Despite horrific bike crash, Para-cyclist Kate O’Brien refuses to quit chasing her dreams

Even before the emergence of COVID-19, Kate O'Brien was accustomed to her personal game plan going off track. Sure, she has no idea when she'll be able to race on the international stage again. And sure, she really has no clue if the Tokyo Paralympics will go ahead next year or be cancelled outright. But O'Brien, 32, realizes there are no guarantees in life regardless of whether we're living in a global pandemic. She is a bobsledder who turned to track cycling after narrowly missing out on qualifying for the 2014 Winter Games. She is a 2016 Summer Olympian. She is a survivor of a horrific bike crash that put her in a coma and left her mom, an emergency room nurse, waiting to hear if her daughter would live or die. She also has epilepsy, yet another challenge that won't stop her from chasing her dreams. "There's only so much you can control," the para-world cycling champion says from her training base in Vancouver. "Sometimes, you just need to take a step back and breathe." O'Brien couldn't breathe on her own after she crashed in a track cycling demonstration at Calgary's Glenmore Velodrome in July 2017. When her rear tire blew, she hit the back of the pacing motorbike in front of her, catapulting her up the track. Paramedics rushed the unresponsive O'Brien to hospital where she underwent emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain. She also suffered a laundry list of other injuries including a punctured lung, cracked ribs and broken clavicle. "I flew out to Calgary with the idea I was there to help her mom with organ donation and that kind of thing," says Meghan Grant, O'Brien's fiance and former member of the Canadian track cycling team. "I thought I was going there to say good-bye." WATCH | Kate O'Brien sets women's C4 500m Para-cycling world record: Over the next two months, medical professionals warned O'Brien that she would never again walk, never ride a bike or never speak properly. The end of her elite sports career seemed certain. O'Brien listened to those dire predictions, but she refused to believe them. "I didn't like those discussions," she says. "But it also didn't occur to me that I wouldn't do those things. It wasn't so much that I thought I'd still be a competitor in cycling, but I wanted to ride a bike. So why wouldn't I?" Upon release from hospital, O'Brien worked tirelessly with her home physiotherapists. They set her bike up on rollers, pushed it toward a wall and formed a human semi-circle in case she toppled. She stayed upright, and cycling became one of her primary means of transportation on the road to recovery. "Following her journey from even before her accident, you knew that you were witnessing a very rare athlete," says Curt Harnett, a three-time Olympic medallist in cycling who served as Canada's chef de mission at the 2016 Rio Summer Games. "She's determined, resilient, and she's a fighter." WATCH | O'Brien back in touch with competitive drive after Para-cycling debut: Not that it was easy. She felt like giving up the fight in the fall of 2018 when she started to experience seizures, leading to an epilepsy diagnosis. "I refused to accept it," she says. "I refused to go on medication. I was just so ashamed." Her life became smaller and smaller. She didn't drive. She didn't ride her bike. She was too scared to fall asleep and too scared to take a bus for fear of a seizure. 'Change is part of life' Until one day, she realized she could perhaps cycle and enjoy her life again with help from medication and personal research into how to keep seizures at bay. "The truth is, stuff isn't back to normal," says O'Brien, who recently celebrated a year without a seizure. "But I've realized that `normal' is just a word. My life will never be the same as it was, but that's not a bad thing. Things don't need to stay the same all the time. "I've realized that change is part of life, good, bad or ugly, but that's one of the great things about being human." In January, O'Brien represented Canada at the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships. She won two world titles and set two world records. "There is a reason she is admired by all who cross her path," Harnett says. "She is a rockstar athlete with a humble `did I just do that' attitude. That's pretty special."

UFC 254 weigh-in results: Khabib and Gaethje make championship weight; two fighters miss the mark

