Martha Firestone Ford is stepping down as principal owner of the Detroit Lions, the team announced on Tuesday.

The 94-year-old Ford had been in charge of the team since her husband, William Clay Ford, died in 2014. Ford's daughter, Sheila Ford Hemp, will take over as the team's principal owner and chairman. 

''It has been a great honour for our family to be associated with the Lions and with the National Football League,'' Ford said in a statement. ''I am gratified that this family tradition, which my husband and I began almost six decades ago, will continue under Sheila's guiding hand.” 

Ford has been associated with the Lions since her husband purchased the franchise for about $6million in 1963, on the day United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 

Since Martha Firestone Ford took over ownership, the Lions have gone 45-50-1 with a pair of playoff berths. 

"Martha Ford has led the Lions with skill and grace for the past six seasons," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

"I have appreciated her business insights, her love of the game, her deep commitment to the NFL, and her personal kindness. We are pleased that the Ford family will continue to own and operate this historic franchise. 

"Sheila Hamp has become increasingly involved in team and league affairs over the past several years and we look forward to working with her and the rest of the club's executive team."

Hemp has been highly involved with the team since her mother took over, attending home and road games and weighing in on significant organisational decisions. 

''My mother has inspired all of us since taking on leadership of the Lions over six years ago,'' Hamp said.

''She has been a tireless leader to our family, our team and our community. Her smart decisions have given me a solid foundation to take the team forward.'' 

Matthew Stafford insists he paid little attention to offseason speculation he could be traded or that the Detroit Lions could draft Tua Tagovailoa.

The Lions had a prominent pick at number three in this year's draft and ultimately selected a player they were connected with throughout the process, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, as Tagovailoa ended up with the Miami Dolphins.

Quarterback Stafford spoke to general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia about his name circulating in trade talk earlier in the year, but he did not spend any time dwelling on it from that point on.

The 32-year-old now hopes to lead the Lions for many years to come.

"I really don't pay too much attention to them," Stafford said about the rumours, according to ESPN.

"I pay less attention to them than my wife does, but it's something that doesn't bother me. I'm here. I want to be here. I love being a Detroit Lion. I love leading this team.

"So, all that kind of stuff is just out there to be out there. It's a slow news month at that point, and I'm just happy to be where I am and ready to deal with this offseason the way it is and try to make the best of the season that I hope happens."

Stafford recently put his Detroit home on the market, but his wife Kelly took to Instagram to insist it was for family reasons, rather than football.

His biggest concern at the moment is whether there will be an NFL season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I love playing football," Stafford said. "I don't know what I would do in a fall without it, as I think a lot of Americans probably would say the same.

"If we can find a way to make it safe for everybody, I would love to obviously be out there as soon as we can."

Stafford was restricted to playing eight games last season due to a back injury.

The Lions lost all eight of their contests without him and will return to the field with Patricia in the hotseat after two consecutive losing campaigns.

"I'm moving around as good as this slow dude can move around," Stafford said about his fitness.

"I feel great. I'm not worried about going out there and playing. If we could put the pads on today and go play, I would do it. I'm as good as I've been the last couple years physically and I feel fine."

While teams select players in the first round of the NFL Draft hoping they will be game-changers, rosters are built on day two.

The Cincinnati Bengals opened the 2020 draft on Thursday by picking who they hope will be their franchise quarterback for the next decade. They opened round two on Friday by getting Joe Burrow a weapon, drafting Tee Higgins with the 33rd pick.

Twenty picks later came the biggest story of the second round with the Philadelphia Eagles grabbing Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts at number 53.

Hurts led Alabama to back-to-back national championship games as a freshman and sophomore before famously being benched for Tua Tagovailoa, and then led the Sooners to a Big 12 title this past season as a senior while garnering third-team AP All-American honors. He is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback that now joins an Eagles offense that is already led by an established QB in Carson Wentz.

Hurts ended up being the only quarterback selected on day two after both Jacob Eason from Washington and Jake Fromm from Georgia were passed over.

Higgins' selection continued the trend from the first round of wide receivers being gobbled up. After six receivers were drafted in the first round, seven went in the second. The 13 receivers selected in the first two rounds are the most taken through two rounds in draft history, breaking the record of 12 from 2014.

Higgins had 25 touchdown catches over the past two seasons with Clemson, the most by an ACC player in a two-year span since North Carolina State's Torry Holt had 27 from 1997-98.

One pick after Higgins was drafted, the Indianapolis Colts picked USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who tied for the FBS lead last season with four games of 10 or more receptions.

A run on running backs was expected for day two after only one went in the first round, and it did not take long for the first one to be selected, with the Detroit Lions taking Georgia's D'Andre Swift at number 35.

After playing behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel as a freshman in 2017, Swift amassed 2,267 rushing yards in his final two years with the Bulldogs. He averaged 6.55 yards per carry in his collegiate career, second best in SEC history behind Bo Jackson's 6.62 (minimum 400 carries).

Six picks later, the Colts continued to build their offense, selecting three-time All-American running back Jonathon Taylor out of Wisconsin. In just three seasons, Taylor rushed for 6,174 yards and his average of 150.6 rushing yards per game are the third most by a major conference player all time, behind O.J. Simpson (164.4) and Herschel Walker (159.4).

Three more backs were selected before the end of the second round with the Los Angeles Rams taking Florida State's Cam Akers at number 52, the Baltimore Ravens drafting J.K. Dobbins from Ohio State at 55 and the Green Bay Packers selecting Boston College's AJ Dillon at 62.

Not technically listed as a running back, though he carried the ball plenty of times at Kentucky, All-American Lynn Bowden was one of the more interesting picks of day two when he was selected with the 80th overall pick by the Las Vegas Raiders. 

The do-it-all playmaker started at receiver and quarterback as a junior in 2019, running the wildcat offense at QB, finishing the season with 1,468 rushing yards and 13 rushing TDs as well as 348 receiving yards. It will be intriguing to see how he will be used in Jon Gruden's offense. 

While the 2020 draft kicked off with Burrow being selected out of LSU, linebacker Jacob Phillips became the 10th player chosen from LSU when he was picked by the Cleveland Browns at number 97. The 10 players out of LSU are the most from one school through three rounds in the history of the draft.

The third round concluded with the Baltimore Ravens selecting guard Tyre Phillips out of Mississippi State. He became the 15th player out of the SEC selected in the third round after 10 SEC players were drafted in the second, a day after a record 15 first-round picks came from the SEC.

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft returned some normalcy to the sports world, even if commissioner Roger Goodell's basement does not quite exude the same glitz as the Las Vegas Strip. 

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the draft to be held remotely with NFL general managers, coaches and scouts isolated in their homes instead of inside team complexes, the virtual draft ran smoothly – and without much drama early on Thursday.

In what has been widely expected for weeks, and possibly months, the Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick.

Burrow led LSU to the national title last season, completing 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards and an FBS-single season record 60 touchdowns to just six interceptions. 

The second pick also went exactly like how many draft experts had predicted for weeks, with the Washington Redskins drafting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. 

