Archives for posts with tag: Houston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Records vs. Common Opponents

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

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

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

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

Referee: Carl Chefferss

Injury Report

ATLANTA – Atlanta reported no injuries.

New England – New England reported no injuries.

Weather Report: Game indoors

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

The National Football League and the Texas Medical Center (TMC) announced the launch of 1st and Future, the league’s annual Super Bowl start-up competition, to be held at the TMC Innovation Institute in Houston on Saturday, February 4, the day before Super Bowl LI.

The 1st and Future competition will focus on innovations that advance sports technology and athlete safety. Start-ups were allowed to submit entries in three categories— Communicating with the Athlete, Training the Athlete and Materials to Protect the Athlete—for the chance to pitch their innovation to competition judges and an exclusive audience, including NFL team owners and executives and representatives from the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and Texas Medical Center.

“We’re pleased to partner with the Texas Medical Center on this initiative to fuel innovation and advance athlete safety,” Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Policy told KPRC-TV, KHOU-TV and the Houston Chronicle. “The NFL will use its biggest stage—the Super Bowl—to continue to catalyze the development of technologies and other products that will help improve the game and promote the safety of athletes across all sports.”

The NFL and TMC will select up to nine companies from the three categories to compete in Houston. One winner from each category will be selected by a panel of judges comprising former NFL players, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. The winners will receive a $50,000 prize from the NFL to further develop their innovation; acceptance into TMCx, TMC’s world-renowned program for start-ups and two tickets to Super Bowl LI.

“TMC provides a one-of-a-kind environment where the best and brightest minds in health and technology and private companies can collaborate to drive breakthrough ideas to market and transform the health of humanity,” said Dr. Robert C. Robbins, president and CEO of TMC. “The NFL and TMC both value healthy competition, prioritize the safety of the athletes and know that we can achieve more through teamwork and collaboration. We are partnering to give sports technology and safety companies this career-changing opportunity to help advance sports and shape the future of athlete health and safety.”

TMC will livestream the 1st and Future event on the TMC website as contestants compete in the following three categories:

•Communicating with the Athlete: New technologies that will improve the secure and safe means of communication between a coach on the sideline or in the coaches’ booth and a designated player on the field.

•Training the Athlete: Educational and training innovations designed to reduce injury during practice or competition. Innovations may include training techniques or equipment.

•Materials to Protect the Athlete: Novel or innovative solutions and materials that advance player health and safety while allowing for the highest-level of performance. Innovations may include but are not limited to, materials that: improve breathability, heat dissipation or provide better protection for players by absorbing or mitigating force. These materials may be incorporated into protective equipment, padding, uniforms or footwear among other potential uses.

About TMC: Home to 57 member institutions, including 21 hospitals, 13 support organizations, nine academic and research institutions, six nursing programs, three public health organizations, three medical schools, two universities, two pharmacy schools and a dental school, TMC operates the world’s largest medical city with eight million patients and family encounters with doctors, nurses and staff at TMC every year. TMC is dedicated to reinventing life sciences to improve the health and wellness of Houston and the world. Learn more at tmc.edu.

The NFL and American Heart Association, together with Discovery Education, hosted the first-ever AHA-NFL PLAY 60 Challenge Virtual Field Trip (VFT) live from Houston on Tuesday, January 31 from the NFL Experience Driven by Genesis. The free virtual experience was live-streamed in classrooms across the country, reaching thousands of students. Houston Texans players Whitney Mercilus and Christian Covington and the American Heart Association’s Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D. taught students the science behind cardio and strength exercises that NFL players use to stay fit and active. The hour-long session featured a Q&A, a physical activity session designed for a classroom setting and a behind-the-scenes look at the Houston Texans practice facility and Houston’s Health Museum.

“The NFL is always seeking ways to innovate the PLAY 60 campaign and get kids active and healthy through the use of modern technology. We are excited to work with the American Heart Association and Discovery Education to provide new resources to classrooms nationwide to make physical activity easy and fun,” NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility Anna Issacson told the Houston Chronicle. “The VFT is an example of how to creatively use technology and digital resources to teach students the importance of a healthy lifestyle.”

The NFL and the American Heart Association teamed in 2006 to create the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge to meet the American Heart Association’s recommendation of at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Research has shown that physical activity leads to increased academic performance, and that in-classroom physical activity breaks improve cognitive skills and classroom behavior.

“Our collaboration with the NFL and Discovery Education helps to instill knowledge and healthy habits in young audiences in diverse populations across the country,” said Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association Eduardo Sanchez,, M.D. “Prevention is key to improving cardiovascular health and reducing heart disease and its risk factors, and engaging children in fun programs like the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge is a strategy to start early to get kids to be physically active and to help build future generations of adults with good health.”

In addition to the Virtual Field Trip, the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge includes lesson plans that help teachers explain the impact of physical activity on health and wellness, a series of quick workout videos featuring Washington Redskins’ player RYAN KERRIGAN and fun activities designed to get the entire family up and moving.

“A student’s health and wellbeing can have a tremendous impact on their classroom performance,” said Discovery Education Senior Vice President Lori McFarling. “Discovery Education is pleased to partner with the American Heart Association and National Football League to bring this event to schools nationwide, as it provides educators an engaging ‘teachable moment’ in which they can discuss with their students the importance of physical activity and the great impact it has on all areas of their lives.”

For more information about the upcoming Virtual Field Trip or the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, visit http://www.aha-nflplay60challenge.org/. To register for the Virtual Field Trip, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/get-moving-nfl-play-60-challenge-virtual-field-trip-registration-27283873801.,

About NFL PLAY 60: For nearly a decade, NFL PLAY 60 has brought together the NFL’s long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations to increase physical activity among youth. Since the program was launched in 2007, the NFL has committed more than $325 million to youth health and fitness through programming, grants, and media time for public service announcements. The NFL and its teams have constructed more than 200 NFL Youth Fitness Zones and integrated programs into more than 73,000 schools since the campaign launched. NFL PLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL’s in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit http://www.nflrush.com/play60.

About the American Heart Association: The American Heart Association is devote to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Discovery Education: Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the United Kingdom and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at http://www.discoveryeducation.com.

