Archives for posts with tag: NFLNetwork

You know who your team was going to play.

You know where your team was going to play.

As far as the when, you had to be patient and wait.

Last Thursday night, your wait was over, thanks to the National Football League. The league announced its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2017, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 7 in New England and concludes on Sunday, December 31 with 16 division games.

The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game. The opener on September 7 on NBC at 8:30 p.m. in Foxboro will spotlight the defending champion New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

Week 1 is a FOX national weekend with the key doubleheader game on Sunday, September 10 at 4:25 p.m. when salmon and Starbucks travels to the land of beer, cheese and bratwurst as Seattle takes on Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Week 3 is the first CBS national weekend with the key doubleheader game showcasing the Cincinnati Bengals facing the Packers at Lambeau Field.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 10 when NFC East foes Dallas and the New York Giants square off at 8:30 p.m. in the Lone Star State at AT&T Stadium.

For those of you wondering if there are going to be two games on the first Monday of the season, the answer is yes. Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 11 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. Minnesota hosts the New Orleans Saints at 7:10 p.m. in the first game followed by the Los Angeles Chargers visiting the Denver Broncos in the nightcap at 10:20 p.m.

ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

The league will have a select number of games that will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced as well, including the Seahawks at the Giants in the Meadowlands at 4:25 p.m. on CBS in Week 7 and the Vikings traveling to the Tar Heel State for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. on CBS in Week 14. Other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 31. For the eighth consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

Other contests include…

In Week 2, the Atlanta Falcons will open their new home – Mercedes-Benz Stadium – on Sunday, September 17 in primetime  at 8:30 p.m. on NBC when they host the Packers in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game. Earlier that day, the Chargers will make their return to Los Angeles as they host the Miami Dolphins at the StubHub Center at 4:05 p.m. on CBS.

The Patriots will host the Falcons in Week 7 on Sunday night, October 22 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC in a rematch of Super Bowl LI, the first Super Bowl in NFL history to go into overtime.

Will there be football on Thanksgiving?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Thanksgiving will feature a tripleheader on Thursday, November 23 and yes, the Lions and Cowboys are at home. The first game will be an NFC North contest in the Motor City as Detroit hosts the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. As for Dallas, they are the late afternoon contest in the Lone Star State when they host the Los Angeles Chargers at 4:30 p.m. on CBS and the Turkey Day trifecta concludes in Landover with an NFC East contest as Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants make their way to Landover in prime time to face the Washington Redskins at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

In Week 16, NBC’s Sunday Night Football game as NFC North foe Minnesota and Green Bay meet at Lambeau as that contest will move to Saturday night, December 23 at 8:30 p.m., due to Christmas Eve and is not subject to flexible scheduling. Christmas Day will feature a doubleheader on Monday, December 25 with the Houston Texans hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers at 4:30 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon Prime in the first game and Oakland traveling to the City of Brotherly Love, visiting the Philadelphia Eagles at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN in primetime.

There are contests with an international flavor, so break out the fish and chips and tequila! The NFL’s international slate includes four games in London – the first time the league will play four games in the United Kingdom and one in Mexico City. On Sunday, September 24, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Baltimore Ravens at London’s Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. with distribution to be announced at a later date(set those VCRs NOW!).

The next weekend, on Sunday, October 1, Jacksonville’s neighbor to the South, the Miami Dolphins, will host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at Wembley at 9:30 a.m. on FOX, In Week 7, it’s an NFC West matchup in Merry Ole England as the Los Angeles Rams host the Arizona Cardinals at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday, October 22 at 1 p.m. on FOX. The following week, the Cleveland Browns will host the Vikings at Twickenham on Sunday, October 29 at 9:30 a.m. on NFLN and the league heads back South of the Border as the Oakland Raiders take on Tom Brady and the Pats at 4:25 p.m. on CBS on Sunday, November 19 at Estadio Azteca.

The NFL has partnered with Amazon Prime this season and will once again use a “Tri-Cast” distribution model of broadcast (CBS/NBC), cable (NFL Network) and digital (Amazon Prime Video) for 10 Thursday Night Football games and a Christmas Day contest. CBS and NBC will each broadcast five Thursday Night Football games which will be simulcast on NFL Network and streamed to Amazon Prime members worldwide. NBC will also broadcast the Christmas Day game. CBS will start in Week 4 on Thursday, September 28 when the Packers host the Chicago Bears. NBC’s Tri-Cast package begins in Week 10 on Thursday, November 9 when the  Seahawks visit the Arizona Cardinals. Additionally, NFL Network will also  exclusively televise a seven-game schedule comprised of three Thursday Night Football games, three late-season Saturday contests and a Sunday morning London matchup.

The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 5 and end in Week 11.

“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 10-15 and 17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-9, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-15, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 31. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime time.

The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 6-7. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will earn first-round byes.

Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, January 13-14. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 21. The winners meet two weeks later on Sunday, February 4 in Super Bowl LII at Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium  on NBC.

The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets. All postseason games are televised nationally.

Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL primetime games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

For ticket information, fans may visit http://www.nfl.com/tickets.

2017 NFL SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern and subject to change)

WEEK 1 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 7
Kansas City at New England, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, September 10
ATLANTA at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Miami, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 11
New Orleans at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m. on ESPN
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver, 10:20 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 2 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Houston at Cincinnati, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, September 17, 2017
Green Bay at ATLANTA, 8:30 p.m. on NBC
Cleveland at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Miami at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Washington at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, September 18, 2017
Detroit at New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 3 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 21
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, September 24
ATLANTA at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Jacksonville, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. in London), TBD
Denver at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cleveland at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Miami at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Washington, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, September 25
Dallas at Arizona, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 4 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, September 28
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 1
Buffalo at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Miami, 9:30 p.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. in London) on FOX
Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 1 p.m on CBS
Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at New England, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Monday, October 2
Washington at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 5 (Byes: ATLANTA, Denver, New Orleans and Washington)

Thursday, October 5
New England at Tampa Bay, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 8

Buffalo at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Houston, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 9
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 6 (Byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas and Seattle)

Thursday, October 12
Philadelphia at Carolina, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 15
Miami at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England  at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Denver, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 16
Indianapolis at Tennessee, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 7 (Byes: Detroit and Houston)

Thursday, October 19
Kansas City at Oakland, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 22
ATLANTA at New England, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. in London) on FOX
New York Jets at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Seattle at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, October 23
Washington at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 8 (Byes: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Tennessee)

Thursday, October 26
Miami at Baltimore, 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, October 29
ATLANTA at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Cleveland, 9:30 a.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. in London) on NFLN
Oakland at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Washington, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Pittsburgh at Detroit, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, October 30
Denver at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 9 (Byes: Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England and Pittsburgh)

Thursday, November 2
Buffalo at New York Jets, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, November 5
ATLANTA at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Houston, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
rizona at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Washington at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 6
Detroit at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 10 (Byes: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland and Philadelphia)

Thursday, November 9
Seattle at Arizona, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 12
Dallas at ATLANTA, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Detroit, 1 p.m. on CBS
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on cBS
New York Jets at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New England at Denver, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 13
Miami at Carolina, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 11 (Byes: Carolina, Indianapolis, Miami, New York Jets, San Francisco and Tampa Bay)

