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|To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s matchup between the MINNESOTA VIKINGS and the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS as the NFL100 Game of the Week in a rematch of Super Bowl IV. On January 11, 1970, Kansas City defeated Minnesota 23-7 in front of 80,562 fans at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans for their first Super Bowl win. The Chiefs built a 16-0 halftime lead, as Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback LEN DAWSON completed 12 of 17 passes, including a 46-yard touchdown pass to OTIS TAYLOR for the Chiefs final touchdown, and was named the game’s most valuable player. Kansas City’s defense held Minnesota to 67 rushing yards and forced five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries) in the victory.
The NFL’s 100th season enters the second half as the calendar turns to November. At the season’s midpoint, there are nine teams with a .700 or better winning percentage and four teams with a record of 7-1 or better, including the undefeated NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-0) and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (7-0). Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 97 percent (64 of 66) of teams to start 7-1 or better advanced to the postseason.
Since 2000, 50 teams have advanced to the postseason with a .500 or below winning percentage through their first eight games. Last season, five such teams qualified for the playoffs: Baltimore (4-4), Dallas (3-5), Indianapolis (3-5), Philadelphia (4-4) and Seattle (4-4).
Young quarterbacks and close games have highlighted the first two months of the 2019 season. Through the first eight weeks, 99 of 121 games (81.8 percent) have featured at least one quarterback under the age of 27, the most at this point in a season in league history. In total, quarterbacks under the age of 27 have started 130 games and recorded 69 wins (53.1 percent), both the most starts and wins by quarterbacks under the age of 27 through the first eight weeks of a season since at least 1970.
In the first eight weeks, 10 games have been decided by one point or fewer, tied for the third-most through the first eight weeks of season since 1970, while 61 games have been decided by seven points or fewer, the fourth-most through the first eight weeks of a season in NFL history. In total, 66.1 percent of games (80 of 121) have been within one score in the fourth quarter.
Below are highlights of the Week 9 schedule:
The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (7-0) travel to State Farm Stadium to take on the ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-4-1) in an NFC West matchup (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime) on Thursday Night Football. The game features the first meeting between the top two selections – Cardinals quarterback KYLER MURRAY (No. 1 overall) and 49ers defensive lineman NICK BOSA (No. 2) – of the 2019 NFL Draft. In Week 8, Bosa became the third rookie since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least three sacks and an interception in a single game. San Francisco has allowed an average of 224.4 net yards of offense per game through Week 8, the fewest net yards of offense allowed at this point in a season since 1991. Entering Thursday night, Murray leads all rookie quarterbacks in passing yards with 1,988 and ranks second among all quarterbacks in rushing yards (279).
To close out the 2019 London Games, the HOUSTON TEXANS (5-3) meet the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-4) at Wembley Stadium (9:30 AM ET, NFL Network) in an AFC South showdown. The two teams met in Week 2, as Houston withstood a fourth quarter rally from Jaguars rookie quarterback GARDNER MINSHEW in his first career start to earn a 13-12 victory. In 2019, Minshew leads all rookie quarterbacks with 13 passing touchdowns and a 98.8 passer rating. Since their Week 2 meeting, Texans quarterback DESHAUN WATSON ties for the NFL lead with 13 touchdown passes and ranks third in passing yards (1,804). In Week 11, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS meet the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS on Monday Night Football in Mexico City in the final international game of 2019.
In the NFL100 Game of the Week, the AFC West-leading KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-3) welcome the MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-2) to Arrowhead Stadium in an interconference battle (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Kansas City enters Week 9 with the fourth ranked scoring offense (28.3 points per game), while Minnesota allows the third-fewest points per game (16.5) in the league. Vikings running back DALVIN COOK leads the NFL in scrimmage yards (1,116) and rushing touchdowns (nine), and has recorded at least 145 scrimmage yards in three of his four road games in 2019.
On Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), the undefeated NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-0) head to M&T Bank Stadium to face the BALTIMORE RAVENS (5-2), in a matchup of the two highest scoring offenses. The Patriots rank first in the NFL in points per game (31.3) while the Ravens rank second with 30.6 points per game. It marks the first time since Week 14 of the 2017 season that the top two scoring offenses in the NFL were both averaging at least 30 points per game and met in Week 8 or later. New England also allows the fewest points per game (7.6) this season and joined the 2006 CHICAGO BEARS as the only teams since 1990 to rank first in both points per game and points allowed per game through the first eight weeks of a season.
Under head coach JOHN HARBAUGH, Baltimore has a 6-2 record after the bye since 2011, tied for the best mark in the NFL over the past eight seasons. The Ravens lead the NFL with 204.1 rushing yards per game and joined the 2006 ATLANTA FALCONS as the only teams since 1990 to average at least 200 rushing yards per game through the first eight weeks of a season. Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON has three games with at least 100 rushing yards in 2019, tied with MICHAEL VICK (2004 and 2006) and RUSSELL WILSON (2014) for the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.
To conclude Week 9, the DALLAS COWBOYS (4-3) visit the NEW YORK GIANTS (2-6) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN). Cowboys quarterback DAK PRESCOTT passed for 405 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, in the Cowboys’ 35-17 win over the Giants in Week 1. Since entering the NFL in 2018, New York Giants running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads the league with 16 games of at least 100 scrimmage yards, while Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT (15 games) ties for the second-most over that span.
NFL SCHEDULE, OCTOBER 31, NOVEMBER 3-4
(All times Eastern)