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Week Eight picks

The inability of referee Scott Green to properly apply the supposedly clear rule regarding going to the ground when making a catch not only cost the Vikings a win.  It also prevented me from extending to two my streak of victories over Rosenthal.

Yes, he beat me by one game in Week Seven, and the difference was the outcome of the Vikings-Packers game.

For the week, Rosenthal got 10 right and four wrong.  I was 9-5.

For the year, Rosenthal is 69-35.  I’m 65-39.

And though it pains me to type this (in part because I’ll never hear the end of it from him), Rosenthal currently has a better showing than all of the ESPN “experts,” including the Accuscore projections and the fan-based picks. 

Maybe he should apply for a job there.  They probably need someone with a sturdy shine box.

Broncos vs. 49ers in London

Florio’s take:  When the league picked this game to be the 2010 English export, it didn’t look like a bad choice.  The 49ers were viewed as the favorite to win the NFC West, and the Broncos were regarded as a middle-of-the-road team with the potential to improve.  Seven weeks into the season, the 49ers have only one win and the Broncos have two.  The decision to thrust quarterback Troy Smith into the starting lineup smacks of the desperation coach Mike Singletary surely is feeling, and even though Denver lost to one Bay Area team by 45 in Week Seven, Week Eight likely will bring a seventh loss for the Niners.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 30, 49ers 21.

Rosenthal’s take: The NFL should send teams to London earlier in the season, before they show how bad they really are.  The depleted Broncos defense gets worse every week, and the 49ers defense just made Matt Moore look like, well, Matt Moore from 2009.  This is a crossroads/gut check/insert cliché game for both coaches.  I trust Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton far more than Mike Singletary and Troy Smith.

Rosenthal’s pick: Broncos 31, 49ers 21.

Jaguars at Cowboys

Florio’s take:  Four prior games between these two teams have been decided by seven points or less.  Continuation of that trend would help Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio, even if the Jags lose.  One more 20-plus-point blowout (the Jaguars already have suffered four) could get Del Rio fired.  The return of David Garrard and the departure of Tony Romo could help, but probably not enough.  But at least the Jags will possibly lose by less than 20.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 27, Jaguars 17.

Rosenthal’s take:  Jon Kitna versus the Jaguars secondary.  The immobile quarterback versus the force that provides no resistance.  If I was a betting man, I’d stay far away from this one because both teams are about as trustworthy as Florio’s hairpiece.  At least the Jaguars seem like they care. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Jaguars 20, Cowboys 16.

Dolphins at Bengals

Florio’s take:  From 1978 through 2000, the Dolphins won nine straight games over the Bengals.  Cincinnati has won the last two, but they haven’t played since Bill Parcells put his thumbprint on the Dolphins.  More importantly, the game won’t be played in Miami, where the Fins are 0-3.  Though the Bengals found some punch on offense against the Falcons, the Dolphins are more talented, more desperate, and (after believing they got screwed against the Steelers) more feisty.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 24, Bengals 16.

Rosenthal’s take: Chad Henne has quietly improved all season, and he should do well against a Bengals secondary without Adam Jones and possibly Johnathan Joseph.  Carson Palmer is also playing better, but it seems to take a 21-point deficit to warm him up.  The Bengals defense is providing too many chances for failed comeback attempts.

Rosenthal’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bengals 21.

Bills at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  Some (I’m looking at you, Rosenthal) think that Bills coach Chan Gailey has something up his sleeve for his most recent former team.  Pointing to an unlikely strong showing by Buffalo’s offense against a complacent Ravens defense, Rosey thinks the Bills can give the Chiefs a run for their money.  Let’s see if Rosey puts his money where his mouth is.  Arrowhead Stadium has been a-rockin’; Gailey and his team would be wise to not go a-knockin’.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 31, Bills 14.