Thursday, November 16
Tennessee at Pittsburgh, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 19
Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on CBS
Baltimore at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on CBS
Arizona at Houston, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
Washington at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at New York Giants on CBS
Buffalo at Los Angeles Chargers, 1:05 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
New England at Oakland in Mexico City, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 20, 2017
ATLANTA at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 12 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, November 23
Minnesota at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Washington, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, November 26
Tampa Bay at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBs
Miami at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on FOX
Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, November 27
Houston at Baltimore, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 13 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, November 30
Washington at Dallas, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 3
Minnesota at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Detroit at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on FOX
New England at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Tampa Bay at Green Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Denver at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Kansas City at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
New York Giants at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Philadelphia at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 4
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 14 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, December 7
New Orleans Saints at ATLANTA, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 10
Indianapolis at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota at Carolina, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOX
Green Bay at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on FOX
San Francisco at Houston, 1 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on FOX
Oakland at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tennessee at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at Denver, 4:05 p.m. on CBs
Washington at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at New York Giants, 4:@5 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 11
New England at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 15 (Byes: NONE)

Thursday, December 14
Denver at Indianapolis, 8:25 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Saturday, December 16
Chicago at Detroit, 4:30 p.m. on NFLN
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City, 8:25 p.m. on NFLN

Sunday, December 17
Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Baltimore at Cleveland, 1 p.m. on cBS
Houston at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. on CBS
Cincinnati at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on CBS
New York Jets at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on CBS
Philadelphia at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m. on FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
New England at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m. on CBs
Tennessee at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Dallas at Oakland, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (subject to change)

Monday, December 18
ATLANTA at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 16 (Byes: NONE)

Saturday, December 23
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore, 4:30 p.m. on NFLN
Minnesota at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Sunday, December 24
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 1 p.m. on FOX
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Chicago, 1 p.m. on CBS
Detroit at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. on FOx
Miami at Kansas City, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1 p.m. on CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on FOX
Denver at Washington, 1 p.m. on CBS
Jacksonville at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
New York Giants at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Seattle at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Monday, December 25
Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 p.m. on NBC/NFLN/Amazon
Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WEEK 17 (Byes: NONE)

Sunday, December 31
Carolina at ATLANTA, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. on CBS
Green Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m. on FOX
Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. on CBS
Buffalo at Miami, 1 p.m. on CBS
Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m. on FOX
New York Jets at New England, 1 p.m. on CBS
Washington at New York Giants, 1 p.m. on FOX
Dallas at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. on FOX
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. on CBS
New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. on FOX
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1 p.m. on CBS
Kansas City at Denver, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Arizona at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
GAME TBD, 8:30 p.m. on NBC

 

 

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the suspense continues to build as teams make their final playoff push. Twenty-six teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LI.

The Dallas Cowboys are the only team that has clinched a spot in the postseason. So as we approach the final three weeks of the regular season, there are still 11 playoff berths up for grabs.

Dallas (11-2) can clinch both the NFC East division title and a first-round bye with a win and a New York Giants loss. If the Cowboys win and the game between the Giants and Detroit ends in a tie, Dallas will also secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Lions (9-4) can win the NFC North with a victory and a Green Bay loss. Seattle (8-4-1) can clinch the NFC West with a win or an Arizona loss. The Giants (9-4) can secure a playoff berth with a win and losses by Washington, Green Bay and Minnesota. Seattle won the NFC West Thursday night with a 24-3 win over Los Angeles in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks.

New England (11-2) can clinch the AFC East division title and a first-round bye with a win. If the Patriots lose in Week 15, New England can still win the division with a Miami loss and can still secure a first-round bye with a Miami loss and either a Pittsburgh loss or a Kansas City win. Kansas City (10-3) can clinch a playoff berth with a win or with losses by Denver and either Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Oakland (10-3) can secure a playoff spot with a win. There are also various scenarios for Oakland to advance to the postseason this week even if the Raiders lose. In other words, this is going to cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!)

2016 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 15

AFC

New England (11-2) at Denver (8-5), Sunday

New England clinches AFC East division with:
New England win or tie OR
Miami loss or tie

New England clinches a first-round bye with:
New England win or tie OR
Miami loss or tie + Pittsburgh loss or tie
Miami loss or tie + Kansas City win

Kansas City (10-3) vs. Tennessee (7-6), Sunday

Kansas City clinches a playoff berth with:
Kansas City win OR
Kansas City tie + Miami loss OR
Kansas City tie + Denver loss or tie OR
Denver loss + Baltimore loss or tie OR
Denver loss + Pittsburgh loss or tie

Oakland (10-3) at San Diego (5-8), Sunday

Oakland clinches a playoff berth with:
Oakland win OR
Oakland tie + Miami loss OR
Oakland tie + Denver loss OR
Oakland tie + Miami tie + Denver tie OR
Oakland tie + Miami tie + Kansas City win OR
Miami loss + Pittsburgh loss or tie + Denver loss OR
Miami loss + Pittsburgh loss or tie + Kansas City win or tie OR
Miami loss + Baltimore loss or tie + Denver loss OR
Miami loss + Baltimore loss or tie + Kansas City win or tie

NFC

CLINCHED: Dallas – playoff berth; Seattle – NFC West

Dallas (11-2) vs. Tampa Bay (8-5), Sunday night

Dallas clinches NFC East division and a first-round bye with:
Dallas win + New York Giants loss or tie OR
Dallas tie + New York Giants loss

Dallas clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
Dallas win + New York Giants/Detroit tie

Detroit (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4), Sunday

Detroit clinches NFC North division with:
Detroit win + Green Bay loss or tie OR
Detroit tie + Green Bay loss + New York Giants loss or tie

New York Giants (9-4) (vs. Detroit (9-4), Sunday)

New York clinches a playoff berth with:
New York Giants  win + Washington loss + New York Giants loss or tie + Green Bay loss or tie

ICYMI: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for 236 yards with three touchdowns and had four catches for 62 yards in the Steelers’ 27-20 win at Buffalo. Bell is the second player in NFL history with at least 225 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 50 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (November 19, 1961).

Bell, who had 298 scrimmage yards in today’s victory, has 1,616 scrimmage yards in 10 games this season, the second-most in a player’s first 10 games of a season. Brown had 1,704 scrimmage yards in his first 10 games in 1963.

RISING UP: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed 18 of 28 passes (64.3 percent) for 237 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 126.6 passer rating in the Falcons’ 42-14 win at Los Angeles. Ryan reached 4,000 passing yards (4,050) for the sixth consecutive season, tying Peyton Manning (1999-2004) for the second-longest streak in NFL history. New Orleans quarterback. On the other side of the ball, Atlanta linebacker Vic Beasley, Jr. had three sacks, one forced fumble and a 21-yard fumble-return touchdown in the Falcons’ win at Los Angeles. Beasley is the 10th player – and first Falcon – to record three sacks and a fumble-return touchdown in a single game since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Drew Brees, who passed for 257 yards in the Saints’ 16-11 loss at Tampa Bay, reached 4,000 passing yards (4,170) for his NFL-record 11th consecutive season.

•Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 18 of 23 passes (78.3 percent) for 246 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 150.8 passer rating in the Packers’ 38-10 win against Seattle. Rodgers, who has won 15 consecutive December starts at Lambeau Field, is the second player in NFL history to win 15 consecutive home starts in the month of December, joining Tom Brady (19 games from 2002-2012).

Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the win over Seattle. Rodgers and Nelson have connected on 57 touchdown passes, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve and Antonio Freeman for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.

DON’T COUNT THE LIONS OUT! Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford rushed for a seven-yard touchdown with 3:17 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Lions’ 20-17 victory over Chicago. Stafford has led eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, the most such drives by a quarterback in a single season since 1970.

HAIL TO THE REDSKINS! Washington wide receiver De Sean Jackson had three catches for 102 yards and one touchdown in the Redskins’ 27-22 win at Philadelphia. Jackson, who had an 80-yard touchdown catch in the victory, has 22 career touchdowns of at least 60 yards, the second-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (23) has more 60+ yard touchdowns.

Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles had a touchdown catch in the loss against Washington, his 30th career touchdown reception. Sproles is the first player in NFL history to have at least 30 receiving touchdowns (30), 20 rushing touchdowns (21), a punt-return touchdown (seven) and a kick-return touchdown (two).

