Archives for category: Windy City

Winless no more!

The Cincinnati Bengals became the last team in the NFL to go without a win and they did it at home last Sunday against the New York Jets, coming away 22-6 winners at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals fans, you can finally exhale.

It’s week 14, which means that there’s not a lot of time left for those teams that want that playoff spot to get it. When the 2019 season comes to an end the Sunday before New Year’s Day, there will be 12 teams that will fight for the Lombardi Trophy, while the other 20 will be either hiring new coaches and/or getting ready for the draft.

Speaking of the playoffs (PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!… apologies to coach Jim Mora), there are more possible scenarios this weekend. That means that there’s going to be more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (sorry, Foghorn Leghorn!), so take notes. There will be a quiz afterward.

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 14

AFC

CLINCHED: None

Baltimore (10-2) at Buffalo (9-3), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:
Baltimore win + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
Baltimore tie + Pittsburgh loss

Baltimore clinches playoff berth with:
Baltimore win OR
Baltimore tie + Houston loss or tie OR
Baltimore tie + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie + Oakland-Tennessee tie

Buffalo (9-3) vs. Baltimore (10-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Buffalo clinches playoff berth with:
Buffalo win + OAK loss or tie + Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie

Kansas City (8-4) at New England (10-2), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:
Kansas City win + Oakland loss

New England (10-2) vs. Kansas City (8-4), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches playoff berth with:
New England win OR
New England tie + Pittsburgh loss OR
New England tie + Houston loss or tie OR
New England tie + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie + Oakland-Tennessee tie

NFC

CLINCHED: New Orleans Saints – NFC South Division

San Francisco (10-2) at New Orleans (10-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

San Francisco clinches playoff berth with:
San Francisco win + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie OR
San Francisco tie + Los Angeles Rams loss

Seattle (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-5), Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Seattle clinches playoff berth with:
Seattle win or tie

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 13: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ 20-17 victory over San Francisco. Jackson has four games with at least 100 rushing yards in 2019, surpassing Michael Vick (three games in both 2004 and 2006) and Russell Wilson (three in 2014) for the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Baltimore has rushed for 2,494 yards this season, the third-most rushing yards by a team in its first 12 games of a season since 1970. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins (2,586 rushing yards) and the 1975 Buffalo Bills (2,505) had more.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 125.4 passer rating in the Packers’ 31-13 win at the New York Giants. Rodgers has 23 career games with at least four touchdown passes, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (23 games) for the fourth-most such games in NFL history. Only Peyton Manning (35 games), Drew Brees (34) and Tom Brady (29, entering Sunday night) have more.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who appeared in his 25th career game, registered 115 scrimmage yards (83 rushing, 32 receiving) on Sunday. It marked his 17th career game with at least 100 scrimmage yards, tied with Billy Sims (17 games) for the fourth-most such games by a player in his first 25 career games. Only Edgerrin James (21 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (19) and Ezekiel Elliott (18) had more.

Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Delvin Hodges, making his second career start, threw a touchdown pass and recorded a 95.7 passer rating in the Steelers’ 20-13 win against Cleveland. Hodges, who won his first career start in Week 6, joins Ed Rubbert (1987) as the only undrafted rookie quarterbacks to win each of their first two career starts since 1970.

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown in the Titans’ 31-17 win at Indianapolis. Henry, who rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 and had 159 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns in Week 12, is the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 145 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1958), Eric Dickerson (1984) and O.J. Simpson (1976), as well as Adrian Peterson (2012).

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey registered seven receptions and 102 scrimmage yards (58 receiving, 44 rushing) in the Panthers’ Week 13 loss against Washington. He has 75 receptions through 12 games in the 2019 season. McCaffrey has recorded at least 75 catches in each of his first three NFL seasons and is the fifth running back in NFL history with at least three career seasons of at least 75 receptions, joining Le’Veon Bell (three seasons), Larry Centers (five), Roger Craig (three) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (five). McCaffrey has 2,162 career receiving yards and surpassed Roger Craig (2,118 receiving yards) for the most receiving yards by a running back in his first three seasons since 1966.

Three rookies – Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp (31-yard interception return), Kansas City safety Juan Thornhill (46-yard interception return) and Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White (14-yard fumble recovery) – each recorded a defensive touchdown on Sunday. With three defensive touchdowns, Week 13 marks the third week since 1990 in which three rookies each recorded a defensive touchdown, joining Week 17 of the 2004 season (Robert Geathers, DeAngelo Hall and Jonathan Vilma) and Week 6 of the 1999 season (Pro Football Hall of Famer Champ Bailey, Andy Katzenmoyer and Donald Mitchell).

Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders caught a one-yard touchdown pass from punter Matt Haack in the Dolphins’ 37-31 win over Philadelphia. Sanders, with his first career touchdown catch, is the first kicker with a receiving touchdown since Jim Turner (October 16, 1977).

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz registered three receptions on Sunday. He has 70 receptions in 2019, his fifth career season with at least 70 catches, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (five) for the fourth-most such seasons by a tight end in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passed for 424 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 118.0 passer rating in the team’s 34-7 win at Arizona. Goff, in his fourth NFL season, has passed for at least 400 yards and two touchdowns in four career games, tied with Dak Prescott (four) for the second-most such games in a player’s first four seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (seven) had more.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw his 70th career touchdown pass in the Chiefs’ 40-9 win over Oakland. Mahomes reached 70 career touchdown passes in his 27th career game, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (29 games) as the fastest player to reach 70 career touchdown passes in NFL history.

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 Cincinnati-Cleveland matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest includes the teams closest to the birthplace of the NFL. In 1920, the NFL formed in Northeast Ohio, where Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay organized the first meeting of fellow owners. Four years later, at nearby Massillon Washington High School, quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Brown discovered the sport that would shape his life. By 1946, as the first coach of the Cleveland franchise when it launched as part of the All-American Football Conference, Brown was so synonymous with success that by popular demand he became the team’s namesake, despite his humble objections. After entering the NFL in 1950, Brown’s team won three league championships (1950, 1954-55). When the AFL placed an expansion franchise in Cincinnati during the mid-1960s, Brown joined the team as general manager and head coach, then named his new team the Bengals in time for the club’s inaugural 1968 season. One of Brown’s first Cincinnati assistant coaches was Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Walsh.

BRADY, BREES IN RACE FOR HALLOWED MARK: As NFL teams jockey for position in the 2019 playoff race, New England quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees have one of the league’s most significant all-time records in their sights: Most career touchdown passes, currently held by Peyton Manning (539). Entering Week 14, Brady (535) and Brees (532) have Manning on their radar screens.

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

PLAYER: TEAMS (YEARS; TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning: Indianapolis and Denver (1998-2015; 539)
Tom Brady: New England (2000-present; 535)
Drew Brees: San Diego Chargers and New Orleans (2001-present; 532)
Brett Favre: ATLANTA, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (1991-2010; 508)(HOF)
Dan Marino: Miami (1983-99; 420)(HOF)
Philip Rivers: San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2004-present; 391)
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh (2004-present; 363)
Eli Manning: New York Giants (2004-present; 362)
Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay (2005-present; 360)
Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota and New York Giants (1961-1978; 342)(HOF)
(HOF) Hall of Fame

Brady, whose Patriots hosts Kansas City Sunday in Foxboro, is 47-12 (.797) during his career in starts following a regular-season loss.

EASTERN ILLINOIS CONNECTIONS IN THE BIG EASY: When San Francisco travels to the Big Easy to meet New Orleans Sunday in a matchup of 10-win teams, one former Eastern Illinois quarterback, the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, will square off against another former Eastern Illinois field general, Saints head coach Sean Payton. Also, the father of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, former Raiders, Broncos and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, also played at Eastern Illinois, where a serious injury ended his playing career but helped him discover his passion for coaching. The school also produced former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.

If San Francisco this week clinches a playoff berth, the 49ers would become the first NFL club that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season to earn a postseason invitation. In every season since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR’S NIGHTMARE: In one of Week 14’s premier games, Baltimore puts the league’s longest winning streak, eight games, on the line when they face Buffalo Sunday. The contest not only matches two of the AFC’s best teams, it also matches two of the NFL’s best dual-threat quarterbacks. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, whose 977 net rushing yards are more than five NFL teams this year, also ranks fourth in the NFL with a 109.6 passer rating. Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 430 rushing yards, has a fourth-quarter passer rating of 114.0.

Sunday’s game will have more combined rushing yards (1,407) by starting quarterbacks than any contest in NFL history.
Additionally, Jackson needs 23 rushing yards to become the second quarterback in NFL history with a 1,000-yard rushing season, and 63 to post the most rushing yards in a single season by an NFL quarterback, surpassing Michael Vick, who had 1,039 in 2006.

As a team, the Ravens are on pace for one of the most prolific rushing campaigns in the NFL’s 100 seasons. Since the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, Baltimore’s 207.8 net rushing yards per game are on pace to finish 10 yards better than any other team in that span.

The teams with the most net rushing yards per game since 1978:

TEAM – SEASON (GM; ATT-YARDS; YDS/GM)
Baltimore – 2019 (12; 445-2,494; 207.8)
New England – 1978 (16; 671-3,165; 197.8)
Kansas City – 1978 (16; 663-2,986; 186.6)
Chicago – 1984 (16; 674-2,974; 185.9)
ATLANTA – 2006 (16; 537-2,939; 183.7)

THE FOURTH QUARTER: As the NFL makes its final turn toward the regular-season finish line, each club has just four games remaining, and 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV. Two of those teams, Tennessee and oakland battle in a key AFC contest Sunday on the West Coast.

The game features several of the NFL’s top rookies. Oakland’s Josh Jacobs leads all NFL rookies in rushing yards (1,061), rushing touchdowns (seven) and scrimmage yards (1,207). Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown leads AFC rookies with 626 receiving yards. On defense, Oakland’s Maxx Crosby (7.5) and Clelin Ferrell (3.5) are the NFL’s only pair of rookie teammates with three-or-more sacks each.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS CONTINUE TO WIN GAMES: Arizona’s Kyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, leads Arizona at home against Pittsburgh Sunday. Murray and the Steelers’ Delvin Hodges, an undrafted rookie, are two of the six rookie quarterbacks to win a game this season. Last week, Denver’s Drew Lock joined a group that includes Washington’s Dwayne Haskins, the Giants’ Daniel Jones and Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. That group of six represents the second-highest number of rookie quarterbacks to win an NFL start in league history, trailing only the 1987 season (seven). Detroit’s David Blough, who plays at Minnesota Sunday, gives the 2019 rookies an opportunity to tie the single-season league record.

BATTLE OF OHIO: When Cincinnati makes the cross-state trip to play in Cleveland Sunday, the teams will meet for the 92nd time. Sunday marks the first Bengals-Browns game in 35 years in which each club has a first-year head coach. Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor and Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens are the first rookie head-coaching pair in the series since December 2, 1984, when the Bengals’ Sam Wyche beat the Browns’ Marty Schottenheimer on an overtime field goal, 20-17.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 14

RUSHING INTO HISTORY: Baltimore enters Week 14 with the league’s top rushing attack, having rushed for the third-most yards (2,494) by a team in its first 12 games of a season since 1970. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins (2,586 rushing yards) and the 1975 Buffalo Bills (2,505) had more.

Last week, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, surpassing Michael Vick (three games in both 2004 and 2006) and Russell Wilson (three in 2014) for the most games with at least 100 rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Jackson has now rushed for 977 yards in 2019.

With 63 rushing yards on Sunday at Buffalo, Jackson would surpass Vick (1,039 rushing yards in 2006) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.

50,000 IN SIGHT: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan ranks sixth in the NFL with 3,246 passing yards this season and has 49,966 passing yards in 185 games during his 12-year NFL career.

With 34 passing yards on Sunday against Carolina, Ryan would become the second-fastest player to reach 50,000 career passing yards in NFL history.

The players to reach 50,000 passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAMS (GAMES TO 50,000 PASS YARDS)
Drew Brees, San Diego and New Orleans (183)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (191)
Dan Marino, Miami (193) (HOF)
Philip Rivers, San Diego (196)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (186)*
*On Sunday

TAKING THE NEXT STEP IN TENNESSEE: Tennessee enters Week 14 on a three-game winning streak, averaging 36 points per game since Week 10 – the second-most in the NFL over that span.

Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill leads the NFL with a 113.9 passer rating entering Week 14, having completed more than 75 percent of his pass attempts with a passer rating of 130 or higher in each of his past two games.

On Sunday against Oakland, Tannehill can join Aaron Rodgers (three games in 2011) as the only players to complete at least 75 percent of their passes with a passer rating of 130 or higher (min. 10 attempts) in three consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

Additionally, with at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 125 or higher, Tannehill would join Russell Wilson (five games in 2015) as the only players with four consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 125 or higher in NFL history.

Since Week 10, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing yards (496) and rushing touchdowns (five).
With at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown against Oakland on Sunday, Henry can become the fifth player with at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games in NFL history.

The players with at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2006 – 4) (HOF)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City (2005 – 4)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002 – 4)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998 – 4) (HOF)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

FIRST TO 2,000: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 1,811 scrimmage yards through 12 games in 2019.

With at least 189 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Atlanta, McCaffrey would tie for the fewest games to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season in NFL history.

The players to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES TO REACH 2,000)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1963 – 13)(HOF)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002 – 13)
Chris Johnson, Tennessee (2009 – 13)
Walter Payton, Chicago (1977 – 13) (HOF)
O.J. Simpson, Buffalo (1975 – 13) (HOF)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 12)*
*Has 1,811 scrimmage yards entering Sunday

NFC SHOWDOWN IN BIG EASY: New Orleans (10-2), who clinched the NFC South last week, hosts San Francsico on Sunday in a matchup of two of the league’s most talented backfields.

Since entering the NFL in 2017, New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara ranks second among running backs with 1,979 receiving yards and ranks fourth across all players with 4,177 scrimmage yards.

Kamara – who has 587 rushing yards and 444 receiving yards this season – needs 56 receiving yards on Sunday against San Francisco, to become the third player with at least 500 rushing and 500 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons in NFL history.

The players with at least 500 rushing and 500 receiving yards in each of their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Abner Haynes, Dallas Texans (1960-62)
Herschel Walker, Dallas Cowboys (1986-88)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017-18)*
*Has 587 rushing yards and 444 receiving yards in 2019

Meanwhile, San Francisco features one of the most balanced rushing attacks in the NFL this season. Led by running backs Matt Breida (542 rushing yards), Raheem Mostert (539) and Tevin Coleman (454), the 49ers boast the NFC’s top rushing offense (148 yards per game) in 2019.

With 46 rushing yards from Coleman, San Francisco would become the first team with three running backs to each have at least 500 rushing yards in a season since the 2004 Kansas City Chiefs, when Priest Holmes (892 rushing yards), Larry Johnson (581) and Derrick BlaylockK (539) accomplished the feat.

Additionally, if Coleman reaches 500 rushing yards for the season on Sunday, San Francisco would become the first team to have three running backs with at least 500 rushing yards each in its first 13 games of a season since the 1978 New England Patriots.

AMONG THE GREATS: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce leads the AFC with 923 receiving yards this season. With at least 77 receiving yards on Sunday at New England, Kelce would become the fourth tight end with at least four seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS WITH 1,000+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (4)(HOF)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (4)
Jason Witten, Dallas (4)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (3)*
*Has 923 receiving yards in 2019

If Kelce reaches 1,000 receiving yards in 2019, he would become the first tight end with at least 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons in NFL history, surpassing Greg Olsen (three seasons from 2014-16).

MAN OF STEEL: The Pittsburgh Steeler defense leads the NFL with 30 takeaways and has an AFC-leading 43 sacks this season, led by linebacker T.J. Watt’s AFC-high 12.5 sacks.

If Watt – who has at least a half sack in nine consecutive games – records at least half a sack against Arizona on Sunday, he would become the fifth player to have at least half a sack in 10 consecutive games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with at least half a sack in 10 consecutive games in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Chris Jones, Kansas City (2018 – 11)
Michael Strahan, New York Giants (2002 – 10) (HOF)
Jevon Kearse, Tennessee (1999 – 10)
Simon Fletcher, Denver (1991 – 10)
T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh (2019 – 9)*

*Active streak

Week 14 got underway in the Windy City as Chicago held off Dallas at Soldier Field Thursday night and ends in the City of Brotherly Love as Philadelphia hosts the New York Giants in a game that Philadelphia needs for any chance in the post-season. As for last week? 8-8 for the week (while not great, isn’t bad because that keeps us at or above .500 for another week), 88-59 for the season. With all of that being said, here are the picks for Sunday and Monday in week 14.

Carolina (5-7) at ATLANTA (3-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of NFC South rivals who met a few weeks ago in Charlotte meet again, as it’s Carolina’s turn to make the 249-mile, 4-hour trip south to face off against Atlanta in the Big Peach. Both teams took losses at home in last week’s action and both look to gain a little ground on New Orleans in the division and Carolina will have new leadership on their sideline after the Panthers relieved Ron Rivera of his coaching duties, with secondary coach Perry Fewell in as the team’s interim coach.

Carolina let a 14-12 lead against Washington get away from them at Bank of America Stadium and saw their hopes of a last-second comeback fall short as the Panthers fell to the Redskins 29-21. Carolina took that 1-point into the intermission, thanks to a pair of Kyle Allen TDs in the first 30 minutes of action. Washington would use a pair of Daniel Hopkins field goals and a 1-yard TD run by Derek Guice to narrow the deficit, then went on to score 17 unchallenged points (Hopkins field goal and TDs from Guice and Adrian Peterson) in the second half before the Panthers would make the contest an 8-point affair with 1:51 when Allen scored on a 17-yard run. Carolina would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and got themselves as close as Washington’s 3-yard line when Allen was sacked and fumbled the ball, with Washington recovering to end the threat.

Washington outrushed Carolina 248-65 with Guice leading the way with 129 yards and a pair of TDs, while Peterson tallied 99 yards on the ground. Allen threw for 278 yards with a pair of TDs but found himself being sacked seven times with an interception, while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 147 yards and despite being sacked five times, did not have an interception. Carolina was 5 of 16 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:23, while the Redskins were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:37 and went 3 for 11 on third down.

Atlanta dropped their second NFC South game and their second home game, falling to divisional rival New Orleans 26-18 in the Big Peach Thanksgiving night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. New Orleans, who clinched the NFC South, would lead 17-9 at the intermission, then got three field goals from Will Lutz before Atlanta stormed back in the final period, using a 13-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Russell Gage, then a successful onside kick and a 43-yard field goal by Youngho Koo with 1:56 left in the contest.

Atlanta would get the jump on New Orleans again with another successful onside kick after Koo’s field goal, getting the ball on their 47-yard line. The Falcons’ final rally fell short as Ryan would be sacked by Cameron Jordan to seal the win. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 95-89 and Ryan threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, while Drew Brees threw for 184 yards (Ryan was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions). Atlanta was 6 of 16 on third down tries in the Big Peach (they were 2 of 4 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:37, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 24:23, going 2 of 10 on third down tried.

They met in the Tar Heel State in week 11 and the Falcons manhandled Carolina 29-3. Atlanta scored the first 26 points of the contest uncontested (they led 20-0 at the intermission) at Bank of America Stadium and never looked back, holding the Panthers to a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Slye early in the final quarter to take the win.

Atlanta, getting three field goals from Youngho Koo, a 78-yard punt return from Kenjon Barner and a 6-yard TD pass from Ryan to Calvin Ridley, held the Panthers to 77 yards of rushing (McCaffery would lead Carolina with 70 of those yards), while tallying 54 yards of their own. Ryan threw for 311 yards with the TD toss to Ridley with three sacks but no interceptions, while Allen threw for 325 yards with five sacks and four interceptions. Atlanta on third down? 6 of 14 but they were perfect on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball from the Panthers for 31:26, while Carolina, going 2 of 14 on third down (3 of 5 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:34.

In the week 11 contest at Bank of America Stadium, Carolina was favored by 6 1/2 and Atlanta pulled the upset, winning by 26. The 49 1/2 over/under stayed safe, as both clubs combined for only 32 points. The odds makers like the Falcons at home, favoring them by 2 with a 48 over/under. The Panthers are looking for revenge from their week 11 loss in Charlotte, while the Falcons would love nothing more than to let Carolina know that the first time was not a fluke. Atlanta completes the sweep at home in the Big Peach and covers the 2.

Baltimore (10-2) at Buffalo (9-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC contenders meet along the shore of Lake Erie as the Baltimore Ravens (first place in the AFC North) travel to Orchard Park to face off against the Buffalo Bills (second place in the AFC East). Both teams took huge wins in last week’s action.

Ravens K Jeff Tucker sent Baltimore fans home happy last Sunday in Charm City as Baltimore left M&T Bank Stadium 20-17 winners over San Francisco in a contest that some considered a possible Super Bowl matchup. The Ravens led the 49ers 17-14 at the break before the 49ers tied the contest with 3:37 left in the third on a 32-yard field goal. San Francisco and Baltimore exchanged the ball four times from the time the 49ers tied the contest until the 6:28 of the fourth quarter, when the Ravens went on a long drive that used 12 plays, 34 yards of field and all of the 6:28 left in the contest to give Tucker a chance to end the contest in regulation. Tucker did not disappoint Ravens fans that stayed in the rain and wind, booting a 49-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

Baltimore outrushed the 49ers 178-174 with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson leading the way with 101 yards and a rushing TD (Jackson also threw for 105 yards and a TD toss to TE Mark Andrews; San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 165 yards and a TD. Garoppolo was sacked twice, Jackson was sacked once and neither threw an interception), while San Francisco was led by Robert Mostert with 146 yards on the ground. Baltimore was 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Ravens were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and including the final 6:28 of the contest, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:26, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Buffalo erased a 7-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter against Dallas as the Bills came away with the 26-15 win last Thursday at AT&T Stadium. The Bills scored their 26 points from the second quarter to the midway point of the fourth quarter unchallenged to take the win in the Lone Star State. Although they trailed 13-7 at the intermission, Dallas could never really get themselves on track at home, as they would lose their second contest in three games.

