After his stellar performance against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night, Lamar Jackson cemented his spot as the season’s must-see player, the razzle-dazzle quarterback made for prime-time TV.
But the Baltimore Ravens’ huge home game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, a game many see as a Super Bowl LIV preview, isn’t on national TV or in prime-time this week. Instead, the NFL flexed the Oakland-Kansas City game into the late-afternoon slot, with the New England Patriots and Houston Texans meeting on Sunday night.
That means the game between the Niners and Jackson’s Ravens — a game that is the first matchup of teams each coming off wins by at least 28 points over opponents with winning records, according to the Elias Sports Bureau — goes off at 1 p.m.
All times Eastern.
|1||Titans at Colts||CBS|
|1||Jets at Bengals||CBS|
|1||Redskins at Panthers||CBS|
|1||49ers at Ravens||Fox|
|1||Buccaneers at Jaguars||Fox|
|1||Browns at Steelers||CBS|
|1||Packers at Giants||Fox|
|1||Eagles at Dolphins||Fox|
|4:05||Rams at Cardinals||Fox|
|4:25||Chargers at Broncos||CBS|
|4:25||Raiders at Chiefs||CBS|
|8:20||Patriots at Texans||NBC|
The early shift
Titans (6-5) at Colts (6-5), 1, CBS
These AFC South rivals have taken different routes to identical records. Since benching Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill, the Titans have won four of five, while Tannehill is fourth in the NFL with a 114.9 passer rating since becoming the starter. The Colts are sliding, losing three of their last four after overcoming the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck with a strong 5-2 start.
Jets (4-7) at Bengals (0-11), 1, CBS
The Jets have won three in a row and no one is talking about Sam Darnold seeing ghosts. In the three games since he mentioned those apparitions while throwing four interceptions against the Patriots, he has posted a 117.2 passer rating. Now, if Gang Green can win this game and the Week 14 matchup with the Dolphins, they’d be 6-7, on the cusp of .500. Who’da thunk it?
Redskins (2-9) at Panthers (5-6), 1, CBS
Dwayne Haskins learned the hard way that an NFL game lasts 60 minutes, choosing to pose for a sideline selfie rather than be available for the final play in Washington’s victory over Detroit. The Panthers’ defense suffered a blow when it lost nose tackle Dontari Poe to a torn quadriceps against New Orleans. Quarterback Kyle Allen has been intercepted nine times in his last five games after throwing zero in his first five starts.
49ers (10-1) at Ravens (9-2), 1, Fox
Could this be a preview of Super Bowl LIV? Either way, it’s good to be the Ravens, with a nasty defense and an AFC playoff picture that grew murky last weekend for teams clustered in the middle of the pack. How good is the San Francisco defense that Jackson will face? Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers (in the least efficient game of his career) were 1 for 15 on third-down conversions in last Sunday’s blowout loss. The Ravens must adjust to the loss of center Matt Skura, a big reason for the offensive line’s success, for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Skura helped Jackson become the first player in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards over his first two seasons.
Buccaneers (4-7) at Jaguars (4-7), 1, Fox
Can Tampa Bay call Vita Vea’s number again? Please? The defensive lineman caught a 1-yard touchdown pass against Atlanta, becoming, at 347 pounds, the heaviest player to catch a TD pass, according to Pro Football Reference. He’s just a few carbs weightier than Jonathan Ogden (345) and, because you’re wondering, William Perry, who weighed 335. “I scored?” Vea laughed afterward. “I thought it was a dream.”
Browns (5-6) at Steelers (6-5), 1, CBS
No Myles Garrett, no Maurkice Pouncey and a bunch of guys whose wallets are much lighter will meet up again, a little more than two weeks since a fight marred the end of their game in Cleveland and prompted Browns fan to take whacks at a Mason Rudolph piñata. Rudolph, meantime, has been benched in favor of duck-calling champion Devlin Hodges, who will make the start in this rematch. The Browns have won three in a row and, like the Steelers, have flickering playoff hopes.
Packers (8-3) at Giants (2-9), 1, Fox
New York has lost seven in a row, prompting buzz about whether the usually patient John Mara might give Pat Shurmur the heave-ho in favor of Jason Garrett, whose contract is up at the end of a season in which his Cowboys are underwhelming. The stretch run sets up nicely for the Packers, who over the last month have reverted to troublesome form, looking more like Mike McCarthy’s team than Matt LaFleur’s, with little creativity or tempo.
Eagles (5-6) at Dolphins (2-9), 1, Fox
The NFC East is there for the taking. The Eagles have winnable games in four of the next five weeks, facing the Dolphins in Miami, the Giants at home, the Redskins in Washington, the Giants again in New Jersey and the Cowboys in Philadelphia. Going 5-0 isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, but Carson Wentz has to start playing better. The Dolphins have given up 78 points the last two games.
Rams (6-5) at Cardinals (3-7-1), 4:05, Fox
The Rams are coming off the worst home loss at the Coliseum in team history, a game in which Eric Weddle admitted: “We got our faces peeled off” by the Ravens and Jackson. It’s essential for Jared Goff to have a good game and for the defense to shrug off the 45-6 thrashing from Monday night if they are to keep their dim playoff hopes alive. Against this defense, rookie Kyler Murray and first-year Coach Kliff Kingsbury ought to be able to have some success, although Murray is questionable with a hamstring issue.
Chargers (4-7) at Broncos (3-8), 4:25, CBS
What typically is a cracking AFC West rivalry sets up as a huge disappointment this year. Philip Rivers has been intercepted seven times in the last two games and the Broncos were doomed by their 0-4 start.
Raiders (6-5) at Chiefs (7-4), 4:25, CBS
The Raiders utterly and completely laid an egg in their loss to the New York Jets or, as Derek Carr put it, “we got our face kicked in a little bit.” As if that weren’t bad enough, they now must play the Chiefs in a big AFC West game in Kansas City.
The night game
Patriots (10-1) at Texans (7-4), 8:20, NBC
Has a team been luckier when it comes to the schedule than the Patriots, who sit atop a messy AFC? Nobody, particularly Tom Brady, is happy with how the team has gotten to 10-1, but the Patriot Way is all about winning at all costs, even if that means winning ugly. Don’t be surprised if Houston starts slow. It has scored all of 23 points in the first quarter; only the Redskins have scored fewer (20). The Texans are facing a polar-opposite team: The Patriots have scored 94 points in the first quarter, second only to Baltimore, but they’re fighting a flu bug this week and lost kicker Nick Folk to an appendectomy. He’ll be replaced by Kai Forbath.
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