The New England Patriots are the form team in the NFL right now after winning five-in-a-row, but will have the AFC-leading Tennessee Titans to contend with on Sunday.

The last time the two teams met was in the wild card round of the 2019 playoffs, where Tennessee beat New England 20-13 in Tom Brady's last game as a Patriot.

Brady of course now leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the 2021 Super Bowl champions also have a tricky contest in week 12 as they travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts.

The Green Bay Packers will be looking to shake off their heartbreakingly narrow loss to the Minnesota Vikings last time out as they host the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field.

 

Tennessee Titans (8-3) @ New England Patriots (7-4)

The Patriots beat Atlanta in week 11, 25-0, for their fifth consecutive win, and the longest active streak in the NFL. Bill Belichick's team are the only one this season to win five straight games by a total of more than 100 points (+125, 175 points for and 50 points against during the streak).

Tennessee lost to Houston in week 11 (22-13), snapping a six-game winning streak for the Titans. Their 103 rushing yards were the most since they lost Derrick Henry to knee surgery in week 8.

Ryan Tannehill threw 52 passes for 35 completions against Houston, the second most attempts of his career (58 in week 12 of 2015) and tied for his career high in completions (also 35 in week 16 of 2014).

Including the playoffs, New England are 7-3 against Tennessee over the last 20 years.

Nick Folk went a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals in the Patriots victory over the Falcons. It was his fourth game this season kicking at least four field goals and making them all, the most in the NFL (Zane Gonzalez of the Carolina Panthers is second most with two such games).  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) @ Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

The Buccaneers and Colts have met just seven times when playing in Indianapolis, with Tampa Bay winning only twice. Tampa's last win there came during week 10 of the 1997 season.

Tampa Bay beat the Giants 30-10 in week 11, breaking a two-game losing streak. They have lost back-to-back games just twice in the last two seasons and have not lost three in a row since Tom Brady arrived. Their 10 points allowed were the second fewest allowed all season after holding Chicago to three points in week seven.

Brady found Mike Evans for a five-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of last week's victory. Their 10 combined touchdowns are tied for the most between any passer and receiver this season with LA Rams' duo Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp.

The Colts beat the Bills last week (41-25) for their third-straight-win and longest win streak of the season. Their 26-point differential was the second-largest victory of the season for the Colts, only behind their 31-3 victory over the Texans in week six.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz was 11-for-20 with 106 passing yards in their victory over the Bills. That is the lowest number of passing yards he has ever thrown for in a game when having at least 20 pass attempts.

Los Angeles Rams (7-3) @ Green Bay Packers (8-3)

These two last faced off in the divisional round of the playoffs in January, with the Packers winning 32-18 at Lambeau Field. After 96 games in the all-time series (including the playoffs), the teams are separated by just six points, with the Rams having scored 2204 points to Green Bay's 2198.

The Rams have lost two straight after a 31-10 defeat to San Francisco in week 10, having lost to Tennessee 28-16 the week prior. It is the first time the team has lost consecutive games with both being by double digits since Sean McVay became head coach in 2017.

Matthew Stafford has thrown for more interceptions than touchdowns in consecutive games after not doing so in any of his first eight games with the Rams. Stafford had 31 such games in his 12 seasons with Detroit.

Green Bay fell to Minnesota in a dramatic 34-31 loss last week, despite converting seven of 11 third-down attempts (63.6 per cent). It was the highest third-down conversion percentage for the Packers in a loss since week two of the 2005 season when they lost 26-24 to Cleveland while converting 10-of-14 third downs.

Aaron Rodgers threw for a season-high 385 yards to go with four touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Vikings. It was the fourth time Rodgers has thrown for 375 or more yards, four or more touchdowns and no interceptions in the same game, which is three more times than any other Packer QB.

Elsewhere...

The number one pick of the 2021 draft Trevor Lawrence will be hoping to fare better against the Atlanta Falcons (4-6) after going three straight starts without throwing a touchdown for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8). He is one of two quarterbacks to go three-straight-starts without a passing TD this year, along with the Carolina Panthers' Sam Darnold.

The Minnesota Vikings (5-5) are the only NFL team that has had every game decided by fewer than 14 points this season. Minnesota will tie a single-season team record for most consecutive games (11) decided by 13 or fewer points with another such game on Sunday when they travel to the San Francisco 49ers (5-5).

The Denver Broncos (5-5) will be looking to keep a lid on LA Chargers (6-4) QB Austin Ekeler, who scored four touchdowns against Pittsburgh last week, two on the ground and two in the air. He is the only active player with multiple rushing and receiving TDs in a game and the first player to do so since Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011 against Tampa Bay. 

The Cleveland Browns (6-5) head into their clash against the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) coming off a 13-10 win over Detroit, their fourth win in the last two seasons when scoring 17 or fewer points. No other NFL team has more than two wins while scoring so few points since the beginning of last season. 