Buffalo outrushed Dallas 124-103 with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading all rushers with 71 yards, while Dak Prescott threw for 355 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Jason Witten) with Bills QB Josh Allen throwing for 231 yards and a TD pass to former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (Beasley burned his former team for 110 yards on six catches). Allen, who had a rushing TD in the third quarter, did not have an interception, while Prescott threw a pick (both were sacked four times). Dallas was 7 of 13 on third down (the Cowboys were 1 for 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 26:42, while the Bills ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:18, while going 6 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 5-3, the Ravens have outscored the Bills 180-112 and Baltimore has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 47-3 win in Charm City last year (Buffalo’s last win in the series came in 2013 in upstate New York by a final of 23-20).

Their 2018 meeting was in Charm City at M&T Bank Stadium and the Ravens scored 26 first-half points in the season opener unchallenged to lead 26-0. Buffalo’s only points in the contest came in the third quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Stepehn Hauschka late in the period. Baltimore would then go in the contest to slam the door shut on the Bills.

While rushing for 117 yards in the win at home, the Ravens held Buffalo to 83 yards and Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw for 236 yards with three TDs and a sack but did not throw an interception, while Bills signal caller Nathan Peterman threw for 24 yards with a pair of interceptions and three sacks before being replaced by Josh Allen (74 yards), who was sacked three times himself. Baltimore was 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 35:14, while the Bills kept the pigskin for 24:46, going 2 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore’s win by 44 points easily allowed the Ravens to cover the 7 1/2 point spread in Charm City and both clubs covered the 39 1/2 over/under with 50 points. The odds makers in Vegas like the Ravens as 5 1/2 point favorites along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 43. Both clubs are looking to be part of the playoff party and both teams could get their invite and both clubs have played some pretty good football of late. Ravens make this one closer than the 5 1/2 but Buffalo circles the wagons in upstate New York and takes the win.

Cincinnati (1-11) at Cleveland (5-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They share the same state and the same divison. They’re separtated by 249 miles and a 3 1/2 drive up Interstate 71. A pair of AFC North rivals meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Cleveland and Baker Mayfield host the Cincinnati Bengals at First Energy Stadium.

Cincinati fans were in a very good mood last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium as they held the New York Jets to a pair of first half field goals, breaking their 13-game losing streak (they lost the last two games of the 2018 campaign) to take a 22-6 win along the shores of the Ohio River. Cincinnati led 17-6 at the intermission, then floored the gas as they would score five third quarter points (safety, Randy Bulloch field goal) unchallenged to seal New York’s fate.

GangGreen did outrush Cincinnati 62-44 and Sam Darnold threw for 239 yards, while Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton returned to action and threw for 243 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd (Dalton was sacked once, Darnold was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 7 of 17 on third down tries, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:19, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:41 and went 5 of 14 on third down.

Cleveland saw an early 10-0 lead at Pittsburgh get away from them last Sunday as the Steelers got a measure of revenge from their loss along the shores of Lake Erie two weeks ago to take a 20-17 win at Heinz Field. The Browns used a 31-yard field goal by Austin Siebert and a 15-yard TD toss from Mayfield to Kareem Hunt to score the first points of the contest unchallenged before the Steelers got themselves back on track, tying the contest with Chris Boswell’s 39-yard field goal and a 30-yard TD pass from Delvin Hodges to WR James Washigton with a minute left in the first half to send the teams into the intermission tied at 10-10.

Pittsburgh would then add a 1-yard run by Benny Snell, Jr. and a 29-yard field goal by Boswell to lead 20-10 early in the final period. Siebert then pulled the Browns to within seven with 7:30 left in regulation on a 34-yard field goal. The Browns and Steelers would each get the ball, only to punt to the other team after Siebert’s field goal and Cleveland would get the ball back with 1:45 left. After Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer, the Browns got the ball at their 35 and would get as close as their own 40, when the drive and Cleveland’s hopes ended when Mayfield was picked off by Joe Haden, ending the threat.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 124-106 with Snell leading the way with 63 yards (Cleveland was led by Nick Chubb, who ran for 58 yards on 16 carries). Hodges threw for 212 yards in the win, while Mayfield threw for 196 (both threw an interception as well as a TD; Mayfield was sacked five times, while Hodges was sacked once. Cleveland was 4 of 12 on third down (the Browns were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:06 to Pittsburgh’s 27:54; the Steelers were 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

The Bengals lead the series 50-41 and have outscored the Browns 1,986-1,806. Cleveland did sweep the series last year, taking both wins in the Buckeye State (Cincinnati’s last win in the series came in 2017, when the Bengals were 30-16 winners in Cincinnati).

The first meeting… week 12 along the banks of the Ohio River. Cleveland left Paul Brown Stadium in that first meeting 35-20. The Browns led 28-7 at the break and pretty much held their instate/AFC North rivals in check. While Cincinnati outrushed Cleveland 129-84 (Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon led all rushers with 89 yards, Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 88 yards), Mayfield threw for 258 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Chubb, who also had a rushing TD) without a sack or interception, while Jeff Driskel threw for 155 yards with a TD to Tyler Boyd before being replaced by Andy Dalton (100 yards, TD, interception). The Browns were 5 of 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:04, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 27:56, going 4 of 12 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Cleveland completed the sweep of the Buckeye State series in week 16 at First Energy Field, coming away 26-18 winners in the rematch. After a scoreless first quarter, the Browns took a 16-0 lead with them to the intermission, then led 23-0 at the end of 45 minutes of play before the Bengals would storm their way back to within eight with 2:56 left in the contest but got no closer. Chubb led all rushers with 112 yards as the Browns outrushed Cincinnati 146-102 (Mixon led the Bengals with 68 yards) and Mayfield threw for 284 yards and three TDs without a sack or interception, while Driskel (who took over for Dalton), threw for 133 yards with three TDs (Driskel was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Bengals were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:29, while the Browns ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 35:31 and was 5 of 12 on third down tries (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

In the week 12 contest in Cincinnati, the Bengals were favored by 3 and the Browns covered, winning by 15 and both clubs combined for 55 points, allowing the 47 1/2 over/under to be covered. In the week 16 affair at First Energy Field, the Browns barely covered the 7-point spread, winning by 8 but both clubs barely missed the 45 over/under by a single point. Cleveland’s favored by 8 1/2 along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 42 1/2. The Browns look to keep their playoff hopes in tact, while the Bengals look to take their second win in a row. Cincinnati wins on the road but expect Cleveland to make the contest closer than the 8 1/2.

Washington (3-9) at Green Bay (9-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Green Bay returns to the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst to face off against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field. Both teams were winners on the road, chipping away at early deficits in the process.

Washington chipped away at a 14-12 deficit lead against Carolina at Bank of America Stadium, then held off a late Carolina rally to give the Redskins a 29-21 win in the Tar Heel State. Carolina took that 1-point into the intermission, thanks to a pair of Kyle Allen TDs in the first 30 minutes of action. Washington would use a pair of Daniel Hopkins field goals and a 1-yard TD run by Derek Guice to narrow the deficit, then went on to score 17 unchallenged points (Hopkins field goal and TDs from Guice and Adrian Peterson) in the second half before the Panthers would make the contest an 8-point affair with 1:51 when Allen scored on a 17-yard run. Carolina would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and got themselves as close as Washington’s 3-yard line when Allen was sacked and fumbled the ball, with Washington recovering to end the threat.

Washington outrushed Carolina 248-65 with Guice leading the way with 129 yards and a pair of TDs, while Peterson tallied 99 yards on the ground. Allen threw for 278 yards with a pair of TDs but found himself being sacked seven times with an interception, while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 147 yards and despite being sacked five times, did not have an interception. Carolina was 5 of 16 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:23, while the Redskins were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:37 and went 3 for 11 on third down. It would be head coach Ron Rivera’s final game with the Panthers, as they relieved him of his duties Tuesday afternoon.

Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers went into Met Life Stadium last Sunday and left the Meadowlands 31-13 winners. The Packers erased a 7-7 after Russell Shepherd and Doug Jones connected on an 18 yard TD toss with 3:16 left in the first when Rodgers and rookie WR Allan Lazard connected on a 37-yard TD pass to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Big Blue trailed 17-10 at the half and would rally to make it a 4-point contest at the end of the third quarter before Green Bay would get TD passes from Rodgers to Davante Adams and Marcedes Lewis to seal New York’s fate.

New York did manage to outrush the Packers 95-79 with Giants RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 83 yards, while Rodgers threw for 243 yards with four TDs and no sacks or interceptions (Jones threw for 240 yards with the lone TD toss but was picked off three times). The Giants were 5 of 14 on third down tries in the snowy Meadowlands (they were 3 of 4 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:17, while the Packers, who held the pigskin for 28:43, went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests played in Boston, when the Redskins were known as the Braves, contests played in Milwaukee at County Stadium and RFK Stadium, the Packers lead the series 18-15-1 and have outscored Washington 663-580. Washington has won the last two meetings in the series, both in Landover, with the last win coming in 2018 by a final of 31-17 (Green Bay’s last win in the series came in 2013 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, with the Packers leaving Lambeau Field 38-20 winners).

They met in week three in Landover and Washington led 28-10 at the break as Peterson rushed for a pair of TDs (both 2-yard runs) in the first half, while Alex Smith threw a pair of TD passes (his longest going to Paul Richardson in the first quarter) in the first 30 minutes of play. Washington outrushed Green Bay 166-100 with Peterson leading all rushers with 120 yards to go with the two TDs; Smith threw for 220 yards with an interception to go with his two TDs, while Rodgers threw for 265 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks but no picks. Green Bay was 6 of 14 on third down (they were 0 for 2 on fourth down) and the Packers would keep the ball for 30:55, while Washington, who kept the ball for 29:05, went 5 of 11 on third down.

In the week three contest in Landover, Green Bay was favored by 3 and the Redskins would cover, winning by 14 and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under, tallying 48 points. Green Bay’s favored by 13 1/2 at Lambeau and the over/under’s 43. The 43 is reasonable, it’s the 13 1/2 that comes into question. Washington’s not that bad a team and while Green Bay takes this one, expect the Redskins to make it closer than the 13 1/2.

Denver (4-8) at Houston (8-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The first-place Houston Texans welcome the Denver Broncos to the Lone Star State in a early afternoon Sunday matchup at NRG Stadium. Both teams were home winners in last week’s contests.
Denver fought their way to the end against AFC West foe the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday and it would be K Brian McManus sending Broncos fans home with smiles on their faces as they came away 23-20 last-second winners at Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos led 17-10 at the break in the Mile High City and took that lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of football (the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter) before the Chargers would tie the contest up early in the fourth when Keenan Allen and QB Philip Rivers connected on a 36-yard TD pass.

McManus would give his team the lead back with 4:26 left in regulation, booting a 52-yard field goal through the uprights. That lead would not last long as the Chargers would tie the contest again with 14 seconds left on a 46-yard field goal by Michael Badgley. Denver would get the ball back with 14 seconds left after Los Angeles’ kickoff went into the endzone for a touchback. Broncos QB Drew Lock’s pass to Courtland Sutton was incomplete but Chargers CB Casey Heyward Jr. was flagged for interference at his team’s 35-yard line. The Chargers, hoping for overtime, then burned a timeout with three seconds left in an effort to ice McManus, who was going to try a 53-yard field goal for the win. McManus’ try went through the uprights as the clock stuck :00, giving Denver the win.

Houston led Tom Brady and the New England Patriots from start to finish, holding off a late rally by the defending Super Bowl champs to take a 28-22 win Sunday night at NRG Stadium. Houston led 14-3 at the intermission and New England found themselves playing catchup the entire contest. The Patriots did pull themselves to within six with 50 seconds left when Brady and WR Josh Edelman connected on a 20-yard TD toss. New England then went for the onside kick, which the Texans recovered and the home team would run out the clock and take the win.

New England outrushed Houston 145-52 and Brady threw for 326 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 234 yards with a TD reception (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked three times). New England did reasonably well on third down conversions, going 9 for 17 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:35, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 25:25, going 6 for 11 on third down.

The Chargers outrushed Denver 115-84 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 99 yards, while Patrick Lindsay led Denver with 58) and Lock threw for 134 yards, while Rivers threw for 265 (Rivers was sacked three times, both men threw a pair of TDs and both threw an interception). The Chargers on third down went 5 of 15 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:51 (including the final 14 seconds of regulation) and went 7 of 15 on third down.

Denver leads the series 4-3 and the Broncos have outscored Houston 174-139. Houston won the last meeting, which took place in Denver in 2018, by a final of 19-17, while the Broncos took a 27-9 win in Denver in 2016 for their last victory in the series. Houston’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. The Chargers are looking to derail Houston’s playoff drive, while the Texans want no part of that plan. Houston may not cover the 9 1/2 but they do take the win at home.

Detroit (3-8-1) at Minnesota (8-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Twin Cities as the Lions and Vikings meet in a week seven rematch at US Bank Stadium. Both teams, chasing Green Bay for the division lead, lost last week’s contests.

Detroit would watch Chicago leave the Motor City 24-20 winners Thanksgiving afternoon, thanks to a 3-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky to RB David Montgomery, rallying in the final minutes at Ford Field to take the win. Detroit led 17-10 at the intermission in the Motor City before Chicago tied the contest up at 17-17 when Trubisky and TE Jesper Horsted connected on an 18-yard TD toss late in the third quarter. Detroit’s Matt Prater would give the Lions the lead back with 10:47 in the contest, connecting on a 24-yard field goal to lead by three. The two clubs would exchange punts and Da Bears would get the ball back with 6:40 left in regulation, using a 9-play, 90-yard drive that took 4:23 of clock to reclaim the lead in the contest.

Detroit would get the ball back with 2:12 left in the contest and got themselves from their 17-yard line to Chicago’s 26, burning a timeout and the two-minute warning, only to see their hopes dashed when back QB David Blough (who took over for Matthew Stafford) was picked off by Eddie Jackson to seal Detroit’s fate. Detroit somehow managed to outrush Da Bears 105-88, with Lions RB Bobby Scarborough leading the way with 83 yards, while Montgomery led Chicago with 75. Trubisky threw for 338 yards and three TDs (including the game-winner), while Blough led Detroit with 280 yards and a pair of TDs, including his first NFL TD pass to Kenny Golladay early in the first quarter (Trubisky was sacked twice, Blough was sacked once and both men threw an interception; Golladay led all recievers with 158 yards on four catches, while Chicago’s Anthony Miller had 140 yards on nine catches). Chicago was 5 of 10 on third down tries Thanksgiving afternoon in the Motor City and kept the ball for 30:50, while Detroit held on to the pigskin for 29:10, going 8 of 16 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Minnesota let a 17-10 lead at Seattle get away from them in the Pacific Northwest Monday night as the Seahawks rallied to take a 37-30 win at Century Link Field. Safety Anthony Harris would give the Vikings a 14-7 lead when he picked off Seattle QB Russell Wilson, running the interception back 20 yards for a TD. Jason Myers would put Seattle to within four with a 29-yard field goal with 59 seconds left before Vikings K Dan Bailey responded with a 47-yard boot as time expired in the first half. Seattle would then take control of things in the second half, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged, using a 1-yard run by RB Rashaad Penny, a 29-yard field goal by Myers and a 60-yard pass from Wilson to David Moore in that quarter to lead 27-17. Penny would open the scoring in the final 15 minutes of play, catching a 13-yard toss from Wilson to lead by 17 before Minnesota responded with a pair of Cousins TD tosses (the first going to WR Laquon Treadwell and the second to TE Kyle Rudolph) to put themselves to within 4 with 7:14 left in the contest before Myers added his third field goal of the contest to all but ice the contest away.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 218-78, with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (the Seahawks held Delvin Cook to 29 yards on 9 carries with a TD) and Cousins threw for 276 yards, while Wilson tallied 240 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, both threw interceptions and Wilson was sacked once). Minnesota was 5 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 20:15, while Seattle ruled time in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, keeping the pigskin for 39:45, while going 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

They met in the Motor City in week seven and the Vikings took Detroit to task at Ford Field, taking a 42-30 win. Minnesota and Detroit were tied 21-21 at the intermission before the Vikings would pull away in the second half, taking the lead for keeps with 9:02 left in the third when Chris Ham caught a 5-yard TD toss from Cousins. Detroit’s Marvin Jones would later catch a 2-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to pull themselves to within five before Delvin Cook’s 4-yard run (his second of the contest) with 1:55 left in the contest sealed Detroit’s fate.

Minnesota outrushed their NFC North rivals 166-81 with Cook leading the way with 142 yards; Cousins threw for 337 yards without a sack or interception, while Stafford threw for 364 yards with an interception and two sacks (both threw four TD passes in the contest). Minnesota was 6 of 10 on third down at Ford Field and kept the ball for 32:10, while the Lions held the ball for 27:50 and went 6 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota covered the 1-point spread in the week seven contest at Ford Field and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under with 72 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Vikings again, this time favoring them by 14 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. We’re not sure about the 14; on the other hand, the 42 1/2 makes sense. Detroit’s not as bad as their record states but then again, we’re dealing with the Lions here. Detroit makes it closer than the 14 but the Vikings complete the sweep in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and takes the win in the Twin Cities.

San Francisco (10-2) at New Orleans (10-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of contending NFC teams that could very well meet in the post-season meet in the Big Easy as New Orleans and San Francsico square off at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

The 49ers got their hearts broken in Baltimore as Ravens K Jeff Tucker sent Baltimore fans home happy last Sunday in Charm City as Baltimore left M&T Bank Stadium 20-17 winners over San Francisco in a contest that some considered a possible Super Bowl matchup. The Ravens led the 49ers 17-14 at the break before the 49ers tied the contest with 3:37 left in the third on a 32-yard field goal. San Francisco and Baltimore exchanged the ball four times from the time the 49ers tied the contest until the 6:28 of the fourth quarter, when the Ravens went on a long drive that used 12 plays, 34 yards of field and all of the 6:28 left in the contest to give Tucker a chance to end the contest in regulation. Tucker did not disappoint Ravens fans that stayed in the rain and wind, booting a 49-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

It was a ground game fan’s dream as Baltimore outrushed the 49ers 178-174 with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson leading the way with 101 yards and a rushing TD (Jackson also threw for 105 yards and a TD toss to TE Mark Andrews; San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 165 yards and a TD. Garoppolo was sacked twice, Jackson was sacked once and neither threw an interception), while San Francisco was led by Robert Mostert with 146 yards on the ground. Baltimore was 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Ravens were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and including the final 6:28 of the contest, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:26, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New Orleans held off a late Atlanta rally as the Falcons dropped their second NFC South game and their second home game, coming away 26-18 winners in the Big Peach Thanksgiving night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. New Orleans, who clinched the NFC South, would lead 17-9 at the intermission, then got three field goals from Will Lutz before Atlanta stormed back in the final period, using a 13-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Russell Gage, then a successful onside kick and a 43-yard field goal by Youngho Koo with 1:56 left in the contest.

Atlanta would get the jump on New Orleans again with another successful onside kick after Koo’s field goal, getting the ball on their 47-yard line. The Falcons’ final rally fell short as Ryan would be sacked by Cameron Jordan to seal the win. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 95-89 and Ryan threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, while Drew Brees threw for 184 yards (Ryan was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions). Atlanta was 6 of 16 on third down tries in the Big Peach (they were 2 of 4 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:37, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 24:23, going 2 of 10 on third down tried.

Including contests played at Keezar Stadium, old Tulane Stadium and Candlestick Park, San Francisco leads the series 47-26-2 and have outscored the Saints 1,814-1,395. The Saints came away 41-23 winners in San Francsico in 2016, while the 49ers’ last win came in the Big Easy by a final of 27-24 in 2014. New Orleans’ favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense. The Saints have already punched their playoff ticket, while the 49ers are looking to get their ducks back in a row in hopes of either winning the NFC West or being a Wild Card team. San Francisco rights its ship from last week in the Big Easy and covers the 3 1/2 with the win.

Miami (3-9) at New York Jets (4-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling AFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey in a week nine rematch as the New York J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! host the Miami Dolphins at Met Life Stadium.

The Dolphins used trickery in their 37-31 win over Philadelphia Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-13 lead with 4:40 left before the intermission when K Jason Sanders and punter Matt Haack connected on a 1-yard TD pass as the Dolphins lined up for what some thought would be a field goal try. Philadelphia then took the lead back with 6 seconds left before half time on a 15-yard TD toss from Carson Wentz to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and added to their lead in the third quarter when Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery connected on a 10-yard toss.

Miami then used a pair of TD passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick (connecting with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki), a two-point conversion pass from Fitzpatrick to RB Patrick Patrick and a Sanders field goal in the second half, tallying 23 points unchallenged to lead 37-28 before Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 37-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the contest. Miami would get the ball back but could not make a first down that would have ended the contest and the Dolphins punted the ball back to Philadelphia, who had the pigskin for only two plays, when Wentz was picked off by S Chris Lammons, ending the threat.