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

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

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

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

NFL EXPERIENCE DRIVEN BY GENESIS

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

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

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

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

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

2017 NFL Experience Driven by Genesis Hours of Operation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Times are Central Time and are subject to change)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Super Bowl LIVE Hours of Operation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL PLAYER CARE FOUNDATION SCREENINGS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL FOUNDATION GOLF TOURNAMENT: “Legends on the Links”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHARACTER PLAYBOOK HOUSTON LAUNCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other environmental projects include:

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

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

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

The NFL announced that Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade will feature performances by rock band X AMBASSADORS and an appearance by Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon. Held on Monday, January 30th at 7 p.m. Central Time, Super Bowl Opening Night will mark the first time that players and coaches meet with thousands of media members at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

“We are thrilled to kick-off Super Bowl Opening Night with X Ambassadors and Warren Moon,” Peter O’Reilly, NFL Senior Vice President of Events told KHOU-TV, KPRC-TV and the Houston Chronicle.. “As fans in Houston will experience first-hand, this year’s Super Bowl Week features more events, more entertainment and more excitement than ever before.”

“Being able to perform at Super Bowl Opening Night is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said X AMBASSADORS. “We look forward to putting on an electrifying show as part of the amazing festivities occurring during Super Bowl Week.”

Moon said, “I will always be grateful to the City of Houston and its fans for giving me a chance to play professional football.” I am excited to return to my second home and to help fans experience the energy of the big game before kickoff on Sunday.”

X AMBASSADORS’ debut full-length album VHS was released in June 2015 where it debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and it has since been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The set features the platinum selling singles “Renegades” and “Unsteady.” In 2016, the group set out their VHS 2.0 Tour, which included stops at festivals such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. X Ambassadors have been nominated for two Billboard Music Awards, including Top Rock Artist and Top Rock Song for “Renegades.”

Fans will have two opportunities to see X AMBASSADORS perform during Super Bowl Opening Night – first at “Halftime” between AFC and NFC media availabilities at approximately 8:15 p.m. and then following the conclusion of media sessions at approximately 10 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at Ticketmaster.com.

Fans in attendance will also enjoy special appearances and autographs by NFL Legends, headlined by former NFL quarterback Warren Moon. A staple of the Houston community, Moon started for the Houston Oilers from 1984-1993, breaking numerous franchise records including most passing yards and most touchdown passes.

SUPER BOWL OPENING NIGHT, to be televised live on NFL Network, ESPN2 and FS1, will also feature cheerleaders, team mascots and a red carpet fan photo opportunity. The event will culminate with an enormous fireworks display, kicking off week-long festivities surrounding SUPER BOWL LI, which will be played on February 5, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

For more information and updates on other event-related celebrations, visit SuperBowl.com or follow @SuperBowl on Twitter. (All times posted are Central Standard).

Four weeks down… 13 to go.

Welcome to the quarter pole in the 2016 NFL season.

The first quarter of the NFL season is over and more than half of the league’s teams (18) have a .500 or better record. But there’s a lot of season left to be played.

“We had a pretty good first quarter,” Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones told WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the team’s 3-1 start to the season. “There’s still a lot of improvement we have to do, but it comes with practice. Repetition is the key. We’ve got to keep practicing, getting better and playing for each other.”

There are three unbeaten teams remaining – Denver (4-0), Minnesota (4-0) and Philadelphia (3-0). Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 64 of the previous 77 teams (83.1 percent) to start 4-0 have made the playoffs.

But all 32 teams know there’s room for improvement. And while not every club has gotten off to a great start, nothing is a given in the NFL.

Since 1990, 117 teams (37.5 percent of the 312 playoff clubs) have advanced to the postseason after starting the season 2-2 or worse. There were six such teams – Houston (1-3), Kansas City (1-3), Minnesota (2-2), Pittsburgh (2-2), Seattle (2-2) and Washington (2-2) – last season, including three division winners (Houston, Minnesota and Washington).

“I feel a lot better,” says Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan about the Bills evening their record at 2-2 after an 0-2 start. “We know we have a good football team and we’ve just got to stick together. That’s exactly what we’ve done and how we’ve dug ourselves out of this 0-2 hole.”

That’s all part of the unpredictability of the NFL. So entering Week 5, while it certainly helps to be near the top of the standings, don’t count anyone out. As the saying goes, “on any given day…”

Following are highlights from the first quarter of the 2016 NFL season:

NFL MILESTONES
•CLOSE GAMES: Through Week 4, 47 games have been decided by eight points or fewer, tied for the most in a season’s first four weeks in NFL history (2004).

Most games decided by eight points or fewer through Week 4:

SEASON- GAMES DECIDED BY EIGHT POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 4
2016 – 47
2004 – 47
2007 – 45
2011 – 45
2013 – 45

COMEBACKS: Through Week 4, five games have been won by teams which trailed by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter, the fourth-most in NFL history.

Most games won after trailing by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter through Week 4:

SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING BY 10+ POINTS IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 4
1999 – 7
2011 – 7
1989 – 6
2016 – 5

TEAMS
•UNDEFEATED: Three NFL teams are left standing unbeaten – Denver (4-0), Minnesota (4-0) and Philadelphia (3-0) – are undefeated through Week 4. Philadelphia had a bye last week and squares off against the Lions in Detroit, while the defending Super Bowl champs host Atlanta in the Mile High City and Minneosta has a date with the Houston Texans in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Since 1990, 64 of 77 teams (83.1 percent) that started the season 4-0 have qualified for the playoffs.

•FLYING FALCONS: In Week 4, the Atlanta Falcons defeated Carolina 48-33 to improve to 3-1 and take first place in the NFC South. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan (503 passing yards) and wide receiver Julio Jones (300 receiving yards) each set single-game franchise records against NFC South foe Carolina last week at home. The Falcons became the first team in NFL history to have a 500-yard passer and 300-yard receiver in the same game.

•MONSTROUS MINNESOTA: The Minnesota Vikings had eight sacks in the team’s 22-10 victory at Carolina in Week 3. The eight sacks are tied for the third-most in a road game in team history and the most in a road game by the Vikings since December 28, 2003 at Arizona.

•In Week 1, the Kansas City Chiefs extended their regular-season winning streak to 11 games with a 33-27 overtime victory over San Diego at Arrowhead. The Chiefs overcame a 21-point deficit and are the first team in NFL history to extend a winning streak of at least 10 games with a 21+ point comeback victory.

PLAYERS

•CLIMBING THE CHARTS:

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has 62,172 career passing yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (61,361) for the third-most all-time.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has 45,373 career passing yards and surpassed Drew Bledsoe (44,611) to move into 10th place in NFL history.

