Archives for posts with tag: FOX NFL Sunday

Sunday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Chris Myers (Field reporter); WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Ed Werder; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Los Angeles Rams), 82 (New Orleans); XM: 88 (WW1), 83 (Los Angeles Rams), 82 (New Orleans)

AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely, Gene Steratore; WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Kugler, Tony Boselli, Ross Tucker; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (New England ), 83 (Kansas City); XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (New England ), 225 (Kansas City)

Sunday Officials
NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m.: Bill Vinovich
AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m.: Clete Blakeman

Sunday’s Odds (Home teams listed in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite         Spread   Underdog                 O/U
NEW ORLEANS      – 3 1/2  Los Angeles Rams         57 1/2
KANSAS CITY      – 3      New England              56
Sunday’s Injury Report

NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams – Los Angeles Rams report no injuries

New Orleans
OUT: WR Keith Kirkwood (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Ben Watson (Illness)

AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m.

New England – New England reports no injuries
OUT: LB Dorian O’Daniel (Ankle)

Sunday Weather
NFC – Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans, 3:05 p.m.: Game indoors
AFC – New England at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m.: Cloudy and 26 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)

And then there were four.

It’s the NFL’s Final Four. The last four teams standing before Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta in two weeks. These are the survivors and at the end of the day, there will be two teams making their way toward the Big Peach, while the other two teams will be clearing out their lockers come Monday. While the other 28 teams are getting ready for the Senior Bowl, the 2019 NFL draft and OTA’s, the remaining four teams are playing a meaningful football game and these games are important.

The formula stays pretty much the same and it’s so easy, even a five-year old gets it.

You win… you get to go to Atlanta.

Lose… your next game is next year.

32 teams started the year fighting for the Lombardi Trophy, fighting heat, bugs, sweat, sleeping in dorms for the first time since college, reading playbooks that make War and Peace look like the Sunday funnies. Four pre-seaason games, 16 regular season games and the postseason. All that comes to an end in two weeks. When Super Bowl LIII comes to an end in Atlanta, someone’s going to be holding the Lombardi Trophy and yelling into a camera “I’m going to Disney World!” The losers? They’re going to be second-guessed and picked apart like a turkey at Thanksgiving the entire off-season. Second meetings are all about revenge for the losers and a chance for the winners to make a statement.

What’s at stake, you ask? Trophies and cash, for openers, as well as a chance to go to Atlanta. The AFC winner will be the American Football Conference Championship and the Lamar Hunt Trophy, while the NFC winner will be the proud owners of the George Halas Trophy. Each player will be paid $54,000 (which breaks down to $13,500 a quarter) for their participation in the championship games.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

HIGH OCTANE OFFENSES: On Championship Sunday, the Super Bowl LIII participants will be decided. In the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams take on New Orleans at 3:05 p.m. on FOX, while New England travels to Arrowhead Stadium to face Kansas City at 6:40 p.m. on CBS in the AFC. The Conference Championships feature the four highest-scoring teams from the regular season for the first time in the Super Bowl era.

With victories by the Rams and Chiefs on Sunday, the Super Bowl would feature the two highest-scoring teams from the regular season for the fifth time since 1970 and the first time since 1997.

The Super Bowls featuring the two highest-scoring teams from the regular season since 1970:

SEASON: NO. 1 OFFENSE – NO. 2 OFFENSE (SUPER BOWL)
1997: Denver – Green Bay (XXXII)
1996: Green Bay – New England (XXXI)
1991: Washington – Buffalo (XXVI)
1984: Miami – San Francisco (XIX)

THE PATRIOT WAY: The New England Patriots have reached the Super Bowl in each of the past two seasons. With a win against Kansas City on Sunday, the Patriots would join the Buffalo Bills (1990-93) and Miami Dolphins (1971-73) as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls.

The teams to appear in at least three consecutive Super Bowls in the Super Bowl era:

TEAM (SEASONS / CONSECUTIVE SUPER BOWLS; SUPER BOWLS)
Buffalo (1990-93 / 4; XXV-XXVIII)
Miami (1971-73 / 3; VI-VIII)
New England (2016-17 / 2; LI-LII)*
*Active streak

HIGH SEED ADVANTAGE: With victories by top seeds Kansas City (AFC) and New Orleans (NFC) on Sunday, it would mark the 14th time since the NFL began seeding teams in 1975 that both top seeds faced off in the Super Bowl and the fifth time in the past six seasons (2013-15, 2017).

With wins on Sunday by both the Chiefs and Saints, it would mark the fifth time since 1975 that consecutive seasons have featured a Super Bowl matchup of the No. 1 seeds.

The Super Bowls featuring both No. 1 seeds in consecutive seasons since the NFL began seeding teams in 1975:

SEASONS: SUPER BOWLS
2013-15: XLVIII-50
1983-84: XVIII-XIX
1976-77: XI-XII​

With a win, the Chiefs can become the sixth consecutive number seed to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, surpassing five consecutive Super Bowls featuring the AFC’s number one seed (1987-1991) for the longest streak by the conference since 1975.

A victory by Kansas City would also mark the second time that either conference has had a streak of six consecutive seasons with a Super Bowl featuring their number one seed since 1975 (NFC – six consecutive seasons from 1981-86).

MAGICAL MAHOMES: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 278 yards in his postseason debut last weekend and ranked second in passing yards (5,097) during the regular season.

With a Chiefs victory against New England, Mahomes would become the fourth quarterback to pass for at least 5,000 yards and reach the Super Bowl in the same season.

The quarterbacks to pass for at least 5,000 yards and reach the Super Bowl in the same season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON: PASSING YARDS – SUPER BOWL)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013: 5,477 – XLVIII)
Tom Brady, New England (2011: 5,235 – XLVI)
Dan Marino, Miami (1984: 5,084 – XIX)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

EASY BREESY: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 301 yards with two touchdowns in the Saints’ Divisional Playoffs win against Philadelphia.

With 300 passing yards on Sunday, Brees would tie Peyton Mannign (nine games) for the second-most playoff games with at least 300 passing yards.

The players with the most postseason games with at least 300 passing yards:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (POSTSEASON GAMES WITH 300+ PASS YARDS)
Tom Brady – New England (15)*
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (9)
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (8)*
*Active in Conference Championships

GREAT GURLEY: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ Divisional round victory against Dallas.

Gurley, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his first two postseason appearances, can join Arian Foster as the only players in postseason history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of their first three playoff games.

The players with at least 100 rushing yards in each of their first three postseason games:

PLAYER, TEAM (DATES)(GAMES)
Arian Foster, Houston (1/7/12-1/5/13)(3)
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (1/6/18-1/12/19)(2)*
*Active streak

CATCH & RUN: New England running back JAMES WHITE had 15 receptions in the Divisional Playoffs, tied with Darren Sproles  (January 14, 2012 with New Orleans) for the most receptions by a player in a single postseason game in the Super Bowl era.

With at least 10 receptions on Sunday at Kansas City, White would become the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record consecutive postseason games with at least 10 catches.

The players with consecutive postseason games with at least 10 receptions in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER, TEAM (DATES)(CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Tony Nathan, Miami (1/20/85-1/4/86)(2)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1/29/95-1/6-96)(2)^
Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina (1/8/06-1/15/06 (2)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Patriots running back Sony Michel rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s Divisional Playoffs victory. With one rushing touchdown on Sunday, Michel can tie the postseason record for the most rushing touchdowns by a rookie.

The rookies with the most rushing touchdowns in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RUSH TDS)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (2017 – 4)
Jamal Lewis, Baltimore (2000 – 4)
William Floyd, San Francisco (1994 – 4)
Tony Dorsett, Dallas (1997 – 4)^
Norm Standlee, Chicago (1941 – 4)
Sony Michel, New England (2018 – 3)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

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

We struggled in the Wild Card round, going 1-3 but bounced back in the Divisional round, going 3-1, which for the year makes us 149-111. Both games are rematches from the 2018 regular season schedule (New England and Kansas City met in Foxboro in week six, the Rams and Saints met in New Orleans in week nine), which means that there are no secrets. One seeds playing at home against two seeds. Playoff football at its finest. Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script.

Two games left in the post-season. We can’t say it enough but it bears repeating.

Win… you go to Atlanta in two weeks.

Lose… your next game is next year.

With that, here are the Sunday championship picks.

NFC – Los Angeles Rams (13-3, 2nd seed) at New Orleans (13-3, 1st seed), 3:05 p.m. on FOX. Championship Sunday gets underway in the Big Easy as the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints meet in a week nine rematch to decide who will be the NFC’s representative to Super Bowl LIII. Both teams were at home last week after their first round byes and both clubs had close wins at home.

The Rams, winners of the NFC West, held off a late Dallas rally last Saturday night in Los Angeles as they came away with the 30-22 win at the Coliseum in the NFC Divisional Game. Los Angeles erased a 7-3 deficit at the end of the first 15 minutes of play, took a 20-7 lead with them to the intermission and held off a late Cowboys rally in the second half that saw Dallas outscore the Rams 15-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Rams outrushed Dallas 273-50 and Rams’ running backs Todd Gurley (115 yards, TD) and C.J. Anderson (123 yards, 2 TDS) each tallied 100 yards for their team, while Jared Goff threw for 186 yards with no sacks (Dallas’ Dak Prescott threw for 266 yards with a TD to Amari Cooper with a sack; neither Goff or Presscott threw an interception). The Rams were 5 of 11 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:13, while the Cowboys held on to the ball for 23:47, going 1 for 10 on third down, 3 for 4 on fourth down.

New Orleans trailed Philadelphia 14-0 early in their contest at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, then rallied to take a 20-14 win over the Eagles to advance to the championship round. The Saints proceeded to chip away at Philadelphia’s lead and trailed 14-10 at the half before scoring their final 10 points of the contest unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 1:40 left in the third when Drew Brees and WR Michael Thomas connected on a 2-yard TD pass, part of an 18-play, 92-yard drive that took 11:29 of playing time (17 minutes of actual time). Saints K Wil Lutz would add a 39-yard field goal early in the final 15 minutes of play to make the contest a 6-point affair. Philadelphia would later get the ball back in the final minutes of the game and got as close as the Saints’ 27-yard line when Nick Foles’ pass intended for Alshon Jeffery deflected off Jeffery’s hands and was intercepted by Marshawn Lattimore, The Saints then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win in front of the home folks. New Orleans outrushed Philadelphia 137-49, with Saints RB Alvin Kamara leading all rushers with 71 yards and Brees throwing for 301 yards with a pair of TDs to go with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Foles threw for 201 yards with a TD and two sacks. New Orleans went 8 for 15 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down (including a fake punt run by backup QB Taysom Hill) and kept the ball for 37:50, while the Eagles were 2 of 7 on third downs, holding on to the ball for 22:10.

In the week nine contest in the Big Easy, New Orleans broke a 35-35 fourth quarter tie in the Big Easy and took a 45-35 decision against the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday afternoon to end the Rams’ 8-game win streak. New Orleans led 35-14 going into the intermission before the Rams would pull themselves to within 11 as K Greg Zuerlein connected on a 56-yard field goal as time expired. Los Angeles then scored 10 third quarter points without a challenge, then opened the fourth quarter, tying things up at 35-35 thanks to a pair of TD passes from Jared Goff (one to RB Malcon Brown, the other to WR Cooper Kupp) and a Zuerlein field goal before New Orleans took control in the fourth quarter to take the lead back and for keeps. New Orleans outrushed the Rams 141-92 and Goff threw for 391 yards with three TDs an an interception, while Brees threw for 346 yards and four TDs, including a TD that drew the ire of the game officials when WR Michael Thomas pulled out a cell phone from underneath the goal post padding, paying homage to former Saints player Joe Horn (neither man was sacked, Goff threw the only interception in the contest). The Rams were 3 for 8 on third down conversions (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:19, while the Saints ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 33:41, going 7 of 12 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest in the Big Easy, the Saints were a 1-point favorite and they covered, winning by 10 and both teams took care of the 60 1/2 over/under, as both teams combined for 80 points. This time, the Saints are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 56. There’s a good chance the over/under could be reached by halftime. The Saints want to prove that the first meeting was not a fluke while the Rams are seeking revenge. Revenge wins out here. Hooray for Hollywood! Rams pull the upset in the Big Easy and covers the 3 1/2.

AFC – New England (11-5, 2nd seed) at Kansas City (12-4, 1st seed), 6:40 p.m. on CBS. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes. They meet again, this time in central America. The Chiefs host the Patriots in a week six rematch at Arrownhead to become the AFC’s representative to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Both teams were winners at home in last week’s action.

New England led the Los Angeles Chargers 35-7 at the break at Foxboro and came out on top 41-28 at Gillette Stadium. New England broke a 7-7 tie early in the first quarter as rookie RB Sony Michel would give the Patriots the lead back for keeps, scoring the first of his three rushing TDs late in the period (Michel would then add a second rushing score before halftime). New England outrushed the Bolts 155-19, with Michel leading the eay with 129 yards and Brady threw for 343 yards and a TD without being sacked or picked off, while Philip Rivers threw for 331 yards and three TDs (two of the passes coming late in the contest) and was scked twice and picked off once. While New England was 50 percent on third down tries (the Pats were 7 of 14), they were perfect on fourth down tries, going 1 for 1 and held the ball for 38:20, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 21:40, going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 for 1 on fourth down.

