If the San Francisco 49ers have a big lead in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, their coaching staff are unlikely to let minds drift to thoughts of confetti, parades and rings.

They may have been forgiven for doing so three years ago when the Atlanta Falcons led the New England Patriots 28-3 late in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI.

Lady Gaga, the half-time act that year, had long finished singing. But it turned out the fat lady had not.

Back came the Patriots, Kyle Shanahan's offense unable to add further points to their total, and Tom Brady perhaps cementing his legacy as the G.O.A.T by inspiring a 34-28 overtime win that stunned the Falcons.

Shanahan has since left Atlanta, taking the Niners' head-coaching post shortly after, but he admitted this week that Super Bowl scars remain.

The same is true for the staff he brought with him. Those aiming to banish the demons of Houston. Of '28-3'.

"I'm not gonna lie; you still think about it quite a bit," the Niners' passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur told Omnisport.

Shanahan said the only play he would have called differently in that second half was a second-and-11 pass play that resulted in Matt Ryan being sacked and pushed out of field-goal range.

Yet the Patriots' comeback was a brutal reminder of how even sizeable advantages can be eroded in the NFL.

At Super Bowl LIV, the Niners face a Kansas City Chiefs team that have already overturned 24 and 10-point leads this postseason.

Those who know Shanahan best believe a return to the Super Bowl will not suddenly trigger post-traumatic stress because '28-3' has always been with him ever since it happened.

San Francisco's run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel, who, like LaFleur, worked with Shanahan in Atlanta and at the Cleveland Browns, told Omnisport: "It's just the final game of the season, the stakes are incredibly high but I wouldn’t say that it would venture into Kyle's head any more than any other lesson.

"You'll never forget. Once you lose a Super Bowl like that, you just never feel comfortable with a lead, but that's been every single game since that we've been burying that weight.

"That's a lesson that you'll always be mindful of and you'll lose leads in the future but you'll do your best and better understand and think through how to handle situations - like all coaches that are able to have sustained success like Kyle."

LaFleur is adamant that Shanahan remained an aggressive playcaller in Houston, but he also recognises that, should the Niners find themselves in a similarly dominant position against the Chiefs, no one will be getting complacent.

Not with Patrick Mahomes on the other sideline. Not with '28-3' in their minds.

"I just know up in the box on Sundays, I don't care what the score is," LaFleur added.

"We had numerous times this year where we had big leads and you don't feel comfortable.

"I'm not saying the clock has to hit zero but the knees better be out or a lot of running the ball and the other team not using their timeouts."

Kyle Shanahan's previous Super Bowl experience left him with "scars" and he vowed not to ease up if the San Francisco 49ers find themselves in a similar position this Sunday.

Three years ago Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons when they led 28-3 against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

However, in one of the most astonishing sporting comebacks of all time, Tom Brady guided the Patriots to a fifth Lombardi Trophy with an overtime win that had some criticising Shanahan's second-half play-calling.

The 40-year-old is now the head coach of the Niners and will hope he can finally win a first ring when San Francisco face the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami on Sunday.

"Everyone asks what I learned from that Super Bowl; I wish I could say there was some easy answer that would have fixed us not blowing that lead," Shanahan said on Tuesday.

"I go back and I'm hard on myself on everything. I know the plays I wish I called differently, especially a second-and-11 pass once we got down there [near the end zone] that led to a sack. That was about it.

"You realise when you're playing good teams, good quarterbacks, that you can never relax.

"No matter what situation I've been in since then - you can ask our players, our coaches - I freaked out at [defensive coordinator Robert] Saleh when he tried to take the starters out against Minnesota

"We were up like three scores with two minutes to go and I freaked out. Then I did the math and I thought it was alright.

"You get some of that scars from that stuff so guys were messing with me with that but besides that, it's about that."

Another of Shanahan's regrets was not drafting quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the man Saleh and the defense must likely stop if the Niners are to win Super Bowl LIV.

Shanahan had just been appointed the 49ers head coach prior to the 2017 NFL Draft when Mahomes came out of college and his team owned the second overall pick.

Yet Shanahan thought San Francisco could wait and acquire Kirk Cousins the following the year, so they passed on future Chiefs star Mahomes, later trading for current starter Jimmy Garoppolo.

On Mahomes, the 2018 MVP and arguably the NFL's best quarterback, Shanahan said: "I didn't look into him, obviously, as much as I should have.

He added: "There's always a risk with that when you spend a first-round pick on a quarterback.

"With the situation we were in, we didn't want to be that risky, especially with the second pick in the draft. We didn't [study Mahomes] as hard. Obviously, he ended up being one of the best players in the league, along with a couple of other quarterbacks that year. He's extremely talented."

The Kansas City Chiefs pipped the New England Patriots to a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs, while Mason Crosby's last-gasp field goal ensured the Green Bay Packers did not miss out.

With the Patriots suffering a surprise 27-24 loss to the Dolphins, a 31-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers saw the Chiefs snatch the number two seed in the AFC.

Unlike New England, the Packers were able to get the win they needed to head straight to the Divisional Round with a 23-20 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

The New Orleans Saints did enough to remain in contention for a first-round bye with a resounding 42-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers, who saw Christian McCaffrey make history.

 

CHIEFS MAKE MOST OF PATS SHOCK

The Patriots looked to have staved off a potential upset against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium when James White ran into the end zone on third and goal to give them their first lead with 3:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, New England were unable to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick leading a 13-play drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown reception for Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds left.

