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Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information

Carolina at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Dan Hellie, Greg Jennings, Karyn Bryant (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 98 (Carolina), 81 (Atlanta); XM: 388 (Carolina), 226 (Atlanta)

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Tom McCarthy, Steve Beuerlein; SIRIUS: 136 (Los Angeles Chargers), 108 (Buffalo); XM: 384 (Los Angeles Chargers), 228 (Buffalo)

Miami at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Steve Tasker (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 103 (Miami), 133 (New York Jets); XM: 390 (Miami), 230 (New York Jets)

Kansas City at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 106 (Kansas City), 82 (Pittsburgh);|XM: 385 (Kansas City), 227 (Pittsburgh)

Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; SIRIUS: 135 (Houston), 105 (Tennessee); XM: 386 (Houston), 232 (Tennessee)

Indianapolis at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta; SIRIUS: 111 (Indianapolis), 94 (Washngton); XM: 387 (Indianapolis), 233 (Washington)

Minnesota at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 99 (Minnesota), 83 (Green Bay); XM: 389 (Minnesota), 225 (Green Bay)

Cleveland at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 125 (Cleveland), 119 (New Orleans); XM: 391 (Cleveland), 229 (New Orleans)

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Tiki Barber (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 134 (Philadelphia), 113 (Tampa Bay); XM: 383 (Philadelphia), 231 (Tampa Bay)

Arizona at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 106 (Arizona), 83 (Los Angeles Rams); XM: 385 (Arizona), 225 (Los Angeles Rams)

Detroit at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 135 (Detroit), 108 (San Francisco); XM: 386 (Detroit), 228 (San Francisco)

Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians, Melanie Collins (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 136 (Oakland), 81 (Denver); XM: 384 (Oakland), 226 (Denver)

New England at Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 134 (New England), 82 (Jacksonville)  | XM: 383 (New England), 227 (Jacksonville)

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

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

Sunday and Monday Officials

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

Sunday and Monday Odds (Home Teams in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite                   Spread       Underdog          O/U
ATLANTA                    –  5 1/2     Carolina          44
WASHINGTON                 –  5 1/2     Indianapolis      45 1/2
GREEB BAY                  –  2         Minnesota         46
Los Angeles Chargers       –  7 1/2     BUFFALO           43
Houston                    –  1 1/2     TENNESSEE         44 1/2
PITTSBURGH                 –  5         Kansas City       52 1/2
NEW YORK JETS              –  3         Miami             44
Philadelphia               –  3         TAMPA BAY         43 1/2
NEW ORLEANS                –  8 1/2     Cleveland         50
LOS ANGELES RAMS           – 12 1/2     Arizona           46
SAN FRANCISCO              –  5 1/2     Detroit           47 1/2
New England                –  2         JACKSONVILLE      45
DENVER                     –  6         Oakland           45
DALLAS                     –  3         New York Giants   42

Monday’s Games
Favorite                   Spread       Underdog          O/U
Seattle                    –  3 1/2     CHICAGO           43 1/2

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

Carolina at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.

Carolina
OUT: WR Damiere Byrd (Knee), TE Greg Olsen (Foot), WR Curtis Samuel (Illness), G Trai Turner (Concussion)

ATLANTA
OUT: RB DeVonta Freeman (Knee), WR Russell Gage (Knee), G Ben Garland (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Muhammad Oliver (Ankle)

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers
OUT: T Joseph Barksdale (Knee), DE Joey Bosa (Foot), CB Craig Mager (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Travis Benjamin (Foot)

Buffalo
OUT: CB Taron Johnson (Shoulder), DE Shaq Lawson (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Ray-Ray McCloud (Knee)

Minnesota at Green Bay, 1 p.m.

Minnesota
OUT: C Patrick Elflein (Ankle)

Green Bay
OUT: S Joshua Jones (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Aaron Rodgers (Knee), WR Davante Adams (Shoulder), LB Oren Burks (Shoulder)

Cleveland at New Orleans, 1 p.m.

Cleveland
OUT: DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Christian Kirksey (Ankle)

New Orleans
OUT: DT Tyler Davison (Foot)

Miami at New York Jets, 1 p.m.

Miami
QUESTIONABLE: DE William Hayes (Finger), LS John Denney (Shoulder), WR DeVante Parker (Finger)

New York Jets
DOUBTFUL: S Marcus Maye (Foot)
OUT: LB Josh Martin (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: S Doug Middleton (Finger)

Kansas City at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Kansas City
DOUBTFUL: S James Berry (Heel)
OUT: LB Ben Niemann (Hamstring)

Pittsburgh
DOUBTFUL: G David DeCastro (Hand), CB Joseph Haden (Hamstring), DE Tyson Alualu (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Cameron Heyward (Knee), TE Vance McDonald (Foot), QB Ben Roethlisberger (Right Elbow), CB Artie Burns (Toe)

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia
OUT: RB Darren Sproles (Hamstring), WR Alshon Jeffery (Shoulder), QB Carson Wentz (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Shelton Gibson (Knee)

Tampa Bay
OUT: CB Brent Grimes (Groin), DT Tevita Vea (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE: WR DeSean Jackson (Shoulder), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Knee)

Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Houston
OUT: CB Kayvon Webster (Achilles)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Johnson Bademosi (Knee), LB Jadeveon Clowney (Back), WR Sammie Coates (Hamstring), WR Key’vantanie Coutee (Hamstring), DE Christian Covington (Thigh), LB Duke Ejiofor (Hamstring), WR William Fuller (Hamstring), WR DeAndre Hopkins (Foot)

Tennessee
OUT: T Taylor Lewan (Concussion), S Kendrick Lewis (Foot), T Jack Conklin (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: T Dennis Kelly (Illness), LB Harold Landry (Ankle), QB Marcus Mariota (Right Elbow), LB Derrick Morgan (Knee), TE Lucas Stocker (Calf)

Indianapolis at Washington

Indianapolis

OUT: Denico Autry (Ankle), T Anthony Castonzo (Hamstring), T Denzelle Good (Knee), CB Chris Milton (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: S Clayton Geathers S Knee), RB Marlon Mack (Hamstring), DT Grover Stewart (Shoulder)

Washington
OUT: S Troy Apke (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Paul Richardson (Shoulder), WR Maurice Harris (Concussion), T Morgan Moses (Knee)

Arizona at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.

Arizona
OUT: DT Olsen Pierre (Toe), T Andre Smith (Elbow)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Markus Golden (Knee), TE Jermaine Gresham (Achilles), LB Haason Reddick (Ankle)

Los Angeles Rams
DOUBTFUL: LB Mark Barron (Ankle)
OUT: WR Michael Thomas (Hip)

Detroit at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Detroit
OUT: T Andrew Donnal (Knee), G Thomas Lang (Back)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Ezekiel Ansah (Shoulder), RB LeGarrette Blount (Shoulder)

San Francisco
OUT: G Joshua Garnett (Toe), WR Marquise Goodwin (Quadricep), C Erik Magnuson (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: S Adrian Colbert (Hamstring), G Michael Person (Foot), LB Malcolm Smith (Hamstring)

Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Oakland
OUT: DT Patrick Hall (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Dwayne Harris (Foot), G Gabriel Jackson (Pectoral), RB DeAndre Washington (Knee)

Denver – Denver reports no injuries

New England at Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m.

New England
QUESTIONALBLE: RB Michael Burkhead (Concussion), T Marcus Cannon (Calf), CB Keion Crossen (Hamstring), RB Sony Michel (Knee)

Jacksonville
QUESTIONABLE: RB Leonard Fournette (Hamstring)

New York Giants at Dallas, 8:20 p.m.

New York Giants
OUT: DE Olivier Vernon (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Octavious Davis (Hamstring)

Dallas
DOUBTFUL: DE Randy Gregory (Concussion)
OUT: C Travis Frederick (Illness), S Xavier Woods (Hamstring), DT Datone Jones (Knee)

Seattle at Chicago, 8:15 p.m.

Seattle
DOUBTFUL: CB Trequille Flowers (Hamstring), G Danny Fluker (Hamstring), S Delano Hill (Hamstring)
OUT: WR Doug Baldwin (Knee), LB Bobby Wagner (Groin), LB Kenneth Wright (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Shaquill Griffin (Thigh)

Chicago
OUT: S DeAndre Houston-Carson (Forearm)

Sunday and Monday Weather
Carolina at ATLANTA, 1 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, mostly cloudy and 78 degrees
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: Sunny and 80 degrees
Miami at New York Jets, 1 p.m.: Sunny and 79 degrees
Kansas City at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 78 degrees
Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 84 degrees
Indianapolis at Washington, 1 p.m.: Cloudy and 73 degrees
Minnesota at Green Bay, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 79 degrees
Cleveland at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Game indoors
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.: Overcast with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms and 89 degrees
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.: Sunny and 83 degrees
Detroit at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.: Sunny and 71 degrees
Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 91 degrees
New England at Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m.: Partly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms and 92 degrees
New York Giants at Dallas, 8:20 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, partly cloudy and 86 degrees
Seattle at Chicago, 8:15 p.m. Monday: Mostly clear and 87 degrees

All times listed Eastern. Broadcast Information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel (Note: weather forecast is based on kickoff local time)

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Close games, record-setting performances and memorable moments from stars both established and new highlighted an exciting Kickoff Weekend. With eight divisional matchups and a rematch of the 2017 AFC Championship Game on the schedule, Week two promises more of the same. If week one was good, fans can expect week two to be better. Five games were decided by 6 points or less in week one, while threw contests were blowouts.

Every team wants to get off to a fast start as history has shown that teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to advance to the playoffs as teams that lose their opener. But an 0-1 start is not impossible to overcome as nearly 25 percent of teams that lose a season opener advance to the playoffs, including three teams in 2017 –   New England, New Orleans and Tennessee.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 52.1 percent (306 of 587) of teams that won their season opener advanced to the postseason:

Of the 587 teams which won openers…306 went to the playoffs (185 won division titles)

Of the 586 teams which lost openers…140 went to the playoffs (81 won division titles)

(Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact that the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.)

Ten games in Week 1 were decided by eight points or fewer and eight games were won by teams that did not advance to the 2017 postseason. Twelve of 16 games were within one score in the fourth quarter and five teams – Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Green Bay and Philadelphia – won or tied a game after trailing in the fourth quarter. Green Bay, who defeated NFC North rival Chicago 24-23 at Lambeau Field in Week 1 after trailing 20-0 in the third quarter, became the eighth team in league history to win a season-opening game after trailing by at least 20 points.

Led by the New York Jets (48 points), Tampa Bay (48) and Baltimore (47), there were 765 total points scored across the league on Kickoff Weekend, the third-most in NFL history in Week 1. There were 12 return touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend, the second-most in Week 1 since the 1970 merger (13 in 2011). The Jets, who scored two return touchdowns in their win at Detroit in Week 1, became the third team in NFL history to score a touchdown via pass, rush, interception and punt return in a season-opening game.

Last week saw incredible performances from rookies and veterans alike. New England quarterback Tom Brady became the third player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in a season-opening game at the age of 41 or older, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers George Blanda and Warren Moon, in the Patriots’ 27-20 win over Houston. New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who became the youngest quarterback (21 years, 97 days old), to start a season-opening game in the Super Bowl era, threw two touchdown passes in the Jets’ Week 1 win over Detroit. With two interceptions against Pittsburgh in his NFL debut, Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward became the first rookie to record multiple interceptions in a season-opening game since Indianapolis’ Eugene Daniel on September 2, 1984 against the New York Jets.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: There were several notable Kickoff Weekend records set and milestones reached on Sunday.

The 88 combined points by Tampa Bay (48) and New Orleans (40) are the most points scored in a single game on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history. The previous record was held by the Philadelphia Eagles (45) and Washington Redskins (42) who combined for 87 points on September 28, 1947. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for three touchdowns against Tampa Bay and has 37 career touchdown passes in season-opening games, the most in NFL history, surpassing the previous record of 34 held by Peyton Manning. New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas recorded a career-high 16 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown against Tampa Bay. Thomas’ 16 catches are the most by a player on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history, surpassing the previous record of 15 held by Keenan Allen (September 13, 2015 vs. Detroit).

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 76 receiving yards against Washington. Fitzgerald (1,068 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches) is one of five players with at least 1,000 career receiving yards and eight touchdown catches in season-opening games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (1,385 yards, nine touchdowns), Andre Reed (1,225, 10), Randy Moss (1,194, 10) and Don Maynard (1,025, nine).

• Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 417 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions and rushed for a touchdown in the Buccaneers’ 48-40 win at New Orleans. With his performance, Fitzpatrick joined Washington’s Mark Rypien (November 10, 1991 against Atlanta) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 400 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions and rush for a touchdown in a single game.

Buccaneers wide receiver De Sean Jackson had 146 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including a 58-yard touchdown catch, in the win. Jackson has 27 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Alworth and Terrell Owens for the third-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (36) and Randy Moss (29) have more in league annals.

New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 277 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 102.2 passer rating in the Patriots’ 27-20 win over Houston. Brady, who is 41 years, 37 days old, became the third quarterback in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in a season-opening game at the age of 41 or older, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers George Blanda (45 years, 0 days) and Warren Moon (41 years, 292 days).

• Washington running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown and had 70 receiving yards in the Redskins’ 24-6 win at Arizona. Peterson, who has 12,372 career rushing yards and 100 career rushing touchdowns, became the seventh player in NFL history to record at least 12,000 rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns. The six other players to accomplish the feat – Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith and LaDanian Tomlinson – are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Peterson surpassed Faulk (12,279) and Brown (12,312) for the 10th-most rushing yards in NFL history.

Kansas City wide receiver/punt returner Tyreek Hill had seven catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns, including a 58-yard touchdown catch, and a 91-yard punt-return touchdown in the Chiefs’ 38-28 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers. Hill joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Hayes (December 8, 1968 vs. Pittsburgh) and Tavon Austin (November 10, 2013 at Indianapolis) as the only players in NFL history to record a 50+ yard touchdown catch and a 90+ yard punt-return touchdown in a single game. Hill has 13 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards (six receiving, four punt-return, two rushing, one kick-return) in 32 career games and is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers and Devin Hester for the most 50+ yard touchdowns in a player’s first 35 career games in NFL history.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald recorded seven catches for 76 yards in the Cardinals’ loss to Washington. Fitzgerald has recorded at least one reception in 212 consecutive games and surpassed Tony Gonzalez (211) for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a catch in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice holds the record with at least one catch in 274 consecutive games from 1985-2004.

Cleveland and Pittsburgh played to a 21-21 tie at FirstEnergy Stadium along the shores of Lake Erie. Sunday’s game marked the first Kickoff Weekend game to end in a tie since September 19, 1971, when the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos played to a 10-10 tie. Cleveland rookie cornerback Denzel Ward recorded two interceptions in his NFL debut. Ward, who is 21 years, 134 days old, became the fourth-youngest player in NFL history with at least two interceptions in a single game. Only Dicky Moegle (21 years, 39 days on October 23, 1955), Marcus Williams (21 years, 114 days on December 31, 2017) and Champ Bailey (21 years, 117 days on October 17, 1999) accomplished the feat at a younger age. Ward became the first rookie to record multiple interceptions in a season-opening game since Indianapolis’ Eugene Daniel on September 2, 1984 against the New York Jets.

Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Brown has 10,003 receiving yards in 116 career games and tied Torry Holt (116) for the second-fewest games to reach 10,000 receiving yards in NFL history. Only Calvin Johnson (115 games) reached the milestone in fewer career games.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: NO NEED TO PANIC: Since realignment in 2002, 116 of the 192 playoff teams (60.4 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including eight teams last season and six division champions – Jacksonville (AFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota (NFC North), New England (AFC East), New Orleans (NFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East).

Last season, the New Orleans Saints began the season 0-2 and advanced to the playoffs after becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to win eight consecutive games following an 0-2 start.

A look at how playoff clubs in 2016 and 2017 began their seasons:

Team (After 2 games, 2016 Playoff result)
Atlanta (1-1, Advanced to Super Bowl LI)
Dallas (1-1, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Detroit (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Green Bay (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
Houston (2-0, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Kansas City (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Miami (0-2, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
New England (2-0, Won Super Bowl LI)
New York Giants (2-0, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Pittsburgh (2-0, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Oakland (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Seattle (1-1, Advanced to Divisional)

Team (After 2 games, 2017 Playoff Result)
Atlanta (2-0, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Buffalo (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Carolina (2-0, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Jacksonville (1-1, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Kansas City (2-0, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Los Angeles Rams (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Minnesota (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
New England (1-1, Advanced to Super Bowl LII)
New Orleans (0-2, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Philadelphia (1-1, Won Super Bowl LII)
Pittsburgh (2-0, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Tennessee (1-1, Advanced to Divisional)

MOVING UP THE RANKS: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has 51,400 career passing yards in his 15-year NFL career.

With 76 passing yards on Sunday against Kansas City at Heinz Field, Roethlisberger will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for the seventh-most passing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis and Denver (71,940)
Brett Favre – Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (71,838)^
Drew Brees – San Diego and New Orleans (70,884)*
Tom Brady – New England (66,436)*
Dan Marino – Miami (61,361)^
Eli Manning – New York Giants (51,906)*
John Elway – Denver (51,475)^
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh (51,400)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Three quarterbacks – New Orleans’ Drew Brees (439 passing yards), Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers (424) and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick (417) – each threw for at least 400 yards on Kickoff Weekend.

With 400 passing yard performances in Week 2, Brees, Rivers and Fitzpatrick can join TOM BRADY (2011) and Cam Newton (2011) as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least 400 yards in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history.

The players to throw for at least 400 yards in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER (SEASON – TEAM; GAME 1 PASSING YARDS/GAME 2 PASSING YARDS)
Tom Brady (2011 – New England; 517/423)
Cam Newton (2011 – Carolina; 422/432)
Drew Brees (2018 – New Orleans; 439/???)
Philip Rivers ((2018 – Los Angeles Chargers; 424/???)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018 – Tampa Bay; 417/???)

Two quarterbacks – Fitzpatrick and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes – each threw four touchdown passes in Week 1.

With four touchdown passes in Week 2, Fitzpatrick and Mahomes would join Drew Bledsoe (1997) as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history.

The players to throw for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER (SEASON – TEAM; GAME 1 PASSING TDS/GAME 2 PASSING TDS)
Drew Bledsoe (1997 – New England; 4/4)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018 – Tampa Bay; 4/???)
Patrick Mahomes (2018 – Kansas City; 4/???)

BURSTING ONTO THE SCENE: New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley rushed for 106 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown, in his NFL debut last week.

With another 100-yard performance in Week 2 against the Cowboys Sunday night in Arlington, Barkley can become the first rookie since 2005 (Cadillac Williams) with at least 100 rushing yards in each of his team’s first two games of the season.

The rookies with at least 100 rushing yards in each of his team’s first two games of the season since 1970:

PLAYER (TEAM – SEASON)
Cadillac Williams (Tampa Bay – 2005)
Edgerrin James (Indianapolis – 1999)
Marshall Faulk (Indianapolis – 1994)^
Billy Sims (Detroit – 1980)
Ottis Anderson (St. Louis Cardinals – 1979)
William Andrews (Atlanta – 1979)
Earl Campbell (Houston Oilers – 1978)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LIKE MIKE: New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas recorded a career-high 16 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, the most by a player on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

With 11 receptions on Sunday against Cleveland, Thomas can surpass Andre Rison (26) for the most receptions by a player in his team’s first two games to start a season in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions in his team’s first two games of the season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS IN TEAM’S 1ST 2 GAMES)
Andre Rison, Atlanta (1994, 26)
Rod Smith, Denver (2001, 23)
Julian Edelman, New England (2015, 22)
Julio Jones, Atlanta (2015, 22)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2018, 16)*
*Through Week 1

Week one was a pretty good week for picks, as we went 11-5 to open the season. One week gone. 16 to go. Week 2 kicked off with an AFC North showdown on Thursday Night Football as Cincinnati took care of Baltimore along the shores of the Ohio River and concludes in the Windy City as Seattle travels to Chicago for a Monday night contest with Da Bears.

Here are the picks for week two’s Sunday and Monday games.

Carolina (0-1) at ATLANTA (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Matt Ryan. Cam Newton. A pair of NFC South foes, separated by 245 miles, meet in the Big Peach as Atlanta and Carolina square off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Carolina and Cam Newton took care of Dallas 16-8 last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Newtown threw for 161 yards, despite being sacked three times and had a rushing TD in the contest to open the scoring. Scorless at the end of the first quarter, the Panthers took a 10-0 lead into the intermission, although Dallas did manage to outscore Carolina 8-6 in the final period play, with the Cowboys getting their only points on a 4-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott and a Dak Prescott two-point conversion. Carolina outrushed Dallas 147-94, with Elliott leading all rushers with 69 yards (Newton tallied 58), while Prescott threw for 170 yards with six sacks. Dallas was 2 of 11 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:24, while Carolina kept the pigskin for 30:36, going 4 of 12 on third down.

Atlanta looks to even their record after their 18-12 loss at Philadelpha in the season opener for both clubs. The Falcons let two leads get away from them in the City of Brotherly Love; first taking a 6-3 lead into the half and then leading 12-10 with 2:19 left in regulation when Eagles RB Joseph Ajayi scored on an 11-yard run and added the two-point conversion.. Atlanta was held to 74 yards rushing, while the Eagles tallied 113 in the NFC Divisonal rematch. Ryan threw for 251 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Eagles QB Nick Foles threw for 117 yards with two sacks and an interception. As was the case in the NFC Divisonal game, Atlanta rallied to take the win out of Philadelphia but once again, the drive fell short and the Eagles took the win. Atlanta was 4 of 15 on third down (the Falcons were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:50, while the defending Super Bowl champs were 8 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 32:10.

