Archives for posts with tag: Tom Brady

And there were two.

The Los Angeles Rams.

The New England Patriots.

The last two in the 2018 National Football League’s version of “Survivor.” While the other 30 teams are at home after having their torches put out, they are the last two standing. They’ve out-witted the other 30 teams, they’ve outlasted the other 30. Sunday will be a chance to see who can out-survive the other.

Both the Rams and Patriots started their seasons like everyone else, with OTAs, the draft, mini-camp, preseason and a 17-week schedule where they both played 16 games. At the end of the day in Atlanta, one team will be holding the Lombardi Trophy again, sort of like Raftiki holding baby Simba in “The Lion King.” The other team? They will be picked apart like a Thanksgiving Turkey, second-guessed by everyone that can draw a breath.

This Sunday is not just any Sunday. This is Super Bowl Sunday. This is the Sunday that some of these players have been dreaming about since they were kids, playing pretend football in the backyard and hoping that their time will come. Their time is here. It’s the final game on the 2018 NFL schedule and when the clock strikes :00, the confetti flies around and the on-field interviews are taking place, it will come to an end. No more regular season football until September 5th. The winner? They get to take home the Lombardi Trophy and each player will take home $118,000, which comes out to $29,500 a quarter and they get to pick last in the upcoming draft. As for the losing team? No trophy, they get to pick 31st and each player will get $59,000 (or $14,750 per quarter).

What else is at stake, you ask?

With a New England victory…
•The Patriots will have captured their sixth Super Bowl championship, tied with Pittsburgh (six) for most in NFL history.
•New England will have won its 37th postseason game, surpassing Pittsburgh (36) for the most all-time.
•Head coach Bill Belichick joins George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches ever to win six NFL championships.
•Quarterback Tom Brady has now won six Super Bowls, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley (five) for the most of any player. His Rams counterpart Jared Goff was 7 years old when Brady won his first Lombardi.

With a Los Angeles win…
•The Rams will celebrate the second Super Bowl victory in the history of their franchise (SB XXXIV) and their first in Los Angeles.
•At age 33, head coach Sean McVay becomes the youngest coach ever to win the Super Bowl. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held the previous mark at age 36.
•Quarterback Jared Goff becomes the first quarterback selected number 1 overall to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory within his first three seasons.

Belichick and Brady will be making their ninth Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won five Super Bowls together, the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, who turns 33 years and 10 days old on Super Bowl Sunday, is the youngest head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. In each of the past two seasons under McVay, the Rams have ranked first or second in points per game. His counterpart on the other side of the field? Bill Belichick is 66 and turns 67 in April.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, is the first quarterback selected number 1 overall to reach the Super Bowl within his first three seasons. Four quarterbacks (Pro Football Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and John Elway, Drew Bledsoe and Eli Manning) each reached the Super Bowl in their fourth season.

Brady vs. Goff. Two QBs with a huge age difference led their teams to this point in time. Both clubs won their divisions, both were two seeds in their respective conferences and both won their last games on the road in overtime and both teams beat the top seeds. The bigger picture? Brady won his first Super Bowl the last time the two met in the post season. When Sunday’s game kicks off, Brady will be 42 years old, while Goff is 25 (Goff was seven years old when the Brady-Bilichick duo won their first Lombardi).

The Rams fought their way back against New Orleans in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome and came away with a 26-23 overtime win over Drew Brees and the Saints. Los Angeles trailed 13-10 at the half after the Saints rushed out to a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter as the Saints used a pair of Wil Lutz field goals and a Brees TD pass to TE Garrett Griffin to open the scoring in the contest. Los Angeles shut out the Saints in the second quarter, thanks to a 6-yard TD run by Todd Gurley III and a Greg Zuerlein field goal to tally their first points of the game. New Orleans would push the lead back to 10 with 8:34 left in the third when backup QB Taysom Hill and Brees connected on a 2-yard toss before the Rams would even things up when TE Tyler Higbee and Goff connected with 3:06 left in the third and Zuerlin booted a 24-yard field goal with 5:03 left in the contest.

