Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said he wishes "good friend" Odell Beckham Jr. well after the NFL franchise won for the first time since the split.

The Browns released star wide receiver Beckham Jr. on Friday, having been excused from practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

That came after both his father, Odell Beckham Sr., and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James complained on social media about Beckham Jr.'s lack of involvement in the Browns' offense.

Beckham Sr. posted a lengthy video on Instagram showing a number of occasions on which Mayfield failed to find his team-mate.

On Sunday, without three-time Pro Bowler Beckham Jr., the Browns routed the Cincinnati Bengals 41-16.

"I wish him well, I really do. My feelings haven't changed," Mayfield said of Beckham Jr.

"From a personal standpoint, he's a good friend of mine. ... But I'm worried about the guys in our locker room.

"I'm proud of these guys, how they were able to focus up despite all the bulls*** that was going on this week and how they were able to do their job. We're going to see if we can build on it and continue to get better."

Beckham Jr. is set to go on waivers on Monday and Mayfield added: "We still haven't talked. But that doesn't change things. I wish him well. I wish him the best in his career."

Mayfield completed 14 of his 21 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns without an interception as the Browns improved to 5-4.

"We needed that win. Our whole locker room needed it. And they knew that. Played for each other," Mayfield said. "I trust the guys in this locker room.

"When adversity hit, nobody flinched. It was a long week. I'd be lying if I said otherwise. But proud of these guys."

Baker Mayfield threw a 60-yard touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones as the Cleveland Browns won without Odell Beckham Jr in Week 9, although Joe Burrow contributed to the Cincinnati Bengals' 41-16 defeat.

The Browns made the short trip to Cincinnati with Peoples-Jones back from a groin injury and in the lineup after fellow receiver Beckham was released at the end of a week that began with his father criticising quarterback Mayfield.

Beckham had underwhelmed this year since his return to fitness and his absence certainly was not felt on Sunday as Cleveland moved to 5-4 in a big AFC North matchup.

Before Mayfield came to the fore, though, Burrow endured a miserable start. Moments after a penalty reprieve when he was sacked on third and goal, the Bengals QB threw straight to Browns cornerback Denzel Ward on the goal line, covering Ja'Marr Chase and racing away for a 99-yard defensive TD.

Joe Mixon replied with the first of his two rushing scores, but Nick Chubb battled through contact to finish Cleveland's first drive with a TD, which Peoples-Jones added to as he caught Mayfield's first target to a wideout.

Long scores were the name of the day for the Browns, as Chubb's second saw him go 70 yards to score in the third quarter.

Burrow, who had scored three TDs in each of his previous three games, tying a Bengals record, was then picked off again throwing to Chase – this time by John Johnson III. Chase had earlier fumbled for a turnover of his own on a miserable day for two of Cincinnati's offensive stars.

Mayfield finished with 218 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 14-of-21 passing. His second TD pass to David Njoku was set up by another throw to Peoples-Jones, who had 86 yards on just two catches.

Big upsets for Boys and Bills

The Dallas Cowboys had not lost since Week 1 but have a miserable record against the Denver Broncos, who had won the teams' past six meetings – their best ever run against a single opponent and the Cowboys' worst such streak. And six became seven as the Broncos won 30-16 in Dallas, holding their hosts scoreless until the fourth quarter despite Dak Prescott's return.

The Buffalo Bills also suffered a shock defeat as they went down 9-6 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game of zero touchdowns. Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen picked, sacked and recovered a fumble from his namesake, Bills QB Josh Allen.

However, the Baltimore Ravens survived a scare, as Lamar Jackson led them back from 17-3 down to make overtime, where Justin Tucker clinched a 34-31 win. Jackson is now 12-0 as a starter against NFC opponents.

Darnold spooked again

Sam Darnold said he was "seeing ghosts" when he threw four interceptions for the New York Jets against the New England Patriots in 2019, and Bill Belichick's defense has continued to spook the quarterback. He had three picks with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and now has nine in just four career starts against New England, all four of which the Pats have won.

