Archives for posts with tag: Indanapolis Colts

(Note: the odds for this game were not available until Sunday evening. They are now listed in the story)

Indianapolis (2-3) at Tennessee (2-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A pair of AFC South rivals meet in the Music City as week six play concludes when Tennessee hosts Indianapolis at Nissan Stadium.

Indy needed overtime to take down San Francisco 26-23 in the Hoosier State. Tied at 6-6 at the half, the Colts led 16-6 at the end of three quarters but San Francisco managed to tie things up with 20 seconds left in regulation when Blaine Hoyer (353 yards, 2 TDs) and rookie TE George Kittle connected on a 5-yard TD pass. San Francisco would then fail in its possession in overtime and punted the ball to the Colts, who used an 8-play, 49 yard drive that took 2:01 and ended when K Adam Vinatieri kicked a 51-yard field goal with 98 seconds left. Indy outrushed San Francisco 159-66 and Jacoby Brissett, subbing for the injured Andrew Luck, threw for 314 yards, despite being sacked four times. San Francisco on third down conversions went 4 of 14 (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:05, while the Colts went 8 of 16 on third down, keeping the ball for 37:17.

Tennessee fell to Miami 16-10 last Sunday in the Sunshine State. The Titans trailed 10-3 at halftime at Hard Rock and saw the Dolphins take their first win in their home park in the process. Miami outrushed Tennessee 100-69 and Jay Cutler threw for only 92 yards but did manage to connect with WR Jarvis Landry for Miami’s only TD in the contest. Miami sacked Matt Cassel four times (subbing for Marcus Mariota) and forced a pair of Titan fumbles, while going 5 of 15 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 29:45, while the Titans were 2 of 13 on third down, holding on to the ball for 30:15.

Including contests in Baltimore and Houston, the Colts lead the series 31-13, have outscored the Titans 1,143-857 and they have won the last 11 meetings in the series, including sweeping the series last year (Tennessee’s last win over the Colts came in 2011 in the Music City, when they were 27-10 winners).

The first meeting? Week seven in the Music City and the Colts took the 34-26 win at Nissan Stadium. Indy led 17-13 at the break before pulling away from the Titans in the final 30 minutes of play. Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray led all rushers with 107 yards in the contest as the Titans outrushed Indy 124-81, while the Colts’ Andrew Luck threw for 353 yards and three TDs, while Mariota (three sacks) threw for 232 yards and a pair of TDs. The Titans were 9 of 15 on third down conversions at home, keeping the ball for 27:30, while the Colts were 4 of 10 third-down wise, keeping the ball for 32:30.

Meeting number two… Indy in week 11 and the Colts made it a sweep, taking a 24-17 win at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts led 21-7 at the half and then held off the Titans in the final 30 minutes of play. The Colts were outrushed again by Tennessee, this time by a 97-76 margin and Mariota threw for 290 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked five times, while Luck threw for 262 yards with a pair of TDs and two sacks. Tennessee was 5 of 14 on third down tries (1 of 3 on fourth down) and ruled he clock as they kept the ball for 31:01, while the Colts held the pigskin for 28:59, going 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Tennessee was favored by 2 1/2 in the week seven contest and the Colts covered the spread, winning by 8. The 60 combined points in the first meeting was more than enough to cover the 48 1/2 over/under. Indy covered the 3-point spread in the rematch in the Hoosier State, winning by 7 but both clubs could only muster 41 points, missing the 53 1/2 over/under.

The Colts on Monday night are 23-16 and won their only contest they played in prime time last year, while the Titans are 21-17, with their last MNF appearance coming in 2014, which was a loss. At the time this contest was originally listed, there was no line on this game, according to our odds provider Don Best in Las Vegas. We thank them for their help and we can now report that Don Best tells us that Tennessee is favored by 8 and the over/under’s 48. Both numbers make sense. Both teams are trying to catch Jacksonville and Houston in the AFC South. In the end, Indy prevails on the road, even though they won’t cover the 8.

Broadcast Information: 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Indianapolis), 83 (Tennessee); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Indianapolis), 83 (Tennessee)

Referee: Walt Anderson

Injury Report

OUT: G Jack Mewhort (Knee), LB Anthony Walker (Hamstring), QB Andrew Luck (Right Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Jon Bostic (Calf)

OUT: S Johnathan Cyprien (Hamstring), WR Corey Davis (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Daren Bates (Knee), QB Marcus Mariota (Hamstring)

Weather: Clear and 43 degrees

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


And then there was one.

The Vikings, like the cheese in the children’s fairy tale, stands alone.

As the NFL enters Week 6, there are 10 teams with one loss or fewer, including the league’s only unbeaten club, the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 44 of the previous 49 teams (89.8 percent) to start 5-0 made the playoffs.

“We have good players and they do things right,” says Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer about his team’s 5-0 start. “I don’t think it’s a big secret. They go out and they perform.”

