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Archive for October, 2017

Crew SC’s Higuain named finalist for 2017 MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award

 

Federico Higuain in action By Hayden Schiff from Cincinnati, USA - DSC_4205, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia

 

 

Higuain named one of three finalists for MLS Comeback Player of the Year; playmaker recorded nine goals and 14 assists in regular-season action in 2017

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2017


COLUMBUS — In conjunction with Major League Soccer, Columbus Crew SC today announced that midfielder Federico Higuain has been named a finalist for the MLS Comeback Player of the Year award. The Comeback Player of the Year honor is awarded to an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2017 regular season. The finalists earned the most votes in polling of three voting groups: current MLS players, MLS Clubs (Coaches, Technical Directors/General Managers) and media members who consistently covered the 2017 MLS Regular Season. The winner of the award is expected to be announced on Wednesday, November 15 with the MLS Awards announcement schedule subject to change.

 

A six-year MLS veteran, Federico Higuain was voted Crew SC’s Most Valuable Player in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, Higuain was a key cog in the Black & Gold’s run to the 2015 MLS Cup. Halfway through 2016, Higuain underwent hernia surgery, drastically reducing the number of matches he was able to play in as he recovered from the procedure. This year, he returned with a vengeance, registering a career-high 14 regular-season assists while helping Crew SC return to the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. Higuain also scored nine goals in regular-season action, only two shy of his career-high goal tally. During the 2017 MLS regular season, Crew SC posted an undefeated record of 8-0-1 in matches in which he registered one or more assists.

 

On September 22, 2017, Federico Higuain became one of only six players in Crew SC history to register three assists in a single match for the Black & Gold, as he provided the helper on all three of Columbus’ goals in a 3-2 home victory over the New York Red Bulls at MAPFRE Stadium. Currently, Higuain is tied with Robert Warzycha for first place on Crew SC’s list of all-time regular-season game-winning assists, with 16. Since 2012, Higuain has made 149 regular-season appearances (144 starts), registering 48 goals and 49 assists. He is in first place on Crew SC’s list of all-time regular-season goals with 48 strikes, and he is in second place on Crew SC’s list of all-time regular-season assists, behind only Robert Warzycha, who has 61 helpers.

 

Crew SC takes on New York City FC at MAPFRE Stadium tonight in the First Leg of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals. The match kicks-off at 8:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised nationally on ESPN and will be available as well on the radio locally on CD102.5 FM (English) and La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish).

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2017 regular season

Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC)

Federico Higuaín (Columbus Crew SC)

Erick Torres (Houston Dynamo)


Awards Announcement Schedule:

Schedule subject to change

November 2: MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by AdvoCare

November 7: MLS Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year; Fair Play Award – Individual and Team

November 8: AT&T Rookie of the Year

November 9: MLS Defender of the Year

November 14: AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year

November 15: MLS Comeback Player of the Year

November 16: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year

November 20: Newcomer of the Year

November 27: MLS Coach of the Year

November 28: MLS Best XI

December 4: Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

Crew SC hosts New York City FC in MLS Eastern Conference Finals match tonight at 8 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clubs face-off in two-leg, aggregate-goal series with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2017

COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC takes on New York City FC at MAPFRE Stadium tonight, Tuesday, October 31 in the First Leg of Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals. The contest kicks-off at 8:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised nationally on ESPN with Adrian Healey (play-by-play), Taylor Twellman (analyst) and Julie Stewart-Binks (sideline) on the call. Tonight’s match also airs locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English, with Neil Sika and Dwight Burgess on the call. La Mega 103.1 FM has the match airing in Spanish, with Juan Valladares behind the microphone. The Spanish radio calls are also set to be streamed in Spanish on the LaMega1 App and via Tunein Radio as WVKO-FM. The club’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream the English-language radio broadcast online.