New Orleans was not going quietly and got the ball back with 5:03 left in regulation and started the drive they thought would give them the win and there was some controversy in that drive when Saints WR Michael Thomas and Rams CB Michael Roby-Coleman collided on a pass attempt that many Saints fans and players thought was pass interference but was not called and the pass was ruled incomplete, much to the anger of Saints fans and head coach Sean Payton. (Roby-Coleman was eventually fined by the league for the helmet to helmet hit). The Saints had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Lutz with 1:41 left before the Rams stormed back with 15 seconds left in regulation to re-tie the contest and send the contest into the extra period after Brees knelt the ball down. New Orleans would win the toss in the overtime and got the ball first in the overtime and kept the ball for only four plays, getting as close as their own 36-yard line when Brees was picked off by S John Johnson II inside Saints territory. The Rams wasted very little time or distance, using a 5-play, 15-yard drive that took 2:12 for them to set up a 57-yard field goal try. After the Saints burned a timeout to ice the kicker, Zeurlein connected on that 57-yard try to send the Rams into the Super Bowl.

The Rams outrushed New Orleans 77-48 and Goff threw for 297 yards and a TD with an interception and a sack, while Rams WR Brandon Cooks burned his former team for 107 yards on seven catches. Brees threw for 249 yards with the two TD tosses, while being sacked twice and throwing the interception that ended New Orleans’ hopes of coming to Atlanta. Los Angeles went 6 of 16 on third down (they were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:36 (including the overtime), while the Saints went 6 for 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 30:41.

New England took a 14-0 lead with them to the intermission against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead in the AFC Championship game, only to see the Chiefs rally in the final 15 minutes of play and Brady and the Patriots would need overtime to take the 37-31 win on the road. Rookie RB Sony Michel and WR Phillip Dorsett would open the scoring for New England; Michel scoring on a 1-yard run early in the first quarter and Dorsett catching a 29-yard pass from Brady to take the 14-point lead at the break. Kansas City would respond in the third quarter as Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce connected on a 12-yard TD toss in the third to end New England’s bid for a shutout before Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski would push the lead back to 10 with a 47-yard field goal late in the quarter.

The Chiefs would then go to work in the final quarter of regulation, using a pair of Damien Williams TD runs to eventually take a 21-17 lead with 7:45 left in the contest. That lead would not last long as Michel scored on a 10-yard romp with 3:32 left. Kansas City then responded and took the lead back with 2:03 left when Williams scored from two yards out. The Chiefs’ lead did not last very long as New England’s Rex Burkhead gave his team a 31-28 lead back with 39 seconds left. Kansas City roared back again with 8 seconds left in regulation as Harrison Butker connected on a 39 yard field goal to tie things up at 31-31.

The Butker field goal would be the last time the Chiefs would see the ball as New England would win the coin toss in overtime and played ball control in the extra period, using a 13-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:52 of clock and sent Chiefs fans home in a less than good mood when Burkhead gave his team the win, scoring from two yards out to take the win. Michel rushed for 113 yards with the two TDs as the Patriots outrushed Kansas City 176-41. Brady threw for 348 yards with the TD toss and one interception (he was not sacked), while Mahomes threw for 295 yards with three TDs and four sacks but no interceptions. Kansas City, who saw their hopes dashed when DE Dee Ford lined up in the neutral zone, erasing a potential Brady interception in the final quarter, went 4 for 9 on third down and kept the ball for 20:53, while New England ruled the clock and kept the ball for 43:59 (including the 4:52 in overtime), while going 13 of 19 on third down, 1 for 2 on fourth down.

They met in Foxoboro in the 2016 season in week 13 and the Patriots were 26-10 winners at Gillette Stadium. New England scored their first 17 points of the contest uncontested before the Rams rallied in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring New England 10-9. The Rams were held to 36 rushing yards, while New England tallied 133, with LeGarrett Blount leading the way with 88 yards and a rushing TD, while Brady threw for 269 yards without a sack or interception (Goff threw for 161 yards with a pair of interceptions and four sacks; both Goff and Brady each had a TD pass). The Rams were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 22:03, while New England ruled the clock and kept the ball for 37:57, while going 4 of 16 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest in Foxboro, the Pats covered the 13 1/2-point spread, winning by 16 but both clubs missed the 44 1/2 over/under as they combined for 36 points.

