A nightmare for defensive coordinators
In what could be the most exciting matchup of the season, Houston’s Deshaun Watson will trade magic acts with Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. Jackson has 702 yards rushing, a 6.6 average, a long of 47 and six rushing touchdowns. Watson has a 5.4-yard rushing average, a long of 30 and five rushing touchdowns. And, oh yeah, Watson and Jackson rank fourth and ninth in passer rating, respectively. Watson (107.1) has 18 TDs and five interceptions. Jackson (101.7) has 15 TDs and five interceptions.
Which Whodat team will show up
The Saints (7-2) still hold the NFC’s No. 3 seed, but their charmed six-game tap dance through the minefield of losing Drew Brees, getting him back and not looking rusty ended when they lost 26-9 while giving up six sacks to the woeful Falcons at home following a bye week. Next up is a trip to Tampa Bay. The Saints beat the Bucs 31-24 at home on Oct. 6 in backup Teddy Bridgewater’s third of five wins this season.
Super Bowl LII rematch in Philly
New England is on to Philadelphia and a rematch of their Super Bowl LII loss at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Patriots started 8-0 with a defense that allowed four touchdowns. Now, they’re 8-1 and coming off a bye week after giving up four offensive TDs in a loss at Baltimore. Since winning their opener, the up-and-down Eagles have lost two, won two, lost two and won two.
100 NFL seasons: a look back at 1959
Aug. 14, 1959: On this date, 167 days before the Vikings were founded as an NFL team, a minor league baseball owner named Bob Howsam brought professional football to Denver. The Broncos would play in the upstart American Football League set to begin in 1960.
Their head coach, Frank Filchock, had played in the NFL. He also had been suspended by the league from 1947-50 as part of the betting scandal involving the 1946 NFL Championship Game.
On Sept. 9, 1960, Filchock and his Broncos beat the Boston Patriots 13-10 at Boston University’s Nickerson Field in the first AFL game ever played. Former Gophers great Bob McNamara — a kick returner, running back, flanker and defensive back — played in that game, returning two kicks for 40 yards, and was a Bronco through the 1961 season.
Denver almost lost its franchise before the AFL-NFL merger a decade later. The Broncos went 39-97-4 while in the AFL. They were the only charter member of the AFL not to have a winning season or play in a title game.
Upset of the week
The Dolphins being only a 6½-point underdog at home to a Bills team that beat them by 10 four weeks ago is a sign of the late-season life that’s ruined management’s plans for the first overall draft pick. Since that first meeting, the Bills have lost two of three, last week at Cleveland. Miami has won two straight, including last week at Indy.
Pick: Dolphins 28, Bills 23. Last week: Seahawks 23, 49ers 21. Result: Seahawks 27, 49ers 21 OT. Record: 4-6.