The Chiefs opened Divisonal Weekend in chilly snowy Kansas City and took care of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts 31-13 at Arrowhead Saturday afternoon. Kansas City led 17-0 early in the contest before the Colts got their first score thanks to a Chiefs’ special teams blunder when Zeke Pascal recoveed a blocked punt in the end zone to put themselves on the scoreboard. Mahomes then took matters into his own feet, scoring on a four-yard romp late in the second quarter to take a 24-7 lead with them to the intermission. Luck and T.Y. Hilton would pull the Colts to within 11 late in the fourth quarter before Kansas City would seal Indianapolis’ fate when RB Damien Williams, who opened the game’s scoring, closed it out with a six-yard run to take the win. Williams accounted for 129 yards to lead all rushers as the Chiefs outrushed the Colts 180-87 and Mahomes threw for 278 yards and despite being sacked four times, did not throw an interception, while Luck threw for 203 yards with three sacks and the lone TD toss to Hilton. While Kansas City floundered on third down tries at 4 of 14, they struck oil on fourth down, going 3 of 4 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 39:49, while the Colts were a dismal 0 for 9 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 20:11.

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

New England in the week six Sunday night contest was favored by 3 1/2 but won by 3. Both clubs manged to wipe the 60 over/under off the face of the Earth, combining to score 83 points in Foxboro. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Chiefs as a 3-point favorite with a 56 over/under. For the Pats, they look to go back to the Super Bowl and erase the memory of what happened to them in Minneapolis; for the Chiefs, it will be their first trip to the big game since Hank Stram wore that blazer as he and Len Dawson took Minnesota to task in New Orleans. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City and so are the Chiefs. Pats make this one close but Chiefs prevail at Arrowhead.

They’re still standing.

The Los Angeles Rams remain unbeaten after eight weeks of football. Leading the NFC West, the Rams took a 29-27 lead late in their contest with the Green Bay Packers, then got some luck thanks to a fumble recovery of the ensuing kickoff, held the ball and took the two point win in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon in a contest that had four lead changes and felt more like a Lambeau Field crowd with a lot of fans wearing Packers green and gold. The Rams are the 25th team in the Super Bowl era to begin a season with an 8-0 record and eight of the previous 24 teams to accomplish the feat won the Super Bowl in their respective seasons.

Meanwhile, the NFL had their first coach fired as the Cleveland Browns gave Hue Jackson his walking papers after the team lost at Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon. Gregg Williams was named as the team’s interim coach for the remainder of the season.

As the NFL season crosses the midway point, scoring remains at an all-time high, close games are the norm and players across the league are on record-setting paces. Eight weeks are in the books, nine remain.

The leaves are changing, Fall is in the air, we’re nearing Thanksgiving and it’s getting a littler cooler. The NFL kicks off the month of November with action as close as ever. Through the first eight weeks of the season, 67 games have been decided by one score, tied with the 2012 season for the second-most in NFL history through Week 8 (68 in 2016), including six such games last week. Thirty-six of those games have been decided by three or fewer points, the second-most in NFL history through Week 8 (42 games in 1999), including three such games last week.

There have been 5,834 points scored this season, the most in NFL history through the first eight weeks of the season, and the league’s 661 total touchdowns and 429 touchdown passes are both the highest marks in league history through eight weeks.

Rams running back Todd Gurley, who had 195 scrimmage yards (114 rushing, 81 receiving) and a touchdown catch last week, leads the NFL with 15 total touchdowns this season. Gurley is one of three different players to score at least 15 touchdowns in his team’s first eight games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (17 touchdowns in 1958) and Priest Holmes (15 touchdowns in 2002 and 2004).

THE PLAYERS WITH THE MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN THEIR TEAM’S FIRST EIGHT GAMES OF A SEASON IN NFL HISTORY

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1958, 17)^
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (2018, 15)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2004, 15)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002, 15)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

​Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three consecutive games last week, leads the league with 26 touchdown passes this season. He is the third different player in league annals to throw at least 25 touchdown passes in his team’s first eight games of a season, joining Tom Brady (30 touchdown passes in 2007) and Peyton Manning (29 in 2013 and 26 in 2004). Brady and Manning went on to earn Associated Press Most Valuable Player honors in those seasons.

THE PLAYERS WITH THE MOST PASSING TOUCHDOWNS IN THEIR TEAM’S FIRST EIGHT GAMES OF A SEASON IN NFL HISTORY

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Tom Brady, New England (2007, 30)#
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013, 29)#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018, 26)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004, 26)#
#Named Associated Press MVP

Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen leads the NFL with 74 receptions – the most by a player in his team’s first eight games of a season in NFL history – and has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in an NFL record-tying eight consecutive games (CALVIN JOHNSON, eight consecutive games in 2012). Thielen, who has a league-leading 925 receiving yards, can become the second player in NFL history with at least 75 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in his team’s first nine games of a season, joining Atlanta’s Julio Jones (80 catches and 1,029 receiving yards in 2015).

THE PLAYERS WITH THE MOST RECEPTIONS THROUGH THEIR TEAM’S FIRST EIGHT GAMES OF A SEASON IN NFL HISTORY

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2018, 74)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (2015, 70)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (2002, 69)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted two field goals and all four of his point-after attempts for 10 total points scored in the Colts’ 42-28 win at Oakland.

Vinatieri, who has scored 2,550 total points during his 23-year NFL career, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Morten  Andersen (2,544) as the league’s all-time leading scorer.

•Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz completed 21 of 30 passes (70 percent) for 286 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 119.6 rating in the Eagles’ 24-18 victory over Jacksonville before a crowd of 85,870 at London’s Wembley Stadium, the largest single-game attendance in the London Series since the league began playing annual games in London in 2007. Wentz became the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 30 pass attempts and a passer rating of at least 115 in four consecutive games, joining Denver’s Peyton Manning (2012).

Wentz, who had 28 rushing yards and caught a four-yard pass off of a deflection, is the first player with a passing first down, rushing first down and receiving first down in a London Series game.

•The Los Angeles Rams defeated Green Bay, 29-27, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams, the league’s last remaining unbeaten team, advance to 8-0 for the first time since 1969.

Rams running back Todd Gurley had 195 scrimmage yards (114 rushing, 81 receiving) and a receiving touchdown in the win. Gurley, who leads the league with 15 touchdowns this season, became the fourth player in NFL history with at least 15 touchdowns in his team’s first eight games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (17 touchdowns in 1958) and Priest Holmes (15 touchdowns in both 2002 and 2004).

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 24 of 34 attempts (70.6 percent) for 303 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 125 rating in the Chiefs’ 30-23 win against Denver.

Mahomes, who had four touchdown passes in both Week 6 and Week 7, became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three consecutive games, joining Drew Brees (three consecutive games in 2011), Peyton Manning (five consecutive games in 2004) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (four consecutive games in 1984).

With 303 passing yards, Mahomes joined Andrew Luck (eight consecutive games in 2014) and Drew Brees (seven consecutive games 2011) as the only quarterbacks in league annals with seven consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards in a single season.

•Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had six receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns and running back James Conner rushed for 146 yards with two touchdowns in the Steelers’ 33-18 win over Cleveland.

Brown, who has eight touchdown receptions on the season, is the fifth player since 1970 to record at least eight touchdown catches in six consecutive seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (11 seasons from 1986-96), Marvin Harrison (eight from 1999-2006) and Cris Carter (six from 1995-2000) and Antonio Gates (seven from 2004-10).

Conner, who had two rushing touchdowns in Weeks 1, 5 and 6, is the third first-or-second year player to record four games with at least two rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Steve Van Buren (1945), Jim Brown (1958) and Eric Dickerson (1983).

•Washington running back Adrian Peterson had 149 rushing yards on 26 attempts (5.7 average) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Redskins’ 20-13 win at the New York Giants.

Peterson, at 33 years and 221 days old, is the oldest player in NFL history to record at least 100 rushing yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game. Miami’s Ricky Willliams, at the age of 32 years, 182 days old, was previously the oldest player to accomplish the feat (November 19, 2009 at Carolina).

With a 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Peterson joined Steve BonoO (76 yards on October 1, 1995), Rocky Bleier (70 yards on October 7, 1979) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Thorpe (80 yards on October 16, 1921) as the only players with a touchdown run of at least 60 yards at age 33 or older in NFL history.

Peterson is the fourth player in league annals with at least 140 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a single game at age 33 or older, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers John Henry Johnson (200 rushing yards and three touchdowns on October 10, 1964) and John Riggins (140 rushing yards and one touchdown on September 23, 1984) and De Angelo Williams (143 rushing yards and two touchdowns on September 12, 2016).

•Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 14 of 17 passes (82.4 percent) for 248 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the Seahawks’ 28-14 win at Detroit.

Wilson is the first quarterback in franchise history to register a 158.3 passer rating (minimum 10 attempts), the highest rating a passer can achieve. He is the second quarterback to accomplish the feat this season, joining Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff (158.3 passer rating in Week 4).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

MAGNIFICENT MAHOMES: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 2,526 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes through the first eight weeks of the season. Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his last seven games.

With 300 passing yards at Cleveland (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes would join Andrew Luck (2014) as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in eight consecutive games within a single season in league history.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 300+ PASS YARDS)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2014 – 8)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 7)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018 – 7)*
*Active streak

Mahomes, who has thrown four touchdown passes in three consecutive games and five total games this season, can become the third quarterback in league annals with at least four touchdown passes in six different games in a single season, joining Peyton Manning (six games in 2004 and nine in 2013) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (six in 1984). Manning and Marino each won the Associated Press Most Valuable Player award in those seasons.

The players with the most games with at least four touchdown passes within a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 4+ TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 9)#
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (2004 – 6)#
Dan Marino, Miami (1984 – 6)^#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2018 – 5)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

HERE COMES HOUSTON: Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for five touchdowns with a 156.0 rating in the Texans’ 42-23 victory over Miami in Week 8.

Watson, who has 34 touchdown passes in 15 career games, needs one touchdown pass on Sunday at Denver to join Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (39 touchdowns) and Dan Marino (35) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 35 touchdown passes in their first 16 career games.

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in their first 16 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)

Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1998-99, 39)^
Dan Marino, Miami (1983-84, 35)^
Deshaun Watson, Houston (2017-18, 34)*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In 15 career games

Houston has won five consecutive games following an 0-3 start to the season. With a win on Sunday, the Texans would join the 1970 New York Giants as the only teams since 1970 to win six consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start.

SUPER CAM: Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has 58 career rushing touchdowns, the most by a quarterback in NFL history and has at least five rushing touchdowns in each of his first seven seasons in the NFL.

Newton, who has four rushing touchdowns this season and faces Tampa Bay on Sunday, needs one rushing touchdown to become the first quarterback and seventh player overall in NFL history with at least five rushing touchdowns in eight consecutive seasons.

The players with at least five rushing touchdowns in the most consecutive seasons in league annals:

PLAYER – TEAMS (CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 5+ RUSH TDS)
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis and St. Louis (10)^
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (10)^
Jim Brown – Cleveland (9)^
Ricky Watters – San Francisco, Philadelphia and Seattle (9)
Eddie George – Houston Oilers/Tennessee (8)
Thurman Thomas – Buffalo (8)^
Cam Newton – Carolina (7)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has four rushing touchdowns in 2018

BACK TO BACK: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the NFL with 1,151 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns (11 rushing, four receiving) through the Rams’ first eight games of the 2018 season.

Gurley, who led the NFL with 19 touchdowns (13 rushing, six receiving) last season, needs one receiving touchdown on Sunday at New Orleans to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (2000-01) as the only players in NFL history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

The players with at least 10 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns in consecutive seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS/RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (2000, 18/8), (2001, 12/9)^
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (2017, 13/6), (2018, 11/4)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Entering Week 9

CAN’T STOP THIS THIELEN: Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen had seven receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown in Week 8 and leads the league with 74 receptions and 925 receiving yards this season. Thielen is the first player in NFL history with at least 100 receiving yards in each of his team’s first eight games to start a season.

With 100 receiving yards on Sunday against Detroit, Thielen would become the only player in NFL history to record nine consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards.

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

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012, 8)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2018, 8)*
*Active streak

Thielen, who also has a touchdown catch in each of his past five games, can become the only player since 1970 with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in six consecutive games.

With six receptions and 75 receiving yards this week, Thielen would become the sixth undrafted player in the common draft era (since 1967) to record consecutive seasons with at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards.

The undrafted players with the most consecutive seasons of at least 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in the common draft era:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEARS, CONSECUTIVE SEASONS)
Rod Smith, Denver (2000-02, 3)
Wes Welker, New England (2007-09, 3)
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (2011-12, 2)
J.T. Smith, St. Louis Cardinals (1986-87, 2)
Wes Welker, New England (2011-12, 2)
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (2017-18, 1)*
*Has 74 catches for 925 yards in 2018

ELITE EIGHT: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones has 638 receptions for 9,866 yards and 43 touchdowns in 102 career NFL games.

With 134 receiving yards on Sunday at Washington, Jones would surpass Calvin Johnson (115 games) as the fastest player to reach 10,000 career receiving yards in NFL history.

The players to reach 10,000 career receiving yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (FEWEST GAMES TO 10,000 RECEIVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (115)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (116)
Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams (116)
Lance Alworth, San Diego (120)^
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (121)^
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (122)^
Julio Jones, ATLANTA (102)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Has 9,866 career receiving yards

With 134 receiving yards, Jones can also become the sixth player in league annals with at least 10,000 receiving yards in their first eight seasons.

The players with at least 10,000 receiving yards in their first eight seasons in league history:

​PLAYER – TEAMS (RECEIVING YARDS IN 1ST 8 SEASONS)
Torry Holt – St. Louis (10,675)
Calvin Johnson – Detroit (10,405)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco (10,273)^
Randy Moss – Minnesota and Oakland (10,147)^
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (10,072)^
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (9,866)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*In eighth season

TOP DAWG: Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett ties for the AFC lead with eight sacks in 2018 and has 15 sacks in 19 career games.

