Raiders’ Mack faces $814K fine as holdout lingers

Raiders’ Mack faces $814K fine as holdout lingers

Defensive end Khalil Mack will not report to the Oakland Raiders before Friday’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, triggering a $814,000 fine, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The fine schedule is dictated by the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Raiders’ officials consistently said they plans to re-sign Mack to a long-term deal as he enters the final year of his contract, but there have been no indications of progress, and Mack skipped all of the Raiders’ offseason workouts before failing to report to training camp in late July.

Mack, the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, will make $13.85 million this season in the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, after he earned $18.7 million through his first four seasons.

Pro Football Talk reported last month that some wonder if the Raiders are financially able to give Mack — who is likely seeking to exceed Von Miller’s six-year, $114 million deal that included $70 million guaranteed — the type of contract he wants.

The 27-year-old has 40.5 sacks, three Pro Bowl appearances and two first-team All-Pro nods in his career while starting all 64 games.

That concern relates less to the Raiders’ limited cap space (around $4.5 million, 26th in the NFL) than to the team’s fungible cash. An outdated rule in the collective bargaining agreement requires teams to put all guaranteed money for signed contracts in escrow, a rule that can limit team’s financial flexibility when it comes to blockbuster contracts. The Raiders gave quarterback Derek Carr more than $70 million guaranteed on an extension last June, and they owe the NFL a $378 million relocation fee for their expected move to Las Vegas.

Mack could be waiting for Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, to help define the market with his own contract extension. Whenever Donald signs, his contract is expected to be historic among NFL defenders.

–Field Level Media

Bengals’ message: Don’t lose your cool against the Steelers

CINCINNATI (AP) — Coach Marvin Lewis routinely shows his Bengals players video of egregious conduct from around the league as a way of trying to keep them in line. Exhibit A would be their game last December against the Steelers.

The Bengals were penalized 13 times for a club-record 173 yards during another

CINCINNATI (AP) — Coach Marvin Lewis routinely shows his Bengals players video of egregious conduct from around the league as a way of trying to keep them in line. Exhibit A would be their game last December against the Steelers.

The Bengals were penalized 13 times for a club-record 173 yards during another meltdown against Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers overcame a 17-point deficit with the help of Cincinnati’s damaging penalties, finishing off a 23-20 victory that was their sixth in the row in the series .

Penalties have figured prominently in the streak, including penalties on Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones that helped Pittsburgh pull out an 18-16 playoff victory in the 2015 season.

“We can’t have any dumb penalties, any outbursts, anything like that,” cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. “We’ve got to stay focused. It’s Pittsburgh week. Everybody’s going to be hyped up, ramped up.”

The AFC North rivalry has big implications for a mid-October game. The Bengals (4-1) are off to their best start since 2015, when they won the division, and could put some distance between themselves and the Steelers (2-2-1) . A loss would essentially even things up. The teams end the season with a game at Heinz Field.

For the Bengals, it’s about keeping their cool when tensions escalate.

“Every game I’ve been in against the Steelers, there’s been some type of aggressive hits or something dirty going on,” said receiver Tyler Boyd, who has played against his hometown team three times. “You can’t go out and play scared. You can’t go play frightened. You’ve just got to go out and hit. It’s hit or be hit.”

The Monday night game last December included nine major penalties and led to two suspensions.

William Jackson got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty; Geno Atkins was flagged for roughing the passer; A.J. Green and Clayton Fejedelem got 15-yard facemask penalties; and George Iloka got an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Antonio Brown in the head. Iloka also got a one-game suspension that was reduced to a fine.

Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell and Brian Allen were flagged for unnecessary roughness. JuJu Smith-Schuster got a 15-yard penalty for a blindside hit on Burfict, and another penalty for standing over the linebacker and talking trash. Smith-Schuster also got a one-game suspension.

Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree says there’s a difference between this rivalry game and all the others.

“Cincinnati game: I hit you as hard as I can, you hit me as hard as you can, but we’re going to talk trash after the play,” Dupree said. “It’s a real-life fight out there.”

Both Lewis and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talked to their teams after the game last December, trying to rein in the conduct. Some Bengals veterans are reinforcing the message that they can’t let their emotions lead to another loss.

“The vets are going to be able to remind the young players of it — just talk about keeping your composure in games like this, things they probably did in college and big games, too,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said.

Lewis reminded his team of penalties this week. Cincinnati was able to overcome a 17-0 deficit and beat the Dolphins 27-17 on Sunday in part because of Miami’s penalties. The Bengals’ first touchdown drive was aided by Martrell Spaight’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and an unnecessary roughness penalty on T.J. McDonald.

“That’s what the ramifications are — you’re hurting our opportunity to win,” Lewis said. “You’re really putting a dagger in our opportunity to win.”

NO GIO AGAIN: Running back Giovani Bernard was held out of practice again Thursday as he recovers from a knee injury, an indication he won’t be ready for the Steelers game. Bernard also sat out the win over Miami, putting the onus on Joe Mixon. Tight end Tyler Kroft also missed a second straight day of practice with a foot injury. Jackson (knee), receiver John Ross (groin) and offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (wrist) were limited.

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AP Sports Writer Will Graves contributed to this report.

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Brees, Saints rest after a promising, memorable start

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees, perhaps only half joking, explains that fatherhood and having a son who is highly critical of his living room passing accuracy, is what has kept the Saints' record-setting quarterback sharp as he's approached his 40th birthday.

"My kids are what make me be better," Brees began, describing

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees, perhaps only half joking, explains that fatherhood and having a son who is highly critical of his living room passing accuracy, is what has kept the Saints’ record-setting quarterback sharp as he’s approached his 40th birthday.

“My kids are what make me be better,” Brees began, describing how his son, Callen, likes to make diving catches on the couch. “He always tells me I am not throwing it in the right place. … He wants like the outstretched catch on the corner of the couch. They are my toughest critics. They keep me honest.”

And accurate.

When Brees became the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing (now 72,103 and counting) during Monday night’s 43-19 victory over the Washington Redskins , he also posted the best single-game completion percentage of his career. He connected on 26 of 29 passes (89.7 percent) for 363 yards and three touchdowns — and still has not thrown an interception this season.

Yet this week, Brees is bound to find himself exposed to his heaviest dose of criticism all season; the Saints are on their bye, meaning more time to throw to the kids. He’ll return next week to a Saints squad riding a four-game winning streak, sitting atop the NFC South at 4-1 and looking to maintain one of the NFL’s best offenses while building on the recent improvement of a defense that got off to a shaky start.

There do not appear to be many problems to keep coach Sean Payton up at night during the week off. Certainly, his 39-year-old quarterback is the least of his worries.

“The thing that is inspiring the most is knowing what is most important to him and that common goal that we have relative to winning another championship,” Payton said of Brees.

When the Saints snapped a three-year playoff drought last season, Brees threw for his fewest yards in his 12 full seasons as a Saint: 4,334, which happened to be the fourth-highest total in the league in 2017. But that was because the Saints had one of the better running games in the NFL and used it effectively to protect leads. Brees was accurate as ever, setting the NFL single-season record for completion rate at 72 percent.

This season, he’s at 77.9 percent through five games. And with physical running back Mark Ingram opening the season on a four-game suspension, he has been throwing more, averaging 331 yards per game. That would put him on pace for his sixth 5,000-yard season.

Earlier this season, Brees eclipsed Brett Favre’s completions record of 6,300, and he is on pace to break Manning’s career touchdowns mark of 539 next season — although he’d have to outpace New England’s Tom Brady to take over first place all-time. Brady has 500 and Brees 499.

Payton raved recently about how in every game, Brees inevitably makes throws that demonstrate “great vision and anticipation,” in addition to still having the arm talent to deliver the ball where and when he sees fit.

With a healthy and fresh Ingram back now, Payton could start calling more run plays again. But that’s no given because of the emergence of some new players in the receiving corps. Free-agent acquisition Cameron Meredith had a team-high five receptions for 71 yards against Washington, including a 46-yarder on a deep route down the left side of the field. Rookie Tre’Quan Smith did more than catch the 62-yard touchdown pass on which Brees broke Peyton Manning’s previous record of 71,940 career yards. Smith also had a 35-yard touchdown catch and totaled 111 yards on three receptions.

