The Green Bay Packers were too good for the Kansas City Chiefs as they prevailed 31-24 in Sunday's NFL showdown.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the way for Green Bay, who improved to 7-1 for the season.

The Chiefs – playing without reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes – dropped to 5-3 following the loss in Kansas City.

 

Three takeaways from the Packers' win over the Chiefs

Packers must take better advantage of Aaron Jones

The Chiefs entered Sunday night's game ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game allowed (148.9) and yards per carry allowed (5.0). Not to mention Kansas City were playing without two starting defensive linemen.

So Green Bay came out with a heavy dose of running back Aaron Jones and backup Jamaal Williams, right?

Wrong. The Packers ran the ball only eight times for 27 yards in the first half and were unable to establish the ground attack until later in the game. That put Rodgers in some obvious passing situations, allowing Kansas City to bring extreme pressure.

Green Bay have sometimes seemed reluctant this season to establish the running game. For example, in the Packers' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, Jones ran 13 times for 21 yards.

Green Bay have two solid running backs in Jones and Williams, who combined for four touchdowns against the Chiefs. Jones showed again that he has star potential — if given enough touches — racking up 226 yards from scrimmage and scoring two touchdowns, including a 67-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter.

Jones' performance demands more touches in the running and passing game.

Rodgers battled through a tough night to put up huge numbers

What more can be said that has not already been said about this quarterback who is bound for Canton? 

But in watching Rodgers struggle to avoid a fierce Chiefs pass rush, we once again witnessed his greatness.

The Chiefs frustrated Rodgers much of the game, pressuring him on more than half his passes. They sacked the veteran QB five times, a remarkable feat considering he had been sacked only six times in seven games entering the night. And when he was not sacked, Rodgers often had to scramble to avoid pressure. 

Yet Rodgers did what Rodgers always does — he finds a way to put up big numbers and excel in key situations. He finished with 305 yards, three touchdowns and one incredible play on a fourth-quarter TD pass to Williams.

It first appeared Rodgers was throwing the ball away. He said after the game he was throwing it up for tight end Jimmy Graham, but he thought Williams might grab it if Graham did not.

"That was one of the best, if not the best pass I've ever seen live and in person," Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur said. "That was incredible. I couldn't believe it ... It's just one of those plays that kinda leaves you speechless."

It was the type of pass that might be in the highlight tape when Rodgers in enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Short-handed Chiefs exemplified 'next man up' mentality

The Chiefs entered the game seriously outmanned, missing six starters. Quarterback Mahomes was the highest-profile injury, but Kansas City were also missing left tackle Eric Fisher, left guard Andrew Wylie, defensive lineman Chris Jones, defensive end Frank Clark and cornerback Kendall Fuller. And right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and defensive end Alex Okafor left the game with ankle injuries.

Yet the Chiefs hung with the Packers to the very end, exemplifying the "next man up" mentality.

Matt Moore had a solid game in place of Mahomes, hitting on 24-of-36 passes for 267 yards and two scores. While everyone talks about the big weapons in the Chiefs' offense, like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, there is a solid supporting cast of skill players behind them, including rookie wideout Mecole Hardman. The rookie speedster out of Georgia caught two passes for 55 yards.

It would have been fun to see both teams at full strength in this game (the Packers were notably missing star receiver Davante Adams). Still, the Chiefs have nothing to be ashamed about after this effort on a night when almost a third of their starters were sidelined.

Drew Brees returned under center for the New Orleans Saints in his first game since undergoing thumb surgery and showed no signs of rust in a 31-9 NFL win over the Arizona Cardinals.

The veteran quarterback had not played since September 15, but in that span, New Orleans won all five games with backup Teddy Bridgewater as the starter.

The Saints, as well as Brees, are showing no signs of slowing down as they steamrolled the Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday to break Arizona's three-game winning streak — and move their own to six straight wins.

Brees finished 34-of-43 passing for 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady and reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots overcame a hungry Cleveland Browns team 27-13.

After leading by just a touchdown at the start of the third quarter, the Patriots broke away with the game to improve to 8-0 as one of the NFL's two undefeated teams.

The San Francisco 49ers (7-0) are the other team with a perfect record after easing past the Carolina Panthers 51-13 at Levi's Stadium.

The Philadelphia Eagles thumped the Buffalo Bills, 31-13, while the Los Angeles Rams came away with a big win of their own — a 24-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals — across the pond.

Injury report

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt left Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter, and the star later revealed he will miss the remainder of the season. Cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. left the game with a concussion.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold sprained his thumb during Sunday's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach Adam Gase told reporters after the game. 

Two Cardinals left the game against the Saints. Running back Chase Edmonds (hamstring) and linebacker Cassius Marsh (concussion) both sustained injuries.

Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks sustained a concussion against the Bengals.

Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt suffered a knee injury and coach Pete Carroll later told reporters, it "looks like an ACL" injury.

Denver Broncos right tackle Ja'Wuan James injured his knee against the Indianapolis Colts.

Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Cominsky did not return after injuring his ankle.

Los Angeles Chargers tackle Russell Okung suffered a calf injury against the Chicago Bears.

Dede Westbrook exited the game versus the Jets. The Jaguars receiver sustained a neck/shoulder injury.

Eagles running back Miles Sanders did not return after hurting his shoulder against the Bills.

By the numbers

Russell Wilson joined Brees (2018) as the only players since the 1970 merger to throw 17-plus touchdowns and one or fewer interceptions over their first eight games of a season.

The Gardner Minshew era continues. He became the first Jaguars quarterback to throw for three touchdowns in a game in his rookie season. It is the first three-plus touchdown game for Jacksonville since Blake Bortles' outing against the Patriots in Week 2 of 2018.

Cooper Kupp had 220 total yards in the Rams' win over the Bengals in London, which is the most ever in an international NFL game. 

Quotables

Joe Flacco was understandably frustrated after the Broncos' 15-13 loss to the Colts. It pushed Denver to 2-6 for the season. The quarterback voiced his opinion on the lowly start: "We're now a 2-6 football team and we're afraid to go for it in a two-minute drill. … I just felt like, what do we have to lose? Why can't we be aggressive in some of these situations."

It was another rough week for the Falcons, who dropped to 1-7 with the 27-20 loss to the Seahawks. Owner Arthur Blank addressed the grim situation: "I'm extraordinarily disappointed in the season. Nobody would have anticipated 1-7 and the lack of consistency. Today was a prime example of that, down 24-0. If we could just play the second half, we would have won the game; but it doesn't work that way. We'll take the next couple of weeks during this bye period of time and evaluate where we are."

Matthew Stafford does not know if his 3-3-1 Lions are a good team, an average team or a bad team: "I'll let you know at the end of the year. Right now we're a tough football team. I know that. We've got guys banged up all sorts of places. .. We're mentally tough."

Week 8 NFL scores

Teams on bye week

Cowboys, Ravens

Thursday's game

Vikings 19, Redskins 9

Sunday's games

Seahawks 27, Falcons 20 Eagles 31, Bills 13 Chargers 17, Bears 16 Lions 31, Giants 26 Titans 27, Buccaneers 23 Colts 15, Broncos 13 Rams 24, Bengals 10 Saints 31, Cardinals 9 Jaguars 29, Jets 15 49ers 51, Panther 13 Patriots 27, Browns 13 Texans 27, Raiders 24

New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to eclipse 75,000 career passing yards on Sunday.

Brees returned from a five-game absence after missing time with a thumb injury and the signal caller reached an impressive landmark in the Saints' 31-19 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

A Super Bowl champion and MVP, Brees reached the feat after throwing for 373 yards and three scores against the Cardinals.

Brees now sits atop the all-time list with a total of 75,218 yards.

While Brees dominated in his return, he made sure to give credit to Teddy Bridgewater, who has led the Saints to five wins as a starter this season.

"I can't say enough great things about Teddy and his leadership over the last five weeks," Brees told reporters.

"He basically stepped into the role that obviously I would normally have. ... addressing the team, addressing the skill players and different things throughout the week.

"He took on that role. Not just the guy throwing the ball or the guy handing off the ball, but the guy being in charge of the huddle and being a leader."

Thanks to Bridgewater's solid stand-in efforts, New Orleans enter their Week 9 bye week at 7-1 and hold first place in the NFC South.

The Saints have two very capable players they can use under center but are glad to have a future Hall of Fame player like Brees back in the fold.

"Drew Brees is who you thought he was. He's the best quarterback in the NFL," wideout Michael Thomas said.

The Saints will resume play on November 11 as they take on the Atlanta Falcons (1-7).

J.J. Watt was ruled out of the Houston Texans' game against the Oakland Raiders after sustaining a shoulder injury in the second quarter on Sunday.

The defensive end left the game under his own power with just over five minutes remaining in the first half and headed to the medical tent.

Watt then went to the locker room for further examination and was branded questionable to return within minutes. It was later announced he would not feature in the remainder of the match.

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year had three tackles before exiting the game.

Matt Ryan has been ruled out of the Atlanta Falcons' home game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, meaning Matt Schaub will start at quarterback.

The Falcons' season went from bad to worse with the injury to their star QB's ankle in the fourth quarter of their 37-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last week.

After the injury, which Ryan sustained while being sacked by Aaron Donald, the former NFL MVP was seen in a walking boot. 

