The Baltimore Ravens came into the 2020 season among the favourites to win the Super Bowl, but they now face a fierce fight with the Pittsburgh Steelers in their own division.

As expected, John Harbaugh's squad – boasting MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson – has made a strong start to the year and sit at 5-1 through six games.

Pittsburgh, though, are the last undefeated team in the NFL at 6-0, meaning Sunday's game has become a huge AFC North battle in Baltimore.

Ahead of the game, we have looked at some of the key areas to watch, with the help of Stats Perform data.

 

Dominant defenses

Baltimore go into the game as four-point favourites, boosted by a defense which has allowed just 17.3 points per game, best in the NFL.

Pittsburgh (19.7, sixth in the league) are not far behind in that category and come out on top when it comes to yards allowed per game (286.3), with the Ravens ninth at 339.8 YPG.

Both units have seen their regular deployment of the blitz pay dividends. Baltimore have blitzed on 46.1 per cent of dropbacks, while Pittsburgh have on 44.3 – the two highest rates in the league.

T.J. Watt leads the NFL with 24 pressures for the Steelers, with Bud Dupree (17), Stephon Tuitt (15) and Cameron Heyward (13) all generating pass-rush too as part of a formidable front seven.

For the Ravens, veteran Calais Campbell (4 sacks) is thriving up front while cornerback Marlon Humphrey is yet to allow a touchdown on 49 targets this season, with opposing passers restricted to a 73.1 rating. No other player in the NFL has been targeted as often in coverage without giving up a TD.

A close game looks likely. Since 2008, 14 of 24 regular-season meetings between the teams have been decided by three points or fewer – the most of any matchup in that span.

The quarterbacks

Pittsburgh (30.5 points per game) and Baltimore (29.8) both have top-eight scoring units, but – so far at least – their QBs have not had to do the heavy lifting in the passing game.

The Ravens lead the NFL with 164.3 rushing yards per game, meaning they have picked up victories despite having a passing yardage (177.8) that is better only than the woeful New York Jets.

The Steelers have been able to lean on their defense and running game too, with their 129.7 YPG on the ground good for 11th in the NFL, compared to their 229 passing yards ranking 23rd.

Ravens QB Jackson is yet to hit the heights of 2019 and has been held under 200 passing yards in four consecutive starts, though his team won three of those four.

He has completed less than 60.0 percent of his attempts in three of his last four contests, dropping his season completion percentage to 63.0 – 26th among 32 qualifiers. But the third-year pro does lead the team with 346 rushing yards.

As a team, the Ravens have rushed for 140 yards or more in five straight games and 100 yards or better in 29 consecutive matchups.

The latter streak is one shy of matching the longest by any team in the last 40 seasons; the Panthers had a 30-game run from 2014 through 2016.

Not since the Steelers won against them in Week 9 of the 2018 season have the Ravens been held under 100 yards rushing.

Returning from injury this year, Ben Roethlisberger has an impressive supporting cast to throw to including JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron and rookie sensation Chase Claypool.

He is on track for a career-best year in terms of completion percentage (68.2) but is producing a lower yards per attempt rate (6.8) than ever before (aside from 2019 when he played just two games).

That highlights what has, so far, largely been an efficient but more conservative approach from Big Ben than we have been used to seeing.

However, after throwing one interception in the first five games of 2020, he was picked off three times in the dramatic victory over the Tennessee Titans last time out and now faces a formidable Ravens unit.

Including postseason games, Roethlisberger is 15-10 in his career against the Ravens. Though he is only 4-6 on the road, he did earn victories in his last two visits to Baltimore (2017, 2018), but the Ravens won the two 2019 games while he was out.

Big picture

With additional wildcard spots available this year, these two teams already look like locks to make the playoffs.

But this is a pivotal matchup in the battle for the division between teams who have combined to win 14 of 18 AFC North titles, as well as crucial for playoff seedings down the line.

The Steelers are 6-0 for the second time in team history and a win on Sunday would match the best start in franchise annals (the 1978 team started 7-0).

But the Ravens would love nothing more than to end that unbeaten start and are eager for a statement win after suffering their sole loss at the hands of Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, but the Baltimore Ravens will hope to stop them earning a slice of history.

For just the second time, the Steelers are 6-0 and victory at M&T Bank Stadium would see them match the franchise-best seven-game undefeated start set in 1978.

Games between these NFC North rivals are typically tight affairs, though. Since 2008, 14 of their 24 regular-season meetings have been decided by three points or fewer – the most of any matchup in that time frame – and the Ravens have won eight of those 14 nail-biters.

The Minnesota Vikings have the unenviable task of trying to stop an in-form Aaron Rodgers when they return from their bye week, while a significant milestone is in the offing for Travis Kelce.

We use Stats Perform data to preview the standout matchups on the Week 8 slate.
 

FEATURED GAME

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens – Sunday 1pm (all times Eastern)

- Lamar Jackson has been held under 200 passing yards in four consecutive starts, though the Ravens won three of those games. Jackson has completed less than 60 per cent of his attempts in three of his last four contests, dropping his season completion percentage to 63 – 26th among 32 qualifiers.

- Since 2000, the Steelers (226) and Ravens (210) rank second and fifth respectively in total victories (regular season and playoffs). The teams have combined to win 14 of 18 AFC North titles all-time, and, in 19 of the past 20 seasons, at least one of the two teams reached the postseason.