Tom Brady, who went 16 of 29 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, moved beyond 4,000 yards in a season for the 11th time in his career and surpassed Peyton Manning for the second-most career touchdown passes in NFL history with his 540th, but was unable to conjure a miracle and help force overtime.

Defeat for the Patriots meant the Chiefs were able to deny them the final bye in the AFC.

After rookie Mecole Hardman's 104-yard kickoff return and an 84-yard rushing touchdown from Damien Williams for the Chiefs in their clash with the Chargers, Hunter Henry made it a three-point game. However, Williams' second score of the day locked up the win.

 

PACKERS MAKE SAINTS WAIT

Against the league's worst passing defense, Aaron Rodgers only had one completion for the Packers in a first quarter that saw his Lions opposite number David Blough take in a 19-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Danny Amendola.

The Packers trailed by 14 points at half-time but were level when Allen Lazard reeled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers with just over five minutes remaining in the final period.

A tremendous play from Aaron Jones got Green Bay into field-goal range and Crosby did not let them down at the death, making his attempt from 33 yards.

That meant the Saints had to wait to find out their fate, with a loss for the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks required to send them through as the second seed behind the Packers.

Drew Brees (253 yards) was key to New Orleans' victory over the Panthers as he became just the fourth player with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in four consecutive games in a single NFL season.

 

MCCAFFREY'S RECORD HUNT

The Panthers may have been blown out by the Saints, but McCaffrey did enough for a slice of history.

The third-year tailback joined Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only players in NFL history with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

McCaffrey finished the season with 2,392 scrimmage yards, the third-most in history and 117 shy of Chris Johnson's record.

 

WINSTON MAKES HISTORY

Jameis Winston's future is a source of great uncertainty and he did himself few favours against the Atlanta Falcons.

The fifth-year quarterback threw his 30th interception of the season in overtime for Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Deion Jones returned it for a game-winning touchdown.

It was the seventh pick six Winston has thrown this season – a new NFL record.

 

Week 17 scores:

New York Jets 13-6 Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns 23-33 Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers 23-20 Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Chargers 21-31 Kansas City Chiefs
Chicago Bears 21-19 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 27-24 New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons 28-22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OT)
New Orleans Saints 42-10 Carolina Panthers

Head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff will return to the Atlanta Falcons next season, the NFC South franchise have confirmed.

The 6-9 Falcons will miss the playoffs for the second straight campaign and will end this season with a losing record, regardless of whether they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17.

That had led to speculation about the futures of fifth-year head coach Quinn and GM Dimitroff, yet both men will retain their positions for 2020.

Quinn led Atlanta to Super Bowl LI in his second season only for the Falcons to squander a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots, who won in overtime in Houston.

Dimitroff, a former front office member with the Patriots, became Atlanta's GM in 2008 and picked quarterback Matt Ryan with his first draft selection.

The Falcons have made the playoffs in six of the 12 seasons since Dimitroff was hired.

Having been 1-7 earlier this season, Atlanta have won five of their last seven since their Week 9 bye.

In a statement on Atlanta's website, owner Arthur Blank said: "After weighing several factors, including our team's statistical turnaround and our players' focus and effort the second half of the season, I feel the decision to retain Thomas and Dan, with [CEO] Rich [McKay] providing close day-to-day oversight of the football operation, will provide the timeliest route for the Atlanta Falcons to return to contention in 2020 and beyond."

Blank added: "In my time as owner, and particularly since 2008, we have been one of the winningest teams in the NFC - ranking fourth in wins and across the NFL, tied for seventh in wins, and that remains the only acceptable result for us now and in the future."

Former Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris will be the team's defensive coordinator for next season.

The NFL regular season comes to a close this week, with plenty still on the line.

Defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, need a win against the Miami Dolphins to lock up the second seed in the AFC playoffs, though they are guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

The Tennessee Titans' postseason hopes are in their own hands – a win against the Houston Texans will see them through. Meanwhile, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks for NFC West leaders the San Francisco 49ers will ensure their place in the playoffs as the top seed and give them home advantage throughout.

However, the 49ers know that if they slip up then Seattle will win the division and the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints or Seahawks will take top spot in the conference.

The Philadelphia Eagles will clinch a playoff berth and the NFC East title if they win against the New York Giants. A shock defeat would give the Dallas Cowboys the opportunity to atone for last week's loss in Philadelphia and reach the postseason ahead of them by beating the Washington Redskins.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 17 fixtures.

SUNDAY (all times Eastern)

Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4) 1pm

- The Chiefs have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Chargers, but the last time these teams met at Arrowhead Stadium, 2018 Week 15, the Los Angeles triumphed 29-28.

- With Keenan Allen at 1,117 receiving yards and Mike Williams (963) and Austin Ekeler (950) within striking distance of 1000 receiving yards, the Chargers have a realistic chance of becoming the sixth team in NFL history with three players with 1,000+ yards receiving.

- The Chargers have already suffered their third 10+ loss season in the last five years, after going 11 seasons (from 2004-14) without a single 10-loss season.

 

Bears (7-8) at Vikings (10-5) 1pm

- The Bears have won three successive games against the Vikings, their longest streak since winning six straight over Minnesota from 2009-12.

- Entering 2019, Kirk Cousins had four straight seasons of at least 4000 passing yards, trailing only Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers for the longest active streaks in the NFL. Cousins needs 397 passing yards for a 4000-yard season in 2019, something he's never done in a home game in his career.

- Minnesota's 139 total net yards against the Packers last week were the fourth-fewest by any team in any game this season – only the Jets (twice) and Broncos have had fewer.

