The Good, The Bad and The NFL
Happy HOLIDAYS People! And the NFL has some FOOTBALL coming up to fill your plate!
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 Sunday’s SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS-BALTIMORE RAVENS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest pairs the teams from one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory, Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Ravens and head coach JOHN HARBAUGH built a 28-6 lead on his younger brother, 49ers head coach JIM HARBAUGH, when Baltimore’s JACOBY JONES returned the second-half-opening kickoff 108 yards, the longest play in Super Bowl annals. Soon after Jones’ return, the stadium lost power, causing a 34-minute delay. San Francisco responded with MICHAEL CRABTREE’s touchdown catch, and TD runs by FRANK GORE and COLIN KAEPERNICK to pull within 31-29 with just less than 10 minutes remaining. After a JUSTIN TUCKER field goal gave Baltimore a 34-29 advantage, the Ravens’ last-minute goal-line stand preserved their second Super Bowl victory. After using a safety to run out the clock, Baltimore won, 34-31.
HAVE ANOTHER SERVING OF HOPE: As the playoff races come into focus, the CLEVELAND BROWNS in the AFC and the CAROLINA PANTHERS, CHICAGO BEARS and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES in the NFC are 5-6. In 13 of the past 15 seasons (2004-18), a team with a sub-.500 record through 11 games has made the playoff field. And since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was instituted, 21 such clubs in 29 seasons have steered their way to the postseason. Four of those clubs – the 1995 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS, the 1996 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, the 2008 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS and the 2014 CAROLINA PANTHERS – earned playoff berths after starting with four-or-fewer wins through 11 games. The Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship that season, and both the Chargers (2008) and Panthers (2014) advanced to their respective Divisional rounds.
Teams with a sub-.500 record through 11 games to qualify for the playoffs since 1990:
|Philadelphia Eagles||2018||5||6||0||.455||Washington Redskins||2005||5||6||0||.455|
|Green Bay Packers||2016||5||6||0||.455||St. Louis Rams||2004||5||6||0||.455|
|Washington Redskins||2015||5||6||0||.455||Detroit Lions||1997||5||6||0||.455|
|Carolina Panthers||2014||3||7||1||.318||Jacksonville Jaguars||1996||4||7||0||.364|
|San Diego Chargers||2013||5||6||0||.455||Detroit Lions||1995||5||6||0||.455|
|Washington Redskins||2012||5||6||0||.455||San Diego Chargers||1995||4||7||0||.364|
|Seattle Seahawks||2010||5||6||0||.455||Detroit Lions||1994||5||6||0||.455|
|New York Jets||2009||5||6||0||.455||New England Patriots||1994||5||6||0||.455|
|San Diego Chargers||2008||4||7||0||.364||Minnesota Vikings||1993||5||6||0||.455|
|Washington Redskins||2007||5||6||0||.455||New Orleans Saints||1990||5||6||0||.455|
MARQUEE GAMES: Two contests in Week 13 feature teams with three-or-fewer losses. The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-1) make the cross-country trek to meet the BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-2) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), and to close the week, the MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-3) travel to play the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-2) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).
Week 13 marks just the fourth time this decade that two-or-more games in the same week have featured teams with three-or-fewer losses this late in a season.
The three prior weeks featuring multiple matchups of teams with three-or-fewer losses in Week 13 or later:
|2014||13||11/27/2014||Philadelphia (8-3)||W, 33-10||Missed playoffs (10-6)|
|at Dallas (8-3)||Advanced to divisional playoff|
|11/30/2014||New England (9-2)||Won Super Bowl XLIX|
|at Green Bay (8-3)||W, 26-21||Advanced to conference championship|
|2013||13||12/1/2013||Denver (9-2)||W, 35-28||Advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII|
|at Kansas City (9-2)||Advanced to wild card playoff|
|12/2/2013||New Orleans (9-2)||Advanced to divisional playoff|
|at Seattle (10-1)||W, 34-7||Won Super Bowl XLVIII|
|2010||13||12/5/2010||Pittsburgh (8-3)||W, 13-10||Advanced to Super Bowl XLV|
|at Baltimore (8-3)||Advanced to divisional playoff|
|12/6/2010||N.Y. Jets (9-2)||Advanced to conference championship|
|at New England (9-2)||W, 45-3||Advanced to divisional playoff|
AN NFC RARITY: The MINNESOTA VIKINGS-SEATTLE SEAHAWKS contest on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN) features one of three NFC clubs (Seattle, SAN FRANCISCO and NEW ORLEANS) with nine-or-more wins. This season marks the first time in 18 years that three NFC clubs are 9-2 or better through 11 games. Since the conference was formed during the league merger in 1970, it’s happened only four other times (1986, 1990, 1991 and 2001).