MLS GAME NOTES PACKAGE: http://bit.ly/2017GameGuides

Crew SC finished the 2017 MLS regular season with the second-highest number of points in club history (54 points), second only to the 2008 MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield-winning side (57 points). Along the way, Columbus registered 16 regular-season wins, the third-most in club history behind the 1999 (19 wins) and the 2008 (17 wins) campaigns. The Black & Gold are on an 11-match unbeaten across all competitions, dating back to a 3-1 home victory over the Chicago Fire on August 12.
Columbus advanced by way of a penalty-kick shootout by a 3-1 score against Atlanta United FC on Thursday, October 26. Crew SC earned a shutout against Atlanta United, with Zack Steffen making eight saves in 120 minutes of play and stopping two penalty kicks in the penalty-kick shootout. Federico Higuain, Niko Hansen and Adam Jahn all scored in the penalty-kick shootout for the Black & Gold, helping the club move on to the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Tonight’s match marks the first postseason match between Crew SC and New York City FC. The Black & Gold’s last regular-season meeting against New York City FC took place on Sunday, October 22 at Citi Field. The two sides played to a 2-2 draw, with forward Ola Kamara and defender Josh Williams scoring for Crew SC. Both goals were assisted by midfielder Federico Higuain, who finished the MLS regular season with 14 assists, the third-most assists in a single regular-season in club history behind only Guillermo Barros-Schelotto (19) and John Wilmar Perez (15).

 

Columbus Crew SC vs. New York City FC
Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals, First Leg

Tuesday, October 31 – 8:00 p.m. ET – MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)

National Television: ESPN (Coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. ET)
International Television: Abu Dhabi (Middle East and North Africa), BeIN Sports (Asia, Australia), DSports/ATR (India), EuroSport (Pan Europe), FOX Sports Africa (Sub-Saharan Africa), Fuji TV (Japan), Sky Sports (United Kingdom), Sportscast (Taiwan) and StarHub (Singapore)
Crew SC Radio: CD102.5 FM (English); La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish), Spanish radio broadcast also simulcast on LaMega1 App and via TuneIn Radio as WVKO-FM, English radio broadcast also simulcast on ColumbusCrewSC.com

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC

NFL Week 8 Expectations, What to look For

​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 8​

COMPLETE PERFORMANCE: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES completed 27 of 38 passes (71.1 percent) for 331 yards and one touchdown in the Saints’ 26-17 win at Green Bay in Week 7.

With 12 completions against Chicago on Sunday, Brees, who has 5,988 career completions, would join Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (6,300) and PEYTON MANNING (6,125) as the only players with at least 6,000 career completions in NFL history.

Brees, who will play in his 240th career game on Sunday, would reach 6,000 career completions in the fewest games in NFL history, surpassing Manning (259) and Favre (286).

The players with the most completions in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAMS CAREER COMPLETIONS
Brett Favre^ Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota 6,300
Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 6,125
Drew Brees San Diego, New Orleans 5,988
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –​

CLEAN SHEET: Kansas City quarterback ALEX SMITH passed for 342 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the Chiefs’ Week 7 loss to Oakland.

Smith, who has three games with at least 300 passing yards, three or more touchdown passes and no interceptions this season, can join TOM BRADY(2007) as the only players with four such games in his team’s first eight games to start a season.

Smith, who has 15 touchdown passes and zero interceptions this season, has the fourth-most touchdown passes without an interception to start a season in the NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes without an interception to start a season:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON TD PASSES WITHOUT INT TO START SEASON
Peyton Manning Denver 2013 20
Nick Foles Philadelphia 2013 19
Milt Plum Cleveland 1960 16
Alex Smith Kansas City 2017 15

 

– NFL –

WINSTON ON HIS WAY: Tampa Bay quarterback JAMEIS WINSTON passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ Week 7 loss at Buffalo.

Winston has 9,775 passing yards in 38 career games. With 225 passing yards against Carolina on Sunday, Winston would tie PEYTON MANNING (39 games) for the sixth-fewest games played to reach 10,000 career passing yards.

The players to reach 10,000 career passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM GAMES TO REACH 10,000 PASSING YARDS  
Kurt Warner^ St. Louis 36  
Matthew Stafford Detroit 37  
Marc Bulger St. Louis 38  
Andrew Luck Indianapolis 38  
Dan Marino^ Miami 38  
Peyton Manning Indianapolis 39  
       
Jameis Winston Tampa Bay 38*  
*Has 9,775 career passing yards

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

PASSING FOR 200: Detroit quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD has passed for 12 touchdowns this season, including three in Week 6.