Young led the FBS with 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2019, and was regarded to be the most talented player in the draft class – even ahead of Burrow. 

If not for Burrow's incredible 2019 season and because of Tua Tagovailoa's injury concerns, the latter may have challenged for the top spot in the 2020 draft. 

Tagovailoa became the second quarterback off the board when he was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the fifth pick.

One pick after Tagovailoa, the Los Angeles Chargers took Oregon QB Justin Herbert – just the third time since the 1970 merger three quarterbacks were chosen in the top six picks. 

Three teams that had selected quarterbacks in the first round of the last two drafts, used the 2020 draft to beef up their offensive lines to protect their young, franchise QBs. 

The New York Giants (Daniel Jones at six in 2019) picked Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas at fourth overall, the Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield at one in 2018) selected Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. with the 10th pick, and the New York Jets (Sam Darnold third in 2018) used the next pick to select Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. 

After this run on tackles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took part in the first trade of the draft to insure their new – and aging – quarterback would also stay upright. They moved up one spot in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to select Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs at 13 to shore up the offensive line in front of Tom Brady. 

The next trade came 10 picks later as Brady's old team, New England Patriots, dealt pick 23 to the Chargers – who selected Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. The Patriots received a second and third-round pick from the Chargers and now have five of the first 100 picks of the 2020 draft and 13 overall. 

While it is possible New England could use one of those picks to draft Brady's replacement, the Green Bay Packers have chosen the heir apparent to 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers, trading up from 30th to 26th to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. 

The opening round concluded with the defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs selecting the first running back to bookend the first round with LSU picks, taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire – the 14th player drafted out of the SEC. 

Wide receiver is considered to be the deepest position in the draft, and six went in the first round – but none until 12, when Alabama's Henry Ruggs III became the first player ever selected by the Raiders in their new home of Las Vegas. 

While Las Vegas was not able to host the draft festivities this year, Goodell announced that the city has been awarded the 2022 draft, with the commissioner saying, "We think you deserve another shot".

 

First round selections:

1. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
2. Chase Young (Washington Redskins)
3. Jeff Okudah (Detroit Lions)
4. Andrew Thomas (New York Giants)
5. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
6. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
7. Derrick Brown (Carolina Panthers)
8. Isaiah Simmons (Arizona Cardinals)
9. CJ Henderson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
10. Jedrick Wills Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
11. Mekhi Becton (New York Jets)
12. Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders)
13. Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
14. Javon Kinlaw (San Francisco 49ers)
15. Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos)
16. A.J. Terrell (Atlanta Falcons)
17. CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
18. Austin Jackson (Miami Dolphins)
19. Damon Arnette (Las Vegas Raiders)
20. K'Lavon Chaisson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
21. Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles)
22. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
23. Kenneth Murray (Los Angeles Chargers)
24. Cesar Ruiz (New Orleans Saints)
25. Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)
26. Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers)
27. Jordyn Brooks (Seattle Seahawks)
28. Patrick Queen (Baltimore Ravens)
29. Isaiah Wilson (Tennessee Titans)
30. Noah Igbinoghene (Miami Dolphins)
31. Jeff Gladney (Minnesota Vikings)
32. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs)

Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn revealed he has held discussions with teams regarding the third overall pick in the NFL Draft, with trading down remaining an option. 

With an established quarterback on the roster in Matthew Stafford, the Lions could be in prime position to increase their draft capital should a quarterback-needy team be interested in moving up for Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon's Justin Herbert, the top two prospects at the position behind 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.  

Burrow is widely expected to be taken by the Cincinnati Bengals first, with the Washington Redskins believed to be focused on Ohio State defensive end Chase Young at two.

"I've had a few of those conversations over the last week or so. Had a few of those conversations, honestly, as far back as the combine," Quinn said on a conference call on Friday. "And then there will be more substantive talks next week if people are interested."

Quinn added that if he does decide to move down, it would have to keep the Lions in position to take an impact player who can contribute immediately. 

"When you're trading back, you're going to trade back after 10 or 11, you have to know the ramifications of that." he said. "You're going to get a different level of player."

Miami and the Los Angeles Chargers, owners of the fifth and sixth overall picks respectively, could be potential trade partners with both teams in the market for young quarterbacks.

That could still allow Quinn the chance to address a pressing defensive need if a player such as Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown or Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons are available. 

"You really have to look for a certain type of player that's going to be able to come in and contribute, probably without an offseason program," he said.

"We have to do a good job of making sure the evaluation and the player we select can come in right away, especially if we're drafting that early, come in Day 1 and be a player, be a guy that can come in and help us win games."

Quinn also provided an update on Stafford, who is on track to participate in the team's upcoming virtual offseason workouts. The 32-year-old has recovered from a transverse process fracture in his back that caused him to miss the final eight games of last season. 

"I know he's working out, feeling good." Quinn said. "Heath-wise, he's good to go. He's cleared medically."

The NFL Draft is a crucial part of the team-building process, with this year as important as ever even though selections will be made remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With a dramatic free agency period now largely complete, contenders for Super Bowl glory in the 2020 season have already emerged.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints are expected to feature prominently in the playoffs once more, with Tom Brady's arrival putting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the mix as well.

All 32 teams understand the draft's importance, though while some of the top rosters may only need to fill one or two needs and ideally select the best player available, others are facing critical decisions that could alter the future of their franchise.

For the following eight teams, the pressure is on ahead of a 2020 draft that could impact their postseason chances, and the job security of those in charge, for many years to come.
 

Las Vegas Raiders

Armed with two first-round selections thanks to the Khalil Mack trade, the Raiders will pick at 12 and 19. Head coach Jon Gruden has had two losing seasons since signing his big-money contract, while Mike Mayock's first draft as general manager, that included three 2019 first-round picks, received mixed reviews on the evidence of last season. 

With question marks over whether Derek Carr will be the long-term quarterback, the Raiders need to give him weapons and will desperately hope to land one of the star receivers, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs.

Secondary help with their other top pick could address another key need, with the Raiders in need of tangible progress in their first year in Vegas following the departures of Mack and Amari Cooper in exchange for draft assets over recent seasons.

New York Giants

The Giants will pick at number 4 this year, having selected at 2 and 6 over the past two years – a sign that all has not been well on the field. Running back Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones have been their previous premium selections. An offensive tackle or versatile safety-linebacker hybrid Isaiah Simmons are seen as the most likely options this time around.

After the firing of head coach Pat Shurmur, pressure is on GM Dave Gettleman to hit with that pick and his selection at 36 for a roster still needing a significant injection of talent under Joe Judge. With no playoff win since their 2011 championship season, fans are growing impatient.

Miami Dolphins

After stripping the roster bare in 2019, free agency saw the Dolphins begin to use the salary cap space they had freed up, with Byron Jones lured from the Dallas Cowboys to be made the NFL's highest-paid cornerback. 

Now it is time for the Dolphins to start making the most of their masses of draft capital. They have three picks in the first round - 5, 18 and 26 – and three more across rounds two and three (39, 56 and 70).