- After throwing one interception in the first five games of 2020, Ben Roethlisberger was picked off three times in last Sunday's victory at the Tennessee Titans. Including the postseason, Roethlisberger is 15-10 in his career against the Ravens – but only 4-6 on the road. However, he was triumphant on his past two visits to Baltimore (2017, 2018).

OTHER KEY GAMES

Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns – Sunday, 1pm

- The Browns' last-minute 37-34 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last week moved them to 5-2, giving them their best seven-game start to a season since re-joining the NFL in 1999. It is the fourth time since the merger that Cleveland has five or more wins through seven games (1977, 1993, 1994).

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers – Sunday, 1pm

- Rodgers had four touchdown passes and no interceptions in a 35-20 win against the Houston Texans last time out. His 17 TD passes this year matches a career high through six games of a season, along with his 2011 MVP campaign

New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, 1pm

- Kelce has 6,966 receiving yards in 103 career games. If he gets to 7,000 on Sunday, he would be the second-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach that mark, behind only Rob Gronkowski (100).

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears – Sunday, 4.25pm

- The Saints beat the Carolina Panthers 27-24 at home last week. Each of their past three games has resulted in a win by six points or fewer, just the third time they have ever had such a streak (three games across the 1990 and 1991 seasons; four games in 1988).

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks – Sunday, 4.25pm

- The Niners are averaging 7.0 yards per carry when rushing to the right (483 yards on 69 attempts), more than any team in any direction this season. They have a combined 479 yards on 122 carries to the left and up the middle

ELSEWHERE…

Los Angeles Rams at Miami Dolphins – Sunday, 1pm

- Tua Tagovailoa will be making his first career start on Sunday. The fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, he is the second highest-picked Alabama quarterback of all time (Harry Gilmer went first overall in 1948), and the second-highest QB ever selected by the Dolphins (Bob Griese went fourth overall in 1967).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants – Monday, 8.15pm

- With a 45-20 win over the Raiders last week, Tampa Bay have now had back-to-back wins of at least 25 points for the first time in franchise history (defeated Green Bay by 28 in Week 6). The Bucs had just two such wins over the previous seven seasons combined.

The Seattle Seahawks' flawless start to the NFL season came to an end in dramatic fashion against the Arizona Cardinals, while Tom Brady made history in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' crushing win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Arizona converted a field goal with only seconds remaining in overtime as the Cardinals completed a thrilling 37-34 comeback win over the previously unbeaten Seahawks on Sunday.

Brady surpassed New Orleans Saints counterpart Drew Brees for a league record, while Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers also won.

 

CARDINALS SOAR AS SEAHAWKS FALL

In one of the games of the season, the Cardinals triumphed thanks to Zane Gonzalez's field goal with 15 seconds remaining in Arizona.

The Seahawks – led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson – appeared on track to improve to 6-0, having led 27-17 at half-time and 34-24 heading into the final three minutes of regulation.

But the Cardinals rallied – Kyler Murray's eight-yard pass to Christian Kirk reducing the deficit to three points before Gonzalez converted a 44-yard field goal to force OT.

Gonzalez had the chance to settle the contest with a field goal early in OT but missed, however, the Cardinals kicker redeemed himself at the death.

Murray finished 34-of-48 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while Wilson was 33-of-50 for 388 yards, three TDs and as many interceptions.

In a remarkable showdown, Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf produced a sensational chase-down, delivering a touchdown-saving tackle on Budda Baker's 90-yard interception return in the second quarter.

 

RECORD-SETTING BRADY INSPIRES BUCS

Bucs quarterback Brady moved top of the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes after leading Tampa Bay to a 45-20 rout of the Raiders.

Brady replaced Brees for the most TD passes in league history with his throw to Tyler Johnson in the fourth quarter.

A six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady eclipsed Brees' record with his 559th career touchdown pass, one ahead of his Saints counterpart.

Brady completed 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions or sacks against the Raiders (3-3) as NFC South leaders the Buccaneers improved to 5-2 for the season.

Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller – who finished with 109 yards – Chris Godwin and Johnson all connected with Brady for TDs, while Raiders QB Derek Carr was 24-of-36 for 284 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and three sacks.

 

CHIEFS TAKE DOWN BRONCOS, 49ERS THRASH NEWTON'S PATS

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were too good for the Broncos, winning 43-16 on the road.

Played in snow, the Chiefs (6-1) led 24-9 at half-time and never looked back as they claimed their 10th consecutive victory over AFC West rivals the Broncos (2-4).

Mahomes extended his NFL-leading streak to 17 successive games with a touchdown throw, finishing 15-of-23 for 200 yards and a touchdown, while Le'Veon Bell impressed on debut after rushing for 39 yards on six carries.

It was a forgettable outing for Cam Newton and the New England Patriots, who were easily beaten 33-6 by the 49ers in Foxborough.

Newton – who was nine-of-15 for 98 yards – threw three interceptions and was replaced in the fourth quarter as the Patriots slumped to their third consecutive loss.

Former Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo enjoyed his return to New England, where the 49ers star was 20-of-25 for 277 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

"It was a cool week," Garoppolo said. "Just a lot of emotions, a lot of memories. Especially coming back here, seeing the same stadium, hearing the same songs they used to play, a lot of memories came back ... But it was a fun night.

"Couldn't imagine it going any better than this."

Meanwhile, Justin Herbert threw three touchdowns as the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 39-29.