 

Jets (6-9) at Bills (10-5) 1pm

- Josh Allen has accounted for 29 total touchdowns this season (20 passing, nine rushing). Jim Kelly in 1991 is the only Buffalo player ever to account for at least 30 total touchdowns in a season (33 passing, one rushing).

- The Bills are 5-2 at home versus the Jets since 2012, with a +81 point differential over these seven games.

- The Jets have the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL and have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards. They would be the first team since the 1954 Eagles to rank bottom two and top two in rushing yards and opponent rushing yards, respectively.

 

Saints (12-3) at Panthers (5-10) 1pm

- The Saints defeated the Panthers at home in Week 12. New Orleans have also won the last two meetings in Carolina.

- New Orleans have never had back-to-back 13+ win seasons and the 25 wins over the past two seasons are already the most by the Saints in a two-season span all-time.

- Having won the division title for the third straight season, the Saints have tied the longest NFC South title streak that was set by the Panthers from 2013 to 2015.

 

Browns (6-9) at Bengals (1-14) 1pm

- The Browns' home win over the Bengals in Week 14 was a third straight win over their in-state rivals. Cleveland have not managed four consecutive wins over Cincinnati since a seven-game streak from 1992 to 1995.

- Cleveland were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Ravens. Their streak of 17 seasons without a playoff berth is tied for the fifth-longest in NFL history.

- The Bengals locked up the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft after a 38-35 overtime loss to the Dolphins in Miami last week. Cincinnati has drafted first overall three times in its history, taking defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson in 1994, running back Ki-Jana Carter in 1995 and quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.

 

Packers (12-3) at Lions (3-11-1) 1pm

- The Packers clinched the division title with their win over the Vikings in Week 16. Green Bay has won the NFC North title six times this decade, the most division titles by any NFC team.

- Davante Adams hauled in 13 receptions for 116 yards in that triumph, bringing his career receiving yards to 5,101.

- Green Bay holds a 99-72-7 advantage in the all-time series against the Lions and could become the third franchise to win 100 games against another franchise.

 

Dolphins (4-11) at Patriots (12-3) 1pm

- New England will be trying to earn a first-round bye for the 10th consecutive season. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, no other team has earned a first-round bye in more than four straight seasons.

- Tom Brady has 3,836 passing yards this season. If he can reach 4,000 passing yards, it would be the third time he has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season at age 40 or older.

- Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the Dolphins with 228 rushing yards this season. No team has finished a 16-game season without a player having at least 300 rushing yards.

 

Falcons (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

- Since 2015, the Falcons and Buccaneers have combined for 55.1 points per game against one another, the highest-scoring matchup between divisional opponents in the NFL.

- The Buccaneers rank third in the NFL in points (436) and third-worst in the NFL in points allowed (421).

- The Falcons have 19 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, tied with the Titans for most in the NFL.

 

Cardinals (5-9-1) at Rams (8-7) 4:25pm

- The Rams won 34-7 when these teams met in Week 13 and have outscored the Cardinals 164-32 during their five-game winning streak against Arizona.

- Tyler Higbee had his first career game with at least 100 receiving yards in Week 13 against Arizona, and has now had at least 100 yards in each of the three games since.

- Arizona beat the Seahawks 27-13 in Week 16, their second straight win following six consecutive losses. Both wins came by 14 points – the first time they have won back-to-back games by at least 14 since December 2015.

 

Raiders (7-8) at Broncos (6-9) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won six of the last seven home games against the Raiders.

- Oakland has gone 17 straight seasons without winning the AFC West, tied for the fourth-longest streak not winning their division.

- The Broncos will finish with a losing record for the third consecutive season, the second-longest streak of losing seasons in franchise history (10 straight from 1963-1972).

 

Redskins (3-12) at Dallas Cowboys (7-8) 4:25pm

- The Cowboys have won six of their last seven over the Redskins, including three straight in Dallas.

- Last week, the Redskins became the third team in the NFL this season to allow 300+ passing yards and 200+ rushing yards in a game.

- Dallas have had at least 400 total net yards in all seven home games. No team since at least 1950 has had eight home games with 400+ total net yards in a season.

 

Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5) 4:25pm

- Following their 24-21 win at Tennessee two weeks ago, the Texans look to secure the first season sweep by either team since 2015, and to square the all-time series at 18 wins each.

- The Texans clinched their second straight AFC South title with a 23-20 win at Tampa Bay – Houston's fifth victory this season by three points or fewer.

- Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson did not throw a touchdown pass last week; his season total sits at 26, matching the number he threw one season ago.

 

Steelers (8-7) at Ravens (13-2) 4:25pm

- Since John Harbaugh became head coach in 2008, the Ravens are 12-11 against the Steelers, and 14 of the 23 meetings have been decided by three points or fewer.

- Pittsburgh has lost back-to-back games after winning seven of its previous eight games. The Steelers have failed to score a fourth-quarter touchdown in eight straight games.

- The Ravens have clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and they have tied a franchise record with 13 wins.

 

Colts (7-8) at Jaguars (5-10) 4:25pm

- Jacksonville have won four straight home games against Indianapolis, tied for its third-longest home winning streak against any opponent in the team's history.

- The Jaguars lead the NFL with a 96.8 field-goal percentage this season (30-for-31), all attempted by Josh Lambo.

- Chris Conley had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in Jacksonville's Week 16 loss to the Falcons, his third touchdown reception in the last two games.