They face a key decision regarding their long-term future at QB, with current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick only a bridge option. If they are happy with his medical reports, the Dolphins could trade up for Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, stay at five to see if he drops, or instead go down a different route by taking Justin Herbert or Jordan Love with one of their three first-rounders.

That is a decision of paramount importance and with so many other selections in a deep class at tackle and receiver, it is a draft that, if they get it right, could catapult the Dolphins into being perennial AFC East contenders after the New England Patriots lost Brady.

Detroit Lions

Just nine wins in two seasons since arriving from the Patriots has Matt Patricia under pressure in Detroit. After trading Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions have been strongly linked with cornerback Jeffrey Okudah at number three overall.

With picks near the top of the second and third rounds too, and number 85 picked up as part of the deal for Slay, Lions GM Bob Quinn has options, including trading down from three. This is a pivotal draft in the team's rebuild.

Atlanta Falcons

The Saints have won the NFC South for three straight seasons and Brady's arrival with the Bucs gives the division another powerhouse. 

That leaves the Falcons in a difficult spot, given they have underwhelmed since their Super Bowl collapse at the end of the 2016 season. The Falcons are not rebuilding, and the clock is ticking for them with QB Matt Ryan now 34 and star wideout Julio Jones 31. 

Unlike many of the other teams in this list, the Falcons are not blessed with extensive draft capital, with only number 15, 47 and 78 in the top 100. GM Thomas Dimitroff may have to pull off something special if his team are to keep pace with divisional rivals led by Brady and Drew Brees.

New England Patriots

All eyes are on the Patriots after Brady's departure. Bill Belichick has given little away, this draft will tell us if he plans to draft an immediate successor, with his other options being rolling with Jarrett Stidham at QB in 2020, and potentially beyond, or signing a free agent like Cam Newton.

The Patriots have a pick at 23 that is prompting huge debate, given they are not scheduled to make another selection until number 87. If they go QB in the first round, it will leave the roster without star offensive weapons, one of the factors that frustrated Brady towards the end of his tenure.

Belichick has praised the depth and quality of the QB class and could wait to see if a developmental option under center is available in the middle rounds while selecting an immediate contributor at another position in round one. Or, he could do nothing and build around Stidham or a veteran recruit.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are one of the most intriguing teams in this year's draft with picks at nine and 20, as well as a second-round selection at 42. Trading away Nick Foles appeared to indicate Gardner Minshew will be unchallenged at QB, but would that remain the case if the team have a high grade on Herbert or Love and either fall into their lap?

Jacksonville's defense is in a complete rebuild after last season's Jalen Ramsey trade was followed by the offseason exits of A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell, while more receiving options for Minshew are also needed.

Two frustrating seasons have followed their AFC Championship berth and the pressure is on - this draft must set foundations to move the team towards contending again.

Minnesota Vikings

While Kirk Cousins' big-money contract extension removes any questions about the Vikings' future at quarterback, they go into the draft with some glaring needs.

The evaluations on whether they were wise to trade away Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills will be based on how they replace him with a historic class of a receivers to choose from. Cornerback reinforcements are a key requirement on the defensive side of the ball.

Having renewed their commitment to Cousins and with the Green Bay Packers to chase down in the NFC North, the Vikings - who pick at 22 and 25 in the first round - need to hit at those priority positions if they are to compete this year.

Reports in the UK this week suggested there is growing support to void the current Premier League season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted the 2019-20 campaign might have to be scrubbed from the records, after Euro 2020 was moved back 12 months.

Although the likes of runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool would understandably despair at such a prospect, there are other clubs enjoying seasons to forget who might enjoy the escape clause.

With that in mind, we took a look back at the teams and individuals who might like to expunge an ignominious season or period of time from history.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED 2013-14

The seven years since Alex Ferguson's retirement have not exactly gone swimmingly for United, but that ill-fated first season remains the real low point. 

David Moyes lasted just 10 months as Ferguson's replacement as the reigning Premier League champions finished seventh in 2013-14, suffering truly humiliating defeats to top two Manchester City and Liverpool along the way. A wretched 2-0 loss at Moyes' former club Everton proved the final straw.

At least they won the Community Shield in August 2013. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC 2017

When Novak Djokovic defeated familiar foe Andy Murray to win the 2016 French Open, the modern-day legend was in possession of all of tennis' grand slams. The question was, who can stop this man? Well, the answer was actually himself.

A round-three exit at Wimbledon followed a month later and, although he reached the US Open final that year, a barren 2017 followed. Djokovic did not go beyond the quarters at any slam that year and reached just one final at the Italian Open, which he lost. Djokovic rediscovered the winning habit in slams at Wimbledon in 2018, beginning a run of five triumphs in the past seven at tennis' big events.

DETROIT LIONS – 2008

The Lions secured an unwanted place in history when they became the first NFL team in the 16-game season era to go 0-16. They went 7-9 in 2007 and were then undefeated in preaseason, meaning few would have thought a historically bad campaign was on the cards.

Detroit started three QBs over the course of the campaign - Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky and Daunte Culpepper - all of whom struggled with form and injuries despite the presence of star receiver Calvin Johnson, but worst of all was their woeful defense, which gave up 517 points.

Team president and CEO Matt Millen was fired after four weeks, while head coach Rod Marinelli was shown the door at the end of the season and has not led a team since.

TIGER WOODS - 2014-2017

Tiger Woods' standing as one the greatest, if not the greatest, golfer of all time is in no doubt. By the end of 2013, Woods was standing again atop the world rankings after winning five times during the year, earning the prestigious PGA Tour Player of the Year award. 

It would take five years for Woods to win again as the American great endured a horrendous time with debilitating back injuries and loss of form. At one stage it looked as though he may have to retire and his world ranking had plummeted to a scarcely credible 1,199th in December 2017. But just a year ago Woods was back in major-winning form as, at the age of 43, he became Masters champion for a fifth time.

BARCELONA 2002-03

Years of drift since the 1999 LaLiga title came to a head in 2002-03, as Barcelona endured a miserable season that saw Louis van Gaal sacked as coach and led to the departure of president Joan Gaspart. 

Barca ended up sixth in the league – their worst finish in 15 years – as the Real Madrid Galacticos ruled. They also exited the Copa del Rey in the first round and lost in the Champions League quarter-finals. 

After that season, in came Joan Laporta as president, Frank Rijkaard as head coach, and a certain Brazilian called Ronaldinho. And things got a bit better. 

ENGLAND – 2013-14 ASHES

England made it three Ashes victories in a row with a 3-0 home triumph in 2013 – the first time they had enjoyed such a run of success against old enemies Australia since 1977-1981. However, a rejig of the international cricketing schedule meant a swift return Down Under. The Mitchell Johnson-inspired hosts exacted brutal vengeance on their way to a 5-0 whitewash as a great England team fell to pieces.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann retired mid-series and Kevin Pietersen's tempestuous exit from the international stage was set in motion, while Andy Flower – the head coach he despised – stepped down. Of the XI that started the concluding 281-run loss in Sydney, Pietersen, Michael Carberry and debutants Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin would never play red ball cricket for England again.