The Falcons lead the series 28-18, have outscored Carolina 973-909 and have won four of their last five contests, including spliting last year’s series, each team winning at home.

Meeting number one… Charlotte in week nine. Atlanta let a 10-0 first quarter lead get away from them as the Panthers would lead 14-10 at the intermission and survive a late Atlanta rally, taking a 20-17 win at Bank of America Stadium. Although Ryan threw for 313 yards and a pair of TDs, it was the one near TD that could have given the Falcons the lead when WR Julio Jones dropped what was a sure TD. Carolina outrushed Atlanta 201-53, with Newton leading all rushers with 86 yards and a rushing TD, while teammate Collin McCaffery rushed for the other score. Atlanta was 4 of 12 on third down tries in the Tar Heel State (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and the Falcons held on to the ball for 27:08, while Carolina was 4 of 13 on third, 1 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 32:52.

Atlanta would get revenge in the Big Peach in week 17, using four Matt Bryant field goals to take the 22-10 win. Tied at 7-7 at the half and with both teams headed to the post-season, Atlanta outscored the Panthers 15-3 in the final 30 minutes of action at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Both Ryan and Newton had TD passes in the contest but Newton (180 yards) was picked off three times and sacked twice, while Ryan threw for 317 yards in the win. Carolina outrushed Atlanta 87-60 but Atlanta took advantage of the three interceptions on the afternoon. Atlanta on third down in the Big Peach went 6 of 13 and held on to the ball for 34:42, while Carolina held the ball for 25:18, gonig 5 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Atlanta was favored by 2 in the week nine contest in Charlotte and Carolina covered the spread, winning by 3. The 42 over/under was safe as both clubs combined for 37 points. In the season finale in the Big Peach, Atlanta covered the 3 1/2 point spread with the 12-point win but the 46 over/under was untouched, as both clubs merged for 32 points. This time around, the Falcons are favored at home by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Both numbers sound reasonable and both teams can put up offense. Carolina’s looking to stay unbeatend, while Atlanta looks for revenge. Revenge wins out. Atlanta may not cover the 5 1/2 but they win in the Big Peach.

Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) at Buffalo (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC rivals that took losses last weekend meet in upstate New York as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Orchard Park for a showdown with the Buffalo Bills.

The Chargers trailed Kansas City 17-12 at StubHub Center at the intermission and the Chiefs would go on to take a  38-28 AFC West win last Sunday. Los Angeles did manage to outrush Kansas City 123-106 and Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and three TDs, while the Chiefs’ Pat Mahomes threw for 256 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was sacked once, while Rivers was sacked once and picked off once). The Chargers were 3 of 11 on third down but found success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 34:26, while the Chiefs kept the ball for a mere 25:34, going 4 of 10 on fourth down.

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens took Buffalo to task last Sunday in Charm City as the Ravens took care of the Bills 47-3. Flacco completed 25 of 34 passes and threw three touchdowns, including scoring passes to John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead. Buffalo was on the short end of a 26-0 deficit at the intermission and saw the Ravens take a 40-3 lead into the fourth quarter as they were manhandled the team they replaced in the 2017 post-season. The Bills were held to 83 yards, Baltimore ran for 117 yards and Flacco threw for 236 yards with the three TDs and no interceptions, while Nate Peterman was sacked three times, throwing for 24 yards. The Ravens in their opener win were 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 35:14, while the Bills kept the ball for 24:46 and went 2 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played at old War Memorial Stadium and San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 23-10-2, the Bolts have outscored the Bills 868-589 and have won the last three meetings, including a 54-24 win in Los Angeles last season (Buffalo’s last win over the Chargers came in 2008 in upstate New York by a final of 23-14).

Buffalo was manhandled in that week 11 contest on the West Coast, trailing 37-10 at the intermission and could never get on track in the lopsided loss. Buffalo did manage to outrush the Chargers 173-146, with Bills RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 114 yards on the afternoon. Bills QB Normam Peterman threw for 66 yards with five interceptions before being replaced by Tyrod Taylor (158 yards, TD), while Rivers threw for 251 yards and a pair of TDs to Keenan Allen for the win. The Chargers, who went 7 of 14 on third down conversions, held the ball for 36:05 and forced six turnovers on the day and scored twice on defense to keep the Bills in check in the contest at Stub Hub Stadium. As for the Bills? They were 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 23:55.

In the week 11 contest on the West Coast, the Chargers easily covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 30 and both clubs covered the 44 over/under with 78 points. The oddsmakers like the Chargers as 7 1/2 point favorites in upstate New York and the over/under’s 43. You might want to consider taking a pass on this one (unless you just happen to like one or both teams) and get that Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas shopping out of the way. Chargers recover from their loss at home and takes the road win but the Bills may make it closer than 7 1/2.

Miami (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They meet again. A pair of AFC East foes that have been around since the AFC was formed meet in usptate New Jersey unbeaten, with each coming in with wins under their belts.

Miami endured two lightning delays at Hard Rock Stadium that totaled almost three and half hours and came away 27-20 winners over Tennessee last Sunday in the Sunshine State. Leading 7-3 at the half, Miami managed to hold off the Titans 20-17 in the heat and humidity of South Beach to take the win. Tennessee would eventually pull to within three with 11 seconds left when Ryan Succop connected on a 53-yard field goal and the game featured a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns; first, Miami’s Jakeem Grant returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD to take a 17-10 lead with 14:04 left in the contest. Tennessee would not be outdone, as Titans WR Darius Jennings returned a fourth quarter kickoff 94 yards to pull his team to within 7 with 10:11 left in the contest. The two clubs would then trade field goals in the final minutes of the quarter, with Succop’s effort making the contest closer than Dolphins fans would have wanted. Miami outrushed Tennessee 120-116 with Marcus Mariota throwing for 103 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Ryan Tannehill throwing for 230 yards and a pair of TDs to Kenny Stills, who had 106 yards on four catches, to take the win. Miami on third down went 2 of 10 (the Dolphins were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:25, while Tennessee was 6 of 14 and 0f for 2 on fourth down, holding the ball for 29:35.

GangGreen led Detroit 17-10 in the Motor City at halftime Monday night and then went on to outpace the Lions, scoring 31 points in the second half unchallenged to come out on top 48-17. Isaiah Crowell’s 102 yards and two TDs led the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to the come-from-behind win in the Monday night contest, while GangGreen outrushed Detroit 169-39, forcing Matthew Stafford (286 yards, TD) to throw four interceptions. Rookie signal called Sam Darnold made his NFL debut a good one, throwing for 198 yards and a pair of TDs. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 14 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs, while holding on to the ball for 33:07; the Lions were 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:53.

Including contests that took place at Shea Stadium, New Haven and the Orange Bowl, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! lead the series 54-49-1, while Miami has outscored GangGreen 2,274-2,247. They met twice last year and the two teams split the series, each winning at home.

Meeting number one… the Meadowlands in week three and GangGreen held the ‘Fins to a 3-yard TD toss as time expired to take a 20-6 win. Leading 20-0 at the end of three quarters, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! held Miami to 30 yards rushing (they tallied 103) and kept them off the scoreboard until the clock struck :00 when Jay Cutler (220 yards) and WR DeVante Parker connected on a 6-yard toss. Josh McCown and Robby Anderson connected on the game’s first TD after Chris Catanzaro connected on a 40 yard field goal to open the scoring in the game, with RB Bilal Powell and Catanzaro accounting for the other two New York scores in the contest. Miami was a somewhat dismal 1 of 12 on third down tries (they were 0 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:52, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! kept the ball for 36:08, going 4 for 13 on third down.

Miami didn’t have to wait very long to get their revenge and they were at home at Hard Rock Stadium for the rematch in week seven. Miami settled the score with their AFC East foes, rallying to take a 31-28 win over GangGreen in the Sunshine State. The Jets led 21-14 at the half and led 28-14 after three quarters of play before Miami would take control of things in the final quarter of play, scoring their final 17 points of the game unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 22 seconds left when Chris Parkey connected on a 39-yard field goal for the win. The ground game was not the order of the day as neither team breached the 100-yard barrier but as was the case in the first meeting, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! managed to outrush Miami 92-53, with McCown throwing for 209 yards and three TDs, while being sacked three times. Third down tries? New York was 4 of 11, Miami was 5 of 13 and the Dolphins ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:58 to New York’s 28:02.

Miami in the week three contest was favored by 6 and GangGreen covered the spread, winning by 13. The 41 1/2 over/under was not touched, as both teams merged for only 27 points. The oddsmakers liked Miami at home in the week seven rematch, making them 3 point favorites and they covered the spread with the 3-point win and both clubs covered the 38 1/2 over/under, tallying 59 points. The Jets are favored by 3 in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 44. Both teams are looking to unseat New England as king of the AFC East mountain. The Jets are good but Miami’s better. ‘Fins cover the 3 and win in the Meadowlands.

Kansas City (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They meet again, this time in the Steel City. A pair of AFC playoff teams square off at Heinz Field as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City took a 17-12 lead at StubHub Center at the intermission against their AFC foes the Los Angeles Chargers and went on to take a 38-28 AFC West win last Sunday. While Los Angeles did manage to outrush Kansas City 123-106 and Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and three TDs, while the Chiefs’ Pat Mahomes threw for 256 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was sacked once, while Rivers was sacked once and picked off once). The Chargers were 3 of 11 on third down but found success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 34:26, while the Chiefs kept the ball for a mere 25:34, going 4 of 10 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh let a 21-7 lead at the end of the third quarter get away from them as Cleveland would go on to score 14 fourth quarter points unchallenged, then held off Roethlisberger and the Steelers to a 21-21 tie at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. While the Browns outrushed Pittsburgh 177-159, Pittsburgh’s James Conner led all rushers with 135 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground. Roethlisberge threw for 335 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off three; for the Browns, rookie QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 197 yards and a TD toss to WR Josh Gordon but was sacked seven times and picked off once. Pittsburgh was 7 of 15 on third down and kept the ball for 35:12, while the Browns held the ball for 34:48, going 5 of 18, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Steelers lead the series 22-10 (which includes contests played at Swope Field and Three Rivers Stadium) and have outscored Kansas City 763-576. They met last year at Arrowhead and the Steelers would come away with a 19-13 win at Arrowhead (Kansas City’s last win in the series came in 2015, also at Arrowhead, by a final of 23-13). Pittsburgh led 12-3 at the break in the late afternoon contest and took that lead into the fourth quarter before the Chiefs would rally in the final 15 minutes of action to make the game closer than the Steelers would have wanted it when Chiefs QB Alex Smith connected with WR De’Anthony Thomas for a 57-yard touchdown toss with 6:13 left to play. Pittsburgh would then restore order as Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown connected on a 51-yard touchdown strike.

Pittsburgh easily outrushed Kansas City 194-28, with LeVeon Bell leading the way with 179 yards and a TD, while Roethlisberger threw for 252 yards and a score (Smith threw for 246 yards but was sacked three times). Pittsburgh went 4 of 11 on third down tries at Arrowhead, keeping the ball for 36:39, while the Chiefs, who kept the ball for 23:21, went 3 of 11 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down. In the week six contest, the Steelers covered the 4-point spread (the Chiefs were favored) but the 46 over/under stayed intact, as the two clubs combined for 32 points at Arrowhead. Pittsburgh’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 52 1/2, While this one’s not “Drill Worthy,” it’s worth your time to watch. Chiefs make this one interesting but the Steelers prevail in western Pennsylvania.

Houston (0-1) at Tennessee (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of winless AFC South foes meet in the Music City when Houston makes a visit to Nissan Stadium to take on the Tennessee Titans.

A Texans rally in Foxboro fell short for DeShaun Watson and Houston as they would fall to Tom Brady and New England 27-20 last Sunday afternoon. Trailing 21-6 at the half, Houston would rally in the second half, eventually making the contest a 7-point affair with 2:08 left when Watson and WR Bruce Ellington connected on a 5-yard, putting them closer. That would be as close as they would get to Tom Brady and the Patriots, who would hold them off for the win. While the Texans did outrush New England 167-122, Brady burned Houston for 277 yards and three TDs, connecting with TE Rob Gronkowski on one of those tosses. Watson did manage to throw for 176 yards with the TD but was sacked three times and picked off once. Houston was 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:50, while the defending AFC champs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:10, going 4 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Although Tennessee endured two lightning delays at Hard Rock Stadium that totaled almost three and half hours, it was Miami that came away 27-20 winners over Tennessee last Sunday in the Sunshine State. The Titans trailed 7-3 at the half, while Miami managed to hold off the Titans 20-17 in the heat and humidity of South Beach to take the win. Tennessee would pull to within three with 11 seconds left when Ryan Succop connected on a 53-yard field goal and the game featured a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns; first, Miami’s Jakeem Grant returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD to take a 17-10 lead with 14:04 left in the contest. Tennessee would not be outdone, as Titans WR Darius Jennings returned a fourth quarter kickoff 94 yards to pull his team to within 7 with 10:11 left in the contest. The two clubs would then trade field goals in the final minutes of the quarter, with Succop’s effort making the contest closer than Dolphins fans would have wanted. Miami outrushed Tennessee 120-116 with Marcus Mariota throwing for 103 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Ryan Tannehill throwing for 230 yards and a pair of TDs to Kenny Stills, who had 106 yards on four catches, to take the win. Miami on third down went 2 of 10 (the Dolphins were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:25, while Tennessee was 6 of 14 and 0f for 2 on fourth down, holding the ball for 29:35.

The Titans lead the series 17-15 (which includes games that were played in Memphis) but the Texans have outscored the former Houston team 754-643. The two AFC South foes split their meetings in 2017, each taking wins at home.

Houston took a 30-14 lead at the intermission in the week four contest at NRG Stadium and came away 57-14 winners. The Texans outscored Mariota and the Titans 27-0 in the final 30 minutes of play in the Lone Star State to seal Tennessee’s fate. Houston outrushed Tennessee 173-86 in the contest, with Watson throwing for 283 yards and four TDs (Mariota threw for 96 yards with two interceptions). Houston was 6 of 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions in the Lone Star State, keeping the ball for 39:41, while the Titans kept the ball for 20:19, going 2 of 8 on third downs.

Tennessee got their revenge in the Music City in week 13, taking down the Texans 24-13. The Titans, after erasing a 3-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, broke a 10-10 tie at the intermission and pulled away from Houston with a pair of second half TDs for the win. Tennessee pounded Houston for 198 yards on the ground, holding the Texans to 53 and sacking QB Tom Savage (365 yards, TD), who took over for DeShaun Watson four times. While both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down, the Texans were 8 of 16 on third down, keeping the ball for 33:49 to Tennessee’s 26:11 (the Titans were 5 of 11 on third down tries).

In the week four contest at NRG Stadium, Tennessee was a 1 1/2-point favorite and the Texans easily covered that spread, winning by 43 points and both teams took care of the 44 over/under, tallying 71 points. Tennessee was again the favorite in the week 13 rematch in the Music City and the Titans covered the 6-point spread, winning by 13. The 43 over/under was in check as the two clubs merged for 37 points. Houston’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 44 1/2. There’s a lot of bad blood between Houston and Nashville and that could very well rear its ugly head (the Oilers were taken from Houston to Nashville, where they were called the Tennessee Oilers before the NFL stepped in and basically told the Tennessee team to change their names). Houston covers the 1 1/2 on the road and takes the win in the Music City.

Indianapolis (0-1) at Washington (1-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. The Colts look to pull themselves even as they travel to Landover for a contest with the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

The Colts watched Andy Dalton and the Bengals take a 34-23 victory at Indianapolis in the season opener in the Hoosier State. Dalton threw for 243 yards and a pair of TDs as the Bengals scored 24 unanswered points in the second half, punctuated by an 83-yard fumble-return touchdown by safety Clayton Fejedelem with 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.  Indy, who were leading 16-10 at the half, found themselves being held to 75 yards on the ground and Andrew Luck threw for 319 yards and a pair of TDs while being sacked twice. Cincinnati, outscoring Indy 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, went 4 of 8 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 27:12, while the Colts had time on their side (apologies to Mick Jagger!) and held the ball for 32:48, going 11 of 17 on third down conversions.

Washington returns to Landover with a 24-6 win at Arizona last Sunday afternoon in the desert. The Redskins led 21-0 at the half, using a pair of Alex Smith (255 yards) TD tosses and adding a 31-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins before Arizona’s David Johnson ended the shutout bid with a 2-yard run with 5:47 left. Washington ran for 182 yards, with RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 96 yards and a TD, while the Redskins held Arizona to 68 yards rushing. Washington was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:08, while the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 8 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 21:52.

The Colts lead ther series 20-10, which includes contests that were played in Baltimore and at old RFK Stadium, the Colts have outscored Washington 780-602 and won the last three meetings, including a 49-27 win in the Hoosier State in 2014; as for the Redskins, their last win in the series came in 2002 at Fed Ex Field by a final of 26-21. Washington’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Hail To The Redskins! Washington makes their return home a successful one and covers the 5 1/2.

Minnesota (1-0) at Green Bay (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. It’s an NFC North (NFC Norris) showdown in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst as Minnesota travels to Green Bay to face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field. Both teams enter the contests with wins under their belts.

Minnesota held off a late San Francisco rally last Sunday at US Bank Stadium, coming away 24-16 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Leading 10-3 at the intermission, the Vikings barely outscored Jimmy Graffalo (261 yards, TD, three interceptions) and the 49ers 14-13 in the second half to take the win. Minnesota outrushed San Francisco 116-90, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 244 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Stefon Diggs on one of the tosses. Minnesota, who forced four San Francisco turnovers, went 7 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth downs) and held the ball for 31:09, while the 49ers were 5 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:51.

Packers fans held their breath as their star QB Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of their Sunday night contest against Chicago at Lambeau, only to see the Packers rally to take a 24-23 NFC North win over Da Bears. Trailing 17-0 at the intermission, Packer fans saw Rodgers come out of the contest with what some thought was a knee injury, only to give Green Bay fans hope, as they outscored Chicago 24-6 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Chicago outrushed Green Bay 139-69, Rodgers burned Da Bears for 286 yards with three TDs, with the game-winner going to Randall Cobb to send Green Bay’s fan base home happy. Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky threw for 171 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest but the Green Bay defense made things less than pleasant for him, sacking him four times on the evening. Green Bay was 5 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:38, while Chicago kept the pigskin for 33:22, going 7 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

While Green Bay leads the series 59-52-2 and the Packers have outscored the Purple Gang 2,459-2,189, Minnesota has won three of the last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Green Bay’s last win over the Vikings came in the 2016 season, when they came away 38-25 winners at Lambeau).

The first meeting? Week six in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Vikings knocked Rodgers out of the contest (shoulder) and came away 23-10 winners at US Bank Stadium. After a scoreless first quarter, Minnesota took a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission and held Green Bay in check in the second half, shutting the Packers out in the process. Rodgers threw for 18 yards in the contest before his departure and Brett Hundley would take over, throwing for 157 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off three, while Vikings QB Case Keenum threw for 239 yards with a TD and no interceptions. Minnesota, who outrushed Green Bay 112-72, was 4 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:09, while the Packers kept the ball for 27:51, going 4 of 17 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

Minnesota made it a clean sweep in the series, shutting out the Packers 16-0 at Lambeau (temperature, you wonder? A somewhat balmy 10 degrees with a 0 wind chill) Field in week 16. Minnesota led 10-0 at the intermission in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and scored the final six points of the game in the second half unchallenged, thanks to a pair of Kyle Forbath field goals. Green Bay barely outrushed Minnesota 113-112 in the rematch and Hundley threw for 130 yards with a pair of interceptions and a sack, while Keenum threw for 139 yards (three sacks) with a TD toss to WR Stefan Diggs to take the win. Both clubs were 4 of 15 on third down (the Packers were 0 of 4 on fourth down) and Minnesota ruled the clock, holding the ball for 31:37, while the Packers held the pigskin for 28:23.

Green Bay was favored by 3 in the week six contest and the Vikings covered with the 13-point win. The 46 1/2 over/under? It was untouched, as the two clubs combined for 33 points. In the week 16 contest at Lambeau, Minnesota’s 16-point win easily covered the 9-point spread but neither team came anywhere near the 40 1/2 over/under as Minnesota scored all 16 points. Green Bay’s favored by 2 and the over/under’s 46. Both numbers make a lot of sense. These two teams don’t exactly like each other and Packer fans would like some revenge on the team that knocked them out of the post-season. Packers get revenge in the land of beer, Bratwurst and cheese and takes the win, covering the 2.

Cleveland (0-0-1) at New Orleans (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. One team looks to not go winless. The other looks for their first win. The Cleveland Browns travel to the Big Easy for a showdown with New Orleans.

The Browns avoided their 17th consecutive loss as they erased a 21-7 deficit against Pittsburgh to tie the Steelers.  Cleveland would go on to score 14 fourth quarter points unchallenged, then held off Roethlisberger and the Steelers to a 21-21 tie at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 177-159, with Pittsburgh’s James Conner leading all rushers with 135 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground. Roethlisberge threw for 335 yards with a TD but was sacked four times and picked off three; for the Browns, rookie QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 197 yards and a TD toss to WR Josh Gordon but was sacked seven times and picked off once. Pittsburgh was 7 of 15 on third down and kept the ball for 35:12, while the Browns held the ball for 34:48, going 5 of 18, 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Saints came out on the short end of a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay last Sunday in the Big Easy. Although they trailed 31-24 at the half, the Buccaneers managed to take control of things in the second half, outscoring the Saints 17-16 in the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 112-43, while Drew Brees threw for 439 yards with three passing TDs and Alvin Kamara chipping in with a pair of rushing TDs. For Tampa Bay, Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the suspended Jameis Winston, threw for 417 yards and four TDs in the win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Saints went 4 of 9 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 27:51.