Rosenthal’s take:  I’m not sure people have really wrapped their mind around the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Bills racked up 514 yards on the Ravens.  514! The Harvard product is a joy to watch, with decisive, difficult throws often into tight windows.  He’s a great runner and seems to like contact.  And he has a red beard.  The Bills will keep losing most weeks because their defense is an embarrassment, but at least they’ll be fun to watch.

Rosenthal’s pick: Chiefs 34, Bills 31.

Redskins at Lions

Florio’s take:  For the third straight year, these two franchises meet in Detroit.  In 2008, the Redskins kept the Lions winless by only eight points.  In 2009, the Lions ended a 19-game losing streak with a win over the ‘Skins.  Assuming Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, back after suffering a shoulder injury in Week One, won’t throw four passes to DeAngelo Hall, the rested, ready, and confident (perhaps delusional) Lions should be able to get it done.  Last week’s meltdown by the Chicago offense concealed the fact that the Washington offense isn’t dramatically better, and the Lions look to be in line for their second win of the year.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 20, Redskins 13.

Rosenthal’s take: Signs the Lions have come a long way:  (1) they are still talking playoffs after a 1-5 start and it doesn’t seem completely insane; (2) they’ve outscored their opponents this year (thanks Rams!); (3) they are favored against a 4-3 Redskins team and I’d still give the points.

Rosenthal’s pick: Lions 24, Redskins 17.

Panthers at Rams

Florio’s take:  Like the other team that will contend for the NFC West crown, the Rams are tough at home and soft on the road.  This week, a win at home would pull the Rams to 4-4, and it would end a four-game losing streak against Carolina, a slide that began in St. Louis nearly seven years ago with a double-overtime loss to the eventual NFC Super Bowl representatives.  This time around, the Rams simply have the better team — which given the state of the Panthers isn’t really saying much.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 24, Panthers 13.

Rosenthal’s take: The Rams are winless on the road, so it’s good the league loaded them up with home games before a three-game road trip after Thanksgiving.  The Panthers finally found a passing game, which could make them a dangerous spoiler the rest of the way.  Every game for the Rams is dangerous because they aren’t that talented, but they’ve responded very well to losses this year.

Rosenthal’s pick: Rams 22, Panthers 20.

Packers at Jets

Florio’s take:  The Jets remain the hottest team in the NFL, with a swarming defense and a sufficiently competent offense.  Receiver Santonio Holmes had two extra weeks to hone his timing with quarterback Mark Sanchez, which should result in an even more souped-up passing attack.  The Packers aren’t remotely close to being Super Bowl ready, and without again getting a couple of gift calls on touchdown plays they can’t expect to win this one.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 27, Packers 20.

Rosenthal’s take: The Packers lost another linebacker for the season, while the Jets are fully healthy after their bye.  Revis Island is ready to re-open with tougher immigration laws and there’s a sense New York hasn’t played their best despite being 5-1.  All logic points to the Jets. (I’m sure Florio is taking his beloved Jets.)  All the more reason to take the Packers, who are ready to go on a run.

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 26, Jets 21.

Titans at Chargers

Florio’s take:  Vince Young likely will return for a Tennessee offense that did fairly well without him.  But the two Tennessee losses have come against teams that run a 3-4 defense, the preferred attack of the Chargers.  And the Charger

s have much more talent than their 2-5 record suggests.  Assuming that the late surge in Week Seven against the Patriots woke up the four-time defending AFC West champions, the Chargers will stay alive for at least another week.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 23, Titans 20.

Rosenthal’s take: The Titans have a knack for frustrating opponents and forcing them into mistakes.  The Chargers have a knack for frustrating their fans and making unforced errors.  The Titans lead the league in takeaways and have scored the most points off turnovers.  The Chargers have the most giveaways in the AFC.  Add it up, and Norv Turner’s head should explode sometime in the third quarter.

Rosenthal’s pick: Titans 26, Chargers 21.