 

Eagles (8-7) at Giants (4-11) 4:25pm

- The Eagles got a 23-17 overtime win at home when these teams met in Week 14, their sixth straight win over the Giants and 10th in the last 11.

- Philadelphia has converted 57.1 percent of its red zone third downs this season, the highest mark in the league.

- The Eagles' six-game winning streak is tied for their second-longest all-time against New York – they won 12 straight between 1975 and 1981.


49ers (12-3) at Seahawks (11-4) 8:20pm

- Seattle got a 27-24 overtime win in San Francisco when these teams met in Week 10. Including their win in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks have won 13 of their last 15 games against the 49ers.

- Indeed, San Francisco have not won in Seattle since Week 16 in 2011.

- The 49ers beat the Rams on Saturday, reaching 12 wins for the first time since 2013. With another victory, they will clinch the NFC's top seed for the first time since 1997.

Adrian Peterson and Julio Jones each made history in the NFL on Sunday.

Neither Peterson nor Jones will be competing for their respective teams, the Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Falcons, in the playoffs this term.

However, they both added milestones to their CVs on the penultimate weekend of the 2019 regular season.

Future Hall of Fame running back Peterson surpassed the great Walter Payton to jump to fourth on the all-time touchdowns list, crossing for the 111th time in his career in the fourth quarter of the Redskins' game with the New York Giants.

Meanwhile, Jones became the fastest wide receiver to reach 12,000 career yards with a third-quarter catch in the Falcons' clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Jones achieved the feat in his 125th game, easily beating the previous mark of 142 set by Jerry Rice, considered by most to be the greatest receiver in league history.

The Houston Texans can seal the AFC South title with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday before the New Orleans Saints face a huge battle with the Tennessee Titans in the penultimate week of the regular season.

Houston won a crunch clash with the Titans last weekend to give themselves the edge in the division and could get the job done this weekend, with another showdown against Tennessee to come in Week 17.

The Titans host NFC South winners the Saints on Sunday, while the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers have home advantage in the other two Saturday encounters.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 16 fixtures.

 


SATURDAY (all times Eastern)

Texans (9-5) at Buccaneers (7-7) 1pm

- The Texans have won all three meetings with the Buccaneers since losing the first one in 2003. Tampa Bay have averaged just 12.0 points in those matchups – the lowest all-time average against any opponent other than the Patriots (11.9).

- Houston need four touchdowns to tie the single-season franchise record of 46, set in 2009 and matched in 2012. 

- The Bucs are looking to match their longest winning streak of the past 15 years – a five-game run in 2016. They have scored at least 28 points in every game during the current winning sequence.

 

Bills (10-4) at Patriots (11-3) 4:30pm

- Of teams to square off at least 10 times since 2000, the Patriots-Bills series is the most lopsided in the NFL, with New England owning a 34-5 record.

- The Patriots are seeking a 13th season with a least 12 wins, which would tie Dallas and San Francisco for the most in NFL history.

- Josh Allen needs 50 passing yards to reach 5000 for his career in what would be his 27th NFL game. He would join Robert Griffin III (22) and Cam Newton (23) as the only players to reach that mark and 1000 rushing yards in fewer than 30 games.

 

Rams (8-6) at 49ers (11-3) 8:15pm

- The Rams have won their last two matches in San Francisco, totalling 80 points, after going 2-9-1 in their previous 12 visits and scoring no more than 25 points in any of them.

- The 49ers have allowed more than 20 points in five of their last seven games after not doing so once through their first seven outings of the season. 

- Jared Goff is two passing yards shy of becoming the first Rams quarterback to throw for 4000 yards in back-to-back seasons. 

 

SUNDAY

Bengals (1-13) at Dolphins (3-11) 1pm

- Miami are 15-7 all-time against Cincinnati, including 6-2 at home. Cincinnati could tie a franchise record of 14 losses, which they also suffered in 2002.

- The Dolphins have not scored a touchdown in any of their last eight red-zone drives – only the Redskins (10) have had a longer streak this season.

- Cincinnati have failed to score a touchdown in the second half of seven consecutive games. The last team to have a longer such run was also the Bengals, in eight straight spanning the 1999-00 seasons. 

 

Steelers (8-6) at Jets (5-9) 1pm

- The Steelers are 20-5 (.800) against the Jets all-time, tied for the best winning percentage between any current franchises that have played at least 20 times. 

- The Jets allowed a season-high 42 points in last week's loss at Baltimore and were undone by five touchdown passes for only the second time in the last 30 years.

- Devlin Hodges is on pace to have the highest completion percentage by a rookie all-time at 67.8 percent (minimum 100 attempts), but 28.8 per cent of his completions have been behind the line of scrimmage. 

 

Giants (3-11) at Redskins (3-11) 1pm

- The Giants are 9-4 in their last 13 games in Washington, dating back to the 2006 season. They have scored at least 17 points in all nine of their wins, and 16 or fewer in each of their four losses. 

- New York beat the Dolphins 36-20 at home last week, snapping a nine-game losing streak, which was the longest in franchise history.

- The Redskins went down 37-27 to the Eagles on Sunday, the most points they have allowed this season. 

 

Panthers (5-9) at Colts (6-8) 1pm

- The Panthers are 5-1 all-time versus the Colts and Carolina have never lost at Indianapolis (3-0). All five of Carolina's victories have come by eight points or fewer, including two in overtime.

- The Colts were 5-2 after seven games, but have lost six of their last seven. Indianapolis have lost four straight games and have allowed 31 or more points in each of the last three.

