while Stafford threw for 116 yards with a pair of sacks. Minnesota went 4 of 13, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs at Ford Field and kept the ball for 28:32, while the Lions actually ruled the clock and held the ball for 31:28, going 4 of 16 on third down, 1 for 3 on fourth down.

The Vikings, favored by 5 1/2, covered the spread, winning by 15 but the 33 combined points came nowhere near the 50 1/2 over/under in the week nine contest in the Twin Cities. Minnesota was favored again in the week 16 contest in the Motor City, covering the 5 1/2 point spread, winning by 18. As for the 43 1/2 over/under? It was untouched, as both teams combined for 36 points. Minnesota’s favored by 1 in the Motor City and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Detroit’s played some decent if not great football of late, while the Vikings are trying to catch Green Bay in the NFC North. Minnesota covers the 1 and wins in the

Oakland (3-2) at Green Bay (5-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The Silver and Black, coming off their bye week, makes their way to the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst as they face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

The Silver and Black return from their bye week after they left London 24-21 winners over Chicago at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium two weeks ago. After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders took a 17-0 lead with them to the locker room at the half, then saw that lead get away from them as Chicago scored 21 third quarter points unchallenged before restoring order on the other side of the Atlantic when rookie RB Josh Jacobs scored on a 2-yard run with 1:57 left in the contest. Jacobs ran for 123 yards with two TDs (including the game-winner) as Oakland outrushed Chicago 169-42 and Derek Carr threw for 229 yards without a sack or interception, while Bears backup QB Chase Daniel (Who took over for Mitchell Trubisky) threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (Daniel was sacked four times and picked off twice). While the Raiders were 6 of 12 on third down tries on the other side of the pond, they struck gold on fourth down in their only try in that catagory and kept the ball for 34:43, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 25:17, went 4 of 11 on third down tries.

Packers K Mason Crosby was the man of the moment Monday night as he connected on a 23-yard field goal as time expired to give the Packers a 23-22 NFC North win. Detroit led 13-10 at the intermission in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst before Crosby tied the contest up with 12:35 left when he booted a 48-yard field goal. Detroit reclaimed the lead witi three Matt Prather field goals and led 22-13 with 9:03 in the contest when Rodgers and WR Alan Lazard connected on a 35-yard TD pass to make it a 2-point contest. Green Bay then got the ball back after the Lions punted with 6:06 left and used all of that time to use a 14-play, 77-yard drjve, assisted by Detroit burning all three of their time outs and an illegal use of hands penalty on DE Trey Flowers to set up the game-winner.

Green Bay outrushed Detroit 170-56 and Packers RB Jamal Williams led all rushers with 104 yards; Rodgers threw for 283 yards and a pair of TDs, while Stafford threw for 265 yards (Stafford was sacked three times but did not throw an interception, while Rodgers was picked off once). Detroit was 3 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:56, while the Packers ruled the clock, holding the ball for 33:04 (including the final 6:06 of the contest), going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Green Bay leads the series 7-5 (including contests that were played in Los Angeles), the Packers have outrscored Oakland 278-204 and have won the last seven meetings in the series, inclduing a 30-20 win on the West Coast in 2015, while Oakland’s last win in the series came at Lambeau in 1987, as the Raiders shutout Green Bay 20-0. Green Bay’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. Green Bay takes this one in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst but expect the Silver and Black to make things closer than 4 1/2.

Houston (4-2) at Indianapolis (3-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The top two teams in the AFC South meet in the Hoosier State Sunday afternoon as the Houston Texans (first place) meet the Indianapolis Colts (second place) in a key divisional showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both teams beat Kansas City at Arrowhead in consecutive weeks, with the Colts coming off their bye week taking the win to send the Chiefs on their two-game losing streak.

Houston picked up their second win in a row, coming out of Arrowhead Stadium 31-24 last Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs Houston erased a 17-3 Chiefs lead at the end of the first quarter get away from them as the Texans would score 20 second quarter points unchallenged, leading 23-17 at the intermission. Kansas City would reclaim the lead with 6:30 left in the third when Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes connected on a 6-yard TD toss. That lead would be erased by the Texans in the final quarter of play when DeShaun Watson scored on a 1-yard run with 6:17 left in the contest. The Chiefs would get the ball back after the kick off but would get as their 22-yard line, where they punted the ball back to Houston, who ran the clock out, making sure that Kansas City would never see the football again.

Houston’s Carlos Hyde led all rushers with 116 yards on the ground, as the Texans outrushed Kansas City 192-53 and Watson threw for 280 yards with a passing TD to go with his rushing TD, while Mahomes threw for 273 yards with three TDs (two of them to Hill; Mahomes was sacked once and threw an interception, while Watson threw two interceptions). The Chiefs were 4 of 8 on third down tries at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 20:12, while the Texans ruled the clock and kept the ball for 39:48, going 5 of 12 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Colts were 19-13 winners at Arrowhead Stadium two Sundays ago. Indianapolis led Mahomes and the Chiefs 13-10 at the half and after a scoreless third quarter in the Sunday night contest, Adam Vinatieri would kick a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to lead by 9 with 2:27 left in the contest before Chiefs K Harrison Butker connected on a 36-yarder to pull themselves to within 6 with 76 seconds left in the contest. The Chiefs then tried an onside kick in hopes of keeping the ball but the Colts recovered and ran out the clock to take the win. The Chiefs outrushed Kansas City 180-36 and Jacoby Brissett threw for 151 yards with a rushing TD (Brissett threw an interception but was not sacked), while Mahomes threw for 321 yards and a TD with four sacks. The Colts went 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 37:15, while the Chiefs kept the ball for 22:45, going 4 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Indianapolis leads the series 26-8 and have outscored the Texans 897-677. They split last year’s contests, winning in the other team’s stadium.

They met in Indianapolis in week four and the Texans needed overtime to take a 37-34 win out of Lucas Oil Stadium. Houston led 21-10 at the break before the Colts and Andrew Luck stormed back to take a 34-31 lead with 6 minutes left in regulation. Houston would even things up at 34-34 with 1:50 left when Kai Fairburn connected on a 29-yard field. The two teams went into the overtime and Vinatieri and Fairburn exchanged field goals in the extra period. Indianapolis then got the ball back but could get only as close as their own 43 yard, where the Colts’ fourth down try failed. The Texans got the ball back with 24 seconds left and used all of that 24 seconds to set up Fairburn for a 37-yard try, which he connected as the clock struck :00.

Houston outrushed the Colts 119-41 and Watson threw for 375 yards and a pair of TDs, while Luck threw for 464 yards and four TDs (Watson was sacked seven times and threw an interception, Luck was sacked four times). While Houston was 8 of 16 on third down tries, they were perfect on fourth down in their only attempt and kept the ball for 40:04 (including the last 24 seconds of overtime), while the Colts kept the ball for 29:56 and went 10 of 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Colts would get revenge in the Lone Star State in week 14, holding off the Texans and came away from NRG Stadium 24-21 winners. After Houston’s Alfred Blue opened the scoring with a 3-yard TD run late in the first quarter, Indianapolis would erase that lead, scoring 17 second quarter points unchallenged to lead 17-7 at the break as Vinatieri booted a 54-yard field goal to end the first half. Indy then led by as much as ten before the Texans would pull themselves to within seven late in the third quarter. The Texans made the contest closer with 2:37 left in the contest when Watson and WR DeAndre Hopkins connected on a 7-yard TD pass but got no closer.

Houston outrushed the Colts 89-50 and Watson threw for 267 yards with five sacks and no interceptions, while Luck threw for 399 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Eric Ebron) with a pair of sacks and an interception. Houston was 5 of 15 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:57, while the Colts held on to the ball for 28:03, going 4 of 12 on third down on the road.

Indianapolis was favored by 2 in the week four contest at Lucas Oil and the Texans covered, winning by 3. The two teams combined for 71 points, allowing them to cover the 47 1/2 over/under. In the week 14 contest in Houston, the Texans were favored by 4 1/2 but the Colts won by 3 and the 45 points they combined to score missed the 48 1/2 over/under by 3 1/2. The Colts are favored by 1 in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 47 1/2. These two could decide who wins the AFC South and who may get the wild card spot.

Arizona (2-2-1) at New York Giants (2-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Rookie QB will be on display Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands as the New York Giants and Daniel Jones host the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray.

The Desert Angry Birds held off a late Atlanta rally at State Farm Stadium last Sunday, coming away 34-33 winners last Sunday. Trailing 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Cardinals scored 17 second-quarter points unchallenged, giving them a 20-10 lead at the half. Arizona would lead by as much as 17 with 11:25 left in the third, before the Falcons would chip away at the lead, tying the contest up at 27-27, using a Matt Bryant field goal and two TD passes from Matt Ryan to RB Devonta Freeman and TE Austin Hooper to pull themselves even. Arizona reclaimed the lead with 5:12 left in the contest when RB David Johnson and Murray connected on their second TD toss of the afternoon. The Falcons then used a 7-play, 75-yard drive take took 3:19 of clock and put themselves in a position to tie the contest or take the lead when Freeman and Ryan connected on their second TD pass (a 12-yard toss) with 1:53 left in regulation. Atlanta then chose to go for the tie and send Bryant out to kick the PAT. Bryant’s PAT try sailed wide right of the intended mark, giving the Cardinals the win as Arizona ran out the clock.

Atlanta outrushed the Desert Angry Birds 103-102 and Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards, while Ryan threw for 356 yards and four TDs (connecting with Calvin Ridley on one toss) and Murray threw for 340 yards and three TDs (Ryan was sacked four times, neither Ryan or Murray threw an interception). Atlanta was 6 of 11 on third down conversions in the desert and kept the ball for 32:47, while the Cardinals kept the ball for 27:13, going 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Big Blue trailed New England 21-14 at Gillette Stadium last Thursday night at the half, then watched the defending Super Bowl champs pull away to take a 35-14 win in Foxboro. New England got the scoring started in the Thursday night affair with a special teams TD when DL Chase Winovich blocked a Giants punt and ran it back six yards for a score. While Tom Brady did not throw a TD pass, he did contribute with his feet, scoring on a pair of rushing TDs in the win. New England outrushed the Giants 114-52 (Pats RB Sony Michel led all rushers with 86 yards) and Brady threw for 334 yards with an interception, while rookie QB Daniel Jones threw for 161 yards with a TD toss to Golden Tate (Jones threw three interceptions and had a sack). New England was 6 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:36, while the Giants, who held on to the pigskin for 20:24, went 2 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions.

Including games played in Chicago, St. Louis, Tempe and contests that took place at Yankee Stadium, the Giants lead the series 80-44-2 and Big Blue has outscored the Desert Angry Birds 2,760-2,174. Arizona’s won the last two meetings, including coming away 23-0 winners in 2017, while the Giants’ last win also came in the desert, as New York prevailed 31-27 in 2011. The Giants are a 2-point favorite in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 49. Both numbers are pretty reasonable and both have played decent football but not great football. Giants cover the 2 in the Meadowlands and takes the win at home.

San Francisco (5-0) at Washington (1-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Jimmy Garoppolo and the resurging (and undefeated) San Francisco 49ers, passing their win total from last year, makes their way to Landover to face off against the washington Redskins, who look for their second win of the campaign. Both clubs were winners on the road in last week’s contest.

Although the Los Angeles Rams opened the scoring against their NFC West foes as WR Robert Wood scored on a 9-yard run in the first quarter, the 49ers took control of things in southern California as they scored their 20 points of the contest unchallenged, coming away 20-7 winners at the Coliseum to pick up their fifth win in a row. The two teams went into the break tied at 7-7 after Tevin Coleman answered the Rams’ TD with a TD of his own in the first quarter, then their last 13 points of the game to take the road win, using a 1-yard run by Garoppolo and a pair of Robbie Gould field goals to close out the scoring. The Rams outrushed San Francisco 109-99 and Jared Goff threw for 78 yards but was sacked four times, while Garoppolo threw for 243 yards wtih a pair of sacks and an interception. The defending NFC champs were a dismal 0 of 9 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 21:08, while the 49ers, going 8 of 17 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down), ruled the clock and kept the ball for 38:52.

The Redskins return to Landover, giving interim head coach Bill Callahan his first win with the team and the team’s first win of the season, breaking a five-game losing streak, taking a 17-16 win over Miami at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State. After a scoreless first quarter, Washington took a 7-0 lead thanks to the first of two TD passes from Case Keenum to WR Terry McLaurin, took that lead with them to the break and then led 17-3 at the end of the third quarter before Miami would pull themselves to within one thanks to TDs by RB Kalen Ballage and WR DeVante Parker (Parker’s TD came with six seconds left in the contest; Miami would go for the onside kick, which Washington recovered and ran out the clock to take the win). Adrian Peterson was back to his old running form, rushing for 118 yards, as Washington outrushed the Dolphins 145-84 and Keenum threw for 166 yards and the two TD tosses to McLaurin, while Ryan Fitzpatrick (who took over for Josh Rosen) threw for 132 yards and the TD to Parker (Rosen threw for 85 yards with five sacks and a pair of interceptions). Washington was 2 of 11 on third down tries in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 27:21, while Miami actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:39, going 3 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests played at Keezar Stadium, Candlestick Park and RFK Stadium, the 49ers lead the series 17-10-1 and they have outscored Washington 679-540. The Redskins won the last meeting, coming away 26-24 winners at FedEx Field in 2017, while the 49ers’ last win came on the West Coast with San Francisco prevailing 17-13 in 2014. San Francisco’s favored by 9 1/2 in Landover and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Last week, Washington fans were singing “Hail to the Redskins.” This week? “Hell, it’s the Redskins.” Washington makes this one close but San Francsico remains unbeaten.

Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) at Tennessee (2-4), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of 2-4 teams meet in the Music City as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Nashville for a meeting with the Tennessee Titans. Both teams took losses in last week’s contests.

A Charger rally in the fourth quarter fell short against Pittsburgh at Dignity Health Sports Park fell short last Sunday night as the Steelers took care of the Bolts 24-17 on the West Coast. The Steelers scored all 24 of their points unchalleged, leading 17-0 at the intermission before the Chargers would score their points in the fourth quarter, using a pair of TD passes from Rivers to TE Hunter Henry to pull themselves to within 7 with 79 seconds left in the contest. Pittsburgh outrushed Los Angeles 124-32 and Rivers threw for 320 yards with the two Henry TDs (Rivers was sacked once and picked off twice), while rookie QB Devlin Hodges (taking over for Mason Rudolph – concussion) threw for 132 yards and a TD to James Conner. Both clubs did quite well on third down conversions in the Sunday night contest; Pittsburgh was 8 of 13, Los Angeles was 7 of 12 and the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:05 to the Chargers’ 25:55.

The Titans were shut out by Denver 16-0 at Empower Field at Mile High. Denver, holding Tennessee to 39 yards rushing, got three Brian McManus field goals in the contest, taking a 6-0 lead with them to the break, then flooring the gas in the second half, scoring the last 10 points of the game unchallenged, with Patrick Lindsey scoring the game’s only TD, scoring from 2 yards out with 4:56 left in the third quarter. Lindsay led all rushers with 70 yards, while Denver had 103 of their own yards on the ground. Joe Flacco threw for 177 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Mariota threw for 63 yards with a pair of pair of interceptions and three sacks before being taken out of the contest in favor of Ryan Tannehill (144 yards, interception). Both clubs went 2 of 14 on third down (the Titans were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Titans actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:14 to Denver’s 29:46.

The Chargers lead the series 27-14-1 (which includes games that took place when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers and the Chargers played their home games at Qualcomm Stadium) and the Bolts have outscored Tennessee 1,088-921. Their last meeting took place last year in London and the Chargers hung on to win 20-19 (Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2013 in Music City by a final of 20-17).

The two clubs met in week seven on the other side of the Big Pond. Rivers and the Chargers led 10-6 at the intermission at Wembley Stadium and led 20-13 with 31 seconds left when Mariota and Lance Stocker connected on a 1-yard TD toss. The Titans then went for the two-point conversion to take the lead (that failed) and tried the onside kick, which also failed, giving the Chargers the ball and the win.

Tennessee actually outrushed the Chargers 164-47, with Titans RB Dion Lewis leading everyone with 91 yards and Mariota threw for 237 yards and the fourth-quarter TD (he threw an interception), while Rivers threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs (both men were twice and Mariota threw an interception). The Chargers went 4 of 9 on third down and kept the ball for 24:37, while the Titans ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 35:23, going 9 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Although the Chargers were favored by 6 1/2 on the other side of the Atlantic in week seven, they would come away winning by 1. As for the 45 over/under? It was untouched, as both teams tallied 39 points. The Titans are favored by 2 1/2 in the Music City and the over/under’s 39 1/2. Could either one or both teams make the post-season? Right now, it’s plausible, as they say on “Mythbusters.” Chargers get themselves back on track and takes the win on the road, covering the 2 1/2.

New Orleans (5-1) at Chicago (3-2), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. It’s gumbo vs. deep dish pizza as the New Orleans Saints make their way to the Windy City for a late-afternoon contest with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints held off Jacksonville 13-6 in the Sunshine State last Sunday. For three quarters of football, it was an all field goal affair as Jaguars K Josh Lambo and Saints K Will Lutz exchanged field goals and the teams entered the intermission tied at 3-3 and were tied at 6-6 at the end of the third quarter. TE Jared Cook would score the only TD of the contest when he and Bridgewater (240 yards, three sacks) connected on a 4-yard TD toss with 11:49 left in the contest. New Orleans then held off a Jacksonville rally and took the win after the Jaguars punted the ball away on a second possession in the contest, running out the clock and taking the win. Jacksonville was outrushed by New Orleans 104-75 and Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette led all rushers with 72, while Gardner Minshew threw for 163 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception. Jacksonville was 4 of 14 on third down in the Sunshine State, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 26:51, while the Saints ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:09, while going 5 for 13 on third down.

Da Bears return to the Windy City from their bye week after they left London on the short end of a 24-21 loss to Oakland at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium two weeks ago. After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders took a 17-0 lead with them to the locker room at the half, then saw that lead get away from them as Chicago scored 21 third quarter points unchallenged before restoring order on the other side of the Atlantic when rookie RB Josh Jacobs scored on a 2-yard run with 1:57 left in the contest. Jacobs ran for 123 yards with two TDs (including the game-winner) as Oakland outrushed Chicago 169-42 and Derek Carr threw for 229 yards without a sack or interception, while Bears backup QB Chase Daniel (Who took over for Mitchell Trubisky) threw for 231 yards with a pair of TDs (Daniel was sacked four times and picked off twice). While the Raiders were 6 of 12 on third down tries on the other side of the pond, they struck gold on fourth down in their only try in that catagory and kept the ball for 34:43, while Da Bears, keeping the ball for 25:17, went 4 of 11 on third down tries.

While New Orleans holds a 15-13 lead in the series, Da Bears have outscored New Orleans 560-559. New Orleans has won the last four meetings, including a 20-12 victory in the Big Easy in 2017, while Chicago’s last win came in 2008 as Da Bears needed overtime to come away 27-24 winners at Soldier Field. Da Bears are favored by 3 1/2 with a 48 over/under. Deep dish wins this one. Da Bears win in the Windy City and covers the 3 1/2.

Baltimore (4-2) at Seattle (5-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens make their way to the Pacific Northwest for a late afternoon showdown with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Both teams were winners in last week’s contests, Baltimore winning at home, while Seattle took a road win at Cleveland.

The Ravens held off a late Cincinnati rally in the final quarter, coming away with the 23-17 win in Charm City to give the Bengals their sixth loss in a row. Baltimore led 17-10 at the half at M&T Stadium, then saw the Bengals pull themselves to within three with two seconds left on a Jeff Tucker field goal (Tucker would kick two more field goals to round out Baltimore’s scoring). The Bengals would then make things closer than Ravens fans wanted when Dalton scored on a 2-yard run with 88 seconds left in the contest. Dalton threw for 235 yards with the rushing TD, with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Jackson threw for 236 yards (Jackson was sacked once but did not throw an interception) in the AFC North win in Charm City. Cincinnati was 5 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 20:18, while the Ravens ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:42, while going 9 for 15 on third down.

Seattle returns home to Century Link Field after their 32-28 over Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Seahawks trailed 20-18 at the half along the shores of Lake Erie, then went to work in the second half, outscoring Cleveland 14-8 in the final 30 minutes of action, with RB Chris Carson scoring the game-winner with 3:30 left in the contest on a one-yard run. The Seahawks would go on to hold off a late Browns rally in the final minutes of the contest when K.J. Wright picked off Mayfield, giving them the ball and allowing them to run out the clock. Carson led all rushers with 124 yards and the game-winning TD, while Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns (WR Odell Beckham, Jr. led all recievers with 101 yards on six catches), while Wilson threw for 295 yards with a pair of TD passes and Mayfield throwing for 249 yards with a TD and three interceptions (Wilson was sacked three times and both Wilson and Mayfield had a rushing TD). Seattle went 6 of 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 33:41, while the Browns, who held on to the ball for 26:19, went 3 of 8 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Seahawks lead the series 3-2, Seattle’s outscored Baltimore 149-104 and they’ve won the last three meetings, including a 35-6 win in Charm City in 2015 (Baltimore’s last win over the Seahawks came in 2003 in Charm City by a final of 44-41 in overtime). Seattle’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Pacific Northwest and the over/under’s 49 1/2. This could be a somewhat entertaining contest. Seattle prevails but expect Baltimore to make it closer than 3 1/2.

Philadelphia (3-3) at Dallas (3-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Eagles. Cowboys. NFC East rivals meet in the Lone Star State Sunday night as the two clubs, tied for first in the division, square off at AT&T Stadium. Both teams took losses on the road in last week’s action.

Minnesota held Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles in check last Sunday in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, coming away 38-20 winners at US Bank Field. The Vikings and Kirk Cousins took a 24-10 lead with them to the break, then floored the gas, outscoring the Eagles 14-10 in the second half. Cousins threw for 333 yards with four TDs (three to Stefan Diggs) and a sack as Minnesota outrushed the Eagles 122-108, while Wentz threw for 306 yards with a pair of TDs and two sacks (both threw an interception). Minnesota was 2 of 10 on third down (the Vikings were 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions in the Twin Cities) and held on to the ball for 32:04, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 27:56, going 4 of 12 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

A Cowboys rally in the fourth quarter fell short as the New York Jets ended their four-game losing streak last Sunday afternoon against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, holding them off 24-22 at Met Life Stadium. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led 21-6 at the break, then held off a late Cowboys rally late in the contest, as Dallas came within two when Prescott scored on a 2-yard run with 43 seconds left. Dallas then went for two in hope of tying the contest but Prescott’s try to TE Jason Whiten went incomplete. Dallas outrushed GangGreen 129-56 and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD, while Jets RB LeVeon Bell led his club with 50 yards and a rushing TD. Prescott threw for 277 yards, while Sam Darnold threw for 338 yards with a pair of TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Prescott was sacked once but did not throw a pick).

