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Week 8 Cheat Sheet: Will Rodgers or Manning reign supreme?

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Week 8 Cheat Sheet

Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches...

Key game-time decisions

All players questionable unless noted

Dez Bryant (foot) WR, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are optimistic that, barring a setback, Bryant will return for his first action since Week 1. When asked if he'll be on a pitch count, Bryant responded: "We'll just have to wait and see about that." UPDATE: NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Bryant will play, barring a setback.

John Brown (hamstring) WR, Arizona Cardinals

Brown was limited Friday. It's the third straight week the wideout has missed practice due to the nagging injury. It has yet to hinder him on game days. UPDATE: Brown is active and will play versus Cleveland.

Josh McCown (right shoulder, ribs) QB, Cleveland Browns

The quarterback was limited on Thursday and Friday and coach Mike Pettine said he's prepared to play both McCown and Johnny Manziel if need be. Manziel (right elbow) is probable and will start if McCown can't go. UPDATE: McCown is officially active versus the Cardinals.

Ben Roethlisberger (knee) QB, James Harrison (not injury related) LB -- BOTH PROBABLE -- Pittsburgh Steelers

Big Ben is set to return after missing four games (the Steelers went 2-2). With defensive end Stephon Tuitt (knee) ruled out, the Steelers defense will need Harrison and the rest of the cast fully healthy to slow down the dynamic Bengals offense.

Adrian Peterson (hip, finger, ankle) RB -- PROBABLE -- Minnesota Vikings

Mike Zimmer said Friday, Peterson was full-go and ready to play.

Odell Beckham (hamstring) WR -- PROBABLE -- New York Giants

OBJ was a full participant all week. He'll play.

Eric Decker (knee) WR; Buster Skrine (shoulder, hand) CB; Nick Mangold (neck) -- DOUBTFUL; Chris Ivory (hamstring) RB, Stevan Ridley (knee) RB - BOTH PROBABLE -- New York Jets

Decker was limited Thursday and Friday, but should play. Skrine was also limited throughout the week. Mangold didn't practice all week. Ivory was full-go all week after tweaking his injury last Sunday. Ridley should see his first action coming off ACL surgery. UPDATE: Rapoport reports that Decker is optimistic that he will play.

Anquan Boldin (hamstring) WR, San Francisco 49ers

Boldin sat out Friday after being limited Thursday -- when he suffered the injury. With Carlos Hyde officially out, the Niners offense needs all the help they can get. UPDATE: Boldin is inactive for Sunday versus St. Louis.

Antonio Gates (knee) TE; Melvin Gordon (ankle) -- PROBABLE; Eric Weddle (groin) S -- OUT, San Diego Chargers

Gates earned DNPs all week. We will see if Gordon has a bigger role this week after seeing just seven totes each of the past two games. Weddle is out again. The Chargers secondary looked lost without him last week. UPDATE: Gates is active for Sunday's clash with Baltimore.

Tamba Hali (knee) LB, Kansas City Chiefs

Hali was a full participant Thursday and Friday, which is a good sign for his availability in Sunday game in London.

Maxx Williams (knee, ankle) TE, Baltimore Ravens

The rookie was limited all week.

Tre Mason (ankle) RB; Robert Quinn (knee) DE, St. Louis Rams

Both Mason and Quinn returned to practice Friday. UPDATE: Rapoport reports that both are expected to play.

Russell Okung (toe, ankle) LT, Seattle Seahawks

The only man on the injury report not listed as probable for the Seahawks, Okung did not practice Friday. He will be a true game-time decision, Pete Carroll said.

Vincent Jackson (knee) WR -- DOUBTFUL -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Expect a whole lot of Mike Evans and passes to running backs Doug Martin and Charles Sims.

J.J. Watt (back) DE, Houston Texans

Watt was back limited on Friday and plans to play barring a setback. With Zach Mettenberger set to start for the Titans, we could get more selfie trash talk (eye roll emoji). UPDATE: Watt is active.

Davante Adams (ankle) WR -- PROBABLE; Ty Montgomery (ankle) WR -- DOUBTFUL; James Starks (hip) RB; B.J. Raji (groin) DT, Damarious Randall (ankle) CB -- BOTH PROBABLE, Green Bay Packers

Adams should return to the lineup. Montgomery missed all week of practice and was downgraded to doubtful on Saturday. Starks was limited Thursday and Friday. Raji and Randall were both upgraded to probable Saturday.

Jordan Norwood (hamstring) WR, Denver Broncos

Norwood hurt the hamstring in practice Friday. He was the Broncos No. 3 wideout in three receiver sets.

Monday Night


Ryan Kalil (ankle) C, -- DOUBTFUL; Shaq Thompson (knee) LB -- DOUBTFUL, Carolina Panthers

Both Kalil and Thompson did not practice on Saturday.


Key game-time decisions

All players questionable unless noted

Weather Tracking*

We will update as prognostications drift closer to game time.

