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Four weeks down… 13 to go.

Welcome to the quarter pole in the 2016 NFL season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLAYERS

•CLIMBING THE CHARTS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•RISING ROOKIES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The quarterbacks with 300 career touchdown passes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was round one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolina (15-1) vs. Denver (11-5), 6:38 p.m. on CBS. Newton vs. Manning. Separated by 13 years in age, 1,579 miles in distance. They meet in Super Bowl 50 (or Super Bowl L for those that are fans of Roman numbers), the final football game of the 2015 season. One has a Super Bowl ring, the other man wants one. When this one comes to an end, there will be no more football until the pre-season. It’s finality. It’s the end. It’s the Super Bowl.

SUPER CHAMPIONSHIP: Denver defeated New England 20-18 in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, earning a spot in Super Bowl 50. This is the Broncos eighth Super Bowl appearance, tying Dallas, New England and Pittsburgh for the most in NFL history.

​​The teams with the most Super Bowl appearances:

TEAM – SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES
Dallas – 8
Denver – 8
Pittsburgh – 8
New England – 8
San Francisco – 6

CAROLINA CRUISING: The CAROLINA PANTHERS defeated Arizona 49-15 in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday to advance to Super Bowl 50.

The Panthers, who went 15-1 en route to the NFC South division title and the conference’s top seed, became the ninth team in NFL history to lose one or fewer regular season games and advance to the Super Bowl.

The teams with one or fewer regular season losses to reach the Super Bowl:

TEAM – SEASON (SUPER BOWL REACHED, REGULAR SEASON RECORD)
Oakland Raiders – 1967 (II, 13-1)
Baltimore Colts – 1968 (III, 13-1)
Miami Dolphins – 1972 (VII, 14-0)
Oakland Raiders – 1976 (XI, 13-1)
Washington Redskins – 1982 (XVII, 8-1)*
San Francisco 49ers – 1984 (XIX, 15-1)
Chicago Bears – 1985 (XX, 15-1)
New England Patriots – 2007 (XLII, 16-0)
Carolina Panthers – 2015 (50 or L, 15-1)
*Nine-game regular season

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

On Sunday, February 7, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will meet in Super Bowl 50 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

For the third consecutive season, the game will feature the top seeds in each conference.

“It means so much to us to get to the Super Bowl,” says Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. “We put in so much work this whole offseason and during the season. I’m just so proud of our team. We stuck together all year. We stayed together as a team and that’s all that matters.”

Super Bowl 50 will pit the NFL’s top-scoring team – Carolina (500 points, 31.3 points per game) – against the league’s top defense – Denver (283.1 total net yards per game).

“We’re a complete team,” says Panthers wide receiver Corey Brown. “We play as a team. It’s not about one person. It’s not about two people. If one guy goes down, the next man steps up. We are a complete team.”

Denver advanced to the Super Bowl by defeating New England 20-18. Carolina defeated Arizona 49-15 to earn its second ever trip to the Super Bowl. The AFC and NFC Championship Games averaged 49.7 million viewers, up eight percent from last year and topping the 45 million mark for the third consecutive year.

The NFC Championship Game between Carolina and Arizona earned 45.7 million viewers and the AFC Championship Game between Denver and New England garnered 53.3 million viewers, the second-most watched AFC Championship Game ever (New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh, January 23, 2011, 54.8 million viewers).

The Panthers advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history (Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2003 season) with a 49-15 win over Arizona at Bank of America Stadium. With the victory, Carolina capped off a perfect season at home, winning all eight regular-season games and both playoff contests.

“Our fans have been awesome all year,” says Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. “There’s a sense of community in the whole Charlotte area and throughout the Carolinas. Panthers fans have been awesome to us and I’m proud to be here and happy to be a Carolina Panther.”

Carolina led the NFL in scoring with 500 points during the regular season and has scored a league-best 80 points in the postseason. The team’s 49 points in the NFC Championship Game are the second-most by a team to gain a berth in the Super Bowl (Buffalo, 51 points, 1990 season).

“We came out and had a pretty successful game,” says Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. “But I know there are a lot of people who feel just like me – we’re not done yet.”

Newton passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for two scores in the NFC Championship Game victory. He is the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and rush for multiple touchdowns in a playoff game. Newton led the NFL during the regular season with 45 total touchdowns (35 passing, 10 rushing) and became the first player in league history to pass for at least 30 touchdowns and rush for at least 10 touchdowns in the same season.

