Chargers vs Steelers

Chargers vs Steelers odds, line: Sunday Night Football picks and predictions from proven model on 13-2 roll

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In a potential playoff preview, the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Los Angeles Chargerson Sunday Night Football as part of the Week 13 NFL schedule. Kickoff from Heinz Field is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET. The game features two of the most balanced clubs in the NFL, as both teams rank in the top 10 in total offense and defense. Pittsburgh (7-3-1) hopes to bounce back from a loss in Denver last week and gain separation from Baltimore in the AFC North. Los Angeles (8-3) leads the AFC Wild Card race and is assured of staying within a game of Kansas City in the AFC West with a win. The Steelers are favored by 3.5, while the over-under for total points scored has dipped slightly to 52 in the latest Chargers vs. Steelers odds. Before you lock in your Chargers vs. Steelers picks for Sunday Night Football, listen to what SportsLine expert Micah Roberts has to say.

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The advanced computer model simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen massive returns. SportsLine’s proprietary computer model went 176-80 last season and beat over 95 percent of CBS Office Pool players in 2016 and ’17. It also performed better than 98 percent of experts tracked by during that span. Additionally, it went 48-34 on A-rated picks against the spread last season, and $100 bettors who followed it the past two seasons are up nearly $4,000.

The model has continued to nail its top-rated picks in 2018, entering Week 13 on a blistering 13-2 run. For the season, it is now 27-11 on all top-rated picks, extending its two-year run to a strong 75-45. And when it comes to all straight-up picks, the model went 12-3 last week and is 118-56 for the season, ranking in the top five on

Now the model has dialed in on Chargers vs. Steelers on “Sunday Night Football” (stream live on fuboTV). We can tell you it’s leaning Under, and it’s also generated a strong point-spread pick that’s hitting in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only see that one over at SportsLine.

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The model knows the Steelers have battled inconsistency over the past few seasons, particularly in the early going. But their history suggests they are at their best both down the stretch and on the game’s biggest stages. The Steelers are 27-8 in prime-time games at Heinz Field and an NFL-best 18-3 in December games since 2013.

They also have dominated this series, going 15-3 straight-up at home all-time against the Chargers. They are 5-2 against the spread in the last seven meetings in Pittsburgh and 8-3 against the spread overall in the last 11 games. Pittsburgh also has covered six straight times coming off a straight-up loss.

But just because the Steelers are back home in a favorable spot doesn’t mean they’ll cover over a field goal against the playoff-bound Chargers on “Sunday Night Football.”

The Chargers have won seven of their last eight games and are yielding only 15.8 points per contest during that stretch. Five of L.A.’s eight victories have been decided by double-digits thanks in large part to Philip Rivers. The veteran quarterback is enjoying a sizzling season, completing 70 percent of his pass attempts tor over 3,100 yards with 26 touchdowns. Last Sunday against the Cardinals, Rivers was nearly flawless, completing a record-setting 28-of-29 throws.

Workhorse running back Melvin Gordon won’t play because of a knee sprain, but Austin Ekeler (5.8 yards per carry) is a shifty backup who can keep the defense honest. He caught a career-high 10 passes for 68 yards last week. L.A. has covered four of its five road games this year.

Who wins Chargers vs. Steelers? And which side covers well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to be all over on Sunday Night Football, all from the incredible computer model that has returned

Steelers vs Chargers

Steelers vs Chargers: Score and Twitter Reaction for Monday Night Football

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The Pittsburgh Steelers stunned the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium with a game-winning touchdown as the clock expired in a 24-20 victory on Monday Night Football. Running back Le’Veon Bell received the final snap in a Wildcat formation, waited for a hole to open up and fought for the goal line as he extended the ball to clinch the win.

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Bell ended up with 111 rushing yards and 16 receiving yards. Had he ran for 110, the Steelers would have lost and dropped to 2-3. Instead, they are 3-2 and well within striking distance of the 5-0 Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.