The Vikings are only the second team since 1933 to start 5-0 and have no interceptions, joining the 1969 Los Angeles Rams. Minnesota has started two quarterbacks this season – Shaun Hill (1-0) and Sam Bradford (4-0). Bradford, who was acquired via trade by the Vikings before the start of the regular season, is the first quarterback since 1973 (John Hadl) to win each of his first four career starts with a new team while throwing at least six touchdown passes with no interceptions.

Minnesota is one of three teams – Atlanta (four) and Dallas (four) – which has currently won at least four consecutive games.

The Falcons, who lead the NFC South, handed the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos their first loss of the season last week by posting a 23-16 win at Denver. Atlanta, which defeated the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers 48-33 in Week 4, are the third team to defeat the previous season’s Super Bowl clubs in back-to-back games (1982 San Diego Chargers and 1985 Detroit Lions).

“That was a very good team win for us,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the victory in Denver. “We knew it was going to be an all-day fight and it certainly was. I think our toughness and resiliency was certainly on hand and our guys battled. And now we reset and go through our process to get ready to play ball again.”

Dallas, led by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, sits in first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys are the first team in NFL history to have a rookie quarterback with at least 1,000 passing yards (Prescott, 1,239 yards) and a rookie running back with at least 500 rushing yards (Elliott, NFL-best 546 yards) in the team’s first five games of a season.

“We just have to take it one game at a time, one week at a time, one day at a time,” Prescott told the Dallas Morning News. “We’ve done a great job of putting the past behind us – win or lose – and just focusing on what’s in front of us. Right now, that’s the next team.”

There are still plenty of games remaining in the season for teams to turn it around. Since 1990, 54 teams have advanced to the postseason after starting the season 2-3 or worse. There were four such teams last season – Houston (1-4), Kansas City (1-4), Seattle (2-3) and Washington (2-3) – including two teams which rebounded from 1-4 starts.

So don’t count anyone out. The only thing predictable about the NFL is the unpredictability.

UNDEFEATED ONE: Minnesota improved to 5-0 with a 31-13 victory over Houston in Week 5. Since 1990, when the 12-team playoff format was adopted, 44 of the 49 (89.8 percent) previous teams to start 5-0 made the playoffs.

Quarterback Sam Bradford completed 22 of 30 passes (73.3 percent) for 271 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 123.1 passer rating in the Vikings’ win. Minnesota is only the second team since 1933 to start 5-0 without throwing an interception, joining the 1969 Los Angeles Rams.

CLOSE GAMES: There have been 58 games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 5, the most such games in the first five weeks of a season in NFL history.

Most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 5:

2016 – 58
2013 – 57
2004 – 56
2011 – 55
1999 – 53
2007 – 53
2015 – 53

STARTING ROOKIES: Denver rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch made his first career start in Week 5, joining Dallas’ Dak Prescott (five starts), Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz (four), Cleveland’s Cody Kessler (three) and New England’s Jacoby Brissett (two) as the fifth rookie quarterback to start a game this season.

The five rookie quarterbacks to start a game in 2016 is tied with the 2012 season for the most rookie quarterbacks to start a game in the first five weeks of a season in the past 25 years.

RARE ROOKIES: Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 227 yards and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 134 yards in the Cowboys’ 28-14 win over Cincinnati.

This season, Prescott has 1,239 passing yards and Elliott has 546 rushing yards. The Cowboys are the first team in NFL history to have a rookie quarterback with at least 1,000 passing yards and a rookie running back with at least 500 rushing yards in the first five games of a season.

Elliott’s 546 rushing yards this season are the fifth-most in NFL history over a player’s first five games.

The players with the most rushing yards through their first five career games:

Eric Dickerson, 1983 – Los Angeles Rams (645)
Adrian Peterson, 2007 – Minnesota (607)
Todd Gurley, 2015 – St. Louis Rams (575)
Billy Sims, 1980 – Detroit (560)
Ezekiel Elliott, 2016 – Dallas (546)

PROLIFIC IN PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 124.4 passer rating in the Steelers’ 31-13 win over the New York Jets.

Roethlisberger has now thrown a touchdown pass in 41 consecutive home games, the third-longest streak in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive home games with a touchdown pass:
Drew Brees, 2009-present (New Orleans, 56)*
Tom Brady, 2009-2014 (New England, 47)
Ben Roethlisberger, 2010-present (Pittsburgh, 41)*
Dan Marino, 1983-1988 (Miami, 39)

Aaron Rodgers, 2008-2012 (Green Bay, 35)

*Active streak

RISING RIDDICK: Detroit running back Theo Riddick had two touchdown catches, both in the first quarter, in the Lions’ 24-23 victory against Philadelphia in Week 5.

Riddick joins Jamaal Charles (2010 and 2013) as the only running backs in the past 25 years to record two touchdown catches in the first quarter of a game.