“It’s been fun watching Cam because every year he’s improved,” Carolina center Ryan Kalil told the Charlotte Observer and USA Today. “We knew from the get-go when he got here and broke all those NFL rookie records that we had someone special. Watching him grow each and every year, it’s been incredible. This has been a big year for him.”

In the win over Arizona, the Panthers forced seven turnovers. During the regular season, Carolina led the NFL with 39 takeaways, 24 interceptions and a +20 turnover differential. That dominance has continued into the postseason as the Panthers lead the league with nine takeaways, six interceptions and a +8 turnover differential. Kuechly, one of Carolina’s Pro Bowl linebackers, has recorded an interception-return touchdown in each of the team’s playoff games this season and is the only player in NFL history to have an INT-TD in consecutive games in a single postseason.

“This was a great team performance and this is who we are,” says Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. “This is what we’re capable of and we came out and played together as a group. We can truly dominate football games. We just have to be ready to play week in and week out.”

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, who has guided the team to the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, is aiming to become the fourth person to win a Super Bowl as both a player and a head coach (Mike Ditka, Tony Dungy and Tom Flores). Rivera was a linebacker for the 1985 Chicago Bears, which is the last team to win at least 15 regular-season games and also win the Super Bowl in the same season, something the Panthers hope to accomplish this year.

“We have talked a lot about what our goal is,” says Rivera. “We are a step away. We are going to have to play a very good football team. They have a Hall of Fame quarterback and a lot of playmakers. This is a team we will have to get ready and prepare for.” Carolina manhandled Arizona 49-15 in the NFC Championship Game in Charlotte. The Panthers led the Desert Angry Birds 24-7 at the intermission and never looked back, outscoring Arizona in the second half 25-8. Arizona was held to 60 yards on the ground at Bank of America Stadium, while Carolina picked off Carson Palmer four times, sacking him three. Newton threw for 335 yards with a pair of TD passes and used his feet to work his way into the end zone for two more TDs in the game as Carolina ran for 152 yards, with RB Jonathan Stewart leading all rushers with 83 yards. Carolina was 8 of 14 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 36:39, while Arizona was 3 of 10 on third down conversions but hit pay dirt on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and held the ball for 23:21.

That Hall of Fame quarterback – Peyton Manning – and that team – the Denver Broncos – will be waiting. The Broncos advanced to their eighth Super Bowl, tied for the most in NFL history (Dallas, New England, Pittsburgh), by defeating New England 20-18 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“The victory in the AFC Championship Game was a great example of what this entire season has been like,” says Manning. “It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a lot of different people stepping up and doing their part at different times. That was a unique football game but everybody did their part and it truly was a team game.”

Manning threw two touchdown passes – both to tight end Owen Daniels – in the win. The veteran quarterback has now guided both the Indianapolis Colts and the Broncos to multiple Super Bowls and Manning is the first quarterback in NFL history to lead two different franchises to multiple Super Bowls. Denver led 17-9 at the break before holding off New England in the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Denver outrushed New England 99-44, while Manning was out-passed by Tom Brady 310-176 (Manning was sacked three times, while Brady was sacked four) with Brady throwing his only TD pass to TE Rob Gronkowski with 12 seconds left. New England then went for two in hopes of tying the contest up but the conversion try failed. The Pats had one more trick up their sleeves as they went for the onside kick. That attempt failed as Denver recovered the ball and ran out the clock, ending New England’s reign as world champions. New England on third down tries went 2 of 15 and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 30:12, while the Broncos were 6 of 17 on third down, holding the pigskin for 29:48 (New England was 2 of 4 on fourth down in the contest).

“I’ve tried to take it one week at a time all season long,” says Manning about returning to the Super Bowl. “I’ve tried to stay in the moment and take it one week at a time. I’m taking it one week at a time and trying to stay patient. Staying patient in these past two playoff games has served our team well and it’s definitely served me well.”

Manning, who won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts, can become the first starting quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises. He has 13 career postseason victories and with a win in Super Bowl 50, he will tie Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway and Terry Bradshaw for the third-most playoff wins in NFL history by a starting quarterback.

“I’m so proud of him,” says Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak about Manning. “He worked really hard to get back. This football team believes he’s going to get the job done. He’s done a tremendous job leading this football team.”

Denver’s defense, which topped the NFL with 52 sacks during the regular season, recorded four sacks and two interceptions in the AFC Championship Game. Linebacker Von Miller had 2.5 sacks and an interception in the victory over New England, becoming the first player in more than 20 years to record at least 2.5 sacks and an interception in a playoff game.