The UFC's final event of its second Fight Island stint is set following the late-night (North American time) UFC 254 weigh-in from Abu Dhabi. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was the first fighter to the scale, stripping down to hit 155 pounds on the nose. He'll look to unify his belt with that of interim titleholder Justin Gaethje, who also weighed 155 pounds. Khabib was initially slated to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 earlier this year, but the global coronavirus pandemic scuttled that fight. After Khabib was stuck in lockdown in Russia, Gaethje stepped in and defeated Ferguson for the interim belt at UFC 249 in May. The UFC 254 co-main event features former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker squaring off with rising contender Jared Cannonier, who is staring at a title shot against current champion Israel Adesanya with a win. Whittaker weighed in at 186 pounds for the fight, while Cannonier weighed 185 pounds. Two UFC 254 fighters miss weight Though Khabib and Gaethje made weight for their headlining bout, two other UFC 254 fighters missed the mark. Alex Oliveira weighed 173 pounds for his preliminary welterweight bout opposite Shavkat Rakhmonov, who weighed 171 pounds. Oliveira was 2 pounds over the limit for the non-title fight. Oliveira will forfeit a portion of his fight purse to keep the bout on the fight card. Joel Alvarez, who is slated to open the UFC 254 prelims, missed weight by 3.5 pounds. Alvarez weighed in early during the two-hour window. He will forfeit a portion of his fight purse in order to keep the fight with Alexander Yakovlev intact. Yakovlev weighed 155.5 pounds. Several UFC 254 alternate fighters make weight There were several alternate fighters that made weight ahead of Saturday's bouts. It was widely known that former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler was inked to be the back-up in case either Khabib or Gaethje couldn't make it to the cage, which now seems unlikely. Chandler stepped on the scale at 155 pounds. Sergey Morozov was initially slated to fight Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, but Nurmagomedov was forced out of the fight with a staph infection. Morozov was on hand and made weight as a back-up for the 140-pound catchweight bout between Casey Kenney and Nathaniel Wood. Kenney and Wood both made weight. Whittaker teammate Isi Fitikefu also weighed in as an alternate at 203.5 pounds. According to MMA Fighting, one of Ion Cutelaba's cornermen tested positive for COVID-19, so Fitikefu weighed in as a back-up to the UFC 254 main card opener between Magomed Ankalaev and Cutelaba, who both made weight as well. NOTE: UFC 254 has a special Main Card start time of 2 pm ET / 11 am PT with the Prelims beginning at 11 am ET / 8 am PT. TRENDING > Dana White: Khabib vs. Gaethje trending to be biggest UFC event ever UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje weigh-in results UFC 254 Main card (2 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV) Khabib Nurmagomedov (155) vs. Justin Gaethje (155)Michael Chandler (155) – UFC 254 main event back-up fighterRobert Whittaker (186) vs. Jared Cannonier (185)Alexander Volkov (265) vs. Walt Harris (254)Jacob Malkoun (186) vs. Phil Hawes (186)Lauren Murphy (126) vs. Liliya Shakirova (126)Magomed Ankalaev (205.5) vs. Ion Cutelaba (205.5)Isi Fitikefu (203.5) – light heavyweight back-up fighter UFC 254 Prelims (12 p.m. ET on ESPN+, ESPN2) Stefan Struve (265) vs. Tai Tuivasa (265)Nathaniel Wood (140) vs. Casey Kenney (140)Sergey Morozov (139.5) – catchweight bout back-up fighterAlex Oliveira (173)* vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (171)Da Un Jung (206) vs. Sam Alvey (206) UFC 254 Early Prelims (11 a.m. ET on ESPN+) Liana Jojua (126) vs. Miranda Maverick (126)Joel Alvarez (159.5)** vs. Alexander Yakovlev (155.5) *Oliveira missed weight by 2 pounds.** Alvarez missed weight by 3.5 pounds. Trending Video > Khabib Nurmagomeodv and Justin Gaethje weigh-in (Video courtesy of ESPN MMA)

Champion Khabib returns to cage, faces Gaethje at UFC 254

Although Khabib Nurmagomedov hasn't been inside the UFC octagon in 13 months, the life and mind of the unbeaten lightweight champion have been fully occupied. Nurmagomedov then endured the tragic loss of his father and lifelong coach, Abdulmanap, in July to a heart problem exacerbated by COVID-19. Although he kept his grief mostly private, Nurmagomedov reportedly returned to training only a week after the death of his beloved father.