PRODUCTIVE PATS: New England quarterback Tom Brady completed 28 of 40 passes (70 percent) for 406 yards with three touchdowns for a 127.7 passer rating in the Patriots’ 33-13 win at Cleveland. Brady now has 38 career games with at least 350 passing yards, trailing only Drew Brees (51) for the second-most such games in NFL history.

The Patriots’ win marked head coach Bill Belichick’s 250th career victory (including the postseason). Belichick joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Don Shula (347), Georgie Halas (324) and Tom Landry (270) as the only coaches in NFL history to reach 250 career victories.

The coaches with the most career victories in NFL history:

Don Shula – Baltimore Colts, Miami (347)
George Halas – Chicago (324)
Tom Landry – Dallas (270)
Bill Belichick – Cleveland, New England (250)*

CLIMBING BACK: Since the current 12-team playoff format was instituted in 1990, 17 teams have rebounded from being at least three games under .500 after the season’s first five weeks or later to qualify for the postseason. That includes seven 1-4 teams that won their division.

Last year, the Houston Texans bounced back from a 2-5 record after 7 games to win the AFC South, while the Kansas City Chiefs rebounded from a 1-5 start and advanced to the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Since 1990, the teams that were three or more games below .500 after Week 5 or later and made the playoffs:

1990 – New Orleans (2-5; 8-8, NFC Wild Card)
1992 – San Diego (1-4; 11-5, AFC Divisional)
1993 – Houston Oilers (1-4; 12-4, AFC Divisional)
1994 – New England (3-6; 10-6, AFC Wild Card)
1995 – Detroit (2-5, 3-6; 10-6, NFC Wild Card)
1995 – San Diego (4-7; 9-7, AFC Wild Card)
1996 – Jacksonville (3-6, 4-7; 9-7, AFC Championship Game)
2002 – Tennessee (1-4; 11-5, AFC Championship Game)
2002 – New York Jets (1-4, 2-5; 9-7, AFC Divisional)
2004 – Green Bay (1-4; 10-6, NFC Wild Card
2008 – San Diego (4-7, 4-8, 5-8; 8-8, AFC Divisional)
2010 – Seattle (6-9; 7-9, NFC Divisional)
2011 – Denver (1-4, 2-5; 8-8, AFC Divisional)
2012 – Washington (3-6; 10-6, NFC Wild Card)
2014 – Carolina Panthers (3-6-1, 3-7-1, 4-8-1, 5-8-1; 7-8-1, NFC Divisional)
2015 – Houston Texans (1-4, 2-5; 9-7, AFC Wild Card)
2015 – Kansas City Chiefs (1-4, 1-5, 2-5; 11-5, AFC Divisional)

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. has 27 catches this season, bringing his career total to 988.

With 12 catches on Sunday against the New York Giants, Smith would become the 14th player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions.

The players with 1,000 or more career receptions in NFL history:

Jerry Rice – 1,549
Tony Gonzalez – 1,325
Marvin Harrison – 1,102
Cris Carter – 1,101
Tim Brown – 1,094
Terrell Owens – 1,078
Reggie Wayne – 1,070
Andre Johnson – 1,062
Larry Fitzgerald – 1,049
Jason Witten – 1,044
Anquan Boldin – 1,030
Isaac Bruce – 1,024
Hines Ward – 1,000
Steve Smith, Sr. – 988

AIR SHOW: Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger leads the NFL with 15 passing touchdowns this season, followed by Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (12), Oakland’s Derek Carr (11) and San Diego’s Philip Rivers (11).

If Ryan, Carr and Rivers reach 15 touchdown passes this week, it will be the second time in NFL history four different quarterbacks have thrown for at least 15 touchdowns in the first six weeks of a season.

SACKING THE COMPETITION: Buffalo’s Lorenzo Alexander tallied three sacks last week to bring his season total to seven. With another three-sack performance on Sunday against San Francisco, Alexander would be tied for the most sacks through the first six weeks of a season in the past 15 years.

The players with the most sacks through the first six weeks of a season since 2001:

Elvis Dumervil, Denver; 10 in 2009
Jared Allen, Minnesota; 9.5 in 2011
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans; 9.5 in 2012
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis; 9.5 in 2013
Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo; 7 in 2016*
*Through Week 5

MAGNIFICENT MARCUS: Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota accounted for four touchdowns last week (three passing, one rushing). This marked the fourth time in his career Mariota had four touchdowns in a single game, making him the second quarterback to have four four-touchdown games in the first 17 games of his career (Charlie Coneryl, 1948-49).

With another four-touchdown performance on Sunday against Cleveland, Mariota would become the first quarterback to have five four-touchdown games in his first 18 games in NFL history.

ROLLING ROETHLISBERGER: Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdown passes last week to bring his league-leading total to 15. With another four-touchdown performance on Sunday against Miami, Roethlisberger would be tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns through the first six games of a season in the Super Bowl era.