“This kid can really help, can be a big part of our offense,” Brees said of Smith. “We’ve also got some other pieces as well. We’ve got Mark Ingram II back, Cameron Meredith is coming along, and so we feel like we have a lot of weapons and feel we have a lot of ways to spread the ball around and be really productive.”

If that’s the case, the Saints could be increasingly tough to beat over their final 11 games — and Brees’ yards passing record could be downright untouchable by the time he’s done. Manning needed 18 seasons to set the previous mark and his skills were in obvious decline because of health issues when he did it. Brees has yet to show signs of slowing down and says he wants to play as long as possible.

Every one of Brees’ teammates, from young receivers to veteran All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordon — sound awe-struck when they talk about their quarterback.

“I see the work he puts in. I see how meticulous he is at practice. You see his perseverance through any adversity,” Jordan said. “He has always stayed constant in the ups and downs of a football season. He is clearly the greatest of all time.”

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Texans try to limit Watson’s hits as they prepare for Bills

HOUSTON (AP) — Everyone agrees that Deshaun Watson took far too many hits last week against the Dallas Cowboys.

That doesn't mean Houston's quarterback is going to change the way he plays on Sunday when the Texans (2-3) host the Buffalo Bills (2-3).

Many of those hits against Dallas came on runs when

HOUSTON (AP) — Everyone agrees that Deshaun Watson took far too many hits last week against the Dallas Cowboys.

That doesn’t mean Houston’s quarterback is going to change the way he plays on Sunday when the Texans (2-3) host the Buffalo Bills (2-3).

Many of those hits against Dallas came on runs when he simply refused to slide, something that he won’t apologize for.

“If you put (me in) that same situation in overtime and it’s fourth-and-1 and we need a touchdown and the ball is in my hands, you’re going to want me to get in that end zone,” Watson said. “It’s a fine line. You’ve got to pick your spots and pick your situations.”

Coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t blame his young quarterback for trying to make plays, but is looking for ways to limit how many blows he takes. Many running quarterbacks have had their production — and careers — curtailed by getting hit too hard too often.

“Two of the plays where he took a hit where he was trying to score touchdowns,” O’Brien said. “So, very competitive guy and does a great job of moving. Sometimes the ball can come out a little bit quicker, sometimes the play can be better, but we’re all working hard to improve every area of the offense.”

The repeated hits from the Cowboys left Watson a bit banged-up this week, but he insisted that he’s fine and won’t be limited against Buffalo. He was asked if this was the sorest he’s ever been after a game.

“I’ve been sore plenty of times,” he said. “It’s part of the game, able to take some shots and just regroup and keep moving forward.”

Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said he spent some time with Watson before he was drafted last year and raved about him as a person and a player. He knows a key for his team Sunday will be finding a way to limit his dynamic plays.

“He’s a headache … the way he plays, he makes plays with his arm, he makes plays with his feet,” McDermott said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

Some things to know about Buffalo’s trip to Houston on Sunday:

RUNNING GAME FOCUS

As the Bills try to bring rookie quarterback Josh Allen along, McDermott knows that improving his team’s running game will help the process.

“To me, they go hand in hand when you’re trying to be responsible with a young player, a young quarterback in particular, that some form of balance is important,” he said.

The Bills have struggled on offense so far and their 221.2 yards a game rank 31st. They’re averaging 121.8 yards passing a game, the lowest output in the league. Despite those numbers, McDermott is careful not to put too much pressure on Allen to turn things around by himself.

“I’ve been around young quarterbacks before, and to put too much on young quarterbacks’ shoulders… (and say): ‘Hey go out there and win the game.’ That’s a little bit unrealistic,” McDermott said. “So, we’ve got to make sure we put a good plan in place every week that gives us a chance to win and the quarterback a chance to develop, and also keep the quarterback upright as well.”

SACK RACE

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt looks to have put the last two injury-filled seasons behind him and is tied for first in the NFL with six sacks this year. Watt is tied with Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins and his young brother, Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt.

“It’s pretty wild when you go and you look at the sack sheet and you see our names next to each other,” Watt said. “We used to beat up on each other in backyard and now we get to see our names at the top of the NFL sack charts. So, it’s incredible and I’m lucky.”

COMING ALONG

The Texans have been impressed with the development of rookie WR Keke Coutee, who has played the last two games after sitting out the first three weeks with a hamstring injury. The fourth-round pick has 17 receptions for 160 yards and scored his first touchdown in Sunday’s overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys.

“He has great instincts, great ability to make plays on the ball, strong hands and he’s just a guy with a high football IQ,” Watson said. “So, whenever I see him one on one or in the zone coverage, get the ball in his area just like Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) and all of the other receivers and he’s going to make the play.”

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AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report.

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Steelers WR Brown to fight civil lawsuits

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is planning to fight a pair of lawsuits filed against him stemming from an incident at a Florida apartment complex last spring.

Ophir Sternberg is seeking damages against Brown, claiming that objects thrown by Brown from the 14th floor of an apartment building came

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is planning to fight a pair of lawsuits filed against him stemming from an incident at a Florida apartment complex last spring.

Ophir Sternberg is seeking damages against Brown, claiming that objects thrown by Brown from the 14th floor of an apartment building came close to striking Sternberg’s father and Sternberg’s 22-month-old son in April. The lawsuit claims Sternberg’s son was “extremely traumatized” by the event.

A second lawsuit filed by the owner of the apartment building is seeking more than $15,000 in damages from Brown.

Brown told police that the incidents occurred after a gun and $80,000 were stolen from the apartment. Brown said in a statement on Thursday the lawsuits contained “false claims” against him.

“The facts will soon come out that prove my innocence,” Brown said. “My focus will remain on football and I will not let the cases serve as a distraction.”

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Dolphins’ injury-depleted line must try to block Bears’ Mack

MIAMI (AP) — Last week the Miami Dolphins resorted to eight-man pass protection, so desperate were they to slow an onslaught against quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

And now they have to block Khalil Mack.

That will be a daunting task when Miami faces the Chicago Bears on Sunday in a matchup of first-place teams

MIAMI (AP) — Last week the Miami Dolphins resorted to eight-man pass protection, so desperate were they to slow an onslaught against quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

And now they have to block Khalil Mack.

That will be a daunting task when Miami faces the Chicago Bears on Sunday in a matchup of first-place teams headed in opposite directions.

The Dolphins (3-2) are trying to patch up an injury-depleted offensive line and rebound from consecutive ugly losses. The Bears (3-1) are well-rested after a bye, riding a three-game winning streak and alone atop the NFC North for the first time since 2013.

Newcomer Mack has led the Bears into first place by dominating on defense. The two-time All-Pro end has five sacks and is tied for the NFL lead with four forced fumbles. He has at least one sack and forced fumble in each game. And the Dolphins might have to confront him without left tackle Laremy Tunsil, sidelined last week by a concussion.

Here are things to know about the first meeting between the teams since 2014:

CONTAINING KHALIL

No team this season has been able to keep Mack off the quarterback.

“He’s just playing at a different level than anybody that I’ve seen,” Miami coach Adam Gase said.

Now Mack faces a team staggered by season-ending injuries to two starters in the offensive line, followed by the loss of Tunsil. He was badly missed last week, when Tannehill was hit 11 times in the second half as the Dolphins blew a 17-point lead at Cincinnati. The Bengals’ pass rush was so overwhelming Miami had almost everyone on offense blocking, and even that didn’t work.

Mack is well aware a harried Tannehill committed two turnovers that were returned for touchdowns.

“You watch the film,” Mack said. “You also know that he’s a good athlete and he makes a lot of plays.”

But in each of the past two games, the Dolphins’ offense has scored only one touchdown and Tannehill has thrown for less than 200 yards.

“He’s getting hit too much,” Gase said. “I’ve got to find a way to get the ball out of his hands, get guys open quicker, or figure something else out.”

RIDING HIGH

The Bears’ most recent game, a 48-10 win over Tampa Bay, was their most lopsided victory in six years. A win over Miami would give Chicago its longest win streak since a six-game run in 2012.

“I just know our work’s not done,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “I’ve been in the situation. It’s good when you win. You want that feeling, but you want it to keep going. We were talking early, some of the older guys, about not getting complacent. You know, it’s been a long time since it’s been like this around here and we want it to stay this way.”

BUILDING BLOCK

Coming off a breakout game, the challenge for Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is to show it was no fluke.

