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Seahawks defy expectations

  • FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) avoids a tackle by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Maurice Canady (26) while running for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Baltimore. The Browns were pegged (hyped?) to be a budding powerhouse with all of the improvements in talent. Instead, they are perhaps the most inconsistent team in the league. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2019, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws a pass during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Kansas City, Mo. Mahomes has thrown 202 consecutive passes without an interception. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 6,2019, file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Houston. Houston scored the second-most points (53) in franchise history last week against Atlanta. Watson is possibly the second-most exciting quarterback in the league behind Kansas City Chief's Patrick Mahomes. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke, File)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass under pressure from Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, left, during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver. Denver has lost both home games on last-second field goals. ... One way to turn that around would be for star linebacker Miller to start getting to quarterbacks. Miller has 10½ sacks in his last 10 home games but just two sacks this season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

AP Pro Football Writer
Published: 10/12/2019 9:41:09 PM
Modified: 10/12/2019 9:40:54 PM

The Seattle Seahawks were supposed to be continuing their retool this year, one season after their remake helped get them back into the playoffs. Instead, they have one of the NFL’s best records.

The Cleveland Browns were pegged to be a budding powerhouse with all of the improvements in talent, plus the predicted maturity of Baker Mayfield in his second pro season. Instead, they are perhaps the most inconsistent team in the league, with Mayfield struggling.

Seattle (4-1) is at Cleveland (2-3) in a most intriguing matchup on Sunday.

A Seahawks victory, combined with a 49ers loss to the Rams, would put Seattle on top of the tough NFC West. But it’s difficult to figure out which Browns squad they will face: Will it be the team that won in Baltimore, or the team that was blown out last Monday night in San Francisco?

“I don’t think it was my best assignment as a teacher,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of telling his players to watch Browns-49ers. “The game didn’t work out. I was hoping it was going to be a real battle. The game kind of got lopsided, so it wasn’t as beneficial.”

Will it be a better performance by the Browns on Sunday?

“We have done it before,” running back Nick Chubb said. “After every loss we have, we came back harder. That is what I expect this team to do every time. Hopefully, we can stack some wins, but I know when we do face adversity, we bounce back harder.”

San Francisco (4-0) at L.A. Rams (3-2)

The Rams have lost two in a row as their defense has sprung holes. The Niners came off their bye and routed Cleveland.

San Francisco is off to its first 4-0 start since 1990. The only 5-0 starts for the franchise since joining the NFL are 1990, 1984, 1952. The 49ers won the NFL championship in the 1984 season.

Houston (3-2) at Kansas City (4-1)

Houston scored the second-most points (53) in franchise history last week against Atlanta. Deshaun Watson, possibly the second-most exciting quarterback in the league behind KC’s Patrick Mahomes, has perhaps the most thrilling receiver in DeAndre Hopkins.

But Mahomes has thrown 202 consecutive passes without an interception. Alex Smith has the franchise record of 312.

Carolina (3-2) vs. Tampa Bay (2-3)

This is the first overseas regular-season match for the Panthers. If British fans were looking forward to seeing Cam Newton, Kyle Allen has been a superb replacement.

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey’s 866 yards from scrimmage are the second most through five games in NFL history to Jim Brown’s 988 in 1963.

Philadelphia (3-2) at Minnesota (3-2)

Not quite the same as the Eagles’ previous trip to Minnesota, when they beat the Patriots for their first Super Bowl title on Feb. 4, 2018.

Main matchup here is the NFL’s No. 3 rushing offense, led by No. 2 rusher Dalvin Cook, against the best run defense. Cook trails only McCaffrey.

New Orleans (4-1) at Jacksonville (2-3)

Teddy Bridgewater has stepped in for Drew Brees (thumb surgery) and quarterbacked the Saints to three straight victories. Two were against 2018 playoff teams, the Cowboys and the hated Rams, who, helped by a major officiating gaffe, beat New Orleans to get to the Super Bowl. He has a passer rating or 100 or higher in two of his past three road starts.

It helps to have the most productive receiver, Michael Thomas, with 45 catches and 543 receiving yards.

Cincinnati (0-5) at Baltimore (3-2)

The only division with a single winning team, and the Ravens came up with a big one in overtime last week at Pittsburgh to grab the AFC North lead.

Lamar Jackson’s 11 TD passes rank second in the NFL behind Seattle’s Russell Wilson (12), and Baltimore’s 961 yards rushing are second most in franchise history after five games.

Atlanta (1-4) at Arizona (1-3-1)

Kliff Kingsbury got his first victory as Cardinals coach in Cincinnati. But Arizona ranks 24th in pass defense, while Atlanta is third in yardage throwing the ball.

Tennessee (2-3) at Denver (1-4)

Marcus Mariota is the only quarterback to start every game in 2019 and have no turnovers. The Titans are the sixth team since the 1970 merger to have just one turnover through their first five games. They do have nine fumbles, but recovered eight; a lost muff on a punt return by Adoree Jackson is the only blot.

Dallas (3-2) at N.Y. Jets (0-4)

Sam Darnold returns from mononucleosis, and the Jets were inept on offense in the three games he missed. They have played some tough teams (Philly, New England, Buffalo) and were not competitive since the opening half against the Bills in Week 1.

Pittsburgh (1-4) at L.A. Chargers (2-3)

Pittsburgh has dropped its past three and eight of its past nine on the West Coast. The Steelers will start rookie free agent QB Devlin Hodges, the all-time passing leader in FBS at Samford (14,584 yards). Hodges was 7 of 9 for 68 yards after coming in against Baltimore when Mason Rudolph left with a concussion after a hard hit by Earl Thomas.

Detroit (2-1-1) at Green Bay (4-1)

The Lions come off a bye, while the Packers come off perhaps their most impressive win in years. They ran all over Dallas, led by a different Aaron than quarterback Rodgers — Aaron Jones — who rushed for 107 yards and four TDs.

Washington (0-5) at Miami (0-4)

Not a bad opponent for Bill Callahan to face as he takes over as Redskins coach.




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