Garrett, who will play his 20th career game on Sunday against Kansas City, needs two sacks to become the fourth player with at least 17 sacks in their first 20 career games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks in their first 20 career games since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, SACKS)
Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers (2016-17, 19)
Aldon Smith, San Francisco (2011-12, 18.5)
Clay Matthews, Green Bay (2009-10, 17)
Myles Garrett, Cleveland (2017-18, 15)*
*In 19 career games

Highlights of the Week 9 schedule include:

Pittsburgh travels to M&T Bank Stadium to take on Baltimore in a key AFC North matchup at 1 p.m. on CBS. In Week 4, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 363 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 109.5 passer rating and kicker Justin Tucker converted four second-half field goals in the Ravens’ 26-14 victory at Pittsburgh. Steelers running back James Conner, who had 212 scrimmage yards (146 rushing, 66 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in Week 8, is the fourth first-or-second year player to record four games with at least two rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Steve Van Buren (1945), Jim Brown (1958) and Erick Dickerson (1983).

Seattle welcomes the Los Angeles Chargers to CenturyLink Field in an interconference battle at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. The Chargers, who enter the game at 5-2, have won four consecutive games and are one of three teams in the AFC averaging at least 400 total net yards per game. Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon (745 scrimmage yards, nine touchdowns) is one of five NFL players with at least 700 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns this season and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers leads the AFC with a 117.8 passer rating in 2018. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed 14 of 17 passes (82.4 percent) for 248 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the Seahawks’ Week 8 win and is the first quarterback in franchise history to register a 158.3 rating (minimum 15 attempts), the highest rating a passer can achieve.

On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Rams take on New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 4:25 p.m. on FOX in a battle of NFC contenders. Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD has six sacks in his past two games and leads the NFL with 10 sacks and 12 tackles for loss this season. Saints quarterback DREW BREES, who owns three of the four highest single-season completion percentages in NFL history, leads the league with a 77.4 completion percentage (188 of 243), which is 5.4 percent higher than the current single-season record of 72.0 percent set by Brees in 2017.

Sunday’s nightcap features a pair of future Hall of Fame QBs as Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay travel to Foxboro to meet Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Rodgers (103.6) and Brady (97.6) rank first and third, respectively, in NFL history in career passer rating (minimum 1,500 attempts) and are the only active players with multiple Associated Press Most Valuable Player Awards (three for Brady and two for Rodgers). In the last meeting between the two teams, Rodgers passed for 368 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 112.6 passer rating in the Packers’ 26-21 win over New England on November 30, 2014.

Byes this week? Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, the New York Giants and Philadelphia. Atlanta, Dallas, the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee return to action from their week off.

Week eight went pretty well, as we went 11-3 overall and for the season, 75-42. There’s still a lot of football left, even though we’re now into November and no one’s clinched a playoff spot, let alone a division title. Week nine got underway in northern California as San Francisco took Oakland to the woodshed 34-3 in Silicon Valley Thursday evening and concludes in the Lone Star State as the Cowboys host Tennessee at Jerry World. Here are the week nine Sunday and Monday picks.

ATLANTA (3-4) at Washington (5-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Sunday action in week nine opens in Landover as Washington hosts Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons at Fed Ex Field.

Coming off their bye week, Atlanta took care of Eli Manning and the New York Giants last Monday evening, as the Falcons came away 23-20 winners in the Big Peach. Atlanta led throughout the contest and took a 10-3 lead with them to the intermission. The Falcons outrushed Big Blue 67-61 in the Monday night contest, while Ryan threw for 379 yards and connected with WR Marvin Hall on a 47-yard TD pass to open the scoring in the contest, while Manning threw for 399 yards, connecting with WR Odell Beckham Jr. on a 1-yard strike in the final seconds of the contest. The Falcons held the ball for 32:17, going 7 of 13 on third down tries, while the Giants held the ball for 27:43, going 5 of 12 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Redskins held off the New York Giants 20-13 at Met Life Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Washington led 7-3 at the half in upstate New Jersey, then floored the gas as RB Adrian Peterson scored his second TD of the day, scoring from 64 yards away to take a 20-6 lead with 3:06 left in the contest. The Giants would pull themselves to within 7 with 17 seconds left when Manning and TE Evan Engram connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Washington would recover the onside kick and run the clock out to take the win, giving Big Blue their fifth loss in a row. Peterson led all rushers with 149 yards in the NFC East contest as Washington outrushed the Giants 182-37, sacking Manning (316 yards, two interceptions) seven times, while Alex Smtih threw for 178 yards with the TD toss to Peterson without a sack or interception. Washington was 6 of 15 on third down and held the ball for 33:38, while the Giants held the ball for 26:22, going 2 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down tries.

While Washington leads the series 14-9-1 (including contests that took place at RFK Stadium, Fulton County Stadium and the Georgia Dome) and the Redskins have outscored Atlanta 598-479, the Falcons have come away with wins in their five meetings, including a 25-19 overtime win in the Big Peach in 2015, while Washington’s last win also came in the Peach State by a final of 33-31 in 2003. The Redskins are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Both numbers are reasonable. Washington’s currently the king of the NFC East mountain, while the Falcons are chasing New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South. Hail to the Redskins? Not this week. Falcons pull off the upset in the DC Suburbs and take the win on the road and could cover the 1 1/2 in the process.

Pittsburgh (4-2-1) at Baltimore (4-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. This time, they meet in Charm City. Pittsburgh. Baltimore. A pair of AFC North rivals meet in Baltimore as the Steelers would like to settle the score with their rivals, while the Ravens look to sweep the series.

Pittsburgh took care of Cleveland 33-18 at Heinz Field last Sunday in their week one rematch. The Steelers erased a 6-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, took a 14-6 lead with them to the intermission and proceeded to outscore the Browns 19-10 in the second half to seal the win. Pittsburgh held Cleveland to 74 yards on the ground, while they tallied 168 yards in the win (Steelers RB James Conner led all rushers with 146 yards and a pair of TDs). Roethlisberger threw for 257 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Antonio Brown, while Baker Mayfield threw for 180 yards with a pair of TDs of his own, while he was sacked twice (Roethlisberger was sacked once and both men threw an interception). The Steelers were 6 for 13 on third down in the Steel City and kept the ball for 32:12, while the Browns were 3 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:48 (both clubs went 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Cam Newton and the Panthers took care of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens, as Baltimore would wind up losing 36-21 at Bank of America Stadium. Despite outscoring Carolina 14-12 in the second half, the Ravens trailed 17-7 at the break. Carolina outrushed Baltimore 154-101, with Newton leading all rushers with 52 yards and a rushing TD, while throwing for a pair of TDs in the contest, connecting with TE Greg Allen and RB Collin McCafferty on both tosses. Newton threw for 219 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Flacco threw for 192 yards with a TD pass to RB Javorius Allen, along with a pair of sacks and two interceptions. Both clubs went 6 for 12 on third down tries (carolina was 1 of 1 on fourth down, Baltimore went 1 of 2) and the Panthers kept the ball for 34:01 to Baltimore’s 25:59.

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

Pittsburgh was favored by 8 in the Sunday night week four meeting in the Steel City and the Ravens’ by 12 allowed Baltimore to cover that spread. Both teams missed the over/under by scoring 40 points (the over/under was 48 1/2). This time, the boys and girls in Vegas like the Ravens as 3-point favorites in Charm City and the over/under’s 47. Baltimore looks to prove to the Steelers that the first win was not luck or a fluke, while the Steelers want revenge. If revenge is best served cold, the Steelers will be going for seconds. Pittsburgh may not cover the 3 but they take the win in Baltimore.

Kansas City (7-1) at Cleveland (2-5-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of AFC clubs that played rematch games last Sunday meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Kansas City travels to Cleveland to face off against the struggling Browns, who made a coaching change on Monday as they released head coach Hue Jackson and replaced him with defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams as his replacement for the rest of the season.

Kansas City won their seventh game in eight tries at Arrowhead Stadium, taking down AFC West rival Kansas City 30-23 last Sunday. The Chiefs held a slim 16-14 lead at the intermission, then pulled away from the Broncos in the second half to sweep the series with their AFC West foes from the Mile High City. While Denver outrushed Kansas City 189-49, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 303 yards and four TDs, connecting with WR Sammy Watkins on two of the tosses. Denver was paced by Case Keenum, who threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs (both men threw an interception; Keenum was sacked five times, Mahomes was sacked twice). Kansas City went 3 for 10 on third down at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 27:19, while the Broncos went 4 for 12 on third down and held on ot the ball for 32:41 (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Cleveland lost their third in a row as Pittsburgh came away 33-18 winners at Heinz Field last Sunday in their week one rematch. The Browns watched Pittsburgh erase a 6-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, then saw them take a 14-6 lead with them to the intermission and proceeded to outscore the Browns 19-10 in the second half to seal the win. Pittsburgh held Cleveland to 74 yards on the ground, while they tallied 168 yards in the win (Steelers RB James Conner led all rushers with 146 yards and a pair of TDs). Roethlisberger threw for 257 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Antonio Brown, while Baker Mayfield threw for 180 yards with a pair of TDs of his own, while he was sacked twice (Roethlisberger was sacked once and both men threw an interception). The Steelers were 6 for 13 on third down in the Steel City and kept the ball for 32:12, while the Browns were 3 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:48.

Kansas City leads the series 12-11-2 and the Chiefs have outscored Cleveland 500-497. The Chiefs won the last two meetings, coming away 17-13 winners at Arrowhead in 2015, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2012 along the shores of Lake Erie, coming away 30-7 winners. Kansas City’s favored by 8 on the road and the over/under’s 52. The Chiefs are looking to make it eight of nine wins, while the Browns are looking to give Williams his first win as their interim head coach. That first win will have to wait. Although Cleveland makes it closer than 8, Kansas City prevails along the shores of Lake Erie and takes the win on the road.

New York Jets (3-5) at Miami (4-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC East rivals meet again, this time in the Sunshine State, as Miami hosts the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams were losers on the road last week and look to keep pace with New England.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! found themselves being held in check by Chicago, as the Monsters of the Midway came out on top 24-10 at Soldier Field. Da Bears led GangGreen 7-3 at the intermission in the Windy City, then pulled away from the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the second half to seal the win at home. Chicago outrushed GangGreen 179-57 with Mitchell Trubisky throwing for 220 yards and a pair of TDs, while Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 153 yards and a TD (Trubisky was sacked twice, Darnold was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Chicago went 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries at Soldier Field and kept the ball for 32:44, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! went 3 of 14 on third down (they too went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:16.

Miami trailed Houston 14-10 at the half last Thursday night and proceeded to drop a 42-23 decisison to the Texans at NRG Stadium. Miami was outscored by Houston 28-13 in the final 30 minutes of play as Houston would go on to seal the win in the Lone Star State and Miami’s fate in the process. Houston QB DeShaun Watson threw for 239 yards and five TDs without a sack or interception, while the Texans outrushed Miami 188-116 with Houston RB Lamar Miller leading the way with 133 yards and a TD (Miami’s Brock Osweiler threw for 241 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception against his old club). Houston was 6 of 12 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:51, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:09, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They met in upstate New Jersey in week two and the Dolphins came out on top 20-12 at Met Life Stadium. In that contest, Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnaold made his first start at home, passing for 334 yards with one touchdown and safety Jamal Adams and linebacker Jordan Jenkins each recorded a sack and forced fumble but it wasn’t enough as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! took the loss to Miami in the Meadowlands. Darnold, who was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, became the youngest player in NFL history (21 years, 103 days old) to throw for at least 300 yards in a single game, surpassing the previous record held by Jacky Lee (21 years, 137 days old), who threw for 331 yards on November 25, 1960. Miami outrushed GangGreen 135-42 and Ryan Tannehill threw for 168 yards and a pair of TDs, despite being sacked four times. Leading 20-0 at the intermission, the Dolphins were 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:25, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:35, going 3 for 10 on third downs.

In the week two contest in upstate New Jersey, GangGreen was favored by 3 and the Dolphins covered with their 8-point win on the road. The 44 over/under stayed intact as both clubs combined for a whopping 32 points. Miami’s back in the Sunshine State and the oddsmakers like them as 3 point favorites with the over/under at 45. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are looking for revenge, while the Dolphins are looking for a sweep. Break out the brooms! Miami covers the 3 in the Sunshine State and takes the home win.

Chicago (4-3) at Buffalo (2-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 708. A pair of cities located on Great Lakes meet in upstate New York Sunday at New Era Field. Wings meets deep dish pizza as Da Bears travel to Orchard Park for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Buffalo Bills.

Chicago manhandled the New York Jets, as the Monsters of the Midway came out on top 24-10 at Soldier Field. Da Bears led GangGreen 7-3 at the intermission in the Windy City, then pulled away from the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the second half to seal the win at home. Chicago outrushed New York 179-57 and Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 220 yards and a pair of TDs, while Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 153 yards and a TD (Trubisky was sacked twice, Darnold was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Da Bears went 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down tries at Soldier Field and kept the ball for 32:44, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS went 3 of 14 on third down (they too went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:16.

For the first 30 minutes of play against New England, the Bills held Tom Brady and the Patriots in sight, trailing 9-3 at the half in Orchard Park Monday night. Buffalo then saw the wheels fall off their bus and the Pats came away 25-6 winners at New Era Field. The contest was an all-field goal affair in the first half as the two Stephens (Gostkowski for New England, Hauschka for Buffalo) gave their teams their first half points. New England then outscored Buffalo 16-3 in the final 30 minutes of action, using a 1-yard TD run from RB James White and an 84-yard interception return by CB Devin McCourty in the fourth quarter to seal Buffalo’s fate. The Bills thought they had a TD that would have made the contest closer than the final score when Buffalo QB Derek Anderson (290 yards, interception, three sacks) and TE Jason Croom connected on a 25-yard TD pass with 6:14 left in regulation. Buffalo fans then saw their hopes shattered when the play was review and the call on the field was reversed. Buffalo was outrushed by the Pats 76-46 and Brady threw for 324 yards with no interceptions or sacks, as New England went 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Bills were 4 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:10.