Stafford has 199 touchdown passes in 115 career games. With one touchdown pass against Pittsburgh on Sunday night, Stafford would tie TOM BRADY(116 games) for the fifth-fewest games played to reach 200 career touchdown passes.

The players to reach 200 career touchdown passes in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM GAMES TO REACH 200 TD PASSES  
Dan Marino^ Miami 89  
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay 99  
Peyton Manning Indianapolis 106  
Brett Favre^ Atlanta, Green Bay 107  
Tom Brady New England 116  
       
Matthew Stafford Detroit 115*  
*Has 199 career touchdown passes

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

RACKING UP THE YARDS: Pittsburgh running back LE’VEON BELL had 192 scrimmage yards (134 rushing, 58 receiving) in the Steelers’ 29-14 win against Cincinnati in Week 7.

Bell, who ranks third in the NFL with 898 scrimmage yards this season, has 6,948 scrimmage yards in 54 career games. With 148 scrimmage yards on Sunday night against Detroit, he would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (7,095) for the most scrimmage yards in a player’s first 55 career games.

The players with the most scrimmage yards in their first 55 career games played:

PLAYER TEAM SCRIMMAGE YARDS THROUGH 55 GAMES  
Eric Dickerson^ Los Angeles Rams 7,095  
Edgerrin James Indianapolis 6,969  
Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh 6,948*  
LaDainian Tomlinson^ San Diego 6,929  
Terrell Davis^ Denver 6,819  
Marcus Allen^ Los Angeles Raiders 6,680  
*Has played 54 career games

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

RIDICULOUS ROOKIE: Kansas City rookie running back KAREEM HUNT had 117 yards from scrimmage (87 rushing, 30 receiving) in the Chiefs’ Week 7 game.

With 98 scrimmage yards against Denver on Monday Night Football, Hunt, who leads the NFL with 1,002 scrimmage yards, will become the fourth rookie in NFL history with at least 1,100 scrimmage yards in his team’s first eight games of a season.

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in their team’s first eight games of a season:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON SCRIMMAGE YARDS IN TEAM’S FIRST 8 GAMES  
Adrian Peterson Minnesota 2007 1,242  
Eric Dickerson^ Los Angeles Rams 1983 1,235  
Billy Sims Detroit 1980 1,175  
Marshall Faulk^ Indianapolis 1994 1,051  
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas 2016 1,046  
         
Kareem Hunt Kansas City 2017 1,002*  
*Through seven games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

EVERY DAY EVERSON: Minnesota defensive end EVERSON GRIFFEN registered two sacks in the Vikings’ 24-16 win over Baltimore in Week 7.

Griffen, who ranks third in the NFL with nine sacks, has recorded a sack in all seven of Minnesota’s games this season. With a sack on Sunday against Cleveland at London’s Twickenham Stadium, Griffen would become the third player to record a sack in each of his team’s first eight games to start a season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The players to record a sack in each of their team’s first eight games of a season since 1982:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON
Dwight Freeney Indianapolis 2009
Robert Mathis Indianapolis 2005
     
Everson Griffen Minnesota 2017*
*Has sack in each of 1st 7 games

– NFL –​

SACK ATTACK: Los Angeles Chargers defensive ends MELVIN INGRAM and JOEY BOSA combined for three sacks in the team’s 21-0 victory against Denver in Week 7.

Ingram, who has 8.5 sacks, and Bosa, who has 7.5 sacks, can become the fifth pair of teammates to each record at least nine sacks in their team’s first eight games of a season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The teammates to each record at least nine sacks in their team’s first eight games to start a season since 1982:

TEAM SEASON PLAYER SACKS PLAYER SACKS
Kansas City Chiefs 2013 Justin Houston 11 Tamba Hali 9
Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 James Harrison 10 Lamarr Woodley 9.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2000 Warren Sapp^ 10.5 Marcus Jones 10
Detroit Lions 1983 William Gay 10.5 Doug English 9
           
Los Angeles Chargers 2017* Melvin Ingram 8.5 Joey Bosa 7.5
*Through seven games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

GO THE DISTANCE: Buffalo kicker STEPHEN HAUSCHKA made three field goals, including a 52-yarder, in the Bills’ Week 7 win against Tampa Bay.