COMEBACKS GALORE: There have been 61 games won by teams that trailed in the fourth quarter through Week 14, the third-most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in NFL history.

Four teams – Detroit, Minnesota, the New York Jets and Washington – were victorious in Week 14 after trailing in the fourth quarter.

The most games won after trailing in the fourth quarter through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 14
2012 – 64
1989 – 64
2016 – 61
2011 – 60
2015 – 59

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford rushed for a seven-yard touchdown with 3:17 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Lions’ 20-17 victory over Chicago. The Lions have won eight games when trailing in the fourth quarter this season, the most in a single season in NFL history.

The teams with the most wins after trailing in the fourth quarter in a single season in NFL history:

TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER)
Detroit (2016 – 8)
Indianapolis (2009 – 7)
Many tied with 6

EXCITING FINISHES: There have been 155 games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 14, the most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in NFL history.

Twelve games were within one score in the fourth quarter in Week 14, including Washington’s 27-22 win at Philadelphia. Redskins running back CHRIS THOMPSON rushed for a go-ahead 25-yard touchdown with 1:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, the longest game-winning touchdown run inside the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter in franchise history.

The most games within one score in the fourth quarter through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 155
2004 – 145
2015 – 143
2013 – 143
2012 – 143

Additionally, there have been 144 games within seven points in the fourth quarter, including 11 last week, through Week 14, the most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in NFL history.

The most games within seven points in the fourth quarter through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN SEVEN POINTS IN 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 144
2015 – 138
2004 – 138
2013 – 137
2011 – 137

CLOSE GAMES: There have been 122 games decided by eight points or fewer and 112 games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 14, both the most such games in the first 14 weeks of a season in league annals. In Week 14, 11 games were decided by eight points or fewer, with 10 of those contests decided by seven points or fewer.

The most games decided by eight points or fewer through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES DECIDED BY EIGHT POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 122
2012 – 115
2015 – 114
2002 – 112
2013 – 110

The most games decided by seven points or fewer through Week 14 in NFL history:

SEASON  -GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN POINTS OR FEWER THROUGH WEEK 14
2016 – 112
2015 – 108
2012 – 105
2011 – 103
2013 – 102
2002 – 102

STELLAR STEELERS: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for a franchise-record 236 yards with three touchdowns, and added 62 receiving yards in the Steelers’ 27-20 win at Buffalo. Bell put himself in some really good company as he joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (November 19, 1961) as the only players in NFL history with at least 225 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 50 receiving yards in the same game.

PLAYER, TEAM (DATE – RUSHING YARDS; RUSHING TDS; RECEIVING YARDS
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (December 11, 2016 – 236;3;62)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (Novemver 19, 1961 – 237;4;52)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Bell ranks third in the NFL with 1,616 scrimmage yards (1,053 rushing, 563 receiving) despite only appearing in 10 games this season. Bell’s 1,616 yards from scrimmage are the second-most in NFL history by a player in his first 10 games of a season, trailing only Brown’s 1,704 yards (1,447 rushing, 257 receiving) through 10 games in 1963.

The most scrimmage yards by a player through his first 10 games of a season:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(RUSHING YARDS/RECIEVEING YARDS/SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1963)(1,447/257/1,704)^
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (2016)(1,053/563/1,616)
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had five catches for 78 yards in the Steelers’ victory. Brown, who has 93 catches for 1,130 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, is the sixth player in NFL history to record at least 90 receptions, 1,100 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches in three consecutive seasons.

The players with 90+ receptions, 1,100+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdown catches in the most consecutive seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 90+ CATCHES, 1,100 RECEIVING YARDS & 10+ REC. TDS)
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (1999-2003, 5)^
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2014-2016, 3)*
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2012-2014, 3)
Terrell Owens, San Francisco (2000-2002, 3)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1993-1995, 3)^
Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay (1992-1994, 3)
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

HOME SWEET HOME: New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 406 yards with three touchdowns for a 116.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ 30-23 victory over Baltimore on Monday Night Football. Brady has 28,464 passing yards in 109 career games at New England’s Gillette Stadium, which is the most passing yards by a quarterback at a single stadium in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve, who passed for 28,240 yards in 120 career games at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, previously held the record.

The most passing yards by a quarterback at a single stadium in NFL history:
PLAYER, TEAM (STADIUM, GAMES/PASSING YARDS)
Tom Brady, New England (Gillette Stadium, 109/28,464)
Brett Favre, Green Bay (Lambeau Field, 120/28,240)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

BIG-PLAY OBJ: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. had four catches for 94 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown reception in the Giants’ 10-7 victory over Dallas on Sunday Night Football. Beckham has nine career touchdown catches of at least 60 yards, the second-most by a player in his first three seasons in the league. Harlon Hill recorded 10 touchdowns of 60 or more yards in his first three seasons with the Bears from 1954-56.

The players with the most 60+ yard touchdown receptions in their first three seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, 60+ YARD RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS)
Harlon Hill, Chicago (1954-1956, 10)
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (2014-2016, 9)*
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (2010-2012, 7)
Homer Jones, New York Giants (1964-1966, 7)
Charley Taylor, Washington (1964-1966, 7)^
*In third season
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PACKER PAIRING: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards with three touchdowns, including two to wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the Packers’ 38-10 victory over Seattle. Rodgers and Nelson have connected on 57 touchdown passes, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve and Antonio Freeman for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.

The most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in Green Bay history:

QUARTERBACK/RECEIVER (RECEIVING TDS)
Aaron Rodgers/Jordy Nelson (57)*
Brett Favre/Antonio Freeman (57)
Aaron Rodgers/James Jones (41)
Brett Favre/Sterling Sharpe (41)
*Active teammates

Rodgers and Nelson have combined for the most touchdowns among active quarterback and wide receiver duos, and trail only the quarterback and tight end combinations of San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates (82 touchdowns) and New England’s Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski (67 touchdowns) among active teammates.

QUARTERBACK/RECEIVER, TEAM (RECEIVING TDS)
Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates, San Diego (82)
Tom BradyRob Gronkowski, New England (67)
Aaron Rodgers/Jordy Nelson, Green Bay (57)
Tony Romo/Dez Bryant, Dallas (50)
Ben Roethlisberger/Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (49)

WINNING IN MANY WAYS: Miami kicker Andrew Franks converted a 21-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the Dolphins’ 26-23 victory over Arizona. The Dolphins tied a franchise record with five game-winning scores in the fourth quarter this season and are the second team in NFL history (Indianapolis, 2008) to have scored game-winning points in the fourth quarter on five different play types (rush, reception, kickoff return, interception return and field goal) in a single season.

The game-winning scores in the fourth quarter by Miami in 2016:

OPPONENT – WEEK (GAME-WINNING SCORE, TIME REMAINING IN 4TH QUARTER)
Buffalo – 7 (RB Damien Williams 12-yard run, 3:56)
New York Jets – 9 (KR-RB Kenyan Drake 96-yard kickoff return, 5:15)
San Diego – 10 (LB Kiko Alonso 60-yard interception return, 1:01)
Los Angeles – 11 (WR DeVante Parker 9-yard pass from QB Ryan Tannehill, 0:36)
Arizona – 14 (K Andrew Franks 21-yard field goal, 0:00)

HILL THRILLS: Kansas City wide receiver/return specialist Tyreek Hill had a 78-yard punt-return touchdown and a 36-yard touchdown reception in the Chiefs’ 21-13 win over Oakland on Thursday Night Football. Hill, who was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 12 after recording a rushing, receiving and kickoff-return touchdown in the same game, is the third rookie – and the first since Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965 – to score a rushing, receiving, kickoff-return and punt-return touchdown in a single season.