Philadelphia outrushed Miami 92-52 and Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards, while Wentz threw for 310 yards (both threw an interception with three TDs; Wentz was sacked twice, Fitzpatrick was sacked three times) in the Sunshine State. Miami went 5 of 12 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and kept the ball for 31:18, while Philadelphia held on to the ball for 28:42, while going 7 for 14 on third down.

GangGreen found themselves being held by Cincinnati to a pair of first half field goals at Paul Brown Stadium as the Bengals broke their 13-game losing streak (they lost the last two games of the 2018 campaign) to take a 22-6 win along the shores of the Ohio River. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 17-6 at the intermission, then watched the Bengals score five third quarter points (safety, Randy Bulloch field goal) unchallenged to seal their fate.

GangGreen did outrush Cincinnati 62-44 and Sam Darnold threw for 239 yards, while Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton returned to action and threw for 243 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd (Dalton was sacked once, Darnold was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 7 of 17 on third down tries, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:19, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:41 and went 5 of 14 on third down.

Miami picked up their first win in their week nine meeting in the Sunshine State at Hard Rock Stadium 26-18. The Dolphins led 21-12 at the break, then things went sideways for GangGreen as they would give up a Jason Sanders field goal with 60 seconds left in the third quarter, then Jets RB Jonathan Harrison fumbled the ball out of the end zone, giving Miami two more points in the fourth quarter.

Neither club touched the 100-yard barrier in the contest but while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! outrushed Miami 83-50, Miami’s Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 288 yards with four TDs with no interceptions, despite being sacked four times (Darnold threw for 260 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception for GangGreen). Miami was 6 of 12 on third down and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 31:14, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! held the pigskin for 28:46, going 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest at Hard Rock Stadium, GangGreen was favored by 3 and the Dolphins would cover, winning by 8 and both clubs covered the 40 1/2 over/under with 44 points. This time, the Jets are favored in the Meadowlands by 6 with a 44 over/under. We don’t blame you if you decide not to watch this one and watch the “Grumpy Cat Christmas” movie (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams). Miami proves that the first time was not a fluke and wins in the Meadowlands, covering the 6.

Indianapolis (6-6) at Tampa Bay (5-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Jacoby Brissett and Indianapolis make their way to the Sunshine State to face off against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Colts’ playoff hopes took a hit Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil as Tennessee swept a 10-7 halftime deficit at Indianapolis away, outscoring the Colts 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a 31-17 win over their AFC South rivals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts RB Nyheim Hines would give Indianpolis a 17-7 lead with 10:23 left in the third before Tennessee would go on a tear, scoring their 24 second-half points unthreatened and got help from their special teams as S Tye Smith blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Adam Vinatieri, picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched. Tennesee outrushed Indianapolis 154-82, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 149 yards and a TD, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 182 yards and a pair of TDs (Brissett threw for 319 yards with a TD but was sacked three times; Tannehill was sacked six times but had no interceptions to his credit). Tennessee was 5 of 13 on third down (the Titans were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 27:29, while the Colts held on to the pigskin for 32:31, going 5 for 12 on third down.

Tampa Bay restored order in the Sunshine State last week in Jacksonville, as the Bucs manhandled the Jaguars 28-11 at TIAA Stadium. The Bucs led 25-0 at the intermission on the road, scoring all of their points in the first 30 minutes of play unchallenged to set the tone before Jacksonville would use a Josh Lambo field goal and a TD pass from Gardner Minshew II (who took over after Nick Foles was benched) to Dede Westbrook (the two combined for the two-point conversion).

Neither team breached the 100-yard barrier in the Sunshine State contest but Tampa Bay did manage to outrush Jacksonville 74-49 and Winston threw for 268 yards and while he did not throw a TD and was sacked four times, did not throw an interception, while Minshew threw for 147 yards with a pair of sacks and was picked off once (Foles threw for 93 yards with three sacks and an interception before he was taken out of the contest). Tampa Bay was 7 of 17 on third down tries (the Buccaneers went 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball hostage for 33:32, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:28, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Including games that took place in Baltimore, the Colts lead the series 8-5 and have outscored Tampa Bay 336-277. Their last meeting took place in the Hoosier State in 2015 and the Colts came away 25-12 winners, while Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2011 by a final of 24-17. Tampa Bay’s favored by 3 on Florida’s West Coast and the over/under’s 49. Tampa Bay would love nothing more than to dent or damage to Indianapolis’ playoff hopes, while the Colts are looking to bounce back from their loss at home. Colts pull off the upset on the road and cover the 3 in the Sunshine State.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-8) at Jacksonville (4-8), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet on the East Coast as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers take on Gordon Minshew II and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Chargers fans had their hearts broken last Sunday in Denver as the Broncos fought their way to the end against their AFC West foe and it would be K Brian McManus sending Broncos fans home with smiles on their faces as they came away 23-20 last-second winners at Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos led 17-10 at the break in the Mile High City and took that lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of football (the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter) before the Chargers would tie the contest up early in the fourth when Keenan Allen and QB Philip Rivers connected on a 36-yard TD pass.

McManus would give his team the lead back with 4:26 left in regulation, booting a 52-yard field goal through the uprights. That lead would not last long as the Chargers would tie the contest again with 14 seconds left on a 46-yard field goal by Michael Badgley. Denver would get the ball back with 14 seconds left after Los Angeles’ kickoff went into the endzone for a touchback. Broncos QB Drew Lock’s pass to Courtland Sutton was incomplete but Chargers CB Casey Heyward Jr. was flagged for interference at his team’s 35-yard line. The Chargers, hoping for overtime, then burned a timeout with three seconds left in an effort to ice McManus, who was going to try a 53-yard field goal for the win. McManus’ try went through the uprights as the clock stuck :00, giving Denver the win.

The Chargers outrushed Denver 115-84 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 99 yards, while Patrick Lindsay led Denver with 58) and Lock threw for 134 yards, while Rivers threw for 265 (Rivers was sacked three times, both men threw a pair of TDs and both threw an interception). The Chargers on third down went 5 of 15 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:51 (including the final 14 seconds of regulation) and went 7 of 15 on third down.

Jacksonville could never get themselves on track against in-state rival Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers took the Jaguars to task 28-11 at TIAA Stadium. Jacksonville trailed from start to finish and found themselve behind 25-0 at the intermission as the Buccaneers would score those points in the first 30 minutes of play unchallenged to set the tone before Jacksonville would use a Josh Lambo field goal and a TD pass from Gardner Minshew II (who took over after Nick Foles was benched) to Dede Westbrook (the two combined for the two-point conversion).

Neither team breached the 100-yard barrier in the Sunshine State contest but Tampa Bay did manage to outrush Jacksonville 74-49 and Winston threw for 268 yards and while he did not throw a TD and was sacked four times, did not throw an interception, while Minshew threw for 147 yards with a pair of sacks and was picked off once (Foles threw for 93 yards with three sacks and an interception before he was taken out of the contest). Tampa Bay was 7 of 17 on third down tries (the Buccaneers went 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball hostage for 33:32, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:28, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The Chargers hold a 7-3 lead in the series and have outscored the Jaguars 291-178. Jacksonville won the last meeting, which took place in the Sunshine State in 2017, needing overtime to take a 20-17 win, while the Chargers won on the West Coast the season before, coming away 38-14 winners in San Diego. The Chargers are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under 42 1/2. The winner keeps their playoff hopes alive, while the loser is all but done for the 2019 season. Chargers take the win in the Sunshine State and covers the 2 1/2.

Pittsburgh (7-5) at Arizona (3-8-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of rookie QBs meet in the desert as Pittsburgh and Delvin Hodges makes their west westward to face off against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.
Pittsburgh erased an early 10-0 deficit against Cleveland last Sunday, getting a measure of revenge from their loss along the shores of Lake Erie two weeks ago to take a 20-17 win at Heinz Field. Cleveland used a 31-yard field goal by Austin Siebert and a 15-yard TD toss from Mayfield to Kareem Hunt to score the first points of the contest unchallenged before the Steelers got themselves back on track, tying the contest with Chris Boswell’s 39-yard field goal and a 30-yard TD pass from Hodges to WR James Washigton with a minute left in the first half to send the teams into the intermission tied at 10-10.

Pittsburgh would then add a 1-yard run by Benny Snell, Jr. and a 29-yard field goal by Boswell to lead 20-10 early in the final period. Siebert then pulled the Browns to within seven with 7:30 left in regulation on a 34-yard field goal. The Browns and Steelers would each get the ball, only to punt to the other team after Siebert’s field goal and Cleveland would get the ball back with 1:45 left. After Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer, the Browns got the ball at their 35 and would get as close as their own 40, when the drive and Cleveland’s hopes ended when Mayfield was picked off by Joe Haden, ending the threat.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 124-106 with Snell leading the way with 63 yards (Cleveland was led by Nick Chubb, who ran for 58 yards on 16 carries). Hodges threw for 212 yards in the win, while Mayfield threw for 196 (both threw an interception as well as a TD; Mayfield was sacked five times, while Hodges was sacked once. Cleveland was 4 of 12 on third down (the Browns were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:06 to Pittsburgh’s 27:54; the Steelers were 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Arizona was held to a fourth-quarter TD by Murray as the Los Angeles Rams came into Glendale last Sunday and left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. Arizona had trouble getting themselves on track as the Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half. Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run. Arizona would be held by the Rams to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Including games that were played when the Cardinals were in Chicago and St. Louis, the Steelers were known as the Pirates and games were played at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh leads the series 33-23-3, have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,163-1,092 and have won the last two meetings, including a 25-13 win in 2015 at Heinz Field, while Arizona’s last win came in the desert in 2007, coming out on top 25-13. Pittsburgh’s a 1 1/2-point favorite in the desert and the over/under’s 43. The Steelers are looking to make it to the post-season party, while the Desert Angry Birds would love nothing more than to be the spoilers. Pittsburgh covers the 1 1/2 in the desert and wins this one in Glendale over the Desert Angry Birds.

Kansas City (8-4) at New England (10-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. They meet again for the third time in two seasons. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs head to Foxboro for an AFC Championship rematch with the NeW England Patriots.

Kansas City all but manhandled AFC West rival Oakland last Sunday at Arrowhead, coming away 40-9 winners. The Chiefs scored their first 31 points of the contest unchallenged, leading 21-0 at the half and took control of things from that point, holding the Silver and Black to a 4-yard TD toss from Derek Carr to TE Derek Carrier with 39 seconds left in the contest. Kansas City then proceeded to add insult to injury as CB Charvarius Ward picked off the two-point try and returned it for a defensive conversion.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 122-96 with Raiders RB Josh Jacobs leading the way with 104 yards, while Mahomes threw for 175 yards with a rushing TD and a TD pass to RB Darrel Williams, with a sack but no interceptions (Carr threw for 222 yards with the TD but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Kansas City was 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:19, while the Raiders clung to the pigskin for 31:41, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New England came out on the short end of a 28-22 loss to DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans Sunday night at NRG Stadium. The defending Super Bowl champions trailed 14-3 at the intermission and found themselves playing catchup the entire contest. New England did pull themselves to within six with 50 seconds left when Brady and WR Josh Edelman connected on a 20-yard TD toss. New England then went for the onside kick, which the Texans recovered and the home team would run out the clock and take the win.

New England outrushed Houston 145-52 and Brady threw for 326 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 234 yards with a TD reception (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked three times). New England did reasonably well on third down conversions, going 9 for 17 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:35, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 25:25, going 6 for 11 on third down.

The Chiefs lead the series 18-14-3 (which includes contests that took place in Houston when the Chiefs were known as the Texans and the Patriots played their home games at Fenway Park) and have outscored New England 878-737. The two clubs met twice last year, once in the regular season (Foxboro) and once in post-season play (Kansas City) and New England won both contests (Kansas City’s last win in the series? Foxboro in 2017 by a final of 42-27.

The first meeting? Foxboro in week six on a Sunday night. Brady and New England survived a slugfest with Mahomes and the Chiefs, coming away 43-40 winners at Gillette Stadium. New England led the Chiefs 24-9 after 30 minutes of play before the Chiefs stormed back in the second half, outscoring the Pats 31-19. The Chiefs would eventually take a 33-30 lead with 8:38 left in regulation when Tyreek Hill and Mahomes connected on a 1-yard TD toss. Brady would then take matters into his own feet, scoring on a 4-yard run with 5:25 left in the contest. Pats K Stephen Gostkowski would later connect on a 50-yard field goal to make it a seven-point contest before Mahomes and Hill hooked up again to tie the contest with 3:03 left in regulation. New England would get the ball back with the 3:03 left and used a 7-play, 65-yard drive to send their fans home from Gillette happy as Gostkowski connected on a 28 yard field goal as time expired.

New England outrushed Kansas City 173-94 and Pats RB Sony Michel led all rushers with 106 yards and a pair of TDs, while Kareem Hunt led Kansas City with 80 yards. Brady threw for 340 yards and a TD to WR Josh Edleman to go with his rushing TD, while Mahomes threw for 352 yards (Brady was sacked twice, Mahomes threw a pair of interceptions) with four TDs, three of them going to Hill. New England was 7 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:09 (including the final 3:03 of the contest), while the Chiefs, keeping the ball for 23:51, went 4 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

That was round one.

Round two?

The AFC championship at Arrowhead and like the regular season meeting in Foxboro, this contest was a slugfest but the Patriots earned their trip to Atlanta, needing overtime to win 37-31. New England led 14-0 at halftime before the Chiefs would push their way back into the contest and took a 28-24 lead with 2:03 left in the contest. Rex Burkhead would give New England the lead back with 39 seconds left, scoring on a 4-yard run. That lead would not last very long at Arrowhead Stadium, as Chiefs K Harrison Butker connected on a 39-yard field goal with eight seconds left to tie things back up.

New England would win the toss in overtime and the Chiefs would never see the pigskin again, as the Patriots would go on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:52 of clock and ended as Burkhead would score his second TD of the contest to give the Pats the overtime win. New England held Kansas City to 41 yards rushing, while they accounted for 176 yards and Michel would lead all rushers with 113 yards and a pair of rushing TDs. Brady threw for 348 yards with a TD but threw a pair of interceptions, while Mahomes threw for 295 yards with three TDs (two of them to Darnell Williams) with four sacks but no interceptions. New England in the AFC Championship game went 13 of 19 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 43:59 (including the 4:52 in overtime), while the Chiefs held the ball for 20:53 and went 4 of 9 on third down.

In the week six contest in Foxboro, the Pats were favored by 3 1/2 but won by only 3. The two clubs did manage to cover the 60 over/under, tallying 83 points. In the AFC championship contest at Arrowhead, Kansas City was favored by 3 and the Patriots covered, winning by 6 and as was the case, both teams covered the over/under (this time, it was 56) with 68 points.

This one’s “DRILL WORTHY,” given the history between the two clubs (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?”)

Tennessee (7-5) at Oakland (6-6), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. Tennesee, chasing Houston for the top spot in the AFC South, makes their way to the West Coast to face the struggling Oakland Raiders at the Coliseum.

The Titans swept a 10-7 halftime deficit at Indianapolis away as Tennessee would outscore the Colts 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a 31-17 win over their AFC South rivals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts RB Nyheim Hines would give Indianpolis a 17-7 lead with 10:23 left in the third before Tennessee would go on a tear, scoring their 24 second-half points unthreatened and got help from their special teams as S Tye Smith blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Adam Vinatieri, picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched. Tennesee outrushed Indianapolis 154-82, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 149 yards and a TD, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 182 yards and a pair of TDs (Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 319 yards with a TD but was sacked three times; Tannehill was sacked six times but had no interceptions to his credit). Tennessee was 5 of 13 on third down (the Titans were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 27:29, while the Colts held on to the pigskin for 32:31, going 5 for 12 on third down.

Oakland found themselves overmatched by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs as their AFC West rivals all but manhandled the Silver and Black last Sunday at Arrowhead, coming away 40-9 winners. Raiders fans watched with horror as the Chiefs scored their first 31 points of the contest unchallenged, leading 21-0 at the half and took control of things from that point, holding the Silver and Black to a 4-yard TD toss from Derek Carr to TE Derek Carrier with 39 seconds left in the contest but Kansas City then proceeded to add insult to injury as CB Charvarius Ward picked off the two-point try and returned it for a defensive conversion.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 122-96 with Raiders RB Josh Jacobs leading the way with 104 yards, while Mahomes threw for 175 yards with a rushing TD and a TD pass to RB Darrel Williams, with a sack but no interceptions (Carr threw for 222 yards with the TD but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Kansas City was 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:19, while the Raiders clung to the pigskin for 31:41, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played in Houston when the Texans were known as the Oilers and the Raiders played their home contests in Los Angeles, Oakland leads the series 26-20 but the Titans have outscored the Silver and Black 1,066-1,036. Oakland has won the last three contests (all in Nashville) with the last win coming in the Music City by a final of 26-17 in 2017, while the Titans’ last win came on the West Coast in 2013 by a final of 23-19. Tennessee’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both teams are looking for a playoff spot and hope to catch the teams in their respective divisions (Tennessee chasing Houston in the AFC South, Oakland chasing Kansas City in the AFC West). Raiders cover the 3 and just win baby in Oakland.

Seattle (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-5), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of contending NFC West rivals meet in Los Angeles as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks make the 1,138-mile trip down I-5 to face off against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams under the lights. Both teams took huge wins last week.

Seattle erased a 17-10 against Minnesota in the Pacific Northwest Monday night, rallying to take a 37-30 win at Century Link Field. Safety Anthony Harris would give the Vikings a 14-7 lead when he picked off Seattle QB Russell Wilson, running the interception back 20 yards for a TD. Jason Myers would put Seattle to within four with a 29-yard field goal with 59 seconds left before Vikings K Dan Bailey responded with a 47-yard boot as time expired in the first half. Seattle would then take control of things in the second half in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged, using a 1-yard run by RB Rashaad Penny, a 29-yard field goal by Myers and a 60-yard pass from Wilson to David Moore in that quarter to lead 27-17. Penny would open the scoring in the final 15 minutes of play, catching a 13-yard toss from Wilson to lead by 17 before Minnesota responded with a pair of Cousins TD tosses (the first going to WR Laquon Treadwell and the second to TE Kyle Rudolph) to put themselves to within 4 with 7:14 left in the contest before Myers added his third field goal of the contest to all but ice the contest away.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 218-78, with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (the Seahawks held Delvin Cook to 29 yards on 9 carries with a TD) and Cousins threw for 276 yards, while Wilson tallied 240 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, both threw interceptions and Wilson was sacked once). Minnesota was 5 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 20:15, while Seattle ruled time in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, keeping the pigskin for 39:45, while going 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The defending NFC champs held Arizona to a fourth-quarter TD by Kyler Murray as they left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. The Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half, while Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run. The Rams held Arizona to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

The two NFC West rivals met in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in week five and Seattle came away 30-29 winners at Century Link Field. Seattle led 14-13 at the break in the Thursday night contest before Los Angeles would storm their way back to lead 29-24 with 9:19 left as Rams K Greg Zeurlein would kick his third field goal of the evening. Seattle would reclaim the lead and take the win with 2:28 left when RB Chirs Carson and Wilson connnected on a 5-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would hold the Rams off in the closing minutes of the contest and take the win in front of the home folks.

The Rams were outrushed by Seattle 167-82 with Carson leading all rushers with 118 yards, while Todd Gurley II led the Rams with 52 yards and a pair of TDs. Wilson threw for 268 yards with four TDs (including the game-winner) and was sacked once, while Goff threw for 395 yards with a TD to Cooper Kupp and was picked off once. Seattle went 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 35:18, while the Rams, who held on to the pigskin for 24:42, went 3 for 11 on third down.

In the week five contest in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle was favored by 1 point and the Seahawks covered, winning by that margin and both teams took care of covering the 49 1/2 over/under by tallying 59 points. Seattle’s favored by 2 in Tinseltown and the over/under’s 47. Seattle’s sitting on top of the NFC West mountain, while the Rams look to restore some order. Seattle wins in Los Angeles and covers the 2.

New York Giants (2-10) at Philadelphia (5-7), 8:20 p,m. Monday on ESPN. Week 14 closes out in the City of Brotherly Love with an NFC East matchup as the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, separated by 96 miles and a 90-minute drive down I-95 square off. Both teams took losses in last week’s action.

Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers went into Met Life Stadium last Sunday and left the Meadowlands 31-13 winners. The Packers erased a 7-7 after Russell Shepherd and Doug Jones connected on an 18 yard TD toss with 3:16 left in the first when Rodgers and rookie WR Allan Lazard connected on a 37-yard TD pass to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Big Blue trailed 17-10 at the half and would rally to make it a 4-point contest at the end of the third quarter before Green Bay would get TD passes from Rodgers to Davante Adams and Marcedes Lewis to seal New York’s fate.

New York did manage to outrush the Packers 95-79 with Giants RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 83 yards, while Rodgers threw for 243 yards with four TDs and no sacks or interceptions (Jones threw for 240 yards with the lone TD toss but was picked off three times). The Giants were 5 of 14 on third down tries in the snowy Meadowlands (they were 3 of 4 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:17, while the Packers, who held the pigskin for 28:43, went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Miami used trickery in their 37-31 win over Philadelphia Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-13 lead with 4:40 left before the intermission (the Eagles led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter) when K Jason Sanders and punter Matt Haack connected on a 1-yard TD pass as the Dolphins lined up for what some thought would be a field goal try. Philadelphia then took the lead back with 6 seconds left before half time on a 15-yard TD toss from Carson Wentz to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and added to their lead in the third quarter when Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery connected on a 10-yard toss.

