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Michael Thomas Jersey White

Postby linchao » Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:53 am

It’s been awhile since the NFL flexed a game to Sunday night. The Bengals vs. Chiefs is a worthy choice.No games were moved from day to night last season , except for the final weekend, when all games are scheduled for the afternoon until the league and NBC figure out what is most attractive for prime time. In 2016, there were three flexed games, including Week 17. Not counting that, the last flex was Bucs at Cowboys on Dec. 18, 2016.So switching a pair of first-place teams made sense: Cincinnati (4-2) is at Kansas City (5-1).Some of the juicy plot lines involve offense, hardly a surprise in this year of points, points and more points. Kansas City has the league’s lowest-ranked defense and the Bengals rank 29th. Even worse, both are dealing with a slew of injuries on that side of the ball.So Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt could fill the screen. So might Andy Dalton connecting with A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd.“Any time you want to be one of the great ones on the defense or you want your defense to have a statement-type game, you have to do it against the best offenses in the league,” Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. “And right now, they’re putting up those points like they’re one of the best offenses in the league. So you’ve got to go out there and put it on ’em.”There are some caveats to this matchup, however.Although the Bengals have won four straight in the series dating to Oct. 14, 2007, they are 3-15 on Sunday nights, losing eight straight. The Chiefs are 7-3 in games on Sunday nights.The weekend began with Denver’s 45-10 victory at Arizona on Thursday nightEmmanuel Sanders threw and caught touchdown passes, Denver returned two interceptions for first-quarter touchdowns and the Broncos snapped a four-game losing streak.Todd Davis returned rookie Josh Rosen’s deflected pass for a touchdown on the second play of the game and Chris Harris Jr. took another back 53 yards for a score with 2:02 left in the quarter as the Broncos (3-4) opened a 21-3 lead. Rosen threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice on a rough night that began badly for him and never got better. The Cardinals (1-6), down 35-3 at the half, fell to 0-4 at home for the first time since 1979.Off this week are Seattle (3-3), Green Bay (3-2-1), Oakland (1-5) and Pittsburgh (3-2-1).New England (4-2) at Chicago (3-2)Seems like every week, the Patriots’ opponent is battered by injuries to key players. No one is more key in Chicago than edge rusher Khalil Mack, who is battling an ankle problem.Just what Tom Brady needs against one of the five teams he’s never lost to. Brady is 4-0 against the Bears; the others are Atlanta (5-0), Dallas (4-0), Minnesota (4-0) and Tampa Bay (4-0).While the Bears should be able to move the ball on New England , they’ll likely need lots of points for a chance in this one.New Orleans (4-1) at Baltimore (4-2)Just like Patriots-Bears, this is one terrific offense against defense matchup. New Orleans ranks third in total offense and Baltimore is first on defense.Led by Drew Brees, who set the yards passing career mark in a rout of the Redskins before their bye the Saints have won four in a row. Nobody is more balanced with the ball now that RB Mark Ingram is back from suspension to team with dynamic Alvin Kamara. Brees, who is 0-4 vs. the Ravens, this year has a 78 percent completion rate for 1,658 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.The Ravens had 11 sacks last week against Tennessee and a league-most 26 overall. They are allowing an NFL-low 12.8 points per game and the fewest yards per game (270.8). Baltimore has four of the NFL’s past 14 shutouts since the start of the 2017 season.Carolina (3-2) at Philadelphia (3-3)An intriguing matchup of a solid running team in Carolina, led by Christian McCaffrey and QB Cam Newton, facing the second-stingiest rushing defense in a place where the Eagles are 17-4 under Doug Pederson.As for the air game, which seemingly everyone needs to succeed these days, Carolina is far too inconsistent.Meanwhile, Carson Wentz has thrown at least one TD in his past 19 games played, the longest streak in franchise history and second-longest active streak behind Andrew Luck (28). Wentz has thrown 133 consecutive passes without a pick. His longest streak is 135 passes.Tennessee (3-3) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) at LondonThe Titans were humiliated at home by Baltimore and should welcome the long trip overseas. Then again, they have lost 10 of the past 11 to the Chargers and bring a sputtering offense into Wembley.Although Tennessee has a solid D, it faces an in-synch offense. The Chargers are 13-5 since starting last season 0-4 and QB Philip Rivers leads the AFC and ranks second in the NFL with a 115.1 passer rating. He has 13 TD passes and four interceptions in seven games vs. the Titans.Houston (3-3) at Jacksonville (3-3)The other AFC South leaders.After beginning the season with three defeats, the Texans have turned it around, albeit all their wins have been tight affairs, two in overtime.Defensive end J.J. Watt , perhaps the NFL’s best player when healthy, is back in form after missing most of the 2016 and ’17 seasons with