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Los Angeles Rams linebacker Clay Matthews will miss at least a month after suffering a broken jaw.

The Rams' defense has not been great over the past two weeks and they are about to be short-handed.

Matthews suffered a broken jaw in Thursday's 30-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and needs surgery, coach Sean McVay told reporters on Friday.

It is unclear exactly when Matthews suffered the injury but it could have come on a questionable roughing-the-passer call in the waning moments of the game.

Matthews, 33, has six sacks in five games for the Rams this season.

He signed a two-year deal with Los Angeles before the season after spending his previous 10 years with the Green Bay Packers.

Week 5 is underway and there are quite a few developments that could make a huge difference in the weekend's scheduled contests.

From Colt McCoy's debut to Odell Beckham Jr. drama, we take a look at what is happening around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

Three things that matter

Colt McCoy's 2019 debut against Patriots

The Washington Redskins are still trying to figure out their quarterback situation and have decided they would rather have Colt McCoy under center than Dwayne Haskins or Case Keenum after their 24-3 loss to the New York Giants in Week 4. McCoy has been recovering from a broken leg he suffered in December 2018 but has been deemed ready for a return to the field against the New England Patriots in Week 5.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden expects McCoy to be challenged in his debut against the undefeated Patriots (4-0).

"This will be a great test for him," Gruden told reporters at a news conference on Friday. "He hasn't faced [a] live rush since Philadelphia last year. I think that'll be the biggest test for him."

McCoy's debut will come against the NFL's best defense in 2019, as New England have only given up an average of 6.8 points this year.

Saquon Barkley ruled out for Week 5

Videos surfaced of Giants running back Saquon Barkley looking light on his feet on Thursday after he suffered an ankle sprain against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, but he will not play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Barkley was initially expected to miss four to six weeks with the injury, but it appears that his timetable for return could be pushed up.

New York are riding a two-game winning streak since they benched Eli Manning in favour of Daniel Jones, and unfortunately, they will have to wait a few weeks before they are at full strength.

Davante Adams out with turf toe

The Packers are 3-1 but could be in danger of dropping a second straight game now that their top receiver is inactive.

Green Bay's offense has not been great this season, but Adams leads the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (378). He has not caught a touchdown yet in 2019, but without him the Packers' options will be limited against a solid Dallas Cowboys defense.

Two things that don't matter

Stefon Diggs fined for skipping practice, meetings

There is speculation that Stefon Diggs wants out of Minnesota, and while he denies asking for a trade he has been skipping practice and team meetings ahead of Week 5.

The Vikings have fined the wideout for his absences.

Do not make too much of this though, as plenty of players have skipped practice because of unhappiness with their situations.

Minnesota gave Diggs a five-year, $72million extension before the 2018 season and do not seem keen on letting him go too soon.

Odell Beckham Jr. comments on Week 4 skirmish

The Cleveland Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. got into an altercation with Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey in Week 4 and addressed being fined for the incident on Friday.

"I've come a long way,"  Beckham told reporters when alluding to a run-in he had with Josh Norman four seasons ago. "I probably would've been suspended for the next game if I would've done what I wanted to do – or more, knowing how I get treated. It was just something I had to [do] for my team-mates and not hurt them even more than the 15-yard penalty."

The Browns (2-2) have bigger problems though, as they will face the undefeated San Francisco 49ers on Monday and are looking to move past .500.

One video you have to see

This touchdown catch Tyler Lockett made on Thursday is ridiculous.

Friday's tweet of the day

Russell Wilson is still riding high from Thursday's win.

NFL players typically thank colleagues, coaches and God after games, but Kirk Cousins was grateful to his 'brain coach' for a record-breaking day in London three years ago.

British fans are accustomed to watching sluggish, error-prone displays from tired teams in London yet Cousins, then with the Washington Redskins, bucked the trend when it comes to performances across the pond.

Jet lag appeared to be no issue for Cousins as he completed a franchise-record 38 passes for a career-best 458 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-27 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals.

It was no coincidence. Cousins had been preparing for the Transatlantic jaunt with Dr. Tim Royer, a neuropsychologist who had monitored data from around 750 nights of the quarterback's sleep and implemented methods to ensure he could quickly adjust when jumping across multiple time zones.

"I knew when he had too much light sleep, when he had a good amount of deep sleep, how many times he woke up in the night," Dr Royer told Omnisport.

"It was very interesting to see how his performance on gameday directly correlated to his sleep cycle. The quality of your sleep dramatically affects your production of testosterone.

"Testosterone is kind of like the goose that laid the golden egg in sports; if your testosterone is high, it makes you more confident, you have better muscle mass and you're more driven. The overall stamina that you have is incredible."

Dr. Royer had worked with the NBA's Orlando Magic, who travelled to London earlier in 2016, and was able to share his data on the impact of long-haul flights with Cousins and how his methods could speed up the adjustment process by "at least 50 per cent".

"If somebody does a trip like that, you're typically going to see the impact on their testosterone at somewhere around a 15-to-20 per cent drop off," Dr. Royer explained.

Dr. Royer theorised that for every hour travelled from west to east, it would take Cousins a day and a half to adjust, meaning that, without introducing methods to combat jet lag, the quarterback would need around a week from arriving in London to fully acclimatise due to daylight saving time.

Yet Cousins' preparations began the moment Washington's game against the Detroit Lions finished the week before.

"We told him, 'On the bus, stay away from the windows'," Dr. Royer said.

"In a room, get away from any exposed sunlight. Wear sunglasses.