The Rams and Patriots met once in post-season play and that was in Super Bowl XXXVI, which New England won in the final seconds 20-17 in New Orleans, when the Rams were in St. Louis. That contest was the start of the Brady-Bill Belichick era as the Rams, who were in St. Louis, won the Lombardi Trophy the year before in Atlanta. New England erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit and took a 14-3 lead with them to the break in the Big Easy. The Pats then added an Adam Vinatieri field goal in the third quarter to lead by 14 before the Rams scored a pair of TDs in the fourth, one with Kurt Warner using his legs to score from two yards out, then Warner used his arm, connecting with WR Ricky Proehl with 90 seconds left in regulation. New England would use all of the 90 seconds that was left and made their way down the field, using a 9-play, 53-yard drive that ended with Vinatieri connecting on a 48-yard field goal as time expired. In picking up his first Super Bowl win, Brady threw for 145 yards and a TD with a sack but no interceptions, while Warner threw for 365 yards and the game-tying TD with three sacks and a pair of interceptions. New England outrushed the Rams 133-90 and went 2 for 11 on third down and kept the ball for 26:30 (including the final 90 seconds of the contest), while the Rams were 5 for 13 on third down and kept the ball for 33:30.

Yes, this is the last game of the year. When next Sunday rolls around, most of America will be forced to wait for baseball and watch golf, basketball or those gosh-awful Lifetime movies on Sunday. It’s also the last Sunday of “THE DRILL” until September. With that…. (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

New England, according to the boys and girls in Vegas, are favored by 2 1/2 with a 56 1/2 over/under. Both numbers make a lot of sense. For the winners, they get to go to Disney World and the Lombardi Trophy. As for the loser? Let’s just say that sports talk shows will be second-guessing them over and over and over until the draft. For the championship week, we went 1-1 and for the season, we are now 150-112. The end is nigh for the 2018 season. No more NFL until pre-season. It’s time to pick a winner, Jimmy, to paraphrase Robert Redford from “The Natural.” Jimmy’s from LA and he’s going with the Rams. We are too. Rams win and cover the 2 1/2.

Broadcast Information – 6:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely, Gene Steratore; WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Mike Holmgren, Tony Boselli, Ed Werder; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 82 (New England), 83 (Los Angeles Rams); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 226 (New England), 225 (Los Angeles Rams)

Referee: John Parry

Injury Report

New England – New England reports no injuries

Los Angeles Rams – Los Angeles Rams report no injuries

Weather: Game indoors; if roof is open, partly cloudy and 55 degrees.

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

The night before the 2017 NFL regular season kicks off, New England Patriot fans will get to celebrate the defending Super Bowl with three new shows on NFL Network.

Tonight, Do Your Job Part II: Bill Belichick and the 2016 Patriots, America’s Game: 2016 Patriots and NFL’s Top 10: Tom Brady Games air on NFL Network starting at 8 p.m.

Do Your Job Part II: Bill Belichick and the 2016 Patriots: At 8 p.m., Do Your Job Part II: Bill Belichick and the 2016 Patriots airs on NFL Network, providing a behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest moments and decisions that led to the Patriots’ win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Building off of the success of 2015’s Do Your Job: Bill Belichick and the 2014 Patriots and last year’s Worth the Wait: Gary Kubiak and the 2015 Denver Broncos, this year’s edition features sitdown interviews with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft, President Jonathan Kraft, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and others.

Narrated by Boston native and Academy Award-nominated actor Edward Norton, the hour-long show provides an inside look at the Patriots’ fifth Super Bowl title in franchise history and second in three years. Among the topics discussed in Do Your Job Part II:

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s crucial sack of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan which resulted in a fumble in the second half of Super Bowl LI.