The Indianapolis Colts appear in no doubt Jonathan Taylor deserves to be in the MVP discussion after his stunning five-touchdown performance against the Buffalo Bills.

Indianapolis' star running back produced an astonishing display to power the Colts to a stunning 41-15 road win at Orchard Park.

Taylor carried the ball 32 times for 185 yards and four touchdowns and also hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass.

It improved the Colts to 6-5 as they eye a Wild Card berth in the AFC and propelled Taylor to the NFL lead in overall touchdowns with 15.

Taylor is also the league leader in rushing yards with 1,122 and, with no quarterback really separating themselves in the MVP discussion, his team-mates believe he should be a part of the conversation.

Linebacker Darius Leonard voiced his support for Taylor's MVP case on Twitter while fellow running back Nyheim Hines said: "He's sending a message to the league. 

"It's been amazing watching him play. Great to watch him finish runs and make people miss. He's a complete back ...

"If there's any skill position [for MVP], Jonathan Taylor needs to be in it. Him and [Los Angeles Rams receiver] Cooper Kupp. JT is the first in line for a non-quarterback player."

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz was also effusive in his praise.

"You get a sense of his confidence," said Wentz. "But you never know if you walk right by him in the locker room, in the grocery store or whatever.

"He's a low-key guy. He knows what he can do. He's confident. ... The game he had, honestly, doesn't surprise me anymore because every single week he shows up and shows out."

Taylor became the sixth running back with five touchdowns in a game in the past 30 seasons.

Were he to win MVP, he would become the first non-quarterback to do so since Adrian Peterson in 2012.

Jonathan Taylor grabbed a staggering five touchdowns as the Indianapolis Colts jolted the Buffalo Bills with a remarkable 41-15 win on Sunday.

The star running back became just the 13th player since 1960 to bag five or more scrimmage TDs in a game, and the first from the Colts to achieve the feat.

Taylor came into the game having scored a rushing touchdown in seven straight games, looking to become the first to reach eight since DeAngelo Williams in 2008.

What transpired was a momentous day for the 22-year-old, who was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft, and he pushed the Colts to 6-5 for the season, after their 1-4 start.

He scored from the Colts' opening drive and was unrelenting from that point on.

The Bills, top of the NFL team defense ranking heading into the game and boasting an average winning margin of 26.3 points this year, had little answer to Taylor's breath-taking display and slipped to 6-4. 

This was a rematch of a wildcard round in last year's playoffs, when the Colts were edged out, and Taylor ensured the outcome was markedly different.

He told CBS: "The offensive line and I, we prepared tremendously throughout this week. We knew it was going to be a tough challenge.

"We had to accept that challenge, that's what we had to do coming into this game and that was half of the battle."

Asked what the secret had been to his recent success, Taylor said: "I think it's been the communication between the offensive line and myself.

"It doesn't matter what defensive front they bring, what pressure, as long as we're all in communication and on the same page we can accomplish anything."

He saluted the Colts' defense, who snagged three interceptions, saying: "A lot of those guys were coming up to me, talking about the game I had today. They create and generate takeovers, and we have to capitalise on them."

The Colts' five previous wins this year had come against teams with a combined 13-34 record, with this victory suggesting they can mix it with higher pedigree sides.

Newton loses out to Heinicke

Cam Newton's first start of his second stint with the Carolina Panthers ended in defeat at home, a 27-21 loss to Taylor Heinicke and Ron Rivera's Washington Football Team.

He finished 21-of-27 for 189 yards, with touchdown passes for DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey. Newton also rushed for a touchdown, but against his old Panthers coach Rivera it was not Newton's night, and his contribution waned late on.

Heinicke finished 16-of-22 for 206 yds with three touchdown passes to help Washington improve to 4-6, earning another prized scalp after topping Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10.

Vikings pick off Packers as Joseph wins it

Greg Joseph's last-gasp field goal gave the Minnesota Vikings a stunning 34-31 win over the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

His walk-off 29-yard glory kick settled a tumultuous game that had seen the Vikings lead 23-10, only to be overhauled and trail at one point in the fourth quarter.

It became a ding-dong battle from there and overtime looked to be on the cards after Aaron Rodgers sent a 75-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to tie it at 31-31 in the fading moments.

Yet Minnesota made ground and gave Joseph the chance to win it, meaning they improved to 5-5 and the NFC North leading Packers slipped slightly to 8-3.

Rodgers went 23-of-33 for 385 yards with four touchdown passes.

Will the NFL return to some form of normality this week? Maybe... or maybe not.

Even in this season of shock results without any clear Super Bowl favourite, Week 10 stood out for its sheer number of upsets.

The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were stunned by the Washington Football Team, the Miami Dolphins overturned the Baltimore Ravens and the short-handed league-leading Arizona Cardinals lost to the Carolina Panthers.

When the San Francisco 49ers then beat NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams in Monday Night Football, it became the first week in NFL history in which four teams had won by double-digits having entered the week at least four wins behind their opponents.