Interestingly, the NFL avoided some timing controversy because Bell found the end zone. Had the clock expired and Pittsburgh lost, it likely would have been forced to answer to this update from former Vice President of Officiating and current analyst at Fox Sports Mike Pereira:

Bell wasn’t the only hero for the victorious Steelers. Michael Vick threw for 203 yards and a touchdown in place of the injured Ben Roethlisbergerand shook off some early struggles to come through when it mattered most. John Breech of CBS Sports highlighted Vick’s ability to carry the offense at winning time:

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin also deserves plenty of credit for electing to go for the victory on the road instead of attempting a field goal to try to tie the game and force overtime. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reacted to the decision:

The Steelers’ final drive nullified Chargers kicker Josh Lambo’s heroic effort after he drilled a 54-yard field goal with less than three minutes remaining to give San Diego the lead. It also overshadowed an excellent game by tight end Antonio Gates, who finished with 92 receiving yards and two scores.

The Chargers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard with a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Gates hauled in his 100th career scoring catch and joined Tony Gonzalez as the only two players at their position to crack the century mark.

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The fact that the score came in the first quarter of Gates’ first game back from a four-game suspension for violating the performance-enhancing substances policy made it all the more impressive. The NFL provided a highlight of the historic catch:

Pittsburgh trimmed the lead to 7-3 by halftime, but the offense stalled for much of the third quarter behind Vick. Peter Bukowski of Sports Illustrated didn’t think Roethlisberger’s injury was a valid excuse for a unit that features Bell and Antonio Brown:

Fortunately for the Steelers, their defense found the end zone when Antwon Blake picked off a Philip Rivers pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter. Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune praised Blake’s instincts and pointed out the pick-six was nothing new from Rivers:

Despite the deflating interception, San Diego bounced back to tie the game at 10 on the ensuing possession. What’s more, the Pittsburgh offense continued to scuffle, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report wondered if it was time to make a change:

Pittsburgh’s offensive ineptitude presented the Chargers with a golden opportunity, and Rivers took advantage with a touchdown drive for a 17-10 lead with eight minutes remaining. He capped the 60-yard drive with another strike to Gates, this time from 11 yards out.

Vick responded with a gutsy drive, leading the Steelers down the field. He picked up a huge first down with his legs and then connected with Heath Miller inside the 1-yard line with five seconds remaining.

Pittsburgh elected to go for the victory instead of trying to force overtime with a chip-shot field goal, and it put the ball in Bell’s hands with the game on the line. Rather than hand it to him, the Steelers snapped it directly to the running back in a Wildcat formation, and he danced until a hole opened up. He then stretched the ball over the goal line to win the game in dramatic fashion.

This was a critical victory for the Steelers because they have to play the 4-1 Arizona Cardinals in Week 6. A loss in Monday’s game would have pushed Pittsburgh three games behind the undefeated Bengals, and playing the dominant Cardinals is no easy proposition, especially if Roethlisberger is still out with his knee injury.

As for the Chargers, they are also chasing an unbeaten team in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos have won every game even though quarterback Peyton Manning is nowhere near the unstoppable force he was in his prime. That means 2-3 San Diego may have to set its sights on a wild-card spot, even though there is plenty of time remaining in the season.

That makes the head-to-head loss to the Steelers all the more important because it could prove critical if both teams find themselves in wild-card contention as the Bengals and Broncos run away with their respective divisions.

The Chargers must face the undefeated Green Bay Packers in Week 6. Best of luck trying to get over Monday’s loss in time to find a way to deal with Aaron Rodgers in six days.

The talk from Pittsburgh’s side following the victory was naturally about Tomlin’s decision to go for the win instead of the tie. Bell said, “We knew we were going for it,” per Will Brinson of CBS Sports.

Tomlin also commented on his call, per SportsCenter: “I’m hoping that I have time… But we have to run the ball. We have Le’Veon Bell. We’re on the road, we have to play to win.”

The Pittsburgh coach was also asked about his decision to keep Vick in the game despite his monumental struggles through the first three quarters. The move paid off, and Tomlin said, “Cause he’s Mike, man. He’s got a career of highlights like that,” when describing his trust in the quarterback, per NFL Network.