injuries. Watt has seven sacks and three forced fumbles in the past four games.The Jaguars have a solid defense, too, particularly against the pass, where they ranked first in yards surrendered. But Jacksonville was outscored 70-21 in consecutive road losses, forcing coach Doug Marrone to return to training camp practices this week to emphasize fundamental football.Dallas (3-3) at Washington (3-2)Among pro sports’ most intense rivalries, this will be a physical and possibly low-scoring affair given the strength of both defenses and imbalance of the offenses.Dallas, winless on the road , will try to run with Ezekiel Elliott, second in rushing yards with 586 and third in yards from scrimmage with 752. Washington will counter with Adrian Peterson, who averaged 108.5 yards rushing in the past two home games.Minnesota (3-2-1) at New York Jets (3-3)The Vikings have never won at the Jets, going 0-5. To break that slump, the main weapon could be WR Adam Thielen. He had 11 catches for 123 yards last week, joining Houston’s Charley Hennigan (1961) as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more yards in each of his team’s first six games to begin a season. Thielen leads the NFL with 58 catches, the most by a player in the first six games in league history, and 712 yards receiving.Guess what: New York’s secondary is banged-up and porous.The Jets are seeking their first three-game winning streak since Weeks 3-5 of 2017.Los Angeles Rams (6-0) at San Francisco (1-5)Keeping the NFL’s only perfect record shouldn’t be too challenging for LA, which has the most dangerous offense around. RB Todd Gurley ran for a career-high 208 yards and two TDs last week. The Rams are averaging 32.7 points per game despite scoring TDs on only 56.7 percent of red-zone trips. Los Angeles also leads the NFL with 7.64 yards per play on first down.San Francisco blew a game at Green Bay last week and Niners QB C.J. Beathard is tied for the NFL worst with seven turnovers in the past three weeks since Jimmy Garoppolo tore up his knee. The Niners have an NFL-worst minus-11 turnover margin.New York Giants (1-5) at Atlanta (2-4), Monday nightMore injuries plagued the Falcons, who placed top running back Devonta Freeman on IR. No team has been more damaged by injuries in 2018, most of them coming on defense.That means Atlanta needs shootouts to have a chance most weeks, and QB Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 1,432 yards passing and a 128.2 rating since Week 3.He is tied for first with 12 TD passes in that span.New York’s D is vulnerable and the offense is enigmatic despite the presence of sensational rookie RB Saquon Barkley, and firebrand wideout Odell Beckham Jr. The O-line should be dubbed the “Awful-Line.”Detroit (2-3) at Miami (4-2)The Lions are feeling upbeat following a victory over Green Bay and a week off, but that special feeling could turn sour because of their special teams.Lions coverage units rank last on punts and sixth worst on kickoffs. The Dolphins rank second in kickoff return average and third in punt return average.Miami is no powerhouse, though. The Dolphins are tied for the AFC East lead even though they’ve been outgained by 398 yards.Cleveland (2-3-1) at Tampa Bay (2-3)The Dawg Pound was silenced in Cleveland when the Chargers pounded the Browns last week. Tampa will be hitting the airwaves, trying to find mismatches for WRs DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans. It won’t hurt the Bucs that Browns Pro Bowl MLB Joe Schobert is out with a hamstring injury. This will be his first game missed — at any level — due to injury.The Browns do lead the NFL with 16 takeaways, three more than all last season. Tampa has 11 giveaways.Buffalo (2-4) at Indianapolis (1-5)Remember Derek Anderson, most lately the backup to Newton in Carolina. He has surfaced as the new starter in Buffalo with rookie Josh Allen hurting and Nathan Peterman an interception machine.On the positive side, the Bills‘ defense is tied for the league lead with seven fumble recoveries.The Colts will try for the fifth time to win game No. 300 since moving to Indy in 1984. And placekicker Adam Vinatieri needs 10 points to break Morten Andersen’s scoring record (2,544 points).New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons: Series history and predictions Yankees vs. Red Sox, Duke vs. Carolina, 'Bama vs. Auburn, Ohio State vs. Michigan , Ali vs. Frazier, Luke vs. Darth, America vs. U.S.S.R. Those rivalries may only be a minor disagreement compared to the outright hate that has existed between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Saints/Falcons is a feud that transcends sports. A Hatfield-McCoy type of rivalry that divides households, ends friendships, and creates sworn enemies among the two fanbases. New Orleans and Atlanta will meet for the 99th time this afternoon, including one playoff showdown. The Falcons own a 52-46 edge in the series, including a 27-22 advantage in games played in Atlanta, site of today's contest. Normally closely played games with unpredictable results, the Falcons have averaged 22.1 points per game, while the Saints 21.8 in games against each other. New Orleans first year as an NFL franchise was of course 1967, which was only the second year of professional football existence for the Falcons. The first meeting between these two took place on November 26, 1967 in New Orleans, a 27-24 Saints