 

Week 7 scores:

Philadelphia Eagles 22-21 New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 Tennessee Titans
Washington Football Team 25-3 Dallas Cowboys
Buffalo Bills 18-10 New York Jets
New Orleans Saints 27-24 Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers 35-20 Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns 37-34 Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit Lions 23-22 Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45-20 Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers 33-6 New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs 43-16 Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers 39-29 Jacksonville Jaguars
Arizona Cardinals 37-34 Seattle Seahawks (OT)

There was concern for Odell Beckham Jr. after he sustained a knee injury in the Cleveland Browns' tight win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Beckham had to be taken off in the first quarter following an injury as the Browns star tried to make a tackle after quarterback Baker Mayfield – who turned in a remarkable performance – threw an interception with his first pass, though Cleveland prevailed 37-34.

Elsewhere, the Pittsburgh Steelers came out on top in an NFL contest between two 5-0 teams, seeing off the Tennessee Titans 27-24 on Sunday.

 

CONCERN FOR BECKHAM BUT MAYFIELD SHINES

Mayfield went on to star for the Browns, but his first pass was a dreadful one, as he picked out the Bengals' Darius Phillips rather than wide receiver Beckham – it was the second game in succession that Cleveland's quarterback has seen his opening pass intercepted.

In an attempt to recover, Beckham lunged into a tackle, but ultimately suffered an injury which NFL sources suggest could be serious. The Bengals pounced on the pick with a drive that ended with a touchdown run for quarterback Joe Burrow.

Yet Mayfield – who came in for criticism after a poor display against the Steelers last week – overcame his bad start to run the show for the Bengals.

Having gone 0 for 5, Mayfield subsequently completed the next 22 of 23 attempted passes. His final throw was met brilliantly by Donovan People-Jones in the end zone, securing the win for the Browns with 15 seconds remaining.

It was a fifth touchdown throw of a frantic game for Mayfield, who said afterwards: "What criticism? What are you talking about?"

Cincinnati rookie Burrow was the other star performer, landing 35 of 47 passes for a season-high 406 yards and three touchdowns, but his team's defense was no match for a fired-up Mayfield, who finished with 297 yards and five touchdowns.

STEELERS STAY PERFECT THANKS TO GOSTOWKSI MISS

Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yard field goal with 19 seconds left on the clock as the Steelers held firm to secure a three-point triumph over the Titans, ending their opponents' winning start while preserving their perfect record.

Led by the excellent Ben Roethlisberger, who went 32 of 49 passing for 268 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, the Steelers started well.

An opening-drive touchdown snapped a 23-game streak without one and the Steelers kept up the momentum in the second quarter with Benny Snell going over.

Corey Davis responded for the Titans, though Chris Boswell nosed Pittsburgh further ahead before Roethlisberger picked out Diontae Johnson for their third touchdown.

Boswell converted a 30-yard field goal to make it 27-7 at the start of the third quarter, and those points proved vital as the Titans mounted a comeback.

With Derrick Henry – who finished on 75 running yards – racing into the end zone late on, the chance to level things up fell to kicker Gostkowski, only for the veteran campaigner to slice wide.

Pittsburgh (6-0) top the AFC North, with the Browns (5-2) in third and Bengals (1-5) fourth. 

COWBOYS ANOTHER QUARTERBACK DOWN AFTER HEAVY WASHINGTON DEFEAT

The Dallas Cowboys failed to overcome the third-quarter loss of quarterback Andy Dalton as they went down 25-3 to the Washington Football Team.

Dalton exited after taking a shot to the head, with Washington linebacker Jon Bostic ejected for the hit.

Dallas' back-up quarterback, making his second start in place of the injured Dak Prescott, was ruled out with concussion, and head coach Mike McCarthy was infuriated with how his team reacted to Dalton's injury, with no players confronting Bostic.

"We speak all the time about playing for one another, protecting one another. It definitely was not the response you would expect," McCarthy told reporters. 

The Cowboys and Washington are now tied on 2-5 in an open NFC East, which is topped by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Meanwhile, Drew Brees completed 29 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints beat the Carolina Panthers 27-24 to move top of the NFC South.

The Buffalo Bills claimed an 18-10 win over the struggling New York Jets, and the Green Bay Packers are now 5-1 after a convincing 35-20 victory against the Houston Texans, who have just one win to their name in 2020.

Also 1-6 are the Atlanta Falcons, who went down by one point to the Detroit Lions.

 

Week 7 scores:

Philadelphia Eagles 22-21 New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 Tennessee Titans
Washington Football Team 25-3 Dallas Cowboys
Buffalo Bills 18-10 New York Jets
New Orleans Saints 27-24 Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers 35-20 Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns 37-34 Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons 22-21 Detroit Lions

Two of the NFL's leading quarterbacks go head-to-head in Sunday's NFC West divisional match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks.

The 5-0 Seahawks are coming off a bye week and have QB Russell Wilson putting together an MVP year, although he has struggled against the Cardinals in the past.

Meanwhile, Kyler Murray is impressing in an Arizona team that beat Seattle when they last met in December 2019.

We use Stats Perform data to look at that game and the rest of the Week 7 slate.
 

FEATURE GAME

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals - Sunday, 8.20pm (all times Eastern)

- The Seahawks are 6-1 (.857) in games after a bye week since 2013, which is the best record in the NFL. The lone loss during this span came against the Cardinals in 2015 (39-32).