As for the Chargers, coach Mike McCoy was ready to look ahead in the immediate aftermath, per the team’s Twitter page: “It was a tough loss. But we have a short week, we have to move on.”

Rivers suggested as much, per the team: “We know we’ve got our hands full. We have to go in next week ready to roll.”

Chiefs vs Raiders

Four Raiders to watch in NFL Week 13 game vs Chiefs

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The Raiders will face the Kansas City Chiefs twice in the last five weeks, punishment that seems both cruel and unusual. The disparity between this longtime rivals may never be greater, with the Chiefs a juggernaut and the Raiders a cellar dweller in the AFC.

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Oddsmakers believe this will be a blowout, but the Raiders won’t find much solace in keeping things close. They are in the silver linings business at this stage of a season gone wrong, looking hard for signs of progress and player development among the ranks.

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Playing well against such a formidable opponent would make a real impact with this coaching staff.

Keep an eye on these four on Sunday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum, when the Raiders battle the Chiefs:

The Raiders have given their fifth-round punter plenty of slack this season to work through a rough rookie campaign. Townsend has just a 37.7-yard net average, and hasn’t been as good a directional punter as expected.

He put the team in a rough spot last week, playing a large part in a punt returned for a touchdown.

“We didn’t’ hit our landmark,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “We gave them a low hanging punt that gave him a two-way go, and that’s hard to defend. If we do that against this guy, we’ll have very little chance to win this game.”

“This guy” is Chiefs receiver/return man Tyreek Hill, who has world-class speed and elusiveness. He can wreck a game on offense and special teams. If you give him a returnable punt, Hunt can take it all the way.

“Tyreek Hill, he’s a unique skill set,” Gruden said. “You have to limit his opportunities every way you can, on offense and in the kicking game.”

This is a big-time prove-it game for Townsend, who could negate Hill’s impact some with solid directional kick. This matchup, and this final stretch, is vital to deciding whether the Raiders bring in stiff competition for the 2019 punter job or a camp leg to help prepare him for the season. The Raiders have been patient. At some point, however, that might wear thin.

The veteran weakside linebacker plays every defensive snap in most every game, the only player with such distinction. He has struggled at times this season but was solid against the Baltimore Ravens. He has 14 tackles and didn’t miss one all game. His defensive grades have been strong in each of the past three games after some pronounced struggles on both sides of midseason.

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His coverage has been critiqued, but that too has improved. In fact, he has allowed just five catches for 34 yards in the last three games. He’ll have some tough assignments against Kansas City, defending both the run and pass. He will spend some time covering Chiefs tight end and noted Raiders killer Travis Kelce, a tough task for anyone.

These are important moments for those fighting for jobs – he has non-guaranteed two years left on his deal – and Whitehead must prove he belongs in next year’s linebacker corps as well.

The Raiders third-round pick has been playing better football lately. I wrote that in his rookie spotlight and got the business for it on social media, but I stand by it. Those disagreeing with the statement pointing out the three sacks allowed in as many snaps last week, and, yeah. That was a low point. Parker has been better on the whole, but fans only recognize an offensive lineman’s bad moments. Such is the nature of the position, and Parker understands that.

He’ll square off against Chiefs edge rusher Dee Ford on most snaps. The Auburn product has 10 sacks and 59 total quarterback pressures this season, so that will be no easy task.

Think of these final games as development points for a young player Raiders coach believe can be a quality starter at right tackle, even the moments that don’t go well Experience and added strength next offseason will help him realize potential, with a prospect of becoming a long-term solution at his spot.

Gruden praised the veteran receiver for playing nearly every snap last week at far less than 100 percent. He didn’t have a catch on one target, and looked a step (or more) slow on an ill-timed end around.

The bone bruise on Nelson’s knee must be getting better, considering he was taken off this week’s participation report. The Raiders need more from someone making more than $7 million this season. The Raiders don’t have many reliable options in the pattern outside Jared Cook, and need Nelson to be steadier and more productive. That’s especially true on third down, where the Raiders have struggled.

He has another year on his deal worth $7.2 million, and has an uphill climb ahead proving he’ll be worth that amount in 2019. A solid finish could help him finish out this deal, something likely greater than he could get on the open market next spring.