Da Bears lead da series 7-5 and Chicago has outscored Buffalo 240-185. Buffalo won their last meeting, which took place in the Windy City by a final of 23-20 in overtime in 2014, while Chicago went North of the border to claim their last win over Buffalo, taking a 22-19 win in Toronto. Chicago’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 37 1/2. If nothing else, this one could be somewhat entertaining and actually watchable. Chicago may not cover the 9 1/2 but Da Bears win on da road.

Tampa Bay (3-4) at Carolina (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of NFC South foes meeting in Charlotte as the Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium.

Tampa Bay lost their fourth game in five tries as they fell to Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals 34-31 in the final seconds on the road. The Bucs, who will have Ryan Fitzpatrick under center Sunday, trailed 27-9 at the half and would eventually bench Jameis Winston (276 yards, five sacks, TD, four interceptions) and replace him with Fitzpatrick (194 yards, two TDs, sack), whou would then proceed to pull his team closer to the Bengals, throwing a pair of TDs to RB Mike Evans and TE O.J. Howard to tie things up but Tampa Bay fans would have their hopes shattered as the Bengals got the ball back with 65 seconds left in regulation and used all of the time that was available to them when Bengals K Randy Bullock kicked a 44-yard FG as time expired. Cincinnati outrushed Tampa Bay 138-126, with Bengals RB Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 123 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dalton threw for 280 yards and a pair of TDs to WRs, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. Tampa Bay went 10 of 18 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:59, while Cincinnati went 5 of 13 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 24:01, including the final 65 seconds of regulation.

Newton and the Panthers took care of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens, coming away 36-21 winners at Bank of America Stadium. Despite being outscored by the Ravens 14-12 in the second half, Carolina led 17-7 at the break and never looked back, leading from start to finish in the win. Carolina outrushed Baltimore 154-101, with Newton leading all rushers with 52 yards and a rushing TD, while throwing for a pair of TDs in the contest, connecting with TE Greg Allen and RB Collin McCafferty on both tosses. Newton threw for 219 yards with no sacks or interceptions, while Flacco threw for 192 yards with a TD pass to RB Javorius Allen, along with a pair of sacks and two interceptions. Both clubs went 6 for 12 on third down tries (carolina was 1 of 1 on fourth down, Baltimore went 1 of 2) and the Panthers kept the ball for 34:01 to Baltimore’s 25:59.

The Panthers lead the series 22-13 and have outscored their NFC South foes 764-594. Carolina swept the series last year, taking wins in the Sunshine State in week eight and in the Tar Heel State in week 16 (Tampa Bay’s last win over the Pantehrs came in 2016, when they swept the series with their last win coming in Tampa by a final of 17-16).

Week eight… Tampa Bay. Carolina held Tampa Bay to a 41-yard field goal by Patrick Murray in the third quarter to take a 17-3 win on the road. Carolina led 10-0 at the intermission, then added a 25-yard TD pass from Newton to WR Kelvin Benjamin to restore order in the contest. Carolina, forcing three turnovers – two interceptions and one fumble in the win, outrushed Tampa Bay 100-85 and Newton threw for 154 yards with an interception, while Winston threw for 210 yards with three sacks to go with the two interceptions. The Panthers were 8 for 17 on third down and mastered the clock, holding the ball for 32:11, while the Buccaneers kept the ball for 27:49, going 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Panthers made the sweep a reality in week 16 on Christmas Eve afternoon, as Newton played the role of Santa Claus and gave Carolina fans a 22-19 win at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina led 12-9 at the half before Winston (367 yards, six sacks) and Tampa Bay would storm back to lead 16-12 as he and WR Bobo Wilson connected on an 18-yard TD toss early in the third quarter. Tampa Bay would lead by 1 with 35 seconds left when Carolina (who had already clinched a playoff spot) would take the lead back for keeps with Newton, who threw for 160 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, scored from 2 yards out. Newton led all rushers with 52 yards as the Panthers outurshed Tampa Bay 115-66 and went 4 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:30, while Tampa Bay kept the ball for 29:30, going 6 for 11 on third down tries.

In the week eight contest in the Sunshine State, Tampa Bay was favored by 2 1/2 and Carolina covered with the 14-point road win. As for the 44 over/under? It was safe as both teams combined for 20 points. In the Christmas Eve rematch in the Tar Heel State in week 16, Carolina was favored by 9 1/2 but only won by 3 and the 46 1/2 over/under was intact as the two clubs combined to score 41 points. In the Sunday contest in the Tar Heel State, the boys and girls in Vegas like Carolina as 6 1/2 point favorites with the over/under’s 54. Could the Panthers make it three in a row? Could the Bucs get their ducks in a row? Tampa Bay is in last place in the NFC South, looking up at Carolina, New Orleans and Atlanta, while the Panthers look to catch Drew Brees and the Saints. Carolina’s finer in this first meeting and while Tampa Bay makes it close, Newton and the Panthers take the win at home.

Detroit (4-3) at Minnesota (4-3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They meet in the great indoors. A pair of NFC North (or Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman calls it) meet in the Twin Cities as first-place Minnesota hosts the Detroit Lions at US Bank Stadium. Both teams were at their respective home facilities and both teams came up on the short end of the scoreboard.

Detroit let a 7-0 first quarter deficit against Seattle get away from them, as the Seahawks scored 21 second quarter points uncontested to lead 21-7 and came away from the Motor City with a 28-14 win at Ford Field. Seattle outrushed the Lions 176-34 (Seattle RB Chris Carson led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD), while Russell Wilson threw for 248 yards with three TDs. Detroit was paced by Matthew Stafford, who threw for 310 yard and a pair of TDs to go with three sacks and an interception (Wilson was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). Seattle went 6 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 34:55, while the Lions held the ball for 25:05, going 6 of 10 on third down tries.

New Orleans broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter against the Vikings at US Bank Stadium and came away with a 30-20 win over Minnesota in a rematch from last year’s NFC Divisonal Playoff that featured the “Minneapolis Miracle.” Minnesota trailed 17-13 at the intermission and watched Drew Brees and the Saints pull away from them, outscoring the Vikings 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Minnesota was outrushed 106-85 by New Orleans and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins threw for 359 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked four times and picked off once, while Brees threw for 120 yards and a TD with an interception. Minnesota went 5 of 10 on third down conversions in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (they were successful on fourth down, going 2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 31:23, while the Saints held the ball for 28:37, going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

Minnesota leads the series 72-39-2 (which includes games that were played at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome and the Metrodome) and the Purple Gang has outscored Detroit 2,432-2,099. They split last year’s contests, with each taking wins in the other team’s facility.

The first meeting took place in week four in the Twin Cities and the Lions came away 14-7 winners at US Bank Stadium. Trailing 7-3 at the intermission, the Lions would go on to score their last 11 points in the second half without a challenge, as Lions RB Ameer Abdullah scored the game-winner with eight minutes left in regulation on a 1-yard run. Stafford and WR T.J. Jones then connected on the two-point conversion as the Lions held off Minnesota for the win. Detroit outrushed Minnesota 97-87, with Abdullah leading the way with 94 yards. Stafford threw for 209 yards but was sacked six times, while Case Keenum threw for 219 yards with a pair of sacks for Minnesota (neither Stafford or Keenum threw a TD pass or interception). Detroit was 3 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 36:27, while the Vikings kept the pigskin for 23:33, going 3 of 10 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They would meet again in the Motor City in week 12 on Thanksgiving Day and the Vikings would get Thanksgiving dinner and revenge on their NFC North foes, taking a 30-23 win at Ford Field. Although Minnesota led 20-10 at the break, the Vikings needed to hold off Detroit in the final 30 minutes of action, as Lions K Matt Prater booted a pair of field goals (his longest from 50 yards with 63 seconds left in the third), while Stafford and WR Marvin Jones connected on a 43-yard TD toss to open the fourth quarter before Minnesota K Kai Forbath connected on a 36-yard fiald goal to seal Detroit’s fate. Minnesota outrushed Detroit 136-53 and the Vikings’ Latavius Murray led all rushers with 84 yards and a TD. Stafford threw for 250 yards with an interception for the Lions, while Keenum threw for 282 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, Stafford threw an interception and was sacked three times, while Keeunm was sacked twice). Minnesota went 6 of 13 on third down at Ford Field and kept the ball for 34:57, while Detroit held the ball for 25:03, going 3 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week four Twin Cities contest, Detroit covered the 2 1/2-point spread with their 7-point win but the 21 combined points came nowhere near the 43 over/under. Minnesota covered the 2-point spread with their 7-point win on Thanksgiving Day in the Motor City and the 53 points was more than enough to cover the 44 1/2 over/under. Minnesota’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Vikings are going to be in somewhat of a foul mood after their loss to New Orleans at home. The Lions are trying to find their way through the NFC North jungle. Minnesota may not cover the 5 1/2 but they do take things out on their NFC North rivals at home and take the win in the process.

Houston (5-3) at Denver (3-5), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. A pair of teams going in opposite directions meet in the Mile High City as Houston takes on Denver in a late-afternoon contest. The two teams made a trade Tuesday prior to the deadline as the Broncos sent WR Demaryius Thomas to the Texans for draft picks in 2019. Thomas reported to Houston later in the week and will suit up against his former team.

Houston took a 14-10 lead against Miami last Thursday night and proceeded to take apart the Dolphins 42-23 at NRG Stadium. The Texans outscored Miami 28-13 in the final 30 minutes of play to seal the win in the Lone Star State and Miami’s fate in the process. Watson threw for 239 yards and five TDs without a sack or interception, while the Texans outrushed Miami 188-116 with Houston RB Lamar Miller leading the way with 133 yards and a TD (Miami’s Brock Osweiler threw for 241 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception against his old club). Houston was 6 of 12 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:51, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:09, going 4 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver watched Kansas City win their seventh game in eight tries at Arrowhead Stadium, as their AFC West rivals came away 30-23 winners last Sunday. The Chiefs held a slim 16-14 lead at the intermission, then pulled away from the Broncos in the second half to sweep the series with their AFC West foes from the Mile High City. While Denver outrushed Kansas City 189-49, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 303 yards and four TDs, connecting with WR Sammy Watkins on two of the tosses. Denver was paced by Case Keenum, who threw for 262 yards and a pair of TDs (both men threw an interception; Keenum was sacked five times, Mahomes was sacked twice). Kansas City went 3 for 10 on third down at Arrowhead and kept the ball for 27:19, while the Broncos went 4 for 12 on third down and held on ot the ball for 32:41 (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Denver leads the series 4-2, the Broncos have outscored the Texans 157-120 and they have won the last two meetings, including taking a 27-9 win in the Mile High City in 2016, while Houston’s last came in Denver in 2012 by a final of 31-25. Denver’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 46 1/2. These numbers are reasonable and make a ton of sense. Denver’s trying to keep their heads above water in the AFC West as they chase Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers, while the Texans want to stay on top in the AFC South. Denver, you have a problem. Houston covers the 2 1/2 and wins on the road.

Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) at Seattle (4-3), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of former AFC West rivals meet in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as the Los Angeles Chargers make the 1,138-mile trip up I-5 to face off against the Seattle Seahawks.

Returning from their trip across the Atlantic, the Chargers come back from their bye after they held off Tennessee 20-19 in London two Sundays ago. Rivers and the Chargers led 10-6 at the half at Wembley Stadium, then proceeded to watch Tennessee outscore the Bolts 13-10 in the final 30 minutes of action to make things close. The Titans would come to within a single point with 31 seconds left in regulation when Mariota and TE Luke Stocker connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Tennessee then went for two instead of playing for the tie and perhaps sending the game into overtime but Mariota’s two-point try to WR Taywan Taylor was incomplete. Los Angeles then recovered the onside kick and sealed the win in the process. The Titans did outrush Los Angeles 164-47 with Mariota throwing for 237 yards with an interception to go with the TD toss, while Rivers threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs (both Mariota and Rivers were sacked twice, Mariota threw the contest’s only interception). Tennessee was 9 of 16 on third down in London (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:23, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 24:37, while going 4 of 9 on third down tries.

Seattle erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit at Detroit, scored 21 second quarter points uncontested to lead 21-7 and came away from the Motor City with a 28-14 win at Ford Field. Seattle outrushed the Lions 176-34 (Seattle RB Chris Carson led all rushers with 105 yards and a TD), while Wilson threw for 248 yards with three TDs. Detroit was paced by Matthew Stafford, who threw for 310 yard and a pair of TDs to go with three sacks and an interception (Wilson was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). Seattle went 6 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 34:55, while the Lions held the ball for 25:05, going 6 of 10 on third down tries.

Including meetings at Qualcomm Stadium and the old Kingdome when both clubs were in the AFC West, the Seahawks lead the series 26-24 and have outscored the Bolts 1,049-1,042. The Chargers won the last meeting between the clubs, as they would take a 30-21 win in San Diego in 2014, while Seattle’s last win over the Chargers came in 2010 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks by a final of 27-20. Seattle’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 48. The Chargers are good but they’re not that good. As for Seattle? They’ve played some decent football lately and will prove it to their fans at home in the Pacific Northwest. Seahawks win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and cover the 1 1/2.

Los Angeles Rams (8-0) at New Orleans (6-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of division winners meet in the Big Easy as the undefeated Rams travel to New Orleans for a late-afternoon contest with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in what could be an NFC playoff matchup. Both teams took wins in last Sunday’s action, with the Rams taking their win at home on the West Coast, while the Saints took a road win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes last Sunday night.