Cleveland leads series 13-4. the Browns have outscored New Orleans 397-290 and Cleveland has won the last two contest, including taking a 26-24 win in Cleveland in 2016 (New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2006 in Cleveland by a final of 19-14. New Orleans is favored by 8 1/2 and the over/under’s 50. The 50 makes sense, the 8 1/2 doesn’t. Neither team looked that good last week and both teams would like to get the taste of losing out of their mouths. Cleveland will make this one close but New Orleans prevails, even though they won’t cover the 8 1/2.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Tampa Bay (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of unbeatens meet on Florida’s west coast as Philadelphia plays their second NFC South foe in as many weeks when they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

The defending Super Bowl champs survived an 18-12 scare from Atlanta in the season opener for both clubs. The Falcons let two leads get away from them in the City of Brotherly Love; first taking a 6-3 lead into the half and then leading 12-10 with 2:19 left in regulation when Joseph Ajayi scored on an 11-yard run and added the two-point conversion. Atlanta was held to 74 yards rushing, while the Eagles tallied 113 in the NFC Divisonal rematch. Ryan threw for 251 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Eagles QB Nick Foles threw for 117 yards with two sacks and an interception. As was the case in the NFC Divisonal game, Atlanta rallied to take the win out of Philadelphia but once again, the drive fell short and the Eagles took the win. Atlanta was 4 of 15 on third down (the Falcons were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:50, while the defending Super Bowl champs were 8 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 32:10.

Tampa Bay held off New Orleans 48-40 last Sunday in the Big Easy. The Buccaneers led 31-24 at the half, then took control of things in the second half, outscoring the Saints 17-16 in the final 30 minutes of action. Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 112-43, while Drew Brees threw for 439 yards with three passing TDs and Alvin Kamara chipping in with a pair of rushing TDs. For Tampa Bay, Ryan Fitzpatrick, taking over for the suspended Jameis Winston, threw for 417 yards and four TDs in the win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tampa Bay went 8 of 13 on third down and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Saints went 4 of 9 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 27:51.

Philadelphia holds an 8-6 lead in the series and the defending Super Bowl champs have outscored Tampa Bay 260-244. Tampa Bay did pick up a win in their last meeting, coming out on top 45-17 in the City of Brotherly Love in 2015, while the Eagles’ last win came in Tampa Bay in 2013 by a final of 31-20. Although Tampa Bay’s at home, the Eagles are favored by 3 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Philly makes it two in a row and covers the 3 with the win.

Arizona (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of NFC West rivals meet on the West Coast as Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum in the Monday night season opener for both.

Arizona’s offense could never get on track in Glendale last Sunday as they dropped a 24-6 decision to Washington last Sunday in the desert. The Desert Angry Birds trailed the Redskins led 21-0 at the half, as Washington would use a pair of Alex Smith (255 yards) TD tosses and adding a 31-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins before Arizona’s David Johnson ended the shutout bid with a 2-yard run with 5:47 left. Washington ran for 182 yards, with RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 96 yards and a TD, while the Redskins held Arizona to 68 yards rushing. Washington was 6 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 38:08, while the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 8 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 21:52.

Los Angeles took a 13-10 deficit at Oakland last Monday and turned it into a 33-13 win on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay. Los Angeles would go in the second half to score their final 23 points of the game uncontested, holding the Rams to 95 yards rushing and picking David Carr (303 yards) off three times, while the Rams rushed for 140 yards (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 108 yards) and Jared Goff threw for 233 yards and a pair of TDs. The Rams were 4 of 11 on third down and held on to the ball for 28:29, while the Raiders were 5 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:31.

Includling games that were played in Chicago and St. Louis when the Cardinals called those cities home and games in Cleveland, Los Angeles and St. Louis, the series is tied at 38-38-2, with the Rams outscoring Arizona  1,522-1,520. The Rams swept the series last year, taking wins on the other side of the Atlantic and in the desert (Arizona’s last win came in 2016, taking a 44-6 win in Los Angeles).

Meeting number one… London in week seven. The Rams imposed their will on the Desert Angry Birds and took Arizona to the woodshed, shutting them out 33-0 at Twickenham Stadium. After taking a 23-0 lead to the intermission, the Rams would score the final 10 points of the contest unchallenged, holding Arizona to a dismal 25 yards. Meanwhile, Todd Gurley ran for 106 of his team’s 197 yards with a TD, while Jared Goff threw for 235 yards with a TD. The Rams were 13 of 19 on third down tries and kept the ball for 39:01, while the Cardinals held on to the pigskin for 20:59, going 3 of 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

The Rams made it a clean sweep of the series in week 13, leaving University of Phoenix Stadium with a  32-16 road win. Arizona made things interesting at the half, trailing 19-13 at the break before the Rams took control of things in the second half and outscored Arizona 13-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Arizona did outrush Los Angeles 118-90, Goff did manage to throw for 220 yards and a pair of TDs, while Blaine Gabbert struggled, throwing for 221 yards with a TD to Larry Fitzgerald with six sacks and a pair of interceptions. While the Rams were 3 of 11 on third down, they were successful on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and didn’t need to keep the ball that long, holding the pigskin for 28:58, while the Cardinals ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:02, going 7 of 15 on third down conversions in the desert.

The Rams easily covered the 3 1/2-point spread with their shutout win but the 47 1/2 over/under stayed intact, as Los Angeles was responsible for all 33 points in the meeting in London. In the week 13 contest in the desert, the Rams covered the 7-point spread, winning by 13 and both teams covered the 45 over/under with 48 points. This meeting has the Rams as 12 1/2 point favorites and the over/under is 46. The 46 makes sense. The 12 1/2 is a little steep. The Cardinals are not 12 1/2 bad. Granted, they’ll give the Rams problems in Los Angeles but the Rams will prevail on the West Coast.

Detroit (0-1) at San Francisco (0-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Two clubs looking for their first win meet in wine country as Detroit travels westward to take on the San Francisco 49ers.

The Matt Patrica era in Detroit started off well for the Lions against the New York Jets, then the wheels came off the bus, they would let a 17-10 halftime lead get away from them in the Motor City at halftime Monday night, allowing the Jets to score 31 points in the second half unchallenged to come out on top 48-17. Isaiah Crowell’s 102 yards and two TDs led the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to the come-from-behind win in the Monday night contest, while GangGreen outrushed Detroit 169-39, forcing Matthew Stafford (286 yards, TD) to throw four interceptions. Rookie signal called Sam Darnold made his NFL debut a good one, throwing for 198 yards and a pair of TDs. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 6 of 14 and 2 of 3 on third and fourth downs, while holding on to the ball for 33:07; the Lions were 3 of 13 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:53.

A late San Francisco rally last Sunday at Minnesota’s US Bank Stadium fell short, with the Vikings coming away 24-16 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The 49ers trailed 10-3 at the intermission before the Vikings barely outscored Jimmy Graffalo (261 yards, TD, three interceptions) and the 49ers 14-13 in the second half to take the win. Minnesota outrushed San Francisco 116-90, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 244 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Stefon Diggs on one of the tosses. Minnesota, who forced four San Francisco turnovers, went 7 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth downs) and held the ball for 31:09, while the 49ers were 5 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:51.

Including games that took place at Keezar Stadium, Tiger Stadium, the Pontiac Silverdome and Candlestick Park, the 49ers lead the series 36-27-1 and they have outscored Detroit 1,395-1,334. Detroit won the last meeting, taking a 32-17 win in Detroit, while the 49ers picked up a 27-19 win on the West Coast in 2012. San Francisco’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2.

Oakland (0-1) at Denver (1-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. They’re back. They still don’t like each other. Don’t expect any warm fuzzy greetings between these two teams. Oakland makes their way to the Rocky Mountains for an AFC West contest with their rivals from Denver.

Oakland let a 13-10 lead get away from them as the Los Angeles Rams turned that deficit at Oakland last Monday and turned it into a 33-13 win on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay. The Rams took control in the second half and score their final 23 points of the game uncontested, holding the Rams to 95 yards rushing and picking David Carr (303 yards) off three times, while the Rams rushed for 140 yards (Todd Gurley led all rushers with 108 yards) and Jared Goff threw for 233 yards and a pair of TDs. The Rams were 4 of 11 on third down and held on to the ball for 28:29, while the Raiders were 5 of 11 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:31.

Denver held off a late Seahawks rally at Broncos Stadium At Mile High to come away 27-24 winners in the season opener for both teams. The Broncos led Russell Wilson and the Seahawks 17-10 at the intermisson before Seattle would outscore Denver in the second half 14-10. Case Keenum threw for 329 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Demariyus Thomas on one toss, while Denver outrushed Seattle 146-64 in the three-point win. Russell Wilson threw for 298 yards with three TDs but was sacked six times in the loss on the road. Denver was 4 of 12 on third down conversions and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 35:08, while Seattle was 24:52 and kept the ball for 24:52.

The Silver and Black lead the series 62-51-2, which includes contests that took place in Los Angeles and at old Mile High Stadium and the Raiders have outscored Denver 2,443-2,360. They split last year’s meetings, each taking wins in their home facility.

Denver held off a late Oakland rally at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, taking a 16-10 win in the week four contest in the Rocky Mountains. The Broncos led 10-7 at the half before the Raiders’ final drive late in the contest fell short. Denver outrushed Oakland 143-24 and Trevor Siemian threw for 179 yards with a TD and no interceptions, while Carr threw for 143 yards with a TD and a pair of sacks (Siemian was sacked four times). Denver was 5 of 16 on third down and the Broncs held the ball for 32:57, while the Raiders were 27:03 in time of possession, going 2 of 17 and 0 of 3 on third and fourth downs.

The Silver and Black would get their revenge at home in week 12, holding off a late Denver rally to come away 21-14 winners at the Coliseum. Oakland led 14-0 at the half and took a 21-0 lead into the final 15 minutes of play before Denver scored their lone points in that quarter unchallenged. Oakland outrushed Denver 104-59 (Marshawn Lynch led all rushers with 67 yards and a TD) and Carr threw for 253 yards with a pair of TDs (two sacks), while Siemian threw for 149 yards and a pair of TDs that came in the final quarter. Denver was 5 of 14 on third down conversions (the Broncos were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 24:06, while the Silver and Black was 5 of 13 on third down, keeping the ball for 35:54.

Denver’s 6-point week four win allowed them to cover the 2 1/2-point spread but the 46 1/2 over/under was untouched as both clubs merged for only 26 points. In the week 12 contest, Oakland covered the 5-point spread with their 7-point win but the 35 points that the two teams combined was short of the 43 1/2 over/under. Denver’s favored by 6 and the over/under is 45. The Raiders would like to even their record in this matchup, while the Broncos are hoping to be 2-0. Oakland will make this one close but Denver prevails at home and could cover the 7.

New England (1-0) at Jacksonville (1-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. It’s the AFC Championshp rematch Jaugar fans have been waiting for since last January and this time, they meet in much warmer weather and in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville hosts Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in northern Florida in a key AFC matchup

Jacksonville took a 13-6 lead against the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium at the half, then held off the Giants to come away with a 20-15 win. Jacksonville outrushed the Giants 137-114, Blake Bortles threw for 176 yards with a Td, while Eli Manning threw for 224 yards (both men threw an interception and Manning was sacked twice). New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. led all recievers with 111 yards with rookie RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 106 yards and his first NFL rushing TD. Both the Jags and the Giants were 4 of 13 on third down conversions (the Giants were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Giants ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:29, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 29:31.

Brady and the Pats held off a late Texans rally in Foxboro, coming away 27-20 winners last Sunday afternoon last Sunday against DeShaun Watson and Houston. The Pats would lead 21-6 at the half before Houston would rally in the second half, eventually making the contest a 7-point affair with 2:08 left when Watson and WR Bruce Ellington connected on a 5-yard, putting them closer. That would be as close as they would get to Tom Brady and the Patriots, who would hold them off for the win. While the Texans did outrush New England 167-122, Brady burned Houston for 277 yards and three TDs, connecting with TE Rob Gronkowski on one of those tosses. Watson did manage to throw for 176 yards with the TD but was sacked three times and picked off once. Houston was 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:50, while the defending AFC champs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:10, going 4 of 11 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

New England leads the regular season series 7-0 and have outscored the Jaguars 214-119. The Patriots’ last win in the regular season series came in 2015 in Foxboro as New England took a 51-17 win in that contest. They did meet in the post-season in Foxboro in the AFC Championship game and the Pats used a pair of fourth quarter TD passes from Brady (290 yards) to WR Danny Amendola to take a 24-20 win at Gillette Stadium. Jacksonville led 14-10 at the half and took a 20-10 lead in the latter part of the fourth quarter before the Patriots rallied to take the lead for keeps and earn a trip to Super Bowl 52. Jacksonville actually outrushed New England 101-46, with Jaguar RB Leonard Fournette leading the way with 76 yards and a TD. The Jaguars, who had their final drive of the contest stall when QB Blake Bortles’ (293 yards, TD) final two passes fell short of their marks (both Brady and Bortles were sacked three times). Jacksonville was 6 of 15 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as kept the ball for 35:08, while New England was 3 of 12 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth) and held the ball for 24:52.

New England was favored by 9 in the AFC Championship game but only won by 4 and both clubs barely missed the 46 over/under with 44 points. Vegas likes the Pats as 2-point favorites and the over/under’s 45. This one could very well be a post-season preview, which 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 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Jacksonville’s looking for revenge, while the Pats look to maintain their status in the AFC. New England wins this one in the Sunshine State but expect Jacksonville to make things closer than the 2.

New York Giants (0-1) at Dallas (0-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Throw out the records. This rivalry is somewhat of a big deal. Dallas hosts NFC East rival the New York Giants in a Sunday night contest in Jerry World. Both clubs look to bounce back after losses to open the 2018 season.

In their opener in Charlotte against Carolina and Cam Newton, the Panthers kept Dallas in check and the Cowboys were on the short end of a 16-8 loss last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Despite the Cowboys sacking him three times, Newtown threw for 161 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest to open the scoring. The contest was a scorless affair at the end of the first quarter, then saw the Panthers take a 10-0 lead into the intermission, although Dallas did manage to outscore Carolina 8-6 in the final period play, with the Cowboys getting their only points on a 4-yard run by RB Ezekiel Elliott and a Dak Prescott two-point conversion. Carolina outrushed Dallas 147-94, with Elliott leading all rushers with 69 yards (Newton tallied 58), while Prescott threw for 170 yards with six sacks. Dallas was 2 of 11 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 29:24, while Carolina kept the pigskin for 30:36, going 4 of 12 on third down.

The Giants saw Jacksonville take a 13-6 lead at Met Life Stadium at the half, then watched the Jaguars hold them off as Jacksonville left upstate New Jersey with a 20-15 win. Jacksonville outrushed the Giants 137-114, Blake Bortles threw for 176 yards with a Td, while Eli Manning threw for 224 yards (both men threw an interception and Manning was sacked twice). New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. led all recievers with 111 yards with rookie RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 106 yards and his first NFL rushing TD. Both the Jags and the Giants were 4 of 13 on third down conversions (the Giants were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and the Giants ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:29, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 29:31.

Including games that were played at Yankee Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, Giants Stadium and Cowboys Stadium, Dallas leads the series 64-45-2, have outscored the Giants 2,498-2,132 and swept last year’s series (New York’s last win over the Cowboys came in the Meadowlands in 2016 when they were 10-7 winners; they would sweep the series that year). In the first meeting in Arlington in week one, the Cowboys held Big Blue to a third-quarter field goal, taking a 19-3 win in the Lone Star State. Dallas outrushed NeW York 129-35, with RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 104 yards, while Prescott (268 yards) and TE Jason Whitten connected on a 12-yard TD strike before halftime (Manning threw for 220 yards with three sacks and an interception). Dallas was 8 of 15 on third down in the Sunday night matchup and held the ball for 34:14, while the Giants were 4 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 25:46.

Dallas made it two for two in the series and pulled off the sweep, coming to the Meadowlands and leaving with a 30-10 win in week 14. The Elliott-less Cowboys broke a 10-10 halftime tie and scored their final 20 points of the contest in the fourth quarter unchallenged, outrushing the Giants 122-102. Prescott threw 332 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Dez Bryant on one of the tosses, while Manning threw for 228 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. Dallas in the rematch went 7 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 27:07, while the Giants kept the ball for 32:53, going 6 of 16 on third down.

Dallas covered the 4 1/2-point spread, winning by 16 in the first meeting in Arlington but both clubs could only muster 22 points, missing the 48 over/under. In the week 14 contest in the Meadowlands, the Cowboys won by 10, meaning they did cover the 5-point spread but both clubs missed the 42 over/under by 2 points. There’s nothing that says you can’t have two “DRILL WORTHY” game, so that’s what we have. (for “Drill” instructions, see the New England-Jacksonville game) Dallas is favored by 3 on Sunday night in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 42. Both clubs look to break away from the winless ranks. Dallas covers at home in Jerry World and wins the Sunday night contest in the Lone Star State.

Seattle (0-1) at Chicago (0-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week two concludes in the Windy City as Salmon and Starbucks meets deep-dish pizza at Soldier Field as Seattle and Chicago face off.

Seattle’s late rally against Denver fell short at Broncos Stadium At Mile High as the Broncos came away 27-24 winners in the season opener for both teams. Denver led Russell Wilson and the Seahawks 17-10 at the intermisson before Seattle would outscore Denver in the second half 14-10. For the winning Broncos, Case Keenum threw for 329 yards and three TDs, connecting with WR Demariyus Thomas on one toss, while Denver outrushed Seattle 146-64 in the three-point win. Russell Wilson threw for 298 yards with three TDs but was sacked six times in the loss on the road. Denver was 4 of 12 on third down conversions and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 35:08, while Seattle was 24:52 and kept the ball for 24:52.

Da Bears saw their dreams of beating Green Bay at Lambeau Field shattered last Sunday as they would knock QB Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of their Sunday night contest, only to see the Packers rally to take a 24-23 NFC North win over Da Bears. Trailing 17-0 at the intermission, Packer fans saw Rodgers come out of the contest with what some thought was a knee injury, only to give Green Bay fans hope, as they outscored Chicago 24-6 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Chicago outrushed Green Bay 139-69, Rodgers burned Da Bears for 286 yards with three TDs, with the game-winner going to Randall Cobb to send Green Bay’s fan base home happy. Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky threw for 171 yards and had a rushing TD in the contest but the Green Bay defense made things less than pleasant for him, sacking him four times on the evening. Green Bay was 5 of 13 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:38, while Chicago kept the pigskin for 33:22, going 7 of 17 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

The Seahawks lead the series 11-4, they’ve outscored Chicago 333-290 and Seattle has won the last four meetings, including a 26-0 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, while Chicago’s last win in the series came in 2009 in Seattle by a final of 25-19. Da Bears are 30-38 on Monday night, while the Seahawks are 23-9; both teams played on Monday night last year and both came away with losses. Chicago’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make sense and both teams are trying to get their first win. Seattle prevails in the Windy City and covers the 3 1/2.

NFL Week 1 Sunday and Monday Broadcast Information

Buffalo at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Steve Tasker (Field reporter) SIRIUS: 94 (Buffalo), 111 (Baltimore); XM: 388 (Buffalo), 231 (Baltimore)

Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians, Melanie Collins (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 98 (Pittsburgh), 134 (Cleveland); XM: 390 (Pittsburgh), 232 (Cleveland)

Cincinnati at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton; SIRIUS: 127 (Cincinnati), 108 (Indianpolis); XM: 391 (Cincinnati), 228 (Indianpolis)

Houston at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 99 (Houston), 82 (New England); XM: 385 (Houston), 227 (New England)

Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709: Sam Rosen, Cris Carter, Sarah Kustok (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 125 (Tennessee), 119 (Miami); XM: 383 (Tennessee), 229 (Miami)

San Francisco at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 136 (San Francisco), 81 (Minnesota); XM: 384 (San Francisco), 226 (Minnesota)

Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 113 (Tampa Bay), 106 (New Orleans); XM: 386 (Tampa Bay), 230 (New Orleans)

Jacksonville at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Tiki Barber (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 103 (Jacksonville), 83 (New York Giants); XM: 387 (Jacksonville), 225 (New York Giants)

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 78 (Kansas City), 81 (Los Angeles Chargers); XM: 388 (Kansas City), 226 (Los Angeles Chargers)

Washington at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 119 (Washington), 108 (Arizona); XM: 389 (Washington), 228 (Arizona)

Dallas at Carolina, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 127 (Dallas), 82 (Carolina); XM: 391 (Dallas), 227 (Carolina)

Seattle at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter); SIRIUS: 125 (Seattle), 83 (Denver); XM: 383 (Seattle), 225 (Denver)

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

New York Jets at Detroit, 7:10 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Beth Mowins, Brian Griese, Laura Rutledge (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, James Lofton, Ross Tucker; SIRIUS: 81 (New York Jets), 83 (Detroit); XM: 226 (New York Jets), 225 (Detroit)

Los Angeles Rams at Oakland, 10:20 p.m. Monday on ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Scott Kaplan; SIRIUS: 138 (Los Angeles Rams), 137 (Oakland); XM: 228 (Los Angeles Rams), 227 (Oakland)

Sunday and Monday Odds

Sunday’s Games (Home teams in CAPS)

Sunday’s Games
Favorite              Spread   Underdog           O/U
Pittsburgh            – 4 1/2  CLEVELAND          41 1/2
MINNESOTA             – 6 1/2  San Francisco      46
INDIANAPOLIS          – 3      Cincinnati         48
BALTIMORE             – 7 1/2  Buffalo            39 1/2
Jacksonville          – 3      NEW YORK GIANTS    42 1/2
NEW ORLEANS           – 9 1/2  Tampa Bay          49 1/2
NEW ENGLAND           – 6      Houston            51
Tennessee             – 1      MIAMI              45
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS  – 3 1/2  Kansas City        48 1/2
DENVER                – 3      Seattle            42 1/2
CAROLINA              – 3      Dallas             42
ARIZONA               – 1      Washington         43 1/2
GREEN BAY             – 7      Chicago            47 1/2

Monday’s Games
Favorite              Spread   Underdog           O/U
DETROIT               – 6 1/2  New York Jets      45
Los Angeles Rams      – 4      OAKLAND            48 1/2

Sunday and Monday Officials
Buffalo at Baltimore, 1 p.m.: Shawn Hochuli
Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Shawn Smith
Cincinnati at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Pete Morelli
Houston at New England, 1 p.m.: Tony Corrente
Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m.: Jerome Boger
San Francisco at Minnesota, 1 p.m.: Clay Martin
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: John Parry
Jacksonville at New York Giants, 1 p.m.: Craig Wrolstad
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m.: Clete Blakeman
Washington at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.: Walt Coleman
Dallas at Carolina, 4:25 p.m.: Walt Anderson
Seattle at Denver, 4:25 p.m.: Brad Allen
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:20 p.m.: Carl Cheffers
New York Jets at Detroit, 7:10 p.m. Monday: Bill Vinovich
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland, 10:20 p.m. Monday: Ron Torbert

Sunday and Monday Injury Report

Buffalo at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Buffalo
OUT – WR Ray-Ray McCloud (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE – LB Julian Stanford (Knee)

Baltimore
OUT – DT Willie Henry (Abdomen), TE Hayden Hurst (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE – CB Maurice Canady (Thigh), LB Kenny Young (Knee)

Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh
PROBABLE – TE Vance McDonald (Rest)

Cleveland
DOUBTFUL – LB James Burgess, Jr. (Concussion)
OUT – DB E.J. Gaines (Knee)

Cincinnati at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati
DOUBTFUL – WR Cody Core (Back)

Indianapolis
OUT – T/G Denzelle Good (Knee/Wrist)
QUESTIONABLE – T Anthony Castonzo (Hamstring), RB Marlon Mack (Hamstring)

Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m.