"We introduced light therapy - much like you would use for seasonal-affective disorder - high-volume light.

"We started to move the light that he was exposed to with a bio light in the morning so he started waking up an hour earlier each day.

"It was still dark out in D.C. but we used blue light. In the human body, the circadian rhythm gets set by blue light.

"We increased his EEG [electroencephalogram] feedback so he was getting a lot of feedback on his brain, making sure it was calibrating correctly and introducing a slowing-down response in the body."

Dr. Royer thought Cousins was already "close to London time" by Thursday, the day the team actually boarded their flight for London.

Cousins' sleep cycles from Friday and Saturday night "were identical" to those he had in Washington, setting him up for a record-breaking day on Sunday.

"He was right on. I expected him to do well. It wasn't coincidental," Dr. Royer said.

This weekend the Oakland Raiders face the Chicago Bears in Premier League side Tottenham's stadium in the first of four NFL games in London this season.

Oakland arrived in England on Monday - a change from last year when they touched down in London two days before being beaten by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Bears, meanwhile, only landed in the English capital on Friday. So does the arrival time have an impact?

"The arrival time has very little to do [with it]," Dr. Royer argued.

"It's the work you do behind the scenes. Things like your pancreas, your digestive system, they're very rhythmic. They work on how you're releasing melatonin.

"Once you disturb that, it makes it very difficult to perform at a high, accurate level - whether it's basketball, football, whatever."

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has been ruled out of his side's Week 5 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Barkley looked good during limited practice work this week, but the team are not ready to put him on the field this Sunday.

Pat Shurmur told reporters earlier this week that Barkley "felt good" in his recovery from an ankle sprain as he worked with New York's training staff.

Head coach Shurmur initially held off ruling the RB out of contention to face the Vikings but the team did make that decision on Friday, announcing he would miss the home game.

Barkley injured his ankle in the second quarter of the Giants' Week 3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had to be helped to the locker room. He came back to the sideline using crutches and wearing a walking boot.

He was reportedly optimistic about beating the initial recovery timetable of four to eight weeks and while that does look likely, the Giants are taking a cautious approach in easing Barkley back.

The 22-year-old, who has not been placed on injured reserve or required surgery, also missed the team's Week 4 victory over the Washington Redskins.

Barkley, selected with the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, had rushed for 227 yards, second in the NFL, and had one rushing touchdown in two games entering Week 3. 

He then had eight carries for 10 yards and four receptions for 27 yards before leaving the Bucs game.

Last season, he led the league with 2,028 yards from scrimmage and scored 15 total touchdowns to earn Offensive Rookie of the Year honours.

The Giants and Vikings both hold 2-2 records going into Sunday's game.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is going to need at least one more week of recovery before returning to the field. 

Jets coach Adam Gase told reporters on Friday that Darnold has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Eagles as he continues to recuperate from glandular fever. 

Darnold was scheduled to undergo bloodwork and have an ultrasound on his spleen on Friday morning to determine whether he was ready to play, but Luke Falk will get the call instead. 

"When we told [Darnold], the first thing he says is, 'I feel like I'm letting the other guys down,'" Gase said, via NFL Media. "He did everything he was asked to do. It just didn't work out for him."

Darnold had not lifted, run or thrown since being diagnosed last month but ramped up his workouts this week after being cleared for non-contact drills on Monday, offering hope that he could make his return on time.

He did note on Thursday that, as badly as he wanted to return to the field, he did not want to take any unnecessary chances. 

"It's a tough thing because you want to stay safe," Darnold told reporters. "I want to make sure that I'm safe out there and that I'm not gonna die... For me, sitting back and watching the team play and not having anything to do with the win or the loss, it's not a good feeling for me."

Darnold, selected by the Jets with the No. 3 pick in the 2018 draft, has been out since September 12. 

In two games, Falk has gone 32 of 47 for 296 yards and one interception. He has also been sacked seven times.

The Jets (0-4) travel to face the Eagles (2-2) on Sunday, with kickoff set for 1300 ET. 

An emotional Russell Wilson expressed his gratitude to former Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen after throwing four touchdowns in a 30-29 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday.

Allen, who died in October 2018 aged 65, was inducted into the Seahawks' Ring of Honor prior to the game having bought the franchise and kept them in Seattle in 1997.

He was at the helm in 2012 when the team drafted Wilson, who led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title the following season.

Wilson delivered another performance that showed how shrewd that third-round selection was on Thursday, completing 17 of his 23 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns in Seattle's victory, though they were indebted to Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missing a 44-yard field goal with 15 seconds to go.

Speaking to Fox in his on-field interview after, a tearful Wilson said: "I was just a little emotional because we had the tribute to Paul today.

"He gave me an opportunity, you know? I'm just grateful that he gave me an opportunity, God did and Paul, this organisation. I love playing here.

"It's a good team over there that we played tonight and we're a great team too. We found a way."

Wilson later posted a video on his own Twitter account in which he said: "Paul, we did this one for you".

Seattle improved to 4-1 with the victory and gained a crucial win against their NFC West rivals as the Rams lost a second straight game to drop to 3-2.

Wilson later presented the game ball to Bert Kolde, the Seahawks' vice chairman and one of Allen's former friends and colleagues, in the locker room and told him he felt he might have had an impact on Zuerlein's missed field goal.

"When we gave the ball to Bert I said, 'I think Paul blew that one just a little to the right," Wilson added.

The Seattle Seahawks edged the Los Angeles Rams 30-29 in an NFL thriller on Thursday.

The two teams were separated by just one point at half-time after an impressive first half from Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and a solid two quarters in Los Angeles wide receiver Cooper Kupp's homecoming.