He was listed as questionable on the team's injury report on Friday after being a limited participant in practice and diagnosed with a sprained right ankle, though the Falcons are yet to divulge the severity of the sprain.

The Falcons (1-6) have announced Ryan will miss the game with the Seahawks (5-2), with Schaub to start in his place, the 38-year-old having last began an NFL game in December 2015 while with the Baltimore Ravens.

Danny Etling has been signed off the practice squad to serve as backup to Schaub.

The absence of Ryan, 34, snaps his streak of 154 regular season starts, which was the second-longest among active QBs. He last missed a game in the 2009 campaign.

In seven games in 2019, Ryan has thrown for 2,170 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He is first in the league in completions, tied first in touchdown passes and second in passing yards per game.

But his stellar play has not been able to lift the fortunes of the Falcons, who traded wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots earlier this week having gone on a miserable run of results.

Drew Brees will reportedly make his return from a thumb injury and start when the New Orleans Saints host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. 

ESPN reported the Saints quarterback will be back after missing the last five games.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton had not named a starting QB for his team's Week 8 matchup while speaking with media on Friday.

That came after Brees had worked his way back from the injury - a torn ligament in the thumb of his passing hand - slightly sooner than expected.

The 6-1 team had the option to continue starting Teddy Bridgewater, who went 5-0 in Brees' absence, but will go with the veteran instead.

Brees was listed as a limited participant on Friday's injury report, but he said earlier this week he plans to play, explaining that taking snaps was easier than expected and he can now grip the ball comfortably.

"The hardest part was just getting it to where I could grip the ball again and grip it with authority, grip it with strength and be able to guide the ball, manoeuvre the ball," Brees said.

Brees, a five-time All-Pro selection, injured his thumb in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after making contact with Aaron Donald.

He had surgery on September 18 after consulting with two doctors and speaking to other top athletes who had experienced similar injuries, including Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul.

The 40-year-old had completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 408 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions before he was injured, with his return coming against a Cardinals team who hold a 3-3-1 record.

Jason Pierre-Paul is officially back after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher was activated for the team's Week 8 road matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

After he returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a broken neck in May, Pierre-Paul will be available on Sunday.

"He looked good, he looks fine, he’s healthy," coach Bruce Arians told reporters earlier this week. 

"He had a heck of a practice - he’s a little rusty, but he was good.

"He's come back from some serious stuff and he's kind of a freak of nature as far as healing. He has a great belief in his faith and I think sometimes that helps heal him.''

Pierre-Paul suffered a cervical neck fracture in a one-car accident in rainy conditions in Florida. 

After consulting with several specialists, he initially opted not to have neck surgery, though he did undergo the procedure later.

It marked the second offseason in which an incident sidelined Pierre-Paul for a significant period after he lost part of his hand in a Fourth of July fireworks accident in 2015.

The Bucs (2-4) placed him on the active/non-football injury list in June and, just five months after his accident, they announced he had been activated on Saturday.

"All I can say is everything is good right now," Pierre-Paul said. "I’m on the right track, completely forward, and I got a lot to do in a short amount of time. That’s all I can say.''

Pierre-Paul, 30, led Tampa Bay with 12.5 sacks in 2018, becoming the first Bucs player to record double-digit sacks in 12 seasons.

Patrick Mahomes has failed to win his fitness battle for the Kansas City Chiefs' clash with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The Chiefs quarterback dislocated his right kneecap in Thursday's 30-6 triumph over the Denver Broncos.

Mahomes returned to practice in the week, going through throwing and individual drills, although back-up Matt Moore got the majority of reps.

The Chiefs had left open the possibility that Mahomes could play in Week 8, but they have not been willing to put a timeline on his return.

"He just wasn't ready," coach Andy Reid told reporters Friday. "He needs a little bit of time here."

Earlier in the week, Reid had said: "I think you just go off how he feels, and what the doctors say. I know people want a time. I don’t think you can do that with this injury."

Mahomes suffered the injury in the first half of Week 7's matchup and underwent an MRI exam that revealed there was no significant ligament damage.

Moore, a 12-year veteran back-up, will continue to fill the void. He stepped in after Mahomes got injured, completing 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown.

The Minnesota Vikings topped the Washington Redskins 19-9 for their fourth consecutive NFL victory.

There have been miraculous games at U.S. Bank Stadium, but dub "Thursday Night Football" as a revenge game for the ages.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was facing his former side, while Redskins QB Case Keenum and running back Adrian Peterson were also up against their old team.

Ultimately, Minnesota would protect their home field and come away with a win over Washington on Thursday.

The Vikings moved to 6-2 to make a push for top spot in the NFC North, while the Redskins dropped to 1-7 and continue to have questions surrounding their quarterback.