Hauschka, who has converted all five of his 50+ yard field goal attempts this season, has made each of the past 12 field goals of at least 50 yards he has attempted. If Hauschka converts his next 50+ yard attempt, he would set the NFL record for the most consecutive 50+ yard field goals made.

The players with the most consecutive made field goals of at least 50 yards in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM(S) SEASONS MOST CONSECUTIVE FGS MADE OF 50+ YARDS  
Stephen Hauschka Seattle, Buffalo 2015-17 12*  
Matt Prater Detroit 2015-17 12  
Justin Tucker Baltimore 2015-16 12  
Blair Walsh Minnesota 2012-13 12  
Robbie Gould Chicago 2010-13 12  
*Active streak

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

Recapping Week 7 in the NFL: Rookies, Alex Smith, Everson Griffen, Julio Jones, Jacksonville defense, Le’Veon Bell, Justin Tucker and Jeff Heath

THE WEEK THAT WAS – WEEK 7

RISING ROOKIES: Through the first seven weeks of the season, rookies have accumulated 9,813 yards from scrimmage, the most by rookies through Week 7 since 1970.

The seasons with the most yards from scrimmage by rookies through Week 7 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON MOST SCRIMMAGE YARDS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 7*
2017 9,813
2014 9,027
1983 8,118
2013 7,943
1971 7,713
*Excludes 1987 season

Kansas City running back KAREEM HUNT, who leads the NFL with 1,002 scrimmage yards and ranks second with six touchdowns, became the second rookie in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in his team’s first seven games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (1,045 in 1983).

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards in 2017:

PLAYER TEAM SCRIMMAGE YARDS
Kareem Hunt Kansas City 1,002
Leonard Fournette Jacksonville 732
Tarik Cohen Chicago 454
Dalvin Cook Minnesota 444
Christian McCaffrey Carolina 443

Rookies have also totaled 71 touchdowns through Week 7, the most through the first seven weeks of a season since 1970.

The seasons with the most touchdowns by rookies through Week 7 since 1970 (excluding 1987 season):

SEASON MOST TOUCHDOWNS BY ROOKIES THROUGH WEEK 7*
2017 71
1983 65
2014 64
2013 60
1971 58
*Excludes 1987 season

The rookies with the most touchdowns in 2017:

PLAYER TEAM TOTAL TDS
Leonard Fournette Jacksonville 7
Kareem Hunt Kansas City 6
Evan Engram New York Giants 3
O.J. Howard Tampa Bay 3
Aaron Jones Green Bay 3
Cooper Kupp Los Angeles Rams 3
David Njoku Cleveland 3
JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh 3
 

​– NFL –

ZEROING IN: Three teams – JACKSONVILLE, the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS and the LOS ANGELES RAMS – held their opponents scoreless in Week 7.

The last time there were more shutouts in a single week was Week 12 of the 1983 season (four).

– NFL –

STREAKING SMITH: Kansas City quarterback ALEX SMITH completed 25 of 36 passes (69.4 percent) for 342 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 127.3 rating in the Chiefs’ 31-30 loss at Oakland in Week 7.

Smith, who leads the NFL in passer rating (120.5) and ties for second with 15 touchdown passes, has thrown at least one touchdown pass and zero interceptions in seven consecutive games. The seven-game streak is tied for the third-longest in NFL history, trailing only TOM BRADY (11) and MILT PLUM (10).

Smith and Plum (1960 Cleveland) are the only players in NFL history to throw at least one touchdown pass without an interception in each of his team’s first seven games of a season.

The most consecutive games with a touchdown pass and zero interceptions in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON(S) CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 1+ TD PASS & 0 INTS
Tom Brady New England 2010 11
Milt Plum Cleveland 1959-1960 10
Alex Smith Kansas City 2017 7*
Jake Plummer Denver 2005 7
Many tied     6
*Active streak      

– NFL –

EVERY GAME EVERSON: Minnesota defensive end EVERSON GRIFFEN recorded two sacks in the Vikings’ 24-16 win against Baltimore last week.