Chargers at Ravens -- 62 degrees / Chance of Rain (29 percent)
Jets at Raiders -- 68 degrees / Chance of Rain (15 percent)
Colts at Panthers (MNF) -- 61 degrees / Chance of Rain (69 percent)
*Forecasts courtesy of Weather Underground

Three matchups that intrigue

Aaron Rodgers vs. Broncos secondary

Aaron Rodgers is on pace for his best completion percentage (68.1), passer rating (115.9) and most TD passes (40) since his 2011 MVP season. Yet, he hasn't seen anything close to the talent the Broncos secondary will bring Sunday. The Broncos No. 1 rated pass defense (allowing just 192.2 yards per contest) boasts the best corner trio in the NFL in Chris Harris, Aqib Talib and improving Bradley Roby. Along with underrated Darian Stewart and David Bruton at safety, there is no secondary more difficult to move the ball through the air on without hiccups. James Jones has been Rodgers' go-to target, but an equally physical Talib could lock him down in tight spaces. If Randall Cob isn't back to form after his shoulder injury, it could be difficult for Packers receivers to find space in a restricted secondary. Even with Rodgers' bag-o-magic, Sunday could be his first quarterback's most difficult challenge all season.

Bengals pass rush vs. Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben returns from a knee injury just in time to try and keep the Steelers in the division race. It's only Week 8, but this feels like a must-win to keep the Bengals from running away with the AFC North. Roethlisberger's lateral mobility will be the biggest thing to watch. If he's not able to shift properly in the pocket, he'll be a statue for the Bengals pass rush. Cincy is tied for ninth in sacks this season with Carlos Dunlap (6.5) and Geno Atkins (4) combining for the second most QB takedowns among any rushing duo in the NFL. If Atkins is pushing the middle of the pocket and Dunlap screaming in from the outside, an immobile Big Ben will be clobbered. Expect Steelers coordinator Todd Haley to scheme to get the ball out quick early in the contest -- i.e. a lot of receiver screens.

Seahawks front seven vs. Cowboys offensive line

Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril have been game-wreckers this season. Bennett almost single-handedly destroyed the 49ers' game plan last week -- 3.5 sacks. This week they face a Cowboys offensive line that despite perhaps not living up to the otherworldly offseason hype remains one of the better units in the NFL. The Cowboys offense needs to lean on the run game in order to function with Matt Cassel at the helm. The Seahawks rank sixth in run defense (94.1 yards per game) and third in pass defense (200.0). If Darren McFadden and Christine Michael are stymied by the Seahawks' front seven, the Cowboys will have no chance to move the ball. Getting Dez Bryant back on the field is huge, but winning up front against Seattle is more important to Sunday's outcome.

Did You Know?

General knowledge

Woeful AFC South: The Colts are the first team since 1970 with a losing record and sole possession of first place in their division through Week 7.

Since 1990, teams that start 4-3 have made the playoffs 48.8 percent of the time. Teams that start 3-4 have made the playoffs just 18.7 percent of the time.

Since 1990, teams that start 5-3 have made the playoffs 65.5 percent of the time. Teams that start 4-4 have made the playoffs 32 percent of the time.

Entering Week 8, there are five undefeated teams -- CAR (6-0), CIN (6-0), DEN (6-0), GB (6-0) and NE (7-0 following Thursday night's win). That marks the most 6-0 teams in a season in NFL history -- the previous mark was a set of four in 2009.

Teams that start 7-0 have made the playoffs 100 percent of the time (20/20), won the division 95 percent, made the Super Bowl 45 percent and won the Super Bowl 25 percent of the time.

This season, there have been 57 games decided by eight points or fewer -- fourth-most such games through seven weeks in NFL history -- last week, 8 of 14 games were decided by eight points or fewer.

Divisions by Winning Percentage
NFC South 17-9 .654
AFC East 16-9 .640
NFC North 13-12 .520
AFC West 13-13 .500
AFC North 13-14 .481
NFC West 13-14 .481
NFC East 12-15 .444
AFC South 8-19 .296

Every game, all season

The NFC is 17-12 versus the AFC head-to-head this season.

Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs

This will be the Lions' second ever game in London -- defeated Atlanta 22-21 in Week 8, 2014, the closest game in London series.

Will we have a big play bonanza? The Lions' defense has allowed 37 plays of 20-plus yards (second-most in the NFL). The Chiefs' defense has allowed 32 plays of 20-plus yards (fifth-most in the NFL).

There is a reason Detroit fired Joe Lombardi this week. Lions' offensive ranks: last in rushing yards per game (68) and giveaways (18); 29th in points per game (19.9) and 20th in total yards per game (346.6). Detroit's run game also ranks last in percentage of run plays (30.0) and 10-plus yard runs (10); 31st in yards per rush (3.5); and T-28 in rushing TDs (2).

Matthew Stafford: 65.0 completion percentage, 266.6 YPG, 12 TD, 9 INT, 86.8 passer rating. Since being benched in Week 5, he's completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 330.5 yards per game, 6-1 TD-INT ratio and a 121.0 passer rating.

Calvin Johnson: 43 receptions, 574 yards, 3 TD -- earned a receiving TD in back-to-back games and 7-plus targets in each game this season.