 

Three takeaways from the Vikings' win over the Redskins

It was Cousins' told-you-so moment

It seemed like one of each teams' offensive stars had a bone to pick with their respective opponent. 

Cousins was facing the Redskins for the first time since becoming a free agent and signing with the Vikings in 2018 and Peterson – a 10-year Viking – was facing Minnesota for just the second time since joining Washington that same year. 

Throw in Keenum — who was a star in 2017 with the Vikings and the creator of the now-famous "Minnesota Miracle" — and there was plenty of revenge to go around. However, only one enjoyed the sweet taste of it.

Cousins had a told-you-so moment against the Redskins, showing signs of why the lowly Washington team should not have let him walk. Meanwhile, Peterson struggled and Keenum exited the game early with a concussion. 

The Vikings quarterback finished 23-of-26 passing for 285 yards.

Vikings powered by Cook

Dalvin Cook did it all Thursday. 

The star in the backfield not only continued what will be a career-year rushing, but he also played receiver against the Redskins. Cook was able to run over, through and around Washington's defense, with the help of a stout offensive line, to total 98 yards and the only Minnesota touchdown. He also had five catches for 73 yards.

He and Stefon Diggs led the charge.

Diggs finished with 143 yards on seven catches.

Questions surround almost every aspect of Washington's offense

Who will be the Redskins' quarterback? Who will be their head coach?

Washington's lowly season is now plagued with yet another hiccup after the injury to Keenum and begs the question of what exactly the team is left to play for.

If it is to finally get rookie and first-round 2019 draft pick Dwayne Haskins experience after his number was called, the Redskins will have to tighten up their offense. They had just 58 yards in the second half under Haskins, which is not all his fault. Washington have said all season long he is not ready to lead the Redskins — a team that are looking for any kind of a leader after such a bad start.

As far as who will call the plays, interim coach Bill Callahan is in control for now. It is unclear who and when his replacement will take over but recent reports suggest owner Daniel Snyder is looking to promote from within or even move Callahan to the full-time role.

It was only Adrian Peterson's second time facing the team he spent a decade with, but the Washington Redskins running back ensured he made a statement.

Peterson, who the Minnesota Vikings selected as the seventh pick in the 2007 NFL draft, moved up the all-time rushing list and into sixth position on Thursday.

The 34-year-old moved up the list with a break-out run against former team the Vikings.

Peterson's efforts saw him surpass LaDainian Tomlinson and Jerome Bettis.

A seven-time Pro Bowler and 2012 MVP, Peterson is in his second season with Washington.

Quarterbacks around the league remain on the mend, but there is hope for some to return.

We dive into the injury updates around the league and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Ryan misses second straight practice

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan suffered an ankle injury in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams and has been on the mend since. But given the team's lowly 1-6 record, it is unlikely the Falcons will rush Ryan back before he is ready.

In the meantime, the Falcons are reportedly preparing backup Matt Schaub to be "ready to go" in the event Ryan is unable to play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Ryan has not missed a game since 2009, and his streak of 154 consecutive starts is the third-longest active streak in the NFL and second among quarterbacks behind the Chargers' Philip Rivers.

Mahomes on field for warmups despite injury

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is already back at practice despite suffering a dislocated kneecap and has yet to be ruled out against the Green Bay Packers, indicating he may indeed be active in Week 8.

Mahomes was not running, but he was active and seen throwing during the team's workout just one day earlier, which is way ahead of the initial three-week recovery timeline he was given.

Darnold back at practice after toenail removed

The New York Jets quarterback practiced on a limited basis on Thursday because he had a ripped toenail removed after Monday's loss to the New England Patriots.

"Toe's good," Sam Darnold told reporters. "Toe's really good. Working to get better every single day. They're just making sure that it's protected and they're making sure that my toe and my foot feels normal. They're making sure that the cleat feels normal to me like it usually does but also making sure it's protected."

Jets head coach Adam Gase reiterated his confidence that Darnold will still play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Two things that don't matter

Dareus out four to six weeks after surgery

The Jaguars defensive tackle — who missed the team's season opener with an elbow injury — suffered a core injury during Jacksonville's victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday and underwent surgery to repair the ailment Thursday.

Marcell Dareus has 13 tackles and a half sack through six games this season.

Drew Lock still "not ready to go" for Broncos

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway insisted rookie quarterback Drew Lock needs more time to heal and prepare for potentially taking over the starting role from veteran Joe Flacco.

"I will say this: The most important thing for a young quarterback is not to put him out there before he's ready," Elway said. "So that is the most important thing and if he's not ready, we're not going to put him out there. That is the key thing. And as you know dealing with quarterbacks, it's a very tough thing because if you don't put him in a situation where he has a chance to be successful and he's not successful, the whole roof will cave in. So we have to make sure that Drew is ready when he does get in there, if he does get in there.