Patriots coaches explain the inside story of why the play worked, how the team’s commitment to fundamental football factored into the success of the play and how close Atlanta was to making a big gain

The Patriots’ defensive series following Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones’ catch which gave Atlanta a first down on New England’s 22-yard line with less than five minutes remaining in regulation

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reveals the detailed preparation which led to the game-winning touchdown play

The following Patriots personnel were interviewed for Do Your Job Part II:

Robert Kraft – Chairman & CEO
Jonathan Kraft – President
Bill Belichick – Head Coach
Josh McDaniels – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Matt Patricia – Defensive Coordinator
Nick Caserio – Director of Player Personnel
Ernie Adams – Director of Football Research
Ivan Fears – Running Backs Coach
Brendan Daly – Defensive Line Coach
Josh Boyer – Cornerbacks Coach
Dante Scarnecchia – Offensive Line Coach
Jon Judge – Special Teams Coach
Brian Flores – Linebackers Coach
Chad O’Shea – Wide Receivers Coach
Steve Belichick – Safeties Coach

To view a trailer for Do Your Job Part II, visit: https://youtu.be/_l6MAPniosc

Do Your Job Part II premiered Sunday, September 3.

Provided below are select quotes from Do Your Job Part II:

– “We were confident that we could still make the plays that we needed to make to win.” – Bill Belichick on the Patriots’ approach at halftime trailing by 18 points

– “The conversation led us to…we’re not going to score 25 points in one possession. The goal was to score once. Let’s get a touchdown and try to score one time.” – Josh McDaniels

– “When you’re looking at the situation, there’s the quarterback of the year, they have one of the greatest wide receivers in the league – they’re going to throw the ball…Sometimes in those moments in the game, I’m totally wrong, 100 percent. Somehow it all worked out.” – Matt Patricia

– “That’s definitely got to be the greatest catch in Super Bowl history. It was just things equalizing.” – Robert Kraft on Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman’s catch

– “When we won the coin toss, I looked over at my Dad and said, ‘Game over.'” – Jonathan Kraft on winning the coin toss in overtime

– “I don’t really think it’s about what I’ve done. I think it’s in this case about what this team did. Collectively, this team accomplished a lot. This team was a special team. The 2016 team was a special team.” – Bill Belichick

America’s Game: 2016 Patriots: At 9 p.m., America’s Game: 2016 Patriots premieres, featuring in-depth interviews with Julian Edelman, Dont’a Hightower and LeGarrette Blount telling the story of the 2016 Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Narrated by actor and Boston native, Chris Evans, America’s Game delves deep into the Patriots’ championship season. In the hour-long show, Edelman, Hightower and Blount recount the season in their own words, including the Patriots’ incredible 25-point comeback in Super Bowl LI which featured Hightower’s game-changing sack and Edelman’s circus catch late in the fourth quarter.

This year’s edition of America’s Game is the 51st episode of the long-running special which celebrates the Super Bowl champions.

To view a trailer for America’s Game, visit: https://youtu.be/0p8jpuYZ6II

Provided below are select quotes from America’s Game: 2016 Patriots:

– “He’s almost like, not human, because I feel like 99.9 percent of the world would be so nervous. ‘I have the whole season on my shoulders right now, I make one mistake it’s over for us.’ I don’t know if he even thinks about any of those things. You look in his eyes and you can just tell he’s not worried about messing anything up for us.” – LeGarrette Blount describing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s state of mind late in Super Bowl LI

– “Like I was 90 percent sure…So I’m sitting there like, ‘Gotta sell ’em it was a catch.’ Let’s go. I caught it! I caught it!” – Julian Edelman on his fourth quarter catch in Super Bowl LI

– “I honestly didn’t believe it, even after we did the Lombardi and the confetti. I still didn’t believe it. That’s stuff you see in a movie… Don’t give up. Keep fighting. But to actually live something that special… You don’t ever picture yourself in that situation.” – Dont’a Hightower on the Patriots’ comeback in Super Bowl LI

NFL’s Top 10: Tom Brady Games: At 10 p.m., the first episode of the NFL’s Top 10’s 11th season of shows premieres with a look at the top 10 games from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s career.

In honor of Brady winning his fifth Super Bowl, the NFL’s Top 10: Tom Brady Games details the 10 most significant games in his career. With commentary from both prominent national media members and those who have covered him closely, as well as UFC President Dana White, musician DJ Jazzy Jeff, actor C. Thomas Howell, star of The Bachelor Nick Viall and more, NFL’s Top 10: Tom Brady Games celebrates some of the greatest moments in the career of one of the NFL’s most iconic figures.