The players with the most passing touchdowns through the first six games of a season in the Super Bowl era:

Peyton Manning – Denver (22 – 2013)
Tom Brady – New England (21 – 2007)
Brett Favre – Green Bay (20 – 1996)
Peyton Manning – Denver (19 – 2014)
Daunte Culpepper – Minnesota (19 – 2004)
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (15 – 2016)*
*Through five games

Week 6 began on Thursday night with a divisional contest as the Chargers broke their four-game losing streak, beating Denver 21-13 in San Diego and the week concludes with a pair of primetime matches as the Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC South showdown on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC and the New York Jets visit the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night at 8:30 pm ESPN.

Teams with byes this week? Minnesota and Tampa Bay. As for week five, not the greatest weeks… but not the worst. We were still above the .500 mark last week at 8-5 (50-27 for the year) and that’s always a good sign. Here are the games and picks for week 6.

ATLANTA (4-1) at Seattle (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. Atlanta won on the road in Denver, while Seattle had a bye week and returns to action in the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks leads the series 9-5 and have outscored Atlanta 381-333. Both team’s last wins in the series came in the other team’s stadium. Seattle’s last win over Atlanta came in 2013 in the Big Peach by a final of 33-10, while Atlanta’s last win came in the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in 2011 by a 30-28 count.

Seattle’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. Both teams right now are playoff contenders and there is the off chance they could meet in the post-season. But… let’s worry about the regular season. Although they won’t cover the 6 1/2, Atlanta leaves the land of grunge, Salmon and Starbucks with the win.

Jacksonville (1-3) at Chicago (1-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of divisional cellar-dwellers meet in the Windy City as Jacksonville travels to Chicago for a date with the Chicago Bears.

The Jaguars come off their bye week after their 30-27 win over Indianapolis in London two weeks ago, while Da Bears were 29-23 losers at Indianapolis.

Da Bears lead the series with Jacksonville 4-2, have outscored the Jaguars 153-99 and came away winners in their last two meetings, including a 41-3 win on the First Coast in 2012, while Jacksonville’s last win in the series also came in the Sunshine State by a final of 22-3 in 2004. Chicago’s favored by 2 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 47. It would seem that the Cubs are not the only game in town this weekend. Chicago wins at home and covers the 2.

Pittsburgh (4-1) at Miami (1-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Two teams going in opposing directions meet in the Sunshine State as Miami hosts Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers took a 31-13 win over the New York Jets last Sunday at Heinz Field, while the struggling Dolphins fell to Tennessee at Hard Rock Stadium by a final of 30-17.

Pittsburgh leads the series 12-10 but the Dolphins have outscored the Steelers 447-421. Miami won the last meeting between the two clubs, taking a 34-28 win in the Steel City in 2013, while Pittsburgh’s last win over the ‘Fins came in 2010 in the Sunshine State by a final of 23-22. The oddsmakers like the Steelers as a 7-point favorite and the over/under’s 48. Miami’s bad of late, while the Steelers have been taking care of business. Steelers may not cover the 7 but they do take the win in the Sunshine State.

Cincinnati (2-3) at New England (4-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Brady is back and Pats fans couldn’t be happier! Tom Brady and New England hosts the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium in western Massachusetts.

The Pats took Cleveland to the woodshed last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie, coming away 33-13 winners over the winless Browns, while the Bengals were manhandled in Dallas by the Cowboys 28-14.

While the Patriots lead the series 15-9, the Bengals have outscored Brady and the Pats 501-489. New England’s last win in the series came in Foxboro in 2014, when the Patriots took a 43-17 win, while the Bengals’ last win over New England came in 2013 in Cincy by a final of 13-6. New England’s favored by 8 and the over/under’s 47. The over/under makes sense. The 8 can leave a person wondering about that. The Bengals are not 8 points bad and while New England will win this one at home, Cincy will make it a lot closer than the 8.

Baltimore (3-2) at New York Giants (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Ravens make their first trip to the Meadowlands this week (they have another trip next week against the Jets) as they travel to the Jersey shore for a meeting with Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Both teams took losses last Sunday and both are looking to bounce back. The Ravens fell to Washington 16-10 in Charm City, while the Giants dropped a 23-16 decision at Lambeau to the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.

The Ravens and Giants have met only four times and Baltimore has a 3-1 lead in the series, outscoring Big Blue 104-81 in those meetings. New York’s lone win in the series came in the Meadowlands in 2008 as the G-Men were 30-10 victors, while Baltimore’s last win came in Charm City in 2012 by a 33-14 final. New York’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 44 and 1/2. We hope the Ravens packed extra clothes this week, because they’ll have to swing right back around and make another trip to the Jersey shores. Start spreading the news! Giants reach the .500 mark with the win at home and covers the 3.

Cleveland (0-5) at Tennessee (2-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. It’s a little bit country vs. a little bit rock and roll as the Titans host the Cleveland Browns in the Music City.