- Since 2018, Wilson is averaging 183.3 passing yards and has three passing touchdowns to one interception over four games against Arizona. Against all other opponents in this span, Wilson is averaging 252.3 passing yards and has an 82/14 TD-INT ratio (33 games).

- Murray completed a career-low nine passes in the win over the Cowboys, but still finished with 188 passing yards. The last player to rack up that many yards through the air on fewer than 10 completions was Brian Hoyer on October 12, 2014 (217 yards on eight completions versus Pittsburgh).

OTHER KEY GAMES

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans - Sunday, 1pm

- This is just the sixth game in the Super Bowl era between two teams entering the game at 5-0 or better. Each of the previous five were won by a team that went on to make the Super Bowl (1973 Vikings, 2004 Patriots, 2007 Patriots twice, 2015 Broncos). Both franchises are 5-0 for the second time in their history. Pittsburgh started 7-0 in 1978 and went on to go 14-2 and win the Super Bowl, while Tennessee were 10-0 in 2008.

San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots - Sunday, 4.25pm

- Sunday's game will be played 6,566 days since the last time the Patriots took the field on or after October 1 with a sub-.500 record. This last occurred on November 3, 2002, when New England travelled to Buffalo to face – just as this week, with the 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo – a former Patriots QB. They defeated Drew Bledsoe and the Bills 38-7.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos - Sunday, 4.25pm

- Patrick Mahomes is the third quarterback in NFL history to have at least 15 TD passes and no more than one interception over his team's first six games of a season, along with Aaron Rodgers in 2014 and Tom Brady in 2015.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders - Sunday, 4.05pm

- After going down 10-0 in the first quarter, Tampa Bay ripped off 38 unanswered points to defeat the Packers last week, the second-longest unanswered scoring run in franchise history. The longest came in a 41-0 win over Chicago back on September 10, 2000. Tampa Bay's defense held Green Bay QB Rodgers to a 35.4 passer rating in last week's win, the third-lowest of his career. The Buccaneers have now caused two of Rodgers' three career pick sixes after Jamel Dean took one to the house in the second quarter.

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams - Monday, 8.15pm

- The Bears improved to 5-1 with a 23-16 win over the Panthers in Week 6, their best start since going 5-1 in 2012. Chicago's average margin of victory is just 4.0 points this season compared to 19.4 points during the 2012 start.

ELSEWHERE...

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team - Sunday, 1pm

- Washington lost to the Giants 20-19 in the Meadowlands last week, their first one-point defeat since a 24-23 decision against the Cowboys in Week 16, 2013. Sunday was the eighth time since 2018 that Washington have had at least two fourth-down conversions, tied for third-most in the league (0-8 in those games).

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets - Sunday, 1pm

- The Jets are 0-6 for just the second time in franchise history after starting 0-6 in 1996 (finished 1-15). They rank last in scoring offense (12.5 PPG) and point differential (-18.3). That is their second-worst point differential through six games in franchise history ahead of the 1976 Jets (-20.3).

It was a day to forget for Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns who once again failed at the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Tennessee Titans remained unbeaten in the NFL after late drama on Sunday.

Both the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants finally remembered what it feels like to be on the winning team, but the New England Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos to slip to 2-3 and be under ,500 in October for the first time since 2002.

There was drama as the Tennessee Titans downed the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts moved to 4-2 thanks to a 31-27 triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals.


HURT MAYFIELD STRUGGLES AS STEELERS CONTINUE BROWNS DOMINANCE

The Steelers made it 17 straight wins over the Browns in Pittsburgh with a comprehensive 38-7 mauling of their AFC North rivals, during which the influence of Cleveland quarterback Mayfield was quelled.

Cleveland headed into the fixture on the back of a first four-game winning streak since 2009, but Mayfield – contending with a rib injury that limited his practice time – and the Browns offense never got going.

Mayfield was just two-of-seven passing for five yards with a sack and two picks on third downs, and was sat down for Case Keenum deep into the third quarter. In total he was sacked four times and intercepted twice in a bruising outing.

James Conner was impressive for Pittsburgh, finishing with 101 yards on 20 carries and scoring the Steelers' first offensive touchdown in the second quarter, which made the score 17-0.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 14 of 22 passes for 162 yards and throwing for a touchdown, while Chase Claypool and Benny Snell also scored rushing touchdowns on a great outing for the now 5-0 Steelers.

The Baltimore Ravens are second behind Pittsburgh in their division after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 30-28, and they have now scored 20-plus points in 29 straight games – the second-longest streak in NFL history.


FALCONS, GIANTS UP AND RUNNING

The Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after a 23-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers saw them slip to 0-5 for the season last week.

But under the leadership of interim coach Raheem Morris, the Falcons routed the Minnesota Vikings 40-23 at U.S. Bank Stadium for their first win of the season.

Julio Jones came back into the line-up and collected eight receptions for the return of 137 yards, while also celebrating his first two touchdowns of the season. Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, whose future in the team was called into question after a poor start, made 30 of 40 passes for 371 yards.

Joe Judge's first win as New York Giants coach came in vastly different circumstances, scraping past the Washington Football Team 20-19.

Washington missed when they opted to go for a two-point conversion with 36 seconds remaining, rather than take the kick for an extra point that would have taken a game riddled with errors into overtime.