Griffen, who ranks third in the NFL with nine sacks, has at least one sack in each of the Vikings’ seven games this season and is the sixth player to record a sack in each of his team’s first seven games of a season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The players with at least one sack in each of their team’s first seven games of a season:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON
Everson Griffen Minnesota 2017
Dwight Freeney Indianapolis 2009
DeMarcus Ware Dallas 2008
Robert Mathis Indianapolis 2005
Shaun Ellis New York Jets 2003
William Fuller Philadelphia 1994

– NFL –

JULIO 8K: Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES had 99 receiving yards with a touchdown catch in the Falcons’ 23-7 loss at New England in Week 7.

Jones, who has 8,076 career receiving yards in 85 games, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer LANCE ALWORTH (8,118) as the only players in NFL history with at least 8,000 receiving yards through 85 career games.

The most receiving yards through a player’s first 85 career games:

PLAYER TEAM RECEIVING YARDS
Lance Alworth^ San Diego 8,118
Julio Jones Atlanta 8,076
Jerry Rice^ San Francisco 7,370
Randy Moss Minnesota 7,258
Torry Holt St. Louis 7,147
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

SACKSONVILLE: The Jacksonville Jaguars, led by defensive ends YANNICK NGAKOUE (2.5 sacks) and CALAIS CAMPBELL (two), recorded 10 sacks in the team’s 27-0 win at Indianapolis last week.

The Jaguars, who recorded 10 sacks in Week 1, are the first team in NFL history to record at least 10 sacks in two of the team’s first seven games of a season.

Jacksonville is the third team with at least 10 sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 1984 Chicago Bears (two games) and the 1967 Oakland Raiders (two).

Campbell, who has 10 sacks in his first season with Jacksonville, has the most sacks by a player in his first seven games with a team since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982.

The most sacks by a player in his first seven games with a team since 1982:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON SACKS
Calais Campbell Jacksonville 2017 10
Lorenzo Alexander Buffalo 2016 9
Marcellus Wiley San Diego 2001 8.5
Hugh Douglas Philadelphia 1998 8.5
Charlie Clemons New Orleans 2001 8
Darion Conner New Orleans 1994 8
William Fuller Philadelphia 1994 8

– NFL –

RING THE BELL: Pittsburgh running back LE’VEON BELL had 192 scrimmage yards (134 rushing, 58 receiving) in the Steelers’ 29-14 win against Cincinnati last week.

Bell, who recorded his 35th game with at least 100 scrimmage yards in his 54th career game, tied ADRIAN PETERSON (54 games) for the fifth-fewest games to reach the milestone in NFL history.

The players to reach 35 career games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM FEWEST GAMES TO REACH 35 CAREER GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YDS
Edgerrin James Indianapolis 41
Eric Dickerson^ LA Rams 47
Marcus Allen^ LA Raiders 50
Terrell Davis^ Denver 53
Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh 54
Adrian Peterson Minnesota 54
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

TREMENDOUS TUCKER: Baltimore kicker JUSTIN TUCKER converted all three of his field-goal attempts, including a 57-yarder, in the Ravens’ loss at Minnesota in Week 7.

Tucker, who has 30 career field goals of at least 50 yards in 87 career games, reached 30 career 50-yard field goals in the fewest games in NFL history. Detroit kicker MATT PRATER (126 games) previously held the record.

The kickers to reach 30 career 50-yard field goals in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM(S) FEWEST GAMES TO 30 CAREER 50-YARD FGS
Justin Tucker Baltimore 87
Matt Prater Denver, Detroit 126
Jason Elam Denver 157

– NFL –

HELPFUL HEATH: Dallas safety JEFF HEATH converted two of three extra-point attempts in the Cowboys’ 40-10 win at San Francisco last week.

Heath, who took over kicking duties following an injury to Cowboys kicker DAN BAILEY, joined Houston’s TED THOMPSON (November 23, 1980) and Detroit’s WAYNE WALKER (September 26, 1971) as the only non-kickers/punters to convert at least two extra-point attempts in a single game in NFL history.