New England are hot on the heels of the Bills now, while AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins snapped their seven-game losing run against the Houston Texans despite Tua Tagovailoa sitting out with a finger issue.

The Carolina Panthers activated star running back Christian McCaffrey from injured reserve, the NFL franchise announced on Saturday.

McCaffrey has missed five games, sidelined since Week 3 due to a hamstring injury.

The 2019 first-team All-Pro, who was designated to return earlier this week, is eligible for Sunday's showdown with the New England Patriots.

However, McCaffrey is no guarantee to play as the Panthers prepare to evaluate the 25-year-old on the day of the game.

McCaffrey has 201 yards and a touchdown in three appearances for the Panthers (4-4) this season.

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold was also cleared from concussion protocol, though he continues to deal with a shoulder injury.

The Panthers are 4-2 in six regular-season games against the Patriots (including wins in the last two games, in 2013 and 2017), but New England beat Carolina 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII (February 2004) – the only postseason game between these teams.

Carolina had 47 rushing attempts (for 203 yards) in their win against the Atlanta Falcons last week. It was the fourth-highest single-game total in Panthers history and their highest since 2009, per Stats Perform.

Darnold has lost each of his three career starts against the Patriots (one in each of the past three seasons), all with the New York Jets. The aggregate score for those three games is 99-17. He threw six interceptions with one touchdown pass in those games.

It is the one question that has dominated the 2021 NFL season: what is wrong with the Kansas City Chiefs?

The Chiefs, expected to return to juggernaut status after completely remodelling their offensive line in the wake of their blowout Super Bowl loss, have lurched from one unconvincing performance to another this campaign.

They sit at 4-4 heading into a matchup with the 7-1 Green Bay Packers that has lost a significant amount of its prestige due to Aaron Rodgers being ruled out after testing positive for coronavirus.

A 20-17 victory over the New York Giants on Monday did nothing to calm concerns about Kansas City and this weekend's visit of Green Bay may provide the answer as to how broken this Chiefs team really is.

Heading into a clash that could play a critical role in determining the direction of the 2021 Chiefs, Stats Perform assesses whether a contender that has often looked more like a pretender is as broken as many believe.

Explosives in short supply

The offense was expected to be at its devastating best in 2021 following the reconstruction of the offensive line.

That has not come to pass. The Chiefs have moved the ball efficiently for the most part of the season, they are ninth in yards per play with 5.99, but have seen turnovers continually undermine their production, which has tailed off to 4.84 yards per play over the last two weeks.

Patrick Mahomes has thrown a league-leading 10 interceptions, though a deeper dive into his performances this year strongly indicates he should not have thrown anything close to that number.

Indeed, Mahomes has delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 80.5 per cent of his passes this season, down from 81.1 in 2019 but significantly up from 76.7 in 2020, while his pickable pass percentage of 1.99 is the seventh-best among quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts.

Mahomes has thrown six turnover-worthy balls in 2021 with those numbers reflective of a series of accurate passes that have clanked off the hands of his receivers and into the arms of grateful defenders.

Does that mean the receiving corps is to blame for the Chiefs' struggles?

Not necessarily.

Star wideout Tyreek Hill has been credited with five drops and has played a part in some of those Mahomes' interceptions but the speedster is still consistently creating separation.

Hill has produced a burn, which is where a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 71.9 per cent of his targets. That is well above average among receivers (minimum five targets) of 61.1. With his 3.0 burn yards per route superior to the league-wide average of 2.3 for his position, Hill is still a huge problem for opposing defenders along with tight end Travis Kelce.

The metrics suggest Kelce's play has tailed off a little. His burn percentage has dropped from 72.3 in 2020 to 67.6 this year and he is putting up 2.6 burn yards per route compared to 3.1 last year. He is still on the right side of the ledger in each of those categories, however.

Where there has been a clear drop-off from Kansas City's chief offensive weapons, is in explosive plays.

Hill delivered a big play on 35.6 per cent of his targets last season but is doing so 23.8 per cent of the time this year, comfortably below the league average of 29.1 for receivers. Kelce's dip is less dramatic, going from a big play rate of 36 per cent in 2020 to 28.9 in 2021.