Trubisky threw for six touchdowns — one shy of the NFL record held by Bears Hall of Famer Sid Luckman and seven others. It was the sort of performance the Bears envisioned when they traded up a spot to grab him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Trubisky had never previously thrown for more than two touchdowns.

OVERSHADOWED DEFENSE

Lost in the Dolphins’ collapse at Cincinnati was a solid performance by the defense, including young linebackers Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker.

“We’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Baker said. “It’s exciting to see all of us making plays and playing well as a defense. You just have to constantly improve and the rest will handle itself.”

TUTELAGE

When Gase was the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2015, among those who helped him prepare to become a head coach was Vic Fangio, who is still Chicago’s defensive coordinator.

“The amount of conversations we had in the year that I was there, it helped me grow a lot as to how I looked at things from an offensive perspective,” Gase said. “I really appreciated the amount of time that he would spend if I asked him a question about what he thought. He’s tough to go against.”

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AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.

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Titans coordinator facing off against his old team in Ravens

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dean Pees' retirement from his old job as defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens sure didn't last very long. Not with Mike Vrabel pouncing on the chance to lure his former coach to work with him in Tennessee.

Now the NFL schedule is giving the defensive coordinator a chance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dean Pees’ retirement from his old job as defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens sure didn’t last very long. Not with Mike Vrabel pouncing on the chance to lure his former coach to work with him in Tennessee.

Now the NFL schedule is giving the defensive coordinator a chance to try and slow down his old team on Sunday.

“At some point in time when I do conclude my career,” Pees said, “it will be to me a unique situation and a unique opportunity I was given to work for two guys that are great coaches and were great players for me, and for me then to kind of give back and the fact that I kind of know them so well. We’re on the same page as far as how you do things and that kind of stuff, it all kind of came from the same school.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who played for Pees at Miami (Ohio), hired his former defensive coordinator in 2010 as linebackers coach before turning over the defense to Pees in 2012 — a year Baltimore won the Super Bowl. Pees held that job through last season before retiring after 45 years as a coach.

Vrabel, who played for Pees in New England, called Harbaugh and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome for permission to talk to the retired Pees once hired as the Titans head coach.

Safety Eric Weddle said it was tough to see Pees join the Titans.

“We were all happy for him, because we know how much he loves coaching,” Weddle said. “But he’s with them now. We appreciate what he did here, but we’re doing our thing now, and he’s doing his.”

The Ravens replaced Pees, 69, by promoting Don “Wink” Martindale. Vrabel hired Pees to replace Dick LeBeau in Tennessee.

“Replacing Dick LeBeau anywhere is not an easy thing to do, and I was very aware of that, but I felt like we needed a change,” Vrabel said. “And Dean has been everything that I had hoped for.”

Both the Ravens (3-2) and Titans (3-2) come into this game off disappointing road losses. Baltimore lost 12-9 in overtime in Cleveland, while the Titans fell 13-12 in Buffalo.

After kickoff, friendships are forgotten for at least three hours.

“Once the game starts, we’ll be trying to choke each other out,” Harbaugh joked.

Some things to know about the Ravens and Titans:

DEFENSIVE SHOWDOWN

Without Pees, the Ravens remain just as stingy, leading the NFL in scoring defense and with 34 tackles for loss. The Ravens haven’t allowed a touchdown in the second half of a game this season. Baltimore also is third in fewest yards allowed, four spots ahead of Pees’ Titans, with Tennessee third against the pass, just ahead of Baltimore. Tennessee leads the NFL in red zone defense.

The Titans hope to get back veteran linebacker Wesley Woodyard after missing a game with an injured shoulder, while Harbaugh hopes to get back defensive tackle Michael Pierce after missing a game with an injured foot.

JACKSON’S JAUNTS

Drafted 32nd overall, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson gives opposing defenses something else to think about when he lines up behind center. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner ranks fourth on the team with 72 yards rushing and leads Baltimore with an average of 4.5 yards per carry. Jackson ran three times for 10 yards last week and threw an incomplete pass. He’s 1 for 5 through the air this season.

NEED MORE OFFENSE

The Titans are coming off their second game this season when they couldn’t score a touchdown. Luckily, Marcus Mariota and his elbow is off the injury report for the first time since being hurt in the season opener. But the Titans could be missing left tackle Taylor Lewan, who hurt his right foot in Buffalo. Mariota said it’s just a matter of execution and the Titans have to get better.

HEAVY WORKLOAD

Terrell Suggs was used for 66 of the 71 total snaps last week against the Browns, no small workload for a 16-year veteran who turned 36 on Thursday. Suggs is Baltimore’s career sacks leader with 129, including 3 1/2 this year. A rigorous training regimen has enabled him to maintain a degree of excellence, but Harbaugh acknowledged that 66 plays might be too much.

PAYBACK TIME

Odds are good that C.J. Mosley will get a chance to tackle his former Alabama teammate and current Titans running back Derrick Henry at least once, and the Ravens linebacker says he still owes Henry from last year. Henry converted a big third-down late in a Tennessee win with a big stiff arm, breaking loose from Mosley. “I have to make sure that this time I don’t let him get a big play,” Mosley said.

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AP Sports Writer Dave Ginsburg contributed to this report.

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Young Bengals trying to end Steelers’ domination of rivalry

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick knows what it's like to think that victory is only a few seconds away, only to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers rally for another improbable win, and run off the field as thousands of their fans twirl towels in the stands.

Many of Kirkpatrick's teammates haven't been on

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick knows what it’s like to think that victory is only a few seconds away, only to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers rally for another improbable win, and run off the field as thousands of their fans twirl towels in the stands.

Many of Kirkpatrick’s teammates haven’t been on the sideline for those blow-to-the-gut finishes, which might work to the Bengals’ advantage on Sunday as they revisit a rivalry that’s more of a horror story for Cincinnati.

The Bengals (4-1) have their youngest team in coach Marvin Lewis’ 16 seasons as they get ready to host the Steelers (2-2-1). Nineteen of them are in their first or second season — virtual newcomers to the one-sided series.

“It’s kind of good that some of these guys haven’t experienced it because we’re trying to go in with clear minds, clear everything,” Kirkpatrick said. “Just going out there and playing our game and not (remembering) nothing that happened two or three years ago, or last year.”

The Steelers know their history.

Pittsburgh has won six straight in the series , including an 18-16 victory in the first round of the 2015 playoffs that included an historic meltdown by the Bengals. The Steelers have won nine of 10 and 14 of 17 against their AFC North rival, getting the better of games that have often turned nasty.

“Yeah, you get amped up there,” Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree said. “It’s their house. They’re trying to be so tough.”

Some of the main figures in the most memorable games are gone. Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is back after sitting out the first four games on his latest NFL suspension, but cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones left after last season. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is holding out.

“Many of the significant contributors don’t play for us (anymore), they don’t play for them,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

Some things to watch Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium:

LOPSIDED HISTORY

The Steelers are 24-8 against the Bengals since they hired Marvin Lewis as coach in 2003. They’re 15-2 at Paul Brown Stadium during that span, including playoff wins in the 2005 and 2015 seasons. During their current six-game winning streak against Cincinnati, the Steelers have overcome deficits of 17-3 and 17-0. They have two last-minute wins.

SHAZIER BACK

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury at Paul Brown Stadium last Dec. 4 when he lowered his helmet and tackled receiver Josh Malone. Shazier was taken to a local hospital. Ten months later, he’s still recovering and it’s unclear whether he can ever play again. Shazier is on the sideline during games and is expected to be in Cincinnati with his teammates on Sunday.

BIG-PLAY BENGALS

Pittsburgh is known for its tenacious defense, but the Bengals have made some of the biggest plays this season. They’ve returned three turnovers for touchdowns, including an interception and a fumble in the fourth quarter of a 27-17 win over Miami on Sunday. The Bengals’ rotation on the line has kept them fresh for the endings of games.

“Guys were really, really getting after it, and it was fun to watch,” coordinator Teryl Austin said. “It makes the game easy to call when you know the guys are going to push the pocket back and get after the quarterback and harass the quarterback.”

ALIVE AND KICKING

A year after making the Pro Bowl for the first time, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell is struggling. He missed his third extra point of the season last week against Atlanta, matching his career high. It hasn’t been any easier for Boswell when it comes to field goals, where he is just 3 for 6. Still, Tomlin remains confident in Boswell, who signed a five-year contract before the season.

