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NFL: The Front Seven Week 13

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NFL: The Front Seven Week 13

2019-12-01 09:46:07

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. (Image Source: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Week 13 Preview:

5-6 & Still with Hope

In 1990, the NFL expanded the playoffs to 12 teams. Since then, there have been 21 teams in the past 29 seasons that had a losing record after 11 games and would turn it around to make the playoffs. Over the past 15 seasons, there have been 13 such teams. So, yes Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Carolina (all 5-6)…I’m saying there’s a chance.

What Happened to Parity?

After 12 weeks, there are eight teams with eight wins or more through 11 games, which ties the NFL record. The first time it’s happened since 2003. There are five teams with at least nine wins through 11 games, which also ties a league record. It’s just the second time that’s happened since 1991.

Rookie Watch: Quarterbacks

When the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Cleveland Browns this Sunday, undrafted rookie Delvin Hodges gets the start against former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. The past two seasons are two of just four in the history of the NFL in which five rookie quarterbacks have started and won a game. Included in that group is Mayfield last year and Hodges earlier this season, as he won his first career start. The record for rookie quarterbacks to start and win a game in a single season is seven, which happened in 1987.

Marquee Matchups

There are two games this week that features teams with three or fewer losses. The 10-1 San Francisco 49ers play the 9-2 Baltimore Ravens and the 9-2 Seattle Seahawks host the 8-3 Minnesota Vikings. It’s just the fourth time this decade and the first time since 2014 that two games pitting teams with three losses or less in the same week this late in the season. Enjoy!

Top-Heavy NFC

The aforementioned 49ers and Seahawks, as well as the New Orleans Saints (9-2), gives the NFC three teams that have already won nine games in 2019. It’s the first time since 2001, that the NFC has had three teams with a record of 9-2 or better through 11. Just the fifth time it’s happened since the merger in 1970.

Winning nine games is nothing new in Seattle, as Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to at least nine wins in each of his first eight seasons, something no quarterback had ever done before (no one else had ever done it for seven-straight years to start a career before Wilson).

Dominant in December

In this week’s most intriguing matchup, between the NFC-leading 49ers and the AFC-leading Ravens, not only are both teams on track to earn No. 1 seeds, they have a strong recent history of playing some of their best football in December. Over the past two seasons, they have identical records of 7-3 in the regular season’s final month, which is tied for the third-best winning percentage in the league. San Fran’s Jimmy Garoppolo is 5-0 in December with the Niners.

Rate These Passers

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is 24-years old, is fifth in the NFL this season with a passer rating of 110. Meanwhile, 22-year old Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens has a 111.4 rating, which is good for third in the league. Prior to this season, in the NFL’s 99-year history, a quarterback younger than 25 has finished with a passer rating of over 110 only twice. Nick Foles in 2013 (119.2) and Mahomes last year.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe, Maxwell, Bednarik, and the Rotary Lombardi Awards, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email:                        

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