Detroit's defense ranks last in passer rating allowed (111.6), 31st in 20-plus yard plays allowed (37), 29th in points per game (28.6) and 27th in total yards per game (392.3).

K.C.'s Offense has four offensive TD in its last 32 drives and allowed 2-plus sacks in each game this season -- 1-plus sack allowed in 13 straight games. Their 26 sacks allowed this season are T-2nd most in NFL.

Alex Smith: 62.8 completion percentage, 260.6 YPG, 7 TD, 3 INT, 90.3 passer rating -- 1 passing TD or less in 6 straight games, but 0 INTs in last 4 games.

Charcandrick West: 43 carries, 191 yards, TD; 5 receptions, 34 yards. Week 7: 22 carries, 110 rushing yards, 1 TD, 2 receptions, 19 receiving yards. West had 22 carries compared to just 1 for Knile Davis in Week 7.

KC Defense: 108 receptions, 1,549 yards, 12 rec TD allowed to WR this season, most in NFL in all 3 categories. They have allowed 16 TDs on 24 red zone trips this season, 66.7 percent (T-29th in NFL). Earned two sacks in each of last three games.

Matchup to watch: Marcus Peters vs. Megatron

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

This game features two of the top three rushers in the NFL: Falcons RB Devonta Freeman leads league in rushing, Buccaneers' Doug Martin ranks third in rushing
Freeman: 621 yards, 4.7 yards per carry, 9 TD
Martin: 541 yards, 5.0 yards per carry, 3 TDs

The Falcons average 27.6 points per game (4th in NFL) while the Buccaneers allow 29.8 points per game (T-Last in NFL).

Jameis Winston: 59.1 comp percent, 245.2 pass YPG, 9 TD, 7 INT, 85.7 passer rating; 21 carries, 67 rushing yards, TD. Week 7: 21/29, 297 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 128.1 passer rating, set career highs in comp percent (72.4), TD passes (2, tied) and passer rating (128.1). Winston has 120-plus passer rating in each of his last two games. No Buccaneers passer has put together three straight games of at least 120.0 passer rating in franchise history.

Mike Evans: 21 receptions, 338 receiving yards, 1 TD. Week 7: 8 receptions (career high), 164 yards, 1 TD (on 12 targets). He should see a heavy target load with Vincent Jackson likely sitting out.

Buccaneers defense is ranked sixth in total defense (328.2 YPG allowed), T-last in scoring defense (29.8 PPG allowed) and have the worst red zone defense in NFL (75.0 percent). Tampa Bay is also 31st in opposing passer rating (111.2).

Since scoring 48 points in Week 4, the Falcons' scoring has declined in three straight games. Week 5: 25-19 OT W versus Washington, Week 6: 21-31 L at New Orleans, Week 7: 10-7 W at Tennessee.

Atlanta has not performed as well on third down in the last three weeks as they did to start the season: Weeks 1-4: 54.1 percent (second in NFL), Weeks 5-7: 34.1 percent (22nd in NFL).

Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman have accounted for 58.9 percent of Atlanta's scrimmage yards this season (highest of any duo in NFL) -- 1,661 of 2,822 scrimmage yards.

Over his last four games, Matt Ryan has completed just 18.2 percent of 20-plus air yard passes with a passer rating of 8.1 (lowest in NFL).

Falcons defensive ranks: second in rushing yards per game allowed, 13th in points per game, 13th in total yards per game, 19th in 3rd down conversions allowed, 25th in passing yards per game allowed and 32nd in sacks (8).

Matchup to watch: Devonta Freeman vs. Lavonte David

San Diego Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

The Chargers are first team since 1940 to start 2-5 after gaining 3,000-plus yards of total offense in first seven games of a season. They're also the third team since 1970 (and the first team since the 2010 Chargers) to start 2-5 despite leading the league in total offense through seven games played.

Keenan Allen needs eight receptions to set the record for most receptions in team's first eight games of any season since 1960. Marvin Harrison had 69 receptions through eight games in 2002, on his way to 143 receptions for the season (a single-season NFL record).

The Chargers rank first in passing offense this season (343.6 YPG). The Ravens rank 28th in passing defense this season (283.0 YPG).

The two teams have a combined turnover differential of -13 entering Week 8 - SD: -6 (T-27th) - BAL: -7 (T-29th)

Chargers are converting 42.9 percent of 3rd downs (10th-best in league), The Ravens rank last in 3rd down defense (47.1).

Philip Rivers: 69.1 completion percent, 350.3 YPG, 15 TD, 7 INT, 99.2 passer rating. Leads the NFL with 2,452 passing yards this season. Rivers has 300-plus passing yards in five of seven games this season, he had four 300-yard games in all of 2014.

Rivers is averaging 6.5 air yards per pass attempt this season (tied for fewest in NFL with Alex Smith).

The Chargers' run defense ranks 31st (132.1 YPG) and their 5.32 yards/carry allowed ranks 32nd in the NFL. Opponents have rushed for 100-plus yards in six straight games (1-5)

The Ravens are the 11th team since 1940 to have its first seven games decided by eight points or fewer. In those other 10 instances, the team that had its first seven games decided by eight points or fewer won at least three of those seven games.