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 2 of 10 on third down in the late afternoon contest in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 27:57, while the Cowboys ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:03, going 10 for 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down

Dallas holds a 65-51 in the series (which includes contests that were played at the Cotton Bowl, Texas Stadium, JFK Stadium and Veterans Stadium), they’ve outscored the Eagles 2,499-2,317 and the Cowboys have won the last three meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Philadelphia’s last win came in 2017 in Dallas by a final of 37-9).

They met in the City of Brotherly Love on a Sunday night in week 10 and the Cowboys took a 13-3 lead with them to the break before the Eagles would storm back in the second half and tie things up with 7:27 left in the contest when Wentz and Ertz connected on a 1-yard TD pass. That tie would not last very long as the Cowboys would reclaim the lead for keeps, using an 8-play, 75-yard drive that took 4:08 and ended when Ezekiel Elliott scored from a yard away to lead 27-20. Philadelphia would get the ball back with 3:19 left in the contest and made their way down the field. They would get as close as the Cowboys’ 32-yard line with no time outs left, trying several lateral passes to get to the end zone but could not get any closer.

Elliott rushed for 151 yards and a TD in the contest to lead all rushers as Dallas outrushed the Eagles 171-71 at Lincoln Financial Field and Prescott threw for 270 yards and a TD to Elliott, while Wentz threw for 360 yards and a pair of TDs to Ertz (Prescott was sacked four times, Wentz was sacked twice and threw an interception). Dallas was 8 pf 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Eagles, keeping the ball for 26:38, went 4 of 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Dallas made it a clean sweep in week 14 at AT&T Stadium, taking a 29-23 win over the Eagles in the Lone Star State. Dallas used a pair of Bill Maher field goals to lead 6-0 going into the intermission and led 9-0 late in the third quarter before Wentz and Alshon Jeffery broke Dallas’ shutout bid with a 2-yard TD pass (they would miss the extra point). Eagles K Jake Elliott would tie the contest up at 9-9 with a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth and Dallas would take the lead again when Cooper and Prescott connected on a 28-yard TD toss with 7:46. The two teams would tie things up again and Philadelphia would create the third tie of the contest with 99 seconds left when Wentz connected with Darrell Sproles from 6 yards out, pulling the contest even at 23-23. The teams then went into overtime and Dallas won the toss in the overtime and took the ball. The Cowboys would waste very little time if any, using a 13-play, 75-yard drive, taking 8:05 of clock and ending with Prescott and Cooper connecting on a 15-yard TD toss to take the win.

Dallas outrushed Philadelphia 142-34 (Elliott led all rushers with 113 yards) and Prescott threw for 455 yards, while Wentz threw for 228 yards (Prescott was sacked three times, Wentz sacked twice; both men threw three TD passes, Prescott connecting with Cooper on all three, including the game-winner). The Eagles were a somewhat dismal 1 of 9 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:32, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 45:33 (including the overtime), going 10 of 19 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 10 contest, the Eagles were favored by 6 and Dallas covered by 7. The 43 1/2 over/under was covered, as both teams combined for 47 points. In the week 14 contest in Arlington, Dallas won by 6, allowing them to cover the 4-point spread and the teams covered the 43 over/under with 52 points.

Since these two teams are in the hunt for the NFC East (and since Temple and Southern Methodist played in Dallas Saturday), we figured that making this one “DRILL WORTHY!” would be the right thing to do (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?”)

Dallas is favored by 3 and the over/under’s 49. The winner of this one? They’ll have the inside track to the NFC East. The loser? They may make the playoffs but it’ll be hard for them to come back from the loss. Dallas wins this one in Arlington but expect Philadelphia to make the contest closer than 3.

New England (6-0) at New York Jets (1-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week seven closes out in the Meadowlands as the defending champions take on the New York Jets in a key AFC showdown. Both teams were winners at home in last week’s action.

New England led the New York Giants 21-14 at Gillette Stadium last Thursday night at the half, then pulled away from Big Blue to take a 35-14 win in Foxboro. New England got the scoring started in the Thursday night affair with a special teams TD when DL Chase Winovich blocked a Giants punt and ran it back six yards for a score. While Tom Brady did not throw a TD pass, he did contribute with his feet, scoring on a pair of rushing TDs in the win. New England outrushed the Giants 114-52 (Pats RB Sony Michel led all rushers with 86 yards) and Brady threw for 334 yards with an interception, while rookie QB Daniel Jones threw for 161 yards with a TD toss to Golden Tate (Jones threw three interceptions and had a sack). New England was 6 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:36, while the Giants, who held on to the pigskin for 20:24, went 2 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions.

GangGreen ended their four-game losing streak last Sunday afternoon against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, holding them off 24-22 at Met Life Stadium. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led 21-6 at the break, then held off a late Cowboys rally late in the contest, as the Cowboys came within two when Prescott scored on a 2-yard run with 43 seconds left. Dallas then went for two in hope of tying the contest but Prescott’s try to TE Jason Whiten went incomplete. Dallas outrushed GangGreen 129-56 and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD, while Jets RB LeVeon Bell led his club with 50 yards and a rushing TD. Prescott threw for 277 yards, while Sam Darnold threw for 338 yards with a pair of TDs (Darnold was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Prescott was sacked once but did not throw a pick).

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 2 of 10 on third down in the late afternoon contest in the Meadowlands and kept the ball for 27:57, while the Cowboys ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:03, going 10 for 17 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games played at Fenway Park, Schafer Stadium, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium, the Patriots lead the series 63-53-1 (there was a contest between the teams that took place in Birmingham, Alabama in 1968; the Jets with Joe Namath under center won that contest 47-31 at Legion Field), they’ve outscored GangGreen 2,694-2,409 and have won the last games in the series (they swept the last three series, including last year), while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! last won in 2015 in the Meadowlands in overtime by a final of 26-20.

Week 12… Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands and the Patriots took care of the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 27-13. Tied 10-10 at the intermission, the Patroits would lead 13-10 with 8:34 when Stephen Gostkowski booted a 32-yard field goal. Jets K Josh Myers would re-tie things with 4 minutes left in the third, booting 38-yard field goal to even things up. New England would use a TD pass from Brady to Josh Edelman and a TD run by Sony Michel to take the lead back for good.

Michel ran for 133 yards as New England outrushed GangGreen 215-74 and Brady threw for 283 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Edelman, the other to Rob Gronkowski) without a sack or interception, while Josh McCown threw for 276 yards and a TD to Javon Kearse (McCown was sacked twice and picked off once). New England was 5 of 12 on third down (they were perfect on fourth down in their only attempt) and kept the ball for 34:26, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 25:34, going 6 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Holding the Jets to a Myers field goal in the first quarter in their week 17 matchup in Foxboro, the Patriots would go on to score all 38 of their points unchallenged to win by 35 points. Taking the 38-3 win, the Pats led 21-3 at the break and floored the gas in the second half against their AFC East rivals at Gillette Stadium and never looked back. New England outrushed GangGreen 131-104 and Brady threw for 250 yards with four TDs and a sack but no interceptions, while Darnold (taking over for McCown) threw for 167 yards and four sacks (Darnold did not have an interception). New England was 5 of 11 on third down in Foxboro (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:13, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:47.

In the week 12 contest in the Meadowlands, New ENgland was favored by 9 1/2 and the Patriots covered, winning by 14. Both teams scored 40 points, which meant that the 46 over/under was intact. As for the week 17 contest in Foxboro? New England won by 41, allowing them to cover the 13 1/2-point spread (they were favored) but the two clubs combined for 41 points, missing the 45 over/under.

On Monday nights, the Jets are 22-31, while the Patriots are 25-25 (both teams played a MNF contest and both teams were winners). New England’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. You might want to tape “All Rise” and “Bull” this week. While Brady and the Patriots take this one, expect GangGreen to make it closer than 9 1/2.

Kansas City (4-2) at Denver (2-4), 8:20 p.m. Thursday on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. Week seven of the 2019 NFL season gets underway in the Mile High City as a pair of AFC West foes meet in Denver. Kansas City, coming off their second home loss in a row, takes on the Denver Broncos, who finally picked up their first home win of the 2018 campaign.

The Chiefs dropped their second contest in a row and their second at home, coming out on the short end of a 31-24 loss at Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Kansas City saw a 17-3 lead at the end of the first quarter get away from them as the Texans would score 20 second quarter points unchallenged to trail 23-17 at the intermission. Kansas City would reclaim the lead with 6:30 left in the third when Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes connected on a 6-yard TD toss. That lead would be erased by the Texans in the final quarter of play when DeShaun Watson scored on a 1-yard run with 6:17 left in the contest. The Chiefs would get the ball back after the kick off but would get as their 22-yard line, where they punted the ball back to Houston, who ran the clock out, making sure that Kansas City would never see the football again.

Houston’s Carlos Hyde led all rushers with 116 yards on the ground, as the Texans outrushed Kansas City 192-53 and Watson threw for 280 yards with a passing TD to go with his rushing TD, while Mahomes threw for 273 yards with three TDs (two of them to Hill; Mahomes was sacked once and threw an interception, while Watson threw two interceptions). The Chiefs were 4 of 8 on third down tries at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 20:12, while the Texans ruled the clock and kept the ball for 39:48, going 5 of 12 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Denver picked up their first home win of the season, shutting out Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans 16-0 at Empower Field at Mile High. Denver got three Brian McManus field goals in the contest, taking a 6-0 lead with them to the break, then flooring the gas in the second half, scoring the last 10 points of the game unchallenged, with Patrick Lindsey scoring the game’s only TD, scoring from 2 yards out with 4:56 left in the third quarter. Lindsay led all rushers with 70 yards as the Broncos held Tennessee to 39 yards rushing, while tallying 103 of their own yards on the ground. Joe Flacco threw for 177 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Mariota threw for 63 yards with a pair of pair of interceptions and three sacks before being taken out of the contest in favor of Ryan Tannehill (144 yards, interception). Both clubs went 2 of 14 on third down (the Titans were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Titans actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:14 to Denver’s 29:46.

Including contests played at Swope Field and Mile High Stadium and contest when the Chiefs were known as the Dallas Texans, Kansas City leads the series 63-54, have outscored Denver 2,720-2,419 and have won the last seven meetings (including sweeping the series last year; Denver’s last win over the Chiefs came in 2015 when they left Arrowhead Stadium with a 31-24 win).

Meeting number one… week four in Denver on a Monday night. The Chiefs trailed 13-10 at the half at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, then went on to outscore Denver 17-10 in the second half to come away 27-23 winners. Kaleel Hunt gave the Chiefs the lead for good with 99 seconds left in regulation when he scored from a yard out. Kansas City then held off a late Denver rally to take the road win in the Rocky Mountains. Hunt ran for 121 yards and the game-winning TD, even though Denver outrushed Kansas City 159-122 in that first meeting. Mahomes threw for 304 yards and a TD toss to TE Travis Kelce, while Case Keenum threw for 245 yards for Denver (Keenum was sacked four times and threw an interception, while Mahomes was sacked once). The Chiefs were 7 of 15 on third down but went 2 of 2 on fourth down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:02, while Denver, who kept the pigskin for 24:58, went 2 of 11 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The two clubs then meet in the Show-Me State in week eight at Arrowhead and once again, it was a close contest but as was the case in the first meeting, the Chiefs came out on top, taking a 30-23 win to complete the series sweep. The Chiefs led 16-14 at the break, then proceeded to floor the gas in the third quarter, scoring a pair of TDs in that period unchallenged (Mahomes connected with Hunt and Sammy Watkins for the scores). Keenum and TE Jeff Heuerman would connect on a 4-yard TD toss as the fourth quarter got underway and Brandon McManus’ 46-yard field goal with 1:48 left in the contest would pull Denver to within seven but the Broncos could get no closer. Denver again outrushed Kansas City, this time tallying 189 yards to the Chiefs’ 49 but Mahomes burned Denver for 303 yards and four TDs (two to Watkins and one to Hunt and Kelce; Mahomes was sacked twice and picked off once), while Keenum threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs, with five sacks and two interceptions. Denver went 4 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 32:41, while the Chiefs held on to the ball for 27:19 and went 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week four Monday night meeting in the Rocky Mountains, Kansas City was favored by 5 and won by 4. The 52 1/2 over/under was safe, as both clubs merged for 50 points. Kansas City was favored again in the week eight contest at Arrowhead, this time by 10. Kansas City took the win but it would only be by 8 and both teams tallied 53 points, a field goal short of the 56 over/under. The odds makers like the Chiefs in the Thursday night Rocky Mountain contest as 3 1/2 point road favorites and the over/under at 50. Both numbers make a ton of sense. The Chiefs are hoping to avoid losing three in a row, while the Broncos are coming off two huge wins in a row. Denver’s bubble is about to get shattered. Denver will keep it close but the Chiefs prevail in the Rocky Mountains and may cover the 3 1/2.

Broadcast Information – 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Kristina Pink (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (Kansas City), 83 (Denver) XM: 225 (Kansas City), 226 (Denver)

Referee: Shawn Smith

Injury Report

Kansas City
OUT: T Eric Fisher (Groin), CB Kendall Fuller (Thumb), DT Chris Jones (Groin), G Andrew Wylie (Ankle), WR Sammy Watkins (Hamstring)

Denver
OUT: CB Bryce Callahan (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: T Ja’Wuan James (Knee)

Weather: Partly cloudy and 74 degrees

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

And then there were two.

New England and San Francisco remain the only teams in the 2019 NFL campaign with perfect records.

While the Patriots and 49ers, with 11 Lombardi Trophies between them (New England with six, San Francisco has five) bask in the glow of being unbeaten, four teams (the New York Jets, Miami, Washington and Cincinnati) look for their first win, like Ahab looking for Moby Dick.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: New England defeated Washington 33-7, in Week five, as quarterback Tom Brady threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Brady now has 71,923 career passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (71,838) for the third-most career passing yards in NFL history.

New England has given up 34 total points through its first five games of the season, the fewest points allowed through a team’s first five games since the 2005 Indianapolis Colts (29 points) and the fifth-fewest since 1970.

Philadelphia defeated the New York Jets, 31-6, in Week five, becoming the first team in NFL history to record 10 sacks and score two defensive touchdowns in a single game.

Philadelphia cornerback Orlando Scandrick registered two sacks and scored a 44-yard fumble-return touchdown. Scandrick joins Ronde Barber (September 10, 2000), Captain Munnerlyn (December 15, 2013) and Antoine Winfield (December 28, 2010) as the only defensive backs with at least two sacks and a touchdown in a single game since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Philadelphia running back Darren Sproles had 32 all-purpose yards in the win. Sproles, who now has 19,684 all-purpose yards throughout his 14-year career, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown (19,682) for the fifth-most all-purpose yards in NFL history.

Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson completed 28 of 33 pass attempts for 426 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, in the Texans’ 53-32 win over Atlanta. Watson became the first player to pass for at least 400 yards and five touchdowns with five-or-fewer incompletions in a single game in NFL history.

Additionally, Houston wide receiver Will Fuller recorded 14 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He became the fourth player in NFL history to register at least 14 catches, 200 yards and three receiving touchdowns in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (December 18, 1995) and Steve Largent (October 18, 1987), along with Jimmy Smith (September 10, 2000).

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Ryan joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (six games in 2000) and Steve Young (six games in 1998) and Peyton Manning (five games in 2009 and 2013) as the only players with at least 300 passing yards in each of their team’s first five games of a season in NFL history.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had 237 scrimmage yards (176 rushing, 61 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in the Panthers’ 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, his third consecutive game with at least 175 scrimmage yards. McCaffrey, who has 587 rushing yards and 279 receiving yards this season, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas (1991) as the only players in NFL history to record at least 500 rushing yards and 250 receiving yards in their team’s first five games of a season.

Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen passed for 181 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Allen is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to begin his career 4-0 without throwing an interception in his first four career starts.

Jacksonville rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew passed for 374 yards with two touchdowns and a 101.9 passer rating in the loss. Both Allen (108.3 passer rating through first four career starts) and Minshew (101.4) joined Jeff Kemp (104.0, 1984) as the only players in the Super Bowl era to have a passer rating of at least 100 with no interceptions through their first four career starts (minimum 20 attempts).

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 161 yards and had 70 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 26-23 overtime victory at Pittsburgh. Jackson, who now has 1,003 rushing yards through 21 career games, tied Robert Griffin III (21 games) as the quarterbacks to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in the fewest games in NFL history.

Oakland defeated Chicago, 24-21, in the first-ever NFL game in London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Oakland rookie running back Josh Jacobs rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the win, the most rushing yards by a rookie running back in the 25 NFL games played in London since 2007. By the end of the 2019 season, the NFL will have played 28 regular-season games in London, with 31 of 32 teams having participated. Jacobs also joined Adrian Peterson (September 29, 2013 at Wembley Stadium) as the only players to rush for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in the history of the NFL’s International Series.

COMPETITIVE CONTESTS: Through Week 5, the 2019 season has tied for the most games decided by seven points or fewer in league annals. Forty-two of 78 overall games (53.8 percent) have been decided by seven-or-fewer points, including nine of 15 games in Week 5. Expect more to come in Week 6.

The seasons with the most games decided by seven-or-fewer points in NFL history:

THROUGH FIVE WEEKS
2019 – 42
2016 – 42
1999 – 41
2015 – 40
2011 – 40
1988 – 40

THROUGH SIX WEEKS

1999 – 50
2016 – 50
2018 – 47
2015 – 47
2011 – 47
2019 – ??

BUSINESS TRIPS: This week, several teams are on the road with the opportunity to improve key tiebreakers, their interdivision and interconference records. Highlighting those contests on the Week 6 schedule, Houston will travel to play Kansas City at 1 p.m., Philadelphia goes to the Twin Cities to face the Minnesota Vikings at 1 p.m. and Detroit travels to Lambeau for a Monday night meeting with Green Bay at 8:15 p.m.

This season, road teams are a combined 43-34-1 (.558) through five weeks, the highest road winning percentage at this point in a season in 36 years. The last time NFL teams were more successful on the road through five weeks was 1983, when they were 40-30 (.571).

THE SIX-GAME YARDSTICK: If history is any indication, emerging at .500 or better through six games has positive playoff implications.

There’s always hope, proven by the 2004 Green Bay Packers, who started 1-4 and won nine of their last 11 to capture their division title. In fact, since that season, Miami in both 2008 and 2016, Denver in 2011 and three teams in 2015 – Houston, Seattle and Washington – made the playoffs after opening 2-4.

A closer look at six-game records and how they affect playoff chances:

Opening 6-0:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 35 of the 37 teams (94.6 percent) to start 6-0 have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 46 of 49 teams (93.9 percent) to start 6-0 advanced to the postseason.

Opening 5-1 or 5-0-1:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 81 of 98 teams (82.7 percent) to win five of their first six games have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 107 of 131 teams (81.7 percent) to win five of their first six advanced to the postseason.
Opening 4-2 or 4-1-1:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 134 of 213 teams (62.9 percent) to win four of their first six games have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 174 of 286 teams (60.8 percent) to win four of their first six advanced to the postseason.
Opening 3-3 or 3-2-1:

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 78 of 216 teams (36.1 percent) to win three of their first six games have qualified for the postseason.

Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 108 of 297 teams (36.4 percent) to win three of their first six advanced to the postseason.

NINERS STAND ALONE IN NFC: For the first time since 1984, San Francisco is the NFC’s lone undefeated team through Week 5. Behind quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who owns a 10-2 career record as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, the club is off to its best start since opening 10-0 in 1990.

NORTHERN LIGHTS: Entering Week 6 of the NFL’s 100th season, all four teams in the NFC North have winning records. That hasn’t happened in an NFL division since 2012, when the four NFC West clubs also were above .500 entering Week 6. That year, the 49ers opened 4-1, finished 11-4-1 and advanced to Super Bowl XLVII.

This year, Green Bay (4-1) sits atop the NFC North with Detroit (2-1-1), Minnesota (3-2) and Chicago (3-2) closely behind. That division has crowned three different teams as its winner over the past three seasons. No other NFL division has that distinction. And if the Lions and Vikings win this week, with the Bears on their bye, the NFC North could have four teams above .500 again next week.

METHODICAL MARCHES: Physically and mentally, a touchdown drive of 90-or-more yards can provide a substantial advantage. Last week, Oakland engineered not one but two such drives in a London win over the Bears. Minnesota orchestrated a 98-yard touchdown drive in a victory at the New York Giants. The Vikings and Raiders each have three touchdown drives of 90-plus yards in 2019, tied with Kansas City and the New York Giants for most in the league. Overall, NFL teams this season have combined for 24 such drives, most through five weeks of play since there were also 24 touchdown drives of 90-plus yards in 2014.

SACKS ARE PILING UP: NFL clubs have combined for 396 sacks in 2019. Through Week 5, that’s the second-highest total over the last two decades. In that span, only the 2013 season (416) had more entering Week 6.

WAKE UP TO FOOTBALL: The second of five international games appears on the Week 6 slate. Carolina meets Tampa Bay in an important NFC South clash. The contest kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and will appear exclusively on NFL Network. It’s also the second of two games at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. In Week 8, the NFL plays its first of two games at London’s Wembley Stadium, when Cincinnati meets the Los Angeles Rams. In Week 9, also at Wembley, Houston plays Jacksonville and the 2019 international games conclude with a Week 11 contest in Mexico City, where Kansas City plays the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football, November 18.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 6

THE FUTURE IS HERE: This Sunday, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson face each other for the first time in their careers, when the Chiefs welcome the Texans to Arrowhead Stadium. Entering Week 6, Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards (1,831), while Watson ranks second in the league in passer rating (115.9). The pair are tied for second in the league in touchdown passes with 11.