Tennessee
OUT – T Jack Conklin (Knee), LB Rashaan Evans (Hamstring), LB Harold Landry (Ankle), S Kendrick Lewis (Foot)

Miami – Miami reports no injuries

San Francisco at Minnesota, 1 p.m.
San Francisco
DOUBTFUL – LB Malcom Smith (Hamstring)
OUT – OL Erik Magnuson (Hamstring), LB Deokda Watson (Hamstring)

Minnesota
DOUBTFUL – CB Mackenzie Alexander (Ankle)
OUT – T Aviante Collins (Elbow), C Pat Elflien (Ankle, Shoulder), RB Roc Thomas (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE – CB Xavier Rhodes (Hamstring)

Houston at New England, 1 p.m.

Houston
OUT – CB Kayvon Webster (Achilles)
QUESTIONABLE – WR Sammie Coates Jr. (Hamstring), WR Keke Coutee (Hamstring), LB Duke Ejiofor (Hamstring), WR Will Fuller V (Hamstring)

New England
QUESTIONABLE: OL Marcus Cannon (Calf), DB Nate Ebner (Knee), TE Jacob Hollister (Hamstring), RB Sony Michel (Knee)

Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay
DOUBTFUL – CB Brent Grimes (Groin), DeVante Harris (Hamstring)
OUT – DT Vita Vea (Calf)
QUESTIONABLE – T Donovan Smith (Calf)

New Orleans
QUESTIONABLE – T Andrus Peat (Quad)

Jacksonville at New York Giants, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville – Jacksonville reports no injuries

New York Giants
OUT – LB Tae Davis (Hamstring), LB Oliver Vernon (Ankle)

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

Kansas City
DOUBTFUL – DB Eric Berry (Heel)

Los Angeles Chargers
OUT: DE Joey Bosa (Foot)

Washington at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.

Washington
OUT – WR Maurice Harris (Concussion)

Arizona
OUT – DE Markus Golden (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE – TE Jermaine Gresham (Achilles), RB T.J. Logan (Ankle), DT Robert Nkemidche (Foot), DT Olsen Pierre (Toe)

Dallas at Carolina, 4:25 p.m.

Dallas
OUT – G Parker Ehinger (Knee), C Travis Fredrick (Illness), DE Datone Jones (Knee), S Xavier Woods (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE – CB Chidobe Awuzie (Back), S Kavon Frazier (Shoulder)

Carolina
OUT – WR Curtis Samuel (Illness)
QUESTIONABLE – TE Chris Manhertz (Foot), TE Greg Olsen (Back), G Amini Silatolu (Knee), T Daryl Williams (Knee)

Seattle at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Seattle
OUT – G/T D.J. Fluker (Hamstring), LB K.J. Knight (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Dontae Johnson (Groin)

Denver – Denver reports no injuries

Chicago at Green Bay, 8:20 p.m.

Chicago
DOUBTFUL – TE Daniel Brown (Shoulder)
OUT – FS DeAndre Houston-Carson (Forearm, Back)

Green Bay
OUT – S Josh Jones (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE – LB Oren Burks (Shoulder), LB James Crawford (Hamstring)

New York Jets at Detroit, 7:10 p.m. Monday

New York Jets
DOUBTFUL – WR Jermaine Kearse (Abdomen), S Marcus Maye (Foot)
OUT – LB Josh Martin (Concussion)

Detroit
OUT – T Andrew Donnal (Knee)

Los Angeles Rams at Oakland, 10:20 p.m. Monday

Los Angeles Rams – Los Angeles Rams report no injuries

Oakland
OUT – RB DeAndre Washington (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE – DT Brian Price (Hamstring)

Sunday and Monday Weather
Buffalo at Baltimore, 1 p.m.: Overcast with a 100 percent chance of rain and 65 degrees
Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Overcast with a 90 percent chance of rain and 62 degrees
Cincinnati at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, overcast with a 60 percent chance of showers and 61 degrees
Houston at New England, 1 p.m.: Overcast and 64 degrees
Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m.: Partly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms and 87 degrees
San Francisco at Minnesota, 1 p.m.: Game indoors
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m.: Game indoors
Jacksonville at New York Giants, 1 p.m.: Cloudy with a 60 percent chance of rain and 64 degrees
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m.: Sunny and 89 degrees
Washington at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.: Game indoors; if roof is open, sunny and 102 degrees
Dallas at Carolina, 4:25 p.m.: Overcast with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms and 86 degrees
Seattle at Denver, 4:25 p.m.: Sunny and 86 degrees
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:20 p.m.: Sunny and 61 degrees
New York Jets at Detroit, 7:10 p.m. Monday: Game indoors
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland, 10:20 p.m. Monday: Partly sunny and 86 degrees

All times listed are Eastern; Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is as of local kickoff time) 

Senior Bowl?

Check.

Draft?

Check.

Mini Camps and OTAs?

Check.

Training camp?

Check.

Preseason games?

Check.

With all of that checked off, it’s time for the real thing. NFL fans can finally rejoice. The 2018 season is underway and actually got underway last Thursday night in Philadelphia as the defending Super Bowl champions and Atlanta squared off and defeated the Falcons 18-12 in the City of Brotherly Love.

The schedule was announced last April prior to the draft. It’s finally time for football. After a long winter of watching bad Lifetime movies on Sunday afternoon, it’s football. 31 teams fighting to get their own Lombardi Trophy, while Philadelphia will fight to keep theirs. Your patience is about to be rewarded.

Kickoff Weekend began on Thursday, September 6 in primetime on NBC when the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles hosted Atlanta. Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:

• New England, the defending AFC champion, opens the 2018 season at home against Houston. The Patriots have won eight of their past nine home openers on Kickoff Weekend and have 15 straight seasons of 10 wins or more.

• Denver, who starts the season at home against Seattle, has posted a 38-19-1 (.575) record on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the AFC. Denver has won its past six Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

• Minnesota, the defending NFC North champion, opens the season hosting San Francsico in the Twin Cities. The Vikings have won their past three home games on Kickoff Weekend.

• Green Bay hosts Chicago in a division showdown on Kickoff Weekend. With a win percentage of .592, the Packers (55-39-3) and Bears (54-39-5) are tied for the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFL. The Packers have won their past three Kickoff Weekend games, the longest streak in the NFC.

• Tennessee, who made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008, faces off against Miami on the road to start 2018. The Titans have won their past four road openers, the longest active streak in the NFL.

THE TEAMS SINCE 1990 TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS A SEASON AFTER FAILING TO QUALIFY

SEASON – PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 – 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 – 5 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 – 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 – 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 – 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 – 4 (ATLANTA, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 – 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 – 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 – 5 (Arizona, ATLANTA, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 – 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 – 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 – 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 – 5 (ATLANTA, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 – 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 – 5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 – 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 – 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 – 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 – 7 (Arizona, ATLANTA, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 – 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 – 5 (ATLANTA, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 – 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 – 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 – 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 – 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 – 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 – 6 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 – 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)

NEW FACES, NEW PLACES: Seven teams enter the 2018 season with a new head coach – Steve Wilks in Arizona, Matt Nagy in Chicago, Matt Patricia in Detroit, Frank Reich in Indianapolis, Pat Shurmur with the New York Giants, Jon Gruden in
Oakland and Mike Vrabel in Tennessee.

• Five quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (Number 1 overall, Cleveland), Southern California’s Sam Darnold (Number 3, New York Jets), Wyoming’s Josh Allen (Number 7, Buffalo), UCLA’s Josh Rosen (Number 10, Arizona) and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (Number 32, Baltimore) – were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, marking the third time that at least five quarterbacks have been selected in the Draft’s opening round since the inception of the common draft in 1967. At least one rookie quarterback has started Week 1 in 10 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

• Several notable players were on the move during the offseason, including quarterbacks Kirk Cousins (Minnesota), Alex Smith (Washington) and Tyrod Taylor (Cleveland); wide receivers Jarvis Landry (Cleveland), Jordy Nelson (Oakland), Michael Crabtree (Baltimore) and Brandin Cooks (Los Angeles Rams); tight end Jimmy Graham (Green Bay); guard Andrew Norwell (Jacksonville); tackle Nate Solder (New York Giants); defensive end Robert Quinn (Miami); defensive tackles Dontrai Poe (Carolina),
Sheldon Richardson (Minnesota), Ndamukong Suh (Los Angeles Rams) and Muhammad Wilkerson (Green Bay); cornerbacks Malcom
Butler (Tennessee), Marcus Peters (Los Angeles Rams), Richard Sherman (San Francisco) and Aqib Talib (Los Angeles Rams) and
safety Tyrann Mathieu (Houston).

• In each of the past two seasons, a rookie running back has led the NFL in rushing yards – Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (1,631) in 2016 and Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt (1,327) in 2017. Three running backs – Saquan Barkley (Number 2 overall, New York Giants), Rashaad Penny (No. 27, Seattle) and Sony Michel (Number 31, New England) – were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST: Competitive balance, one of the hallmarks of the NFL, gives fans hope entering each season. For the 14th time in the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. In fact, of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

After finishing in last place in their divisions in 2016, the Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South) and Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East) each turned it around to win their respective divisions last season. The Eagles won 13 games to claim the NFC East crown en route to their Super Bowl LII victory. The Jaguars won 10 games in 2017 to capture the AFC South title, rebounding from a 3-13 season in 2016 to win their division for the first time since 1999.

TEAMS TO GO FROM “WORST-TO-FIRST” IN THEIR DIVISION SINCE 2003

SEASON – TEAM (RECORD) (PRIOR SEASON RECORD)
2003 – Carolina (11-5) (7-9)
2003 – Kansas City (13-3) (8-8)*
2004 – ATLANTA (11-5) (5-11)
2004 – San Diego (12-4) (4-12)*
2005 – Chicago (11-5) (5-11)
2005 – New York Giants (11-5) (6-10)*
2005 – Tampa Bay (11-5) (5-11)
2006 – Baltimore (13-3) (6-10)*
2006 – New Orleans (10-6) (3-13)
2006 – Philadelphia (10-6) (6-10)
2007 – Tampa Bay (9-7) (4-12)
2008 – Miami (11-5) (1-15)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3)(8-8)**
2010 – Kansas City (10-6) (4-12)
2011 – Denver (8-8) (4-12)
2011 – Houston (10-6) (6-10)*
2012 – Washington (10-6) (5-11)
2013 – Carolina (12-4) (7-9)*
2013 – Philadelphia (10-6) (4-12)
2015 – Washington (9-7) (4-12)
2016 – Dallas (4-12) (13-3)
2017 – Jacksonville (10-6) (3-13)
2017 – Philadelphia (13-3)(7-9)**
*Tied for last place
**Won Super Bowl

Since 2003, the NFL’s 23 teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their division are the most among the four major
professional sports leagues in the United States.

In the NBA, only two teams since the 2003-04 season have finished first in their division after placing in last or tied for last the previous season. There have been seven such teams to accomplish the feat in the past 15 seasons in both MLB and the NHL.

NUMBER OF TEAMS TO FINISH FIRST IN ITS DIVISION THE SEASON AFTER FINISHING IN LAST OR TIED FOR LAST PLACE IN PAST 15 SEASONS

LEAGUE – NO. OF TEAMS TO GO FROM “WORST-TO-FIRST” (TOTAL DIVISIONS)
NFL – 23 (8)
MLB – 7 (6)
NHL – 7* (4)**
NBA – 2 (6)

*2004-05 NNL season was cancelled due to lockout
**NHL realigned from six divisions in 2012-13

DIVSION’S UP FOR GRABS!! In the 16 seasons since realignment in 2002, 29 different teams have won division titles. In 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround to earn their first playoff berth since 2007 and win their first AFC South division title since joining the division in 2002.

THE MOST DIVISION TITLES AND PLAYOFF BERTHS SINCE REALIGNMENT IN 2002

TEAM – DIVISION TITLES (PLAYOFF BERTHS)
New England – 14 (14)
Indianapolis – 9 (12)
Green Bay – 9 (12)
Seattle – 8 (11)
Pittsburgh – 8 (11)
Philadelphia – 7 (9)
Denver – 6 (8)
Carolina – 5 (7)
Los Angeles Chargers – 5 (6)
ATLANTA – 4 (8)
Baltimore – 4 (8)
Cincinnati – 4 (7)
Kansas City – 4 (7)
Dallas – 4 (6)
New Orleans – 4 (6)
Minnesota – 4 (6)
Houston – 4 (4)
New York Giants – 3 (7)
Arizona – 3 (4)
San Francisco – 3 (4)
Chicago – 3 (3)
Tampa Bay – 3 (3)
Tennessee – 2 (5)
Washington – 2 (4)
Los Angeles Rams – 2 (3)
New York Jets – 1 (5)
Jacksonville – 1 (3)
Miami – 1 (2)
Oakland – 1 (2)
Detroit – 0 (3)
Buffalo – 0 (1)
Cleveland – 0 (1)

With only 16 games per team, every game is important. Below is a sampling of some of this year’s top matchups.

HEADLINE GAMES FOR 2018
Week 2 New Engalnd at Jacksonville – Jacksonville opens their home slate with rematch of the 2017 AFC Champ. Game.
Week 3 Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams – Cross-city foes square off in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Week 4 Minnesota at Los Angeles Rams – FOX kicks off their Thursday Night Football package with battle of NFC playoff teams.
Week 5 Minnestoa at Philadelphia – NFC Championship Game rematch in Philadelphia.
Week 6 Seattle at Oakland (London) – Raiders host Seahawks in first game of 2018 London Series.
Week 7 New York Giants at Atlanta – Monday Night Football matchup at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of SB LIII.
Week 8 Philadelphia at Jacksonville (London) – Showdown at Wembley Stadium is last of three games played in United Kingdom in 2018.
Week 9 Oakland at San Francisco – Battle of the Bay Area on TNF featuring rising stars Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Week 10 New England at Tennessee – Tennessee first-year head coach Mike Vrabel, who played for the Patriots from 2001-08, takes on former team in battle of AFC playoff teams.
Week 11 Kansas City at Los Angeles Rams (Mexico City) – Rams host Chiefs in Monday night matchup at historic Estadio Azteca.
Week 12 Chicago at Detroit/Washington at Dallas/Atlanta at New Orleans – Thanksgiving triple-header marks only second time since 1970 (2014) that the holiday has featured exclusively divisional matchups.
Week 13 Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh – Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers and Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, both
selected in the 2004 NFL Draft, square off in key AFC showdown.
Week 14 Atlanta at Green Bay – Former MVPs Matt Ryan (2016) and Aaron Rodgers (2011, 2014) face off at Lambeau.
Week 15 Houston at New York Jets/Cleveland at Denver – NFL Network airs a late season Saturday double-header in the AFC.
Week 16 Denver at Oakland – Raiders host Broncos in AFC West rivalry game on Christmas Eve.
Week 17 16 Division Matchups Final weekend features all division games with playoff berths on the line.

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL TEAMS

LONGEST STREAKS
AFC (W-L-T, PCT.) (W-L, CURRENT)
Denver (38-19-1, .575) (6-4, W-6)
Houston (9-7-0, .563) (5-3, L-1)
Pittsburgh (43-36-4, .556) (8-3, W-2)
Los Angeles Chargers (32-26-0, .552) (6-6, L-2)
New England (32-26-0, .552) (10-3, L-1)
Miami (27-23-1, .545) (11-5 ,L-1)
Kansas City (31-27-0, .535) (7-4, W-3)
Jacksonville (12-11-0, .522) (6-5, W-1)
Tennessee (30-28-0, .517) (4-3, L-2)
Indianapolis (33-32-0, .508( (8-8, L-4)
Baltimore (11-11-0, .500) (5-4, W-2)
New York Jets (27-31-0, .466) (5-5, L-2)
Oakland (27-31-0, .466) (5-8, W-2)
Cincinnati (23-27-0, .460) (4-4, L-1)
Cleveland (27-38-0, .415) (5-13, L-13)
Buffalo (24-34-0, .414) (6-5, W-1)

NFC (W-L-T, PCT.) (W-L, CURRENT)
Chicago (54-39-5, .592) (9-6, L-4)
Green Bay (55-39-3, .592) (5-6, W-3)
New York Giants (50-38-5, .580) (4-5, L-1)
Dallas (38-19-1, .575) (17-5, W-1)
Minnesota (32-24-1, .575) (5-3, W-2)
Detroit (48 38 2 .563) (10-4, W-2)
San Francisco (37-30-1, .556) (6-3, L-1)
ATLANTA (28-25-0, .529) (5-4, L-1)
Los Angeles Rams (41-39-0, .513) (5-6, W-1)
Washington (40-42-4, .500) (6-5, L-5)
Philadelphia (38-46-1, .465) (6-9, W-3)
Arizona (40-55-2, .427) (6-7, L-2)
Carolina (9-14-0, .391) (3-5, W-1)
Tampa Bay (16-25-0, .390) (3-5, W-1)
Seattle (16-26-0, .381) (3-8, L-1)
New Orleans (17-34-0, .333) (3-6, L-4)

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL HEAD COACHES

COACH – TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Doug Pederson – Philadelphia (3-0, 1.000)
Vance Joseph – Denver (1-0, 1.000)
Dirk Koetter – Tampa Bay (1-0, 1.000)*
Sean McDermott – Buffalo (1-0, 1.000)
Sean McVay – Los Angeles Rams (1-0, 1.000)
Mike Zimmer – Minnesota (3-1, .750)
John Harbaugh – Baltimore (7-3, .700)
Mike McCarthy – Green Bay (8-4, .667)
Doug Marrone – Jacksonville (2-1, .667)
Dan Quinn – ATLANTA (2-2, .500)
Bill Belichick – New England (15-8, .652
Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh (7-4, .636)
Andy Reid – Kansas City (11-8, .579)
Pete Carroll – Seattle (7-5, .583)
Jason Garrett – Dallas (4-3, .571)
Bill O’Brien – Houston (2-2, .500)
Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati (7-8, .467)
Sean Payton – New Orleans (5-6, .455)
Ron Rivera – Carolina (3-4, .429)
Jon Gruden – Oakland (4-7, .364)
Todd Bowles – New York Jets (1-2, .333)
Hue Jackson – Cleveland (1-2, .333)
Adam Gase – Miami (0-1, .000)*
Jay Gruden – Washington (0-4, .000)
Anthony Lynn – Los Angeles Chargers (0-1, .000)
Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco (0-1, .000)
Pat Shurmur – New York Giants (0-2, .000)
Matt Nagy – Chicago (0-0, .000)
Matt Patricia – Detroit (0-0, .000)
Frank Reich – Indianapolis (0-0, .000)
Mike Vrabel – Tennessee (0-0, .000)
Steve Wilks – Arizona (0-0, .000)

*Gase and Koetter did not play their season opener in 2017 because of Hurricane Irma

BEST NFL RECORDS, PAST 10 YEARS: Over the past 10 years, three NFL teams – New England (123-37, .769), Pittsburgh (106-54, .663), and Green Bay (100-59-1, .628) – have posted a winning percentage over .600. Those three clubs have combined for 24 playoff berths, seven Super Bowl appearances and four Super Bowl championships during that span.

The New England Patriots, under the guidance of head coach Bill Belichick, have the best regular-season record over the past 10 years, qualifying for the postseason nine times and winning Super Bowls XLIX and LI.

“We’ve been doing this a long time, so you get to know each other over the years and you respect each other’s work,” Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said about Belichick. “Nobody does it better than him. We’ve just gotten to know each other over the years and I appreciate his friendship and I appreciate what he’s done for the National Football League too.”