- Indianapolis have allowed an NFL-high 34.3 points per game this month, while the Panthers have conceded 33.0 points per game, third-most in the competition.

 

Ravens (12-2) at Browns (6-8) 1pm

- The Ravens' last loss came at the hands of the Browns, a 40-25 defeat in Week 4. Cleveland have not swept Baltimore in a season, or won consecutive games against the Ravens, since 2007.

- Baltimore's 10-game winning streak is the longest in the team's history; no team has won 11 straight games in a single season since the 2016 Cowboys.

- The Browns have won four consecutive home games for the first time since they won seven in succession in 2007.

 

Jaguars (5-9) at Falcons (5-9) 1pm

- This will be just the seventh meeting between the Jaguars and Falcons, with both winning three so far. The Jaguars have lost in their last two visits to Atlanta, winning in Georgia only once in 1999.

- Jacksonville snapped a five-game losing streak with a 20-16 win last week in the Raiders' final home game in Oakland. The Jaguars have scored 20 points or fewer in six consecutive games, the longest ongoing streak in the NFL.

- The Jaguars have not turned the ball over or forced a turnover in their last two games. No NFL team in the Super Bowl era have done this in three consecutive games.

 

Saints (11-3) at Titans (8-6) 1pm

- The Titans have won five of their last six games against the Saints, including a 34-28 overtime win in their most recent meeting in Week 9 of 2015.

- The Saints defeated the Colts 34-7 at home on Monday. That was New Orleans' ninth game scoring 30 or more points this season, which is tied for the third-most 30-point games in a season in team history and one short of their single-season high (2011 and 2018).

- Since Week 10, the Titans are scoring 34.2 per game, the second-highest average in the NFL. Over that same period, the Saints are averaging 30.5 points per game.

 

Raiders (6-8) at Chargers (5-9) 4:05pm

- Either the Chargers or Raiders have swept the season series between these teams in every campaign since 2014. The Raiders won the first meeting this year.

- The Chargers have scored at least 10 points in 65 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL and the second-longest in franchise history (98 straight from 2006-12).

- Philip Rivers has thrown a TD pass in 24 consecutive games against the Raiders, tied for the second-longest run all-time against a single opponent behind Brett Favre's 26 versus the Bears.

 

Lions (3-10) at Broncos (5-9) 4:05pm

- The Lions have lost seven in a row after starting the season 3-3-1. Detroit have had seven seven-game losing streaks since 2000.

- Danny Amendola had eight catches for 102 yards in the Lions' loss to the Bucs last time out. It was his third 100-yard receiving game of the season, the most he has had in a campaign since matching that feat in 2013.

- Courtland Sutton surpassed 1000 receiving yards for the season in a Week 15 loss to the Chiefs. He is the first Broncos player with 1000-plus receiving yards in a season since 2016.

 

Cardinals (4-9) at Seahawks (11-3) 4:25pm

- Seattle have won three in a row versus Arizona. The Seahawks have only won four on the bounce against the Cardinals once, a streak that spanned from 2004 to 2006.

- The Cardinals beat the Browns 38-24 last week, snapping a six-game losing streak. It was their first victory by more than six points this season.

- Kenyan Drake ran for 137 yards on 22 carries against Cleveland, scoring four rushing touchdowns in Arizona's win. He became the fourth player in franchise history to score at least four rushing touchdowns in a game and the first since Ronald Moore in 1993.

 

Cowboys (7-7) at Eagles (7-7) 4:25pm

- Dallas have won four straight games against Philadelphia, its longest streak versus the Eagles since a six-game winning run that stretched from November 1992 to November 1995. 

- Carson Wentz was 11-for-11 in the fourth quarter in a defeat of the Redskins last week, just the second time in his career he's had a perfect quarter with at least 10 attempts.

- The Cowboys defense have allowed just 10 broken tackles this season, tied with Tennessee for second fewest in the league behind Washington (nine).

 

Chiefs (10-4) at Bears (7-7) 8:20pm

- These teams last met in Week 5, 2015, when the Bears trailed 17-6 late in the game but scored two touchdowns in the final 3:05 to win 18-17.

- The Chiefs beat the Broncos 23-3 at home last week, their fourth consecutive win. They have conceded 17 or fewer points in each of those four games.

- Kansas City are averaging 6.4 yards per first down this season, third most in the league – only San Francisco and New Orleans (6.5 each) have averaged more. 

 

MONDAY

Packers (11-3) at Vikings (10-4) 8:15pm

- The Vikings have won the last three contests played in Minneapolis and hold a 29-28 lead in home contests against Green Bay.

- The Packers were 21-13 winners at home to the Bears last week, improving their record against NFC North teams to 4-0 this season. Green Bay have not gone undefeated against all division rivals since 2011.

- Aaron Jones had two more rushing touchdowns against the Bears, giving him 17 scrimmage TDs this season. That is the third-most scrimmage touchdowns in a single season by a Packers running back behind Ahman Green in 2003 (20) and Jim Taylor in 1962 (19).

The San Francisco 49ers suffered a shock loss in the NFL on Sunday, while the Buffalo Bills clinched a playoff spot.

The 49ers (11-3) were beaten for the second time in three games after going down to the Atlanta Falcons.

Meanwhile, the Bills are heading to the playoffs for just the second time since 2000 after overcoming the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Dallas Cowboys claimed a key win and the Oakland Raiders were beaten by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

 

49ERS STUNNED BY FALCONS

Julio Jones' touchdown with just seconds remaining helped the Falcons get past the 49ers 29-22.