“We’re back,” says Miller about the team’s second Super Bowl appearance in the past three seasons. “It feels great. I wanted to get back here.”

Kubiak became the first head coach to earn a Super Bowl berth in his first season with a team since Jim Caldwell accomplished the feat with Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in 2009. Kubiak is attempting to become only the fourth head coach to win a Super Bowl in his first season with a new club (Don McCaffery, George Seifert, Jon Gruden).

“One thing we’ve done all year long is we just grind as a football team,” Kubiak told KUSA-TV and the Rocky Mountain News. “We played our tails off all year long and we’ve found ways to win the close ones.”

Kubiak, who played for the Broncos (1983-1991), is the first person to appear in a Super Bowl with the same team as both a player and a head coach.

“It means the world to me to come back to my football home,” says Kubiak about advancing to the Super Bowl with the Broncos. “I’m just so proud to be part of this organization and this football team.”

All of their meetings have taken place in the regular season and Denver leads the overall series 3-1 and have outscored Carolina 100-61. Denver’s last win in the series came in 2012 in Charlotte by a final of 36-14 at Bank of America Stadium, while Carolina’s only win in the series also came in the Tar Heel State in 2008 by a 30-10 final.

For the Panthers, this will be their second trip to the Super Bowl, with their last time going to the big game in Super Bowl XXXVIII, known as the “Wardrobe Malfunction Bowl” in Houston. In that contest, they faced Brady and the New England Patriots and came away on the short end of a 32-29 final at what was then Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium). Tom Brady and the Pats treated the fans to another exciting finish that ended with a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal with four seconds remaining in the contest. Brady completed 32 of 48 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns to become the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to start and win two title games before his 27th birthday.

Denver fans would like to somehow forget what happened to them the last time they were in the Super Bowl and for the Broncos and Manning, it was not a good day in the Meadowlands in Super Bowl XLVIII. Seattle trounced Denver 43-8 at Met Life Stadium and Seahawks LB Malcom Smith became the first defensive player to win the Pete Rozelle Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award since Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson earned the honor in Super Bowl XXXVII. Smith helped lead a Seahawks’ defense that forced four turnovers. Smith intercepted a Peyton Manning pass in the second quarter and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown to give Seattle a 22-0 advantage. Smith also recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter to stop a Broncos drive deep in Seahawks territory and finished with nine total tackles.

Cam Newton is trying to be the 7th player in the history of the National Football League to win MVP & SB MVP in same season and if he does it, he’ll be in some pretty good company: Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, Steve Young & Kurt Warner.

Both clubs did have opponents in common in 2015: Green Bay and Indianapolis. Carolina is 2-0 against the Packers and Colts, both winning in consecutive weeks and both wins coming in the Tar Heel State (29-26 win in week eight over the Colts, 37-29 win over the Packers in week nine. Denver split their two meetings (also in consecutive weeks), taking a 29-10 win over Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay in week eight in the Mile High City, dropping a 27-24 decision at Indy to Andrew Luck and the Colts in week nine).

Carolina’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under is 45 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. After all, it’s the last game of the season and there’s going to be no more football until the pre-season gets underway in July. With that being said, for this one to not be “DRILL WORTHY” would be like Bugs Bunny not liking carrots. With that, this is the final drill (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 56 last June and dates a 41-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

When the dust settles, there will be a new Super Bowl champion. Someone will be holding the Lombardi Trophy and taking it home, while the losers will wonder why they fell short of their intended marks. Will it be Cam? Will it be Peyton? Carolina makes this one a good one to watch but Peyton prevails in what some are guessing is his final NFL contest. Denver covers the 5 1/2 and wins in Santa Clara.

BROADCAST INFORMATION: 6:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson, Evan Washburn (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Dan Fouts, James Lofton, Mark Malone (field reporters). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (Carolina), 82 (Denver). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 226 (Carolina), 82 (Denver).

Injury Report
Carolina – No injuries to report.

Denver – No injuries to report.

Weather Outlook: Sunny and 71 degrees

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Dons Best and USA Today, weather courtesy The Weather Channel.

 

Super Bowl 50 marks a milestone in NFL history and NFL Digital Media is celebrating the occasion with up-to-the-minute coverage and interactive content, including in-game voting that helps decide the Super Bowl 50 MVP. Fans can follow all the events from San Francisco and the Bay Area across all devices on NFL Now, NFL.com, NFL Mobile from Verizon, SuperBowl.com and more.