It meant only the New York Jets - in action later in the day - had yet to win in the NFL this season.


HENRY, TITANS RALLY PAST TEXANS

The Titans stayed perfect at 5-0 following a dramatic finish to their 42-36 triumph over the Houston Texans.

It did not look like being the Titans' day given they had two turnovers, saw Stephen Gostkowski have a field goal blocked and fail with another, while Houston QB Deshaun Watson threw for four touchdown passes and the Titans defense gave up 335 yards in passing.

The last of those touchdown passes from Watson had Houston up by seven points with one minute and 50 seconds remaining but they crucially failed with a two-point conversion.

Ryan Tannehill consequently drove the Titans 76 yards and found A.J. Brown with a six-yard touchdown pass with only four seconds left to force overtime.

The brilliant Derrick Henry, who finished with 212 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving, then took a direct snap for a five-yard touchdown to win it three minutes and 30 seconds into overtime.

The Chicago Bears improved to 5-1 after defeating the Carolina Panthers 23-16.


Week 6 scores:

Tennessee Titans 42-36 Houston Texans
Baltimore Ravens 30-28 Philadelphia Eagles
Atlanta Falcons 40-23 Minnesota Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers 38-7 Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts 31-27 Cincinnati Bengals 
Detroit Lions 34-16 Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears 23-16 Carolina Panthers
New York Giants 20-19 Washington Football Team
Denver Broncos 18-12 New England Patriots

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers will renew their fiery rivalry in Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season. 

Although neither team were in playoff contention last year, things got ugly between the AFC North rivals in their first meeting of 2019 when a fight broke out and Myles Garrett hit Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. 

The mood in both camps will be upbeat heading into Sunday's game at Heinz Field, though, as they have been victorious in each of their past four outings. 

A meeting of Cleveland's top-ranked rushing attack and the Pittsburgh's second-ranked run defense promises to serve up quite the contest. 

The Steelers have limited two of their first four opponents to fewer than 30 yards on the ground and allow 64.0 yards per game, while the Browns' average in rushing yards per game is almost three times that figure. 

The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans are back in action after seeing games postponed by positive COVID-19 tests, while veteran quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady will go toe to toe in Tampa. 

We use Stats Perform data to look ahead to another mouthwatering schedule.


FEATURE GAME

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sunday, 1pm (all times Eastern)

- The Browns have scored 30 points in each of their past four games and their total of 150 in Weeks 2-5 were the most in the NFL. They lead the NFL in rushing (188.4 yards per game) and are fourth in stopping the run (87.0 yards per game).

- Pittsburgh are 4-0 for the first time since 1979 – the last Super Bowl-winning season of the Chuck Noll/Terry Bradshaw/Steel Curtain era. The season before that Pittsburgh started 7-0, also en route to the Lombardi Trophy.

- Ben Roethlisberger is 22-2-1 in 25 career starts versus the Browns, including 11-0 at Heinz Field. In addition, he came off the bench to pass for 379 yards in a home victory over Cleveland in 2015. He last faced the Browns in 2018, throwing four interceptions in two games.

OTHER KEY GAMES

Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers – Sunday, 1pm

- Teddy Bridgewater's 73.0 completion percentage ranks second in the NFL behind Derek Carr (73.1 percent). The all-time single-season high for a Carolina quarterback is 68.0 percent by Cam Newton in 2018 (minimum 10 attempts).

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles – Sunday, 1pm

- Baltimore improved to 4-1 with a 27-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The Ravens' +73-point differential leads the NFL and ranks second in franchise history through five games, behind only 2011 (+77).

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sunday, 4.25pm

- Rodgers and Brady have split their head-to-head matchups 1-1, with the latter taking the most recent one in Foxborough back in 2018 (31-17). However, Rodgers is in strong form this year – he is just the fourth quarterback in the past 70 years to throw for at least 13 touchdowns without an interception through the first four games of a season (2018 Patrick Mahomes, 2013 Peyton Manning, 1966 Don Meredith).

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers – Sunday, 8.20pm

- The Rams have nine rushing touchdowns this season, more than any other team in the NFL. Five different Rams players have run for a touchdown this season, with Darrell Henderson (3), Malcolm Brown (2) and Jared Goff (2) all doing so multiple times.

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills – Monday, 5pm

- Mahomes suffered just his eighth defeat in 36 regular-season games as a starting quarter back in Week 5. He’s bounced back well after the first seven defeats, going 5-2 and throwing 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions following losses.

ELSEWHERE…

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots – Sunday, 1pm

- The Pats are 2-2 and in danger of falling below .500 in October or later for the first time since 2002. Their streak of 225 consecutive games in October or later without being below .500 (either before or after the game) is the longest streak in NFL history.

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys – Monday, 8.15pm

- DeAndre Hopkins had six receptions for 131 yards in a 30-10 rout of the New York Jets in Week 5 and leads the NFL with 45 catches and 528 yards. Hopkins surpassed 9,000 career receiving yards in the win, becoming the fourth-youngest player in NFL history to do so at 28 years and 127 days old. Only Randy Moss (27 years, 310 days), Calvin Johnson (28-56) and Hopkins' team-mate Larry Fitzgerald (28 years, 81 days) got there at a younger age.

Another dramatic NFL Sunday saw Dak Prescott go down with a gruesome injury for the Dallas Cowboys as the Kansas City Chiefs suffered a shock loss.