That is compounded by the lack of depth the Chiefs have at receiver. Their investment in Mecole Hardman as a second-round pick in 2019 continues to look ill-advised. He is averaging a disappointing 1.7 burn yards per route while Demarcus Robinson (0.8) has also struggled when it comes to creating clear separation.

Byron Pringle is third among receivers with at least 10 targets with a big-play rate of 49.8 but with a relatively small sample size of 22 targets. He has a strong case for a greater role in a Chiefs offense that is turning the ball over and getting a declining rate of explosive plays from its top weapons.

And yet it is still not their biggest problem.

Dismal defense

The Chiefs not living up to their extremely high standards would not be receiving the same level of scrutiny if Kansas City did not also possess the worst defense in the NFL.

That defense is allowing a league-high 6.43 yards per play, they are third-worst in the NFL against the pass (7.79) in that regard and fifth-worst (4.64) versus the run.

Kansas City's defense is one with problems in essentially every area. Their front has found it difficult to generate pressure, ranking 29th in pass rush win rate according to Stats Perform data.

Their issues in that regard forced their hand in trading for Melvin Ingram, who through seven games with the Steelers had a win rate of 30 per cent, above the average of 21.88 for edge rushers.

Yet there are also glaring concerns in the secondary.

Of the four Chiefs' cornerbacks to have been targeted at least 10 times, only Rashad Fenton (1.71) has a burn yards allowed per snap rate that is the right side of the league average of 1.97.

Perhaps an even bigger problem is the play of much-maligned safety Daniel Sorensen, who has given up a big play on 37.8 per cent of his targets, the third-highest rate among players at his position.

As such, Sorensen can expect to be attacked consistently by the Packers' offense, which should still have plenty of confidence of moving the ball despite Rodgers' absence.

All you need is Love?

The Packers have not been efficient, ranking a disappointing 20th in yards per play, but may have found a winning formula on the ground, having rushed for at least 100 yards in five of their last six games. 

Given the Chiefs' deficiencies in stopping the run, Kansas City can expect to see heavy doses of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.

Yet at some point, the Packers must put their faith in Rodgers' backup Jordan Love in his first start, providing Steve Spagnuolo's defense with cause for optimism.

In his final season at Utah State in 2019, Love delivered a well-thrown ball just 66.74 per cent of the time, putting him significantly shy of the average of 73.20 per cent for Power 5 and Group of 5 quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts. His pickable pass rate of 8.21 per cent was the third worst.

And he deteriorated under pressure, his well-throw rate dropping to 54.89 and his pickable pass percentage increasing to 12.03 when under duress.

With limited NFL experience to his name, the Chiefs will hope the accuracy issues and his troubles against pressure continue at the NFL level.

But the impact of any inability to deal with the pass rush from Love will not be felt if the Chiefs cannot drastically improve their success in defeating opposing pass protectors.

The Chiefs are clearly a long way short of their usual standards but, with Mahomes more accurate than in recent years and their top receivers still getting separation from defenders, to label them broken may be a stretch.

However, if they cannot get the job done in a high-profile matchup that has, at least on paper, drastically tilted in their favour due to the controversy surrounding Rodgers, then it will be a fitting adjective for a team long since associated with much more complimentary language.

After a turbulent week in Green Bay, Jordan Love said Friday he is healthy and ready to make his first NFL start Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Love became the last quarterback standing for the Packers after starter Aaron Rodgers and third-stringer Kurt Benkert tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week. Green Bay have since signed veteran Blake Bortles as insurance. 

A first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Love made his NFL debut in the team's season-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints after watching from the sidelines all of last season. 

The Packers have won seven in a row since that defeat and it will be up to Love to maintain that momentum against Patrick Mahomes and the defending AFC champions at Arrowhead Stadium. 

"I've been preparing myself for that moment and now's the time," Love told reporters Friday. 

"Obviously there's going to be some nerves there. There always is, walking out of the tunnel. The atmosphere is going to be rocking. But I have a lot of confidence in myself, a lot of confidence in this team, and those dudes are going to take care of me.