They were again separated by just one point before the two-minute warning after the Rams were rolling and Seattle sputtered.

But in true Seahawks fashion, they sealed a 30-29 victory after Wilson executed a late scoring drive.

 

Three takeaways from another narrow Seahawks victory

What can't Russell Wilson do?

The eighth-year veteran is quietly having the best start of his career and it was highlighted in primetime against the Rams as he finished 17-of-23 passing for 268 yards and four touchdowns.

After Los Angeles put up 14 unanswered points following a missed Seahawks field goal late in the second quarter, Wilson led a scoring drive in the third and another to open the fourth. But at this point, the Seahawks were still trailing.

He continued to escape the clutches of Aaron Donald and Clay Matthews late in the game – only getting sacked once – and had one last scoring drive in him to give Seattle their go-ahead touchdown that almost did not happen after a bobbled catch.

Wilson, however, remained composed despite a late slip up under the two-minute mark that could have ended the game. The Seahawks secured an impressive interception to give Wilson and company the ball back, but he could not get the first down. Despite the rare mistake, it was another nail-biting win that Wilson has become famous for, and much like coach Pete Carroll who was yelling and sprinting down the sideline after a missed Rams field goal, Wilson could barely control his emotions after the game.

 

Todd Gurley gets going

The Rams underutilised their star rusher on Sunday. Todd Gurley finished with a career-low five carries in the team's 55-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But they looked to the three-time Pro Bowl player for 15 carries and 51 yards to help open up the field for quarterback Jared Goff.

It was not an amazing performance, but it was one the offense needed if it wanted a chance. He accounted for two touchdowns on the ground against a tough Seahawks defense and showed that not only could he could still get it going, but that the Rams' offensive line can create opportunities for him.

He finished the night with 15 career games having multiple rushing touchdowns – passing Eric Dickerson for the most in Rams history.

 

Jared Goff was way too hot and cold

It seems like Goff cannot string along enough successful plays to keep momentum on the Rams' side. It was apparent on Sunday, when LA just could not turn the tide despite their late efforts, and it happened again in Seattle.

He, again, looked to Kupp to do a bulk of the work. Kupp finished with nine receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown but it was not enough for LA.

Some poor decisions in the end, including a false start penalty that backed the Rams up on their potential game-winning drive resulting in an unsuccessful 44-yard field-goal attempt, left the Rams on the losing end. They dropped to 3-2 this season, while the Seahawks move to 4-1.

The first quarter of the season is over already, and the New York Jets have barely seen their second-year quarterback in action.

From updates on Sam Darnold's illness to another disgruntled player potentially on the move, we take a look at what is happening around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

Three things that matter

Sam Darnold to undergo further evaluation on Friday

The Jets quarterback will have an ultrasound on his spleen and blood tests done that will determine whether he will be able to play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Darnold ramped up his workouts this week after being cleared for non-contact drills on Monday and has yet to be ruled out, though he also is not guaranteed to take the field.

"It's a tough thing because you want to stay safe," Darnold told reporters. "I want to make sure that I'm safe out there and that I'm not gonna die ... For me, sitting back and watching the team play and not having anything to do with the win or the loss, it's not a good feeling for me."

Stefon Diggs denies formally requesting trade from Minnesota

The Minnesota Vikings receiver admitted there is "truth to all rumours" but said he would not discuss the situation after assuring he has not formally requested a trade, though he could not speak for his agent.

"I haven't spoke to him about it," Diggs told reporters. "You've got to talk to him.

"I haven't communicated anything. The conversations I've had [with the Vikings] have only been about team and trying to have success on the field."

Diggs has put up uncharacteristically poor numbers this season after posting career highs in catches (102), yards (1,021) and touchdowns (nine) last season, and the inconsistencies brought on by Kirk Cousins under center could be to blame.

Melvin Gordon may start against Broncos

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn confirmed the running back will play a role in Los Angeles' game plan against the Denver Broncos on Sunday but said the team do not want to push him too soon after he ended his 64-day contract holdout.

"He's getting more work [in practice] this week, and he's definitely going to have a workload this week, but not too big," Lynn said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I want to work him in, but I don't want to overdo it.

"We have a package for him – a role for him in this game. He may even start this game. But we're going to see how he looks at the end of the week and go from there."

Two things that don't matter

Patriots find replacement for Stephen Gostkowski

New England are expected to sign veteran kicker Mike Nugent after Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. It was also reported that the Patriots will sign former Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo to the practice squad for added insurance.

Nugent has gone 253 of 311 to hit 81.4 per cent of his field goals over his career during stints with the Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders.

Appeal hearing set for Vontaze Burfict

The Raiders linebacker appealed the NFL's decision to suspend him for the remainder of the season after his helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle, and it was reported a hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday.

It is rumoured that Derrick Brooks will hear Burfict's appeal, and NFL Media notes he and James Thrash have a history in that chair – Thrash previously reduced a Burfict suspension from five games to three in 2017 after Brooks upheld a three-game suspension in 2016. 

Still, quarterback Derek Carr defended his team-mate's questionable and repeated actions.

"I don't think it's fair, if we really got to know the guy," Carr said. "If the people making the decision really knew the guy that we know, inside our building ... he's a great person, his heart is broken because he's not playing football. The guy just wants to play football. We don't get a lot of time to play this game in our lives."

One video you have to see

Saquon Barkley's high ankle sprain does not seem to be bothering him too much.

Thursday's tweet of the day

Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett had a funny story for reporters after practice.

