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Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

ATLANTA at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Sara Walsh (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 98 (Atlanta), 206 (Cleveland); XM: 389 (Atlanta), 228 (Cleveland)

Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX: Chris Myers. Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 99 (Detroit), 83 (Chicago); XM: 383 (Detroit), 225 (Chicago)

New Orleans at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 127 (New Orleans), 82 (Cincinnati); XM: 384 (New Orleans), 227 (Cincinnati)

Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta; SIRIUS: 103 (Jacksonville), 146 (Indianapolis); XM: 388 (Jacksonville), 230 (Indianapolis)

Arizona at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians, Melanie Collins (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 106 (Arizona), 113 (Kansas City); XM: 390 (Arizona), 231 (Kansas City)

Buffalo at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; SIRIUS: 119 (Buffalo), 133 (New York Jets); XM: 386 (Buffalo), 229 (New York Jets)

Washington at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 134 (Washington), 81 (Tampa Bay); XM: 385 (Washington), 226 (Tampa Bay)

New England at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 111 (New England), 94 (Tennessee); XM: 387 (New England), 232 (Tennessee)

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on FOX: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 136 (Los Angeles Chargers), 83 (Oakland); XM: 391 (Los Angeles Chargers), 225 (Oakland)

Miami at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on CBS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Steve Tasker (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 78 (Miami), 81 (Green Bay); XM: 385 (Miami), 226 (Green Bay)

Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 99 (Seattle), 82 (Los Angeles Rams); XM: 384 (Seattle), 227 (Los Angeles Rams)

Dallas at Philadelphia, 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, Mike Mayock; SIRIUS: 81 (Dallas), 83 (Philadelphia); XM: 226 (Dallas), 225 (Philadelphia)

New York Giants at San Francisco, 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Rod Woodson, Amber Theoharis; SIRIUS: 81 (New York Giants), 83 (San Francisco); XM: 226 (New York Giants), 225 (San Francisco)

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

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home Teams in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite              Spread    Underdog         O/U
Atlanta               –  4      CLEVELAND        51
INDIANA               –  3      Jacksonville     46 1/2
NEW YORK JETS         –  7 1/2  Buffalo          37
New England           –  7      TENNESSEE        48 1/2
CHICAGO               –  6 1/2  Detroit          45
New Orleans           –  4      CINCINNATI       54 1/2
KANSAS CITY           – 16 1/2  Arizona          50
TAMPA BAY             –  2 1/2  Washington       51 1/2
Los Angeles Chargers  –  9 1/2  OAKLAND          50 1/2
LOS ANGELES RAMS      – 10      Seattle          51 1/2
GREEN BAY             –  9      Miami            47 1/2
PHILADELPHIA          –  6      Dallas           43 1/2

Monday’s Game
Favorite              Spread    Underdog         O/U
SAN FRANCISCO         –  3      New York Giants  43 1/2

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

ATLANTA at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

ATLANTA
OUT: K Matt Bryant (Right Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Derrick Shelby (Groin)

Cleveland
QUESTIONABLE: T Desmond Harrison (Illness), S Damarious Randall (Groin), TE David Njoku (Knee). LB Joseph Schobert (Ankle), WR Da’Mari Scott Shoulder), C Joesph Tretter (Ankle), CB Denzel Ward (Hip)

Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Detroit
DOUBTFUL: LB Medgar Harold (Shoulder)
OUT: G Thomas Lang (Neck), CB Darius Slay (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Ezekiel Ansah (Shoulder, RB Kerryon Johnson (Ankle), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Neck), TE Luke Willson (Shoulder)

Chicago
OUT: TE Dion Sims (Concussion), DT Bilal Nichols (Knee)

New Orleans at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

New Orleans
OUT: DE Marcus Davenport (Toe)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Dez Bryant (Ankle)

Cincinnati

DOUBTFUL: G Alex Redmond (Hamstring)
OUT: LB Vontaze Burfict (Hip), CB Darqueze Dennard (Sternoclavicular), WR A.J. Green (Foot), TE Tyler Kroft (Foot), LB Nichols vigil (KNee)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Giovani Bernard (Knee)

Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville
DOUBTFUL: DT Eli Anko (Calf)
OUT: Arlando Bouye (Calf), CB Quenton Meeks (Knee), TE David Grinage (Knee), DE Lerentee McCray (Hamstring), LB Telvin Smith (Shoulder)

Indianapolis
OUT: TE Ryan Hewitt (Ankle), S Michael Mitchell (Calf), TE Erik Swoope (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: T Denzelle Good (Illness), DE Kemoko Turay (Neck), WR Ryan Grant (Ankle), CB Nathan Hairston (Ankle)

Arizona at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Arizona
OUT: DT Robert Nkemdiche (Calf), WR Chad Williams (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Jermaine Gresham (Back), S Budda Baker (Foot), S Jayestin Boston (Chest), G Mike Iupati (Back), DT Corey Peters (Ankle), G Joseph Pugh (Hand), G Jeremy Vujnovich (Hamstring)

Kansas City
DOUBTFUL: S James Berry (Heel)
OUT: C Mitchell Morse (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: G Cameron Erving (Illness), LB Anthony Hitchens (Rib), LB Justin Houston (Hamstring), S Daniel Sorensen (Knee), WR Sammy Watkins (Foot), LB Frank Zombo (Hamstring)

Buffalo at New York Jets, 1 p.m.

Buffalo
OUT: QB Derek Anderson (Concussion), TE Charles Clay (Hamstring), DE Trent Murphy (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Andre Holmes (Neck), QB Josh Allen QB (Right Elbow), LB Fe’Zahn Edmundsons (Concussion), RB Chris Ivory (Shoulder)

New York Jets
DOUBTFUL: WR Robby Anderson (Ankle), QB Sam Darnold (Foot), C Spencer Long (Knee)
OUT: TE Neal Sterling (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Stephen McLendon (Ankle)

Washington at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Washington
OUT: RB Chris Thompson (Rib), T Trent Williams (Thumb)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Quinton Dunbar (Shin), WR Jamison Crowder (Ankle), T Morgan Moses (Knee)

Tampa Bay
OUT: DE Vincent (Ankle), RB Ronald Jones (Hamstring), G Evan Smith (Hip), CB Marvin Stewart (Foot)

New England at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

New England
QUESTIONABLE: T Trent Brown (Illness), TE Rob Gronkowski (Ankle), LB Qualin Hightower (Knee), Jacob Hollister (Hamstring), G Shaquille Mason (Calf), RB Sony Michel (Knee)

Tennessee
OUT: T Jack Conklin (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLEL S Dane Cruikshank (Knee), LB Derrick Morgan (Shoulder), WR Taywan Taylor (Foot), DT Bennie Logan (Knee), WR Taje Sharpe (Ankle)

Miami at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Miami
DOUBTFUL: G Theodore Larsen (Neck)
OUT: DE Charles Harris (Calf), RB Ryan Tannehill (Right Shoulder), LB Kristian Alonso (Ankle), TE Alexander Kirby (Foot), WR Jakeem Grant (Achilles), T Ja’Wuan James (Knee), T Laremy Tunsil (Knee)

Green Bay
OUT: CB Kevin King (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: T Bryan Bulaga (Knee), WR Randall Cobb (Hamtring), LB Blake Martinez (Ankle)

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers
OUT: DE Joey Bosa (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Kyle Emanuel (Hip), CB Trevor Williams (Knee), DE Christopher Landrum (Hip), DT Darius Philon (Ankle)

Oakland – Oakland reports no injuries

Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.

Seattle
DOUBTFUL: CB Neiko Thorpe (Groin)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Chris Carson (Hip), G Danny Fluker (Calf), DT Shamar Stephen (Foot), DT Nazar Jones (Illness), G Jordan Simmons (Calf), S Bradley McDougald (Knee), LB Kenneth Wright (Knee)

Los Angeles Rams – Los Angeles Rams report no injuries

Dallas at Philadelphia, 8:20 p.m.

Dallas
OUT: WR Tavon Austin (Groin), DE Vidauntae Charlton (Shoulder), DE David Irving (Ankle), LB Sean Lee (Hamstring), LB Joe Thomas (Foot), G Connor Williams (Knee), DE Randy Gregory (Knee), TE Geoffery Swain (Knee)

Philadelphia
OUT: CB Sidney Jones (Hamstring), CB Jalen Mills (Foot), RB Darren Sproles (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE John Sweat (Hip), T Lane Johnson (Knee)

New York Giants at San Francisco, 8:15 p.m. Monday

New York Giants – New York Giants report no injuries

San Francisco
OUT: LB Reuben Foster (Hamstring), WR Pierre Garcon (Knee), S Jaquiski Tarrt (Shoulder)

Sunday and Monday Weather

ATLANTA at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Mostly sunny and 39 degrees
Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m.: Mostly cloudy and 37 degrees
New Orleans at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.: Mostly sunny and 41 degrees
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Game indoors
Arizona at Kansas City, 1 p.m.: Mostly sunny and 43 degrees
Buffalo at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Sunny and 45 degrees
Washington at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 82 degrees
New England at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Mostly sunny and 49 degrees
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.: Sunny and 65 degrees
Miami at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 33 degrees
Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.: Sunny and 75 degrees
Dallas at Philadelphia, 8:20 p.m.: Clear and 38 degrees
New York Giants at San Francisco, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Clear and 68 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)

The ’72 Dolphins can breathe easy.

The Los Angeles Rams’ hopes for an unbeaten sesaon came to an end in New Orleans as the Saints took down the Rams 45-35 in the Big Easy.

Los Angeles became one of many teams that came close to perfection, only to see that same perfection slip through their fingers. The champange corks you’re hearing? Those are some of the remaining Dolphin players from that team that are celebrating. Their streak of perfection is intact.

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

Three teams – Kansas City (8-1), the Los Angeles Rams (8-1) and New England (7-2) – have a record of 7-2 or better entering Week 10 and New Orleans (7-1), which had its bye in Week 6, will reach either 8-1 or 7-2 following this week’s action. In the Super Bowl era, 216 teams have begun the season either 8-1 or 7-2 through nine games and 194 of those teams advanced to the postseason (89.8 percent). Sixty-one of the 216 teams reached the Super Bowl in their respective seasons.

As the season moves into the second half, there is plenty of football left to play and nothing has been decided. Since 2000, 45 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season. Last year, Atlanta began the season at 4-4 before advancing to the postseason with a 10-6 record.

Four teams are currently riding winning streaks of at least five games – New Orleans (seven consecutive games), Houston (six), New England (six) and the Los Angeles Chargers (five). The Texans, which began the season 0-3, are the second team since 1970 to win six consecutive games immediately following an 0-3 start, joining the 1970 New York Giants.

As the schedule turns to Week 10, history is on the horizon for veteran and young quarterbacks alike. New England quarterback Tom Brady will play in his 300th career game (including the postseason) on Sunday at Tennessee at 1 p.m. on CBS, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (326) as the only quarterbacks to appear in 300 career games across the regular season and playoffs. Brady, who has thrown 576 touchdown passes through 299 career games (including the postseason), can surpass Peyton Manning (579) for the most touchdown passes by a quarterback in NFL history.

Brady (505 regular-season touchdown passes) and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (506), who plays at Cincinnati on Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX, enter Week 10 within reach of Favre (508) for second place on the NFL’s all-time passing touchdown leaderboard. Only Manning (539) has more career touchdown passes in the regular season.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 29 touchdown passes and 3,185 passing yards in 10 career games, both the most by a quarterback in his first 10 games in NFL history. Mahomes, who has passed for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in each of the Chiefs’ past four games, can join Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (1998) as the only players in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in five consecutive games.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 346 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 137 passer rating and wide receiver Michael Thomas had a franchise-record 211 receiving yards, including a 72-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, in the Saints’ 45-35 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Brees has 22 career games with at least four touchdown passes and zero interceptions, tied with New England’s Tom Brady (22) for the most such games by a quarterback in NFL history.

Thomas’ 211 receiving yards are the most in a single game in Saints’ history, surpassing the previous high of 205 set by Wes Chandler on September 2, 1979 against Atlanta. He is the third Saint to record 200+ receiving yards in a single game, joining Chandler and Torrance Small (200 on December 24, 1994 at Denver).

•Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 228 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 105.9 passer rating in the Chargers’ 25-17 win at Seattle.

Rivers, who has started 200 consecutive games dating back to September 11, 2006, became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to start at least 200 consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (297 consecutive games), Eli Manning (210) and Peyton Manning (208).

•Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 375 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 129 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 37-21 win at Cleveland.

Mahomes, who appeared in his 10th career game Sunday, has 29 touchdown passes and 3,185 passing yards, both the most by a player in his first 10 career games in NFL history. Mahomes is the only quarterback in league annals to pass for at least 3,000 yards in his first 10 career games.

Mahomes has passed for at least 300 yards in eight consecutive games, tied with Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (2014) for the most consecutive games with 300+ passing yards in a single season in NFL history.

•​Pittsburgh running back James Conner had 107 rushing yards, 56 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in the Steelers’ 23-16 win at Baltimore.

Conner has four games with at least 100 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and at least one touchdown this season, the most such games by a player in a single season in NFL history.

Conner, who has 1,085 scrimmage yards (706 rushing, 379 receiving) and 10 total touchdowns (nine rushing, one receiving) this season, is the only player in franchise history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns in the team’s first eight games of a season.

•Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt had 141 scrimmage yards (91 rushing, 50 receiving) with three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in the Chiefs’ Week 9 win and New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara had 116 scrimmage yards (82 rushing, 34 receiving) with three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in the Saints’ win on Sunday.

Kamara, who played in his 24th career game on Sunday, has five games with both a rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown, the second-most in NFL history by a player in his first 25 career games. Only Indianapolis’ Edgerrin James (six) had more such games in his first 25 career contests.

Hunt, who appeared in his 25th career game today, has four such games, tied with Chicago’s Hugh Gallarneau (four games in 1941-42, 1945) for the third-most in league annals by a player in his first 25 career games.

•Minnesota, led by defensive end Danielle Hunter’s career-high 3.5 sacks, recorded a franchise-record 10 sacks in the team’s 24-9 victory over Detroit.

The Vikings’ 10 sacks surpassed the previous franchise-high of nine, which was accomplished four times and most recently on October 25, 1993 at Chicago.

Hunter, who returned a fumble 32 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, became the second player with at least 3.5 sacks and a touchdown in a single game since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. The Chargers’ Shaun Phillips, who had four sacks and a 31-yard interception-return touchdown against the Cardinals on October 3, 2010, is the only other player to accomplish the feat since 1982.

Chicago safety Eddie Jackson had a 65-yard fumble-return touchdown and linebacker Leonard Floyd scored on a 19-yard interception-return touchdown in the Bears’ 41-9 victory at Buffalo.

Jackson, who had both a 76-yard interception-return touchdown and a 75-yard fumble-return touchdown against Carolina on October 22, 2017, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders (three touchdowns in 1994) as the only players since 1970 with at least three defensive touchdowns of 65 or more yards over any two-year span. Sanders had interception-return touchdowns of 93, 90 and 74 yards with San Francisco in 1994.

•Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed 26 of 38 passes (68.4 percent) for 350 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 121.6 passer rating and wide receiver Julio Jones had seven catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 38-14 win at Washington.

Ryan, who recorded his 50th career game with at least 300 passing yards on Sunday, joined Drew Brees (57 games) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 50 games of 300+ passing yards in their first 11 seasons.

Jones has 44 career games with at least 100 receiving yards, tied with Calvin Johnson for the second-most in NFL history by a player in his first eight seasons. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (45) had more such games in his first eight career seasons.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 10

MILESTONES ON THE HORIZON: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 346 yards with four touchdowns and New England quarterback Tom Brady passed 294 yards with a touchdown in Week 9. Brees (506 touchdown passes) and Brady (505) rank third and fourth, respectively, all-time in touchdown passes.

Brees, who faces Cincinnati at 1 p.m. on Sunday, needs three touchdown passes to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (508) for the second-most regular-season touchdown passes in NFL history. Brady, who plays at Tennessee at 1 p.m. on CBS, needs four touchdown passes to surpass Favre.

The players with the most touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (539)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (508)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (506)
Tom Brady – New England (505)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brady has an additional 71 touchdown passes in 37 career playoff games, an NFL record, and needs four touchdown passes to surpass Peyton Manning (579 touchdowns) for the most passing touchdowns in league history, including the postseason.

The players with the most touchdown passes (including the postseason) in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, Denver (579)
Tom Brady – New England (576)

Brady, who has appeared in 262 regular-season games and 37 playoff games, can become the second quarterback in league annals to appear in 300 games (including the postseason), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (326).

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 15,902 receiving yards in his 15-year NFL career. With 33 receiving yards on Sunday at Kansas City at 1 p.m. on CBS, Fitzgerald would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens (15,934) for the second-most receiving yards in NFL history.

The players with the most receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (RECEIVING YARDS)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (22,895)^
Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati (15,934)^
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (15,902)

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PROLIFIC PAT: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 2,901 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes through the first nine weeks of the season. Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in each of his past four games.

With 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes on Sunday against Arizona at Arrowhead at 1 p.m. on CBS, Mahomes would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (five games in 1998) as the only quarterbacks in league history to record at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in five consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Steve Young – San Francisco (1998, 5)^
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2018, 4)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

LUCKY NUMBER THREE: Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck ranks second in the NFL with 23 touchdown passes this season and has thrown at least three touchdowns in each of his past five games.

With three touchdown passes on Sunday at home against Jacksonville at 1 p.m. on CBS, Luck would join Tom Brady (10 consecutive games in 2007) and Peyton Manning (eight consecutive games in 2004) as the only quarterbacks to record six consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes in a single season. Brady and Manning were each named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

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

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Tom Brady – New England (2007, 10)#
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (2004, 8)#
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2018, 5)*
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

RISING RIVERS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 228 yards and two touchdowns for a 105.9 passer rating in the Chargers’ 25-17 win at Seattle in Week 9. Rivers has recorded at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 95 or higher in each of the Chargers’ first eight games this season.

Rivers, who plays at Oakland at 4:05 p.m. on FOX, can join Aaron Rodgers (13 games in 2011) and Tom Brady (10 games in 2007) as the only quarterbacks in league history to throw at least two touchdown passes and have a passer rating of 95 or higher in each of his team’s first nine games of a season. Rodgers and Brady were each named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 95 or higher to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2011, 13)#
Tom Brady – New England (2007, 10)#
Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers (2018, 8)*
#Named Associated Press MVP
*Active streak

TOUCHDOWN TODD: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns in 2018 and has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Rams’ first nine games of the season.

With a touchdown against Seattle in Los Angeles at 4:25 p.m. on CBS, Gurley would join Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (1975), Lenny Moore (1964) and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch (1951) as the only players in league annals to score a touchdown in each of their team’s first 10 games of a season. Simpson and Moore had at least one touchdown in each of their team’s 14 games during their respective seasons.

The players with the most consecutive team games with at least one touchdown to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTVIE GAMES)
O.J. Simpson – Buffalo (1975, 14)^
Lenny Moore – Baltimore Colts (1964, 14)^
Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch – Los Angeles Rams (1951, 10)^
Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams (2018, 9)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Active streak

CATCH IT LIKE MIKE: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had a franchise-record 211 receiving yards, including a 72-yard touchdown catch, in the Saints’ 45-35 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 9.

Thomas, who has 266 receptions in 39 career games, needs one catch on Sunday at Cincinnati at 1 p.m. on FOX to surpass Odell Beckham, Jr. (266) for the most receptions by a player in his first 40 career games in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in their first 40 career games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS, RECEPTIONS)
Odell Beckham, Jr. – New York Giants (2014-16, 266)
Michael Thomas – New Orleans (2016-18, 266)*
*In 39 career games

NICK AT NIGHT: San Francisco quarterback Nick Mullens passed for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for 151.9 rating in his NFL debut in Week 9 in their win over Oakland last Thursday night.

With three touchdown passes against the New York Giants Monday night at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN, Mullens would become the fifth player in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to throw at least three touchdown passes in each of his first two career starts at quarterback.

The players with at least three touchdown passes in each of their first two career starts at quarterback in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASONS)
Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo (2015)
Matt Flynn – Green Bay (2010-11)
Kurt Warner – St. Louis Rams (1999)^
Dan Marino – Miami (1983)^
Nick Mullens – San Francisco (2018)*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
*Threw three TD passes in first-career start last week

With a start on Monday, Mullens will become the first quarterback since Kansas City’s Tyler Palko (2011) to make his first two career starts in primetime (Thursday Night, Sunday Night or Monday Night).

Highlights in week 10? Glad you asked…

New Orleans, winners of seven consecutive games, travel to Paul Brown Stadium to take on Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. on FOX. Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who has 1,218 rushing yards and 1,253 receiving yards in 24 career games, can join Herschel Walker (1,339 rushing, 1,394 receiving) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,300 rushing and receiving yards in his first 25 career games. Bengals rookie safety Jessie Bates leads Cincinnati with 60 tackles and is one of two players in the NFL (Kiko Alonso) with at least 60 tackles and three interceptions (three) in 2018.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks visit Todd Gurley and the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 4:25 p.m. on CBS. Since Week 5, Wilson ranks second in the NFL with a 126.4 passer rating and third in the league with 11 touchdown passes. Gurley leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns (12 rushing, four receiving) and has scored a touchdown in each of the Rams’ nine games in 2018. With a touchdown on Sunday, Gurley can become the fourth player in league annals to score at least one touchdown in each of his team’s first 10 games of a season.

Byes in week 10? Baltimore, Denver, Houston and Minnesota have the weekend off. As for Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, the New York Giants and Philadelphia? They’re back from their week-long vacations and return to the gridiron this week. As for last week’s picks? 9 and 4 for the week, which wasn’t bad (it could have been better but it is what it is…). For the year, 84-46. There’s still lots of football left in the regular season and we haven’t even gotten to Thanksgiving yet.

Week 10 got underway in Pittsburgh as the Steelers manhandled Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 52-21 at Heinz Field Thursday night and concludes on the West Coast as a pair of struggling teams meet in Santa Clara as the 49ers host Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Levis’ Stadium. Here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 10.

ATLANTA (4-4) at Cleveland (2-6-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Week 10 Sunday action gets underway along the shore of Lake Erie as the Atlanta Falcons make their way to Cleveland for an early afternoon contest with the struggling Cleveland Browns.

The Falcons picked up their third win in a row and pulled their record to the .500 mark as they took down Washington 38-14 at Fed Ex Field. Atlanta led from start to finish and took a 21-7 lead with them to the break. Atlanta, outrushing Washington 154-79, then proceeded to outscore the Redskins in the second half by a 17-7 margin to take the win (Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 88, while the Falcons’ defense held Adrian Peterson to 17 yards on nine carries). Matt Ryan threw for 350 yards and four TDs with a pair of sacks, connecting with Coleman on two of those tosses, while WRs Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones (seven catches for 121 yards) had the others. Washington’s Alex Smtih threw for 306 yards with a TD toss to WR Josh Doctson but was sacked three times (both Ryan and Smith threw an interception). Atlanta went 10 for 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 32:56, while the Redskins (who were flagged 10 times for 147 yards) went 5 for 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 27:04.

The Gregg Williams era at Cleveland did not get off to the start they wanted against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday as the Browns were taken to task by the Chiefs 37-21. Cleveland trailed 21-15 at the break, then watched the Chiefs outscore them in the final 30 minutes of action 16-6 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Cleveland was outrushed by Kansas City 139-102, with Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt (91 yards, two TDs) and Browns RB Nick Chubb (85 yards, TD) led their teams. Mahomes burned Cleveland for 375 yards with three TDs (two to TE Travis Kelce, Hunt caught the other one), while Baker Mayfield paced Cleveland with 297 yards and a pair of TDs (both men were sacked twice, both threw an interception). Cleveland was 5 for 13 on third down tries along the shore of Lake Erie (they went 2 for 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:51, while Andy Reid’s Chiefs only needed to use 29:09, going 6 for 10 on third down.

Cleveland leads the series 11-3 and they have outscored Atlanta 330-215. Cleveland won the last meeting with Atlanta, taking a 26-24 win in 2014 in Atlanta, while the Falcons’ last win in the series came in 2010 in Cleveland by a final of 20-10, along the shores of Lake Erie. The oddsmakers like Atlanta as a 4-point road favorite with a 51 over/under. The Falcons have been playing decent football of late, while the Browns are struggling through a mid-season coaching change that could take them more than a season to recover. Atlanta covers the 4 on the shore of Lake Erie and wins on the road.

Jacksonville (3-5) at Indianapolis (3-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of teams coming off bye weeks meet in the Hoosier State as Andrew Luck and the Colts face off against AFC South foe Jacksonville in the first of two meetings.

Jacksonville returns after their 24-18 loss to the defending Super Bowl champs 24-18 on the other side of the Atlantic two weeks ago. In the week eight meeting at Wembley Stadium, the Jaguars trailed 10-6 at the half and would eventually pull themselves to within 6 with 6:57 left to play in the contest on a 24-yard field goal by Josh Lambo but could not come any closer. Philadelphia outrushed Jacksonville 133-70 and Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw for 286 yards with three TD tosses, while Blake Bortles threw for 286 yards with a TD (Wentz threw an interception, both men were sacked four times). Jacksonville, taking their fourth loss in a row, went 6 of 14 on third down (the Jaguars were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:22, while the defending Super Bowl Champs went 7 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:38.

The Colts trailed Oakland 14-13 at the half on the West Coast two Sundays ago, then proceeded to outscore the Raiders 29-14 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a 42-28 win at the Oakland Coliseum. The Colts got a pair of second half TD passes from Andrew Luck to take the win and giving the Silver and Black their third loss in a row in the process. The Colts easily outrushed Oakland 222-103, with Colts RB Marlon Mack leading the way with 132 yards and a pair of TDs. Luck threw for 239 yards in the contest, while Oakland’s David Carr threw for 244 yards (both Luck and Carr threw threw TDs without a sack or interception). The Colts in the win went 9 for 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 36:30, while the Silver and Black kept the pigskin for 23:30, going 4 of 8 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Indy leads the series 22-12 and have outscored the Jaguars 807-696. However… Jacksonville has won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (the Colts’ last win over Jacksonville came in 2016 in the Hooiser State by a final of 24-20.

Their first meeting took place at Lucas Oil Stadium in week seven and Jacksonville left the Hoosier State 27-0 winners. Leading from start to finish, the Jaguars led 20-0 at the intermission and were in complete control of things in that contest. Jacksonville outrushed Indianapolis 188-96, with T.J. Yeldon leading all rushers with 122 yards and a TD. Jacksonville sacked Jacoby Brissett (who took over for the injured Luck) 10 times, while he threw for 200 yards with no interceptions, while Blake Bortles threw for 330 yards and a TD. Jacksonville was 8 for 14 on third down (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball to themselves for 32:47, while the Colts were 5 for 15 on third down and a somewhat dismal 0 for 3 on fourth down, holding the ball for 27:13.

Jacksonville made the sweep of the series a reality in the Sunshine State in week 13, taking the Colts 30-10 at EverBank Field (now TIAA Field). Jacksonville led 16-3 at the half and then went into cruise control in the last 30 minutes of action, outscoring the Colts 14-7 in that frame of time. This time, the Colts outrushed Jacksonville 141-96 but once again, Bortles burned the Colts for 309 yards and a pair of TDs, while Brissett threw for 174 yards with a TD, four sacks and a pair of interceptions. Jacksonville went 9 for 15 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:47, while the Colts kept the ball for 26:13, going 5 of 15 on third down and 4 of 4 on fourth down tries.