Mahomes, who has 7,212 passing yards in 22 career games, and Watson, who has 7,228 passing yards in 28 career games, can each reach 7,500 career passing yards on Sunday. Should the pair each reach the milestone, they would become the fastest and tied for the third-fastest quarterbacks in NFL history to reach 7,500 career passing yards.

The players to reach 7,500 career passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 7,500 PASS YARDS)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (27) HOF
Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams (29)
Dan Marino, Miami (29) HOF
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (29)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (22)*
Deshaun Watson, Houston (28)#
*Has 7,212 passing yards
#Has 7,228 passing yards

STAFFORD SLINGER: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford enters Week 6 with 39,648 career passing yards in 145 games during his 11-year career with the Lions.

With 352 passing yards against the Packers Monday night at Lambeau, Stafford can become the first player in NFL history to reach 40,000 career passing yards in fewer than 150 games.

The players to reach 40,000 career passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 40,000 PASS YARDS)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (151)
Drew Brees, San Diego and New Orleans (152)
Dan Marino, Miami (153) HOF
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (154)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (154)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (145)*

*Has 39,648 passing yards

FEELING 100: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns with a 151.8 passer rating in the Seahawks’ Week 5 win. Wilson, who currently leads the NFL with a 126.3 passer rating in 2019, has a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of Seattle’s first five games of the season.

With a passer rating of 100 or higher on Sunday at Cleveland, Wilson would become the fourth player in NFL history with a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of his first six games of a season.

The players with a passer rating of 100 or higher in each of their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history:​

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 100+ PASSER RATING TO BEGIN SEASON)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2011 – 12)#
Tom Brady, New England (2007 – 8)#
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (2005 – 6)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2019 – 5)*
*Active Streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

WINNING JIMMY: San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has 920 passing yards and seven touchdowns with a 99.4 passer rating in 2019 and has led the 49ers to their first 4-0 start since 1990. Garoppolo now owns a 12-2 record as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

With a win on Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams, Garoppolo can become the eighth quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 13 wins in his first 15 career starts.

The quarterbacks with the most wins through their first 15 career starts in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM(S) (RECORD THROUGH 1st 15 STARTS)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (15-0)
Roger Staubach, Dallas (14-1) HOF
Dan Marino, Miami (13-2) HOF
Dak Prescott, Dallas (13-2)
Philip Rivers, San Diego (13-2)
Mike Tomczak, Chicago (13-2)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (13-2) HOF
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England and San Francisco (12-2)*
*Entering Week 6

CMC 1,000: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had a season-high 237 scrimmage yards (176 rushing, 61 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in Week 5 and leads the NFL in scrimmage yards through the first five weeks of the 2019 season (866).

With 134 scrimmage yards in London against Tampa Bay, McCaffrey would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1963) and Marshall Faulk (2000) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards through their team’s first six games of a season.

The players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards through their team’s first six games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1963 – 1,153) HOF
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (2007 – 1,083) HOF
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 866)*
*Through five games

McCaffrey, who has at least 175 scrimmage yards in each of his past three games, needs 175 scrimmage against Tampa Bay to tie Edgerrin James (Weeks 7-10, 1999) for the longest streak of games with at least 175 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

GODWIN’S WORLD: Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin had 12 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns in Week 4 and seven catches for 125 yards and two scores in Week 5.

With at least 125 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in London against Carolina, Godwin would become the fourth player in NFL history to have three consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The players with three consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON(S); WEEKS)
Andre Rison, ATLANTA (1990; Weeks 5-7)
Don Maynard, New York Jets (1967-68; Week 16, 1967-Week 2, 1968) HOF
Cloyce Box, Detroit (1952; Weeks 10-12)
Chris Godwin Tampa Bay (2019; Weeks 4-5)*
*Two consecutive games

Detroit and Miami return from their byes this week, while Chicago, Oakland, Indianapolis and Buffalo will get the weekend off. Last week was not the greatest week of the season (but not the worst), as we went 7-8 (for the season, 40-41). Lots of football left. Week six got underway in Foxboro as New England and Tom Brady took care of the New York Giants to remain unbeaten and concludes in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as the Packers host the Detroit Lions at Lambeau in an NFC North matchup Monday night in prime time. Having said all of that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week six.

ATLANTA (1-4) at Arizona (1-3-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of 1-win teams meet in the desert as the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan travel to Glendale for an early afternoon contest with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals.

The Falcons dropped their third contest in a row Sunday afternoon against DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans, dropping a 53-32 decision in the Lone Star State. Atlanta led 17-16 at the intermission at NRG Stadium, then watched the Texans take the lead for keeps in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in the quarter unchallenged. Atlanta pulled themselves to within eight twice (once on a 1-yard run by Ryan, the other on a 29-yard TD pass from Ryan to Calvin Ridley) before the Texans would blow the doors open in the final minutes of the contest. Houston outrushed Atlanta 166-57 and Ryan threw for 330 yards with three TDs (two to Mohammed Sanu and Devonta Freeman, in addition to the Ridley toss), a pair of sacks and an interception, while Watson threw for 426 yards and five TDs with no sacks or interceptions (connecting with Will Fuller on three of them). Suprisingly, Atlanta was 9 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29 minutes, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 31 minutes, going 10 for 13 on third down.

The Desert Angry Birds picked up their first win of the season and gave Cincinnati their fifth loss in a row, leaving Paul Brown Stadium with a 26-23 last second win last Sunday. Arizona led 13-6 at the intermission along the shores of the Ohio River before the Bengals would rally with 2 minutes left in regulation when Tyler Boyd and Andy Dalton connected on a 42-yard TD toss. Arizona would then set off to break the hearts of Bengals fans as they would get the ball back with 2 minutes left and would use a 6-play, 62-yard drive with all of that time to make their way down the field, with K Zane Gonzalez booting the game-winner from 31 yards as time expired. Arizona outrushed the Bengals 266-108, with Murray leading the way with 93 yards and a rushing TD, while Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon led the Bengals with 93 yards on the ground. Dalton threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs, while Murray threw for 253 yards (both Dalton and Murray were sacked once but did not throw an interception). Arizona was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:03 (including the final 2 minutes of the contest), while the Bengals kept the ball for 28:57, going 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The series is even at 15-15 and the Falcons have not only out-scored the Desert Angry Birds 702-635, they’ve won the last three meetings, including a 40-14 win in the Big Peach last year (Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2014 in the desert by a final of 27-13).

In their week 15 meeting in the Big Peach, Atlanta erased an early 7-0 deficit by Arizona in the first quarter after Cardinals RB David Johnson opened the scoring in the contest from a yard out and took a 26-7 lead into the intermisison, scoring all of their first half points unchallenged. Atlanta would go on to outscore the Desert Angry Birds 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of play at Mercedes Benz Stadium to seal the win. The Falcons out-rushed Arizona 215-60, with Tevin Coleman leading the way with 145 yards and a TD. Ryan threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs (one to WR Julio Jones) and did not throw an interception, while Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 132 yards with six sacks and two interceptions (Ryan was sacked twice). Atlanta went 5 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:40, while Arizona held on to the ball for 29:20, going 3 of 13 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 15 contest, Atlanta was favored by 8 and covered, winning by 26 and the two teams covered the 44 over/under with 54 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Falcons as 2 1/2 point favorites in the desert and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Atlanta’s looking to end their three-game losing streak, the Cards are looking to make it two in a row. Atlanta’s streak comes to an end in the desert. Atlanta prevails in the desert and covers the 2 1/2.

Carolina (3-2) at Tampa Bay (2-3), 9:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. in London) on NFL Network. The second game in London features a pair of NFC South rivals as the Carolina Panthers face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carolina held off a late Jacksonville rally last Sunday afternoon as the Panthers came away 34-27 winners at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers, with Kyle Allen under center for Cam Newton (foot), took a 21-17 lead with them to the intermission and then proceeded to outscore Jacksonville 13-10 in the second half. Carolina survived the final second scare from the Jaguars, as they had a pair of defensive penalties in the final seconds (including one that occured as time expired, giving Jacksonville an untimed down). Panthers RB Chirstian McCaffrey led all rushers with 176 yards and a pair of TDs (he had six catches for 61 yards and a TD), while Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette rushed for 108 yards with a TD. Carolina outrushed Jacksonville 285-149 and Allen threw for 181 yards with the TD toss to McCaffrey, while Jacksonville signal caller Gardner Minshew threw for 374 yards and a pair of TDs to D.J. Chark (Minshew was sacked twice and Allen was sacked three times, neither threw an interception). Carolina was 4 of 13 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:36, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:24 (including the final 1:45 of the contest) and went 6 of 13 on third down.

The Buccaneers enter the contest on the other side of the Atlantic coming away with a 31-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday afternoon. Tampa Bay trailed 17-10 at the intermission in the Big Easy, then pulled themselves to within seven with 19 seconds left in the contest when Jameis Winston and WR Chris Goodwin connected on a 26-yard TD toss. Tampa Bay then went for the onside kick and failed, giving New Orleans and Teddy Bridgewater the ball, allowing them to run out the clock and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 112-94 (Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 62 yards) and Winston threw for 204 yards with a pair of TDs (he was sacked six times), while Bridgewater threw for 314 yards with four TDs and an interception. Tampa Bay was 3 of 11 on third down (they struck gold on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 26:33, while the Saints, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:27, went 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Carolina leads the series 23-14 and have outscored Tampa Bay 823-646. The two NFC South rivals split last year’s meetings, each coming away winners at home.

Carolina came away 42-28 winners in the Tar Heel State in their first meeting, a week nine contest at Bank of America Stadium. Newton and the Panthers led 35-14 at the half, then held off the Buccaneers in the second half after Tampa Bay outscored them 14-7 in that span. Carolina out-rushed Tampa Bay 179-82, with McCaffrey leading all rushers with 79 yards and a pair of TDs, Newton threw for 247 yards, while Fitzpatrick threw for 243 yards (each threw a pair of TDs; Fitzpatrick was sacked three times with a pair of interceptions, Newton was sacked twice). Carolina was 4 of 10 on third down tries (the Panthers were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31 minutes, while Tampa Bay, who kept the ball for 29 minutes, went 5 for 12 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay would get revenge in the Sunshine State in week 13, as Winston and Tampa Bay came away 24-17 winners at Raymond James Stadium. Even though Tampa Bay led 17-7 at the break, the Panthers outscored Tampa Bay 10-7 in the third quarter (the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter) to make things closer than Tampa Bay fans would have liked. Once again, McCaffery led all rushers with 106 yards and as was the case in the first meeting, Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 168-95 and Newton threw for 300 yards, while Winston threw for 249 yards (both threw a pair of TDs and both were sacked four times, Newton was picked off four times). Tampa Bay wemt 6 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 29:54, while the Panthers ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 30:06, going 3 of 8 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest in Charlotte, Carolina was favored by 6 1/2 and covered, winning by 14 and both teams took care of the over/under of 54 by tallying 70 points. Carolina was favored again in the week 13 contest in the Sunshine State, the boys and girls in Vegas making them 3 1/2 point favorites. Tampa Bay covered the spread, winning by 7 but the 55 1/2 over/under stayed in tact, as both teams tallied 41 points. While Tampa Bay is the designated home team, the Panthers are favored on the other side of the pond as a 2 1/2 point favorite with a 45 1/2 over/under. You may want to set the VCR for this one, since it starts at 9:30 in the morning, when most of America is either at church or heading to church. Carolina may be on the other side of the Atlantic but they’re finer in this one. Carolina covers the 2 1/2 on the other side of the big pond and takes the win.

Cincinnati (0-5) at Baltimore (3-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in Charm City as the winless Bengals take on the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Cincinnati picked up their their fifth loss in a row, leaving Paul Brown Stadium with a 26-23 last second loss to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Arizona led 13-6 at the intermission along the shores of the Ohio River before the Bengals would rally with 2 minutes left in regulation when Tyler Boyd and Andy Dalton connected on a 42-yard TD toss. Arizona would then set off to break the hearts of Bengals fans as they would get the ball back with 2 minutes left and would use a 6-play, 62-yard drive with all of that time to make their way down the field, with K Zane Gonzalez booting the game-winner from 31 yards as time expired. Arizona outrushed the Bengals 266-108, with Murray leading the way with 93 yards and a rushing TD, while Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon led the Bengals with 93 yards on the ground. Dalton threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs, while Murray threw for 253 yards (both Dalton and Murray were sacked once but did not throw an interception). Arizona was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:03 (including the final 2 minutes of the contest), while the Bengals kept the ball for 28:57, going 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Baltimore needed overtime at Heinz Field last Sunday afternoon as they left the Steel City 26-23 winners. The Ravens led 17-13 at the intermission before Pittsburgh stormed back in the second half to lead 23-20 with 2:37 left in regulation on a Chris Boswell field goal. Jeff Tucker then connected on a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation, then after a Pittsburgh turnover by WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in the overtime, Tucker connected on a 46-yarder with 5:26 left in the extra period to take the win.

Baltimore outrushed Pittsburgh 138-77 and Lamar Jackson threw for 161 yards with a TD and three interceptions, while Mason Rudolph threw for 131 yards and a TD to Smith-Schuster before being knocked out of the contest with a concussion (Rudolph was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Baltimore was 6 of 15 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 39 minutes (including the overtime), while the Steelers were 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:34.

The series? Even at 23-23 and Baltimore has outscored Cincinnati 989-869. The two AFC North foes met twice and both teams wone their contests in their home parks.

Round one… Cincinnati, along the shores of the Ohio River in week two on a Thursday night and the Bengals took care of the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium 34-23. Cincinnati led 28-14 at the break and was never really threatened after that. The Bengals outrushed Baltimore 108-66, with Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 84 yards, while Dalton threw for 265 yards and four TDs (three to WR A.J. Green) and Flacco throwing for 376 yards with a pair of TDs (Flacco was sacked four times and picked off twice). Cincinnati went 5 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Ravens kept the ball for 28:10, going 7 of 16 on third down and 2 of 4 on fourth down.

The Ravens would get revenge in Charm City in week 11, coming away 24-21 winners at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore led 13-7 at the intermission, watched the Dalton-led Bengals tie the contest with 63 seconds left in the third when Greg Edwards scored on an 11-yard run before Ravens K Jeff Tucker broke the tie for keeps with 8:12 left in the contest. Ravens RB Gus Edwards and Jackson each rushed for 100 yards (Edwards had 115 yards with a TD, Jackson had 117) as Baltimore outrushed Cincinnati 265-48; Jackson threw for 150 yards with an interception, while Dalton threw for 211 yards with a pair of TDs and a sack. Cincinnati went 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 21:51, while the Ravens went 8 of 16 on third down, ruling the clock as they held the ball for 38:09 (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

In the week two contest in Cincinnati, the Bengals were favored by 1 and covered as they won by 11 and b oth teams covered the 44 over/under with 57 points. In the week 11 contest in Charm City, the Ravens were favored by 4 but won by only 3. The two clubs did manage to take care of the 43 1/2 over/under, tallying 45 points. Baltimore’s favored by 11 in Charm City and the over/under’s 46. Granted, the Bengals are a bad team. They’re not 11 points bad and they have been playing competitive football of late. The sad thing? Baltimore’s going to win this one but expect the Bengals to make things hard for the Ravens.

Seattle (4-1) at Cleveland (2-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirectV 708. Russell Wilson vs. Baker Mayfield. One has a Heisman, the other has a Super Bowl ring. They meet along the shores of Lake Erie in an early afternoon contest in the Buckeye State.

Seattle survived a late rally against the Los Angeles Rams last Thursday night in the Pacific Northwest, as the Seahawks would prevail 30-29 over their NFC West rivals at Century Link Field. Seattle led 14-13 at the break, then trailed 26-21 at the end of the third quarter before getting themselves back on track, using a 12-play, 75-yard drive that used 6:51 of clock, taking the lead back for keeps with 2:28 left in regulation when RB Chris Carson caught a 5-yard TD toss from Russell Wilson to take the one-point lead. Seattle fans then watched and held their breath as the Rams made their way down the field to set up for what would have been the win on the road. Seahawk fans then heaved a sigh of relief when Greg Zuerlein’s 44-yard field goal try as time expired went wide right, giving the home team the win.

Carson led all rushers with 118 yards on the ground (Los Angeles was led by Todd Gurley III with 51 yards and a pair of TDs), while the Seahawks outrushed the Rams 167-82 and Wilson threw for 268 yards and four TDs (including the game-winner late in the contest), while Jared Gof threw for 395 yards and a TD toss to Cooper Kupp (Goff threw an interception but was not sacked, while Wilson was sacked once but did not turn the ball over). Seattle went 3 of 10 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 35:18, while the Rams kept the ball for 24:42, going 3 for 11 on third down conversions.

Cleveland was held to a 30-yard field goal by Austin Seibert in the second quarter as they were manhandled by Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers 31-3 Monday night at Levis’ Stadium. The Browns trailed 21-1 at the intermission and San Francisco shut them out in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in prime time. San Francisco’s Matt Breida led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, while Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 87 as the 49ers outrushed Cleveland 275-102. Mayfield threw for 100 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Garoppolo threw a pair of TDs (one to TE George Kittle, the other to Breida) and 181 yards in the win. Cleveland was a dismal 1 of 11 on third down tries in prime time and kept the ball for 22:17, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 37:43, going 6 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Seahawks lead the series 12-6, Seattle has outscored Cleveland 396-290 and won their last meeting with the Browns, coming out on top 30-13 in the Pacific Northwest in 2015, while Cleveland’s last win in the series came in 2011 along the shores of Lake Erie in a field goal affair by a final of 6-3. Seattle’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 47. Seattle covers and wins along the shores of Lake Erie.

New Orleans (4-1) at Jacksonville (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They’re separated by 547 miles along I-10. They’ll meet in northern Florida for the seventh time. Jacksonville and New Orleans, both playing close contests last week, meet in the Sunshine State in an early afternoon contest along the banks of the St. John’s River.

New Orleans held off a late Tampa Bay rally in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, taking down their NFC South rivals 31-24 last Sunday afternoon. The Saints, who led 17-10 at the intermission in the Big Easy, watched as Tampa Bay pulled themselves to within seven with 19 seconds left in the contest when Jameis Winston and WR Chris Goodwin connected on a 26-yard TD toss. Tampa Bay then went for the onside kick and failed, giving New Orleans and Teddy Bridgewater the ball, allowing them to run out the clock and take the win. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 112-94 (Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 62 yards) and Winston threw for 204 yards with a pair of TDs (he was sacked six times), while Bridgewater threw for 314 yards with four TDs and an interception. Tampa Bay was 3 of 11 on third down (they struck gold on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 26:33, while the Saints, who ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:27, went 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

A Jacksonville rally last Sunday afternoon against Carolina came up short as the Panthers came away 34-27 winners at Bank of America Stadium. Jacksonville trailed the Panthers 21-17 lead at the intermission and were outscored 13-10 in the second half. Jacksonville gave Carolina a scare in the final minutes, getting themselves in position to either tie the contest or take the lead outright as Carolin was flagged for a pair of defensive penalties in the final seconds (including one that occured as time expired, giving Jacksonville an untimed down). Panthers RB Chirstian McCaffrey led all rushers with 176 yards and a pair of TDs (he had six catches for 61 yards and a TD), while Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette rushed for 108 yards with a TD. Carolina outrushed Jacksonville 285-149 and Kyle Allen threw for 181 yards with the TD toss to McCaffrey, while Jacksonville signal caller Gardner Minshew threw for 374 yards and a pair of TDs to D.J. Chark (Minshew was sacked twice and Allen was sacked three times, neither threw an interception). Carolina was 4 of 13 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:36, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:24 (including the final 1:45 of the contest) and went 6 of 13 on third down.

New Orleans holds a 4-2 lead in the series, have outscored Jacksonville 161-135 and have won the last three meetings, including coming away 38-27 winners in the Big Easy in 2015, while Jacksonville’s last win came in 2003 in the Sunshine State by a final of 20-19. Jacksonville’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Jaguars get back on track at home and takes the win in the Sunshine State and covers the 1 1/2.

Houston (3-2) at Kansas City (4-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. DeShaun Watson vs. Patrick Mahomes. A pair of first-round NFL QBs meet at Arrowhead as the Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

Watson and the Texans took a 53-32 decision in the Lone Star State over Atlanta, giving the Falcons their third loss in a row. The Texans trailed 17-16 at the intermission at NRG Stadium, then took the lead for keeps in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in the quarter unchallenged. Atlanta pulled themselves to within eight twice (once on a 1-yard run by Ryan, the other on a 29-yard TD pass from Ryan to Calvin Ridley) before the Texans would blow the doors open in the final minutes of the contest. Houston outrushed Atlanta 166-57 and Ryan threw for 330 yards with three TDs (two to Mohammed Sanu and Devonta Freeman, in addition to the Ridley toss), a pair of sacks and an interception, while Watson threw for 426 yards and five TDs with no sacks or interceptions (connecting with Will Fuller on three of them). Atlanta was 9 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29 minutes, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 31 minutes, going 10 for 13 on third down.

Indianapolis ended Kansas City’s four-game win streak at Arrowhead as the Colts used four Adam Vinatieri field goals to come away 19-13 winners last Sunday night. The Chiefs trailed 13-10 at the break in the prime-time contest in the Show-Me State and eventually pulled themselves to within six with 76 seconds left in the contest when Harrison Butker connected on a 36- yard field goal. It would be as close as the Chiefs would get as they would try the onside kick, which the Colts recovered. Indinapolis, who outrushed Kansas City 180-36, would run out the clock and take the win. Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 132 yards and QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 151 yards, while Mahomes threw for 321 yards and a TD (Mahomes was sacked four times, Brissett threw an interception.) The Chiefs were 4 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 22:45, while the Colts ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 37:15 and went 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Kansas City leads the series 5-4 and have outscored the Texans 240-199. Both teams won their last games in the series in the Lone Star State; the Texans were 19-12 winners in 2016 and the Chiefs returned the favor the following year, coming out on top 42-34. The Chiefs at home are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 56. Kansas City’s playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing at home last Sunday night and don’t want to lose two home games in a row. Houston will make it interesting and closer than the 4 1/2 but Kansas City prevails at home and takes the win.

Washington (0-5) at Miami (0-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of winless teams meet in the Sunshine State as Miami hosts Washington at Hard Rock Stadium. The Redskins come in with their fifth loss in tow and a new head coach, as the team fired Jay Gruden Monday morning, replacing him with Bill Callahan for the remainder of the season. As for the Dolphins, they look to win their first game after taking four losses in a row.