Including contests that took place when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers and the Browns were in Cleveland before they moved to Baltimore, Cleveland leads the series 35-28, have outscored Tennessee 1,252-1,226 and were winners in their last two contests, including taking a 28-14 win along the shores of Lake Erie last year, while Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2011, also in Cleveland by a final of 31-13.

They met in week two at FirstEnergy Stadium and Cleveland led 21-0 at the half before they would be outscored by the Titans in the second half. Johnny Manziel threw a pair of TD passes in the win, connecting twice with TE Travis Benjamin in the contest. Tennessee did manage to outrush the Browns 166-116 and Marriota did outpace Manziel 257-172 in the battle of former Heisman QBs (each had a pair of TDs). Cleveland was 4 of 11 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:49, while the Titans, who turned the ball over three times, was 7 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 35:11. Tennessee’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. It’s country music (Grand Ole Opry) vs. rock and roll (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) in Nashville this week. Cleveland’s bad but not 7 points bad and while they’ll clash with the Titans, Tenneseee comes away with the win.

San Francisco (1-4) at Buffalo (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. San Francisco makes their way to the East for an afternoon affair with the Bills in upstate New York.

The 49ers, who will have Colin Kaepernick under center this week, were taken to task by NFC West rival Arizona 33-21 last Thursday night, while the Bills circled their wagons last Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles and ended the Rams’ three-game win streak with a 30-19 win at the Coliseum.

San Francisco leads the series 6-5, have outscored Buffalo 253-189 and have won the last two meetings, including a 45-3 win in Candlestick in 2012, while Bufflao’s last win also came in Candlestick in 2004 by a final of 41-7. Buffalo’s a 7 1/2 point favorite in upstate New York and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Kaepernick will probably too much of a distraction, while the Bills are looking to win three in a row. Bills circle the wagons in upstate New York and take the win, even though San Francisco could make this a closer contest.

Los Angeles (3-2) at Detroit (2-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Los Angeles travels to the Motor City for an early morning (Pacific Time) contest against Detroit at Ford Field.

The Rams saw their 3-game win streak come to an end at home against Buffalo, falling to the Bills 33-21, while the Lions ended Philadelphia’s hopes of a perfect season with a 24-23 win over the Eagles at Ford Field.

Including games that took place in Portsmouth when the Lions played there and were called the Spartans, the Rams played in Cleveland before moving to Los Angeles, then St. Louis and games played in the Los Angeles Coliseum, Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome, the Rams lead the series 43-39-1. Los Angeles has also outscored Detroit 1,626-1,530 in those meetings. Los Angeles won the last meeting with the Lions, which took place last year in St. Louis (the Lions’ last win in the series came in 2012 in the Motor City by a final of 27-23). After the two clubs played a scoreless first quarter, the Rams led 7-0 at the intermisson. Rams RB Todd Gurley ran for a pair of TDs in the contest and St. Louis managed to overcome a pair of Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate TD passes in the win. Gurley accounted for 140 of St. Louis’ 203 yards on the ground, while the Lions tallied 111 yards. The Rams were 4 of 11 on third down conversions in the contest that took place in the Edward Jones Dome, keeping the ball for 26:10, while Detroit ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:50, going 5 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries.

The Lions are 3 1/2 points favorites and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both teams are pretty decent but not great. Los Angeles is trying to stay close to Seattle in the NFC West, while the Lions are trying to claw their way to the top of the NFC North. Lions cover the 3 1/2 in the Motor City and wins at home.

Carolina (1-4) at New Orleans (1-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of struggling NFC South foes meet in the Big Easy as Carolina and Cam Newton travel to New Orleans for a meeting with Drew Brees and the Saints.

Carolina, without Newton under center last Monday night against Tampa Bay (concussion) lost a heartbreaker to Tampa Bay 17-14 in the final seconds. New Orleans returns to action after their bye week, beating San Diego 35-34 on the West Coast the weekend before.

Carolina leads the series 23-19, have outscored the Saints 919-887 and won three of the last four contests with their NFC South rivals, including taking wins in the Tar Heel State and the Big Easy (New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2014, a 28-10 win in Charlotte).

Meeting one… week 3 in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina held off a late New Orleans rally and took a 27-22 win over Lance McCown (who took over for Brees) and the Saints. Tied 10-10 at the half, Carolina took a 27-16 lead with them late in the contest before New Orleans rallied to make things a little closer than Panther fans wanted when Kevin Robinson scored on a 2 yard TD run with 4:50. The Saints’ try for two failed and they then tried an onside kick, which also failed and with that, New Orleans’ chances of winning faded away. Carolina outrushed New Orleans 119-70 and Newton threw for 315 yards and a pair of TD passes to TE Greg Olsen, while McCown threw for 310 yard. Carolina, forcing a pair of Saints turnovers, went 5 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down, while the Saints were 7 of 12 and 1 of 1 in the same catagories. Despite the loss, time was on the sise of the Saints, who kept the ball for 32:44 to Carolina’s 27:16.