Cowboys quarterback Prescott has made a fantastic start to the 2020 season but had to undergo surgery for an ankle fracture and dislocation after going down in the second half against the New York Giants.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs fell to AFC West rivals the Las Vegas Raiders, meaning there are only five undefeated teams left across the NFL, with one of those being the surging Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here we reflect on an entertaining Week 5 with a look at some of the best statistics from the 11 games played on Sunday prior to the Monday doubleheader and another game on Tuesday.
 

Mahomes in elite company despite loss

Super Bowl champions the Chiefs went down to an upset as the Raiders won 40-32 at Arrowhead Stadium, Derek Carr's team ending a seven-game losing streak against their divisional rivals.

It was the Chiefs' first loss for 14 games and the largest margin of defeat in Mahomes' young career.

While he only completed 22 of his 43 passes, Mahomes did rack up 340 yards through the air with two touchdowns and one interception.

He became only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach at least 20 games with 300 or more passing yards inside his first four seasons.

The only others to achieve the feat are Kurt Warner (26 games), Dan Marino (22) and Andrew Luck (21).

Mahomes' accomplishment is even more significant when you consider he started just one game in his rookie season, while this year – his fourth as a pro - is yet to even reach the halfway stage.

His teammate Tyreek Hill rushed for a touchdown against the Raiders and now has five career TDs on the ground to go with 36 receiving scores.

Aside from Hill, only the legendary Jerry Rice (197 receiving TDs and 10 rushing TDs) has got past both 35 and five respectively since 1970.

Claypool gives Steelers best start in 41 years

Chase Claypool produced an astonishing performance as the Steelers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-29, moving to 4-0 for the first time since 1979.

The second-round rookie out of Notre Dame exploded for four total touchdowns, three of which came through the air (seven catches for 110 yards).

He is the first rookie receiver since 1979 to score four TDs in a single game and only the third all-time after Jerry Butler (1979) and Harlon Hill (1954).

While Ben Roethlisberger has struck up an impressive connection with Claypool, the Steelers defense has been equally impressive.

Through four games they have registered at least three sacks and an interception in every outing (five sacks and two INTs against the Eagles). 

They are only the third franchise since 2000 to do that, after the Chicago Bears (2018) and Denver Broncos (who achieved the feat twice, doing so in the 2009 and 2016 seasons).

Career day for Kyler

The Arizona Cardinals bounced back from two straight losses with a comfortable 30-10 win at the struggling New York Jets.

It was a historic day for QB Kyler Murray, whose 380 yards passing represented a career high. He had one passing TD, one interception and an impressive passer rating of 103.4.

He also added a rushing TD to move on to five for the season. Only four QBs have ever scored at least five TDs on the ground through their team's first five games in a season, with Cam Newton (2011) the only other to do so since 1997.

Beckham already among the greats

Odell Beckham Jr. had five catches for 58 yards as the Cleveland Browns moved to 4-1 with a 32-23 home win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The former New York Giants wide receiver has now played in 80 NFL games and is setting a magnificent pace.

His 6,805 receiving yards rank third of any player in history through 80 games (behind only Lance Alworth and Julio Jones), while his 485 receptions put him third in that category too (Anquan Boldin and Jones).

Gurley still finding the endzone

Todd Gurley may not be playing at the level he was as Offensive Player of the Year with the Rams, but his 122 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers brought up a pretty impressive stat.

His TD for the Atlanta Falcons, who fired their head coach and general manager after a 23-16 defeat moved them to 0-5, was his 75th career score in 78 games.

Only three players have ever reached 75 TDs more quickly, and it is a group of Hall of Famers – Jim Brown (72 games), LaDainian Tomlinson (72) and Emmitt Smith (77).

Pittsburgh Steelers went 4-0 for the season as rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool ran in four touchdowns to inspire a thrilling 38-29 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The other unbeaten record on the line on Sunday tumbled, though, with the Las Vegas Raiders stunning the Kansas City Chiefs with a 40-32 victory.

Elsewhere, interim head coach Romeo Crennel got off to a winning start with the Houston Texans, while there was an emotional return for Alex Smith as Washington continued to struggle.

 

CHASE RUNS AWAY WITH IT

Pittsburgh's unblemished start – the first time they have gone 4-0 since 1979 – owes much to the burgeoning relationship between veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and breakout star Claypool.

A stunning outing began when he ran into the end zone for a two-yard score after a seven-minute drive in the first quarter before Roethlisberger found Claypool for a third-down completion and a 14-7 advantage.

Claypool also scored on the Steelers' first drive of the third quarter and Roethlisberger targeted the Canadian youngster 11 times. He did so tellingly with Pittsburgh holding a slender two-point lead in the closing minutes, allowing Claypool to conclude a stellar performance that featured seven receptions, 110 receiving yards and six rushing yards.

Kansas City found themselves on the wrong end of a typically high-scoring affair against the Raiders, who had five plays of at least 40 yards and made 490 yards overall in offense.

The game was in the balance at 24-24 at half-time but Patrick Mahomes threw his first interception of 2020 in the final quarter – Josh Jacobs ultimately the beneficiary with his second touchdown.

Derek Carr threw three TDs as Las Vegas improved to 3-2.

CRENNEL GETS HOUSTON ON THE BOARD

A 0-4 start saw Houston fire Bill O'Brien and install Crennel as the oldest head coach in NFL history.