Indianapolis running back Frank Gore has 12,293 career rushing yards and passed Marcus Allen (12,243), Edgerrin James (12,246) and Marshall Faulk (12,279) to move into 10th place in NFL history.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has three touchdown catches this season, bringing his career total to 101. He surpassed Don Huston (99), Steve Largent (100) and Tim Brown (100) for eighth place all-time.

Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. has 14,213 career receiving yards and moved into ninth place in NFL history.

Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski has 53 career 50+ yard field goals and passed Jason Hanson (52) for the most in NFL history.

•Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the Seahawks’ 27-17 win at the New York Jets in Week 4. Wilson has 25 career games with multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most by a player in NFL history in his first five seasons to begin a career.

•Washington tight end Jordan Reed had nine catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins’ 31-20 win over Cleveland in Week 4 in Landover. Reed has 207 career catches and reached 200 receptions in his 38th game. He is the fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 200 career catches, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (39 games).

•RISING ROOKIES:

Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott completed 23 of 32 passes (71.9 percent) for 245 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Cowboys’ 24-17 win at San Francisco in Week 4. Prescott has no interceptions in his first 131 attempts, the most pass attempts by a rookie without an interception to begin a career. Prescott’s 131 pass attempts are also the most by a player who did not throw an interception in his first four career games.

Philadelphia rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who had a bye in Week 4, has not thrown an interception in his first 102 pass attempts during the first three games of his career. Wentz, who has passed for 769 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions this season, is the only rookie in NFL history with a touchdown pass and no interceptions in each of his first three games in a season.

Houston rookie wide receiver Will Fuller had a five-yard touchdown reception and a 67-yard punt-return TD in the Texans’ 27-20 win over Tennessee in Week 4. Fuller is the fourth rookie in the past 15 years to record both a touchdown catch and a punt-return TD in the same game, the only rookie in NFL history to have 300 or more receiving yards (323) and a punt-return touchdown in his team’s first four games of a season and the only rookie in NFL history to have 300 or more receiving yards (323) and a punt-return touchdown in his team’s first four games of a season.

STILL IN THE MIX: Since the current playoff format (12 teams) was instituted in 1990, 27 teams have rebounded from a losing record after four weeks to qualify for the postseason. Four of those clubs advanced to their Conference Championship Games, including the 2001 New England Patriots (1-3) en route to a Super Bowl XXXVI victory.

Since 1990, the teams that started 1-3 or worse and made the playoffs:
YEAR – TEAM (RECORD, ADVANCED TO:)
1990 – New Orleans (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1990 – Philadelphia (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1991 – New York Jets (1-3, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1992 – San Diego (0-4, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
1993 – Green Bay (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
1993 – Houston Oilers (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
1995 – Detroit (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1995 – Philadelphia (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
1996 – Dallas (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
1996 – Jacksonville (1-3, AFC Championship Game)
1997 – New York Giants (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
1998 – Buffalo (1-3, AFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2000 – New Orleans (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2001 – New England (1-3, Won Super Bowl XXXVI)
2002 – Atlanta (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2002 – Tennessee (1-3, AFC Championship Game)
2002 – New York Jets (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2002 – Pittsburgh (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2004 – Green Bay (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2005 – Chicago (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2007 – San Diego (1-3, AFC Championship Game)
2008 – Minnesota (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2011 – Denver (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)
2013 – Carolina (1-3, NFC Divisional Playoffs)
2013 – Philadelphia (1-3, NFC Wild Card Playoffs)
2015 – Houston (1-3, Wild Card Playoffs)
2015 – Kansas City (1-3, AFC Divisional Playoffs)

MARVELOUS MANNING: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who looks to earn his 100th regular-season win on Sunday, has 298 touchdown passes in his 13-year career.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday night at Green Bay, Manning will become the eighth quarterback in NFL history with 300 touchdown passes.

The quarterbacks with 300 career touchdown passes:

PLAYER – CAREER TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Peyton Manning – 539
Brett Favre – 508
Drew Brees – 438
Tom Brady – 428
Dan Marino – 420
Fran Tarkenton – 342
John Elway – 300
Eli Manning – 298

FANTASTIC FRANK: Indianapolis running back Frank Gore has 12,293 rushing yards in his 12-year career.

With 20 rushing yards on Sunday against Chicago, Gore will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (12,312) for the ninth-most rushing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most career rushing yards in NFL history:
PLAYER – CAREER RUSHING YARDS
Emmitt Smith – 18,355
Walter Payton – 16,726
Barry Sanders – 15,269
Curtis Martin – 14,101
LaDainian Tomlinson – 13,684
Jerome Bettis – 13,662
Eric Dickerson – 13,259
Tony Dorsett – 12,739
Jim Brown – 12,312
Frank Gore – 12,293*
*Active

DAZZLING DAK: Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has completed 89 of 131 pass attempts (67.9 percent) for 1,012 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in four starts this season. Prescott’s 131 pass attempts without an interception are the most pass attempts by a rookie without an interception to begin a career.

Philadelphia rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has completed 102 passes without an interception in three career games, second only to Prescott (131) for the most pass attempts by a rookie without an interception to begin a career.

Prescott, with 32 pass attempts and no interceptions on Sunday against Cincinnati, will surpass Tom Brady (162) for the most pass attempts without an interception to start a career. He is currently tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon (131).

The players with the most pass attempts without an interception to start a career:

PLAYER – PASS ATTEMPTS WITHOUT INTERCEPTION TO START CAREER
Tom Brady – 162
Warren Moon – 131
Dak Prescott – 131*
*Active streak

FAST STARTER: Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian has led the Broncos to a 4-0 start. Siemian, who made his first career start in Week 1, has passed for 824 yards with six touchdowns for a 99.6 passer rating this season.

With a win on Sunday against Atlanta, the Broncos would become the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to start 5-0 with a quarterback who had never previously started a game entering the season.

The teams to start a season 5-0 with a quarterback who never previously started a game (since 1966):
TEAM – YEAR (STARTING QUARTERBACK, RECORD THROUGH 5 GAMES)
Los Angeles Rams – 1985 (Dieter Brock, 5-0)
St. Louis Rams – 1999 (Kurt Warner, 5-0)
Minnesota Vikings – 2000 (Daunte Culpepper, 5-0)
Denver Broncos – 2016 (Trevor Siemian, 4-0)*
*Through 4 games

Week 5 began on Thursday night with a divisional contest as the Arizona Cardinals visited and took down the San Francisco 49ers 33-21 and concludes with a pair of primetime matches as the Green Bay Packers host the New York Giants on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Carolina Panthers on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Byes this week: Jacksonville (recovering from jet lag), Kansas City, New Orleans and Seattle. As for last week? 11-5, which means for the season, we’re 42-22, which is not bad. It could be better but it’s not bad. With that, here are the picks for Sunday and Monday’s NFL Week 5 contests.