"We're still in the process of evaluating that. He is not ready to go right now, I will tell you that."

One video you have to see

The Seahawks' elevator design is hilariously perfect.

Thursday's tweet of the day

Cleveland Browns receiver Jarvis Landry was quick to backtrack his comments about beating the Patriots.

The NFL trade deadline is just around the corner and there are notes galore.

The Washington Nationals are up 2-0 in the World Series and the best team in baseball are on the ropes.

And Conor McGregor said he has a fight lined up but Dana White will not confirm it.

It has been a full week in U.S. Sports.

 

1. NFL teams making moves as trade deadline approaches

The NFL trade deadline is 16:00 ET on Tuesday and things are starting to heat up.

First, there have already been several moves as the Atlanta Falcons have traded wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots, the Oakland Raiders have moved cornerback Gareon Conley to the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos have dealt wideout Emmanuel Sanders to the San Francisco 49ers.

But that is not all. The Patriots have also placed wideout Josh Gordon on injured reserve with a knee injury, but the expectation is he will be cut once he is healthy and will pass through waivers to be picked up by another team.

This is only the beginning. After the NFL moved the trade deadline back from Week 6 to Week 8 in recent years, there has been a lot more action around the final date. This season expects to be the same as there are even rumours of the Broncos moving Pro Bowl corner Chris Harris in the coming days. We have an exciting weekend ahead of us.

 

2. Nationals lead Astros in World Series

Not a lot of people saw this coming. Some individuals who knew the Nationals might not have been surprised at Washington taking one of two games in Houston or possibly even both, but very few saw a 2-0 lead heading into Game 3 in D.C. and a 12-3 blowout in Game 2.

The Nationals have beaten Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in back-to-back games, marking just the third time that has happened all year and the first time it has occurred at Minute Maid Park. 

And now, Washington have Anibal Sanchez on the bump for Game 3 and Patrick Corbin lined up for Game 4, while the Astros are almost certain to go with a bullpen game in two days, possibly with their postseason lives on the line.

This one almost looks in the bag for Washington as teams that have gone up 2-0 in the World Series are 22-3 in the last 25 occurrences. The Astros may be done, but Zack Greinke will do all he can to keep that from being inevitable in Game 3 on Friday.

 

3. NBA season starts without Williamson

The NBA season is underway as the Los Angeles Clippers dropped the Los Angeles Lakers in the opener, Kyrie Irving scored 50 points in his Brooklyn Nets debut which ended in a loss, and the Kemba Walker era began with the Boston Celtics being thoroughly handled by the Philadelphia 76ers.

But as the festivities begin, some of the lustre is off the opening of the season as top pick pick Zion Williamson will not be playing for six to eight weeks while he is dealing with a knee injury.

Williamson was the prohibitive favourite to win the Rookie of the Year Award, but now the honour is wide open for Ja Morant, RJ Barrett or even PJ Washington to take control.

While that award has somewhat been put on hold, we wait for the inevitable arrival of New Orleans Pelicans sensation Williamson and the obvious hype to come with it.

 

4. McGregor continues to blow smoke

The former two-class UFC champion claimed he has a fight lined up for January 18 and plans to make his return to the Octagon against an unnamed opponent.

This comes less than a week after he "set up" a fight with Frankie Edgar on Twitter only to see UFC president Dana White shoot it down almost immediately.

White said after McGregor's declaration that he had a January 18 fight set up that nothing was even close to being done but he is targeting that date for a return.

We will see what actually happens in the long run, but here us hoping Justin Gaethje gets that shot. 

This week's NFL slate serves up plenty of interesting matchups, including Sunday's showdown between the Packers and Chiefs.

Here is a look at Week 7's Bullet Points with data supplied by Stats Perform.

THURSDAY
(All Times Eastern)

Redskins (1-6) at Vikings (5-2), 8.20pm

The Redskins are allowing 134.4 rush yards per game, second most in the NFC behind only the Lions (148.9). The Vikings are running the ball on 52.8 per cent of plays, second in the NFL behind only the 49ers (57.1 per cent), and are tied with the Cowboys for the most rushing touchdowns in the NFC with 11.

Case Keenum went 9 for 12 in the loss to the 49ers. No other Washington player threw a pass in the game - the 12 attempts were the fewest in a game by the Redskins since Mark Rypien threw 11 passes in Week 15 of 1990 in a 25-10 win against the Patriots.

Kirk Cousins has thrown for 300 plus yards with multiple passing touchdowns in three straight games, tying the franchise single-season record jointly held by Daunte Culpepper (2004), Randall Cunningham (1998) and Warren Moon (1995).