The Rams, leading the NFC West, trailed Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay 10-8 at the intermission at the Coliseum in front of a crowd that was wearing Packers colors and came away 29-27 winner over the Packers last Sunday. Los Angeles and Green Bay exchanged the lead four times on the West Coast before the Rams took the lead for keeps with 2:05 left in regulation when Greg Zeurlein connected on a 34-yard field goal for the 2-point lead. Los Angeles then had some last minute luck in their back pockets as Ty Montgomery fumbled the ensuing kickoff in Packer territory and the Rams recovered. The Rams, who outrushed Green Bay 135-106 (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD pass) then went on to run out the clock and take the win. Rodgers threw for 286 yards, while Jared Goff threw for 295 yards with three TDs, connecting with WR Josh Reynolds on the other two passes for the Rams (Goff was sacked five times, Rodgers was sacked three times, neither had an interception). The Rams were 8 of 18 on third down but had sucesss on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and held the ball for 34:10, while the Packers kept the ball for 25:50 and went 2 of 9 on third down tries.

Brees and the Saints, in first place in the NFC South, broke a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter against the Vikings at US Bank Stadium and got revenge as they came away with a 30-20 win over Minnesota in a rematch from last year’s NFC Divisonal Playoff that featured the “Minneapolis Miracle.” Minnesota trailed 17-13 at the intermission and watched Drew Brees and the Saints pull away from them, outscoring the Vikings 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Minnesota was outrushed 106-85 by New Orleans and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins threw for 359 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked four times and picked off once, while Brees threw for 120 yards and a TD with an interception. Minnesota went 5 of 10 on third down conversions in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (they were successful on fourth down, going 2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they held on to the ball for 31:23, while the Saints held the ball for 28:37, going 4 for 9 on third down tries.

The Rams lead the series 41-32 (which includes contests played in Anaheim, St. Louis and old Tulane Stadium) and they have outscored the Saints 1,650-1,507. Their last meeting? Last year on the West Coast and the Rams were 26-20 winners at the Coliseum (New Orleans’ last win over the Rams came in 2016 in the Big Easy by a final of 49-21).

They met in week 12 on the West Coast at the Coliseum and the Rams led 17-10 at the intermisson, then held off a late second half New Orleans rally to take the win. While New Orleans outrushed the Rams 123-88 (Saints’ RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 87 yards and a rushing TD to go with a TD pass from Brees late in the contest), while Goff threw for 354 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception (Brees threw for 246 yards; Brees was sacked three times, Goff sacked four times). The Rams were 3 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 35:26, while the Saints held the pigskin for 24:34, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While the Rams covered the 2 1/2-point spread, winning by 6, both teams missed the 53 1/2 over/under, merging for 46 points. This time, the powers that be like the Saints as 1 point favorites in the Big Easy with the over/under set at 60 1/2. While we agree with the 1-point spread as well as the 60 1/2 over/under, we see this one differently. The Rams are unbeaten for a reason and Saints fans will see that reason and have their hearts brokien in the Big Easy. Rams remain unbeaten and cover the 1 on the road.

Green Bay (3-3-1) at New England (6-2), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Rodgers vs. Brady. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBS meet in Foxboro on a Sunday night as New England and Green Bay meet at Gillette Stadium.

Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay led the Los Angeles Rams 10-8 at the intermission at the Coliseum in front of a crowd that felt more like Lambeau Field instead of Los Angeles, as the majority of fans were wearing Packers colors and came away on the short end of a 29-27 loss last Sunday. Los Angeles and Green Bay exchanged the lead four times on the West Coast before the Rams took the lead for keeps with 2:05 left in regulation when Greg Zeurlein connected on a 34-yard field goal for the 2-point lead. Los Angeles then had some last minute luck in their back pockets as Ty Montgomery fumbled the ensuing kickoff in Packer territory and the Rams recovered. The Rams, who outrushed Green Bay 135-106 (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD pass) then went on to run out the clock and take the win. Rodgers threw for 286 yards, while Jared Goff threw for 295 yards with three TDs, connecting with WR Josh Reynolds on the other two passes for the Rams (Goff was sacked five times, Rodgers was sacked three times, neither had an interception). The Rams were 8 of 18 on third down but had sucesss on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and held the ball for 34:10, while the Packers kept the ball for 25:50 and went 2 of 9 on third down tries.

Tom Brady and the Patriots took a 9-3 at the half in Orchard Park Monday night against Buffalo, then floored the gas in the second half as the Pats came away 25-6 winners at New Era Field. The contest was an all-field goal affair in the first half as the two Stephens (Gostkowski for New England, Hauschka for Buffalo) gave their teams their first half points. New England then outscored Buffalo 16-3 in the final 30 minutes of action, using a 1-yard TD run from RB James White and an 84-yard interception return by CB Devin McCourty in the fourth quarter to seal Buffalo’s fate. The Bills thought they had a TD that would have made the contest closer than the final score when Buffalo QB Derek Anderson (290 yards, interception, three sacks) and TE Jason Croom connected on a 25-yard TD pass with 6:14 left in regulation. Buffalo fans then saw their hopes shattered when the play was review and the call on the field was reversed. Brady picked up his 29th win over the Bills and his 15th in upstate New York. Buffalo was outrushed by the Pats 76-46 and Brady threw for 324 yards with no interceptions or sacks, as New England went 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Bills were 4 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:10.

They’ve met 10 times in regular season play and they’ve each taken five wins and the Packers have outscored New England 241-200. Green Bay took the win in their last meeting, taking down the Patriots 28-21 at Lambeau in 2014, while the Pats’ last win came in Foxboro in 2010 by a final of 31-27.

New England on Sunday night holds a 28-18 record and the Pats won their two contests last year, while Green Bay is 25-13, taking losses in their two Sunday contests in 2017. Since it’s Rodgers vs. Brady, it would make a ton of sense to make this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

New England’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 57 1/2. There’s a good chance that the over/under could be reached by halftime, given that there are two future Hall of Fame QBs in this contest. It’ll be closer than the 6 1/2 but Green Bay bounces back from their heartbreak on the West Coast and upsets the Pats in western Massachusetts on Sunday night.

Tennessee (3-4) at Dallas (3-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week nine closes in Arlington as the Tennessee Titans come to the Lone Star State for a prime-time meeting with the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Both teams took losses two Sundays ago on the road and both clubs had byes.

The Titans come back from their bye after their 20-19 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in London two Sundays ago. Tennessee trailed 10-6 at the half at Wembley Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Bolts 13-10 in the final 30 minutes of action to make things close. The Titans would come to within a single point with 31 seconds left in regulation when Mariota and TE Luke Stocker connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Tennessee then went for two instead of playing for the tie and perhaps sending the game into overtime but Mariota’s two-point try to WR Taywan Taylor was incomplete. The Titans did outrush Los Angeles 164-47 with Mariota throwing for 237 yards with an interception to go with the TD toss, while Rivers threw for 306 yards and a pair of TDs (both men were sacked twice and Mariota threw the contest’s only interception). Tennessee was 9 of 16 on third down in London (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:23, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 24:37, while going 4 of 9 on third down tries.

Dallas comes back to action after a rally at FedEx Field against Washington fell short, allowing the Redskins to survive a 20-17 scare two Sundays ago. Washington led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, then saw that lead go away as Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and WR Michael Gallup connected on a 49-yard TD toss with 60 seconds left before halftime. Washington then would take the lead back in the third quarter with the help of K Dustin Hopkins, who booted a 21-yard field with 9:10 left in the quarter. Hopkins would then add a 25-yarder early in the fourth quarter, giving Washington a 13-7 lead. Dallas would pull themselves to within three with 9:46 left when K Brett Maher booted a 47-yard try. The Redskins then pushed the lead back to 10 with 4:55 left in regulation when LB Preston Smith made a defensive linesman’s dream come true when he picked up a Dallas fumble and returned it for a 1-yard TD.

Dallas was not going quietly into the good night as Prescott would score from a yard out with 97 seconds left to play, making the score 20-17. After a Washington punt, the Cowboys would get the ball back with 69 seconds left and got as close as Washington’s 34 and could have tied the contest but Maher’s 52-yard try hit the crossbar, giving Washington the win. Washington outrushed Dallas 130-73, with Redskins RB Adrian Peterson barely missing the 100-yard barrier with 99 to lead all rushers. Prescott, who along with Ezekiel Elliott, rushed for 33 yards, throwing for 273 yards, while Alex Smtih threw for 178 yards (neither Prescott or Smith threw an interception; Prescott was sacked four times, while Smith was sacked once). Washington went 3 of 12 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 29:05, going 5 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Including games played in Houston, when the Texans were known as the Oilers and the Cowboys played their home games in the Cotton Bowl and Cowboys Stadium, Dallas leads the series 8-6 and have outscored Tennessee  333-254. Dallas won the last meeting, coming out on top 26-10 in the Music City, while Tennessee’s last win came on Thanksgiving Day. Tennessee on Monday night holds a 22-17 record, while Dallas is 46-33 (both teams were 1-0 last year in primetime). Dallas is favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 41. While this one is not “Drill Worthy,” given the records of the two clubs involved, this one is worth your time watching. so you may want to go ahead and tape “Magnum PI” and “Bull” this week. Tennessee makes it closer than 6 1/2 but Dallas takes the win in Jerry World.

ATLANTA (11-5, NFC South champion, 2nd seed) vs. New England (14-2, AFC East Champion, 1st seed). Ryan vs. Brady. Peach pie vs. Clam chowder. New England vs. Atlanta. The two best teams in the National Football League meet to determine who takes home the Lombardi Trophy. The home of the Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, is the site of the last game of the 2016 campaign. Super Bowl LI takes the stage as the Lone Star State hosts the big game for the third time.

Both teams took big wins in their respective championship games in front of their home crowds. Atlanta took Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers to task January 22nd in the final game at the Georgia Dome, coming away with an impressive 44-21 win over the Packers to take the Halas Trophy and the NFC Championship. Atlanta led from start to finish in the Big Peach, leading 24-0 at the half and increased that lead to 31-0 with 13:51 left in the third before the Packers ended Atlanta’s hopes of a shutout when WR Davante Adams caught a 2-yard TD pass from Rodgers (287 yards, three TDs, interception) with 9:19 left in the period. Green Bay, who had a chance to score in the first half, missed a 41-yard field goal try by Mason Crosby and was marching down the field before Aaron Ripkowski fumbled near the goal line and Atlanta recovered, was held to 99 yards rushing, while the Falcons tallied 101 yards and a pair of rushing TDs from Tevin Coleman and Ryan. Ryan, who threw for 392 yards and four TDs without an interception, connected with Julio Jones on a pair of TD passes, the longest going for 73 yards and WRs Mohamed Sanu and RB DeVanta Freeman. Atlanta ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:39, while going 10 of 13 on third down in the win. Green Bay, who turned the ball over twice, went 4 of 10 on third down tries (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the pigskin for 26:21.

New England took the AFC title and the Lamar Hunt Trophy in Foxboro after their 36-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger at Gillette Stadium. Pittsburgh made it a close contest in the first 30 minutes of action and trailed 17-9 at the half before New England and Brady pulled away to take control of things in the second half. As far as the rushing game went in the Sunday evening contest, neither club breached the 100-yard barrier and barely touched the 50 yard mark in the contest (New England outrushed Pittsburgh 57-54), while Brady threw for 384 yards and three TDs. Meanwhile, for his efforts, Roethlisberger threw for 314 yards and a TD but was picked off once. In forcing a pair of turnovers for their win, the Pats were 11 of 17 on third down tries and kept the ball for 31:26, while the Steelers kept the pigskin for 28:34, going 9 of 15 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

New England leads the series 7-6 in regular season play and has won the last four contests, including taking a 30-23 win in the Big Peach in 2013. However, the Falcons have outscored New England 300-249. Atlanta’s last win over New England came in 1998 in Foxboro, where they left Gillette Stadium with a 41-10 win in hand. Atlanta is 0-1 in their only Super Bowl, while the Pats are 4-4 in eight trips to the big game.

Fpr one team, they’ll have a parade and a Lombardi Trophy to keep as well as bragging rights for the season. For the other, they’ll be talked about and second-guessed for years and years. Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. The last football game of the 2016 campaign. After this one’s over, there’s no more football until the pre-season, which means that most of America will be forced to watch those Gosh-awful Lifetime movies on Sundays until Baseball season. There have been 51 of these games and this contest is the star of the show in the sports world. The end of the 2016 NFL season will see a new champion.

It’s also the last chance for “THE DRILL.” It’s kinda sad but even Connie needs some time off (she can still fit into that prom dress she had in high school). (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?”

It’s the FINAL game of the 2016 campaign. When this one’s over, the winners get the Lombardi Trophy and each player gets a $107,000 check (Which comes out to $26,750 a quarter or $1,733.33 a minute). The loser? They don’t come away completely empty handed. Granted, the check isn’t as big as the winner’s. Each player on the losing team gets a whopping $53,000 or $13,250 a quarter or $883.33 a minute.

The last game of the 2016 campaign gets underway in Houston at NRG Stadium, which will make it the third time that Texas’ largest city has hosted the big game.

Two teams. One game. It all comes down to this.

New England has 9 Super Bowl berths, most in NFL history. Have won 8 consecutive division titles, longest streak in NFL history. Since 2001, have won 4 Super Bowl titles, most in NFL. Have 31-19 (.620) all-time postseason record, 2nd highest winning pct. in playoff history. Head coach Bill Belichick has 25 career postseason wins, most all-time and has won 4 Super Bowl titles (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), tied with Chuck Noll for most in NFL history. As far as their resepctive divisons go, both clubs won their divisions with one loss under their belts (Atlanta lost to Tampa Bay at home in week one, while the Pats were shut out by Buffalo in Foxboro in week four).