"We've had a great week of practice. Those dudes are attacking it, and they're giving me a lot of confidence to go out there and play my best, too."

Though he has no consequential game experience as a pro, Love – who turned 23 on Tuesday – got first-team reps throughout the offseason as Rodgers was absent amid a dispute over his future with the team. 

Head coach Matt LaFleur said he is looking forward to seeing what his presumptive quarterback of the future can do against the Chiefs. 

"I think he's come a long way, but by no means is he a finished product," LaFleur said. "It's going to be a great opportunity for him to get his feet wet for the first time in a meaningful game, being that it's the regular season.

"So it'll be a great learning experience for him, and I'm just excited for his opportunity."

Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are both game-time decisions for the Arizona Cardinals, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has confirmed.

Arizona travel to play NFC West rivals the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, looking to bounce back from suffering their first loss of the year against the Green Bay Packers.

Murray threw multiple picks and no touchdowns in a game for the first time in his career as Arizona lost 24-21 to the Packers, ending the only perfect record left in the NFL.

The Cardinals (7-1) could be without their starting quarterback and leading wide receiver on the road against the Niners.

Murray (ankle) and Hopkins (hamstring) both missed the open section of practice on Friday, having also not been involved on Wednesday or Thursday.

"He is progressing but we will see how he feels Sunday and go from there," Kingsbury said about Murray.

"I know he wants to play. He knows how important a divisional game is [but] we are not going to put him out there if he can't function.

"I don't know if [Hopkins] will go full speed or not."

Arizona (7-1) got a 17-10 win at home over San Francisco (3-4) this season, but that was the only game in which they have not scored at least 21 points this year. 

Murray has had a spectacular year so far, putting himself in the MVP conversation.

The third-year QB ranks second for completion percentage (72.7) and has 17 touchdown passes to seven interceptions, as well as a further three scores on the ground.

Murray's 24 passing plays of 25-plus yards are tied for the most in the NFL with Tom Brady, and he leads an efficient offense which has led him to the fourth-highest passer rating (110.4) in 2021.

Veteran backup Colt McCoy will play if Murray is unable to take the field.

Hopkins leads the team in catches (35) and receiving yards (486), but at 60.8 yards per game is operating well below his production from last season (87.9) amid his injury struggles.

The Cardinals also put wide receiver A.J. Green on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week.

The 49ers, meanwhile, beat the Bears 33-22 in Chicago last week, snapping a four-game losing streak and scoring their most points since a 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 1. 

In an unusual sequence of results since the start of last season, the Niners are 1-10 at home and 8-4 on the road. 

Releasing Odell Beckham Jr is "in the best interest of all parties", according to Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry.

The Browns confirmed on Friday that the wide receiver is poised to be released after being excused from practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

That came after both his father, Odell Beckham Sr, and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James complained on social media about Beckham's lack of involvement in the Browns' offense.

The situation appeared to have reached the point of no return, leading to reports Beckham would be released once he had signed a restructured contract for salary cap reasons.

When his release goes through, Beckham will go on waivers, where he can be claimed by another team. Should he clear waivers, he will be free to sign with any team of his choice.

Berry explained the move was coming only after long deliberation.

He said in a statement: "After careful consideration, internal discussions and conversations with Odell and his representation, we have determined that it is in the best interest of all parties that Odell no longer play for the Cleveland Browns.

"We appreciate all his efforts and contributions while in Cleveland, but it has just reached a point where it is best that we move forward as a team without Odell.

"We are finalising the process of granting Odell his release and we wish him well as he continues his career."

Beckham was traded to the Browns by the New York Giants in 2019, though he has failed to hit the heights expected during his time in Cleveland.

He finished his first season in Cleveland with 1,035 receiving yards, but the Browns missed out on the playoffs.

Beckham was sidelined with a torn ACL in 2020 as the Browns ended their postseason drought, reaching the Divisional Round, and he returned from that injury in Week 3 of this season.

So far this year, Beckham has made 17 catches for 232 yards for a Browns team that sit last in the AFC North at 4-4 as quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was seemingly the target of the ire of Beckham's father, has battled a torn labrum.