Bruin’s late goal gives Sounders 1-1 draw with rival Timbers

SEATTLE — Will Bruin scored off a corner kick in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, and the Seattle Sounders salvaged a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Thursday night.After dominating most of the second half, Seattle finally found an equalizer in the dying moments of the match as Bruin was left unmarked at the back post and tapped in his first goal of the season.“For him to score, for the team to snatch a point at the end there, it's something you can actually build momentum off of, both individually for Will and for the squad,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said.It was Seattle’s first shot on target in the match and kept the Sounders and Timbers tied on top of the Western Conference standings, each with 32 points with 2 1/2 weeks left in the regular season. It was also Bruin's first goal since April 13, 2019, when he scored twice against Toronto.Bruin missed the second half of the 2019 season due to a torn ACL and didn't make his 2020 debut until late July at the MLS is Back tournament.Portland has allowed 12 goals in the final 15 minutes of a match this season.“Got to make it dramatic. ... I’ll take any goal,” Bruin said.Andres Flores scored early in the first half in his first appearance this season for Portland, giving the Timbers the early advantage. Flores scored in the 10th minute and the Timbers withstood 80 minutes of chances by Seattle before surrendering the tying goal.It was the fourth and final meeting between the Cascadia rivals in the regular season with Portland winning twice and Seattle once to go along with the draw. Portland is unbeaten in its last five matches against the Sounders in Seattle.“It’s unfortunate that we almost got there to get three points again on a difficult field, against a difficult team. ... It’s unfortunate we couldn’t close the match, but I’m very proud because we had a very strong performance, especially in the first half,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said.The Timbers (9-5-5) played without leading scorer Jeremy Ebobisse, who scored the only goal in Portland’s 1-1 draw with LAFC last Sunday but was also injured in the match.Seattle (9-4-5) is now winless in its last three matches after a stretch of five wins in six matches that boosted the Sounders to the top of the Western Conference.It wasn’t due to a lack of chances for Seattle. The Sounders controlled play for most of the second half, but failed to get any of its scoring opportunities on net to challenge Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark until Bruin’s goal. Seattle finished with 15 shots and one on target. Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris had point-blank opportunities midway through the second half, but sent their shots over the crossbar. Kelvin Leerdam also sent an open header over the bar.Flores was an unlikely candidate for the only goal. He hadn’t played for the Timbers since Sept. 22, 2019, against Minnesota United and his last goal for Portland came in 2018 at Vancouver.But Flores was in the right spot to collect a rebound save by Seattle’s Stefan Frei and beat the Sounders goalkeeper with a right-footed shot to the near post.“That's two games in a row where we feel like we deserve more than the point,” Savarese said.___More AP soccer: and Booth, The Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys visit Washington with NFC East in shambles