REAL MADRID 2008-09

In Spanish football's great rivalry, Real Madrid or Barcelona doing well is only half the deal. Success is truly sweet if the other half of El Clasico's enduring grudge are having a tough time. Madrid won LaLiga in 2007-08, with Barca a distant fourth as the Rijkaard-Ronaldinho era disintegrated under the weight of its own excess.

However, the tables flipped spectacularly next time around – Barca stormed to an unprecedented treble under rookie coach Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi leaped from exceptional talent to generational superstar as Madrid were walloped 6-2 by their sworn foes at the Santiago Bernabeu and a dynasty was born.

Madrid finished a distant second, were thrashed 5-0 on aggregate by Liverpool in the Champions League last-16 and coach Juande Ramos followed predecessor Bernd Schuster out of the exit door.

PAULA RADCLIFFE – 2004 OLYMPICS

After setting a new world record in London in 2003 and having won the 2004 race in New York, Radcliffe was favourite for marathon gold at the 2004 Olympics. 

However, after struggling badly to continue, Radcliffe withdrew 23 miles in and was taken for a medical check-up. She later competed in the 10,000 metres but again retired.  In a tearful appearance on British TV, Radcliffe refused to blame the heat and humidity in Athens and admitted she was "desperately trying to find a reason for what happened". 

A year later, she was back winning and breaking the world record at the London marathon - despite a brief toilet break by the side of the road - before taking gold at the World Championships in Helsinki.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2019-2020

After a fifth straight NBA Finals appearance in 2019, things went rapidly downhill for the Golden State Warriors. All-Star duo Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins left in free agency, while 'Splash Brothers' Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have been out injured – the latter is yet to play this season. 

The Warriors sit bottom of the Western Conference and have the worst overall record in the NBA at 15-50. An improved chance of getting the first pick in the 2020 draft is their only solace.

MANNY PACQUIAO 2012

After losing to Erik Morales in 2005, Manny Pacquiao went on sensational 15-fight winning streak that established him as an unprecedented seven-division world champion. The Morales loss was twice avenged via stoppage, with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto similarly dispatched. A mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr awaited, only for the wheels to fall off in 2012.

Timothy Bradley halted Pacquiao's streak when he was – somewhat farcically – awarded a split-decision verdict over the Filipino great. Juan Manuel Marquez knew all about scorecard controversy from his previous three meetings with Pacquiao and duly took them out of the equation, chillingly leaving his rival face down and motionless on the Las Vegas canvas that December. The Mayweather bout had to wait until 2015, but that is one of only two losses suffered since by Pacquiao, who reigns as WBA welterweight champion at 41.

CHELSEA 2015-16

Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2014-15 and 2016-17. What came in between was nothing short of a complete shambles. Jose Mourinho had returned for a second spell in charge and collected a third winners' medal in England's top flight but the Portuguese's famously abrasive tendencies then appeared to wear his players down at an alarming rate.

Beginning with the 2-2 draw against Swansea City that ignited Mourinho's sapping spat with club doctor Eva Carneiro, Chelsea won only one of their opening five Premier League fixtures. That form was far from a blip and they were 16th when Mourinho was sacked in the wake of a 2-1 December loss to would-be champions Leicester City. Caretaker boss Guus Hiddink restored a modicum of respectability with a 10th-place finish before Antonio Conte arrived and the Stamford Bridge faithful were soon wondering if it had all just been a bad dream.

SERENA WILLIAMS 2006

Williams started the year by losing her Australian Open crown with a third-round exit to Daniele Hantuchova, before injuries forced her to miss tournaments in Tokyo and Dubai. Come April, she had dropped out of the WTA top 100 for the first time since November 1997, and it came as little surprise that she competed at neither the French Open nor Wimbledon. 

After a fourth-round exit at the US Open, Williams ended a title-less year 95th in the world. It meant she returned to the Australian Open in January 2007 as an unseeded player. She won it. 

A day after Tom Brady's exit from the New England Patriots was confirmed, a deal was struck to send the last quarterback to defeat him in a Super Bowl to pastures new.

Brady is expected to be announced as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after deciding to end his 20-season association with the Patriots.

However, his change of scenery is far from the only transaction affecting the NFL landscape. Here, we wrap up the significant moves reported to have been agreed as the new league year began on Wednesday.

 

Nick Foles, who got the better of Brady in Super Bowl LII, is reportedly headed to the Chicago Bears after the Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to trade him in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

The Jags are parting with Foles just a year after signing the former Philadelphia Eagle to a four-year, $88million contract. He will now provide competition for Mitchell Trubisky, whose role as the Bears' starter is under threat after a disappointing 2019.

Foles' departure allows Gardner Minshew to step in as the starter in Jacksonville. Sixth-round pick Minshew outplayed Foles, who was limited to four games because of injury, last year and will now get the chance to prove he is the Jaguars' franchise quarterback.

Brady's last game as a Patriot came in a playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans, who made the surprising decision to deal defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Casey has at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons.

The Detroit Lions were also involved in the trade market, acquiring safety Duron Harmon from the Patriots. Detroit agreed to a two-year deal with defensive linemen Danny Shelton. Both players have a connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia from his time as New England's defensive coordinator.

Another former Patriot, center Ted Karras, is staying in the division, signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

The New Orleans Saints are said to have agreed a deal to bring back safety Malcolm Jenkins after he was let go by the Eagles. Jenkins was drafted by the Saints in 2009 before leaving for the Eagles in 2014.

Their NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers released safety Eric Reid, while the Atlanta Falcons inked edge rusher Dante Fowler to a three-year contract.

Leonard Floyd will fill the void Fowler's exit left for the Los Angeles Rams, who have re-signed guard Austin Blythe and veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks have brought back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, the pass rusher who played a key role in their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season. Reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers re-signed center Ben Garland to a one-year deal.

The Los Angeles Chargers may have missed out on Brady, but they have bolstered their defense with the signing of defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Cornerback Chris Harris also intends to sign with the Chargers.

Cornerback Eli Apple will play a part in the Raiders' first season in Las Vegas, while safety Sean Davis is headed to the Washington Redskins on a one-year deal.

The Kansas City Chiefs pipped the New England Patriots to a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs, while Mason Crosby's last-gasp field goal ensured the Green Bay Packers did not miss out.

With the Patriots suffering a surprise 27-24 loss to the Dolphins, a 31-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers saw the Chiefs snatch the number two seed in the AFC.

Unlike New England, the Packers were able to get the win they needed to head straight to the Divisional Round with a 23-20 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

The New Orleans Saints did enough to remain in contention for a first-round bye with a resounding 42-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers, who saw Christian McCaffrey make history.

 

CHIEFS MAKE MOST OF PATS SHOCK

The Patriots looked to have staved off a potential upset against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium when James White ran into the end zone on third and goal to give them their first lead with 3:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, New England were unable to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick leading a 13-play drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown reception for Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds left.