The following are highlights from NFL Digital Media’s coverage of Super Bowl 50:

NFL NOW LIVE: SUPER BOWL 50: Starting Monday, February 1 and all the way through Super Bowl Sunday, keep up with all of action from San Francisco and the Bay Area with NFL NOW LIVE: Super Bowl 50. NFL Now is the NFL’s next-generation video service which reaches millions of NFL fans around the world and is available via the NFL Mobile app, NFL.com/NOW and on the official NFL app on Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku, and other connected devices. NOW LIVE: Super Bowl 50 will be anchored by a host of top talent to bring fans every highlight of Super Bowl week:

Throughout the week, Colleen Wolfe and Marc Istook will anchor coverage from The Huddle, the NFL’s social media command center, following the latest trending topics and Super Bowl buzz across the social media landscape. Additionally, Matt “Money” Smith, Dave Dameshek, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ike Taylor and Adam Rank will be live from Radio Row at the Moscone Center’s Fan Gallery, providing in-depth analysis and interviews with the biggest names in sports and entertainment.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Wolfe and Istook will be monitoring all things social from The Huddle while Dameshek, Jones-Drew and Taylor are live from the field at Levi’s Stadium providing pregame news and information.

In addition to NFL NOW LIVE: Super Bowl 50, The Rich Eisen Show returns to the Super Bowl with a week’s worth of shows originating from the Presidio of San Francisco. The Rich Eisen Show will have a packed lineup of current and former NFL players, Hall of Fame honorees and continue to be a go-to landing spot for actors and musicians who have become a staple during Super Bowl Week.  The shows start Monday, February 1 – Friday, February 5 and will stream live on NFL Now.

LIVE STREAMING OF SUPER BOWL 50: Both NFL.com and SuperBowl.com will link to CBS Sports’ live stream of Super Bowl 50. PC and tablet access to the live stream will be available at CBSSports.com, and fans can also tune into CBS Sports on Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku players and Roku TV models and Chromecast, as well as Windows 10 and other tablet devices. Live streaming of Super Bowl 50 on mobile devices is available for Verizon customers via the NFL Mobile app. On Microsoft devices, fans can also access the live stream on the NFL on Xbox One and Windows 10 apps, including in-game highlights and interactive Next Gen Stats replays.

For you international fans, you’re not going to be left out of the party. NFL Game Pass will show Super Bowl 50 live in HD
(certain restrictions apply depending on your country) on desktop, mobile, tablet and connected devices. NFL Game Pass comes complete with full DVR controls to allow pause, rewind and replay live capabilities and archived game
action from the 2015 NFL season. For more information on NFL Game Pass, visit NFL.com/GamePass.

MOBILE APPLICATIONS: NFL Digital Media has created the ultimate VIP experience for on-the-go fans using NFL Mobile from Verizon as well as two new Super Bowl 50-themed apps:

NFL MOBILE FROM VERIZON: With NFL Mobile from Verizon, Verizon customers can access live streaming video on their smartphone of the Super Bowl 50 broadcast on CBS, the 2016 Pro Bowl on ESPN, and a 24/7 live stream of NFL Network which includes exclusive Super Bowl content. NFL Mobile from Verizon also provides access to NFL Game Pass which offers subscribers every play of the entire 2015 NFL regular season and postseason, commercial-free, complete with DVR controls (after the game has aired on television). Super Bowl 50 will be available on Game Pass immediately after the game concludes.

To download NFL Mobile from Verizon, visit NFL.com/Mobile.

ON-SITE SUPER BOWL 50 APPS: In addition to NFL Mobile’s daily news coverage of Super Bowl, including a 24/7 live stream of NFL Network, the new ROAD TO 50 app was built exclusively for fans in the San Francisco Bay Area was for Super Bowl 50. ROAD TO 50 will showcase all of the Super Bowl celebrations in the local area and help fans celebrate the history of the big game. It includes a comprehensive schedule so fans can find details and explore maps for Super Bowl events at NFL Experience Driven by Hyundai, the 50th Mile, Super Bowl City presented by Verizon and more. The ROAD TO 50 app will be home to Fan Mobile Pass. By registering for Fan Mobile Pass and checking-in at specified activations, fans can collect badges, unlock exclusive Super Bowl content and be entered for a chance to win Super Bowl 50 tickets. The app allows fans to add events to their calendars, share via social media, and stay in touch with all of the happenings around the city with location-based alerts. The ROAD TO 50 app can be downloaded by visiting NFL.com/SBApp or the app store on Windows 8.1+, iOS, and Android smartphones.