The MLB playoffs have begun as the Washington Nationals won a dramatic wild-card game over the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Oakland Athletics convincingly.

Now the true drama begins.

Meanwhile, the NHL season started and another NFL star appears keen to change teams.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. MLB divisional round set

The best part of the baseball season is upon us as the divisional round matchups are set.

In the National League the Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the Nationals and the Atlanta Braves will face off with the St. Louis Cardinals. In the American League the Houston Astros will deal with the Rays and the New York Yankees will be challenged by the Minnesota Twins.

All of these series have some sort of intrigue as the Yankees and Twins combined for more than 600 home runs, the Astros and Rays have two of the best pitching staffs in MLB, the Dodgers and Nationals match up supremely well and the Braves and Cardinals are two up-and-coming rosters looking to restore past glory.

The NLDS starts with two games on Thursday and will continue with two more on Friday. The ALDS starts on Friday.

 

2. Stefon Diggs wants out of Minnesota

Vikings wide receiver Diggs stirred up some rumours by skipping practice on Wednesday with no explanation given. Some speculated he wanted out, but that was all purely a guess.

That is until Diggs said on Thursday: "There's truth to all rumours. I won't get into that."

The Vikings are a disappointing 2-2 to start the year and Adam Thielen has already publicly criticised quarterback Kirk Cousins for his play. 

Maybe we should have seen this coming.

 

3. NHL regular season kicks off with two historic nights

The NHL kicked off its regular seasonon   Wednesday and one young gun shined again while a veteran just kept on doing what he does.

In the Toronto Maple Leafs' win over the Ottawa Senators, Auston Matthews scored twice, giving him a goal in his fourth straight season opener.

Alex Ovechkin netted in the Washington Capitals' 3-2 defeat of the defending champion St. Louis Blues. Ovechkin now has 11 goals in 15 season openers, which is the most among active NHL players.

Ovechkin is 41 goals away from 700 in his career. He would be just the eighth player to reach that mark.

 

4. California passes Fair Pay to Play Act

This is a big step in amateur sports in the US as California essentially made it legal for college athletes to be paid. As it stands now a player cannot be paid for anything and if they are they lose their amateur status and can be punished by being ruled ineligible for games.

But California's Fair Pay to Play Act made it legal in the state for players to profit off of use of their name, likeness and image. This is step one in college athletes being able to be paid, but it is something that remains illegal in the NCAA, which is the major governing body of college sports.

There is still a long way to go, but this could have a ripple effect that could either force the NCAA to change or result in the expulsion of players in California who do get paid for their likeness. A standoff has begun.

With the first quarter of the season over already, the tanking reality is starting to sink in for some teams, while the two remaining undefeated squads are not showing any signs of slowing down.

Here is a look at Week 5's Bullet Points with data supplied by Stats Perform.

THURSDAY
(All Times Eastern)

Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1), 8:20pm

The Rams have won three straight games versus the Seahawks and six of eight dating back to the 2015 season. Both games in 2018 were decided by five points or fewer – since last season Los Angeles are 8-1 in one-possession matches, the best in the NFL (game decided by eight points or fewer).

Los Angeles lost their first game of the season in Week 4, falling at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 55-40. Jared Goff threw for 517 yards, the third-most in a loss in NFL history behind only Dan Marino (521 on October 23, 1988 versus the New York Jets) and Matthew Stafford (520 on January 1, 2012 versus the Green Bay Packers).

Seattle have scored at least 21 points in all four of their 2019 games and in 12 straight dating back to Week 10 of 2018 – only the Kansas City Chiefs (25) have a longer active streak. Under Pete Carroll (since 2010), the Seahawks are 4-4 when scoring 21 or more points against the Rams compared to 17-5 when doing so against other divisional opponents.

SUNDAY

New York Jets (0-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-2), 1pm

Philadelphia have scored a touchdown on each of their last seven trips to the red zone, the longest active streak in the NFL. Conversely, the Jets have allowed points on each of their opponents' last 51 trips to the red zone, also the longest active streak in the NFL.

Carson Wentz leads the NFL in passing yardage (385), passing touchdowns (five) and first downs (23) in third-down situations this season. He and the Eagles have converted 56.1 per cent of all third-down opportunities, the best in the NFL.

Le'Veon Bell has accounted for 42.3 percent of the Jets' scrimmage yards and 59.4 per cent of all touches this season, both highest in the NFL. For the Jets, 31.9 per cent of all passes have been thrown behind the line of scrimmage – the most in the NFL.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-2), 1pm

The Jags have gone 26 consecutive drives without a turnover, the second-longest active streak in the NFL (Tennessee Titans, 46). They have turned the ball over just three times this season, tied for third-fewest in the league, but have forced just two turnovers, tied for second-fewest (DenverBroncos, zero).

The Panthers are tied with the Patriots for the NFL lead in sacks with 18, which is also Carolina's most through four games in franchise history. They have 11 players with at least half a sack this season, the most of any team.

Christian McCaffrey is only the second player in the Super Bowl era with at least 400 rushing yards (411) and 200 receiving yards (218) through four team games of a season. He joins the Detroit Lions' Billy Sims in 1980 (539 rush yards, 206 receiving yards).

Minnesota Vikings (2-2) at New York Giants (2-2), 1pm

Daniel Jones will attempt to become the first Giants rookie quarterback to win his first three NFL starts since Phil Simms (four) in 1979. Jones can join Lamar Jackson (2018), Carson Wentz (2016) and Ben Roethlisberger (2004) as the only active QBs to go 3-0 as a starter during their maiden season.