New England and Tom Brady manhandled Washington 33-7 last Sunday in Landover in what would be the last game that Jay Gruden would coach for Washington at Fed Ex Field. Steven Sims opened the scoring for Washington, scoring on a 65-yard TD run in the first quarter. After that. New England led 12-6 at the half and scored their remaining 21 points of the contest unchallenged. Washington did manage to outrush New England 145-130 but Brady burned Washington for 348 yards and three TDs, despite being sacked four times and picked off once, while Colt McCoy threw for 119 yards with six sacks and an interception. The Patriots were 5 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:52, while the Redskins kept the ball for 28:08, going 1 for 11 on third down tries at Fed Ex Field.

The Los Angeles Chargers took control of things in Miami, giving the Dolphins their fourth loss in a row, coming out of Hard Rock Stadium 30-10 winners in the Sunshine State two weeks ago. Taking a 17-10 lead with them to the locker room at halftime, the Chargers would take control of things in the second half, scoring their last 13 points of the contest unchallenged. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the Chargers did manage to outurush Miami 79-72 and Rivers threw for 310 yards with a pair of TDs, despite being sacked once, while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 180 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off once. The Chargers were 8 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 37:36, while the Dolphins kept the ball for 22:24, going 5 of 10 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Miami holds an 8-4 lead in the series, they’ve outscored the Redskins 225-199 and have won the last two contests with Washington, taking a 17-10 win in Landover in 2015, while Washington’s last win in the series came in 2007 (also in Landover) as the Redskins needed overtime to come away 16-13 winners. Washington’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 41. Someone has to win this game. Redskins fans will either be singing “Hail to the Redskins” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins” this week. Dolphins fans can take heart, their four-game losing streak comes to an end at home. Miami wins this one in the Sunshine State and may cover the 3 1/2.

Philadelphia (3-2) at Minnesota (3-2), 1 p.m. and FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of 3-2 teams meet in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles take on Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium. Both teams enter the Sunday afternoon contest in the Twin Cities with wins under their belts.

The Eagles kept the Jets winless last Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field as Wentz and Philadelphia took care of business 31-6 in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia led 21-0 at the intermission and were never threatened, holding GangGreen to a 19-yard TD run by Vic Smith early in the fourth quarter. Neither club dented the 100-yard barrier but the Eagles won the ground game, outrushing the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 84-67 and Wentz threw for 189 yards and a TD to Zach Ertz, while Luke Falk (taking over for Sam Darnold) threw for 120 yards (Falk was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Wentz was sacked once but did not throw a pick). The Eagles were 5 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:52, while the Jets held the ball for 29:08, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday took Daniel Jones and the New York Giants to task at Met Life Stadium last Sunday, taking a 28-10 win over the Giants in upstate New Jersey. Minnesota led 18-7 at the intermission and the Giants never threatened, as Minnesota held them to a Aldrick Rosas field in the third quarter. Delvin Cook ran for 132 yards as the Vikings outrushed the Giants 211-64 and Cousins threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Adam Thielen, while Jones threw for 182 yards with a TD (Jones was sacked four times and picked off once, Cousins was sacked three times). The Giants were 8 of 16 on third down, 0 for 3 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 27:20, while the Vikings ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 32:40, going 5 of 11 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota leads the series 14-10 and have outscored the Eagles 566-549. Minnesota won the last meeting, which took place in the City of Brotherly Love last year by a final of 23-21 at Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia’s last win in regular season play took place in Philly in 2016, with the Eagles coming out on top 21-10).

Minnesota led 17-3 at the half in their week five meeting at Lincoln Financial Field, then held off a late Eagles rally in the second half to take the road win (Philadelphia won the second half, outscoring the Vikings 18-6). The Eagles, who won the Super Bowl the year before, pulled themselves to within 2 with 69 seconds left when Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Philadelphia then went for the onside kick, which the Vikings recovered and after they ran out the clock, Minnesota came away with the 2-point win. Philadelphia outrushed Minnesota 81-77 and Wentz threw for 311 yards with three sacks, while Kirk Cousins threw for 301 yards with a sack (Cousins threw a TD pass to Thielen, while Wentz threw for two scores). While Philadelphia went 2 of 9 on third down tries, they were quite succesful in fourth down conversions, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 27:13; Minnesota ruled the clock and kept the ball away from the Eagles for 32:47, going 4 for 11 on third down tries.

Philadelphia was favored by 3 in the week five contest in the City of Brotherly Love and while the Vikings came away with the win, they didn’t cover, winning by 2 and both teams barely missed the 44 1/2 over/under. The Vikings are favored by 3 in the Twin Cities and the over/under’s 44. This may be one of the better contests this year. Eagles get their revenge from last year’s loss in the City of Brotherly Love, covering the 3 on the road and taking the win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

San Francisco (4-0) at Los Angeles Rams (3-2), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of West Coast/NFC West rivals meet in southern California as Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers make their way (346 miles) to Los Angeles to face off against the defending NFC champions at the Coliseum.

San Francisco held Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns to a 30-yard field goal by Austin Seibert in the second quarter as the 49ers and Garoppolo manhandled Cleveland 31-3 Monday night at Levis’ Stadium. San Francisco led 21-1 at the intermission and shut the Browns out in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in prime time. San Francisco’s Matt Breida led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, while Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 87 as the 49ers outrushed Cleveland 275-102. Mayfield threw for 100 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Garoppolo threw a pair of TDs (one to TE George Kittle, the other to Breida) and 181 yards in the win. Cleveland was a dismal 1 of 11 on third down tries in prime time and kept the ball for 22:17, while the 49ers ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 37:43, going 6 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

A Los Angeles Rams rally fell short as Seattle survived a against the Los Angeles Rams last Thursday night in the Pacific Northwest, with the Seahawks coming away 30-29 winners over their NFC West rivals at Century Link Field. The Rams trailed 14-13 at the break, then led 26-21 at the end of the third quarter before Seattle got themselves back on track, using a 12-play, 75-yard drive that used 6:51 of clock, taking the lead back for keeps with 2:28 left in regulation when RB Chris Carson caught a 5-yard TD toss from Russell Wilson to take the one-point lead. Seattle fans then watched and held their breath as the Rams made their way down the field to set up for what would have been the win on the road. Seahawk fans then heaved a sigh of relief when Greg Zuerlein’s 44-yard field goal try as time expired went wide right, giving the home team the win.

Carson led all rushers with 118 yards on the ground (Los Angeles was led by Todd Gurley III with 51 yards and a pair of TDs), while the Seahawks outrushed the Rams 167-82 and Wilson threw for 268 yards and four TDs (including the game-winner late in the contest), while Jared Goff threw for 395 yards and a TD toss to Cooper Kupp (Goff threw an interception but was not sacked, while Wilson was sacked once but did not turn the ball over). Seattle went 3 of 10 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 35:18, while the Rams kept the ball for 24:42, going 3 for 11 on third down conversions.

Including those contests that were played in Anaheim, Keezar Stadium, Candlestick Park and in St. Louis, the 49ers lead the series 68-67-3 and have outscored the Rams 3.088-2,978. However… the Rams have won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (San Francisco’s last win came in 2017 in Los Angeles by a final of 34-13).

Meeting number one… week seven at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara. The Rams led 22-7 at the intermission and never looked back, coming out of Santa Clara with a 39-10 win in wine country. Gurley (63 yards) ran for a pair of TDs as the Rams outrushed San Francisco 146-107 and Goff threw for 202 yards and a pair of TDs, while C.J. Beathard threw for 170 yards with a TD (Beathard was sacked seven times and picked off twice, while Goff was sacked twice). The defending NFC champs were 5 of 12 on third down and ruled the clock, holding the ball hostage for 32:51, while the 49ers, who kept the pigskin for 27:09, went 3 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The two West Coast teams closed the 2018 season out in Los Angeles at the Coliseum in week 17 and Los Angeles held off a late 49ers rally in the second half to take a 48-32 win to complete the sweep. The Rams were 31-10 leaders at the half before the 49ers would outscore them in the second half 22-17. With Gurley rested, it was Charles Anderson’s turn to lead all rushers for the Rams, tallying 132 yards of rushing, while San Francisco’s Alfred Morris tallied 111 yards (both men had a rushing TD). Los Angeles, who kept the ball for 31:50, outrushed the 49ers 155-127 and went 10 of 16 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down). As for the 49ers? They were 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:10.

The Rams covered the 10 1/2-point spread (they were favored), winning by 29 but the two clubs combined for 49 points, meaning that the 54 over/under was untouched. Los Angeles was again favored, this time by 10 in the season finale in southern Californa (they covered, winning by 16) and this time, both teams covered the over/under of 50 with 80 combined points. The Rams are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. San Francisco would like nothing more than to go 5-0 in southern California, whil the Rams would love nothing more than to break their two-game losing streak. For the 49ers, the party comes to an end in Los Angeles. Rams cover the 3 and wins in the Coliseum.

Tennessee (2-3) at Denver (1-4), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. The first game of the late afternoon takes places in the Mile High City as Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans take on Joe Flacco and the Denver Broncos. While the Titans lost at home last week, Denver broke their four-game losing streak on the road.

Buffalo broke a 7-7 tie with Tennessee early in the fourth quarter when WR Derrick Williams caught a 7-yard TD toss from QB Josh Allen as the Bills left Nashville 14-7 winners at Nissan Stadium last Sunday. After a scoreless first quarter, Lance Smith caught an 8-yard toss from Allen to take a 7-0 lead with them to the intermission. Tennessee would tie the contest in the third quarter when Derrick Henry scored from a yard out. The Bills then used a 6-play, 77-yard drive that used 2:37 of clock to take the lead back and for keeps. Buffalo outrushed Tennessee 109-102 and Bills RB Frank Gore had 60 yards on the ground, while Henry led all rushers with 78 yards and the TD; Allen threw for 219 yards with the two TD tosses (Allen was sacked four times and picked off once), while Mariota threw for 183 yards with five sacks but no interceptions. Tennessee went 4 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 28:48, while the Bills ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:12, going 4 of 13 on third down tries, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Denver put an end to their four-game losing streak last Sunday, coming away from Dignity Health Sports Park with a 20-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos scpred 17 first half points unchallenged to lead at the half to take the win, as the Chargers would pull themselves to within seven with 10 seconds left when K Chris McLaughlin connected on a 32-yard field goal. The Chargers then went for the onside kick, which Denver recovered, allowing the Broncos to take the win on the West Coast. Denver’s Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, as the Broncos held the Chargers to 35 yards of rushing, while tallying 191 yards of their own. Flacco threw for 182 yards with a TD to Courtland Sutton (Flacco was sacked three times and picked off once), while Philip Rivers threw for 211 yards and two interceptions. Denver went 3 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 29:36, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:24, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Broncos played their home games at Mile High Stadium, Tennessee leads the series 22-15-1 and have outscored the Broncos 993-850. The two clubs last met in the Music City in 2016 and the Titans held off Denver 13-10, while Denver’s last win came in the Mile High City by a final of 51-28 in 2013. Denver’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 39. If you took a pass on this one, we wouldn’t blame you. Denver finally gets their first win at home and covers the 2.

Dallas (3-2) at New York Jets (0-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Dallas has lost two in a row. The Jets are looking for their first win. A pair of struggling teams meet in upstate New Jersey as the Cowboys and Jets meet at Met Life Stadium. Both teams took losses in last week’s action.

Dallas struggled against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last Sunday at AT&T Stadium, taking a 34-24 loss in the Lone Star State. Green Bay led 17-0 at the half, scoring all of those points in the first 30 minutes unchallenged, before Dallas would eventually outscore the Packers 24-17 in the final 30 minutes of play. Dallas barely outrushed Green Bay 122-120 and RB Ezekiel Elliott led his club with 62 yards on the ground and a TD, while Packers RB Aaron Jones led all rushers with 107 yards and four TDs. The other Aaron (Rodgers) threw for 238 yards with a pair of sacks, while Prescott threw for 463 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on both tosses (Prescott was sacked three times and picked off three times). Green Bay was 3 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43, while Dallas kept the ball for 23:17, going 2 of 8 on third down.

The Jets stayed winless last Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field as Carson Wentz and Philadelphia took them to task 31-6 in the City of Brotherly Love. GangGreen trailed 21-0 at the intermission and could never get themselves on track, as they were held to a 19-yard TD run by Vic Smith early in the fourth quarter. Neither club dented the 100-yard barrier but the Eagles won the ground game, outrushing the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 84-67 and Wentz threw for 189 yards and a TD to Zach Ertz, while Luke Falk (taking over for Darnold) threw for 120 yards (Falk was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Wentz was sacked once but did not throw a pick). The Eagles were 5 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:52, while the Jets held the ball for 29:08, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

While Dallas leads the series 7-4 and have outscored GangGreen 300-170. the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have won the last two meetings (which includes games that were played at Shea Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, Cowboys Stadium and Giants Stadium), including a 19-16 win in the Lone Star State in 2016, while Dallas’ last win came in front of the home crowd in 2007 by a final of 34-3. Dallas is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 43. A streak will come to an end and a streak will continue. Dallas’ two-game losing streak stops in upstate New Jersey. Cowboys may not cover the 7 but they win in the Meadowlands.

Pittsburgh (1-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They meet again and this time, it’s on the West Coast. Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Chargers meet again in a rematch of a classic from last season. Both clubs took losses at home in last week’s play.

Pittsburgh watched a 23-20 lead in regulation get away from them as Baltimore used a Jeff Tucker field to send the contest into overtime, then watched Tucker win the game in overtime as the Ravens left Heinz Field with a 26-23 win Sunday afternoon Baltimore 17-13 at the intermission before Pittsburgh stormed back in the second half to lead 23-20 with 2:37 left in regulation on a Chris Boswell field goal. Tucker then connected on a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation, then after a Pittsburgh turnover by WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in the overtime, Tucker would end the contest, as he connected on a 46-yarder with 5:26 left in the extra period to take the win.

Baltimore outrushed Pittsburgh 138-77 and Lamar Jackson threw for 161 yards with a TD and three interceptions, while Mason Rudolph threw for 131 yards and a TD to Smith-Schuster before being knocked out of the contest with a concussion (Rudolph was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Baltimore was 6 of 15 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 39 minutes (including the overtime), while the Steelers were 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:34.

The Chargers and Rivers watched Denver put an end to their four-game losing streak last Sunday, coming away from Dignity Health Sports Park with a 20-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers trailed 17-0 at the half before they would pull themselves to within seven with 10 seconds left when K Chris McLaughlin connected on a 32-yard field goal. The Chargers then went for the onside kick, which Denver recovered, allowing the Broncos to take the win on the West Coast. Denver’s Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD, as the Broncos held the Chargers to 35 yards of rushing, while tallying 191 yards of their own. Flacco threw for 182 yards with a TD to Courtland Sutton (Flacco was sacked three times and picked off once), while Philip Rivers threw for 211 yards and two interceptions. Denver went 3 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 29:36, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 30:24, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh leads the series 22-8 (including contests that took place at Three Rivers Stadium and in San Diego) and the Steelers have outscored the Bolts 773-558. The Chargers came away with the 33-30 last second win in the Steel City last year, while Pittsburgh’s last win came at Qualcomm Stadium in 2015 by a final of 24-20.

They met in week 13 at Heinz Field in the Sunday night contest that featured three lead changes in the AFC affair and it was Big Ben (Roethlisberger) vs. Philip Rivers squaring off. Pittsburgh led 23-7 at the half, thanks to a pair of James Conner rushing TDs, then watched as the Chargers chipped away at that lead, tying things up at 23-23 with 12:52 left in the contest when Desmond King returned a punt 73 yards for a TD. Rivers and Keenan Allen would tie things up when they connected on the 2-point conversion and the Chargers would take the lead for the first time in the contest when Justin Jackson scored on an 18-yard run. Pittsburgh re-tied the contest at 30-30 with 4:10 left in regulation when Jaylen Samuels and Roethlisberger connected on a 10-yard strike.

The Chargers were not done and would get the ball back with 4:10 left in regulation. Los Angeles orchestrated an 11-play, 64-yard drive that used all of the 4:10 that was left on the clock. After burning their first time out of the half with three seconds left, Michael Badgley tried a 39-yard field goal to win the contest in regulation. Badgley’s kick sailed wide to the right but Steelers LB James Harden was penalized for a netural zone infraction. Because a game cannot end on a defensive penalty, the Bolts got the ball moved up five yards and they would get an untimed down. Badgley then tried it from 34 yards and the try was blocked. Going to overtime, right? WRONG! The Steelers were penalized for a second neutral zone infraction, which meant moving the ball up five yards and giving Los Angeles another untimed down.

For the Chargers, the third time was the charm. With Badgley moved up another five yards, he would connect on a 29-yard try and as was the case on the first two tries, the Steelers were… you guessed it… offside. The Chargers declined the penalty and took the road win. Los Angeles outrushed Pittsburgh 85-65 at Heinz Field and both Roethlisberger (281 yards, sack, interception) and Rivers (299 yards, two sacks) threw a pair of TDs in the prime time contest. The Bolts were 6 of 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:12 (including the final 4:10 of the contest), while the Steelers kept the pigskin for 28:48, going 3 of 10 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs. Pittsburgh was favored by 3 1/2 in the Steel City and while the Chargers came away with the win, they only did it by 3. Both teams did manage to cover the 51 1/2 over/under by tallying 63 points. The Bolts are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 41. Both teams want to erase what happened last week and the Steelers would like to get some revenge from last year’s loss at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh takes this one on the West Coast but expect the Chargers to make things closer than 7.

Detroit (2-1-1) at Green Bay (4-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week six concludes in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as NFC North foes Detroit and Green Bay meet at Lambeau Field.

Kansas City broke a 13-13 tie in Detroit, then rallied to take a 34-30 win over the Lions at Ford Field two weeks ago. The Chiefs trailed Matthew Stafford and the Lions 30-27 with 20 seconds left in the contest when RB Darien Williams scored from a yard away to take the lead for the first time and for keeps. Kansas City would then go on to hold off a late Detroit rally that would have given them their first loss of the 2019 season. Detroit outrushed Kansas City 186-123 with Lions RB Kerryon Johnson leading the way with 125 yards. Stafford threw for 291 yards with three TDs (two of them to Kenny Golladay) and four sacks, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 315 yards with no TDs for the first time in his career and no sacks (neither Mahomes or Stafford threw an interception). Kansas City went 4 of 9 on third down (they were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 26:06, while the Lions actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 33:54, going 5 ofi 13 on third down.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers held serve against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday at AT&T Stadium, taking a 34-24 win in the Lone Star State. Green Bay led 17-0 at the half, scoring all of those points in the first 30 minutes unchallenged, before Dallas would eventually outscore the Packers 24-17 in the final 30 minutes of play. Dallas barely outrushed Green Bay 122-120 and RB Ezekiel Elliott led his club with 62 yards on the ground and a TD, while Packers RB Aaron Jones led all rushers with 107 yards and four TDs. The other Aaron (Rodgers) threw for 238 yards with a pair of sacks, while Prescott threw for 463 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on both tosses (Prescott was sacked three times and picked off three times). Green Bay was 3 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43, while Dallas kept the ball for 23:17, going 2 of 8 on third down.

Including contests played in Portsmouth (when the Lions were known as the Spartans) at Milwaukee County Stadium, Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Packers lead the series 98-72-7 and have outscored the Lions 3,737-3,292. However… the Lions have won the last four meetings, sweeping the last two series (Green Bay’s last win came in 2016 in the Motor City by a final of 31-24).

Meeting number one… week five in the Motor City. Detroit held off a late Green Bay rally to come away 31-23 winners at Ford Field. The Lions scored 24 first half points unchallenged to shut out the Packers in the first half. Green Bay would take the second half, outscoring the Lions 23-7 in the final 30 minutes of play and made it an 8-point contest with 2 seconds left when Crosby connected on a 41-yard field goal. Green Bay did outrush Detroit 98-94 in the first meeting and Rodgers threw for 442 yards and three TDs, while Stafford threw for 183 yards and a pair of TDs (Rodgers was sacked four times, Stafford was sacked twice and neither threw an interception). Green Bay went 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Packers were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, as kept the ball for 33:20 to Detroit’s 26:40 (the Lions were 5 for 13 on third down).

They met again, this time at Lambeau Field (temperature at game time? A balmy 26 degrees with a 14 degree wind chill) in the season finale for both clubs. Detroit scored all 31 of their points unchallenged as they shut out the Packers 31-0. Detroit led 21-0 at the break on the frozen tundra and never looked back, flooring the gas in the second half to seal the win. Stafford threw for 266 yards and a pair of TDs without an interception, while Rodgers threw for 26 yards (one sack) before being replaced by DeShone Kizer (132 yards, two sacks, interception). Detroit outrushed Green Bay in the second meeting 130-46 and went 7 of 14 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and the Lions kept the ball for 36:54, while Green Bay held the ball for 23:06, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Green Bay was favored by 1 1/2 in the week five contest at Ford Field and the Lions covered the spread, winning by 8 and both clubs covered the 51 over/under with 54 points in the Motor City. As for the contest in week 17? The Packers were favored by 7 1/2 and the Lions again covered, winning by 31 but Detroit’s 31 unanswered points in the contest did not cover the 45 over/under. Detroit on Monday night? 16-18-1. The Packers? 32-32-1.

Both teams played one Monday night contest last year and Detroit lost their only meeting, while the Packers took a win. We normally don’t make Monday night games “DRILL WORTHY” but in this case, we’re making an exception. With that… (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?”)

Green Bay’s favored by 4 1/2 at Lambeau and the over/under’s 47. Detroit’s looking to win five in a row over the Packers, something they haven’t done since the 1950s; the Packers are looking to put an end to that foolishness. The Packers are looking for revenge and they’re getting it. Green Bay closes out week six with the win at Lambeau and covers the 4 1/2.

New York Giants (2-3) at New England (5-0), 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. The defending Super Bowl champions open week six as they welcome Daniel Jones and the New York Giants to Foxboro. New England looks for their sixth win in as many tries, while the Giants look to even their record in the 2019 campaign.