Miami then used a pair of TD passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick (connecting with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki), a two-point conversion pass from Fitzpatrick to RB Patrick Patrick and a Sanders field goal in the second half, tallying 23 points unchallenged to lead 37-28 before Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 37-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the contest. Miami would get the ball back but could not make a first down that would have ended the contest and the Dolphins punted the ball back to Philadelphia, who had the pigskin for only two plays, when Wentz was picked off by S Chris Lammons, ending the threat.

Philadelphia outrushed Miami 92-52 and Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards, while Wentz threw for 310 yards (both threw an interception with three TDs; Wentz was sacked twice, Fitzpatrick was sacked three times) in the Sunshine State. Miami went 5 of 12 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and kept the ball for 31:18, while Philadelphia held on to the ball for 28:42, while going 7 for 14 on third down.

The series? Tied at 83-83-2 and the Giants have outscored Philadelphia 3,241-3,209. History has been kind to the Eagles, however, as they have won the last five meetings, sweeping the last two series (including last year’s contests; The Giants’ last win in the series came in 2016 in the Meadowlands by a final of 28-23 at Met Life Stadium).

The first meeting took place in week six in upstate New Jersey at Met Life Stadium and the Eagles held Big Blue to seven points in the second half to take the 34-13 win. Philadelphia led from start to finish, taking a 24-6 lead with them to the intermission, then took control of the second half to take the road win.

New York did outrush Philadelphia 147-108 (Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 130 yards and a rushing TD, Barkley also had nine catches for 99 yards) and Eli Manning threw for 281 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Wentz threw for 278 yards and three TDs passes (two to Alshon Jeffery, the other to Ertz). The Giants went 4 of 14 on third down (Big Blue was 0 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 27:30, while the Eagles ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin to themselves for 32:30 and went 9 of 16 on third down conversions.

The Eagles made it a clean sweep, taking down Big Blue 25-22 in their week 12 rematach at Lincoln Financial Field. The Giants took a 19-11 lead with them to the intermission in the City of Brotherly Love, only to see that lead get away from them in the final 30 minutes of play. Philadelphia would take a 22-19 lead with 10:11 left in the contest on a 1-yard run by RB Josh Adams (Adams, who led Philadelphia with 84 rushing yards, also scored on the two-point conversion) before the Giants tied the contest with 5:49 left on an 29-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas. Philadelphia would get the ball back on the kickoff and used a 10-play, 50-yard drive, using 5:27 of clock and ending with a 43-yard game-winning field goal by Jake Elliot with 22 seconds left, then stopping a last-second Giants rally to take the win.

This time, Philadelphia outrushed the Giants 127-126 and once again, Barkley led all rushers with 101 yards and a TD. Manning threw for 297 yards with an interception and a pair of sacks, while Wentz threw for 236 yards with three sacks (each threw a TD pass). The Eagles were 3 of 11 on third down in the rematch (they were perfect on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 32:38, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 27:22, going 5 of 12 on third down.

The Giants on Monday night? 25-39-1 (they played two games in 2018 and split them). Philadelphia? 35-27; the Eagles played once on Monday night last year but found success in their only contest.

Philadelphia in the week six contest, played on a Thursday night, was favored by 3 and covered the spread, winning by 21. Both teams did take care of the 44 over/under, tallying 47 points. In the rematch in the City of Brotherly Love in week 12, the Eagles were favored by 6 but won by only three; they did take care of the 46 over/under, passing it by 1 point. Philadelphia’s favored by 8 with a 46 1/2 over/under. The Giants would love nothing more than to ruin Philadelphia’s playoff hopes, while the Eagles are looking to climb their way back into the post-season. Philadelphia may not cover the 8 but they take the Monday night win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

Cincinnati at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians, Melanie Collins (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 136 (Cincinnati), 82 (Atlanta); XM: 385 (Cincinnati), 227 (Atlanta)

Buffalo at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 125 (Buffalo), 93 (Green Bay); XM: 387 (Buffalo), 229 (Green Bay)

Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta; SIRIUS: 103 (Houston), 146 (Indianapolis); XM: 390 (Houston), 230 (Indianapolis)

Miami at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Steve Tasker (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 98 (Miami), 81 (New England); XM: 384 (Miami), 226 (New England)

Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 127 (Tampa Bay), 108 (Chicago); XM: 386 (Tampa Bay), 228 (Chicago)

Detroit at Dallas, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 99 (Detroit), 83 (Dallas); XM: 383 (Detroit), 225 (Dallas)

New York Jets at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Dan Hellie, Jeff Fisher, Karyn Bryant (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 106 (New York Jets), 113 (Jacksonville); XM: 388 (New York Jets), 231 (Jacksonville)

Philadelphia at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 133 (Philadelphia), 105 (Tennessee); XM: 389 (Philadelphia), 232 (Tennessee)

Seattle at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 99 (Seattle), 83 (Arizona) | XM: 383 (Seattle), 225 (Arizona)

Cleveland at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Megan Olivi (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 127 (Cleveland), 108 (Oakland); XM: 386 (Cleveland), 228 (Oakland)

San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; SIRIUS: 136 (San Francisco), 82 (Los Angeles Chargers); XM: 385 (San Francisco), 227 (Los Angeles Chargers)

New Orleans at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 98 (New Orleans), 81 (New York Giants); XM: 384 (New Orleans), 226 (New York Giants)

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, Jason Taylor; SIRIUS: 81 (Baltimore), 83 (Pittsburgh); XM: 226 (Baltimore), 225 (Pittsburgh)

Kansas City at Denver, 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, John Clayton; SIRIUS: 81 (Kansas City), 83 (Denver); XM: 226 (Kansas City), 225 (Denver)

Sunday and Monday Officials
Cincinnati at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.: Shawn Smith
Buffalo at Green Bay, 1 p.m.: Bill Vinovich
Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Carl Cheffers
Miami at New England, 1 p.m.: Alex Kemp
Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Jerome Boger
Detroit at Dallas, 1 p.m.: Walt Coleman
New York Jets at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Clay Martin
Philadelphia at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Shawn Hochuli
Seattle at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.: John Hussey
Cleveland at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.: Walt Anderson
San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m.: Ron Torbert
New Orleans at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m.: Pete Morelli
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m.: Tony Corrente
Kansas City at Denver, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Craig Wrolstad

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home Team in CAPS) (Byes: Carolina and Washington)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite                 Spread      Underdog          O/U
ATLANTA                  –  6        Cincinnati        51 1/2
NEW ENGLAND              –  7        Miami             47 1/2
INDIANAPOLIS             –  2        Houston           47 1/2
GREEN BAY                – 10        Buffalo           46
DALLAS                   –  3        Detroit           43 1/2
JACKSONVILLE             –  7 1/2    New York Jets     38
CHICAGO                  –  2 1/2    Tampa Bay         48
Philadelphia             –  3 1/2    TENNESSEE         41 1/2
Seattle                  –  3        ARIZONA           39
OAKLAND                  –  2        Cleveland         44 1/2
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS     – 10 1/2    San Francisco     47 1/2
New Orleans              –  3 1/2    NEW YORK GIANTS   50
PITTSBURGH               –  3        Baltimore         48 1/2

Monday’s Game
Favorite                 Spread      Underdog          O/U
Kansas City              –  5        DENVER            56 1/2

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

Cincinnati at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati
OUT: RB Joe Mixon (Knee), C Billy Price (Foot)

ATLANTA
OUT: CB Justin Bethel (Knee), DE Derrick Shelby (Groin), RB Devonta Freeman (Knee)

Buffalo at Green Bay, 1 p.m.

Buffalo
QUESTIONABLE: TE Charles Clay (Shoulder), TE Jason Croom (Knee), RB LeSean McCoy (Rib), RB Marcus Murphy (Rib)

Green Bay
DOUBTFUL: G Justin McCray (Shoulder)
OUT: DE Muhammad Wilkerson (Ankle), LB Nicholas Perry (Concussion), WR Randall Cobb (Hamstring), S Joshua Jones (Ankle), cB Kevin King (Groin), QB Aaron Rodgers (Knee)

Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Houston
QUESTIONABLE: WR DeAndre Hopkins (Thumb), CB Kayvon Webster (Achilles), CB Shareece Wright (Shoulder)

Indianapolis
OUT: TE John Doyle (Hip), T Joseph Haeg (Ankle), DT Hassan Ridgeway (Calf), CB Quincy Wilson (Concussion), T Anthony Castonzo (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: S Clayton Geathers (Knee), RB Marlon Mack (Hamstring), LB Anthony Walker (Groin)

Miami at New England, 1 p.m.

Miami
OUT: LB Chase Allen (Foot) DE Orlandus Branch (Knee), TE Alexander Derby (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Davon Godchaux (Ankle), S Reshad Jones (Shoulder), DE Derek Wake (Knee), T Samuel Young (Shoulder)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: S Patrick Chung (Concussion), S Nate Ebner (Hip), WR Josh Gordon (Hamstring), DE Geneo Grissom (Ankle), TE Jacob Hollister (Chest), LB Brandon King (Foot)

Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay
OUT: DT Beau Allen (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: S Jordan Whitehead (Shoulder), DT Tevita Vea (Calf), CB Marcus Williams (Hamstring)

Chicago
OUT: CB Prince Amukamara (Hamstring), CB Marcus Cooper (Hamstring), WR Anthony Miller (Shoulder)

Detroit at Dallas, 1 p.m.

Detroit
OUT: DE Ezekiel Ansah (Shoulder), TE Michael Roberts (Knee)

Dallas
OUT: DT Maliek Collins (Knee), C Travis Frederick (Illness), LB Sean Lee (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Cole Beasley (Ankle), DT Antwaun Woods (Groin)

New York Jets at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

New York Jets
OUT: WR Charone Peake (Hamstring), TE Neal Sterling (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: S Marcus Maye (Ankle), CB Darryl Skrine (Knee)

Jacksonville
OUT: CB Derek Hayden (Toe)
QUESTIONABLE: G Aaron Cann (Triceps) RB Leonard Fournette (Hamstring)

Philadelphia at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia
OUT: S Rodney McLeod (Knee), RB  Darren Sproles (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Alshon Jeffery (Illness), RB Corey Clement (Quadricep)

Tennessee
OUT: RB David Fluellen (Groin), T Dennis Kelly (Illness)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Blaine Gabbert (Concussion)

Seattle at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.

Seattle
DOUBTFUL: G Ethan Pocic (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLEL DE Dion Jordan (Hip), WR Doug Baldwin (Knee), S Delano Hill (Hamstring)

Arizona
QUESTIONABLE: DT Corey Peters (Elbow), T Andre Smith (Elbow), WR Larry Fitzgerald (Hamstring), DT Robert Nkemdiche (Knee), DT Olsen Pierre (Toe)

Cleveland at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.

Cleveland
OUT: LB James Burgess (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: S Damarious Randall (Heel), TE Seth DeValve (Hamstring), QB Tyrod Taylor (Back)

Oakland
OUT: S Karl Joseph (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Patrick Hall (Ankle)

San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m.

San Francisco
OUT: G Josh Garnett (Toe)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Matthew Breida (Knee), RB Alfred Morris (Knee)

Los Angeles Chargers
OUT: LB Kyzir White (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Keenan Allen (Knee), WR Travis Benjamin (Foot)

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

New Orleans
OUT: LB Manti Te’o (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Marcus Davenport (Hip)

New York Giants
OUT: TE Evan Engram (Knee), WR Cody Latimer (Knee), RB Jonathan Stewart (Foot), CB Eli Apple (Groin), DE Olivier Vernon (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Stacy Coley (Hamstring), CB Antonio Hamilton (Groin)

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m.

Baltimore
OUT: CB Anthony Averett (Hamstring), DT Willie Henry (Abdomen)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Terrell Suggs (Knee), CB Brandon Carr (Knee), S Anthony Levine (Hamstring), LB Clinton Mosley (Knee), DT Michael Pierce (Foot), T Ronnie Stanley (Foot), TE Hayden Hurst (Foot)

Pittsburgh
DOUBTFUL: S Morgan Burnett (Groin), CB Michael Hilton (Elbow)

Kansas City at Denver, 8:15 p.m. Monday

Kansas City
DOUBTFUL: S Eric Berry (Heel)

Denver
DOUBTFUL: DB Tramaine Brock (Thigh)
OUT: TE Jake Butt (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Adam Jones (Thigh), S Dymonte Thomas (Abdomen)

Sunday and Monday Weather
Cincinnati at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain and 78 degrees
Buffalo at Green Bay, 1 p.m.: Overcast with a 40 percent chance of showers and 52 degrees
Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, mostly sunny and 72 degrees
Miami at New England, 1 p.m.: Sunny and 67 degreees
Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain and 67 degrees
Detroit at Dallas, 1 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, partly cloudy and 77 degrees
New York Jets at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms and 86 degrees
Philadelphia at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Mostly sunny and 83 degrees
Seattle at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, mostly cloudy and 94 degrees
Cleveland at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.: Sunny and 68 degrees
San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m.: Sunny and 81 degrees
New Orleans at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m.: Mostly sunny with a 50 percent chance of rain and 71 degrees
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 68 degrees
Kansas City at Denver, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Mostly cloudy and 77 degrees

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the suspense continues to build as teams make their final playoff push. Twenty-six teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LI.

The Dallas Cowboys are the only team that has clinched a spot in the postseason. So as we approach the final three weeks of the regular season, there are still 11 playoff berths up for grabs.

Dallas (11-2) can clinch both the NFC East division title and a first-round bye with a win and a New York Giants loss. If the Cowboys win and the game between the Giants and Detroit ends in a tie, Dallas will also secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Lions (9-4) can win the NFC North with a victory and a Green Bay loss. Seattle (8-4-1) can clinch the NFC West with a win or an Arizona loss. The Giants (9-4) can secure a playoff berth with a win and losses by Washington, Green Bay and Minnesota. Seattle won the NFC West Thursday night with a 24-3 win over Los Angeles in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

New England (11-2) can clinch the AFC East division title and a first-round bye with a win. If the Patriots lose in Week 15, New England can still win the division with a Miami loss and can still secure a first-round bye with a Miami loss and either a Pittsburgh loss or a Kansas City win. Kansas City (10-3) can clinch a playoff berth with a win or with losses by Denver and either Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Oakland (10-3) can secure a playoff spot with a win. There are also various scenarios for Oakland to advance to the postseason this week even if the Raiders lose. In other words, this is going to cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!)

2016 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 15

AFC

New England (11-2) at Denver (8-5), Sunday

New England clinches AFC East division with:
New England win or tie OR
Miami loss or tie

New England clinches a first-round bye with:
New England win or tie OR
Miami loss or tie + Pittsburgh loss or tie
Miami loss or tie + Kansas City win

Kansas City (10-3) vs. Tennessee (7-6), Sunday

Kansas City clinches a playoff berth with:
Kansas City win OR
Kansas City tie + Miami loss OR
Kansas City tie + Denver loss or tie OR
Denver loss + Baltimore loss or tie OR
Denver loss + Pittsburgh loss or tie

Oakland (10-3) at San Diego (5-8), Sunday

Oakland clinches a playoff berth with:
Oakland win OR
Oakland tie + Miami loss OR
Oakland tie + Denver loss OR
Oakland tie + Miami tie + Denver tie OR
Oakland tie + Miami tie + Kansas City win OR
Miami loss + Pittsburgh loss or tie + Denver loss OR
Miami loss + Pittsburgh loss or tie + Kansas City win or tie OR
Miami loss + Baltimore loss or tie + Denver loss OR
Miami loss + Baltimore loss or tie + Kansas City win or tie

NFC

CLINCHED: Dallas – playoff berth; Seattle – NFC West

Dallas (11-2) vs. Tampa Bay (8-5), Sunday night

Dallas clinches NFC East division and a first-round bye with:
Dallas win + New York Giants loss or tie OR
Dallas tie + New York Giants loss

Dallas clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
Dallas win + New York Giants/Detroit tie

Detroit (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4), Sunday

Detroit clinches NFC North division with:
Detroit win + Green Bay loss or tie OR
Detroit tie + Green Bay loss + New York Giants loss or tie

New York Giants (9-4) (vs. Detroit (9-4), Sunday)

New York clinches a playoff berth with:
New York Giants  win + Washington loss + New York Giants loss or tie + Green Bay loss or tie

ICYMI: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for 236 yards with three touchdowns and had four catches for 62 yards in the Steelers’ 27-20 win at Buffalo. Bell is the second player in NFL history with at least 225 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 50 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (November 19, 1961).

Bell, who had 298 scrimmage yards in today’s victory, has 1,616 scrimmage yards in 10 games this season, the second-most in a player’s first 10 games of a season. Brown had 1,704 scrimmage yards in his first 10 games in 1963.

RISING UP: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed 18 of 28 passes (64.3 percent) for 237 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 126.6 passer rating in the Falcons’ 42-14 win at Los Angeles. Ryan reached 4,000 passing yards (4,050) for the sixth consecutive season, tying Peyton Manning (1999-2004) for the second-longest streak in NFL history. New Orleans quarterback. On the other side of the ball, Atlanta linebacker Vic Beasley, Jr. had three sacks, one forced fumble and a 21-yard fumble-return touchdown in the Falcons’ win at Los Angeles. Beasley is the 10th player – and first Falcon – to record three sacks and a fumble-return touchdown in a single game since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Drew Brees, who passed for 257 yards in the Saints’ 16-11 loss at Tampa Bay, reached 4,000 passing yards (4,170) for his NFL-record 11th consecutive season.

•Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 18 of 23 passes (78.3 percent) for 246 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 150.8 passer rating in the Packers’ 38-10 win against Seattle. Rodgers, who has won 15 consecutive December starts at Lambeau Field, is the second player in NFL history to win 15 consecutive home starts in the month of December, joining Tom Brady (19 games from 2002-2012).

Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the win over Seattle. Rodgers and Nelson have connected on 57 touchdown passes, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve and Antonio Freeman for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.

DON’T COUNT THE LIONS OUT! Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford rushed for a seven-yard touchdown with 3:17 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Lions’ 20-17 victory over Chicago. Stafford has led eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, the most such drives by a quarterback in a single season since 1970.

HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Washington wide receiver De Sean Jackson had three catches for 102 yards and one touchdown in the Redskins’ 27-22 win at Philadelphia. Jackson, who had an 80-yard touchdown catch in the victory, has 22 career touchdowns of at least 60 yards, the second-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (23) has more 60+ yard touchdowns.

Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles had a touchdown catch in the loss against Washington, his 30th career touchdown reception. Sproles is the first player in NFL history to have at least 30 receiving touchdowns (30), 20 rushing touchdowns (21), a punt-return touchdown (seven) and a kick-return touchdown (two).

COMEBACKS GALORE: There have been 61 games won by teams that trailed in the fourth quarter through Week 14, the third-most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in NFL history.

Four teams – Detroit, Minnesota, the New York Jets and Washington – were victorious in Week 14 after trailing in the fourth quarter.

The most games won after trailing in the fourth quarter through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 14
2012 – 64
1989 – 64
2016 – 61
2011 – 60
2015 – 59

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford rushed for a seven-yard touchdown with 3:17 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Lions’ 20-17 victory over Chicago. The Lions have won eight games when trailing in the fourth quarter this season, the most in a single season in NFL history.

The teams with the most wins after trailing in the fourth quarter in a single season in NFL history:

TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER)
Detroit (2016 – 8)
Indianapolis (2009 – 7)
Many tied with 6

EXCITING FINISHES: There have been 155 games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 14, the most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in NFL history.

Twelve games were within one score in the fourth quarter in Week 14, including Washington’s 27-22 win at Philadelphia. Redskins running back CHRIS THOMPSON rushed for a go-ahead 25-yard touchdown with 1:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, the longest game-winning touchdown run inside the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter in franchise history.

The most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 155
2004 – 145
2015 – 143
2013 – 143
2012 – 143

Additionally, there have been 144 games within seven points in the fourth quarter, including 11 last week, through Week 14, the most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in NFL history.

The most games within seven points in the fourth quarter through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN SEVEN POINTS IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 144
2015 – 138
2004 – 138
2013 – 137
2011 – 137

CLOSE GAMES: There have been 122 games decided by eight points or fewer and 112 games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 14, both the most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in league annals. In Week 14, 11 games were decided by eight points or fewer, with 10 of those contests decided by seven points or fewer.

The most games decided by eight points or fewer through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY EIGHT POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 122
2012 – 115
2015 – 114
2002 – 112
2013 – 110

The most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON  -GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 112
2015 – 108
2012 – 105
2011 – 103
2013 – 102
2002 – 102

STELLAR STEELERS: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for a franchise-record 236 yards with three touchdowns, and added 62 receiving yards in the Steelers’ 27-20 win at Buffalo. Bell put himself in some really good company as he joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (November 19, 1961) as the only players in NFL history with at least 225 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 50 receiving yards in the same game.

PLAYER, TEAM (DATE – RUSHING YARDS; RUSHING TDS; RECEIVING YARDS
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (December 11, 2016 – 236;3;62)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (Novemver 19, 1961 – 237;4;52)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Bell ranks third in the NFL with 1,616 scrimmage yards (1,053 rushing, 563 receiving) despite only appearing in 10 games this season. Bell’s 1,616 yards from scrimmage are the second-most in NFL history by a player in his first 10 games of a season, trailing only Brown’s 1,704 yards (1,447 rushing, 257 receiving) through 10 games in 1963.