LANDOVER, Md. — The previous time the Dallas Cowboys and Washington faced off with a combined record worse than this, the longtime NFC East rivals were each 0-4 and the 2001 "Gutter Bowl” got off on the wrong foot.During pregame warmups, Dallas kicker Tim Seder collided with a horse who was on the field for some reason. The horse backed into his kicking leg, Seder missed two field-goal attempts but wound up scoring all of the Cowboys' points, including a 26-yard game-winner to make it 9-7 when time expired.“Could’ve been ugly, but I think we survived and it ended up being OK,” Seder told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday night. “You’re just proud of your team that they keep fighting and you’re in a position to win at the end of the game, and you want to put your best foot forward, so to speak, to finish the deal.”Dallas-Washington won't have a horse on the field — or fans in the stands — this time, but it could go a long way to determining which team wins a bad division.The Cowboys (2-4) and now nick-nameless Washington (1-5) are in the thick of the race, even though each team has a different starting quarterback than it began the season with.Dak Prescott's broken ankle forced Andy Dalton into action for Dallas under first-year coach Mike McCarthy. Ron Rivera saw how the NFC East was sputtering and pulled the plug on 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins' development because he believed Kyle Allen gave Washington a better chance to win in his first season in D.C.After the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants to improve to 2-4-1, Dallas needs to beat Washington on Sunday to reclaim first place in the NFC East.“The opportunity that we have, it’s right in front of us," McCarthy said. "You clearly understand what our division looks like, and the importance to get this win, it did not change with the quarterback situation.”If anything, the QB situations are under the microscope given what's at stake. Dalton tossed two interceptions in a 38-10 defeat to Arizona on Monday night in his first start since replacing Prescott, and Allen had a pick, lost a fumble and threw an incomplete pass on a last-minute 2-point conversion attempt to lose to the Giants 20-19.Yet, Washington can still say it's in the running for the NFC East title more than a third of the way through the season despite a five-game skid.“For us to have those growing pains and still at this point be only one game out of first place is incredible,” Allen said. "We’re looking at that very hopeful and understanding the situation that we’re in.”The Cowboys look at it like they've fumbled away their chance to build a substantial division lead. Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who lost two fumbles against the Cardinals, said he and his teammates “are going to get this thing right.”“The beauty of it though is we’re still first place in the division,” Elliott said. “We still hold the keys to our future. Now it’s up to us to get this thing right.”That's how Seder, now a high school football coach in the Dallas area, looked at it 19 years ago. It hasn't changed for his beloved Cowboys and what's now the Washington Football Team in the first of at least two games — and maybe more — without a real name.“You’ve just got to find a way to win a ballgame,” he said. “Sometimes you just got to step back and say, ‘Hey, let’s do something well,’ and when you get an opportunity, take advantage of the opportunity.”ZEKE'S FUMBLESElliott’s five fumbles (four lost) through six games are already within one of his single-season career worst set two years ago. The two-time rushing champion said he spent time this week watching clips of “all my fumbles ever,” including high school.“Just kind of studying my fumbles and seeing where things went wrong and what I can do to keep that ball tighter and have better ball security,” Elliott said.And?“Well, if you want, you should put the tape on and go find out,” he said with a chuckle. “I don’t want to give away all my weaknesses right here.”WHY NOT HASKINS?Rivera has come under fire for abandoning his plan to build and develop this season, specifically benching Haskins and turning to Allen after Week 4. Three weeks and three losses after saying he believed there was a “cutoff point” for a struggling QB such as Haskins, Rivera contradicted himself Wednesday and said he'd stick with Allen “as long as I feel I can.”“I made a decision based on what I was watching and what I was seeing, and that’s what happened,” Rivera said. “It’s about watching him and if I’m seeing what I want to see or not.”DALLAS O-LINE IN SHAMBLESAll-Pro right guard Zach Martin might not be available for the Cowboys after getting a concussion early against the Cardinals. If Martin is out, the Cowboys will be missing four of the five preseason starters on the offensive line. The last man standing is third-year left guard Connor Williams.The Cowboys are also going to be on their third left tackle after Brandon Knight injured a knee against Arizona, had surgery and will miss at least a couple of weeks.ODDS OFFAfter Dallas opened as a 3 1/2-point favourite, the line is now a pick 'em after the Monday night debacle.Friends and family will be the only people in attendance at FedEx Field despite Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan allowing teams to fill outdoor stadiums to 10% capacity, so the traditional edge for home teams is moot. Perhaps the shift underscores just how unstable the NFC East is from top to bottom.___AP Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon in Arlington, Texas, contributed.___More AP NFL: and Whyno, The Associated Press

Giants blow 11-point lead to Eagles in final five minutes

Holding an 11-point lead with less than five minutes to play, the New York Giants were on the verge of a second straight win and getting back in the NFC East race.They blew it, which is probably what one would expect from a team that opened the season by losing five straight games under new coach Joe Judge.Carson Wentz threw two touchdown passes in the final five minutes and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants 22-21 for their eighth straight win over their turnpike rivals to the north.“We definitely let one get away,” said Giants tight end Evan Engram, who dropped a third-down pass just before the two-minute warning that would have allowed New York to keep possession and possibly run out the clock.“It’s just not a good feeling,” Engram said. “We played a great fourth quarter and at the end we didn’t finish.”The Giants opened a 21-10 lead on a short touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to Sterling Shepard, who was returning to the lineup after missing four games with a turf toe injury. Jones finished with two TD passes, an 80-yard run to set up a score, an interception and a lost fumble.As usual, they only had themselves to blame. They gave up touchdown drives of 68 and 75 yards, saw Engram make a monstrous drop and finally saw Wentz find Boston Scott on an 18-yard pass for the game winner on a first-and-goal play with 40 seconds to go.Safety Jabrill Peppers had the coverage on the running back who was coming out of the backfield and blamed himself.“It was a good ball but that's a play I have to make, no ifs, ands and buts about it,” Peppers said.Peppers said the loss was heartbreaking, especially with the division being wide open. Coming into the week, Dallas led with a 2-4 record.“It hurts,” Peppers said. “We had a phenomenal chance in this game to win and we shot outselves up.”It was a combination of bad plays and penalties that led to the loss and gave Philadelphia (2-4-1) the win. The Giants were whistled for nine penalties in the game.“We’ve got to control the things we can control and that comes down to the penalties and the turnovers," Judge said. “We have to do a better job at that as a team to make sure we give ourselves the opportunities to capitalize on the work we’re putting in.”NOTES: RB Davonta Freeman left with an ankle injury. PK Graham Gano seemed to tweak his right leg after kicking off following the Shepard touchdown.___More AP NFL: and straight win and aTom Canavan, The Associated Press