Atlanta is making their 2nd Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Atlanta won the NFC South title and advanced to postseason for 1st time since 2012. Ranked 1st in NFL in total points (540) and 2nd in total offense (415.8 yards per game). Head coach Dan Quinn is making 3rd Super Bowl appearance in past 4 seasons and Was defensive coordinator for Seattle in Super Bowls XLVIII and XLIX.

“It’s an honor to get to go and play in this game,” says Patriots wide receiver Julian Edleman, who is the franchise postseason leader in both catches (84) and receiving yards (937). “This is what you fight for. This is what you train for. It’s to get an opportunity to play in this game,” he told the Boston Globe and the Christian Scientist Monitor.

“This is a really special team,” says Falcons fullback Patrick Di Marco told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have so many playmakers on offense, defense and special teams. This is a special time for this organization. I am super proud and super excited we are going to be playing in Houston. The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl – not just get there – and we still have a game ahead of us. We still have one more game to win.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will be making their seventh Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won four Super Bowls together, tied with Pittsburgh head coach Chuck Noll and quarterback Terry Bradshaw for the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

“I’m proud of this team,” says Belichick. “They all deserve this. It’s a good, hard-working group.”

Belichick is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Noll for the most Super Bowl victories by a head coach with four. Brady, who is making his NFL-record seventh career Super Bowl start, is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Bradshaw and JOE MONTANA for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback with four.

“You never know if you’ll get these opportunities in life and fortunately this team has got the opportunity,” says Brady about advancing to the Super Bowl. “Now we’ve got to do something and go try and take advantage of it.”

Brady and Montana are the only players in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP three times. Brady, who was the MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XLIX, can become the first player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors four times.

Brady enters Super Bowl LI already holding numerous Super Bowl passing records, including attempts (247), completions (164), yards (1,605) and touchdown passes (13).

“He’s the best quarterback to ever play the game,” says Patriots running back Le Garrette Blount about Brady. “He’s obviously, in my opinion, the best ever.”

The Patriots have won nine consecutive games and advanced to the Super Bowl with a 36-17 victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. In that contest, Brady passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring strikes to wide receiver Chris Hogan. Hogan finished the game with nine catches for a franchise postseason-record 180 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m just happy to take advantage of this opportunity and be a part of this team,” says Hogan. “This whole team has worked so hard starting in April in OTAs. We’ve grinded through this entire year. This is what we worked for and this is what we wanted to get to.”

Patriots running back Blount, who led the NFL with a club-record 18 rushing touchdowns, added a rushing TD against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Including the postseason, Blount’s 19 rushing touchdowns are tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (1996) for the most by a Patriots player in a single season.

The Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history (Super Bowl XXXIII, 1998 season) with a 44-21 win over Green Bay in the final game at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta, which led the NFL with 540 points scored, has won six consecutive games and is averaging 39.0 points per game over that span. The Falcons are the first team ever to advance to the Super Bowl by scoring at least 30 points in each of the club’s previous six games.

“I’m happy for everybody in our organization,” says Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point but the challenge is still in front of us. What we set out to accomplish is still in front of us. It’s really difficult to get to this point, and we will enjoy the process leading into it but our ultimate goal is still in front of us.”

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who is in his second year with the team, will be making his third Super Bowl appearance in the past four seasons. Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in Super Bowls XLVIII (2013 season) and XLIX (2014).

“I am excited for the opportunity. But more importantly, I’m excited for these players,” says Quinn. “It’ll be a great challenge.”

Atlanta quarterback Ryan, who led the league with a franchise-record 117.1 passer rating, has continued his stellar play in the postseason with a 132.6 passer rating. Over the team’s six-game winning streak, Ryan has thrown 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 133.3 passer rating.

“MVP,” says Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones when asked how to describe Ryan. “He’s a great player. He’s a great leader on this team and he’s my brother.”

Ryan has thrown at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive postseason games, the first player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. In this year’s playoffs, Ryan has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions.

The Falcons have spread the ball out as Ryan threw a touchdown pass to 13 different players in the regular season, the most ever in a season in league history. Among his favorite targets is Jones, who led the NFL averaging 100.6 receiving yards per game this season (1,409 yards in 14 games).

“He’s a beast,” says Ryan about Jones. “He’s an absolute stud. I’ve been so lucky to play with him as long as I have.”

Jones had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. It marked his second career postseason game with at least 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns and he is the only player in league history to accomplish that feat in multiple playoff games. In five career postseason games, Jones has 552 receiving yards and five touchdown catches. His average of 110.4 receiving yards per game is the highest in NFL postseason history (minimum five games).

Defensively, the Falcons are powered by Vic Beasley, Jr., who led the NFL in sacks (15.5), and a quartet of rookies – safety Keanu Neal, cornerback Brian Poole and linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell. All four rookies started in the NFC Championship Game and Atlanta can become the first team ever to start four rookies on defense in the Super Bowl. Jones (106) and Neal (105) led all NFL rookies in tackles this season.

“Every day, we are just trying to get one percent better for the guy next to us,” says Poole. “Every play, we are going to give it all we’ve got and not let our teammates down. We’re going out there trying to play ball and let people know that what we’ve got is serious.”

Beasley, who is in his second year, had a career-high 15.5 sacks and is the first Falcons player to lead the league in sacks. During the team’s current six-game winning streak, Atlanta has allowed just 19.3 points per game (27.6 points per game in the team’s first 12 games).

“We feel like we have the potential to be a great defense,” Beasley told WSB-TV. “Early in the season, we weren’t playing as well but we have come a long way and now we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

New England’s favored by 3 points in the last game of the 2016 National Football League season and the over/under is 59. Both numbers make a lot of sense. There’s a lot at stake and not just for those that have ads in this year’s contest. There’s a lot at stake for the teams that are involved. The winners will be looked at and heralded for eternity, while the losers will be second-guessed for the entire off season. The winner gets to pick last in the upcoming draft, the loser will pick 31st. Rise up, Atlanta! You’re picking last. Falcons cover the 3 and pull off the upset.

Records vs. Common Opponents

New England: 4-1 (Arizona. 1-0; Denver 1-0; Los Angeles Rams 1-0; Seattle. 0-1; San Francisco 1-0)

Atlanta: 5-1 (Arizona 1-0; Denver 1-0; Los Angeles 1-0; Seattle 1-1; San Francisco 1-0)(Atlanta’s win over Seattle came in the Divisional Round)

Playoff Records – New England: 31-19; Atlanta: 9-12

Broadcast Information – 6:30 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (Field reporters). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Tony Boselli, James Lofton (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New England), 82 (Atlanta). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (New England), 82 (Atlanta)

Referee: Carl Chefferss

Injury Report

ATLANTA – Atlanta reported no injuries.

New England – New England reported no injuries.

Weather Report: Game indoors

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

Super Bowl LI brings much more than football to the Houston area. Throughout the weeks preceding the game, more than 30 charitable activities and community outreach events will enrich the community and provide lasting legacies.

Super Bowl Week activities include the announcement of the annual Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide winner, the first-ever live American Heart Association-NFL PLAY 60 Challenge Virtual Field Trip, a series of community projects made possible by millions of dollars in NFL Foundation Super Bowl Legacy Grants and the Super Bowl LI Host Committee and a number of youth character development events including an InSideOut Character Initiative Forum and the NFL’s Women’s Summit.

During the week, the NFL Verizon will host an Unsung Heroes luncheon for volunteers and employees at local domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organizations and shelters. The league is also working with local organizations on social issues including human trafficking, providing financial grants to address issues in the Houston area.

The following events listed, courtesy of the National Football League, are just some of the ways the NFL and Super Bowl LI will positively impact the community.

NFL EXPERIENCE DRIVEN BY GENESIS

NFL Experience Driven by Genesis – pro football’s interactive theme park –  will return to Houston for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVII in 2004, this event offers fans a unique chance to get involved in the festivities surrounding Super Bowl LI, offering interactive games, youth football clinics, merchandise from NFL Shop presented by Visa, player autograph sessions and more.

Celebrating the history of the game and electrifying atmosphere of Super Bowl LI, NFL Experience Driven by Genesis at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday, January 28th and 29th and again Wednesday through Sunday, February 1st through 5th.

The hub of Super Bowl fan activity, NFL Experience provides visitors of all ages an opportunity to experience the game like never before. Fans can test their football skills in interactive games, receive autographs from current stars and legends of the game, shop the latest NFL team and Super Bowl gear in the NFL’s largest retail space in the nation, and get a photo with the most prestigious trophy in sports, the Vince Lombardi Trophy. For more information and a complete schedule of events for NFL Experience Driven by Genesis visit http://www.SuperBowl.com and download the Super Bowl LI Houston – Fan Mobile Pass app.

Tickets for NFL Experience Driven by Genesis can be purchased online exclusively through http://www.Ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $35.00 for adults and $25.00 for children 12 and under, and permit entry for a particular day and time. An NFLXtra Fast Pass may be purchased for $55.00. Beginning January 28, opening day of NFL Experience Driven by Genesis, fans can purchase tickets at NFL Experience Box Office located in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Tickets sold at NFL Experience box office will go on sale two hours before opening daily. For more information and to find out about special family packages available online only, visit http://www.SuperBowl.com. Tickets purchased online are subject to a Ticketmaster service charge.

On Thursday, February 2 local high school students will receive a $5 discount at NFL Experience Driven by Genesis.

2017 NFL Experience Driven by Genesis Hours of Operation:

Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, February 1 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday, February 2 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Super Bowl Sunday (February 5) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

(Times are Central Time and are subject to change)

The complete schedule for NFL Experience Driven by Genesis, and other Super Bowl LI gameday and event information, will be posted on http://www.SuperBowl.com and in the Super Bowl LI Houston – Fan Mobile Pass app. To download the app, visit the app store or http://www.NFL.com/SBApp. Fans are encouraged to follow @SuperBowl and tag their posts and photos using hashtag #SB51.

SUPER BOWL LIVE: Super Bowl LIVE is the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee’s nine-day fan festival leading up to Super Bowl LI in Houston. The festival, a free event with music, food, games and attractions, will be located in and around Discovery Green Park (1500 McKinney Street) in downtown Houston from Saturday, January 28th through Saturday, February 5th.

The Host Committee has partnered with NASA to create Future Flight, the signature attraction of Super Bowl LIVE. Future Flight combines a virtual reality experience with a 90-foot drop tower that takes passengers on a trip to Mars and back, landing just in time for Super Bowl LI.

A series of concerts will take place on the Super Bowl LIVE main stage including Solange Knowles, Robert Glasper and Lizzo on Thursday, February 2; Leon Bridges, Shakey Graves and Robert Ellis on Friday, February 3 and ZZ Top, Gary Clark, Jr. and The Suffers on Saturday, February 4. Houston-based performers will also be on the main and secondary stage throughout the week, including bands The Tontons, Wild Moccasins, Los Skarnales, Nick Gaitan, Fat Tony, Buxton and many more.

In addition, the Host Committee has created two Super Bowl LIVE programming opportunities aimed at bringing local youth from different communities together. Touchdown Houston continues to bring the Super Bowl experience to local youth with inclusive and fun Play On activities.

Flag Football: The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has invited local community youth football teams to experience the excitement of the Super Bowl by squaring off in flag football games. Participating teams hail from various parts of the city and will get their taste of the spotlight as they engage in friendly competition in Root Memorial Square before thousands of Super Bowl LIVE visitors. The games will include special half-time performances from the club cheerleading teams, local marching pep bands and dance teams. The flag football games will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29 and Friday and Saturday, February 3rd and 4th from 11 a.m. to Noon.

Play LIVE with Playworks: The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has partnered with Playworks to provide children and families from the Greater Houston area an hour of fun and games through football-themed activities, four-square, tag and much more. School-age youth can participate in these activities which promote positive social values, higher self-esteem and a healthy lifestyle during the play hour. Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that leverages the power of safe, fun and healthy play at school every day. To learn more about Playworks, go to http://www.playworks.org. The Play LIVE with Playworks will take place Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29 and Friday and Saturday, February 3-4 from 2-3 p.m.

Super Bowl LIVE Hours of Operation:

Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday, January 30 and Tuesday, January 31 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, February 1 and Thursday, February 2 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Friday, Febuary 3 and Saturday, February 4 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Super Bowl Sunday (February 5) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

HOUSTON SUPER BOWL HOST COMMITTEE PROJECT 51: Project 51 encourages Houston high school students to get involved in their community by collectively pledging 51,000 hours of community service in the months preceding Super Bowl LI. Students and schools will be recognized for their community service by the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL Youth and High School Football department. Project 51 supports the Host Committee’s Lead On initiative which encourages students to be active leaders in their schools and community. Those making a pledge could win tickets to Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade, a tour of NRG Stadium or a Meet and Greet with an NFL player.

The promotion period began at Noon Eastern on Friday, December 23, 2016 and ended at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, January 23.

NFL PLAY 60 CHARACTER CAMP: On Monday, January 30 at 9 a.m., the NFL will host a free Character Camp on the field at NFL Experience Driven by Genesis at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) before NFL Experience is open to the public. The event will include 300 predominantly-Hispanic youth from the Houston area. The non-contact football camp will be led by Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Munoz.

The NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps program is a partnership between the NFL and the Muñoz Agency.  The mission of the camps are to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise, and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life.  The camp is part of a series of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps hosted as part of the NFL’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football. Since the inception of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps in 2012, over 60 camps have been held impacting more than 20,000 youth across the country.