SUPER BOWL STADIUM APP: The SUPER BOWL STADIUM APP is a must-have for any fan going to the big game. The SUPER BOWL STADIUM APP will enrich every fan’s Super Bowl 50 experience from before kickoff until the last piece of confetti falls in Levi’s Stadium. Before the game, fans can use the app to explore transportation options and events at GameDay Fan Plaza Presented by SAP. During the game, fans can use the app to watch Super Bowl commercials, watch instant replays from four different camera angles and explore interactive stadium maps. The SUPER BOWL STADIUM APP can be downloaded by visiting NFL.com/SBApp, the iOS and Android app store and through NFL Mobile on Windows 8.1+ devices.

SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATIONS: Whether they are on-site in San Francisco or on the couch at home, NFL fans and social media enthusiasts alike can immerse themselves in Super Bowl 50 culture from their preferred mobile devices. Fans can find behind-the-scenes photos and uniquely packaged video content across YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Facebook, and Instagram.  Join the conversation by using
the big game’s official hashtag, #SB50, and check out Snapchat NFL Live Stories on Opening Night and Super Bowl 50.

On game day, the Super Bowl Live Story will provide an inside look at the excitement and celebrations surrounding Super Bowl 50, from the grounds crew
preparing the field, to the fan activities around the Bay Area, to the celebrations of victory both on the field and in the stands. In addition, a
first-of-its-kind “Super Bowl Worldwide” Live Story will highlight unique fan-submitted perspectives from around the world, giving fans the opportunity to
share their own Super Bowl viewing experiences.

On Twitter, the NFL launched Twitter emojis for #Broncos, #KeepPounding and #SB50. Additionally, a Twitter Video Q&A will be featured at Opening Night, allowing fans to tweet questions to the @NFL using #OpeningNightFan. Fans can follow @NFL, @NFLNetwork and @superbowl for coverage throughout the week.

On Super Bowl Sunday, the NFL will be engaging with audiences new to the sport on Twitter by encouraging fans to ask their football-related questions using #NFLRookie. New fans around the world will be able to Tweet their questions about the game, the rules, and the Panthers and the Broncos in three different languages – English, Spanish or Portuguese – and get direct answers from the @SuperBowl handle.

Other Super Bowl 50 social media activities include:

THE HUDDLE: Stop by The Huddle, the NFL’s social media command center, in Super Bowl City and witness how all things NFL social media come to life. Hang out with athletes and celebrities visiting the NFL Network, NFL.com and NFL Now sets and watch them give their take on the latest trending topics—from Brady to Bieber.

Want to see your official NFL selfie on the Super Bowl big board? Check out The Huddle’s photo booth and give us your best game face. And when you’re done, make sure to scope out all the latest social news, memes and GIFs on NFL Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine, as the NFL Social Team will be hard at work in the background.

THE WALTER PAYTON MAN OF THE YEAR, Presented by Nationwide: Throughout the season, NFL social media has celebrated previous and current nominees for the prestigious The Walter Payton Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide. Be sure to follow @NFL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for vignettes, articles and videos surrounding this year’s finalists: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin and   New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson.

NFL.COM & SUPERBOWL.COM: The official websites of the NFL and Super Bowl 50 commemorate this moment in history by featuring analysis and exclusive multimedia content accessible across all platforms.

NFL Media’s award-winning team of columnists, analysts and writers including Judy Battista, Jeffri Chadiha and Michael Silver, Super Bowl-winning coach Brian Billick, and Around The NFL writers Gregg Rosenthal, Dan Hanzus, Conor Orr, Marc Sessler and Chris Wesseling will cover Super Bowl 50 from all angles leading up to the game between the Panthers and Broncos.

Fans will be able to watch Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday, February 1, NFL
Commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual Super Bowl press conference on Friday,
February 5, and access a live feed from NFL Network on NFL.com.

Exclusive features available on NFL.com and SuperBowl.com include:

SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS: NFL.com, SuperBowl.com, the NFL app on Xbox One, Windows 10, NFL Mobile from Verizon, Apple TV and other connected devices will post all of the Super Bowl commercials once they have aired on the television broadcast and will update throughout the big game. Fans can view, rate (thumbs up or down), comment and sort the commercials by quarter by visiting NFL.com/SuperBowlCommercials.