Week 11 looks no easier to call, and there are plenty of intriguing matchups before even considering the potential for further setbacks for some favourites.

Dallas Cowboys (7-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

With Patrick Mahomes back on form, two of the best teams in the NFL should be set for a titanic tussle at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

Mahomes, setting aside his shaky displays to that point, threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, becoming the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have two games of 400-plus passing yards, five-plus TD passes and no picks in his career.

The 41-14 win represented the league-leading 10th time the Chiefs have scored 40 points in a game since the start of the 2018 season, yet they were topped by the Cowboys, whose 43-3 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons was their biggest since a 48-7 victory over Arizona in 2000.

The Cowboys have gone 5-2-1 all-time previously in games following a win of at least 40 points (including playoffs), but this was an unprecedented success. The team's 29 points in the second quarter in Week 10 were their most in a single quarter of any game in their history.

Indianapolis Colts (5-5) @ Buffalo Bills (6-3)

Neither the Chiefs nor the Cowboys can match the Bills' average winning margin of 26.3 points this year. That is the highest mark in the NFL, having been boosted by last week's 45-17 victory over the New York Jets, their NFL-leading sixth win by 15 or more points.

The Cowboys are ahead of the Bills in points per game, but Buffalo have given up the fewest points per game. The last team to lead on both offense and defense in this regard were the 2005 Colts.

The achievements of this year's Colts team have been rather more modest. Their five wins have come against teams with a combined record of 13-34 (.261).

Still, Jonathan Taylor has excelled, scoring a rushing touchdown in seven straight games – the last NFL player to reach eight was DeAngelo Williams in 2008. In fact, there is rushing talent on both sides of the ball, with the Bills last week having four different players score rushing TDs for the first time in team history.

Arizona Cardinals (8-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (3-6)

Another week, another big NFC West game. The Cardinals' form has tailed away a little since Kyler Murray's injury, but they are still unbeaten on the road and looking to start 6-0 away from home for only the second time in franchise history.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have their starting QB back, but Russell Wilson did little to help their offense against the Green Bay Packers. He was shut out for the first time in his NFL career in his 166th start (including playoffs).

Seattle's problems on that side of the ball did not end there, though. They were held to under 100 rushing yards for a third consecutive game for the first time since the end of the 2016 season, while only twice in the 21st century have they seen such a streak extended to four games.

Whether or not the Seahawks recover this week, history suggests they are likely to be able to stick with the Cardinals. Six of the past 10 meetings between the teams have been decided by three points or fewer.

Elsewhere...

Cam Newton's Panthers face Ron Rivera's Washington, their first meeting since both left Carolina (Newton returned last week). This is the third time since 2010 a former MVP QB has faced the coach he won his award with, following Peyton Manning versus Jim Caldwell in 2015 and Tom Brady against Bill Belichick earlier this season.

The 49ers are now 4-1 when Jimmy Garoppolo's passer rating is above 100.0 this year (141.7 vs. the Rams) and 0-3 when it is not. He was helped last week by a season-high 156 rushing yards, keeping San Francisco's offense on the ball for just over 39 minutes. They should expect more of the same against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have failed to force a turnover in six games this season.

The Cincinnati Bengals need both of their former LSU stars to rediscover some form at the Raiders. Joe Burrow has thrown an interception in five straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL, while Ja'Marr Chase – surely not helped by his QB's struggles – has fallen short of 50 receiving yards in consecutive games after making that mark in his first seven appearances.

The Detroit Lions will hope to learn from next opponents the Cleveland Browns, who have returned to contention since in 2018 becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to end a losing streak of 10-plus games with a tie. Last week, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Lions became the second.

Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor led the way as the Indianapolis Colts beat the lowly New York Jets 45-30 in a high-scoring NFL matchup.

Colts quarterback Wentz threw three touchdowns and team-mate Taylor rushed for a pair of TDs to fuel the Colts to victory on Thursday.

The Colts (4-5) became the first team in the Super Bowl era to have 250-plus rushing yards, 250-plus passing yards, two or fewer penalties and no turnovers in a game, according to Stats Perform.

After the teams traded touchdowns in the opening quarter – Nyheim Hines' 34-yard rushing TD was cancelled out by the Elijah Moore-Mike White combination – the Colts powered clear in the second period.

Wentz flexed his muscles with a pair of TD passes to Jack Doyle and Michael Pittman Jr. after a 21-yard run from Taylor had put the Colts 14-7 ahead.

Entering the third quarter leading 28-10, another touchdown throw from Wentz – this time to Danny Pinter – and Taylor's blistering 78-yard rushing touchdown sent the red-hot Colts 42-10 clear.

Taylor became the first player with 100-plus scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in six straight single-season games since 2006.