New York could never get on track against Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday at Met Life Stadium, taking a 28-10 loss in upstate New Jersey. Minnesota led 18-7 at the intermission and the Giants never threatened, as Minnesota held them to a Aldrick Rosas field in the third quarter. Delvin Cook ran for 132 yards as the Vikings outrushed the Giants 211-64 and Cousins threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Adam Thielen, while Jones threw for 182 yards with a TD (Jones was sacked four times and picked off once, Cousins was sacked three times). The Giants were 8 of 16 on third down, 0 for 3 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 27:20, while the Vikings ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 32:40, going 5 of 11 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down.

New England and Tom Brady manhandled Washington 33-7 last Sunday in Landover in what would be the last game that Jay Gruden would coach for Washington at Fed Ex Field. Steven Sims opened the scoring for Washington, scoring on a 65-yard TD run in the first quarter. After that. New England led 12-6 at the half and scored their remaining 21 points of the contest unchallenged. Washington did manage to outrush New England 145-130 but Brady burned Washington for 348 yards and three TDs, despite being sacked four times and picked off once, while Colt McCoy threw for 119 yards with six sacks and an interception. The Patriots were 5 of 15 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:52, while the Redskins kept the ball for 28:08, going 1 for 11 on third down tries at Fed Ex Field.

While New England leads the series 6-4, the Giants have outscored the Patriots 193-189. New England survived a scare in the Meadowlands in their last meeting, taking a 27-26 win at Met Life Stadium in 2015, while the Giants’ last win in the series came in Foxboro in 2011 by a final of 24-20. New England’s favored by 17 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 41. The 41? Makes a lot of sense. The 17? What? That’s a little steep. Granted, the Giants aren’t that good and they’ll make things interesting for Brady and the Pats but New England prevails in Foxboro.

Broadcast information – 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Kristina Pink (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (New York Giants), 83 (New England); XM: 225 (New York Giants), 226 (New England)

Referee: Brad Allen

Injury Report

New York Giants
OUT: RB Wayne Gallman (Concussion), WR Sterling Shepard (Concussion), RB Saquon Barkley (Ankle), TE Evan Engram (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Lorenzo Carter (Neck)

New England
OUT: WR Phillip Dorsett (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Michael Burkhead (Foot), LB Shilique Calhoun (Ankle), S Patrick Chung (Heel), S Nate Ebner (Groin), WR Julian Edleman (Chest), WR Josh Gordon (Knee)

Weather: Overcast with a 70 percent chance of rain and 52 degrees.

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

Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Seattle (3-1), 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. Week five gets underway in the Pacific Northwest as Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams travel to the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks for a Thursday night meeting with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field.

The Rams could never get themselves on track against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday in Los Angeles as the visiting Buccaneers took care of the defending NFC champions 55-40. Tampa Bay led 28-17 at the half on the West Coast, then held serve in the second half, outscoring the Rams 27-23 in the final 30 minutes of play. Tampa Bay held Los Angeles to 28 yards on the ground, while Tampa Bay ran for 88 yards of their own. Winston threw for 385 yards and four TDs, while Goff threw for 517 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions (both Winston and Goff were sacked twice). Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 32:36, while the Rams (who kept the ball for 27:24) went 4 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Seattle kept Arizona in check last Sunday afternoon in Glendale and the Seahawks prevailed at State Farm Stadium by a final of 27-10. Seattle led 20-3 at the break and the Seahawks were never really challenged by the Desert Angry Birds in the contest. Both teams rushed for 115 yards in the late afternoon contest with Seattle’s Chris Carson leading everyone with 104 yards of rushing. Wilson threw for 240 yards and a TD to TE Will Disly, while Arizona QB Kyler Murray threw for 241 yards and an interception (both Wilson and Murray were sacked four times). Seattle went 4 of 10 on third down tries in the desert and ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 33:24, while the Desert Angry Birds went 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:36.

Seattle leads the series 23-18 (including contests that took place in St. Louis) and have outscored the Rams 896-835. However… the Rams have won the last three meetings and swept the series last year in their two NFC West meetings (Seattle’s last win came in 2017 in Los Angeles by a final of 16-10).

Breaking a 17-17 tie at the intermission at Century Link Field in the week five contest, the defending NFC champs rallied to come away 33-31 win in the Pacific Northwest. Rams K Chris Santos would give the Rams the lead back for good with 6:05 left with a 3-yard field goal after Gurley pulled the Rams to within a point with a TD to open the scoring in the final period. Seattle out-rushed the Rams 190-155 with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading the way with 116 yards, while Gurley ran for 77 yards and three TDs (the third coming in the fourth quarter). Wilson threw for 198 yards and three TDs with a pair of sacks and no interceptions, while Goff threw for 321 yards, a TD with a sack and two interceptions. Seattle was 7 of 12 on third down conversions and the Seahawks actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:30, while the Rams held on to the pigskin for 29:30, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Rams made the sweep of the series complete in Los Angeles in week 10, holding off their guests from the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks to take a 36-31 win at the Coliseum. The Rams led 17-14 at the half after trailing 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, then held off a late Seahawks rally when Wilson and WR Matt Davis connected on a 3-yard TD pass with 1:56 left in the contest. Seattle’s Rashaad Penny led all rushers with 108 yards, while Gurley led Los Angeles with 120 yards (both men had a rushing TD), as Seattle again out-rushed Los Angeles, this time by a 273-149 margin. Wilson threw for 176 yards with three TDs, while Goff threw for 318 yards and a pair of TDs (Goff was sacked twice, Wilson was sacked twice, neither threw an interception). Seattle was 2 of 9 on third down conversions in southern California (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:37. As for the Rams? They kept the pigskin for 29:23 and 5 for 10 on third down tries.

The Rams were favored by 7 but won by only 2. The good news? Both teams covered the 51 over/under with 64 points. In the week 10 meeting in Los Angeles, the Rams were favored by 10 but won by 5. As in the first meeting, both teams covered the over/under of 51 1/2, scoring 67 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like Seattle as a 1-point favorite in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and the over/under’s 49. Both numbers make sense. Both teams are pretty good and this one may be a pretty good one to watch, so you may want to tape “Grey’s Anatomy” this week. Seattle covers the 1 in the Pacific Northwest and wins at home.

Broadcast Information – 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Kristina Pink (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Mike Tirico, Terrell Davis; SIRIUS: 81 (Los Angeles Rams), 83 (Seattle); XM: 225 (Los Angeles Rams), 226 (Seattle)

Referee: Scott Novak

Injury Report

Los Angeles Rams
DOUBTFUL: S Taylor Rapp (Ankle)
OUT: LB Bryce Hager (Shoulder)

Seattle
QUESTIONABLE: T Duane Brown (Biceps), C Ethan Pocic (Back)

Weather: Overcast with a 60 percent chance of rain and 58 degrees

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

Tampa Bay (0-1) at Carolina (0-1), 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network. A pair of former Heisman winners meet in the Tar Heel State as Tampa Bay and Carolina, both coming off home losses in week one, open play in week two in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. Thursday’s contest marks the first of seven games exclusively televised on NFL Network this season and will be produced by FOX. The game will feature Joe Buck, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink on the call.

Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay led San Francisco 7-6 at the intermission at Raymond James Stadium, only to see the 49ers outscore them 25-10 in the final 30 minutes of play to fall 31-17 in their home opener. Tampa Bay did out-rush San Francisco 121-98 but turned the ball over four times in the loss. Winston threw for 121 yards and a TD but was picked off three times and sacked once, while San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 166 yards with a TD and an interception. Tampa Bay was 5 of 11 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:56, while the 49ers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:04, while going 5 for 13 on third down conversions.

In dropping a 30-27 decision to the Los Angeles Rams, Cam Newton and the Panthers trailed 13-3 at the intermission after a scoreless first quarter, then pulled themselves to within a field goal with 1:58 left in the contest when Alex Armah scored on a one-yard run. The defending NFC champions out-rushed Carolina 166-127, with Christian McCafferey leading the way with 128 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Rams were led by Todd Gurley with 97 yards. Newton threw for 239 yards with three sacks and an interception, while Jarred Goff threw for 186 yards with a TD, sack and interception. Carolina was 5 for 11 on third down tries at Bank of America Stadium and kept the ball for 26:44, while the Rams went 9 of 17 on third down (neither club had a fourth down attempt) and kept the ball for 33:16.

Carolina leads the Panthers series 23-14 and have outscored Tampa Bay 823-646. The two clubs split last season’s meetings, each taking wins at home. Their first meeting took place in Charlotte in week nine and the Panthers took a 35-14 lead with them to the break, then came away 42-28 winners in the Tar Heel State. Newton threw for 247 yards and a pair of TDs, while the home team out-rushed Tampa Bay 179-82 (Ryan Fitzpatrick, who took over for Winston, threw for 243 yards and four TDs but was sacked three times and picked off twice). Carolina went 4 of 10 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31 minutes, while Tampa Bay held the ball for 29 minutes, going 5 of 12, 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Winston would be under center in the rematch in the Sunshine State in week 13 and Tampa Bay would get revenge on their NFC South rivals, taking a 24-17 win at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay led 17-7 at the intermission, then held off the Panthers to take the win. Carolina again out-rushed Tampa Bay, this time tallying 168 yards to Tampa Bay’s 95 and McCafferey led all rushers with 106 yards, while Winston threw for 249 yards in the win and Newton threw for 300 yards with four interceptions (each man threw a pair of TDs and each was sacked twice). Carolina was 3 for 8 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:06, while the Buccaneers needed only 29:54 to take the win, going 6 of 13 on third down.

In the week nine contest, Carolina covered the 6 1/2-point spread, winning by 14 and both teams covered the 54 over/under with 70 points. Carolina was again favored in the week 13 rematch by 3 1/2 and Tampa Bay’s 7-point win in the Sunshine State allowed them to cover the spread but the 41 combined points fell short of the 55 1/2 over/under. Vegas likes Carolina in this and the boys and girls in the desert designated them as 6 1/2-point favorites at home and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both numbers are reasonable and make sense.

Both clubs are looking to pull themselves even in this contest but in the end, there will be only one winner. Tampa Bay will give Carolina a battle but Newton and the Panthers prevail at home in the Tar Heel State, taking the win and covering the 6 1/2.

Broadcast Information: 8:15 p.m. on NFL Network: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Kristina Pink (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (Tampa Bay), 83 (Carolina); XM: 225 (Tampa Bay), 226 (Carolina)

Referee: Jerome Boger

Injury Report

Tampa Bay
OUT: QB Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder)

Carolina
OUT: DE Bruce Irvin (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: S Rashaan Gaulden (Groin), TE Greg Olsen (Back)

Weather: Partly Cloudy and 87 degrees

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

It’s finally here.

No more two-a-days.

No more fighting sweat, bugs, the heat and your teammates.

No more having to sleep in college dorms.

The preseason is over. Done. Kaput.

Sunday and Monday NFL football gets to see the light of day.

Thursday night started the 2019 NFL regular season as Green Bay beat Chicago in the Windy City in the season opener Thursday night, the first of 256 games that will be played between now and the Sunday after Christmas. It’s a 16-game season that lasts 17 weeks. There will be games that will be played in London, starting in week five as well as a game that will take place South of the border in week 11.

16 games. 16 chances for a player to get a weekly paycheck.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is also the 100th anniversary of what we now call the National Football League. There will be celebrations throughout the season and most teams will be wearing their throwback uniforms. All 32 teams will be wearing a special 100th Anniversary patch on the yoke of their jerseys (both home and away).

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL100 Game of the Week. Each game will be 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 designated the Packers-Bears contest as the NFL100 GAME OF THE WEEK for Week 1. In arguably the league’s richest all-time rivalry, the Packers and Bears met for the 199th time, including the postseason, in a series that spans all 10 NFL decades. The franchises first met November 27, 1921, when the eventual NFL champion Chicago Staleys shut out the Packers, 20-0. Combined, the two organizations have accounted for 22 world championships,13 for Green Bay, nine for Chicago (numbers one and two respectively, all-time). The two teams have also combined to put 53 individuals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 28 from the Bears (No. 1 all-time) and 25 from the Packers (Number 2 all-time), with respect to those who spent the majority of their careers with a club.

Welcome to 2019. Expect new teams to earn playoff berths, a few consistent players and clubs to excel again, records to fall and young players to forge ahead as they introduce themselves to our collective excitement. It’s a familiar script, a story that has fueled the league’s popularity for 99 years. The blanks will be filled in come February. What is known this week is that every team holds fast to a dream: Super Bowl LIV in Miami and with history as an indication, every team has a legitimate shot. 31 teams want the Lombardi Trophy and New England has it. They are Golum and the Super Ring is their precious.

THE FIELD IS OPEN: In 2018, two teams – Houston (AFC South) and Chicago (NFC North) – won their divisions after finishing in last place the year before. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, two clubs have gone “worst to first” en route to a Super Bowl victory – the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Seven teams that missed the postseason in 2017 – Baltimore (10-6), Chicago (12-4), Dallas (10-6), Houston (11-5), Indianapolis (10-6), the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) and Seattle (10-6) – earned a playoff berth in 2018.

MOST-EVER SUPER BOWL WINS: The New England Patriots won their sixth Lombardi Trophy last year and begin their quest to break a tie with their Kickoff Weekend opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, for the most-ever Super Bowl victories. The AFC stalwarts clash to open Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. By winning another title this season, New England would also join Pittsburgh as the only teams to win consecutive Super Bowls on two occasions.

RECORDS WITHIN REACH: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (520) needs 20 touchdown passes and New England quarterback Tom Brady (517) needs 23 to surpass Peyton Manning (539) for the most all-time. Brees (34) also needs two games of four-or-more touchdown passes to eclipse Manning (35) for the most four-touchdown games in NFL annals. Brees (9,783) needs 387 pass attempts to leap Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (10,169) for most on the all-time list. Brady will play his 20th season with the Patriots, tying two Pro Football Hall of Famers, Washington’s Darrell Green and the Rams’ Jackie Slater, for the second-most seasons with one franchise in NFL history. Detroit’s Jason Hanson (21) owns the league record. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald can become the first player in league history to earn three consecutive AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. With a third overall, Donald would tie J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most all-time. Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore (14,748) needs 522 rushing yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15,269) for third on the all-time list. Gore (18,544) also needs 611 yards from scrimmage to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (19,154) for fourth on the all-time list. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (1,303) needs 23 receptions to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second on the NFL’s all-time list. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,549) holds the career record. Fitzgerald (9) also needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (10) for second on the NFL’s all-time list of most 1,000-yard seasons. Rice (14) holds the career record.

SUCCESS WITH FIRST-YEAR LEADERS: Seven teams enter this season with a new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, Zac Taylor in Cincinnati, Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, Vic Fangio in Denver, Matt LaFleur in Green Bay, Brian Flores in Miami, Adam GASE with the New York Jets and Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay. Four rookie head coaches have led their teams to the playoffs over the last two seasons: Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) in 2018 and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) and Sean McDermott (Buffalo) in 2017. Kingsbury, Kitchens, Fangio, LaFleur and Flores are all first-time head coaches in 2019.

FAMILIAR FACES IN NEW PLACES: Several notable players were on the move during the off-season and preseason, including quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Denver) and Nick Foles (Jacksonville); running backs Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets), Mark Ingram (Baltimore), Frank Gore (Buffalo) and LeSean McCoy (Kansas City); wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland), Antonio Brown (Oakland) and DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia) and Kenny Stills (Houston); tight end Jared Cook (New Orleans); tackles Trent Brown (Oakland) and Laremy Tunsil (Houston); guard Rodger Saffold (Tennessee); center Mitch Morse (Buffalo); defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah (Seattle), Frank Clark (Kansas City), Jadaveon Clowney (Seattle), Trey Flowers (Detroit) and Cameron Wake (Tennessee); defensive tackles Malik Jackson (Philadelphia) and Gerald McCoy (Carolina); linebackers Kiko Alonso (New Orleans), Dee Ford (San Francisco), Clay Matthews (Los Angeles Rams), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) and Terrell Suggs (Arizona); cornerbacks Robert Alford (Arizona), Bradley Roby (Houston) and Steven Nelson (Pittsburgh) and safeties Landon Collins (Washington); Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City), Earl Thomas (Baltimore) and Eric Weddle (Los Angeles Rams).

YOUNG STARS TAKE THE STAGE: Youth is being served. Last season, seven rookies – New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Seattle punter Michael Dickson, Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, Denver running back Phillip Lindsay, Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson, Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward – earned Pro Bowl honors.

Last year, 39 players age 25 or younger as of December 31, 2018, were selected to the Pro Bowl. And 16 of those 39 were voted AP All-Pro, including New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, Chicago kick-returner Tarik Cohen, Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett, Minnesota defensive end Danielle Hunter, New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas and the reigning MVP, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Three quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (Number 1 overall, Arizona), Duke’s Daniel Jones (Number 6, New York Giants) and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (Number 15, Washington) – were selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. At least one rookie quarterback has started a Kickoff Weekend contest in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 1

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

The 53 Super Bowl winners have a 43-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LIII champion New England Patriots, who host Pittsburgh in their season-opener on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, have won nine of their past 10 home openers played on Kickoff Weekend, the most in the NFL over that span.

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

Of the 602 teams that won openers…311 went to the playoffs (189 won division titles) and of the 601 teams that lost openers…147 went to the playoffs (85 won division titles).

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

In 2018, three of the four participants in the conference championships – Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams and New England – were victorious on Kickoff Weekend, including both Super Bowl teams.

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

Chicago hosted Green Bay Thursday Night Football to kick off the NFL’s 100th season. Green Bay’s 56 Kickoff Weekend wins are the most all-time and Chicago’s 54 wins rank second. The Packers have won their past four Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFC.

Denver, who will begin the season by visiting AFC West rival Oakland on Monday Night Football at 10:20 p.m. on ESPN, have posted a .672 winning percentage (39-19-1) on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the league. Denver has won its past seven Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs visit Jacksonville in Week 1 at 1 p.m. on CBS. The Chiefs have won their last four Kickoff Weekend games, tied for the league’s second-longest active streak.

The defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys host Eli Manning and the New York Giants in an NFC East showdown at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. Dallas and New York face each other on Kickoff Weekend for the fourth time in the last five years. With a winning percentage of .655 (38-20-1), the Cowboys own the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFC.

The Seattle Seahawks, who returned to the playoffs in 2018, host the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. Seattle has won 10 consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league.

The Washington Redskins make their way up I-95 to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love to start the season at 1 p.m. on FOX. Washington has won its past three road openers, the longest active streak in the league.

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

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

New England quarterback Tom Brady has 34 touchdown passes in 16 career Week 1 games and needs one touchdown pass against Pittsburgh Sunday night to surpass Peyton Manning (34) for the second-most touchdown passes in season-opening games in NFL history. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees leads all players with 37 touchdown passes in 17 career Kickoff Weekend games, as New Orleans hosts Houston on Monday Night Football at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN.

Brees, who led all players with 439 passing yards on Kickoff Weekend in 2018, has three career 400-yard passing games in season-opening games, the most by any player in NFL history. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS, who passed for 424 yards in Week 1 last season, and Manning are the only other players with multiple 400-yard passing games on Kickoff Weekend.

Washington running back Adrian Peterson has 999 rushing yards in 12 career season-opening games and needs 1 rushing yard on Sunday against Philadelphia to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 rushing yards in season-opening games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (1,247), Walter Payton (1,067) and Jim Brown (1,043), as well as Edgerrin James (1,062).

Peterson also enters the season with nine career rushing touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend and needs one more to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (12), Chuck Muncie (11) and Priest Holmes (10) as the only players in NFL history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in season-opening games.

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had 147 receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend in 2018 with Tampa Bay, has five career games with at least 100 yards receiving in Week 1, tied for the second-most all-time. With at least 100 receiving yards against Washington on Sunday, Jackson would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (six) for the most 100-yard receiving games on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

START ’EM EARLY: Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, is expected to make his first career start against Detroit on Sunday in the desert at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. With a start by Murray, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 12 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:

QUARTERBACK, TEAM (STARTING RECORD AS ROOKIE, SEASON)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (11-5, 2008)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (11-5, 2009)
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (8-7, 2009)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2-8, 2010)*
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (7-9, 2011)*
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (9-7, 2011)
Cam Newton, Carolina (6-10, 2012)*
Robert Griffin III, Washington (9-6, 2012)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (11-5, 2012)*
Ryan Tannehill, Miami (7-9, 2012)
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (5-10, 2012)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (11-5, 2013)
E.J. Manuel, Buffalo (4-6, 2013)
Geno Smith, New York Jets (8-8, 2014)
Derek Carr, Oakland (3-13, 2015)
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee (3-13, 2015)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (6-10, 2016)*
Dak Prescott, Dallas (13-3, 2016)
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (7-9, 2017)
DeShone Kizer, Cleveland (0-15, 2018)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets (4-9, 2019)
Kyler Murray, Arizona (– 2019)*^

*No. 1 overall pick
^Expected to start Week 1

WONDERFUL WILSON: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has 196 career passing touchdowns and 25,624 career passing yards in 112 career games during his eight-year NFL career.

With four passing touchdowns on Sunday at home in the Pacific Northwest against Cincinnati, Wilson can surpass Tom Brady (116 games) to become the fifth-fastest player in league history to reach 200 career passing touchdowns.

The players to reach 200 career passing touchdowns in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 200 PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Dan Marino – Miami (89)(HOF)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (99)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (106)
Brett Favre – Atlanta and Green Bay (107)(HOF)
Tom Brady – New England (116)
Russell Wilson – Seattle (112)*
*Has 196 career touchdown passes

With four touchdown passes, Wilson would also become the first player in league history with at least 200 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns (16) in his first eight seasons.

MOVING ON UP: Washington running back Adrian Peterson enters 2019 with 106 career rushing touchdowns during his 12-year NFL career.

With a rushing touchdown on Sunday at Philadelphia, Peterson can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN (106 rushing touchdowns) for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in league annals.

The players with the most rushing touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S)(RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (164)(HOF)
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (145)(HOF)
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City (123)(HOF)
Walter Payton – Chicago (110) (HOF)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (106)(HOF)
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota, Arizona and Washington (106)*
*Active

RINGING THE BELL: Running back Le’Veon Bell makes his New York Jets debut on Sunday against Buffalo.