NFL PLAY 60 CHALLENGE SCHOOL VISIT: The NFL and Houston Texans players will visit Frank Black Middle School (1575
Chantilly Lane) on Monday, January 30 at 1 p.m. to reward them for successfully completing the Super Bowl LI edition of the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge. The NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, developed in conjunction with the American Heart Association, is the primary in-school curriculum for NFL PLAY 60. Sixth-grade students at Frank Black Middle School successfully completed the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, a Super Bowl program that taught students the importance of getting 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Frank Black Middle School will also receive a $2,500 NFL PLAY 60 grant from the NFL and American Heart Association to be used to support the school’s health and fitness education efforts.

More than 24,000 fourth, fifth and sixth graders from Houston counties including Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller registered for the Challenge in the months leading up to Super Bowl. The schools that successfully completed the Challenge are invited to NFL PLAY 60 Kids Day at NFL Experience Driven by Genesis, on Wednesday, February 1.

NFL PLAY 60 CHALLENGE VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP: On Tuesday, January 31 at Noon Central Time live from the NFL Experience Driven by
Genesis at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas), the NFL and American Heart Association (AHA), working together with Discovery Education, will lead the first-ever AHA-NFL PLAY 60 Challenge Virtual Field Trip (VFT). The virtual class, featuring Houston Texans’ players Whitney Mercilus and Christian Covington and AHA’s Dr. Mercedes Carnethon, will be live-streamed in classrooms across the country, reaching thousands of students. In the VFT, students will learn the science behind cardio and strength exercises that NFL players use to stay fit. Mercilus and Covington will lead participating classrooms in quick physical activity sessions, after which students nationwide will have the opportunity to ask the VFT hosts live questions. The NFL PLAY 60 Challenge is designed to inspire youth to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day and help more schools become places that encourage physically active lifestyles year-round.

Registration for the VFT is free. To register your classroom or follow along at home, visit: http://www.aha-nflplay60challenge.org/field-trip.

SUPER BOWL LI INSIDEOUT CHARACTER INITIATIVE FORUM: The InSideOut Initiative recognizes the significant role coaches play in
students’ lives and aims to shift the current win-at-all-costs sports culture to one of a four-part process centering on Awareness, Alignment, Action and Accountability. The initiative focuses on the purpose, power and privilege of coaching, and the responsibility coaches have to young athletes. The InSideOut Initiative will debut in Houston on Tuesday, January 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Houston Texans YMCA (5202 Griggs Road). Former NFL player and author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives Joe Ehrmann and Executive Director of the InSideOut Initiative Jody Redman will take more than 100 Houston high school educational leaders and coaches on an InSideOut journey to examine their own character and to assist in the development of a coach-specific character game plan that will enhance the human growth and development of the student-athletes they coach.

NFL-USO SUPER BOWL LI SALUTE TO SERVICE: The NFL and the USO continue to celebrate more than 50 years of partnership with Salute to Service. The NFL is proud to bring football to the USO family through programs and services year-round that tap the unique capabilities of football and help keep service members connected to family, home and country.

On Tuesday, January 31 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the NFL, USO and Houston Texans will host a barbeque to celebrate over 3,000 service members and their families at Ellington Field Joint Base Reserve. The event will feature NFL player meet and greets, photo opportunities with Houston Texans cheerleaders, music by Texas Marine Veteran Cody Wayne, an NFL PLAY 60 zone for kids, a Madden Tournament and an NFL Raffle.

Additionally, Super Bowl care packages, which included branded Super Bowl LI decorations and promotional items, have been sent to 60 USO locations around the globe in support of their Super Bowl viewing parties.

NFL-USAA MILITARY OUTREACH: The following is a sampling of additional events planned for service members and
their families in the Houston Area during Super Bowl Week:

USAA will host current and former military and their guests at the “USAA Salute to Service Lounge” within NFL Experience. The Lounge will be open both Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4 and serves as an exclusive area for current and former military members and their families to enjoy complimentary food and beverage, games, NFL player meet and greets and more.

The NFL and USAA will recognize the winner of the 2016 Salute to Service Award presented by USAA at the 6th Annual NFL Honors awards show at the Wortham Theater Center on Saturday, February 4, the night before Super Bowl LI. Created in 2011, the Salute to Service Award acknowledges the members of the NFL for their exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community and their families.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS SKILLS AND DRILLS: The NFL, Special Olympics Texas and the Houston Texans will host a Special
Olympics Skills and Drills Clinic and unified flag football scrimmage Friday, February 3 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) featuring local Special Olympics athletes.

The NFL and Special Olympics are teaming to provide opportunities for athletes of all abilities to ‘PLAY 60′ through the expansion of Special Olympics Unified Flag Football. The two organizations will kick off their new partnership by hosting a unified flag football game at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week.

PLAY 60 is the NFL’s campaign to promote youth health and wellness, aimed at encouraging kids to get active for 60 minutes a day. For more information, visit NFLRUSH.com/PLAY60.

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. They empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.3 million athletes and Unified partners in 169 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year.

PLAY FOOTBALL FAMILY FESTIVAL: To celebrate the football community and the coaches and players that bring passion, fun and excitement to the sport, the NFL will host a Play Football Family Festival on Tuesday, January 31 and Wednesday, February 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Taylor High School Performing Arts Center (2700 Kingsland Blvd, Katy) and the Aldine Campbell Center (1865 Aldine Bender Road, Houston). The event will kick off with football clinics, taking parents through drills and introducing them to different elements of the game. Guests will then go through a helmet fitting, receive autographs from NFL players and enjoy entertainment elements such as photo opportunities, breakout panel sessions led by NFL Ambassadors and local high school coaches and food and beverages. The festival will conclude with an NFL player-led TED Talk.

To learn more about Play Football visit playfootball.com or follow #LetsPlayFootball on social media.

SUPER BOWL LI BUSINESS CONNECT CELEBRATION: The NFL and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee will host “Super Bowl LI Business Connect: Celebrating Opportunities & Success” event on Tuesday, January 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ballroom at the Bayou (500 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77002). The event is a celebration of the Super Bowl LI Business Connect program spotlighting the accomplishments of Super Bowl LI Business Connect suppliers and local businesses that have grown and thrived under the tutelage of the program’s professional development initiatives and, acknowledging NFL event contractors who’ve aggressively utilized the program throughout the year.

More than 400 Houston businesses in 50 vendor categories participated in the year and a half long Business Connect program, which is designed to create Super Bowl LI contracting opportunities for experienced, local diverse business owners. To qualify for participation in Business Connect, businesses must be 51 percent owned by a minority, woman, disabled veteran, lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender individual. The Business Connect Celebration is a ticketed event for participating business owners. A networking reception will precede and follow the formal program. Former NFL Cornerback and Food Network Star Winner Eddie Jackson is the event’s keynote speaker.

NFL PLAY 60 KIDS’ DAY AT NFL EXPERIENCE: NFL PLAY 60 Kids’ Day gives more than 1,000 local children the opportunity to
spend time with NFL players at the NFL Experience Driven by Genesis at the George R Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) on Wednesday, February 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children from the local Houston area will take part in the excitement of Super Bowl Week alongside NFL players. Multi-platinum recording artist and Grammy Award winner Jordin Sparks will perform two songs and teach the kids a dance routine at the NFL Experience Field at approximately noon.

Kids will learn more about the importance of healthy living during Kids’ Day as part of NFL PLAY 60, aimed at helping youngsters get 60 minutes of exercise each day. Classrooms earned their invite to Kids’ Day by completing the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, in partnership with the American Heart Association, in the months leading up to Super Bowl.

As part of their Kids’ Day experience, local children will participate in interactive PLAY 60 fitness activities and take part in games including Punt, Pass and Kick, speed and mobility drills, quarterback challenge games and extra point kicking stations.

HOUSTON HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SUPERBUILD: On Wednesday, February 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Houston Habitat for Humanity (HHFH)
is sponsoring SuperBUILD LI at 8706 Shady Vista Lane. The event is hosted in conjunction with Super Bowl LI to build 51 affordable homes for partner families. A sanctioned NFL event since 2003, SuperBUILD provides affordable housing options for low to moderate income families through volunteerism. HHFH will invite NFL players to visit the job sites, participate in home dedications and celebrate with families who were able to achieve their dream of homeownership.

NFL PLAYER CARE FOUNDATION SCREENINGS

The only event that is not open to the public takes place from Wednesday, February 1st to Friday, February 3rd as the NFL Player Care Foundation (PCF), supported by the NFL Alumni Association, are proud to partner with one of the nation’s
premier medical providers, Tulane University School of Medicine, to conduct its annual Super Bowl Healthy Body and Mind Screening program. This complimentary national program is open to all former NFL players and includes cardiovascular and prostate screenings and mental health resources and education.

NFL Player Care Foundation screenings are offered as part of PCF’s research programs, which help to advance public awarenss and scientific understanding of health issues that affect former NFL players. The screening will take place at the Houston Marriott at the Texas Medical Center (6580 Fannin Street, Salons A, B and C) from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The PCF is an independent foundation created in 2007 by a partnership between NFL owners, the NFL Players Association, Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL Alumni Association. Since its inception, the organization has screened more than 4,000 retired NFL players and provided over $11 million in emergency financial assistance. For more information, visit nflplayercare.com. (The screenings are closed to the public due to patient-client privilege.)

SUPER BOWL LEGACY GRANT EVENT: The NFL seeks to improve the surrounding communities of the Super Bowl host city with a Super Bowl Legacy Grant donation. This year, the NFL Foundation provided a $1 million grant to the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee via “Touchdown Houston” in an effort to leave an impact on all 11 counties of Houston by concentrating on education, health and community enhancement. Grant focuses include youth physical fitness and wellness, after school programs, health care and food access, neighborhood improvement, early childhood education, anti-poverty, dropout and homeless prevention strategies.

On Thursday, February 2 at 10 a.m., NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Houston Super Bowl Host Committee executives amongst others will take part in the Super Bowl Legacy Grant press conference at Pro-Vision Academy (4590 Wilmington Street.). NFL Legend and Pro-Vision Academy founder ROYNELL YOUNG will lead attendees through a ground breaking ceremony to celebrate a football field refurbishment granted to the school. Following the press conference, students will participate in a player panel on character education with current and former NFL players and led by former NFL player and author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives JOE EHRMANN. Ehrmann is the co-founder of the InSideOut Initiative, designed to help high school communities recognize the responsibility they have to their students and enhance the human growth and development of the student-athletes who play.

MAKE-A-WISH®: Through the assistance of the NFL, Make-A-Wish will grant the wishes of 12 children to attend Super Bowl LI. Attending the Super Bowl continues to be a wish that transcends generations: every year since 1982, one or more wish kids has wished to attend the big game.

This year, the children and their families will arrive in Houston on Thursday, February 2 for a welcome reception. Wish children and their families will participate in several other activities related to the Super Bowl and will attend the game at NRG Stadium through the support of the NFL and other organizations.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 33,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 34 minutes. It has granted more than 285,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 15,300 in 2016 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.

NFL WOMEN’S SUMMIT— “PLAYS FOR LIFE”: On February 3rd from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and February 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the NFL will host this year’s Women’s Summit—Plays for Life. Building on the success of last year’s Women’s Summit—which explored the role of sports participation in developing leadership, teamwork and other skills that promote success throughout one’s life and career, Plays for Life expands upon that conversation by engaging teen girls through an interactive and experiential event focused on personal development and achievement.

During the two-day event, 250 Houston-area teen girls will hear from prominent leaders from across the NFL and beyond about their own personal journeys and participate in a discussion about how to achieve their goals, prepare for life’s challenges and best utilize the tools that are critical for personal and professional development.

A live stream of the event will be hosted by women’s leadership platform http://www.MAKERS.com.

More than three dozen speakers and participants will be announced in the coming days. The event will take place at the Citadel (12130 Kirby Drive).(The event is limited to invited guests.)

NFL FOUNDATION GOLF TOURNAMENT: “Legends on the Links”

In celebration of its 26th year, the NFL Foundation is partnering with the NFL Legends community to host an 18-hole golf tournament on Friday, February 3 starting at 8 a.m. at Golf Club of Houston (5860 Wilson Road in Humble), home course to the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open.

Teams of amateur golfers will be captained by NFL Legends in 18-hole team scramble events to be played on both the Tournament Course, which hosts the PGA Tour event annually and the Member Course, where the PGA Tour played from 2003 through 2005. The celebrity captains entered thus far are Larry Brown, Donnie Edwards, Ahman Green, Rodney Hampton, Dhani Jones, Kwamie Lassiter, Ryan Leaf, E.J. Manuel, Curtis McGriff, Marty Moore, Jonathan Ogden, Chad Pennington, Mike Quick, John Randle, Mike Rucker, Will Shieldds, Al Smith, Mack Strong, Ben Tate, John Urshel and Leonard Wheeler. Additionally, NFL Legends’ Community Directors and Coordinators that serve as ambassadors across the country will be in attendance and facilitating the tournament.

Hospitality golf packages were open to the general public and the deadline for that was January 28th, with a tournament entry donation of $6,000 per team (teams of three paired with a NFL Legend) or $2,500 per individual benefiting the NFL Foundation and NFL Player Care Foundation.

ROSS INITIATIVE IN SPORTS FOR EQUALITY (RISE) SUPER BOWL TOWN HALL: The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) and NFL will host their second-annual Super Bowl Town Hall, “From Protest to Progress: The Power of Sports to Improve Race Relations,” from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, February 3. The town hall, hosted by Texas Southern University in Houston and supported by The Players’ Tribune, will be broadcast live on Sirius XM radio. Current and former NFL greats, including policy advocates Anquan Boldin of the Detroit Lions and Malcom Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles and Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams, will participate in a two-part panel discussion, reviewing lessons learned from the activist athlete and examining solution-oriented next steps for the sports industry to drive social change. RISE will release a report looking at the reach and impact of, reaction to and outcomes of activist athletes in the second half of 2016. RISE aims to use sports to improve race relations. To learn more, visit http://www.risetowin.org.