Jacksonville easily covered the 3 1/2 spread, as they won by 27 but the Jaguars’ 27 points was not enough as the 40 1/2 over/under was safe and sound. Jacksonville covered again in the week 13 contest in the Sunshine State, winning by 20 (they were favored by 9 1/2) but both clubs barely missed the 41 over/under. This time, the Colts are favored in the Hoosier State by 3 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both teams are in the basement in the AFC South and the winner moves a step closer to the top, while the Jaguars look to keep their heads above water. Jacksonville pulls off the road upset and covers the 3.

Buffalo (2-7) at New York Jets (3-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC/AFL foes meet in upstate New Jersey as the Buffalo Bills travel to the Meadowlands and Met Life Stadium for a Sunday afternoon meeting with the New York Jets. Both teams are coming off losses in last week’s play.

Buffalo watched Chicago score 28 second-quarter points at Orchard Park unchallenged, then saw Da Bears proceede to run away with a 41-9 winlast Sunday. Buffalo was held by Chicago to a pair of Chris Parkey field goals and a Nate Peterman TD run in the second half to take control of the contest from start to finish. Buffalo did outrush Chicago 97-64 Peterman threw for 189 yards (Mitch Trubisky threw for 135 yards) but was sacked four times and picked off three (Trubisky threw a TD pass with a sack and an interception). While forcing four turnovers, Chicago went 3 for 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 25:57, while the Bills ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 34:03, going 6 of 18 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down tries.

GangGreen took their third loss in a row, as they dropped a 13-6 decision at Miami last Sunday in the Sunshine State. After a scoreless first quarter, it was an all-field goal second quarter as Miami took a 6-3 lead into the half with a pair of Josh Sanders field goals. After a scoreless third quarter, Miami would score the game’s only TD when rookie LB Jerome Baker picked off J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! QB Sam Darnold and lived out a lineman’s dream, returning it 25 yards for a TD. GangGReen did manage to outrush Miami 80-64 and Darnold threw for 229 yards with four interceptions, while Brock Osweiler threw for 139 yards (each was sacked four times, with Darnold throwing four interceptions) in the win. Third down tries were nothing to write home about, as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 2 for 13, while Miami was 3 for 16 (GangGreen was 0 for 2 on fourth down, while Miami was perfect, going 2 for 2) but GangGreen did rule the clock, keeping the ball for 31:34 to Miami’s 28:26.

The Bills lead the series 60-54 (which includes contests that took place at Shea Stadium, War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo and Giants Stadium, as well as games played when the Jets were known as the New York Titans) and the Bills have outscored GangGreen 2,372-2,342. They split last season’s contests, with each team taking wins at home.

The two AFC East foes met right away in week one in upstate New York as Buffalo took a 21-12 win at New Era Stadium. Buffalo led 7-6 at the intermission after a scoreless first quarter and then went on to outscore the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 14-6 in the second half. Buffalo outrushed GangGreen 190-38, with RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 110 yards, while Bills QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 224 yards with a pair of TDs (New York’s Josh McCown threw for 187 yards with a pair of interceptions and a sack, while Taylor had a pair of sacks with an interception). Buffalo went 8 of 17 on third down in upstate New York and kept the ball for 33:04, while GangGreen was 4 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourthd downs, holding the ball for 26:56.

GangGreen would get their revenge for the week one loss in upstate New York as they took a 34-21 win at Met Life Stadium in week nine. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led Buffalo 10-3 at the intermission and took control of things in the second half, outpacing the Bills 24-14 in the last 30 minutes of action. This time, GangGreen, led by Matt Forte’s 77 rushing yards (with two TDs), outrushed the Bills 194-63 and McCown threw for 140 yards wtih a TD and no sacks, while Taylor threw for 285 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked seven times. GangGreen went 6 for 14 on third down tries at Met Life Stadium and held the ball for 33:30, while the Bills kept the pigskin for 26:30, while going 6 for 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the season opener in upstate New York, the Bills BARELY covered the 8 1/2 point spread, winning by 9 but the 40 over/under was untouched as the two teams combined for 33 points. In the week nine rematch in upstate New Jersey, Buffalo was favored by 3 1/2 and GangGreen covered, winning by 13. The two clubs did cover the 42 1/2 over/under in the rematch, combining for 55 points. The Jets are favored by 7 1/2 in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 37. We wouldn’t hold it against you if you were to watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA (Abby and Ziva slapping Tony is quite funny!). GangGreen wins this one at but expect the Bills to make things closer than the 7 1/2.

New England (7-2) at Tennessee (4-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Brady vs. Mariota. New England comes to the Music City for a Sunday afternoon showdown with Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Sunday’s contest features a former player (Mike Vrable) vs. his former coach (Bill Belichick) as they square off against each other in the Music City. Both teams took huge wins in last week’s contests.

Tom Brady and New England held off Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Foxboro last Sunday, with the Patroits coming away 31-17 winners at Gillette Stadium in a possible prime-time Super Bowl preview that featured a pair of future Hall of Fame QBs. Leading the Packers 17-10 at the half, Green Bay would even things up in the third when Rodgers and TE Jimmy Graham would connect on a 15-yard TD pass with 11:18 left in the quarter. New England then proceeded to take the lead back in the final 15 minutes of action, scoring their last 14 points of the contest without a challenge to take the win, ending with Brady and WR Josh Gordon hooking up on a 55-yard strike late in the quarter. New England outrushed Green Bay 123-118, while Brady and Rodgers combined to throw for 553 yards (Brady with 294, Rodgers with 259, Brady was sacked twice and Rodgers sacked once, neither threw an interception). New England was 4 for 11 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 27:26, while the Packers ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 32:34, going 6 for 13 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

The Titans gave Dallas their third loss in their last four games, taking down the Cowboys 42-28 at AT&T Stadium Monday night. Dallas watched Mariota and the Titans break a 14-14 tie at the intermision and score 14 second half points unchallenged. Tennessee outrushed Dallas 125-72 and Dak Prescott threw for 243 yards with five sacks, while Mariota threw for 240 yards (each threw a pair of TDs, Mariota was sacked four times, Prescott was sacked five times with an interception) and each team turned the ball over twice in the Monday night contest. Dallas went 5 for 11 on third down (the Cowboys were 0 for 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 25:34, while the Titans ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 34:26, going 11 for 14 on third down conversions.

Including games played in Boston and Houston, when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers, New England leads the series 23-15-1 and the Pats have outscored Tennessee 993-778. New England has come away with wins in their last five regular season meetings, with the last win coming in Foxboro in 2015 by a final of 33-16, while Tennessee’s last win over Brady and the Patriots came in the Music City by a 24-7 final in 2002.

They did meet in the post-season last year in Foxboro in the AFC Divisonal Game and the Pats were 35-14 winners at Gillette Stadium. New England erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit and scored 21 points in the second quarter unchalleged to take a 14-point lead with them to the intermission. New England outrushed Tennessee 101-85 and Brady threw for 337 yards and three TDs (one toss going to TE Rob Gronkowski), while Mariota threw for 254 yards with a pair of TDs and 8 sacks (Brady was not sacked or threw an interception). New England was 11 for 17 on third down conversions at Gillette Stadium and held on to the ball for 32:56, while the Titans were 5 for 15 on third down conversions, 2 for 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 27:04.

New England covered the 13 1/2-point spread with ease, as they won the AFC Divisional Game by 21 and both teams took care of the 47 over/under by scoring 49 points. The boys and girls in Vegas? They like the Pats on the road, making them 7-point favorites in Music City and the over/under’s 48 1/2. These numbers sound somewhat reasonable and since it’s Brady and Mariota, it should be a fun one to watch. Pats cover the 7 and win in Music City.

Detroit (3-5) at Chicago (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Windy City as Detroit travels to Soldier Field for an early afternoon contest with the first-place Chicago Bears.

Detroit was held in check last Sunday in Minneapolis, falling to Minnesota 24-9 at US Bank Stadium. The Lions trailed 17-6 at the break and could never get on track in the NFC North contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota outrushed the Lions 128-66 and Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times by the Purple Gang, despite throwing for 199 yards, while Kirk Cousins threw for 164 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen. Minnesota would put the nail in Detroit’s coffin in the fourth quarter when Vikings DE Danielle Hunter fulfilled a defensive lineman’s dream and took a fumble and returned it 32 yards untouched for a TD. Detroit was 4 for 15 on third down tries, 3 of 3 on fourth down and held on to the pigskin for 36:45, while the Vikings needed only 23:15 of clock to keep the ball, while going 3 for 8 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Chicago scored 28 second-quarter points at Buffalo unchallenged and then proceeded to run away with a 41-9 win over the Bills at Orchard Park last Sunday. Da Bears held Buffalo to a pair of Chris Parkey field goals and a Nate Peterman TD run in the second half to take control of the contest from start to finish. Buffalo did outrush Chicago 97-64 Peterman threw for 189 yards (Mitch Trubisky threw for 135 yards) but was sacked four times and picked off three (Trubisky threw a TD pass with a sack and an interception). While forcing four turnovers, Chicago went 3 for 11 on third down tries and kept the ball for 25:57, while the Bills ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 34:03, going 6 of 18 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down tries.

Da Bears lead da series 97-74-5 (including contests that were played when the Lions were in Portsmouth and known as the Spartans and both teams played at Wrigley Field, Tiger Stadium, the Silverdome and the University of Illinois-Champaign) and Chicago has outscored Detroit 3,409-3,152. However… the Lions have won the last three contests with their NFC North rivals, including sweeping last year’s series (Chicago’s last win over Detroit came in 2016 in the Windy City by a 17-14 final.

Round one… week 11 in the Windy City and the Lions erased a 10-0 first quarter deficit, took a 21-17 lead at the break, only to see Chicago tie things up in the fourth quarter when RB Tarik Cohen scored on a 15-yard run before Matt Prater gave the Lions the lead back for keeps to take the 27-24 win at Solider Field. Detroit used a 9-play, 42-yard drive that used 3:27 of clock to set up the game winning score, then held off a late Chicago rally that would have either the contest into overtime or given Chicago the win. The Monsters of the Midway did outrush Detroit 222-65, with Bears RB Jordan Howard leading the way with 125 yards and a TD, while Trubisky threw for 179 yards and a TD (Stafford threw for 299 yards and a pair of TDs; Stafford was sacked three times, Trubisky sacked once, neither threw an interception). Detroit was 3 for 10 on third down conversions at Soldier Field and the Lions kept the ball for 30:36, while Chicago held the ball for 29:24, going 3 for 9 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Round two… week 15 in the Motor City. Detroit made the sweep of the series complete, taking a 20-10 win over Da Bears at Ford Field. Detroit led 13-3 at the intermission and the two clubs played even football in the final 30 minutes of action. Neither club shattered the 100-yard barrier but Detroit did outrush Chicago 91-43 and Stafford threw for 237 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks (no interceptions), while Trubisky threw for 314 yards with three interceptions (he was sacked twoce and threw a TD pass). Detroit went 6 for 13 on third down in the Motor City and kept the ball for 29:05, while Chicago ruled the clock and proceeded to hold on to the ball for 30:55, going 5 for 12 on third down.

In the week 11 contest in the Windy City, Detroit matched the 3-point spread, winning by 3 and both teams covered the 41 over/under with 51 points. As for the week 15 rematch in Detroit? The Lions covered the 5-point spread, winning by 10 but both teams missed the 44 over/under, as they would merge for 30 points. In the Sunday afternoon contest in the Windy City, Da Bears are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. Chicago’s in first in the NFC North, while the Lions are trying to get out of the NFC North cellar. Da Bears prevail in the Windy City and covers the 6 1/2 at home.

New Orleans (7-1) at Cincinnati (5-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints make their way to Cincinnati for an afternoon meeting with Andy Dalton and the Bengals along the shores of the Ohio River.

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 a former Saints player (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.

The Bengals, coming back from their bye week, gave Tampa Bay their fourth loss in five tries as they came away 34-31 last second winners over the Bucs at Paul Brown Stadium two weeks ago. Dalton and the Bengals led Tampa Bay 27-9 at the half and would see the Buccaneers eventually bench Jameis Winston (276 yards, five sacks, TD, four interceptions) and replace him with Fitzpatrick (194 yards, two TDs, sack), who 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.

Including games that were played at old Tulane Stadium and Riverfront Stadium, the Bengals lead the series 7-6 and have outscored New Orleans 278-234. Cincinnati won the last meeting with the Saints, taking a 27-10 win in the Big Easy in 2014, while the Saints’ last win in the series came in Cincinnati by a final of 34-30 in 2010. The Saints are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 54 1/2. There’s a lot at stake here. Both teams are contending for a playoff spot and a win Sunday could push them a step closer to their goal. Cincinnati pulls the home upset and takes the win, covering the 4.

Arizona (2-6) at Kansas City (8-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 710. A struggling Arizona Cardinal team travels to the Show-Me State for an afternoon contest in mid-America as the Kansas City Chiefs welcome them to Arrowhead. Both teams took close wins last week, the Desert Angry Birds winning a close contest at home, while the Chiefs took care of business on the shores of Lake Erie.

Arizona, coming back from their bye week, saw San Francisco take a 12-3 lead at the end of the third quarter before that lead would escape from them as Arizona would score 15 fourth quarter points unchallenged to take an 18-15 win in Glendale. San Francisco led the Desert Angry Birds by a baseball-like score of 5-3 at the break, then scored their lone TD of the contest when WR Marquise Goodwin and QB C.J. Beatherd connected on a 55-yard TD toss late in the third quarter. After the 49ers added a Robbie Gould field goal, Arizona then went to work in the final 15 minutes of action, with Josh Rosen connecting on TD passes to WR Larry Fitzgerald and WR Christian Kirk to give Arizona the lead for keeps. Arizona then held off a late 49er rally to come away with the win, while giving San Francisco their fifth loss in a row. While the 49ers did outrush Arizona 107-88, Rosen outpaced Beatherd, throwing for 252 yards with three sacks and an interception to go with the two TDs (Beatherd threw for 190 yards with four sacks and no interceptions). Third down tries? San Francisco was 5 of 15, Arizona was 6 of 14 at State Farm Stadium Sunday afternoon and the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:19 to Arizona’s 27:41.

Kansas City stopped the Gregg Williams era from getting off to a good start as Browns interim head coach as the Chiefs and Patrick Mahonmes took care of Cleveland 37-21, taking their eighth win in nine tries. Kansas City led from start to finish and led 21-15 at the break, then outscored Cleveland in the final 30 minutes of action 16-6 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Kansas City outrushed Cleveland a by 139-102 margin, with Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt (91 yards, two TDs) and Browns RB Nick Chubb (85 yards, TD) led their teams. Mahomes burned Cleveland for 375 yards with three TDs (two to TE Travis Kelce, Hunt caught the other one), while Baker Mayfield paced Cleveland with 297 yards and a pair of TDs (both men were sacked twice, both threw an interception). Cleveland was 5 for 13 on third down tries along the shore of Lake Erie (they went 2 for 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:51, while Andy Reid’s Chiefs only needed to use 29:09, going 6 for 10 on third down.

Including games that took place in St. Louis when the Cardinals were there, the Chiefs lead the series 8-3-1 and they have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 287-170. Arizona won the last meeting with Kansas City as the Cardinals came away 17-14 winners in Glendale in 2014, while the Chiefs’ last win in the series came in 2010 at Arrowhead by a final of 31-13. Kansas City’s favored by 16 1/2 (you read that right!) and the over/under’s 50. The 50 makes a lot of sense. The 16 1/2 leaves us scratching our heads. Cleveland’s not exactly the kings of the AFC North mountain but they’re not 16 1/2 points bad. The Chiefs are playing for a playoff spot, while the Browns are playing to keep their heds above water. Chiefs win at Arrowhead but expect Cleveland to make things closer than 16 1/2.

Washington (5-3) at Tampa Bay (3-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Washington, still atop the NFC East, travels to Tampa Bay for their Sunday afternoon contest in the Sunshine State. Both teams took huge losses

Washington watched Atlanta take their third win in a row and pulled their record to the .500 mark as the Falcons took down the Redskins 38-14 at Fed Ex Field. Washington trailed from start to finish and watched Atlanta lead 21-7 at the break, the saw the Falcons floor the gas in the final 30 minutes of action. Atlanta outrushed Washington 154-79 as Falcons RB Tevin Coleman lead all rushers with 88, while the Falcons’ defense held Adrian Peterson to 17 yards on nine carries. Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for 350 yards and four TDs with a pair of sacks, connecting with Coleman on two of those tosses, while WRs Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones (seven catches for 121 yards) had the others. Washington’s Alex Smtih threw for 306 yards with a TD toss to WR Josh Doctson but was sacked three times (both Ryan and Smith threw an interception). Atlanta went 10 for 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 32:56, while the Redskins (who were flagged 10 times for 147 yards) went 5 for 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 27:04.

Tampa Bay watched Carolina take a 35-14 lead to the intermission last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium and came out on the short end of a 42-28 loss over their NFC South rivals. Tampa Bay would be outrushed by the Panthers outrushed Tampa Bay 179-82 (Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey led all rushers with 79 yards and a pair of rushing TDs), while Newton threw for 247 yards and a pair of TDs. Carolina made life less than pleasant for QB Ryan Fitzpatick, who was sacked Tampa Bay QB Ryan Fitzpatrick four times, while throwing for 243 yards, with four TDs and a pair of interceptions. The Panthers went 4 for 10 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 31 minutes, while the Buccaneers kept the ball for 29 minutes, going 5 for 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

They’ve met 20 times and have split the series, with each team sitting at 10-10 and Tampa Bay has outscored Washington 401- 365. Both teams won their last meetings in Landover, with Washington coming away 31-30 winners in 2015, while Tampa Bay was victorious in 2014 by a final of 27-7. Tampa Bay’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 51. Washington’s plan? Stay on top of the NFC East. Tampa Bay’s plan? Catch Carolina, Atlanta and New Orleans in the NFC South. We love it when a plan comes together and we think Washington’s plan is better. Hail To The Redskins! Washington covers the 2 1/2 and wins in the Sunshine State.

Los Angeles Chargers (6-2) at Oakland (1-7), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of AFC/AFL West rivals meet on the East side of San Francisco Bay as the Los Angeles Chargers make the 372-mile trip up I-5 to take on the Oakland Raiders.

Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit and came away with a 25-17 win over Seattle in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks last Sunday. While Los Angeles led 19-10 at the intermission, the Seahawks would make the contest close with 1:50 left when Russell Wilson and TE Nick Varnett connected on a 6-yard TD toss, making it an 8-point contest. Seattle then forced the Chargers to punt and got the ball back on their 22-yard line, then proceeded to march down the field and getting as close as Los Angeles’ 20-yard line when they had their hopes extended after the Chargers were flagged for pass interference in the end zone as time expired. Because a game can’t end on a defensive penalty, Seattle got the ball on the 1-yard line but the Seahawks could not dent the end zone with the untimed down play. Los Angeles outrushed Seattle 160-154 with Chargers RB Melvin Gordon leading the way with 113 yards and a TD, while Rivers threw for 228 yards in the road win (Wilson threw for 235 yards, both Wilson and Rivers threw a pair of TDs; Rivers was sacked twice without an interception, while Wilson was sacked four times with a pick). Seattle was 4 of 15 on third down in the Pacific Northwest (the Seahawks were perfect on fourth down, going 4 for 4) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:41 to Los Angeles’ 24:19 (the Chargers were 2 for 9 on third down tries).

Oakland took a 3-0 lead early against San Francisco last Thursday night thanks to a 37-yard field goal by Derek Carlson, then watched the 49ers score 34 points without a challenge as they dropped a 34-3 decision to their neighbors from across San Francisco Bay at Levis Stadium, dropping their fourth contest in a row. The Silver and Black watched 49ers QB Nate Mullins make his NFL debut a success, as he threw for 262 yards without a sack or interception, with the 49ers outrushing Oakland 143-102 (Raheem Mostert led all rushers with 86 yards and a TD), while Derek Carr threw for 171 yards with seven sacks. Oakland went 3 of 12 on third down (the Raiders went 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:26, while the 49ers were 28:34 in time of possession, going 5 for 12 on third down tries.

They met is week five in Los Angeles and the Chargers were 26-10 winners at Stub Hub Centre. In the first meeting in Southern California, Oakland saw their AFC West rivals from Los Angeles use a pair of Philip Rivers TD passes to take a 26-10 win at Stub Hub Center. Los Angeles led 17-3 at the intermission in southern California and never looked back, outscoring the Silver and Black 9-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. San Diego outrushed Oakland 79-41 and Rivers threw for 339 yards and the two TDs without an interception, while Derek Carr threw for 268 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception. The Chargers were 7 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:40, while the Silver and Black held the ball for 25:20, going 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week five contest in Los Angeles, the Chargers covered the 5 1/2-spread, winning by 16 but neither club touched the  53 1/2 over/under, as they would combine for 36 points. The Chargers are favored again, this time by 9 1/2 on the East side of San Francisco Bay and the over/under’s 50 1/2. The 50 1/2 makes sense. The 9 1/2 leaves you wondering. The Raiders are bad but not 9 1/2 bad. Oakland will make it closer than the 9 1/2 but the Chargers pull off the sweep on the road and take the win.

Seattle (4-4) at Los Angeles Rams (8-1), 4:25 pm on CBS and DirecTV 715. Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams renew their series in Los Angeles as the Seahawks take their turn, making the 1,137 mile trip down I-5 in a week five rematch. Both teams enter the Sunday afternoon contest at the Coliseum with close losses under their belts.

Seattle watched a 7-6 first quarter lead against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers get away from them at Century Link Field, as the Chargers would go on to take a 25-17 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. While Los Angeles led 19-10 at the intermission, the Seahawks would make the contest close with 1:50 left when Russell Wilson and TE Nick Varnett connected on a 6-yard TD toss, making it an 8-point contest. Seattle then forced the Chargers to punt and got the ball back on their 22-yard line, then proceeded to march down the field and getting as close as Los Angeles’ 20-yard line when they had their hopes extended after the Chargers were flagged for pass interference in the end zone as time expired. Because a game can’t end on a defensive penalty, Seattle got the ball on the 1-yard line but the Seahawks could not dent the end zone with the untimed down play. Los Angeles outrushed Seattle 160-154 with Chargers RB Melvin Gordon leading the way with 113 yards and a TD, while Rivers threw for 228 yards in the road win (Wilson threw for 235 yards, both Wilson and Rivers threw a pair of TDs; Rivers was sacked twice without an interception, while Wilson was sacked four times with a pick). Seattle was 4 of 15 on third down in the Pacific Northwest (the Seahawks were perfect on fourth down, going 4 for 4) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:41 to Los Angeles’ 24:19 (the Chargers were 2 for 9 on third down tries).

The Rams saw their hopes for an undefeated season come to an end in NeW Orleans as the Saints would break a 35-35 fourth quarter tie in the Big Easy and drop a 45-35 decision last Sunday afternoon. 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 Drew 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 a former Saints player (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.

The two NFC West foes met in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in week five and Los Angeles prevailed 33-31 at Century Link Field. In the first contest, In the first meeting, Los Angeles and Seattle Seahawks had a slugfest in their NFC West meeting at Century Link Field and Los Angeles managed to prevail, coming away 33-31 winners in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, The Rams and Seahawks entered the intermission even at 17-17 and Seattle had the Rams on the ropes, leading 31-30 with 14:54 before Rams RB Todd Gurley pulled them back to within one with 14:54 left in regulation on a 5-yard run. Los Angeles would take the lead back for keeps with 6:05 left when Greg Santos (who had replaced the injured Greg Zuerlein) kicked a 39-yard field goal to take a 33-31 lead. Los Angeles would then go on to hold off the Seahawks to take the two-point road win. Seattle RB Chris Carson picked up his third consecutive 100-yard game, rushing for 116 yards (Gurley hadd 77 yards rushing to lead the Rams) as Seattle outrushed Los Angeles 190-155 in the contest. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 321 yards with a TD, while Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw for 198 yards with three TDs and no interceptions (Goff was picked off once and threw a pair of interceptions, Wilson was sacked twice). Seattle was 7 of 12 on third down in the Pacific Northwest and kept the ball for 30:30, while the Rams held the ball for 29:30 and went 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Los Angeles Rams was a 7-point favorite in the week five contest in the Pacific Northwest and while they did win the game, they did not cover the spread, winning by only 2. The two teams did cover the 51 over/under, scoring 64 points. In the rematch in Los Angeles, the Ramgs are favored by 10 and the over/under’s 51 1/2. That spread is a bit on the steep side but the over/under makes sense. Seattle’s lookng for revenge from the week five loss in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, while the Rams look to start a new streak. History does have a way of repeating and history’s on the side of the Rams. Although Seattle will make this closer than 10, the Rams will prevail at home in the Coliseum.

Miami (5-4) at Green Bay (3-4-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTv 714. It’s a late-afternoon contest in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as Green Bay hosts the Miami Dolphins at Lambeau Field.

Miami gave the New York Jets their third loss in a row, as they would defeat their AFC East rivals 13-6 last Sunday in the Sunshine State. After a scoreless first quarter, it was an all-field goal second quarter as Miami took a 6-3 lead into the half with a pair of Josh Sanders field goals. After a scoreless third quarter, Miami would score the game’s only TD when rookie LB Jerome Baker picked off J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! QB Sam Darnold and lived out a lineman’s dream, returning it 25 yards for a TD. GangGReen did manage to outrush Miami 80-64 and Darnold threw for 229 yards with four interceptions, while Brock Osweiler threw for 139 yards (each was sacked four times, with Darnold throwing four interceptions) in the win. Third down tries were nothing to write home about, as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 2 for 13, while Miami was 3 for 16 (GangGreen was 0 for 2 on fourth down, while Miami was perfect, going 2 for 2) but GangGreen did rule the clock, keeping the ball for 31:34 to Miami’s 28:26.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers watched Tom Brady and the New England Patriots break a 17-17 tie in Foxboro last Sunday night, as New England would come away with the 31-17 win at Gillette Stadium in a possible prime-time Super Bowl preview that featured a pair of future Hall of Fame QBs. Green BAy trailed 17-10 at the half, then went on to even things up in the third when Rodgers and TE Jimmy Graham would connect on a 15-yard TD pass with 11:18 left in the quarter. New England then proceeded to take the lead back in the final 15 minutes of action, scoring their last 14 points of the contest without a challenge to take the win, ending with Brady and WR Josh Gordon hooking up on a 55-yard strike late in the quarter. New England outrushed Green Bay 123-118, while Brady and Rodgers combined to throw for 553 yards (Brady with 294, Rodgers with 259, Brady was sacked twice and Rodgers sacked once, neither threw an interception). New England was 4 for 11 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 27:26, while the Packers ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 32:34, going 6 for 13 on third down (both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Miami leads the series 10-4 and the Dolphins have outscored Green Bay 333-256. Their last wins in the series came in the other’s stadium; Miami’s last win was in Green Bay in 2010, when the Dolphins needed overtime to take a 23-20 win at Lambeau, while Green Bay’s last win came in the Sunshine State in 2014 by a final of 27-24. Green Bay’s favored by 9 on the almost-frozen tundra with the over/under at 47 1/2. While this one’s not quite “Drill Worthy,” it’s worth the time to watch. While Green Bay won’t cover the 9, they do take the win at home.