The Jets (2-6) scored 13 unanswered points and 20 of the final 23 to make things interesting after Josh Johnson (27-of-41 passing for 317 yards, three TDs and an interception) replaced injured QB White (seven-of-11 passing for 95 yards and a touchdown) and tossed three touchdown passes of his own, but the Colts held on.

Carson Wentz conceded he was beating himself up after a pair of interceptions doomed the Indianapolis Colts to an overtime defeat to the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans took command of the AFC South with a thrilling 34-31 victory on the road in overtime, which owed to two huge errors from Colts quarterback Wentz.

With the game tied 24-24 late in the fourth quarter, Wentz tossed a wobbly throw into the air as the pass rush surrounded him inside the Colts' endzone and Titans cornerback Elijah Molden leaped to bring it down and stroll in for a two-yard interception return and hand the Titans the lead.

Wentz responded by leading the Colts down the field, with the aid of a pass interference penalty that put them at the Titans' one-yard line, for the tying score to force overtime.

But the extra period was effectively decided by another Wentz miscue, as he was intercepted by safety Kevin Byard on the Colts' second possession of overtime, putting the Titans in position for Randy Bullock's game-winning field goal.

It means the Colts are 3-4 in second place in the division behind the Titans, who at 6-2 have a three-game lead and a tiebreaker over Indianapolis.

"Beating myself up over those ones at the end of the game there, for sure," said Wentz.

On the comedic pick-six to Molden, Wentz added: "They had it covered up pretty good, obviously.

"Terrible play, terrible play. One-on-one, trying to find a way to just get rid of the ball and next thing you know I'm about to go down.

"So, yeah. One I definitely want back. That one hurts a little bit."

Head coach Frank Reich, however, put the blame for that play on his shoulders.

"That was 100 percent my fault," said Reich. "It was a bad call. It was a screen to Mo [Alie-Cox] and they were sitting right on it.

"We hadn't thrown that. Didn't think they would ever be thinking that at that point in the game. I've been around too long to know that you don't call a screen backed up in that situation.

"I told Carson right after that play, he came over to the sideline, I said, 'That's 100 percent my fault. That's a terrible play call. Now, just go make it right. Go make it right.'"

Wentz was unable to do so and accepted full responsibility for the second and ultimately decisive interception.

"Probably tried to do too much," Wentz explained. "Tried to force that one there to Pitt [Michael Pittman], he had a step on the underneath coverage but Byard came out of the sky and make a heck of a play.

"I'm sure, in hindsight, I had the checkdown – probably wide open. Thought I had Pitt, Byard made a great play. Those two definitely hurt for sure."

The Pittsburgh Steelers overcame the loss of kicker Chris Boswell for the whole second half as they beat the Cleveland Browns 15-10 on Sunday.

D'Ernest Johnson rushed 10 yards for the game's first touchdown in the third quarter to put Cleveland seemingly in control at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Steelers' chances were already damaged by the loss of Boswell to a concussion following a huge hit from Browns tackle Jordan Elliot, but Najee Harris' touchdown closed the gap to a point.

Ben Roethlisberger threw two yards on fourth down for Pat Freiermuth to earn the decisive score with a little over 11 minutes on the clock.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett came in costume as the Grim Reaper to mark October 31, his cape inscribed with the names of his sacked quarterbacks, but it was the Steelers' trick play that proved far from a treat in the first half: Boswell took a direct snap from 28 yards and, after rolling right and throwing for the end zone, he took a powerful hit from Elliot.

After rookie Harris had dragged Pittsburgh back into contention following Johnson's score, Roethlisberger, who is now 24-3-1 in career starts against the Browns, made his mark.

The 38-year-old, who finished 22 of 34 for 266 yards, almost saw his two-yard pass fumbled by Freiermuth but the tight end recovered to land both feet in the end zone.

By contrast, Jarvis Landry's handling let him down as he was stripped by Joe Schobert with a little over six minutes left.

The 4-4 Browns will hope for better next time out against the 5-3 Bengals, who were stunned by a New York Jets 34-31 comeback win in which Mike White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns on his first NFL start.

Rams rout Texans, Lions looking toothless

The Philadelphia Eagles ran in four touchdowns as they snapped a two-game losing streak to crush the Detroit Lions.

As coach of the NFL's only winless team after eight straight defeats, Dan Campbell will head into a bye week to try to arrest a terrible run of results that culminated in Sunday's 44-6 loss, in which the Lions only got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.

The Houston Texans (1-7) are faring little better, their 38-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams (7-1) looking only a little more respectable after they ran in 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, Davis Mills throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

49ers down Bears through sensational Samuel

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 3-4 after a 33-22 defeat of the Chicago Bears in which Deebo Samuel set pulses racing with a spectacular 83-yard catch-and-run.

After being denied an apparent touchdown for being ruled out of bounds, Samuel's run still allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to score from two yards out just a handful of plays later to cut the Bears' advantage.

Not only did Samuel produce the Niners' longest play of the season, he passed Jerry Rice for the most receiving yards for the franchise across the first seven games of an NFL season.

Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts shook off a slow start to win for the third time in four games, defeating the slumping San Francisco 49ers 30-18 on Sunday. 

After turning the ball over on two of their first three possessions, the Colts (3-4) steadied themselves and prevailed in wet, miserable conditions at Levi's Stadium in Week 7 of the NFL season.

The weather made things difficult on both teams, as both starting quarterbacks finished with fewer than 200 passing yards. 

While Jimmy Garoppolo outgained Wentz 181 to 150 through the air, he could not make the plays when the 49ers (2-4) needed them in his return from a calf injury. 

After hitting Deebo Samuel for a 14-yard touchdown that cut the Colts' lead to 20-18 early in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo threw interceptions the next two times San Francisco had the ball to seal a fourth straight defeat. 

Wentz ran for a touchdown and threw for two more, icing the game with a 28-yard lob to Michael Pittman with just under three minutes to play. 

Both teams' featured running backs for the night, Jonathan Taylor of Indianapolis and Elijah Mitchell for San Francisco, carried the ball 18 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. 

 

The Indianapolis Colts appeared destined for a lost season back in Week 3.

Indianapolis started the year with three successive defeats and the Colts' gamble on their ability to revive Carson Wentz's career looking misjudged.

Since then, the Colts have enjoyed wins over the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans, sandwiched by a heartbreaking defeat to the Baltimore Ravens in which they let slip a 19-point lead and lost in overtime.

The performances in those last three games have led to renewed optimism around a team that has reached the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.

Should Indianapolis knock off the San Francisco 49ers on the road in primetime, then the hype around the Colts will only grow.

Yet the 49ers figure to prove a difficult matchup for a quarterback whose performances in recent weeks have perhaps been slightly overrated.

Sub-par accuracy

Ninth in the league in yards per attempt (8.01) and with nine touchdowns to one interception, the numbers through six games for Wentz are impressive.

Yet his completion percentage is 64.2, 21st among 32 qualifying quarterbacks and that is reflected by his accuracy numbers.

Wentz, per Stats Perform data, has produced an accurate, well-thrown ball on 77.7 per cent of his passes, below the league average of 78.8 for quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts.

And he is set to face a Niners defense that has once again been among the league's best this season.

An intimidating defensive line

While the 49ers are themselves an underwhelming 2-3 and riding a three-game losing streak, their defense is excelling under new coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

The 49ers rank sixth in the NFL by yards per game allowed (329.8) and eighth in yards per play (5.29) and, while they are 30th in the NFL with only 76 pressures, they boast defensive linemen who can get Wentz out of rhythm.

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead and edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford have each dominated in 2021 when it comes to winning their individual matchups.

Armstead has a stunt-adjusted win percentage of 52.63 from his 49 pass rush matchups this year. Ford is next on 45 per cent while Bosa has an adjusted win percentage of 41.54 from 60 matchups. The league average for defensive linemen is 22 per cent.

They will each look to prosper against a Colts offense that has allowed the ninth-most pressures in the NFL (105) while the numbers suggest the Niners should excel at limiting the explosive plays on which Wentz has found joy in recent weeks.

Big plays not a guarantee

On passing attempts of 21 or more air yards, Wentz has the highest passer rating in the NFL (144.7).

He has completed 11 of 18 such attempts for 377 yards and three touchdowns and showed off his deep-ball prowess during last week's rout of the Texans.

Wentz hooked up with Parris Campbell for a 51-yard touchdown and connected with T.Y. Hilton for a 52-yard reception; however, such plays are partially a reflection of the struggles of a Texans defense allowing 7.6 yards per pass play.

The 49ers, despite a spate of injuries to their cornerbacks, have allowed 43 pass plays of 10 yards or more, the fewest in the NFL. San Francisco's defense has conceded 16 pass plays of 20 yards or more, the seventh-fewest in the league.

Wentz, therefore, may be forced into a more conservative approach in a game expected to take place in inclement weather. Helpfully, he may be able to lean more on the running game, with San Francisco 16th in yards per rush allowed (4.26) and running back Jonathan Taylor fifth in the NFL in yards per carry (5.43) for players at his position as he enjoys a superb start to his second season.

Indianapolis' signal-caller can also afford to at least have confidence in his ability to avoid turnovers. His pickable pass percentage of 1.68 is the fourth best among quarterbacks with a minimum of 10 attempts and the 49ers have a league-low two takeaways to their name.

A closer look at the evidence from his reunion with Colts coach Frank Reich indicates Wentz might find success difficult on Sunday should the Colts need to win the game on his arm. If he contradicts the statistics and thrives against a tough defense on the road, then the optimism around Indianapolis will be more justified.

Kyle Shanahan needs to get the San Francisco 49ers winning again if their playoff potential is to be fulfilled, and this Sunday looks like a major opportunity.