Provided below are select quotes from NFL’s Top 10: Tom Brady Games:

– “With as much as he’s accomplished, with his legacy so firmly in place, he’s still so driven in the moment to win the game.” – Ray Didinger

– “He’s the perfect guy. I tell my kids all the time, you don’t want to grow up =to be like Dad – you want to grow up to be like Tom Brady.” – Craig Carton

– “Think about big moments – he’s been the big quarterback that’s played in all of those moments.” – Kirk Morrison

ABOUT NFL MEDIA: NFL Media is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL.com, NFL Now, NFL Mobile from Verizon and NFL RedZone.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.

For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming can also be streamed live on smartphones through NFL Mobile from Verizon, as well as other digital platforms such as TuneIn.com and through Watch NFL Network on tablet (NFL Mobile, Watch NFL Network and NFL on Windows 10 apps), PC (NFL.com/watch), Xbox One and Xbox 360 (NFL on Xbox app) and other connected TV devices (NFL app on Apple TV, PlayStation 4, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV). Watch NFL Network access is available for NFL Network subscribers of participating TV providers. For more information, go to NFL.com/nflnetwork.

And then there was one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEASON – GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE IN THE 4TH QUARTER THROUGH WEEK 5
2016 – 58
2013 – 57
2004 – 56
2011 – 55
1999 – 53
2007 – 53
2015 – 53

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLAYER, YEAR – TEAM (RUSHING YARDS IN FIRST FIVE CAREER GAMES)
Eric Dickerson, 1983 – Los Angeles Rams (645)
Adrian Peterson, 2007 – Minnesota (607)
Todd Gurley, 2015 – St. Louis Rams (575)
Billy Sims, 1980 – Detroit (560)
Ezekiel Elliott, 2016 – Dallas (546)

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

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

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

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

*Active streak

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

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

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

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

The coaches with the most career victories in NFL history:

COACH – TEAM(S) (TOTAL CAREER VICTORIES)
Don Shula – Baltimore Colts, Miami (347)
George Halas – Chicago (324)
Tom Landry – Dallas (270)
Bill Belichick – Cleveland, New England (250)*
*Active

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLAYER, TEAM; SACKS THROUGH WEEK 6, SEASON
Elvis Dumervil, Denver; 10 in 2009
Jared Allen, Minnesota; 9.5 in 2011
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans; 9.5 in 2012
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis; 9.5 in 2013
Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo; 7 in 2016*
*Through Week 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was game one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last game of the 2014 National Football League season and it couldn’t be bigger.

Super Bowl XLIX.

For all the marbles.

A pair of top seeds in the NFL playoffs meet in Glendale in a “winner-take-all” situation. For the 49th time, someone will go home with a lot of hardware (the Lombardi Trophy), while the loser will go home empty handed.

The defending Super Bowl champs Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

Two teams with four Super Bowls between them (New England – 3, Seattle – 1).

Salmon and Starbucks vs. lobster and Dunkin Donuts.

Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick. Two coaches with a lot in common. They have four Super Bowls between them (Belichick with 3, Carroll with 1) and they both have coached the Patriots. Carroll’s tenure in Foxboro ran from 1997-99, where he was 28-23 before moving to Southern California and Belichick took over. Carroll then went to the Trojans in 2001 and remained in Los Angeles until 2009, when he made the move up I-5 to the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks.

For the second consecutive season, the game will feature the No. 1 seed in each conference.

“There are 32 teams that started and now there are two remaining,” New England quarterback Tom Brady told the Boston Globe. “We’re trying to be the one that finishes off the season the way you want to, the way we wanted to from the start of the year.”

With the two championship games and the Pro Bowl, we were 2-1, which is not a bad thing. For the year, 162-93.

Super Bowl XLIX will pit the NFL’s top two teams in point differential during the regular season – New England (+155) and Seattle (+140).

CLOSE GAMES: The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

It marked the eighth consecutive NFC Championship Game to be decided by seven points or fewer, extending the longest streak in conference championship game history.