The rookies with a rushing, receiving, kick-return and punt-return touchdown in a single season:

PLAYER –  TEAM, SEASON (RUSH TDS/RECEIVING TDS/KICK RETURN TDS/PUNT RETURN TDS)
Tyreek Hill – Kansas City, 2016 (1/6/1/1)
Gale Sayers – Chicago, 1965 (14/6/1/1)^
Bobby Mitchell – Cleveland, 1958 (1/3/1/1)^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

STAYIN’ ALIVE: With three weeks to play in the regular season, 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LI.

That is one off of the most teams (27) remaining in contention with three weeks to play since the NFL instituted the 16-game schedule in 1978.

The most teams remaining in contention for a trip to the Super Bowl with three weeks to play since 1978:

YEAR – TEAMS REMAINING IN SUPER BOWL CONTENTION WITH THREE WEEKS TO PLAY
2004 – 27
1995 – 27
1982 – 27
2016 – 26
2015 – 25
2013 – 25
2006 – 25
1994 – 25

BURSTING BROWN: What can Brown do for Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown had five receptions for 78 yards in the Steelers’ 27-20 win at Buffalo last week, increasing his season total to 93 receptions. With seven receptions on Sunday at Cincinnati, Brown, who has had three consecutive 100-catch seasons since 2013, will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (four from 1999-2002) for the most consecutive 100-catch seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive 100-catch seasons:

PLAYER (SEASONS) TEAM – CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 100+ CATCHES
Marvin Harrison (1999-2002) Indianapolis – 4^
Antonio Brown (2013-2015) Pittsburgh – 3*
Brandon Marshall (2007-2009), Denver – 3
Wes Welker (2007-2009), New England – 3
Herman Moore (1995-1997), Detroit – 3
Jerry Rice (1994-1996), San Francisco – 3^
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

DOMINANT DAVID: Arizona running back David Johnson had 121 yards from scrimmage (80 rushing, 41 receiving) in the Cardinals’ 26-23 loss to Miami last week, his record-tying 13th consecutive game with 100+ scrimmage yards to start a season (EDGERRIN JAMES, 2005). Johnson’s streak of 13 games in a row with 100 or more scrimmage yards is tied for the third-longest streak at any point in a single season in NFL history.

With at least 100 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New Orleans, Johnson would surpass James for the most consecutive games with 100+ scrimmage yards to begin a season.

The most consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards to start a season:

PLAYER (SEASON), TEAM – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS
David Johnson (2016), Arizona – 13*
Edgerrin James (2005), Indianapolis – 13
Edgerrin James (2000), Indianapolis – 12
Larry Brown (1972), Washington – 10
*Active streak

Johnson would also tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (14, 1985) for the second-longest streak with 100 or more scrimmage yards at any point in a single season.

The most consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards at any point in a single season:

PLAYER (SEASON), TEAM – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS
Barry Sanders (1997), Detroit – 15^
Marcus Allen (1985), Los Angeles Raiders – 14^
David Johnson (2016), Arizona – 13*
Edgerrin James (2005), Indianapolis – 13
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

MARVELOUS MACK: Oakland defensive end Khalil Mack ranks second in the AFC with 11 sacks this season and has recorded at least one sack in eight consecutive games.

With at least one sack on Sunday at San Diego, Mack would tie for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a sack since it became an official stat in 1982. Mack would be the first player to record a sack in nine consecutive games in a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with a sack since 1982:

PLAYER, SEASON(S); TEAM – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A SACK
DeMarcus Ware, 2007-2008; Dallas – 10
Simon Fletcher, 1992-1993; Denver – 10
Dwight Freeney, 2008-2009; Indianapolis – 9
Kevin Greene, 1997-1998; San Francisco/Carolina – 9^
Bruce Smith, 1986-1987; Buffalo – 9^
Khalil Mack, 2016; Oakland – 8*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TERRIFIC TRAVIS: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce had five receptions for 101 yards in the Chiefs’ 21-13 victory over Oakland in Week 14, marking his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards.

With 100 receiving yards on Sunday against Tennessee, Kelce would become the only tight end in NFL history with five consecutive games with 100 or more receiving yards.

The tight ends with the most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (2016 – 4)*
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2013 – 4)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2011 – 4)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2000 – 4)
*Active streak

Week 15 got underway in the Pacific Northwest as Seattle took ownership of the NFC West title Thursday night against Los Angeles at CenturyLink Field in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and concludes in Landover as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers take on the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. The Sunday action concludes in the Lone Star State as Dallas and Tampa Bay meet in prime time on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

As for week 14… 13 and 3 for last week. For the season, we’re 143-63. There’s two more weeks of football left in the season. For some teams, it’s a chance to improve on last year and make the playoffs. For others, the last two weeks are a chance to re-boot and look forward to 2017.

With that, here’s the Sunday and Monday picks for week 15.

San Francisco (1-12) at ATLANTA (8-5), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. The 1-12 49ers, struggling to the finish line in the 2016 season, travel east to face the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

The 49ers let a 17-14 lead get away from them against the New York Jets last Sunday in Santa Clara and lost in overtime 23-17. San Francisco led 17-3 at the half before the Jets chipped away at the lead, tying the contest on a 50-yard field goal by Nick Folk with 38 seconds left in regulation and eventually won in the extra period when Bilal Powell scored from 19-yard run with 8:35 left in the overtime. San Francisco wasted a great effort by RB Carlos Hyde, who ran for 193 yards, while Powell ran for 145 yards and a pair of TDs, including the game-winner (San Francisco outrushed New York 248-188). Colin Kaepernick threw for 133 yards without a TD, while the Jets’ Bryce Petty threw for 257 yards and a TD but was sacked six times.

Even with no Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu, the Falcons made their trip to the West Coast successful as they silenced the Los Angeles Rams 42-14 at the Coliseum Sunday afternoon. The Falcons, sitting on top of the NFC South mountain, took advantange of four turnovers in the contest to score 28 points as the Rams trailed 21-0 at the half. Los Angeles outrushed Atlanta 104-66 with Todd Gurley leading all rushers with 61 yards on the ground, while Matt Ryan reached the 4,000 yard plateau for the eighth straight season, as he threw for 237 yards and three TDs, doing it without Jones (turf toe) or Sanu (groin). Jarred Goff threw for 235 yards and scored the Rams’ second TD but threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked three times.

San Francisco leads the series (which includes contests played at Keezar Stadium, Fulton County Stadium and Candlestick Park) 46-29-1, the 49ers have outscored Atlanta 1,821-1,317 and have  won the last two regular season contests, including a 17-16 win last year in Santa Clara (Atlanta’s last win in the series came in the Big Peach by a final of 16-14 in 2010).

They met in northern California in week nine and Atlanta trailed 17-13 at the break before Matt Bryant kicked a 19-yard field goal with 2:56 left to play to pull to within one. San Francisco then proceeded to run the clock out and take the one-point win at Levis’ Stadium. Atlanta rushed for a season-low 17 yards in the one-point loss on the West Coast, while San Francisco ran for 133, Ryan threw for 303 yards with a TD, connecting with DeVonta Freeman on a 17-yard toss, while Gabbert threw for 185 yards with a pair of interceptions.

Atlanta’s favored by 13 1/2 and the over/under’s 51 1/2. The 51 1/2 makes sense. The 13 1/2? Not so much. The 49ers are a bad team but they’re not 13 1/2 bad. Still, they’re a bad team. Atlanta prevails in the Big Peach but expect San Francisco to at least give them a fight.