Tom Brady, who went 16 of 29 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, moved beyond 4,000 yards in a season for the 11th time in his career and surpassed Peyton Manning for the second-most career touchdown passes in NFL history with his 540th, but was unable to conjure a miracle and help force overtime.

Defeat for the Patriots meant the Chiefs were able to deny them the final bye in the AFC.

After rookie Mecole Hardman's 104-yard kickoff return and an 84-yard rushing touchdown from Damien Williams for the Chiefs in their clash with the Chargers, Hunter Henry made it a three-point game. However, Williams' second score of the day locked up the win.

 

PACKERS MAKE SAINTS WAIT

Against the league's worst passing defense, Aaron Rodgers only had one completion for the Packers in a first quarter that saw his Lions opposite number David Blough take in a 19-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Danny Amendola.

The Packers trailed by 14 points at half-time but were level when Allen Lazard reeled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers with just over five minutes remaining in the final period.

A tremendous play from Aaron Jones got Green Bay into field-goal range and Crosby did not let them down at the death, making his attempt from 33 yards.

That meant the Saints had to wait to find out their fate, with a loss for the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks required to send them through as the second seed behind the Packers.

Drew Brees (253 yards) was key to New Orleans' victory over the Panthers as he became just the fourth player with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in four consecutive games in a single NFL season.

 

MCCAFFREY'S RECORD HUNT

The Panthers may have been blown out by the Saints, but McCaffrey did enough for a slice of history.

The third-year tailback joined Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only players in NFL history with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

McCaffrey finished the season with 2,392 scrimmage yards, the third-most in history and 117 shy of Chris Johnson's record.

 

WINSTON MAKES HISTORY

Jameis Winston's future is a source of great uncertainty and he did himself few favours against the Atlanta Falcons.

The fifth-year quarterback threw his 30th interception of the season in overtime for Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Deion Jones returned it for a game-winning touchdown.

It was the seventh pick six Winston has thrown this season – a new NFL record.

 

Week 17 scores:

New York Jets 13-6 Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns 23-33 Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers 23-20 Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Chargers 21-31 Kansas City Chiefs
Chicago Bears 21-19 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 27-24 New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons 28-22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OT)
New Orleans Saints 42-10 Carolina Panthers

The youngest son of Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones died on Friday, the player revealed.

Jones, 29, announced the death of his infant son Marlo via social media on Saturday before the Lions released a statement.

Marlo was reportedly six months old.

The father of five children, Jones wrote on Instagram: "Yesterday the Lord called home a piece of my family's heart, Marlo. It is hard to believe that our little angel, our fighter from day one, our son 'Marlito' has unfortunately passed away and is no longer here with us.

"Marlo, the joy that you brought to us everyday, with that smile, and that energy was like heaven on earth. You will always be in our hearts. We will always remember you.

"We did not get the chance to hear your first words [It would've been in Spanish too]. We didn't get to see you run with your brothers and sister, you ran with them with your eyes everyday.

"We know that everything that We do from here on out will be with you. Every step we take, you will be with us. Whenever we have a bad day,

"We will think of your smile. We miss you already buddy and will forever love you. Rest peacefully our sweet baby boy. You have gained your wings."

In a statement, the Lions said: "Earlier today, we were informed by Marvin and Jazmyn Jones about the sudden passing of their youngest son, Marlo. The Detroit Lions fully support Marvin and Jazmyn during his extremely difficult time.

"Marvin and Jazmyn embody the true meaning of family, and the example they set has made them an inspiration to so many in our community. We thank everyone for the outpouring of support. On behalf of the Jones family, we ask that everyone respect the privacy of the matter at this time."

The NFL regular season comes to a close this week, with plenty still on the line.

Defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, need a win against the Miami Dolphins to lock up the second seed in the AFC playoffs, though they are guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

The Tennessee Titans' postseason hopes are in their own hands – a win against the Houston Texans will see them through. Meanwhile, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks for NFC West leaders the San Francisco 49ers will ensure their place in the playoffs as the top seed and give them home advantage throughout.

However, the 49ers know that if they slip up then Seattle will win the division and the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints or Seahawks will take top spot in the conference.

The Philadelphia Eagles will clinch a playoff berth and the NFC East title if they win against the New York Giants. A shock defeat would give the Dallas Cowboys the opportunity to atone for last week's loss in Philadelphia and reach the postseason ahead of them by beating the Washington Redskins.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 17 fixtures.

SUNDAY (all times Eastern)

Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4) 1pm

- The Chiefs have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Chargers, but the last time these teams met at Arrowhead Stadium, 2018 Week 15, the Los Angeles triumphed 29-28.

- With Keenan Allen at 1,117 receiving yards and Mike Williams (963) and Austin Ekeler (950) within striking distance of 1000 receiving yards, the Chargers have a realistic chance of becoming the sixth team in NFL history with three players with 1,000+ yards receiving.

- The Chargers have already suffered their third 10+ loss season in the last five years, after going 11 seasons (from 2004-14) without a single 10-loss season.

 

Bears (7-8) at Vikings (10-5) 1pm

- The Bears have won three successive games against the Vikings, their longest streak since winning six straight over Minnesota from 2009-12.

- Entering 2019, Kirk Cousins had four straight seasons of at least 4000 passing yards, trailing only Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers for the longest active streaks in the NFL. Cousins needs 397 passing yards for a 4000-yard season in 2019, something he's never done in a home game in his career.

- Minnesota's 139 total net yards against the Packers last week were the fourth-fewest by any team in any game this season – only the Jets (twice) and Broncos have had fewer.

 

Jets (6-9) at Bills (10-5) 1pm

- Josh Allen has accounted for 29 total touchdowns this season (20 passing, nine rushing). Jim Kelly in 1991 is the only Buffalo player ever to account for at least 30 total touchdowns in a season (33 passing, one rushing).

- The Bills are 5-2 at home versus the Jets since 2012, with a +81 point differential over these seven games.

- The Jets have the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL and have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards. They would be the first team since the 1954 Eagles to rank bottom two and top two in rushing yards and opponent rushing yards, respectively.

 

Saints (12-3) at Panthers (5-10) 1pm

- The Saints defeated the Panthers at home in Week 12. New Orleans have also won the last two meetings in Carolina.

- New Orleans have never had back-to-back 13+ win seasons and the 25 wins over the past two seasons are already the most by the Saints in a two-season span all-time.

- Having won the division title for the third straight season, the Saints have tied the longest NFC South title streak that was set by the Panthers from 2013 to 2015.

 

Browns (6-9) at Bengals (1-14) 1pm

- The Browns' home win over the Bengals in Week 14 was a third straight win over their in-state rivals. Cleveland have not managed four consecutive wins over Cincinnati since a seven-game streak from 1992 to 1995.

- Cleveland were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Ravens. Their streak of 17 seasons without a playoff berth is tied for the fifth-longest in NFL history.

- The Bengals locked up the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft after a 38-35 overtime loss to the Dolphins in Miami last week. Cincinnati has drafted first overall three times in its history, taking defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson in 1994, running back Ki-Jana Carter in 1995 and quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.