Vikings at Patriots

Florio’s take:  Vikings coach Brad Childress has been talking lately.  A lot.  His words regarding the officiating in Sunday night’s loss to the Packers got him a $35,000 fine.  His barbs directed at the Patriots and Bill Belichick could get Chilly a butt-whipping on par with the 31-7 defeat his team absorbed from Belichick and company four years ago.  Brett Favre, who won’t play only if he can’t move, will be jumping on his “broke foot” when things go well, and he’ll be walking like John Wayne with hemorrhoids when things go poorly.  Count on plenty of Rooster Cogburn on Preparation H sightings.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Vikings 13. 

Rosenthal’s take:  After the Patriots released Lawyer Milloy then lost to the Bills 31-0 to open the 2003 season, ESPN’s Tom Jackson said the “Patriots hate their coach.”   Three weeks after New England traded Randy Moss to Minnesota, it’s the Vikings that seem to hate their coach.  The rest of the country hates Brett Favre, who seems to know it and wear it on his face during every depressing press conference.  This is the week Moss begins to realize how good he had it in Foxborough.  

Rosenthal’s pick: Patriots 24, Vikings 14.

Buccaneers at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  Bucs coach Raheem Morris thinks he has is the best team in the NFC.  Less than two years ago, the Cardinals actually were the best team in the NFC.  Though the Cardinals have looked horrible at times, the managed to take down at home a Saints team that thumped the Bucs in their own stadium.  And that’s good enough for me.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 24, Buccaneers 20.

Rosenthal’s take: The “best team in the NFC” isn’t favored in Arizona, where the Cardinals are 2-0 this season.  If the Bucs are to live up to Raheem Morris’ hype, this is a game they win going away.  Arizona’s passing game is a mess, while the running game isn’t much better.  It’s a miracle they are 3-3. Still, these teams are more similar than different.  And they’ll have the same record after this one.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cardinals 19, Bucs 14.

Seahawks at Raiders

Florio’s take:  Here’s the toughest call of the week.  Tony Dungy thinks the Seahawks are the best team in the NFC.  Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson thinks his team is the most talented in the entire NFL.  The Seahawks had been unable to win on the road before taking down the Bears two weeks ago.  Before a far=less-than-full stadium against a Raiders team buoyed by a 59-point uprising against the Broncos on Sunday, the Raiders likely will finish an unlikely ascension to .500 at the halfway point of the season.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 27, Seahawks 17.

Rosenthal’s take: Every time the Raiders win a game, they say they turned the corner.  Even though they haven’t won back-to-back games since 2008, I’m just crazy enough to believe them this time.  The Seahawks whole offensive gameplan seems to be “don’t throw interceptions” but they need a little more than that on the road.

Rosenthal’s pick: Raiders 23, Seahawks 16.

Steelers at Saints

Florio’s take:  At one point in September, it looked like this game would feature a clash of the best two teams in the league.  It remains half right, with the Steelers among the best of the bunch and the Saints sliding toward irrelevance.  Though the defending champs’ backs are being pushed against the wall, that 13-point loss to the Browns means the days of dominance have ended, at least for now.  A one-dimensional offense is no match for a multi-faceted Steelers defense, and this one could turn into a rout, which would mean the ratings will only double those from Game Four of the World Series.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 34, Saints 21.

Rosenthal’s take:  A lot of tough games to pick this week. I’ve debated this one for days, but the tiebreaker goes to the Steelers.  Even though Pittsburgh’s pass defense has looked shakier the last two weeks, New Orleans has struggled against far worse groups.  At some point, it’s worth recognizing the 2009 Saints passing attack just may not come back.

Rosenthal’s pick: Steelers 27, Saints 24.

Texans at Colts

Florio’s take:  The Texans obsessed over their Week One visit from the Colts, and it paid off.  Since then, the Texans have been roughly average.  They get another crack at the Colts on Monday night, at a time when plenty of Indy players are missing.  But as long as Peyton Manning remains healthy, the Colts will be tough to beat, especially at home.  Manning realizes the importance of not being swept by the Texans — and not falling to 0-3 in the division.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 33, Texans 27. 