Carson Wentz rallies Eagles to 22-21 win over Giants

PHILADELPHIA — Hurried, harassed and hit repeatedly, Carson Wentz completed the comeback this time.Wentz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the New York Giants 22-21 on Thursday night.Wentz led a depleted offence to 22 fourth-quarter points only to miss a 2-point conversion at the end in a 30-28 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.He wouldn't be denied against the Giants.“He battled, faced adversity and hung in there,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “He's taking a step in the right direction to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league.”Daniel Jones shook off a stumble that prevented him from an 88-yard touchdown run and had the Giants leading 21-10 following a 2-yard pass to Sterling Shepard with 6:17 left.But Wentz rallied an offence missing eight starters. His 3-yard pass to Greg Ward cut it to 21-16. After the 2-point conversion failed, the Eagles got the ball at their 29 with 2:02 to go.Wentz completed passes of 11 and 30 yards to Richard Rodgers. On third down from the 5, a defensive holding penalty gave the Eagles a first down at the 3. But three-time All-Pro centre Jason Kelce was called for a facemask penalty that pushed it back to the 18.No big deal.Wentz threw a perfect strike to Scott and the backup running back made an excellent catch to give Philadelphia the lead. The 2-point conversion failed, but Jones was sacked by Brandon Graham and fumbled on the ensuing possession.“We never faltered. We never panicked. We knew we were gonna win,” Scott said. "Carson led us and it was a great team effort.”The Eagles (2-4-1) and Giants (1-6) are right in the mix in the NFC East, led by Dallas (2-4).“This was huge for us,” Wentz said. “The NFC East is wide open.”Wentz threw for 359 yards and two TDs and ran for a score. He was sacked three times and absorbed several hits.Jones had only the end zone ahead of him away when he took off running from the Giants 12 in the third quarter. He was well ahead of everyone chasing him until he stumbled and got tackled before he could get up at 8.A pass interference penalty against Nickell Robey-Coleman on third down gave the Giants another try, and Wayne Gallman ran in from the 1 to give them a 14-10 lead.Jones’ 80 yard run was the longest by a Giants quarterback and tied for the fourth-longest in team history. Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, couldn’t resist poking some fun at Jones. He tweeted: “I mean i can’t even say anything cause i would never be able to run that far either.”The Giants ended up losing a game they led by 11-plus points in the fourth quarter for the first time since they blew a 31-10 lead and lost 38-31 to the Eagles on DeSean Jackson’s punt return TD on Dec. 19, 2010.“The focus is not frustration. The focus is on correcting mistakes and moving forward and that’s where we have to steer it as a team,” Giants coach Joe Judge said.Jones threw a 39-yard TD pass to Golden Tate in the first quarter. He also had a pick and two turnovers. Evan Engram dropped a third-down pass in Philadelphia's territory that would've prevented the Giants from punting the ball to the Eagles for their go-ahead drive.“One hundred per cent I have to make that," Engram said. “We definitely let one get away. It’s just not a good feeling. We played a great fourth quarter and at the end we didn’t finish.”Questionable play-calling cost the Eagles early in the fourth quarter. Wentz completed a 40-yard pass to Travis Fulgham and the Eagles reached the 7 when Jalen Hurts came in to run an option and gained no yards. After Wentz ran to the 3, Pederson went for it on fourth down. The call was a fade to No. 5 tight end Hakeem Butler, who has no career catches. Logan Ryan broke it up.The Giants then drove 97 yards to take a 21-10 lead.Using a no-huddle often on the opening drive, Wentz led the Eagles 75 yards and ran in from the 1 for his fifth TD rushing to make it 7-0. Wentz scrambled 3 yards on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive going and connected with Richard Rodgers for 18 yards to the 1 to set up the score.But the Eagles reverted to their mistake-prone ways until the final 6 1/2 minutes.REVOLVING DOORLeft guard Sua Opeta became the 10th offensive lineman to start for the Eagles this season and fourth to make his first NFL start.INJURIESGiants: RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) left in the second half.Eagles: Jackson, RT Lane Johnson, DT Hassan Ridgeway (biceps) and DB Craig James (hamstring) left in the second half.UP NEXTGiants: Host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2.Eagles: Host the Dallas Cowboys (2-4) on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 1.___More AP NFL: and Maaddi, The Associated Press