The past eight NFC Championship Games:

SEASON – FINAL SCORE
2007 – New York Giants 23, Green Bay 20*
2008 – Arizona 32, Philadelphia 25
2009 – New Orleans 31, Minnesota 28*
2010 – Green Bay 21, Chicago 14
2011 – New York Giants 20, San Francisco 17*
2012 – San Francisco 28, Atlanta 24
2013 – Seattle 23, San Francisco 17
2014 – Seattle 28, Green Bay 22*
*Overtime

SUPER FOLLOW-UPS: The defending Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks defeated Green Bay 28-22 in overtime on Sunday and became the 12th team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl after winning it the previous season.

Eight Super Bowl winners won the title game the next year and three lost it.

The teams to reach the Super Bowl after winning it the previous season:

SEASON – SUPER BOWL/WINNER, NEXT SEASON
1966 – I/Green Bay, Won Super Bowl
1972 – VII/Miami, Won Super Bowl
1974 – IX/Pittsburgh, Won Super Bowl
1977 – XII/Dallas, Lost Super Bowl
1978 – XIII/Pittsburgh, Won Super Bowl
1982 – XVII/Washington, Lost Super Bowl
1988 – XXIII/San Francisco, Won Super Bowl
1992 – XXVII/Dallas, Won Super Bowl
1996 – XXXI/Green Bay, Lost Super Bowl
1997 – XXXII/Denver, Won Super Bowl
2003 – XXXVIII/New England, Won Super Bowl
2013 – XLVIII/Seattle, ???

SUPER CHAMPIONSHIP: New England
defeated Indianapolis 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl XLIX. This is the Patriots eighth Super Bowl appearance, tying Dallas and Pittsburgh for the most in NFL history.

The teams with the most Super Bowl appearances:

TEAM – SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES
New England – 8
Dallas – 8
Pittsburgh – 8
Denver – 7
San Francisco – 6

SUPER COMBINATION: New England head coach Bill Belichickand quarterback Tom Brady defeated Indianapolis 45-7 in the AFC Championship in Foxboro to advance to Super Bowl XLIX. Belichick and Brady extended their NFL record to six for the most Super Bowl appearances by any head coach-quarterback combination in NFL history.

The head coach-quarterback combinations with the most Super Bowl appearances in NFL history:

QUARTERBACK and HEAD COACH, TEAM – SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, New England – 6*
Roger Staubach and Tom Landry, Dallas – 4
Jim Kelly and Marv Levy, Buffalo – 4
Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh – 4
*Active

Belichick (six) joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula (six) as the only head coaches to lead their team(s) to six Super Bowls.

The head coaches to reach the most Super Bowls:
HEAD COACH – SUPER BOWL BERTHS
Bill Belichick – 6
Don Shula – 6
Tom Landry – 5
Five tied with 4

Brady (six) also surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (five) for the most conference championship wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Brady will play in his sixth Super Bowl, the most ever by a starting quarterback.

The starting quarterbacks with the most Super Bowl appearances all-time:

PLAYER – SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES, SUPER BOWL RECORD
Tom Brady – 6, 3-2*
John Elway – 5, 2-3^
Terry Bradshaw – 4, 4-0^
Joe Montana – 4, 4-0^
Roger Staubach – 4, 2-2^
Jim Kelly – 4, 0-4^
*Will play in Super Bowl XLIX
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

AMAZING ADAM: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri played his 30th career postseason game in his 19-year career on Sunday against New England. Vinatieri (30) surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (29) for the most postseason games played in NFL history.

New England quarterback Tom Brady (28) surpassed D.D. Lewis (27) for the third-most postseason games played all-time.

The players with the most postseason games played in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (POSTSEASON GAMES PLAYED)
Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis and New England (30)
Jerry Rice – San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle (29)
Tom Brady – New England (28)
D.D. Lewis – Dallas (27)

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play a great team in the Patriots with a great coach and a great quarterback,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson told the Seattle Post Intelligencer and KING-TV. “We have a lot of respect for them and what they do. We’re just grateful to have the opportunity.”