To snap a three-game losing streak, the Niners (2-3) must get the better of an Indianapolis Colts side who, much like San Francisco themselves, have made an inconsistent start to the season.

By contrast, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are riding a three-game run of wins and have started 5-1 for just the fifth time in the history of the franchise, heading into a tussle with the Chicago Bears (3-3). Tom Brady has been a driving force so far as the Super Bowl winners carry on where they left off last season.

Patrick Mahomes has been hit and miss for the slow-starting Kansas City Chiefs, who will hope the NFL's highest-paid player can cut out throwing interceptions as they face the Tennessee Titans.


Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

If coach Shanahan's 49ers are to turn around their season, then facing a Colts side who have begun 2-4 seems like a pretty good place to start. Yet the Colts have dominated this series of late, winning on their last four meetings, albeit most recently in 2017 when they snatched a 26-23 overtime success. It would not be stepping out of line to predict this could be tight, given the 49ers have played nine consecutive games that have been decided by eight or fewer points, going back to last season.

That is the longest active streak of such close games in the NFL and the longest streak in team history, and the Niners do not have the best recent return when games go close, posting a 3-6 record in this sequence.

San Francisco fell 17-10 to the Cardinals in their most recent game, two weeks ago, while the Colts hot-footed their way to a 31-3 trouncing of Houston last Sunday. That came despite Indianapolis earning just 15 first downs for the entire game. It was the first time the Colts had won by 28 or more points while only having 15 or fewer first downs since 1972 against New England.

In his 21st career game, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, meaning he surpassed 1,500 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and chalked up his 15th rushing touchdown in the NFL. Only four running backs in NFL history have hit all three of those milestones in fewer games than Taylor, with two of those doing so with the Colts – Edgerrin James and Marshall Faulk.

San Francisco will hope to be recharged after a bye week. Deebo Samuel scored the fourth rushing touchdown of his career against the Cardinals, with Jerry Rice (10) the only wide receiver with more rushing touchdowns in 49ers history.

Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a dispiriting loss to the Green Bay Packers last time out, the Chicago Bears encounter a Tampa Bay team in sparkling recent form. Tampa Bay have started the season 5-1, doing so for the fifth time in franchise history, and on each of the previous occasions (2005, 2002, 1997 and 1979) they backed it up by reaching the playoffs. History could be made on Sunday, given the Buccaneers have never started a season with six wins through their first seven games.

Yet this is a game in which the Bears have traditionally, and recently, had the upper hand. Chicago have stacked up 40 wins in 60 all-time meetings against Tampa Bay, which is the most wins by any team against the Bucs. The Bears have also won the last two in the series, scoring victories in 2018 and 2020.

Tampa Bay can seemingly do no wrong when Brady is pulling the strings so masterfully. Brady leads the NFL with 2,064 passing yards, the second-highest total he has ever had through six games of a season – beaten only by his 2,163 passing yards at this stage in 2011. Prior to this year, no Tampa Bay quarterback had ever thrown for more than 1,800 yards through six games.

What have the Bears got to offer? Chicago are averaging 246.2 net yards per game, which is more than 20 yards per game less than any other team. The 1,477 yards is the fewest Chicago has had through six games since the 1993 season. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields needs to make something happen, but others must step up too. In his first career start, Khalil Herbert ran for 97 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay last time out.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans

"He's trying to make things happen," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, explaining away the two interceptions thrown by Patrick Mahomes in Week 6 against Washington. For Mahomes, that was a second straight game with at least two interceptions. He is tied with Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence in second position on the list of the most interceptions thrown this season, with his tally of eight so far only topped by Zach Wilson of the Jets.

This is only the second run that Mahomes has endured of throwing two or more interceptions in consecutive games, the previous dating back to Week 5 and 6 of the 2018 season, and Reid will hope his radar is better set for the clash with the Titans. Mahomes is still doing an awful lot right in 2021, but the fact remains he threw just six interceptions last season.

The Chiefs' unsteady 3-3 opening is their worst of the Mahomes era, and it was 2015 when they got off to a slower start. On that occasion they followed a 1-5 opening with 10 consecutive wins, a single-season record for Kansas City that was matched last season.

Tennessee's bright start has featured some notable performances. The Titans ran for 146 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in the 34-31 win over Buffalo on Monday night, taking them to 985 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for the season. It is the first time in franchise history that the Bills have 10 or more rushing touchdowns and at least 975 rushing yards through six games.

Running back Derrick Henry has 10 rushing touchdowns so far, beating his career best of seven through six weeks in 2020. It puts him tied for the fourth most rushing touchdowns of all time through six weeks (Jim Brown 14, Shaun Alexander 12, Emmitt Smith 11).

Elsewhere...

The Detroit Lions face a tall order on the road against the Los Angeles Rams (5-1). Detroit are 0-6 for the first time since their 0-16 season in 2008 and have not scored more than 17 points in any of their last five games. Former Rams quarterback Jared Goff, now with Detroit, has thrown zero touchdown passes and an interception in each of his last two games.