Matt Ryan's five-yard pass to Jones – who had 134 receiving yards – with two seconds remaining, and Olamide Zaccheaus' fumble return as time expired, saw Atlanta (5-9) to their shock win.

Ryan went 25 of 39 for 210 yards and two TDs, while 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo finished with 200 yards after completing 22 of 34 passes.

George Kittle had 134 receiving yards for the 49ers, but his team fell short.

The 49ers are assured of a playoff place, but sit behind the Seattle Seahawks (11-3) in the NFC West. The teams will meet on December 29.

 

BILLS BOOK PLAYOFF SPOT

The Bills rallied past the Steelers 17-10 to clinch a playoff place.

After Stephen Hauschka's 36-yard field goal brought Buffalo level in the fourth quarter, Josh Allen's 14-yard pass to Tyler Kroft secured the win.

Devin Singletary rushed for 87 yards on 21 carries for the Bills, while John Brown had 99 receiving yards.

The Bills (10-4) are second to the New England Patriots (11-3) in the AFC East, while the Steelers (8-6) are in a wildcard place.

 

COWBOYS SNAP LOSING STREAK

The Cowboys ended a three-game losing streak with a 44-21 victory over the Rams.

Ezekiel Elliott scored two touchdowns, rushing for 117 yards on 24 carries in the impressive win.

The Rams managed just 22 rushing yards as QB Jared Goff went 33 of 51 for 284 yards, two TDs and an interception.

Dallas top a tight NFC East with a 7-7 record ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) and they meet next week.

 

RAIDERS' COLISEUM FAREWELL ENDS IN LOSS

In their final scheduled game at the Oakland Coliseum, the Raiders went down to the Jaguars 20-16.

Oakland (6-8) are set to miss the playoffs after the defeat as they conceded 14 fourth-quarter points to Jacksonville (5-9).

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings improved to 10-4 by crushing the Los Angeles Chargers 39-10 and the Cleveland Browns' playoff hopes were hit after a 38-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, who had Kenyan Drake score four TDs.

WEEK 15 SCORES

Seattle Seahawks 30-24 Carolina Panthers
New England Patriots 34-13 Cincinnati Bengals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-17 Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers 21-13 Chicago Bears
Kansas City Chiefs 23-3 Denver Broncos
New York Giants 36-20 Miami Dolphins
Houston Texans 24-21 Tennessee Titans
Philadelphia Eagles 37-27 Washington Redskins
Arizona Cardinals 38-24 Cleveland Browns
Minnesota Vikings 39-10 Los Angeles Chargers
Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16 Oakland Raiders
Dallas Cowboys 44-21 Los Angeles Rams
Atlanta Falcons 29-22 San Francisco 49ers
Buffalo Bills 17-10 Pittsburgh Steelers

The Tennessee Titans take on AFC South rivals the Houston Texans in the stand-out match of the NFL schedule in Week 15.

With both teams holding an 8-5 record, there are huge playoff implications to Sunday's meeting with just three matches left of the regular season.

But that is far from the only game to keep an eye on in the coming days, with the under-pressure Dallas Cowboys hosting the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The New England Patriots are also looking to bounce back after suffering back-to-back defeats when they play the Cincinnati Bengals.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 15 fixtures.

 

The Buffalo Bills against Lamar Jackson's Baltimore Ravens is the stand-out match-up of the Week 14 NFL schedule.

Orchard Park plays host as the Ravens chase a ninth straight win, having moved to top spot in the AFC last week.

But that is far from the only game to keep an eye on in the coming days, with the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers meeting, while the New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

As division rivals the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks also face one another, there is plenty to look forward to.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 14 fixtures.

 

The New Orleans Saints have "bigger fish to fry" after clinching the NFC South championship on Thursday, according to quarterback Drew Brees.

A 26-18 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving Day made the Saints the first team to secure a spot in the postseason and avenged a surprise 26-9 loss to the same team at the Superdome in Week 10.

Taysom Hill blocked a punt to set up a three-yard touchdown catch for the opening score, before adding a 30-yard run in the second quarter as the Saints improved to 10-2.

"Three NFC South championships in a row, and this one being the earliest we've been able to secure it, on Thanksgiving, says a lot about our organisation," said Brees, who finished 18 of 30 for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions against the Falcons.

Asked about the players celebrating the title in t-shirts stating "the south is not enough", Brees responded: "This was objective number one, obviously, win the division.

"But I think you know our mindset and the group of guys we have in there, and just kind of how we've progressed each and every year. We've got bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

"We've got a list of goals and objectives and we want to knock them down one by one, but let's keep it simple right now. Let's just focus on playing our best football. I still think it's out there, on both sides of the ball.

"If we continue to do that and get better every week we'll be peaking at the right time."

Head coach Sean Payton said: "Look, it doesn't happen much before Thanksgiving. This is our sixth [division title] now, third in a row. It's one of the goals, and for it to happen this early, it's the first step.

"It's hard to win in this league, it's hard to win on the road. I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of Mrs B [owner Gayle Benson], ownership.

"You know, a lot of work goes into putting the right team together. And it's a challenging business. It's all worth it when you win and you have a chance and you're playing for something."

The New Orleans Saints have "bigger fish to fry" after clinching the NFC South championship on Thursday, according to quarterback Drew Brees.

A 26-18 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving Day made the Saints the first team to secure a spot in the postseason and avenged a surprise 26-9 loss to the same team at the Superdome in Week 10.