PLAYER TEAM POSITION DATE EXTRA POINTS MADE
Ted Thompson Houston LB November 23, 1980 4
Jeff Heath Dallas S October 22, 2017 2
Wayne Walker Detroit LB September 26, 1971 2

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

NFL Week 8 Game Previews: Browns in London to play Minnesota, Bengals hosts Colts

​​NFL HEADS TOWARDS HALFWAY POINT AS WEEK 8 APPROACHES

The NFL season is nearing the halfway point and the standings remain close. Through the first seven weeks, 26 teams have at least three wins. Leading the way are six clubs with at least five victories: Philadelphia (6-1), Kansas City (5-2), the Los Angeles Rams (5-2), Minnesota (5-2), New England (5-2) and Pittsburgh (5-2). Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, nearly 80 percent (197 of 247) of the previous teams to start 5-2 or better advanced to the postseason.

Entering Week 8, there are 20 teams with a .500 or better winning percentage and 14 clubs with a winning record. Since 1990, 285 of the league’s 324 playoff teams (88 percent) had a winning record through seven games.

But nothing is a given in the NFL. There have been 39 teams since 1990 which had a .500 or lower record after seven games to advance to the postseason. That includes five teams over the past two seasons: Houston (2-5), Kansas City (2-5), Seattle (3-4) and Washington (3-4) in 2015 and Miami (3-4) last year.

Week 8 begins on Thursday night with the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Miami Dolphins (8:25 PM ET, CBS/NFL Network/ Amazon Prime). The action continues “across the pond” on Sunday morning (9:30 AM ET, NFL Network) when the Minnesota Vikings face the Cleveland Browns in London. The game marks the fourth and final 2017 London Series game and the second consecutive week Twickenham Stadium – the home of England Rugby – will host an NFL contest.

The week concludes with a pair of primetime contests as the Detroit Lions host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night (8:30 PM ET, NBC) and the Denver Broncos visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night (8:30 PM ET, ESPN) in a showdown between AFC West rivals. Some of the other key games in Week 8:

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-4) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-2) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)

 

  • The Chargers have won three consecutive games, including last week’s 21-0 victory over Denver. Los Angeles limited the Broncos to 251 total net yards and became the first team to shutout Denver since November 22, 1992.
  • Wide receiver TRAVIS BENJAMIN returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown and added a 42-yard touchdown reception from quarterback PHILIPRIVERS in the Chargers’ victory over Denver. Benjamin is the first Charger to have a punt-return touchdown and a TD reception in the same game since ERIC METCALF on November 30, 1997.
  • The Patriots have won three games in a row, including a 23-7 win over Atlanta on Sunday night in a rematch of Super Bowl LI. Quarterback TOM BRADY threw two touchdown passes – one each to wide receiver BRANDIN COOKS and running back JAMES WHITE – to lead the Patriots past the Falcons for the second time in eight months.
  • Brady leads the NFL with 2,208 passing yards and is tied for the AFC lead with 15 touchdown passes. He is the first player to pass for at least 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in his team’s first seven games at the age of 40 or older.

CHICAGO BEARS (3-4) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-2) (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)

 

  • Bears rookie safety EDDIE JACKSON had a 76-yard interception-return touchdown and a 75-yard fumble-return touchdown in last week’s 17-3 win against Carolina. Jackson is the first player in NFL history to score multiple 75+ yard defensive touchdowns in a single game. He is also the only rookie in league annals to score multiple 75+ yard defensive touchdowns in an entire season.
  • Chicago has scored three defensive touchdowns of at least 75 yards in the past two games. In addition to Jackson’s two scores, safety ADRIAN AMOS had a 90-yard interception-return touchdown in Week 6 at Baltimore.
  • The Saints have won four consecutive games and sit atop the NFC South with a 4-2 record. Last week, New Orleans knocked off Green Bay 26-17 at Lambeau Field.
  • In the win against the Packers, quarterback DREW BREES threw the 500th touchdown pass of his career (including the postseason). Brees, who has 476 touchdown passes in the regular season and 24 in the postseason, became the fourth player in NFL history to throw 500 career touchdown passes, joining PEYTON MANNING (579), Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (552) and TOM BRADY (534).