Golden Tate will make his Giants debut after completing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Tate has had at least one reception in 104 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak among players currently on NFL rosters (Larry Fitzgerald, 231; Julio Jones, 107).

Dalvin Cook is the third player since 2009 with over 400 rushing yards and five or more rushing touchdowns through a season's first four games (Adrian Peterson, 2013; DeMarco Murray, 2014). Cook is also the third player in Vikings history to start a season with a rushing touchdown in four straight games (Chuck Foreman, four in 1975; Bill Brown, six in 1968).

Atlanta Falcons (1-3) at Houston Texans (2-2), 1pm

The Falcons are 1-11 against the AFC since October 23, 2016, the worst winning percentage in interconference games during that period. Atlanta's six straight interconference losses is their longest skid against the AFC since they lost seven in a row from October 3, 1999-December 3, 2000.

Atlanta's Julio Jones (8,891) and Houston's DeAndre Hopkins (7696) rank second and third respectively among NFL players in receiving yards since the latter entered the league in 2013. Jones became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 receiving yards, doing so in 115 games, during Atlanta's Week 4 loss to Tennessee.

DeShaun Watson has thrown 221 consecutive passes without an interception at home, the longest streak in franchise history. Watson has been picked off just three times overall in 14 games since Week 7 of last season. Among quarterbacks with at least 300 pass attempts over that span, only Aaron Rodgers (2) has thrown fewer interceptions.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) at New Orleans Saints (3-1), 1pm

The Buccaneers have allowed 30 or more points in 11 of 20 games since the start of the 2018 season, tied with the Miami Dolphins for the most in the NFL during that period. Including the postseason, the Saints are 19-1 when scoring 30 points or more since 2017, with the lone loss coming to the Bucs last term.

Tampa Bay have allowed league lows of 59.3 rushing yards per game and 2.9 yards per rush attempt in 2019, and their 237 rushing yards allowed are the second-fewest in franchise history for the first four games of a season (233 in 1999). New Orleans, meanwhile, have not allowed an individual 100-yard rusher in 26 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

New Orleans kept sole possession of the NFC South lead with last week's 12-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys – their first victory without scoring an offensive touchdown since October 25, 1998 (a 9-3 win over Tampa Bay). The Saints have just three offensive touchdowns over their past three games, their fewest in any three-game span since Sean Payton became head coach in 2006.

Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-2), 1pm

The last three meetings between the Bills and the Titans have been decided by a single point, with Buffalo winning the last two (2015 and 2018) and Tennessee winning the other (2012). Only four other match-ups in NFL history have had three straight games decided by one point or less – the most-recent previous occurrence was from 1966 to 1969 between the San Francisco 49ers and the Eagles.

Marcus Mariota threw for three touchdowns in the win over Atlanta after having no passing touchdowns in a loss to Jacksonville the week before. Mariota has played in 60 career games for the Titans (59 starts) and Tennessee's record is 30-30. He has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 51-13 (3.92) in the 30 wins and 25-29 (0.86) in the 30 losses.

Frank Gore rushed for 109 yards in the loss to the New England Patriots at the age of 36 years, 138 days. He became the second-oldest player in NFL history to rush for 100 or more yards in a game behind only MacArthur Lane, who was 36 years, 199 days old when he rushed for 144 yards with Kansas City on October 1, 1978 at Buffalo.

Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-4), 1pm

The Bengals have started 0-4 for the 11th time in franchise history, the second-most 0-4 starts of all time (Lions, 13). They have just 198 rushing yards this term, the sixth-fewest by any team through four games in the last 60 years.

The Cardinals are winless through four games for the second consecutive season. They have been outscored by 46 points in the first half, the third-worst in the NFL, but have outscored opponents by five points in the second half.

Kyler Murray has attempted 169 passes this season, the third most in the NFL and third most by any player in his first four career games in the last 50 seasons. He has also rushed for 113 yards, third most among quarterbacks this season (Lamar Jackson, 238; Josh Allen, 131).

New England Patriots (4-0) at Washington Redskins (0-4), 1pm

The Patriots are the fourth team since the 1970 merger to not trail over their first four games of a season, along with the 1983 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Falcons and 2009 Saints. The only one to extend their streak to five games was the 2009 Saints.

Tom Brady has led his team to a 4-0 start for the fifth time, the second most of all time among starting quarterbacks behind Peyton Manning (seven times). With those four wins, Brady now has more victories after turning 42 years old than all other QBs in NFL history combined.

The Redskins have allowed their opponents to convert 63.0 per cent of their third downs this season, the highest opponent third-down percentage through four games by any team in the last 25 years.

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3), 1pm

These teams are 19-19 against each other since 2000, but Pittsburgh have won four of the last five meetings. This will be the first meeting between the teams without Joe Flacco or Ben Roethlisberger starting since December 30, 2007, when the Ravens' Troy Smith beat the Steelers' Charlie Batch 27-21.

Lamar Jackson is the first player in NFL history to tally 1,100 or more passing yards and at least 200 rushing yards through his first four games of a season. His 10 touchdown passes are the most through four games in franchise history.

Mason Rudolph is the fourth player in NFL history to throw multiple touchdown passes in each of his first three career games, joining Mark Rypien (first four), Jay Cutler (first four) and Marcus Mariota (first three).

Chicago Bears (3-1) at Oakland Raiders (2-2), 1pm

Oakland average 5.08 yards per carry, the sixth best in the NFL this season. Chicago hold opponents to 2.96 yards per carry, the second fewest league-wide (Tampa Bay – 2.93). The longest run the Bears have allowed this season went for 14 yards.