Perfection on display when Steelers visit Titans, both 5-0

Maybe all the delays involving the Titans and the jumbled NFL schedule led to the kind of showcase game we all need.Pittsburgh (5-0) at Tennessee (5-0).Yes, the COVID-19 outbreak in Nashville provided some understandably nervous and upsetting times. And it could be a harbinger for a league attempting to play a collision sport all across the nation during a pandemic. No one should ever downplay that.Sports-wise, there's no reason to downplay this matchup.Steelers-Titans will be the eighth time in league history undefeated and untied teams with at least five wins have met in the regular season, the sixth such game since the 1970 merger, and only the fifth in the past 46 seasons.“We’re humbled and excited to be in these five-star matchups," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says. “We will show that appreciation by how we prepare and ultimately by how we play as we move into the weekend.”The Steelers have played better nearly every week, and come off their usual annihilation of Cleveland. Tennessee has romped past Buffalo and needed overtime to subdue Houston since having its facility shut down amid the coronavirus issues.“These are the type of games you look forward to, man,” says Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans, “having two undefeated teams going against each other and having great players on display on Sunday. I think it’s going to be an exciting game, and I’m excited too to be a part of it.”It's only October, but it's fair to surmise the winner of this game is a favourite for the lone post-season bye under the new playoff format.The action began with the Eagles (2-4-1) edging the Giants (1-6) 22-21 by scoring two late touchdowns, including the winner with 40 seconds remaining on Carson Wentz's 18-yard pass to Boston Scott. Philadelphia temporarily took the NFC East lead Thursday night and will maintain it if Washington defeats Dallas on Sunday.Off this week are Indianapolis (4-2), Miami (3-3), Minnesota (1-5) and Baltimore (5-1).SEATTLE (5-0) at ARIZONA (4-2)The Seahawks, whose defence has been a sieve despite the unblemished record, are 6-0-1 at Arizona since a 2012 loss.They are scoring an NFL-high 33.8 points per game and winning the close wins: Seattle has outscored opponents by less than seven points a game. Arizona’s defence is yielding 18.7 points per game, the second-best mark in the NFL.A victory Sunday in a game switched to prime time would be Russell Wilson’s 92nd regular-season win, tying Peyton Manning for the most in a quarterback’s first nine seasons.TAMPA BAY (4-2) at LAS VEGAS (3-2)For the first time, Raiders coach Jon Gruden faces the franchise he led to a Super Bowl (2002 season) and that fired him (after 2008). At least he doesn't have to worry about snow and the Tuck Rule as he takes on Tom Brady.Brady is 5-1 against the Raiders and his team comes off pitching a near-perfecto: The Bucs had no penalties, sacks allowed or turnovers last week in routing previously unbeaten Green Bay. They were the first team to do that since the Colts in 1999 against the Browns.Las Vegas comes off an impressive victory at Kansas City. The Raiders had 24 QB pressures against the Chiefs, nearly equaling their total of 26 from the first four games. It was their most in a single game since having 25 vs. Denver in 2015.But the Raiders also had a mini-outbreak of the coronavirus this week.KANSAS CITY (5-1) at DENVER (2-3)If new addition Le'Veon Bell plays, the Chiefs will become the first franchise to have a quarterback (Patrick Mahomes), tight end (Travis Kelce), wide receiver (Tyreek Hill) and running back (Bell) on the field who at some point was an All-Pro.The Chiefs already have established a dynamic running game to go with Mahomes' creative passing. Coach Andy Reid needs two wins to tie Curly Lambeau (229) for fifth most in NFL history.Kansas City is seeking a 10th consecutive win over the Broncos, who had won seven straight before the current skid.CHICAGO (5-1) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (4-2), Monday nightThe NFC North-leading Bears have their best start since the 2012 team won seven of its first eight games on the way to a 10-6 record. Chicago is 5-0 against the NFC, and the Bears are 3-0 on the road for the first time since the 2006 Super Bowl season.Rams DT Aaron Donald is playing at a level that has earned him two Defensive Player of the Year honours. Donald plays his 101st game after getting the fourth-most sacks in NFL history through his first 100 (79 1/2). He has 7 1/2 sacks this season in the best six-game start of his career. Donald also has 3 1/2 sacks against the