Both teams had their fans glued to the TV sets two weeks ago as the AFC and NFC Championship Games averaged 46.1 million viewers, topping the 45 million mark for the second consecutive year. The NFC Championship Game between Seattle and Green Bay averaged 49.8 million viewers – the most-watched program since Super Bowl XLVIII – and the AFC Championship Game between New England and Indianapolis averaged 42.1 million viewers.

“It’s the character of the men that we have on our football team,” says Wilson. “The relentless drive to be successful for each other and just be grateful for the opportunity that we have, the gratefulness that we have in our room and for each other is unbelievable. We really care about each other. We work for each other. We want to be the best for a reason.”

Seattle has won five consecutive playoff games and head coach Pete Carroll is 7-2 (.778) in the postseason with the Seahawks. Carroll, who guided the Patriots to two playoff berths (1997-98) in his three seasons in New England (1997-99), has led Seattle to the postseason in four of the past five years (2010, 2012-14).

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for the club to be able to get a chance to go back to the Super Bowl,” Carroll told KIRO-TV. “It’s extraordinarily fun for us and I hope for everybody else, too. We’re going to do everything we can to go get it done.”

Wilson will be the youngest quarterback (26 years, 64 days) to start two Super Bowls and also the first QB to start two Super Bowls in his first three NFL seasons to begin a career. His 36 regular-season wins, six playoff victories and 42 overall wins are all the most by a starting quarterback in his first three NFL seasons to start a career.

“Russell and Tom Brady are both great winners,” says Carroll about the two starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl XLIX. “Tom has had a long time to prove that. Russell is at the early stages of proving that to the world. But he’s got a chance to be similar.”

Seattle struggled in the first half against Green Bay at Century Link Field, trailing 16-0 at half before outscoring the Packers in the second half and overtime 28-6 to win 28-22. The defending Super Bowl champions got as far as Green Bay’s 20 yard line before being stalled by a turnover toward the end of the first half stopped the drive. Seattle turned the ball over four times in the first half (three interceptions, two by rookie CB Clinton HaHa Dix) and had five defensive penalties. Marshawn Lynch ran for 157 of Seattle’s 194 with a TD in the contest, while the Packers ran for 135. Although Wilson did throw the four interceptions, he did manage to throw the winning pass to WR Jermaine Kearse with 11:41 left in the overtime. Green Bay trailed 22-19 in regulation after Lynch scored and Wilson and Luke Wilson connected on a two-point conversion and tied things up on a 48-yard field goal by Mason Crosby with 14 seconds left. Seattle’s first score of the contest came by way of trickery when rookie T Gary Gillam caught a pass from P Jon Ryan in the third quarter. Ryan became the first punter in NFL playoff history to throw a TD pass in a post-season contest. Despite Wilson’s struggles with turnovers, he did manage to outpass Aaron Rodgers 209-176 (Rodgers threw a pair of interceptions in the contest). Seattle on third and fourth down tries were 8-16 and 1-1 and held the ball for 31:04 (including the overtime), while the Packers did not have a fourth down try in the game, going 3-14 and kept the ball for 32:15.

New England proved to be a bit too much for Indianapolis at Foxboro two Sundays ago, as the Pats “deflated” the Colts 45-7. New England led 17-7 at half and then proceeded to outscore Indy and Andrew Luck 28-0 in the final 30 minutes of play. Pats RB LeGare Blount ran for 148 of his team’s 177 yards with three TDs, while his defense held the Colts to 83 yards and forced three turnovers in the rain and wind at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady out-threw Luck 226-126 in passing yardage (Brady had three TD passes, including a connection with his favorite target, TE Rod Gronkowski) and New England never trailed in the contest. The Pats on third and fourth down tries were 12-18 and 2-2 and held the ball for 37:49, while the Colts kept it for 22:11 and went 3-11 on third down tries (Indy did not have a fourth down conversion).

That is tied with Dallas and Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl appearances in NFL history. Seattle can be the 9th team to win consecutive Super Bowls & 1st since 2004 Patriots won SB XXXIX and the Seahawks were the number one seed for the second  consecutive season & 3rd time (2005, 2013) since current 12-team format started in 1990.

Last year, Carroll became the third oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl and can be oldest head coach in NFL history to win back-to-back Lombardis.

