Playoffs! We Are Talking Playoffs!!
All 16 games are division contests in Week 17 and there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV.
In 15 of the past 16 years, at least two teams have won their division the season after missing the playoffs. With a win over Minnesota on Monday Night Football in Week 16, the GREEN BAY PACKERS (12-3) clinched the NFC North.
If the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (12-3) defeat the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-4) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), the 49ers would clinch the NFC West, marking the 16th time in the last 17 seasons at least two teams have won their division the season after missing the playoffs.
In the AFC, five teams have already punched their tickets to the postseason, including all four division winners: the BALTIMORE RAVENS (13-2, AFC North and home field advantage), HOUSTON TEXANS (10-5, AFC South), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4, AFC West), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-3, AFC East) and BUFFALO BILLS (10-5, playoff berth).
Five teams have also locked up playoff berths in the NFC: the GREEN BAY PACKERS (12-3, NFC North), NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (12-3, NFC South), MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-5, playoff berth), SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (12-3, playoff berth) and SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-4, playoff berth).
Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON has led the Seahawks to the postseason for the seventh time in eight seasons as the team’s starting quarterback and is the first quarterback to lead his team to a winning record in each of his first eight seasons in NFL history.
With a win over San Francisco on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Seattle will capture the NFC West division title and Wilson will earn his 87th regular-season win, surpassing TOM BRADY (86 wins) for the most regular-season wins by a quarterback through his first eight seasons in NFL history.
New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 279 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a Week 16 victory, as the Saints earned at least 12 wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.
With another performance of at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions on Sunday at Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Brees will become the fourth player with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in at least four consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.
Brees also leads the league with a 75.3 completion percentage in 2019 (among qualified passers) and is on pace to break his own single-season completion percentage record for the second-consecutive season. The 19-year veteran entered 2019 with four of the top five single-season completion percentages in league annals. Oakland quarterback DEREK CARR (71.1 percent) and Tennessee quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL (70.7) also each own completion percentages over of at least 70 percent entering Week 17.
New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS leads the NFL with 145 receptions in 2019 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (143 in 2002) for the most receptions in a single season in NFL history. Both Thomas and Houston wide receiver DEANDRE HOPKINS have recorded at least five receptions in all 15 games this season.
If Thomas has at least five receptions at Carolina and Hopkins has at least five receptions on Sunday against Tennessee (4:25 PM ET, CBS), they would become the fifth and sixth different receivers with at least five receptions in all 16 games of a regular season since 1978, when the 16-game schedule was implemented. Additionally, with at least 12 receptions on Sunday, Thomas would become the first player with at least 12 receptions in three consecutive games in NFL history.
Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY registered 173 scrimmage yards (119 receiving, 54 rushing) last week, his ninth game with at least 150 scrimmage yards this season.
With at least 150 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New Orleans (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey, who leads the league with 2,294 scrimmage yards in 2019, would tie CHRIS JOHNSON (10 games in 2009) for the most games with at least 150 scrimmage yards in a single season in NFL history.
With at least 216 scrimmage yards on Sunday, McCaffrey would surpass Johnson (2,509 scrimmage yards in 2009) for the most scrimmage yards in a single season in league annals.
Additionally, McCaffrey ranks second among all running backs this season with 933 receiving yards, trailing only the Los Angeles Chargers’ AUSTIN EKELER (950). If McCaffrey has at least 67 receiving yards against New Orleans and Ekeler has at least 50 receiving yards at Kansas City (1:00 PM ET, CBS), they would become the fourth and fifth running backs with at least 1,000 receiving yards in a single season since 1970.
McCaffrey, who ranks second in the NFL with a career-high 1,361 rushing yards this season, can join ROGER CRAIG (1985) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (1999) as the only players with at least 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history.
n his 125th career game, Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES, who has 12,047 career receiving yards, had 10 catches for 166 yards in the Falcons’ Week 16 victory and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (142 games) as the fastest player to reach 12,000 career receiving yards in NFL history.
Jones, who ranks third in the league with 1,316 receiving yards in 2019, needs at least 84 receiving yards on Sunday at Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET, FOX), to tie Rice (six seasons) for the most seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards in NFL history.
Tampa Bay quarterback JAMEIS WINSTON leads the league with a career-high 4,908 passing yards entering the season’s final week and has thrown for at least 375 yards in five different games in 2019.
With at least 375 passing yards on Sunday against Atlanta, Winston would tie PEYTON MANNING (six games in 2013) for the most games with at least 375 passing yards in a single season in NFL history.
Tennessee’s A.J. BROWN (927 receiving yards) and Washington’s TERRY MCLAURIN (919) lead all rookies in receiving yards this season and each have a chance to reach 1,000 receiving yards in their first NFL seasons.
If Brown has at least 73 receiving yards at Houston (4:25 PM ET, CBS) and McLaurin has at least 81 receiving yards at Dallas (4:25 ET, FOX), the 2019 season would join 2014 and 1986 as the only seasons featuring multiple rookies with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history.