The most scrimmage yards by a player through his first 10 games of a season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(RUSHING YARDS/RECIEVEING YARDS/SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1963)(1,447/257/1,704)^
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (2016)(1,053/563/1,616)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had five catches for 78 yards in the Steelers’ victory. Brown, who has 93 catches for 1,130 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, is the sixth player in NFL history to record at least 90 receptions, 1,100 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches in three consecutive seasons.

The players with 90+ receptions, 1,100+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdown catches in the most consecutive seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 90+ CATCHES, 1,100 RECEIVING YARDS & 10+ REC. TDS)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2003, 5)^
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2014-2016, 3)*
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2012-2014, 3)
Terrell Owens, San Francisco (2000-2002, 3)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1993-1995, 3)^
Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay (1992-1994, 3)
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

HOME SWEET HOME: New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 406 yards with three touchdowns for a 116.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ 30-23 victory over Baltimore on Monday Night Football. Brady has 28,464 passing yards in 109 career games at New England’s Gillette Stadium, which is the most passing yards by a quarterback at a single stadium in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve, who passed for 28,240 yards in 120 career games at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, previously held the record.

The most passing yards by a quarterback at a single stadium in NFL history:
PLAYER, TEAM (STADIUM, GAMES/PASSING YARDS)
Tom Brady, New England (Gillette Stadium, 109/28,464)
Brett Favre, Green Bay (Lambeau Field, 120/28,240)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

BIG-PLAY OBJ: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. had four catches for 94 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown reception in the Giants’ 10-7 victory over Dallas on Sunday Night Football. Beckham has nine career touchdown catches of at least 60 yards, the second-most by a player in his first three seasons in the league. Harlon Hill recorded 10 touchdowns of 60 or more yards in his first three seasons with the Bears from 1954-56.

The players with the most 60+ yard touchdown receptions in their first three seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, 60+ YARD RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS)
Harlon Hill, Chicago (1954-1956, 10)
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (2014-2016, 9)*
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (2010-2012, 7)
Homer Jones, New York Giants (1964-1966, 7)
Charley Taylor, Washington (1964-1966, 7)^
*In third season
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PACKER PAIRING: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards with three touchdowns, including two to wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the Packers’ 38-10 victory over Seattle. Rodgers and Nelson have connected on 57 touchdown passes, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve and Antonio Freeman for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.

The most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in Green Bay history:

QUARTERBACK/RECEIVER (RECEIVING TDS)
Aaron Rodgers/Jordy Nelson (57)*
Brett Favre/Antonio Freeman (57)
Aaron Rodgers/James Jones (41)
Brett Favre/Sterling Sharpe (41)
*Active teammates

Rodgers and Nelson have combined for the most touchdowns among active quarterback and wide receiver duos, and trail only the quarterback and tight end combinations of San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates (82 touchdowns) and New England’s Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski (67 touchdowns) among active teammates.

QUARTERBACK/RECEIVER, TEAM (RECEIVING TDS)
Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates, San Diego (82)
Tom BradyRob Gronkowski, New England (67)
Aaron Rodgers/Jordy Nelson, Green Bay (57)
Tony Romo/Dez Bryant, Dallas (50)
Ben Roethlisberger/Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (49)

WINNING IN MANY WAYS: Miami kicker Andrew Franks converted a 21-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the Dolphins’ 26-23 victory over Arizona. The Dolphins tied a franchise record with five game-winning scores in the fourth quarter this season and are the second team in NFL history (Indianapolis, 2008) to have scored game-winning points in the fourth quarter on five different play types (rush, reception, kickoff return, interception return and field goal) in a single season.

The game-winning scores in the fourth quarter by Miami in 2016:

OPPONENT – WEEK (GAME-WINNING SCORE, TIME REMAINING IN 4TH QUARTER)
Buffalo – 7 (RB Damien Williams 12-yard run, 3:56)
New York Jets – 9 (KR-RB Kenyan Drake 96-yard kickoff return, 5:15)
San Diego – 10 (LB Kiko Alonso 60-yard interception return, 1:01)
Los Angeles – 11 (WR DeVante Parker 9-yard pass from QB Ryan Tannehill, 0:36)
Arizona – 14 (K Andrew Franks 21-yard field goal, 0:00)

HILL THRILLS: Kansas City wide receiver/return specialist Tyreek Hill had a 78-yard punt-return touchdown and a 36-yard touchdown reception in the Chiefs’ 21-13 win over Oakland on Thursday Night Football. Hill, who was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 12 after recording a rushing, receiving and kickoff-return touchdown in the same game, is the third rookie – and the first since Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965 – to score a rushing, receiving, kickoff-return and punt-return touchdown in a single season.

The rookies with a rushing, receiving, kick-return and punt-return touchdown in a single season:

PLAYER –  TEAM, SEASON (RUSH TDS/RECEIVING TDS/KICK RETURN TDS/PUNT RETURN TDS)
Tyreek Hill – Kansas City, 2016 (1/6/1/1)
Gale Sayers – Chicago, 1965 (14/6/1/1)^
Bobby Mitchell – Cleveland, 1958 (1/3/1/1)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

STAYIN’ ALIVE: With three weeks to play in the regular season, 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LI.

That is one off of the most teams (27) remaining in contention with three weeks to play since the NFL instituted the 16-game schedule in 1978.

The most teams remaining in contention for a trip to the Super Bowl with three weeks to play since 1978:

YEAR – TEAMS REMAINING IN SUPER BOWL CONTENTION WITH THREE WEEKS TO PLAY
2004 – 27
1995 – 27
1982 – 27
2016 – 26
2015 – 25
2013 – 25
2006 – 25
1994 – 25

BURSTING BROWN: What can Brown do for Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had five receptions for 78 yards in the Steelers’ 27-20 win at Buffalo last week, increasing his season total to 93 receptions. With seven receptions on Sunday at Cincinnati, Brown, who has had three consecutive 100-catch seasons since 2013, will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (four from 1999-2002) for the most consecutive 100-catch seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive 100-catch seasons:

PLAYER (SEASONS) TEAM – CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 100+ CATCHES
Marvin Harrison (1999-2002) Indianapolis – 4^
Antonio Brown (2013-2015) Pittsburgh – 3*
Brandon Marshall (2007-2009), Denver – 3
Wes Welker (2007-2009), New England – 3
Herman Moore (1995-1997), Detroit – 3
Jerry Rice (1994-1996), San Francisco – 3^
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

DOMINANT DAVID: Arizona running back David Johnson had 121 yards from scrimmage (80 rushing, 41 receiving) in the Cardinals’ 26-23 loss to Miami last week, his record-tying 13th consecutive game with 100+ scrimmage yards to start a season (EDGERRIN JAMES, 2005). Johnson’s streak of 13 games in a row with 100 or more scrimmage yards is tied for the third-longest streak at any point in a single season in NFL history.

With at least 100 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New Orleans, Johnson would surpass James for the most consecutive games with 100+ scrimmage yards to begin a season.

The most consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards to start a season:

PLAYER (SEASON), TEAM – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS
David Johnson (2016), Arizona – 13*
Edgerrin James (2005), Indianapolis – 13
Edgerrin James (2000), Indianapolis – 12
Larry Brown (1972), Washington – 10
*Active streak

Johnson would also tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (14, 1985) for the second-longest streak with 100 or more scrimmage yards at any point in a single season.

The most consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards at any point in a single season:

PLAYER (SEASON), TEAM – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS
Barry Sanders (1997), Detroit – 15^
Marcus Allen (1985), Los Angeles Raiders – 14^
David Johnson (2016), Arizona – 13*
Edgerrin James (2005), Indianapolis – 13
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MARVELOUS MACK: Oakland defensive end Khalil Mack ranks second in the AFC with 11 sacks this season and has recorded at least one sack in eight consecutive games.

With at least one sack on Sunday at San Diego, Mack would tie for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a sack since it became an official stat in 1982. Mack would be the first player to record a sack in nine consecutive games in a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with a sack since 1982:

PLAYER, SEASON(S); TEAM – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A SACK
DeMarcus Ware, 2007-2008; Dallas – 10
Simon Fletcher, 1992-1993; Denver – 10
Dwight Freeney, 2008-2009; Indianapolis – 9
Kevin Greene, 1997-1998; San Francisco/Carolina – 9^
Bruce Smith, 1986-1987; Buffalo – 9^
Khalil Mack, 2016; Oakland – 8*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TERRIFIC TRAVIS: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce had five receptions for 101 yards in the Chiefs’ 21-13 victory over Oakland in Week 14, marking his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards.

With 100 receiving yards on Sunday against Tennessee, Kelce would become the only tight end in NFL history with five consecutive games with 100 or more receiving yards.

The tight ends with the most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (2016 – 4)*
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2013 – 4)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2011 – 4)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2000 – 4)
*Active streak

Week 15 got underway in the Pacific Northwest as Seattle took ownership of the NFC West title Thursday night against Los Angeles at CenturyLink Field in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and concludes in Landover as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers take on the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. The Sunday action concludes in the Lone Star State as Dallas and Tampa Bay meet in prime time on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

As for week 14… 13 and 3 for last week. For the season, we’re 143-63. There’s two more weeks of football left in the season. For some teams, it’s a chance to improve on last year and make the playoffs. For others, the last two weeks are a chance to re-boot and look forward to 2017.

With that, here’s the Sunday and Monday picks for week 15.

San Francisco (1-12) at ATLANTA (8-5), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. The 1-12 49ers, struggling to the finish line in the 2016 season, travel east to face the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

The 49ers let a 17-14 lead get away from them against the New York Jets last Sunday in Santa Clara and lost in overtime 23-17. San Francisco led 17-3 at the half before the Jets chipped away at the lead, tying the contest on a 50-yard field goal by Nick Folk with 38 seconds left in regulation and eventually won in the extra period when Bilal Powell scored from 19-yard run with 8:35 left in the overtime. San Francisco wasted a great effort by RB Carlos Hyde, who ran for 193 yards, while Powell ran for 145 yards and a pair of TDs, including the game-winner (San Francisco outrushed New York 248-188). Colin Kaepernick threw for 133 yards without a TD, while the Jets’ Bryce Petty threw for 257 yards and a TD but was sacked six times.

Even with no Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu, the Falcons made their trip to the West Coast successful as they silenced the Los Angeles Rams 42-14 at the Coliseum Sunday afternoon. The Falcons, sitting on top of the NFC South mountain, took advantange of four turnovers in the contest to score 28 points as the Rams trailed 21-0 at the half. Los Angeles outrushed Atlanta 104-66 with Todd Gurley leading all rushers with 61 yards on the ground, while Matt Ryan reached the 4,000 yard plateau for the eighth straight season, as he threw for 237 yards and three TDs, doing it without Jones (turf toe) or Sanu (groin). Jarred Goff threw for 235 yards and scored the Rams’ second TD but threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked three times.

San Francisco leads the series (which includes contests played at Keezar Stadium, Fulton County Stadium and Candlestick Park) 46-29-1, the 49ers have outscored Atlanta 1,821-1,317 and have  won the last two regular season contests, including a 17-16 win last year in Santa Clara (Atlanta’s last win in the series came in the Big Peach by a final of 16-14 in 2010).

They met in northern California in week nine and Atlanta trailed 17-13 at the break before Matt Bryant kicked a 19-yard field goal with 2:56 left to play to pull to within one. San Francisco then proceeded to run the clock out and take the one-point win at Levis’ Stadium. Atlanta rushed for a season-low 17 yards in the one-point loss on the West Coast, while San Francisco ran for 133, Ryan threw for 303 yards with a TD, connecting with DeVonta Freeman on a 17-yard toss, while Gabbert threw for 185 yards with a pair of interceptions.

Atlanta’s favored by 13 1/2 and the over/under’s 51 1/2. The 51 1/2 makes sense. The 13 1/2? Not so much. The 49ers are a bad team but they’re not 13 1/2 bad. Still, they’re a bad team. Atlanta prevails in the Big Peach but expect San Francisco to at least give them a fight.

Philadelphia (5-8) at Baltimore (7-6), 1 p.m. on and DirecTV 709. They’re only 99 miles and 1 hour and 36 minutes away from each other. The Baltimore Ravens return to Charm City for an afternoon contest with the Philadelphia Eagles in only their fifth meeting all time. Both teams enter the Sunday contest at M&T Bank Stadium with losses under their wings.

The Eagles’ dimming playoff hopes took another hit last Sunday in the City of Brotherly Love, falling to NFC East rival Washington 27-22 at Lincoln Financial Field. Philly led 13-7 at the break before the defending NFC East champs rallied in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 20-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Eagles took a 22-21 lead with 4:59 to play in the contest on a 41-yard field by Caleb Sturgis before Washington took the lead back and for keeps when Chris Thompson scored on a 25-yard run with 1:53 left. Philadelphia then got the ball back and got as close as Washington’s 14-yard when rookie QB Carson Wentz was sacked and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by DE Trent Murphy. Washington would go on to run out the clock and take the win. In dropping their fourth contest in a row, the Eagles were held to 95 yards rushing, while Washington racked up 107. Wentz threw for 314 yards and a TD to Darren Sproles (who left the game with a concussion) with four sacks and an interception, while Kirk Cousins threw for 234 yards and a pair of TDs.

Baltimore took New England to the end before falling to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 30-23 Monday night in Foxboro. The Ravens trailed 16-3 at the intermission before they took advantage of two Patriot special teams turnovers in the third quarter that gave them a chance to take the win on the road, pulling to within three with 6:35 to play when Justin Tucker connected on a 38-yard field goal. Brady and the Pats would then ice the game away when he and WR Chris Hogan connected on a 79-yard strike 17 seconds later. New England outrushed the Ravens 95-42, while Brady threw for 406 yards and three TDs, while Joe Flacco threw for 324 yards and two TDs (each man threw an interception in the Monday night contest).

Philly leads the series 2-1-1 and the Eagles have outscored Baltimore 79 to 56. Philly won the last meeting, coming away 24-23 winners in the City of Brotherly Love in 2012, while Baltimore’s lone win in the series came in 2008 in Charm City by a final of 36-7. Baltimore’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams are trying to get to the playoff party and in the end, someone’s gonna get their wings clipped. Baltimore covers the 6 in Charm City and puts another dent in the Eagles’ playoff hopes in the process.

Cleveland (0-13) at Buffalo (6-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. They meet on the shores of Lake Erie. One team trying to make the post-season, the other team just trying to win a game. A pair of lakeside teams meet in upstate New York as Cleveland travels to Orchard Park for a contest with the Buffalo Bills.

The Browns’ woes continued at home last Sunday against their in-state and AFC North rivals Cincinnati as they lost to the Bengals 23-10 along the shores of Lake Erie. Although they trailed Cincinnati 20-0 at the half, the Browns did manage to give their fans something to cheer for as they outscored the Bengals 10-3 in the second half. It was a battle of the running backs as Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill (111 yards, TD) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell (113 yards) each led their clubs at snowy FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday (game time temperature, you ask? A balmy 28 with a wind chill of 16). The Bengals outrushed Cleveland 213-169, while Andy Dalton threw for 180 yards and a pair of TDs, while Robert Griffin III made his return to Cleveland, throwing for 104 yards, three sacks and an interception.

Buffalo also lost at home, falling to Pittsburgh 27-20 Sunday afternoon at snowy New Era Stadium in Orchard Park (you’re wondering how cold it was… game-time temperature at kickoff was a somewhat balmy 27 degrees with an 18 wind chill and snow throughout the game). The Bills trailed 14-7 at the intermission and pulled to within 7 when LeSean McCoy scored on a 3-yard run with 1:25 left to play in the contest. Buffalo found themselves held to 67 yards rushing, while Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell ran for 236 yards and three TDs (the Steelers tallied 240 yards rushing), while the Bills picked off Ben Roethlisberger three times.

Cleveland leads the series 11-8, while the Bills have outscored the Browns 356-332 and won the last meeting 2014 in Orchard Park by a final of 26-10, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2013, along the shores of Lake Erie, coming away 37-24 winners. Buffalo’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. If you’re a Browns fan, you might want to skip this one and watch that Mythbusters marathon on Science Channel. Bills win this one in upstate New York but expect Cleveland to put up a fight.

Green Bay (7-6) at Chicago (5-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. It’s round two for a pair of NFC North rivals as Green Bay makes their way South to the Windy City for a date with Da Bears.

Green Bay took Seattle to the woodshed at frosty Lambeau last Sunday, taking down the Seahawks 33-10. Rodgers and the Packers led Seattle 14-3 at the half and then shut down Seattle the rest of the way. Even though they were outrushed 136-93 by Seattle, Rodgers threw for 246 yards and three TDs, while Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 240 yards and a TD with five interceptions.

Da Bears let a 17-13 lead in the Motor City get away from them as they would fall to Matthew Stafford (223 yards, TD) and the Detroit Lions 20-17 at Ford Field. Trailing 10-3 at the half, Chicago took the lead with 7:07 left in the contest when CB Connor LeBlanc picked off Stafford and returned the ball 24 yards to lead 17-13. That lead would not last all that long as the Lions used a 7-play, 76-yard drive that took all of 3:50 to take the lead back and for keeps when Stafford scored from 7 yards out with 3:17 left. Chicago would get the ball back one more time after the Lions’ score and advanced their way downfield before their drive fell short at Detroit’s 14-yard line. Detroit outrushed Da Bears 114-92, while Chicago’s Matt Barkley threw for 212 yards and a TD.

They met in Lambeau in week seven on a Thursday night and the Packers manhandled Chicago 26-10. Green Bay led 6-3 at halftime before pulling away from Da Bears in the second half. Rodgers (326 yards) and Davante Adams connected on a pair of TDs, while Randall Cobb chipped in with a third. Green Bay outrushed Chicago 103-69 and picked off Matt Barkley twice in the win in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst.

The Packers covered the 8 1/2 point spread in the week seven contest, winning by 16 but both clubs missed the 45 1/2 over/under, scoring 36 points. The Packers are favored again, this time by 6 1/2 and the over/under this time is 42 1/2. Chicago’s out of the post-season picture, while Green Bay is trying to make up ground on Detroit and Minnesota in the NFC North. There is one more factor and that’s Mother Nature. According to our friends at The Weather Channel, Sunday’s game could be the 5th coldest in the history of Soldier Field, so bundle up if ya go. Green Bay may not make the post-season but the Packers complete the sweep in the series and takes the win in the Windy City.

Jacksonville (2-11) at Houston (7-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The kings of the AFC South mountain host the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars as the Texans return home to the Lone Star State.

Jacksonville let a 9-9 tie against Minnesota at EverBank Field get away from them as the Vikings went on to win 25-16 in the Sunshine State. Both clubs rushed for 85 yards in the contest, while both Sam Bradford (292 yards) and Blake Bortles (257 yards) each threw a TD pass (Bortles was sacked four times).

Houston came away 22-17 winners over Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday. The Texans led 13-3 at the half and got five Nick Novak field goals, including the one that iced the contest away from 34 yards with 2:47 left to play, to take the road win and complete the sweep against the Colts. Texans RB Lamar Miller ran for 107 yards and a 2-yard TD run in the 2nd quarter for the win, as Houston outrushed Indy 185-83, picking off Andrew Luck (276 yards, two TDs) twice, while Brock Osweiler threw for 147 yards in the win.

Houston leads the series 17-11, have outscored Jacksonville 648-553 and swept the last two series, including sweeping the series last year (Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2013, when they managed to sweep the series that season).

Week 6… Jacksonville…. First meeting. Houston led 10-7 in the Sunshine State at the half and went on to win 31-20. The Texans would score 21 fourth quarter points unchallenged in the win over the Jaguars and picked off Bortles three times. As far as the rushing game went, it wasn’t a thing of beauty, as neither club broke the 100-yard barrier (Houston outrushed Jacksonville 95-83). As for the air attack, Hoyer threw for 293 yards and Bortles threw for 331 (each man threw three TDs with Bortles throwing three interceptions).

Round 2… week 17… Houston. While Jacksonville was out of the playoff picture, the Texans were getting ready for their AFC Wild Card meeting with Kansas City. For Houston, it was second verse, same as the first. Houston came away 30-6 winners in the rematch in the Lone Star State, leading 20-3 at the break. Nick Novak kicked three field goals for the Texans at NRG Stadium, Hoyer and RB Jonathan Grimes hooked up on the game’s first TD and CB Kareem Jackson picked off Bortles and ran the ball back 27 yards for a TD to seal Jacksonville’s fate. Texans’ RB Alfred Blue ran roughshod over the Jaguars, tallying 102 of his team’s 160 yards, while the Houston defense held Jacksonville to 32 yards, sacking Bortles eight times and picking him off twice.

Houston’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 39. If nothing else, the Texans could very well improve their playoff chances with a win, while the Jaguars look to at least make things a bit harder for their AFC South rivals. Houston wins and covers the 6.

Tennessee (7-6) at Kansas City (10-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The much-improved Tennessee Titans travel to the Show-Me State for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Kansas City Chiefs, who sit atop first place in the AFC West.

Tennessee shutout Denver for three quarters before taking down the defending Super Bowl champions 13-10 at Nissan Stadium. The Titans led 13-0 after three quarters of play before Denver got back into the contest, scoring their 10 points in the fourth quarter unchallenged. Tennessee ran for 180 yards in the 3-point win in the Volunteer State, while holding Denver to a season-low 18 yards. Marcus Mariota threw for only 88 yards but did not throw an interception, while Trevor Sieman threw for 334 yards and a TD but was sacked three times.