Despite his struggles in Cleveland, Beckham – a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time second-team All-Pro with the Giants – would seemingly have plenty of interest in his services.

He topped 1,000 yards in four of his five seasons with the Giants – most of 2017 was lost to an ankle injury – with Julio Jones (103.8) and Antonio Brown (100.6) the only wide receivers between 2014 and 2018 to average more yards per game than Beckham (92.8).

Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to be released by the Cleveland Browns, according to multiple reports.

Beckham was excused from practice on Wednesday and Thursday, with Tuesday having seen both his father, Odell Beckham Sr, and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James complain on social media about his lack of involvement in the Browns' offense.

And the situation appears to have reached the point of no return, with Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reporting the Browns plan to release him on Friday.

Adam Schefter of ESPN and NFL Network reported the Browns are working on a restructured deal with Beckham. Once that is finalised, he will be released and go on waivers, where he can be claimed by another team.

Should he clear waivers, he will be free to sign with any team of his choice.

According to Schefter, the Browns are attempting to convert Beckham's $14.5mlillion 2021 base salary into signing bonuses in an effort to save money.

Beckham was traded to the Browns by the New York Giants in 2019, though he has failed to hit the heights expected during his time in Cleveland.

He finished his first season in Cleveland with 1,035 receiving yards, but the Browns missed out on the playoffs.

Beckham was sidelined with a torn ACL in 2020 as the Browns ended their postseason drought, reaching the Divisional Round, and he returned from that injury in Week 3 of this season.

So far this year, Beckham has made 17 catches for 232 yards for a Browns team that sits last in the AFC North at 4-4 as quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was seemingly the target of the ire of Beckham's father, has battled a torn labrum.

Despite his struggles in Cleveland, Beckham - a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time second-team All-Pro with the Giants - would seemingly have plenty of interest in his services.

He topped 1,000 yards in four of his five seasons with the Giants - most of 2017 was lost to an ankle injury - with Julio Jones (103.8) and Antonio Brown (100.6) the only wide receivers between 2014 and 2018 to average more yards per game than Beckham (92.8).

The Green Bay Packers head into Week 9 with a 7-1 record, though coach Matt LaFleur will have to figure out a way past the Kansas City Chiefs without his star quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers – who has thrown for 1,894 yards and made 17 touchdown passes this season – will miss his first Packers game since 2017 after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Arizona Cardinals are also now at 7-1 after losing their unbeaten record with a defeat to the Packers last week, and will be looking to get back to winning ways against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Los Angeles Rams are the only other team in the NFL that sits at 7-1 going into Week 9, and are set for a fascinating contest with the 6-2 Tennessee Titans.

 

Green Bay Packers (7-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)

Overcoming Rodgers' absence will be no easy feat for Green Bay. Since the 37-year-old took over as the starter in 2008, the Packers are 133-64-1 with him, and 6-11-1 without.

The Packers knocked off the last unbeaten team in Week 8 with a 24-21 win at Arizona and are now on a seven-game winning streak, their longest within a single season since going 13-0 in 2011 on their way to a 15-1 record. Their only loss that season came in Kansas City.

The Chiefs hold a 7-4-1 record over Green Bay, but the Packers have won three of the last four meetings. They most recently played in Week 8 in 2019, with the Packers triumphing 31-24 at Arrowhead. Kansas City went 10-1 following that game on their way to winning the Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to that championship and since he took over as the starting quarterback in 2018, Kansas City have had just six games with 20 or fewer points, including the postseason. Three of those games have come this season (Weeks 5, 7 and 8).

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill had 12 receptions in the Chiefs' 20-17 win against the Giants on Monday, one shy of tying a career high (set in Week 12, 2020 at Tampa Bay). The Chiefs are 15-2 (regular and postseason) when Hill has at least eight receptions.

Arizona Cardinals (7-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (3-4)

This will be the second meeting in the NFC West for these two teams this season, with Arizona already enjoying a 17-10 home win over San Francisco in Week 5. It is, though, the only game in which the Cardinals have not scored at least 21 points this year. The Cardinals have won five of their last six road games against the Niners, with three of those wins coming by at least 10 points.