Bell, who has 7,996 career scrimmage yards in 62 games, need four scrimmage yards to become the fastest player to reach 8,000 career scrimmage yards in league history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 8,000 SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams (64)(HOF)
Edgerrin James – Indianapolis (65)
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego (65)(HOF)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (67)(HOF)
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders (68)(HOF)
Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh and New York Jets (62)*
*Has 7,996 scrimmage yards

DUAL THREAT: New England running back James White enters his sixth NFL season with 19 career receiving touchdowns.

With a receiving touchdown against Pittsburgh Sunday night, White can join Chuck Foreman (23 receiving touchdowns) and Brian Westbrook (23) as the only running backs in league history with at least 20 touchdown receptions in their first six seasons.

The running backs with at least 20 receiving touchdowns in their first six seasons:

PLAYER – TEAM (RECEIVING TDs)
Chuck Foreman – Minnesota (23)
Brian Westbrook – Philadelphia (23)
James White – New England (19)*
*Entering sixth season

700 CLUB: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones has 698 receptions for 10,731 yards and 51 touchdowns in 111 career games.

Jones needs two receptions on Sunday at Minnesota to become the second-fastest player to reach 700 receptions in NFL history.

The players to reach 700 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 700 RECEPTIONS)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (111)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (114)(HOF)
Andre Johnson – Houston (120)
Brandon Marshall – Denver, Miami and Chicago (121)
Anquan Boldin – Arizona and Baltimore (123)
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (111)*
*Has 698 receptions

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2019: The Carolina Panthers (199-201-1) need one win for 200 as a franchise, including postseason.

The Denver Broncos (499-433-10, .535) need one win for 500 in franchise history, including postseason. Among the original eight AFL franchises that launched in 1960, only the Boston/New England Patriots have reached that milestone.

The Indianapolis Colts need six regular-season wins to reach 300 since moving to Indianapolis in 1984. Since changing their home address from Baltimore to the Hooiser State, the Colts are 294-265-0 (.526) in regular season contests. Since selecting Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL Draft, they’re 206-130-0 (.613), with 15 playoff berths in 21 seasons.

The Minnesota Vikings need two wins to reach 500, including postseason. The Vikings enter 2019 with a 498-426-11 (.539) all-time record.

The New England Patriots need one Super Bowl victory to break a tie with Pittsburgh (six) for most ever.

The Patriots also need:

One Super Bowl victory to join Pittsburgh as the only NFL teams to win consecutive Super Bowls on two occasions. Pittsburgh did it following the 1974-75 and 1978-79 seasons and New England did it after the 2003-04 seasons.

One Super Bowl appearance to join Buffalo as one of only two clubs to ever play in four straight. The Bills reached the Super Bowl to punctuate each of the 1990-93 seasons.

One berth in a conference championship game to tie Pittsburgh’s NFL record, 16. New England enters 2019 tied with San Francisco for second all-time, with 15.

One postseason victory to extend their NFL record, 37. Pittsburgh enters 2019 with 36, second all-time.

One number one seed to match San Francisco and Denver (eight each) for most since playoff seeding began in 1975. New England enters 2019 third with seven such seasons.

Two home playoff wins to match their own 11-game streak from 1996-2008, the second longest in league annals. The Patriots enter 2019 having won nine consecutive postseason tilts in Foxboro. Green Bay (1939-2001) owns the league record, 13.

Three postseason games to become just the third team to reach 60. Entering 2019, only Dallas (63) and Pittsburgh (61) have reached the milestone. The Patriots have 57.

Ten wins to reach 17 consecutive seasons with 10 victories and break a tie with San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the longest streak in league history. The Patriots have won at least 10 games every year since going 9-7 in 2002.

Twelve wins to reach 13 overall seasons with 12 victories and match the number achieved by San Francisco, most in the NFL since the 1970 merger. The Patriots enter 2019 tied with Dallas (12) for second over that span.

Three wins to reach 116 since the start of 2010 and break the Indianapolis Colts’ NFL record for victories in a decade (115, 2000-09) and nine victories to reach 34 winning seasons. Since 1970, only Pittsburgh (36) and Dallas (33) have achieved as many winning seasons.

The Oakland Raiders (491-442-11, .526) need nine wins for 500 in franchise history, including postseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers need two wins to give Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger the third most by a head
coach/quarterback combination in history. The duo enters 2019 with 115 regular-season victories, one behind number 3 Don
Shula/Dan Marino (116), number 1 Bill Belichick/Tom Brady (207) and number 2 Sean Payton/Drew Brees (118) also enter 2019 looking to add to their totals.

Michael Badgley (Los Angeles Chargers) could establish the best field-goal percentage by a player over his first two NFL seasons, with a minimum 25 attempts. Badgley (.938) made 15 of 16 field-goal attempts as a 2018 rookie. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker (.919, 68-for-74 from 2012-13) holds the record.

Saquon Barkley (New York Giants) needs 1,972 scrimmage yards to become the third ever to record 4,000 in his first two seasons, joining Eric Dickerson (4,456, 1983-84) and Edgerrin James (4,442, 1999-2000). Barkley enters 2019 with 2,028.

Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland) needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie for the second-most 1,000-yard seasons (five) over his first six years. Lance Alworth (1963-67), Marques Colston (2006-11), Mike Evans (2014-18), A.J. Green (2011-15), Torry Holt (2000-04), Chad Johnson (2002-06), Brandon Marshall (2007-11) and Jerry Rice (1986-90) also did it. Randy Moss (1998-2003) is the only player ever to record 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. Beckham had four-figure seasons in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Beckham also needs 100 receiving yards in his Browns debut to surpass Julio Jones for second-most receiving yards over his first 60 games. Jones compiled 5,575 from 2011-15. Beckham enters 2019 with 5,476 over his first 59 contests. Lance Alworth (5,907) holds the 60-game record.

Beckham needs three receptions in each of his first two games to surpass Cris Carter’s streak of games with three-plus catches. Carter, who owns the third-longest streak in NFL history, had three catches in 58 straight from December 12, 1993, to October 5, 1997 – all with Minnesota. Reggie Wayne (82, 2009-14) and Antonio Brown (76, 2013-17) are first and second, respectively, on the all-time list. Beckham enters 2019 with a 57-game streak, from October 19, 2014, to December 2, 2018.

Bill Belichick (New England) needs a Super Bowl win to join George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only NFL coaches with six league championships. Belichick also needs One Super Bowl win to capture consecutive league titles for the second time (2003-04) and become just the third coach in history to accomplish that, joining Chuck Noll (1974-75, 1978-79) and Vince Lombardi (1961-62, 1965-67) and eight wins to reach 300 career (regular and postseason) and become just the third coach to achieve that mark, joining Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324). Belichick enters 2019 number 3 on the all-time list with 292.

Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets) needs 2,004 scrimmage yards to reach 10,000 career. He enters 2019 with 7,996 in 62 career games. Bell also needs 340 yards receiving to reach 3,000. He enters 2019 with 2,660 in 62 career games and eight touchdowns to reach 50. He enters 2019 with 42 in 62 career games.

Tom Brady (New England) will play his 20th season with the Patriots, tying Washington’s Darrell Green and the Rams’ Jackie Slater for the second-most seasons with one franchise in NFL history. Detroit’s Jason Hanson (21) owns the league record. Brady also needs: 23 touchdown passes to eclipse No. 1 Peyton Manning (539). Number 2 Drew Brees enters 2019 with 520. Brady enters 2019 number 3 on the all-time list with 517, 35 touchdown passes to reach five such seasons and surpass Peyton Manning (four) for most in NFL history. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers also enter 2019 with four 35-TD seasons and to lead the NFL in touchdown passes to establish an NFL record. Brady enters 2019 having led the league in the category on four occasions, tied with Drew Brees, Len Dawson, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Steve Young for most in history, one Pro Bowl invitation to become a 15-time Pro Bowler and surpass four players – all Hall of Famers – for most in history: Tony Gonzalez (14), Peyton Manning (14), Bruce Matthews (14) and Merlin Olsen (14), 1,325 passing yards to surpass number 3 Brett Favre (71,838) and 1,427 to surpass number 2 Peyton Manning (71,940). Drew Brees (74,437) enters 2019 at number 1. Brady (70,514) enters 2019 at number 4.

Drew Brees (New Orleans) needs 20 touchdown passes to surpass number 1 Peyton Manning (539) on the all-time list. Brees enters 2019 with 520, second in NFL history. Brees also needs to throw four touchdowns in two games to eclipse Manning (35) for most four-TD games in NFL annals. Brees (34) enters 2019 number 2 all-time, needing 387 pass attempts to eclipse number 1 Brett Favre (10,169) on the all-time list. Brees enters 2019 number 2 all-time with 9,783, 414 completions to become the first in NFL history to reach 7,000. Brees enters 2019 number 1 with 6,586 and needs 563 passing yards to become the first in NFL history to reach 75,000. Brees enters 2019 number 1 with 74,437.

Antonio Brown (Oakland) needs 1,000 yards receiving to reach that figure in eight career seasons. Over their first 10 years in the league, only Jerry Rice (nine from 1985-94), Randy Moss (eight from 1998-2007), Torry Holt (eight from 2000-07) and Brandon Marshall (eight from 2007-15) have compiled eight 1,000-yard seasons. Brown enters 2019 with seven 1,000-yard campaigns over his first nine years. Brown also needs 104 receptions to surpass number 20 Art Monk (940) on the NFL’s all-time list. Brown enters 2019 with 837 career catches, 28th in league history.

Brown needs 100 receptions to capture sole possession of the NFL record with a seventh 100-catch season. Brown enters 2019 with six such seasons, tied with Brandon Marshall (2007-09, 2012-13 and 2015), 91 receptions to break Marvin Harrison’s NFL record (927, 1996-2005) for most receptions over a player’s first 10 seasons. Brown enters 2019 with 837.

Brown needs 1,200 yards receiving to reach that mark in a seventh consecutive season. Only Jerry Rice (nine from 1988-96), Randy Moss (six from 1998-2003), Torry Holt (six from 2000-05) and Brown (six from 2013-18) have authored streaks of at least six 1,200-yard seasons.

Brown needs 1,500 yards receiving to match Jerry Rice’s NFL record for 1,500-yard seasons, four. Brown enters 2019 with three 1,500-yard seasons and 793 receiving yards for 12,000. Brown would become just the fifth player in NFL history to break that barrier in his first 10 seasons.

Derek Carr (Oakland) needs 370 completions to surpass Peyton Manning (2,128) for most in his first six seasons. Carr enters 2019 with the most completions (1,759) ever over a player’s first five campaigns. Carr also needs 300 completions to join Peyton Manning as the only passers to reach that mark in each of their first six NFL seasons and 3,000 passing yards to join Andy Dalton, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson as the only players to reach that mark in their first six seasons. Carr also needs 20 touchdown passes to join Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks ever to reach that mark in five of their first six seasons.

Pete Carroll (Seattle) needs two wins to reach 100 and become just the fifth active head coach to achieve that mark with his current club. He would join Bill Belichick (255), Mike Tomlin (133), Sean Payton (126) and John Harbaugh (114). Carroll enters 2019 98-60-1 as Seattle’s head coach, including postseason. Overall as an NFL head coach, he’s 132-93-1.

John Denny (Miami) enters 2019 with a franchise-record 224 consecutive games played, the league’s longest active streak.

Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams) could become the first player in history to earn three consecutive AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. Donald enters 2019 having captured the last two awards (2017-18) and with a third overall would tie J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15) and Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most alltime.

Julian Edelman (New England) needs one 100-yard receiving game in the postseason to break a tie with number 2 Michael Irvin (six). Jerry Rice (eight) owns the NFL record. Edelman enters 2019 with six.

Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) needs 1,000 receiving yards to join Randy Moss (1998-2003) as one of two players ever to reach 1,000 in each of their first six NFL seasons. Evans also needs 965 receiving yards to surpass No. 10 Larry Fitzgerald (7,067 from 2004-09) on the NFL’s list of most receiving yards over a player’s first six seasons since 1970. Evans enters 2019 with 6,103 yards in five seasons.

Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) needs 23 receptions to surpass Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second on the NFL’s all-time list. Jerry Rice (1,549) holds the career record. Fitzgerald enters 2019 number 3 with 1,303. Fitzgerald also needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie number 2 Randy Moss (10) on the NFL’s all-time list of most 1,000-yard seasons. Jerry Rice holds the career record with 14. Fitzgerald (nine) enters 2019 tied for number 3 with Tim Brown and Terrell Owens.

Melvin Gordon (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 1,300 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns to extend his streak of seasons with those numbers to four. That would tie Marshawn Lynch (2011-14) and Thurman Thomas (1989-92) for the third-longest streak in NFL history. Gordon also needs 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns to extend his league-leading streak of seasons with those numbers to four.

Frank Gore (Buffalo) needs 522 rushing yards to surpass number 3 Barry Sanders (15,269) on the all-time list. Gore enters 2019 at number 4 with 14,748.

Stephen Gostkowski (New England) New England, needs to lead the league in scoring to break a tie with Don Hutson (five) and Gino Cappelletti (five, AFL) for most seasons with that distinction. Gostkowski has paced the NFL five times: 2008, 2012-15.

DeAndre Hopkins (Houston) needs 100 catches, 1,500 receiving yards and 11 TD receptions to join Marvin Harrison (1999, 2001-02) as the only players ever to reach those benchmarks in three NFL seasons. Hopkins eclipsed those three standards in 2015 and 2018.

Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers) needs to return one interception for a touchdown to become the ninth player in NFL history with a pick-six in each of his first three seasons and the first since Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did so from 2008-10.

Jarvis Landry (Cleveland) needs 48 receptions to establish the NFL record for catches over a player’s first six seasons, breaking the mark held by DeAndre Hopkins (528, 2013-18). Landry enters 2019 with 481 receptions over his first five years,
2014-18.

Zack Martin (Dallas) needs a Pro Bowl selection to become one of five offensive linemen ever to secure a Pro Bowl invitation in his first six seasons, joining Lou Creekmur (eight from 1950-57 with Detroit), Jon Morris (seven from 1964-70 with Boston Patriots), Joe Thomas (10 from 2007-16 with Cleveland) and Richmond Webb (seven from 1990-96 with Miami). Martin enters 2019 on a five-year streak (2014-18).

Baker Mayfield (Cleveland) needs a touchdown pass in each of his first 11 starts to break Kurt Warner’s NFL-record string of career-opening starts with a TD pass. The Pro Football Hall of Famer established the mark over his first 23 NFL starts, from 1999-2000. Mayfield enters 2019 with a 13-start streak. Mayfield also needs 23 passing touchdowns to become the seventh ever to reach 50 in his first two seasons. He needs 26 to surpass number 2 David Carr (52, 2015-16) and 42 to surpass No. 1 Dan Marino (68, 1983-84) for most ever over a player’s initial two years. Mayfield threw for 27 as a 2018 rookie.

Christian McCaffery (Carolina) needs 52 receptions to surpass LaDainian Tomlinson (238 from 2001-03) for the most catches by a running back over his first three seasons. McCaffrey enters 2019 with 187 receptions over his first two campaigns.

LeSean McCoy (Buffalo) needs 1,090 rushing yards to surpass Jamal Lewis (10,607), Ricky Watters (10,643), Warrick Dunn (10,967), O.J. Simpson (11,236), Corey Dillon (11,241), John Riggins (11,352), Steven Jackson (11,438) and Fred Taylor (11,695) on the league’s all-time list and move from 25th to 17th. McCoy enters 2019 with 10,606.

Von Miller (Denver) needs two sacks for 100 career. Miller opens the season with 98, while Cameron Wake (98) and J.J. Watt (92) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players.

Cam Newton (Carolina) needs 121 rushing yards to surpass No. 2 Randall Cunningham (4,928) on the league’s career list of rushing yards by a quarterback. Newton enters 2019 with 4,808. Michael Vick (6,109) holds the NFL record.

Bill O’Brien (Houston) needs nine wins to join Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh as the only active head coaches with five winning seasons over their first six years at the reins of an NFL club. O’Brien has guided the Texans to three AFC South titles in his first five years.

Adrian Peterson (Washington) needs 345 yards rushing to surpass number 7 Jerome Bettis. He also needs 367 to surpass number 6 LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) and 784 to surpass number Curtis Martin (14,101). Peterson enters 2019 with 13,318, eighth alltime. Peterson also needs one rushing touchdown to surpass number 5 Jim Brown (106) on the all-time list and five to surpass number 4 Walter Payton (110).

Peterson enters 2019 tied with Brown at 106, one game of 200 yards rushing to reach seven career and break O.J. Simpson’s NFL record (six). Peterson enters 2019 with six 200-yard games, tied with Simpson and needs four 100-yard rushing games to surpass number 7 Edgerrin James (57) on the NFL’s all-time list and five to surpass number 6 Jim Brown (58). Peterson enters 2019 at number 8 with 54 100-yard rushing games.

Dak Prescott (Dallas) needs eight victories to become only the sixth quarterback in NFL history to win 40 regular-season games in his first four seasons. Russell Wilson (46), Joe Flacco (44), Matt Ryan (43), Dan Marino (41) and Andy Dalton (40) are the others. Prescott enters 2019 with 32. Prescott also needs five rushing touchdowns to surpass Daunte Culpepper (22) for second-most ever by a quarterback. Cam Newton (33, 2011-14) holds the record. Prescott enters 2019 with 18 and also can eclipse the four-season marks set by Steve Grogan (21), Johnny Lujack (21) and Frankie Albert (20).

Damarious Randall (Cleveland) needs three interceptions to become the first NFL player in 22 years with three INTs in each of his first five seasons. Tom Carter compiled his five-season streak by picking off 21 passes from 1993-97 with Washington and Chicago. Randall enters 2019 having collected 14 interceptions with Green Bay and Cleveland since 2015.

Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 251 pass attempts to surpass number 7 John Elway (7,250) on the all-time list. Rivers enters 2019 with 7,000 career attempts. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (7,168) enters 2019 number 8 on the list. Rivers also needs 344 passing yards to become the eighth in NFL history to reach 55,000. Rivers enters 2019 with 54,656 and needs 26 touchdown passes to become the sixth in NFL history with 400. Rivers enters 2019 with 374, 47 shy of surpassing number 5 Dan Marino (420) on the all-time list, two 300-yard passing games to surpass No. 4 Marino (63). Rivers enters 2019 with 62. Drew Brees (115), Peyton Manning (93) and Tom Brady (87) rank 1-3 on the list entering 2019 and to throw at least three touchdowns in four games to reach 60 three-TD contests. Only six players have thrown for three touchdowns in that many games. Rivers enters 2019 with 56 such efforts.

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) needs four wins to surpass number 6 Dan Marino (147) and five to surpass number 5 John Elway (148) on the all-time list of regular-season victories by a starting quarterback. number 1 Tom Brady (207), number 2 Brett Favre and Peyton Manning (186) and number 4 Drew Brees (155) lead the category entering the year. Roethlisberger begins 2019 with 144 wins as a starting quarterback.

Matt Ryan (Atlanta) needs 3,280 passing yards to become the 10th player ever to reach 50,000. Drew Brees reached 50,000 faster than any player, in his 183rd game. Peyton Manning (191) was second-fastest. Ryan enters 2019 with 46,720 in 174 games.

Matthew Slater (New England) needs one Pro Bowl invitation as a special-teams player to reach eight and break a tie with Steve Tasker (seven, 1987-1990-95) for most in NFL annals. Slater enters 2019 having earned seven Pro Bowl honors (2011-17).

Matthew Stafford (Detroit) needs 1,474 passing yards to reach 40,000. He needs to accomplish that feat within his first nine games to become fastest in NFL history to reach that mark. Matt Ryan holds the record (151 games). Stafford enters 2019 with 38,526 yards in 141 games. Stafford also needs to throw for 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns to become just the seventh in NFL history to reach those numbers in nine consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (14, 2005-present), Peyton Manning (13, 1998-2010), Philip Rivers (11, 2008-present), Tom Brady (10, 2009-present), Brett Favre (nine, 1994-2002) and Matt Ryan (nine, 2010-present).

Aqib Talib (Los Angeles Rams) needs one interception-return touchdown to tie No. 2 Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson (11) and two to tie number 1 Rod Woodson (12) on the all-time list. Talib enters 2019 at number 4 with 10 career.

Michael Thomas (New Orleans) needs 90 receptions to become the only NFL player ever to reach 90 in each of his first four seasons. To date, Thomas (2016-18) and Odell Beckham Jr. (2014-16) are the only players ever to catch 90 passes in each of their first three NFL seasons. Thomas also needs 80 catches to break the NFL record held by Jarvis Landry (400) for most receptions by a player in his first four seasons. Thomas enters 2019 with 321 receptions.

Justin Tucker Baltimore) needs 30 field goals to reach seven seasons with 30 or more and extend his NFL record. He enters 2019 with six such seasons, ahead of David Akers, John Carney, Stephen Gostkowski and Robbie Gould (each with five).

Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis) already the NFL’s all-time leader in field goals made (582), needs 18 more to become the first NFL player to reach 600 career. Vinatieri also needs: 20 field-goal attempts to surpass Morten Andersen (709) for most all-time. He enters 2019 No. 2 on the all-time list, with 690 career attempts. Vinatieri needs one game to surpass Gary Anderson (353) for the second-most games played in NFL history. He enters 2019 tied with Anderson at number 2, with 353. Morten Andersen (382) holds the NFL record.

Cameron Wake (Tennessee) needs two sacks for 100 career. Wake opens the season with 98, while Von Miller (98) and J.J. Watt (92) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players.

J.J. Watt (Houston) could earn a fourth AP Defensive Player of the Year Award. No other player has won more than three. He enters 2019 with three, tied with Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most all-time. Watt also needs eight sacks for 100 career. Entering 2019, only 32 players have reached the milestone. Watt opens the season with 92, while Von Miller and Cameron Wake (each with 98) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players, and needs 15 sacks to tie Reggie White’s NFL record of five 15-sack seasons. Watt hit that plateau in 2012 (20.5), 2014 (20.5), 2015 (17.5) and 2018 (16).

Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay), on the NFL’s list of most passing yards over a player’s first five seasons, needs 3,381 passing yards to eclipse No. 10 Andy Dalton (18,008). Winston enters 2019 with 14,628 passing yards. Winston also needs 22 passing touchdowns to surpass number 10 Matthew Stafford and Johnny Unitas (109) on the NFL’s list of most passing touchdowns over a player’s first five seasons. Winston enters 2019 with 88.