TEAMS WITH BEST REGULAR-SEASON RECORDS OVER PAST 10 YEARS (2008-17)

TEAM: W-L-T, PCT. (PLAYOFF BERTHS, SUPER BOWL BERTHS, SUPER BOWL WINS)
New England: 123-37-0, .769 (9 playoff berths, 4 Super Bowl berths, 2 Super Bowl wins)
Pittsburgh: 106-54-0, .663 (7 playoff berths, 2 Super Bowl berths, 1 Super Bowl win)
Green Bay: 100-59-1, .628 (8 playoff berths, 1 Super Bowl berth, 1 Super Bowl win)

WORKING OVERTIME: With so many close games in the NFL, it’s no surprise that 14 contests in the regular season were ultimately decided in overtime.

The Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts tied for the league lead with three overtime games each, while Arizona, Chicago, Cleveland, Jacksonville and San Francisco all went to overtime twice in 2017.

Green Bay won overtime games in both Week 13 and Week 14, marking the first time in franchise history that the Packers won back-to-back games in overtime. In their Week 14 win at Cleveland, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams scored a touchdown in both the final minute of the fourth quarter and in overtime and became the fourth player in NFL history (including the postseason) – and the first since New England’s James White in Super Bowl LI – to score a touchdown in both the final minute of the fourth quarter and in overtime.

Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri converted a game-winning 51-yard field goal with 1:43 remaining in overtime in the Colts’ Week 5 victory over San Francisco. Vinatieri has 10 career game-winning field goals in overtime, the most in NFL history.

OWNER MILESTONES: Many NFL owners will be celebrating notable milestones in 2018, including Pittsburgh’s Art Rooney II, whose family has reached the 85th anniversary of when Art Rooney purchased the team when the franchise was known as the Pirates. Miami’s Stephen M. Ross will be celebrating his 10th anniversary as an NFL owner.

OWNER MILESTONES

NOTABLE OWNER MILESTONES FOR 2018

FRANCHISE: OWNER YEAR ACQUIRED MILESTONE
Pittsburgh: Arthur J. Rooney II (Grandson of Art) 1933 85th Anniversary
Kansas City: Clark Hunt (Son of Lamar and Norma) 1959 60th Season
Tennessee: KSA Industries (Children & Grandchildren of “Bud” Adams) 1959 60th Season
Detroit: Martha Ford 1964 55th Season
Denver: Bowlen Family 1984 35th Season
Los Angeles Chargers: Alex G. Spanos 1984 35th Season
Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones 1989 30th Season
New England Patriots Robert K. Kraft 1994 25th Season
Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie 1994 25th Season
Washington Redskins Daniel M. Snyder 1999 20th Season
Baltimore Ravens Steve Bisciotti 2004 15th Season
Miami Dolphins Stephen M. Ross 2008 10th Anniversary

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Several NFL teams will be celebrating anniversaries in the upcoming 2018 campaign.

A SAMPLING OF 2018 NFL ANNIVERSARIES

ANNIVERSARY – CELEBRATION
125th – Grant Dibert signs the first known professional football contract (1893).
120th – The Morgan Athletic Club forms in Chicago (1898) and later becomes known as the Normals, then the
Racine Cardinals, the Chicago Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phoenix Cardinals and in 1994,
the Arizona Cardinals. The team remains the oldest continuing operation in professional football.
85th – The forward pass becomes legalized from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage (1933).
85th – The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles join the NFL (1933).
75th – The league approves the mandatory use of helmets for all players (1943).
75th – Pittsburgh and Philadelphia merge for one season and are known as the Steagles (1943).
60th – On December 28, 1958, Baltimore defeats the New York Giants in the first ever sudden-death overtime
in an NFL Championship Game in a game known today as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
55th – The NFL awards NBC with exclusive network broadcasting rights for the 1963 NFL Championship
Game for $926,000 (1963).
55th – The Pro Football Hall of Fame is established in Canton, OH (1963).
40th – On September 10, 1978, Oakland defeats San Diego 21-20 on a play known as the “Holy Roller.”
35th – season The Colts franchise relocates to Indianapolis (1984).
30th – The NFL approves the Cardinals franchise relocation to Phoenix, AZ (1988).
25th – Don Shula becomes the winningest coach in NFL history when Miami beats Philadelphia to give Shula his 325th victory on November 14, 1993.
25th – The NFL allows fans to vote for Pro Bowl participants for the first time (1993).
20th season The Tennessee Oilers’ name is retired by the NFL and the team becomes the Tennessee Titans (1998).
15th – NFL Network launches on DirecTV on November 4, 2003.
10th – An NFL game is broadcast on NBC and also streamed live in its entirety to fans on the Internet via NFL.com and NBCSports.com (2008).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – KICKOFF WEEKEND

SUPER STARTERS: History indicates that the best way for a team to start its drive toward a Super Bowl championship is to win in Week 1.

The 52 Super Bowl winners have a 42-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia, who defeated Atlanta in the season opener on Thursday night, have won five of their past six home openers played on Kickoff Weekend and six of their past seven overall in Week 1.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game:

•Of the 587 teams which won openers…306 went to the playoffs (185 won division titles).

•Of the 586 teams which lost openers…140 went to the playoffs (81 won division titles).

Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.

In 2017, nine of the 12 playoff teams – Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams Minnesota, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – were victorious on Kickoff Weekend.

STARTING STREAKS: Some clubs have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff milestones and streaks:

•The Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia, who opened the season at home with a 19-12 win against Atlanta, have won their past three Kickoff Weekend games and seven of their past eight.

•The defending AFC champion New England Patriots open the 2018 season at home against Houston. The Patriots have won eight of their past nine home openers on Kickoff Weekend and 12 of 14 overall in Week 1.

•Green Bay, who hosts Chicago on Sunday Night Football, have 55 wins on Kickoff Weekend, the most in the NFL. Chicago ranks second with 54 wins on Kickoff Weekend.

•Denver, who starts the season at home against Seattle, have won their past six Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

•The defending NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings, who open the season hosting San Francisco, have won their past three home games on Kickoff Weekend.

•Tennessee, who made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008, faces Miami on the road to start 2018. The Titans have won their past five road openers, the longest active streak in the NFL.

START ME UP: Some players have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable individual performances on NFL Kickoff Weekend:

•New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has 34 touchdown passes in 16 career Week 1 games and needs one touchdown to surpass Peyton Manning (34) for the most touchdown passes in season-opening games in NFL history.

•Washington running back Adrian Peterson has 903 rushing yards in 11 career season-opening games and needs 97 yards to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 rushing yards in season-opening games. The four players to accomplish the feat are Emmitt Smith (1,247), Walter Payton (1,067), Edgerrin James (1,062) and Jim Brown (1,043). Smith, Payton and Brown are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

•Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 992 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions in 14 career season-opening games and needs eight yards to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 career receiving yards and eight touchdown catches in season-opening games, joining Jerry Rice (1,385 yards, nine touchdowns), Andre Reed (1,225, 10), Randy Moss (1,194, 10) and Don Maynard (1,025, nine). All four receivers are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

START ’EM EARLY: New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, is expected to make his first career start against Detroit on Monday Night Football at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN. With a start by Darnold on Monday, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:
SEASON – QUARTERBACK, TEAM (STARTING RECORD AS ROOKIE)
2008 – Joe Flacco, Baltimore (11-5)
2008 – Matt Ryan, Atlanta (11-5)
2009 – Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (8-7)
2009 – Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2-8)*
2010 – Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (7-9)*
2011 – Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (9-7)
2011 – Cam Newton, Carolina (6-10)*
2012 – Robert Griffin III, Washington (9-6)
2012 – Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (11-5)*
2012 – Ryan Tannehill, Miami (7-9)
2012 – Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (5-10)
2012 – Russell Wilson, Seattle (11-5)
2013 – E.J. Manuel, Buffalo (4-6)
2013 – Geno Smith, NeW York Jets (8-8)
2014 – Derek Carr, Oakland (3-13)
2015 – Marcus Mariota, Tennessee (3-13)
2015 – Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (6-10)*
2016 – Dak Prescott, Dallas (13-3)
2016 – Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (7-9)
2017 – DeShone Kizer, Cleveland (0-15)
2018 – Sam Darnold, New York Jets (–)^
^Expected to start in Week 1
*No. 1 overall pick

Darnold, who will be 21 years, 97 days old on Monday, can become the youngest quarterback to start a season-opening game in the Super Bowl era. New England’s Drew Bledsoe previously set the record on September 5, 1993 against Buffalo at 21 years, 203 days old.

The youngest quarterbacks to start a season-opening game in the Super Bowl era:

SEASON – QUARTERBACK, TEAM (AGE AT TIME OF SEASON-OPENING START)
1993 – Drew Bledsoe, New England (21 years, 203 days)
2009 – Matthew Stafford, Detroit (21 years, 218 days)
2015 – Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (21 years, 250 days)
2017 – DeShone Kizer, Cleveland (21 years, 250 days)
1968 – Greg Landry, Detroit (21 years, 272 days)
2018 – Sam Darnold, New York Jets (21 years, 97 days)^*
^Expected to start in Week 1
*Age on September 10, 2018

STELLAR STEELER: Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown has 9,910 receiving yards in his eight-year NFL career.

Brown, who will play in his 116th career game on Sunday at Cleveland at 1 p.m., can tie Torry Holt (116) for the second-fewest games to reach 10,000 receiving yards in NFL history.

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

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (FEWEST GAMES TO 10,000 RECEIVING YARDS)
Calvin Johnson – Detroit (115)
Torry Holt – St. Louis Rams (116)
Lance Alworth – San Diego, Dallas (120)^
Jerry Rice – San Francsico (121)^
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (122)^
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (115)*
*Has 9,910 career receiving yards
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

LARRY LEGEND: Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has recorded at least one reception in 211 consecutive games.

Fitzgerald, who faces Washington on Sunday at home in the desert, can pass Tony Gonzalez (211) for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a catch in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (274) has a longer such streak in league annals.

The players to record at least one catch in the most consecutive games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SEASONS) (MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A CATCH)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland (1985-2004) (274)^
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (2004-present)(211)*
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City, Atlanta (2000-2013)(211)
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Fitzgerald, who ranks eighth in NFL history with 110 career touchdown catches, can tie Gonzalez (111) for the seventh-most touchdown receptions in league annals.

The players with the most touchdown catches in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (TOUCHDOWN CATCHES)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle (197)^
Randy Moss – Minnesota, Oakland, New England, Tennessee, San Francisco (156)^
Terrell Owens – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati (153)^
Cris Carter – Philadelphia, Minnesota, Miami (130)^
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (128)^
Antonio Gates – San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (114)*
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City, Atlanta (111)
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (110)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MOVING UP THE RANKS: Miami running back Frank Gore has 14,026 career rushing yards in his 13-year NFL career.​ With 76 rushing yards on Sunday against Tennessee, Gore will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (14,101) for the fourth-most rushing yards in NFL history. All four players currently in front of Gore are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with the most rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RUSHING YARDS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas, Arizona (18,355)^
Walter Payton – Chicago (16,726)^
Barry Sanders – Detroit (15,269)^
Curtis Martin – New England, New York Jets (14,101)^
Frank Gore – San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami (14,026)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Washington running back Adrian Peterson (12,276 career rushing yards) needs 37 rushing yards on Sunday against Arizona (4:25 PM ET, FOX) to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk (12,279) and Jim Brown (12,312) to climb into the top 10 in NFL history in rushing yards. With a rushing touchdown at Arizona on Sunday, Peterson would become the seventh player in NFL history with at least 12,000 career rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns. All six of the players with at least 12,000 rushing yards and 100 touchdown runs are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with at least 12,000 rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (RUSHING YARDS – RUSHING TDS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas, Arizona (18,355 – 164)^
Walter Payton – Chicago (16,726 – 110)^
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego, New York Jets (13,684 – 145)^
Jim Brown – Cleveland (12,312 – 106)^
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis, St. Louis (12,279 – 100)^
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders, Kansas City (12,243 – 123)^
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota, New Orleans, Arizona, Washington (12,276 – 99)*
*Active
^ Hall of Famer

CH-CH-CHANGES: There are rule changes galore for the 2018 season. Here are the following rules changes for the 2018 season:

• STANDARD FOR A CATCH: Changes the standard for a catch for a forward pass or interception in the field of play, at the sideline or in the end zone if a player, who is in bounds: (a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms, prior to the ball touching the ground and (b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands and (c) after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, performs any football act (e.g., tuck the ball away, extend it towards or over the goal line or the line to gain, take an additional step, turn upfield or avoid or ward off an opponent) or he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so.

• HELMET RULE: Makes lowering the head and initiating contact with the helmet a foul.

• DISQUALIFICATIONS: Authorizes the Senior Vice President of Officiating to instruct on-field game officials to disqualify a player for a flagrant non-football act when a foul for that act is called on the field.

• SCORING AT THE END OF REGULATION: Eliminates the requirement that a team who scores a touchdown at the end of regulation of a game to kick the extra point or go for a two-point conversion if it would not affect the outcome of the game.

• KICKOFF FORMATION: Modifies rules for a free kick formation and for blocking on a free kick.

• TOUCHBACKS: The playing rule that changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line is now permanent.

• ILLEGAL BATTING AND KICKING: Makes the penalties for Illegal Batting and Kicking the same (loss of 10 yards).

• OVERTIME: Provides that in overtime, if the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal in its initial possession and the second team loses possession by an interception or a fumble, the down will be permitted to run to its conclusion, including awarding the points scored by either team during the down.

2018 SPECIAL PATCHES AND LOGOS: NFL teams will adorn a handful of special patches during the 2018 season to highlight league initiatives and commemorate special moments and teams in franchise history.

The NFL will celebrate A CRUCIAL CATCH and BREAST CANCER AWARENESS with a decal in Weeks 5, 6 and 7. In Weeks 9, 10 and 11, all teams will wear a camouflage ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate SALUTE TO SERVICE games.

Additionally, several NFL franchises will be wearing special patches in 2018. The Green Bay Packers will celebrate their 100th season, while the Indianapolis Colts will commemorate their 35th season in Indianapolis and the Tennessee Titans
will memorialize their 20th season.

2018 SPECIAL PATCHES & LOGOS

TEAM/EVENT PATCH/DECAL
National Football League: All teams will wear a pink ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate A Crucial Catch and Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Weeks 5, 6 and 7.
National Football League: All teams will wear a camouflage ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate Salute to Service games during Weeks 9, 10 and 11.
Green Bay: 100th season patch.
Indianapolis: 35th season patch.
New York Jets: 50th anniversary patch of Super Bowl III during Week 6.
Tennessee: 20th season patch.

NFL RADIO 2018: WESTWOOD ONE & SIRIUSXM COVER THE NFL: Stuck at the inlaws and the ladies are hogging the TV? Stuck in traffic on the interstate? You can still listen to your favorit team. NFL fans can listen to games on the radio in a number of ways, including on Westwood One and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

WESTWOOD ONE remains the official network radio partner of the NFL, its 32nd consecutive season with that distinction.

The Westwood One NFL schedule features 70 national games, including the Thursday night Kickoff game, Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, the London Games, the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader and the entire postseason, culminating with Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Westwood One also produces weekly specialty programs, including The NFL Today, NFL Preview, NFL Insider, NFL Sunday and NFL Fantasy Football Forecast.

Kevin Harlin and Hall of Famer Kurt Warner will be the lead broadcast crew, calling Monday Night Football and Super Bowl LIII for the network. Jim Gray anchors the pregame and halftime shows. Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli will once again be the broadcast crew for Thursday Night Football, while Kevin Kulger and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor return as the main crew for Sunday Night Football. Scott Graham serves as the studio host for those broadcasts.

In addition to being heard on more than 500 radio stations across the United States, all of Westwood One’s primetime NFL broadcasts can also be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, via the TuneIn Radio app and through NFL Game Pass, which is available on NFL.com and the NFL mobile app. For complete information regarding Westwood One’s NFL coverage, including schedules, announcers, highlights, features, interviews and more, log on to westwoodonesports.com.

This year will mark the NFL’s 15th season on SiriusXM. SiriusXM creates and offers commercial-free music, premier sports talk and live events, comedy, news, exclusive talk and entertainment programming. SiriusXM provides live play-by-play of every NFL game from the preseason through Super Bowl LIII on satellite radios, as well as on the SiriusXM app and online at SiriusXM.com for its satellite radio subscribers.

SiriusXM NFL Radio (channel 88 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app) offers in-depth radio coverage of the NFL 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. SiriusXM NFL Radio offers a daily lineup of exclusive talk programming hosted by former NFL stars and radio personalities. Subscribers can also get SiriusXM NFL Radio programming on demand, allowing them to listen to their favorite shows when they want them, and giving them more chances to hear exclusive programming like the recent Town Hall broadcast with Super Bowl LII MVP QB Nick Foles, training camp tour broadcasts and more. For more information visit siriusxm.com/nflonsxm.

Strength of Schedule

Team (Pct., Record; Games vs. teams .500 or better; Games vs. 2017 playoff teams)
Green Bay (.539, 138-118-0; 10; 6)
Detroit (.535, 137-119-0; 9; 6)
New Orleans (.535, 137-119-0; 10; 8)
Tampa Bay (.531, 136-120-0; 10; 8)
Cleveland (.523, 134-122-0; 9; 6)
Los Angeles Rams (.523, 134-122-0; 10; 4)
Seattle (.523, 134-122-0; 10; 5)
Chicago (.520, 133-123-0; 9; 5)
Arizona (.520, 133-123-0; 9; 5)
New York Giants ((.520, 133-123-0; 9; 7)
Minnesota (.520, 133-123-0; 9; 5)
Carolina (.512, 131-125-0; 10; 6)
ATLANTA (.508, 130-126-0; 9; 6)
Washington (.504, 129-127-0; 10; 7)
San Francisco (.500, 128-128-0; 10; 4)
Dallas (.500, 128-128-0; 9; 7)
Miami (.500, 128-128-0; 8; 7)
Buffalo (.496, 127-129-0; 8; 5)
Kansas City (.492, 126-130-0; 9; 4)
Philadelphia (.492, 126-130-0; 9; 7)
Baltimore (.488, 125-131-0; 9; 8)
Indianapolis (.484, 124-132-0; 8; 7)
New England (.484, 124-132-0; 8; 7)
Los Angeles Chargers (.480, 123-133-0; 9; 6)
Denver (.477, 122-134-0; 9; 4)
Jacksonville (.477, 122-134-0; 8; 7)
New York Jets (.477, 122-134-0; 8; 7)
Pittsburgh (.477, 122-134-0; 9; 6)
Cincinnati (.473, 121-125-0; 9; 6)
Oakland (.473, 121-125-0; 9; 4)
Tennessee (.465, 119-137-0; 8; 5)
Houston (.453, 116-140-0; 8; 7)

I GET AROUND: The total distance traveled by all teams during the regular season will be 499,028 miles. The teams of the AFC West (96,328) have the highest combined mileage total of all divisions.

The remaining division totals ranking from highest to lowest are the NFC West (79,808), AFC South (67,130), NFC East (65,106), NFC North (54,658), AFC East (50,146), AFC North (46,892) and NFC South (38,960).

Three teams – Oakland (31,384), the Los Angeles Chargers (30,756) and Seattle (28,660), – will “travel around the world” at least once. A trip around the globe is 25,000 miles. That is a lot of frequent flyer miles.

Be sure to return your trays to the upright position.

TEAM – MILES
1 Oakland – 31,384
2 Los Angeles Chargers – 30,756
3 Seattle – 28,660
4 Jacksonville – 20,296
5 Philadelphia – 20,290
6 Los Angeles Rams – 19,414
7 Miami – 18,656
8 San Francisco – 18,334
9 Kansas City – 17,980
10 Houston – 17,454
11 Tennessee – 16,812
12 Dallas – 16,396
13 Denver – 16,208
14 New York Giants – 15,334
15 Detroit – 14,420
16 Minnesota – 14,360
17 Cleveland – 13,856
18 Arizona – 13,400
19 Pittsburgh – 13,180
20 Washington – 13,086
21 Chicago – 12,946
22 Green Bay – 12,932
23 Indianapolis – 12,568
24 Tampa Bay – 11,924
25 New Orleans – 11,864
26 New England – 11,576
27 Baltimore – 11,550
28 Buffalo – 10,224
29 New York Jets – 9,690
30 Cincinnati – 8,306
31 ATLANTA – 8,252
32 Carolina – 6,920

NFL CONTINUES INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH FOUR GAMES IN 2018: The NFL’s schedule of London Games for 2018 features three games at iconic Wembley Stadium, including three teams playing a regular-season game in London for the first time.

“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the UK,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told USA Today. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year.”

The 2018 London Series kicks off in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern as Oakland hosts Seattle. The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Wembley for their first game in London.

This game will mark the third straight season and the fourth time in five years that the Raiders have hosted a regular season game internationally, having played games at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in each of the last two seasons, as well as making the team’s debut in London against the Miami Dolphins in 2014.

“The Seahawks are excited to be playing in London on October 14 against the Raiders,” Seahawks Owner Paul Allen told KING-TV. “We have a strong international following and are eager to celebrate the passion of the 12s in a city known for its enthusiastic support for sports.”

Over the following two weeks, two additional teams will make their London debuts as visiting teams.

The Tennessee Titans will be hosted by the Los Angeles Chargers on October 21 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. “We are excited as a franchise to be playing in London,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk told The Tennesseean “There is a great relationship developing between Nashville and London with music being the common thread. We are looking forward to showcasing our team to the NFL fans in London and throughout Europe.”