Rosenthal’s take: Dallas Clark and Austin Collie will be missed, but I’m not really that worried about the Colts offense in this game. They have great depth and the Jeff George Colts could score 30 points on this awful Texans defense.  The bigger question is whether the Colts defense can snap out of their funk.  At home, in a huge division game, I’ll take my chances they make enough plays.

Rosenthal’s pick: Colts 38, Texans 31.

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Patriots hit big play to Brandon Bolden, of course

Tom Brady AP

It was one thing when Rob Gronkowski scored.

But when it’s Scott Chandler and Brandon Bolden, you can just tell it’s New England’s night.

Bolden just caught Tom Brady’s third touchdown pass of the night, giving the Patriots a 21-7 lead over the Broncos early in the fourth quarter.

Bolden got behind the Broncos coverage, and even though Brady didn’t hit him in stride, there was enough cushion for a 63-yard touchdown.

Bolden had caught five passes coming into the night, but it was his third for the game, as they struggle though injuries at the skill positions.

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Roethlisberger self-reported concussion symptoms

Ben Roethlisberger AP

So how did Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger end up in the locker room near the conclusion of Sunday’s loss at Seattle for a concussion evaluation? According to the team, Roethlisberger raised the issue himself.

According to the Steelers, Roethlisberger self-reported symptoms on the sideline late in the fourth quarter. The specific symptoms have not yet been identified.

It’s a significant development in the league’s effort to protect players from themselves, and it reflects tangible evidence of a culture change in the NFL. While some will scoff at Roethlisberger given his reputation for embellishing injuries, it’s a great example for players at the lower levels of the sport.

For decades, players who were having concussion-like symptoms kept their mouths shut. They shouldn’t, and maybe thanks to Roethlisberger’s example they won’t.

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Patriots-Texans Week 14 game flexed into prime time

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Getty Images

The Patriots will be back in prime time in two weeks, as the NFL has moved their date with the Texans into prime time.

The league announced today that the New England at Houston game on Sunday, December 13 that had previously been scheduled for a 1 p.m. Eastern kickoff has now been moved to NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The decision comes as the Texans continue to turn their season around and look like playoff contenders. Today’s win moved Houston to 6-5. The Patriots remain one of the league’s two undefeated teams, so the league is always happy to showcase them in prime time.

When the schedule first came out, the prime time game in Week 14 was supposed to be Seahawks at Ravens. But with Baltimore now 3-7, the league had to get that game out of prime time. That game is now at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, and a better game is in prime time.

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Broncos get run game going to keep it close

Brock Osweiler AP

So much of the talk has been about the quarterbacks playing or not playing, but getting a running game going was the key for the Broncos.

They cut the Patriots lead to 14-7, with Ronnie Hillman’s 19-yard touchdown bringing them back to within a score.

The snow is picking up in Denver and making it a little slick, so the Broncos just muscled out a 10-play, 77-yard drive.

It might not be an accident that it came with Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower getting his leg checked by trainers on the sidelines after limping off. He’s gone to the locker room to get his knee checked, and they’ve announced he’s questionable. And with the Patriots moving well through the air, it might be just what the Broncos need to slow things down and keep it close.

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Tannehill takes issue with Calvin Pryor for celebrating a Dolphins injury

Rishard Matthews AP

Sunday’s game between the Jets and Dolphins included a hit from New York safety Calvin Pryor on Miami receiver Rishard Matthews, which knocked Matthews out of the game with rib and chest injuries.

After the hit, Pryor celebrated. After the game, quarterback Ryan Tannehill took issue with Pryor’s celebration.

“I didn’t notice it honestly,” Tannehill told reporters after the game. “I was just worried about Rishard. I heard some guys talking about it on the sideline, that’s kind of classless move to celebrate while a guy’s injured. Obviously, it was a good hit, a clean hit, but to celebrate when a guy’s down it’s kind of a classless move.”