Many NFL owners will be celebrating notable milestones in 2019, including Chicago’s McCaskey Family, who has owned the team since its inception in 1920 and will be enjoying the Bears’ 100th season alongside the league. Dallas’ Jerry Jones will be celebrating his 30th anniversary as an NFL owner, while New England’s Robert Kraft and Philadelphia’s Jefferey Lurie – the recipients of the past two Lombardi Trophies – will each be celebrating their 25th.

PLAYING RULE CHANGES FOR THE 2019 SEASON:

• REVIEWABLE PLAYS EXPANDED: For one year only, reviewable plays in Instant Replay will be expanded to include pass interference, called or not called on the field. Also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).

• KICKOFF FORMATION: Makes permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented in 2018, which modified rules for a free kick formation and for blocking on a free kick.

• DOUBLE FOULS: Changes the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.

• EXPANDED PROTECTION OF DEFENSELESS PLAYER: It is now a foul if a player initiates a block when his path is toward or parallel to his own end line and makes forcible contact to his opponent with his helmet, forearm or shoulder. This is also referred to as a blindside block.

• SCRIMMAGE KICK: Simplifies the scrimmage-kick rules. If there is a missed field-goal attempt and the ball has not been touched by the receivers beyond the line of scrimmage in the field of play or in the end zone before the ball has touched the ground in the end zone, the following shall apply:

(a) If the spot of the kick was inside the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the 20-yard line; or
(b) If the spot of the kick was from the receivers’ 20-yard line or beyond the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the spot of the kick.

• FOULS DURING A SCORE: Teams can now elect to enforce an opponent’s personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown either on the succeeding Try (extra point or two-point conversion) or on the succeeding free kick.

• DISQUALIFICATIONS: Allows League personnel to disqualify for both flagrant football and non-football acts, when a flag is related to an act or action.

NEXT MAN UP: Quarterbacks missed a total of 60 games due to injury in 2018, a 46-percent decline from 2017 (111) and approximately 50 percent fewer than the average over the prior three seasons (118).

In 2018, 16 teams had the same quarterback start every game of the regular season, tied for the fourthmost in a single season since the 1970 merger. In five of the past seven seasons, at least half of the teams have had the same quarterback start all 16 games during the regular season, including an NFL-record 20 quarterbacks in 2012.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has started 208 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak in the NFL. With a start in Week 1, Rivers would surpass Peyton Manning (208 consecutive starts, 1998-2011) for the third-most consecutive starts by a quarterback in league history.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has started 147 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak in league annals and in 2019, he can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to start 150 consecutive regular season games.

PATCHWORK: The National Football League will celebrate its 100th season in 2019 with a year-long salute to the unparalleled passion of NFL fans, the many contributions of players, coaches and communities that have helped build the league over the past century. In 2019, teams will wear NFL 100 patches above their team logo on the front of the jersey and each ball will be branded with the NFL 100 logo. Also, each team was given a custom-designed logo to celebrate the league’s 100th season.

Additionally, the NFL will raise awareness for cancer though CRUCIAL CATCH with a decal in Weeks 5, 6 and 7. In Weeks 9, 10 and 11, all teams will wear a camouflage ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate SALUTE TO SERVICE games.

Several NFL franchises will also be wearing special patches in 2019. Along with the league, the Chicago Bears will celebrate their 100th season, while the Oakland Raiders celebrate their franchise’s 60th season and the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars each celebrate their 25th seasons.

The Green Bay Packers will wear a number 15 decal this season to commemorate the life of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Packers legend, Bart Starr and the Houston Texans will also wear a jersey patch and a helmet decal to honor the franchise’s founder and late owner Bob McNair.

FIRE UP THE TV! NFL fans continue to tune in to the sport they love. Here’s a look at what’s in store on TV in 2019. The regular-season schedule – spanning 17 weeks and 256 games – kicked off Thursday night in the Windy City and
concludes on Sunday, December 29, with 16 division games.

And speaking of division games, one of the richest rivalries in sports history – Packers-Bears – launched the NFL’s 100th season as the annual prime-time kickoff game at Soldier Field Thursday night. New England begins defense of its Super Bowl LIII title in Foxboro on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, September 8, hosting Pittsburgh at 8:20 p.m.

The 50th season of Monday Night Football kicks off September 9 with an ESPN doubleheader, as Houston travels to New Orleans at 7:10 p.m., followed by Denver at Oakland in the nightcap at 10:20 p.m. ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16, including the two teams (Cleveland at the New York Jets, September 16 at 8:15 p.m.) that kicked off the longest running television series in American history, in 1970. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

All 32 clubs are again scheduled for at least one nationally televised Thursday, Sunday or Monday game. Thursday Night Football will air exclusively on NFL Network in Weeks 2-3, while FOX kicks off its Thursday night slate in Week 4. FOX will broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night). Those FOX games will be simulcast via NFL Network, distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes and streamed on Amazon Prime Video, beginning with Philadelphia at Green Bay, September 26. All told, NFL Network will exclusively televise seven games (two on Thursday night, two in London and all three in Week 16 on Saturday, December 21), with FOX producing the full slate of 18 games.

A select number of games will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced April 17 and other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 29. For the 11th consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

Six 2019 games are rematches of 2018 playoff games. That group includes five match-ups that will be played at the home of the team that had to travel in January: Kansas City at New England (December 8 on, CBS), the Los Angeles Rams at Dallas (December 15 on FOX), Chicago at Philadelphia (November 3 on FOX) and Houston at Indianapolis (October 20 on CBS).

The NFL’s 2019 international slate features four games in London and one in Mexico City. The Oakland Raiders will host the Chicago Bears in Week 5 on Sunday, October 6 at 1 p.m. on FOX, in the inaugural NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. One week later on Sunday, October 13 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network, also at Tottenham, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host NFC South rival Carolina, who will be playing their first game in London. London action shifts to Wembley Stadium in Weeks 8 and 9 when the Los Angeles Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals on October 27 at 1 p.m. on CBS, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting AFC South rival Houston, another first-time visitor to London, on November 3 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network.

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium will host a match-up between two AFC West rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, in Week 11 on Monday Night Football, November 18 at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN. Both teams will be playing in Mexico for the first time.

Thanksgiving will feature a trio of match-ups in Week 13 on Thursday, November 28. The first game will send the Bears to Detroit to face the Lions at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. The late-afternoon game will feature Buffalo visiting Dallas at 4:30 p.m. on CBS. It will be the Bills’ first game on the holiday in 25 years, since a trip to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1994. The Thanksgiving Day festivities conclude with an NFC South showdown as the Falcons host New Orleans on NBC at 8:20 p.m. in the Big Peach.

The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 4 and end in Week 12. The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 4-5. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will earn first-round byes.

Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, January 11-12. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 19.

The winners meet two weeks later when Miami hosts Super Bowl LIV, on Sunday, February 2 on FOX. The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets and all postseason games are televised nationally. Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL prime-time games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

BE FLEXY! In 2006, the NFL implemented a prime-time “flexible scheduling” element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17. In 2014, that was extended so that games between Weeks 5 and 17 could be affected by flex scheduling. However, only two games may be flexed into Sunday Night between Week 5 and 10.

In Week 16, three of five possible match-ups currently listed as TBD will be scheduled for Saturday on NFL Network: Houston at Tampa Bay, Buffalo at New England, Detroit at Denver, Oakland at the Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco at the Los Angeles Rams. Start times and Saturday games for Week 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.

For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 29. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications could be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality match-ups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime-time.

ON THE RADIO: Are the kids hogging the TV? Is the wife watching those gosh-awful Lifetime Sunday Movies AGAIN? Stuck at the in-laws and you want to watch the Falcons? You can listen on the radio. NFL fans can listen to games on the radio in a number of ways – on Westwood One and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Westwood One remains the official network radio partner of the NFL, its 33rd consecutive season with that distinction.

The Westwood One NFL schedule features 69 national games, including the Thursday night kickoff game, Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, the London Games, the Thanksgiving Day triple-header and the entire postseason, culminating with Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Westwood One also produces weekly specialty programs, including The NFL Today, NFL Preview, NFL Insider, NFL Sunday and NFL Fantasy Football Forecast.

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

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

This year will mark the NFL’s 16th season on SiriusXM. SiriusXM creates and offers commercial-free music, premier sports talk and live events, comedy, news, exclusive talk and entertainment programming.

SiriusXM provides live play-by-play of every NFL game from the preseason through Super Bowl LIV on SiriusXM radios, as well as on the SiriusXM app and online at SiriusXM.com for its subscribers.

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

2019 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

TEAM (WIN PCT., W-L-T) GAMES VS. TEAMS .500 OR BETTER/GAMES VS. 2018 PLAYOFF TEAMS
Oakland (.539, 137-117-2) 9/7
Denver (.537, 136-117 3) 9/7
Jacksonville (.531, 136-120-0) 9/7
Houston .527 135 121 0 9 7
Chicago (.520, 131 121 4) 8 6
Kansas City (.520, 132-122-2) 9/7
ATLANTA (.518, 132-123-1) 9/7
Indianapolis (.518, 132-123-1) 8/5
Tennessee (.514, 131-124-1) 7/7
Minnesota (.512, 130-124-2) 7/7
San Francisco (.510, 129-124-3) 7/6
Arizona (.508, 129-125-2) 7/6
Tampa Bay (.508, 130-126-0) 7/6
Dallas (.504, 128-126-2) 7/6
Green Bay (.504, 128-126-2) 8/6
Carolina (.502, 128-127-1) 7/6
Los Angeles Chargers (.502, 127-126-3) 8/5
Miami (.500, 127-127-2) 8/7
Baltimore (.496, 125-127-4) 7/5
Detroit (.496, 125-127-4) 8/6
Pittsburgh (.496, 126-128-2) 7/7
New Orleans (.488, 125-131-0 7/6
Cleveland (.484, 123-131-2) 8/5
Buffalo (.480, 122-132-2) 7/5
Seattle (.479, 121-132-3) 7/5
Philadelphia (.477, 121-133-2) 6/5
Cincinnati (.473, 119-133-4) 7/5
Los Angeles Rams .473, 120-134-2) 7/6
New England (.473, 120-134-2) 6/5
New York Giants (.473, 120-134-2) 7/6
New York Jets (.473, 120-134-2) 6/5
Washington (.469, 119-135-2) 7/6

COLLECTING THOSE FREQUENT FLYER MILES: All together, teams will travel approximately 632,752 miles during the 2019 season.

The teams in the NFC West (120,670) combine to have the highest total miles traveled of all divisions. The remaining division totals are the AFC West (107,122), NFC South (84,358), AFC South (75,244), AFC North (73,568), NFC North (67,552), NFC East (53,712) and AFC East (50,526).

Seven teams – Oakland (40,188), the Los Angeles Rams 36,186), Seattle (33,216), the Los Angeles Chargers (32,892), San Francisco (30,210), Tampa Bay (27,670) and Jacksonville (25,336) – will “travel around the world” at least once. A trip around the globe is 25,000 miles.

The London Games 2019 schedule begins with the first two NFL games to be staged at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, followed by two at Wembley Stadium, bringing the total number of games played in London since 2007 to 28.

Oakland will host the Chicago Bears on Sunday, October 6 in the inaugural NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the United States. One week later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be at home against the Carolina Panthers, playing their first game in London.

After a two-week break, the action moves to Wembley Stadium, where the Los Angeles Rams, the defending NFC champions, will host Cincinnati on October 27. The following week, Jacksonville will stage their seventh annual home game in London, taking on another first-time visitor as they take on AFC South Rival Houston.

Below is a list of the total estimated round-trip distance in miles for each team in 2019. Please return your trays to the upright position and thank you for flying NFL Airlines.

TEAM – MILES TO TRAVEL
Oakland – 40,188
Los Angeles Rams – 36,186
Seattle – 33,216
Los Angeles Chargers – 32,892
San Francisco – 30,210
Tampa Bay – 27,670
Jacksonville – 25,336
Carolina – 24,352
Houston – 23,512
Cincinnati – 22,470
Arizona – 21,058
Dallas – 20,922
Miami – 20,554
Chicago – 18,684
Baltimore – 18,072
Pittsburgh – 17,530
Detroit – 17,444
Kansas City – 17,044
Denver – 16,998
New Orleans – 16,712
Green Bay – 16,222
ATLANTA – 15,624
Cleveland – 15,496
Minnesota 15,202
Indianapolis 13,822
Tennessee 12,574
Philadelphia 12,374
New England 11,960
Washington 11,170
Buffalo – 10,158
New York Giants – 9,246
New York Jets – 7,854

OTHER KICKOFF WEEKEND NOTES: Kickoff Weekend began Thursday night in prime-time on NBC when two of the NFL’s oldest franchises renew one of the richest rivalries in sports, as the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field to begin the league’s 100th season.

Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:

The Super Bowl LIII champion New England Patriots open their season at home against Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots have won nine of their past 10 home openers on Kickoff Weekend.

• Denver, who begins the season by visiting Oakland on Monday Night Football, have posted a .672 winning percentage (39-19-1) on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the league. Denver has won its past seven Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

• The defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs, who travel to Jacksonville to face off against the Jaguars in Week 1, have won their last four Kickoff Weekend games, tied for the league’s second-longest active streak.

• Dak Prescott and the defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys host Eli Manning and the New York Giants in a division showdown on Kickoff Weekend. Dallas and New York face each other on Kickoff Weekend for the fourth time in the last five years. With a winning percentage of .655 (38-20-1), the Cowboys own the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFC.

• Seattle, who returned to the playoffs in 2018, hosts Cincinnati on Kickoff Weekend. The Seahawks have won 10 consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league.

• Washington faces NFC East rival Philadelphia on the road in the City of Brotherly Love to start 2019. Washington has won its past three road openers, the longest active streak in the league.

HEAD COACHES: New England’s Bill Belichick is 16-8 (.667) on Kickoff Weekend and his 16 wins are the most among active head coaches…Belichick and Kansas City’s ANDY REID (12-8, .600) are the only active head coaches who have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games…Reid has won four consecutive games on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches. Dough Pederson (3-0) of the Eagles and Sean McVay (2-0) of the Rams are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend…Six head coaches – Denver’s Vic Fangio, Miami’s Brian Flores, Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury, Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens, Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor – make their Kickoff Weekend debuts in 2019.

HOPE DOES SPRING ETERNAL: New teams making the playoffs and winning divisions, consistent teams excelling once again, records falling and young players making their mark all combined to help shape the story of the 2018 season.

Again, Week 17 came right down to the wire as three playoff spots and three division titles – the AFC North, AFC South and AFC West – were decided on the last day of the season. The excitement of Week 17 was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010. Every team enters the 2019 season with a trip to Miami and Super Bowl LIV in mind and below are a few reasons why.

• Two of the eight divisions in 2018 were won by a team that finished in last place in the division the previous season – Houston (AFC South) and Chicago (NFC North). In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, two teams have gone “worst to first” en route to a Super Bowl victory — the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

• Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Seven teams that missed the postseason in 2017 – Baltimore (10-6), Chicago (12-4), Dallas (10-6), Houston (11-5), Indianapolis (10-6), the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) and Seattle (10-6) – accomplished the feat in 2018.

THE TEAMS SINCE 1990 TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS A SEASON AFTER FAILING TO QUALIFY
SEASON – PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 – 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 – 5 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 – 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 – 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 – 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 – 4 (ATLANTA, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 – 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 – 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 – 5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 – 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 – 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 – 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 – 5 (ATLANTA, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 – 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 – 5 (ATLANTA, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 – 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 – 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 – 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 – 7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 – 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 – 5 (ATLANTA, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 – 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 – 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 – 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 – 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 – 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 – 6 (AATLANTA, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 – 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
2018 – 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

• The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl title in 2018 and begin their quest to repeat as champions as the race to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for Super Bowl LIV kicks off. Only eight teams have repeated as champions since the first Super Bowl after the 1966 season, with the 2004 Patriots (Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX) being the last team to accomplish the feat.

• Eight teams enter the 2019 season with a new head coach – Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, Zac Taylor in Cincinnati, Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, Vic Fangio in Denver, Matt Lafleur in Green Bay, Brian Flores in Miami, Adam Gase with the New York Jets and Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay.

• Four rookie head coaches have led their teams to the playoffs over the last two seasons: Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) in 2018 and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) and Sean McDermott (Buffalo) in 2017.

• Three quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (Number 1 overall, Arizona), Duke’s Daniel Jones (Number 6, New York Giants) and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (Number 15, Washington) – were selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

At least one rookie quarterback has started in Week 1 in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

• Several notable players were on the move during the off-season, including quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Denver) and Nick Foles (Jacksonville); running backs Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets), Mark Ingram (Baltimore) and Frank Gore (Buffalo); wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland), Antonio Brown (Oakland) and Golden Tate (New York Giants); tight end Jared Cook (New Orleans); tackle Trent Brown (Oakland); guard Rodger Saffold (Tennessee); center Mitch Morse (Buffalo); defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah (Seattle), Frank Clark (Kansas City), Trey Flowers (Detroit) and Cameron Wake (Tennessee); defensive tackles Malik Jackson (Philadelphia) and Gerald McCoy (Carolina); linebackers Dee Ford (San Francisco), Clay Matthews (Los Angeles Rams), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) and Terrell Suggs (Arizona); cornerbacks Robert Alford (Arizona), Steven Nelson (Pittsburgh) and Bradley Roby (Houston) and safeties Landon Collins (Washington), Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City), Earl Thomas (Baltimore) and Eric Weddle (Los Aneles Rams).

WORST TO FIRST: Competitive balance, one of the hallmarks of the NFL, gives fans hope entering each season. For the 15th time in the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. In fact, of the 48 teams in league history to go from “worst to first,” 25 of them (52 percent) have done so in the past 16 years (2003-18), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

After finishing in last place in the division in 2017, the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) each turned it around to win their respective divisions last season. The Bears finished with a 12-4 record and an NFC North title after winning nine of their final 10 games and posting the franchise’s best home record (7-1) since the 2005 season. The AFC South champion Texans set a league record for the most consecutive wins following an 0-3 start, rattling off nine straight victories. Houston became the first team to begin a season 0-3 and win a division title since the 1992 San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS TO GO “WORST TO FIRST” 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)*
2015 – Washington (9-7, 4-12)
2016 – Dallas (4-12, 13-3)
2017 – Jacksonville (10-6, 3-13)
2017 – Philadelphia (13-3, 7-9)**
2018 – Chicago (13-3, 5-11)
2018 – Houston (11-5, 4-12)
* Tied for last place
** Won Super Bowl

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL TEAMS

TEAM: W-L-T, PCT.; W-L (CURRENT)
Denver: 39-19-1, .672; 7-4 (W-7)
Dallas: 38-20-1, .655; 17-5 (L-1)
Green Bay: 56-39-3, .589; 5-6 (W-4)
Minnesota: 33-24-1, .579; 5-3 (W-3)
Chicago: 54-40 5 .574; 9-6 (L-5)
New York Giants: 50-39-5, .562; 4-5 L-2
New England: 33-26-0, .559; 10-3 (W-1)
Miami: 29-23-1, .558; 11-5 (W-2)
Detroit: 48-39 2, .552; 10-4 (L-1)
Pittsburgh: 43-36-5, .544; 8-3 T-1)
Los Angeles Chargers: 32-27-0, .542; 6-6 (L-3)
Kansas City: 32-27-0, .542; 7-4 (W-4)
Jacksonville: 13-11-0, .542; 6-5 (W-2)
San Francisco: 37-31-1, .544; 6-3 (L-2)
Houston: 9-8-0, .529; 5-3 (L-2)
ATLANTA: 28-25-0, .528; 5-3 (L-1)
Baltimore: 12-11-0, .522; 5-4 (W-3)
Los Angeles Rams: 42-39-0, .519; 5-6 (W-2)
Tennessee: 30-29-0, .508; 4-3 (L-3)
Indianapolis: 33-33-0 .500; 8-8 (L-5)
Washington: 41-42-4, .494 6-5 (W-1)
New York Jets: 28-31 0, .475; 5-5 (W-1)
Cincinnati: 24-27-0, .471; 4-4 (W-1)
Oakland 27-32-0, .458; 5-6 (L-1)
Philadelphia: 38-46-1, .452; 5-9 (W-3)
Cleveland: 27-38-1, .417; 5-13 (T-1)
Tampa Bay: 18-25-0, .419; 3-5 (W-3)
Carolina: 10-14-0, .417; 3-5 (W-2)
Arizona: 40-56-2, .417; 6-7 (L-3)
Buffalo: 24-35-0, .407; 6-5 (L-1)
Seattle: 16-27-0, .372; 38 (L-2)
New Orleans: 17-35-0, .327; 36 (L-5)

OPENING-GAME RECORDS OF NFL HEAD COACHES
COACH, TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia (3-0, 1.000)
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams (2-0, 1.000)
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota (4-1, .800)
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville (3-1, .750)
John Harbaugh Baltimore (8-3, .727)
Bill Belichick New England (16-8, .667)
Adam Gase, New York Jets (2-1, .667)
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh (7-4-1, .625)
Andy Reid, Kansas City (12-8, .600)
Pete Carroll, Seattle (7-6, .538)
Jason Garrett, Dallas (4-4, .500)
Sean McDermott, Buffalo (1-1, .500)
Dan Quinn, Atlanta (2-2, .500)
Ron Rivera, Carolina (4-4, .500)
Sean Payton, New Orleans 5-7 .417)
Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay (2-3, .400)
Bill O’Brien, Houston (2-3, .400)
Jon Gruden, Oakland (4-8, .333)
Jay Gruden, Washington (1-4, .200)
Matt Nagy, Chicago (0-1, .000)
Matt Patricia, Detroit (0-1, .000)
Frank Reich, Indianapolis (0-1, .000)
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee (0-1, .000)
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco (0-2, .000)
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers (0-2, .000)
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (0-3, .000)
Vic Fangio, Denver (0-0, .000)
Brian Flores, Miami (0-0, .000)
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona (0-0, .000)
Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland (0-0, .000)
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay (0-0, .000)
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati (0-0, .000)

GET OFF TO A STRONG START: Getting off to a strong start is important. Over the past 10 years, seven teams – Denver, New England, Baltimore, Green Bay, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Dallas – have a winning percentage of at least .600 through the season’s first month. Those seven clubs have combined for 44 playoff berths and 10 Super Bowl appearances – including six Super Bowl championships – during that span.