Dallas (4-4) at Philadelphia (4-4), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of NFC East foes meet in the City of Brotherly Love on Sunday night. Wentz vs. Prescott. Cheesesteak vs. Brisket. The defending Super Bowl champions host Dallas in a prime time Sunday night contest at Lincoln Financial Field.

Dallas comes off their third loss in their last four games, losing to Tennessee 42-28 at AT&T Stadium Monday night. Dallas watched Marcus Mariota and the Titans break a 14-14 tie at the intermision and score 14 second half points unchallenged. Dallas found themselves outrushed by Tennessee 125-72 and Dak Prescott threw for 243 yards with five sacks, while Mariota threw for 240 yards (each threw a pair of TDs, Mariota was sacked four times, Prescott was sacked five times with an interception) and each team turned the ball over twice in the Monday night contest. Dallas went 5 for 11 on third down (the Cowboys were 0 for 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 25:34, while the Titans ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 34:26, going 11 for 14 on third down conversions.

The Eagles return to the City of Brotherly Love after their trip across the pond with Jacksonville, as the defending Super Bowl champs came away 24-18 winners over the Jaguars in week eight action on the  other side of the Atlantic two weeks ago. In the week eight meeting at Wembley Stadium, Philadelphia led 10-6 at the half before Jacksonville would eventually pull themselves to within 6 with 6:57 left to play in the contest on a 24-yard field goal by Josh Lambo but could not come any closer. Philadelphia outrushed Jacksonville 133-70 and Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw for 286 yards with three TD tosses, while Blake Bortles threw for 286 yards with a TD (Wentz threw an interception, both men were sacked four times). Jacksonville, taking their fourth loss in a row, went 6 of 14 on third down (the Jaguars were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:22, while the defending Super Bowl Champs went 7 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:38.

Including games played at the Cotton Bowl, JFK Stadium, Veterans Stadium and Cowboys Stadium, Dallas leads the series 63-51 and the Cowboys have outscored the Eagles 2,443-2,274. They split last year’s contests, each winning in the other team’s building.

Meeting one… Dallas in week 11. The Cowboys were without Elliott, who was serving his six-game suspension by the league for violating the league’s conduct policy and the Eagles erased a 9-7 deficit at the break and came away 37-9 winners. Philadelphia then responded with 30 points in the second half unchallenged to take the win over their NFC East rivals at AT&T Stadium. Philadelphia outrushed Dallas 215-112 and Carson Wentz threw for 168 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions or sacks, while Prescott threw for 145 yards with three interceptions and four sacks. Philadelphia went 5 of 14 on third down conversions in the Sunday night contest (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 29:29, while Dallas ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:31, going 3 for 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Round two… the City of Brotherly Love in week 17. Dallas would get their revenge on the Eagles and come away 6-0 winners in the season finale. The two teams played three quarters of scoreless football (Philadelphia had already clinched the NFC East and rested some of their starters) before the Cowboys tallied the only score of the contest, as WR Brice Butler and Prescott connected on a 20-yard TD toss with 12:19 left in regulation. Dallas would miss the extra point, then held off the Eagles to take the road win. Dallas outrushed Philadelphia 129-70 and Elliott ran for 103 yards, with Prescott threw for 179 yards and an interceptions, while Eagles backup QB Nate Sudfeld, who took over for Nick Foles, threw for 134 yards with three sacks and no interceptions (Foles threw for 39 yards with an interception before being relieved by Sudfield). Dallas went 5 of 15 on third down tries (they were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:05, while the Eagles held the pigskin for 29:55, while going 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down tries in the City of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia covered the 4-point spread with their 28-point win but both teams missed the 48 1/2 over/under with 46 points. In the week 17 season finale, the Cowboys were 2-point favorites and won by 6, covering the spread but the 6 points that Dallas scored in the contest did not even touch the 41 over/under.

Both teams have done reasonably well on Sunday night. The defending Super Bowl champs are 23-19 all time and went 1-1 in their two Sunday night contests last year, while the Cowboys are 32-31 and went 2-1 in their three SNF contests. Philadephia’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 43 1/2.

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

As the saying goes, “if you take a swing at the king, you better not miss.” The Eagles are still kings of the NFL mountain, while the Cowboys have been trying to take a swing at the top two teams in the NFC East and have missed. Dallas will make it closer than the 6 but the Eagles take the win in the City of Brotherly Love on Sunday night.

New York Giants (1-7) at San Francisco (2-7), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A pair of last place teams close out play in week 10 in Santa Clara as the 49ers host Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Levis’ Stadium.

The Redskins held off the New York Giants 20-13 at Met Life Stadium two weeks ago. 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.

Erasing a 3-0 deficit against Oakland last Thursday night, the 49ers would score 34 points without a challenge as they dropped a 34-3 decision to their neighbors from across San Francisco Bay at Levis Stadium. Leading 17-3 at the intermssion,t the Silver and Black watched 49ers QB Nate Mullins make his NFL debut a success, as he threw for 262 yards without a sack or interception, with the 49ers outrushing Oakland 143-102 (Raheem Mostert led all rushers with 86 yards and a TD), while Derek Carr threw for 171 yards with seven sacks. Oakland went 3 of 12 on third down (the Raiders went 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:26, while the 49ers were 28:34 in time of possession, going 5 for 12 on third down tries.

Including games that were played at old Yankee Stadium, Keezar Stadium, the Yale Bowl, Candlestick Park and Giants Stadium, the series is tied 16-16 and the Giants have outscored the 49ers 640-637. San Francisco did manage to come away with the win in their last meeting, taking a 31-21 win last year at Levis’ Stadiun, while New York’s last win came in 2015 in the Meadowlands, wit the Giants coming away 30-27 winners.

They met in week 10 on the West Coast and San Francisco led 17-13 at the half, then pulled away from the Giants in the final 30 minutes of action, scoring a pair of fourth quarter TDs to seal the win. San Francisco outrushed the Giants 186-114 and Bethard threw for 288 yards and no interceptions, despite being sacked twice, while Manning threw for 273 yards with three sacks and no picks (each QB threw a pair of TD passes. San Francisco went 8 of 12 on third down, while going 0 for 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 29 minutes, while the Giants kept the ball for 31 minutes, going 5 of 14 on third down, 3 of 3 on fourth down.

Big Blue was favored by 2 1/2 on the road and the 49ers covered with their 10-point win and both teams covered the 42 over/under with 52 points. On Monday night, the 49ers are 48-25 and have not been on primetime since 2016, when they won their only contest, while the Giants are 24-38-1 with Big Blue losing their only contest in last year’s action. This time, the 49ers are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. You might be better off watching “Magnum P.I.” and “Bull” Monday night. 49ers do cover the 3 and takes the win over Big Blue at home.

Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information

Atlanta at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Thom Brennaman, David Diehl, Laura Okmin (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 126 (Atlanta), 136 (Tampa Bay). XM: 230 (Tampa Bay).

Tennessee at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 127 (Tennessee), 134 (Baltimore). XM: 231 (Baltimore).

Kansas City at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots. Westwood One: Tom McCarthy, Rod Woodson. SIRIUS: 138 (Kansas City), 93 (Buffalo). XM: 226 (Buffalo).

Miami at Detroit, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Jenny Dell (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 92 (Miami), 135 (Detroit). XM: 229 (Detroit).

San Francisco at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 85 (San Francisco), 139 (New Orleans). XM: 85 (San Francisco), 228 (New Orleans).

Pittsburgh at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Otis Livingston (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 112 (Pittsburgh), 133 (New York Jets). XM: 227 (New York Jets).

Dallas vs. Jacksonville 1 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. London on FOX and DirecTV 709: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 137 (Dallas), 84 (Jacksonville). XM: 225 (Jacksonville).

Denver at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Evan Washburn (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 92 (Denver), 139 (Oakland). XM: 228 (Oakland).

St. Louis at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 138 (St. Louis), 93 (Arizona). XM: 226 (Arizona).

New York Giants at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Charissa Thompson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Dave Sims, Mark Malone. SIRIUS: 133 (New York Giants), 85 (Seattle). XM: 85 (Seattle).

Chicago at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Hub Arkush (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 84 (WestWood 1), 93 (Chicago), 92 (Green Bay). XM: 227 (WestWood 1), 225 (Chicago), 226 (Green Bay).

Carolina at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. Monday night on ESPN: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Ross Tucker (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 93 (Carolina), 92 (Philadelphia). XM: 88 (WestWood 1), 225 (Carolina), 226 (Philadelphia).

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Atlanta
OUT: T Jonathan Scott (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Harry Douglas (foot), DE Jonathan Massaquoi (foot), RB Antone Smith (neck)
PROBABLE: DE Jonathan Babineaux (foot)

Tampa Bay
OUT: G Kadeem Edwards (foot)
DOUBTFUL: T Anthony Collins (foot), RB Doug Martin (ankle), CB Alterraun Verner (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Lavonte David (knee), WR Vincent Jackson (knee), DE Michael Johnson (hand), LB Brandon Magee (knee), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (thumb), RB Charles Sims (ankle), DT Akeem Spence (hamstring), TE Luke Stocker (hip)
Dallas vs. Jacksonville in London

Dallas
OUT: DE Tyrone Crawford (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), LB Rolando McClain (knee, groin)
PROBABLE: LB Bruce Carter (finger), S Barry Church (shoulder), DE Jack Crawford (calf), T Doug Free (foot), TE James Hanna (hamstring), LB Anthony Hitchens (chest), G Ronald Leary (groin), T Jermey Parnell (chest), QB Tony Romo (back), DE Anthony Spencer (knee, foot)

Jacksonville
OUT: DE Andre Branch (groin), LB Jeremiah George (ankle), G Brandon Linder (shoulder)
PROBABLE: QB Blake Bortles (left wrist), DE Chris Clemons (knee), S Josh Evans (shoulder), WR Marqise Lee (ankle), S Sherrod Martin (shoulder), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring), RB Jordan Todman (quadricep), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)

Denver at Oakland

Denver
OUT: LB Nate Irving (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Montee Ball (groin), T Paul Cornick (shoulder), TE Virgil Green (calf)
PROBABLE: S Quinton Carter (hamstring), LB Steven Johnson (ankle), K Brandon McManus (right groin), RB Juwan Thompson (knee), WR Wes Welker (back)

Oakland
OUT: TE David Ausberry (foot), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), G Gabe Jackson (knee), CB Carlos Rogers (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB T.J. Carrie (ankle)
PROBABLE: WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), RB Jamize Olawale (shoulder), WR Kenbrell Thompkins (not injury related), DE Justin Tuck (knee)

Kansas City at Buffalo

Kansas City
OUT: WR Donnie Avery (groin), CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), LB Jerry Franklin (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Phillip Gaines (ankle, quadricep), LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee), CB Christopher Owens (knee)
PROBABLE: S Eric Berry (ankle), RB Cyrus Gray (hand), LB Tamba Hali (knee), WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring), TE Travis Kelce (ribs), CB Sean Smith (groin)

Buffalo
QUESTIONABLE: CB Ron Brooks (groin), RB Fred Jackson (groin), WR Sammy Watkins (groin)
PROBABLE: WR Marcus Easley (knee), WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring), LB Ty Powell (ankle), G Cyril Richardson (not injury related), WR Robert Woods (back)

Miami at Detroit

Miami
DOUBTFUL: G Daryn Colledge (back)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Lamar Miller (shoulder), LB Koa Misi (ankle), DT Earl Mitchell (abdomen), LB Kelvin Sheppard (hip, groin), S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring)
PROBABLE: TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Anthony Johnson (back), LB Chris McCain (foot), C Mike Pouncey (hip), LB Jordan Tripp (ankle)

Detroit
OUT: DT Nick Fairley (knee)
DOUBTFUL: TE Eric Ebron (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Joseph Fauria (ankle), TE Brandon Pettigrew (foot)
PROBABLE: DE Ezekiel Ansah (toe), RB Reggie Bush (ankle), WR Calvin Johnson (ankle), DE George Johnson (hamstring), T LaAdrian Waddle (concussion)

New York Giants at Seattle

New York Giants
DOUBTFUL: RB Rashad Jennings (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Zackary Bowman (abdomen), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee)
PROBABLE: WR Preston Parker (ankle), G Weston Richburg (ankle), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring), G Adam Snyder (knee), P Steve Weatherford (left ankle, back)

Seattle
OUT: TE Zach Miller (ankle), LB Bobby Wagner (toe)
DOUBTFUL: G James Carpenter (ankle), S Kam Chancellor (groin), G Stephen Schilling (knee), LB Malcolm Smith (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Marcus Burley (hamstring), CB Byron Maxwell (calf)
PROBABLE: WR Doug Baldwin (groin), DE Michael Bennett (toe), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), S Jeron Johnson (concussion), RB Marshawn Lynch (calf), T Russell Okung (calf), DE O’Brien Schofield (head), C Max Unger (not injury related)

Pittsburgh at New York Jets

Pittsburgh
OUT: S Troy Polamalu (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (ankle), CB Ivan Taylor (forearm), S Shamarko Thomas (hamstring), S Ross Ventrone (hamstring)
PROBABLE: DE Cameron Heyward (not injury related), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), DE Brett Keisel (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), S Michael Mitchell (not injury related), C Maurkice Pouncey (not injury related), LB Jason Worilds (abdomen)

New York Jets
OUT: CB Darrin Walls (calf)
PROBABLE: T Oday Aboushi (shoulder), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), G Willie Colon (knee), T Breno Giacomini (illness), LB David Harris (shoulder), WR Percy Harvin (heel), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), WR Jeremy Kerley (not injury related), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee), DT Sheldon Richardson (illness), WR Greg Salas (wrist), QB Geno Smith (right shoulder), QB Michael Vick (foot), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (illness)

San Francisco at New Orleans

San Francisco
QUESTIONABLE: CB Tramaine Brock (toe), DT Quinton Dial (eye), WR Brandon Lloyd (hamstring), LB Dan Skuta (ankle), LB Patrick Willis (toe)
PROBABLE: RB Frank Gore (hip), DE Justin Smith (not injury related), DT Ian Williams (shin)

New Orleans
OUT: LB David Hawthorne (hand), RB Khiry Robinson (forearm), RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: C Jonathan Goodwin (knee, ankle), RB Mark Ingram (shoulder), WR Robert Meachem (ankle), T Zach Strief (chest)
PROBABLE: TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder), WR Kenny Stills (thigh)

St. Louis at Arizona
DOUBTFUL: LB Daren Bates (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: S Cody Davis (concussion), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), CB Marcus Roberson (ankle)
PROBABLE: LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (toe), CB E.J. Gaines (knee), TE Cory Harkey (knee), DE William Hayes (fibula), S Rodney McLeod (knee)

Arizona
OUT: LB Desmond Bishop (hamstring), RB Stepfan Taylor (calf)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Ed Stinson (groin)
PROBABLE: LB Lorenzo Alexander (knee), LB Marcus Benard (illness), RB Andre Ellington (foot), LB Larry Foote (back), T Bobby Massie (ankle, knee)

Tennessee at Baltimore

Tennessee
QUESTIONABLE: DT Sammie Lee Hill (hamstring), WR Nate Washington (shoulder)
PROBABLE: CB Coty Sensabaugh (knee)

Baltimore
OUT: WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), T Jah Reid (hand), CB Jimmy Smith (foot)
PROBABLE: TE Owen Daniels (not injury related), LB Daryl Smith (not injury related), WR Steve Smith (not injury related), G Marshal Yanda (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle)

Chicago at Green Bay

Chicago
OUT: T Eben Britton (illness), LB Darryl Sharpton (hamstring), G Matt Slauson (chest)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Martellus Bennett (ribs)
PROBABLE: LB Jon Bostic (back), LB Lance Briggs (ribs), CB Kyle Fuller (hip, hand), S Danny McCray (knee), T Jordan Mills (foot)

Green Bay
OUT: WR Kevin Dorsey (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: G T.J. Lang (ankle), G Josh Sitton (toe)
PROBABLE: S Morgan Burnett (calf), DE Datone Jones (ankle), QB Aaron Rodgers (hamstring), CB Sam Shields (knee)

Carolina at Philadelphia (Monday)

Carolina
OUT: CB Bene’ Benwikere (ankle), G Trai Turner (ankle)
PROBABLE: WR Corey Brown (concussion), DT Dwan Edwards (knee), DT Kawann Short (ankle)

Philadelphia
OUT: QB Nick Foles (collarbone)
PROBABLE: S Nate Allen (hamstring), CB Nolan Carroll (groin), C Jason Kelce (hernia), LB Mychal Kendricks (calf), WR Jeff Maehl (foot), G Evan Mathis (knee), WR Brad Smith (groin)

Sunday’s Odds
Favorite            Spread      Underdog        O/U
Atlanta             +  1 1/2    TAMPA BAY       46
BALTIMORE           +  9 1/2    Tennessee       43 1/2
Kansas City         +  2        BUFFALO         41
Miami               +  3        DETROIT         43
NEW ORLEANS         +  5        San Francisco   49
Pittsburgh          +  5        NEW YORK JETS   46
Dallas              +  7        JACKSONVILLE    45 ***
Denver              + 11 1/2    OAKLAND         49
ARIZONA             +  7        St. Louis       43
SEATTLE             +  9 1/2    New York Giants 44 1/2
GREEN BAY           +  7        Chicago         53 1/2

Monday’s Odds
Favorite            Spread      Underdog        O/U
PHILADELPHIA        +  6        Carolina        48

Sunday and Monday Weather
Atlanta at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. (Partly cloudy and 70 degrees)
Tennessee at Baltimore, 1 p.m. (Partly cloudy and 55 degrees)
Kansas City at Buffalo, 1 p.m. (Mostly cloudy with a 10 percent chance of rain and 42 degrees)
Miami at Detroit, 1 p.m. (Game indoors)
San Francisco at New Orleans, 1 p.m. (Game indoors)
Pittsburgh at New York Jets, 1 p.m. (Partly cloudy and 55 degrees)
Dallas vs. Jacksonville 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. London) (Game indoors; if roof is open, clear and 49 degrees)
Denver at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. (Sunny and 70 degrees) O.co Coliseum
St. Louis at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. (Game indoors)
New York Giants at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. (Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain and 55 degrees)
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. (Cloudy and 35 degrees)
Carolina at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. Monday (Clear and 44 degrees)

*** Jacksonville is the designated home team

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

The second half of the NFL season gets underway this week and the race to the playoffs is in full swing.

Week 10 started on Thursday night when Cleveland bested Cincinnati 24-3 and concludes on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. when Philadelphia hosts Carolina. The NFL also returns to London as Dallas takes on Jacksonville in the third and final installment of the league’s 2014 International Series at Wembley Stadium.

Arizona (7-1) owns the best record in the league following a 28-17 win at Dallas (6-3). This season marks the first time that the Cardinals have had the best record in the NFL outright in November or later since 1966, when they started 7-1-1.

“It feels good,” Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald told the Arizona Republic about the team’s 7-1 start. “But it’s just the beginning of our season. We’ve got the stretch run now. You don’t get anything for a 7-1 start. We’re just halfway through the season. It’s all about the marathon.”

Halfway through the season, almost nothing is clear. There’s still plenty of football left to be played and a lot can happen. So don’t count anyone out. Even teams like Atlanta and the New York Jets can still make the playoffs. There’s a lot of time and games left in the 2014 campaign.

In every season since 1987, at least one team with a .500 or worse record through eight games has advanced to the postseason. Last year, two such teams – Philadelphia (3-5) and San Diego (4-4) – accomplished the feat.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: The NFL returns to London as Dallas takes on the Jacksonville in the third and final installment of the league’s 2014 International Series at Wembley Stadium. The contest marks Jacksonville’s second visit to London for a regular-season game in as many years, while Dallas will play its first regular-season game outside of the United States.

The 10 regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium:

DATE (WEEK) – SCORE (ATTENDANCE)
October 26, 2014 (8) – Detroit 22, Atlanta 21 (83,532)
September 28, 2014 (4) – Miami 38, Oakland 14 (83,436)
October 27, 2013 (8) – San Francisco 42, Jacksonville 10 (83,559)
September 29, 2013 (4) – Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27 (83,518)
October 28, 2012 (8) – New England 45, St. Louis 7 (84,004)
October 23, 2011 (7) – Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18 (76,981)
October 31, 2010 (8) – San Francisco 24, Denver 16 (83,941)
October 25, 2009 (7) – New England 35, Tampa Bay 7 (84,254)
October 26, 2008 (8) – New Orleans 37, San Diego 32 (83,226)
October 28, 2007 (8) – New York Giants 13, Miami 10 (81,176)

IT’S HOW YOU FINISH: In every season since 1987, at least one team with a .500 or worse record through eight games has advanced to the postseason. Last year, two such teams – Philadelphia (3-5) and San Diego (4-4) – accomplished the feat.

Over the past six seasons, 14 teams started 4-4 or worse and rebounded to qualify for the playoffs. Seven of those teams, including the 2013 San Diego Chargers, won at least one playoff game.

The teams in the past six seasons (2008-2013) that started the season at .500 or below through eight games and earned a playoff berth:

YEAR – TEAM (RECORD 8 GAMES, FINAL RECORD)(PLAYOFF RESULTS)
2008 – Indianapolis (4-4, 12-4)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2008 – Miami (4-4, 11-5)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2008 – Minnesota (4-4, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2008 – San Diego (3-5, 8-8)(Advanced to Divisional)
2009 – Green Bay (4-4, 11-5)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2009 – New York Jets (4-4, 9-7)(Advanced to AFC Championship)
2009 – Baltimore (4-4, 9-7)(Advanced to Divisional)
2010 – Seattle (4-4, 7-9)(Advanced to Divisional)
2011 – Denver (3-5, 8-8)(Advanced to Divisional)
2012 – Cincinnati (3-5, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2012 – Seattle (4-4, 11-5)(Advanced to Divisional)
2012 – Washington (3-5, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2013 – Philadelphia (3-5, 10-6)(Advanced to Wild Card)
2013 – San Diego (4-4, 9-7)(Advanced to Divisional)

TURNAROUND TEAMS: Three teams – Cleveland (5-3; 4-12 in 2013), Houston (4-5; 2-14 in 2013) and Washington (3-6; 3-13 in 2013) – have already matched or surpassed their win totals from last season.

In Week 10, two more teams – Buffalo (5-3; 6-10 in 2013) and Detroit (6-2; 7-9 in 2013) – can also match their 2013 win totals.

Looking ahead to Week 11, the Minnesota Vikings (4-5; 5-10-1 in 2013), who have a bye this week, can also join the list.

The teams that have matched or exceeded their 2013 win totals:
TEAM (2013 RECORD, 2014 RECORD – WEEK 10 OPPONENT)
Cleveland (4-12, 5-3 – at Cincinnati)
Houston (2-14, 4-5 – Bye)
Washington (3-13, 3-6 – Bye)
Buffalo (6-10, 5-3 – vs. Kansas City)*
Detroit (7-9, 6-2 – vs. Miami)*
* Need win in Week 10 to match 2013 win total

PASSING FANCY: NFL passers have been historically prolific and proficient in 2014. At the season’s midpoint, the average of 487.8 net passing yards per game is on pace for the highest average of any season in NFL history (471.2 in 2013).

The league-wide passer rating of 91.2 is also on pace for an all-time high (86.0 in 2013), and the average number of touchdown passes per game, 3.43, is on pace for a new all-time record (3.27 in 1948).

BIG BEN: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enters Week 10 after becoming the first player in NFL history with six touchdown passes in back-to-back games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle (1962) as the only players with multiple six-touchdown games in one season.

In his previous three games, Roethlisberger has thrown 14 touchdowns, tied for the second-most touchdown passes through any three-week span in a single season in NFL history (Peyton Manning, 15 touchdowns in 2004).

With four touchdowns this week against the New York Jets, Roethlisberger would set the all-time record for the most touchdown passes in any three-week span in a single season.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a three-week span in a single season in NFL history:
PLAYER – TEAM, SEASON (WEEKS, TDS DURING SPAN)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, 2004 (10-12, 15)
Many tied with 14*
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh, 2014 (8-9, 12)**
*Includes Roethlisberger in previous three weeks (Weeks 7-9, 2014)
**Current two week span

SACK MASTERS: Denver linebacker Von Miller (.92) and defensive end DeMarcus Ware (.84) rank second and fourth, respectively, in sacks per game in since 1982 (minimum 40 games played).

The players with the most sacks per game since 1982 (minimum 40 games played):
PLAYER – GAMES PLAYED (SACKS/SACKS PER GAME)
Aldon Smith – 43 (42.0/0.98)
Von Miller – 48 (44.0/0.92)
Reggie White – 232 (198.0/0.85)
DeMarcus Ware – 149 (125.0/0.84)
Jared Allen – 164 (130.0/0.79)

In their first season as teammates, Miller has posted nine sacks and Ware has eight sacks, becoming just the eighth pair of teammates to post at least eight sacks each through their team’s first eight games.

If Miller and Ware each reach 10 sacks on Sunday at Oakland, they will become just the third pair of teammates to post 10 sacks each through the first nine games of a season since 1982.

The teammates to record 10 sacks each through the first nine games of a season:
SEASON – TEAM, PLAYER-SACKS; PLAYER-SACKS
2000 – Tampa Bay, Warren Sapp-10.5; Marcus Jones-10
1998 – San Francisco, Chris Doleman-11; Roy Barker-10
2014 – Denver, Von Miller-9*; DeMarcus Ware-8*
*Through eight games

Week nine was filled with milestones and trends. Here’s a quick look at some notable trends and milestones through Week 9:

LEAGUE:

•Teams have combined to score 711 touchdowns and have thrown 459 touchdown passes, both of which are the most ever through Week 9. The previous highs were 692 TDs and 415 TD passes last season.

•Passers are also on pace to set NFL records with a combined 91.2 passer rating (86.0 in 2013), 63.1 completion percentage (61.2 in 2007 and 2013) and 487.8 net passing yards per game average (471.2 in 2013).

•The league-wide kickoff-return average of 23.9 yards is on pace to be the highest of any season in NFL history (23.8 in 2011).

TEAMS:

•All four teams in the AFC North – Baltimore (5-4), Cincinnati (5-2-1), Cleveland (5-3) and Pittsburgh (6-3) – have winning records. Only four times previously has a division had all four teams with winning records this late in a season since realignment in 2002.

•The Arizona Cardinals (7-1) own the best record in the league following a 28-17 win at Dallas (6-3). This season marks the first time that the Cardinals have had the best record in the NFL outright in November or later since 1966, when they started 7-1-1.

•Three teams – Cleveland (5-3; 4-12 in 2013), Houston (4-5; 2-14 in 2013) and Washington (3-6; 3-13 in 2013) – have already matched or surpassed their win totals from last season.

•Denver scored 21 points in Week 9 against New England. It was the Broncos’ 29th consecutive regular-season game scoring at least 20 points, breaking the NFL record of 28 consecutive games set by the St. Louis Rams (1999-2000).

PLAYERS:

NUMBER ONE: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown 24 touchdowns this season, surpassing Brett Farve (508) for the most career touchdown passes in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (MOST CAREER TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, Denver (515)*
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota (508)
Dan Marino – Miami (420)
Tom Brady – New England (381)*
Drew Brees – San Diego, New Orleans (378)*
* Active

Manning passed for 438 yards and two touchdowns against New England in Week 9, his 14th career game with at least 400 yards passing, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (13) for the most such games in NFL history.