Last year, Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON became the first quarterback in NFL history to win at least nine games in each of his first seven seasons. Wilson, now in his eighth NFL season, led the Seahawks to their ninth win last week at Philadelphia.
DECEMBERS TO REMEMBER: The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS and BALTIMORE RAVENS, who meet on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), are two of the NFL’s best teams in December since 2017, when the 49ers acquired quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO from New England. Garoppolo is 5-0 in December since coming to San Francisco.
The NFL teams with highest winning percentages in December since 2017:
|Los Angeles Chargers||8||2||0||.800|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7||3||0||.700|
|New England Patriots||7||3||0||.700|
|San Francisco 49ers||7||3||0||.700|
|New Orleans Saints||6||3||0||.667|
PLETHORA OF EIGHT-WIN TEAMS…: The GREEN BAY PACKERS, who head east to play the NEW YORK GIANTS Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), are one of eight NFL teams with eight-or-more wins in 2019, tying a single-season record through 11 games. This marks the first time in 16 years – and only the fifth time in history – that eight clubs have reached eight wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1997 and 2003.
…AND NINE-WIN TEAMS: The Sunday Night Football contest (8:20 PM ET, NBC) pairs the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-1) on the road against the HOUSTON TEXANS (7-4). New England is one of five NFL teams with at least nine wins through 11 games, also tying a single-season league record. This marks just the second time in the past 28 seasons that five teams have nine-or-more wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1976, 1986, 1990, 1991 and 2015.
Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON ranks third in the NFL among quarterbacks with five rushing touchdowns. Only Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN (seven) and Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON (six) have more. Overall this season, NFL quarterbacks have rushed for 58 touchdowns. That’s on pace for 84, which would be 11 more than the most in a single season since the 1970 merger, 73, in 2002.
ROOKIES NOT ONLY PLAYING, THEY’RE WINNING: The CLEVELAND BROWNS make the two-hour bus ride to play the PITTSBURGH STEELERS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) in a game that features Cleveland’s BAKER MAYFIELD, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 draft, against an undrafted rookie, DEVLIN HODGES. The 2018 and 2019 seasons are two of only four in NFL history that have had five-or-more quarterbacks win at least one start (Hodges won his first career start earlier this year). The league-record is seven, in 1987. Five rookie quarterbacks also started and won at least one game in 2012.
MAHOMES, JACKSON HAVE HISTORY IN THEIR SIGHTS: The OAKLAND RAIDERS meet the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES (age 24) enters the week ranked fifth in the NFL with a 110 passer rating. Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON (age 22) enters the week ranked third with a 111.4 mark. Prior to 2019, only twice in 99 NFL seasons has a player under the age of 25 finished a season with a passer rating of 110 or higher: Mahomes in 2018 (113.8) and NICK FOLES in 2013 (119.2).
NFL SCHEDULE, NOVEMBER 28, DECEMBER 1-2
(All times Eastern)
|Thanksgiving Day||Sunday (cont.)|
|Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions||12:30 PM||FOX||Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys||4:30 PM||CBS||Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM||FOX|
|New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons||8:20 PM||NBC||Green Bay Packers at New York Giants||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sunday||Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals||4:05 PM||FOX|
|San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens||1:00 PM||FOX||Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos||4:25 PM||CBS|
|Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers||1:00 PM||CBS||Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs||4:25 PM||CBS|
|New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||CBS||New England Patriots at Houston Texans||8:20 PM||NBC|
|Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM||CBS||Monday|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM||FOX||Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks||8:15 PM||ESPN|