Archives for posts with tag: NFL Network

New York Jets (1-1) at Cleveland (0-1-1), 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network. The youth movement will be on full display Thursday night as week 3 kicks off at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland as the Browns host the New York Jets at 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network. Both clubs look to right their ships after losses in last Sunday’s action.

Cleveland saw a 12-3 lead at the end of the third quarter against Cleveland get away from them against New Orleans (the Browns led 9-3 at the half) and the Saints prevailed 21-18 in the Big Easy. The winless Browns saw Saints WR Michael Thomas catch a pair of Drew Brees TD passes, the first to pull them to within two with 8:41 left, then a catch that would give them the lead with 2:40 left before the Browns would tie the contest with 76 seconds left in regulation when WR Anthony Calloway and QB Tyrod Taylor hooked up on a 47-yard toss (Cleveland would miss the PAT). New Orleans went back to work and used a 6-play, 49-yard drive that used only 55 seconds, with K Will Lutz sending Saints fans home happy when he connected on a 44-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. The Browns did manage to outrush New Orleans 93-62, with Brees throwing for 243, while Taylor threw for 246 and a TD (each was sacked three times and picked off once). Cleveland was 4 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:19, while the Saints ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:41, going 3 of 12 on third down tries.

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

The series is even at 12-12 and the Browns have outscored GangGreen 490-486. However, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! have won the last five meetings, including taking a 17-14 win in Cleveland last year (Cleveland’s last win came in 2007 in the Meadowlands by a final of 24-18).

GangGreen took a 3-0 lead to the intermission in the week five matchup, then held off a late Cleveland rally to seal the deal along the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland outrushed New York outgaining the Jets 419-212 in total offense (Cleveland outrushed the Jets 140-34) in the contest but opportunities plagued the Browns throughout the contest as the team had two red zone turnovers (one fumble and one interception) and two missed field goals. Cleveland would pull to within three with 1:49 left when Browns QB Kevin Hogan (who took over for DeShone Kizer) and RB Duke Johnson Jr. connected on a 41-yard TD toss. The Browns then went for the onside kick, which GangGreen recovered and they would run out the clock and take the win. Kizer threw for 87 yards with a sack in the loss, while Hogan threw for 194 and two TDS (Josh McCown threw for 194 yards and a pair of TDs for the victorious Jets). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 4 of 12 on third down at FirstEnergy Stadium and kept the ball for 25:34, while the Browns ruled the clock, holding the ball for 34:26, going 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Cleveland was favored by 2 in the week five contest along the shores of Lake Erie and GangGreen covered the spread with their 3-point win. The 39 over/under was untouched as both clubs merged to score 31 points. Cleveland’s favored by 3 in the Thursday night contest along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 39 1/2. Both numbers sound reasonable and both offenses can score when they need to. Could the Bud Light beer fridge be opened? Cleveland fans can belly up to the bar. Browns cover at home in the Dawg Pound and wins at home.

Broadcast Information – 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (New York Jets), 83 (Cleveland); XM: 226 (New York Jets), 225 (Cleveland )

Referee: Jerome Boger

Injury Report

New York Jets
DOUBTFUL: S Marcus Maye (Foot)
OUT: LB Josh Martin (Concussion), TE Neal Sterling (Concussion)

Cleveland
DOUBTFUL: LB Christian Kirksey (Shoulder)
OUT: TE Seth DeValve (Hamstring), DE Emmaniel Ogbah (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: S Damarious Randall (Heel), WR Jarvis Landry (Knee)

Weather: Mostly clear and 81 degrees

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

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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)

Baltimore (1-0) at Cincinnati (1-0), 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network. A pair of undefeated AFC North rivals meet along the shores of the Ohio River as Joe Flacco and the Ravens travel to Cincinnati to open week two action against Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

In the 44 meetings between the Ravens and Bengals, each team has won 22 games and Baltimore has outscored the Bengals 942-814. They split last year’s contests, each taking wins in the other team’s facility in a series that bookended the 2017 campaign.

Both teams are entering the Thursday night contest with wins under their belts in the season opener for both clubs. Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon recorded 149 scrimmage yards (95 rushing, 54 receiving) and a rushing touchdown and wide receiver A.J. Green had six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown in the Bengals’ 34-23 victory at Indianapolis. 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. Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who recorded a sack in Week 1, has 62 sacks since entering the league in 2010, the most among NFL defensive tackles over the span. While rushing for 101 yards, the Bengals, who trailed the Colts 16-10 at the half, held Indianpolis to 75 yards on the ground and sacked Andrew Luck (319 yards, 2 TDs) 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.

Flacco completed 25 of 34 passes and threw three touchdowns, including scoring passes to John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead in each of their team debuts, as the Ravens defeated Buffalo 47-3 on Kickoff Weekend in Charm City. The Ravens had six different players score an offensive touchdown in the contest. Baltimore linebacker C.J. Mosley is the only NFL player with at least 450 tackles (474), eight sacks (eight) and eight interceptions (eight) since entering the league in 2014. The Ravens led 26-0 at the intermission and took a 40-3 lead into the fourth quarter as they manhandled the team that replaced them in the 2017 post-season. Holding the Bills 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.

Thursday’s contest marks the first of seven exclusively televised games on NFL Network this season and will be produced by FOX. The game will feature Joe Buck, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Kristina Pink and Mike Pereira on the call.