The Ravens have never lost four straight Joe Flacco starts.

Where is Flacco's help? After posting a 102.9 passer rating on passes of 21-plus air yards in 2014, Flacco has struggled throwing the deep ball this season. Flacco is just 4-24 with 1 TD and 2 INT on passes of 21-plus air yards in 2015, with a passer rating of 31.4 on those throws.

Steve Smith Sr.: 41 receptions, 588 receiving yards, 3 TD (6 games). Smith Sr. has more receiving yards and TDs than all other Ravens wide receivers combined this season, even with Smith missing Week 5.

The Ravens' defense has allowed 20-plus points in six straight games for the first time in the same season since Weeks 9-17, 2007.

Matchup to watch: Keenan Allen vs. Jimmy Smith

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

This divisional matchup features the two most prolific running backs in the league since 2007. Minnesota's Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing yards and scrimmage yards since 2007, while Chicago's Matt Forte ranks second in scrimmage yards during that span. What makes these feats even more impressive is that Peterson missed all but one game of the 2014 season, and Forte didn't enter the league until 2008.

Minnesota has turned the ball over at least once in each game this season.

Vikings WRs have combined for two receiving TDs this season (fewest in NFL).

Teddy Bridgewater: 65.7 completion percent, 223.2 YPG, 5 TD, 4 INT, 87.8 passer rating

Vikings rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs has burst onto the scene, earning back-to-back 100-plus yard receiving games. If he can muster another such performance against the Bears, he'll tie Randy Moss' franchise record for most consecutive 100-yard games by a rookie, set in 1998. Diggs is currently on pace to break Moss' franchise records for receptions and receiving yards by a rookie.

Adrian Peterson has been a boom-or-bust runner this season:
Six rushes of 20-plus yards this season (T-3rd most in NFL)
22 rushes for negative yardage this season (most in NFL)
Peterson has seen 18.3 percent of his rushes go for negative yards this season -- second-highest percentage among any player with 50-plus carries this year (LeSean McCoy, 23.1 percent). The 18.3 percent would mark the highest percentage of Peterson's career in any season in which he's had 50-plus carries.

Vikings Defense: giving up 17 points per game (T-2nd in NFL) , 338.6 total yards per game (7th), 232.8 passing yards per game (11th) and earning 2.8 sack a game (T-9). No. 4 red zone defense in NFL.

The Bears are the only team whose tight end (Martellus Bennett) is the sole team leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TD.

Jay Cutler: 60.9 completion percent, 246.2 pass YPG, 7 TD, 4 INT, 86.2 passer rating. Cutler is coming off four straight games with a passer rating over 85.0 -- the longest streak in a single season in his career. Jay's 46 wins as Bears QB (regular season only) are tied with Jim McMahon for most in franchise history.

Matt Forte has accounted for 72.4 percent of his team's rushing attempts and 75.4 percent of his team's rushing yards this season (both highest in NFL). Forte averages 103.9 yards from scrimmage against the Vikings in his career.

Alshon Jeffery 2015 season (2 games): 13 rec, 225 yards, 1 TD --147 yards in Week 6 versus Lions (most since Week 13, 2013).

Matchup to watch: Stefon Diggs vs. Bears DBs

Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns

The 5-2 Cardinals lead the NFL in point differential, outscoring their opponents by 96 points this season. The teams second through fifth on the list are all undefeated (Patriots +87, Packers +63, Bengals +60 and Panthers +52).

Arizona's 69 points off takeaways this season are the most in NFL). The Cardinals rank 4th in total offense and 4th in total defense -- only team in NFL to rank in Top 5 in both.

Cards rank second in the NFL in points per game (32.7) and first in both yards per play (6.78) and 20-plus yard plays (38). Their 38 plays of 20-plus yards this season (Most in NFL).

Carson Palmer: 65.3 completion percent, 287.4 YPG, 16 TDs, 5 INTs. Palmer is throwing a TD on 7.2 pct of his passes (career high).

Larry Fitzgerald ranks T-first in touchdowns receptions (6), fifth in yards (622) and tied for fifth in receptions (46).

Chris Johnson has had a career resurgence in Arizona. Johnson ranks second in the league in rushing yards (567), behind only Devonta Freeman, and is averaging 5.1 yards per rush.

John Brown: 37 receptions, 562 yards, 3 TD -- 37 receptions on 51 targets (72.5 reception pct). In his rookie season he caught just 48 of 103 targets (46.6 pct).

Tyrann Mathieu is second on team with 43 tackles -- 1.0 sack, 2 INT (1 for TD), 8 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits, 8 passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Cards defensive ranks: fourth in total yards per game (321.1); 7th in rushing YPG (97.4), pass YPG (223.7) and third down conversion percentage (35.1); and 8th in points per game allowed (19).

Duke Johnson: 55 rush, 176 yards; 31 receptions, 263 yards, TD. Johnson led team in receptions in last week at STL with 7 (73 yards).