Taysom Hill blocked a punt to set up a three-yard touchdown catch for the opening score, before adding a 30-yard run in the second quarter as the Saints improved to 10-2.

"Three NFC South championships in a row, and this one being the earliest we've been able to secure it, on Thanksgiving, says a lot about our organisation," said Brees, who finished 18 of 30 for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions against the Falcons.

Asked about the players celebrating the title in t-shirts stating "the south is not enough", Brees responded: "This was objective number one, obviously, win the division.

"But I think you know our mindset and the group of guys we have in there, and just kind of how we've progressed each and every year. We've got bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

"We've got a list of goals and objectives and we want to knock them down one by one, but let's keep it simple right now. Let's just focus on playing our best football. I still think it's out there, on both sides of the ball.

"If we continue to do that and get better every week we'll be peaking at the right time."

Head coach Sean Payton said: "Look, it doesn't happen much before Thanksgiving. This is our sixth [division title] now, third in a row. It's one of the goals, and for it to happen this early, it's the first step.

"It's hard to win in this league, it's hard to win on the road. I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of Mrs B [owner Gayle Benson], ownership.

"You know, a lot of work goes into putting the right team together. And it's a challenging business. It's all worth it when you win and you have a chance and you're playing for something."

The New Orleans Saints claimed their third consecutive NFC South title courtesy of a 26-18 NFL win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Taysom Hill starred for the Saints (10-2), who maintained their stranglehold on the NFC South by celebrating on Thanksgiving.

Hill blocked a punt to set up a three-yard touchdown catch, while he later produced a 30-yard score as the Saints topped the Falcons (3-9) on Thursday.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees set up Hill for the opening TD in the first quarter and the latter gave New Orleans a 17-9 half-time lead via a 30-yard run after Atlanta's Matt Ryan had connected with Jaeden Graham.

Brees finished 18 of 30 for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in Atlanta.

Will Lutz kept things ticking over with a 47-yard field goal in the third goal as the Saints moved clear of the Falcons, who were without Julio Jones due to a shoulder injury.

It was a tough night for Falcons quarterback Ryan after he committed three second-half turnovers – two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Ryan's fumble in the fourth quarter and Vonn Bell's recovery helped tee up Lutz's fourth field goal from 45 yards.

A 13-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Russell Gage reduced the deficit with less than four minutes remaining but the Falcons – last in the division – were unable to avoid a second straight home loss.

Falcons veteran Ryan finished 35 of 50 for 312 yards and nine sacks.

The Buffalo Bills can take another step towards the play-offs on Thanksgiving Day, while the San Francisco 49ers' clash with the Baltimore Ravens is among the standout Week 13 NFL match-ups.

Buffalo are 8-3 after back-to-back wins over the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos and can make it a happy holiday for their supporters with another victory on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

The struggling Detroit Lions host the Chicago Bears in the first Thanksgiving Day showdown, with NFL South leaders the New Orleans Saints making a trip to take on bottom side the Atlanta Falcons later in the day.

Baltimore will be out to inflict just a second defeat on the rampant Niners on Sunday before the New England Patriots come up against AFC South front-runners the Houston Texans.

We take a look at the Week 13 schedule using Stats Perform data.

THURSDAY (all times Eastern)

Bears (5-6) at Lions (3-7-1) 12:30pm

- This is the 180th meeting between the Bears and Lions and the 18th on Thanksgiving Day. The Bears have won the past three meetings and are looking to win four in a row against Detroit for the first time since 2008-10 (six straight wins).

- The Lions started the season 2-0-1 but have lost seven of their past eight games and four in a row. 

- The Bears have not led at the end of the first quarter since Week 4 (7-0 versus Minnesota); the Lions have trailed at the end of the first quarter only once in their past eight games.

 

Bills (8-3) at Cowboys (6-5) 4:30pm

- Including Super Bowl wins in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, the Cowboys are 8-4 all-time against the Bills, though Buffalo won their previous meeting 16-6 in 2015 at Orchard Park. 

- The Bills' 8-3 record is their best through 11 games since 1996, and the team's 15.7 points allowed per game is its lowest in 20 years. 

- The Cowboys were held to their season-low point total in Sunday's 13-9 defeat against the Patriots.

 

Saints (9-2) at Falcons (3-8) 8:20pm

- The Saints have a league-low seven turnovers this season; the fewest they have ever had in a full season was 16 in 2018. 

- The Saints have not allowed an opposing player to rush for 100 yards in 33 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. 

- The Falcons are looking to halt a four-game home losing streak, their longest since dropping their final four home matches of the 2006 season and the 2007 home opener. 

 

SUNDAY

Titans 6-5 at Colts (6-5) 1pm

- The Colts won the first meeting with the Titans this year 19-17 in Tennessee back in Week 2. Indianapolis have won three straight meetings with Tennessee and 14 of the past 16.

- The Titans started the season 2-4, but have won four of their five most recent matches to get right back into the playoff race. 

- Since the beginning of last year, Derrick Henry has 2,050 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns. He is the only player in the NFL with at least 2,000 rushing yards and at least 20 rushing TDs.

 

Jets (4-7) at Bengals (0-11) 1pm

- The Bengals have won their past two games against the Jets, in 2013 and 2016, both with Andy Dalton at the helm. Dalton has thrown for 691 yards and six touchdowns across those two games.

- New York have held their past three opponents to under 300 yards of total offense, the longest active streak in the NFL and the Jets' most impressive run since 2015 - three straight games.