They meet in Cincy in week one and Baltimore shut out the Bengals 20-0 at Paul Brown Stadium. Taking a 17-0 lead with them to the intermission, the Ravens tacked on a 25-yard field goal by Jeff Tucker in the third quarter to close out the scoring in the contest. Flacco threw for 121 yards and a TD to WR Jeremy Maclin, while RB Terrance West had the other Ravens TD. Baltimore held Cincy to 77 yards rushing, tallying 157 of their own and sacking Dalton (170 yards) five times, picking him off four times. The Ravens were 6 of 14 on third down tries in the season opener, keeping the ball for 34 minutes, while the Bengals kept the ball for 26, going 4 of 13 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

They would meet again in Charm City to close the 2017 campaign out and for the Ravens, it was a game they needed to win to have any chance of a playoff spot but it was the Bengals that played the role of spoiler in the late-afternoon affair at M&T Bank Stadium, as Cincy would get revenge on their AFC North foes, knocking the Ravens out of the post-season and coming away 31-27 winners. The Bengals led 17-10 at the break and took a 24-20 lead with 13:08 left in regulation before the Ravens took their only lead with 8:48 left as Flacco and WR Mike Wallace connected on a 6-yard TD toss, leading 27-24.

That lead and the hopes of the Ravens going to the playoffs (Buffalo had won in Miami earlier that afternoon) were dashed late in the quarter as they would punt the ball back to Cincinnati with 2:51 to go in the game. Dalton then marched his team 90 yards on 10 plays, including a heartbreaking 49-yard TD pass on fourth-and-12 to WR Tyler Boyd with :44 seconds left in the game. During the drive, Ravens S Eric Weddle intercepted a pass, but it was negated due to a defensive holding penalty. Cincinnati outrushed Baltimore 146-118 and Dalton threw for 222 yards with three TDs, including the game winner, while Flacco accounted for 203 yards with a pair of TDs and an  interception. The Bengals were 5 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 28:39, while the Ravens ruled the clock and held on to the pigskin for 31:21, going 5 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

The Bengals were favored by 3 in the first meeting in Cincy and Baltimore’s 20-point win allowed them to cover the spread with ease. As for the 42 over/under? It was untouched as Baltimore accounted for all 20 of the points in the contest. In the season finale, the game that Baltimore needed to get into the post-season, the Ravens were 9 1/2 point favorites and Cincy won that contest by 4. The two teams did manage to cover the 40 1/2 over/under, tallying 58 total points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Bengals as a 1-point favorite with the over/under at 44. Baltimore would love to get some revenge on Cincinnati for knocking them out of the post-season, while the Bengals would love nothing more than to prove that it was not a fluke. Bengals cover the 1 and takes the win at home.

Broadcast Information – 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter) NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (Baltimore), 83 (Cincinnati); XM: 226 (Baltimore), 225 (Cincinnati)

Referee – Walt Anderson

Injury Report

Baltimore
OUT: CB Maurice Canady (Thigh), RB Kenneth Dixon (Knee), DT Willie Henry (Abdomen), TE Hayden Hurst (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Janarion Grant (Hand)

Cincinnati
DOUBTFUL: WR Corey Core (Back)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Preston Brown (Ankle)

Weather Outlook – Mostly clear and 77 degrees

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel (None: weather is based on kickoff local time)

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)

 

FOX Sports Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan will headline a new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW live from New York City for the 2018 NFL season. Beginning in Week 4, the new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW will air at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the FOX broadcast network and NFL Network, taking viewers up to kickoff.

Each and every week of the 2018 Thursday Night Football, Presented by Bud Light schedule will begin at 6 p.m. on NFL Network with Thursday Night Football Gameday. The Hall of Fame cast from NFL Network will get viewers ready for the NFL week and set the table for the upcoming Thursday Night game leading into the new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW. Over the next hour, the trio of Bradshaw, Long and Strahan, with additional insight and commentary from NFL Network analysts, will breakdown the night’s matchup from all angles and provide the final say leading up to kick-off. (Complete talent details will be announced prior to the start of the 2018 season)

In January, FOX Sports was awarded a five-year deal for Thursday Night Football that includes games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night) to be broadcast on FOX, simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes.

“Securing this trio of Hall of Famers to lead our inaugural THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW was paramount in continuing the NFL’s goal of establishing this night as appointment viewing,” Eric Shanks, President and Executive Producer, FOX Sports told USA Today. “Terry, Howie and Michael, along with our partners at NFL Network, will set the weekly tone with expert analysis and special guests for a dynamic lead-in to each Thursday Night matchup.”

As the host of the THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW, Strahan, a veteran on-air personality covering news, sports and entertainment is the first former professional athlete in the host role on a FOX NFL studio show. Strahan, Bradshaw and Long remain analysts on FOX NFL SUNDAY alongside Emmy-nominated host Curt Menefee and former coach Jimmy Johnson.

“I’m very fortunate to be part of award winning teams with Good Morning America and FOX NFL Sunday,” said Strahan. “I am looking forward to expanding FOX’s presence with the NFL and bringing the viewers a great evening of Thursday Night Football.”

In its 25th season of NFL coverage, the new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW will be FOX Sports first New York City-based live NFL studio show, complementing FOX NFL SUNDAY, the No. 1 NFL pregame show for the last 24 seasons and the network’s signature program, of which Bradshaw and Long have been an integral part since its inception in 1994.

The new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW will be produced by Executive Vice President, Production, Bill Richards, who also oversees FOX NFL SUNDAY.