Pryor was asked only about whether his hit on Matthews set the tone for the Jets. “I would hope so,” Pryor said. “I think it’s trying to bring that energy to our defense and just [trying] to be a leader out there.”

Pryor thereafter took to Twitter to respond to Tannehill.

“I was definitely celebrating the great play I made,” Pryor said. “I would never celebrate someone getting injured during the game. C’mon now.”

Pryor also placed some of the blame for the injury on Tannehill.

Throw a better ball next time [Tannehill and your] teammate would’ve never got injured!!!” Pryor said. “Sorry if you felt I was classless at the moment.”

The real question is whether Pryor noticed Matthews was down when celebrating. Either way, the Dolphins and Tannehill have bigger problems than whether Pryor was celebrating at a time when maybe he shouldn’t have been.

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A pair of Broncos defenders carted off with injuries

T.J. Ward AP

The Broncos have a few problems at the moment, with a pair of defenders injured on the same play.

Safety T.J. Ward and defensive lineman Sylvester Williams left with apparent ankle injuries, with Ward not putting much weight on his foot as he was helped off. The team announced that both were questionable to return.

Both were carted to the locker room moments later, with Ward riding shotgun with Williams stretched out in the back.

David Bruton replaced Ward in the secondary, while Vance Williams came in for Williams.

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Quinn, Blank reiterate confidence in Matt Ryan

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Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan heard some loud boos on Sunday in the Georgia Dome. He didn’t hear them from his owner after the 20-10 loss to Minnesota.

He’s absolutely the competitor that I want,” coach Dan Quinn said after the game, per Vaughn McClure of “He’s what we look for and our team looks for the whole way. What we’ll go back and look at is, find out was there a decision that could be made that could be different. If there is in those scenarios, then we’ll find those and say, ‘Where else could you have gone with it?’ Those will be decisions that we look at. But for him, the competitor [and] the style of player that he is, we’re not backing off.”

Arthur Blank separately was asked whether he has confidence in Ryan.

“Absolutely,” Blank said, via McClure. “He’s demonstrated his abilities over eight years. He’ll be fine. He’ll be good.”

Many Falcons fans would say Ryan has been neither fine nor good in recent weeks, which has seen the Falcons go from 5-0 to 6-5.

“Am I worried about Matt?” Blank said. “I’m worried about Matt, and I’m worried about the team. We’re actually 1-5 in the last six games. We were off to a great start. But this unit will figure it out.”

They Falcons are running out of chances, and they’re running out of cushion. The Seahawks have now caught the Falcons in the standings, and the Buccaneers, Bears, Giants, and Washington are only a game behind at 5-6.

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Rob Gronkowski Gronks his way to the end zone for early lead

Rob Gronkowski AP

Other mortal quarterbacks might need wide receivers.

As long as Tom Brady has Rob Gronkowski, he should be OK.

The Patriots are out to a quick 7-0 lead over the Broncos, after a 23-yard touchdown. It was his 63rd career touchdown, moving him past Shannon Sharpe for third all-time among tight ends, trailing just Tony Gozalez (111) and Antonio Gates (101) on the all-time list. Gronkowski is 26.

The Patriots are without both Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola (among others), leaving them with the starting duo of Brandon LaFell and Keshawn Martin.

Despite that, the Broncos don’t (or didn’t) have multiple defenders draped all over the star tight end, who was able to slip one tackle and get to the end zone.

The Patriots have lost parts consistently over the course of the year, but there are certain constants, and Gronk doing Gronk things chief among them.

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Jimmy Graham tore his patellar tendon

Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham AP

The Seahawks outlasted the Steelers in a thriller on Sunday afternoon, but they lost tight end Jimmy Graham for the rest of the season along the way.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in his postgame press conference that Graham tore the patellar tendon in his right knee. Graham hurt his knee while trying to catch a Russell Wilson pass in the end zone early in a wild fourth quarter in Seattle.