 

Packers (12-3) at Lions (3-11-1) 1pm

- The Packers clinched the division title with their win over the Vikings in Week 16. Green Bay has won the NFC North title six times this decade, the most division titles by any NFC team.

- Davante Adams hauled in 13 receptions for 116 yards in that triumph, bringing his career receiving yards to 5,101.

- Green Bay holds a 99-72-7 advantage in the all-time series against the Lions and could become the third franchise to win 100 games against another franchise.

 

Dolphins (4-11) at Patriots (12-3) 1pm

- New England will be trying to earn a first-round bye for the 10th consecutive season. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, no other team has earned a first-round bye in more than four straight seasons.

- Tom Brady has 3,836 passing yards this season. If he can reach 4,000 passing yards, it would be the third time he has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season at age 40 or older.

- Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the Dolphins with 228 rushing yards this season. No team has finished a 16-game season without a player having at least 300 rushing yards.

 

Falcons (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

- Since 2015, the Falcons and Buccaneers have combined for 55.1 points per game against one another, the highest-scoring matchup between divisional opponents in the NFL.

- The Buccaneers rank third in the NFL in points (436) and third-worst in the NFL in points allowed (421).

- The Falcons have 19 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, tied with the Titans for most in the NFL.

 

Cardinals (5-9-1) at Rams (8-7) 4:25pm

- The Rams won 34-7 when these teams met in Week 13 and have outscored the Cardinals 164-32 during their five-game winning streak against Arizona.

- Tyler Higbee had his first career game with at least 100 receiving yards in Week 13 against Arizona, and has now had at least 100 yards in each of the three games since.

- Arizona beat the Seahawks 27-13 in Week 16, their second straight win following six consecutive losses. Both wins came by 14 points – the first time they have won back-to-back games by at least 14 since December 2015.

 

Raiders (7-8) at Broncos (6-9) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won six of the last seven home games against the Raiders.

- Oakland has gone 17 straight seasons without winning the AFC West, tied for the fourth-longest streak not winning their division.

- The Broncos will finish with a losing record for the third consecutive season, the second-longest streak of losing seasons in franchise history (10 straight from 1963-1972).

 

Redskins (3-12) at Dallas Cowboys (7-8) 4:25pm

- The Cowboys have won six of their last seven over the Redskins, including three straight in Dallas.

- Last week, the Redskins became the third team in the NFL this season to allow 300+ passing yards and 200+ rushing yards in a game.

- Dallas have had at least 400 total net yards in all seven home games. No team since at least 1950 has had eight home games with 400+ total net yards in a season.

 

Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5) 4:25pm

- Following their 24-21 win at Tennessee two weeks ago, the Texans look to secure the first season sweep by either team since 2015, and to square the all-time series at 18 wins each.

- The Texans clinched their second straight AFC South title with a 23-20 win at Tampa Bay – Houston's fifth victory this season by three points or fewer.

- Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson did not throw a touchdown pass last week; his season total sits at 26, matching the number he threw one season ago.

 

Steelers (8-7) at Ravens (13-2) 4:25pm

- Since John Harbaugh became head coach in 2008, the Ravens are 12-11 against the Steelers, and 14 of the 23 meetings have been decided by three points or fewer.

- Pittsburgh has lost back-to-back games after winning seven of its previous eight games. The Steelers have failed to score a fourth-quarter touchdown in eight straight games.

- The Ravens have clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and they have tied a franchise record with 13 wins.

 

Colts (7-8) at Jaguars (5-10) 4:25pm

- Jacksonville have won four straight home games against Indianapolis, tied for its third-longest home winning streak against any opponent in the team's history.

- The Jaguars lead the NFL with a 96.8 field-goal percentage this season (30-for-31), all attempted by Josh Lambo.

- Chris Conley had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in Jacksonville's Week 16 loss to the Falcons, his third touchdown reception in the last two games.

 

Eagles (8-7) at Giants (4-11) 4:25pm

- The Eagles got a 23-17 overtime win at home when these teams met in Week 14, their sixth straight win over the Giants and 10th in the last 11.

- Philadelphia has converted 57.1 percent of its red zone third downs this season, the highest mark in the league.

- The Eagles' six-game winning streak is tied for their second-longest all-time against New York – they won 12 straight between 1975 and 1981.


49ers (12-3) at Seahawks (11-4) 8:20pm

- Seattle got a 27-24 overtime win in San Francisco when these teams met in Week 10. Including their win in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks have won 13 of their last 15 games against the 49ers.

- Indeed, San Francisco have not won in Seattle since Week 16 in 2011.

- The 49ers beat the Rams on Saturday, reaching 12 wins for the first time since 2013. With another victory, they will clinch the NFC's top seed for the first time since 1997.

The Philadelphia Eagles denied the Dallas Cowboys the NFC East title as they boosted their postseason chances, while the Seattle Seahawks endured a forgettable outing against the Arizona Cardinals.

Philadelphia used a 17-9 victory over NFL rivals the Cowboys on Sunday to take a big step towards the playoffs.

The injury-hit Seahawks were left licking their wounds after a damaging 27-13 defeat to the Cardinals in Seattle in the race for the number one seed in the NFC.

 

EAGLES FLYING TOWARDS PLAYOFFS

The Eagles are one game away from a trip to the playoffs after topping the Cowboys in Philadelphia.

Sidney Jones sealed a vital win when he broke up Dak Prescott's fourth-down pass to wide receiver Michael Gallup with just over a minute remaining.

A victory would have sealed back-to-back NFC East titles for the Cowboys (7-8), instead the Eagles (8-7) are in the box seat heading into their final regular-season game against the New York Giants.

"You can see the sense of belief that each of these guys have," said Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who was 31 of 40 for 319 yards and a touchdown as his team celebrated a third straight win.

Cowboys QB Prescott – who carried a shoulder issue into the contest – was 25 of 44 for 265 yards, with Dallas needing to beat the Washington Redskins and hope the Eagles lose.

 

SEAHAWKS' TOP SEED HOPES FADE AS INJURIES MOUNT

Already playoff bound, the Seahawks' hopes of clinching the top seed in the NFC potentially vanished after going down to the Cardinals.

The Seahawks dropped to 11-4 for the season, behind leaders the San Francisco 49ers (12-3), New Orleans Saints (12-3) and Green Bay Packers (11-3).

Seattle, who entered the week as the top seed, can seal the NFC West with victory over the 49ers. But they are set to be without running back Chris Carson (hip) and backup C.J. Prosise (broken arm), for the rest of the season.

Kenyan Drake led the Cardinals, rushing for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Kyler Murray left in the third quarter due to a hamstring injury.

 

MAHOMES PUTS ON A SHOW

Reigning MVP and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes inspired a 26-3 rout of the Chicago Bears with three scores on the road.

Mahomes – who was 23 of 33 for 251 yards – threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Chiefs (11-4) stayed in contention for a first-round playoff bye. He also became the first player in NFL history to record 9,000 passing yards and 75 passing touchdowns in his first 30 games.

The streaking Chiefs, coming off a fifth consecutive win, are a game behind the New England Patriots for the AFC's second seed.