Derek Carr has a 72.1 completion percentage through four games, besting his franchise record of 71.0 from last season. Carr, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson are the only quarterbacks in the NFL to have completed at least 60.0 percent of their passes in four straight games to begin the 2019 season.

Since the Raiders sent Khalil Mack to the Bears before last season, he has forced 10 fumbles, two more than any other player. The Bears are 10-2 when Mack gets at least one sack; only the Rams in Aaron Donald's games (11-0) and the Chiefs/49ers in Dee Ford's (11-1) have been better (minimum 10 games).

Denver Broncos (0-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2), 4:05pm

The Chargers have the third-best passing offense in the NFL at 300.3 net yards per game; they also rank in the top five in the league in average time of possession, yards per play, plays of 20-plus yards and third-down efficiency. Yet the Chargers are only 14th in scoring, averaging 22.5 points per game.

Melvin Gordon is expected to play on Sunday; he returned to the Chargers last weekend after ending a contract dispute. Gordon's replacement Austin Ekeler leads the NFL with six total touchdowns and ranks fifth with 490 scrimmage yards. The Chargers' Keenan Allen is tied for the league lead with 34 receptions and tops all players with 452 receiving yards.

Joe Flacco has started a season 0-4 for the first time in his 12 NFL seasons, but his numbers are among the best of his career. Flacco's completion percentage of 66.2 is the highest he has had through four games in a season, and his yards per attempt (7.27) is on pace for the second highest of his career.

Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1), 4:25pm

The Packers have won seven of their last eight meetings with the Cowboys in the regular season and postseason. Green Bay have won their last three in Dallas dating back to 2013, with each game decided by four or fewer points – prior to these three wins, Green Bay had gone 5-12 in Dallas (regular season and postseason).

Aaron Rodgers has gone 3-10 away from home since 2017, the third-worst record in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 10 road starts in that time. Only Derek Carr (4-14) and Jameis Winston (2-10) have a worse record in road games over the last three seasons.

Dak Prescott threw for a season-low 223 yards in Dallas' loss to New Orleans, throwing an interception and zero touchdowns. In Prescott's starts, the Cowboys have gone 5-9 when he fails to throw a touchdown compared to 30-8 when he throws at least one.

Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-0), 8:20pm

The Chiefs have started 4-0 for the third consecutive season, becoming the first team do so since the Colts from 2005-07. They are the sixth team to do this in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966) – four of the previous five won a Super Bowl within the three-year span.

Patrick Mahomes did not throw a touchdown pass in Kansas City's Week 4 win over the Lions, breaking a streak of 14 straight games with at least two passing TDs. Only Peyton Manning (with Denver) has a longer streak, throwing two-plus TD passes in 15 straight games spanning the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Jacoby Brissett is the only quarterback in the NFL to have thrown multiple touchdowns in four games in 2019. Brissett has a 120.5 passer rating on second down, trailing only Dak Prescott (132.1) and Matt Stafford (123.3). Five of his 10 passing touchdowns have come on second down, trailing only Prescott (six).

MONDAY

Cleveland Browns (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-0), 8:15pm

The Browns have combined for just 26 points in their two home games (both losses) but have scored 63 points in their two road games (both wins). They have not won their first three road games of a season since 1994.

Nick Chubb ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns in Week 4 at Baltimore on just 20 attempts. The last Browns player before Chubb with 165 or more rushing yards on 20 attempts or fewer was Jim Brown on September 22, 1963 at Dallas (20 attempts, 232 yards).

Matt Breida (226) and Raheem Mostert (202) each have over 200 rushing yards, one of two teams with two such players this season despite playing just three games. The last 49ers duo to each have 200 rushing yards through three games of a season was Roger Craig and Wendell Tyler in 1985.

The NFL returns to London this weekend as the Chicago Bears face the Oakland Raiders.

For the 13th successive season, fans across the pond will get a chance to sample a regular-season game in the English capital.

The Bears and Raiders will meet for the first time since October 2015, when Chicago won 22-20. 

While Chicago and Oakland don't face off often in the United States, this game in London will be a tiebreaker, since their all-time series is split at 7-7.

With help from our friends at Opta, we break down what to expect when the Raiders and Bears visit London, from the teams' biggest stars to the interesting and random facts that make football fun.

Chicago Bears

Coach

Matt Nagy - Second season, 15–5 regular-season record

Quarterbacks

While Mitchell Trubisky is the starter for Chicago, the dislocated shoulder he sustained in Week 4 will likely sideline him for the Raiders clash. Backup Chase Daniel will therefore almost certainly take to the field on Sunday in his fifth career start and first since Week 12 of last season.

Trubisky, 25, is in his third season with the team and Daniel 32, has been a backup for several franchises since he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009. However, Daniel has posted better numbers than Trubisky when comparing their first four NFL starts (though it took Daniel nine years in the league to log four starts).

Offense

Daniel's experience means he can anchor the Bears' offense in London as that unit looks to catch up to their stellar defense.

Rookie running back David Montgomery leads the team in touches (66) and rushing yards (200) and has the team's only rushing touchdown of the season, which was his first NFL score. His 66 touches through four games are the fourth-most for a Bears rookie and the most since Matt Forte's 110 touches in 2008.

In terms of the passing game, wideout Allen Robinson has been the go-to man for Trubisky, but how will he fare with Daniel? According to Nagy, nothing will be altered much, and Daniel indicated Robinson still will be a top target on Sunday.