Packers vs Cardinals

Green Bay Packers vs Arizona Cardinals: 5 matchups to watch

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The Green Bay Packers season is winding down. They have a game at home, where they haven’t lost all season, against the struggling Arizona Cardinals this weekend. With the remainder of their playoff chances on the line, it’s do or die for them. They already need help, but, if they don’t win out, they’re done. It all starts here, and it starts with just a few matchups of some guys playing football for 60 minutes in the cold in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy are seemingly at each other every single week. The trust and relationship that took them to a Super Bowl and made them one of the NFL’s best teams is gone. Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams both said this team needs a galvanizing moment, and this week has to be theirs. They have to come out and show some of the vintage swagger they used to have. If they don’t their expected changes will be even more evidence of their necessity.

After their Sunday night loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers talked about how they can have their new “Run the Table” stretch. The Packers have shown flashes this season of turning the page in just about every single game, but they always seem to come up short because they can’t play a complete game. Against the rebuilding Cardinals, they have the ability to make that happen. Let’s get started at how they are going to make that happen.

Rams vs Lions

Detroit Lions vs. Los Angeles Rams, 12/2/18 Predictions & Odds

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Game day for the Los Angeles Rams has returned after the team had Week 12 off for the bye, beginning the final stretch of the season. With five games remaining, the Rams will begin the last month of the season with a 1 p.m. ET game against the 4-7 Detroit Lions.

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Los Angeles is favored by 10 points in this one and should come away with its 11th win of the season, taking back the No. 1 seed from the Saints, who lost on Thursday night. As we all know, though, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win in the NFL. Just look at the Bills stunning the Vikings earlier this season.

Even still, the Rams are a near-lock to come away victorious on Sunday against the Lions for several reasons. They’re coming off a bye week, there are no injury concerns to speak of and Aqib Talib is coming back. Those three factors alone give the Rams a major advantage over the injury-riddled Lions.

It’s also why we’re predicting a big win by the Rams on the road.

The Rams haven’t covered a spread since Week 7, but this is a game they should definitely win by double digits. Sure, they beat the Panthers, Patriots and Packers this season, but they were also blown out by the Jets, lost to the 49ers and Chase Daniel topped them by seven points on Thanksgiving.

The biggest concerns for this game are the early kickoff and Detroit’s top-ranked run defense in the past three weeks, but the Lions simply don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Rams. Golden Tate is gone, Marvin Jones is out for the year and Kerryon Johnson has already been ruled out.

This is a depleted offense that now goes through Kenny Golladay and rides the back of Matthew Stafford, who’s having a down year by his measures. A loss in this one would be really crushing for the Rams, especially after the Saints opened the door for them to take the No. 1 seed.

Expect Sean McVay to have his guys ready to play and firing on all cylinders. This could easily turn into Rams-Giants from 2017, which resulted in a 51-17 road win by L.A.

Bengals vs Broncos

Broncos vs. Bengals: Streaming Info and Game Preview

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After vanquishing the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers in successive weeks, the Denver Broncos find themselves in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC at 5-6.

The 24-17 win over the Steelers was one that caused me to think the Broncos can make a run. Despite giving up 527 yards to an explosive Pittsburgh offense, they only surrendered 17 points. One of the reasons why was a blocked field goal by third-year free safety Justin Simmons.

Now, one of my illustrious Twitter followers is Simmons’ mother, Kimberly, who shed some insights on why he’s such a great jumper on his blocked field goals.

You see, boys and girls, that’s what real journalism looks like. You ask questions and you get the most amazing answers!

Incidentally, Simmons has three blocked kicks in his career now, tying him for the second-most in the NFL since 2016.

Anyway, it bears mentioning that Broncos signal-caller Case Keenum has finally figured things out.

Keenum has now thrown for 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, none of which have come since an October 28 loss at Kansas City. Our blog boss, Sayre Bedinger sheds some light upon this important subject.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have caught a break at Cincinnati with Bengals signal-caller Andy Dalton sidelined for the season with a thumb injury. There will be more on this later on so stay tuned.