ATLANTA (3-1) at Denver (4-0), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of first-place teams meet in the Mile High City as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons travel westward to face off against the defending Super Bowl champs.

Both teams come into the week five contest at Sports Authority Field at Mile High with victories under their respective belts.

Atlanta once again beat Cam Newton and Carolina in the Georgia Dome, this time manhandling the defending NFC Champs 48-33. Atlanta led 17-10 at the break and then the two teams slugged it out in the final 30 minutes of action. Ryan threw for 503 yards and four TDs, including one to All-Pro wR Julio Jones (300 yards on 12 catches), while Newton threw for 165 yards and a TD before being taken out of the contest with a concussion. Atlanta outrushed their NFC South rivals 90-49 and forced two Carolina turnovers, turning one of them into a TD to ice the contest away. Atlanta was 8 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 33:49, while Carolina was 7 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth), keeping the ball for 26:11.

Denver broke a 7-7 first quarter tie at Tampa Bay last Sunday and came away 27-7 winners in the Sunshine State. Denver led 17-7 at the break and then went on to shutout the Buccaneers 10-0 in the final 30 minutes of play, which included for the second Sunday in a row a weather delay in Tampa. Denver outrushed Tampa Bay 89-72 and sacked Jameis Winston five times, picking him off twice. The defending Super Bowl champs were 3 of 13 on third down tries, while keeping the ball for 31:24. As for Tampa Bay, they were 5 of 16 and 0 of 1, holding on to the ball for 28:36.

Denver leads the series 8-5 and have outscored Atlanta 362-312. Atlanta won the last meeting in 2012 by a final of 27-21 in the Big Peach, while Denver last beat Atlanta 24-20 in 2008, also in the Big Peach. The Broncos are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Both teams are in first place in their respective divisons, both teams took big wins last week and this one could be one of the best games to watch this week. In fact, we’re going to go ahead and make this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

When play started, there were three teams that were unbeaten. At the end of the day, there’ll be two. Atlanta pulls the upset out west and cover the 3 1/2.

New England (3-1) at Cleveland (0-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Tom Brady makes his return to the NFL as the New England Patriots travel to the shores of Lake Erie for a meeting with the struggling Browns. This was to be known as the “Suspension Bowl” as Brady would come back from his suspension for “Deflategate,” while Gordon was coming off his 4-game suspension for substance abuse. Brady is back. Gordon decided that rehab would be the best course for him, so he’s done for the year.

New England fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last Sunday in Foxboro, losing to Buffalo 16-0 at Gillette Stadium. Le Sean McCoy scored the game’s only TD in the contest early and the Pats could never really recover, trailing 13-0 at the intermisson. Buffalo outrushed New England 134-90 and backup QB Jacoby Brissett (205 yards) was sacked three times, while Bills signal caller Tyrod Taylor (246 yards, TD) was sacked twice. The Brady-less Pats were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:49, while the Bills held on to the ball for 36:11, going 7 of 15 on third down.

Cleveland let a 20-17 lead against Washington leave their grasp as the Redskins bounced back in the fourth quarter to fall 31-20 in Landover. The Browns led with 9:25 left in the third on a 45-yard field goal by Chris Parkey before Washington stormed back to retake the lead for keeps. Chris Thompson and Matt Jones gave Washington the lead for good with their TDs in the fourth quarter as the Browns fell to their fourth loss in as many tries. Cleveland outrushed Washington 163-145 in the contest at Landover (Jones led all rushers with 117, while Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell ran for 112), while Cody Keesler threw for 223 yards and a TD, while Kirk Cousins had 183 yards with three TDs and three sacks. Washington on third down? 4 of 8 and the Redskins kept the ball for 31:03, while the Browns kept the pigskin for 28:57, going 8 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Suprisingly, the Browns hold a 12-10 lead in the series and have outscored the Pats 415-379. They last met in 2013 in Foxboro and the Pats came away with a 27-26 win, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2010 along the shores of Lake Erie, taking a 34-14 win in the process.

New England’s favored by 10 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. While the Browns are bad, they’re not 10 1/2 bad. Cleveland will make things close but Brady makes his return to the gridiron a good one. New England’s taking this one but they won’t cover the 10 1/2.

Tennessee (1-3) at Miami (1-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling clubs meet in the Sunshine State as Tennessee travels to South Beach for a meeting with the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Tennessee made things a little close for their fan base in Nashville last Sunday as they rallied to tie Houston 20-20 with 56 seconds left in the third before the Texans’ Will Fuller broke Titans hearts with a 67-yard punt return to beat Tennessee 27-20 in the Lone Star State. Tennessee did manage to outrush Houston 124-115 and Marcus Mariota threw for 202 yards with a sack and an interception (DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 95 yards and a pair of TDs), while Brock Osweiler threw for 254 yards with a pair of TDs. Both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down tries and on third down, the Titans were 7 of 15, while Houston was 5 of 12 and the clock favored Tennessee at 31:42 to Houston’28:18.

Miami led briefly at Cincinnati last Thursday night on a 74-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill to WR Kenny Stills with 9:04 left in the first quarter before the Bengals’ Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green connected on a 7-yard TD pass of their own to drop Miami 22-7. Miami trailed led 16-7 at the intermission and the Dolphins offense never got on track as Mike Nugent would close out the scoring in the contest with four field goals to seal Miami’s fate. Cincy outrushed Miami 77-62 and Dalton outpaced Tannehill in passing 296-189, while the Bengal defense sacked Tannehill five times and forced a pair of turnovers. Cincinnati was somewhat dismal on third down tries, going 3 of 15 (they did find perfection in their only fourth down conversion) and ruled the clock, as they held the ball for 38:02, while the Dolphins held on to the pigskin for 21:58, while going 2 of 11 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Miami leads the series 19-15 and have outscored Tennessee 650-635 (which includes contests that took place in the old Orange Bowl and games that took place in Houston when the team was known as the Oilers). Miami won the last meeting between the two clubs in the Music City last year, taking a 38-10 win at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee’s last win in the series? 2012, when the Titans won in the Sunshine State by a 37-3 final.