“Since we last visited London in 2008, the NFL’s popularity has continued to grow in the UK,” said Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos. “It was an honor to be part of the early wave of regular season games played abroad back then, and it is every bit the honor to represent the league in London this time around. We’re excited to introduce the Los Angeles Chargers brand, in person, to football fans in the United Kingdom this year.”

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles will face Jacksonville in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams on October 28 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. The Jaguars are playing a home game in London for the sixth straight season.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” said Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie. “It’s the first time we’ve really had a chance to go over there and it’s nice to go over as Super Bowl champs. It’s going to be a big game. We’re playing an outstanding football team in the Jaguars. But I’m very much looking forward to it. I think London has a chance to be a franchise someday in the NFL.”

Building off the tremendous success of the Mexico Game Series, the NFL will play in Mexico for a third consecutive
season.

The Los Angeles Rams will host Kansas City at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on November 19 at 8:15 p.m. Eastern. This will be the second Monday Night Football game at Estadio Azteca. In 2016, the Oakland Raiders hosted Houston in the first-ever Monday Night Football game played outside the US.

“Over the past two seasons, we have seen the extraordinary passion that exists for NFL football in Mexico,” said Goodell. “We are excited for another memorable event at Estadio Azteca as the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs head to Mexico City in 2018.”

The Rams and Chiefs will both play their first regular-season game in Mexico next season. The Chiefs played a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys in Monterrey, Mexico on August 5, 1996, earning a 32-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Both clubs are looking forward to the opportunity to play in Mexico City.

“Southern California and Mexico share strong historic and cultural ties and this game will provide an opportunity to celebrate the special connection between these two regions,” said Rams owner/chairman Stan Kroenke. “It is great to be participating in the NFL’s international games again and working with the league to grow the game. Mexico has one of the largest NFL fan bases in the world and we are excited to bring Rams football to the millions of fans there.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of the NFL’s international initiatives once again, and we are excited to face the Rams at historic Estadio Azteca,” said Kansas City Chiefs chairman & CEO CLARK HUNT. “The support for the NFL in Mexico has grown significantly since our initial trip in 1996. We look forward to returning to Mexico and connecting with a new generation of fans this season.”

In 2017, the Ministry of Tourism and the NFL announced an agreement to play three NFL regular-season games from 2019 to 2021, having achieved positive results in tourism and the presence of Mexico’s brand through the NFL’s previous games in Mexico. The previous agreement covered games from 2016 to 2018.

The Ministry of Tourism highlighted the importance of high impact sporting events for the promotion of Mexico’s tourism both nationally and internationally. This agreement is part of the strategies that are implemented within this sector to increase economic impact.

The relationship with the League has served as a platform to significantly boost the tourism industry in Mexico, with fans taking advantage of the opportunity to expand their trips and explore the country.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR (PLAYERS): Tom Brady, New England: can join Peyton Manning (14) and Drew Brees (12) as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards in 10 seasons. Brady has passed for at least 4,000 yards nine times in 18 career seasons (see Rivers note).

Brady needs 21 touchdown passes (incl. postseason) to surpass Peyton Manning (579) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history (incl. postseason). In 18 seasons, Brady has 559 career touchdown passes, including the postseason.

Brady needs 12 touchdown passes to join P. Manning (539) and Favre (508) as the only players to reach 500 career regular-season touchdown passes. In 18 seasons, Brady has 488 career touchdown passes in the regular season (see Brees note).

Brady needs 3,841 passing yards to become the fourth quarterback in NFL history with at least 70,000 passing yards. In 18 seasons, Brady has 66,159 career passing yards.

Drew Brees, New Orleans: needs 1,394 passing yards to surpass Brett Favre (71,838) for second place in NFL history in passing yards and 1,496 yards to surpass Peyton Manning (71,940) as NFL’s all-time leading passer. In 17 seasons, Brees has 70,445 career passing yards.

Brees needs 79 completions to surpass Brett Favre (6,300) for the most completions in NFL history. In 17 seasons, Brees has 6,222 career completions. Brees needs 12 touchdown passes to join P. Manning (539) and Favre (508) as the only players to reach 500 career touchdown passes. In 17 seasons, Brees has 488 career touchdown passes (see Brady note).

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, needs 411 passing yards to pass John Elway (51,475) for seventh place in NFL history in career passing yards. Roethlisberger has 51,065 career passing yards in 14 seasons (see Rivers note).

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: needs 1,128 passing yards to pass John Elway (51,475) for seventh place in NFL history in career passing yards. In 14 seasons, Rivers has 50,348 career passing yards (see Roethlisberger note).

With at least 4,000 passing yards in 2018, Rivers (nine) would join Peyton Manning (14) and Drew Brees (12) as the only players in NFL history with 10 seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards (see Brady note).

Cam Newton, Carolina: needs 609 rushing yards to pass Randall Cunningham (4,928) for the second-most career rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history. In seven seasons, Newton has 4,320 career rushing yards.

Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 700 yards in four seasons.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta: can become the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 4,000 passing yards in eight consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (12) (see Stafford note).

Matthew Stafford, Detroit: can become the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 4,000 passing yards in eight consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (12) (see Ryan note).

Russell Wilson, Seattle, has passed for at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his first six seasons and can join P. Manning as the only quarterbacks to reach 3,000 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in each of their first seven seasons.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona: needs 92 receptions to pass Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list. In 14 seasons, Fitzgerald has 1,234 career catches.

Fitzgerald needs 390 receiving yards to pass Terrell Owens (15,934) for second place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list. Fitzgerald has 15,545 receiving yards in 14 career seasons.

Fitzgerald needs 48 receptions to pass Jerry Rice (1,281) for the most receptions with one team in NFL history. In 14 seasons with the Cardinals, Fitzgerald has 1,234 receptions.

With 1,000 receiving yards, Fitzgerald (nine) would tie Randy Moss (10) for the second most 1,000-yard receiving seasons in NFL history.

Fitzgerald (five) can tie Brandon Marshall (six) for the most career seasons with at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards (see Brown note).

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh: needs three games with at least 10 receptions to tie Andre Johnson (22) for the most career games with at least 10 catches. Brown has 19 such games in eight seasons.

Brown (582) can surpass Wes Welker (672 from 2007-2012) for the most receptions by a player over any six-season span in NFL history. Brown (7,848) can also surpass Jerry Rice (8,759 from 1990-95) for the most receiving yards by a player over any six-season span in NFL history.

Brown (five) can tie Brandon Marshall (six) for the most career seasons with at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards (see Fitzgerald note).

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland: needs 27 catches to surpass Larry Fitzgerald (426) for the most receptions by a player in his first five seasons in NFL history. In four seasons, Landry has 400 career receptions.

Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants: has 313 receptions in 47 career games and needs seven receptions in his first three games to surpass Lionel Taylor (319) for the most receptions by a player through his first 50 career games.

Beckham has 4,424 receiving yards in 47 career games and needs 362 receiving yards in his first three games to surpass Lance Alworth (4,785) for the most receiving yards by a player through his first 50 career games.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans: can join Odell Beckham, Jr. as the only players in NFL history to record at least 90 receptions in each of their first three seasons.

Julio Jones, Atlanta: has recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons and can become the first player in NFL history to register five consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards.

Brandon Marshall, Seattle: has 959 receptions in 12 career seasons and needs 41 catches to become the 15th player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions.

Rob Gronkowski, New England: can surpass Tony Gonzalez (four) and Jason Witten (four) for the most 1,000-yard seasons by an NFL tight end. Gronkowski has four career seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

Fran Gore, Miami: needs 1,000 rushing yards to join Emmitt Smith (11), Curtis Martin (10), Walter Payton (10) and Barry Sanders (10) as the only players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in at least 10 different seasons. In 13 seasons, Gore has rushed for 1,000 yards nine times.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans, needs 735 rushing yards to surpass Deuce McAllister (6,096) as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. In seven seasons with the Saints, Ingram has 5,362 rushing yards.

Ingram needs six rushing touchdowns to surpass McAllister (49) as the club’s all-time leader. Ingram has 44 rushing touchdowns in seven seasons.

Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers: can become the third player in team history to record at least 1,200 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns in three consecutive seasons, joining Lance Alworth (eight consecutive seasons) and LaDainian Tomlinson (four).

Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland: can become the first running back in NFL history with at least 500 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons.

Julius Peppers, Carolina: needs six sacks to pass Kevin Greene (160) for the third-most in the NFL since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. In 16 seasons, Peppers has 154.5 career sacks.

J.J. Watt, Houston: can become the second player to record four seasons with at least 15 sacks since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. Reggie White had five such seasons.

Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis: needs seven converted field goals to pass Morten Andersen (565) for the most made field goals in NFL history. In 22 seasons, Vinatieri has converted 559 career field goals.

Vinatieri needs 58 points to surpass Andersen (2,544) for the most points scored in NFL history. Vinatieri has 2,487 career points in 22 seasons.

Vinatieri has appeared in 337 career games in 22 seasons and can become the fourth player in NFL history to appear in 350 career games.

Stephen Gostkowski, New England: has led the league in scoring five times in his career and can surpass Don Hutson (five) and Gino Cappelletti (five) as the only player to lead the league in points scored six times.

Gostkowski has led the league in field goals three times in his career and can join Lou Groza (six), Ward Cuff (four), Jack Manders (four) and Mark Moseley (four) as the only player to lead the league in field goals at least four times. With 30 made field goals, Gostkowski can become the first player in NFL history with six seasons of 30 or more field goals (see Tucker note).

Justin Tucker, Baltimore: can become the first player in NFL history with six seasons of 30 or more made field goals (see Gostkowski note).

Shane Lechler, Houston: has appeared in 286 career games in 18 seasons and can become the 11th player in NFL history to appear in 300 career games.

HOME SWEET HOME: Seattle, who hosts Dallas in Week 3, have won nine consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league. Pittsburgh, who opens at home in Week 2 against Kansas City, have the most wins (50) among AFC teams in home openers.

HEAD COACHES: New England’s Bill Belichick is 15-8 (.652) on Kickoff Weekend and his 15 wins are the most among active head coaches…Belichick and Kansas City’s Andy Reid (11-8; .579) are the only active head coaches who have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games…Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy and Reid have won three consecutive games on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches… Vance Joseph (1-0) of the Broncos, Dirk Koetter (1-0) of the Buccaneers, Sean McDermott (1-0) of the Bills, Sean McVay (1-0) of the Rams and Doug Pederson (2-0) of the Eagles are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend…and five head coaches – Chicago’s Matt Nagy, Detroit’s Matt Patricia, Indianapolis’ Frank Reich, Tennessee’s Mike Vrable and Arizona’s Steve Wilks – make their Kickoff Weekend debuts in 2018.

New teams making the playoffs and winning divisions, consistent teams excelling once again, records falling and young players making their mark all helped shape the story of the 2017 season.

Week 17 came right down to the wire as three playoff spots and one division title – the NFC South – were decided onbthe last day of the season. The excitement of Week 17 was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010.

Every team enters the 2018 season with a trip to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII in mind and below are a few reasons why.

• Five of the eight divisions in 2017 were won by a team that finished in third or fourth place in the division the previous season – Jacksonville (AFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota (NFC North), New Orleans (NFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East).

• Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. Eight teams that missed the postseason in 2016 – Buffalo (9-7), Carolina (11-5), Jacksonville (10-6), Los Angeles Rams (11-5), Minnesota (13-3), New Orleans (11-5), Philadelphia (13-3) and Tennessee (9-7) – accomplished the feat in 2017, tied with the 2003 season for the most such teams since 1990.

• The Eagles, who finished last in the NFC East with a 7-9 record in 2016, became the second team since 2003 to go from “worst-to-first” en route to a Super Bowl victory, joining the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

• The Jaguars, who finished in last place in the AFC South in 2016, won their first division title since realignment in 2002 last season and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.

As was the case the last few seasons, there will be two Monday night games on the docket in week 1 and all 32 teams will be on primetime season. As for Thanksgiving? Yes, there’s going to be football (just like there’ll be your cousin Ruth’s cream corn casserole.. it’s so bad even the squirrels didn’t want it). Detroit and Dallas will play at home, with the Lions playing the early game on CBS when they host NFC North rival Chicago at 12:30, while the Cowboys host NFC East rival Washington in Jerry World at 4:30 p.m. on FOX and the day concludes in the Big Easy as NFC South foes Atlanta and New Orleans close out the day’s action at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

Because this is the first week of the 2018 campaign, all the games are going to be designated “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?”) Week one also features seven rematches from the 2017 campaign (Baltimore at Cincinnati, Houston at New England, Tennesse at Miami, Tampa Bay at New Orleans, Chicago at Green Bay, Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers and Washington at Arizona).

One game’s in the books. 15 more to go. Here’s the Sunday and Monday picks for week 1! (Records are from last season)

Buffalo (9-7) at Baltimore (9-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Wings vs. Crabcakes. A pair of 9-7s meet in Charm City to open the 2018 campaign when Baltimore hosts the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills return to action after their first trip to the post-season in two decades, thanks to a Ravens loss to Cincinnati in the season finale, then falling at Jacksonville 10-7 in the AFC Wild Card game last season. In that contest, the Bills and Jaguars played a scoreless first quarter, went to the intermission tied at 3-3 and then Jacksonville take the lead for good when TE Ben Koyack and Blake Bortles connected on a 1-yard TD pass with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. Jacksonville then held off a late Bills rally that would have tied the contest and possibly sending things into overtime. Jacksonville outrushed Buffalo 155-130 and Bortles (87 yards passing) led all rushers with 88 yards, while Tyrod Taylor (134 yards) was sacked twice and picked off once. Buffalo was 7 of 18 on third down (the Bills were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:37, while the Jagaurs, who were 2 of 12 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth down, kept the pigskin for 27:23.

Baltimore is looking for redemption after they were knocked out of the playoff picture by Cincinnati in their season finale at home, falling to the Bengals 31-27 in Charm City. Baltimore trailed 17-10 at the half, then chipped away at the Bengals’ lead and took over with 8:48 left in regulation when Joe Flacco (203 yards, sack, interception) and Mike Wallace connected on a 6-yard TD strike. After Baltimore and Cincinnati traded punts, the Bengals got the ball back with 2:43 left to play and used a 90-yard, 11-play drive (aided by a pair of Raven penalties) to take the lead back for keeps when Andy Dalton and WR Tyler Boyd connected on a 49-yard toss with 44 seconds left. Baltimore would get the ball back in an effort to reclaim the lead but the Ravens’ drive fell short. The Bengals outrusehd Baltimore 146-118 (Joe Mixon led all rushers with 96 yards), while Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner. Baltimore was 5 of 17 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:21, while the Bengals, who held the ball for 28:39, went 5 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Baltimore leads the series 4-3 and the Ravens have outscored the Bills 133-109. Their last meeting took place in Charm City in 2016 and the Ravens were 13-7 winners, while the Bills’ last win in the series came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2013, coming away 23-20 winners. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Ravens as a 7-point favorite with a 39 1/2 over/under. Both numbers make sense and both teams could make the post-season. Baltimore takes the win at home and covers the 7.

Pittsburgh (13-3) at Cleveland (0-16), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of teams looking for redemption meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers take on the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North opener.

The Steelers limp into the season opener after they were taken to the woodshed by Jacksonville in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, losing 45-42 at a somewhat chilly (18 degrees, wind chill of 18) Heinz Field. Trailing 28-14 at the intermission, Pittsburgh pulled to within seven with 9:09 in the third quarter as LeVeono Bell caught a 19-yard TD pass from Roethlisberger. Trailing 28-21 after 45 minutes of football in the Steel City, the fourth quarter became a slugfest of sorts, with Pittsburgh outscoring Jacksonville 21-17 in the final frame, pulling to within 3 with one second left when Ju-Ju Smith-Schuester and Roethlisberger connected on the game’s final scoring play, a four-yard toss but could come no closer.

Jacksonville outrushed the Steelers 164-83, with Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette leading the way with 109 yards and three TDs, while Blake Bortles threw for 214 yards and a TD, while Roethlisberger threw for 469 yards and five TDs and an interception along with a pair of sacks. The Steelers were 7 of 16 on third downs but had success on fourth down tries, going 4 of 6 and kept the ball for 31:10, while the Jaguars were 28:50 in time of possession, going 8 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

For Browns fans, after going 1-31 in the last two seasons (they were 1-15 in 2016), their fan base is hopeful that they will be better than what they were last year.

Pittsburgh leads the series 72-58, they’ve outscored the Browns 2,666-2,501 and the Steelers have taken wins in their last six meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Cleveland’s last win over Pittsburgh came in 2014 in the Buckeye State, as they would take a 31-10 win in 2014).

Meeting number one… week one along the shores of Lake Erie and Pittsburgh held off a late Browns second-half rally, taking a 21-18 win in the process. The Steelers led 14-7 at the break before the Browns managed to outscore Pittsburgh in the second half 11-7. As far as rushing was concerned in the first meeting… neither team came anywhere near the 100-yard mark but Cleveland outrushed Pittsburgh 57-35, while Roethlisberger burned Cleveland for 263 yards and a pair of TDs.

Browns QB DeShone Kizer threw for 222 yards and a TD toss to Corey Coleman to pull his club to within three after the Browns try for a 2-point conversion was successful but was sacked seven times (Both Roethlisberger and Kizer threw an interception in the contest) and both clubs struggled on third down tries (Pittsburgh was 5 of 13, Cleveland was 3 of 12) but the Browns struck pay dirt on fourth down, going 2 of 2. Cleveland did rule the clock and kept the ball for 31:10, while the Steelers in the first meeting kept the pigskin for 28:50.

That was week one.

Meeting two in the Steel City in week 17 in somewhat chilly weather on New Year’s Eve afternoon (how cold, you ask? Temperature in the first meeting was a balmy 62 degrees… in the week 17 contest, with the Browns out of the playoff photo, it was 11 degress with snow and a wind chill of 5 degrees). Despite being outscored 10-7 in the third quarter (the two teams went scoreless in the fourth), Pittsburgh once again found themselves on the right end of the scoreboard, taking a 28-24 win at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led 21-14 at the intermission before Cleveland rallied to make the contest a bit closer than Steeler fans wanted. Pittsburgh outrushed the Browns 124-102 with RB Stevan Ridley leading the way for all rushers with 80 yards and a TD. Landry Jones, taking over for Roethlisberger, threw for 239 yards and a TD to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (who also had a 96-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. Smith-Schuster was good for 143 yards and the TD catch as well as the special teams score.

As far as third down tries in the second meeting? The Browns were a little better on third down, going 7 of 15 and ruled the clock again, keeping the ball for 30:55, while the Steelers were a dismal 3 of 10 (both clubs were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:05.

In the week one affair along the shores of Lake Erie, Pittsburgh was a 9 1/2-point favorite with a 46 1/2 over/under but won by 3 and both teams combined for 39 points, missing the over/under. The Steelers were favored by 13 in the regular season finale and won by 4. That was the bad news. The good news? Both teams covered the 39 1/2 over/under, combining for 52 points.
Pittsburgh’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Can the Steelers bounce back from the playoff loss at home? Can the Browns ever right their ship? Expect Cleveland to give Pittsburgh problems but the Steelers win on the road and could very well cover the 5.

Cincinnati (7-9) at Indianapolis (4-12), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of sub-500 teams open the 2018 season in the Hoosier State as the Colts host Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Cincinnati in their season finale against Baltimore, rallied late in the contest and came away 31-27 winners in Charm City. The Bengal win did two things. First, it knocked Baltimore out of the playoff party and second, it put Buffalo into the playoffs. Cincinnati led 17-10 at the half, then saw the Ravens chip away at their lead and Baltimore took over with 8:48 left in regulation when Joe Flacco (203 yards, sack, interception) and Mike Wallace connected on a 6-yard TD strike. After Baltimore and Cincinnati traded punts, the Bengals got the ball back with 2:43 left to play and used a 90-yard, 11-play drive (aided by a pair of Raven penalties) to take the lead back for keeps when Dalton and WR Tyler Boyd connected on a 49-yard toss with 44 seconds left. Baltimore would get the ball back in an effort to reclaim the lead but the Ravens’ drive fell short. The Bengals outrusehd Baltimore 146-118 (Joe Mixon led all rushers with 96 yards), while Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner. Baltimore was 5 of 17 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:21, while the Bengals, who held the ball for 28:39, went 5 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Colts used a pair of Adam Vinatieri field goals in the final quarter against Houston to take a 22-13 win over the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Trailing 13-7 at the half, the Colts went on to score their final 15 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged. Colts RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 100 yards, while Indy outrushed the Texans 146-85 and Jacoby Brisset threw for 114 yards (for the Texans, T.J. Yeats threw for 137 yards with a pair of sacks). The Colts on third down were 6 of 13 and held on to the ball for 31:13, while the Texans were 5 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 28:47.

Including contests that were played in Baltimore, when the Colts called Charm City home, they lead the series 17-11 and Indy has outscored Cincy 716-621. They met in week 17 in Charm City, with nothing on the line and the Bengals led 17-10 and knocked the Ravens out of the AFC playoffs, in a “win and get in” scenario, taking a 31-28 win at M&T Bank Stadium. Trailing 27-24 with 44 seconds left in regulation, Cincinnati used an 11-play, 90-yard drive, using 1:59 of clock to take the lead back for keeps when Andy Dalton and WR Tyler Boyd connected on a 49-yard TD pass to take the win. The drive was aided by a defensive holding penalty after Ravens S Eric Weddle intercepted Dalton in the period. Baltimore would get the ball back after the last score of the contest but the final Ravens drive fell short, giving the ball back to the Bengals, who managed to run out the clock.