The severity of the injury isn’t a big surprise as the team’s medical staff immediately immobilized Graham’s knee in an aircast before loading him on a cart to head to the locker room. Graham’s season is over and his availability for training camp and the start of next season will likely be in doubt well into next summer. As we saw with Victor Cruz this year, he’ll also have to watch for other injuries as he tries to make a complete recovery and get back onto the field.

The injury came during what might have been Graham’s best game with the team. He had four catches for 75 yards and the Seahawks passing offense had its best day overall as Russell Wilson spread the ball to seven receivers on his way to a season-best 345 yards and career-best five touchdowns.

Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet are the other tight ends on Seattle’s roster at the moment and they’ll be asked to do more the rest of the way with Graham out of the picture and a playoff berth in the team’s sights.

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Roethlisberger exits Seahawks game for concussion testing

Ben Roethlisberger AP

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made an unexpectedly early exit from Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks. As it turns out, Roethlisberger was being checked for a possible concussion.

So when did he suffer the possible concussion?

Via Ryan Glasspiegel of, the head injury may have happened during the fourth-quarter drive that culminated in the Steelers, who were down by five at that point, opting for a field goal on fourth and goal.

Roethslisberger took a clear blow to the head on a third-down play earlier in the drive, drawing a roughing the passer penalty. He remained in the game for a full nine plays after that.

After absorbing the illegal hit, Roethlisberger was face down for a couple of seconds. He then rolled over onto his back for several more seconds. After he was helped up by teammates, he seemed fine.

Roethlisberger may have said or done something after the drive to prompt the team to take the situation seriously, with a preliminary assessment on the sideline resulting in a decision to conduct a closer evaluation in the locker room.

The situation will be scrutinized given last week’s mishandling of Rams quarterback Case Keenum, but there was nothing glaring about Roethlisberger’s behavior after the play. The broader question is whether the league automatically should check a player for a concussion whenever he takes a clear and potent blow to the head.

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Broncos-Patriots can be seen on NBC Sports Live Extra

DENVER - NOVEMBER 28:  Wide receiver Ashley Lelie #85 of the Denver Broncos brings in a catch against cornerback Phillip Buchanon #31 of the Oakland Raiders on November 28, 2004 at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 25-24.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The excellent Dark Sky app tells me that light snow will be starting soon in Denver. And it will be great to see that on TV, during the Sunday Night Football game on NBC.

But you can still see it, even if you’re not near a TV.

The game between the 10-0 Patriots and 8-2 Broncos can be seen at NBC Sports Live Extra. You also can watch the game by downloading the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

Meanwhile, it would be another great night to check the PSI of the footballs at halftime; it’s currently 23 degrees and falling.

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Doug Baldwin’s third touchdown caps Seahawks victory

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 29:  Wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers at CenturyLink Field on November 29, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks and Steelers traded haymakers all afternoon in Seattle, but the Seahawks struck last and that made them winners when the clock ran out.

On third-and-9 from their 20 just before the two-minute warning, Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin crossing the field for a first down but Baldwin shook off Steelers tacklers as he turned upfield and sprinted for an 80-yard touchdown that put Seattle up 39-30 after Steve Hauschka’s extra point.

It was Baldwin’s third touchdown on a day when he caught six passes for 145 yards. It was also Wilson’s fifth touchdown pass of the day, setting a personal record and tying the franchise record. Wilson was 21-of-30 for 345 yards overall, marking the first time that he’s been over 300 yards this season and the Seahawks surely hope to see more of the same in the weeks to come.

The Seahawks also set a franchise record for passing yards allowed as Ben Roethlisberger rolled up 456 yards through the air on a day when both passing offenses were clicking. Roethlisberger wasn’t around for the final two minutes of the game, however. He went to the locker room shortly after Baldwin’s touchdown to be evaluated for a concussion.