The Chiefs took over first place in the AFC West last Thursday night at Arrowhead with their 21-13 win over rival Oakland. Kansas City trailed 3-0 after K Sebastian Janikowski opened the scoring with a 44-yard field goal and took the lead for good when WR Tyreek Hill connected on a 36 yard TD pass from Alex Smith with 14:51 left before halftime. Hill then struck again, returning a punt 78 yards for his second TD of the night. Raiders RB Latavius Murray and Janikowski would pull the Raiders closer but the Chiefs prevailed to take the win. Oakland did manage to outrush Kansas City 135-65 (Murray led all rushers with 103), while Carr threw for 117 yards and Smith threw for 264.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Chiefs were known as the Dallas Texans before moving to Missouri and playing at Swope Field, Kansas City leads the series 27-21 and they’ve outscored Tennessee 1,032-865. Tennessee won the last meeting with the Chiefs, coming away 26-10 winners at Arrowhead in 2014, while the Chiefs’ last win in the series came in 2013 in the Music City by a final of 26-17. Kansas City’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. The Chiefs are looking to be home for the holidays, while the Titans are looking to knock Houston off the top of the AFC South mountain. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City and so are the Chiefs, who takes this one and covers the 5 1/2.

Indianapolis (6-7) at Minnesota (7-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Luck vs. Bradford. The Indianpolis Colts travel to the land of 10,000 Lakes for a Sunday afternoon affair with the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Colts fell to AFC South rivals Houston 22-17 winners in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday. Indy trailed 13-3 at the half and kept things close but still lost as Texans’ K Nick Novak connected on five field goals, including the one that iced the contest away from 34 yards with 2:47 left to play, to take the road win and complete the sweep against the Colts. Texans RB Lamar Miller ran for 107 yards and a 2-yard TD run in the 2nd quarter for the win, as Houston outrushed Indy 185-83, picking off Andrew Luck (276 yards, two TDs) twice, while Brock Osweiler threw for 147 yards in the win.

Minnesota broke a 9-9 tie against Jacksonville at EverBank Field and came away 25-16 winners in the Sunshine State. Both clubs rushed for 85 yards in the contest, while both Sam Bradford (292 yards) and Blake Bortles (257 yards) each threw a TD pass (Bortles was sacked four times).

The Colts lead the series 15-7-1 (which includes games that took place in Baltimore and Bloomington), the Colts have outscored the Vikings 585-482 and have won the last four meetings in the series, including a 23-20 win in the Hoosier State in 2012, while Minnesota’s last win in the series came in the Land of 10,000 Lakes by a final of 39-28 in 1997. The Vikings are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives and the loser is pretty much done, while the winner gets to live and fight another day. Minnesota wins this one but expect Indy to make it closer than the 4 1/2.

Detroit (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of contending teams that could meet in the postseason met in upstate New Jersey as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions take on Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

The first-place Lions trailed Chicago 17-13 late in their contest with Chicago before Matthew Stafford (223 yards, TD) and the Lions took a 20-17 win at Ford Field. Detroit led 10-3 at the half, before Chicago took the lead with 7:07 left in the contest when CB Connor LeBlanc picked off Stafford and returned the ball 24 yards to lead 17-13. That lead would not last all that long as the Lions used a 7-play, 76-yard drive that took all of 3:50 to take the lead back and for keeps when Stafford scored from 7 yards out with 3:17 left. Chicago would get the ball back one more time after the Lions’ score and advanced their way downfield before their drive fell short at Detroit’s 14-yard line. Detroit outrushed Da Bears 114-92, while Chicago’s Matt Barkley threw for 212 yards and a TD.

The Giants completed the sweep of their series with Dallas as they beat their NFC East rivals 10-7 at Met Life Stadium. Dallas led 7-0 at the half before the Giants scored their points in the third period unchallenged. Big Blue ended Dallas’ bid for a shutout when Robbie Gould connected on a 39-yard field goal with 5:50 left. Manning (193 yards) then broke the hearts and spirits of Cowboys fans when he and Odell Beckham Jr. hooked up on a 61-yard TD pass with 67 seconds left in the contest. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot accounted for 107 of Dallas’ 108 yards on the ground, while the Giants tallied 93 and the Giants defense sacked Dak Prescott (165 yards) three times and picked him off twice.

Including contests that took place at Tiger and Yankee Stadiums and in Portsmouth when the team were known as the Spartans, the Lions lead the series 21-20-1 and Detroit has outscored the Giants 727-625. The Lions were winners in the last meeting between the clubs, taking a 35-14 win at Ford Field in 2014, while the Giants’ last win also came in the Motor City, with New York winning 23-20 in overtime in 2013. New York’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Is this a preview of the post-season? It could happen. The Lions right now are the two seed in the NFC, while the Giants are the six seed, which means if they were to meet, it would be in Detroit. Right now, they’re in New Jersey and the Giants prove to the world that the win over Dallas was not a fluke and they’ll take this one at home and cover the 5 1/2.

Pittsburgh (8-5) at Cincinnati (5-7-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 711. They meet again, this time in the Buckeye State. Pittsburgh, in first in the AFC North, travels to Cincinnati for a week two rematch along the shores of the Ohio River.

Pittsburgh held off Buffalo 27-20 Sunday afternoon at snowy New Era Stadium in Orchard Park in a game that had snow throughout the contest and played in 27 degree weather with a 18 wind chill. Pittsburgh led 14-7 at the intermission before Buffalo pulled to within 7 when LeSean McCoy scored on a 3-yard run with 1:25 left to play in the contest. LeVeon Bell was almost the second coming of Franco Harris, rushing for 236 yards and three TD, while the Steelers held the Bills to 67 yards rushing (the Steelers tallied 240 yards rushing), while the Bills picked off Ben Roethlisberger three times.

Cincy continued the woes of Browns’ fans last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie against Cleveland as they took the home team to the woodshed, coming away with a 23-10 win on the road. The Bengals led 20-0 at the intermission before Cleveland put on a small rally in the second half. Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill (111 yards, TD) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell (113 yards) put on a rushing clinic as each led their clubs at snowy FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday (game time temperature, you ask? A balmy 28 with a wind chill of 16). The Bengals outrushed Cleveland 213-169, while Andy Dalton threw for 180 yards and a pair of TDs, while Robert Griffin III made his return to Cleveland, throwing for 104 yards, three sacks and an interception.

In the week two contest in the Steel City, Pittsburgh led 10-6 at halftime at Heinz Field, then pulled away from the Bengals to take the 24-16 win. Roethlisberger threw three TDs against their AFC North rivals in western Pennsylvania as the Steelers held Cincinnati to 46 yards rushing (Pittsburgh ran for 124). Despite throwing a pair of interceptions, Roethlisberger still managed to throw for 259 yards and the three TDs, while Dalton threw for 366 (each man was sacked once).

Pittsburgh was favored by 3 1/2 and covered the spread, winning by 8. That was the good news. The bad news? Neither club reached the 48 1/2 over/under, scoring 40 points. This time, the Steelers are again the favorites, this time by 3 with a 44 over/under. The last time Pittsburgh swept the series with the Bengals was in 2014, taking a 42-21 win in Cincinnati and a 27-17 win in Pittsburgh. Cincy’s trying to stay alive in the AFC North and while they may not cover the 3, they get revenge from their week two loss in front of the home crowd.

New Orleans (5-8) at Arizona (5-7-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s gumbo vs. Southwestern as the New Orleans Saints travel to Glendale for a late afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams saw their playoff hopes take a hit as both lost their contests last Sunday and both lost on the road.

Drew Brees (257 yards, three interceptions) was held to his second game without a TD pass (the last time that happened was 2009) as the Saints fell to Tampa Bay 16-11 in the Sunshine State. New Orleans trailed 13-8 at the half and then pulled to within 2 at 13-11 with 3:35 left in the third when Will Lutz connected on a 22-yard field goal. Tampa Bay then pushed the lead back to five with 12:46 left to play in regulation when Rueben Aguayo connected on a 26-yar field goal. The Saints had one last chance to take the lead late in the contest before S Keith Tandy gave Brees his third interception of the afternoon. Tampa Bay outrushed their NFC South foes 104-46, Jameis Winston threw for 184 yards without an interception and Doug Martin accounted for the contest’s only TD, scoring from 1 yard out with 14:50 left before the intermission.

Arizona trailed Miami 14-9 at halftime at Hard Rock Stadium before the Cardinals managed to tie the contest up on an 8-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer to WR J.J. Nelson with 3:01 left in regulation before losing to the Dolphins 26-23 in the final seconds. The Desert Angry Birds pulled to within 8 at 23-15 thanks to a 2-point defensive conversion by S Walt Aikens before Arizona evened the score. Arizona then punted the ball back to Miami, who marched downfield, using an 6-play, 44-yard drive that used all of the 1:29 left in regulation when Dolphins K Andrew Franks connected on a 21-yard field goal as the clock struck :00. Arizona did outush the Dolphins 175-83, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 195 yards and three TDs before spraining his ACL (Palmer threw for 145 yards and had a pair of TDs but also threw a pair of interceptions).

The Desert Angry Birds lead the series 15-13 (which includes contests that took place in St. Louis) and they’ve outscored the Saints 630-595. Arizona won the last meeting with the Saints last year in Glendale by a final of 31-19 (New Orleans’ last win over Arizona came in 2013 in the Big Easy by a final of 31-7).

They met right out of the gate to start the 2015 campaign and Arizona led 14-10 at the break and held serve after that, outscoring the Saints 17-9 in the second half. Arizona outrushed New Orleans 120-54 and Palmer threw three TDs, accounting for 307 yards, while Brees threw for 355 yards with a TD, two sacks and and interception. The odds makers like Arizona as a 2 1/2 favorite with a 50 over/under. For both teams, they know that they have to keep winning and have some luck on their side. The Desert Angry Birds win this one in the desert and cover the 2 1/2.

New England (11-2) at Denver (8-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. They met in the AFC Championship game to decide who would go to Santa Clara. Last year, it was Brady vs. Manning. This year, same teams, different cast as the Patroits travel westward to meet the defending Super Bowl champs at Sports Authority Field.

New England and Tom Brady fought off Baltimore, taking a 30-23 win Monday night in Foxboro. The Pats led 16-3 at the intermission before the Ravens took advantage of two Patriot special teams turnovers in the third quarter that gave them a chance to take the win on the road, pulling to within three with 6:35 to play when Justin Tucker connected on a 38-yard field goal. Brady and the Pats would then ice the game away when he and WR Chris Hogan connected on a 79-yard strike 17 seconds later. New England outrushed the Ravens 95-42, while Brady threw for 406 yards and three TDs, while Joe Flacco threw for 324 yards and two TDs (each man threw an intercaption in the Monday night contest).

Denver trailed Tennessee for three quarters before the defending Super Bowl champions rallied, only to lose to the Titans 13-10 at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee led 13-0 after three quarters of play before Denver got back into the contest, scoring their 10 points in the fourth quarter unchallenged. Tennessee ran for 180 yards in the 3-point win in the Volunteer State, while holding Denver to a season-low 18 yards. Marcus Mariota threw for only 88 yards but did not throw an interception, while Trevor Sieman threw for 334 yards and a TD but was sacked three times.

The defending Super Bowl champs lead the series 26-20 and Denver has outscored New England 1,074-1,007. There was one regular season meeting and one post-season meeting between the two clubs last year, both in Denver and both won by the Broncos (New England’s last win in the series came in 2014 in Foxboro by a final of 43-21.

Round one … Sports Authority Field at Mile High. A week 12 meeting in 23 degree weather (wind chill of a balmy 19) saw New England lead 14-7 at the half, before Denver roared back in the final 30 minutes of regulation to lead 24-21 on a 4-yard pass from Osweiler to Andrew Caldwell with 69 seconds left. That lead would not last very long as the Pats’ Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to send the contest into overtime. Brady and the Pats got the ball to start the overtime but went backwards instead of forward, as they only got the ball to their 29 yard line. New England punted and Denver got the ball back, needing only three plays, 57 yards and 79 seconds of time to send the crowd home happy as C.J. Anderson 48 yards unchallenged for the game-winning TD.

Anderson rushed for 113 yards with a pair of TDs (the second one the game-winner), as the Broncos outrushed New England 179-39. Brady threw for 280 yards and three TDs, while Osweiler threw for 270 yards with a TD (each man was sacked three times).

Round two… Sports Authority Field at Mile High and this time, it’s the AFC Championship game, for all the marbles. The weather was a little better (game time temp was 46 with a 43 wind chill) but the result for Denver was the same… a win. the Broncos led 17-9 at the half and came away 20-18 winners in the Winner-take-all affair. Denver would go on to hold off a late New England rally when Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski connected on a 4-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left in regulation. New England, who rushed for 44 yards, tried the onside kick, which Denver recovered and ran out the clock. The Broncos, who tallied 99 yards on the ground, got 176 yards in passing from a kid named Manning, who also threw a pair of TDs without an interception (Brady was sacked four times and picked off twice).

New England’s favored by 3 over the defending Super Bowl champs in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 44. History has a way of repeating itself. With that, the defending Super Bowl champs win at home over Brady and the Pats and cover the 3.

Oakland (10-3) at San Diego (5-8), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. They met in northern California early in the season. This time, it’s Oakland’s turn to make the 7-hour, 491-mile trip down I-5 to face the Chargers at Qualcomm.

Oakland saw their grip on first place in the AFC West last Thursday night get away from them at Arrowhead with their 21-13 loss to Kansas City. The Silver and Blakc led 3-0 after K Sebastian Janikowski opened the scoring with a 44-yard field goal and lost the lead for good when WR Tyreek Hill connected on a 36 yard TD pass from Alex Smith with 14:51 left before halftime. Hill then Oakland struck again, returning a punt 78 yards for his second TD of the night. Raiders RB Latavius Murray and Janikowski would pull the Raiders closer but the Chiefs prevailed to take the win. Oakland did manage to outrush Kansas City 135-65 (Murray led all rushers with 103), while Carr threw for 117 yards and Smith threw for 264.

The Bolts could never get on track against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, as the defending NFC champs took care of San Diego, taking a 28-16 win in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina held San Diego to 58 yards on the ground, while the Panthers clawed out 126 yards rushing. Newton threw for 160 yards and connected with WR Devin Funchess for a 6-yard TD pass, while Graham Gano kicked four field goals in the 12-point win. San Diego’s Philip Rivers threw for 236 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off three times and sacked five times, the last coming as a safety for Carolina when DE Mario Addison sacked him in the end zone with 10:09 left in the contest.

They met in week five in Oakland and the Raiders held off San Diego, beating the Chargers 34-31. Oakland trailed 10-9 at halftime before outscoring the Bolts 25-21 in the final 30 minutes of action, then held off a late San Diego drive that would have resulted in a game-tying field goal by Drew Kaser from 35 yards but the snap went off kilter and the Raiders got the ball back. San Diego again tried to march down the field for what would have been the go-ahead TD as Rivers threw to WR Travis Benjamin for no gain. Benjamin then fumbled the ball out of bounds, which ended the contest. Oakland outrushed San Diego 89-72 and Rivers threw for 359 yards with four TDs but threw two interceptions and was sacked twice (Carr threw for 317 yards with a pair of TDs in the three-point win.)

Oakland was favored by 3 1/2 (winning by 3) and the contest had a 50 over/under, which both clubs handled by scoring 65. The Raiders are a 3 point favorite in sunny San Diego and the over/under this time around is 50. The Raiders are trying to keep pace with Kansas City, while Charger fans are looking for hope in order to crash the post-season party. Charger fans get put out of their misery this week. Oakland covers the 3 and wins at Qualcomm.

Tampa Bay (8-5) at Dallas (11-2), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. A pair of young guns meet in the Lone Star State as Jameis Winston and Dak Prescott meet in Arlington in a Sunday night prime time contest at Jerry World.

Tampa Bay held Drew Brees (257 yards, three interceptions) to his second game without a TD pass (the last time that happened was 2009) as the Bucs held off the Saints, taking a 16-11 win in the Sunshine State. New Orleans trailed 13-8 at the half and then pulled to within 2 at 13-11 with 3:35 left in the third when Will Lutz connected on a 22-yard field goal. Tampa Bay then pushed the lead back to five with 12:46 left to play in regulation when Rueben Aguayo connected on a 26-yar field goal. The Saints had one last chance to take the lead late in the contest before S Keith Tandy gave Brees his third interception of the afternoon. Tampa Bay outrushed their NFC South foes 104-46, Winston threw for 184 yards without an interception and Doug Martin accounted for the contest’s only TD, scoring from 1 yard out with 14:50 left before the intermission.

The New York Giants completed the sweep of their series with Dallas as they beat their NFC East rivals 10-7 at Met Life Stadium. Dallas led 7-0 at the half before the Giants took the lead back and for keeps as they scored their points in the third period unchallenged. Big Blue ended Dallas’ bid for a shutout when Robbie Gould connected on a 39-yard field goal with 5:50 left. Manning (193 yards) then broke the hearts and spirits of Cowboys fans when he and Odell Beckham Jr. hooked up on a 61-yard TD pass with 67 seconds left in the contest. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot accounted for 107 of Dallas’ 108 yards on the ground, while the Giants tallied 93 and the Giants defense sacked Dak Prescott (165 yards) three times and picked him off twice.

Dallas leads the series 11-4 and the Cowboys have outscored Tampa Bay 274-208. Tampa Bay won the last meeting, which took place last year, when they won 10-6 in the Sunshine State (Dallas’ last win over Tampa Bay came in 2012 in Arlington by a final of 16-10).

In the week five affair at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay trailed a Tony Romo-less Dallas team 6-3 at the break before they rallied in the fourth quarter with Winston scoring the contest’s only TD from 1 yard out with 54 seconds left. Tampa Bay outrushed Dallas 84-72 and Winston threw for 264 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Matt Cassell threw for 186 yards (Winston was sacked twice, while Cassell was sacked three times).

Dallas is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 46. One has already made the playoffs, the other’s trying to get into the playoff party. That alone makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Tampa Bay will know if they’re ahead of Atlanta or behind the Falcons when their game in the Big Peach ends around 7 p.m. Eastern. The Falcons would like to get some help from Dallas to keep their NFC South rivals in their rearview mirror. Dallas may not cover the 7 but they take the win in JerryWorld.

Carolina (5-8) at Washington (7-5-1), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 15 closes out in Landover as a pair of teams looking for a playoff berth as the Panthers take on Washington at FedEx Field.

Cam Newton and the Panthers took San Diego to the woodshed last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, taking a 28-16 win in Charlotte. The defending NFC champs held San Diego to 58 yards on the ground, while the Panthers clawed out 126 yards rushing. Newton threw for 160 yards and connected with WR Devin Funchess for a 6-yard TD pass, while Graham Gano kicked four field goals in the 12-point win. San Diego’s Philip Rivers threw for 236 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off three times and sacked five times, the last coming as a safety for Carolina when DE Mario Addison sacked him in the end zone with 10:09 left in the contest.

Washington put a dent in Philadelphia’s playoff hopes last Sunday in the City of Brotherly Love, beating their NFC East rivals 27-22 at Lincoln Financial Field. Washington trailed Philly led 13-7 at the break before the defending NFC East champs rallied in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 20-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Eagles took a 22-21 lead with 4:59 to play in the contest on a 41-yard field by Caleb Sturgis before Washington took the lead back and for keeps when Chris Thompson scored on a 25-yard run with 1:53 left. Philadelphia then got the ball back and got as close as Washington’s 14-yard when rookie QB Carson Wentz was sacked and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by DE Trent Murphy. Washington would go on to run out the clock and take the win. In dropping their fourth contest in a row, the Eagles were held to 95 yards rushing, while Washington racked up 107. Wentz threw for 314 yards and a TD to Darren Sproles (who left the game with a concussion) with four sacks and an interception, while Kirk Cousins threw for 234 yards and a pair of TDs.

Washington leads the series 7-5 and the Panthers have outscored Washington 270-247. Carolina has won the last four meetings, including a 44-16 win in Charlotte last year. They met in the Tar Heel State in week 11 and Carolina led 31-14 at the intermission before pulling away from Washington in the second half. Newton threw five TDs in the contest, racking up 246 yards in the contest, while Jonathan Stewart ran for 102 yards (Carolina outrushed Washington 142-14) and the Panther defense made life less than plesant for Cousins, who threw for 207 yards with a TD and was sacked five times.

Washington on Monday night is one game below the .500 mark at 28-29 (the Redskins lost at home to Pittsburgh in week one), while the Panthers are 8-6 (Carolina lost at home to Tampa Bay in week five). The ‘Skins are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 51. While this one’s not a great game, it’ll be a good one to watch, so you might want to tape “2 Broke Girls” and “Scorpion” this week. “HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!” Washington covers the 4 1/2 and wins in Landover.

2016 NFL DRAFT NOTES

— 81st NFL DRAFT —

AUDITORIUM THEATRE OF ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY, CHICAGO (APRIL 28-30, 2016) (All times Eastern)

Rounds: Date (Selection Time)

Found 1: Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. (10 minutes)

Round 2 Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. (7 minutes)

Round 3 (5 Minutes)

Rounds 4 through 6 Saturday, April 30 at Noon (5 minutes)

Round 7 (4 Minutes)

Note: All compensatory picks are four minutes

WINDY CITY: Twenty-five prospects and 12 college head coaches will be in attendance at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago for the 2016 NFL Draft.