The Broncos lead the Bengals 21-10 all-time in a series dating back to 1968. Incidentally, despite the Broncos’ struggles in the early broadcast window in their history, they are 8-7 all-time at Cincinnati.

The Vegas oddsmakers are also bullish on the Broncos as they are anywhere from a 4.5-5.5-point favorite.

Things are definitely propitious for them with facing Dalton’s understudy, Jeff Driskel. Driskel did put up good numbers against the Browns last Sunday. However, his 17-29, 155 yard, TD performance came primarily in garbage time when Cleveland led by four scores.

In getting down to brass tacks, this is really a game the Broncos should win. If they really are the playoff team they’ve shown signs they can be, this is a game they need to win.

Statistical Analysis

The Broncos would be wise, as they are every other week, to not turn the ball over. This is the one area where Cincinnati is statistically decent. They are +1 in turnover margin, tied for 17th in the NFL.

The Broncos have gotten much better at turning opponents over and not turning the ball over themselves. In the wins over the Chargers and Steelers, they were +6 cumulatively and did not turn the ball over once in either victory.

If the Broncos want to get their sixth win of the season at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday, they need to win the turnover battle again.

While the Cincinnati offense is tied for 12th in the NFL in amassing 25.1 points per game, this is because Dalton was under center.

With Driskel at the helm, it is speculative at best for me to suggest they can put up these point totals although receiver A.J. Green was a full participant at Bengals practice Friday. We’ll have more information on this later.

Receiver Tyler Boyd (63 rec, 841 yards, 6 TD’s) is an amazing talent however, as is tailback Joe Mixon who ranks 9th in the NFL in rushing with 673 rushing yards and five scores.

Beyond this, the Bengals’ defense is a sieve. Other than in interceptions, which sees Cincinnati tie for sixth in the NFL with 11 picks, the defense is abysmal in every other way.

Therefore, while it sounds simple, the Broncos need to execute and find a way to overcome their usual early morning turmoil, to keep their postseason hopes alive.

If they are to be successful in this regard, tailback Royce Freeman (377 scrimmage yards, five total touchdowns), should be given more opportunities. Once again, here is Bedinger, who has more information on this.

Also, with receiver Emmanuel Sanders (902 scrimmage yards, five total touchdowns) continuing to star, his fellow Southern Methodist alum, Courtland Sutton, may once again be given the chance to show his skill set.

Incidentally, Sanders is only 25 receiving yards short of 5,000 receving yards as a Bronco. If he reaches this mark, he will be the 10th receiver in franchise history to reach that number. As we go for the hat trick, Bedinger portends that Sutton’s time for stardom may be close at hand.

As has been customary lately, his 19.7 yards per reception rank first in the NFL. If the Broncos can find a way to use him more, defenses will have to be on the lookout.

The true star of this offense, however, remains star rookie tailack Phililp Lindsay. He currently has 967 yards from scrimmage and only needs 33 scrimmage yards to become the eighth rookie in franchise history to reach the 1,000-yard threshold.

A win Sunday at Cincinnati also means owner Pat Bowlen will surpass the late Art Modell for the fourth-most overall wins among modern-day football owners.

If cornerback Chris Harris Jr. intercepts a pass Sunday, this will be the 20th of his career. If he reaches this plateau, he would be the 12th player in franchise history to achieve the distinction.

Outside linebacker Von Miller needs one sack to tie Chicago Bears great Steve McMichael for 41st all-time with 95 sacks. He also needs at least half a sack Sunday to tie for the longest sack streak of his career. This currently stands at seven consecutive games with a sack.

In short, if the Broncos execute, they should win this game as I have heretofore said, especially if they take care of the football.

Broadcast Details

Date: Sunday Dec.2, 2018
Start Time: 11:00 am MST
Location: Paul Brown Stadium
TV Info: CBS ( for listings nationwide)
Announcers: Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (analyst)

Injury Updates

Thanks so much to Predominantly Orange for providing this!