- The Bengals have allowed 69 plays of 20 or more yards this season, including at least four in every game. The Jets are 4-0 when they have four or more plays of 20+ yards this season.

 

Redskins (2-9) at Panthers (5-6) 1pm

- The Redskins have lost their four most recent road games against the Panthers. No team has ever lost five straight matches at Carolina since the franchise began in 1995.

- Christian McCaffrey is averaging 102.1 rushing yards and 53.3 receiving yards per game this season. He would be only the second player in NFL history to average 100+ rushing and 50+ receiving yards per game in a season, along with Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell in 2016.

- Washington have scored fewer than 20 points in nine straight games, the longest streak by any NFL team since the Cardinals had a nine-game run in 2012

 

49ers (10-1) at Ravens (9-2) 1pm

- These teams have met five times in the regular season, and once in Super Bowl XLVII. Baltimore hold a 4-2 edge from those matches.

- The 49ers beat the Packers 37-8 at home on Sunday - their fourth win by 24 or more points this season. That is tied for their second-most in franchise history.

- Baltimore beat the Rams 45-6 in Los Angeles on Monday and have now won three successive games by at least 34 points.

 

Buccaneers (4-7) at Jaguars (4-7) 1pm

- The Jaguars lost to the Titans 42-20 in Tennessee on Sunday and have been beaten in three consecutive games by 20+ points for the first time in franchise history. 

- Leonard Fournette has accounted for all three of Jacksonville's rushing touchdowns this season, the only player in the league with all of his team's rushing TDs. 

- Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had three touchdown passes and two interceptions in a 35-22 win over the Falcons last weekend, his second consecutive game with at least two of each and third in total this season.

 

Packers (8-3) at Giants (2-9) 1pm

- The Packers and Giants last played in the wild-card Round in January 2017 when Green Bay beat New York 38-13. The Giants have won the past two meetings at the Meadowlands after dropping their previous four home games against the Packers.

- Green Bay have lost two of their past three games after going 7-1 to start the season, both defeats coming on the road.

- New York have lost seven straight matches after winning two in a row in Weeks 3 and 4. The Giants have not had an eight-game losing streak in a single season since 2004.

 

Eagles (5-6) at Dolphins (2-9) 1pm 

- The Eagles lost 17-9 at home to the Seahawks on Sunday and now have had three games this season scoring 10 points or fewer - including each of their past two.

- The Dolphins went down 41-24 to the Browns last weekend, but they have now scored 20+ points in four of their past six games after failing to do so in any of their first five. 

- Carson Wentz was sacked three times by the Seahawks, the fifth straight game in which he has been taken down at least three times - tied for the longest streak in the league this season.

 

Browns (5-6) at Steelers (6-5) 1pm

- The Steelers have won 15 straight home games against the Browns, the longest active streak in the NFL and tied for the fourth-longest home winning run by any team against any opponent all-time.

- After starting the season 2-6, the Browns have won three consecutive games. They have only won four in a row once since the franchise was resurrected and that was a decade ago.

- Pittsburgh have committed a turnover in 18 straight games, tying the team's longest such streak under Mike Tomlin (2008-09). 

 

Rams (6-5) at Cardinals (3-7-1) 4:05pm

- The Rams have won four in a row against the Cardinals, their longest run in the match-up since reeling off five on the bounce from November 2002-September 2004. 

- Jared Goff completed 70.3 per cent of his passes in his team's loss to Baltimore on Monday, but threw two interceptions and averaged just 5.73 yards per attempt. 

- The Cardinals have stopped 39 rushing plays for negative yardage, second most in the NFL this season to the Jets (42, excludes kneel downs).

 

Chargers (4-7) at Broncos (3-8) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won four of the last five games at home to the Chargers, outgaining them in total offense 388.6-303.4 on average.

- The Chargers are the first team in NFL history to lose at least seven of their first 11 games with all of the defeats coming by seven points or fewer.

- Denver put up just 134 total net yard in a loss at Buffalo last week. It was their fewest yards in a single game since 1992 Week 6 at Washington (128). 

 

Raiders (6-5) at Chiefs (7-4) 4:25pm

- Patrick Mahomes has thrown 69 career touchdown passes in 26 games. With one touchdown pass on Sunday, he will become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 70. Dan Marino reached that tally in his 29th match.

- Oakland's five losses this season have been by an average of 18.0 points; the only team in the NFL with a larger average margin of defeat this term is the Dolphins (21.7). 

- The Chiefs have won six consecutive home games against the Raiders. Kansas City's average margin of victory in those six games is 15.3 points per game.

 

Patriots (10-1) at Texans (7-4) 8:20pm

- The Patriots are 8-1 versus the Texans in the regular season, including wins in each of the past six meetings. The only team that New England have a longer active win streak against is the Jets (eight).

- Houston have won three consecutive home games and boast a 4-1 home record this season.

- In his past five starts against the Texans, Tom Brady has averaged 309.6 passing yards per game with 16 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. 

 

MONDAY

Vikings (8-3) at Seahawks (9-2)

- The Vikings have won two games in a row and six of their past seven dating back to Week 5. 

- Over his five most recent games, Kirk Cousins has thrown for 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Cousins has a 7.0 touchdown-interception ratio (21/3) for the season, on pace to be the highest single-season mark in franchise history. Brett Favre holds the current record: 4.7 TD/INT in 2009.

- Russell Wilson is 8-2 (.800) in his career on Monday night, tied with Randall Cunningham (also 8-2) for the best record by a QB on Mondays in the Super Bowl era (min. 10 games).

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