To view the commercials from Super Bowl XLIX – NFL.com/superbowl/49/commercials
To view the commercials from Super Bowl XLVIII – NFL.com/superbowl/48/commercials
To view the commercials from Super Bowl XLVII – NFL.com/superbowl/47/commercials
To view the commercials from Super Bowl XLVI – NFL.com/superbowl/46/commercials

MVP VOTING: During the fourth quarter, fans will be able to vote for the Super Bowl 50 MVP online and on web-enabled mobile devices at NFL.com. The fan vote counts as 20% of the overall vote, with the remaining 80% determined by the media. Visit NFL.com/MVP for more details.

ROAD TO THE SUPER BOWL: The road to the Super Bowl is paved with great plays, adversity and season-defining moments. NFL Media’s Road to the Super Bowl offers fans a look at the each playoff team’s journey from Week 1 of the regular season to Super Bowl 50. Start from day one of your playoff picks’ season by going to NFL.com/roadtosuperbowl. NFL Media’s Road to the Super Bowl is presented by Hyundai

GREATEST SUPER BOWL OF ALL TIME: Vote to determine the holy grail of Super Bowls with NFL.com’s Greatest Super Bowl of All Time. A panel of experts including Gil Brandt and Elliot Harrison created a list of 32 Super Bowls to choose from, and fans will be able to watch highlights of each game and vote through the rounds to determine which match is No. 1. The winner was revealed on Friday. Visit NFL.com/greatestsuperbowl for more
information. NFL.com’s Greatest Super Bowl of All Time is sponsored by Home Depot.

NFL FAN PASS: The ultimate insider pass to all things NFL, NFL Fan Pass provides a unique way to experience Super Bowl 50 with unparalleled access leading up to and during the big game. Visit NFL.com/fanpass for exclusive interviews with your favorite players, a behind-the-scenes look at San Francisco’s biggest Super Bowl attractions and more. NFL Fan Pass highlights during Super Bowl week include:

Red Carpet Style – NFL Media’s Akbar Gbajabiamila and Megan Collins, founder of StyleGirlfriend.com recap the hottest fashion from the NFL’s biggest stars on the red carpet at NFL Honors.

Fan Pass at Radio Row – Pro Bowl DE Gerald McCoy, Colts Punter Pat McAfee and other NFL stars take over hosting duties and ask the NFL’s biggest names the questions only they can ask.

SUPER BOWL 50 VIDEO CHANNEL: All Super Bowl, all the time. The Super Bowl video channel includes content from NFL Network and NFL Digital Media produced throughout the 2015 NFL regular season leading up to Super Bowl 50. From lost footage of Super Bowl I to highlights from the NFL’s “Honor Roll” initiative celebrating the high schools of Super Bowl winners, the NFL Super Bowl Video Channel Presented by Bud Light brings fans all of the compelling Super Bowl related video from the past forty-nine years.

YOUR VIEWER’S GUIDE TO SUPER BOWL 50: From incredible catches, to the  commercials, to family traditions, fans at any age and every level of fandom look forward to Super Bowl. NFL Digital Media takes a 360 degree look at the Super Bowl by creating a casual fans guide that touches on the Xs & Os and the ancillary traditions.  For a simple and succinct break down of the teams and players participating, NFL analysts will use short FAQs, creative infographics, editorials, and photos.  This hub will also feature fan-favorite commercials from over the years as well as the opportunity for guest celebrity bloggers that discuss their favorite football recipes, party tips, etc.

SUPER BOWL DEBATE: Throughout the playoffs, NFL Media reaches out to its current roster of talent including former players such as Deion Sanders, Bucky Brooks, Maurice Jones-Drew and more to get their reactions to the hot topic of the moment. Each day, our experts debate the most talked about topics such as will this be Peyton Manning’s last game? Could this be the first of many Super Bowl appearances for Cam Newton? Fans will get the quick reactions and insights from the most well-known former NFL Players with Super Bowl Debate presented by Lexus.

Additional Super Bowl related features from NFL Digital Media include the following:

NFL GAME PASS: NFL Media’s NFL Game Pass offers every play of the entire 2015 NFL regular season and postseason online, via mobile, Xbox One and other connected platforms in HD and commercial-free, complete with DVR controls (after the game has aired on television). Super Bowl 50 will be available on NFL Game Pass immediately after the game concludes.