TOM TERRIFIC: New England quarterback Tom Brady has passed for 2,392 yards this season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the fifth-most passing yards all-time.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (MOST CAREER PASSING YARDS)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota (71,838)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis, Denver (67,536)*
Dan Marino – Miami (61,361)
Drew Brees – San Diego, New Orleans (53,605)*
Tom Brady – New England (51,541)*
* Active

Brady earned his 155th victory in his 200th career regular-season start, the most of any starting quarterback through his first 200 regular-season starts in NFL annals.

The most wins by starting quarterbacks through 200 regular-season starts in NFL history:
QUARTERBACK – WINS THROUGH 200 STARTS
Tom Brady – 155
Peyton Manning – 136
Brett Favre – 132
Dan Marino – 125
John Elway – 124

BIG BEN (STRIKES) AGAIN: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes in the Steelers’ 43-23 victory over the Ravens. Roethlisberger, who passed for six touchdowns against Indianapolis last week, is the first player in NFL history with at least six touchdown passes in back-to-back games. He joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. TITTLE (1962) as only players with two six-touchdown games in one season.

Roethlisberger also improved his record to 101-50 (.669) as a starter in the regular season. His 100th victory came in his 150th career start, joining TOM BRADY (116) and Pro Football Hall of Famers JOE MONTANA (108) and TERRY BRADSHAW (102) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to win at least 100 games in their first 150 career starts.

In Week 8, Roethlisberger completed a franchise-record 40 passes for 522 yards with six touchdowns for a 150.6 passer rating. Roethlisberger’s 522 passing yards are tied with BOOMER ESIASON (November 10,1996) for the fourth-most in a game in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most passing yards in a single game in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (DATE, PASSING YARDS)
Norm Van Brocklin – Los Angeles Rams (9/28/1951, 554)
Matt Schaub – Houston Texans (11/18/2012, 527)*
Warren Moon – Houston Oilers (12/16/1990, 527)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers (10/26/2014, 522
Boomer Esiason – Arizona Cardinals (11/10/1996, 522)*
* Overtime game

Roethlisberger is the first player in NFL history with two 500-yard passing games (503 yards vs. Green Bay on December 20, 2009).

GOOD LUCK: Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 354 yards and four touchdowns in the Colts’ 40-24 win against the Giants on Monday Night Football, the seventh consecutive game he has passed for at least 300 yards, tying PEYTON MANNING for the third-longest such streak in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive 300-yard passing games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (YEAR(S)(CONSECUTIVE 300-YARD GAMES)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2011-12)(9)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2013)(9)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2014)(7)*
Peyton Manning – Denver (2012-13)(7)
Steve Young – San Francisco (1998)(6)
Kurt Warner – St. Louis (2000)(6)
Rich Gannon – Oakland (2002)(6)
* Active streak

Luck leads the NFL with 3,085 passing yards this season, joining TOM BRADY, DREW BREES (twice) and Manning as the only players in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards in their team’s first nine games to begin a season.

The players with the most passing yards through their team’s first nine games to begin a season:

PLAYER – TEAM (YEAR-PASSING YARDS THROUGH 9 GAMES)
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013-3,249)
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (2014-3,085)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2013-3,064)
Tom Brady – New England (2011-3,032)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2011-3,004)
Drew Brees – New Orleans (2008-2,985)

QB DASH: Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed for 288 yards with three touchdowns in the Dolphins’ 37-0 shutout victory over San Diego. Tannehill also rushed for 47 yards with a long run of 22 yards and had a rush of at least 20 yards in each of his past four games. Tannehill joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young and Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks with a 20+ yard run in at least four consecutive games in the past 25 years.

QUICK TO 50: New England tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 105 yards and one touchdown in the Patriots’ 43-21 win against Denver. He recorded his 50th career touchdown catch in his 59th game, tying Randy Moss as the second-fastest players in NFL history to reach 50 career touchdown receptions. Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (54 games) is the only player to reach the milestone in fewer games.

SPECIAL RETURNER: Baltimore wide receiver-kick returner Jacoby Jones had a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown against Pittsburgh in Week 9 on Sunday Night Football. It was his NFL-record third career regular-season touchdown of at least 105 yards. Jones also scored on a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.

CLEVELAND QUINTET: Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns in the Browns’ 22-17 win over the Buccaneers, improving his record as a starter with Cleveland to 8-3. Hoyer joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Otto Graham (1950), Bill Nelsen (1968), Tommy O’Connell (1956-57) and MILT PLUM (1957-58) as the only Browns quarterbacks to win at least eight of his first 11 starts in franchise history.

GREAT CHIEFS: Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has 31 receptions this season and now has 503 career catches, joining tight end Tony Gonzalez (916) as the only players in franchise history with 500 career receptions.

BIG MAC: Philadelphia wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had six catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 31-21 win at Houston. Maclin, who had 12 catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns in Week 8 against Arizona, is the first player in franchise history with at least 150 receiving yards and multiple touchdown catches in back-to-back games in a single season.
BRADY-MANNING XVI: New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns in the Patriots’ 43-21 win against Denver. Brady now has 51,541 career passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the fifth-most passing yards all-time.

Brady earned his 155th victory in his 200th career regular-season start, the most of any starting quarterback through his first 200 regular-season starts in NFL annals.

The game was the first in NFL history to feature opposing starting quarterbacks with at least 150 career regular-season wins each.

The most wins by starting quarterbacks through 200 regular-season starts in NFL history:
QUARTERBACK-WINS THROUGH 200 STARTS
Tom Brady-155
Peyton Manning-136
Brett Favre-132
Dan Marino-125
John Elway-124

TIGHTEN UP I: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 105 yards and one touchdown against Denver. He recorded his 50th career touchdown catch in his 59th game, tying Randy Moss as the second-fastest player in NFL history to reach 50 career TD receptions. Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (54 games) is the only player to reach the milestone in fewer games.

Gronkowski also far surpassed the record for fewest games by a tight end to reach 50 career touchdown catches (ANTONIO GATES, 92 games).

The players to reach 50 touchdown catches in the fewest games in NFL history:
PLAYER-NO. OF GAMES TO REACH 50 TD REC.
Lance Alworth-54
Rob Gronkowski-59
Randy Moss – 59
Jerry Rice – 61
Tommy McDonald – 63

TIGHTEN UP II: Denver tight end Julius Thomas had one touchdown catch against New England and leads the NFL with 10 touchdown receptions, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (1996, 1998) as the only tight ends in franchise history with multiple 10-touchdown seasons.

Thomas is the ninth tight end in NFL history to accomplish the feat and the third to do so in consecutive seasons.

The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 10 receiving touchdowns:
TIGHT END (YEAR(S) (SEASONS WITH 10+ TD REC.)
Antonio Gates (2004-05, 2010) (3)
Tony Gonzalez (1999, 2003, 2008) (3)
Rob Gronkowski (2010-12) (3)
Julius Thomas (2013, 2014) (2)
Dallas Clark (2007, 2009) (2)
Vernon Davis (2009, 2013) (2)
Jimmy Graham (2011, 2013) (2)
Shannon Sharpe (1996, 1998) (2)
Wesley Walls (1996, 1999) (2)

The race to the playoffs intensifies with first place in the division on the line. Earning a division win increases in importance as the AFC North is the only division in the NFL with each team boasting a winning record. Only four times previously has a division had all four teams with winning records this late in a season since realignment in 2002.

The seasons that featured all teams in the same division with a winning record this late in a season since realignment in 2002:

SEASON – WEEK: DIVISION – TEAMS (RECORD)
2002 – Week 16: AFC West – Oakland (10-5), Denver (8-7), Kansas City (8-7), San Diego (8-7)
2008 – Week 16: NFC East – New York Giants (12-3), Dallas (9-6), Philadelphia (8-6), Washington (8-7)
2008 – Week 16: NFC South – Carolina (11-4), Atlanta (10-5), Tampa Bay (9-6), New Orleans (8-7)
2008 – Week 12: AFC East – New York Jets (8-3), New England (7-4), Miami (6-5), Buffalo (6-5)
2014 – Week 9: AFC North – Cincinnati (5-2-1), Pittsburgh (6-3), Cleveland (5-3), Baltimore (5-4)

Week nine was pretty good pick-wise, as we went 10-3 and for the year we’re 87-47. There’s still a lot of football left as we near Thanksgiving and then Christmas (in that order!).

Week 10 byes are Indianapolis, Minnesota, San Diego, Washington, New England and Houston. Here are Sunday (and Monday’s) games in week 10.

Atlanta (2-6) at Tampa Bay (1-7), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 711) Raymond James Stadium. It’s round 2 of the Atlanta-Tampa Bay series and this time, it’s going South. As in South Florida. After a trip across the Atlantic and a bye week, the Falcons make the 457, 7 hour and 41 minute drive down I-75 to take on the struggling Buccaneers.

Atlanta comes off a bye week after their trip across the pond to take on Detroit in London. For three quarters, the Falcons had held Detroit off, leading 21-10 after thee quarters and was threating to take the contest with the Lions when a holding penalty on offense and a defensive holding penalty allowed Detroit to move the ball down the field and give the Lions the 22-21 win on a 48 yard field goal by Mike Prater as the clock reached :00. Atlanta was held 60 yards on the ground and Matt Ryan was outpassed by Matthew Stafford 325-228 in the contest and Detroit ran for 78 yards.

The Bucs made it another close contest in 2014 under Lovie Smith’s leadership but they came out on the short end of a 22-17 loss at Cleveland last Sunday. Tampa Bay had led 17-16 late in the contest when Browns QB Brian Hoyer connected on a 34 yard TD pass with 8:59 left to play in the contest. The Bucs did stop a Browns’ a two-point conversion try as Cleveland was trying to make it a 7-point game. Hoyer and Tampa Bay QB Mike Glennon threw for a pair of TDs as well as a pair of interceptions and sacks in the contest, that saw the Browns rush for only 50 yards, while Tampa Bay had 113. The Bucs were were 4-12 and 0-2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 30:32, while the Browns were 5-14 (1-2 on fourth down tries) and held the ball for 29:28.

In their first meeting in the Big Peach, Atlanta led 35-0 at halftime enroute to their 56-14 win over Tampa Bay. The Bucs were held to 64 yards rushing and Mike Glennon was sacked twice in the Thursday night drubbing, while the Falcons ran for 144. Ryan threw for 286 yards and three TDs without an interception in the win. Atlanta took advantage of five Tampa Bay turnovers in the contest, allowing them to capitalize on two of them for 14 points. Atlanta was 8-11 on third down conversions, holding the ball for 32:39, while Tampa Bay went 3-13 on third down (1-1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 27:21.

In the first meeting, Atlanta won by 42 (they were favored by 6 1/2) and both teams covered the 44 1/2 over/under by scoring 70 points. Atlanta’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under this time is 46. Both teams are better than their record would indicate but in the end, Atlanta’s a little better. Falcons break their slide and sweep the series with Tampa Bay, covering the 1 1/2.

Tennessee (2-6) at Baltimore (5-4), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 705) M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore, coming off a huge loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday night, return to Charm City to take on a struggling Tennesee team, mired in the bottom of the AFC South.

The Titans were idle after their 30-16 loss to Houston two weeks ago in the Music City. Tennessee let a 3-0 first quarter lead get away from them as they were outscored by the Texans 30-13 in the last three periods of play. Tennessee was held to 36 yards rushing in the 17-point loss, while allowing Houston’s Arian Foster to run for 151 of the Texans’ 212 two weeks ago, while they turned the ball over twice. Houston was 7-16 on third down tries and the winning Texans kept the ball for 35:22, while Tennessee was 2-12 and 1-2 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 24:38.

Baltimore returns to Charm City after they lost in Pittsburgh in prime time last Sunday 43-23. The Ravens led 3-0 after one quarter of play before Pittsburgh went “angry bird” on their AFC North rivals and took the lead for keeps when WR Martavis Bryant caught an 19 yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter. It was a quarter that saw the Steelers score four TDs, a field goal and a two point conversion in the second quarter. The Ravens did manage to outrush Pittsburgh 63-55 but Joe Flacco was sacked four times, while throwing for 303 yards and a pair of TDs (Roethlisberger? Six TD and 340 yards). Neither the Ravens or Steelers lit up the stat sheet on third down tries (Baltimore was 3-13, Pittsburgh 6-14) but both teams were perfect on fourth down tries, with the Ravens going 2-2 and the Steelers 1-1. The Steelers, in addition to winning the game, won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 31:26, while Baltimore kept it for 28:34.

Tennessee leads the series 9-8 (which includes contests when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers) but Baltimore has outscored the Titans 310-294. Tennessee’s last win over the Ravens came in 2011 in the Music City by a final of 26-13, while Baltimore’s last in the series came in 2006 in Nashville by a 27-26 count. Baltimore comes into the contest in Charm City as a 9 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Ravens may not cover the 9 1/2 but they do win at home in Charm City.

Kansas City (5-3) at Buffalo (5-3), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 706) Ralph Wilson Stadium. Ribs meets Buffalo wings. A pair of 5-3 AFC clubs meet im upstate New York Sunday afternoon as the improved Bills host Kansas City.

Kansas City sent the Jets to their eighth loss in a row at Arrowhead Sunday afternoon 24-10. The Chiefs chased Michael Vick out of the contest after he was sacked three times in the win and never trailed throughout the game. Leading 21-10 at the half, Kansas City outscored GangGreen 3-0 in the final 30 minutes of play, despite being outrushed 139-113. Alex Smith threw for a pair of TD passes and tallied 199 yards with no interceptions. The victors were 8-13 on third down conversions and held the ball for 28:25, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS were 4-12 on third down (2 of 5 on fourth) and kept the ball for 31:35.

Including contests when the Chiefs were in Dallas and known as the Texas, Buffalo leads the 23-18-1 and have outscored Kansas City 919-845. Both clubs did meet last year in upstate New York and the Chiefs came away with a 23-13 win in week nine. (Buffalo’s last win over the Chiefs also came in upstate New York in 2012 by a final of 35-17.) The Chiefs overcame a 10-3 halftime deficit and outscore the Bills 20-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. Chris Spiller’s 116 yards led all rushers, as the Bills outrushed the Chiefs 241-95. Bills backup QB Jeff Tuel threw for a TD but was picked off twice, while Kansas City’s Alex Smtih was sacked twice. Neither club did anything exciting on third down tries (Kansas City was 3-12, while the Bills were 4-13 and 0-2 on fourth down). The Bills did manage to win the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 30:14 to Kansas City’s 29:46.

Kansas City’s 10-point win allowed them to cover the 4 point spread and both clubs tallied 36 points, barely missing the 39 1/2 over/under. The Chiefs are again the favorite in this meeting in upstate New York at 2 points and the over/under’s 41. The 2 makes one think. The 43 makes a lot of sense. Chiefs “wing it” with the 2 and takes the win in upstate New York.

Miami (5-3) at Detroit (6-2), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 707) Ford Field. First-place Detroit will host Miami this week, as the Lions return to the field for the first time since a last-second 22-21 victory against Atlanta at London’s Wembley Stadium in Week 8. Detroit is hopeful that Pro Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who has been battling an ankle injury, will return for the first time since October 5.

“Definitely expect to play,” Johnson told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s huge to see the team go out there and win consistently and to stack up wins. That’s the thing in the NFL. It just makes me look forward more and more to getting back out there with the guys.”

Last week, Miami posted a 37-0 win at home against San Diego, the Dolphins’ largest shutout victory since October 11, 1987 (42-0 vs. Kansas City).

“There aren’t many shutouts,” Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle told the Miami Herald and WSVN-TV. “It’s great when you get in the stadium and things start going positive and that crowd gets behind you, it really makes a difference.”

Miami took San Diego and Philip Rivers to the woodshed in the Sunshine State last week, shutting out the Bolts 37-0. Miami led 20-0 at the half and never looked back, scoring 17 more points in the third quarter unchallenged. Miami held San Diego to 50 yards on the ground, while rushing for 132 of their own. Rivers threw for 138 yards but also threw three picks and was sacked three times, while Tannehill threw for 288 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. Miami, who forced four San Diego turnovers, went 8-14 on third down tries and held on to the football for 36:07, while the Chargers were 3-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth down respectively, keeping the ball for a mere 23:53.

The Lions rallied from a 21-0 deficit against Atlanta in London two weeks ago, scoring 22 second half points unchallenged, including a 48-yard field goal by K Matt Prater as the clock reached :00 to take the 22-21 win across the Big Pond. Detroit was outrushed by the Falcons at Wembley 78-60 and Stafford outpaced Matt Ryan 325-288 in the contest that saw each team do better than 50 percent on third down tries (Atlanta was 4-8, Detroit was 8-15). Time was the ally of the Lions, who held the ball for 30:55 to Atlanta’s 29:05. Stafford was without the services of Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) two weeks ago in merry old England but they have his services this week in the Motor City.

Miami in the series leads Detroit 7-3 and they have outscored them 282-188. Their last series wins against the other came in the other team’s stadium; Detroit last beat Miami in the Sunshine State in 2010 34-27, while the Dolphins won in the Motor City by a final of 27-10 in 2006. The Lions, in first place in the NFC North, are a 3 point favorite with a 43 1/2 over/under. Detroit makes this one closer than the 3 but Miami comes out of the Motor City with the win.

San Francisco (4-4) at New Orleans (4-4), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 710) Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kaepernick vs. Brees. Gumbo vs. sourdough. A pair of top guns in the NFL meet in the Big Easy as the Saints host San Francisco.

The 49ers stayed even with St. Louis at 10-10 going into the final 15 minutes of play before the Rams got revenge from their earlier loss to San Francisco by coming away with a 13-10 loss in Santa Clara. The Rams managed to break the tie and win thanks to a 39 yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein with 5:25 left to play. San Francisco then marched down the field but the 49ers were stopped short when Kaepernick fumbled in the end zone and recovered by the Rams’ James Laurinaitis. After the play was reviewed, the play was Upheld and San Francisco lost the contest. Neither club rushed for 100 yards in the NFC West affair in northern California (the Rams had 91, San Francisco had 80) and Kaepernick threw for one TD to Anquian Bolden and 237 yards on the day. As far as third down tries… let’s just say that neither club did anything to write, tweet or Facebook status about in the contest. St. Louis… 4-12, San Francisco… 3-12 (it was that bad) and the time of possession favored the 49ers at 32:26 to St. Louis’ 27:34.

New Orleans’ Mark Ingram showed the form that won him the Heisman Trophy, rushing for 100 yards on 30 carries and a pair of TDs in the Saints’ 28-10 win over Carolina last Thursday night. Although they were outrushed by the Panthers 109-105, New Orleans did manage to sack Cam Newton four times in the contest and led 14-0 at the half. Drew Brees threw for 297 yards and a TD and the Saints were 7-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 34:53. Carolina? 6-14 on third down and they kept the ball for 24:42.

Including games played at Keezar Stadium and Tulane Stadium, the 49ers lead the series 46-25-2 and have outscored New Orleans 1,764-1,330. They met last year in the Big Easy and the Saints survived a scare to take a 23-20 win, thanks to a 31 yard field goal by Garrett Hartley as time ran out, with the winning drive taking 6 plays and 47 yards, while burning 1:41 off the clock. The winning kick was the third of the day for Hartley, who pulled to within three with a 21 yarder and then tied the contest up with a 42 yard shot. San Francisco led 17-14 after 15 minutes of play before the Saints rallied to take the win. New Orleans outrushed the 49ers 92-81 in the contest and Brees (one TD) outpaced Kaepernick (two TDs) in passing yardage 305-127 and the Saints sacked Kaepernick three times. As far as third down conversions, both teams were decent but they weren’t great. San Francisco was 6-15, while the Saints were 6-14 and 0-1 on fourth down tries. The clock was the ally of New Orleans at 34:39 (which included the game-winning drive, while San Francisco kept it for 25:21.

New Orleans in the week 11 affair in the Big Easy covered the 3 point spread with their win by 3 but both clubs fell short of the 47 1/2 over/under when they combined to score 43. The Saints are favored again, this time by 5 with a 49 over/under. New Orleans has been up and down of late and that could expose a lot of problems. San Francisco’s trying to circle the wagons in their new digs. 49ers win in the Big Easy but they won’t cover the 5.

Pittsburgh (6-3) at New York Jets (1-8), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 708) MetLife Stadium. A suprisingly hot Pittsburgh travels to upstate New Jersey to face a Jets team that has had trouble taking off after week one and to no one’s suprise, shock, horror or dismay, an embattled Rex Ryan has more questions than answers as he looks to break their eight-game losing streak.

Pittsburgh won at home again last week and flex some major muscle against AFC North rival Baltimore last Sunday night in the Steel City. In avenging an earlier loss to the Ravens, Pittsburgh sacked Joe Flacco four times, while Ben Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards and six TDs. The Steelers took the lead for keeps after trailing 3-0 at the end of the first quarter when WR Martavis Bryant caught a 19-yard TD pass from Roethlisberger in the second quarter, which saw them score 22 points on a pair of TDs, a field goal and a two-point try. Although they were outrushed by the Ravens 63-55, Pittsburgh did manage to force a pair of Baltimore turnovers in the game. Pittsburgh went 6-14 on third down tries (1-1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 31:26, while the Ravens were 3-13 and 2-2 on third and fourth down, holding the ball for 28:34.

GangGreen found a new way to lose, falling for the eight time in a row in Kansas City 24-10. Despite outrushing the Chiefs 129-113, New York could never get off the ground, trailing 21-10 at halftime and were then shut out 3-0 in the final 30 minutes of play. Michael Vick started at QB for GangGreen but was sacked three times in the loss and replaced by Matt Simms, who didn’t fare much better. GangGreen on third and fourth down went 4-12 and 2-5 respectively and actually won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 31:35, while the Chiefs were 8-13 on third down and held the ball for 28:25.

The Steelers lead the series with GangGreen 17-4 and they have outscored them 476-253. 2010 was the last time that New York beat Pittsburgh and they did it in the Steel City, coming away with a 22-17 win. The clubs met last year in the Meadowlands and Pittsburgh won 19-6. The Steelers overcame a 3-0 deficit after 15 minutes of play and outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 19-3 the rest of the contest. New York outrushed the Steelers 83-73 and Geno Smith was sacked three times, while being picked off twice. Roethlisberger threw for a pair of TDs and 264 yards but was also saced three times. Third down tries… Pittsburgh 6-16, GangGreen 3-11. Time of possession? The clock was the ally of the Steelers at 35:49 to New York’s 24:11.

Pittsburgh’s a 5 point favorite in upstate New Jersey and the over/under is 45. The Steelers have been playing some really good football. The Jets? Not so good. This one you might want to avoid (unless you’re a fan of either team) and watch that “NCIS” marathon on USA (yes, we still think that Ziva headslapping Tony is funny!). Pittsburgh continues GangGreen’s woes and covers the 5.

Dallas (6-3) vs. Jacksonville (1-8), 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. London) (FOX and DirecTV 709) Wembley Stadium, London. The Cowboys and Jaguars will meet at London’s Wembley Stadium in the last of three games to be played in the United Kingdom in 2014. The contest marks Jacksonville’s second visit to London for a regular-season game in as many years, while Dallas will play its first regular-season game outside of the United States.

The Cowboys (6-3) are looking to rebound from a 28-17 loss to the Cardinals (7-1). Quarterback Tony Romo missed the Arizona game with a back injury but traveled with the team to London and hopes to return to the lineup. He has a 24-5 (.828) record as a starter in the month of November, the best winning percentage of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era for the month.

“Tony is certainly on a normal timetable for people who have had this injury,” says Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. “Hopefully he makes progress here in the next couple days.”

The Jaguars are in the second year of a four-year commitment to play one home game each season in London and look forward to returning to Wembley.

“We enjoy it and our players enjoy it,” Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley told the Florida Times-Union and WJXT-TV about the London experience. “Once you experience it, it’s a great atmosphere.”

Dallas, without Romo (who was listed by the Cowboys as probable), led Arizona 10-0 after 15 minutes of play in Arlington before the wheels came off the bus, as the Desert Angry Birds would outscore them 28-7 in their 28-17 loss. Two things happened in Arlington. First, the Cowboys lost their second game in a row at home and secondly, DeMarco Murray’s streak of 100 yard games came to an end at eight as he was held to 79 yards in the contest and WR Dez Bryant was also held in check, catching only two balls for 15 yards and a TD late in the contest. Dallas rushed for only 92 yards (Arizona had 102 in the 11-point loss) and went 3-11 on third down (0-1 on fourth down tries) and kept the ball for 28:32. The Cardinals were 9-15 on third down tries in the win, nesting the ball for 31:28.

The woes of the Jaguars continued in the Buckeye State as Jacksonville fell to Cincinnati 33-23. Jacksonville was outrushed 191-132 (with Cincy’s Jeremy Hill ran for 154 yards and a pair of TDs in the contest (the Bengals had 191, while in suffering their second loss in a row, Jacksonville ran for 132). The winning Bengals in their win at home were 6-13 on third down tries and held the ball for 32:44, while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 27:16 and was 4-12 on third down conversions.

Jacksonville leads the 3-2, has outscored Dallas 123-98 and has won the last two contests, including a 35-17 win at old Cowboys Stadium in 2010, while Dallas’ last win also came in the Lone Star State in 2002 by a final of 21-19. Dallas, who may be without Romo, is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45. With or without Romo, Cowboys get their ducks in a row in merry Olde England and cover the 7.

Denver (6-2) at Oakland (0-8), 4:05 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 712) O.co Coliseum. Forget the records. These two old AFC/AFL rivals meet for the first time in 2014 and both come into the late Sunday afternoon contest with losses under their belts. They don’t like each other and that is the worst kept secret in pro football.

Hatfields vs. McCoys.

Dogs vs. cats.

North vs. South.

Capulets vs. Montagues.

Need we say more?

Denver was manhandled by Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxboro last Sunday afternoon, falling to New England 43-21. Although Manning outpaced Brady in passing yardage 438-333 and threw a pair of TDs, he was also picked off twice in the loss in western Massachusetts. The Broncos trailed 27-7 at the half and could not recover in the 22-point loss to the Pats and were held to 43 yards rushing, while New England had 66. Denver on third down tries? 3-11 (0-4 on fourth down). The Broncos kept the ball for 30:33 to New England’s 29:27, with the Pats going 6-16 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries.

The Silver and Black’s latest woes came at the hands of the defending Super Bowl champs in the Pacific Northwest up I-5 as Seattle held them off and took a 30-24 win. Although they trailed 24-3 at the half, Oakland managed to outscore Seattle 21-6 in the last 30 minutes of play. Once again, it was turnovers (3) that did Oakland in, with QB David Carr accounting for two of them with a pair of interceptions and the Raiders were held to 37 yards on the ground, while Seattle ran for 149. Oakland was 5-15 on third down conversions in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks and kept the ball for 24:54, while the Seahawks were 7-18, holding the ball for 35:06.

Oakland leads the series with Denver 59-46-2 (which includes games played when the Raiders were in Los Angeles) and have outscored the Broncos 2,320-2,170. However…. Denver has won five of the last six meetings, including sweeping the season series in 2013 (Oakland’s last win over Denver came in 2011, when the Silver and Black won in the Mile High City by a final of 23-20).