As you can see, the Bengals will likely have their star receiver, Green, while outside linebacker Brandon Marshall remains a question mark for the Broncos. If Marshall cannot go, understudy Josey Jewell has shown his worth. The fourth-round draft pick out of Iowa has 24 solo tackles and two passes defensed.

NEXT: Denver Broncos: AFC West Week 13 Predictions

Weather Update

My loyal Twitter follower, Randi Rico, a meteorologist with Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT has this forecast for us, which is quite propitious for December.

62 degrees in December? Are you kidding me? The Broncos appear to have caught another break.

Anyway, this is your game thread. Tell your friends about us. GO BRONCOS!!!

Browns vs Texans

Browns vs. Texans: Mary Kay Cabot’s prediction

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Was it foreshadowing for the Browns-Texans game Sunday when the Saints had their 10-game winning streak snapped by the Cowboys?

Browns interim coach Gregg Williams used that big upset by the then 6-5 Cowboys as motivation for his 4-6-1 team, who will face an 8-3 Texans team that’s on an eight-game winning streak.

“It’s what GW said, if you watched the game (Thursday) night – the Cowboys and New Orleans – anything can happen,’’ said defensive end Chris Smith.

The Texans are the first team in NFL history to win eight straight after losing their first three. But they’re coming off a short week, having beaten the Titans 34-17 on Monday night.

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The Browns will either catch them a little tired, or on such a roll that the short week won’t matter. The Texans are also in the midst of a three-game homestand, and will be out to sweep those games in a heated playoff race.

The biggest test for the Browns will be their resurgent offense — 9 TDs and 1 interception for Baker Mayfield in his last three games — against the Texans’ stout defense, led by former Browns coach Romeo Crennel. They’re No. 8 in total yards, including seventh against the run (96.8 yards) and 11th against the pass (236.8 yards). They’re also fifth with 20.2 points allowed.

Browns and Texans: 5 things to watch

The Browns take on the Texans on Sunday in Houston. Here are five things to watch.

The Browns will have their hands full with premier defensive end J.J. Watt, who’s tied for second in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, and outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, who’s second on the team with seven. Watt has been limited all week with a knee injury and is listed as questionable, but if he plays, he’ll be a threat on every play.

“J.J. is just a beast,’’ Watson said on a conference call. “He’s a different animal. The way he goes about his business, the way that he works, the way he competes, the way he eats, works out and sleeps – everything is just top notch, best in the world.’’

Watson is 11th in the NFL with a 101.0 QB rating and receiver DeAndre Hopkins is tied for ninth in the league with 73 catches and seventh with 1,024 yards, but the Texans are only 14th with 24.8 points per game and 27th in red zone scoring. Myles Garrett, tied for seventh in the NFL with 10 sacks, is looking for a big game, and he could have one against a team that’s surrendered 37 sacks — fourth most in the NFL.

The bigger threat for the Texans is their No. 4 rushing attack, with 136.5 yards per game. Last week against the Titans, they rushed for a franchise-record 281 yards, including 162 by Lamar Miller, who broke free for a 97-yard TD. The Browns are 28th against the run with 131.8 yards allowed per game.

“He still has his elite speed and showed that we got to wrap him up because he broke two or three tackles on that run and then continued to accelerate and finish,’’ said Jabrill Peppers. “That’s something that we haven’t seen out of a running back this year. We’ve played against great running backs, but they didn’t have the speed that Lamar has.’’

The Texans are ripe for an upset, but Watt, Clowney and linebacker Whitney Merciless will make it tough.

My prediction: Texans 24, Browns 20.

Jaguars vs Colts

Insider: What will the Colts‘ face in a Jaguars offense with a new coordinator, QB and RB

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‘Chopping Wood’ is back and insiders Zak Keefer and Joel Erickson discuss the Colts’ winning streak and what to expect in Jacksonville. Clark Wade, 


INDIANAPOLIS — Three questions that will be answered when the Indianapolis Colts (6-5) travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars (3-8) at 1 p.m. Sunday at TIAA Bank Field.

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How will the Jacksonville offense change under Cody Kessler and Scott Milanovich?