Travis Benjamin 2015 season: 35 receptions, 575 yards, 4 TD -- 575 receiving yards ranks 10th in the NFL.

Gary Barnidge: 33 receptions, 514 yards, 5 TD -- Week 7 at STL snapped 4-game TD streak. Barnidge has three 200-yard games this season after compiling zero in his six prior NFL seasons.

Browns defense: 23rd in points per game (26.0); 28th in total yards (393.1) and yards per play (6.04) and last in the NFL in rush YPG allowed (151.0). Allowed 16.1 percent of 20-plus air yard passes to be completed (Lowest in NFL).

Matchup to watch: John Brown vs. gravity

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

The Titans offense is averaging 19.8 PPG (30th in NFL) and has amassed 13 points or fewer in three straight games -- 14 points or fewer in four of last five games. Tennessee's 20 plays of 20-plus yards this season ranks 30th in the NFL.

Zach Mettenberger 2015 season: 62.8 completion percent, 187.0 pass YPG, 1 TD, 2 INT, 62.4 rating. Mett is 0-7 as starter in NFL career.

Tennessee defense: zero sacks versus Falcons in Week 7 -- had multiple sacks in each of the previous five games this season. The Titans have allowed 30-plus points in three of the last four meetings versus the Texans.

Houston has been outscored 135-39 in the first half this season.

Brian Hoyer 2015 season: 58.9 completion percent, 269.2 pass YPG, 11 TD, 3 INT, 95.7 rating. Hoyer has tossed 3 TDs in back-to-back games for the first time in his career -- T-longest streak in Texans franchise history (Case Keenum, Matt Schaub).

Alfred Blue 2015 season: 60 carries, 234 yards, TD; 3 receptions 22 yards -- 4 TD on 247 career touches.

DeAndre Hopkins: 58 receptions, 776 yards, 5 TD -- Week 7 at MIA: 6 receptions, 50 receiving yards was the fewest receiving yards in game this season. Hopkins has 11-plus targets in each game this season and is on pace for 231 targets this season -- most targets as far as STATS can check is 208 (ARI Rob Moore in 1997).

Houston's defense allowed 248 rush yards versus the Dolphins in Week 7, the second most in franchise history. The Texans have allowed at least 318 total yards allowed in each game this season -- 6 takeaways this season (30th in NFL).

J.J. Watt: 35 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 16 QB hits, 14 TFL, 5 passes defensed -- leads the NFL with 14 tackles for loss, tied for the lead with 16 QB hits (Carlos Dunlap).

Matchup to watch: J.J. Watt vs. Zach Mettenberger

New York Giants at New Orleans Saints

Eli Manning: 64.9 completion percentage, 253.7 YPG, 11 TD, 4 INT, 92.4 passer rating. After posting a passer rating of 100.2 in Weeks 1-5 this season, Eli Manning's passer rating was just 67.9 in Weeks 6-7. Manning has completed just one pass of 15-plus air yards over his last two games -- he completed 11 such passes in first five games this season.

The Giants are +10 in turnover differential this season, which leads the NFL. The last time they were +10 through seven games was in Eli's first season as a starter (2005). The Giants finished the season +12 in TO differential and went 11-5.

Get to know Orleans Darkwa (DARK-wah): Undrafted free agent in 2014 out of Tulane (New Orleans). Career at Tulane: 663 carries, 2,953 yards, 39 TD. 2015 season: 8 carries, 48 yards, 1 rush TD (all in Week 7). Played two offensive snaps in first six games of 2015. Played in 11 games in 2014 (4 with MIA, 7 with NYG), but played just 29 offensive snaps for NYG in seven games in 2014.

Odell Beckham Jr: 42 receptions, 524 yards, 4 TD. In Week 7, snapped 15-game streak of five-plus receptions, which was the longest active streak in the NFL.

SHOCKING! (sarcasm) Stat of the Week: The Giants fair better the more they target Beckham:
15-plus Targets: 2-1 record, 28.7 points per game
10-14 Targets: 3-4, 24.7 PPG
5-9 Targets: 3-5, 23.0
Less Than 5 Targets: 0-1, 0

After allowing 69.8 rushing yards per game in the first four weeks, the Giants rush defense has allowed 171.7 yards per game over the last three.

The Saints offense ranks sixth in total YPG (395.9), but only T-15th in PPG (23.0). New Orleans has 300-plus yards of total offense in 27 straight games -- longest streak since going 29 straight from 2008-09.

Saints averaged 5.1 yards per carry in Week 7 versus Colts. Saints averaged 3.4 yards per carry from Weeks 1-6 (31st in NFL).

Mark Ingram: 102 carries, 450 yards, 5 TD, 4.4 yards per carry. 2015 pace: 233 carries, 1,029 yards, 11 TD -- would all be career highs. Ingram's 143 rush yards in Week 7 were the third-most rush yards of career and snapped a 10-game streak of fewer than 100 rushing yards. The tailback also has 29 receptions, 235 receiving yards this season, which already ties his career high in receptions and set career high in receiving yards. In Ingram's first 4 seasons (2011-14) he had 288 receiving yards combined.