In the week six contest, Miami led 17-3 at the half and held Tennessee and Mariota (219 yards) in check in the final 30 minutes of play. Tennessee was held to 63 yards on the ground, while Miami ran for 180 (RB Lance Miller ran for 113 of those yards). Tannehill threw for 266 yards and a pair of TDs in the road win, while Mariota was sacked five times and picked off twice. Miami, in taking advantage of four Tennessee turnovers, was 5 of 9 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:53, while the Titans kept it for 28:07, going 2 of 10 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Miami’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. This one could be affected by the weather and could be closer than the 3 1/2. Tennesee will make this interesting but Miami comes away with the win.

Houston (3-1) at Minnesota (4-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Houston travels to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a meeting with the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings in a battle of contending teams.

Houston broke a 20-20 tie in with 56 seconds left in the third thanks to a Will Fuller 65-yard punt return to beat Tennessee 27-20 in the Lone Star State. The Texans led 20-17 at the break before Ron Succop kicked a 26-yard field Goal with 7:04 left in the third. Although Tennessee did manage to outrush Houston 124-115, Brock Osweiler threw for 254 yards and a pair of TDs, while Marcus Mariota threw for 202 yards with a sack and an interception (DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 95 yards and a pair of TDs). Both clubs failed in their only fourth down conversion try at NRG Stadium and Houston was 5 of 12 on third down, while the former Houston team went 7 of 15. Time was on the side of the Titans’ who held the ball for  31:42 to Houston’s 28:18.

Minnesota took Eli Manning and the Giants to the woodshed Monday night at US Bank Stadium, coming away 24-10 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Vikings led 14-3 at the break in the great indoors and never looked back, holding the Giants to 78 yards on the ground (Minnesota tallied 104 yards of rushing). The Purple Gang forced a pair of turnovers in the primetime contest, while Sam Bradford barely outpaced Manning 262-261 but Bradford threw a TD pass to TE Kyle Rudolph in the contest. Minnesota went 8 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 35:32, while the Giants were 2 of 12 (0 of 2 on fourth), holding the ball for 24:28.

They’ve only met three times and the Vikings are 3-0 in the meetings, with Minnesota’s last win coming in 2012 in Houston by a final of 23-6. Minnesota has also outscored the Texans 85-55 in the series. Minnesota’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 39 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Houston’s good but the Vikings are a little better and they’ll stay unbeaten, even though they may not cover the 6.

New York Jets (1-3) at Pittsburgh (3-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTv 708. A pair of AFC teams going in opposite directions meet in the Steel City as Pittsburgh hosts the New York Jets.

Seattle QB Russell Wilson (309 yards) threw three TDs as the Seahawks took GangGreen 27-17 at Met Life Stadium. Seattle led 14-10 at the break and never looked back, holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to 58 yards rushing (Seattle ran for 66) and sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick (261 yards, 3 interceptions) four times. GangGreen was 7 of 15 on third down tries, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:15, while Seattle held the pigskin for 30:45 and went 3 of 10 on third down conversions.

The Steelers bounced back from their loss to cross-state rival Philadelphia and took Kansas City 43-13. Pittsburgh scored the first 36 points of the Sunday night contest at Heinz Field unchallenged and were never challenged by Alex Smith (287 yards, 2 TDs, 4 sacks, interception) and the Chiefs. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell did his best Jerome Bettis impression, rushing for 144 of Pittsburgh’s 149 yards, while the Steel Curtain held Kansas City to 87. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger bounced back from his bad performance in Philly and threw for 300 yards and five TDs with no interceptions, although the Chiefs’ defense made things somewhat hard for him, sacking him twice. Pittsburgh went 6 of 11 on third down tries last Sunday night and held on to the ball for 29:24, while Kansas City ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:36 and went 8 of 17 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Pittsburgh leads the series 17-5 with GangGreen and the Steelers have outscored the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 489-273 (which includes contests that were played in New York City when GangGreen played their home games at Shea Stadium). Both clubs took their last wins in the series along the Jersey shore; New York came away 20-13 winners in 2014, while the Steelers’ last win came in 2013 by a final of 19-6. Pittsburgh’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are bad right now but they’re not 7 points bad. Still, they’re on the road and they’re in Pittsburgh. Steelers may not cover the 7 but they do win at Heinz.

Washington (2-2) at Baltimore (3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. They sit 38 miles apart from each other and for only the sixth time, Washington and Baltimore meet as the Redskins travel to Charm City for a meeting with the Baltimore Ravens.

The defending NFC East champs trailed Cleveland 20-17 in Landover and rallied with a pair of fourth quarter TDs by Chris Thomspson and Matt Jones scored a pair of TDs to take the 31-20 win over the winless Browns. Cleveland led by three with 9:25 left in the third on a 45-yard field goal by Chris Parkey before Washington stormed back to retake the lead for keeps. The Browns outrushed Washington 163-145 in the contest at Landover (Jones led all rushers with 117, while Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell ran for 112), while Cody Keesler threw for 223 yards and a TD, while Kirk Cousins had 183 yards with three TDs and three sacks. The Redskins on third down were 4 of 8 and the Redskins kept the ball for 31:03, while the Browns kept the pigskin for 28:57, going 8 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Ravens allowed a 27-21 lead against Oakland get away from them and came away on the short end of a 28-27 loss to the Silver and Black last Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City. Baltimore, who trailed 14-6 at the break, outscored Oakland in the second half 21-14 and led late in the game when David Carr (199 yards, 4 TDs) and Michael Crabtree connected on their third TD of the afternoon, a 23-yard strike that gave the Raiders the lead for keeps. Baltimore then saw a late rally fizzle when Joe Flacco (298 yards, TD) threw four consecutive incomplete passes to end any chance of a comeback.

Ravens RB Terrance West led all rushers with 113 yards and a TD, while his team tallied 130, outpacing Oakland, who had 62. Baltimore was 5 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions in Charm City, while they kept the ball for 34:44. The Raiders, who held the pigskin for 25:16, went 3 of 12 on third down conversions.

Baltimore leads the series 3-2 and have outscored Washington 92-78. Washington came away 31-28 overtime winners in Landover in 2012 in the last meeting, while the Ravens’ last win  came in 2008 in Charm City by a final of 24-10.

Baltimore’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Baltimore makes this one close but they’ll fall short. Redskins fans will once again sing “Hail To The Redskins” instead of “Hell! It’s the Redskins” this week. Washington covers the 4 and wins in Charm City.