The Jaguars offense that put up 415 yards of total offense — 324 through the air — against the Colts just three weeks ago was blown up this week. Jacksonville fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and benched quarterback Blake Bortles, opting for big changes after Bortles threw for just 231 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Steelers and Bills.

And that means Jacksonville’s offense is one big wild card.

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Quarterbacks coach-turned-offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich has tried to play his cards close to the vest on how much the offense will change under his direction.

Indianapolis has to prepare for the unknown.

“I think he will have a little bit of his own rhythm and his own emphasis,” Colts coach Frank Reich said.

Kessler, on the other hand, is a little bit more of a known commodity after making eight starts for Cleveland two years ago and one relief appearance with Jacksonville earlier this year. Kessler is smart with the football, gutsy and doesn’t take a lot of chances; he also doesn’t push the ball down the field much. When he was thrown into the game against Houston earlier this year, Kessler completed 21 of 30 passes, but for just 156 yards, and he was sacked four times.

“I have been in the situation before on the other side where we have had a quarterback change, for whether it be by injury or you are just changing,” Reich said. “In my experiences, it’s not quite as big of a deal as everybody thinks.”

Will the Colts be able to get the running game going?

Only one team has held Indianapolis to fewer than 100 yards rushing when the Colts have had Marlon Mack available.

The Jaguars.

As bad as Jacksonville has been as a team this season, the Jaguars defense remains formidable. Jacksonville ranks sixth in the NFL in yards (320.2 yards per game) and eighth in points (22.1 per game), and the scoreless second half the Jaguars pitched against the Colts three weeks ago is really the only time the Indianapolis offense has been brought to a grinding halt in the past two months or so.

Whether or not star cornerback Jalen Ramsey is healthy — he’s questionable with a knee injury — the Jaguars remain supremely talented at defensive line and linebacker, and that could make the sledding tough for Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, particularly with center Ryan Kelly out for a second consecutive week.

Indianapolis picked up only 81 yards on 23 carries against the Jaguars, and that included a 53-yard run by Jordan Wilkins. Take away that carry, and the Colts averaged just 1.3 yards per carry against Jacksonville the first time, far below their season norm of 4.5 yards per carry.

And that could make life a little bit harder on Andrew Luck and company.

MORE: Why Colts rookie Darius Leonard’s sack numbers are even more impressive than they seem

Can the Colts make Jacksonville one-dimensional without Leonard Fournette?

Kessler and Milanovich won’t have the services of Jacksonville’s driving engine on offense. Fournette was suspended one game for his role in last week’s brawl against Buffalo, and that’s bad news for a Jaguars offense that has relied heavily on the running game.

In the five games Fournette’s been available, the Jaguars have averaged 151.8 rushing yards, topping out with 179 against Pittsburgh two weeks ago and a whopping 226 against the Bills last week.

When he’s out, the Jaguars turn to T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde. Both players are talented, but Jacksonville is averaging just 82.8 yards on the ground in the six games Fournette has missed this season.

And that’s music to the ears of a Colts defense that shut down the Jacksonville ground game in the first meeting between the two teams. Indianapolis held Fournette and the Jaguars to just 91 yards on 34 carries in that game; with Fournette unavailable, Jacksonville might find the sledding even tougher this time around.

Bills vs Dolphins

LeSean McCoy ‘Definitely’ in Bills GM Brandon Beane’s Plans for 2019

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Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane said running back LeSean McCoy is “definitely” in the team’s plans for the 2019 NFL season.

On Friday, Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News provided comments from Beane about a wide range of topics following the Bills’ disappointing 2-6 start. The second-year GM made it clear he expects McCoy to return despite speculation about a potential deal before the trade deadline earlier this week.

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“Definitely. That’s the whole key. LeSean is still a very good player in this league,” he said. “Our offense is not where we want it, but LeSean is still playing well. He’s a talented player. We like what he brings, to the point we’ll have him back in 2019. He’ll definitely be a part of that.”

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McCoy is on pace for the worst statistical season of his career. The six-time Pro Bowl selection has rushed for 257 yards on 75 carries (3.4 yards per attempt) and caught 19 balls for 167 yards. He’s yet to score a touchdown through seven appearances.