Meeting two… week 13 in the Big Easy at the Superdome. In the second meeting, Carolina trailed 16-13 at the intermission before bouncing back in the last 30 minutes of action to come away 41-38 winners. Carolina tallied the winning score, using an 11-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:16 of clock when Newton and WR Jerricho Cotchery connected on a 15-yard TD pass with 65 seconds left to play. Saints RB Mark Ingram had given New Orleans the lead before when he scored on a 9-yard TD run with 5:21 before Carolina took matters into their own hands (or paws) and took the lead back and took it for keeps. Carolina outrushed New Orleans 175-70 and Newton outpaced Brees in passing yardage 331-282 and each combined for eight TDs passes (Newton with 5, Brees with 3). While Carolina was 3 of 8 on third down conversions, they did find success on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and held the ball for 36:34, while the Saints were 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 23:26.

Carolina’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 53 1/2. Given that there are two pretty good QBs in the contest, the 53 1/2 could be reached by halftime. Both teams are trying to catch Atlanta in the NFC South (Atlanta beat both teams in consecutive weeks). Carolina’s finer in the Big Easy and they come away with the win, covering the 2 1/2.

Philadelphia (3-1) at Washington (3-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of NFC East rivals, both in the hunt and chasing Dallas in the process, meet in Landover Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field as the Eagles make the drive down I-95 to face the defending NFC East champs.

While Philadelphia fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing 24-23 to Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions, Washington rallied in Baltimore and came away 16-10 winners in Charm City.

Washington leads the series 83-73-5, while the Eagles have outscored the ‘Skins 3,360-3,200. However… Washington has won three of the last four meetings in the series, including sweeping the two contests in 2015 (Philly’s last win over Washington came in 2014 when they came away 37-34 winners in the City of Brotherly Love).

The first contest in Landover took place in week four and Washington squeeked by Philadelphia 23-20. Washington trailed 20-16 with 26 seconds left when Cousins and WR Pierre Garcon hooked up on a 4-yard TD pass at Fed Ex Field. Washington led 13-0 at the intermission before the Eagles roared back to take the lead late in the contest. While holding the Eagles to 87 yards on the ground, Washington managed to tally 127 of their own and Cousins threw for 290 yards, while Sam Bradford accounted for 270 with three TDs. Washington was 9 of 17 on third down tries in Landover and kept the ball for 41:08, while the Eagles held the ball for 18:52, going 4 of 12 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

That was game one.

Game two… Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field in week 16, the Saturday after Christmas. The Eagles had just fired Chip Kelly and their playoff hopes at best were on the line. The Redskins clinched the NFC East title, putting Eagles fans out of their misery and Washington would come away with the 38-24 win. Washington led 16-10 at the half and then proceeded to pull away from the Eagles in the road win. Neither club came close to rushing for 100 yards in the second meeting and that was the bad news. The good news? Washington outrushed Philadelphia 67-45 and Cousins burned the Eagles for 365 yards and four TDs, while Bradford was sacked five times, throwing for 380. Washington went 5 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 34:15, while the Eagles were 7 of 19 on third down (2 of 3 on fourth) and held the ball for a mere 25:45.

The Eagles are favored by 2 and the over/under’s 45. These two are trying to catch Dallas in the NFC East. Washington fans will have a chance to sing “Hail to the Redskins” this week instead of “Hell! It’s the Redskins.” Washington pulls off the upset and covers the 2 at home in Landover.

Kansas City (2-2) at Oakland (4-1), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Cats and Dogs. Capulets vs. Montagues. Hatfields vs. McCoys. These two teams DON’T like each other. They meet again and there’s a lot a on the line here. Kansas City travels to Oakland for a meeting with their most hated AFC West rival.

Did we mention they DON’T like each other? Just seeing if you were paying attention.

Kansas City returns to play after their bye week, losing to Pittsburgh two weeks ago in the Steel City by a final of 43-14. Meanwhile, Oakland held off two San Diego attempts for a comeback and came away 34-31 winners over AFC West rivals San Diego last Sunday in northern California.

Kansas City has a 58-51-2 lead in the series, which includes contests that were played when the Chiefs were in Dallas and known as the Texans and the Silver and Black played in Los Angeles. Kansas City has also outsored Oakland 2,318-2,148 and the Chiefs have come away winners in three of their last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Oakland’s last win over the Chiefs came in 2014, when they won on the West Coast by a final of 24-20).