Boswell has never missed a kick against the Bengals, making all 11 extra-point tries and all 20 field goal attempts, including a pair of last-minute winners at Paul Brown Stadium.

“This guy has delivered for us a lot in the last few years, and I do not have amnesia in that regard,” Tomlin said. “He’s gotten me out of that stadium in Cincinnati a few times, and so I look forward to taking him to Cincinnati.”

CAMPAIGNING FOR CONNER

It could be Pittsburgh’s final game without Bell, who reportedly will end his standoff and sign a one-year franchise tag next week. Bell’s return could create an issue on how to split carries. James Conner has been solid while filling in. The second-year back is coming off a 185-yard from scrimmage, two-touchdown performance against Atlanta. Ben Roethlisberger believes Conner has done little to earn a demotion.

“I think James has done some amazing things and deserves to be on the football field,” Roethlisberger said. “We also know what Le’Veon is and what he brings to the table, so I guess we’ll cross that bridge if and when it happens.”

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AP Sports Writer Will Graves contributed to this report.

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Jets look to win back to back, while Colts try to end skid

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Broadway Joe will be in the building. So will the rest of the 1968 New York Jets, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the squad that won the franchise's only Super Bowl.

Nostalgia will be all around MetLife Stadium on Sunday, with rookie Sam Darnold and this year's Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Broadway Joe will be in the building. So will the rest of the 1968 New York Jets, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the squad that won the franchise’s only Super Bowl.

Nostalgia will be all around MetLife Stadium on Sunday, with rookie Sam Darnold and this year’s Jets team trying to set a much more modest goal against the Indianapolis Colts — not coincidentally, the franchise New York beat for that 1969 title while it was in Baltimore.

Coming off an impressive 34-16 victory over Denver last Sunday and with the likes of Joe Namath and Don Maynard watching, New York will look to win consecutive games for the first time since taking three straight in Weeks 3-5 last season — over a year ago.

“We’ve got a good team,” Darnold said. “It’s just about putting together the pieces. Obviously, we put some together this past Sunday. We’ve just got to build off of it and, for me personally, I’ve just got to stay consistent.”

The Jets (2-3) have struggled with that . They opened the season with a 48-17 romp at Denver and then had clunkers against Miami, Cleveland and Jacksonville before getting back in the win column last weekend.

“We have to grow up and find a way to string games together and get on winning streaks,” left tackle Kelvin Beachum said, “instead of losing streaks.”

That’s what Andrew Luck and the struggling Colts (1-4) will be looking to stop when they take the field.

Indianapolis has lost three in a row, is missing some key players such as wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle to injuries, and could see its season really spiral with another defeat. The Colts, however, aren’t thinking about that right now.

“I love that this team has no quit,” tight end Eric Ebron said. “I love the story that we’ll have and I say that because we’re very young, we’re all beat up, and what people don’t tend to realize is that you don’t stay beat up forever. You get healthy, you get guys back and then you start to establish a dominance.”

The Jets just want to prevent that turnaround from starting Sunday.

“We know our defense has their hands full, but it’s also going to be a dogfight for us too, because they have a great defense,” Darnold said. “We’re really looking forward to the challenge, though, knowing how great of a quarterback Andrew is.”

Here are other things to know as the Colts and Jets square off:

BIG DEAL

This will mark the first time the teams face each other since swinging their stunning trade in March that changed the top of the NFL draft.

The Jets acquired the No. 3 overall pick from the Colts to move up to take Darnold, giving them the franchise-type quarterback they have been searching for .

New York sent Indianapolis the No. 6 selection, which the Colts used to pick current starting left guard Quenton Nelson. The Jets also shipped two second-round picks this year — one with which Indianapolis took starting right guard Braden Smith; the other was used in a trade — along with a second-rounder next year.

FLYING CROWELL

Jets running back Isaiah Crowell leads the AFC with 390 yards rushing, and ranks third in the NFL behind only Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (480) and Rams’ Todd Gurley (415).

Crowell soared up the list against Denver last Sunday when he set a franchise record with 219 yards rushing on just 15 carries. It also put the controversy from the previous weeks far behind him after he was fined $13,369 by the NFL and scolded by coach Todd Bowles for wiping his rear end with the football after scoring a touchdown at Cleveland in Week 3.

LOTS OF LUCK

Luck has thrown 121 passes in his last two games and leads the league with 245 attempts through five games .

Not bad for a guy who missed all last season with a shoulder injury, but the Colts might not want to keep their franchise QB back there throwing so much. After all, he’s on pace to throw 784 times this season, which would shatter Matthew Stafford’s single-season record of 727 for Detroit in 2012.

Colts coach Frank Reich attributes the high number to his team falling behind early in games, causing Luck and the offense to play catch-up through the air.

SLAUSON DONE

Colts right guard Matt Slauson got his NFL start with the Jets in 2009, but this weekend’s reunion plan has changed because of a back injury.

Slauson landed on season-ending injured reserve earlier this week after doctors diagnosed him with two broken vertebrae. Without Slauson, Smith could make his second straight start — this time at his more natural position. The rookie started last week at right tackle.

DEFENSIVE STRIDES

Indianapolis’ defense has made steady a progression under first-year coordinator Matt Eberflus. While the Colts are tied for third in the league with 17 sacks and have moved out of the bottom quadrant in yards allowed, they’re No. 23 in total defense.

Individually, there are more promising signs.

Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard leads the league with 54 tackles, even after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury. Defensive end Margus Hunt leads the NFL with nine tackles for loss.

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AP Sports Writer Michael Marot contributed.

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Seahawks’ Dickson wants to turn heads in England

WATFORD, England (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks' Michael Dickson knows his unconventional punting style is likely to catch the eye of a few kicking enthusiasts in England.

Punts don't score points, though, so he believes the fans might be a bit more dazzled by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski.

"The drop kick is cool," Dickson

WATFORD, England (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Dickson knows his unconventional punting style is likely to catch the eye of a few kicking enthusiasts in England.

Punts don’t score points, though, so he believes the fans might be a bit more dazzled by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski.

“The drop kick is cool,” Dickson said. “You do that in rugby a lot. I don’t know if we’ll be doing it too much … so (Janikowski) hitting a few field goals will probably get the crowd pretty happy, I’d say.”

Dickson found himself in the spotlight on Sept. 17 when he tried a drop kick during a kickoff, and later an onside kick, in the Seahawks’ 24-17 loss to the Chicago Bears.

On Sunday, the rookie from Sydney by way of Texas will take his technique to London as the Seahawks face the Oakland Raiders in the first of three NFL games to be played at Wembley Stadium this season.

The drop kick may be much more common in rugby, but Dickson, who didn’t touch a football until 2014, never played the sport. Instead, he grew up playing Australian Rules Football, and as a defender, it was partly his responsibility to kick the ball away.

“I had a big kick when I was playing Aussie rules football, so I decided that I wanted to give (the NFL) a go one day,” Dickson said. “I didn’t really know about the college football process or anything and hadn’t really watched much American football. I just knew I liked it when I tried out and met an Australian punting coach, and it kind of just took off from there.”

Seattle liked Dickson enough to trade up with the Denver Broncos to draft him in the fifth round. He unseated Jon Ryan, the Seahawks’ punter for the last 10 seasons, and in Week 1 became the first NFL player to average more than 59.9 yards on six punts — including a 69-yarder in the third quarter of a 27-24 loss at Denver.

“Field position is enormously important to our style of play, and Michael kicking the ball deep, pinning them back, is important, but (so is) changing the field with some kicks that he’s capable of doing — not to mention the other things,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “The placement of the ball and the things like that … (are) a lot of really cool things that you don’t normally get from a punter, so we’re just trying to go with it and really understand how to better utilize him.”

A few of those cool things were unveiled against Chicago, with Seattle turning to Dickson rather than Janikowski to try to pin the Bears deep after they were penalized on a third-quarter extra point attempt.

Dickson, from the 50, kicked the ball after a bounce to the Bears 1-yard line, where it was returned to the 15 by Anthony Miller. It was the first drop kick since 2015, when the New England Patriots’ Nate Ebner, an Olympic rugby sevens player, tried it on a kickoff against the Philadelphia Eagles.