Elsewhere, the Oakland Raiders kept their postseason hopes alive by trumping the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17, while the Detroit Lions fell to an eighth consecutive defeat after losing 27-17 to the Denver Broncos.

 

HARBAUGH REVELS IN RAVENS SUCCESS

The Baltimore Ravens clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs for the first time thanks to an 11th successive win – a 31-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"It feels good," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after locking up homefield advantage.

"The players deserve a tremendous amount of credit for it. It's hard to win any game in the NFL. When you put together this kind of season, it's quite an accomplishment."

 

Week 16 scores:

Atlanta Falcons 24-12 Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens 31-15 Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts 38-6 Carolina Panthers
Miami Dolphins 38-35 Cincinnati Bengals (OT)
New York Jets 16-10 Pittsburgh Steelers
New Orleans Saints 38-28 Tennessee Titans
New York Giants 41-35 Washington Redskins (OT)
Denver Broncos 27-17 Detroit Lions
Oakland Raiders 24-17 Los Angeles Chargers
Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals 27-13 Seattle Seahawks
Kansas City Chiefs 26-3 Chicago Bears

The Houston Texans can seal the AFC South title with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday before the New Orleans Saints face a huge battle with the Tennessee Titans in the penultimate week of the regular season.

Houston won a crunch clash with the Titans last weekend to give themselves the edge in the division and could get the job done this weekend, with another showdown against Tennessee to come in Week 17.

The Titans host NFC South winners the Saints on Sunday, while the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers have home advantage in the other two Saturday encounters.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 16 fixtures.

 


SATURDAY (all times Eastern)

Texans (9-5) at Buccaneers (7-7) 1pm

- The Texans have won all three meetings with the Buccaneers since losing the first one in 2003. Tampa Bay have averaged just 12.0 points in those matchups – the lowest all-time average against any opponent other than the Patriots (11.9).

- Houston need four touchdowns to tie the single-season franchise record of 46, set in 2009 and matched in 2012. 

- The Bucs are looking to match their longest winning streak of the past 15 years – a five-game run in 2016. They have scored at least 28 points in every game during the current winning sequence.

 

Bills (10-4) at Patriots (11-3) 4:30pm

- Of teams to square off at least 10 times since 2000, the Patriots-Bills series is the most lopsided in the NFL, with New England owning a 34-5 record.

- The Patriots are seeking a 13th season with a least 12 wins, which would tie Dallas and San Francisco for the most in NFL history.

- Josh Allen needs 50 passing yards to reach 5000 for his career in what would be his 27th NFL game. He would join Robert Griffin III (22) and Cam Newton (23) as the only players to reach that mark and 1000 rushing yards in fewer than 30 games.

 

Rams (8-6) at 49ers (11-3) 8:15pm

- The Rams have won their last two matches in San Francisco, totalling 80 points, after going 2-9-1 in their previous 12 visits and scoring no more than 25 points in any of them.

- The 49ers have allowed more than 20 points in five of their last seven games after not doing so once through their first seven outings of the season. 

- Jared Goff is two passing yards shy of becoming the first Rams quarterback to throw for 4000 yards in back-to-back seasons. 

 

SUNDAY

Bengals (1-13) at Dolphins (3-11) 1pm

- Miami are 15-7 all-time against Cincinnati, including 6-2 at home. Cincinnati could tie a franchise record of 14 losses, which they also suffered in 2002.

- The Dolphins have not scored a touchdown in any of their last eight red-zone drives – only the Redskins (10) have had a longer streak this season.

- Cincinnati have failed to score a touchdown in the second half of seven consecutive games. The last team to have a longer such run was also the Bengals, in eight straight spanning the 1999-00 seasons. 

 

Steelers (8-6) at Jets (5-9) 1pm

- The Steelers are 20-5 (.800) against the Jets all-time, tied for the best winning percentage between any current franchises that have played at least 20 times. 

- The Jets allowed a season-high 42 points in last week's loss at Baltimore and were undone by five touchdown passes for only the second time in the last 30 years.

- Devlin Hodges is on pace to have the highest completion percentage by a rookie all-time at 67.8 percent (minimum 100 attempts), but 28.8 per cent of his completions have been behind the line of scrimmage. 

 

Giants (3-11) at Redskins (3-11) 1pm

- The Giants are 9-4 in their last 13 games in Washington, dating back to the 2006 season. They have scored at least 17 points in all nine of their wins, and 16 or fewer in each of their four losses. 

- New York beat the Dolphins 36-20 at home last week, snapping a nine-game losing streak, which was the longest in franchise history.

- The Redskins went down 37-27 to the Eagles on Sunday, the most points they have allowed this season. 

 

Panthers (5-9) at Colts (6-8) 1pm

- The Panthers are 5-1 all-time versus the Colts and Carolina have never lost at Indianapolis (3-0). All five of Carolina's victories have come by eight points or fewer, including two in overtime.

- The Colts were 5-2 after seven games, but have lost six of their last seven. Indianapolis have lost four straight games and have allowed 31 or more points in each of the last three.

- Indianapolis have allowed an NFL-high 34.3 points per game this month, while the Panthers have conceded 33.0 points per game, third-most in the competition.

 

Ravens (12-2) at Browns (6-8) 1pm

- The Ravens' last loss came at the hands of the Browns, a 40-25 defeat in Week 4. Cleveland have not swept Baltimore in a season, or won consecutive games against the Ravens, since 2007.

- Baltimore's 10-game winning streak is the longest in the team's history; no team has won 11 straight games in a single season since the 2016 Cowboys.

- The Browns have won four consecutive home games for the first time since they won seven in succession in 2007.

 

Jaguars (5-9) at Falcons (5-9) 1pm

- This will be just the seventh meeting between the Jaguars and Falcons, with both winning three so far. The Jaguars have lost in their last two visits to Atlanta, winning in Georgia only once in 1999.

- Jacksonville snapped a five-game losing streak with a 20-16 win last week in the Raiders' final home game in Oakland. The Jaguars have scored 20 points or fewer in six consecutive games, the longest ongoing streak in the NFL.

- The Jaguars have not turned the ball over or forced a turnover in their last two games. No NFL team in the Super Bowl era have done this in three consecutive games.

 

Saints (11-3) at Titans (8-6) 1pm

- The Titans have won five of their last six games against the Saints, including a 34-28 overtime win in their most recent meeting in Week 9 of 2015.

- The Saints defeated the Colts 34-7 at home on Monday. That was New Orleans' ninth game scoring 30 or more points this season, which is tied for the third-most 30-point games in a season in team history and one short of their single-season high (2011 and 2018).

- Since Week 10, the Titans are scoring 34.2 per game, the second-highest average in the NFL. Over that same period, the Saints are averaging 30.5 points per game.

 

Raiders (6-8) at Chargers (5-9) 4:05pm

- Either the Chargers or Raiders have swept the season series between these teams in every campaign since 2014. The Raiders won the first meeting this year.

- The Chargers have scored at least 10 points in 65 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL and the second-longest in franchise history (98 straight from 2006-12).