Those numbers are more indicative of a terrible supporting cast on the Bills offense than a drop in performance by the two-time First Team All-Pro choice, though.

Buffalo’s quarterbacks (Josh Allen, Derek Anderson and Nathan Peterman) have thrown three touchdowns and 13 interceptions, its top wide receiver (Zay Jones) has just 281 receiving yards, and its offensive line is a mess, ranking 26th in run blocking and 31st in pass protection, per Football Outsiders.

McCoy vented about the lackluster performance following a 25-6 loss to the New England Patriots on Monday night that featured two turnovers and no touchdowns.

“I’ve had bad games, but this? The flow of the season and everything is bad,” he told reporters. “I’m 30 years old. I’ve been playing since high school. This stuff has never happened to me. Yeah, it’s tough.”

Josh Reed of WIVB reported the Philadelphia Eagles, McCoy’s team for the first six seasons of his career, contacted the Bills about a potential trade in early October. The deadline came and went without the running back heading to Philly or another team, though.

McCoy has one season left on his five-year, $40 million contract, so Beane’s comments about expecting him to remain with the organization for 2019 come as no surprise.

That said, with the Bills likely heading toward yet another rebuilding effort after finally ending their 17-year playoff drought last season, it wouldn’t be a shock to hear his name pop up in more trade speculation during the offseason.

Bears vs Giants

Buffalo Bills vs Carolina Panthers: Game time, tv schedule, online streaming and more. The Panthers open their 2019 home schedule with a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills (aka Panthers North).The Carolina Panthers will host the Buffalo Bills (aka Panthers North) tonight for their first home game of 2019, and even though it’s a preseason game that doesn’t


count there are still plenty of reasons to watch. For one, Ron Rivera has said that we should see more of the starters than we did last week against the Chicago Bears (which is a given since we didn’t see the starters at all against the Bears, but that’s neither here nor there Ron).

For two (and not that you need any other reasons, but here it is anyway), it’s Panthers football, y’all! Of course we’re gonna watch, right?

Well, if you’re planning to watch, stream or listen to the game, you’re probably wondering how to do that — so here’s where I come in and tell you exactly how you can do just that.

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Game day information
What: Carolina Panthers vs Buffalo Bills
When: Friday, August 16 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
TV: Panthers TV; Mick Mixon, Mike Rucker | NFL Network (replay 8/16 at 11 p.m. ET)
Radio: 1110 AM WBT (local)
Stream: Panthers mobile app,, NFL Game Pass
Weather: 73° / Partly Cloudy / 3 mph S wind / 20% rain (Complete forecast)

Miscellaneous information
Online streaming

If you don’t live in the Panthers television market, you can stream all NFL preseason and regular season games on demand if you purchase NFL Game Pass. It’s a little pricey at $99, but it also includes access to All-22 film. If you’re just desperate to watch the Panthers game there is a seven day free trial, but sign up at your own risk if you’re one of those people who forgets to cancel before the free trial is over.

*Note: You cannot watch regular season games live with this option. You have to wait until after the games are over before you can stream them. You can find more information here.

TV replays

NFL Network will air condensed replays of every preseason game throughout the week. To see when the Panthers’ game will be replayed, you can check NFL Network’s preseason schedule for more information.

Roaring Riot watch parties

If you’re unable to watch the game via live tv or streaming, or if you prefer to watch in the company of fellow Panthers fans, check out the Roaring Riot to see if there is a watch party in your area. Membership is not required to get in the door, but if you’re interested in purchasing a membership you can find all the information you need here.


The Panthers will wear white jerseys for this game.


If you’re into that sort of thing, you can find info on NFL game odds by clicking here.

Panthers 2019 preseason schedule
Week 1: at Chicago Bears; Thu, Aug 8, 8 p.m. ET
Week 2: vs Buffalo Bills; Fri, Aug 16, 7 p.m. ET
Week 3: at New England Patriots; Thu, Aug 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
Week 4: vs Pittsburgh Steelers; Thu, Aug 29, 7 p.m. ET