In the first contest in week three in Denver, the Broncos led 27-7 at half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, taking the Raiders 37-21. Oakland found themselves held to 49 yards on the ground (Denver had 164) and Terrell Pryor was sacked three times, while Manning threw three TDs and 374 yards in front of the home crowd. While Oakland did force Denver to turn the ball over twice, they were 5-12 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and clung to the ball for 24:36. Denver was ruler of third down tries in the first meeting, going 5-9 and kept the ball for 35:24.

Denver made it a clean sweep of their AFC/AFL rivals in week 17, taking a 34-14 win. Oakland was again held under 100 yards rushing, compiling only 64, while the Broncos had 124. Once again, Manning lit up Oakland like his own personal Christmas tree, throwing for 266 yards and four TDs without turning the ball over, while Pryor threw for 207 and a pair of TDs of his own. The Broncos once again ruled third down conversions, going 9-15, while Oakland was 5-13 and 0-1 on fourth down. Denver ruled the clock as well as the day, keeping the ball to themselves for 35:29 to Oakland’s 24:31.

In the first meeting in Denver, a Monday night contest, the Broncos covered the 15 point spread, winning by 16 and both teams easily reached the 49 1/2 over/under by combing to score 58. The second meeting that closed the regular season in northern California saw Denver cover the 12 point spread, winning by 20 but neither the Broncos or Raiders reached the 53 1/2 over/under, tallying only 48 points.  Denver’s favored by 11 1/2 and the over/under’s 49. The Raiders are bad…. really bad. Peyton’s ticked off after the events in Foxboro. Bad time to be a Raider, which means unless you’re a fan of either team, that NCIS marathon looks really good. Broncos may not cover the 11 1/2 but the Peytonicus comes back to life and takes the win in northern California

St. Louis (3-5) at Arizona (7-1), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 713) University of Phoenix Stadium. St. Louis travels to the desert to face the first-place Arizona Cardinals in Glendale in the great indoors.

St. Louis got revenge on Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers last Sunday in Santa Clara, coming away with a 13-10 win over San Francisco. Tied at 10-10 after 45 minutes of play, the Rams took the lead for good on a 39 yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein with 5:25 left to play in the contest. After both clubs traded punts, the 49ers got the ball back one last time and Rams fans held their breaths in the literal and figurative sense as San Francisco marched down the field when they snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat when Colin Kapernick fumbled on the goal line with under 30 seconds left. LB James Laurinaitis recovered the ball in the end zone for an appearant touchback and the play was reviewed by the booth (in the final two minutes of a half, all reviews come from the booth). The play was Upheld, the ruling stood and the Rams ran the clock out for the win. St. Louis outrushed San Francisco 91-80 in the contest and Kaepernick outpaced Austin Davis (two interceptions, TD) in passing yardage 237-105 but the Rams sacked Kaepernick eight times in the game. Davis and WR Kenny Britt connected on a 21 yard TD pass with 64 seconds left in the first half to tie the contest up and the two teams went scoreless in the thrird quarter of action. St. Louis was 4-12 on third down tries, which was a lot better than San Francisco, who was 3-12 and the clock favored San Francisco at 32:26 to St. Louis’ 27:34.

The Desert Angry Birds erased a 10-0 first quarter lead by Dallas, without Tony Romo (back) and outscored the Cowboys 28-7 as they took a 28-17 win in Arlington. Arizona held Dallas to 92 yards rushing (the Cardinals had 102) and ended DeMarco Murray’s streak of rushing for 100 yards at eight games and shut down WR Dez Bryant in the process (Bryant had 2 catches for 15 yards and the lone Dallas TD). Carson Palmer took apart the Dallas seconddary, throwing for 249 yards and three TDs. Arizona was 9-15 on third down tries in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 31:28, while Dallas was 3-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 28:32.

Including contests when the Rams were first in Cleveland before they moved to Los Angeles and then St. Louis and the Cardinals were in the Windy City before moving to St. Louis and then the desert, the series is even at 34-34-2 and the Rams have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,387-1,355 in the 70 contests played. The two teams split the series in 2013 and both teams took wins in their respective home parks.

In week one in St. Louis, the Rams broke a 10-10 tie and outscored Arizona 17-14 to take a 27-24 win on a 48 yard field goal by Zuerlein with 40 seconds left to play. In the season opener for both clubs, Arizona outrushed St. Louis 86-67 but Carson Palmer (327 yards) was the victim of four sacks in the loss. Palmer’s counterpart Sam Bradford threw for 299 yards and a pair of TDs as both men threw an interception in the contest. Arizona was 50 percent on third down conversions in the Great Indoors of St. Louis at 7-14 and held the ball for 31:25, while the Rams were 4-11 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:35.

The Desert Angry Birds got their revenge in Glendale in week 14 and sacrificed the Rams with a 30-10 win. Arizona outrushed St. Louis 107-100 in the second meeting and sacked Kirk Clemens (in for Bradford) four times and picked him off twice, while Palmer threw for 269 yards and a TD without being picked off. Again, Arizona ruled third down tries, going 8-14 in the win and kept the ball for 35:07, while the Rams were a somewhat dismal 3-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs and held the ball for 24:53.

Arizona was favored by 4 1/2 in the season opener in the Gateway City and the over/under was 41 1/2. While both teams did manage to beat the over/under by scoring 51 points, the Rams did not cover the 4 1/2, winning by 3. The Desert Angry Birds covered the 6 1/2 point spread, winning by 20. That was the good news. The bad news was that both teams barely missed the 42 over/under by 2. Arizona’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 43. The Rams are a decent team but not a great team. The Desert Angry Birds are in first place in the NFC West and have the top seed in the playoffs if things were to end this week. Arizona wins in their nest in the desert and covers the 7.

New York Giants (3-5) at Seattle (5-3), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 714) CenturyLink Field. The struggling Giants make their way westward to face the defending Super Bowl champions in the Pacific Northwest.

New York’s latest struggles came at the hands of Andrew Luck and Indianapolis last Monday night in the Meadowlands and it was not a good night for the Giants as they fell to the Colts 40-24. New York trailed 16-3 at halftime and were outscored by Indy 24-21 in the final 30 minutes of play and could never get on track at home. The Giants were outrushed 98-89 and Manning (359 yards) was sacked three times but did manage to throw two TDs, while Luck threw for 354 and four TDs with no interceptions.

The Colts… 5-15 on third down conversions. The Giants? 4-16 and 1-2 on fourth down. The clock was in favored of Seattle at 33:03 to New York’s 26:57.

The defending Super Bowl champs led Oakland 24-10 at half in the Pacific Northwest before holding the Raiders off in the second half to take the 30-24 win in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks. Seattle outrushed Oakland 149-37, despite being outscored in the second half 21-6 and picked off David Carr twice to preserve the win at CenturyLink Field. Seattle was 7-18 on third down tries in the win, holding on to the pigskin for 35:06, while the Raiders were 5-15 and 2-2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 24:54.

The Giants hold a 9-7 lead in the series and have outscored Seattle 374-282. The Seahawks (however) won the last meeting with Big Blue last year in the Meadowlands, shutting them out 23-0. The Seahawks led Eli and the Giants 13-0 and were never threatened by New York, who were held to 25 yards rushing (Seattle had 134) and Manning was picked off five times, in addition to being sacked three times. Neither club did anything to cheer about on third down tries as Seattle was 3-13, while the Giants were a woeful 1-10. The Seahawks held on to the ball in their 23 point win, keeping the ball for 33:58 to New York’s 26:02.

In the week 15 contest in the Meadowlands, Seattle easily covered the 6 1/2 point spread with their 23-point shutout win but both teams missed the 42 over/under as Seattle scored all the points in the contest. Seattle’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. G-Men have been struggling of late and this trip west to the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks won’t help them. Seattle may not cover the 9 1/2 in the Pacific Northwest but they win at home.

Chicago (3-5) at Green Bay (5-3), 8:30 p.m. (NBC) Lambeau Field. They meet again and this time, it’s in the land of cheese and Bratwurst as Green Bay hosts Chicago in prime time. Da Bears are looking for revenge, while the Packers are looking to sweep their second series against Chicago.

Both teams are trying to catch Detroit in the NFC North (NFC Norris, according to ESPN’s Chris Berman) and both teams are coming off bye weeks. One of the NFL’s oldest rivalries will be renewed on Sunday Night Football as the Bears travel to Green Bay to face the Packers. Both teams are coming off their bye weeks as the second half of the season begins.

The Packers have won seven of eight games after byes since head coach Mike McCarthy took over in 2006 and are looking to rebound from a loss at New Orleans in Week 8.

“I know we can make progress,” says Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers. “There are parts we can do better and we will get better.”

The Bears are focused on bringing home a win from their trip to Green Bay as they look forward to playing five of their final seven games at Soldier Field down the stretch.

“The team knows that the most important thing is to get ready for the Packers and that’s what we are thinking about,”  Chicago head coach Marc Trestman told the Chicago Tribune, WBBM-TV and WGN-TV. “Our focus is the Packers and getting ready to play one more game.”

Da Bears fell to Miami 27-14 in the Windy City two weeks ago. Trailing 14-0 at the half and 21-0 after 45 minutes of play, Chicago was held to 52 yards on the ground and Jay Cutler was sacked three times in the 13-point loss, while Miami ran for 137 and Ryan Tannehill threw for 277 yards and three TDs at Soldier Field. Chicago was 5-12 on third down, which was a lot better than Miami, who went 4-11. Both clubs did well on fourth down tries, with the ‘Fins 1-1 and Da Bears 2-3. The clock? It favored Miami, who kept a “vice-like’ grip on the ball for 37:22 to Chicago’s 22:38.

The Packers led Carolina and Cam Newton in check at Lambeau, taking a 38-17 win. Green Bay led 28-3 at the intermission and never looked back, despite being outscored 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. The Pack outrushed Carolina 122-108 and sacked Newton twice, while Rodgers threw for 255 yards and three TDs without an interception (Newton did manage to throw one TD and was picked off once). Carolina was 4-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth down, while the Packers were 4-13 on third down and Carolina ironically won the time of possession battle by holding the ball for 30:11 to Green Bay’s 29:49.

In the first meeting, Green Bay led at the half 21-17 and then shut out Da Bears 17-0 in their 38-17 win in week four at Solider Field. Although they were held to 56 yards and Chicago ran for 235 (with Matt Forte rushing for 122), Rodgers did throw for 302 yards and four TDs, while Cutler threw a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions. Both the Pack and Da Bears did reasonably well on third down tries (Green Bay was 4-8, Chicago 7-11; Da Bears were 2-3 on fourth down) and time of possession went to Da Bears at 36:22 to Green Bay’s 23:38. On Sunday nights, Da Bears are 15-20, while the Packers are 21-6.

Green Bay, favored by 1 1/2, won by 21 and both clubs eclipsed the 50 over/under with 58 points combined. In the second meeting in the land of bratwurst, beer and cheese, the Packers are favored again and this time, it’s by 7 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. While Da Bears have a chance to make some noise in Wisconsin, the Packers make it a clean sweep in the series in the NFC North. Packers cover the 7 on the almost-frozen tundra of Lambeau.

Carolina (3-5-1) at Philadelphia (6-2), 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN) Lincoln Financial Field. Week 10 will finish with an NFC match-up featuring two teams near the top of their respective divisions as the Eagles host the Panthers.

Philadelphia moved past Dallas into first place in the NFC East with a 31-21 win at Houston. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin provided the offensive spark for the Eagles, finishing with 158 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m just going out there and making the most of my opportunities,” says Maclin, who became the first player in franchise history to post at least 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns in consecutive games in the same season. “They’re doing a good job dialing it up for me.”

With seven games still to play and just one win behind first-place New Orleans, Carolina head coach RON RIVERA knows the Panthers are still in position to challenge for the NFC South title.

“We are by no means out of the race,” says Rivera. “We are looking from behind a little bit but we are still in a good situation. Anything is possible. Don’t count us out.”

Carolina outrushed New Orleans 109-105 in their 18-point loss to NFC South rival New Orleans last Thursday night in the Tar Heel State (Saints RB Mark Ingram accounted for 100 of New Orleans’ ground yardage). That’s the good news. The bad news for Panthers fans? Newton was sacked four times and picked off once and Carolina trailed 14-0 at the half. Carolina was 6-14 on third down tries in the Thursday night affair in Charlotte and held the ball for 24:42, while the Saints were 7-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 34:53.

Philly pulled itself back into first place after Dallas’ loss to Arizona and their 31-21 win at Houston Sunday afternoon. The Eagles outrushed Houston 190-118 in the win (RB LeSean McCoy ran for 117) and outscored the Texans 14-7 after leading 17-14 at halftime. Mark Sanchez returned to the NFL after taking over for Nick Foles (broken collarbone) and threw for 202 yards and a pair of TDs in the win. The Eagles were 9-16 on third down tries in their win in the Lone Star State (2-2 on fourth down), while Houston had a problem, going 5-13 and 0-1 in the same category. Time of possiession favored the Eagles, who took it to the limit and held the ball for 32:13 to Houston’s 27:47.

Philly leads the series with Carolina 5-2 and have outscored the Panthers 169-130. Carolina won the last meeting in the series in 2012 as the Panthers came away with a 30-22 win in the City of Brotherly Love, while Philadelphia won their last contest against Carolina in Charlotte in 2009 by final of 38-10. Carolina on Monday night is 7-4, while the Eagles are 28-25 and both won their only Monday night meetings in 2013.

Even without Foles under center (Sanchez will take his spot), the Eagles are favored on Monday night by 6 and the over/under is 48. It’s possible that the over/under could be reached by halftime. Both offenses can move the football almost at will if their game is on. Newton’s good but he’s not quite Super Bowl good. Philly wins in the city of Brotherly Love and covers the 6.

The Halloween candy’s been eaten and what’s left has gone on sale at half price (better hide it from Connie… she’ll wipe you out. More about her later).

The first half of the NFL season has been packed with thrilling comebacks and close finishes but the excitement is just getting started.

The NFL’s Week 9 schedule features several marquee match-ups, highlighted by New England (6-2) hosting Denver (6-1) and Arizona (6-1) visiting Dallas (6-2). This week marks the first time two games featuring teams with at least six wins each has occurred this early in a season since 1986 (Week 9). Week nine got underway in Charlotte as the Saints beat Carolina and Cam Newton 28-10 last Thursday night.

Several games in Week 8 were decided in the final moments, as four teams on Sunday scored game-winning touchdowns in overtime or with fewer than 90 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter (Arizona, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Seattle), the most such games on a single day since October 19, 2003.

Detroit also kicked a last-second field goal to beat Atlanta 22-21 in London, and Washington capped off the week with a thrilling 20-17 overtime win at Dallas on Monday Night Football.

“Any given day in the NFL can be a win or loss,” says Redskins running back Alfred Morris, who rushed for 73 yards and one touchdown against Dallas. “They just kept fighting back. It was the type of game you get between the Redskins and the Cowboys.”

After trailing Atlanta 21-0 at halftime, Detroit’s victory marked the sixth time a team overcame a deficit of at least 17 points to win in 2014, the second-most such games through Week 8 of any season in NFL history (2011, eight games).

As the season’s midpoint approaches, it’s all still to be decided, with plenty of football still to play.

Since 2000, 34 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.

Of those 34 clubs, five have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including the 2001 New England Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI.

STILL IN THE MIX: If your team’s below .500, don’t panic! History shows that a losing record at this point in the season does not negate a team’s chances of making the playoffs. Since 2000, 34 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and proceeded to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.

Of those 34 clubs, five have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including the 2001 New England Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI.

MANNING-BRADY XVI: They meet again. For the 16th time of their storied careers including the postseason, quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face off as New England hosts Denver on Sunday afternoon.

Brady (129.1) & Manning (127.4) ranked ranked first and second, respectively, among NFL quarterbacks in passer rating for October, as each player threw 14 touchdowns apiece, marking the first calendar month in NFL history in which two different players passed for at least 14 touchdowns.

Brady, who will make his 200th career regular-season start this week, has already won more games (154) than any other starting quarterback in NFL history through his first 200 starts.

The most wins by starting quarterbacks through 200 regular-season starts in NFL history:
QUARTERBACK-WINS THROUGH 200 STARTS
Tom Brady – 154*
Peyton Manning – 136
Brett Favre – 132
Dan Marino – 125
John Elway – 124
* 199 career starts

NOVEMBER MADNESS: Forget March Madness. November can be crazy. The NFL season enters November on Sunday and three active quarterbacks – Dallas’ Tony Romo, New England’s Tom Brady and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco – are among the best in November in terms of winning percentages for the month amongst starting QBs in the Super Bowl era (since 1966, minimum 20 starts).

Romo, who ranks first among the group with an .828 November winning percentage and the Cowboys will host Arizona Sunday.

Brady’s (.761) and Flacco’s (.741) November winning percentages currently rank fourth and fifth, respectively. Brady will aim to improve his November mark late Sunday afternoon against Denver. Flacco and the Ravens will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on Sunday Night Football.

The quarterbacks with the best records in November in the Super Bowl era (minimum 20 starts):
PLAYER (RECORD IN NOVEMBER, WIN PCT.)
Tony Romo (24-5, 828)*
Daryle Lamonica (19-4-2, .826)
Jim McMahon (18-5, 783)
Tom Brady (35-11, 761)*
Joe Flacco (20-7, 741)*
*Active

Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.

GOOD LUCK: Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has passed for at least 300 yards in each of his past six games, surpassing Peyton Manning (five games in 2009) for the longest streak in Colts history.

With at least 300 passing yards against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, Luck can tie Manning, who passed for 300+ yards in seven consecutive games with Denver in 2012-13, for the third-longest such streak in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive 300-yard passing games in NFL history:
PLAYER-TEAM, YEAR(S) (CONSECUTIVE 300-YARD GAMES)
Drew Brees-New Orleans, 2011-12 (9)
Drew Brees-New Orleans, 2013 (9)
Peyton Manning-Denver, 2012-13 (7)
Andrew Luck-Indianapolis, 2014 (6)*
Steve Young-San Francisco, 1998 (6)
Kurt Warner-St. Louis, 2000 (6)
Rich Gannon, Oakland, 2002 (6)
* Active streak

Luck leads the NFL with 2,731 passing yards this season. With at least 269 passing yards on Monday night, Luck can join Tom Brady, Drew Brees (twice) and Manning as the only players in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards in their team’s first nine games to begin a season.

The players with the most passing yards through their team’s first nine games to begin a season:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEAR-PASSING YARDS THROUGH 9 GAMES)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013-3,249)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2013-3,064)
Tom Brady, New England (2011-3,032)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011-3,004)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2008-2,985)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2014-2,731)*
* Through eight games

TIGHTEN UP I: Since entering the NFL in 2010, New England tight end Rob Gronkowski leads all NFL players with 49 touchdown catches during that span.

Gronkowski, who will play in his 59th career game on Sunday, needs one touchdown reception against Denver to tie Randy Moss for the second-fewest games to reach 50 career TD catches in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (54 games) is the fastest player in NFL annals to reach the milestone.

Gronkowski can also far surpass the record for fewest games by a tight end to reach 50 career touchdown catches, (Antonio Gates, 92 games).

The players to reach 50 touchdown catches in the fewest games in NFL history:
PLAYER-NO. OF GAMES TO REACH 50 TD REC.
Lance Alworth-54
Randy Moss-59
Jerry Rice-61
Tommy McDonald-63
Bob Hayes-66
Rob Gronkowski-58*
* 49 career TD catches

TIGHTEN UP II: A pair of AFC tight ends – San Diego’s Antonio Gates and Denver’s Julius Thomas – are currently tied for the NFL lead in total touchdowns with nine TD catches apiece this season.

With one touchdown catch against Miami on Sunday, Gates can become the first tight end in NFL history with four seasons with at least 10 TD receptions. He is currently tied with Tony Gonzalez (three) and New England’s Rob Gronkowski (three) for the most such seasons by a tight end in NFL annals.

Thomas, whose Broncos travel to New England on Sunday, needs one more touchdown to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (1996, 1998) as the only tight ends in franchise history with multiple 10-touchdown seasons. He would be the ninth tight end in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 10 receiving touchdowns:
TIGHT END, YEAR(S) (SEASONS WITH 10+ TD REC.)
Antonio Gates, 2004-05, 2010 (3)*
Tony Gonzalez, 1999, 2003, 2008 (3)
Rob Gronkowski, 2010-12 (3)
Dallas Clark, 2007, 2009 (2)
Vernon Davis, 2009, 2013 (2)
Jimmy Graham, 2011, 2013 (2)
Shannon Sharpe, 1996, 1998 (2)
Wesley Walls, 1996, 1999 (2)
Julius Thomas, 2013 (1)*
* Nine TD catches in 2014

Week eight had milestones galore…

•Detroit overcame a 21-0 halftime deficit en route to a 22-21 come-from-behind win against Atlanta at London’s Wembley Stadium. The Lions, who overcame a 14-point deficit in last week’s 24-23 win against New Orleans, are the fifth team in NFL history to win back-to-back games when trailing by at least 14 points one week and by 21+ points the following week.

The Lions’ victory marked the sixth time a team overcame a deficit of at least 17 points to win in 2014, the second-most such games through Week 8 of any season in NFL history (2011, eight games).

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of three quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to start three games in which his team overcame a deficit of at least 21 points to win (Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe). Stafford passed for 325 yards with two touchdowns and now has 120 career touchdown passes, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Layne (118) for the most in club history.

•Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 522 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions for a 150.6 passer rating in the Steelers’ 51-34 win against Indianapolis. Roethlisberger, whose 522 passing yards tied for the fourth-most ever in a single game, is the first player in NFL history with two 500-yard passing games (503 yards vs. Green Bay on December 20, 2009).

Roethlisberger improved his record to 100-50 (.667) as a starter in the regular season, joining Tom Brady (116) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana (108) and Terry Bradshaw (102) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to win at least 100 games in their first 150 career starts.

The Steelers (522) and Colts (385) combined for 907 net passing yards, the second-highest combined single-game total in NFL history (971, Detroit vs. Green Bay on January 1, 2012).

•Minnesota earned a 19-13 overtime win at Tampa Bay when rookie linebacker ANTHONY BARR returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown in OT. The game marked the fourth overtime contest in NFL history that was decided by a fumble-return touchdown. The score came 17 seconds into the extra period, the quickest of any fumble-return touchdown since regular-season overtime was instituted in 1974.

•In his 100th career regular-season home start, TOM BRADY completed 30 of 35 passes (85.7 percent) for 354 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions for a 148.4 passer rating in the Patriots’ 51-23 win against Chicago. Brady has won 87 home starts, the most of any starting quarterback in NFL history in his first 100 home starts in the regular season. His .870 winning percentage at home is the highest of any starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era (since 1966, minimum 50 home starts).

Brady is the only player in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards, a completion percentage above 85.0 percent, five or more touchdowns and no interceptions in a game. He also accomplished the feat against the Tennessee Titans on October 18, 2009.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 149 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns. Gronkowski’s performance marked the fourth individual game with three touchdown catches by a tight end in 2014, already the most of any season in NFL history.

•Houston running back Arian Foster rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans’ 30-16 win against Tennessee. The performance marked Foster’s 31st career 100-yard rushing game, tying Priest Holmes for the most in NFL history by an undrafted player.

•Buffalo quarterback Kyle Orton completed 10 of 17 passes for 238 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions for a 142.8 passer rating in the Bills’ 43-23 win at the New York Jets. Orton is the first player with at least four touchdown passes and 10 or fewer completions in a game since Pittsburgh’s Bubby Brister against Cleveland on December 23, 1990.

•Kansas City kick returner-running back Knile Davis had a 99-yard kickoff-return touchdown in the Chiefs’ 34-7 win against St. Louis. Davis, who also had a franchise-long 108-yard kickoff return touchdown as a rookie in 2013, is the fifth player in history with a kickoff-return touchdown of at least 99 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.

BIG BEN: Big Ben struck again (and we’re not talking the clock in London.)

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 522 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions for a 150.6 passer rating in the Steelers’ 51-34 win against Indianapolis. Roethlisberger, whose 522 passing yards tied for the fourth-most ever in a single game, is the first player in NFL history with two 500-yard passing games (503 yards vs. Green Bay on December 20, 2009).

Roethlisberger improved his record to 100-50 (.667) as a starter in the regular season, joining Tom Brady (116) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana (108) and Terry Bradshaw (102) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to win at least 100 games in their first 150 career starts.

The quarterbacks with 100 or more wins in their first 150 starts:

PLAYER, TEAM (WINS-LOSSES, WIN PCT.)
Tom Brady, New England (116-34, .773)
Joe Montana, San Francisco (108-42, .720)
Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh (102-48, .680)
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh (100-50, .667)

PROLIFIC PEYTON: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning completed 25 of 35 passes (71.4 percent) for 286 yards and three touchdowns in the Broncos’ 35-21 win over San Diego on Thursday Night Football, marking the 13th-consecutive regular-season game in which he has thrown at least two touchdown passes, a streak that dates back to November 24, 2013 against New England.

Manning tied his own record for the most consecutive multi-touchdown pass games, which he currently shares with New England’s Tom Brady (2010-2011) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (2011).

He is the only player in NFL history to have two separate streaks of 13 consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes. Manning also accomplished the feat in 2004 (September 9-December 12).

Manning’s two 13-game streaks with two or more touchdown passes:

DATES (TEAM-GAMES)(WIN-LOSS)(YARDS)(TOUCHDOWNS-INTs)
11/24/2013 – Present (Denver-13)(10-3)(4,039)(43-7)*
9/9/2004 – 12/12/2004 (Indianapolis-13)(10-3)(3,919)(46-9)
* Active streak

CATCHING FORTÉ: Chicago running back Matt Forte caught six passes for 54 yards with one touchdown against New England in Week 8 and ranks second in the NFL with 58 receptions this season. Forté surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (54, 2002) for the most receptions by a running back through his team’s first eight games.

The last running back to lead the league in receptions was San Francisco’s Roger Craig (92) in 1985. Forté is currently on pace for 116 receptions this season, which would be the highest total for a running back in NFL history.

The most receptions in a single season by a running back:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEAR-RECEPTIONS)
Larry Centers, Arizona (1995-101)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2003-100)
Larry Centers, Arizona (1996-99)
Roger Craig, San Francisco (1985-92)
Charlie Garner, Oakland (2002-91)
Matt Forté, Chicago (2014-58)*
* Through Week 8

FAST START: Playing in his 40th career game, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 400 yards and three touchdowns against Pittsburgh on Sunday. Luck now has 10,927 career passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO for the fourth-most passing yards through the first 40 games of a career in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards through their first 40 games:
PLAYER, TEAM (PASSING YARDS THROUGH FIRST 40 GAMES)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis (11,457)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (11,269)
Marc Bulger, St. Louis (10,947)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (10,927)
Dan Marino, Miami (10,758)

Week 9 byes this week are Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee. The Giants and 49ers return to action this week after they got to play hooky from school.

9-5 last week. 77-44 for the season. Let’s move on. Here are the Sunday (and Monday) picks for week nine.

Tampa Bay (1-6) at Cleveland (4-3), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 708) FirstEnergy Stadium. A struggling Tampa Bay team travels to the Buckeye State for a meeting with the resurging Cleveland Browns along the shores of Lake Erie. The Bucs look to climb their way out of the NFC South cellar, while the Browns want to catch and pass Cincinnati in the AFC North.