“He's just so aggressive with the football,” Daniel said of Robinson earlier this week. "You can trust him. It's his football or nobody's. So, I have a lot of trust in him, and I have a lot of time on task with him, too.”

Robinson has been targeted 10 more times than any other Bear (34), has 10 more receptions than any other teammate (24) and his 280 receiving yards are more than double the next closest Bears pass catcher (Taylor Gabriel, 110).

Defense

The team's defense is one of the best in the league with 17 total sacks, four interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) and 253 total team tackles.

That unit's star linebacker Khalil Mack, has 17.5 sacks, 22 QB hits and 10 forced fumbles since he was traded to the Bears from the Raiders in 2018. The 10 forced fumbles are two more than any other player in the NFL. In comparison, the entire Raiders' defense has combined for 18 sacks and eight forced fumbles in the same time span.

Defensive tackle Nick Williams has had a breakout campaign for the Bears this season after spending his first five seasons in the league on practice squads with other teams. He signed with the Bears in 2018, but this year he's exploded, recording a sack in each of the last three games for Chicago. He's also one of eight players with four or more sacks this year. 

Fun London fact: This is the Bears' second game in London. They defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18 at Wembley in 2011. The Bears had four interceptions in that game — one of four contests with four-plus picks since the start of the 2009 season — and Forte ran for 145 yards and a touchdown.

Only one player has had more rushing yards in a London game — New York Jets tailback Chris Ivory ran for 166 yards in 2015 against the Miami Dolphins.

Oakland Raiders

Coach

Jon Gruden: Second season in second coaching stint, 5-15 regular-season record

Quarterback

Derek Carr is in his sixth season with the Raiders, who drafted him in 2014. This will be his third game in London, where he holds an 0-2 record. He enters this weekend with 888 passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 72.1 percent of his passes. 

In London, Carr has 288 passing yards, one passing touchdown and one interception in his first two games there.

Offense

Running back Josh Jacobs has 307 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground on 62 carries this year. He leads all rookies in yards from scrimmage (364) and is one of two rookies with multiple rushing touchdowns. The other? New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who also has two rushing scores.

Jacobs has been huge for an inconsistent Raiders offense. He was instrumental in the team's first win of the year in Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts and is now being called the team's "closer."

"This guy Josh Jacobs is going to be a great back," Gruden told NBC after the win. "As long as I don't screw it up, he's going to be one hell of a player. He can really run — he's got great vision. I think he's got breakaway speed and power...

“It's a credit to everybody when you run the ball the way we ran it. It wasn't a bunch of RPOs and single-back lateral runs. It was old-fashioned, hard-nosed football."

Many wondered who would take over for Antonio Brown after he was released by the Raiders before the season began, and that man seems to be Tyrell Williams. The receiver has caught four of the team's six touchdown passes this year and has a score in four straight games. He will be looking to make that five in a row and, if he does score a touchdown on Sunday, he will be the first Raider to do so since Tim Brown in 2001.

Defense

After trading away Mack last season, the Raiders' defense has been as exciting as a dry piece of toast. The team ranks 22nd out of 32 when it comes to total yards allowed (385.5 yards per game).

It's unclear if defensive end Benson Mayowa, who leads the team with 3.5 sacks, will play this Sunday, but he posted a cryptic message which said "u cannot believe everything u read" after being inactive for Oakland's win against the Colts.

Down the field, safety Erik Harris has proven to be a headache for receivers this season. He secured his third career interception and first touchdown in Week 4. His three interceptions since the start of last year are tied for the most on the team.

Harris is just the second Oakland player with an interception return touchdown over the last three seasons

Fun London fact: This is Oakland’s third game in London — only the Jacksonville Jaguars (six) and the Dolphins (four) have played in England more often. The Raiders are 0-2 in London, getting outscored 65-17 in the process.

Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell died at the age of 88 on Wednesday.

Bidwill, whose life spanned nearly the entire existence of the franchise his family has owned for nearly nine decades, was born in 1931 – a year before his father Charles agreed to buy the Chicago-based NFL team for $50,000.

He began working for the franchise full-time in 1960, the year they moved to St Louis, and gained sole ownership 12 years later before relocating the team to Arizona in 1988. 

"Our dad passed away today the same way he lived his life: peacefully, with grace, dignity and surrounded by family and loved ones," Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement.

"We are overwhelmed by the support our family has received, not only now but throughout the latest chapter of his life. We are especially grateful to the nurses, doctors and other caregivers whose endless kindness and compassion in recent years have made our dad's life so meaningful.

"Above all else, we will remember him as a man devoted to the three central pillars of his life – his immense faith, his love for his family and his life-long passion for the Cardinals and the sport of football."

Bidwill's Cardinals were rarely a powerhouse on the field, making the playoffs only once in a 25-season stretch from 1983-2007. But they made it all the way to the Super Bowl the following season, losing 27-23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first of four playoff appearances over eight years. 

"I felt like in that 2008 [Super Bowl] run, I felt like he was more a part of things than before or even a little after," said Kurt Warner, the Cardinals' quarterback that year. "He understood how special that turning of the corner was. To get to know him not just as the owner of the team but as an individual and I got to hear him through his voice. I enjoyed that."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a release: ​"Bill Bidwill was part of the NFL family his entire life, starting from his days as a ball boy through his time as an owner. Although never one to seek the spotlight, Bill had an incredible sense of humour and he made extraordinary contributions to the NFL.

"Bill's vision brought the Cardinals, the NFL and multiple Super Bowls to Arizona. He was a leader in embracing diversity and employed the first African American female executive, and the first African American general manager and head coach tandem. We extend our condolences to Bill's family and the Cardinals organisation, which along with his faith, meant so much to him." 