Philadelphia (5-8) at Baltimore (7-6), 1 p.m. on and DirecTV 709. They’re only 99 miles and 1 hour and 36 minutes away from each other. The Baltimore Ravens return to Charm City for an afternoon contest with the Philadelphia Eagles in only their fifth meeting all time. Both teams enter the Sunday contest at M&T Bank Stadium with losses under their wings.

The Eagles’ dimming playoff hopes took another hit last Sunday in the City of Brotherly Love, falling to NFC East rival Washington 27-22 at Lincoln Financial Field. Philly led 13-7 at the break before the defending NFC East champs rallied in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 20-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Eagles took a 22-21 lead with 4:59 to play in the contest on a 41-yard field by Caleb Sturgis before Washington took the lead back and for keeps when Chris Thompson scored on a 25-yard run with 1:53 left. Philadelphia then got the ball back and got as close as Washington’s 14-yard when rookie QB Carson Wentz was sacked and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by DE Trent Murphy. Washington would go on to run out the clock and take the win. In dropping their fourth contest in a row, the Eagles were held to 95 yards rushing, while Washington racked up 107. Wentz threw for 314 yards and a TD to Darren Sproles (who left the game with a concussion) with four sacks and an interception, while Kirk Cousins threw for 234 yards and a pair of TDs.

Baltimore took New England to the end before falling to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 30-23 Monday night in Foxboro. The Ravens trailed 16-3 at the intermission before they took advantage of two Patriot special teams turnovers in the third quarter that gave them a chance to take the win on the road, pulling to within three with 6:35 to play when Justin Tucker connected on a 38-yard field goal. Brady and the Pats would then ice the game away when he and WR Chris Hogan connected on a 79-yard strike 17 seconds later. New England outrushed the Ravens 95-42, while Brady threw for 406 yards and three TDs, while Joe Flacco threw for 324 yards and two TDs (each man threw an interception in the Monday night contest).

Philly leads the series 2-1-1 and the Eagles have outscored Baltimore 79 to 56. Philly won the last meeting, coming away 24-23 winners in the City of Brotherly Love in 2012, while Baltimore’s lone win in the series came in 2008 in Charm City by a final of 36-7. Baltimore’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. Both teams are trying to get to the playoff party and in the end, someone’s gonna get their wings clipped. Baltimore covers the 6 in Charm City and puts another dent in the Eagles’ playoff hopes in the process.

Cleveland (0-13) at Buffalo (6-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. They meet on the shores of Lake Erie. One team trying to make the post-season, the other team just trying to win a game. A pair of lakeside teams meet in upstate New York as Cleveland travels to Orchard Park for a contest with the Buffalo Bills.

The Browns’ woes continued at home last Sunday against their in-state and AFC North rivals Cincinnati as they lost to the Bengals 23-10 along the shores of Lake Erie. Although they trailed Cincinnati 20-0 at the half, the Browns did manage to give their fans something to cheer for as they outscored the Bengals 10-3 in the second half. It was a battle of the running backs as Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill (111 yards, TD) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell (113 yards) each led their clubs at snowy FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday (game time temperature, you ask? A balmy 28 with a wind chill of 16). The Bengals outrushed Cleveland 213-169, while Andy Dalton threw for 180 yards and a pair of TDs, while Robert Griffin III made his return to Cleveland, throwing for 104 yards, three sacks and an interception.

Buffalo also lost at home, falling to Pittsburgh 27-20 Sunday afternoon at snowy New Era Stadium in Orchard Park (you’re wondering how cold it was… game-time temperature at kickoff was a somewhat balmy 27 degrees with an 18 wind chill and snow throughout the game). The Bills trailed 14-7 at the intermission and pulled to within 7 when LeSean McCoy scored on a 3-yard run with 1:25 left to play in the contest. Buffalo found themselves held to 67 yards rushing, while Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell ran for 236 yards and three TDs (the Steelers tallied 240 yards rushing), while the Bills picked off Ben Roethlisberger three times.

Cleveland leads the series 11-8, while the Bills have outscored the Browns 356-332 and won the last meeting 2014 in Orchard Park by a final of 26-10, while Cleveland’s last win came in 2013, along the shores of Lake Erie, coming away 37-24 winners. Buffalo’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. If you’re a Browns fan, you might want to skip this one and watch that Mythbusters marathon on Science Channel. Bills win this one in upstate New York but expect Cleveland to put up a fight.

Green Bay (7-6) at Chicago (5-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. It’s round two for a pair of NFC North rivals as Green Bay makes their way South to the Windy City for a date with Da Bears.

Green Bay took Seattle to the woodshed at frosty Lambeau last Sunday, taking down the Seahawks 33-10. Rodgers and the Packers led Seattle 14-3 at the half and then shut down Seattle the rest of the way. Even though they were outrushed 136-93 by Seattle, Rodgers threw for 246 yards and three TDs, while Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 240 yards and a TD with five interceptions.

Da Bears let a 17-13 lead in the Motor City get away from them as they would fall to Matthew Stafford (223 yards, TD) and the Detroit Lions 20-17 at Ford Field. Trailing 10-3 at the half, Chicago took the lead with 7:07 left in the contest when CB Connor LeBlanc picked off Stafford and returned the ball 24 yards to lead 17-13. That lead would not last all that long as the Lions used a 7-play, 76-yard drive that took all of 3:50 to take the lead back and for keeps when Stafford scored from 7 yards out with 3:17 left. Chicago would get the ball back one more time after the Lions’ score and advanced their way downfield before their drive fell short at Detroit’s 14-yard line. Detroit outrushed Da Bears 114-92, while Chicago’s Matt Barkley threw for 212 yards and a TD.

They met in Lambeau in week seven on a Thursday night and the Packers manhandled Chicago 26-10. Green Bay led 6-3 at halftime before pulling away from Da Bears in the second half. Rodgers (326 yards) and Davante Adams connected on a pair of TDs, while Randall Cobb chipped in with a third. Green Bay outrushed Chicago 103-69 and picked off Matt Barkley twice in the win in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst.

The Packers covered the 8 1/2 point spread in the week seven contest, winning by 16 but both clubs missed the 45 1/2 over/under, scoring 36 points. The Packers are favored again, this time by 6 1/2 and the over/under this time is 42 1/2. Chicago’s out of the post-season picture, while Green Bay is trying to make up ground on Detroit and Minnesota in the NFC North. There is one more factor and that’s Mother Nature. According to our friends at The Weather Channel, Sunday’s game could be the 5th coldest in the history of Soldier Field, so bundle up if ya go. Green Bay may not make the post-season but the Packers complete the sweep in the series and takes the win in the Windy City.

Jacksonville (2-11) at Houston (7-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The kings of the AFC South mountain host the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars as the Texans return home to the Lone Star State.

Jacksonville let a 9-9 tie against Minnesota at EverBank Field get away from them as the Vikings went on to win 25-16 in the Sunshine State. Both clubs rushed for 85 yards in the contest, while both Sam Bradford (292 yards) and Blake Bortles (257 yards) each threw a TD pass (Bortles was sacked four times).

Houston came away 22-17 winners over Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday. The Texans led 13-3 at the half and got five Nick Novak field goals, including the one that iced the contest away from 34 yards with 2:47 left to play, to take the road win and complete the sweep against the Colts. Texans RB Lamar Miller ran for 107 yards and a 2-yard TD run in the 2nd quarter for the win, as Houston outrushed Indy 185-83, picking off Andrew Luck (276 yards, two TDs) twice, while Brock Osweiler threw for 147 yards in the win.

Houston leads the series 17-11, have outscored Jacksonville 648-553 and swept the last two series, including sweeping the series last year (Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2013, when they managed to sweep the series that season).