LIVE AUDIO: Radio broadcasts of Super Bowl 50 will be available to fans on terrestrial, satellite and digital platforms. On terrestrial, the Westwood One postseason broadcasts can be heard on nearly 500 radio stations across the country. On satellite, SiriusXM will carry the following radio broadcasts: Westwood One feed (SiriusXM NFL Radio – Sirius 88 / XM 88), Denver Broncos radio broadcast (Sirius 82 / XM 225)
Carolina Panthers radio broadcast (Sirius 83 / XM 226)

These games will also be available on the SiriusXM App for SiriusXM satellitesubscribers who also receive SiriusXM Internet Radio. Subscribers may also access news and analysis on SiriusXM’s 24/7 NFL channel, SiriusXM NFL Radio (Sirius 88 / XM 88).

On digital, TuneIn Premium subscribers can listen to the home and visiting team broadcasts as well as the Westwood One national feed of Super Bowl 50 at TuneIn.com and via the TuneIn apps. Fans can also catch news and analysis on TuneIn’s 24/7 NFL channel, NFL on TuneIn, which is free to all users. Gameaudio will also be available digitally to NFL Game Pass subscribers.Additionally, a Spanish language radio broadcast of Super Bowl 50 will be available on ESPN Deportes.  The ESPN Deportes broadcast will also beavailable to SiriusXM and TuneIn Premium subscribers.

PODCASTS: NFL Media will feature the following podcasts as part of the NFL NOW LIVE daily show that will also live on NFL.com and iTunes:

Move the Sticks Podcast
Monday, February 1: Former NFL scouts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks hold down the fort in Culver City and examine Super Bowl 50’s key matchups and expectations.

R&B Podcast
Tuesday, February 2: NFL veterans Nate Burleson and Michael Robinson break down the latest in Super Bowl 50 news and popular culture from a player’s perspective.

Around the NFL Podcast
Tuesday, February 2, Thursday, February 4 and Sunday, February 7: Catch up on the major headlines and updates heading in to Super Bowl 50 with Gregg Rosenthal, Dan Hanzus, Marc Sessler and Chris Wesseling.

Dave Dameshek Football Program
Wednesday, February 3 and Friday, February 5: NFL Media’s Dave Dameshek gives his take on the latest Super Bowl 50 news and predictions for the big game, presented by McDonald’s.

The NFL announced that world-renowned chef Michale Mina, founder of MINA Group, is teaming with the NFL and NFL Foundation to create On The Fifty – A Charitable Dining Experience restaurant at RN74 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fans will have the opportunity to receive a taste of Super Bowl hospitality and participate in an interactive charitable dining experience benefitting the NFL Foundation in the days leading up to The Big Game.

On The Fifty will be located at Mina’s iconic restaurant, RN74 (301 Mission Street, San Francisco) and will be open Monday, February 1 through Sunday, February 7 for lunch and dinner service. Located adjacent to the 50th Mile and Super Bowl City presented by Verizon, the restaurant will feature Super Bowl-themed décor. On The Fifty will also showcase autographed memorabilia available for purchase onsite, current and former NFL player appearances and more.

Mina’s RN74 menu will be featured, making special nods to the game of football throughout the menu.

“The chance to combine my passion for food, football and giving back is an incredible opportunity,” said Mina. “I’m so grateful that our restaurants have been invited to participate and represent San Francisco in Super Bowl 50. We’re looking forward to showcasing the flavors of NFL cities from across the country as well as local Bay Area product, all benefiting the NFL Foundation.”

Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on a number of unique NFL memorabilia and special experiential auction items starting today on NFLAuction.NFL.com/OnTheFifty. Money collected from sales of items, along with a portion of Super Bowl 50 restaurant proceeds collected during Super Bowl week, will support NFL Foundation charities. Among the memorabilia and packages available includes a V.I.P experience to Super Bowl 50.

A private event space located within the restaurant boasting NFL and Super Bowl theme décor is available to reserve for private parties or cocktail receptions during Super Bowl week. For reservations, fans may call over the phone at 415-543-7474 or online at michaelmina.net/restaurants/san-francisco-bay-area/rn74/.

This marks the second time in Super Bowl history the NFL has teamed to create a restaurant. Previously, the NFL created “Forty Ate” restaurant for Super Bowl XLVIII. On The Fifty restaurant is part of the year-long celebration of Super Bowl 50, which will be played on Sunday, February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information about all the ways the NFL is celebrating Super Bowl 50, visit SuperBowl.com, follow @SuperBowl on Twitter or hashtag #SB50.