The Saints defense has improved the past two weeks:
Weeks 1-5: 28.6 points per game allowed; 409.0 yards per game; 1.4 sacks per game allowed; 1.0 takeaways per game.
Weeks 6-7: 21.0 points per game allowed; 394.5 yards per game; 4.5 sacks per game allowed; 3.0 takeaways per game.

Cameron Jordan: 19 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 11 QB hits, 2 fumble recoveries - T-4th in NFL in sacks. On pace for 14.0 sacks this season -- the last Saints player with 14-plus sacks was La'Roi Glover (17.0 in 2000).

Matchup to watch: Cameron Jordan vs. Giants O-line

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

If the Bengals beat the Steelers, they will be three games up in the win column, which would be the most games ahead through Week 8 in division history.

Bengals offensive ranks: 2nd in yards per play (6.4) and sacks allowed (6); 3rd in points per game (30.3) and total yards per game (410.3); and fifth in passing yards per game (288.2).

Andy Dalton ranks first in yard per attempt (9.1), passer rating (116.1) and 25-plus-yard passes (19) and fourth in passing yards per game (293.5). Dalton has the highest fourth-quarter passer rating in the NFL this season (146.3). In his first four seasons, Dalton's combined 4th quarter passer rating was 82.8 (24th in NFL).

Giovani Bernard is averaging 5.6 yards per rush this season, fitth best in the NFL. His backfield mate Jeremy Hill is averaging just 3.1 yards per rush this season, fourth lowest in the NFL.

The Cincinnati defense has not allowed 25-plus points in any game this season -- one of four teams this season (CAR, DEN, MIN). The Bengals have allowed 25-plus points in three straight games versus the Steelers -- Outscored 99-58 in that span. But the Bengals have allowed just 11 offensive TDs this season (T-4th fewest in NFL).

During his career, Ben Roethlisberger is 2-4 in his first game back from injury with a 59.6 completion percentage, 8 TDs, 7 INTs and a 77.2 passer rating.

Le'Veon Bell 2015 season: 103 carries, 511 yards, 3 TD; 22 receptions, 123 yards. Bell leads NFL in rushes of 20-plus yards (8). He has 120-plus scrimmage yards in four of five games this season -- 100-plus scrimmage yards in 17 of 21 games since 2014 (81.0 percent).

Antonio Brown 2015:
With Big Ben: 3 games, 9.7 receptions per game, 146.3 receiving yards per game, 2 TDs
Without Big Ben 4 games, 4.3 receptions per game, 58.8 yards per game, 0 TDs

Martavis Bryant has a TD reception in 11 of his 12 career games. His 0.92 receiving TD per game are the most in NFL history (minimum 12 games).

The Steelers defense has amassed 19 sacks this season (T-6th most in NFL) -- Pittsburgh had 33 sacks all of last season (26th in NFL).

Pittsburgh's defense has allowed 21 plays of 20-plus yards this season (T-4th-fewest in NFL). The Bengals have 30 plays of 20-plus yards (T-8th in NFL). The Steelers are T-15th in NFL in red zone defense this season (54.5 percent). The Bengals rank firth in the NFL in red zone scoring (71.4 percent)

Matchup to watch: Antonio Brown vs. excitement of having BFF back

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

Nick Foles and Colin Kaepernick are tied for 28th in NFL with six pass TD each.

Matchup between two of the worst offenses in the NFL:
49ers ranks: 32nd in points per game, 32nd in yards per game, 31st in passing yards per game and 29th in time of possession.
Rams ranks: 31st in points per game, 31st in yards per game, 32nd in passing yards per game and 31st in time of possession.

Colin Kaepernick - 2015 season: 61.4 completion percentage, 207.6 pass YPG, 6 TD, 5 INT, 82.8 passer rating. Kaepernick ranks: 22nd in passing yards (1,453); 24th in completion percentage and passer rating; T-28th in TD passes.

Anquan Boldin (hamstring): 31 receptions, 372 yards, 2 TD -- leads team in receptions and yards and tied for lead in TDs.

Vernon Davis 2015 season: 12 receptions, 170 yards -- 0 TDs in last 18 games overall.

The Niners' defense is allowing 292.7 pass YPG (31st in NFL) -- allowed 220.7 pass YPG in 2014 (5th in NFL). San Francisco has given up 445-plus total yards in each of three road games this season.

Todd Gurley's rushing totals by quarter:
First: 16 yards; 1.3 yards per carry
Second: 97 yards; 4.6 YPC
Third: 116 yards; 6.4 YPC
Fourth 213 yards; 9.3 YPC

Gurley is the first rookie with 125-plus rushing yards in three-straight games since Cadillac Williams in Weeks 1-3, 2005.

The Rams' offense has gone five-straight games passing for fewer than 200 yards (168.4 YPG in that span) -- 21 games with fewer than 200 pass yards since 2013 (third-most in NFL). Rams WRs have combined for 44 receptions and 597 yards this season -- both are fewest among all WR groups in NFL.