Week 6… Jacksonville…. First meeting. Houston led 10-7 in the Sunshine State at the half and went on to win 31-20. The Texans would score 21 fourth quarter points unchallenged in the win over the Jaguars and picked off Bortles three times. As far as the rushing game went, it wasn’t a thing of beauty, as neither club broke the 100-yard barrier (Houston outrushed Jacksonville 95-83). As for the air attack, Hoyer threw for 293 yards and Bortles threw for 331 (each man threw three TDs with Bortles throwing three interceptions).

Round 2… week 17… Houston. While Jacksonville was out of the playoff picture, the Texans were getting ready for their AFC Wild Card meeting with Kansas City. For Houston, it was second verse, same as the first. Houston came away 30-6 winners in the rematch in the Lone Star State, leading 20-3 at the break. Nick Novak kicked three field goals for the Texans at NRG Stadium, Hoyer and RB Jonathan Grimes hooked up on the game’s first TD and CB Kareem Jackson picked off Bortles and ran the ball back 27 yards for a TD to seal Jacksonville’s fate. Texans’ RB Alfred Blue ran roughshod over the Jaguars, tallying 102 of his team’s 160 yards, while the Houston defense held Jacksonville to 32 yards, sacking Bortles eight times and picking him off twice.

Houston’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 39. If nothing else, the Texans could very well improve their playoff chances with a win, while the Jaguars look to at least make things a bit harder for their AFC South rivals. Houston wins and covers the 6.

Tennessee (7-6) at Kansas City (10-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The much-improved Tennessee Titans travel to the Show-Me State for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Kansas City Chiefs, who sit atop first place in the AFC West.

Tennessee shutout Denver for three quarters before taking down the defending Super Bowl champions 13-10 at Nissan Stadium. The Titans led 13-0 after three quarters of play before Denver got back into the contest, scoring their 10 points in the fourth quarter unchallenged. Tennessee ran for 180 yards in the 3-point win in the Volunteer State, while holding Denver to a season-low 18 yards. Marcus Mariota threw for only 88 yards but did not throw an interception, while Trevor Sieman threw for 334 yards and a TD but was sacked three times.

The Chiefs took over first place in the AFC West last Thursday night at Arrowhead with their 21-13 win over rival Oakland. Kansas City trailed 3-0 after K Sebastian Janikowski opened the scoring with a 44-yard field goal and took the lead for good when WR Tyreek Hill connected on a 36 yard TD pass from Alex Smith with 14:51 left before halftime. Hill then struck again, returning a punt 78 yards for his second TD of the night. Raiders RB Latavius Murray and Janikowski would pull the Raiders closer but the Chiefs prevailed to take the win. Oakland did manage to outrush Kansas City 135-65 (Murray led all rushers with 103), while Carr threw for 117 yards and Smith threw for 264.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Chiefs were known as the Dallas Texans before moving to Missouri and playing at Swope Field, Kansas City leads the series 27-21 and they’ve outscored Tennessee 1,032-865. Tennessee won the last meeting with the Chiefs, coming away 26-10 winners at Arrowhead in 2014, while the Chiefs’ last win in the series came in 2013 in the Music City by a final of 26-17. Kansas City’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. The Chiefs are looking to be home for the holidays, while the Titans are looking to knock Houston off the top of the AFC South mountain. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City and so are the Chiefs, who takes this one and covers the 5 1/2.

Indianapolis (6-7) at Minnesota (7-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Luck vs. Bradford. The Indianpolis Colts travel to the land of 10,000 Lakes for a Sunday afternoon affair with the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Colts fell to AFC South rivals Houston 22-17 winners in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium last Sunday. Indy trailed 13-3 at the half and kept things close but still lost as Texans’ K Nick Novak connected on five field goals, including the one that iced the contest away from 34 yards with 2:47 left to play, to take the road win and complete the sweep against the Colts. Texans RB Lamar Miller ran for 107 yards and a 2-yard TD run in the 2nd quarter for the win, as Houston outrushed Indy 185-83, picking off Andrew Luck (276 yards, two TDs) twice, while Brock Osweiler threw for 147 yards in the win.

Minnesota broke a 9-9 tie against Jacksonville at EverBank Field and came away 25-16 winners in the Sunshine State. Both clubs rushed for 85 yards in the contest, while both Sam Bradford (292 yards) and Blake Bortles (257 yards) each threw a TD pass (Bortles was sacked four times).

The Colts lead the series 15-7-1 (which includes games that took place in Baltimore and Bloomington), the Colts have outscored the Vikings 585-482 and have won the last four meetings in the series, including a 23-20 win in the Hoosier State in 2012, while Minnesota’s last win in the series came in the Land of 10,000 Lakes by a final of 39-28 in 1997. The Vikings are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives and the loser is pretty much done, while the winner gets to live and fight another day. Minnesota wins this one but expect Indy to make it closer than the 4 1/2.

Detroit (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of contending teams that could meet in the postseason met in upstate New Jersey as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions take on Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.

The first-place Lions trailed Chicago 17-13 late in their contest with Chicago before Matthew Stafford (223 yards, TD) and the Lions took a 20-17 win at Ford Field. Detroit led 10-3 at the half, before Chicago took the lead with 7:07 left in the contest when CB Connor LeBlanc picked off Stafford and returned the ball 24 yards to lead 17-13. That lead would not last all that long as the Lions used a 7-play, 76-yard drive that took all of 3:50 to take the lead back and for keeps when Stafford scored from 7 yards out with 3:17 left. Chicago would get the ball back one more time after the Lions’ score and advanced their way downfield before their drive fell short at Detroit’s 14-yard line. Detroit outrushed Da Bears 114-92, while Chicago’s Matt Barkley threw for 212 yards and a TD.

The Giants completed the sweep of their series with Dallas as they beat their NFC East rivals 10-7 at Met Life Stadium. Dallas led 7-0 at the half before the Giants scored their points in the third period unchallenged. Big Blue ended Dallas’ bid for a shutout when Robbie Gould connected on a 39-yard field goal with 5:50 left. Manning (193 yards) then broke the hearts and spirits of Cowboys fans when he and Odell Beckham Jr. hooked up on a 61-yard TD pass with 67 seconds left in the contest. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot accounted for 107 of Dallas’ 108 yards on the ground, while the Giants tallied 93 and the Giants defense sacked Dak Prescott (165 yards) three times and picked him off twice.

Including contests that took place at Tiger and Yankee Stadiums and in Portsmouth when the team were known as the Spartans, the Lions lead the series 21-20-1 and Detroit has outscored the Giants 727-625. The Lions were winners in the last meeting between the clubs, taking a 35-14 win at Ford Field in 2014, while the Giants’ last win also came in the Motor City, with New York winning 23-20 in overtime in 2013. New York’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Is this a preview of the post-season? It could happen. The Lions right now are the two seed in the NFC, while the Giants are the six seed, which means if they were to meet, it would be in Detroit. Right now, they’re in New Jersey and the Giants prove to the world that the win over Dallas was not a fluke and they’ll take this one at home and cover the 5 1/2.

Pittsburgh (8-5) at Cincinnati (5-7-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 711. They meet again, this time in the Buckeye State. Pittsburgh, in first in the AFC North, travels to Cincinnati for a week two rematch along the shores of the Ohio River.

Pittsburgh held off Buffalo 27-20 Sunday afternoon at snowy New Era Stadium in Orchard Park in a game that had snow throughout the contest and played in 27 degree weather with a 18 wind chill. Pittsburgh led 14-7 at the intermission before Buffalo pulled to within 7 when LeSean McCoy scored on a 3-yard run with 1:25 left to play in the contest. LeVeon Bell was almost the second coming of Franco Harris, rushing for 236 yards and three TD, while the Steelers held the Bills to 67 yards rushing (the Steelers tallied 240 yards rushing), while the Bills picked off Ben Roethlisberger three times.