The 24 points scored against the Cardinals by the Packers in Week 8 in their first loss of the campaign was the second most allowed by Arizona this season (33 against Minnesota in Week 2). Their average of 17.3 points allowed per game ranks third in the NFL.

San Francisco beat the Chicago Bears 33-22 last week, breaking a four-game losing streak and scoring their most points since a 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Since the start of last season, the Niners are 1-10 at home and 8-4 on the road.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and ran for two touchdowns in Chicago. The only 49ers player with more passing yards in a game while also rushing for multiple scores is Steve Young, who had games with 355 yards (1994), 348 (1991) and 331 (1998).

Tennessee Titans (6-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (7-1)

Including their win in Super Bowl XXXIV, the Rams have an all-time record of 8-5 against the Titans/Oilers franchise. The Titans' last game at the Rams in southern California came in Week 9, 1990, which saw a 17-13 Rams win over the then-Oilers in Anaheim.

Tennessee beat the Indianapolis Colts 34-31 in overtime last Sunday. It was their third overtime game this year, tying the franchise record for most overtime games in a single season (1983).

The Rams, meanwhile, defeated the Houston Texans 38-22 after leading 38-0 heading into the fourth quarter. They are one of two teams (along with the Dallas Cowboys) to score at least 20 points in every game this season.

Cooper Kupp had 115 receiving yards and a touchdown in that win in Houston, his third straight 100-yard game. Kupp has 10 touchdown catches from the first eight games of the season, second in Rams history only to Elroy Hirsch (12 TDs in 1951).

Elsewhere...

The New England Patriots travel to Carolina to face the Panthers on Sunday, where Mac Jones is set to make history. The rookie quarterback has 1,997 passing yards in his eight games in the NFL so far. Drew Bledsoe currently holds the record for fewest games needed to reach 2,000 passing yards with the Patriots (11). Butch Songin and Tom Brady managed it in 12 games.

The Minnesota Vikings will be hoping to end Lamar Jackson's impressive record against NFC teams. The Baltimore Ravens quarterback is 11-0 all-time as a starter in those meets, throwing for 1,901 yards and 17 touchdowns while running for 995 yards with six scores. 

Despite differing seasons, it could be a close contest in Jacksonville. Including the playoffs, the Bills (5-2) and Jaguars (1-6) have split eight all-time encounters when the Jags are the home team, with both teams scoring exactly 161 points. 

A clash in the AFC North sees the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) host the Cleveland Browns (4-4), where Joe Burrow will be trying to become the first quarterback in Bengals history to throw three or more touchdown passes in four straight games. Andy Dalton also had three straight games of three or more TD passes in October 2013.

Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor led the way as the Indianapolis Colts beat the lowly New York Jets 45-30 in a high-scoring NFL matchup.

Colts quarterback Wentz threw three touchdowns and team-mate Taylor rushed for a pair of TDs to fuel the Colts to victory on Thursday.

The Colts (4-5) became the first team in the Super Bowl era to have 250-plus rushing yards, 250-plus passing yards, two or fewer penalties and no turnovers in a game, according to Stats Perform.

After the teams traded touchdowns in the opening quarter – Nyheim Hines' 34-yard rushing TD was cancelled out by the Elijah Moore-Mike White combination – the Colts powered clear in the second period.

Wentz flexed his muscles with a pair of TD passes to Jack Doyle and Michael Pittman Jr. after a 21-yard run from Taylor had put the Colts 14-7 ahead.

Entering the third quarter leading 28-10, another touchdown throw from Wentz – this time to Danny Pinter – and Taylor's blistering 78-yard rushing touchdown sent the red-hot Colts 42-10 clear.

Taylor became the first player with 100-plus scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in six straight single-season games since 2006.

The Jets (2-6) scored 13 unanswered points and 20 of the final 23 to make things interesting after Josh Johnson (27-of-41 passing for 317 yards, three TDs and an interception) replaced injured QB White (seven-of-11 passing for 95 yards and a touchdown) and tossed three touchdown passes of his own, but the Colts held on.