Meeting number one… week 13 in Oakland. The Chiefs scored 20 fourth quarter points unchallenged and came away 34-20 winnners at Coliseum. Trailing 14-7 at the intermission, Kansas City rallied as WR Jeremy Maclin and Smith (162 yards) connected on a pair of fourth quarter TDs and S Todd Branch picked off Carr (four sacks, three interceptions 283 yards) to seal the Raiders’ fate. The Chiefs on third down were 3 of 8 and kept the ball for 25:32, while the Raiders clung to the ball for 34:28, going 6 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Meeting two… week 17 in Kansas City at Arrowhead. While the second conest was closer than the first meeting on the West Coast, the outcome stayed the same, as Kansas City would march into the post-season with a 23-17 win to close out the regular season. The Chiefs led 14-10 at the break and held off the Raiders in the second half and outscored Oakland 9-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Maclin and Smith connected on a 25-yard TD pass to open the scoring in the game and the Chiefs’ special teams would get into the act as D.J. Alexander blocked an Oakland punt for a safety. This time, the Chiefs breached the 100-yard barrier, tallying 189 on the ground (in the first meeting, Kansas City had 89, while Oakland had 99) to Oakland’s 48 and Kansas City sacked Carr six times in the contest. Third down tries in the second contest were not a thing to write home about at Arrowhead, with Kansas City going 6 of 13 and Oakland going 3 of 14 (on fourth down, the Chiefs were 1 of 2, while the Raiders were 1 of 1) and the clock was on the side of the Chiefs at 34:55 to Oakland’s 25:05. Kansas City’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 47. Given that both clubs DON’T like each other, there’s a lot at stake. Oakland makes this one interesting but the Chiefs cover the 2 and win on the road.

Dallas (4-1) at Green Bay (3-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. It’s not Ice Bowl but they do meet again in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwust. Green Bay hosts the Tony Romo-less Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau in a late afternoon affair.

Both teams won at home last week. Dallas took Cinncinnati and Andy Dalton to the woodshed, coming away 28-14 winners in Arlington, while the Packers held off Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Lambeau, taking a 23-13 win Sunday night.

Green Bay leads the series with Dallas 14-12 (which includes contests that took place at County Stadium in Milwaukee, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and Cowboys Stadium in Irving), have outscored Dallas 604-545 and won last year’s meeting at Lambeau by a final of 28-7 (Dallas’ last win in the series? 2008, when they took a 27-16 win in Green Bay.

In the week 14 meeting at Lambeau, the Rodgers-led Panthers led 14-0 at the half after a scoreless first quarter and pulled away after Dallas’ Robbie Turbin scored on a 7-yard TD run for their first points in the third quarter. Green Bay would respond with a pair of fourth quarter TDs to seal the deal for the Packers. Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy (124) and Dallas’ Darren McFadden (111) each tallied 100 yards of their own as their teams breached the 100-yard mark on the ground (Green Bay outrushed Dallas 230-171) and Rodgers threw for 218 yards and a pair of TDs, while Matt Cassell, taking over for Romo (back) threw for 114 yards (each man was sacked twice and Cassell threw an interception). While Green Bay was 7 of 14 on third down at Lambeau, they struggled on fourth down tries, going 0 of 1 and kept the ball for 37:48; Dallas was a dismal 1 of 11 on third down conversions and went 0 of 2 on fourth down, while holding the ball for 22:12.

Green Bay’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Two contending teams in an historic ballpark. That alone makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Dallas has had some luck on their side of late, winning four in a row after getting taken to task by the Giants in week one. The Packers are playing their third home game in the state of Wisconsin and won three of four. Be it ever so humble. Packers cover the 3 1/2 at home like onions on Bratwurst and takes the win.

Indianapolis (2-3) at Houston (3-2), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The first place Texans, without the services of J.J. Watt, host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in a Sunday night contest in the Lone Star State.

Houston failed in their attempt to pin Minnesota with their first loss, falling to the Vikings 31-13 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, while the Colts took care of Chicago 29-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday.

Indy leads the series 23-5 and have outscored the Texans 751-544. They spilt the two meetings last year and each took wins in the other team’s facility.

First meeting… Houston, week five on a Sunday night. Indy held off a late Texans rally and came away 27-20 winners at NRG Stadium. Matt Hasselbeck (who took over for Luck) and WR Andre Johnson connected on a pair of TD passes in the 7-point win, while Frank Gore ran for a TD for the Colts. Indy led 13-10 at the half, then tried to pull away from Houston, who came to within a TD when Texans K Nick Novak connected on a 49-yard try with 6:07 left in regulation. The Colts outrushed Houston 110-82, while Houston’s Blake Hoyer outpaced Hasslebeck 312-213 in passing yardage. Houston was 8 of 16 on third down tries, 1 of 1 on fourth downs and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 32:27. As for the Colts? They kept the pigskin for 27:33, going 3 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Round two… Indy in week 15 and the Texans got their revenge, erasing a 10-6 deficit at the half to take a 16-10 win in the Hoosier State. Houston shut out Indy in the second half, scoring their final 13 points of the game unchallenged and took the lead for keeps when QB Brandon Weeden and WR Jaelen Strong connected on an 8-yard pass and Novak sealed the deal with a 32-yard field with 1:56 left to play. Texans RB Alfred Blue ran for 107 of his team’s 150 yards in the second contest, while the Texans held Indy to 50 yards rushing. In the second contest, both teams struggled on third down tries (Houston was 5 of 15, Indy was 4 of 13) but the Texans struck paydirt on fourth down tries, going 2 of 2. Houston ruled the clock in the second contest, as they did in the first, holding the ball for 33:56 to Indy’s 26:04.