HOUSTON TEXANS (3-3) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-2) (Sunday, CBS, 4:05 PM ET)

 

  • The Texans had a bye last week following a 33-17 win over Cleveland in Week 6. Houston has scored at least 30 points in four consecutive games and since Week 3, the Texans are averaging an NFL-best 39.3 points per game.
  • Quarterback DESHAUN WATSON ties for the AFC lead with 15 touchdown passes, the most ever by a rookie in his team’s first six games of a season. Watson has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three consecutive games and is the first rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Watson has 12 passing touchdowns in the past three games, the most ever by a rookie in any three-game span.
  • Seattle has won three consecutive games, including last week’s 24-7 win at the New York Giants. Quarterback RUSSELL WILSON passed for 334 yards and three touchdowns in the victory as he completed a pass to 11 different receivers. Wide receiver DOUG BALDWIN led the way with nine catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.
  • Wilson has 30 career games with multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most such performances by a quarterback in his first six seasons.

 

DALLAS COWBOYS (3-3) at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-3) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)

 

  • The Cowboys defeated the 49ers 40-10 last week in San Francisco to even the team’s record at 3-3. Quarterback DAK PRESCOTT threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one score while running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT racked up 219 scrimmage yards (147 rushing, 72 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
  • Prescott, who is currently in his second season, has seven career games with at least three touchdown passes with one or zero interceptions. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (nine) had more such games in a player’s first two seasons.
  • Washington quarterback KIRK COUSINS leads the NFC with a 107.2 passer rating and 8.27 yards-per-pass average. He has passed for at least 300 yards in three of his past four games and has thrown multiple touchdown passes in each of his past four games.
  • Running back CHRIS THOMPSON leads the Redskins in both receiving yards (366) and rushing yards (213). He is the only player in the NFL this season to lead his club in both categories.

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-2) at DETROIT LIONS (3-3) (Sunday, NBC, 8:30 PM ET)

 

  • The Steelers lead the AFC North and aim for their third win in a row. Last week, Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati 29-14 as quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER threw two touchdown passes and running back LE’VEON BELL racked up 192 scrimmage yards (134 rushing, 58 receiving).
  • Bell has amassed at least 190 scrimmage yards in each of the past two weeks and leads the NFL with three games with at least 185 scrimmage yards this season. No other player in the league has two such games.
  • The Lions had a bye in Week 7 and look to bounce back from their Week 6 loss in New Orleans. Detroit trailed by as many as 35 points in that contest but rallied to close within seven points in the fourth quarter.
  • Quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints. Second-year defensive tackle A’SHAWN ROBINSON recorded his first career interception and returned it for a touchdown.

 

DENVER BRONCOS (3-3) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-2) (Monday, ESPN, 8:30 PM ET)

 

  • Denver running back JAMAAL CHARLES will face his former team for the first time. Charles played his first nine seasons (2008-16) with the Chiefs and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher (7,260 yards).
  • Broncos linebacker VON MILLER has eight sacks in his past six meetings against Kansas City. Since entering the league in 2011, Miller has 80.5 sacks, the most in the NFL during that span.
  • Kansas City rookie running back KAREEM HUNT leads the NFL in rushing yards (717) and scrimmage yards (1,002). Hunt is the first rookie in NFL history to gain at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his team’s first seven games and he joined Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON(1,045 yards in 1983) as the only rookies to gain at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in his team’s first seven games.
  • Chiefs quarterback ALEX SMITH leads the NFL with a 120.5 passer rating and 72.4 completion percentage. Smith is tied for the AFC lead with 15 touchdown passes and has not thrown an interception this season. He and MILT PLUM (1960 Cleveland) are the only players in NFL history to throw at least one touchdown pass without an interception in each of his team’s first seven games of a season.

 

NFL WEEK 8 SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY, OCTOBER 26, OCTOBER 29-30

(All times local)

Byes: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee

 

Thursday, October 26 Sunday, October 29 (cont’d)
Miami at Baltimore, 8:25 PM (CBS/NFLN/Amazon) San Francisco at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM
  Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM
Sunday, October 29 Houston at Seattle, 1:05 PM
Minnesota at Cleveland (London), 1:30 PM Dallas at Washington, 4:25 PM
Oakland at Buffalo, 1:00 PM Pittsburgh at Detroit, 8:30 PM (NBC)
Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 1:00 PM  
Los Angeles Chargers at New England, 1:00 PM Monday, October 30
Chicago at New Orleans, 12:00 PM Denver at Kansas City, 8:30 PM (ESPN)
Atlanta at New York Jets, 1:00 PM  
 

 

GAME PREVIEWS WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

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