He was 73 years and 115 days old on Sunday, but perhaps felt half his age as the Texans compiled a 30-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are now similarly 1-4.

Deshaun Watson threw two interceptions but had a solid outing overall, finding eight different catchers and completing 25 of 35 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns.

ALLEN RETURNS BUT WASHINGTON WOES CONTINUE

Already without Dwayne Haskins, Washington's problems at quarterback were compounded when Kyle Allen took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Los Angeles Rams' Jalen Ramsey.

It meant a return for Alex Smith, making a first NFL appearance for 693 days after recovering from a career-threatening compound leg facture in 2018.

The 36-year-old was understandably rusty, getting sacked by six times as the Rams ran out 30-10 winners.

Washington have now lost four consecutive games by 14 or more points – the first such slump by a franchise since 2001.

Joe Flacco coming in for injured signal caller Sam Darnold did nothing to lift the New York Jets from their malaise as a 30-10 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium saw them drop to 0-5.

The Cardinals' Kyler Murray passed for a career-high 380 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for a TD of his own.

Murray completed 27 of his 37 passes, including one of 37 yards for a DeAndre Hopkins touchdown. Hopkins racked up a game-high 131 yards and five other Cardinals players broke 30 receiving yards.

Flacco was 18 of 33 for 195 yards and a touchdown, while he was sacked twice.

Week 5 scores:

Los Angeles Rams 30-10 Washington
Pittsburgh Steelers 38-29 Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals 30-10 New York Jets
Las Vegas Raiders 40-32 Kansas City Chiefs
Carolina Panthers 23-16 Atlanta Falcons
Houston Texans 30-14 Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens​ 27-3 Cincinnati Bengals

An unstoppable force meets the immovable object in Week 5 of the NFL season as the Cleveland Browns host the Indianapolis Colts. 

Cleveland's offense has averaged over 200 rushing yards a game through the campaign's first quarter, while the Colts defense has been among the best run-stuffers in the league so far. 

Two of the NFL's finest young receivers will look to grab the acclaim when the 4-0 Seattle Seahawks face the Minnesota Vikings, while the Washington Football Team and Houston Texans will hope a big change can reverse their fortunes. 

Here, we look at the NFL's latest slate using Stats Perform Data.

 

FEATURE GAME

Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns - Sunday 4.25pm (All times Eastern)

- Colts QB Philip Rivers enters the matchup with 4,996 career completions and he will almost certainly become the fifth player to complete 5,000 passes on Sunday. In the last 60 seasons, only three other quarterbacks have completed a higher percentage of their attempts through four games with a new team than Rivers' 72.7 per cent – that list includes Matt Schaub (74.0 per cent, 2007 Houston Texans), Teddy Bridgewater (73.0 per cent, 2020 Carolina Panthers), and Mark Herrmann (73.0 per cent, 1985 San Diego Chargers). 

- The Colts allowed just 28 rushing yards in their Week 4 win over the Chicago Bears, their fewest since Week 3 of 2009 (24 rushing yards versus the Arizona Cardinals). They have allowed just 945 total yards this season, their fewest through four games since holding opponents to 575 yards through the first four games of 1971.

- The Browns trio of Kareem Hunt (five TDs), Odell Beckham Jr. (four TDs), and Nick Chubb (four TDs) are the fifth trio of team-mates to each score four touchdowns in the first four games of the season. They are the first to do so since the 2013 Denver Broncos group of Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas.

OTHER KEY GAMES

Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans - Tuesday, 7pm 

- Buffalo have recorded 21 plays of at least 20 yards this season, second-most in the NFL behind only the Dallas Cowboys (23). Tennessee have an NFL-low nine plays of 20-plus yards this season, though neither the Titans nor the Bills have a single 20-yard running play this season. 

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks - Sunday, 9.20pm 

- Ascending Seahawks star D.K. Metcalf leads the NFL in yards per catch (25.2 - minimum 10 receptions) and catches for 25-plus yards this season (seven). Justin Jefferson, a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings, ranks second in both these categories (21.8 average, 6 catches of 25-plus yards). 

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs - Sunday, 1pm

- Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (1,526) and Raiders tight end Darren Waller (1,392) rank first and second in receiving yards for players at their position since 2019. Kelce's 845 career receiving yards against the Raiders are the most among active players at any position.

Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sunday, 1pm

- The Steelers are looking for their first 4-0 start since 1979. Their current streak of 40 consecutive seasons without a 4-0 start is tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history behind a 48-year streak by the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1960-2007.

Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints - Monday, 9.15pm

- Ahead of meeting the Justin Herbert-led Chargers, New Orleans QB Drew Brees has a 20-10 record when facing off against first-year quarterbacks, including wins in each of the last five such games. In those wins, Brees has a 75.8 completion percentage and has a 12-1 TD-INT ratio.

ELSEWHERE...

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans - Sunday, 1pm

- The Texans fired Bill O'Brien this week. He was the seventh coach in NFL history to be replaced following back-to-back 10-win seasons with a team, though the first to be replaced after four or fewer games. O’Brien's replacement, Romeo Crennel, will be the oldest head coach in NFL history (73 years and 115 days on Sunday).

Los Angeles Rams at Washington Football Team - Sunday, 1pm

- Washington, who will have Kyle Allen starting at QB after benching Dwayne Haskins, have now lost three straight games by at least 14 points after a 31-17 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. The last time the franchise lost four straight games by at least 14 points was in 2001.

