AFC SOUTH BATTLE HIGHLIGHTS WEEK 15 SLATE
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 the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS-NEW ORLEANS SAINTS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest features the teams from Super Bowl XLIV. On Feb. 7, 2010, in Miami, Fla., the Saints dedicated their 31-17 victory to the New Orleans community, ravaged four years earlier by Hurricane Katrina. Trailing 10-6, Saints head coach SEAN PAYTON surprised everyone by calling for an onside kick to open the second half, and the Saints recovered to set up a go-ahead, 16-yard touchdown pass from DREW BREES to PIERRE THOMAS. The Colts went back on top, 17-13, with a 4-yard touchdown run by JOSEPH ADDAI, but the Saints shut out Indy’s high-powered offense over the game’s final 21 minutes. Brees guided New Orleans on a nine-play touchdown drive to take a fourth-quarter lead, hitting JEREMY SHOCKEY from 2 yards out, and TRACY PORTER returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown, the final points in the Saints’ first world championship.
AFC SOUTH FIGURES TO GO DOWN TO WIRE: The TENNESSEE TITANS (8-5), who’ve vaulted into the heart of the AFC playoff race with four straight wins, host the HOUSTON TEXANS (8-5) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The two organizations that sit knotted atop the AFC South not only share roots in the city of Houston, they also meet twice in the season’s final three weeks, including a Week 17 rematch at NRG Stadium. And don’t count out the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-7), who are still in the hunt thanks to a 3-2 division record.
- Tennessee quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL last week completed 21 of 27 passes (77.8 percent) for 391 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for a 140.4 passer rating in the Titans’ 42-21 win at Oakland. Tannehill joined AARON RODGERS (three games in 2011) as the only players to complete at least 75 percent of their passes with a passer rating of 130 or higher (minimum 10 attempts) in three consecutive games in a single season in NFL history. Tannehill also joined RUSSELL WILSON (five games in 2015) as the only players with four consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 125 or higher in NFL history.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: Through the first 14 weeks of the 2019 season, five teams – the BUFFALO BILLS (9-4), GREEN BAY PACKERS (10-3), MINNESOTA VIKINGS (9-4), PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8-5) and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (11-2) – are in playoff position after missing the postseason a year ago. From 1990-2018 – a streak of 29 consecutive years – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. In 2018, seven of the 12 playoff teams missed the postseason the year before.
DIVISION-WINNING REBOUNDS: The NFL in 2002 expanded to 32 teams and realigned into eight divisions. Since that time, in 15 of the past 16 years, at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs. Heading into Week 15, two teams – GREEN BAY in the NFC North and SAN FRANCISCO in the NFC West – lead their respective divisions after missing the postseason in 2018.
BREES, BRADY IN RACE FOR MANNING’S RECORD: In Week 15, New England quarterback TOM BRADY (536) will get the first shot at the NFL’s career passing touchdowns record, held by PEYTON MANNING (539), when the Patriots travel to Cincinnati Sunday (1:00 PM, CBS). Saints quarterback DREW BREES (537) will follow on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN) when New Orleans hosts the Colts. Since 1950, eight players have held the career mark, one of the game’s most hallowed records.
The players that have held the NFL’s career passing touchdowns record, since 1950:
END OF CAREER
NOTE – With 187 touchdown passes, Baugh and Layne were tied at the end of the 1961 season
- Brees last week threw five touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown against San Francisco. Brees has 11 career games with at least five touchdown passes, the most such games in NFL history. He also became the fourth player in the Super Bowl era with five passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game, joining MARK MALONE (Week 1, 1985), AARON RODGERS (Week 7, 2019) and MARK RYPIEN (Week 11, 1991).
FOOTBALL IS FAMILY: The BUFFALO BILLS (9-4) and PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8-5) meet on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC) in a game with significant AFC playoff implications. The game is also significant to the Edmunds family and in NFL history. Pittsburgh running back TREY EDMUNDS, 24, and safety TERRELL EDMUNDS, 22, will square off against their brother, Bills linebacker TREMAINE EDMUNDS, 21.
Sunday’s contest is expected to be the first known NFL game in 92 years with three brothers on the same field. The last time it is believed to have occurred was the end of the 1927 season when JOE, COBB and BILL ROONEY played for the DULUTH ESKIMOS.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, Tremaine (No. 16, Buffalo) and Terrell (No. 28, Pittsburgh) became the first pair of brothers to be selected in the first round of the same draft. The Edmunds’ father, FERRELL EDMUNDS, was a two-time Pro Bowl selection at tight end during his seven-year NFL career with the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks.
BEARS-PACKERS REACHES 200: The CHICAGO BEARS and GREEN BAY PACKERS renew one of the richest rivalries in sports history on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Sunday’s contest is the 200th meeting in the series, including postseason.
- Bears quarterback MITCHELL TRUBISKY has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his past two games, wins over the Lions and Cowboys, respectively. Meanwhile, in his past eight games at Lambeau Field against Chicago, Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS has 23 passing touchdowns and two interceptions for a passer rating of 116.0.
The career leaders in the Bears-Packers series, including postseason, in notable categories:
|Aaron Rodgers||Passer rating (min. 100 att.)||105.2|
|Brett Favre||Passing touchdowns||53|
|Brett Favre||Passing yards||7,660|
|Walter Payton||Rushing yards||2,484|
|Don Hutson||Receiving yards||1,461|
|Walter Payton||Scrimmage yards||2,922|
|Mason Crosby||Points scored||185|
LAST-SECOND WIN IN STARTING DEBUT: The DENVER BRONCOS and rookie quarterback DREW LOCK, who has won his first two starts, head to Kansas City to meet the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). On December 1, Lock led the Broncos to a dramatic walk-off win over the Chargers, 23-20, in his first NFL start. The last quarterback to do that prior to Lock was his opponent Sunday, Chiefs quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES, who made his first NFL start at the end of his 2017 rookie season on the same field in Denver. Mahomes and the Chiefs beat the Broncos, 27-24, as time expired on December 31, 2017,
- Lock, making his first-career road start last week, passed for 309 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 136.0 passer rating in the Broncos’ 38-24 win at Houston. He became the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to pass for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in his first career road start.
- Denver running back PHILLIP LINDSAY had 55 scrimmage yards (51 rushing, 4 receiving) and a rushing touchdown on Sunday. Lindsay, who had 1,278 scrimmage yards as a rookie in 2018, has 1,004 scrimmage yards this season and is the third undrafted player with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two seasons in the common-draft era.
NFL SCHEDULE, DECEMBER 12, 15-16
(All times Eastern)
|New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens||8:20 PM||FOX/NFLN
|Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sunday||Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals||4:05 PM||CBS|
|Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers||1:00 PM||FOX||Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers||4:05 PM||CBS|
|New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||CBS||Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders||4:05 PM||CBS|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions||1:00 PM||FOX||Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers||1:00 PM||FOX||Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 PM||CBS||Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers||8:20 PM||NBC|
|Miami Dolphins at New York Giants||1:00 PM||CBS||Monday|
|Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM||CBS||Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints||8:15 PM||ESPN|