26 Nov 2014 05:14 PM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Dallas QB Tony Romo is 6-1 on Thanksgiving Day. (Image Source: Elsa/Getty Images)
We take you around the NFL with our 8 in the box:
1) Turkey Day Rivals: Thanksgiving Day is about coming together and giving thanks…except on the gridiron, as all three Turkey Day games are between division rivals. The Chicago Bears would love nothing more than to play the spoiler against 7-4 Detroit and hand the Lions their second-straight loss. Game number two has extra juice, as the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are tied atop the NFC East at 8-3. The night ends with the “What’s-Your-Deal Bowl” in San Francisco, as the Seattle Seahawks travel south to face the 49ers in a battle of second-place clubs, with the loser’s playoff hopes expected to take a major hit. Are there two coaches who dislike each other more than Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh? Please pass the gravy…
2) Stayin’ Alive: In 1990, the NFL expanded to the current 12-team playoff format and since then there have been 17 teams that had a losing record 11 games into their season and would go onto play postseason football. That has happened nine times in that past ten seasons. Seven of those teams even won a playoff game, including the 2009 New York Jets, who made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
3) Double Digits: On the strength of a seven-game winning streak the New England Patriots enter Week 13 with the best record in the NFL at 9-2 (tied with Arizona). If they can win on Sunday in Green Bay the Pats would notch their tenth W of 2014, marking the 12th straight season that Bill Belichick’s team reached double-digits in wins. It’s the second longest such streak in the history of the NFL, trailing only the San Francisco 49ers, who won ten-plus games in 16 consecutive campaigns from 1983-1998.
4) Indy Stunk & Got Lucky: Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck has thrown for 11,837 yards in his NFL career and if he throws for 163 yards in his 44th career game on Sunday he will become the third-fastest player to reach the 12,000-yard plateau. Kurt Warner (42 games) was the fastest, followed by Matthew Stafford (43 games). If Luck throws for 359 yards against Washington he will hit 4,000 yards on the season and join former Colt Peyton Manning and Hall of Famer Dan Marino as the only passers to throw for 4,000 yards twice in their first three seasons.
5) NFC Playoff Picture: About two-thirds of the league, 21 teams to be exact, is either in the playoffs if the season were to end today, or within one game of a postseason spot. Ten of those 21 teams reside in the NFC, which should make for some tight races down the stretch. The Seattle Seahawks have the toughest remaining schedule (opponent winning % of .636), followed by the Atlanta Falcons (.573). The New Orleans Saints (.391) and Carolina Panthers (.382) have the easiest remaining games.
6) AFC Playoff Picture: After 12 weeks, 16 teams in the NFL have won seven-plus games, which is the most at this point of the season (11 games). Of those 16 clubs, nine are in the AFC. The depth in the conference is boosted by the AFC North, which is the first division in league history with every team three games over .500 or better. The Cincinnati Bengals lead the division at 7-3-1, a half a game over Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, who are all 7-4.
7) Sunday Night Sneak Peak: In Denver’s win over Miami, Broncos QB Peyton Manning had a passer rating of 135.4 and he tossed 4 TD passes, his 35th career four-plus TD game, which is the most in NFL history. He’s also thrown a TD pass in 50 straight games, which is the third-longest streak in the history of the league. While Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith isn’t putting up Peyton Manning numbers, he’s been rather impressive over the past nine games: 1,754 yards, 12 TDs, one INT and 101.7 passer rating. Smith has had four games of a 100-plus rating during that run and when he reaches triple digits Smith’s teams have gone 21-1-1 in his career (.934).
(8) Monday Night Sneak Peak: The Miami Dolphins are 5-3 in their past eight with close losses vs. Green Bay (27-24), at Detroit (20-16) and at Denver (39-36), and the emergence of QB Ryan Tannehill has been a big reason why. The third-year passer has thrown for 1,958 yards and 16 TDs (6 INTs) with a completion percentage of 70.6 and a rating of 102.4 in those games. He’s set a franchise record by completing at least 70 percent of his passes in four-straight contests (minimum 15 attempts) and the Dolphins are 16-2 (.889) when the Texas A&M product has a passer rating of 90-plus. Geno Smith is back under center for New York…do you really want to know anymore?
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 and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Comments
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