ABOUT MINA GROUP: Mina Group is a San Francisco-based restaurant management company specializing in creating and operating upscale, innovative restaurant concepts. Mina Group is led by Chef/Owner Michael Mina whose accolades include James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage” inductee in 2013, Bon Appétit Chef of the Year, Food Arts Silver Spoon Award Winner, San Francisco Magazine Chef of the Year, and International Food and Beverage Forum’s Restaurateur of the Year.  Operating since 2002, Mina Group currently manages 27 concepts including Michael Mina in San Francisco (Esquire Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year 2011); BOURBON STEAK and CLOCK BAR at The Westin St. Francis on Union Square in San Francisco; RN74 at Millennium Tower in San Francisco and RN74 at the Joshua Green Building in Seattle; PABU and THE RAMEN BAR at 101 California in San Francisco; BOURBON STEAK, BOURBON PUB and Michael Mina’s Tailgate at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara; STRIPSTEAK at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas; MICHAEL MINA Bellagio at Bellagio in Las Vegas; BARDOT BRASSERIE at Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas; MICHAEL MINA 74 and STRIPSTEAK at Fontainebleau Miami Beach; Locale Market and FarmTable Kitchen at Sundial St. Petersburg in Florida; and THE HANDLE BAR in Jackson Hole.  For a complete list of restaurants please visit http://michaelmina.net.

Follow Michael Mina on Facebook at Michael Mina, twitter @ChefMichaelMina and Instagram at ChefMichaelMina.

ABOUT NFL FOUNDATION: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities which support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit: NFLFoundation.org.

In other Super Bowl News…

Easy Day Sports, the City of Santa Clara, the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL announced today that online registration for the “Run the Road to Super Bowl 50” 10K, 5K and Kids Fun Run is open at http://RunSB50.com. The race is set for Sunday, January 10, 2016 with a course that begins and ends at Levi’s Stadium, home of Super Bowl 50.

Former San Francisco 49ers running back and three-time Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig will host the “Run the Road to Super Bowl 50” races and serve as the official race ambassador. Craig is an avid runner who has completed 13 marathons, 16 half marathons and numerous 5K and 10K running events.

“It is an honor to be a part of the ‘Run the Road to Super Bowl 50’ 10K, 5K and Kids Fun Run” said Craig. “I look forward to taking the field once again with fans and friends in both the football and running communities as we celebrate Super Bowl 50 in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

The “Run the Road to Super Bowl 50” 10K, 5K and Kids Fun Run will start outside Levi’s Stadium and end near the field at the end of a 10K and 5K loop through the streets of Santa Clara. Fans and runners who register will receive a collector’s race shirt and a commemorative finisher’s medal. First place winners of the 10K race will also be competing for a coveted “golden” football.

The 10K race starts at 7:50 a.m., the 5K starts at 8:50 a.m. and the Kids Fun Run starts at 10 a.m. (half-mile). Competitors are invited to attend a post-race tailgate party where they can enjoy specials while watching the NFL Wildcard Games.

“The City of Santa Clara looks forward to hosting ‘Run the Road to Super Bowl 50’ to bring our community together to run, walk and cheer with each other,” said Jamie Matthews, Mayor of the City of Santa Clara, California “This run is a wonderful and exciting addition to our ‘Countdown to Kickoff’ events.”

The “Run the Road to Super Bowl 50” is part of the year-long celebration of Super Bowl 50, which will be played on Sunday, February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area. To register for the “Run the Road to Super Bowl 50” or for more information, visit http://RunSB50.com.

For more information about Super Bowl 50 and all the ways the NFL is celebrating, visit SuperBowl.com, follow @SuperBowl on Twitter or hashtag #SB50.

About Easy Day Sports: Headquartered in Coronado, California, Easy Day Sports is a boutique event production agency whose emphasis is creating memorable life experiences through premier, professionally managed endurance sports events. The company’s name is deeply inspired by the Navy SEAL motto “The only easy day was yesterday.” This is embodied through superior event production and a tireless commitment to excellence. Contact information for Easy Day Sports can be found at  easydaysports.com

About The City of Santa Clara: Santa Clara is a family-oriented and business-friendly city, led by a city government that has developed an award-winning ethics program and a commitment to fostering public trust. Located in Santa Clara County at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, about 45 miles south of San Francisco, Santa Clara is a strategic regional hub, convenient to freeways, airports, railroads, expressways, light rail and other public transportation. Home to global companies such as Intel and Citrix, world-class educational institutions like Santa Clara University, and the San Francisco 49ers who play at Levi’s Stadium. The City of Santa Clara offers history, innovation, culture, sports and fun and represents The Center of What’s Possible.