If that wasn’t enough, Dickson was called upon to try to drop kick an onside kick with 14 seconds remaining, but the Bears recovered it.

“It’s always a concern and it’s a little unpredictable where it can go, but in a way, you like that,” special teams coach Brian Schneider said. “The good thing is you can disguise it where you want it to go much easier than if it was a kicker.”

Dickson, who entered the week fourth in the league with 1,348 gross punting yards, downplayed the drop kicks, saying there are a number of factors that go into how and where he punts the ball.

Fittingly, the last thing he wants is to become predictable.

“Depending on what teams show what fronts they have and what personnel they have out there, you know, different kicks work for different teams,” Dickson said. “There is some room, but it’s not going to be an every week thing.”

NOTES: Carroll said the Seahawks decided upon a Thursday arrival in England after studying other teams’ previous routines. “We took full advantage of the Mercator route and in doing so, it was like a nine hours or something flight,” he said. “It worked out. It was great.” … Safety Kam Chancellor traveled with the team in a support role. Chancellor remains on the physically unable to perform list after injuring his neck last season and is unlikely to be cleared to resume his career. … LB K.J. Wright (knee) did not practice Thursday, but Carroll said TE Nick Vannett, who sat out Wednesday, is “fine.”

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Panthers’ Newton: Olsen’s return means ‘the band is back’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is ecstatic to have Greg Olsen back on the football field.

And he wants Olsen to remain on the field, so much that Newton said he asked his spiritual grandmother Hattie-Lou Newton to pray for the tight end's continued health.

"That would be great," Olsen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is ecstatic to have Greg Olsen back on the football field.

And he wants Olsen to remain on the field, so much that Newton said he asked his spiritual grandmother Hattie-Lou Newton to pray for the tight end’s continued health.

“That would be great,” Olsen said with a laugh, “I can use all of the help I can get.”

The 33-year-old Olsen practiced Thursday and is expected to return to action Sunday against the Redskins after missing three games with a broken foot.

Olsen was one of the most durable players in the NFL during his first 10 seasons, never missing a game due to injury while playing in 158 consecutive games. But he’s missed 12 of the last 18 games since first fracturing his right foot in Week 2 of last season. He re-broke the same bone in Carolina’s season opener against the Cowboys and hasn’t played since.

That has left the three-time Pro Bowl selection frustrated and eager to get back on the field — although not enough to rush back from the injury.

“I wouldn’t be out there if I didn’t think I could help the team,” Olsen said. “Me being out there and not being able to move, that doesn’t do us any good. This isn’t about me just desperately wanting to play. I want to play and I expect to play like I am accustomed to.”

Coach Ron Rivera said barring any setbacks before Sunday there won’t be any restrictions on Olsen’s playing time.

Rivera said Olsen moved around well Thursday, and participated fully in practice. Like his teammates, Olsen hasn’t been able to go full speed yet this week because heavy rains the past two days in the Charlotte area have caused the fields to be wet and soggy.

Olsen brings yet another option in the passing game for Newton, who just got second-year wide receiver Curtis Samuel back from a minor heart procedure last week.

“The band is back,” Newton said with a wide smile.

Nobody knows what Olsen means to the Panthers more than Newton.

Olsen has always been his favorite target. He became the first tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2014-16.

“He can’t (get injured) no more,” Newton said. “… His play-making ability on the field is just second to none. Having Greg back, keeping him healthy along with the talent that we already have, it presents a lot of problems for the opposing team.”

Newton said Olsen also helps him call out plays in the huddle, something that fans don’t always see.

The eighth-year quarterback said many calls in the NFL these days are simply too long and contain too much verbiage, and suggested some need to be simplified one-word phrases like “Panther,” or even “Tepper” or “Rivera,” referring to the surnames of the team’s owner and head coach.

“Greg is a very intellectual person that helps me out with play-calling,” Newton said. “I call him ‘the dictator’ in the huddle because I really have problems with calling plays — even in year eight. And he kind of helps me.”

Newton went on to say “calling a play shouldn’t be a paragraph. … I will be in the huddle and I’m already tired and I don’t have time to be saying this, that and the third. (It should be) ready, ready break. You only get so much time.”

Olsen downplayed Newton’s comments Thursday, saying the quarterback “exaggerated a little bit” in how much he helps him.

“Cam has it under control,” Olsen said. “… Sometimes in the heat of the battle I will help piece some things together. But I think Cam was just being generous.”

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Chargers see challenge ahead with trip to Browns

Chargers see challenge ahead with trip to Browns

Before the season started, most Los Angeles and Cleveland Browns fans probably would have checked off Sunday's game as a win for the Chargers.

And just studying quarterback Philip Rivers' sizzling start after the first five games, most would figure Los Angeles

Chargers see challenge ahead with trip to Browns

Before the season started, most Los Angeles and Cleveland Browns fans probably would have checked off Sunday’s game as a win for the Chargers.

And just studying quarterback Philip Rivers’ sizzling start after the first five games, most would figure Los Angeles would have huge advantage over Cleveland. Rivers already has thrown 13 touchdown passes (second in the NFL to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes) and is completing more than 70 percent of his passes.

But these aren’t the Browns of recent years. Something happened along the way on the shores of Lake Erie, and that something, or someone, is Baker Mayfield, the top overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.

In Week 3, Mayfield became the primary quarterback for a team that had won one game in two seasons. Cleveland already has doubled that total, and heading into Sunday’s matchup with the 3-2 Chargers, the Browns (2-2-1) are undefeated at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Home-field advantage played a role in the Browns’ 12-9 win on Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens.

“We feed off the crowd’s energy, and our defense does as well,” Mayfield told reporters this week. “This needs to be a place that people fear coming to play. It needs to be so loud, they can’t communicate, and it needs to be a harsh place for an offense to come in.”

Since taking over the starting job after leading the Browns to a Week 3 win over the New York Jets, Mayfield has completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 838 yards and three touchdowns against three interceptions.

The Browns’ defense leads the NFL in takeaways with 15. Myles Garrett anchors the group with five sacks, and rookie Denzel Ward has three interceptions.

Rivers acknowledged the Chargers have a tough task ahead.

“We’re 3-2 and we have a tough Cleveland team this week who only gave up 12 points I guess in 70 minutes of football,” he said. “That’s going to be a tough challenge at their place.”

In his 15 years in the NFL, Rivers has seen just about everything, so it’s unlikely he will be too rattled by the Dawg Pound. The Chargers’ seventh-ranked offense averages 405 yards and 27.4 points per game.

The Chargers, coming off an impressive 26-10 win over the Oakland Raiders, enter a crucial two-game stretch before their bye week as they try to keep up with the undefeated Chiefs in the AFC West.

Los Angeles will be playing with heavy hearts after the death of longtime owner Alex Spanos. The 95-year-old Spanos, who bought the team in 1984, battled dementia for years before dying on Tuesday.

The Browns will be without starting wideout Rashard Higgins. Running back Dontrell Hilliard was elevated from the practice squad to help give special teams a boost.

The Chargers still do not have the services of defensive end Joey Bosa, although he is expected to take part in light practices this week. Right tackle Joe Barksdale, who suffered a knee injury in the season opener, also is expected to return to practice on a limited basis.

The Chargers defeated the Browns last season, 19-10.

–Field Level Media

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Texans plan to attack Bills rookie QB Allen

Texans plan to attack Bills rookie QB Allen

The victory remains on the resume of their rookie quarterback Josh Allen, but what the Buffalo Bills managed with their running game last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans proved as instrumental to their win as anything Allen did during his continued development under center.

Texans plan to attack Bills rookie QB Allen

The victory remains on the resume of their rookie quarterback Josh Allen, but what the Buffalo Bills managed with their running game last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans proved as instrumental to their win as anything Allen did during his continued development under center.

The Bills rushed for a season-best 144 yards on a season-high 43 attempts in the 13-12 victory, alleviating some of the pressure that’s heaped upon Allen, who has been sacked a league-high 19 times for 151 yards. Running backs LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory combined for 38 attempts and 128 yards as Allen attempted 19 passes, his fewest as a starter, and was sacked only once.

“To me, they go hand-in-hand when you’re trying to be responsible with a young player, a young quarterback in particular, that some form of balance is important,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said of the running game. “Then you also look at what it takes to win the game when you put together a complete game plan.”