The boys and girls in Vegas like the Texans as 3 point favorites in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 48. This one will be an interesting contest to watch on Sunday night. Houston covers the 3 and wins at home.

New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona (2-3), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week six closes out in the desert as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! take on Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! crashed and burned in Pittsburgh last SUnday, losing to the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger 31-13 at Heinz Field, while the Cardinals broke their game with San Francisco open last Thursday night, beating the 49ers 33-21 on the West Coast.

GangGreen leads the series 6-2, have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 158-136 and took wins in the last six meetings, including a 7-6 win in the Meadowlands in 2012, while Arizona won the first two meetings in the series, with their last win coming in 1975, when the Cards were in St. Louis, by a final of 37-6 in New York at old Yankee Stadium.

Records on Monday night… GangGreen’s 21-29 but won their only MNF meeting last year, while the Cardinals are 8-15-1 and like their opponents, they took a win in their only meeting last year.

The Cardinals are 7 1/2 points favorites on Monday night and the over/under’s 46 1/2. These teams aren’t bad but they’re not great. We will gladly understand if you decide to watch “Scorpion” Monday night. Arizona does come away with this one but they’re not going to cover the 7 1/2.

While there are 11 games that have playoff implications and a chance to either win a Lombardi or keep it, there are five games that mean nothing to some of the teams involved, aside from who is picking first in the 2016 Draft in Chicago in April.

That’s a spot nobody wants.

Picking first in the draft.

It’s like buying a prom dress or a tux and there’s one dress or tux left. Five games taking place this weekend will decide who moves up or down in the draft. It’s a thankless job but someone’s gotta do it.

Here are those five games with what’s at stake. (take notes… there will be a quiz afterward)

(In case you’re wondering, the draft order is determined by record, using strength of schedule, and then conference and division records as tiebreakers (record and strength of schedule are official tiebreakers to determine draft order). 

Tennessee (3-12) at Indianapolis (7-8)

Tennessee holds a comfortable lead in the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker (.493 to .529) with Cleveland and their respective Week 17 opponents will do nothing to close that gap. As such, Tennessee is poised to claim the number 1 pick with a loss to the Colts. If Tennessee beats the Colts and gives up the top pick to Cleveland, it also holds a tiebreaker edge over other contenders for the number 2 pick.

Meanwhile, the Colts, who announced that they are parting company with Chuck Pagano, are currently in the number 17 draft position, which is good. But… three other teams (Buffalo, St. Louis and Oakland) also have a 7-8 record, so the Colts’ draft position could still swing significantly in the final week. Indy’s also fighting Houston for the AFC South title, which means that a win by the Colts and a Houston loss would take them out of the loop.

Pittsburgh (9-6) at Cleveland (3-12)

Aside from fighting the Jets for a playoff spot, the Steelers have nothing to worry about draft-wise.

For the Browns, the number 1 pick looks to be out of their hands as they enter the final week of a dismal 2015 season for Cleveland fans. In order for them to get the top spot in the draft, they would need to lose to Pittsburgh and hope
for a Titans win to take the top spot in the draft. But… they can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat if they somehow upset the Steelers at home, which means they would no longer have the number two pick. San Diego (.511) has a current tiebreaker edge over the Browns and Dallas (.529) is currently tied with Cleveland in SOS.

San Diego (4-11) at Denver (11-4)

San Diego’s strength of schedule rating of .511 has the Chargers holding the No. 3 position entering the week. If Tennessee and Cleveland both lose, however, San Diego can’t climb any higher than that. With a game against the 11-4 Broncos upcoming, San Diego’s SOS rating figures to rise.

Washington (8-7) at Dallas (4-11)

Dallas’ dismal season has the Romo-less, Dez Bryant-less Cowboys within reach of a top-five pick and a loss to the division-leading Redskins would guarantee it. Where the Cowboys’ draft position really could swing is with a win. Three 5-10 teams behind Dallas (Miami, Jacksonville and Baltimore) all have sub-.500 SOS ratings and as such, it’s possible that a Dallas win could sink the Cowboys’ first pick as low as number 8 overall, depending on other outcomes.

St. Louis (7-8) at San Francisco (4-11)49ers

San Francisco holds the nuber 5 pick entering the week, trailing the four-win Chargers and Cowboys in the tiebreaker. With an NFL-high SOS rating of .556, the 49ers will likely draft behind any team with an identical final record, regardless of what that record is. Like Dallas, San Francisco could slip to the number 8 pick with a win if Jacksonville, Baltimore and Miami (all at 5-10) end the season with a loss.