All of the big plays made for a wild second half as the lead swung from the Steelers to the Seahawks back to Pittsburgh before the Seahawks took command for good. There were strange decisions, questionable officiating and a huge performance by Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton mixed in along the way, making for a long and entertaining ending to the afternoon’s contests.

Roethlisberger’s final play was a six-yard scramble from the Seattle 10-yard-line, after which Mike Tomlin elected to kick a field goal and give his defense a chance to get the ball back. They weren’t able to do it and a Landry Jones throw to Martavis Bryant down the sideline with 1:37 left was intercepted by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Tomlin will likely face questions about the decision to kick rather than go for it, especially after he eschewed three points in the first half in favor of having Jones pass out of what was initially a field goal alignment.

That pass was picked off, one of four Seattle interceptions on the day, and the Steelers are left to rue the missed opportunities on their flight back to Pittsburgh. They’ll host the Colts next Sunday night in a game that they’ll need to solidify their Wild Card chances.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, will take their 6-5 record to Minnesota for their own game with major playoff implications. The Cardinals win on Sunday means that the Wild Card remains their best chance of getting to the postseason, something they may need to pull off without the help of tight end Jimmy Graham after he was hurt on Sunday. If Wilson can keep putting up big numbers while the defense finds ways to take the ball away, their chances of doing it will look much stronger.

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Vikings mum on whether Irvin was recruited to help Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson AP

On Sunday morning, Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin said on NFL Network that he’d been asked by Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner to work during the past offseason with receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

After Sunday’s 20-10 win over the Falcons, coach Mike Zimmer was asked whether Irvin was the possible mentor Zimmer had mentioned at the end of the 2014 season.

“I don’t know,” Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I’ll leave that to Michael.’’

Tomasson also notes that he asked Patterson about Irvin’s comments, and that Patterson walked away without answering.

Irvin prefaced his remarks by suggesting that he possibly was “talking out of school.” Based on the reactions from Zimmer and Patterson, Irvin apparently was.

Patterson had no catches during the game. For the year, he has two.

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Roughing call helps Cardinals drive for late victory

Carson Palmer AP

The Cardinals drove 85 yards for the game-winning score Sunday, then sealed a 19-13 win at San Francisco with a defensive stand.

A controversial roughing the passer call on Quinton Dial on a second and 10 from the Cardinals’ 32 extended the winning drive, then Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald and J.J. Nelson on big passes to keep the Cardinals moving.

An 8-yard scramble by Palmer provided the winning touchdown with 2:28 left and capped a 14-play drive. The 49ers had tied the game late in the third quarter on a 33-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.

The 49ers got to the Cardinals’ 30 on their final drive before giving up a sack and then coming 2 yards short on fourth down.

Palmer was 24-of-40 for 271 yards. 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was 25-of-36 for 318 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

The Cardinals won in San Francisco for the first time since 2008. The Cardinals move to 9-2, while the 49ers fall to 3-8.

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Evan Mathis, Keshawn Martin active for Sunday night

Greg Toler, Keshawn Martin AP

We knew most of the big names that wouldn’t be playing for the Patriots and Broncos well before they handed in their list of inactives on Sunday evening, but there were some question marks lingering on both sides.

For the Patriots, wide receiver Keshawn Martin is active after being listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Martin will help fill in for the absences of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, both of whom were ruled out well ahead of kickoff. Linebacker Jamie Collins won’t play after being listed as doubtful as he returns from an illness.

Defensive lineman Trey Flowers, defensive back Justin Coleman, safety Jordan Richards and tight end Michael Williams round out the New England inactives.

Left guard Evan Mathis was also listed as questionable for the Broncos, but he’ll play despite an ankle injury. Max Garcia will start ahead of him, however. Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Christian Ponder are both inactive, leaving rookie Trevor Siemian as the backup to Brock Osweiler. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware, wide receiver Jordan Norwood, cornerback Lorenzo Doss, tight end Richard Gordon and offensive lineman Sam Brenner are also inactive.

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