The 5-1 Baltimore Ravens have recent history on their side ahead of a clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, having won five successive games in their head-to-head series, including the last three by a brutal average of 31.7 points.

Heading into a home game against the Houston Texans (1-5), the Arizona Cardinals are on a 6-0 roll. This has only happened twice before in franchise history, but never before in Arizona. The St Louis Cardinals in 1974 and Chicago Cardinals in 1922 are the teams who both started their seasons 6-0 as well.

Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts could match an NFL record as the Eagles (2-4) tackle the Las Vegas Raiders. Hurts has rushed for two touchdowns in each of his last two games. Billy Kilmer, for San Francisco in 1961, is the only quarterback to achieve the feat in three straight games.

The Green Bay Packers last lost at home to Washington in 1988, winning five in a row since with home-field advantage, and they put a 5-1 season record to the test when the teams meet again. Washington (2-4) are yielding an NFL-worst 31.0 points per game in 2021, matching the team's worst mark through six games of a season in the Super Bowl era (1998).

The Seattle Seahawks have claimed Jacob Eason to bolster their quarterback depth with star Russell Wilson sidelined due to a finger injury.

Eason was waived by the Indianapolis Colts earlier this week, despite debuting as relief for starter Carson Wentz against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2 of the NFL season.

The 23-year-old Eason was a fourth-round pick in 2020, completing two of five attempts for 25 yards in his debut against the Rams, having not played as a rookie last year.

Washington native Eason joins Geno Smith as QBs on Seattle's 53-man roster along with Jake Luton and Danny Etling on their practice squad.

Smith completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown in the Seahawks' 23-20 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Super Bowl champion and eight-time Pro Bowler Wilson landed on injured reserve a fortnight ago, having injured his right middle finger in the loss to the Rams on October 7 before undergoing surgery.

The 32-year-old's 10-year run of starts was the sixth longest by any quarterback in NFL history, and the longest of any active QB.

Wilson will sit out at least two more games before he is eligible to come off IR.

The Seahawks (2-4) host the New Orleans Saints (3-2) on Monday.

Week 6 of the NFL season sees the first byes of the campaign, meaning fantasy managers may need to start utilising their bench.

Though the starters picked in the early rounds of the draft often lay the foundations for a championship-winning season, the players selected to fill the void when they are not available can be the difference between claiming and missing out on the title.

With that in mind, this week's edition of fantasy picks features three players who can fill the void for fantasy managers with holes in their line-up.

A second-year wide receiver primed to play an even bigger part in an underperforming offense also features in Stats Perform's look at four players and a defense worthy of fantasy selection this week. 

Quarterback: Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team vs. Kansas City Chiefs

If you have a quarterback on a bye, or you are unfortunate to be in a position where the injured Russell Wilson is your starter, then you may be in scramble mode at quarterback.

Heinicke presents a solution to fantasy owners in such a bind. Yes, Washington will be underdogs against Kansas City, but Heinicke has thrown for multiple passing touchdowns in three of his last four games and should have little difficulty moving the ball against a defense allowing 7.08 yards per play, the most in the NFL.

With a high-scoring affair likely on the horizon, Heinicke is a leading option for fantasy owners in need of a quarterback fill-in.

Running Back: Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars

There isn't much reason to get excited about the Dolphins but fantasy owners of Gaskin should be extremely intrigued by this matchup in the second and final London game of the year.

Gaskin had only five carries for 25 yards last week in the Dolphins' 45-17 loss to the Buccaneers but found the endzone twice as a receiver as he hauled all 10 of his targets for 74 yards.

Against a Jacksonville defense that has been stout against the run but is allowing a league-worst 8.79 yards per pass play, there is scope for another big day for Gaskin as the Dolphins seek their second win of an underwhelming campaign.

Wide Receiver: Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Claypool has 296 receiving yards and a touchdown over his last three games playing for a Steelers offense that had struggled mightily prior to their Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos.

With Juju Smith-Schuster out for the season, Claypool should claim even more of a featured role in the offense and in Week 6 has the inviting prospect of a matchup with a Seahawks defense ranked 28th in the NFL in opposing pass yards per play (7.49). Claypool is well worthy of being in your starting lineup come Sunday.

Tight End: Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans

Alie-Cox was not able to find the endzone in Week 5 after catching two touchdown passes a week earlier, however, he is averaging 13.8 yards per reception, illustrating his big-play threat.

Facing a Texans defense allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, Alie-Cox should have an opportunity to make a significant impact in Week 6. Alie-Cox could prove an astute pickup for fantasy owners struggling for options at tight end.

Defense: Dallas Cowboys @ New England Patriots

The Cowboys' defense was not expected to be one of the top fantasy units in the league going into the season, however, through five games they have forced 12 takeaways, the second-most in the NFL.