Philadelphia (3-0) at Detroit (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. The unbeaten Eagles come back to action from their vacation to travel to the Motor City for a meeting with the Lions at Ford Field.

Philly comes back from their bye week after taking Ben Roethlisberger (257 yards, interception) and the Steelers to the woodshed two Sundays ago 34-3. The Eagles led 13-3 at the half and shut out the Steelers in the second half, scoring their final 21 points unchallenged. Philadelphia held the Steeler ground game in check in the City of Brotherly Love, holding them to a season-low 29 yards (they ran for 125) and Wentz threw for 301 yards and a pair of TDs without an interception (connecting with WR Darrell Sproles on one toss), while sacking Roethlisberger four times at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles went 4 of 10 on third down and kept the ball for 34:56, while the Steelers were 4 of 11 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, holding on to the pigskin for 25:04.

Detroit came away on the short end of a 17-14 loss to Chicago last Sunday at Solider Field. Chicago led 7-3 at the break but Detroit managed to outscore Da Bears in the second half 11-10 to make things closer than Bears fans wanted. Chicago Rookie RB Jordan Howard ran for 111 of Chicago’s 114 yards, while the Lions tallied 66 and Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and a pair of TDs, while Matthew Stafford threw for 213 and was picked off twice. Chicago on third down was 5 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:14, while the Lions were 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:46.

Including contests that took place in Portsmouth when the Lions were known as the Spartans, the Eagles lead the series   15-14-2 and have outscored the Lions 631-622. The Lions were 45-14 winners on Thanksgiving Day last year in the Motor City, while Philly’s last win over Detroit came in 2013 in the City of Brotherly Love by a final of 34-20.

In the week 12 Turkey Day contest, Detroit led 24-7 at the break and it would not be a good day for the Eagles, as they held to 68 yards rushing, Mark Sanchez was sacked six times and Stafford and Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) connected for three TDs in front of the home crowd at Ford Field. Stafford threw for 337 yards, while Johnson caught eight passes for 93 yards. Detroit was 5 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 37:11, while the Eagles were on third down 6 of 14, keeping the ball for 22:49.

Philly’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46. It’s possible that the over/under could be reached by halftime, given that both QBs are pretty good. That’s where things come to an end. Eagles fly off with the win in the Motor City and covers the 3.

Chicago (1-3) at Indianapolis (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of 1-3 teams meet in the Hoosier State as the Colts and Andrew Luck host Da Bears.

Chicago took Detroit to task in the Windy City last Sunday, coming away 17-14 winners at Solider Field. Although they led 7-3 at the break, Detroit managed to outscore Da Bears in the second half 11-10 to make things closer than Bears fans wanted. Rookie RB Jordan Howard ran for 111 of Chicago’s 114 yards, while the Lions tallied 66 and Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and a pair of TDs, while Matthew Stafford threw for 213 and was picked off twice. Chicago on third down was 5 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:14, while the Lions were 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 26:46.

Indianapolis returns to the United States after their trip across the Big Pond, coming out on the short end of a 30-27 loss to Jacksonville in London at Wembley Stadium Sunday morning. The Colts trailed 17-6 at the half but did manage to rule the second half, outscoring the Jaguars 21-13 in the final 30 minutes of action. Jacksonville did outrush Indy 136-94 but Luck outpassed Blake Bortles 234-207, with each man throwing a pair of TDs (Luck was sacked six times in the loss). Indy on third down was 9 of 17 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:39, while the Jaguars were 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the ball for 27:21.

Including contests that took place in Baltimore and at Wrigley Field, the Colts lead the series 22-19 and have outscored Da Bears 869-849. Chicago won the last two meetings in the series, including a 41-21 win in the Windy City in 2012, while the Colts’ last win came in 2004 (also in the Windy City) by a 41-10 tally.

Indy’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2 and those numbers sound right. We’d understand if you took a pass on this one and watched that “Mythbusters” marathon on Science Channel but if you’re a fan of either of these teams, by all means watch. Indy gets to reject your reality and substitute its own and takes the win back home again in Indiana, covering the 4 1/2.

Cincinnati (2-2) at Dallas (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. Cincinnati, trying to right itself, travels to the Lone Star State for a late afternoon contest in Arlington as the Cowboys host the Bengals in JerryWorld (aka AT&T Stadium).

Cincinnati trailed briefly against Miami on a 74-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill to WR Kenny Stills with 9:04 left in the first quarter before Dalton and WR A.J. Green connected on a 7-yard TD pass of their own to come away 22-7 winners last Thursday night. The Bengals led 16-7 at the intermission and never looked back as Mike Nugent would close out the scoring in the contest with four field goals to seal Miami’s fate. Cincy outrushed Miami 77-62 and Dalton outpaced Tannehill in passing 296-189, while the Bengal defense sacked Tannehill five times and forced a pair of turnovers. Cincinnati was somewhat dismal on third down tries, going 3 of 15 (they did find perfection in their only fourth down conversion) and ruled the clock, as they held the ball for 38:02, while the Dolphins held on to the pigskin for 21:58, while going 2 of 11 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Dallas erased a 14-14 tie at the intermission and came away 24-17 winners at Levi’s Stadium. Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot (TD) ran for 138 of his team’s 194 yards, while San Francisco tallied 106, while 49ers QB Blaine Gabbard threw for 196 yards with a TD, sack and an interception. For Dallas, rookie QB Dak Prescott threw for 245 yards and a pair of TDs on the West Coast. San Francisco was 8 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down conversions and kept the ball for 23:33, while Dallas ruled the clock, holding the ball for 36:27 and going 6 of 14 on third down tries.

Dallas holds a 7-4 lead in the series, has outscored the Bengals 283-258 and won the last two meetings, including a 20-19 win in Cincy in 2012. The Bengals’ last win? 2004 in Cincy, coming away 26-3 winners. Dallas is favored by 1 and the over/under is 45 1/2. Both teams can be either really good or really bad. Which team will show up is the bigger question. The Dallas team that took San Francisco to task will be the one that shows up this week. Cowboys cover the 1 and win at home.

Buffalo (2-2) at Los Angeles (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. It’s Buffalo wings vs. California spring rolls as the Bills take their wagons to Hollywood for a late afternoon date with the rams.