Allen has been a willing participant in the running game as well with 135 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

While headlines in Buffalo centered around McCoy possibly being available via trade, the Bills are looking to keep pace in the AFC East thanks in large part to their defense.

The expectation from the Houston Texans (2-3), hosts of the Bills (2-3) on Sunday at NRG Stadium, is Allen will continue to use his feet to complement his arm.

“Very strong arm, very smart guy; he’s got great enthusiasm about him,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said of Allen. “He’s really good with his feet – just because he’s a big guy (listed at 6-5 and 237 pounds) doesn’t mean he can’t move. He can move. He’s making a lot of plays with his feet, as well as his arm, can make all the throws. Very, very dangerous guy and a young player.”

Texans second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to negotiate between his ability to scramble and the need to protect himself. While joining Hall of Famer Steve Young as the only quarterbacks to register at least 375 passing yards and 40 rushing yards three times, Watson absorbed 10 hits, some of the jarring variety, in the Texans’ 19-16 overtime victory over Dallas.

“It’s a fine line between trying to – I guess it’s the situation of the game,” Watson said. “Because it was early on in the game where we had those two opportunities to get in and I was trying to make it in, but if you put that same situation in overtime and it’s 4th-and-1 and we need a touchdown and the ball is in my hands, you’re going to kind of want me to get in that end zone. It’s a fine line. You’ve got to pick your spots and pick your situations, but those guys did a good job of being stingy and not letting me in (the end zone). They just took me out.”

–Field Level Media

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Bengals, Steelers prepping for physical matchup

Bengals, Steelers prepping for physical matchup

The Cincinnati Bengals are flying high atop the AFC North as their nemesis arrives in town.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to deliver another dose of disappointment to their bitter rivals.

Pittsburgh (2-2-1) aims to post its seventh consecutive victory

Bengals, Steelers prepping for physical matchup

The Cincinnati Bengals are flying high atop the AFC North as their nemesis arrives in town.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to deliver another dose of disappointment to their bitter rivals.

Pittsburgh (2-2-1) aims to post its seventh consecutive victory over the Bengals when the teams meet on Sunday. The streak includes a memorable 2015 AFC Wild Card win when Cincinnati self-destructed in the final minutes.

The Bengals (4-1) have been clicking well this season and have won three games by double digits. The Steelers haven’t been as potent but are coming off their best performance — a 41-17 rout of the Atlanta Falcons.

But the records can be discarded when these two teams meet. The most recent meeting — last December — was especially tense as Pittsburgh rallied to a 23-20 victory during a contest in which the Bengals were flagged for a team-record 173 penalty yards.

The game also featured Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster leveling Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict with a vicious hit and then walking over him as he lay prone on the field.

“It’s AFC North football,” Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters. “It’s one of those games that can get chippy at times. You hope it doesn’t. You hope it’s a good, hard-fought football game. We’ll do our best to put the past behind us and play it like it’s a normal football game.”

The Bengals, perhaps feeling too much hype toward the matchup in recent seasons, are playing things down this time around.

“We’re treating it like another week,” Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton said. “I feel like it gets blown up outside of here way more than it does in the building or the locker room. For us, we’re playing a division game. It’s important. We don’t need to make anything more of it than that.”

Receiver A.J. Green is carrying a grudge, though it has nothing to do with the Steelers.

Green doesn’t feel his team is getting the proper respect.

“Nobody gave us a chance when the season started,” Green said. “Why do they believe in us now? We’re going to continue to keep playing and keep playing for each other.”

The Bengals have been surprisingly good offensively and rank fourth in the NFL in scoring offense (30.6 points per game).

Dalton has passed for 1,445 yards and 12 touchdowns against seven interceptions with both Green (409 yards and five touchdowns on 26 receptions) and Tyler Boyd (30 receptions, 393 yards) having strong campaigns.

Defense end Geno Atkins’ six sacks ties him with Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt and Houston defensive end J.J. Watt (brother of T.J) for the NFL lead.

The Steelers are averaging 28.6 points per game, and Roethlisberger has passed for 1,664 yards and 11 touchdowns against six interceptions. Antonio Brown has five touchdown receptions while hauling in 35 passes for 373 yards while Smith-Schuster has caught 35 passes for 450 yards.

Running back Le’Veon Bell continues to remain away from the team after refusing to sign his one-year, $14.54 million tender. Second-year back James Conner has rushed for 342 yards and five touchdowns and gained 110 in last week’s rout of the Falcons.

Regardless of who is on the field, it will again be an intense atmosphere inside Paul Brown Stadium.

“Rightfully so, it’s football,” Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey said. “Most games are like that. When you play in your division, things are a little bit more talked about because you play them again.

“I think it’s good, football’s about being physical.”

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks, Raiders set for long trip to London

Seahawks, Raiders set for long trip to London

The Seattle Seahawks are used to traveling more miles than any other team in the NFL from their home in the Pacific Northwest.

But they're setting a new standard this week for Sunday's matchup with the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium in

Seahawks, Raiders set for long trip to London

The Seattle Seahawks are used to traveling more miles than any other team in the NFL from their home in the Pacific Northwest.

But they’re setting a new standard this week for Sunday’s matchup with the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium in London. The Seahawks estimate they’ll travel 4,801 miles to the game, their first overseas.

Linebacker Bobby Wagner was asked if he was excited.

“The flight, no. London, yes,” Wagner told The Seattle Times.

The Seahawks (2-3) left after practice Wednesday, while the Raiders (1-4) planned to travel Thursday.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll consulted with his former defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, who made the London trip four straight years while the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Carroll said Bradley stressed the importance of making sure the distractions didn’t become overwhelming.

“It was making sure that everyone was focused and not distracted by the trip and the event of being in a foreign country and all that kind of stuff,” Carroll said. “Just so there was a process of normal focus going into game time.”

Raiders coach Jon Gruden admitted he wasn’t excited about playing a home game in London.

Gruden said he once flew 14 hours back from Belarus after his son’s powerlifting championship and had vertigo for a month.

“I couldn’t even lay down, the house was spinning. I am hoping I don’t get vertigo,” Gruden said. “I’m not a great traveler. I’ll be honest with you, I hate it. I’m not good. I’m concerned.”

Sunday’s game will also feature the first matchup between Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch and his former team since he retired following the 2015 season.

Lynch came back last year to play for his hometown Raiders. He’s rushed for 331 yards this season, which ranks ninth in the NFL.

“He looks quicker. Looks stronger,” the Seahawks’ Wagner said. “It’s going to be a dope challenge if they give him the ball a lot … definitely know he’s going to want to run the ball against us, so got to be ready.”

Last week, in a 26-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders decided to throw on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line instead of hand the ball to Lynch. Derek Carr’s pass was intercepted, leading Lynch to throw his helmet in frustration. It was reminiscent of the 2015 Super Bowl, when the Seahawks did nearly the same thing, with Russell Wilson picked off by New England’s Malcolm Butler to clinch the Patriots’ victory.

“It won’t be the last pass I call on first-and-goal either,” Gruden said. “Lynch is frustrated. I think I threw my visor and my headset, so I think he and I have a lot in common.”

But, as Gruden also noted: “We were down 20-3. It wasn’t the last play of the Super Bowl.”

Carroll said Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, who has yet to make his season debut after knee surgery, won’t play. Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele, who missed last week’s game with a knee injury, didn’t practice Wednesday and Gruden termed him “questionable.”

–Field Level Media

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Streaking Bears fresh off bye for matchup with Dolphins

Streaking Bears fresh off bye for matchup with Dolphins

The Chicago Bears, who are on a three-game win streak for the first time since 2013, are hoping that a bye week didn't cool them off entering their matchup against the host Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

When we last saw the

Streaking Bears fresh off bye for matchup with Dolphins

The Chicago Bears, who are on a three-game win streak for the first time since 2013, are hoping that a bye week didn’t cool them off entering their matchup against the host Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

When we last saw the Bears, they were beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10. Chicago’s second-year quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, completed 19 of 26 passes for 354 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Hopefully,” Trubisky said, “this is something I can look back on and say, ‘This is where it all started.'”

The Bears, who lead the NFC North with a 3-1 record, are obviously feeling good at the moment.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins (3-2) are down in the dumps after two straight defeats.