Facing a quarterback in Mac Jones who has thrown a pickable pass on 4.89 per cent of his attempts, well above the average of 3.16, a meeting with the Patriots presents the Cowboys with the chance to add to that total and rack up fantasy points.

Laremy Tunsil is poised to undergo surgery on a thumb injury and is expected to miss around four weeks of action for the Houston Texans.

The Texans face the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC South battle on Sunday with both teams struggling on 1-4 records and trailing the division-leading Tennessee Titans (3-2).

Houston will look to get their season on track against the Colts without Tunsil, who suffered a torn UCL in his thumb during the 25-22 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 5. He had initially hoped to play through the injury.

Texans head coach David Culley confirmed the surgery for star left tackle Tunsil, who was a Pro Bowler in 2019 and 2020, with the team "not really sure" how accurate the four-week recovery timeline will prove to be.

He also reiterated Tyrod Taylor will be the team's starting quarterback when he returns from a hamstring injury, but rookie backup Davis Mills will again start in his stead against the Colts.

"[Taylor] gives us the best chance to win," Culley said, per ESPN. 

"He's our starting quarterback. He was our starting quarterback when he went down. He was doing an excellent job. When he comes back, he'll still be our starting quarterback."

The Colts, meanwhile, will welcome wide receiver T.Y. Hilton back to the practice field on Wednesday with the hope he can soon be activated off injured reserve.

Hilton had to undergo neck surgery ahead of the 2021 NFL season

"Certainly excited to have T.Y. back in the fold and out on the field," said Colts coach Frank Reich. 

"Obviously that's a big, emotional boost to the team."

The Colts now have a three-week window in which they can activate four-time Pro Bowler Hilton off injured reserve, with the prospect of him facing the Texans not yet ruled out.

Lamar Jackson is honoured to have matched Dan Marino's record for the most wins by a quarterback before the age of 25 in NFL history after inspiring the Baltimore Ravens to a 31-25 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday. 

The All-Pro quarterback, who does not turn 25 until January 7, accounted for all but 19 of Baltimore's 523 yards of total offence, completing 37 of 43 passes for a franchise-record 442 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 62 more.

In doing so, Jackson became the first player in NFL history to post at least 400 yards passing, 50 yards rushing and four TD passes with no interceptions in a single game.

Jackson led four straight touchdown drives to erase a 19-point deficit against the Colts as he overtook Drew Bledsoe (33) to join Marino on 34 wins before turning 25.

"I'm up there with the guys – those legends," Jackson said. "I appreciate that. It's an honour to be up there with those guys, but I'm focused on winning."

Jackson's effort was described as "one of the greatest performances I have ever seen" by head coach John Harbaugh, the 2019 MVP hitting six straight passes on the drive in overtime.

Despite his side falling 22-3 behind with 3:11 left in the third quarter, Jackson insists he was always confident of fighting back to make it 4-1 for the season.

"To be honest, it wasn't a doubt in my mind," he said. "Our team, we hit that peak that we needed at the right time in the second half. We just knew it was one play at a time – that's all we kept saying in the huddle.

"I was just locked in. I was just calm, everything was moving slow. I was just taking it a play at a time."

Jackson is now fifth in the NFL in passing yards this season with 1,519 through five games, while his 241 rushing yards ranks him eighth.

But Monday's performance was not quite flawless, as he threw his helmet so far into the air after the overtime win that somebody else had to help retrieve it.

"I shouldn't have done that – for real," Jackson said. "I've got to have more restraint, but I was just excited. We had an overtime win in the league and stuff like that. It was pretty cool."

The Baltimore Ravens were left struggling for words to describe their star quarterback after Lamar Jackson led his team to a 31-25 overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday. 

Head coach John Harbaugh called Jackson's effort "one of the greatest performances I've ever seen" after Jackson led four straight touchdown drives to erase a 19-point deficit. 

Jackson's career-best 442 passing yards set a franchise record and with 62 additional yards on the ground he accounted for all but 19 of Baltimore's 523 yards of total offence. 

It was a breathtaking effort that left team-mates in awe. 

"He's amazing," said Marquise Brown, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime after hauling in a 43-yard TD to start the comeback.

"I think he's just 24 years old? It's crazy what he can do," said veteran defensive end Calais Campbell. 

A significant part of Jackson's allure stems from his ability to get the team out of jams, as he did once again Monday with Baltimore down 22-3 late in the third quarter and 25-9 with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth. 

"It wasn't easy," Harbaugh told reporters. "I mean, it wasn't like we came out up and down the field. We had to overcome and fight through some things.

"[Jackson] just came alive like all of our guys did. All of the guys made plays, but it starts with Lamar. He deserves the credit."

The quarterback insisted he never doubted the Ravens' ability to come back in the game. It was just a matter of time before they got their offence going. 

"Our team, we hit that peak that we needed at the right time in the second half," Jackson said. "We just knew it was one play at a time – that's all we kept saying in the huddle."

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.