The Rams' defense has compiled 23 sacks this season (T-second in NFL) and has at least two sacks in each game this season -- Rams lead the NFL with 168 sacks since 2012. St. Louis has allowed five TDs on 15 red zone drives (33.3 percent is best among defenses this season), has 10 takeaways in last three games (3-plus in each game) and 1-plus takeaway in each game this season.

Matchup to watch: Aaron Donald vs. Woeful 49ers offensive line/Kaepernick running for his life

New York Jets at Oakland Raiders

The Jets currently sit in the Top 10 in both scoring offense (7th) and total offense (8th) -- the last season the Jets finished in the Top 10 in both was 1998.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: 61.4 completion percentage, 245.3 YPG, 11 TD, 7 INT, 86.1 passer rating -- at least 1 INT in five of six games this season. Fitzpatrick has completed 14.8 percent (4-of-27) of 20-plus air yard passes this season (second-lowest in NFL among QBs with at least 20 such attempts behind Marcus Mariota -- 14.3 percent).

Brandon Marshall: 41 receptions, 578 yards, 4 TD (on 60 targets) -- on pace for 109 receptions, 1,541 yards, 11 TD this season, which would set career highs in receiving yards. Marshall has accounted for 39.3 percent of the Jets receiving yards this season -- second-highest percent in the NFL behind Antonio Brown (40.4 pct).

The Jets' defense is ranked in the top five in: points per game (17.5, 4th) total yards per game (283.2, 2nd) passing yards per game (211.7, 4th), forcing three-and-out drives (31.0, 2nd) and takeaways (15, T-4th).

The Jets blitz on 45.6 percent of opposing team's pass plays (most in NFL). Derek Carr has the second-highest passer rating versus the blitz this season (119.7) -- only Andy Dalton, 133.5, is higher.

Oakland has scored 27 or more points in three of six games this season -- in 2014, OAK scored 27 or more points once.

Raiders offensive ranks: sixth in third down percentage (44.4), 10th in points per game (24.0), 11th in passing yards per game (254.3) and 18th in total yards per game (351.0).

So far this season, Derek Carr has a passer rating of 101.0. That would rank as the second-highest passer rating in Raiders history, behind only Ken Stabler (103.4 in 1976).

Pointless But Entertaining Stat of the Week: Amari Cooper has more receptions, yards, and touchdowns (33-519-3) than the other five WRs drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft combined (23-321-1). Those five WRs are Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman and Phillip Dorsett.

Cooper is the first rookie with three 100-yard receiving games in his team's first six contests since Mike Ditka in 1961.

The Raiders defense ranks in the top five in: rushing yards per game allowed (84.3, 3rd), yard per carry (3.7, 4th) and rushing touchdowns allowed (3, T-4th).

Matchup to watch: Chris Ivory vs. Raider run D

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

The Seahawks have allowed 4-plus sacks in sis of seven games this season (including each of last 5) and 31 sacks total this season (most in NFL). Seattle is on pace to allow 71 sacks this season -- 67 sacks is most in SEA single-season history (1992)

Seattle's offense has scored a TD on 11 of their 78 (14.1 percent) offensive drives in 2015 and is averaging 1.6 offensive touchdowns per game. The Seahawks have earned 100-plus rushing yards in every game this season -- one of two teams in NFL (CAR). Their 18-straight games with 100-plus rushing yards is the longest active streak.

The Seahawks have the lowest red zone TD efficiency in the NFL (33.3 percent).

Russell Wilson: 69.6 completion percentage, 238.3 pass YPG, 8 TD, 5 INT, 97.0 passer rating; 52 carries, 271 rush yards, 0 rush TD.

Marshawn Lynch: 82 carries, 304 rush yards, 2 TD (3.7 yards per carry) and has just one 100-yard game this season (five 100-yard games in 2014). Lynch earned a rushing TD in back-to-back games -- Last time with 3-straight games with 1-plus rush TD was Weeks 15-17, 2014.

Jimmy Graham: 31 receptions, 375 yards, 2 TD -- leads the team in receptions and yards and is T-Most TD receptions.

Michael Bennett: 28 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 11 QB hits, 1 forced fumble -- 3.5 sacks (career high) in Week 7 at SF.

Dez Bryant and Richard Sherman have faced off in three different games. Bryant: 2 receptions, 39 yards, 0 TDs when covered by Sherman.

Matt Cassel: 17-of-27 passing, 227 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, 62.3 passer rating. Cassel is five games under .500 as a starting NFL QB. Cassel completed more 20-plus air yard passes (5) in Week 7 than Brandon Weeden completed in four games this season (3). Cassel averaged 9.7 air yards per attempt in Week 7.

Darren McFadden 2015 season: 66 carries, 281 rush yards, 2 TD, 4.3 yards per carry; 14 receptions, 112 receiving yards. Week 7 at NYG: 29 carries, 152 rush yards, 1 rush TD, 5.2 yards per carry. Most carries by McFadden since Week 15, 2012 (30 carries). Most rush yards by McFadden since Week 3, 2011 (171).