- Philip Rivers has thrown a TD pass in 24 consecutive games against the Raiders, tied for the second-longest run all-time against a single opponent behind Brett Favre's 26 versus the Bears.

 

Lions (3-10) at Broncos (5-9) 4:05pm

- The Lions have lost seven in a row after starting the season 3-3-1. Detroit have had seven seven-game losing streaks since 2000.

- Danny Amendola had eight catches for 102 yards in the Lions' loss to the Bucs last time out. It was his third 100-yard receiving game of the season, the most he has had in a campaign since matching that feat in 2013.

- Courtland Sutton surpassed 1000 receiving yards for the season in a Week 15 loss to the Chiefs. He is the first Broncos player with 1000-plus receiving yards in a season since 2016.

 

Cardinals (4-9) at Seahawks (11-3) 4:25pm

- Seattle have won three in a row versus Arizona. The Seahawks have only won four on the bounce against the Cardinals once, a streak that spanned from 2004 to 2006.

- The Cardinals beat the Browns 38-24 last week, snapping a six-game losing streak. It was their first victory by more than six points this season.

- Kenyan Drake ran for 137 yards on 22 carries against Cleveland, scoring four rushing touchdowns in Arizona's win. He became the fourth player in franchise history to score at least four rushing touchdowns in a game and the first since Ronald Moore in 1993.

 

Cowboys (7-7) at Eagles (7-7) 4:25pm

- Dallas have won four straight games against Philadelphia, its longest streak versus the Eagles since a six-game winning run that stretched from November 1992 to November 1995. 

- Carson Wentz was 11-for-11 in the fourth quarter in a defeat of the Redskins last week, just the second time in his career he's had a perfect quarter with at least 10 attempts.

- The Cowboys defense have allowed just 10 broken tackles this season, tied with Tennessee for second fewest in the league behind Washington (nine).

 

Chiefs (10-4) at Bears (7-7) 8:20pm

- These teams last met in Week 5, 2015, when the Bears trailed 17-6 late in the game but scored two touchdowns in the final 3:05 to win 18-17.

- The Chiefs beat the Broncos 23-3 at home last week, their fourth consecutive win. They have conceded 17 or fewer points in each of those four games.

- Kansas City are averaging 6.4 yards per first down this season, third most in the league – only San Francisco and New Orleans (6.5 each) have averaged more. 

 

MONDAY

Packers (11-3) at Vikings (10-4) 8:15pm

- The Vikings have won the last three contests played in Minneapolis and hold a 29-28 lead in home contests against Green Bay.

- The Packers were 21-13 winners at home to the Bears last week, improving their record against NFC North teams to 4-0 this season. Green Bay have not gone undefeated against all division rivals since 2011.

- Aaron Jones had two more rushing touchdowns against the Bears, giving him 17 scrimmage TDs this season. That is the third-most scrimmage touchdowns in a single season by a Packers running back behind Ahman Green in 2003 (20) and Jim Taylor in 1962 (19).

Head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn will remain in their roles with the Detroit Lions for next season.

Patricia's position has been called into question amid another disappointing campaign for the Lions, who are 3-10-1 at the bottom of the NFC North.

However, owner Martha Ford has confirmed Patricia and Quinn will still be with the franchise in 2020, with the duo challenged to reach the postseason.

"We expect to be a playoff contender," Ford is quoted as saying on the Lions' website.

"That means playing meaningful games in December."

Patricia told reporters: "It's a process that we're trying to go through to get the team to a highly competitive level that can sustain and be consistent and handle the ebbs and flows of an NFL season.

"It's something that we're trying to lay a foundation for. I think that we've seen some strides that we've made with the team this year. We obviously need to improve and build upon that going forward."

Meanwhile, the Lions have confirmed quarterback Matthew Stafford will not play again this season due to a back injury that has kept him out of their last six games.

The Lions placed him on injured reserve on Tuesday, having not won since he was hurt in the closing stages of their Week 9 meeting with the Oakland Raiders.

"Obviously, I have the utmost respect for Matthew and his efforts to try and do everything he could to get back and play," Patricia said.

"It will be really in the best interest for him and us as obviously an organisation right now to give him that opportunity to rest and heal and continue along that path."

It is advantage the Houston Texans in the AFC South after they held on for a 24-21 win over the Tennessee Titans, while the New England Patriots sealed a playoff spot with victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. 

The Texans and the Titans were locked at 8-5 before doing battle in Week 15 on Sunday, but Houston now have the edge with two rounds of the regular season remaining.

New England responded to back-to-back defeats with a 34-13 success over the Bengals, while the Seattle Seahawks stood on the brink of joining the reigning Super Bowl champions in the postseason following a 30-24 win over the Carolina Panthers.

NFC North leaders the Green Bay Packers were also poised to seal a playoff spot after Aaron Jones scored two touchdowns in a 21-13 defeat of the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

Travis Kelce became the first tight end in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 23-3 in the snow.

Eli Manning guided the New York Giants past the Miami Dolphins, throwing 20-of-28 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Meanwhile, it was a mixed day for Adrian Peterson, another veteran, who tied Walter Payton for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns (110) in NFL history as the Washington Redskins' loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.


TEXANS HALT TITANS RUN IN BLOCKBUSTER SHOWDOWN

Tennessee had won four in a row to join the Texans at the summit of the AFC South, but they were beaten in their own backyard in a titanic battle.

Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes for Kenny Stills in the second quarter to give Houston a 14-0 halftime advantage.

But Ryan Tannehill went in for a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play in the third quarter and then picked out AJ Brown for another to level it up.

Ka'imi Fairbairn's 29-yard field goal with just over three minutes to go ultimately proved the difference after a TD from Carlos Hyde, with the response from Dion Lewis not enough.
 

NORMAL SERVICE RESUMED AS BELICHICK BREAKS ANOTHER RECORD

The Patriots were reeling from defeats to the Texans and the Chiefs, but normal service was resumed as they marched into the playoffs yet again.

Head coach Bill Belichick can add another unprecedented achievement to his list, with his record of masterminding 11 consecutive postseason spots taking him beyond a tally he shared with Tony Dungy.

Tom Brady threw for a season-low 128 yards but laid on two scores in an emphatic victory against the 1-13 Bengals, with the Patriots now 11-3.
 

PACKERS SWEEP BEARS

The Packers beat the Bears again in the 200th meeting between the old rivals. 

Green Bay started the season by defeating Chicago, and they pulled off a repeat to go 11-3 at the top of the NFC North.

Two rushing TDs from Jones in the third quarter left the Bears with a mountain to climb and, although they fought all the way, with Anthony Miller scoring in the final quarter, Chicago fell short and are now 7-7.
 

Week 15 scores:

New England Patriots 34-13 Cincinnati Bengals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-17 Detroit Lions
Houston Texans 24-21 Tennessee Titans
Denver Broncos 3-23 Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins 20-36 New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles 37-27 Washington Redskins
Seattle Seahawks 30-24 Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears 13-21 Green Bay Packers

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