Cincy continued the woes of Browns’ fans last Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie against Cleveland as they took the home team to the woodshed, coming away with a 23-10 win on the road. The Bengals led 20-0 at the intermission before Cleveland put on a small rally in the second half. Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill (111 yards, TD) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell (113 yards) put on a rushing clinic as each led their clubs at snowy FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday (game time temperature, you ask? A balmy 28 with a wind chill of 16). The Bengals outrushed Cleveland 213-169, while Andy Dalton threw for 180 yards and a pair of TDs, while Robert Griffin III made his return to Cleveland, throwing for 104 yards, three sacks and an interception.

In the week two contest in the Steel City, Pittsburgh led 10-6 at halftime at Heinz Field, then pulled away from the Bengals to take the 24-16 win. Roethlisberger threw three TDs against their AFC North rivals in western Pennsylvania as the Steelers held Cincinnati to 46 yards rushing (Pittsburgh ran for 124). Despite throwing a pair of interceptions, Roethlisberger still managed to throw for 259 yards and the three TDs, while Dalton threw for 366 (each man was sacked once).

Pittsburgh was favored by 3 1/2 and covered the spread, winning by 8. That was the good news. The bad news? Neither club reached the 48 1/2 over/under, scoring 40 points. This time, the Steelers are again the favorites, this time by 3 with a 44 over/under. The last time Pittsburgh swept the series with the Bengals was in 2014, taking a 42-21 win in Cincinnati and a 27-17 win in Pittsburgh. Cincy’s trying to stay alive in the AFC North and while they may not cover the 3, they get revenge from their week two loss in front of the home crowd.

New Orleans (5-8) at Arizona (5-7-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. It’s gumbo vs. Southwestern as the New Orleans Saints travel to Glendale for a late afternoon contest with the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams saw their playoff hopes take a hit as both lost their contests last Sunday and both lost on the road.

Drew Brees (257 yards, three interceptions) was held to his second game without a TD pass (the last time that happened was 2009) as the Saints fell to Tampa Bay 16-11 in the Sunshine State. New Orleans trailed 13-8 at the half and then pulled to within 2 at 13-11 with 3:35 left in the third when Will Lutz connected on a 22-yard field goal. Tampa Bay then pushed the lead back to five with 12:46 left to play in regulation when Rueben Aguayo connected on a 26-yar field goal. The Saints had one last chance to take the lead late in the contest before S Keith Tandy gave Brees his third interception of the afternoon. Tampa Bay outrushed their NFC South foes 104-46, Jameis Winston threw for 184 yards without an interception and Doug Martin accounted for the contest’s only TD, scoring from 1 yard out with 14:50 left before the intermission.

Arizona trailed Miami 14-9 at halftime at Hard Rock Stadium before the Cardinals managed to tie the contest up on an 8-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer to WR J.J. Nelson with 3:01 left in regulation before losing to the Dolphins 26-23 in the final seconds. The Desert Angry Birds pulled to within 8 at 23-15 thanks to a 2-point defensive conversion by S Walt Aikens before Arizona evened the score. Arizona then punted the ball back to Miami, who marched downfield, using an 6-play, 44-yard drive that used all of the 1:29 left in regulation when Dolphins K Andrew Franks connected on a 21-yard field goal as the clock struck :00. Arizona did outush the Dolphins 175-83, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 195 yards and three TDs before spraining his ACL (Palmer threw for 145 yards and had a pair of TDs but also threw a pair of interceptions).

The Desert Angry Birds lead the series 15-13 (which includes contests that took place in St. Louis) and they’ve outscored the Saints 630-595. Arizona won the last meeting with the Saints last year in Glendale by a final of 31-19 (New Orleans’ last win over Arizona came in 2013 in the Big Easy by a final of 31-7).

They met right out of the gate to start the 2015 campaign and Arizona led 14-10 at the break and held serve after that, outscoring the Saints 17-9 in the second half. Arizona outrushed New Orleans 120-54 and Palmer threw three TDs, accounting for 307 yards, while Brees threw for 355 yards with a TD, two sacks and and interception. The odds makers like Arizona as a 2 1/2 favorite with a 50 over/under. For both teams, they know that they have to keep winning and have some luck on their side. The Desert Angry Birds win this one in the desert and cover the 2 1/2.

New England (11-2) at Denver (8-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. They met in the AFC Championship game to decide who would go to Santa Clara. Last year, it was Brady vs. Manning. This year, same teams, different cast as the Patroits travel westward to meet the defending Super Bowl champs at Sports Authority Field.

New England and Tom Brady fought off Baltimore, taking a 30-23 win Monday night in Foxboro. The Pats led 16-3 at the intermission before the Ravens took advantage of two Patriot special teams turnovers in the third quarter that gave them a chance to take the win on the road, pulling to within three with 6:35 to play when Justin Tucker connected on a 38-yard field goal. Brady and the Pats would then ice the game away when he and WR Chris Hogan connected on a 79-yard strike 17 seconds later. New England outrushed the Ravens 95-42, while Brady threw for 406 yards and three TDs, while Joe Flacco threw for 324 yards and two TDs (each man threw an intercaption in the Monday night contest).

Denver trailed Tennessee for three quarters before the defending Super Bowl champions rallied, only to lose to the Titans 13-10 at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee led 13-0 after three quarters of play before Denver got back into the contest, scoring their 10 points in the fourth quarter unchallenged. Tennessee ran for 180 yards in the 3-point win in the Volunteer State, while holding Denver to a season-low 18 yards. Marcus Mariota threw for only 88 yards but did not throw an interception, while Trevor Sieman threw for 334 yards and a TD but was sacked three times.

The defending Super Bowl champs lead the series 26-20 and Denver has outscored New England 1,074-1,007. There was one regular season meeting and one post-season meeting between the two clubs last year, both in Denver and both won by the Broncos (New England’s last win in the series came in 2014 in Foxboro by a final of 43-21.

Round one … Sports Authority Field at Mile High. A week 12 meeting in 23 degree weather (wind chill of a balmy 19) saw New England lead 14-7 at the half, before Denver roared back in the final 30 minutes of regulation to lead 24-21 on a 4-yard pass from Osweiler to Andrew Caldwell with 69 seconds left. That lead would not last very long as the Pats’ Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to send the contest into overtime. Brady and the Pats got the ball to start the overtime but went backwards instead of forward, as they only got the ball to their 29 yard line. New England punted and Denver got the ball back, needing only three plays, 57 yards and 79 seconds of time to send the crowd home happy as C.J. Anderson 48 yards unchallenged for the game-winning TD.

Anderson rushed for 113 yards with a pair of TDs (the second one the game-winner), as the Broncos outrushed New England 179-39. Brady threw for 280 yards and three TDs, while Osweiler threw for 270 yards with a TD (each man was sacked three times).

Round two… Sports Authority Field at Mile High and this time, it’s the AFC Championship game, for all the marbles. The weather was a little better (game time temp was 46 with a 43 wind chill) but the result for Denver was the same… a win. the Broncos led 17-9 at the half and came away 20-18 winners in the Winner-take-all affair. Denver would go on to hold off a late New England rally when Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski connected on a 4-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left in regulation. New England, who rushed for 44 yards, tried the onside kick, which Denver recovered and ran out the clock. The Broncos, who tallied 99 yards on the ground, got 176 yards in passing from a kid named Manning, who also threw a pair of TDs without an interception (Brady was sacked four times and picked off twice).

New England’s favored by 3 over the defending Super Bowl champs in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 44. History has a way of repeating itself. With that, the defending Super Bowl champs win at home over Brady and the Pats and cover the 3.

Oakland (10-3) at San Diego (5-8), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. They met in northern California early in the season. This time, it’s Oakland’s turn to make the 7-hour, 491-mile trip down I-5 to face the Chargers at Qualcomm.