NFL and ALL PRO DAD FAMILY FOOTBALL CLINIC: Current and former players celebrate football and family at the second annual NFL and All Pro Dad Family Football Clinic at Super Bowl LI. Presented by NFL Player Engagement and All Pro Dad organization, players are invited to bring their children and significant others to participate in fun football activities on Friday, February 3 at 9 a.m. at the NFL Experience Youth Field in the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas). Players and their children will learn how fun it is to PLAY 60 and create new football memories as a family. Within each football activity, kids and their parents will participate in an exercise designed to foster engagement and relationship building among family members. The clinic will begin at 9:30 a.m. with player media availability at 11:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Crystal Fukumoto at crystalf@bzapr.com.

22nd ANNUAL REBUILDING TOGETHER “KICKOFF TO REBUILD”: On Friday, February 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with Super Bowl LI, Rebuilding Together Houston will host a community revitalization project to rehabilitate the main section of the historic Independence Heights neighborhood as a Legacy of Super Bowl LI in Houston. Independence Heights is the first self-governing, African American city incorporated in the state of Texas. It is important to revive the neighborhood and keep its history alive, allowing longtime residents to age in place. The creation of a welcome center will allow visitors the opportunity to learn about the neighborhood’s history, beginning in 1905, through its eventual integration into the city of Houston and its vital role in Houston’s community today.

For the past 22 years, Rebuilding Together has partnered with the NFL to host projects in Super Bowl cities. These NFL-sanctioned events provide critical home repairs for low-income homeowners and their communities. The event will include help for individual homeowners in need and create a safer, healthier and beautifully rebuilt section of Independence Heights.

To learn more about Rebuilding Together’s Kickoff to Rebuild project, visit rebuildingtogether.org/ktr/.

CHARACTER PLAYBOOK HOUSTON LAUNCH

“Character Playbook,” a joint initiative of the NFL and United Way Worldwide and operated by EverFi, an education technology leader in more than 13,000 schools across the nation, will launch in Houston on Friday, February 3 at 1 p.m. at Pilgrim Academy (6302 Skyline Drive.). The digital course is comprised of six interactive modules that support positive character development, social-emotional learning and healthy relationships for grades 7-9. Houston Texans players will sit on a panel and discuss character development and decision-making with students.  Students will then go through the modules, designed to help students develop healthy relationships and social norms. Character Playbook will be provided to 40 schools in the Houston area via a joint partnership between the Houston Texans, United Way of Greater Houston and Verizon.

SUPER BOWL GOSPEL CELEBRATION: The 18th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration will take place on Friday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Lakewood Church (3700 Southwest Freeway). The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration brings together Super Bowl champions and Pro Bowl players with Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian, gospel and mainstream artists all on one stage.  The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration also gives back to the community. Each year, the event identifies a charity to donate a portion of its proceeds. For the second consecutive year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the NFL Players Care Foundation.

For more information, visit http://www.superbowlgospel.com

1st AND FUTURE: The NFL, in collaboration with the Texas Medical Center (TMC) is calling on innovators to share their solutions to help advance the game of football and athlete safety. On Saturday, February 4, the partners will host 1st and Future, a unique startup competition that will take place at the TMC Innovation Institute (2450 Holcombe Boulevard). Up to nine startups will be invited to present their game-changing technologies in each of the following three categories: Communicating with the Athlete, Training the Athlete and Materials to Protect the Athlete. The startups will pitch their products to an exclusive audience, including a panel of judges, NFL team owners and executives and representatives from the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and TMC. One winner from each category will be selected by a panel of judges comprising of former NFL players, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. The winners will receive a $50,000 prize from the NFL to further develop their innovation; acceptance into TMCx, TMC’s world-renowned program for start-ups and two tickets to Super Bowl LI.

SUPER BOWL BREAKFAST: The 2017 Super Bowl Breakfast will be held Saturday, February 4 at 8 a.m. at the
Marriott Marquis Houston (1777 Walker Street.).  The breakfast will feature the presentation of the Bart Starr Award, presented by Super Bowl Champion Coach, Tony Dungy. The award, voted on by NFL players, honors outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.

In addition to Tony Dungy and the 2017 Award winner, the program will include former NFL players Roger Staubach, Bruce Matthews, Anthony Munoz, Derrick Brooks and emcee James Brown, host of The NFL Today on CBS and Thursday Night Football on NFL Network.

For more information, contact Jordan Sok at jordan@heartlandcommunicate.com or 859-519-7750.

HOUSTON CAREERS IN SPORTS FORUM: The NFL will celebrate high school coaches and educate students on various career opportunities in the sports industry on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cemo Hall at the University of Houston. Parents will hear from NFL players and professionals in the sports industry about the vast career possibilities off the field. Guests will enjoy music from a professional DJ and food and beverages and interact with sports experts and NFL players. The event is open to Houston high school students interested in sports but space is limited.

NFLPA SMOCKS AND JOCKS: On Saturday, February 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Caracol (2200 Post Oak Boulevard), the NFL Players Association will hold its annual art auction and jazz brunch called Smocks and Jocks supporting the Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund and a local foundation. Artwork from active and former players and others connected to professional football will be auctioned as part of the charity event. This event is invite-only.

TROUPE21’S 17TH ANNUAL PLAYER NETWORKING EVENT™: Troupe21’s 17th Annual Player Networking Event™ (PNE) at the Super Bowl will take place Saturday, February 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Houston Community College—West Loop Center (5601 West Loop South). PNE, an NFL sanctioned event for 15 years, helps active and former NFL players transition into meaningful second careers.

The networking event will include a private banking workshop; focus groups for players, corporate guests and vendors; an Internet radio broadcast featuring player-owned businesses and sponsors; a social media challenge designed to promote athlete and corporate responsibility; a scholarship drive for high school football student-athletes to attend the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy; and a trade show featuring corporations interested in helping players pursue charitable, employment and entrepreneurial goals.

To learn more about PNE 2017 and PNE Week go to http://www.pneinfo.com or follow on Twitter@NFLPNE.

TASTE OF THE NFL: Taste of the NFL (TNFL) is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to raising awareness and funds for hunger relief organizations in the 32 NFL cities and across the country. Proudly celebrating its 26th year at Super Bowl LI, the organization conducts national and local fundraising events throughout the year, culminating in the annual Party with a Purpose® on Super Bowl Eve. Since its inception, Taste of the NFL has raised more than $25 million, which has provided more than 275 million meals for Americans. All proceeds raised are donated directly to local and national food banks in each of the 32 NFL cities.

This season’s Party with a Purpose® will be held at the University of Houston (4800 Calhoun Road) on Saturday, February 4 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This star-studded fundraising event celebrates two of America’s favorite pastimes—food and football—by bringing together exceptional cuisine, prominent chefs from around the country, celebrities, NFL players, coaches, legends and more, all to support the fight against hunger. Alex Guarnaschelli and Richard Blais are the Culinary Hosts for this year’s Party with a Purpose®.

Follow @TasteoftheNFL on Instagram and Twitter as they #KickHunger this season, or visit Taste of the NFL on Facebook at facebook.com/TasteoftheNFL.

Tickets to this event can be purchased at http://www.TasteoftheNFL.com.

SUPER BOWL ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM: The NFL and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee have teamed up to develop a series of initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl Verizon is a key partner in several of these projects including the Super Kids – Super Sharing, the Super Bowl LI Urban Forestry Project and a public E-Waste Recycling Rally.

The Super Kids – Super Sharing Sports Equipment and Book Donation Event was held Thursday, January 19. Tens of thousands of books, school supplies, games and pieces of sports equipment were collected and distributed to low-income schools and youth programs throughout the region.  As part of Super Kids, local students have also donated used cell phones through HopeLine® from Verizon. HopeLine® collects wireless phones and accessories no longer in use and turns them into financial support for domestic violence organizations nationwide.

The Super Bowl LI E-Waste Recycling Rally was held Saturday, January 21 at the Houston Zoo, Medical Center Entrance (1481 Cambridge Street). This recycling rally, sponsored by Verizon, was open to the public and local residents were allowed to drop off all types of electronic waste to be recycled responsibly and kept out of local landfills. Items such as computers, printers, monitors, cell phones and televisions were accepted.

Other environmental projects include:

GREEN ENERGY: “Green” energy will be used to power major Super Bowl event venues throughout Houston including NRG Stadium, the George R. Brown Convention Center (site of the Super Bowl Media Center and NFL Experience), and the hotels being used by the NFL and AFC teams and by the NFL Super Bowl staff. NRG will be providing renewable energy certificates (RECs) equivalent to the electricity usage at these facilities to mitigate the climate impact of energy emissions.

FOOD RECOVERY: Extra prepared food from Super Bowl events will be recovered in partnership with the Houston Food Bank and a number of local nonprofit organizations to provide meals for shelters, missions, soup kitchens and other community programs.

MATERIAL RECOVERY: Recovery of all event materials will begin immediately after most Super Bowl events. During the week following the game, there will be an intensive drive to collect and donate items left over from Super Bowl including building materials, décor, fabric, carpeting and sign materials. These items will be donated to local organizations that can reuse, repurpose or remanufacture the material. The NFL has incorporated environmental projects into the management of Super Bowl for more than 20 years.

Championship Sunday Broadcast Information (All Times Eastern)

NFC Championship – Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (Field reporters). Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Tony Boselli (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Green Bay), 82 (Atlanta). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Green Bay), 82 (Atlanta).

AFC Championship – Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely (Field reporters). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts, Ross Tucker (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Pittsburgh), 82 (New England). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Pittsburgh), 82 (New England).

Sunday Officials
NFC Championship: Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m. – Bill Vinovich
AFC Championship: Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m. – Terry McAulay

Sunday Odds
Favorite                Spread    Underdog              O/U
ATLANTA                 –  4      Green Bay             61
NEW ENGLAND             –  6      Pittsburgh            51

Sunday Injury Report

Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m.

Green Bay
OUT: RB James Starks (Concussion), C Joseph Tretter (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Davante Adams (Ankle), WR Geronimo Allison (Hamstring), WR Jordy Nelson (Ribs), S Morgan Burnett (Quad), CB Quinten Rollins (Neck)

ATLANTA – Atlanta reported no injuries

Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m.

Pittsburgh
QUESTIONABLE: LB James Harrison (Shoulder), RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (Concussion), TE Ladarius Green (Concussion)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: WR Danny Amendola (Ankle), TE Martellus Bennett (Knee), RB Brandon Bolden (Knee), LB Qualin Hightower (Knee), WR Chris Hogan (Thigh), WR Malcom Mitchell (Knee), DE Jabaal Sheard (Knee)

Sunday Weather
NFC: Green Bay at ATLANTA, 3:05 p.m. on FOX (Game indoors)
AFC: Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m. on CBS (Cloudy and 42 degrees)

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

Saturday and Sunday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

Seattle at Atlanta, 4:35 p.m. Saturday on FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver, Peter Schrager (Field reporters). WW1: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Derek Rackley (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Seattle), 82 (Atlanta). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Seattle), 82 (Atlanta).

Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday on CBS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Houston), 82 (New England). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Houston), 82 (New England).

Green Bay at Dallas, 4:40 p.m. Sunday on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers (Field reporters). WW1: Tom McCarthy, Tony Boselli, Scott Kaplan (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Green Bay), 82 (Dallas). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Green Bay), 82 (Green Bay).

Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8;30 p.m. Sunday on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Heather Cox (Field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Pittsburgh), 82 (Kansas City). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (Pittsburgh), 82 (Kansas City).

Saturday and Sunday Officials
Seattle at ATLANTA, 4:35 p.m. Saturday – Gene Steratore
Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday – Pete Morelli
Green Bay at Dallas, 4:40 p.m. Sunday – Tony Corrente
Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. Sunday – Carl Cheffers

Saturday and Sunday Odds (Home team in CAPS)

Saturday’s Games
Favorite             Spread      Underdog             O/U
ATLANTA              –  4 1/2    Seattle              51
NEW ENGLAND          – 16        Houston              44 1/2

Sunday’s Games
Favorite             Spread      Underdog             O/U
DALLAS               –  4 1/2    Green Bay            52
KANSAS CITY          –  2        Pittsburgh           45

Saturday and Sunday Injury Report

Seattle at ATLANTA, 4:35 p.m. Saturday

Seattle
QUESTIONABLE: RB C.J. Prosise (Shoulder)

Atlanta – Atlanta reported no injuries

Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Houston
QUESTIONABLE: S Quintin Demps (Hamstring), LB John Simon (Chest)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: WR Malcolm Mitchell (Knee)

Green Bay at Dallas, 4:35 p.m. Sunday

Green Bay
OUT: WR Jordy Nelson (Ribs), RB James Starks (Concussion), C Joseph Tretter (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Jayrone Elliott (Hand), WR Jeff Janis (Quadricep), CB Quinten Rollins (Neck)

Dallas
QUESTIONABLE: CB Morris Claiborne (Groin), DT Tyrone Crawford (Shoulder), LB Justin Durant (Elbow), DE Demarcus Lawrence (Back), DT Terrell McClain (Ankle), T Tyron Smith (Knee), DT Cedric Thornton (Ankle)

Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. Sunday

Pittsburgh
OUT: LB Anthony Chickillo (Ankle)
DOUBTFUL: TE Ladarius Green (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Ricardo Mathews (Ankle), RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (Concussion)

Kansas City – Kansas City reported no injuries
Saturday and Sunday Weather
Seattle at ATLANTA, 4:35 p.m. Saturday (Game indoors)
Houston at New England, 8:15 p.m. Saturday (Mostly cloudy and 26 degrees)
Green Bay at Dallas, 4:35 p.m. Sunday (Game indoors)
Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. Sunday (Cloudy and 34 degrees)

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