SUNDAY

Seahawks (5-2) at Falcons (1-6), 1pm

Bobby Wagner is third in the NFL with 69 total tackles this season and ranks second in the league with 983 since the start of the 2012 season (Luke Kuechly - 1,010). In five career games - including playoffs - against the Falcons, Wagner has 47 total tackles and an interception.

Russell Wilson completed 48.8 per cent (20 of 41) of his passes Sunday for his lowest percentage since hitting on 46.7 against the Raiders on December 17, 2017. He also threw his first interception of the season, ending his streak of 202 attempts without one. Only Patrick Mahomes (212) had a longer streak this season.

Julio Jones is on pace for his sixth consecutive season with 1,000 receiving yards. Among active players, only Antonio Brown (six) has more. Jerry Rice (11) is the all-time leader. Jones leads all active players with 8,554 receiving yards since the 2014 season and is second to Brown (580) with 564 catches during that span.

Chargers (2-5) at Bears (3-3), 1pm

Philip Rivers has six consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons and is on pace for his seventh with 2,114 yards so far in 2019. He ranks second among active players (Matt Ryan - eight) in that category. Rivers' 2,114 yards this season through seven games is the fourth-highest total of his career.

Melvin Gordon is averaging just 2.3 yards per carry this season after he averaged a career-best 5.1 last season. That 2.81 decrease is the largest of any running back who has played a minimum of three games. Gordon’s 81 rushing yards through three games is the lowest total of his career, with the next-closest 146 in 2017.

Mitchell Trubisky has a career 55.7 completion percentage in October, his lowest in any month and the second-lowest of any quarterback with a minimum of 150 attempts (Sam Darnold - 52.9). Trubisky has gone 10 straight games without a 300-yard performance after achieving that in four of his previous six contests.

Giants (2-5) at Lions (2-3-1), 1pm

Matthew Stafford is completing 62.4 per cent of his passes, which would be his lowest mark since 2014, but his 8.0 yards per attempt is on pace for a career high and his 6.0 touchdown percentage would be his highest since 2011 (6.3), when he ranked third in the NFL with 41 touchdown passes.

Daniel Jones was sacked eight times last week and since taking over as the starter in Week 3, he has taken 18 sacks, tied with Joe Flacco for second most in the NFL (Jameis Winston, 19). His seven interceptions since Week 3 are tied for the most in the NFL.

Saquon Barkley has accumulated 2,419 scrimmage yards through 20 career games. Among players to begin their careers in 2000 or later, only two had more yards from scrimmage through 20 games: Ezekiel Elliott (2,521) and Clinton Portis (2,422).

Jets (1-5) at Jaguars (3-4), 1pm

The Jets have accumulated 1,254 net yards this season, the fewest by any team through six games in a year since the 2005 Texans. The Jets have been held to 175 net yards or fewer three times this season, more than the rest of the NFL combined.

Le’Veon Bell and Leonard Fournette are accounting for 54.7 per cent and 50.9 per cent of their team’s total touches this season, two of the four players currently over 50.0 per cent (Christian McCaffrey, 56.4; Nick Chubb, 53.8).

The Jaguars are the first team to rush for at least 900 yards through seven games while rushing for just one touchdown since the 1977 Bills. No team has ranked top three in yards per rush (Jags are third) and bottom three in rushing touchdowns (Jags are worst) for a full season since the 1996 Raiders.

Bengals (0-7) at Rams (4-3), 1pm

The Bengals have allowed at least 200 rushing yards and 200 net passing yards in each of their last three games, the first team to do that in three straight games since the New York Yanks in 1950.

Andy Dalton won his first eight starts of the 2015 season, but this year he is 0-7 as a starter. With a loss on Sunday, he would be the first QB in NFL history to both start a season 8-0 and 0-8 at some point in his career.

Among players to play in at least 75 per cent of their team’s games in both seasons, Joe Mixon (-47.1) and Todd Gurley II (-37.6) have had the two largest decreases in rushing yards per game in the NFL from last year to this year.

Buccaneers (2-4) at Titans (3-4), 1pm

Tennessee have tied a franchise record by holding their first seven opponents in a season to 20 points or fewer, tying the 2000 Titans. Before the Titans and Patriots both accomplished this feat in 2019, the last team with as long a streak to start a season was the 2013 Chiefs.

Last week was Ryan Tannehill’s first 300-yard passing game since Week 3, 2016. In the last two games, Tannehill has completed 80.0 per cent of his passes - the only other player to complete 80.0+ per cent of his passes in a two-game span this season (minimum 40 attempts) was Dak Prescott (Week 1 and 2).

Winston became the first player to throw for 400+ yards and at least five interceptions in a game since Mark Brunell in 1996. Since entering the league in 2015, he has had four games of at least four interceptions, as many as the next two players combined (Dalton, Darnold with two apiece).