TEAMS WITH THE BEST OPENING-MONTH RECORDS OVER PAST 10 YEARS (2009-18)
TEAM W-L-T, PCT. (PLAYOFF BERTHS-SUPER BOWL BERTHS-SUPER BOWL WINS)
Denver: 23-9-0, .719 (5-2-1)
New England: 24-10-0, .706 (10-5-3)
Baltimore: 23-11-0, .676 (6-1-1)
Green Bay: 22-11-1, .662 (8-1-1)
ATLANTA: 21-13-0, .618 (5-1-0)
Cincinnati: 21-13-0, .618 (6-0-0)
Dallas: 20-13-0, .606 (4-0-0)

In 2018, the four teams to appear on Championship Weekend — Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams, New England and New Orleans — began with a combined 13-3 record during the first month of the season.

Since this is the opening weekend, we’re going to make every game this weekend 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?”)

Week one got underway in the Windy City as Green Bay held off the Monsters of the Midway, beating their hated NFC North rivals from the Land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst 10-3 Thursday night and will conclude on Monday night with two Monday night games. As far as last year’s numbers, we were 152-112. Not bad. That was last year, thought. This is a new season. Having said all that, here are Sunday and Monday week one picks!

ATLANTA (7-9) at Minnesota (8-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of teams that just missed the playoffs last year open Sunday’s action in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons travel to the Twin Cities for an early afternoon date with the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota holds a 18-10 lead in the series and the Vikings have outscored Atlanta 657-461. They last met in the Big Peach in 2017 and the Vikings have won the last three meetings and came away with a 14-9 win over the Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Atlanta’s last win over the Purple Gang? 2011 in the Big Peach, as the Falcons were 24-14 winners in the old Georgia Dome. The Vikings are favored by 3 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under is 47. Both numbers are reasonable but the Vikings best be on upset alert in the Twin Cities. Atlanta wins this one on the road and covers the 4.

Los Angeles Rams (13-3) at Carolina (7-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The defending NFC champs travel to the Tar Heel State for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Carolina leads the series 12-8 and have outscored the Rams 405-402 (which includes games that were played when the Rams were in St. Louis from 1995-2015). Carolina has won the last two meetings, with the Panthers coming away 13-10 winners in Los Angeles in 2016, while Los Angeles’ last win over the Panthers came in 2010 in St. Louis by a final of 20-10. The Rams are a 1 1/2-point road favorite in the Tar Heel State and the over/under’s 49 1/2. Rams take the win in the Tar Heel State and covers the 1 1/2.

Tennessee (9-7) at Cleveland (7-8-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Marcus Mariota and the Titans travel to the shores of Lake Erie to take a vastly-improved Cleveland Browns team in the Buckeye State. sIncluding games that were played when the Titans were in Houston and they were known as the Oilers, Cleveland leads the series 35-30 and the Browns have outscored Tennessee 1,287-1,266. The two clubs split their last four meetings, each taking wins in their home parks and on the road. The Titans needed overtime along the shores of Lake Erie to take a 12-9 win in 2017, while Cleveland’s last win also came in the Buckeye State by a final of 28-14 in 2015. The odds makers in Vegas like the Browns as a 5 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Browns may not cover but they take the win at home.

Kansas City (12-4) at Jacksonville (5-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Kansas City, the defending AFC West champs, travel to the Sunshine State for an early afternoon contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars in north Florida. The series is even with each team taking six wins and the Chiefs have outscored Jacksonville 270-237. The Chiefs have won the last four meetings in the series and came away with a 30-14 win at Arrowhead last year. Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2009 in north Florida by a final of 24-21.

The week five meeting in the Show-Me State did not go well for the Jaguars as Kansas City held a 20-0 lead at the half but the Jaguars managed to out score Kansas City 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Kansas City out-rushed Jacksonville 126-101 with Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt leading the way with 87 yards and a rushing TD. Mahomes threw for 313 yards but was picked off twice and sacked once, while Bortles threw for 430 yards and a TD toss to T.J. Yeldon, while being sacked five times and throwing four interceptions. Jacksonville was 7 of 16 on third down (they were 3 of 5 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:17, while the Chiefs ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 32:43, going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Kansas City covered the 3-point spread, winning by 16 at Arrowhead but neither team reached the 48 1/2 over/under, tallying only 44 points. The Chiefs are favored again, this time by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Jacksonville will make things interesting in the Sunshine State but the Chiefs prevail on the road with the win, although expect Jacksonville to make it closer than 3 1/2.

Baltimore (10-6) at Miami (7-9), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The Ravens, coming off an appearnce in the AFC Wild Card game against the Los Angeles Chargers, make the 1,108-mile trip down I-95 to take on the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The Ravens lead the series, 7-6 and Baltimore has outscored Miami 276-203. The Ravens won the last two contests, shutting out Miami 40-0 in Charm City in 2017, while Miami’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2015 by a final of 15-13. Baltimore’s favored by 6 1/2 on South Beach and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Dolphins may not cover the 6 1/2 but they take care of business in the Sunshine State with the win.

Buffalo (6-10) at New York Jets (4-12), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey as the Bills and Jets, looking to improve on dismal seasons meet at Met Life Stadium. Buffalo leads the Empire State series 61-55 and the Bills have outscored GangGreen 2,436-2,379, which includes contests that were played when the Jets known as Titans prior to 1963 and the teams played their home contests at old War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo and Shea Stadium in New York.

The Bills and Jets split the two meetings last year, each taking road AFC East wins. They met along the Jersey shores in week 10 and the Bills circled the wagons at Met Life Stadium in mid-November, leaving the Meadowlands with a 41-10 win. Buffalo led 31-3 at the half and never looked back, holding GangGreen to an Isaiah Crowell rushing TD in the second half. LeSean McCoy rushed for 113 yards and a pair of TDs for the Bills as Buffalo out-rushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 212-83 while Matt Barkley threw for 232 yards and a pair of TDs (Barkley was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Josh McCown threw for 135 yards for GangGreen with three sacks and a pair of interceptions in the home loss. Buffalo was 8 for 16 on third down (they were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 39:22, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were dismal on third down tries at Met Life Stadium, going 1 for 12 (they were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 20:38.

GangGreen would get revenge along the shores of Lake Erie in week 14 (temperature in the week 10 contest? A balmy 46 degrees with a 41 wind chill; in the week 14 contest in upstate New York? 31 degrees with a 22 wind chill) and escaped with a 27-23 win at New Era Stadium. Buffalo led 20-13 at the end of the third quarter (the Bills led 17-13 at the half) before GangGreen would take the lead for keeps with 77 seconds left in the contest when Elijah McGuire scored on a one-yard run. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would hold off a late Buffalo rally and leave upstate New York with the win. Buffalo again out-rushed GangGreen, tallying 176 yards in the contest (Bills QB Josh Allen led all rushers with 101 yards), while holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to 78. Allen threw for 206 yards but was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Sam Darnold threw for 170 and a TD with an interception. New York was 6 for 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:13, while the Bills ruled the clock again, keeping the ball for 33:47, going 7 of 14 on third down tries.

In the week 10 contest along the Jersey shore, GangGreen was favored by 7 1/2 and the Bills easily covered the spread, winning by 31 and both clubs took care of the 37 over/under, scoring 51 points. As for the week 14 affair in upstate New York? While the Jets were winners by 3 points, they barely missed the 3 1/2-point spread but both teams covered the 38 1/2 over/under, tallying 50 points. GangGreen’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. While this one is not exactly the best game to watch this week, it will at least be entertaining. GangGreen covers the 3 in Jersey and takes the win at Met Life.

Washington (7-9) at Philadelphia (9-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in the City of Brotherly Love as the Redskins take the 129-mile trip up I-95 to take on Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington leads the series 85-77-5 (which includes games that were played in Boston when the Redskins were known as the Braves) and the Eagles have outscored Washington 3,518- 3,308. That’s the good news for Redskins fans. The bad news? The Eagles have won the last four contests that were played in the series, including sweeping last year’s series (Washington’s last win came in the City of Brotherly Love in 2016 by a final of 27-22).

Meeting number one… Philadelphia in week 13. The Eagles, fresh off their Super Bowl win, led Washington 14-13 at the break at Lincoln Financial Field, then floored the gas in the final quarter, scoring 14 points unchallenged to take a 28-13 win. Philadelphia out-rushed Washington 130-104 and Carson Wentz threw for 306 yards with a pair of TDs, while Mark Sanchez threw for 100 yards with a pair of sacks (each was picked off once). Philadelphia was 7 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 39:19, while Washington kept the pigskin for 20:41 and went 2 for 10 on third down tries.

The Eagles made it a sweep in the season finale at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, putting a nail in Washington’s playoff hopes and scored all 24 of their points unchallenged to shut out the Redskins 24-0. Philadelphia led 10-0 at the intermission and never looked back, using a pair of Nick Foles TD tosses to take the win that would put them back into post-season play. The Eagles held Washington to 21 yards of rushing, while tallying 129 of their own and kept Washington in check on the road. Philadelphia was 8 of 14 on third down (they were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 43:19 to Washington’s 16:41, with the Redskins going a dismal 0 for 9 on third down, 2 for 4 on fourth down.

In the week 13 Monday night contest, Philadelphia covered the 6 1/2-point spread, winning by 15 but both clubs missed the 44 over/under by a field goal. The Eagles also covered the spread in the season finale at Landover (6 1/2), winning by 24 but neither club covered the 42 over/under. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Eagles as a 10-point favorite and the over/under is 44. The 44 makes sense. The 10 is a bit steep. Washington fans will either be singing “Hail to the Redskins!” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” Eagles fans like the second better. Washington makes it closer than 10 but Eagles win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Indianapolis (10-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (12-4), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. Without Andrew Luck under center, the Indianapolis Colts travel to the West Coast to square off against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers at Stub Hub Centre. Including contest that were played in Baltimore and San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 16-10 and the Bolts have outscored Indianapolis 616-449. Indy won the last meeting in the series, coming away 26-22 winners in the Hoosier State in 2016, while the Chargers’ last win came in San Diego in 2013 by a final of 19-9. The Bolts are a 6 1/2 point favorite on the Left Coast with a 44 1/2 over/under. Both teams went to post-season last year and both look to go back, either as division winners or wild card teams. Chargers cover the 6 1/2 and win at home at Stub Hub.

Cincinnati (6-10) at Seattle (10-6), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. It’s chili vs. Salmon as Andy Dalton and Cincinnati make their way to the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks for a late-afternoon contest in the Pacific Northwest for a meeting with Russell Wilson and Seattle. The Bengals hold a 10-9 lead in the series and they have outscored Seattle 415-374. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings in the series, with the Bengals taking a 27-24 overtime win along the banks of the Ohio River in 2015, while Seattle’s last victory was in 2007 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks by a final of 24-21.

Seattle’s favored by 9 1/2 with a 44 4/2 over/under. Cincinnati will keep the Seahawks in check but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks to take the win.

Detroit (6-10) at Arizona (3-13), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling teams from the 2018 campaign meet in the desert as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions pay a visit to Glendale to face off against number one draft pick Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. Including games that were played in Chicago and St. Louis, when the Cardinals called those cities home and the Lions were in Portsmouth and known as the Spartans, Detroit leads the 33-28 and they have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,199-1,088. Detroit has won the last two meetings, including coming away 17-3 winners last year in the desert (Arizona’s last win came in the Motor City in 2015, as the Cardinals left Detroit with a 42-17 win).

After a scoreless first quarter in their week 14 affair at State Farm Stadium, Matt Prater gave the Lions a 3-0 lead that they would take with them to the intermission. After a Darius Slay interception for a TD, Detroit took a 10-0 lead with them to the fourth quarter before the Desert Angry Birds would dent the scoreboard on a Zane Gonzalez field goal, Zach Zenner closed out the scoring with a 1-yard TD run with 4:05 left in the contest.

The Lions out-rushed Arizona 122-61 and Stafford threw for 101 without an interception (he was sacked once), while Josh Rosen threw for 240 yards with three sacks and an interception. Detroit was 4 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:16, while the Desert Angry Birds ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:44, while going 6 of 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week fourteen contest in the desert, Detroit easily covered the 2 1/2-point spread, winning by 14 but the 40 1/2 over/under was untouched as both teams combined for only 20 points. In this meeting in the desert, the Lions are favored by 3 with a 46 1/2 over/under. We wouldn’t blame you one bit if you took a pass on this one and watched that “Mythbusters” marathon on Discovery (there’s nothing more exciting than seeing Buster get blown up!). The Desert Angry Birds prevail in Glendale and cover the 3.

New York Giants (5-11) at Dallas (10-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Eli vs. Dak. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in the Lone Star State as the Cowboys host the Giants at Jerry World (aka AT&T Stadium). Dallas will have another weapon in their quiver as RB Ezekiel Elliott finally came to terms with the team and came back to Dallas. The Cowboys lead the series 66-45-2 (which includes contests that were played at Yankee Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, the Yale Bowl, Cowboys Stadium and Giants Stadium) and the Cowboys have outscored the Giants 2,554-2,180. Dallas has won the last four meetings in the series with their NFC East rivals (New York’s last win came in the Meadowlands in 2016 by a final of 10-6).

They met in the Lone Star State in week two and the Cowboys came away 20-13 winners on a Sunday night. Dallas led 10-0 at the half but the Giants would make it closer than Cowboys fans wanted as Aldrick Rosas connected on a 38-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. The Giants then tried an onside kick in the hopes of getting the ball back to no avail as Dallas would recover the ball and run out the clock. Dallas out-rushed the Giants 138-35, with Elliot leading all rushers with 78 yards and a rushing TD, while Prescott threw for 160 yards (Manning threw for 279 yards with six sacks; both Manning and Prescott threw a TD pass without an interception). The Giants were 8 of 17 on third down tries (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:12, while the Cowboys were 3 for 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:48.

They would meet in the Meadowlands in week 17 and while the second contest was closer, the result was the same… Dallas coming out victors, this time rallying to come away 36-35 winners at Met Life Stadium. Dallas led 14-7 at the intermission in upstate New Jersey but saw that lead get away from them as the Giants would lead 35-28 with 2:35 left in regulation, thanks in part to a 38-yard field goal by Rosas. That lead would not last very long as Dallas used a 9-play, 70-yard drive that used 83 seconds of clock and sent Giants fans home sad as The Giants seemed to clinch the game when Dallas receiver Cole Beasley was ruled out of the back of the end zone on a Prescott (387 yards, four TDs) pass on fourth-and-15 with 72 seconds left. But a video review showed that Beasley got his knee down in-bounds and the play was changed from an incomplete pass to a 32-yard touchdown. Prescott then threw the go-ahead two-point conversion to rookie receiver Michael Gallup.

The Giants actually out-rushed Dallas 143-51, with Sequan Barkley leading everyone with 109 yards on the ground and a TD, while Manning threw for 301 yards and a pair of TDs (Manning was sacked once and picked off once, while Prescott was sacked four times but did not throw an interception). Dallas was 11 of 17 on third down tries (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:52, while the Giants were 7 of 15 on third down (they went 2 for 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:08.

Dallas covered the 3-point spread in the Sunday night contest in Arlington, winning by 7 and the 33 combined points meant that the 42 over/under was untouched. In the season finale rematch in the Meadowlands, the Giants were favored by 6 1/2 but Dallas would win by only a single point. The two clubs did manage to take care of the 42 1/2 over/under, tallying 71 points in the contest. In this season opener in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Both numbers sound reasonable and the Giants have kept things close in the last two meetings with their NFC East rivals. Big Blue will do the same but Dallas prevails at home at Jerry World and takes the win at home.

San Francisco (4-12) at Tampa Bay (5-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of struggling NFC teams meet on Florida’s Gulf Coast in a late afternoon contest as Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers lead the series 17-6 and they have outscored Tampa Bay 520-356. They met last year in the Sunshine State (San Francisco’s last win over Tampa Bay came in the Sunshine State in 2013 by a final of 33-14) and the Bucs prevailed at home on Florida’s West Coast, coming away 27-9 winners. In the week 12 contest, Tampa Bay led 13-6 at the half before going on in the final 30 minutes of play to outscore the 49ers 14-3. The 49ers out-rushed Tampa Bay 148-108 with San Francisco RB Matt Breida leading the way with 106 yards on the ground. Nick Mullens threw for 221 yards for the 49ers with a TD pass to Dante Pettis but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Jameis Winston threw for 312 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked once but did not throw an interception).

Third down tries? The 49ers were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 and kept the ball for 25:51, while the Bucs ruled the clock for 34:09 and went 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Sunshine State. In the week 12 contest, Tampa Bay covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 18 but the 36 points the two teams scored came nowhere near the 55 over/under. The Bucs are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Well, if you’re a fan of either team, feel free to watch this one; otherwise, may we suggest the “Mythbusters” special on Discovery? Bucs prevail in the Sunshine State and covers the 1 1/2.

Pittsburgh (9-6-1) at New England (11-5), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They have 12 Lombardi Trophies between them. Each team has six. The home team wants to make it seven. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers make their way to Foxboro for a Sunday night contest with Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs at Gillette Stadium. For the Steelers, it’s their chance to knock the Pats from their pedestal. As for the Patriots? They want to be king of the NFL mountain and they added another piece to the puzzle by signing WR Antonio Brown after the Raiders cut him loose. Brown will not play this week but will suit up when the Pats head to Miami next week.

Pittsburgh leads the series 15-12 and they have outscored New England 621-584. The two clubs have met the last four seasons and the Steelers avenged a controversial 27-24 loss at home in 2017 to take a 17-10 win at Heinz Field.

The week 15 late afternoon contest saw the Steelers take a 14-7 lead with them to the locker room at the half as both Braby and Roethlisberger threw TDs passes in the first quarter. Rothelisberger would then add a second TD toss in the second quarter as he and WR Antonio Brown connected on a toss that would give them the lead for good with 12:01 left before the break. Chris Boswell and Stephen Gostkowski each traded field goals in the final 30 minutes of play to close out the scoring at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh outrushed New England 158-96 and Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels led all rushers with 142 yards, while Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions (Brady threw for 279 yards with a TD, sack and interception). Pittsburgh was 4 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:49, while the Patriots were 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:11.

Pittsburgh covered the 2 1/2-point spread with the seven-point win at Heinz Field but the 52 over/under was intact, as both clubs merged for 27 points. This time, Brady and the Patriots are favored by 5 1/2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 49. There is a chance these two could meet in the AFC championship game either at Heinz Field or Gillette Stadium come January. Brady and the Pats raise the championship banner Sunday night and takes the win in upstate Massachusetts, even though the Steelers will make this one closer than the 5 1/2.

Houston (11-5) at New Orleans (13-3), 7:10 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. Separated by 348 miles along I-10, J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans travel to the Big Easy for the first of two Monday night contest as the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees play host.

The series is tied at 2-2 and the Texans have outscored New Orleans 90-87. Houston won the last meeting, taking a 24-6 win in 2015 in the Lone Star State, while New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2011 in the Big Easy by a final of 40-33. On Monday night, the Texans are 5-8 (they won their lone meeting last season in prime-time), while the Saints are 20-22 but won their two Monday night contests last year. New Orleans is favored by 7 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 53. This could wind up be a somewhat entertaining Monday night contest. Houston pulls the upset in the Big Easy and leaves New Orleans with the win.

Denver (6-10) at Oakland (4-12), 10:20 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. Forget the records. These two AFC West teams don’t like each. Granted, the hate is not as bad as the Raiders and Chiefs but it exists, like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Denver and Oakland close out week one’s action on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay in the second Monday night contest of the evening. While things were somewhat calm in Denver, the same could not be said in Oakland as Raiders management first suspended newly-signed WR Antonio Brown, then reinstated him, fined him and eventually gave him his walking papers, allowing New England to grab him.

The Silver and Black lead the series 63-52-2 and the Raiders have outscored their AFC West rivals 2,489-2,394 (which includes contests that took place in Los Angeles from 1982-1994). They split last season’s contests, each taking wins in their home facility.

Denver trailed 12-0 at the break at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in their week two contest, then erased that deficit and came away with the 20-19 come-from-behind win in that first meeting. Trailing 19-17 with 1:58 left in regulation, the Broncos used a 10-play, 62-yard drive that consumed 1:52 of clock and sent Denver fans home happy campers as Brian McManus connected on a 36-yard field goal. McManus, who kicked a 39-yarder and QB Case Keenum (222 yards, TD, sack, interception), running for a score from a yard out, pulled Denver to within one to make the contest close and eventually give Denver the win. Denver outrushed Oakland 168-92 with Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay leading the way with 107 yards, becoming the first undrafted rookie in NFL history with at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first two career games. Derek Carr threw for 288 yards with a TD and a sack, while Marshawn Lynch led Oakland with 65 yards and a rushing TD. Oakland was 3 of 10 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:56, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:04, while going 8 of 16 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Oakland would get their revenge on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay in week 16 on Christmas Eve, as they would put lumps of coal and switches in Denver’s stocking, taking a 27-14 Monday night win at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Although the Silver and Black led 17-0 at the half, Denver managed to make the contest close in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Raiders 14-10 in that span. Dwayne Harris opened the scoring for the Raiders, returning a punt 99 yards to take the lead and the Raiders would never look back from that. Oakland outrushed Denver in the second contest 114-100, with Raiders RB Doug Martin leading the way with 107 yards and a TD. Carr threw for 167 yards but did not throw an interception, while Keenum threw for 202 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions (both Keenum and Carr were sacked once). Oakland was 5 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:08, while the Broncos were 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:52.

In the week two contest, while Denver was favored by 6, they only came away winning by one and both teams missed the 45 over/under, tallying 39 points. In the Christmas Eve week 16 affair, Oakland was the 2 1/2-point underdog but covered the spread, winnning by 13 but once again, both teams barely missed the over/under of 44 with 41 points.

Denver is 32-40-1 on Monday night and the Broncos went 0 for 2 in their meetings last year under the lights, while the Raiders are 39-29-1, spliting their two meetings in 2018. Oakland’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Monday nightcap on the West Coast and the over/under’s 42 1/2. With all the distractions the Raiders have had during the pre-season with Antonio Brown, it may be hard for them to focus on football and that will be a good thing for Broncos fans. Denver pulls the upset and covers the 2 1/2.