Tampa Bay trailed Minnesota 3-0 at halftime last Sunday in the Sunshine State and led 13-10 late in the game befoe the Purple Gang scored their last nine points, including a 27 yard fumble return by LB Anthony Barr, who fulfilled the dreams of many a defensive lineman, when he scooped utp the ball and ran in for the winning score in overtime, giving Minnesota the 19-13 win. The Bucs rushed for 66 yards in the contest, while allowing Minnesota to run for 97 and QB Mike Glennon was sacked five times in the loss. Tampa on third down tries were a dismal 1-12 (yes, you read that correctly, 1-12) but were perfect on fourth down at 2-2 and kept the ball for 29:43, while the Vikings were 6-15, keeping the ball for 30:34.

Cleveland added to Oakland’s woes at home last week, sending the Silver and Black to their seventh loss of the 2014 campaign, taking a 23-13 win at home. The Browns led Oakland 9-6 at halftime and never looked back, scoring a pair of TDs in the fourth quarter to not only seal the fate of the Raiders but allowing them to match their win total from 2013. Although they were outrushed 71-39, Cleveland did manage to sack David Carr three times and force three Oakland turnovers in the 10-point win. Neither club did much to call, text or write home about on third down tries in the game (Oakland was 6-19, 3-4 on fourth down; Cleveland was 2-12) and the clock was on the side of the Raiders at 34:52 to Cleveland’s 25:08.

The Browns lead the series 5-3, outscoring the Bucs 166-127. On the other side of the coin, the Bucs have come away winnners of their last three meetings (Tampa’s last win came in 2010 in the Sunshine State by a final of 17-14, while Cleveland’s last win in the brief series came in 1995 along the shores of Lake Erie, with the Brownies coming out on top 22-6.) Cleveland’s a 6 1/2 point favorite and the over/under is 43 1/2. Tampa’s got talent but the Browns are above the .500 mark and they’lll stay that way. Cleveland covers the 6 1/2 along the shores of Lake Erie.

New York Jets (1-7) at Kansas City (4-3), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 706) Arrowhead Stadium. A struggling New York Jets team, losers of their last seven contests, travel to the great Midwest to take on a Kansas City team that looks to pass Denver in the AFC West. Since their season-opening win at home against Oakland, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have lost seven in a row, the first time that they have done that since 2005. In their latest loss last week to Buffalo, GangGreen trailed 24-17 at the half before the wings and wheels came off as they were outscored 19-6 enroute to their 43-23 loss at home last week. Jets QB Geno Smith was picked off three times in the loss, which forced embattled head coach Rex Ryan to put Michael Vick in his place. Vick didn’t do much better, as he would be picked off once and sacked four times.

As if there wasn’t enough controversy, Vick was named to start against the Chiefs in Sunday’s contest on the road. New York did manage to outrush the Bills 175-67 in the 20-point loss in the Meadowlands but turned the ball over six times. New York were 9-19 on third down conversions (1-1 on fourth down), while keeping the ball for 32:17. Buffalo in the win in upstate New Jersey was 3-12 on third down and held the ball for 27:43.

The Chiefs erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit against St. Louis at Arrowhead last Sunday and scored their 34 points unchallenged in their 34-7 win over the Rams. Kansas City held the Rams to 84 yards on the ground, while rushing for 143 and sacked Austin Davis seven times. Kansas City was 6-12 on third down tries in the win over their in-state rivals and kept the ball hostage for 35:38, while the Rams were 3-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth down and held the ball for 24:22

GangGreen leads the series 17-16-1 (which includes contests when the Chiefs were in Dallas and known as the Texans and the Jets played their home games at Shea Stadium) but the Chiefs have outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 771-685. GangGreen won the last meeting with KC in 2011 in the Meadowlands by a final of 37-10, while Kansas City’s last win in the series came in 2005 in Kansas City by a 27-7 count.

Kansas City’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. The Chiefs are good but not 9 1/2 good. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! aren’t that bad but they’ve been playing that way, to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit. Kansas City’s up to date and wins this one at home, even though they might not cover the 9 1/2.

San Diego (5-3) at Miami (4-3), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 707) Sun Life Stadium. San Diego treks its way eastward to face Miami in the Sunshine State in an important AFC battle between a pair of contending teams.

San Diego heads to Florida’s East Coast with a 35-21 loss to Denver under their belts. In the 14-point loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Denver held the Chargers to 61 yards, while the Broncos’ Ronnie Hillman accounted for 109 of their 139 in the loss. San Diego stuggled on third down tries, going 4-10 (1-1 on fourth down), while Denver was 8-13. The clock favored Denver, who kept the ball for 30:46, while San Diego held it for 29:14.

Miami returns home after their trip up I-95, where they took Jacksonville to the woodshed, beating the Jaguars 27-13. In the win over their instate rivals, the Dolphins forced three Jacksonville turnovers last Sunday, despite being outrushed 176-148 (with Jaguar RB Denard Robinson accounting for 108 to lead all rushers) and sacked rookie QB Blake Bortles four times. Miami on third down tries was 5-12 and held the ball for 27:37, while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 32:23 and went 6-15 and 2-2 on third and fourth down tries.

The ‘Fins and the Bolts have met 25 times in the regular season and Miami leads the series 13-12 but San Diego has outscored Miami 574-545. They met last year in the Sunshine State in week 11 and Miami broke a 10-10 tie at the half and won 20-16. In that contest, both teams managed to break the 100-yard barrier, as San Diego’s Ryan Matthews led all rushers with 127 yards (the Bolts ran for 154, while Miami had 104) in the contest. Tannehill and Rivers threw for a TD and interception each in the game, with Rivers being sacked three times and Tannehill four times. Both clubs struggled on third down tries (San Diego was 4-11, Miami 2-10) and the clock was on the side of the Chargers, who held the ball for 31:24 to Miami’s 28:36.

In the week 11 affair in the Sunshine State, San Diego was favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under was 45 1/2. Miami covered the spread with their 4-point win but the over/under came up short, as both teams combined for only 36 points. Miami’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 44. Both numbers make sense. It’ll be close but not that close. Miami wins at home and covers the 1 1/2.

Philadelphia (5-2) at Houston (4-4), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 710) NRG Stadium. A pair of hot clubs square off in the Lone Star State as the Eagles face off against the Texans, Arian Foster and J.J. Watt at NRG Stadium.

The Eagles, who trail Dallas by a half game, come into their contest with the Texans after their 24-20 loss at Arizona last Sunday. Philly blew a 17-14 lead after three quarters of play for the 4-point loss. The Desert Angry Birds’ winning score came with 1:21 left to play when WR Jaron Brown caught a 75 yard TD pass from Carson Palmer, sending the home crowd happy. Philly held Arizona to 71 yards on the ground, while they ran for 110 and the Cardinal defense picked QB Nick Foles off twice. Third down tries: Philadelphia 9-20, Arizona 7-17 and both teams were 1-1 on fourth down tries. The clock? It favored the Eagles, who held the ball for 31:10 to Arizona’s 28:50.

Houston got back on the winning track last week in Nashville, taking the Titans 30-16 in the Music City. The Texans erased an early 3-0 Tennessee lead in the first and led 27-9 after 45 minutes of play. Texans RB Arian Foster ran for 151 yards in the contest (Houston rushed for 212), while Tennessee was held to 36. The Texans, who had lost two in a row before their win, were 7-16 on third down tries and won the time of possesion battle, keeping the ball for 35:22 to Tennessee’s 24:38. The Titans, who managed to sack Houston QB Ryan Fitzpatrick five times, were 2-12 and 1-2 on third and fourth down conversions.

Philly leads the series 3-0 and have outscored the Texans 93-51. The Eagles won the last meeting with Houston in Philly in 2010 by a final of 34-24. The Eagles may be the road team but the oddsmakers like them as a 2 1/2 point favorite and the over/under comes in at 48 1/2. Both teams could make the playoffs in the 2014 campaign. Philly barely covers the 2 1/2, although the Texans will try to throw everything at them they can in this one.

Arizona (6-1) at Dallas (6-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 709) AT&T Stadium. Carson Palmer and Arizona travel to Arlrington to take on Dallas in a battle of first place NFC teams that could meet again in the post-season. The two first-place teams (Arizona atop the NFC West, Dallas on top of the NFC East mountain) enter the Sunday afternoon affair in the Lone Star State in different directions.

“We got exactly what we wanted out of the coverage and had the right play call,” says Palmer, who passed for a season-high 329 yards and two touchdowns.

The Desert Angry Birds’ 6-1 start is its best start since 1974 when they were still in St. Louis. The Cardinals rallied late in their 24-20 win over Philadelphia last Sunday. In the win in the desert, Arizona trailed 20-17 late in the game before WR WR Jaron Brown caught a 75 yard TD pass from Palmer with 1:21 left to play. Philly held Arizona to 71 yards on the ground (the Eagles ran for 110) and Arizona picked QB Nick Foles off twice in the contest. Arizona was 7-17 on third down tries (1-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball in their talons for 28:50, while the Eagles were 9-20 and 1-1, holding the ball for 31:10.
Dallas comes off a short week and a heart-breaking overtime loss to their hated NFC East rivals from Washington last Monday night. The Cowboys led the ‘Skins 7-3 at half and would later find themselves trailing 17-10 before Romo and TE Jason Witten connected on a 25-yard TD pass with 9:27 left to play in regulation. Washington and Dallas would eventually finish regulation tied 17-17 and the Monday night contest went into overtime. Washington won the toss and marched down the field, scoring what would prove to be the game-winning score when K Kai Forbath connected on a 40-yard field goal with 9:43 left in the overtime. Dallas then got the ball but could not move it and the game ended at that point. The Cowboys outrushed Washington 166-143 (DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 141) and turned the ball over twice in the loss. Romo, who injured his back in the game, was sacked five times in the contest and his status for this weekend was unknown as of Thursday.  Dallas was 5-12 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:37, while Washington, with Colt McCoy under center, went 6-14 and 1-1 on third and fourth, keeping the ball for 38:12.

“We’ve got to put this one behind us quickly and get ready for the next challenge,” says Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. “Regardless of what the outcome is, you’ve got to get on to the next one.”

Dallas leads the series with the Desert Angry Birds 55-30-1 and they may have outscored Arizona 1,999-1,483 but Arizona has won the last three contests with Dallas, including a 19-13 overtime win in the desert in 2011. Dallas’ last win over Arizona came in 2006 in the desert by a final of 27-10. Dallas is favored by 4 1/2 in the Lone Star State and the over/under is 48. They could meet in the post-season if the script they stay on script. Dallas covers the 4 1/2 and wins at home against the Desert Angry Birds.

Jacksonville (1-7) at Cincinnati (4-2-1), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 705) Paul Brown Stadium

The Jaguars saw their brief 1-game win streak go away at the hands of their downstate rivals from Miami, falling to the Dolphins 27-13. Although they trailed 10-3 at half, Jacksonville’s wheels fell off their bus as Miami would outscore them in the second half by a 17-10 margin. Jaguars RB Denard Robinson accounted for 108 of his team’s 176 yards in the game, while Miami ran for 148 (the Dolphins would sack rookie QB Blake Bortles four times and pick him off twice). Jacksonville on third down tries was 6-15 (2-2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:23 to Miami’s 27:37 (Miami was 5-12 on third down)

Cincinnati held off a late Baltimore rally and swept the season series with the Ravens at home by a final of 27-24. Cincy trailed 24-20 late in the contest before Dalton took matters into his own hands (and feet) when he scored on a 1-yard run with 57 seconds left to play. The Bengals then held off a late Baltimore rally that would have given them the win but Flacco’s try on fourth and 20 came up short. Cincinnati was 8-14 on third down conversions in the AFC North rematch with Baltimore (1-1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 30:44, while the Ravens were 5-13, 1-3 and 29:16 on third and fourth down and time of possession.

Jacksonville leads the series 11-8 and have outscored Cincy 423-338. However, in this battle of Nine Lives… the Bengals have taken the last three contests, including a 27-10 win in the Sunshine State in 2012. For Jacksonville’s last win, you would have to go all the way back to 2005, also in the Sunsshine State, when they barely squeaked by with a 23-20 victory.

Washington (3-5) at Minnesota (3-5), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 711) TCF Bank Stadium. They’re both 3-5. They both won on the road. They both won in overtime. The Redskins travel to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to take on Minnesota in their temporary quarters on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. The contest also marks the return of Robert Griffin III back under center for the first time since week two, when they beat Jacksonville at home.

Washington allowed a 17-10 fourth quarter lead to get away from them as Dallas’ Tony Romo connected on a 25-yard TD pass to TE Jason Witten with 9:27 left in regulation. The Redskins would then win the toss in overtime and marched their way downfield, with the drive ending on a 40-yard field goal by K Kai Forbath with 9:43 left in the extra period and would go on to hold Dallas in check, stopping the Cowboys on a key fourth down try that would have given them a first down and extended their drive. Washington was outrushed by Dallas 166-123 (Dallas’ DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 141) but sacked Romo five times in the game, while Colt McCoy, playing in his home state for the first time since he was at Texas, threw for 299 yards. This week, Washington announced that RGIII would play against the Vikings.

Minnesota trailed Tampa Bay 13-10 late in regulation before K Brad Walsh connected on a 38 yard field goal as time expired and then LB Anthony Barr fulfilled the dreams of many a defensive lineman when he scooped up a Buccaneers fumble and returned it 27 yards early in the overtime to take a 19-13 win in the Sunshine State. The victorious Vikings outrushed their hosts 97-68 and sacked Tampa Bay QB Mike Glennon five times, picking him off once. Third down tries? Minnesota: 6-15, Tampa Bay: 1-12 (2-2 on fourth down). Yes, it was that bad a game. The clock? It was in favor of the Vikings, who held the ball for 30:34 to Tampa Bay’s 29:43.

The series? Dead even at 9-9 and the Purple Gang has outscored Washington 451-399 in those 18 meetings. They met last year in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in the Metrodome’s final season and Minnesota erased a 24-14 deficit at the half to come out on top 34-27. It was Adrian Peterson that gave Minnesota the lead for keeps with his second TD of the day, a 1 yard run with under a minute left in the third quarter. Peterson led Minnesota with 75 of their 91 yards, while Washington’s Alfred Morris led everyone with 139 of the Redskins’ 191 yards. Griffin III did manage to throw three TDs in the loss but was sacked four times, while Christian Ponder threw a pair of TDs for the Vikings. Both clubs did reasonably well on third down tries in the great indoors of the Metrodome, as Washington was 9-16 (1-2 on fourth down) and Minneosta was 6-10. In the Thursday night contest that would open week 10, Washington was a 2 1/2-point favorite and the over/under was 50. Minnesota covered the spread, winning by 7 and both teams barely covered the over/under, combining for 51 points.

The Vikings are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under stands at 44 1/2. Both teams aren’t bad, they’re just not quite playoff-quality teams yet. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Washington covers the 2 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes with the win.

St. Louis (2-5) at San Francisco (4-3), 4:05 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 712) Levis Stadium. They met in St. Louis in week six and that meeting was the 700th in the history of Monday Night Football and for a few brief moments, the 49ers found themselves trailing the Rams in St. Louis 14-0 after the first quarter. San Francisco then went to work, outscoring the Rams 31-3 in the final three quarters for the 31-17 win. St. Louis outrushed San Francisco 93-89 in the MNF affair… that was the good news for Rams fans.

The bad news?

Alex Davis was sacked five times in the loss at home, while Kaepernick threw three TDs with no interceptions. Third down tries were nothing to write home about in the contest, as the 49ers were 6-14 (0-2 on fourth down), while the Rams weren’t much better, going 5-14. St. Louis (ironicially) won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 31:22, while the 49ers held it for 28:38. In the Monday game in the Gateway City, the 49ers were favored by 3 1/2 (they won by 14) and the over/under of 43 1/2 was covered by both squads, as they tallied 48 points.

This time, the NFC West rivals meet on the West Coast in a late Sunday afternoon affair in Santa Clara. St. Louis comes off a 34-7 loss at the hands of Kansas City at Arrowhead in the battle of a pair of Show-Me-State teams. In their 34-7 loss to the Chiefs, St. Louis let an early 7-0 first quarter lead get away from them and the wheels came off the St. Louis bus, as Kansas City would gone to score their points unchallenged. The Rams were held to 84 yards rushing and sacked Austin Davis seven times. The Rams were 3-11 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 24:22, while Kansas City, who rushed for 143, was 6-12 on third down tries in the win over their in-state rivals and held the ball for 35:38.

The 49ers return to play after their bye week and their last action on the field was not good for their fans as San Francisco was picked apart by Peyton Manning and Denver like a Thanksgiving goose, losing to the Broncos in the Mile High City in primetime 42-17. San Francisco trailed Denver 21-10 at the half but Denver floored the gas in the second half, outscoing the 49ers 21-7 in the second half. In the contest, Manning threw four TD passes, including a TD pass to WR Demaryus Thomas to set an NFL record for TD passes thrown. Denver also held San Francisco to 62 yards on the ground and sacked Kaepernick six times. San Francisco was 3-13 and 1-2 on third and fourth down, holding the ball for 32:01. Denver, with Manning throwing for 318 yards, was 5-9 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 27:59.

In the first meeting, San Francisco won by 14 to cover the spread (the 49ers were favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under was 43 1/2) and both teams managed to score 48 points, covering the over/under. In this second meeting, San Francisco’s 9 1/2 point favorite at Levis’ and the over/under this time is 44. The saying goes “familiarity breeds contempt.” The Rams have been playing decent football of late but not great football. The 49ers are looking to get back on track in the NFC West. Something’s got to give here. San Francisco may not cover the 9 1/2 but they sweep the series with the win on the West Coast.

Oakland (0-7) at Seattle (4-3), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 714) CenturyLink Field. Seattle returns to the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks, breaking a brief 2-game losing streak and hosts a winless and struggling Raiders team that makes the trip up I-5

Oakland only trailed Cleveland 9-6 at half but then the wheels fell off the Raider bus as they would be outscored by the Browns 14-7 in the fourth quarter to lose 23-13. The good news for Raiders fans? They managed to outrush Cleveland 71-39, with RB Darren McFadden leading all rushers with 59 yards on 12 carries. The bad news? They turned the ball over three times and David Carr found himself being sacked twice. Oakland was 6-19 and 3-4 on third and fourth down in their loss along the shores of Lake Erie, keeping the ball for 34:52, while the Browns were 2-12 and held the pigskin for 25:08.

Seattle led Carolina and Cam Newton 6-3 at the break before outscoring the Panthers 7-6 in the last 30 minutes of action to come away from the Tar Heel State 13-9. The Seahawks outrushed Carolina 119-114 and sacked Newton three times and picked him off once. Third down tries? Nothing to keep fans of either club happy (Seattle was 4-11; Carolina was 2-10 and 1-2 on fourth) and the clock was the ally of the Panthers, who kept the ball to themselves for 31 minutes to Seattle’s 29.

Including contests when both teams were in the AFC West and the Raiders were in Los Angeles, Oakland leads the series 28-23 and have outscored the defending Super Bowl champs 1,150-1,078. The two have not faced each other since 2010, when the Silver and Black took Seattle to task, coming away with a 33-3 win in Oakland, while Seattle won in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks in 2006, shutting out Oakland 16-0. Seattle’s a 14 1/2 point favorite in the Pacific Northwest and the over/under is 43. The defending Super Bowl champs have been under clouds of controversy in the locker room of late, while the Raiders have been just dismal. Unless you’re a fan of either of these teams, you might be better off scrafing down the rest of that Halloween candy while watching that “NCIS” marathon on USA. Yes, we do find Ducky headslapping Dinozzo to be quite entertaining. Seahawaks may not cover the 14 1/2 but they do win at home in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks.

Denver (6-1) at New England (6-2), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 713) Gillette Stadium. Peyton. Brady. They meet again and this time, in western Massachusetts.

The late afternoon affair in western Massachusetts is the first game in the history of the National Football League to  to feature opposing starting QBs with 150+ regular-season wins each.

“Every time we play a Peyton Manning-led team, it comes down to the wire,” says Brady, who has a 10-5 career record against Manning, including the postseason. “Everything is usually at stake.”

Both players are at the top of their games, as Brady (129.1) and Manning (127.4) ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively in passer rating in the month of October, as each player led their teams to identical 4-0 records for the month.

“I think both teams are familiar with each other’s systems, both offensively and defensively,” Denver head coach John Fox told the Rocky Mountain News and KUSA-TV. “It will be a huge test for both teams, obviously an important conference game for both teams and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

Both teams are also coming off wins last week.

Denver comes out of their AFC West contest with San Diego with Manning setting the record for most TDs thrown, taking the Chargers to task and beating the Bolts 35-21. Denver led 14-7 at the half after a scoreless first quarter and then proceeded to run away and hide from San Diego, outscoring the Chargers 21-14 in the second half. Manning threw for 286 yards and three TD passes, all to WR Emmanuel Sanders. Denver outrushed San Diego 139-61 (with RB Ronnie Hillman accounting for 109) and picked off Philip Rivers twice (Rivers did throw three TDs in the loss). Denver went 8-13 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 30:46, while San Diego was 4-10 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, holding the ball for 29:14.

The Broncos lead the series 25-19 and have outscored the Pats 1,023-940. They met twice, once in regular season and once in the post-season. The week 12 meeting in Foxboro on a Sunday night was one for the ages as Denver took a 17-0 lead over New England before Brady and the Pats rallied to score a 31-28 lead late in regulation. That lead lasted about as long as a plate of chocolate chip cookies in a roomfull of 6-year olds as Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Manning connected on a 11-yard TD pass with 3:06 left to play. The teams then end regulation tied at 31-31 and neither team could do anything until New England marched down the field and took the overtime win on a 31-yard field goald by Stephen Gostkowski with 1:56 left in the overtime for the win. Denver’s Knowshon Moreno ran for 224 of his team’s 280, while the Pats tallied 116. The two future Hall of Famers combined for five TDs in the contest (Manning with two, Brady with three) and each team turned the ball over three times. On third down tries, the Broncos were 9-18, while New England was 6-14 (0-1 on fourth down). Including the overtime, the Broncos held the ball for 38:58 to New England’s 34:06.

That was round one.

Round two was for all the marbles for the AFC title and the trip to New Jersey.

For all the chips.

Winner moves on.

Loser goes home.

This time, Peyton got revenge.

Denver took a 13-3 lead over the Pats in the Mile High City and never looked back as they would come out on top 26-16. Denver outrushed New England 107-64 and Manning threw for 400 yards and a pair of TDs (Brady threw for 277 and a TD in the contest). Both teams ruled third down tries in the winner-take-all contest in the Mile High City, as the Pats were 6-12 (1-2 on fourth down), while Denver was 7-13 and 1-1 on fourth down conversions. Denver not only ruled the game, they ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:44 to New England’s 24:16.

In the first meeting in Foxboro in week 12, the Broncos were favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under was 54 1/2. New England won by a field goal, covering the spread and the 65 points by both teams covered the over/under easily. In the post-season, with everything on the line, Denver was favored by 4 1/2 and won by 10 but both teams scored only 42 points, missing the 55 over/under.

With a pair of future Hall of Famers throwing the football, it’s safe to say that this one’s a “Drill Worthy” contest. (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!), 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 adult beverage items in question on Sunday) 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? We mentioned her earlier. She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s 56 and dates a 41-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?”)

Denver’s favored by 3 on the road. The over/under? 55. Brady vs. Manning. Both have Super Bowl rings. Both could have their own wings at Canton one day. The 55 makes a lot of sense. The 3 point spread? Might be a bit on the low side, since these two did play a “last one standing wins” game in Foxboro last year. It’ll be closer than the three but New England comes away with the win at home.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. (NBC) Heinz Field. They meet again and this time, it’s in the Steel City. Pittsburgh and Baltimore meet again and this time, the Steelers are looking for revenge. They have a score to settle with the birds from Charm City.

An exciting Sunday of NFL action will wrap up as Pittsburgh hosts Baltimore on Sunday Night Football. This marks the second primetime meeting between the AFC North rivals this season, as the Ravens beat the Steelers 26-6 on Thursday Night Football in Week 2. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a career performance in the Steelers’ 51-34 win against Indianapolis, setting franchise passing records for yards (522) and touchdowns (six) against the Colts.

“The guy was in a zone,” says Pittsburgh tackle Mike Adams of Roethlisberger, who is the only player in NFL history with two career 500-yard passing games. “It was something that was awesome to be a part of. To be the only guy to have two 500-yard games, and to be in there for one of them is something you will never forget.”

Baltimore’s defense, which ranks first in the AFC with 16.4 points per game allowed, will look to slow down the Steelers’ offense this week as the two teams renew their rivalry.

“They have a lot of pride over there,” says Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh of Pittsburgh. “But we’re very comfortable in that rivalry. We’re very comfortable in that stadium. And we understand what it takes to win there.”

Baltimore let a 24-20 lead get away from them against Cincinnati last Sunday afternoon as Andy Dalton scored on a 1-yard run with 57 seconds left, losing to the Bengals for the second time in 2014 by a 27-24 final. The Ravens were outrushed 111-107 in the game and turned the ball over twice (two Flacco interceptions) in the 3-point loss, going 5-13 on third down conversions (1-3 on fourth) and keeping the ball for 29:16. The Bengals? They were 8-14 and 1-1 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 30:44.

Pittsburgh took Indy to the woodshed last Sunday in the Steel City and never took their foot off the gas as they beat the Colts 51-34. The Steelers led 35-20 at the half, while Roethlisberger went on his rampage, outpassing Luck 522-400 and held the Colts to 63 yards on the ground. Both clubs did suprisingly well on third down tries in the somewhat lopsided affair, as the Steelers were 8-13 (1-1 on fourth down), while the Colts were 5-10 and the clock was the ally of the Steelers, who kept the ball for 39:43 to Indy’s 20:17.

In the first meeting in Charm City, the Ravens took a 10-3 lead to the intermission and held the Steelers in check, taking a 22-6 win at home. Pittsburgh was held to 99 yards on the ground and Roethlisberger was sacked twice and threw an interception in the contest. Baltimore, who rushed for 157 yards in the Thursday night contest, saw Flacco throw a pair of TDs with no interceptions and forced three turnovers. The Steelers on third down tries were 6-12 and held the ball for 24:52, while the victorious Ravens were 5-12 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 35:08.

In the first contest in week two, the Ravens were favored by 2 1/2 and won by 20 and the contest had a 44 over/under. Both teams failed to reach that number, scoring only 28 points. As far as being on Sunday nights, Baltimore is 13-10, while the Steelers are 20-20. The home team is favored by 1 and the over/under is 48. Pittsburgh’s won two in a row at home, while the Ravens have been up and down at times. Waiting all day for Sunday night might be in your best interest. This would be a good time to tape “The Good Wife” this week and watch this one. Steelers cover the 1 and get revenge on the Ravens at home in the Steel City.

Indianapolis (5-3) at New York Giants (3-4), 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN) MetLife Stadium. A pair of young QBs meet in upstate New Jersey as week 9 wraps up with an interconference match-up on Monday Night Football with the first-place Colts traveling to the Meadowlands to take on the Giants. Indianapolis has averaged 31.3 points per game, which ranks second only to Denver, during its 5-3 start. Quarterback Andrew Luck has an active streak of six 300-yard passing games, which surpassed Peyton Manning (five games in 2009) for the longest streak in franchise history.