Buffalo knocked New England from the ranks of the unbeaten last Sunday in Foxboro, shutting out the Pats 16-0 at Gillette Stadium. Le Sean McCoy scored the game’s only TD in the contest early and the Pats could never really recover, trailing 13-0 at the intermisson. Buffalo outrushed New England 134-90 and backup QB Jacoby Brissett (205 yards) was sacked three times, while Bills signal caller Tyrod Taylor (246 yards, TD) was sacked twice. Buffalo played keep-away with the ball, holding it for 38:11 and going 7 of 15 on third down tries, while the Brady-less Pats were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:49.

Arizona led Los Angeles 13-10 at the end of 45 minutes of play before the Rams rallied to take the lead with a 4 yard TD pass from Case Keenum to WR Brian Quick with 2:36 left in regulation, giving the Rams a 17-13 win in Glendale. Arizona and Los Angeles were tied 10-10 at the half before the Desert Angry Birds took the lead on a 21 yard fieid goal by Chandler Catanzaro as the third quarter came to an end. Arizona held Los Angeles to 41 yards on the ground, while rushing for 119 and Keenum threw for 266 yards an a pair of TDs in the desert. Los Angeles forced five turnovers, held the ball for 27:51, going 6 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, while Arizona was 6 of 13 third down-wise, keeping the ball for 32:09.

Buffalo leads the series 6-5, which includes contests that were played in Los Angeles and St. Louis and the Bills have outscored the Rams 262-220. Each team’s last wins in the series came in the other team’s ballparks; The Rams took a 15-12 win along the shores of Lake Erie in 2012, while Buffalo’s last win came in 2008 by final of 31-14 in St. Louis.

The Rams are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 39 1/2. While both teams are pretty decent, it’s still early and there’s a lot of football left on the docket. Los Angeles has three of their wins coming by 6 points or less and that could be the case this week. Bills make it interesting but Rams fans will love LA. Los Angeles covers the 2 1/2 and wins in Tinseltown.

San Diego (1-3) at Oakland (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. They’re separated by 491 miles up I-5 and are six hours away from each other. They once shared the same city in Southern California and they get to square off against each other Sunday afternoon as the Chargers and Raiders meet in a huge AFC West showdown.

Once again, San Diego blew another lead and this time, it was at the hands of one of their former players. Leading New Orleans 24-14 at the half, the Chargers allowed the Saints to first chip away at the lead and then see that lead eventually leave as they would lose to Drew Brees and the Saints 35-34 last Sunday at Qualcomm.

Neither club did much to write about rushing-wise and neither club broke the 100-yard barrier but New Orleans did outrush San Diego 83-38 and Brees threw for 207 yards and a interception, while Rivers threw for 321 yards in a losing cause (both men threw a pair of TDs passes). San Diego on third down tries went 6 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:21, while the Saints hung on to the pigskin for 32:39 and was 11 of 18 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Oakland trailed 27-21 lead at Baltimore and came away 28-27 winners against the Ravens last Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City. Oakland led 14-6 at the break, found themselves being outscored by the Ravens the second half 21-14 and led late in the game when David Carr (199 yards, 4 TDs) and Michael Crabtree connected on their third TD of the afternoon, a 23-yard strike that gave the Raiders the lead for keeps. Baltimore then saw a late rally fizzle when Joe Flacco (298 yards, TD) threw four consecutive incomplete passes to end any chance of a comeback.

Baltimore outrushed Oakland 130-62, with Ravens RB Terrance West leading all rushers with 113 yards and a TD. Baltimore was 5 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions in Charm City, while they kept the ball for 34:44. Oakland, who held the pigskin for 25:16, went 3 of 12 on third down conversions.

Including contests that took place when BOTH teams were in Los Angeles, the Silver and Black lead the series 60-50-2, have outscored the Bolts 2,468-2,415 and swept last year’s meetings (San Diego swept the year before).

First round… week seven down the coast at Qualcomm. Oakland led 30-6 at the half and then held off the Chargers in the second half, coming away 37-29 winners. Oakland outrushed San Diego in the first meeting 130-90 and while both Carr (289 yards) and Rivers (336 yards) each threw three TD passes, both men were sacked once and Rivers threw a pair of interceptions downstate. The Chargers, despite losing by 8, was 8 of 16 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 29:11, while the Raiders ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:49, going 5 of 12 third down-wise.

That was round one.

Second round… week 16 in Oakland on Christmas Eve. Oakland trailed 17-10 at the half and rallied to tie things up, outscoring San Diego 10-3 in the final 30 minutes of regulation and then taking the win in overtime 23-20 as K Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 31-yard field goal in the extra period. Oakland again outrushed San Diego 106-72 and as was the case in the first meeting, both Carr (204 yards, 3 sacks) and Rivers (277 yards) each had at least one TD pass in the contest and each team turned the ball over once. Neither club did much in the third down catagory (San Diego was 5 of 16, 0 of 1 on fourth down; Oakland was 4 of 15) and San Diego ruled the clock in the second contest, keeping the ball for 35:04 to Oakland’s 33:21.

Oakland’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 50. Those numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams have been playing decent football but not great football and both teams are trying to keep pace with the defending Super Bowl champs in the AFC West. This one could go to overtime, given the histories of the two teams. Oakland will make this one interesting but San Diego stays classy and takes the win on the road, even though they may not cover the 3 1/2.

New York Giants (2-2) at Green Bay (2-1), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Eli Manning. Aaron Rodgers. A pair of future Hall of Fame QBs meet at Lambeau on Sunday night as the Packers host the New York Giants.

Manning and the Giants were taken to the woodshed Monday night at US Bank Stadium, coming away 24-10 losers to the Vikings in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. New York trailed 14-3 at the break in the great indoors and could never get on track and were held to 78 yards on the ground (Minnesota tallied 104 yards of rushing). The Purple Gang forced a pair of turnovers in the primetime contest, while Sam Bradford barely outpaced Manning 262-261 but Bradford threw a TD pass to TE Kyle Rudolph in the contest. Minnesota went 8 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 35:32, while the Giants were 2 of 12 (0 of 2 on fourth), holding the ball for 24:28.

Green Bay comes back from their bye week after getting some revenge on Detroit two Sundays ago, taking a 34-27 win over the Lions and Matthew Stafford at Lambeau. Green Bay led 31-10 at the half and then held off a late Lions’ second half rally to take the win in the land of Bratwrust, beer and cheese. Eddie Lacy ran for 103 of the Packers’ 123 yards on the ground, while the Lions tallied 50 and Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four TDs, with Stafford tossing three TDs and 385 yards in the air.