The NFL season is entering its second quarter but, even if you started your fantasy campaign 0-4, there is still reason for hope of a turnaround. 

It is early enough in the year to mount a revival, albeit for those owners looking to recover from a poor start, nailing roster construction is paramount. 

There will also be additional challenges from this week onwards with regular bye weeks, meaning a strong set of options on the bench will be crucial. 

Ahead of Week 5, we pick out at five players who have the potential to score big and should be firmly in your consideration as starters. 

QB: Teddy Bridgewater - Carolina Panthers

Save for the postponement of the Tennessee Titans' game with the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, it is the first round of games where teams will be on bye. 

That means many fantasy owners will be on the lookout for quarterback fill-ins - and Bridgewater stands out as a leading candidate. 

Bridgewater threw for 276 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 4 win over the Arizona Cardinals, which also saw him run for another score, his efforts good enough for 27.2 fantasy points. 

This week, Bridgewater faces an Atlanta Falcons defense surrendering 341.5 passing yards a game. The odds are in favour of Bridgewater logging his third successive start against an NFC South opponent with over 300 passing yards.

RB: Jerick McKinnon - San Francisco 49ers

With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sidelined, McKinnon has taken on the lead role in the San Francisco backfield. 

His production has not been efficient as the Niners have found it tough sledding on the ground in recent weeks. However, he has a touchdown in all four games this season and is a featured part of the passing game. 

McKinnon is averaging 16.6 fantasy points a game in points per reception leagues and should continue his strong start to the season against a Miami Dolphins defense that has already conceded seven rushing touchdowns. 

WR: Will Fuller - Houston Texans

Will the Texans finally get a win following the dismissal of Bill O'Brien as head coach and general manager? If they do, Fuller should play a considerable role. 

The speedy but oft-injured receiver had six catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in last week's defeat to the Minnesota Vikings and has five catches in two of his last three meetings with this week's opponents, the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Jacksonville is surrendering 6.2 yards per play, making the Jaguars' defense ripe for the picking. 

TE: Eric Ebron - Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers will have watched 49ers star tight end George Kittle pick on the Philadelphia Eagles' linebackers and safeties last Sunday to the tune of 15 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. 

Ebron is not the same dynamic threat as Kittle to opposing teams, but he had five catches for 52 yards and a score in the Week 3 meeting with the Texans and will have the benefit of a week's rest. 

His 17 receiving touchdowns are tied for the most among tight ends since 2018 and Ebron, who has 12 targets in his last two games, is primed to play a key role on offense as the Steelers aim to move to 4-0.

D/ST: Los Angeles Rams

The most challenging aspect of the Rams' matchup with the Washington Football Team may be the cross-country travel.

This is a perfect set up for a Rams defense that already has 12 sacks and six takeaways this season.

Washington's tally of eight turnovers is tied for the second-most in the NFL and, after benching Dwayne Haskins, they are turning to a quarterback in Kyle Allen who had 16 interceptions in 12 starts for the Panthers last year.

That is a recipe for a huge day for Aaron Donald and Co.

The Tennessee Titans will now face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7 after Sunday's game was postponed due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases.

The matchup was set to be pushed back from Sunday to Monday or Tuesday after the Titans confirmed three players and five personnel staff had contracted COVID-19.

However, the matchup was then removed from the Week 4 schedule following three further positive tests for Tennessee, two players and one among the staff.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Friday that another two Titans players had tested positive.

With Week 4 now serving as a bye week for the Titans and Steelers, the NFL confirmed the adjustments to the schedule.

Pittsburgh will visit Tennessee on October 25, with the Titans' scheduled Week 7 clash with the Baltimore Ravens on that date moving to Week 8 and taking place on November 1.

Baltimore's bye week will move up from Week 8 to Week 7 as a consequence of the changes.

Both Tennessee and Pittsburgh are 3-0 through the first three games of the season.

 

The Week 4 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans will be played later in the NFL season following further positive coronavirus tests.

The game was pushed back from Sunday to Monday or Tuesday after the Titans confirmed three players and five personnel staff had contracted COVID-19.

However, following two further positive tests in the Tennessee camp, one for a player and one among the staff, the teams will now meet later in the season.

An NFL statement released on Thursday read: "The Pittsburgh-Tennessee game scheduled for Week 4 will be rescheduled to later this season after one additional Titans player and one personnel member tested positive for COVID-19 today. An announcement of the new game date will be made shortly.

"The decision to postpone the game was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel.

"The Titans facility will remain closed and the team will continue to have no in-person activities until further notice."

Though the entire NFL preseason slate was scrapped this year, this is the first instance of a regular-season game being postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.

The Titans and Steelers have both started 3-0, two of seven NFL teams yet to lose a game through three weeks.

The NFL has confirmed the Week 4 game between Tennessee and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Nissan Stadium has been postponed after multiple Titans players tested positive for coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Titans confirmed three players and five personnel staff had contracted COVID-19, while NFL Network reported another player had tested positive on Wednesday.

An NFL statement read: "The Steelers-Titans game, originally scheduled for Sunday at 1pm ET, will be rescheduled to allow additional time for further daily COVID-19 testing and to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game-day personnel.

"Details on the new game date and time on either Monday or Tuesday will be announced as soon as possible".

Though the entire NFL preseason slate was scrapped this year, this is the first instance of a regular season game being postponed because of the COVID crisis.

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