“We are at the halfway point,” says Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano. “We know it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We have a big game coming up on Monday night.”

Coming off an impressive three-game winning streak in which they outscored opponents 105-51, the Giants lost back-to-back divisional games heading into their Week 8 bye. With Dallas (6-2) and Philadelphia (5-2) ahead of them in the NFC East, the Giants have reached a pivotal point in their season.

“We’ve got nine games to play as well as we can possibly play,” says Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. “I think anybody in our locker room can do that. Let’s go. One at a time.”

Indy struggled against Pittsburgh last Sunday at Heinz Field and fell to Ben and the Steelers 51-34. Pittsburgh outrushed Indy 117-63 and Roethlisberger (6 TDs, no interceptions) outpassed Luck 522-400 and Luck threw three TDs and a pair of interceptions in the lopsided loss. The Colts on third down were 5-10 and held the ball for 20:17 to Pittsburgh’s 39:43, while the Steelers were 8-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries in the win.

The G-Men return from their bye week after their 31-21 loss at Dallas two weeks ago. Dallas managed to erase a 14-14 tie at the half by outscoring New York 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of action in Arlington. New York pulled to within 7 points when rookie WR Odell Beckham caught a 5 yard TD pass from Manning with 5:28 left to play before Cowboys K Dan Bailey iced the game away and sealed New York’s fate with a 49-yard field goal with 59 seconds left. The Giants were outrushed by Dallas 156-104 (with Dallas’ DeMarco Murray leading all rushers with 128) and Manning outpassed by Tony Romo 279-248, although each man threw three TD passes in the contest (Romo had one interception). New York was 5-13 on third down tries (1-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:11, while the Cowboys, who lead the NFC East, kept the ball for 33:49 and went 9-14 on third down tries.

Including contests when they were in Charm City before moving to the Hoosier State, the Colts lead the series 8-6 and have out scored the Giants 316-248. Indy’s last win over the G-Men came in Indy in 2010 by a 38-14 final, while the Giants’ last win in the series also came in the Hoosier State in 2002 by a final of 44-27. The Colts are favored by 3 1/2 on the road on Monday night and the over/under is 51. Both numbers do make sense. The Giants have been struggling to keep pace with Dallas, mired in third place in the NFC East, while the Colts are trying to restore order in the AFC South. Records on Monday night? Indy’s 21-13. The G-Men? 22-33-1. This might be one of the better Monday night games to watch this year, so you might want to tape “2 Broke Girls” this week. Colts win on the road in the Meadowlands and may cover the 3 1/2.

With one week before Halloween, teams fighting for a playoff spot could either be tricked or get a treat. Some teams could get a prize in their bags or a rock. Week 7 got underway Thursday night in Foxoboro as Brady and the Pats hosted and beat a struggling New York Jets team 27-25 in Foxboro and ends with Pittsburgh hosting Houston in the Steel City on Monday night.

Six weeks into the NFL season, the standings remain close. Only Oakland and Jacksonville have yet to break into the win column. Twenty teams (62.5 percent) currently have a .500 or better record. And nearly half of the league (15 of 32 clubs, 46.9 percent) has a winning record.

“It’s not easy to win football games,” Denver QB Peyton Manning told KUSA-TV and USA Today about the 4-1 Broncos. “I learned long ago to never take winning for granted. It’s tough to win in the NFL.”

The Broncos are one of five teams with a winning percentage of at least .800: Dallas (5-1), Philadelphia (5-1), San Diego (5-1), Arizona (4-1) and Denver (4-1). All five of those teams won in Week 6.

“It’s not easy to stay in first place,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told the Arizona Republic. His Cardinals lead the NFC West. “But we’re there and we want to make sure we stay there.”

Since 1990, 210 of the league’s 288 playoff teams (72.9 percent) had a winning record after six games. But nothing is a given in the NFL. More than a quarter of the playoff clubs since 1990 (78 of 288, 27.1 percent) had a .500 record or below after six games, including three teams from last year’s postseason field (Carolina, Philadelphia and San Diego).

There were some milestones reached in week 6…

Sunday’s Carolina-Cincinnati game ended in a 37-37 tie after each team traded field goals in the overtime period, marking the second overtime game to end in a tie after both teams scored points in the extra period since the modified sudden death overtime rules were implemented for the 2012 regular season. The format guarantees each team a possession or the opportunity to possess the ball in overtime, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

The 74 combined points are the most ever in an NFL overtime game that ended in a tie. The game marks the most combined points in a tie game since the Boston Patriots tied the Oakland Raiders, 43-43, on October 16, 1964, which occurred before the advent of NFL overtime rules in 1974.

Chicago improved to 3-3 by defeating the Falcons 27-13 in Atlanta, becoming the first franchise in NFL history with 750 total wins. Chicago’s all-time record is 750-555-42.

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 306 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions for a 146.0 passer rating in the Ravens’ 48-17 win at Tampa Bay. Flacco threw his fifth touchdown pass at the 13:57 mark of the the second quarter (16:03 into the game), becoming the fastest player to record five TD passes in a game since at least 1970.

Flacco also became the first player since 1986 with four touchdown passes in the first quarter of a game (Minnesota quarterback Tommy Kramer vs. Green Bay on 9/28/86) and the first player with five touchdown passes in the first half since Tom Brady (October 18, 2009 vs. Tennessee).

•Dallas running back De Marco Murray rushed for 115 yards and one touchdown in the Cowboys’ 30-23 win at Seattle and became the second player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his team’s first six games to start a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (six games in 1958).

Tight end Jason Witten had two catches for 24 yards and one touchdown against the defending Super Bowl champs. The 32-year old Witten became the second-youngest player in NFL history to reach 900 career receptions. Only Houston’s Andre Johnson (32 years, 143 days) was younger when he recorded his 900th career catch. Witten and Tony Gonzalez (1,325) are the only tight ends with at least 900 career receptions and Witten is the youngest to reach the milestone.

•Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 264 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 99.7 passer rating in the Packers’ 27-24 win at Miami, including the game-winning four-yard TD pass to tight end Andrew Quarless with three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Rodgers, who played in his 100th career game Sunday, now has 25,616 passing yards and 203 touchdown passes. His 203 touchdowns are the second-most of any player in his first 100 games, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino, who threw 217 touchdowns in his first 100 career games. Rodgers’ 25,616 yards rank fourth all-time among players in their first 100 games.

•San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers completed 22 of 34 passes (64.7 percent) for 313 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 123.8 passer rating in the Chargers’ 31-28 win at Oakland.

Rivers has posted a passer rating of 120 or better in five consecutive games, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas (four in 1965) and Kurt Warner (four in 2009) for the longest such streak in NFL history (minimum 15 pass attempts in each game).

•Denver tight end Julius Thomas had four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 31-17 win at the New York Jets. Thomas leads the NFL with nine touchdown catches, tied for the most of any player in NFL history through his team’s first five games of a season (Calvin Johnson, 2011)

STILL ALIVE: Twenty teams (62.5 percent) are in or within one game of first place in their respective divisions, tied for the most through Week 6 since realignment in 2002 (20 teams in 2010).

SCORING HIGHS: NFL teams have combined for 4,250 points in 2014, the most points through six weeks in NFL history (4,233 in 2012).

That record total equates to 46.70 points per game. If the current average stays at this pace, it would rank as the second-highest of any season in history (2013, 46.82 points per game) since 1970.

The seasons with the highest scoring average since the merger:
YEAR-POINTS PER GAME
2013-46.82
2012-45.51
2011-44.36
2010-44.07
2008-44.06
2014-46.70*
* Through Week 6

TD GALORE: Teams have combined to score 479 touchdowns, the most at this point of any season in NFL history (466 in 2002 and 2013).

Of the 479 touchdowns, 303 have been touchdown passes, the most through the first six weeks of any season. The previous high was 289 in 2013.

SEASON-MOST TOUCHDOWN PASSES
2014-303
2013-289
2012-277
2011-268
2002-263

A look at some notable individual accomplishments through Week 6:

With 15 touchdown passes this season, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning has 506 for his career, three away from surpassing Brett Farve (508) for the most career touchdown passes in NFL history.

Denver tight end Julius Thomas leads the NFL with nine touchdown catches, tied for the most of any player in NFL history through his team’s first five games of a season (Calvin Johnson, 2011).

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 306 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions for a 146.0 passer rating in the Ravens’ 48-17 win at Tampa Bay. Flacco threw his fifth touchdown pass at the 13:57 mark of the second quarter (16:03 into the game), becoming the fastest player to record five TD passes in a game since at least 1970.

Flacco also became the first player since 1986 with four touchdown passes in the first quarter of a game (Minnesota quarterback Tommy Kramer vs. Green Bay on September 8, 1986) and the first player with five touchdown passes in the first half since Tom Brady (October 18, 2009 vs. Tennessee).

BEARS VICTORIES: Chicago improved to 3-3 by defeating Atlanta 27-13 on the road in the Big Peach, becoming the first franchise in NFL history with 750 total wins. Chicago’s all-time record is 750-555-42.

TAKE IT AND FLY: In Philadelphia’s 27-0 win over the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football, cornerback Bradley Fletcher forced a fumble which was recovered by the Eagles, extending their streak to 18 consecutive regular-season games with at least one takeaway, the longest current streak in the NFL.

The longest current streaks of consecutive games with a takeaway:

TEAM: CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A TAKEAWAY (RECORD DURING STREAK)
Philadelphia: 18 (14-4)
Green Bay: 14 (7-6-1)
Tennessee: 8 (4-4)
Houston: 7 (3-4)
3 Tied: 5

BETTER WITH AGE: Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. had five catches for 110 yards and a 56-yard touchdown catch in the Ravens’ 48-17 win at Tampa Bay. The score was Smith’s third touchdown of 50 or more yards this season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers James Lofton (1991) and Jerry Rice (1998) and Joey Galloway (2007) as the only players in NFL history with three touchdown catches of 50 or more yards in a season at age 35 or older.

In Dallas’ 30-23 win at Seattle, tight end Jason Witten had two catches for 24 yards and one touchdown. Witten, who turned 32 years  on Sunday, became the second-youngest player in NFL history to reach 900 career receptions. Only Houston’s Andre Johnson (32 years, 143 days) was younger when he recorded his 900th career catch.

Johnson had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown against Indianapolis on Thursday night. Now with 13,080 receiving yards, Johnson became the 15th player in NFL history to reach 13,000 career receiving yards.

MAXIMUM WATT: Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had two sacks and a 45-yard fumble return-touchdown Thursday night against Indianapolis. It was the third touchdown Watt scored this season following a one-yard touchdown catch in Week 2 at Oakland and an 80-yard interception-return touchdown in Week 4 against Buffalo.

Watt joined George Halas (1927), Jay Arnold (1938) and Billy Stacy (1961) as the only players to have scored a touchdown on a reception, interception return and return on an opponent’s fumble in the same season.

MONDAY NIGHT MILESTONE: San Francisco overcame a 14-0 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Rams 31-17 in the 700th game in the history of Monday Night Football, which debuted in 1970. San Francisco has a 46-25 record (.648) on Monday Night Football, the most wins of any team in the history of the primetime series.

TEAM-MNF WINS
San Francisco 49ers-46
Dallas Cowboys-43
Miami Dolphins-40
Pittsburgh Steelers-40
Oakland Raiders-37

The milestone games in the Monday Night Football series:

GAME NO. – DATE: RESULT (NOTES)
001 – 09/21/1970: Cleveland 31, New York Jets 21 (Browns LB Billy Andrews has 25-yard INT-TD)
100 – 11/14/1977: St. Louis Cardinals 24, Dallas 17 (Cardinals QB Jim Hart throws 2 TD passes)
200 – 10/15/1984: Denver 17, Green Bay 14 (Broncos return 2 fumbles for TDs)
300 – 11/19/1990: Los Angeles Raiders 13, Miami 10 (Raiders RB Marcus Allen totals 101 yards & TD)
400 – 10/28/1996: Chicago 15, Minnesota 13 (Bears RB Rashaan Salaam has rushing TD)
500 – 10/28/2002: Philadelphia 17, New York Giants 3 (Eagles rush for 295 yards)
600-0/20/2008: New England 41, Denver 7 (Patriots QB Matt Cassel has 3 TD passes)
700 – 10/13/2014: San Francisco 31, St. Louis 17 (49ers overcome 14-0 deficit en route to win)

Byes last week were Kansas City and New Orleans. Teams playing hooky this week are Philadelphia and Tampa Bay and they return to action next week. Last week, we went 10-4 (not bad), which makes the record for the season 35-24. There’s still a lot of football left before Thanksgiving and the post-season, which means that teams that are struggling still have a chance to either win their divisions or make the post-season party.

Atlanta (2-4) at Baltimore (4-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 705) M&T Bank Stadium It’s the battle of the birds in Charm City as Atlanta travels to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in Charm City.

Atlanta comes to Charm City with a pair of losses under their wings. In their 27-13 loss to Chicago in the Big Peach last Sunday, the Falcons were held 91 yards of total offense in the first half and 42 yards rushing for the game (Chicago ran for 110 yards in the win). Falcons QB Matt Ryan was sacked four times in the loss and the only time Atlanta came close to Chicago was in the third quarter when K Matt Bryant connected on a 54-yard field goal. Bears RB Matt Forte rushed for a pair of TDs in the contest, including a fourth quarter TD that all but iced the game away. Neither club did anything to write or Tweet home about on third down tries (Atlanta was 4-13 and 0-2 on fourth down, while Da Bears were 7-15) and the clock favored Chicago, who held the ball for 36:15 to Atlanta’s 23:45.

Baltimore scored 38 first-half points unchallenged in Tampa Bay as they took the Buccaneers to the woodshed 48-17. Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw five TD passes in the first half as the Ravens were never really threatened. The Ravens held Tampa Bay to 87 yards on the ground and sacked Bucs QB Mike Glennon five times. Baltimore RB Justin Forset ran like Ray Rice last Sunday in the Sunshine State, running for 111 of his team’s 169 yards in the contest. Baltimore was 7-13 on third down conversions,while Tampa Bay struggled on third down tries, going 2-12 (0-2 on fourth down). The clock was the ally of Baltimore, who kept the ball for 32:14, while Tampa? They held it for 27:46.

The series between the birds is even 2-2, while the Ravens have outscored Atlanta 81-69. Atlanta won last meeting in the Big Peach in 2010 by a final of 26-21, while Baltimore’s last win in the series came in Charm City in 2006 24-10. Baltimore’s favvored by 6 1/2 in Charm City and the over/under’s 49 1/2. It’s possible that the over/under could be reached. The 6 1/2? Hard to say. Atlanta may have lost two in a row but we don’t think three’s the charm. Dirty Birds pull the upset in Charm City and fly away with the win, even though the 6 1/2 may not get covered.

Miami (2-3) at Chicago (3-3), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 710) Soldier Field. Miami travels to the Windy City to face a Bears team that bounced back in a big way in the Big Peach.

Miami had Green Bay on the ropes late in their 27-24 loss to the Packers before Aaron Rodgers channeled his inner Dan Marino and called for a fake spike play. The play. a pass to WR Randall Cobb worked to perfection, allowing the Pack to move the ball and take the lead for good when Rodgers and WR Andrew Quarless connected on a 4-yard TD with four ticks on the clock left to give the Packers the come-from-behind win. Green Bay (121) and Miami (112) each shattered the 100-yard rushing barrier in the contest and Rodgers threw three TDs in the win. The Pack was 8-17 and 1-1 on third and fourth downs, possessing the ball for 37:12, while Miami kept it for 22:48, going 4-10 and 0-1 on third and fourth down.

Chicago erased a 13-13 tie late in the third quarter as Da Bears’ Matt Forte ran for a pair of TDs to give them a 27-13 win over Atlanta in the Big Peach. The Monsters of the Midway held Atlanta to 42 yards rushing in the contest and sacked Matt Ryan twice, while rushing for 110 yards in the contest. Chicago led 13-3 at the half before Atlanta roared back to tie things up in the third quarter. Chicago went 7-15 on third down tries, hibernating with the ball for 36:15, while Atlanta was 4-13 on third down, 0-2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 23:45.

Miami holds a 7-4 lead in the series and have outscored Da Bears 277-194. Chicago won the last meeting with Miami, shutting out the Dolphins 16-0 in 2010 in the Sunshine State, while Miami’s last win came in 2006 in the Windy City by a final of 31-13. Da Bears are favored in the Windy City by 3 and the over/under’s 49. This might be one to watch, especially if you’re a fan of one on these teams. Da Bears make things interesting but Miami comes away with the win and covers the 3.

New Orleans (2-3) at Detroit (4-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 707) Ford Field. The Saints travel to the Motor City to take a shockingly good Lions team and it’s also a chance for Lions RB Reggie Bush to face his old team. Bush, a former Heisman winner from Southern California, was the second pick in 2006 by the Saints and played five seasons in the Big Easy from 2006 to 2010. With the Saints, he had 33 TD (17 rushing, 12 recieving and 4 punt returns) and looks to get some payback against his old club.

New Orleans was idle last week after their 37-31 overtime win over Tampa Bay in the Big Easy. In that contest, the Saints trailed 24-20 after 45 minutes of play before rallying to tie things up and send the NFC South contest into overtime, where they came away with the win on a 18-yard run by Khiry Robinson in the extra period. New Orleans held Tampa Bay to 66 yards on the ground and went 6-13 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 38:32 (including overtime), while Tampa Bay was 3-9 and held the ball for 27:04.

The Lions have been shocking the football world of late and their latest triumph came last week in the Twin Cities against the Vikings at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. First-place Detroit led Adrian Peterson-less Minnesota 10-0 at the half and held on to win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes 17-3. While the Lions ran for 100 yards in the contest, they held Minnesota to 69 yards rushing and sacked Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater eight times, while picking him off three times. Third down tries? Nothing to cheer about for either club. Detroit was 1-13 (1-2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:21 to Minnesota’s 27:39 (the Vikings were not much better, going 3-14 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs).

New Orleans leads the series 11-9-1 and have outscored the Lions 422-359. New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2011, when the Saints marched away with a 31-17. Detroit’s last win in the series didn’t come in New Orleans but in San Antonio (the Superdome was damaged thanks to Katrina) in 2005, when they edged the Saints 13-12. Detroit’s favored by 3 in the Motor City and the over/under comes in at 49. Will the bye week hurt New Orleans? The Lions hope so. Detroit roars to the win at home and covers the 3.

Carolina (3-2-1) at Green Bay (4-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 708) Lambeau Field. Cam Newton and Carolina travels to the land of bratwurst and cheese to take on Green Bay at Lambeau.

The Panthers enter Week 7 in first place in the NFC South. Last week, Carolina left Cincinnati with a 37-37 tie, the highest-scoring tie game since October 16, 1964 when the Boston Patriots and Oakland Raiders tied 43-43. Quarterback Cam Newton passed for 284 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 107 yards with a score. Newton is the only player in NFL history with at least 250 passing yards, two touchdown passes, 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a single game. And this is the second time in his career the former Heisman winner has done it (December 9, 2012).

“When he gets out there and starts running and gets in that flow, it’s what makes him different from anybody else,” says Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who leads NFC tight ends with five receiving touchdowns.

Carolina’s contest with the Bengals had six lead changes, with neither leading by more than seven in the contest. The Panthers led 24-17 after three quarters of play before Cincy roared back to tie things up for keeps and the Bengals had a chance to win things in overtime but Matt Nugent’s 36-yard FG try in the extra period sailed wide right. Both clubs managed to shatter the 100-yard barrier (Carolina had 147, Cincy had 193, with Bengals RB Giovani Bernard outpacing Newton with 137)

and the Bengals ruled third down conversions, going 10-16, while Carolina was 8-17 (2-2 on fourth down). Time was on the side of Carolina, who kept the ball for 39:30 to Cincinnati’s 35:30.

The Packers improved to 4-2 with a 27-24 win at Miami as quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw the game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Quarless with three seconds remaining. Rodgers, who was playing in his 100th career game, has 203 touchdown passes, the second-most ever by a player in his first 100 games, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (217).

“You want the opportunity to make a play there at the end,” says Rodgers, who is the first player in NFL history with at least 15 touchdown passes and one or zero interceptions in his team’s first six games.

Green Bay leads the 7-4 and lead the Panthers in scoring 303-246. Green Bay’s last win in the series came in 2011 in Charlotte when they came away with 30-23 victory, while Carolina’s last win came in the land of bratwurst and cheese in 2008 by a 35-31 count. Green Bay’s a 7-point favorite and the over/under is 49. Carolina will throw everything at Green Bay at Lambeau but the Pack will prevail and cover the 7 with the win at home.

Cleveland (2-3) at Jacksonville (0-6), 1 p.m (CBS and DirecTV 712) EverBank Field. An improved Cleveland Browns team travels to the Sunshine State to take on a Jacksonville team that is searching to crack the win column in 2014.

The Browns led Pittsburgh 21-3 at the half and never looked back, taking the Steelers down 31-10. Both the Browns (158) and Steelers (138) managed to rush for 100 yards in the game that wasn’t as close as some thought it would be. Both teams struggled on third down tries (Pittsburgh was 6-16 and 0-2 on fourth down, while Cleveland was 4-11) and the clock favored Pittsburgh, who held the ball for 33:05 to Cleveland’s 26:55.

On the other side of the coin, Jacksonville returns home to Florida’s East Coast after their 16-14 loss to Tennessee in Nashville. The Jaguars trailed 10-7 at the half and rallied late to make things close with 37 seconds left when Clay Harbor and rookie QB Blake Bortles connected on a 20-yard TD pass. After the extra point, Jacksonville tried and failed on their onside kick attempt, allowing the Titans to take control of the ball and win the contest. Despite the loss, Jacksonville did manage to outrush Tennessee 82-70. That was the good news for Jacksonville fans. Now for the bad news. Bortles was sacked six times and Jacksonville turned the ball over twice.

Jacksonville leads the series 10-5 and the Jaguars have outscored Cleveland 339-240. Jacksonville’s last win in the series came last year along the shores of Lake Erie 32-28. In the week 13 meeting, the Jaguars led 20-14 at half and then held off the Browns in the final 30 minutes of play. Cleveland was held to 97 yards rushing, while Jacksonville tallied 112. Both clubs went a combined 13-29 on third down tries (Jacksonville 7-16, Cleveland 6-13 and 1-1 on fourth down) and the clock favored Jacksonville, who held the ball for 30:36 to Cleveland’s 29:24.

Cleveland, who lost at home, was favored by 7 and the over/under was 40 1/2. While both teams did manage to cover the over/under by combining for 60 points, Jacksonville took the win but did not cover the spread, winning by 4. Cleveland’s favored by 5 on the road and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make sense. This one you might want to skip (unless you’re a fan of either team) and watch that “Southern Justice” marathon on the National Geographic Channel. Browns win this one and cover the 5.

Minnesota (2-4) at Buffalo (3-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 706) Ralph Wilson Stadium. A pair of teams with experience in the Super Bowl (0-6 combined) meet in the Twin Cities Sunday afternoon. Buffalo travels to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Campus. Both teams enter Sunday’s contests with losses under their belts from week six.

The Purple Gang had all sorts of problems against Detroit last Sunday in the Twin Cities, falling to the Lions, who lead the NFC North, 17-3. Minnesota found themselves being held to 69 yards rushing and QB Teddy Bridgewater was sacked eight times and picked off three times in the 14-point loss at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, while going a dismal 3-14 on third down and 0-1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for only 27:39, while the Lions weren’t that much better on third and fourth downs, going 1-13 and 1-2 respectively, holding the ball for 32:21.

Buffalo made things interesting against their AFC rivals from Foxboro last Sunday but fell to Tom Brady and the Pats 37-22 in Orchard Park. The Bills trailed 13-7 at the half before New England managed to pull away from their hosts, outscoring Buffalo 24-15 in the final 30 minutes of play. As far as rushing over 100 yards went between the two teams, let’s just say that neither breached the 100-yard mark, although the Bills did outrun New England 68-50. That was the good news. The bad news was that QB Kyle Orton was sacked five times and Buffalo turned the ball over three times in the loss. The Bills also outpaced New England in another category, that being third down tries (Buffalo was 8-15 and 1-2 on fourth down1, while New England was 7-15). Time was on the side of New England, who held the ball for 30:20 to Buffalo’s 29:40.

The Purple Gang leads the series 8-4, have outscored the Bills 298-205 and won the last meeting with Buffalo in 2010 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes at the old Metrodome by a 38-14 final. The Bills last win over Minnesota? 2006 along the shores of Lake Erie by a 17-12 count. Buffalo’s favored by 5 1/2 along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under is 43. Both teams can be either really good or really bad. It’s a lot like having a crazy ex-girl friend. One minute, she’s as kind as she can be and makes you cookies… the next, she’s setting your clothes on fire. Buffalo’ll make this one interesting but Vikings bounce back at home to win and cover the 5 1/2.

Cincinnati (3-1-1) at Indianapolis (4-2), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 711) Lucas Oil Stadium. A pair of former high draft picks and future Hall of Fame QBs meet in the Hoosier State in the great indoors. Dalton vs. Luck. A pair of young guns going at it in Indy.

With a 3-1-1 record and .700 winning percentage, the Bengals remain in first place in the AFC North. Last week, the Bengals and Carolina Panthers tied 37-37. Running back Giovani Bernard rushed for a career-high 137 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown run, the second-longest in franchise history (Corey Dillon, 96 yards).

“It’s a weird feeling,” says Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who passed for 323 yards and two touchdowns against Carolina. “I’ve never been involved in a tie before. We had our chances. It’s not a win. That’s the thing that’s tough.”

Carolina and Cicinnati each shattered the 100-yard barrier (Carolina had 147, Cincy had 193, with Bernard outpacing Cam Newton with 137). Cincinnati may have won the third down conversion battle with Carolina (the Bengals were 10-16, while Carolina was 8-17 and 2-2 on fourth down) but the Panthers ruled the clock, as Carolina kept the ball for 39:30 to Cincinnati’s 35:30.

The Colts have won four in a row after an 0-2 start. Last Thursday, Indianapolis built a 24-0 lead before holding on for a 33-28 win at Houston. Quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 370 yards and three touchdowns while wide receiver T.Y. Hilton hauled in nine catches for 223 yards with a score. Indy was held to 93 yards rushing, while Texans RB Adrian Foster ran for 109 of Houston’s 136 in the Lone Star State.

“T.Y. is a big playmaker and has become a true wide receiver, not just a deep threat,” says Luck, who leads the NFL with 1,987 passing yards and 17 touchdown passes. “He’s a heck of a football player.”

Indy ruled third down conversions last Thursday night in Houston, going 8-16, while the Texans were 1-8 and 0-1 on fourth down tries. The Colts were also kings of the mountain as far as time of possession went, keeping the ball for 36:49 to Houston’s 23:11.

The Colts have outscored Cincy 666-597, while leading the series 16-10. The Bengals have won the last two meetings with the Colts, however and that last win in the series came last year in Cincy 42-28. Indy’s last win in the series came in 2010 in the great indoors of Lucas Oil Stadium by a 23-17 count.