victory. It was the second of just three wins on the year for the new team. The first game in Atlanta between them was December 7, 1969, a 45-17 Saints loss. The Falcons would go on to win the first five contests played in Atlanta between the two, and 12 of the first 14. The first Saints victory on their enemy's home field would not be until October 20, 1974. The New Orleans offense netted 232 yards rushing that day, and a superb defensive effort caused six turnovers and sacked Falcon quarterbacks seven times on their way to a 13-3 victory. Atlanta and New Orleans would become division rivals with the formation of the NFC West division at the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. They would continue to be linked after the league realigned in 2002, forming the NFC South. Neither franchise would have much success early on. The Falcons did not have their first playoff berth until 1978, and have appeared in the postseason 14 times in their history. New Orleans would have to wait until 1987 for their first appearance in the postseason, and have qualified for the playoffs 11 times during their existence. Both teams have six division championships to their credit, including four NFC South titles a piece, when this rivalry took on greater national prominence. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty ImagesThe Saints-Falcons rivalry greatly intensified in 1978. New Orleans entered week eleven with a 5-5 record and in good position for a playoff push when they hosted the Falcons. With just seconds to play, Atlanta pulled off a miraculous 20-17 victory on ahail mary pass that be called Big Ben Right. Just 14 days later, during the rematch in Atlanta , Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski again ripped the heart out of all of New Orleans with another comeback in the waning moments to give his team a win by an identical 20-17 score. The Saints would dominate their rivals between the mid-1980's through mid-1990's, even winning 8 of the 9 games in the Falcons home stadium between 1986-94. Bartkowski was just one of many reviled players or coaches on both sides throughout the series. Names like Alfred Jackson, Jerry Glanville, William Andrews, Tony Gonzalez, Deion Sanders, Brian Jordan, and Roddy White cause Saints fans to taste bile, while Dalton Hilliard, Quinn Early, Jimmy Graham, Steve Gleason, Deuce McAllister, and the entire Dome Patrol could make a Falcons fan curl into a fetal position. Saints Hall of Famers Bobby Hebert, Morten Anderson, and Joe Horn had the audacity to wear the enemy's uniform at one time, while Michael Haynes would return home to New Orleans after spending the first part of his career with the Falcons. Another era of Saints/Falcons hate has brought much of the same. New names such as Sean Payton, Cam Jordan, Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, and Deion Jones have drawn the ire of fans on both sides.Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has been the central figure in these wars since his arrival to the Saints in 2006. Brees is 16-8 against the Falcons since becoming a Saint, including a 7-5 record on the road. While Brees would often make the Falcons secondary his own personal playground , they had some moments when they did get the best of their nemesis. One such moment came during last year's showdown in Atlanta on December 7, 2017. Despite 271 yards passing and two scores, Atlanta's Deion Jones intercepted a Brees end zone pass in the last seconds to preserve a 20-17 win. Another cringe worthy moment for Saints fans came on November 29, 2012. On a Thursday night showdown in Atlanta, the Falcons not only carved out a 23-13 victory, but intercepted Brees five times and held him without a touchdown throw, ending his NFL-record streak of 54 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesBrees has often had huge statistical games against his rival, and the Saints will likely need another one to win this key match up. New Orleans is still without their Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram, currently suspended, and has had to rely on the success of the passing game with superstar wideout Michael Thomas and all-purpose stud Alvin Kamara. They will be attacking an injury depleted Atlanta defense missing Jones, pass rusher Takkarist McKinley, and safety Keanu Neal. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has also had some big statistics against the Saints, and will try to match Brees with his own star weapons in wideout in Julio Jones and running back Tevin Coleman. Ryan will also be without a pro bowl back however, as Devonta Freeman has been ruled out with injury. The improved New Orleans defense has been up and down early this season, but defensive end Cameron Jordan has historically performed well against Atlanta, and they are built to pressure a questionable Falcons front line. Both squads come into this game with 1-1 records, but New Orleans has already dropped a division game with a loss to Tampa Bay in week one. The contest does have the makings of another shootout, but this rivalry has been anything but predictable. The Saints appear to have a defensive advantage over the banged up rival, and Brees is coming off a subpar performance (for him) last week against Cleveland, something he rarely does two weeks in a row. Saints 31Falcons 27

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