The Dallas Cowboys do not have a takeaway in any of their last four games. It's the longest such streak in the 840-game history of the franchise. If the Cowboys were to extend the streak to five games, it would tie the 2006 Redskins, 2011 Colts, 2012 Rams and the 2012 Eagles for the longest such streak since 1950.

The Cowboys have had a four-game losing streak or longer in a single season eight previous times before 2015. They did not make playoffs in any of those seasons.

Matchup to watch: Dez vs. Sherm

Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos

This is the fourth matchup in NFL history between teams that are 6-0 or better (excluding teams with ties), and just the third in the Super Bowl era. The 8-0 Patriots defeated the 7-0 Colts in 2007 and the 6-0 Vikings defeated the 6-0 Los Angeles Rams in 1973.

The Packers have scored a league-high 66 points in the first quarter this season, while the Broncos have not allowed a single point in the opening frame.

Aaron Rodgers: 68.1 completion percent, 248.5 YPG, 15 TD, 2 INT, 115.9 passer rating -- second in the NFL with 115.9 passer rating this season, behind only Andy Dalton (116.1).

Eddie Lacy: 67 carries, 260 rush yards, 1 TD, 3.9 yards/carry -- 90 yards or fewer in every game this season.

The league-leading Packers defense is allowing 16.8 PPG this season. The last time Green Bay led the league in scoring defense was 1996, when they went 13-3 and went on to win the Super Bowl. The last time they finished in the Top 3 was in 2010, also the last time Green Bay brought the Lombardi Trophy home.

The Packers and Broncos are the NFL's Top 2 scoring defenses this season. Packers (1st): 16.8 PPG - Broncos (T-2nd, MIN): 17.0 PPG.

Peyton Manning is tied for the league lead with 10 INT this season. Over his last 28 games, Aaron Rodgers has a total of 10 INT. Manning has thrown 10 INT on his 237 pass attempts this season. You would have to go back 886 attempts before you find 10 INT from Rodgers.

Broncos are getting 61.1 percent of their points from defense and special teams this season: 24 points scored by defense/special teams, 61 points scored by kicker (FG and extra points) and 54 points scored by offense.

The Broncos are converting only 37.5 percent of red zone trips into touchdowns, 29th-best red zone offense in the NFL, and went 0-for-6 in red zone in the last two games.

The Broncos are 6-0, but have only won their games by an average of 6.2 PPG this season. In fact, their +37 scoring differential is the second-lowest in NFL history among 6-0 teams. The 1993 Chicago Bears were 6-0 with a point differential of +34.

Broncos defensive ranks: first in total yards per game allowed (281.3), passing yards per game (192.2) and sacks (26); second in points per game (17.0) and takeaways (17); and fourth in rushing yards per game (89.2).

The Broncos are leading the league in total defense this season, allowing just 281.3 total YPG. In their 56-season history, the Denver Broncos have never led the league in total defense. Rodgers has gone 1-1 with a passer rating of 85.6 versus No. 1 total defenses in his career, including playoffs (based on rank entering game).

Matchup to watch: James Jones vs. Aqib Talib

Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers

Andrew Luck is 17-2 in his career against AFC South teams, and 17-17 against non-division opponents -- 3-0 vs. AFC South, 0-4 against all other teams in 2015.

Luck: 56.2 completion percentage, 279.6 YPG, 11 TD, 9 INT, 76.3 passer rating. Luck has thrown more interceptions on passes of 15-plus air yards (6) through five games this season than he threw in 16 games last season (5). His six INTs of 15-plus air yards is tied for most in the NFL this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

T.Y. Hilton: 37 receptions, 606 receiving yards, 3 TDs. Week 7: 4 receptions, 150 receiving yards, 2 TDs. First 100-plus yard receiving game of 2015.

Indy has only 10 sacks and seven takeaways in seven games this season. The Colts' defense has allowed 400-plus yards in five-straight games (longest active streak in the NFL) and the longest streak in team history.

The Colts have blitzed at the fifth highest rate in the league (35.7 percent). Cam Newton has a 68.3 passer rating versus the blitz (28th out of 32 qualifying QB).

Cam Newton: 55.8 completion percentage, 212.5 pass YPG, 9 TD, 7 INT, 78.4 passer rating. On pace for 11 rushing TD this season, which would be most since rookie season (14).

Panthers' 162 points scored (27.0 PPG) are most through six games in Carolina franchise history -- 20-plus points in every game this season.

The Panthers are running the ball on 50.6 percent of plays (most in NFL) and is the only team above 50 percent.

Panthers WRs have a drop rate of 9.8 percent, fourth highest in NFL.

Greg Olsen: 27 receptions, 439 yards, 3 TD - third among all TEs with 73.2 receiving YPG.

The Panthers allowed 23 or fewer points in all six games this season. The only other team to allow 23 or fewer points in each game this season is the Vikings.

Carolina is allowing an opposing passer rating of 67.0 this season (best in the NFL).

Matchup to watch: Josh Norman vs. T.Y. Hilton

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