The Bengals outrushed Baltimore 146-118 and Cincinnati RB Jarod Mixon led all rushers with 96 yards on the ground, while Dalton threw for 222 yards and three TDs, including the game winner (Flacco threw for 203 yards and a TD and an interception; both Dalton and Flacco were sacked once). The Bengals were 5 of 15 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:39; as for the Ravens, they were 5 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down, keeping the pigskin for 31:21.

The odds makers liked Baltimore and made them a 9 1/2-point favorite but the Bengals would win by 3. The two teams did manage to cover the 40 1/2 over/under with 59 points. Vegas likes the Colts as a 3-point favorite in the Hoosier State with the over/under at 48. Indy may not cover the 3 but they win back home again in Indiana.

Houston (4-12) at New England (13-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of QBs, one with Super Bowl rings under his belt, the other looking to win his first, meet in western Massachusetts as the AFC champion Patriots host the Houston Texans in Foxboro.

Houston, who look to have QB De Shaun Watson (knee) and DT J.J. Watt (knee) back after their injuries last season, saw a 13-7 lead at the half against Indianapolis get away from them as the Colts used a pair of Adam Vinatieri field goals in the final quarter against Houston to take a 22-13 win over the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts went on to score their final 15 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged. Colts RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 100 yards, while Indy outrushed the Texans 146-85 and Jacoby Brisset threw for 114 yards (for the Texans, T.J. Yeats threw for 137 yards with a pair of sacks). The Colts on third down were 6 of 13 and held on to the ball for 31:13, while the Texans were 5 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 28:47.

New England looks to rebound from their 41-34 loss to Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52, giving the Eagles their first Lombardi Trophy. Trailing 22-12 at the intermission at US Bank Stadium last February, the Patriots would take their only lead of the contest at 33-32 with 9:22 left in regulation when TE Rob Gronkowski and Brady hooked up on a 4-yard TD pass. The Eagles would then take back control and scored the final 10 points of the contest. Philly outrushed New England 164-113, with Brady throwing for 505 yards and three TDs, while Zack Ertz threw for 373 yards and three TDs and caught a TD pass early in the contest. New England went 5 of 10 on third down tries in the contest (the Pats were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 25:56, while the Eagles ruled the clock and held the ball for 34:04, while going 10 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

New England leads the series 7-1 and they have outscored the Texans 256-145. New England has won the last five regular season contests, including a 36-33 win last year in Foxboro (Houston’s lone win in the series came in 2009 in the Lone Star State by a final of 34-27).

They squared off in Foxboro in week three and it was a close contest throughout, as the Pats took a slim 21-20 lead with them to the intermission, then trailed 33-28 with 23 seconds left when Brady and WR Brandin Cooks connected on a 25-yard TD toss with 23 seconds left. Despite being sacked five times, Brady did manage to throw for 378 yards and five TDs (including the game winner), while Watson threw for 301 yards and two TDs. Houston, who was 6 of 14 on third down conversions, outrushed New England 125-59 and held the ball for 33:38 to New England’s 26:22 (the Pats were 6 of 13 on third down tries in Foxboro). Although they were favored by 13, the Pats came away winning by a mere three points but both teams covered the 45 1/2 over/under, tallying 69 points in the contest. The defending AFC champs are favored by 6 and the over/under is 51. Both teams would like nothing more than redemption, New England for losing Super Bowl 52 and Houston for losing their two stars to injuries. While the Texans will make it closer than the 6, Brady and the Pats take the win at home.

Tennessee (9-7) at Miami (6-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Mariota vs. Brady. They meet in Foxboro and meet in the season opener at Gillette Stadium as Tennessee travels to New England for a Sunday afternoon showdown in western Massachusetts.

Tennessee comes into the 2018 season opener with a 35-14 loss to New England in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Foxboro. Trailing 21-7 at the half (they led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter), New England held the Titans in check, outscoring them 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Held to 65 yards on the ground, the Pats ran for 101 yards, while Tom Brady threw for 337 yards and three TDs (one to Rob Gronkowski). Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota did manage to throw for 254 yards and a pair of TDs to WR Corey Davis but was sacked eight times in the contest. Tennessee was 5 of 15 on third down tries and 2 of 3 on fourth down while keeping the ball for 27:04; as for Brady and the Pats? They were 11 of 17 on third down and kept the ball for 32:56.

As for Miami, they come off a 22-16 to AFC East rival Buffalo in the 2017 season finale at Hard Rock Stadium. Although they trailed 10-0 at the half, Miami did manage to outscore Buffalo in the second half by a 16-12 margin. Miami was outrushed by Buffalo 126-93 and David Fales, who took over for Jay Cutler, threw for 265 yards and a TD. The Bills, who waited for their playoff fate to be decided after their win in their locker room (Baltimore was hosting Cincinnati in a late afternoon contest), was paced by Tyrod Taylor, who threw for 204 yards, despite being sacked four times. Miami was 5 of 13 on third down (the ‘Fins were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:56, while the Bills were 5 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 31:04.

Including games that were played in Houston, when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Dolphins played their home games at the Orange Bowl, Miami leads the series 20-16 and the “fins have outscored Tennessee 683-675. Miami won the last meeting between the clubs last year in the Sunshine State, taking a 16-10 win, while the Titans’ last win in the series also came in the Sunshine State, as Tennessee would triumph 30-17 in 2016.

In the week five contest at Hard Rock Stadium last year, Miami led 10-3 at the break before Tennessee rallied in the third quarter when Matt Cassel, who took over for Mariotta, connected with TE Phillip Supernaw on an 11-yard TD toss with 7:17 left in the quarter. Miami would take the lead back for good in the fourth quarter when QB Jay Cutler and WR Jarvis Landry hooked up on a 6-yard TD pass early in the final quarter of action. Miami outrushed Tennessee 100-69 and Dolphins RB Joseph Ajayi led the way with 77 yards on the ground, while the Titans’ DeMarco Murray tallied 58 with Cassel (141 yards, six sacks) and Cutler (92 yards, interception) each throwing a TD in the contest. Tennessee was a somewhat dismal 2 of 13 on third down tries in the Sunshine State and kept the ball for 30:15, while the ‘Fins, who held the pigskin for 29:45, went 5 of 15 on third down.

Although Tennessee was favored by 3, the Dolphins would win by 6, covering the spread. As for the 43 1/2 over/under? It was safe, as both teams combined for only 26 points. This time, the Titans are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. If for no other reason, this one might be worth your time. Miami gets revenge from last year and takes the win, covering the 1 1/2.

San Francisco (6-10) at Minnesota (13-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of improved teams meet in the Twin Cities as San Francisco takes on Minnesota in the Great Indoors.

The 49ers struggled through the first part of the 2017 season, losing nine of their first ten games, then winning five of their last six games, including a 34-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum. Leading 20-6 at the break, the 49ers took control of things in the second half and never looked back. San Francisco outrushed the Rams 171-102 and Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 292 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions, while the Rams, who rested most of their starters afte clinching the NFC West, were paced by Sean Mannion, who threw for 169 yards with three sacks. San Francisco was 6 of 12 on third down conversions in southern California and held the ball for 29:09, while the Rams ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:51, going 5 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In their last game, the NFC championship game in Philadelphia, the Purple Gang led 7-0 thanks to a 25-yard TD pass from Case Keenum to WR Kyle Rudolph to open the scoring in that contest, then saw the Eagles score all 38 of their points unchallenged to drop a 38-7 decision at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles, who would win Super Bowl 52 two weeks later, held Minnesota to 70 yards rushing, while they tallied 110 yards of their own and Keenum threw for 271 yards but was picked off twice (Philly’s Nick Foles threw for 352 yards and three TDs). The Vikings, hoping to be the first team to host and play in a Super Bowl in their own building, were 6 of 13 on third down conversions in the City of Brotherly Love (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 25:56, while the eventual Super Bowl champs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:04, going 10 of 14 on third down.

Including games that were played in Bloomington, the Metrodome and Candlestick Park, the Vikings lead the series 21-19-1, while the 49ers have outscored Minnesota 925-905. They last met on the West Coast in 2015 and the 49ers came out on top 20-3, while Minnesota’s last win in the series came in the Twin Cities in 2012 by a final of 24-13. Minnesota’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 46. While the 49ers got a lot better over the last six games in their 2017 campaign, the Vikings want to repeat as kings of the NFC North mountain. Minnesota may not cover the 6 but they take the win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Tampa Bay (5-11) at New Orleans (11-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair NFC South rivals sqaure off in the Big Easy as Tampa Bay travels to New Orleans to face off against Drew Brees and the Saints in the Superdome. The season opener for both clubs will have their major stars out of the contest due to suspension (Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, suspended for violating the NFL’s conduct policy; New Orleans’ Mark Ingram, suspended for violating the NFL’s substance policy).

Tampa Bay suffered through a somewhat dismal season in the NFC South and the Bucs look to either be kings of the NFC South mountain or make sure that New Orleans doesn’t repeat.

New Orleans looks to erase the heartbreaking 29-24 last-second loss at Minnesota in the NFC Divisonal Game at US Bank Stadium. Trailing 17-7 after 45 minutes of play (New Orleans trailed 17-0 at the half), the Saints managed to outscore the Vikings 17-12 in the final quarter of play and led 24-23 with 25 seconds left on a 43-yard field goal by Will Lutz. That lead would last all of the 25 seconds that were left as Saints fans saw their hopes dashed and hearts broken when WR Stefan Diggs and QB Case Keenum connected on a 61-yard TD pass, sending the Vikings to the NFC Championship. Brees threw for 294 yards and three TDs (with two sacks and two interceptions), while Keenum threw for 318 yards and the game-winning score in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota outrushed New Orleans 95-80 and the Saints were 2 of 9 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down), with New Orleans keeping the ball for 26:43, while the Vikings held the ball for 33:17 (including the final 25 seconds), going 10 of 17 on third down tries.

New Orleans holds a 32-20 lead in the series and has outscored Tampa Bay 1,148-965. They met twice last year and split the series in 2017, each taking wins in their home facility.

The first meeting? Week nine in the Big Easy and the Saints manhandled Tampa Bay 30-10 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans led 16-3 at the intermission and was in complete control in the contest, outrushing Tampa Bay 151-87 (Mark Ingram led all rushers with 77 yards). Brees threw for 263 yards and a pair of TDs, while Winston threw for 67 yards and was sacked twice before being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the second half. In the first contest, the Saints were 7 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:18, while the Bucs kept the ball for 27:42 and went 4 of 13 on third down.

Game one in the books, right?

Game two… the Sunshine State in week 17 and the Bucs got revenge in the second meeting to close out the regular season, winning 31-24 at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay trailed 14-13 at the half, then outscored the Saints 18-10 in the final 30 minutes of play, with the game winner coming in the final second of the period when Winston and WR Chris Goodwin connected on a 39-yard TD pass with 9 seconds left. Tampa Bay then went for 2 and was successful in that try, then held off a late Saints’ rally to seal the win. Winston threw for 363 yards, while Brees threw for 245 yards (each man threw a TDs and had a pair of sacks, with winston throwing three interceptions). Tampa Bay outrushed New Orleans 110-92 and both teams did reasonably well on third down tries (New Orleans was 6 of 12 and Tampa Bay was 13 of 18); the Bucs were 1 of 1 on fourth down (New Orleans failed in their only fourth down try) and Tampa Bay ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:33, while the Saints held the pigskin for 28:27.

In the week nine contest in the Big Easy, the Saints easily covered the 7-point spread, winning by 20 but both teams missed the 52 over/under, scoring only 40 points. As for the season finale? The oddsmakers liked the Saints, this time as 7 point favorires in the Sunshine State. The Bucs covered the 7 with the win at home and this time around, both clubs covered the spread of 50 1/2, tallying 55 points. New Orleans is favored by 9 1/2 is 49 1/2. The 49 1/2 makes sense. The 9 1/2 is a bit steep. Tampa Bay is not that bad, even without Winston under center. They’ll give the Saints problems in the Big Easy but New Orleans prevails at home in the opener.

Jacksonville (10-6) at New York Giants (3-13), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of teams that went in opposite directions meet in upstate New Jersey as Blake Bortles and Jacksonville makes the 938-mile trip up I-95 to face off against Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

Jacksonville found themselves being one play away from going to Super Bowl 52, falling to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 24-20 in the AFC Championship Game in Foxboro. Jacksonville led 14-10 at the half and took a 20-10 lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of play at Gillette Stadium before seeing that lead get away from them, as Brady and WR Danny Amendola hooked up on a pair of TD passes to take the lead for good.

Jacksonville, who ran for 101 yards (Leonard Forunette led all rushers with 76 yards and a TD) did hold the Patriot running game in check, holding New England to 46 in the contest that would decide the AFC representative for Super Bowl 52 but Brady burned the Jaguars for 290 yards and the two TD tosses (Bortles threw for 293 yards and a TD but was sacked three times). Jacksonville had one last chance to make history for themselves in their last chance with the ball but the drive stalled at NeW England’s 43-yard line. New England ran out the clock and earned themselves a trip to Minneapolis.

Third down tries in the AFC Championship game were nothing to make the fan bases of either team happy; Jacksonville was 6 of 15 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down), New England was 3 of 12 (the Pats were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and Jacksonville actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:08 to NeW England’s 24:52.

For the Giants, it was a 2017 they would just as soon forget. No OBJ for most of the season, Mannning benched, Ben McAdoo was fired mid-season… chaos for Big Blue as they would wind up in the NFC East cellar, losing five of their last six games, eventually closing out the season with an 18-10 win over Washington at Met Life in week 17. Big Blue led 15-10 at the break, then shut out the Redskins in the second half to take the win at home. The Giants outrushed Washington 260-61, with Orleans Darkwa leading the way with 154 yards and a TD, while Manning threw for 132 yards and a TD (Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw for 158 yards with three sacks and three interceptions). The Giants were 4 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:53, while the Redskins were a somewhat dismal 1 of 16 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:07.

They’ve met six times and each team has three wins to their credit and each team won their last meeting in their home facility; Jacksonville came away 25-24 winners in 2014 in the Sunshine State, while the Giants were 24-20 winners in 2010 on the Jersey shore. Jacksonville’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. The Jags are looking to repeat as AFC South champs, while the Giants are trying to get their ducks back in a row. Jacksonville wins in upstate New Jersey and covers the 3 on the road.

Kansas City (10-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (9-7), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of AFC West rivals meet on the Left Coast as the defending AFC West champs Chiefs take on the Los Angeles Chargers at Stub Hub Stadium.

Kansas City looks to bounce back from their 22-21 AFC Wild Card loss to Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs took an early 14-0 lead, thanks to TDs from RB Kareem Hunt and TE Travis Kelce and took a 21-3 lead with them to the intermission before things fell apart for them. Mariota then started the scoring in the second half when he completed a 6-yard TD pass to… Marcus Mariota. From that point onward, the Titans would score the final 12 points of the game unchallenged. The Chiefs had one last drive and thought they had the game-winning TD with 2 minutes left in the contest when Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson picked up a Titans fumble and returned the ball 56 yards for a TD. Chiefs fans then had their hearts broken when the call was reversed and the Titans ran out the clock and took the win on the road.

Kansas City was outrushed 202-69 and Alex Smith threw for 264 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked four times, while Mariota threw for 205 yards and a pair of TDs (including the one to himself). The Chiefs on third down tries were 4 of 11 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball at frigid chilly Arrowhead for 27:32, while the Titans ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:28, going 8 of 13 on third down conversions.

The Chargers almost made the playoffs in 2017 but saw their hopes of post-season play come to an end at home, as they were on the short end of a 30-10 loss to the Silver and Black in Tinseltown. After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland took a 20-10 lead with them to the intermission and were kept off the scoreboard in the second half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 101 yards, even though the Chargers outrushed Oakland 115-105 and Philip Rivers threw for 387 yards and three TDs, while Derek Carr threw for 243 yards with a TD, two sacks and an interception. The Chargers on third down went 7 of 13 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:20, while the Raiders kepd the pigskin for 26:40, going 4 of 11 on third down conversions.

Including games played at Swope Field, Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Dallas (when the Chiefs were known as the Texans) and the Chargers were in Los Angeles before moving South, the Chiefs lead the series 60-54-1, have outscored the Bolts 2,520- 2,306 and have won the last eight contests in the series (the Chargers’ last win in the series came in 2013 in San Diego, when they needed overtime to take a 27-24 win), including sweeping last year’s series.

Game one… week three at Stub Hub Center in Carson, just outside Los Angeles. The Chiefs were 24-10 winners on the West Coast, taking a 17-10 lead to the intermission with them. The Chiefs then went on to score their final 7 points of the contest, as RB Kareem Hunt would score on a 69-yard run to ice the game away. Hunt led all rushers with 172 of the Chiefs’ 189 yards (the Chargers ran for 104), while Alex Smith threw for 155 yards and a pair of TDs with five sacks and Rivers threw for 237 yards, two sacks and three interceptions. Both clubs struggled on third down tries in the first meeting on the West Coast (the Chiefs were 4 of 12, 0 of 2 on fourth down; the Chargers were 5 of 13) and Kansas City ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:26 to Los Angeles’ 29:34.

Kansas City made it a clean sweep of the series in the second meeting in the Show-Me State in week 15, taking a 30-13 win at Arrowhead. Leading 10-6 at the break, Kansas City pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Bolts 20-7 to seal the win. Hunt was again the rushing star, running for 155 yards and a TD, while the Chiefs outrushed Los Angeles 174-98. Smith threw for 231 yards and a pair of TDs, while Rivers threw for 227 yards with a TD, a pair of sacks and three interceptions. The Chiefs were 6 of 14 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:21, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 26:39, going 4 of 11 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

In the week three contest on the West Coast, the Chiefs covered the 3-point spread, winning by 14 but both clubs missed the 46 over/under, tallying only 34 points. The Chiefs covered the 1-point spread in the week 15 contest at Arrowhead, winning by 17 but again, the teams failed to cover the over/under (it was 46) and tallied only 43 points. The powers that be in Vegas like the Chargers as a 3 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 48 1/2. The Chargers are hoping to end their drought against the Chiefs, while the defending AFC West champs look to make it nine in a row. The beat goes on for the Chiefs, who make it 10 in a row and covers the 3 1/2.

Washington (7-9) at Arizona (8-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of teams that barely missed the post-season party in 2017 meet in the desert as Arizona hosts the Washington Redskins at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Washington closed out the 2017 season, keeping themselves out of the NFC East cellar but dropping an 18-10 decision against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands. Washington trailed Big Blue led 15-10 at the break, then were shut out in the second half as the Giants took the win at home. Washington was outrushed by the Giants 260-61, with Giants RB Orleans Darkwa leading the way with 154 yards and a TD, while Manning threw for 132 yards and a TD (Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw for 158 yards with three sacks and three interceptions). The Giants were 4 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:53, while the Redskins were a somewhat dismal 1 of 16 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:07.

The Desert Angry Birds completely knocked Seattle out of the NFC post-season party as they rallied from a 24-23 deficit late in the final quarter to take a 26-24 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Arizona led 20-7 at the intermission before the Seahawks rallied later in the contest to take the lead with 10:24 left to play, thanks to a 29-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. Arizona would then get the last word and use a 10-play, 62-yard drive that used 4:50 of clock to take the lead back when K Pat Dawson connected on a 42-yard field goal with 2:21 left. Arizona then held off a late and furious Seattle rally and took home the win when Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal try sailed wide to the right. Arizona outrushed Seattle 116-101 and Drew Stanton threw for 145 yards and a TD, while Wilson threw for 221 yards and a pair of TDs (both to Baldwin). Arizona was 4 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:16, while Seattle, (who held the pigskin for 27:44) was 1 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played in Boston, when the Redskins were known as the Braves and the Cardinals called Chicago and St. Louis home before making their way West, the Redskins lead the series 75-46-2 and have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 2,730-2,300. They met last year in Landover and the ‘Skins survived a 20-15 scare at Fed Ex Field (Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2016 in the desert by a final of 31-23.

The week 15 contest at Fed Ex Field saw the Redskins take a 14-9 lead at the break, then saw the two teams trade field goals in the second half. Kirk Cousins threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs for Washington, while Arizona’s Blaine Gabbert, who took over for Carson Palmer (injury), threw for 189 yards with five sacks and an interception. Arizona, 4 of 19 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down, did manage to outrush Washington 141-31 but turned the ball over twice in the loss (the Redskins were 1 of 9 on third down) and kept the ball for 36:16 to Washington’s 23:44.

Washington’s 5-point win allowed them to cover the 1 1/2-point spread but both clubs missed the 43 1/2 over/under, tallying 35 points. Vegas likes the Desert Angry Birds as a 1-point favorite in Glendale and the over/under is 43 1/2. Both teams are lookng to improve from the 2017 campaign and both could do that. Hail To The Redskins! Washington covers the 1 in the desert and wins on the road.

Dallas (9-7) at Carolina (11-5), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Dak Prescott vs. Cam Newton. The future of NFL QBs meet in the Tar Heel State as Carolina hosts Dallas in a late Sunday afternoon contest in Charlotte.

Dallas temporarily put a dent in Philadelphia’s march to Super Bowl 52 as they closed out the 2017 campaign, taking a 6-0 win over the Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love. The two teams went scoreless through the first 45 minutes of play in the season finale and Dallas picked up the lone score in the contest when TE Brice Butler and Prescott connected on a 20-yard toss with 12:19 left in regulation. Dallas outrushed Philadelphia 129-70, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 103 yards and Prescott throwing for 179. Dallas, who forced a pair of Philadelphia turnovers, went 5 of 15 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:05, while the Eagles were 2 of 11 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 29:55.