“Every loss hurts,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “When you put in 110 hours of work in a week and you get kicked in the (privates), it (angers) you.”

After getting off to a 3-0 start, the Dolphins have lost two straight road games, getting routed by the New England Patriots 38-7 and falling 27-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

In the latter game, the Dolphins led 17-0 late in the third quarter when the Bengals rattled off 27 consecutive points, including two defensive touchdowns on turnovers by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

It’s enough to sour Miami’s mood.

“It’s definitely not the same as when we were 3-0,” Dolphins right tackle Ja’Wuan James said when asked about the environment inside the Miami locker room. “But, at the same time, I don’t see any guys wavering. Everyone is focused on (the Bears).”

One of Miami’s biggest problems right now is its offensive line, where two starters — guard Josh Sitton and center Daniel Kilgore — are out for the season due to injuries. In addition, starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil has a concussion and is unlikely to play this week.

To make matters worse for Dolphins blockers, next up is Chicago’s Khalil Mack, who is perhaps the best pass-rusher in the NFL.

In four games this season, he has 24 quarterback pressures, five sacks, four forced fumbles, two passes defensed, one interception, one fumble recovery and one touchdown.

He is also the first NFL player in 13 years to have a sack and a forced fumble in four straight games.

“You’re not going to slow (Mack) down,” Gase said.

Even so, Mack took a bit of a backseat last week to the 24-year-old Trubisky, who had thrown just nine total TD passes in his 15 previous NFL games.

New Bears coach Matt Nagy is an offensive guru, and he and general manager Ryan Pace added some weapons to the unit this year, including fast tight end Trey Burton and Allen Robinson, a big wide receiver with speed.

“I’ve been here for a while,” Bears staring guard Kyle Long said after the win over Tampa Bay. “It’s really great to sit here with a smile on my face. For the past five or six years, I’ve been saying, ‘We’re getting better.’

“But now you guys can see what I’ve been seeing (in practice). It feels good. The secret is out.”

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks-Raiders Preview Capsule

SEATTLE (2-3) vs. OAKLAND (1-4) at London

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - Pick-em.

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Seattle 2-2-1, Oakland 2-3

SERIES RECORD - Raiders lead 29-25

LAST MEETING - Seahawks beat Raiders 30-24, Nov. 2, 2014

LAST WEEK - Seahawks lost to Rams 33-31; Raiders lost to Chargers 26-10

SEATTLE (2-3) vs. OAKLAND (1-4) at London

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE – Pick-em.

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Seattle 2-2-1, Oakland 2-3

SERIES RECORD – Raiders lead 29-25

LAST MEETING – Seahawks beat Raiders 30-24, Nov. 2, 2014

LAST WEEK – Seahawks lost to Rams 33-31; Raiders lost to Chargers 26-10

AP PRO32 RANKING – Seahawks No. 19, Raiders No. 31

SEAHAWKS OFFENSE – OVERALL (27), RUSH (8), PASS (27).

SEAHAWKS DEFENSE – OVERALL (13), RUSH (29), PASS (6).

RAIDERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (6), RUSH (24), PASS (6).

RAIDERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (30), RUSH (28), PASS (23).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Teams have alternated wins in last eight meetings, with each team winning all four at home. … This meeting in London comes with Seahawks playing first international game in franchise history. Raiders playing fourth international game in last five seasons. Oakland lost to Miami in London in 2014 and split in Mexico City past two years, beating Houston, falling to New England. … Seattle’s Pete Carroll seeks 91st win with team to pass Mike Holmgren as winningest coach for franchise. … Seahawks QB Russell Wilson 25-6 after loss, best record of any QB since merger. … Seattle K Sebastian Janikowski spent 18 seasons with Raiders, holding franchise record for points (1,799), games (268). … Seahawks have had 100-yard rusher three straight games for first time since Marshawn Lynch did it in final four games in 2012. … Oakland’s Lynch ranks second in NFL with 832 yards rushing since Week 12 last year. … Raiders allowing 6.83 yards per pass, fourth worst since merger after five games. … Oakland has fewest QB pressures in league (29), tied for fewest sacks (6), tied for third-fewest takeaways (5). … Derek Carr’s eight INTs after five games are most for Raiders QB since Jim Plunkett had nine that span in 1982. … Fantasy tip: Raiders WR Amari Cooper has been frustrating for fantasy owners. He has two 100-yard games but four catches for 36 yards in other three combined.

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Chargers-Browns Preview Capsule

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-2) at CLEVELAND (2-2-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

OPENING LINE — Chargers by 1

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Chargers 3-2, Browns 4-1

SERIES RECORD — Chargers lead 16-9-1

LAST MEETING — Chargers beat Browns 19-10, Dec. 3, 2017

LAST WEEK — Chargers beat Raiders 26-10; Browns beat Ravens 12-9, OT

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-2) at CLEVELAND (2-2-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

OPENING LINE — Chargers by 1

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Chargers 3-2, Browns 4-1

SERIES RECORD — Chargers lead 16-9-1

LAST MEETING — Chargers beat Browns 19-10, Dec. 3, 2017

LAST WEEK — Chargers beat Raiders 26-10; Browns beat Ravens 12-9, OT

AP PRO32 RANKING — Chargers No. 11, Browns No. 16

CHARGERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (11t), PASS (13).

CHARGERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (15), RUSH (10), PASS (19).

BROWNS OFFENSE — OVERALL (16), RUSH (2), PASS (23).

BROWNS DEFENSE — OVERALL (27), RUSH (22), PASS (27).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Chargers QB Philip Rivers passed for 339 yards and two TDs last week. … Rivers is off to one of best starts in 15-year career with 116.4 rating, 13 TD passes, two interceptions. … Rivers has made 198 consecutive starts, longest current active streak in league. … Rivers enters game with eighth-most yards passing (51,843) in league history. … Rookie S Derwin Jones tied for team lead with 31 tackles, leads Chargers with three sacks. … TE Antonio Gates needs five catches to pass Hall of Famer Art Monk (940) for 19th on career list. Gates has caught 88 career TD passes from Rivers — most ever by QB-TE tandem — and only behind Peyton Manning-Marvin Harrison combination (112) overall. … Chargers travel to London next week to play Tennessee. … Both teams have had kicking issues. Chargers lead league with four missed extra points, Browns tied for second with three. … Browns have been one of league’s most exciting teams, playing in three overtime games in five weeks. … Rookie QB Baker Mayfield passed for 342 yards in second career start last week. Mayfield’s charisma and confidence rubbing off on teammates starting to believe they can contend for playoff spot. … Browns WR Jarvis Landry has 429 career receptions, most by any player in first five seasons. He surpassed Larry Fitzgerald (426) last week. … Browns rookie DB Denzel Ward leads team with three interceptions, most by Cleveland player in first five weeks since 2001. … Ward was coted AFC special teams player of week after blocking field-goal attempt. … Browns have league-leading 15 takeaways, two more than entire 2017 season. … Browns will honor retired LT Joe Thomas by inducting his streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps into team’s ring of honor. Thomas never missed play in career before suffering season-ending triceps injury last season. … Browns haven’t won consecutive home games since Oct. 26, Nov. 2 in 2014. … Fantasy tip: Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has scored TD in four straight games.