“It’s awesome and an unbelievable feeling to be going back to the Super Bowl,” says Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. “I know this team has worked hard all year and we’ve stuck together as a team.”

Belichick and Brady will make their sixth Super Bowl appearance, the most by any head coach-quarterback tandem in NFL history. Belichick and Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula (six) are the only head coaches in NFL history to lead their teams to six Super Bowls. Brady will start his sixth Super Bowl, the most ever by a quarterback, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (five).

Belichick’s 21 postseason victories are the most by a head coach in NFL history. Brady has won 20 career playoff games, the most ever by a starting quarterback.

“You have to have a good team,” says Belichick. “There are all the components of it. One guy can’t win in this league. All one guy can do is do his job. Tom does his job as well as anybody. I’m so thankful that he’s our quarterback. There’s nobody I would rather have. He does everything well. And with a lot of other people doing their jobs, well, then you have a good team.”

New England averaged 29.3 points per game in the regular season, the fourth-best mark in the NFL. The Patriots will face a Seattle defense that led the league in points allowed (15.9 per game), total defense (267.1 yards per game) and pass defense (185.6 yards per game). The Seahawks have led the NFL in points allowed in each of the past three regular seasons.

“It’s a great challenge,” says Brady about facing the Seahawks. “We’re going to play a great team. That’s why they’re in this game too.”

“To go back to my rookie season, that seems like forever ago,” recalls Wilson. “But back in my rookie season, playing against the Patriots, I truly think that was one of the biggest games for me personally, especially being able to come back against a great team. That was a huge comeback for us. I think that was kind of a momentum starter for us for the past three years. The Patriots are always on, they’re always ready to go, so we’re going to have to play our best football, that’s for sure.”

The Patriots had seven players selected to the Pro Bowl: quarterback Brady (10th), wide receiver Julian Edleman (first), kicker Stephen Gstkowski (third), tight end Gronkowski (third), safety McCourty (second), cornerback Revis (sixth) and special teamer Matthew Slater (fourth).

The defending Super Bowl champs had seven players selected to the Pro Bowl: safety Chancellor (third), running back Lynch (fifth), tackle Russell Okung (second), cornerback Sherman (second), safety Earl Thomas (fourth), linebacker Bobby Wagner (first) and quarterback Wilson (third).

The series is even at 8-8 and the Patriots have outscored Seattle 321-295. Seattle’s last win in the series came in 2012 in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks when they beat the Pats 24-23 back when their home field was known as Qwest Field before the name change. New England’s last win was in 2008, also in the Pacific Northwest, by a final of 24-21.  The Pats are favored by 1 with a 47 1/2 over/under. Since this is the LAST game of the 2014 season, this is the last time that we can tell you about “The Drill” until the 2015 season gets underway in September, so with that… (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!), 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 pre-K 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 and dates a 40-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?”

It’s the final act of the 2014 NFL season and the curtain will fall when things are over and done with in Glendale. 32 teams started a journey that saw them sweat through mini-camps, then pre-season camps, where they fought heat, bugs, injuries and at times each other. They played a 16-game schedule and no one went undefeated, much to the joy of the 1974 Miami Dolphins. When that 16-game schedule came to an end, there were 20 teams that made it to the post-season party. It’s all down to two teams. Two of the best meet in the desert and when the dust finally settles, one team will be holding the Lombardi, while the other will wonder what happened. This one’s going to be really close and could be the very first Super Bowl to go to overtime. New England makes it close but Seattle gets some more hardware and comes away with another Lombardi, covering the 7.

Broadcast Information
Seattle vs. New England, 6:30 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, James Lofton, Mark Malone (Field reporters).

Injury Report

New England
QUESTIONABLE: C Bryan Stork (knee)
PROBABLE: LB Akeem Ayers (knee), QB Tom Brady (ankle), LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), DT Chris Jones (elbow), CB Darrelle Revis (not injury related), DT Sealver Siliga (foot)

Seattle
PROBABLE: T Justin Britt (knee), S Kam Chancellor (knee), RB Marshawn Lynch (back), CB Richard Sherman (elbow), G J.R. Sweezy (ankle), S Earl Thomas (shoulder)

Weather: Game indoors; if roof is open, sunny and 67 degrees.

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