That includes a record-tying five players from Ohio State: CB Eli Apple, DE Joey Bosa, T Taylor Decker, RB Ezekiel Elliott and LB Darron Lee. Ohio State’s five players equals the record set by Alabama in 2012.

The players confirmed to attend this year’s NFL Draft:

1) Eli Apple (CB-Ohio State)
2) Joey Bosa (DE-Ohio State)
3) Vernon Butler (DT-Louisiana Tech)
4) Corey Coleman (WR-Baylor)
5) Jack Conklin (T-Michigan State)
6) Taylor Decker (T-Ohio State)
7) Josh Doctson (WR-Texas Christian)
8) Kevin Dodd (DE-Clemson)
9) Ezekiel Elliott (RB-Ohio State)
10) Jared Goff (QB-California)
11) Vernon Hargreaves (CB-Florida)
12) Myles Jack (LB-UCLA)
13) Chris Jones (DT-Mississippi State)
14) Shaq Lawson (DE-Clemson)
15) Darron Lee (LB-Ohio State)
16) Keanu Neal (S-Florida)
17) Robert Nkemdiche (DT-Mississippi)
18) Reggie Ragland (LB-Alabama)
19) Jalen Ramsey (CB-Florida State)
20) Jarren Reed (DT-Alabama)
21) A’Shawn Robinson (DT-Alabama)
22) Ronnie Stanley (T-Notre Dame)
23) Laquan Treadwell (WR-Mississippi)
24) Laremy Tunsil (T-Mississippi)
25) Carson Wentz (QB-North Dakota State)

The college head coaches confirmed to attend this year’s NFL Draft:

1) Art Briles – Baylor
2) Mark Dantonio – Michigan State
3) Sonny Dykes – California
4) Jimbo Fisher – Florida State
5) Hugh Freeze – Mississippi
6) Brian Kelly – Notre Dame
7) Chris Klieman – North Dakota State
8) Urban Meyer – Ohio State
9) Jim Mora – UCLA
10) Gary Patterson – Texas Christian
11) Nick Saban – Alabama
12) Dabo Swinney – Clemson

TOP TRADES: The 2016 NFL Draft marks the fourth time in the common draft era (since 1967) that the top two picks were traded. In the three previous instances – 1997, 1975 and 1967 – the third overall pick was also dealt.

The Los Angeles Rams traded for the first overall pick in this year’s draft, while the Philadelphia Eagles moved into the second spot.

The drafts in which the top three picks were traded:

YEAR, PICK NO. (TEAM THAT ACQUIRED PICK – PLAYER SELECTED)
1997, 1 (St. Louis Rams – T Orlando Pace)
2 (Oakland – DT Darrell Russell)
3 (Seattle – CB Shawn Springs)

1975, 1 (Atlanta – QB Steve Bartkowski)
2 (Dallas  – DT Randy White)
3 (Baltimore Colts – G Ken Huff)

1967, 1 (Baltimore Colts – DE Bubba Smith)
2 (Minnesota  – RB Clint Jones)
3 (San Francisco – QB Steve Spurrier)

ROLL TIDE: If Alabama has a player selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Crimson Tide will surpass Pittsburgh (1983-1989), Ohio State (1991-1997) and Florida (1997-2003) for the third-longest consecutive streak of players drafted in the first round since the advent of the common draft in 1967. They currently have seven consecutive drafts with at least one first round pick.

Miami (1995-2008) holds the longest streak with 14 consecutive drafts having at least one player selected in the first round.

LONGEST STREAK OF CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH A FIRST ROUND PICK (SINCE 1967)

YEARS: SCHOOL (CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH A FIRST ROUND PICK
1995-2008: Miami (14)
1983-1991: Florida (9)
2009-2015: Alabama (7)*
1997-2003: Florida (7)
1991-1997: Ohio State (7)
1983-1989: Pittsburgh (7)
*Active streak

BUCKEYE BRILLIANCE: Five Ohio State players can hear their name called in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft – CB Eli Apple, DE Joey Bosa, T Taylor Decker, RB Ezekiel Elliott and LB Darron Lee.

If all five players are chosen in the first round, they would tie Southern California (1968), Miami (2002) and Ohio State (2006) for the second-most first-round picks since 1967. Miami (2004) is the only school with six first-round selections in one draft.

THE SCHOOLS WITH THE MOST FIRST-ROUND PICKS IN ONE DRAFT (SINCE 1967)

YEAR – SCHOOL (FIRST ROUND PICKS)
2004 – Miami (6)
2006 – Ohio State (5)
2002 – Miami (5)
1968 – Southern California (5)

SMALL SCHOOL SUCCESS: Not all top picks come from the big schools. Smaller schools have found success as well. North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz can become the fifth quarterback from a non-FBS school to be drafted in the first round since 1979,
when Division I-A was formed.

Wentz would join Joe Flacco (2008), Steve McNair (1995), Ken O’Brien (1983),
and Phil Simms (1979).

QUARTERBACKS FROM NON-FBS SCHOOLS SELECTED IN THE FIRST ROUND (Since 1979)

YEAR – PLAYER (SCHOOL, NUMBER CHOSEN; TEAM)
1979 – Phil Simms (Morehead State, 7; New York Giants)
1983 – Ken O’Brien (California-Davis, 24; New York Jets)
1995 – Steve McNair (Alcorn State, 3; Houston Oilers)
2008 – Joe Flacco (Delaware, 18; Baltimore)

TOP TWO QBs: California QB JARED GOFF and North Dakota State QB CARSON WENTZ may
hear their names called with the first two picks of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Since the beginning of the common draft in 1967, quarterbacks have been taken
with the first two picks of the same draft six times. Last year, JAMEIS WINSTON
and MARCUS MARIOTA were selected with the top two picks. It would mark the
second time that quarterbacks have been selected with the top two picks in
consecutive drafts (1998 and 1999).

QUARTERBACKS – NO. 1 & 2 OVERALL SELECTIONS IN THE SAME DRAFT (SINCE 1967)

YEAR
NO. 1 PICK (COLLEGE), TEAM
NO. 2 PICK (COLLEGE), TEAM

1971
Jim Plunkett (Stanford), New England
Archie Manning (Mississippi), New Orleans

1993
Drew Bledsoe (Washington State), New England
Rick Mirer (Notre Dame), Seattle

1998
Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Indianapolis
Ryan Leaf (Washington State), San Diego

1999
Tim Couch (Kentucky), Cleveland
Donovan McNabb (Syracuse), Philadelphia

2012
Andrew Luck (Stanford), Indianapolis
Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Washington

2015
Jameis Winston (Florida State), Tampa Bay
Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Tennessee

FIRST ROUND REBELS: Mississippi T Laremy Tunsil, WR Laquan Treadwell and DT Robert Nkemdiche all hope to hear their name called in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. It would mark the first time in school history that three players were selected in the first round.

The last time Ole Miss had multiple players selected in the first round was 2009, when T Michael Oher (23rd overall, Baltimore) and DT Peria Jerry (24th overall, Atlanta) were both chosen.

TERRIFIC TECH: Louisiana Tech DT Vernon Butler can become the first defensive player in school history to be drafted in the first round.

Butler hopes to join Pro Terry Bradshaw (1970), Roger Carr (1974), Willie Roaf (1993) and Troy Edwards (1999), as the only Louisiana Tech players to be selected in the first round since 1967.

LOUISIANA TECH PLAYERS SELECTED IN THE FIRST ROUND (Since 1967)

YEAR – PLAYER (POSITION-NUMBER CHOSEN; TEAM)
1970 – Terry Bradshaw (QB-1;Pittsbrugh)*
1974 – Roger Carr (WR-24; Baltimore Colts)
1993 – Willie Roaf (T-8; New Orleans)*
1999 – Troy Edwards (WR-13; Pittsburgh)
*Pro Football Hall of Famer

HISTORIC HORNED FROG: Texas Christian WR JOSH DOCTSON can become the first wide
receiver in school history to be drafted in the first round since the beginning
of the common draft in 1967.

Doctson would join CB Jason Verrett (2014), DE Jerry Hughes (2010), RB La Dainain Tomlinson (2001) and RB Norm Bulach (1970) as the only Texas Christian players selected in the first round since 1967.

TEXAS CHRISTIAN PLAYERS SELECTED IN THE FIRST ROUND (Since 1967)

YEAR – PLAYER (POSITION-NUMBER CHOSEN; TEAM)
1970 – Norm Bulaich (RB-18; Baltimore Colts)
2001 – LaDainian Tomlinson (RB-5; an Diego)
2010 – Jerry Hughes (DE-31; Indianapolis)
2014 – Jason Verrett (CB-25; San Diego)
MR. IRRELEVANT: The first shall be last. The Denver Broncos will have the honor of selecting this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant” – a tongue-in-cheek title bestowed annually upon the last player chosen in the NFL Draft – with the 253rd pick.

2016 marks the 41st year of the Mr. Irrelevant tradition.

Established in 1976 by Paul Salta, a former NFL player and Southern California businessman, Irrelevant Week is a weeklong celebration held annually in Newport Beach, California, which celebrates the efforts of Mr. Irrelevant and raises funds for charity. Special Olympics Southern California was named as the 2015 charitable recipient. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

In 2014, Irrelevant Week, Incorporated expanded its efforts by becoming The Foundation For The Undefeated
(www.theundefeated.org), a nonprofit dedicated to championing stories of perseverance in sports to inspire greatness in others. The Irrelevant Week tradition will continue as the cornerstone within the broader mission and reach of The Foundation for the Undefeated.

Several notable “Mr. Irrelevants” (active players in italics):

MR. IRRELEVANT, YEAR DRAFTED/TEAM
NOTES

TE Gerald Christian, Arizona (2015 Arizona)
40th Mr. Irrelevant. First Cardinals Mr. Irrelevant since Tevita Ofahengaue in 2001.

S Lonnie Ballentine, Houston (2014 Houston)
39th Mr. Irrelevant. Second Texans Mr. Irrelevant in the past four years, following Cheta Ozougwu in 2011.

K Ryan Succop, Kansas City (2009 Kansas City)
Set Chiefs rookie record with 25 field goals made in 2009.

WR Ryan Hoag (2003 Oakland)
Signed with Jaguars after spending time with Giants, Redskins and Vikings. Appeared on ABC’s “The Bachelorette” in 2008.

S Mike Green (2000 Chicago)
Started 48 games for Bears, Seahawks and Redskins in eight NFL seasons.

FB Jim Finn (1999 Chicago)
Played six NFL seasons for Colts and Giants totaling 45 career starts.

LB Marty Moore (1994 New England)
Played eight NFL seasons and became first “Mr. Irrelevant” to appear in the Super Bowl (XXXI with Patriots).

C Matt Elliott (1992 Washington)
Started 14 games on inaugural Carolina Panthers team. Made 32 career starts.

QB Bill Kenney (1978 Miami)*
Made the Pro Bowl in 1984 with the Chiefs and later became a Missouri State Senator.

WR Kelvin Kirk (1976 Pittsburgh)
First annual “Mr. Irrelevant.” Played seven years in the CFL and later worked for the Ottawa Citizen.
*Kenney was named as a replacement for Lee Washburn who could not attend training camp due to a back injury.

FIRST-ROUND TRADES SINCE 2000

(Yearly totals can include future selections traded in previous years.)

DRAFT – ROUND 1 TRADES
2000 – 16
2001 – 15
2002 – 14
2003 – 18
2004 – 17
2005 – 9
2006 – 11
2007 – 10
2008 – 17
2009 – 13
2010 – 15
2011 – 8
2012 – 19
2013 – 12
2014 – 11
2015 – 6

CONSECUTIVE TOP 10 CHOICES FROM SAME COLLEGE
1937: Nebraska – HB Lloyd Cardwell (7) and E Les McDonald (8)
1943: Minnesota – HB Bill Daley (7) and T Dick Wildung (8)
1946: Notre Dame – QB Johnny Lujack (4) and T George Connor (5)
1948: Alabama – HB Lowell Tew (4) and C Vaughn Mancha (5)
1949: Notre Dame – QB Frank Tripucka (9) and G Bill Fischer (10)
1949: Southern Methodist – RB Doak Walker (3) and HB Paul Page (4)
1959: Ohio State – HB Don Clark (7) and C Dan James (8)
1967: Michigan State – DT Bubba Smith (1) and RB Clint Jones (2)
1977: Southern California – T Marvin Powell (4) and DT Gary Jeter (5)
1978: Notre Dame – TE Ken MacAfee (7) and DT Ross Browner (8)
1981: UCLA – RB Freeman McNeil (3) and DB Kenny Easley (4)
1984: Nebraska – WR Irving Fryar (1) and T Dean Steinkuhler (2)
1990: Southern California – LB Junior Seau (5) and DB Mark Carrier (6)
1991: Nebraska – DB Bruce Pickens (3) and LB Mike Croel (4)
1991: Tennessee – T Charles McRae (7) and T Antone Davis (8)
1992: Stanford – T Bob Whitfield (8) and RB Tommy Vardell (9)
1993: Alabama – DE John Copeland (5) and DE Eric Curry (6)
1996: Illinois – LB Kevin Hardy (2) and DE Simeon Rice (3)
2000: Penn State – DE Courtney Brown (1) and LB LaVar Arrington (2)
2002: Texas – T Mike Williams (4) and DB Quentin Jammer (5)
2004: Miami – S Sean Taylor (5) and TE Kellen Winslow (6)
2010: Oklahoma – DT Gerald McCoy (3) and T Trent Williams (4)
2013: Alabama – DB Dee Milliner (9) and G Chance Warmack (10)
2014: Texas A&M – T Jake Matthews (6) and WR Mike Evans (7)

OFFENSIVE/DEFENSIVE PLAYERS SELECTED IN FIRST ROUND SINCE 1990

YEAR – OFFENSE/DEFENSE, FIRST OFFENSIVE PICK/FIRST DEFENSIVE PICK
1990 – 11/14, Jeff George-QB (1)/Cortez Kennedy-DT (3)
1991 – 13/14, Charles McRae-T (7)/Russell Maryland-DT (1)
1992 – 13/15, Desmond Howard-WR (4)/Steve Emtman-DE (1)
1993 – 15/14, Drew Bledsoe-QB (1)/Marvin Jones-LB (4)
1994 – 13/16, Marshall Faulk-RB (2)/Dan Wilkinson-DT (1)
1995 – 18/14, Ki-Jana Carter-RB (1)/ Kevin Carter-DE (6)
1996 – 17/13, Keyshawn Johnson-WR (1)/Kevin Hardy-LB (2)
1997 – 14/16, Orlando Pace-T (1)/Darrell Russell-DE (2)
1998 – 14/16, Peyton Manning-QB (1)/Andre Wadsworth-DE (3)
1999 – 16/15, Tim Couch-QB (1)/Champ Bailey-CB (7)
2000 – 17/14, Chris Samuel-T (3)/Courtney Brown-DE  (1)
2001 – 15/16, Michael Vick-QB (1)/Gerard Warren-DT (3)
2002 – 16/16.David Carr-QB (1)/Julius Peppers-DE (2)
2003 – 14/18, Carson Palmer-QB (1)/Dewayne Robertson-DT (4)
2004 – 19/13, Eli Manning-QB (1)/Sean Taylor-S (5)
2005 – 16/16, Alex Smith-QB (1)/Adam Jones-CB (6)
2006 – 19/13, Reggie Bush-RB (2)/Mario Williams-DE (1)
2007 – 15/17, JaMarcus Russell-QB (1)/Gaines Adams-DE (4)
2008 – 16/15, Jake Long-T (1)/Chris Long-DE (2)
2009 – 19/13, Matthew Stafford-QB (1)/Tyson Jackson-DE (3)
2010 – 14/18, Sam Bradford-QB (1)/Ndamukong Suh-DT (2)
2011 – 16/16, Cam Newton-QB (1)/Von Miller-LB (2)
2012 – 15/17, Andrew Luck-QB (1)/Morris Claiborne-CB (6)
2013 – 14/18, Eric Fisher-T (1)/Dion Jordan-DE (3)
2014 – 14/18, Greg Robinson-T (2)/Jadeveon Clowney-DE (1)
2015 – 17/15, Jameis Winston-QB (1)/Dante Fowler-DE (3)

“MOSTS”

Number of times QB and RB from same college have been chosen in top 10: 10
1942 (QB Frank Albert, RB Pete Kmetovic-Stanford), 1943 (QB Jack Jenkins, RB Bob Steuber-Missouri), 1944 (QB Angelo Bertelli, RB Creighton Miller-Notre Dame), 1946 (QB Frank Dancewicz, QB Johnny Lujack, RB Emil Sitko-Notre Dame), 1947 (QB Ernie Case, RB Cal Rossi-UCLA), 1948 (QB Harry Gilmer, RB Lowell Tew-Alabama), 1983 (QB Todd Blackledge, RB Curt Warner-Penn State), 1993 (QB Rick Mirer, RB Jerome Bettis-Notre Dame), 1995 (QB Kerry Collins, RB Ki-Jana Carter-Penn State), 2006 (QB Matt Leinart, RB Reggie Bush-Southern California).

Most offensive linemen taken in first round:  10

1968 – T Ron Yary, C Robert Johnson, T Russ Washington, T Mike Taylor, C Forrest Blue, G Maurice Moorman, G George Daney, T John Williams, G Bill Lueck, T Doug Crusan.

Colleges with most No. 1 overall draft choices:

Auburn (5)
2011: Cam Newton, QB (Carolina)
1988: Aundray Bruce, LB (Atlanta)
1986: Bo Jackson, RB (Tampa Bay)
1965: Tucker Frederickson, RB (New York Giants)
1961: Ken Rice, G (Buffalo)

Notre Dame (5)
1973: Walt Patulski, DE (Buffalo)
1957: Paul Hornung, HB (Green Bay)
1950: Leon Hart, E (Detroit)
1946: Frank Dancewicz, QB (Boston Yanks)
1944: Angelo Bertelli, QB (Boston Yanks)

Southern California (5)
2003: Carson Palmer, QB (Cincinnati)
1996: Keyshawn Johnson, WR (New York Jets)
1977: Ricky Bell, RB (Tampa Bay)
1969: O.J. Simpson, RB (Buffalo)
1968: Ron Yary, T (Minnesota)

Most first-round selections from one college in single year: 6

2004 – Miami (Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow, Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Vernon Carey, Vince Wilfork).

College with most players taken in single draft: Texas, 17 in 1984.

Consecutive first-round choices from same college that played same position:

1991: Tennessee Ts Charles McRae (#7-Tampa Bay) and Antone Davis (#8-Philadelphia).
1993: Alabama DEs John Copeland (#5-Cincinnati) and Eric Curry (#6-Tampa Bay).
1997: Miami DEs Kenard Lang (#17-Washington) and Kenny Holmes (#18-Tennessee).

Number of Pro Football Hall of Famers chosen No. 1 overall:  14

1942 – “Bullet” Bill Dudley/Pittsburgh
1945 – Charley Trippi/Chicago Cardinals
1949 – Chuck Bednarik/Philadelphia
1957 – Paul Hornung/Green Bay
1963 – Buck Buchanan/Kansas City (AFL)
1968 – Ron Yary/Minnesota
1969 – O.J. Simpson/Buffalo
1970 – Terry Bradshaw/Pittsburgh
1976 – Lee Roy Selmon/Tampa Bay
1978 – Earl Campbell/Houston;
1983 – John Elway/Baltimore Colts
1985 – Bruce Smith/Buffalo
1989 – Troy Aikman/Dallas
1997 – Orlando Pace/St. Louis Rams

Pro Football Hall of Famers chosen consecutively in first round by same team in one draft:

1965: Dick Butkus (#3-Illinois/LB) and Gale Sayers (#4-Kansas/RB) by Chicago.

Number of times in past 10 years that two players with same surname were drafted consecutively:  5

2006: Round 1 – G Davin Joseph (Tampa Bay/#23) and DB Johnathan Joseph (Cincinatti/#24)
2006: Round 4 – LB Leon Williams (Cleveland/#110) and WR Demetrius Williams (Baltimore/#111)
2008: Round 1 – T Jake Long (Miami/#1) and DE Chris Long (St. Louis/#2)
2014: Round 7 – LB Randell Johnson (Buffalo/#221) and RB Storm Johnson (Jacksonville/#222)
2015: Round 2 – WR Devin Smith (N.Y. Jets/#37) and DE Preston Smith (Washington/#38)

DRAFT TIMES

NOTE:  The first combined (AFL-NFL) draft in 1967 consisted of 17 rounds. In 1977, the draft was reduced to 12 rounds.  There were eight rounds in 1993 and seven since 1994.

Longest first round since 1967: 2007 (6 hours, 8 minutes)

Shortest first round since 1967: 1972 (2 hours)

Longest seven-round draft: 2007 (18 hours, 5 minutes)

Shortest seven-round draft: 2015 (13 hours, 45 minutes)

Most rounds on draft day: 30 (1943-1959 drafts)

COLLEGES WITH THREE PLAYERS DRAFTED IN FIRST ROUND

Number of times since 2000 college has had at least 3 players chosen in first round: 26

2000
Florida State (3) – Peter Warrick/Cincinnati; Corey Simon/Philadelphia; Sebastian Janikowski/Oakland.

2001
Miami (4) – Dan Morgan/Carolina; Damione Lewis/St. Louis; Santana Moss/New York Jets; Reggie Wayne/Indianapolis.              Michigan (3) – David Terrell/Chicago; Steve Hutchinson/Seattle; Jeff Backus/Detroit.