Matt Nagy is back with the Chicago Bears after the head coach cleared COVID-19 protocol ahead of the Week 9 showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Nagy was absent from last week's 33-22 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers following a positive coronavirus test, leaving special teams co-ordinator Chris Tabor in charge.

But after eight days in quarantine, Nagy is set to return to the sidelines for Monday's clash with the Steelers as the slumping Bears (3-5) seek to snap a three-game skid.

"We just had our walkthrough," Nagy said on Thursday. "It was great to be able to get outside to get back out there with them.

"I was cleared on Tuesday, so I was back in the office Tuesday morning. I was able to get back in here and get back to some quote-unquote normalcy. It was awesome seeing all the coaches and really just kind of getting back on track."

Chicago have been outscored by 72 points this season. That is the Bears' worst point differential through their first eight games of a season since 2000 (minus-92 points), per Stats Perform.

The Bears have won their last three games against the Steelers – the most recent of which was a 23-17 overtime victory in Week 3 of the 2017 season.

Chicago are 19-7-1 all-time against Pittsburgh, but that includes Bears wins in each of the teams' first 10 meetings, all before 1950.

"There's definite urgency, and I think that that's OK," Nagy said. "You need to have that … We have this game coming up and we have a bye and then you have eight games after that. But the only thing that matters is making sure that we get that win. The wins change everything.

"Look at the Steelers. They started out 1-3. Here they are 4-3. They've won three in a row. They fought through it. They probably have pretty good leaders, probably have guys that care about playing. And they don't point fingers, they don't blame, they're not negative. They're positive. We've got a positive room in there. The players are positive. They care.

"We want to start a different streak. Let's win one and then win another and continue to go and see where it leads. That's kind of the mindset that we have."

Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott said it is "safe to say" he will return from injury and start against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

A calf injury forced Prescott to miss last week's 20-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings, backup quarterback Cooper Rush sensationally fuelling the high-flying Cowboys.

After two weeks off to recover from a right calf strain, two-time Pro Bowler Prescott is now set to suit up to face the Broncos.

"Safe to say," Prescott told reporters on Thursday when asked if he would play on Sunday.

"I'm feeling good. Obviously I had two weeks to do a lot of rehab and recover, get everything that I needed to, the different modalities, and I feel good.

"Had two great days of practice and looking forward to Sunday."

The Cowboys (6-1) are averaging 40.3 points per game at home this season compared to 26.0 points per game on the road. Dallas have scored at least 36 points in five straight home games dating back to last season, according to Stats Perform.

In his first career NFL start, Rush threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, including a 73-yard touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson. The last Dallas quarterback to have a 70-yard TD pass in their first career NFL start was Roger Staubach in 1969.

The Green Bay Packers have been boosted by the return of star wide receiver Davante Adams from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Adams missed last week's 24-21 NFL win over the previously unbeaten Arizona Cardinals after testing positive for coronavirus on October 25.

The four-time Pro Bowler is now set to be available for Green Bay's showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, music to the ears of the Packers as reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers is sidelined due to COVID-19.

"It's great to see those guys," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said before Thursday's practice. "They were fired up to be back. It's a huge benefit to this team."

Adams leads the Packers (7-1) with 52 catches and 744 yards with three touchdowns this season.

The Packers are on a seven-game winning streak – their longest within a single season since opening the 2011 campaign 13-0 on their way to a 15-1 record. Their lone loss that season came in Kansas City, per Stats Perform.

Rodgers will miss his first game since the 2017 season when he broke his right clavicle. Since he took over as the starter in 2008, the Packers are 133-64-1 (67.4) with Rodgers, and 6-11-1 (36.1) without him.

The Packers have been at their best in the second quarter, posting an NFL-best -plus 36-point differential (scored 77, allowed 41). Kansas City's minus-40-point differential (scored 51, allowed 91) in the second quarter ranks 28th in the league, and is their worst mark in any quarter this year.

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