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Rams-Broncos Preview Capsule

L.A. RAMS (5-0) at DENVER (2-3)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT, Fox

OPENING LINE — Rams by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Los Angeles 3-1-1, Denver 0-4-1

SERIES RECORD — Rams lead 8-5

LAST MEETING — Rams beat Broncos 22-7, Nov. 16, 2014

LAST WEEK — Rams beat Seahawks 33-31; Broncos lost to Jets

L.A. RAMS (5-0) at DENVER (2-3)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT, Fox

OPENING LINE — Rams by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Los Angeles 3-1-1, Denver 0-4-1

SERIES RECORD — Rams lead 8-5

LAST MEETING — Rams beat Broncos 22-7, Nov. 16, 2014

LAST WEEK — Rams beat Seahawks 33-31; Broncos lost to Jets 34-16

AP PRO32 RANKING — Rams No. 1, Broncos No. 25

RAMS OFFENSE — OVERALL (1), RUSH (7), PASS (2)

RAMS DEFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (5), PASS (15)

BRONCOS OFFENSE — OVERALL (13), RUSH (3), PASS (19)

BRONCOS DEFENSE — OVERALL (17), RUSH (8), PASS (20)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — QB Jared Goff leads league with 1,727 yards passing and ranks second with 119.7 passer rating. In last month, Goff is averaging 374 yards per game. … Goff is 4-0 in last four games versus AFC teams with 12 TDs, one interception. … Coming off three-TD game, RB Todd Gurley leads league with seven TD runs, ranks second with 645 scrimmage yards. … WR Brandin Cooks had 98 receiving yards and TD against Broncos in 2016 while with Saints. … WR Cooper Kupp had six catches for 90 yards, TD last week. Cooks, Kupp were in concussion protocol after leaving last game with head injuries…. WR Robert Woods led team with 92 receiving yards in Week 5 and has 20 catches for 297 yards, three TDs in last three games. … DT Aaron Donald has three sacks in last two games. Since entering NFL in ’14, the 2017 Defensive Player of Year is only DT with 200 tackles (219) and 40 sacks (42). … DT Ndamukong Suh has sacks in last three games. … In five career games against Denver, CB Marcus Peters has three interceptions, eight pass breakups, forced fumble and fumble recovery, all with Kansas City. … Rams won last three games in series. Denver’s last win against Rams was in 2002. … Broncos QB Case Keenum coming off career-high 377-yard game against Jets. … Keenum’s seven interceptions match last year’s total with Vikings. … In two seasons with Rams, Keenum passed for 3,029 yards with 13 TDs, 12 interceptions in 16 games. Keenum threw for 280 yards and TD in only game against his former team, last November with Vikings. … Rookie RB Royce Freeman had TD in three of last four games but is averaging less than 10 carries per game. … RB Phillip Lindsay ranks second among rookies with 393 scrimmage yards. He’s averaging 11.4 carries per game. … WR Demaryius Thomas had five catches for 105 yards and TD last week. Thomas had TD catch in five of last seven home games. … WR Emmanuel Sanders has 303 yards, three TDs in last four games against NFC. … Rookie WR Courtland Sutton had first career TD catch last week. … LB Von Miller sackless last three weeks. Miller has seven sacks, four forced fumbles in last five games against NFC. … DE Derek Wolfe had first career interception in Week 5. Fantasy tip: Gurley, league’s rushing leader, gets to face Broncos run D that surrendered 323 rushing yards to Jets.

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Bears-Dolphins Capsule Preview

CHICAGO (3-1) at MIAMI (3-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - Dolphins by 1

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Chicago 3-1, Miami 3-2

SERIES RECORD - Dolphins lead 8-4

LAST MEETING - Dolphins won at Bears 27-24, Oct. 19, 2014

LAST WEEK — Dolphins lost at Bengals 27-17; Bears had bye, beat

CHICAGO (3-1) at MIAMI (3-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE – Dolphins by 1

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Chicago 3-1, Miami 3-2

SERIES RECORD – Dolphins lead 8-4

LAST MEETING – Dolphins won at Bears 27-24, Oct. 19, 2014

LAST WEEK — Dolphins lost at Bengals 27-17; Bears had bye, beat Bucs 48-10 on Sept. 30

AP PRO32 RANKING – Bears No. 8, Dolphins No. 17

BEARS OFFENSE – OVERALL (24), RUSH (9), PASS (24).

BEARS DEFENSE – OVERALL (2), RUSH (1), PASS (9).

DOLPHINS OFFENSE – OVERALL (30), RUSH (22), PASS (28).

DOLPHINS DEFENSE – OVERALL (22), RUSH (20), PASS (20).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Chicago owns sole possession of NFC North lead for first time since late in 2013. … Bears have won three straight, matching longest streak since 3-0 start in 2013. Another victory would give Chicago its longest run since winning six in row in 2012. … Bears have outscored opponents by 11.5 points per game, second best in NFL. … Bears have six-minute edge per game in time of possession. They’re plus-6 in turnovers, tied for second best. … Bears coming off most lopsided win since beating Jacksonville 41-3 on Oct. 7, 2012. Chicago also posted its highest point total since 51-20 romp over Tennessee on Nov. 4 that season. … QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for six touchdowns against Tampa Bay — one shy of NFL record held by Bears Hall of Famer Sid Luckman, seven others. Trubisky’s passer rating jumped from 77.8 to 101.6. … RB Tarik Cohen set career highs in yards receiving (121), yards from scrimmage (174) against Buccaneers. … LB Khalil Mack has five sacks, tied for NFL lead with four forced fumbles. He has at least one sack, forced fumble in each game. … Bears lead NFL with 4 1/2 sacks per game. … S Eddie Jackson has interceptions in past two games. … Bears WR Allen Robinson has 11 receptions for 237 yards, three TDs in two games against Miami while with Jacksonville. … Dolphins held Mack without sack when he and Raiders beat Miami 27-24 last year. … Dolphins rank third worst in yards and fifth worst in points. They have been outgained by 94 yards per game, which ranks third worst. … Miami has allowed 57 points in fourth quarter. … Miami is converting 31 percent of third downs, third worst in league. … Dolphins lead NFL with 10 interceptions. Xavien Howard leads team with three. They’re tied for second with 11 takeaways. … Miami LB Kiko Alonso ranks second in NFL with 50 tackles and also has two interceptions. … Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill threw for 277 yards, two scores in 2014 to beat Bears in his lone previous meeting. … Tannehill has passer rating of 126.6 in his past four home games. … Fantasy tip: Dolphins’ injury-depleted OL will be so concerned about Mack that it could free up LBs Danny Trevathan and Aaron Lynch, who have two sacks each.

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Chiefs-Patriots Preview Capsule

KANSAS CITY (5-0) at NEW ENGLAND (3-2)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

OPENING LINE - Patriots by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Chiefs 5-0, Patriots 3-2

SERIES RECORD - Chiefs lead 18-14-3

LAST MEETING - Chiefs beat Patriots 42-27, Sept. 7, 2017

LAST WEEK - Chiefs beat Jaguars 30-14; Patriots beat Colts 38-24

KANSAS CITY (5-0) at NEW ENGLAND (3-2)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

OPENING LINE – Patriots by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Chiefs 5-0, Patriots 3-2

SERIES RECORD – Chiefs lead 18-14-3

LAST MEETING – Chiefs beat Patriots 42-27, Sept. 7, 2017

LAST WEEK – Chiefs beat Jaguars 30-14; Patriots beat Colts 38-24

AP PRO32 RANKING – Chiefs No. 2, Patriots No. 4

CHIEFS OFFENSE – OVERALL (5), RUSH (11), PASS (11).

CHIEFS DEFENSE – OVERALL (32), RUSH (24), PASS (31).

PATRIOTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (22), RUSH (13), PASS (21).

PATRIOTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (16), RUSH (21), PASS (14).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Chiefs are 7-10-2 in games played at New England (1-4 at Gillette Stadium including playoffs). … Chiefs have won last two regular-season meetings. … Patriots won lone playoff meeting between teams during 2015 season. … Chiefs coach Andy Reid needs one win to become ninth in NFL history with 200. … QB Patrick Mahomes needs one more 300-yard passing game for Chiefs-record five straight. … Mahomes has 14 TD passes against two interceptions, best ratio in NFL. … Mahomes has won each of his first six NFL starts. With win vs. New England, Mahomes would become sixth quarterback since 1970 to win each of his first seven career starts. … Chiefs are second in NFL in points per game (35.0) to Saints. … Kansas City has league-low three giveaways. … Chiefs TE Travis Kelce has three 100-yard receiving games this season. … Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt leads league with 422 touches since last fumble, which occurred on first career carry last season at New England. … Kansas City has scored league-leading 59 points in first quarters. … Patriots have outscored opponents 76-31 in two consecutive wins. … QB Tom Brady has NFL-record 199 career regular-season victories and can become first quarterback in league history to get 200 for his career. … Brady enters week tied with Adam Vinatieri for most career wins in regular season and playoffs combined with 226. … RB James White has touchdown catch in four of past five games. … Rookie RB Sony Michel has 100-plus scrimmage yards and TD in each of last two games. … TE Rob Gronkowski has four TD catches in his past seven games at home. … S Devin McCourty had 10 tackles and fumble return in last meeting. …. Fantasy tip: In 11 career road games, Hunt has 1,202 scrimmage yards (109.3 per game) and seven TDs.

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