2002
Miami (5) – Bryant McKinnie/Minnesota; Jeremy Shockey/New York Giants; Phillip Buchanon/Oakland; Ed Reed/Baltimore; Mike Rumph/San Francisco.
Tennessee (3) – John Henderson/Jacksonville; Donte’ Stallworth/New Orleans; Albert Haynesworth/Tennessee.

2003
Miami (4) – Andre Johnson/Houston; Jerome McDougle/Philadelphia; Willis McGahee/Buffalo; William Joseph/New York Giants
Penn State (4) – Jimmy Kennedy/St. Louis; Michael Haynes/Chicago; Bryant Johnson/Arizona; Larry Johnson/Kansas City

2004
Miami (6) – Sean Taylor/Washington; Kellen Winslow/Cleveland; Jonathan Vilma/New York Jets; D.J. Williams/Denver; Vernon Carey/Miami; Vince Wilfork/New England.
Ohio State (3) – Will Smith/New Orleans, Chris Gamble/Carolina, Mike Jenkins/Atlanta

2005
Auburn (4) – Ronnie Brown/Miami; Jason Campbell/Washington; Carlos Rogers/Washington; Carnell Williams/Tampa Bay

2006
Ohio State (5) – A.J. Hawk/Green Bay; Donte Whitner/Buffalo; Bobby Carpenter/Dallas; Santonio Holmes/Pittsburgh; Nick Mangold/New York Jets
Florida State (4) – Ernie Sims/Detroit; Kamerion Wimbley/Cleveland; Brodrick Bunkley/Philadelphia; Antonio Cromartie/San Diego

North Carolina State (3) – Mario Williams/Houston; Manny Lawson/San Francisco; John McCargo/Buffalo

2007
Louisiana State (4) – JaMarcus Russell/Oakland; LaRon Landry/Washington; Dwayne Bowe/Kansas City; Craig Davis/San Diego
Miami (3) – Brandon Meriweather/New England; Jon Beason/Carolina; Greg Olsen/Chicago.

2008
Southern California (4) – Sedrick Ellis/New Orleans; Keith Rivers/Cincinnati; Sam Baker/Atlanta; Lawrence Jackson/Seattle.

2009
Southern California (3) – Mark Sanchez/New York Jets; Brian Cushing/Houston; Clay Matthews/Green Bay

2010
Oklahoma (4) – Sam Bradford/St. Louis; Gerald McCoy/Tampa Bay; Trent Williams/Washington; Jermaine Gresham/Cincinnati
Florida (3) – Joe Haden/Cleveland; Maurkice Pouncey/Pittsburgh; Tim Tebow/Denver

2011:
Alabama (4) – Marcell Dareus/Buffalo; Julio Jones/Atlanta; James Carpenter/Seattle; Mark Ingram/New Orleans

2012
Alabama (4) – Trent Richardson/Cleveland; Mark Barron/Tampa Bay; Dre Kirkpatrick/Cincinnati; Dont’a Hightower/New England

2013
Alabama (3) – Dee Milliner/New York Jets; Chance Warmack/Tennessee; D.J. Fluker/San Diego
Florida State (3) – E.J. Manuel/Buffalo; Bjoern Werner/Indianapolis; Xavier Rhodes/Minnesota

2014
Louisville (3) – Calvin Pryor/New York Jets; Marcus Smith/Philadelphia; Teddy Bridgewater/Minnesota
Texas A&M (3) – Jake Matthews/Atlanta; Mike Evans/Tampa Bay; Johnny Manziel/Cleveland

2015
Washington (3) – Danny Shelton/Cleveland; Marcus Peters/Kansas City; Shaq Thompson/Carolina

CALIFORNIA/FLORIDA

Number of times at least 3 players who played college football in California have been selected in top 10:  9

1942
Pete Kmetovic: Stanford – Philadelphia (#3)
Bob Robertson: Southern California – Brooklyn (#7)
Frankie Albert: Stanford – Chicago Bears (#10)

1947
Cal Rossi: UCLA – Washington (#4)
Ernie Case: UCLA – Green Bay (#6)
Herman Wedemeyer: St. Mary’s (California) – Los Angeles (#9)

1953
Johnny Olszewski: California – Chicago Cardinals (#4)
Billy Anderson:  Compton Junior College – Chicago Bears (#6)
Al Carmichael: Southern California – Green Bay (#7)
Donn Moomaw: UCLA – Los Angeles (#9)

1968
Ron Yary: Southern California – Minnesota (#1)
Haven Moses: San Diego State – Buffalo (#9)
Mike Taylor: Southern Californa – Pittsburgh (#10)

1972
Sherman White: California – Cincinnati (#2)
Gregory Sampson: Stanford – Houston (#6)
Willie Buchanon: San Diego State – Green Bay (#7)
Jeff Siemon: Stanford – Minnesota (#10)

1977
Ricky Bell: Southern California – Tampa Bay (#1)
Marvin Powell: Southern California – New York Jets (#4)
Gary Jeter: Southern California – New York Giants (#5)

1981
Freeman McNeil: UCLA – New York Jets (#3)
Kenny Easley: UCLA – Seattle (#4)
Rich Campbell – California – Green Bay (#6)
Ronnie Lott: Southern California – San Francisco (#8)

1982
Chip Banks: Southern California – Cleveland (#3)
Darrin Nelson: Stanford – Minnesota (#7)
Marcus Allen: Southern California – Oakland (#10)

1994
Marshall Faulk: San Diego State – Indianapolis (#2)
Willie McGinest: Southern California – New England (#4)
Trent Dilfer: Fresno State – Tampa Bay (#6)
Jamir Miller: UCLA – Arizona (#10)

Number of times three players who played college football in Florida have been selected in top 10:  5

1987
Vinny Testaverde, Miami; Tampa Bay (#1)
Alonzo Highsmith, Miami; Houston (#3)
Jerome Brown, Miami; Philadelphia (#9)

1997
Peter Boulware, Florida State; Baltimore (#4)
Walter Jones, Florida State; Seattle (#6)
Ike Hilliard, Florida; New York Giants (#7)

1998
Andre Wadsworth, Florida State; Arizona (#3)
Fred Taylor, Florida; Jacksonville (#9)
Duane Starks, Miami; Baltimore (#10)

2000

Peter Warrick, Florida State; Cincinnati (#4)
Corey Simon, Florida State; Philadelphia (#6)
Travis Taylor, Florida; Baltimore (#10)

2015
Jameis Winston, Florida State; Tampa Bay (#1)
Dante Fowler, Florida; Jacksonville (#3)
Ereck Flowers, Miami; New York Giants (#9)

FIRST ROUND BY POSITION

Most first-round selections by position (one year):

Quarterback (6-1983):
John Elway/Baltimore, Todd Blackledge/Kansas City, Jim Kelly/Buffalo, Tony Eason/New England, Ken O’Brien/New York Jets, Dan Marino/Miami

Halfback/Running Back (9-1938, 1941):
(Last time) 1941 – Tom Harmon/Chicago Bears, John Kimbrough/Chicago Cardinals, Norm Standlee/Chicago Bears, John Thomason/Detroit, George Franck/New York, George Paskavan/Green Bay, Dean McAdams/Brooklyn, Don Scott/Chicago Bears, Forrest Evashevski/Washington

Wide Receiver (7-2004):
Larry Fitzgerald/Arizona, Roy Williams/Detroit, Reggie Williams/Jacksonville, Lee Evans/Buffalo, Michael Clayton/Tampa Bay, Michael Jenkins/Atlanta, Rashaun Woods/San Francisco.

Tight End (3-1970, 2002):
(Last time) 2002 – Jeremy Shockey/New York Giants; Daniel Graham/New England; Jerramy Stevens/Seattle

Center (2-1949, 1950, 1968, 2009):
(Last time) 2009 – Alex Mack/Cleveland, Eric Wood/Buffalo

Guard (4-1982):
Mike Munchak/Houston, Sean Farrell/Tampa Bay, Ron Hallestrom/Green Bay, Roy Foster/Miami

Tackle (8-2008):
Jake Long/Miami, Ryan Clady/Denver, Chris Williams/Chicago, Branden Albert/Kansas City, Gosder Cherilus/Detroit, Jeff Otah/Carolina, Sam Baker/Atlanta, Duane Brown/Houston

Defensive Back (9-2014):
Justin Gilbert/Cleveland, Kyle Fuller/Chicago, Calvin Pryor/New York Jets, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix/Green Bay, Darqueze Dennard/Cincinnati, Jason Verrett/San Diego, Deone Bucannon/Arizona, Jimmie Ward/San Francisco, Bradley Roby/Denver

Linebacker (7-1990):
Keith McCants/Tampa Bay, Junior Seau/San Diego, Chris Singleton/New England, James Francis/Cincinnati, Percy Snow/Kansas City, Lamar Lathon/Houston, Tony Bennett/Green Bay

Defensive End (6-1992, 2011):
(Last time) 2011 – J.J. Watt/Houston, Robert Quinn/St. Louis, Corey Liuget/San Diego, Adrian Clayborn/Tampa Bay, Cameron Jordan/New Orleans, Cameron Heyward/Pittsburgh

Defensive Tackle (6-1977, 2001, 2003):
(Last time) 2003 – Dewayne Robertson/New York Jets, Johnathan Sullivan/New Orleans, Kevin Williams/Minnesota, Jimmy Kennedy/St. Louis, Ty Warren/New England, William Joseph/New York Giants

Nose Tackle (1-1986, 1988, 2012):
(Last time) 2012 – Dontari Poe/Kansas City

Kicker/Punter (1-1966, 1973, 1978, 1979, 2000):
(Last time) 2000 – K Sebastian Janikowski/Oakland

MOST PLAYERS DRAFTED FROM SINGLE SCHOOL SINCE 1970

Year: College – Players
1970: Grambling, Southern California – 9
1971: Ohio State – 13
1972: Michigan – 10
1973: Oklahoma – 11
1974: UCLA – 12
1975: Southern California – 14
1976: Nebraska, Ohio State – 11
1977: Southern California – 14
1978: Florida – 10
1979: Notre Dame, Oklahoma – 10
1980: Nebraska, Southern California – 10
1981: Pittsburgh – 12
1982: Texas – 12
1983: Southern California – 11
1984: Texas – 17
1985: Wisconsin – 11
1986: Illinois, Southern California – 9
1987: Penn State – 13
1988: Oklahoma – 13
1989: Auburn – 10
1990: Southern California – 10
1991: Miami – 11
1992: Washington – 11
1993: Notre Dame, Miami – 9
1994: Notre Dame – 10
1995: Colorado, Florida State – 10
1996: Penn State – 10
1997: Arizona State, Miami, Nebraska – 8
1998: Washington – 10
1999: Florida, Ohio State – 8
2000: Tennessee – 9
2001: Florida State – 9
2002: Miami – 11
2003: Florida, Miami, Tennessee – 8
2004: Ohio State – 14
2005: Oklahoma – 11
2006: Southern California – 11
2007: Florida – 9
2008: Southern California – 10
2009: Southern California – 11
2010: Florida – 9
2011: North Carolina, Southern California – 9
2012: Alabama – 8
2013: Florida State – 11
2014: Louisiana State – 9
2015: Florida State – 11

UNDERCLASSMEN AND THE DRAFT

NOTE: Since 1990, 16 of the Number 1 overall picks have been underclassmen (Jeff George – 1990, Steve Emtman – 1992, Drew Bledsoe – 1993, Dan Wilkinson – 1994, Ki-Jana Carter – 1995, Orlando Pace – 1997, Tim Couch – 1999, Michael Vick – 2001, Mario Williams – 2006, JaMarcus Russell – 2007, Matthew Stafford – 2009, Sam Bradford – 2010, Cam Newton – 2011, Andrew Luck – 2012, Jadeveon Clowney – 2014, Jameis Winston – 2015).

Year (Entered, Drafted; Top-10 Picks)
2015 (74, 60; 7)
2014 (98, 61; 6)
2013 (73, 52; 3)
2012 (65, 44; 8)
2011 (56, 43, 8)
2010 (53, 46; 5)
2009 (46, 41; 5)
2008 (53, 39; 4)
2007 (40, 29; 5)
2006 (52, 33; 6)
2005 (51, 37; 4)
2004 (43, 35; 5)
2003 (47, 32; 5)
2002 (38, 26; 2)
2001 (35, 27; 5)
2000 (26, 20; 4)
1999 (31, 22; 5)
1998 (32, 19; 3)
1997 (34, 25; 6)
1996 (24, 16; 4)
1995 (33, 22; 2)
1994 (31, 25; 6)
1993 (34, 24; 5)
1992 (30, 21; 5)
1991 (23, 19; 1)
1990 (28, 18; 5)

COLLEGES WITH MOST FIRST-ROUND PICKS (Since first common draft in 1967)

College – Total
Southern California – 68
Miami – 58
Ohio State – 56
Florida – 46
Texas A&M 45
Alabama – 42
Florida State – 42
Notre Dame – 39
Tennessee – 39
Michigan – 34
Penn State – 33
Texas – 33
Oklahoma – 32
Nebraska – 28
Louisiana State – 26
Georgia – 25
Michigan State – 24
UCLA – 24
Arizona State – 23
California – 23
Clemson – 23
Pittsburgh –  23

COLLEGES WITH MOST FIRST-ROUND PICKS BY YEAR (Since 1967)

1967-Michigan State/4
1968-Southern California/5
1969-Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern California/3
1970-Oklahoma/3
1971-Ohio State/4
1972-Nebraska, Notre Dame/3
1973-Purdue, Southern California/3
1974-Ohio State/3
1975-Ohio State/3
1976-Colorado, Oklahoma/3
1977-Southern California/3
1978-Notre Dame/3
1979-Multiple with 2
1980-Southern California, Texas/3
1981-Southern California, Pittsburgh/3
1982-Southern California/3
1983-Pittsburgh, Southern California/3
1984-Maryland, Nebraska, Oklahoma/2
1985-Wisconsin/3
1986-Iowa/3
1987-Miami/3
1988-Arizona State, Miami, Oklahoma/2
1989-Florida/3
1990-Multiple with 2
1991-Tennessee/3
1992-Multiple with 2
1993-Notre Dame/4
1994-Notre Dame, Texas A&M/3
1995- Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State/3
1996-Ohio State/3
1997-Florida State/4
1998-North Carolina, Tennessee/3
1999-Ohio State/3
2000-Florida State/3
2001-Miami/4
2002-Miami/5
2003-Miami/4, Penn State/4
2004-Miami/6
2005-Auburn/4
2006-Ohio State/5
2007-Louisiana State/4
2008-Southern California/4
2009-Southern California/3
2010-Oklahoma/4
2011-Alabama/4
2012-Alabama/4
2013-Alabama, Florida State/3
2014-Louisville, Texas A&M/3
2015-Washington/3

 

 

 

Dallas (8-3) at Chicago (5-6), 8:30 p.m. on NFL Network. For the second week in a row, Dallas and Chicago will play on Thursday and this time they will face each other. Both teams come into the week 14 opener with losses from last Thursday under their belts.

Dallas allowed 14 first quarter points unchallenged in their 33-10 loss to the Eagles last Thursday in Arlington. The Cowboys defense allowed Philly RB LeSean McCoy to run for 159 yards and a TD (the Eagles ran for 256), while they were held to 93 in the NFC East contest. Also in that contest, Tony Romo’s streak of one TD pass in a game came to an end at 38 games, throwing two interceptions and was sacked four times. Philadelphia managed to score in four of their five first half possessions, taking a 23-7 lead with them to the half and Dallas could never recover after that. Dallas on third down conversions went 4-12 (0-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:35, while the Eagles were 8-15 and kept the ball for 30:25.

“I think it’s just about this week, this Thursday against the Chicago Bears,” Romo told the Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV on heading into the season’s final four games. “More than anything, it’s a time to start playing your best football and our football team needs to understand the sense of urgency is now. I think our guys understand what’s ahead of them if they can go on and play their best football.”

The Cowboys travel to Chicago with a 5-0 record on the road this season, the best road record in the NFL. In wins away from home, Romo has passed 1,164 yards with 12 touchdowns for a league-best 122.0 passer rating.

Chicago also lost on Thanksgiving Day, falling to the Lions in the Motor City by a 34-17 final. Da Bears let a 14-3 first quarter lead slip out of their paws as Detroit would go on to outscore Chicago 31-3 in the final 45 minutes of play at Ford Field. Da Bears were held to a dismal 13 yards rushing, while Detroit ran for 91 and Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw for 390 yards and a pair of TD passes to Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) in the contest (Johnson wound up with 11 catches for 146 yards). Bears QB Jay Cutler struggled in the contest with their NFC North rivals, throwing a pair of interceptions and had a pair of TD passes to WR Alshon Jeffery, while being sacked twice. TE Martellus Bennett led all Bears recievers with 109 yards, while catching eight passes in the loss. Both the Lions and Da Bears went 5-12 on third down tries (Detroit was 1-2 on fourth down tries) and Chicago kept the ball for 26:35, while the Lions held it for 33:25.

Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had nine receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions. Jeffery has seven touchdown catches this season, including four in the previous three games.

“We’ve got a big game in primetime this Thursday night,” Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall told WGN-TV. Marshall has 22 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns in four career games against Dallas. “We’ve definitely got to put our best game forward against the Cowboys.”

Da Bears are still alive in the NFC playoff race and close the regular season with three of their final four games at home. Running back Matt Forte is third in the NFL with 1,478 scrimmage yards and is the only player in the league with at least 800 rushing yards (828) and 650 receiving yards (650).

“We’re going to come out and play ball,” says Bears defensive end Willie Young. “We’re going to stick to our game plan against Dallas. It should be a good game.”

Quarterback Jay Cutler aims for his third win as a starter against Dallas this week. In two career matchups, Cutler has passed for 552 yards with five touchdowns with a 138.2 passer rating.

In his career as a starter on Thursday, Romo has led Dallas to a 7-2 record with a 103.1 passer rating. Week 14 will mark Romo’s first career road start on Thursday.

Thursday’s contest features two of the league’s top running backs, as Dallas’ De Marco Murray and and Chicago’s Forte enter ranking first and second in the NFC, respectively, in scrimmage yards this season.

Murray has gained at least 100 rushing yards in 10 of 12 games heading into Thursday, and leads the league with 1,427 rushing yards this season. In three career Thursday games, Murray has 343 scrimmage yards (114.3 per game) and four rushing touchdowns.

Forte (828 rushing, 650 receiving) is the only player with at least 800 rushing yards and 650 receiving yards in 2014. In five games at home, Forte has 736 scrimmage yards (147.2 per game) and has scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).

DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte’s scrimmage totals this season:
PLAYER, TEAM (RUSH YARDS/REC. YARDS/SCRIMMAGE YARDS, TOTAL TDS)
DeMarco Murray, Dallas (1,427/343/1,770, 8)
Matt Forte, Chicago (828/650/1,478, 8)

The series is even at 11-11 and Dallas has outscored Chicago 435-428.

However…

Da Bears have won the last three meetings with Dallas, taking a 45-28 win last year in the Windy City (Dallas’ last win against the Monsters of the Midway came in 2007, also in the Windy City by a final of 34-10). They met in week 14 at Soldier Field and Chicago took a 24-14 halftime lead and never looked back after K Robbie Gould broke a 14-14 tie with a 27-yard field goal. Chicago’s Matt Forte and Dallas’ DeMarco Murray were the rushing stars in the contest, with Forte rushing for 102 yards, while Murray led all rushers with 146 (Dallas outrushed Chicago 198-149). Josh McCown, taking over for Cutler, threw for 348 yards and four TDs in the contest with no interceptions, while Romo threw three TDs in the contest that was played in 8-degree weather (wind chill of -9). Da Bears were 8-11 on third down conversions in the chilly Windy City, keeping the ball for 36:44, while Dallas was 5-10 and 1-2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 23:16.

Chicago covered the 1 point spread (Dallas was the favorite in the Monday night contest) with their 17 point win in the Windy City and the 73 combined points eclipsed the 49 over/under. The Cowboys are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under stands at 52. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives on Thursday night and both look to catch Philadelphia and Green Bay in their resepective divisons. Dallas makes it a close contest in the Windy City but the Monsters of the Midway prevail at Soldier Field and cover the 3 1/2.

Broadcast Information
8:25 p.m. Eastern on NFL Network: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Mike Mayock, Hub Arkush (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood 1), 93 (Dallas), 92 (Chicago). XM: 88 (WestWood 1), 225 (Dallas), 226 (Chicago).

Injury Report

Dallas
OUT: S Jeff Heath (thumb), CB Tyler Patmon (knee, ankle), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Demarcus Lawrence (chest)
PROBABLE: DE Tyrone Crawford (knee), T Doug Free (foot), DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), LB Rolando McClain (knee), DT Josh Price-Brent (groin), QB Tony Romo (back), DE George Selvie (thumb), T Tyron Smith (illness), WR Terrance Williams (finger)

Chicago
OUT: LB Darryl Sharpton (hamstring), WR Chris Williams (hamstring)
DOUBTFUL: K Robbie Gould (right quadricep), DE Cornelius Washington (chest)
QUESTIONABLE: S Chris Conte (eye), WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), DT Jay Ratliff (knee)
PROBABLE: TE Martellus Bennett (foot), CB Tim Jennings (groin), G Kyle Long (calf), DE Trevor Scott (knee)

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 35 degrees.

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