Eagles (2-3-1) at Bills (2-4), 1pm

Carson Wentz has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games, tied with Seattle’s Wilson for the longest active run in the league. Wentz has thrown 21 interceptions in 24 career road games while throwing 11 in 23 at home.

Frank Gore has rushed for more than 100 yards in four of his last five games against the Eagles, averaging 101.2. With 15,136 rushing yards, Gore is 134 away from surpassing Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time list.

John Brown has at least four receptions in all six games this season, tied for the third-longest single-season streak by a Bills player since 2005. Brown, Andre Reed (1989) and Eric Moulds (2002) are the only players in Bills’ history to start a season with six consecutive games with at least four catches and 50 yards.

Broncos (2-5) at Colts (4-2), 1pm

The Colts’ six games have all been decided by seven points or fewer, tying the longest such streak to start a season in franchise history (1983, 1995). Indianapolis are the only team in the NFL with at least 20 first downs in every game this season.

Jacoby Brissett already has more touchdown passes in six games this season (14) than he had in 23 games from 2016-18 (13). Last week, Brissett had his first game with 300+ passing yards, 4+ TD passes and zero interceptions, joining Andrew Luck (five), Peyton Manning (four) and Johnny Unitas (three) as the only Colts to do so in a game.

Flacco is 107 passing yards shy of becoming the 22nd player all-time with 40,000 passing yards. He would be the seventh player with 40,000 passing yards and a Super Bowl win before turning 35, joining Brett Favre, Peyton and Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.

Cardinals (3-3) at Saints (6-1), 1pm

Arizona have won three straight games, all by six points or fewer and all against teams that are currently a combined 3-18. The Cardinals have not turned the ball over in 15 consecutive quarters. The Cardinals have allowed 21+ points in 10 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The Saints have won five straight and are 6-1 for the second consecutive season. In the first 51 seasons of the franchise, the Saints started 6-1 or better five times, and have now done so in back-to-back seasons.

Michael Thomas has had at least four receptions in 34 consecutive games, tied for the third-longest such streak in NFL history. The only streaks longer are Jones' 38-game streak from 2013-16 with Atlanta and Brown’s 36-game streak from 2013-15 with Pittsburgh.

Panthers (4-2) at 49ers (6-0), 4.05pm

Carolina’s Kyle Allen and San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo are two of four active quarterbacks to have won their first five career starts (Mahomes, Roethlisberger). Allen is the only QB during the Super Bowl era to win his first five starts without throwing an interception, while Garoppolo is the first to win 14 of his first 16 starts since Rivers in 2006.

The 49ers have allowed 10 points over their last three wins, the fewest by any team in a three-game span since 2010 (Packers, 10, Oct. 31-Nov. 21, 2010). They are also the fourth team since 1992, and first since the Patriots from Dec. 4-17, 2005, to hold opponents to seven or less points and less than 200 total yards in three straight games.

In their Week 6 win at Tampa Bay, the Panthers became the first team since November 9, 2003 (Rams vs. Ravens) to have seven sacks and seven takeaways in a game. Carolina leads the NFL with 27 sacks, the most by any team over its first six games since the Chiefs had 30 in 2013.

Raiders (3-3) at Texans (4-3), 4.25pm

The Raiders are allowing the second-most pass yards per game this season at 289.8 behind the Buccaneers (320.7). The Texans are just behind, allowing the fourth-most pass yards per game at 294.6.

Derek Carr leads the NFL in completion percentage at 74.1, on pace to be the second-highest completion rate in NFL history among qualifiers. However, Carr is averaging just 10.07 yards per completion, the fourth-lowest mark this season (minimum 100 attempts).

Deshaun Watson has accounted for at least one touchdown in all 30 of his games, the longest streak ever to start a player's career. Watson has the highest passer rating (103.3) and completion percentage (67.2) by a player through 30 career games in the Super Bowl era (minimum 450 pass attempts).

Browns (2-4) at Patriots (7-0), 4.25pm

Former Browns head coach Bill Belichick is in his 20th season as the Pats’ head man and on Sunday seeks his 300th career win, combining regular season and playoffs. Belichick has led NE to 30 postseason wins, including six Super Bowl titles, in his 20 seasons in Foxborough. Over that same period, the Browns have reached the postseason once, failing to win a game.
  Tom Brady has been intercepted in four straight games. An interception on Sunday would tie the longest streak of Brady’s career (five in 2002 and again in 2017).
  Baker Mayfield has thrown an NFL-high 11 interceptions in 2019 and has struggled mightily in the fourth quarter with six interceptions and no touchdown passes. After throwing multiple TD passes in nine of 13 starts in 2018, Mayfield has not thrown for more than a single touchdown in any game in 2018.