Oakland saw their grip on first place in the AFC West last Thursday night get away from them at Arrowhead with their 21-13 loss to Kansas City. The Silver and Blakc led 3-0 after K Sebastian Janikowski opened the scoring with a 44-yard field goal and lost the lead for good when WR Tyreek Hill connected on a 36 yard TD pass from Alex Smith with 14:51 left before halftime. Hill then Oakland struck again, returning a punt 78 yards for his second TD of the night. Raiders RB Latavius Murray and Janikowski would pull the Raiders closer but the Chiefs prevailed to take the win. Oakland did manage to outrush Kansas City 135-65 (Murray led all rushers with 103), while Carr threw for 117 yards and Smith threw for 264.

The Bolts could never get on track against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, as the defending NFC champs took care of San Diego, taking a 28-16 win in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina held San Diego to 58 yards on the ground, while the Panthers clawed out 126 yards rushing. Newton threw for 160 yards and connected with WR Devin Funchess for a 6-yard TD pass, while Graham Gano kicked four field goals in the 12-point win. San Diego’s Philip Rivers threw for 236 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off three times and sacked five times, the last coming as a safety for Carolina when DE Mario Addison sacked him in the end zone with 10:09 left in the contest.

They met in week five in Oakland and the Raiders held off San Diego, beating the Chargers 34-31. Oakland trailed 10-9 at halftime before outscoring the Bolts 25-21 in the final 30 minutes of action, then held off a late San Diego drive that would have resulted in a game-tying field goal by Drew Kaser from 35 yards but the snap went off kilter and the Raiders got the ball back. San Diego again tried to march down the field for what would have been the go-ahead TD as Rivers threw to WR Travis Benjamin for no gain. Benjamin then fumbled the ball out of bounds, which ended the contest. Oakland outrushed San Diego 89-72 and Rivers threw for 359 yards with four TDs but threw two interceptions and was sacked twice (Carr threw for 317 yards with a pair of TDs in the three-point win.)

Oakland was favored by 3 1/2 (winning by 3) and the contest had a 50 over/under, which both clubs handled by scoring 65. The Raiders are a 3 point favorite in sunny San Diego and the over/under this time around is 50. The Raiders are trying to keep pace with Kansas City, while Charger fans are looking for hope in order to crash the post-season party. Charger fans get put out of their misery this week. Oakland covers the 3 and wins at Qualcomm.

Tampa Bay (8-5) at Dallas (11-2), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. A pair of young guns meet in the Lone Star State as Jameis Winston and Dak Prescott meet in Arlington in a Sunday night prime time contest at Jerry World.

Tampa Bay held Drew Brees (257 yards, three interceptions) to his second game without a TD pass (the last time that happened was 2009) as the Bucs held off the Saints, taking a 16-11 win in the Sunshine State. New Orleans trailed 13-8 at the half and then pulled to within 2 at 13-11 with 3:35 left in the third when Will Lutz connected on a 22-yard field goal. Tampa Bay then pushed the lead back to five with 12:46 left to play in regulation when Rueben Aguayo connected on a 26-yar field goal. The Saints had one last chance to take the lead late in the contest before S Keith Tandy gave Brees his third interception of the afternoon. Tampa Bay outrushed their NFC South foes 104-46, Winston threw for 184 yards without an interception and Doug Martin accounted for the contest’s only TD, scoring from 1 yard out with 14:50 left before the intermission.

The New York Giants completed the sweep of their series with Dallas as they beat their NFC East rivals 10-7 at Met Life Stadium. Dallas led 7-0 at the half before the Giants took the lead back and for keeps as they scored their points in the third period unchallenged. Big Blue ended Dallas’ bid for a shutout when Robbie Gould connected on a 39-yard field goal with 5:50 left. Manning (193 yards) then broke the hearts and spirits of Cowboys fans when he and Odell Beckham Jr. hooked up on a 61-yard TD pass with 67 seconds left in the contest. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot accounted for 107 of Dallas’ 108 yards on the ground, while the Giants tallied 93 and the Giants defense sacked Dak Prescott (165 yards) three times and picked him off twice.

Dallas leads the series 11-4 and the Cowboys have outscored Tampa Bay 274-208. Tampa Bay won the last meeting, which took place last year, when they won 10-6 in the Sunshine State (Dallas’ last win over Tampa Bay came in 2012 in Arlington by a final of 16-10).

In the week five affair at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay trailed a Tony Romo-less Dallas team 6-3 at the break before they rallied in the fourth quarter with Winston scoring the contest’s only TD from 1 yard out with 54 seconds left. Tampa Bay outrushed Dallas 84-72 and Winston threw for 264 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Matt Cassell threw for 186 yards (Winston was sacked twice, while Cassell was sacked three times).

Dallas is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 46. One has already made the playoffs, the other’s trying to get into the playoff party. That alone makes this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Tampa Bay will know if they’re ahead of Atlanta or behind the Falcons when their game in the Big Peach ends around 7 p.m. Eastern. The Falcons would like to get some help from Dallas to keep their NFC South rivals in their rearview mirror. Dallas may not cover the 7 but they take the win in JerryWorld.

Carolina (5-8) at Washington (7-5-1), 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 15 closes out in Landover as a pair of teams looking for a playoff berth as the Panthers take on Washington at FedEx Field.

Cam Newton and the Panthers took San Diego to the woodshed last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, taking a 28-16 win in Charlotte. The defending NFC champs held San Diego to 58 yards on the ground, while the Panthers clawed out 126 yards rushing. Newton threw for 160 yards and connected with WR Devin Funchess for a 6-yard TD pass, while Graham Gano kicked four field goals in the 12-point win. San Diego’s Philip Rivers threw for 236 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off three times and sacked five times, the last coming as a safety for Carolina when DE Mario Addison sacked him in the end zone with 10:09 left in the contest.

Washington put a dent in Philadelphia’s playoff hopes last Sunday in the City of Brotherly Love, beating their NFC East rivals 27-22 at Lincoln Financial Field. Washington trailed Philly led 13-7 at the break before the defending NFC East champs rallied in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 20-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Eagles took a 22-21 lead with 4:59 to play in the contest on a 41-yard field by Caleb Sturgis before Washington took the lead back and for keeps when Chris Thompson scored on a 25-yard run with 1:53 left. Philadelphia then got the ball back and got as close as Washington’s 14-yard when rookie QB Carson Wentz was sacked and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by DE Trent Murphy. Washington would go on to run out the clock and take the win. In dropping their fourth contest in a row, the Eagles were held to 95 yards rushing, while Washington racked up 107. Wentz threw for 314 yards and a TD to Darren Sproles (who left the game with a concussion) with four sacks and an interception, while Kirk Cousins threw for 234 yards and a pair of TDs.

Washington leads the series 7-5 and the Panthers have outscored Washington 270-247. Carolina has won the last four meetings, including a 44-16 win in Charlotte last year. They met in the Tar Heel State in week 11 and Carolina led 31-14 at the intermission before pulling away from Washington in the second half. Newton threw five TDs in the contest, racking up 246 yards in the contest, while Jonathan Stewart ran for 102 yards (Carolina outrushed Washington 142-14) and the Panther defense made life less than plesant for Cousins, who threw for 207 yards with a TD and was sacked five times.

Washington on Monday night is one game below the .500 mark at 28-29 (the Redskins lost at home to Pittsburgh in week one), while the Panthers are 8-6 (Carolina lost at home to Tampa Bay in week five). The ‘Skins are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 51. While this one’s not a great game, it’ll be a good one to watch, so you might want to tape “2 Broke Girls” and “Scorpion” this week. “HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!” Washington covers the 4 1/2 and wins in Landover.