Bidwill is survived by his five children – Bill Jr., Michael, Nicole, Patrick and Tim — and 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His wife Nancy died in 2016. 

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said quarterback Mitch Trubisky is considered day-to-day and the NFL franchise are "optimistic" he will be available to face the New Orleans Saints in Week 7.

Trubisky injured his shoulder after being sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter on Sunday.

According to reports, Trubisky sustained a dislocated shoulder and partially torn labrum in Chicago's 16-6 victory.

But while the initial outlook was uncertain, it now appears Trubisky will return sooner rather than later, with the Bears scheduled to have a bye in Week 6 following the London clash with the Oakland Raiders.

"We have the bye coming up here so we'll be able to see really how this goes for him," Nagy said.

"... It's crazy sometimes how things go with these byes and where they come and all that. We're in a good position right now knowing that Chase [Daniel] came in last week and we've been in this before so we're fully confident in that."

Trubisky is traveling with the team for Sunday's game in London against the Raiders, although it is "unlikely" he will play, according to the Tribune.

And there is no need to rush him back. Daniel played well coming in off the bench for Trubisky against the Vikings, hitting 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown in the victory.

"He sees things well, in general," offensive co-ordinator Mark Helfrich told the Tribune. "He has a tendency, if anything, to overthink things. It was almost — not in any way a good thing, don't take this the wrong way — but there was no time for him to think about anything.

"He had to just go. It was immediately, 'Go to the bullpen. You're in. Pitch'. That was good for his mentality. He sees things. The timing of this offense, he's been in for a long time. That helps."

The New England Patriots placed Stephen Gostkowski on the injured reserve amid reports the kicker could miss the rest of the NFL season.

Reigning Super Bowl champions the Patriots announced the move on Wednesday, with Gostkowski moved to the IR due to an undisclosed ailment.

According to ESPN, Gostkowski has a left hip injury that will require season-ending surgery, though he expects to be rehabilitated by next season.

The news comes hours after it was reported that New England were looking to work out free-agent kickers amid Gostkowski's struggles.

Gostkowski missed four extra points and a field goal over the last three weeks. However, he has made seven of eight field goals this season, with his only miss coming from 48 yards.

According to reports, the workouts scheduled for Wednesday are "consistent with their due-diligence approach at all positions to keep emergency lists updated," adding the timing of the workouts makes sense because of Gostkowski's performance lately.

The 35-year-old Gostkowski signed a two-year contract worth $8.5million with New England in April. 

The Patriots (4-0) are slated to visit the Washington Redskins (0-4) on Sunday.

After weeks of quarterback headlines, one team's kicker injury has proven to be significant as well.

But we will also evaluate the progress other injured players have made in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Jets could delay Darnold decision 

The second-year quarterback practiced on Wednesday for the first time since being diagnosed with mononucleosis last month, but the New York Jets may not reveal this week's starter until Sunday. Jets head coach Adam Gase was optimistic Sam Darnold could play, but will keep the Philadelphia Eagles guessing for now.

"I like our odds better than what they've been," Gase told reporters before practice. "Last week, if we would've been playing again, I would've said it's very low. I like the fact that things have looked and progressed in the right direction. But I don't know what that 5 percent is. There's some grey still there."

Darnold has yet to be cleared for contact, but that could change as early as Friday after he participated in non-contact drills. In the meantime, backup Luke Falk is staying warm in case he needs to start again.

Smith reappears after mysterious absence

The star linebacker returned to practice after a mysterious absence kept him off the field on Sunday and away from the Chicago Bears early this week. But his status for Sunday's game in London is less certain even though he told reporters he plans to play.

"We'll see," Bears coach Matt Nagy said.

Roquan Smith was a surprise inactive just before Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings for a "personal issue," and it was rumoured he had not been acting like himself around the team facilities in recent days. It marked the first game he has missed since being drafted in the first round in 2018, though he appears ready to get back on track after entering Week 4 with 24 tackles this season.

Barkley seen running at practice

The second-year running back showed off his superhuman skills as he took a significant step in his high ankle sprain recovery by running at practice, giving hope that he could return ahead of schedule.

"Some people's doctors had him at eight weeks. Not my doctors," New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur told reporters.

Saquon Barkley avoided surgery and the injured reserve list, and did not appear to have "any sort of limp or limitation" at any point of Wednesday's training session.

Two things that don't matter

Gostkowski needs season-ending surgery

New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve and reportedly is dealing with a hip injury that will sideline him for the rest of 2019, though he is expected to be rehabbed by the 2020 season.

News of the procedure comes hours after it was reported that New England were looking to work out free agent kickers amid Gostkowski's struggles. The 35-year-old has missed four extra points and a field goal over the last three weeks, though he has hit 7 of 8 field goals this season.

Ramsey still absent from Jaguars

Disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey has not practiced since the Jacksonville Jaguars' victory over the Tennessee Titans on September 19 and remains away from the team for various reasons, from injuries to the birth of his second child. Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone did not reveal any new updates.

"Talking to Jalen today, basically it's a day-to-day type thing," Marrone said.

Meanwhile, Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice because of the knee injury he suffered in Sunday's win over the Denver Broncos.

One video you have to see

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb had no shame against the Baltimore Ravens.

Wednesday's tweet of the day

Arizona Cardinals veteran Larry Fitzgerald paid special tribute to owner Bill Bidwill, who died Wednesday, aged 88.

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