Packers (6-1) at Chiefs (5-2), 8.20pm

Veteran Matt Moore will start at quarterback for Kansas City after Mahomes was injured in last week’s 30-6 win at Denver. At 35, Moore will be the oldest Chiefs player to start at QB since Damon Huard in 2008.

Kansas City’s defense recorded nine sacks and held the Broncos to 1 of 13 on third-down conversions last week. It is the fourth time since 1991 a team has had nine or more sacks while limiting an opponent to less than 10 per cent on third downs, and the first time since October 3, 2010 (Giants vs. Bears).

In last week’s 42-24 win over Oakland, Green Bay’s Rodgers joined Norm Van Brocklin (1951) and Mark Rypien (1991) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, five passing touchdowns and a rushing TD in a game. Rodgers also threw his 350th career TD pass and reached the milestone in fewer games (172) than anyone in NFL history (Brees, 180).

MONDAY

Dolphins (0-6) at Steelers (2-4), 8.15pm

Miami and Pittsburgh are the only two teams without a 100-yard rusher or receiver this season. It’s the first time the Steelers have gone six straight games without a player rushing for 100 or more yards to begin a season since 2013 (14 straight).

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will face the Dolphins for the first time since being traded from Miami to Pittsburgh. Since inserting the 2018 first-round pick in the lineup in Week 3, Pittsburgh have limited opposing quarterbacks to a 68.0 passer rating - third-best in the NFL over that span.

Miami have lost nine straight games dating back to last season, the third-longest streak in franchise history and longest since a 10-game skid from December 19, 2010 to October 30, 2011. The Dolphins also have nine consecutive losses on the road, their longest in away games since dropping a franchise-record 11 straight from December 17, 2006 to September 14, 2008.

Quarterbacks around the league are on the mend.

We dive into the latest injury updates around the league and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Brees expects to play Week 8

While no definitive decision has been made, veteran New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told reporters he anticipates he will be ready to take the field against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday after missing the last six weeks with a thumb injury.

Brees underwent surgery and sported a brace on his hand as he recovered but was seen throwing earlier this month. In his absence, Teddy Bridgewater has proven to be a reliable backup by winning five straight starts.

Mahomes throws at practice after knee injury

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was not running, but he was active during the team's workout and has yet to be ruled out for Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid confirmed Matt Moore will get the majority of reps at practice this week, though Mahomes will toss the ball and take part in individual drills.

Reigning MVP Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap in last week's win over the Denver Broncos but reportedly could return in as soon as three weeks. The Chiefs are hopeful he could return in Week 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers, though they could choose to wait until after the team's Week 12 bye.

Darnold has ripped toenail removed

Another day, another odd setback for the New York Jets quarterback. Sam Darnold practiced on a limited basis Wednesday because he had a ripped toenail removed after Monday's loss to the New England Patriots. The good news is coach Adam Gase said Darnold will be able to participate in individual drills and is still expected to play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Sam will do individual drills, we'll evaluate him after," Gase told reporters. "Hoping to get seven-on-seven in, not sure if we're going to put him in team periods yet. Kind of that toe, we're just trying to make sure that he's good, feels good with the shoes that he's got.

"So we'll kind of progress as we go through practice. If he ends up getting a 'Did Not Participate', he'll at least do individual and then we'll see where he's at after that."

Two things that don't matter

Brady embracing career uncertainty

Patriots star Tom Brady is in his 20th season with the Super Bowl champions and said he wants to keep playing into his mid-40s, but he could become a free agent after this campaign, leaving his future with the franchise in question.

"That is the great part for me, I don't know," Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" in Boston. "I think that has been a unique situation that I have been in because I think when you commit to a team for a certain amount of years you kind feel like [there is] the responsibility to always fulfil the contract.

"One day I will wake up and I will feel like, 'OK, that will be enough'. When that day comes, that day comes. I don't know if it will be after this year. I don't know if it will be five years from now. I don't have to determine those things right now, either. That is kind of a good part of where I am at. Just take advantage of the opportunities that I have this year and do the very best I can do and then those decisions come at probably more appropriate times."

Reid motivated entering matchup with former team

The veteran safety has been preparing to face the 49ers since San Francisco opted not to re-sign him after the 2017 season, which ultimately paved his path to the Carolina Panthers.

"I just don't forget," Eric Reid told reporters.

Reid, who later filed a collusion grievance against the NFL along with quarterback Colin Kaepernick stating teams would not sign the pair due to their stances against social injustices, added he does not feel "bitter" or want "revenge," just a win.

One video you have to see

Kansas City are ready to light up Green Bay.

Wednesday's tweet of the day

Too soon, Myles Garrett.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.