Including contests played at Yankee Stadium, Milwaukee County Stadium and the Yale Bowl, while Green Bay leads the series 27-23-2. the Giants have outscored Green Bay by a slim 924-923 and won the last two meetings, including a 27-13 win in the Meadowlands in 2012, while the Pack came away 38-35 winners in 2011, also in the Meadowlands. Green Bay’s favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under is 48. Both numbers sound reasonable. The Pack came into the week with a win before their bye week and they’ll start their second half of the schedule with the win. Green Bay may not cover the 7 1/2 but they do win at home.

Tampa Bay (1-3) at Carolina (1-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The final game of week five features a pair of NFC South rivals squaring off in the Tar Heel State. It would have featured a pair of Heisman Trophy winners but now it’ll be Jameis Winston having the stage to himself as the defending NFC champs without Cam Newton host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium.

Newton and Carolina were manhandled by Atlanta in the Georgia Dome last Sunday, this time falling to the Falcons 48-33. Atlanta, who led througout the entire contest, led 17-10 at the break and then the two teams slugged it out in the final 30 minutes of action. Matt Ryan burned Carolina for 503 yards and four TDs, including one to All-Pro wR Julio Jones (300 yards on 12 catches), while Newton (concussion) threw for 165 yards and a TD before being taken out of the contest. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 90-49 and the Panthers turned the ball over twice, allowing Atlanta to turn one of them into a TD to ice the contest away. Atlanta was 8 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 33:49, while Carolina was 7 of 16 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth), keeping the ball for 26:11.

Tampa Bay let a 7-7 tie against Denver get away from them, falling to the defending Super Bowl champs 27-7 in the Sunshine State. For the second week in a row, the Bucs trailed at the half, as Denver led 17-7 at the break and then went on to shutout the Buccaneers 10-0 in the final 30 minutes of play and for the second week in a row, Mother Nature got into the act, stopping play because of lightning in the area. Denver outrushed Tampa Bay 89-72 and sacked Winston five times, picking him off twice. The defending Super Bowl champs were 3 of 13 on third down tries, while keeping the ball for 31:24. As for Tampa Bay, they were 5 of 16 and 0 of 1, holding on to the ball for 28:36.

Carolina leads Tampa Bay 20-11 in the series, have outscored the Bucs 695-538 and won the last six contests in the series, including a sweep in the series last year (Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in 2012, when they swept the series, taking wins in the Sunshine and Tar Heel States).

The first meeting took place in Tampa in week four and it was the first time that the two Heisman winners met. Both Newton (124 yards) and Winston (287 yards) threw a pair of TDs and each was sacked twice but Winston was picked off four times as Carolina took a 37-23 win at Raymond James Stadium. Carolina led 17-10 at the intermission and then proceeded to pull away from Tampa Bay, outscoring the Bucs 20-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ran for 106 (TD) of his team’s 141 yards, outpacing Carolina, who had 133. Although Tampa Bay turned the ball over five times, they kept it for 32:08, going 8 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth downs, while Carolina was 3 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 27:52.

Second meeting? Charlotte… Bank of America Stadium… week 17. While the Bucs were out of the playoff picture, Carolina was preparing to take home-field advantage for the post-season and made that fact known, taking a 24-3 lead at the half and coming away 38-10 winners. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay in the second contest 111-77 and while Winston threw for 325 yards, he was sacked twice and picked off twice, while Newton was sacked four times but still managed to throw for 293 yards and threw for a pair of TDs and ran for two more. In the second meeting, both teams did quite well on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (Carolina was 7 of 10, Tampa Bay 8 of 16, 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Panthers ruled the clock in the second contest, keeping the ball for 31:50 to Tampa Bay’s 28:10.

On Monday night… Carolina is 8-5 and won their only MNF contest last year, while the Bucs are 10-9 under the lights and will play their first Monday game since 2013, where they were 1-0 in their only contest. Carolina’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. It’s a pair of 1-3 teams in the NFC South basement and we wouldn’t blame you at all if you watched Scorpion this week instead of this game. Even without Cam, Carolina’s finer on Monday night and takes this one and could even cover the 4 1/2.

She’s now 51, well past-child bearing age. She spent yet another Mothers’ Day alone, with no one to visit her, other than her attorneys, family and former husband.

She is probably the most-hated woman that killed her children since Susan Smith.

15 years ago, Andrea Yeats put the city of Houston on the map for the wrong reasons. 15 years ago, a trial took place in the Harris County Courthouse in downtown Houston for the murder of her four children by drowning them in the bathtub.

Houstonians thought they got the justice that they sought when the jury found her guilty of the four murders and sentenced to life. That was not the case. She got the sentence overturned on appeal and got a new trial in 2006 and with that trial, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity (some states call it mental defect) and sent to a Texas mental hospital, where to this day she remains.

Was it post-partum depression that she suffered from as the result of having four children so close in time? Those could have been factors in the deaths of her children, with the oldest being only 7 and the youngest barely able to walk at the time of their deaths. She could also have been driven to suicide, which could have resulted in the murders.

In an article published in People Magazine Monday, Wendell Odom, who was her attorney in both trials told the magazine, “I don’t think people understand how shy and reclusive and how afraid Andrea is, especially since all this publicity descended on her. She is truly afraid.”

Her former husband Rusty told Time magazine and the Houston Chronicle that while they were married, they had planned on having a large family but demons took hold of his former wife. “I look at Andrea and I think that she was weak,” he said. “Think about a field of deer and there is one limping around. That’s the way I see it, Andrea was weak and Satan attacked her.”

Yeats is likely going to live the rest of her life at the Kerrville State Hospital, 259 miles west of Houston. She will probably draw her last breath there. Andrea Yeats could have been Houston’s version of June Cleaver if she wanted to. Instead, she chose to kill her children. While she knew right from wrong, she was punished once for her misdeeds and will probably spend her remaining days on Earth wondering “what would my children look like,” “what would they do,” “would they go to college,” or “would they marry and have children of their own?” Those questions will be asked by her over and over again but history will for all eternity seal the answers to them.

Andrea Yeats spent another Mothers’ Day alone. She will spend more Mothers’ Days alone until she draws her last breath on Earth. Her four children are not here to ask her, “why did you kill us?” Mental disease, postpartum and insanity drove her to the deed. Her punishment? Being sent to a Texas mental hospital, which in some cases is a lot better than being in a women’s prison.

Andrea Yeats will fade away into history and be forgotten by some. Family and friends may continue to visit or write her, while others will no longer want anything to do with her. She lives with her fears and knowing what she did was wrong. For her to be sent away from society is punishment enough.