Bears.CAROLINA (3-3) at NEW ORLEANS (3-2)Teddy Bridgewater was very popular in the Big Easy last year when he went 5-0 as the starter with Drew Brees injured. He shouldn’t expect any good vibes in his return.New Orleans comes off a bye. Saints receiver Michael Thomas is expected to return from a Week 1 ankle injury and his one-game Week 5 team suspension stemming from a practice outburst. Thomas was the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 after setting an NFL single-season record with 159 catches, and he was an All-Pro the past two seasons.SAN FRANCISCO (3-3) at NEW ENGLAND (2-3)Another returning QB in Jimmy Garoppolo, who, like New England's Cam Newton, has had an up-and-down 2020. Oddly, the 49ers are 2-0 coming East, both wins at the New Jersey Meadowlands.The Patriots come off losing at home to Denver despite not allowing a touchdown. Six field goals — and a bevy of errors by the offence and coaches — contributed mightily.“The best way to play offence is for everybody to contribute, to find ways for everybody to contribute. That’s certainly my job,” offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels said. “I’m going to try to do my best to get (WR Julian Edelman) involved, but also try to get production from all the skill positions on the field. ”CLEVELAND (4-2) at CINCINNATI (1-4-1)Following another flop in a statement game, the Browns can silence the doubters some by beating their Ohio rivals. They did so in Week 2, though the Bengals have gotten better since.Cincinnati also has Cleveland-style turmoil in the locker room with veteran defenders Carlos Dunlop and Geno Atkins complaining about reduced playing time.Browns DE Myles Garrett has a sack in five consecutive games and leads the AFC with seven. He got one of his three strip-sacks on Bengals QB Joe Burrow in the first matchup.DALLAS (2-4) at WASHINGTON (1-5)The other NFC Least game. It was 2001 when these two archrivals met with a lower winning percentage: They both were 0-4 and were “featured” on Monday night. Dallas won 9-7.Given the Dallas defence right now, holding anyone to seven points in one quarter would be a major achievement.Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott lost two fumbles in the loss to the Cardinals for the first time in his pro career. Elliott’s five fumbles (four lost) are two shy of his career high set two years ago.BUFFALO (4-2) at NEW YORK JETS (0-6)Adam Gase has survived another week as coach of the Jets, though the prospects of his beleaguered team getting off the schneid against Buffalo are minimal. The Bills easily handled the Jets in the season opener, and Buffalo is coming in with a bad mood after two straight defeats.Third downs could be significant. The Bills lead the NFL in third-down conversions on offence at 56.2%. New York, the only team shut out this season, went 2 of 17 at Miami and ranks last with a 30.23% conversion rate.GREEN BAY (4-1) at HOUSTON (1-5)Aaron Rodgers comes off one of his worst performances in a 38-10 flop at Tampa Bay. The Packers look to avoid losing two straight games for the first time since Matt LaFleur took over in 2019. LaFleur began his NFL coaching career as an offensive assistant for the Texans from 2008-09.Texans DE J.J. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, had a sack and forced a fumble at Tennessee. He needs one sack to become the first player in franchise history with 100.JACKSONVILLE (1-5) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (1-4)Jacksonville's first game in Los Angeles, and the Jaguars enter it having lost five in a row. But they are the only team with three wide receivers with at least 25 receptions: Keelan Cole Sr. (27), rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. (26), and DJ Chark Jr. (25).The Chargers have dropped four in a row, mostly close calls, and rookie Justin Herbert has impressed. He leads the league with a 140.9 passer rating on third downs. His 68.8% completion rate and a 107.1 passer rating are the highest by a rookie in league history with a minimum of 100 pass attempts.DETROIT (2-3) at ATLANTA (1-5)A nice Bulldogs flavour visiting the ATL. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will playing in the state for the first time since he starred at the University of Georgia in 2008. Rookie RB D’Andre Swift and Stafford became the first former Georgia players to throw a TD pass and rush for a score as teammates in an NFL game since Charlie Trippi and Joe Geri in 1952 with the Chicago Cardinals.Atlanta won its first game of the season by beating Minnesota as Raheem Morris took over for the fired Dan Quinn as coach.___More AP NFL: and Wilner, The Associated Press