In that contest in week 14 last year, the Bengals led 14-0 at the half and then the two teams played pretty evenly in the final 30 minutes of play. Both Dalton and Luck combined to throw seven TD passes (Luck with 4, Dalton with 3) in the contest that saw the Colts rush for 155 to the Bengals’ 63. The Bengals were 50 percent on third down conversions at 6-12 (1-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:45, while the Colts kept it for 22:15 and went 2-10 on third down tries. Indy, favored by 5 1/2, won by 14, covering the spread. Both teams also covered the over/under of 43 1/2 as they would combine to score 70.

Indy’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 49. It might be closer than the 3. The 49? That sounds plausible. The Bengals are trying to find some swagger after their sister-kisser in Cincy last Sunday, while the Colts are looking to keep the momentum going their way. Colts may not cover the 3 but they win back home again in Indiana.

Tennessee (2-4) at Washington (1-5), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 713) FedEx Field. Two teams struggling to catch the leaders in their respective divisions meet in Landover Sunday afternoon.

The Titans held off a late Jacksonville rally to come away with a 16-14 win in Music City last Sunday. Tennessee led the winless Jaguars 10-3 at half before Jacksonville rallied to make things close but allowed Jacksonville to pull no closer.

Although they were outrushed by Jacksonville 82-70, Tennessee did manage to sack rookie QB Blake Bortles six times in the win. Third downs…. Tennessee was 3-11, while Jacksonville was 8-15. Time of possession favored Jacksonville, who kept the ball for 31:07 to Tennessee’s 28:53.

Washington trailed 14-13 at Arizona and then allowed things to get away from them in the desert last Sunday in Glendale, allowing the Desert Angry Birds to outscore them in the second half 16-7 to lose 30-20. Neither Washington or Arizona cracked the 100-yard barrier in the contest (Washington-72, Arizona-74) and Kirk Cousins, taking over for Robert Griffin III (ankle) threw three interceptions and was sacked twice. Washington was 2-10 on third down tries (1-1 on fourth down) and held the football for 25:41, while the Desert Angry Birds were 7-17, keeping the football for 34:19.

Including games played when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers, Tennessee leads the series 6-5, while outscoring the Redskins 232-215. The two clubs have not faced each other since 2010, when Washington needed overtime in the Music City to win 19-16, while the Titans won in Landover in 2006 by a 25-22 final. Washington’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 46.while this one might not be a great game, it will be entertaining to watch. ‘Skins have a lot on their plate and while the Titans make it close, Washington fans will be singing “Hail to the Redskins” this week instead of “HELL, IT’S THE REDSKINS!” Washington wins, even though they may not cover the 5 1/2.

Seattle (3-2) at St. Louis (1-4), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 709) Edward Jones Dome. A pair of NFC West foes with losses under their belts last Sunday meet in the Gateway City.

The defending Super Bowl champs are looking to right their ship after their 30-23 loss to Dallas last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle was held to 80 yards on the ground, while allowing Dallas’ DeMarco Murray to rush for 115 of the Cowboys’ 162. Seattle turned the ball over once (Russell Wilson interception) but that one turnover came toward the end of the contest as the Seahawks were driving to tie things up. Seattle went 5-13 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 22:21, while Dallas was 10-17 and kept it for 37:39.

St. Louis led San Francisco 14-0 after one quarter of play Monday night and then lost the lead for keeps as the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick outscored the Rams 31-3 in the last 45 minutes of play to fall 31-17. The Rams outrushed San Francisco 93-89 in the Monday night affair but starting QB Austin Davis was sacked five times in the contest, throwing an interception and TD for St. Louis. The Rams on third down tries were 5-14 (San Francisco was 6-14) and kept the ball for 31:22 to the 49ers’ 28:38.

Seattle and St. Louis have played 31 times, which includes contests played when the Rams were in Los Angeles and the defending Super Bowl champs lead the series 20-11, outscoring St. Louis 690-611. The Rams’ last win over Seattle came in 2012 in the Gateway City by a 19-13 score, while Seattle swept the series with St. Louis in 2013.

In the first meeting in St. Louis in week eight, the Seahawks led 7-3 at the half and held on to take a 14-9 win. Wilson, sacked seven times, managed to throw a pair of TD passes in the contest to WR Golden Tate for the win as Seattle was held to 44 yards, while the Rams’ Zac Stacy ran for 134 of his team’s 200. Neither the Seahawks or Rams did anything to call home about on third down tries (Seattle was 2-11, St. Louis was 5-14 and 0-1 on fourth down), while the Rams ruled the clock,keeping the ball for 38:09 to Seattle’s 21:51.

The Seahawks, on their march to the Lombardi Trophy, made it a clean sweep in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks in week 17 as they came out on top 27-9. Seattle led 13-0 at the break and kept the Rams in check in the second half. This time, it was St. Louis that was held to under 100 yards, as they could only tally 13 in the game, while Seattle had 111. Again, it was third down that caused problems for both teams, with Seattle going 4-13 (1-1 on fourth down) and St. Louis going 2-11. seattle not only ruled the roost in the Pacific Northwest, they ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:40, while the Rams had it for a mere 26:20.

Seattle was favored in both contests in 2013. In week eight in the Gateway City, the Seahawks were favored by 11 1/2 with a  42 1/2 over/under. While the Seahawks did come away with the win, they won by five and did not cover the spread and both teams combined for 23 points, missing the over/under. The oddsmakers like Seattle in week 17 as a 10 1/2 favorite at home with a 43 over/under. Seattle came away with the 18-point win, covering the spread but again, the two teams missed the over/under by 7, scoring only 36 points.

Seattle’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 43. Seattle’s a bit on the ticked off side after losing to Dallas at home last Sunday and they’re looking for a whipping boy of sorts. St. Louis, you’ve been nominated. Seahawks win in St. Louis and cover the 6 1/2.

Kansas City (2-3) at San Diego (5-1), 4:05 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 714) Qualcomm Stadium. A pair of old AFL/AFC teams meet in sunny California as the Chiefs travel to Qualcomm to take on Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.

Kansas City had a bye week last week after their 22-17 loss at San Francisco. The Chiefs trailed 13-10 at the half before San Francisco managed to pull away, outscoring them 9-7 in the second half. The 49ers’ Frank Gore ran for 107 of San Francisco’s 171 yards in the contest, while Kansas City tallied only 90. As far as third down conversions, the Chiefs were 6-11, while San Francisco was 6-16 (1-1 on fourth down) and time was the ally of the home team, who kept the ball for 36:04, while the Chiefs kept it for 23:56

The Bolts broke a 21-21 tie at Oakland and pulled away to a 31-28 win over their AFC West and instate rivals. The Bolts outrushed Oakland 116-114 (with RB Brandon Oliver leading all rushers with 101 yards) and went 8-14 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth), holding the ball for 37:02, while the Raiders were 8-13, keeping the ball for 22:58.

Including contests played when the Chargers were in Los Angeles and the Chiefs played their home games as the Dallas Texans, the Chargers hold a 54-52-1 lead in the series and have outscored Kansas City 2,311-2,196. The Bolts have won five of the last six meetings, including sweeping the season series in 2013 (Kansas City’s last win over San Diego came in 2011 at Arrowhead as they needed overtime to win 23-20).

In the first meeting in week 12, it was one for the ages as both teams exchanged the lead nine times before the Chargers left Arrowhead Stadium with a 41-38 win. Kansas City led 38-34 with 1:22 on a 5-yard TD pass to WR Dwayne Bowe from Alex Smith before the Chargers marched down the field and came out on top when Seyi Ajirotutu and Rivers connected on a 26-yard TD pass with 26 seconds left, sending the home crowd deflated and unhappy. The Chiefs outrushed San Diego 114-104 (KC RB Jamaal Charles led all rushers with 115) and both Rivers and Smtih threw three TD passes in the late-afternoon thriller in mid-America. Neither team did well on third down conversions (San Diego was 7-15 and 1-1 on fourth down, while Kansas City was 3 -9) and the Chargers won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 30:57 to Kansas City’s 29:03.

San Diego completed the sweep in week 17 as the Chargers took a 27-24 overtime win to advance to the post-season party with the Chiefs. Kansas City led 24-14 after 45 minutes of play before the Bolts scored the last 13 points of the contest unchallenged. The Chiefs won the toss in the overtime but could not move the ball and were forced to punt in their first possession in the extra period. That gave all the momentum back to the home team, who marched down the field and sent the home fans at Qualcomm home happy when K Nick Novak kicked a 36-yard field goal through the uprights for the win. San Diego outrushed their guests from the Show-Me State 186-143 and Chargers RB Ryan Mathews led all rushers with 144. Despite being sacked three times, Rivers did manage to throw three TD passes in the contest. San Diego was much better on third down tries in the second meeting, going 9-17 (1-1 on fourth down), while the Chiefs were 6-14, 0-1 on fourth. The Chargers again won the battle of clock management, keeping the ball for 37:08 to Kansas City’s 34:36, which included the overtime period.

Kansas City was favored by 4 1/2 in the week 12 contest and the over/under was 41 1/2. While both clubs did manage to score 79 points, the Chargers won by 3, failing to cover the spread. In the week 17 matchup on the left coast, the season finale, the Chargers did manage to take the 3-point win but failed to cover the 9 1/2-point spread. The two clubs did manage to cover the 45 over/under by scoring 51 points. The Bolts are favored by 4 1/2 and 44 1/2’s the over/under. Kansas City’s coming off a bye week, while the Bolts barely survived Oakland last Sunday. Chargers make it two in a row on the West Coast and take the Chiefs to task at home, covering the 4 1/2.

Arizona (4-1) at Oakland (0-5), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 716) O.co Coliseum. Arizona travels westward as the leaders of the NFC West travel to the Bay Area to take on a Raiders team that seeks their first win of the 2014 campaign.

Arizona led Washington 14-13 at the half in Glendale and then proceeded to outscore Washington 16-7 to win 30-20. The Desert Angry Birds were held to 74 yards, which was not much better than Washington, who ran for 72. Arizona did manage to force four Washington turnovers in the desert last Sunday while sacking backup QB Kirk Cousins twice. Third down tries? Not a lot to chirp about for either team; Washington was 2-10 (1-1 on fourth down), while Arizona was 7-17. Arizona did manage to play keep-away with the ball, holding it from Washington for 34:19, while the Redskins kept it for 25:41.

Oakland kept things close under interim head coach Tony Sparano but still fell to AFC West rival San Diego 31-28. The Raiders led 28-21 late in the game before K Nick Novak and RB Brandon Oliver accounted for San Diego’s last 10 points of the game, with Oliver scoring on 1-yard TD run with 1:56 left to play. Both teams managed to break the 100-yard barrier (San Diego with 116, Oakland 114) and QB David Carr (282 yards) tossed three TDs and an interception in the loss. Both the Bolts and Silver and Black did well on third down tries (San Diego was 8-14 and 0-1 on fourth down; Oakland was 8-15) and the Chargers led in time of possession, keeping the ball for 37:02 to Oakland’s 22:58.

The Silver and Black lead the series 5-3, which includes contests played when the Raiders were in Los Angeles and the Cardinals were in St. Louis before they moved out west. The Raiders have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 197-165. Their last meeting was in 2010 in Glendale as the Cardinals came out on top 24-23, while the Raiders last entered the win column in the series in 2009 in Oakland by a final of 22-9. Arizona’s favored by 3 1/2. The over/under’s 44.

Two things you need to know. The Desert Angry Birds at 4-1 rule the NFC West roost. The Silver and Black bring up the rear in the AFC West (which is already a tough division with Denver, Kansas City and San Diego in it). Desert Angry Birds win in Oakland and cover the 3 1/2, although the Raiders don’t plan on rolling over and playing dead any time soon.

New York Giants (3-3) at Dallas (5-1), 4:25 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 715) AT&T Stadium. Old rivals meet again in the Lone Star State. Romo. Manning. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in Arlington Sunday afternoon. Dallas hosts the New York Football Giants in Jerry’s House and while the Cowboys are looking to add another feather in their cap, the Giants are looking to find answers as to what happened to them last Sunday in Philly.

Eli and the Giants could not regroup against Philadelphia last Sunday evening in the City of Brotherly Love, trailing the Eagles 20-0 and taking a 27-0 loss with them back to New Jersey. New York not only lost the game, they lost the services of WR Victor Cruz (knee), who was injured late in the first half. New York was not only held to 85 yards on the ground, they allowed Eli Manning to be sacked six times. Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy ran amuck on the ground against the G-Men, rushing for 149 of the Eagles’ 203 in the Sunday night shutout. New York was 2-14 on third down tries, 0-1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 27:34, while the Eagles, who have a bye week this week, went 4-13 and held the ball for 32:26.

Dallas went to the Pacific Northwest last Sunday and exorcised some demons that had haunted them the last time they were in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks. In their 30-23 win over the defending Super Bowl champs, Dallas erased a 10-7 first quarter deficit against Seattle and outscored the Seahawks 23-13 in the last 45 minutes of play. The Cowboys held Seattle to 80 yards on the ground and sacked Russell Wilson twice and picked him off late in the contest. On the Cowboys side of the ball, RB DeMarco Murray ran as if he were the second coming of Tony Dorsett, tallying 115 of his team’s 162 yards and Tony Romo threw for a pair of TDs in the win. Dallas was 10-17 on third down tries and kept the ball for 37:39, while the defending Super Bowl champs were 5-13 and 0-1 on third and fourth downs, holding the ball for 22:21.

These old NFL/NFC rivals have met 103 times and Dallas leads the series 59-42-2, while outscoring the Giants 2,314-1,987. New York’s last win over Dallas came in 2012 by a 29-24 final in a winner-take-all contest for both clubs. Dallas swept the series with the G-Men in 2013.

Dallas led New York in the season opener at AT&T Stadium 13-10 at the break and held on for a 36-31 win. Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier (New York with 50, Dallas with 87) and Romo was sacked twice but managed to throw a pair of TDs to TE Jason Witten, while Manning was sacked three times and threw four TDs, including a pair to WR Victor Cruz. New York was 6-11 on third down conversions in the Sunday night affair, while Dallas was 5-15. Dallas won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 37:10 to New York’s 22:50.

Dallas took the second contest in the series to complete the sweep in week 12 in upstate New Jersey, winning 24-21 in chilly Met Life Stadium (game-time temp? A balmy 25 with a wind chill of 6, which would be considered warm by some standards!). The Cowboys led 14-6 at half before holding off a late New York rally, as the Giants would outscore Dallas in the final 30 minutes of play 15-10. New York’s Aaron Brown led all rushers with 127 yards (the G-Men outrushed Dallas 202-107), while Romo (sacked four times) and Manning (two sacks) each threw a pair of TDs. With both teams out of the playoff picture, neither did anything to make their fan bases happy on third down (Dallas was 4-11; New York was 3-12 and 1-2 on fourth down) and New York did manage to win the time of possession fight, keeping the ball for 30:39 to Dallas’ 29:21.

In the week one contest, Dallas won by five, covering the 3 1/2-point spread (the Giants were favored) and both team breached the 48 1/2 over/under with 67 points. Big Blue was favored by 3 1/2 (Dallas won by 3, missing the spread) and both barely missed the 46 over/under with 45 points. In this 104th regular-season meeting, the Cowboys are favored by 6 with a 48 over/under.

The Giants are looking for redemption after losing to Philly last Sunday, while the Cowboys look to take first place in the NFC East all to themselves while the Eagles are off. Giants will make this one interesting but Cowboys take the win, even though they may not cover the 6.

San Francisco (4-2) at Denver (4-1), 8:30 p.m. (NBC) Sports Authority Field. Kaepernick. Manning. Two of the NFL’s best QBs meet in the Mile High City on Sunday night.

The 49ers will play their second consecutive primetime game. Last week, San Francisco defeated St. Louis 31-17 as Colin Kaepernick (343 yards, three touchdowns) became the first 49ers quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns on Monday Night Football since Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (September 14, 1998).

“We just want to win,” says Kaepernick, who rallied his team back from an early 14-0 deficit against the Rams. “Whatever it takes, if we’re up with the lead or if we have to come from behind.”

San Francisco trailed St. Louis 14-0 after the first 15 minutes of play before outscoring the Rams 31-3 enroute to their 31-17 win on Monday night. The 49ers, playing in the 700th Monday night contest, were held to 89 yards rushing, while the Rams ran for 93. San Francisco’s defense did manage to get to Rams QB Aaron Davis, sacking him fove times in the Monday NFC West win, while going 6-14 on third down and 0-2 on fourth down (St. Louis was 5-14). The clock was on the side of the Rams at 31:22 to San Francisco’s 28:38.

At 4-1, the Broncos trail only San Diego (5-1) in the AFC. Last week, Denver defeated the New York Jets 31-17 behind Peyton Manning’s three touchdown passes. Broncos tight end Julius Thomas had two touchdown catches and he now has nine this season, tied for the most in NFL history by any player through his team’s first five games (Calvin Johnson, 2011). GangGreen led Manning and the Broncos briefly 7-3 after one quarter before Denver went to work on the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in the Meadowlands, outscoring the home team 28-10 the rest of the way. Denver held New York to 31 yards rushing and Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman ran for 100 of Denver’s 138 yards and Manning threw six TDs and 237 yards, while sacking QB Geno Smith four times. Third down tries? Let’s just say that fans of both teams didn’t exactly go home happy (Denver was 7-16, New York was 5-14) and the clock was the ally of Denver at 33:34 to New York’s 26:26.

“Any time you win on the road in the NFL,” Manning told the Rocky Mountain News and KUSA-TV, “it’s a good thing.” Manning has 506 career touchdown passes and needs three to pass Brett Farve (508) for the most in NFL history.

“I don’t know if any of these records are big for me, especially in the middle of the season,” says Manning. “We’re playing a tough schedule, we’ve got the 49ers at home and San Francisco’s been one of the dominant teams of the past couple years. That’s all I’m thinking about.”

Denver and the 49ers have met 12 times and the series is even at 6-6 and the 49ers have outscored Denver 282-280, winning the last meeting between the clubs in 2010 in London by a final of 24-16. Denver’s last win over San Fran came in 2002 at old Candlestick Park 24-14.

It’s a pair of pretty good QBs playing in the thin air of Colorado Sunday night. The old gun (Manning) vs. the kid (Kaepernick). It’s Sunday night and these two teams have some experience in big games. That means that this one’s Drill Worthy! (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?)

After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you!), 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 56 and dates a 41-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that not just ate but inhaled 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?”

Denver’s favored at home by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. The 50 1/2 … makes sense. It’s possible that number could be reached by halftime. The 6 1/2 spread? That’s a bit high and this one could be closer. Denver’s the better team here and they come away with the win, even though they may not cover the 6 1/2.

Houston (3-3) at Pittsburgh (3-3), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) Heinz Field. Houston takes a trip to the Keystone State to take on the Steelers in prime time in Steel City.

Both the Texans and Steelers enter Week 7 with a 3-3 mark and are among 10 of the 16 AFC clubs (62.5 percent) with a .500 or better record. Both teams lost last week and are trying to move above the .500 mark.

In Week 6, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had a 45-yard fumble-return touchdown, his third touchdown of the season. Watt is the only player in the past 50 years to score a touchdown via a fumble return, an interception return (80 yards) and a reception (one yard) in a single season. The Texans rallied late against the Colts last week in Houston but Indy managed to come away with the 33-28 win. Houston managed to hold their guests from the Hoosier State to 93 yards rushing, while they tallied 136 (Adrian Foster had 109 to lead all rushers). The downside for Houston was Ryan Fitzpatrick getting sacked five times in the Thursday night affair. Houston had a problem with third down tries, going a somewhat dismal 1-8 (0-1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 23:11, while Luck and the Colts were 8-16, keeping the ball for 36:49.

Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell leads the AFC in rushing (542) and scrimmage yards (793). The second-year running back has recorded at least 100 scrimmage yards in all six games this season and will look to continue that streak when he plays on Monday Night Football for the first time in his career. The Steelers ran for 138 yards, while Cleveland had 158 in their 31-10 loss to the Browns last Sunday. Pittsburgh trailed 21-3 at the half and could never really catch up to the Browns in the contest along the shores of Lake Erie. Pittsburgh kept the ball for 33:05 to Cleveland’s 26:55 and went 6-16 on third down (0-2 on fourth), while the Browns were 4-11.

“It’s is a big deal for everybody around the league just because everybody grew up watching Monday night games,” Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick told KPRC-TV, KHOU-TV and the Houston Chronicle.. “These are the games that all eyes are on you. It’s important to go out and play well because of that.”

The series is even at 2-2 and the Steelers have outscored Houston 81-65. Pittsburgh’s last win in the series came in 2008 in the Steel City by a 38-17 final, while the Texans’ last win in the series came in 2011 by a 17-10 count. Under the lights of prime time, the Texans are 3-4, while Pittsburgh is 40-24. Pittsburgh’s favored by 3 1/2 in the 701st MNF contest and the over/under is 45. Pittsburgh doesn’t lose at home very often and the Texans are a lot better than what they were last year.

Steelers win and cover the 3 1/2 under the lights in prime time in front of the home folks in Steel City.

Green Bay (8-7-1) at Seattle (13-3), 8:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

The hunter is NOW the hunted.

They meet again and the last time they met, there was some MAJOR controversy. Green Bay and Seattle meet again in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks to open the 2014 NFL regular season. The Seahawks are the defending Super Bowl champions, having taken Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to the woodshed in Super Bowl 48 in the Meadowlands last January.

For those that just walked in, here’s what happened the last time these two teams met. It was Week 3 of the 2012 season and the Seahawks were hosting Green Bay on Monday night in Seattle. Seatle trailed 12-7 late in the contest and the Packers thought they had things in hand when WR Golden Tate and then-rookie QB Russell Wilson hooked up as the clock struck :00 on a controversial pass play that involved replacement officials. After the play was reviewed, the Seahawks came away with the 14-12 win and needless to say, there were some very angry Packers fans (very angry indeed… apologies to Marvin Martin!). The next week, the regular zebras returned to action.

In that contest, neither contest did well on third down tries (Green Bay was 7 of 15, Seattle was 1 of 11) and RB Marshawn Lynch led all rushers with 98 yards (the Seahawks ran for 127, while holding Green Bay to 84).

Fast forward to last year…

Seattle led Denver from start to finish against Denver in Super Bowl 48, taking a 22-0 lead into the locker room with them at half and crusing to a 43-8 win over the Broncos, holding the AFC champions to 27 yards on the ground and forcing a pair of interceptions in the win. Manning did manage to outpace the younger Wilson in passing yardage 280 to 206 but the Broncos were outscored 21-8 in the final 30 minutes of play. Seattle was 7 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the pigskin for 31:53, while the Broncos were 6 of 13 (0 of 3 on fourth down), holding the ball for 28:07.

The Packers managed to win the NFC North on the last day of the regular season, beating Da Bears in the Windy City 33-28. Green Bay scored the game-winner with 38 seconds left when Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb connected on a 48-yard TD pass, erasing a 28-27 deficit. Green Bay would then host San Francisco in the first round of the NFC Wild Card playoffs and they would trail 13-10 at the half, losing to the 49ers 23-20 on the near-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

This time, they meet again and it couldn’t be any better. Thursday night. The first game on the docket. The hunter is NOW the hunted. Seattle opens at home on the West Coast in a prime time contest that pits two playoff teams from the 2013 campaign.

Green Bay leads the series 8-6 and have outscored the Seahawks 364-288, with the last Packer win in the series coming in 2009 at Lambeau by a 48-10 final. As far as the coaches, McCarthy against Seattle is 3-2, while Pete Carroll against the Packers is 1-2.

The Packers have won NFC North in each of past 3 years…QB Aaron Rodgers had 104.9 rating in 2013 & is only QB in NFL history with 5 consecutive seasons with 100+ rating, has 104.9 career rating, highest in NFL history. Is 4-0 as starter on Thursdays with 115.6 rating… Pro Bowl RB Eddie Lacy was 2013 Offensive Rookie of Year. Set franchise rookie records with 1,178 rush yards & 11 rush TDs… WR Jordy Nelson had career-high 85 catches & 1,314 yards last year. WR-PR-KR Randall Cobb & Hall of Famer Gale Sayers are only 2 in NFL history with 60+ yard run, 60+ yard catch, 100+ yard KR & 80+ yard PR in 1st 3 seasons…LB A.J. HAWK led team with 118 tackles. LB Clay Matthews has 50 sacks in 69 career games. Since entering NFL in 2002, LB JULIUS PEPPERS is 2nd in NFL with 118.5 sacks. Since 2010 (including playoffs), CB Tramon Williams ranks 3rd in NFL with 19 INTs & CB SAM SHIELDS is tied for 4th with 17 INTs…

Meanwhile, the Seahawks won 1st Super Bowl in team history and Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson had 101.2 rating last year & is only QB with 100+ rating in rookie & 2nd season. 1 of 4 QBs to win SB in 1st or 2nd season. Including the playoffs, Wilson has 28 wins in 1st 2 years, most ever. Pro Bowl RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for 1,257 yards & 12 TDs last year, his 3rd season in row with 1,200+ yards & 10+ TDs. Is only NFL player to rush for 1,000+ yards & 10+ TDs in each of past 3 seasons… Seahawks led NFL in 2013 with 39 takeaways, 28 INTs & +20 turnover diff. Seattle was 1st in NFL in points allowed (231), total defense (273.6) & pass defense (172)…Pro Bowl CB Richard Sherman led NFL with 8 INTs, 1st Seahawk to lead NFL in INTs since 1993. Since entering NFL in 2011, leads NFL with 20 INTs. Pro Bowl S Earl Thomas was 1 of 2 in NFL with 100+ tackles (100), 5+ INTs (5) & 2+ FFs (2) and is the only safety in past decade with 100+ tackles, 5+ INTs & 2+ FFs in season. Pro Bowl S Kam Chancellor had 93 tackles, his 3rd season in row with 90+ tackles.

Two of the top teams in the NFC squaring off. First game of the season. For this one to not be “Drill” worthy would be like telling Bugs Bunny not to eat carrots. Having said that, here’s how it works (for those that already know, you’re excused… the rest of you pay attention! We don’t want rookie mistakes this early in the season) and because it’s a Thursday game, we’re going to modify things some.

After work, 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…) 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? We discussed her earlier. She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 56 and dates a 41-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?”

Seattle is favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under is 46. (For those of you wondering what the over/under is, that’s the total number of points that both teams are expected to score combined in the contest.) First game of the season. Packers have a score to settle. Seahawks are celebrating their first Super Bowl win in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks. 5 1/2’s a bit much, given the history between these two teams. Cheese, bratwurst and beer meet salmon and Starbucks. Seattle wins this one but they might not cover the 5 1/2.

BROADCAST: NBC at 8:30 p.m.: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Mark Malone (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood 1), 92 (Green Bay), 93 (Seattle). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 226 (Green Bay), 225 (Seattle).

Injury Report

Green Bay

OUT: TE Brandon Bostick (fibula), CB Demetri Goodson (concussion), C J.C. Tretter (knee)
PROBABLE: LB Brad Jones (quadricep)

Seattle

OUT: TE Cooper Helfet (knee), C Lemuel Jeanpierre (neck), RB Christine Michael (hamstring), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring), CB Tharold Simon (knee)
PROBABLE: LB Bruce Irvin (hip), CB Jeremy Lane (groin), WR Kevin Norwood (ankle)

Game time Weather – Sunny and 74 degrees.

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, Weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.