As for Carolina, they came close to taking down New Orleans in the NFC Wild Card game but fell to the Saints 31-26 in the Big Easy. Trailing 21-9 at the half in the Superdome, Newton and the Panthers managed outscore Drew Brees and the Saints in the second half by a 17-10 margin and pulled themselves to within five with 4:09 left when Newton and WR Christian McCaffrey connected on a 56-yard TD toss. After the Panthers picked up a New Orleans fumble later in the quarter, Carolina got the ball back with 1:51 left to play and got as far as New Orleans’ 34-yard line before Newton was sacked for a 17-yard loss on fourth down, ending the drive and Carolina’s hopes to advance. Carolina somehow managed to outrush New Orleans 107-41 and Newton threw for 349 yards with TDs to McCafferey and Greg Olsen (Newton was sacked four times), while Brees threw for 376 yards and a pair of TDs. Carolina was 8 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs in the Big Easy and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:49, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 26:11, going 2 of 8 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series 9-2 and the Cowboys have outscored Carolina 227-190. The Panthers won the last meeting, with Carolina taking a 33-14 win on Thanksgiving Day in 2015, while Dallas’ last win in the series came in Charlotte by a final of 19-14 in 2012. Carolina’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 42. Carolina’s trying to get back to being on top of the NFC South mountain, while the Cowboys look to return to prominence in the NFC East. The Cowboys will make things closer than 3 but Carolina’s finer in Charlotte and takes the win.

Seattle (9-7) at Denver (5-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of western teams meet in the Rocky Mountains as Seattle and Denver open the 2018 season in the Mile High City.

Seattle found themselves out of the NFC post-season party as they let a 24-23 lead get away from them as Arizona rallied to come away 26-24 winners in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Trailing 20-7 at the intermission, Seattle rallied later in the contest to take the lead with 10:24 left to play, thanks to a 29-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. Arizona would then get the last word and use a 10-play, 62-yard drive that used 4:50 of clock to take the lead back when K Pat Dawson connected on a 42-yard field goal with 2:21 left. Arizona then held off a late and furious Seattle rally and took home the win when Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal try sailed wide to the right. Arizona outrushed Seattle 116-101 and Drew Stanton threw for 145 yards and a TD, while Wilson threw for 221 yards and a pair of TDs (both to Baldwin). Arizona was 4 of 14 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:16, while Seattle, (who held the pigskin for 27:44) was 1 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver’s dismal 2017 season came to an end in the Mile High City as they would fall to AFC West rival Kansas City 27-24 in the final seconds at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (now Broncos Stadium at Mile High). Denver trailed 14-10 at the half, then saw the Chiefs take a 24-10 lead into the final 15 minutes of action. The Broncos would eventually pull even with 2:53 left in regulation when WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Paxton Lynch connected on a 6-yard TD strike. The tie would last all of the 2:53 when the Chiefs would use an 11-play, 67-yard drive to break the hearts of the Denver fans that were in attendance as Harrison Butker connected on a 30-yard field goal as time expired.

Each team rushed for 110 yards in the season finale and Patrick Mahomes II, making his first NFL start, (taking over for Alex Smith) threw for 284 yards, while Lynch threw for 254 yards and a pair of TDs in the Rocky Mountains. The Chiefs on third down tries were 4 of 11 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 29:03, including the final 2:55), while the Broncos were 5 of 12 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:57.

Denver holds a 34-19 lead in the series and the Broncos have outscored Seattle 1,242-1,037. Seattle needed overtime in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, taking a 26-20 win in 2014 in the last meeting, while Denver’s last win over Seattle came in 2010 in the Mile High City by a final of 31-14. Vegas likes Denver as 3-point favorites and the over/under’s 42 1/2. This one may well be worth your time to watch and that could be good for the ratings. Seattle recovers and takes the win, although Denver will make things closer than 3 points.

Chicago (5-11) at Green Bay (7-9), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A Lake Michigan rivalry older than football itself meets in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst as Chicago travels to the not-quite-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field for a Sunday night contest with the Green Bay Packers.

Da Bears trailed Minnesota 16-7 at US Bank Stadium in the season finale and fell to the Vikings 23-10. Held to a season-low 30 yards rushing, Chicago saw Minnesota run amok for 147 yards (LeMarco Murray led everyone with 111 yards and a pair of TD) and Case Keenum threw for 189 yards and a TD to WR Stefon Diggs, while Mitch Trubisky threw for 178 yards in the loss. Da Bears were a somewhat dismal 1 of 12 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, keeping the ball for 24:05, while the Purple Gang went 5 of 13 on third down, holding the ball for 35:55.

The Packers are also coming off a season-finale loss, falling 35-11 at Detroit to close out a season Packer fans would rather forget. The Packers trailed Matthew Stafford and the Lions 20-3 at the intermission in the Motor City and could never really get on track at Ford Field. Although Green Bay outrushed Detroit 103-51, Stafford burned the Packers for 323 yards and three TDs, while Brett Hundley threw for 172 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice. Detroit, who took advantage of four Packer turnovers, went 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:13, while the Packers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:47, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions.

The two NFC North rivals meet for the 195th time and the Packers lead the series 95-93-6 (including contests that were played when Da Bears were known as the Staleys), have outscored the Monsters of the Midway 3,358-3,314 and have won five of the last six meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Chicago’s last win came in 2015 when they shocked the Packers at Lambeau on Thanksgiving night 2015 by a final of 17-13).

Meeting number one… Lambeau in week four. The Packers used four Rodgers TDs tosses (two of them to Jordy Nelson) in the land of Cheese, beer and Bratwurst to come out on top 35-14. Leading 21-7 at the intermission, Green Bay held Chicago in check in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Da Bears 14-7. Although they outrushed Green Bay 103-91, Chicago could never really get on track in the contest, as Matt Glennon threw for 218 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions. As for Rodgers, he threw for 179 yards and the four TDs to take the win in front of the home crowd. Green Bay was 7 of 14 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:09, while Da Bears ruled the clock and held the ball for 31:51, going 5 of 12 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Meeting number two… the Windy City in week 10. While the contest was closer than the first meeting, the Packers managed to leave Chicago in check with a 23-16 NFC North win. Green Bay led 10-6 at the half at Soldier Field, then the Rodgers-less Packers outscored Chicago in the final 30 minutes of action 13-10 to take the win. This time, Green Bay outrushed Chicago 160-55 and while Brent Hundley was no Aaron Rodgers (shoulder), he did manage to throw for 212 yards with a TD despite being sacked three times. Hundley’s counterpart Mitch Trubisky didn’t fare as well, throwing for 297 yards and a TD with five sacks.

Third down tries in the week 10 contest? Not a lot to write home about. Green Bay was 7 of 16, Chicago was 4 of 14 (the Packers were 1 of 1 on fourth down, while Da Bears were 0 for 1). Green Bay did manage to rule the clock in the second contest, keeping the ball for 33:53 to Chicago’s 26:07.

In the week four contest that was played on a Thursday night at Lambeau, Green Bay’s 21-point win allowed them to cover the 7-point spread and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under, scoring 49 points. The second meeting, a week 10 affair in the Windy City, saw Chicago as a 5 1/2-point favorite (Green Bay covered that, winning by 7) and both clubs covered the 37 1/2 over/under with 39 points. Green Bay’s favored by 7 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst and the over/under is 47 1/2. While the Bears were somewhat dismal last year, they’re not 7 1/2 bad and they could cause problems for the Packers at Lambeau… but Green Bay prevails at home and takes the win.

New York Jets (5-11) at Detroit (7-9), 7:10 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The first of two Monday night contests gets underway in the Motor City as the Jets travel to Detroit for a showdown with the Detroit Lions.

GangGreen was manhandled by Tom Brady (190 yards, two TDs) and the New England Patriots 26-6 in Foxboro. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 21-3 at the break and could never get on track in the season finale between the two AFC East rivals, finding themselves held to 40 yards rushing, as New England tallied 147 on the ground and Jets QB Bryce Petty threw for 232 yards against the Pats but was sacked four times. Third down tries in Foxboro? The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were a dismal 0 of 12 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and GangGreen held the ball for 25:11, while the Pats were 4 of 15 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 34:49.

Detroit took care of Green Bay 35-11 to close out the 2017 season at Ford Field. Stafford and the Lions led 20-3 at the intermission in the Motor City and were never challenged by their NFC North rivals, even though the Packers outrushed them 103-51. Stafford burned the Packers for 323 yards and three TDs, while Brett Hundley threw for 172 yards but was sacked four times and picked off twice. Detroit, who took advantage of four Packer turnovers, went 4 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:13, while the Packers ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:47, going 4 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth down conversions.

While the Lions lead series 7-6 (which includes games that were played at Shea Stadium, Tiger Stadium and the Pontiac Silverdome), GangGreen has outscored the Lions 262-258. Each team won their last meeting in the other team’s facility; GangGreen needed overtime in 2010 to take a 23-20 win in Detroit, while the Lions were 24-17 winners in the Meadowlands in 2014. On Monday nights, GangGreen is 21-31  with their last win coming in 2015 (they played two MNF games in 2016 and lost both), while the Lions are 16-17-1, taking wins in their two primetime meetings last season). The Lions are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under is 45. Both clubs are actually better than their 2017 records and both want to get back to the post-season. Lions roar at home in the Motor City and cover the 6 1/2.

Los Angeles Rams (11-5) at Oakland (6-10), 10:20 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week one concludes on the Eastern side of San Francisco bay as the Los Angeles Rams make the 373-mile trip up I-5 for a Golden State matchup with the Oakland Raiders.

Los Angeles was taken to task by Atlanta in the NFC Wild Card Game at the Coliseum 26-13. The Rams made things close for Matt Ryan and the Falcons and trailed 13-10 at the intermission before Atlanta pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Rams 13-3 in the final 30 minutes of action. Atlanta outrushed the Rams 124-115. with Todd Gurley III leading the way with 101 yards on the evening. Jarred Goff threw for 259 yards with three sacks, while Ryan threw for 218 yards (both threw for a TD and both were sacked three times). Atlanta was 5 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 37:35, while the Rams were 22:25 in time of possession, going 5 of 14 and 1 of 3 on third and fourth down tries.

While the Raiders did not make the post-season party, they made sure that their rivals from Los Angeles didn’t get their RSVP, putting the Chargers on the outside looking in and taking a 30-10 win in Tinseltown. After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland took a 20-10 lead with them to the intermission and were kept off the scoreboard in the second half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 101 yards, even though the Chargers outrushed Oakland 115-105 and Philip Rivers threw for 387 yards and three TDs, while Derek Carr threw for 243 yards with a TD, two sacks and an interception. The Chargers on third down went 7 of 13 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 33:20, while the Raiders kepd the pigskin for 26:40, going 4 of 11 on third down conversions.

Including contests that took place when both teams were in Los Angeles and the Rams later moved to St. Louis, the Silver and Black lead the series 8-5; however… the Rams have outscored Oakland 278-257 in those 13 meetings. The Rams took Oakland to task in their last meeting, which took place in St. Louis, coming away 52-0 winners in 2014, while the Raiders took a 16-14 win in 2010.

The Rams are favored by 4 in Oakland and the over/under is 48 1/2. As far as Monday night is concerned… the Rams are 26-32 and lost their last meeting under the lights in 2016 (their last win came in 2004 when they were in St. Louis), while the Raiders are 38-28-1 in prime time, losing their only meeting last year (their last win was in 2016). This may be one of the better MNF games to watch this season and the two teams are separated by a mere 373 miles. In the end, one of these California teams will take the win. The Rams may not cover the 4 but they win in Oakland to close out week one.

The dates are finally set.

Rookies fighting for NFL jobs, as well as free agents and veterans trying to stay with their teams will come to camp. There will be some chippiness and a few fights as well among teammates.

There’ll be heat, humidity, bugs, sleeping in dorms, learning playbooks that are bigger than most college text books, as you are trying to be one of 53 players that hopefully will be on an NFL roster when the season starts the Thursday after Labor Day.

If a rookie thought the Senior Bowl was easy or if a free agent thought he was going to make it, this is in of itself a job interview. It’s a chance to get a game check every week for 17 weeks (yes, NFL players get paid weekly).  It’s not about sitting around the campfire and eat s’mores. It’s learning a new playbook, new terminology and new names.

Training camp is not just a chance to see what all 32 teams have to either keep their hands on the Lombardi Trophy or have a chance to get their own. It’s also a chance for their respective fan base to make their own determinations and hope that they have a better season than they did in 2017. Players will work to impress their coaches and fan bases and hope they don’t hear the dreaded words that come from an assistant coach, ball boy or equipment guy, “coach wants to see you and bring your playbook.” Those words usually mean you’re getting cut or you’ve been cut. Most teams will play four pre-season games, while teams that play in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton will get five games. That’s a lot of film to look at and see who stays and who goes.

All 32 teams will have their camps close enough for their fan base to come out and see them. Only Houston and Dallas will not have camps in the state of Texas (Houston will go to West Virginia, while Dallas will travel to the West Coast and train in California), so that means you’ll have to make travel plans.

Hydrate, don’t forget the bug spray, get those photos and autographs and mind your manners. After all, these guys have work to do.

Below are the sites and dates for all 32 teams. Where there are two dates listed, the first date listed is the date for rookies to report, while the second date is for veteran players (most teams will have both rookies and veterans report on the same day). Check with your team as to practice times and if those practices are open to the public.

Arizona – University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/27)
Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/26)
Baltimore – Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland (Rookies – 7/11, Veterans – 7/18)
Buffalo – St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Cincinnati – Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Cleveland – Cleveland Browns Training Complex in Berea, Ohio (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Carolina – Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Chicago – Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois – (Rookies – 7/16, Veterans – 7/19)
Dallas – Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Denver – University of Colorado Health Training Center in Englewood, Colorado (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/27)
Detroit – Detroit Lions Training Facility in Allen Park, Michigan (Rookies – 7/19, Veterans – 7/26)
Green Bay – St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Houston – The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Indianapolis – Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Jacksonville – TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
Kansas City – Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Los Angeles Chargers – Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/27)
Los Angeles Rams – University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Miami – Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, Florida (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
Minnesota – TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/27)
New England – Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
New Orleans – New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Louisiana (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
New York Giants – Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
New York Jets – Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey (Rookies – 7/25, Veterans – 7/26)
Oakland – Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, California (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/26)
Philadelphia – NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Pittsburgh – Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/25)
San Francisco – SAP Performance Facility in Santa Clara, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Seattle – Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Tampa Bay – One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Tennessee – Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Washington – Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Virginia (Rookies and Veterans 7/25)

The National Football League announced Tuesday that eight teams will carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads in 2018 as part of an expansion of the International Player Pathway program. The program, instituted last year, aims to provide international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Alex Gray (Atlanta), Alex Jenkins (New Orleans), Eric Nzeocha (Tampa Bay) and Efe Obada (Carolina), participants in 2017, will return to their NFC South teams for the upcoming season.

An additional four teams – the AFC North – will carry an overseas player on their roster until the end of the 2018 training camp.  At that time, the players would be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption.

Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh will each be given an exemption for an eleventh practice squad member – ineligible to be activated during the season – with two of the players selected coming from the United Kingdom and two from Germany. The AFC North was chosen to receive the international players in a random draw.

The players include Moritz Böhringer (Cincinnati), who was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, German Football League player Christopher Ezeala (Baltimore Ravens), former British American Football League player Tigie Sankoh (Cleveland) and former English professional rugby player Christian Scotland-Williamson (Pittsburgh).

For the past three months, the players have been training alongside NFL players and draft hopefuls in Florida, under the supervision of former NFL-United Kingdom head of football Aden Durde, who was hired as Atlanta’s defensive quality control coach after this season’s program, along with IMG Academy coaches including running back coach Earnest Byner, offensive line coach Paul Dunn, defensive back coach Donnie Henderson and wide receiver coach Larry Kirksey.

The new players taking part in the 2018 International Player Pathway Program:

MORITZ BÖHRINGER, Tight End/Wide Receiver (Germany), Age: 24 – Cincinnati: Selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the first player to be drafted directly from European football. Bohringer had previously been combining his university studies with playing for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns in the German Football League. Bohringer spent the 2016 season on the Vikings practice squad.

CHRISTOPHER EZEALA, Fullback (Germany), Age: 22 – Baltimore: Played as a fullback and linebacker in the German Football League for the Ingolstadt Dukes, having begun playing the sport for the Munich Rangers and Allgäu Comets. Ezeala has focused on the fullback position, saying: “My coaches told me that while there are many linebackers like me in the NFL, there is no fullback that is so athletic and fast, so they are trying to create a new type of player with me.”

TIGIE SANKOH, Defensive Back (United Kingdom), Age: 21 – Cleveland: Played amateur football throughout his teenage years and attended the American Football Academy at Filton College in Bristol, England. Sankoh Went on to represent the London Warriors in the British American Football League.

CHRISTIAN SCOTLAND-WILLIAMSON, Tight End (United Kingdom), Age: 24 – Pittsburgh: Converted to American football early in 2018 after a professional rugby career in England, where he played for the Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership. Playing as a second-row forward, he was known in rugby for his physicality and tackling ability and came to international prominence when a tackle in a game against London Wasps was shared widely on the Internet. He graduated from Loughborough University, one of the UK’s leading sports institutions, with a degree in economics.

The returning participants from the 2017 International Player Pathway Program:

ALEX GRAY, Tight End (United Kingdom), Age: 27 – Atlanta: Born and raised in Bishop Auckland, England, Gray captained England’s rugby teams at Under-16, Under-18, Under-20 and International Sevens levels and played for Newcastle Falcons and London Irish. He was named in the original extended Great Britain Sevens squad for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, before suffering an injury. He signed for Yorkshire Carnegie for the 2016-17 rugby season and decided to convert to American football.

ALEX JENKINS, Defensive End (United Kingdom), Age: 25 – New Orleans: Born and raised in Bath, England, he began playing football at the Bath City Academy and for the Bristol Aztecs, earning a spot on the Great Britain youth team. Having been selected to participate in an all-star high school camp in Virginia, he earned a scholarship to play college football at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. He was a three-year starter as defensive end at UIW, posting 3.5 sacks in his senior year.

ERIC NZEOCHA, Linebacker (Germany), Age: 25 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nzeocha began playing football for the Franken Knights youth team in Neusitz, Germany and was selected for the German national junior team. He played three years at the University of Wyoming, switching from tight end to linebacker before the 2015 season. Nzeocha has an older brother, Mark, who is a linebacker for Dallas.

EFE OBADA, Defensive End (United Kingdom), Age: 26 – Carolina Panthers: Raised in London after arriving from the Netherlands at age 10, Obada signed as a free agent for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 after playing only five games of amateur football with the London Warriors. He played in the preseason for the Cowboys and spent part of the 2015 season on the club’s practice squad. He has since had spells on the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.

NFL Draft weekend culminated an exciting time for another international NFL hopeful, offensive lineman Jordan Mailata. The Samoan-born Australian professional rugby league player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs was drafted in the seventh round by the Philadelphia Eagles (thereby making him ineligible for the International Player Pathway Program this season). Converted to football full-time early in 2018, the 6-8, 350-pounder has impressed NFL scouts at various workouts with his strength, footwork and athleticism and will now continue his football journey with the Eagles.

Round one is in the books.

The NFL Draft has come and gone and now it’s time for round two. For the teams that didn’t make the post-season, it’s a chance to improve their place in the standings. For those that were in the playoffs last year, it’s a chance to return to the post-season party. For the Eagles, it’s a chance to defend their title, while the other 31 teams will want a chance to knock them off the mountain. For all 32 teams, it’s a chance to knock off some rust and see what talent they have and will eventually need.

The National Football League announced the calendar for voluntary offseason workout programs, which are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players. The calendar for 2018 is below.

As per Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp, noted below, must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program.

New head coaches are entitled to conduct an additional voluntary veteran minicamp. Any voluntary minicamp for veteran players had to be conducted prior to the NFL Draft (April 26-28) but no earlier than week three of the club’s offseason workout program and after at least one week of the two weeks of Phase One activities that the clubs may hold pursuant to Article 21. This year, seven clubs will hold voluntary veteran minicamps, as noted below.

Each club may hold a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which in 2018 may begin on May 14. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL Draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft. The dates of each club’s post-draft rookie minicamps are noted below.

For specific information and detailed offseason program rules, please see Articles 21 and 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (beginning on page 131), available on nflcommunications.com.

The NFL Offseason Workout Program calendar (dates are tentative and subject to change at the discretion of individual clubs):

ARIZONA
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 15-17, May 22-24, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

ATLANTA
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21, May 23-24, May 30-31, June 1, June 4-5, June 7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

BALTIMORE
OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 21-22, May 24, May 29, May 31, June 1, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

BUFFALO
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

CAROLINA
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

CHICAGO
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 15-17, May 22-24, May 29-31, June 1
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

CINCINNATI
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

CLEVELAND
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

DALLAS
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-6
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

DENVER
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

DETROIT
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 30-31, June 11-12, June 14
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

GREEN BAY
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-23, May 30-31, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

HOUSTON
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-31, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

INDIANAPOLIS
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 30-31, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

JACKSONVILLE
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22, May 24-25, May 29, May 31, June 1, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

KANSAS CITY
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 5-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 5-7

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

LOS ANGEELS RAMS
OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 21-22, May 24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

MIAMI
OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 22-24, May 29-31, June 11-14
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

MINNESOTA
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

NEW ENGLAND
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 30-31, June 1, June 11-12, June 14-15
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

NEW ORLEANS
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

NEW YORK GIANTS
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

NEW YORK JETS
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OAKLAND
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

PHILADELPHIA
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29, May 31, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

PITTSBURGH
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

SAN FRANCISCO
OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 21-22, May 24, May 29-30, June 1, June 4-5, June 7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

SEATTLE
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-30, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

TAMPA BAY
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

TENNESSEE
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-30, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

WASHINGTON
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12