Wednesday Morning QB (Week 15)

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The NFL season is drawing to a close as the playoff race begins to shrink to only a handful of teams. Some teams continue to fight for their spot in the playoffs while others try to find out what they will do on their way to the postseason. There is still a lot to play for as teams are still working towards the playoffs but the teams are not the only thing to focus on at this time of the year. Some players are also looking ahead to the next two games as they go in pursuit of the NFL record book. This part of the season is the perfect time for these pursuits as players get that much closer to history. It is one of the things that fans love the most as it adds another aspect to games that may not have the biggest meaning. This year there are three records that may just fall by the end of the year although there is still a lot of work to be done. All of these records have one thing in common as they are all single season records with the new generation of players closing in on the legends of the past. The most recent of these records is the single season sack record set by Michael Strahan in 2001. That season Strahan solidified himself as one of the best pass rushers of all time when he earned 22.5 sacks beating Mark Gastineau’s 17 year record of 22 sacks. The record has come close to being broken as Jared Allen came within half a sack last year of breaking the record. In 2012 there are two potential record breakers as Aldon Smith and J.J. Watt are both fighting for the record with 19.5 sacks each.  The record will likely fall as both players need three sacks in two games to get the record and with the pace that both players have set this year that should be reachable. The biggest debate will be who can get there first with both players in a race to break the record as the winner of the 2012 sack record will likely have the single season sack record. One of the older records looking to fall is the single season receiving yardage record held by Jerry Rice. Rice is considered the greatest receiver to ever play football as he owns every major record for receivers. Now Calvin Johnson is only 181 yards away from breaking the record that was set by Rice in 1995. The 1,848 receiving yards that Rice earned in 1995 was a record that many though would not be broken and then Johnson came along. Johnson came close once to breaking the record earning 1,681 yards in 2011 for 7th all-time. Now with two games left Johnson only needs to average just over 60 yards in both games to earn the record and overtake the greatest receiver in NFL history. The third record that may fall is considered one of the toughest records to break in the NFL and this year will not be any easier. In 1984 Eric Dickerson had the greatest season by any running back in NFL history. He would rush for 2,105 yards to surpass the record of 2,003 yards set by OJ Simpson in 1973. To this day the 2,000 yard mark is considered one of the toughest things to achieve by any running back let along earning over 2,100 yards in a season. There is one player that is flirting with history though as the greatest running back of the passing era has had a dream season only a year after tearing his ACL. Adrian Peterson suffered the devastating injury at the end of the 2011 season and was expected to be out the majority of the 2012 season. Instead he came back to start the 2012 season and has had his best season in the NFL. So far Peterson has rushed for 1,812 yards and thanks to a 212 yard performance this week has put him in striking distance of one of the most difficult records to break. Peterson will need to average about 147 yards in his next two games to break the record and the way he is running while on a team with little to no passing game Peterson could do it. These three records are all within striking distance but all will likely come down to the last week. The record watch is in full swing as four players pursue history with only two weeks to put their names in the record books of the NFL.

 

Four Quarters
(Four Quick Thoughts on Week 15) 

Two Teams making a run
The Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins are beginning to look like those teams with the always important momentum going into the playoffs as both teams are on a tear and both teams are doing it with a rookie QB

Young QBs Could Extend their Seasons
As Robert Griffin and Russell Wilson lead their team into the playoffs they may be joined by Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick as four first year QBs at the helm of a playoff team continuing the trend of young dominant QBs in 2012

Sanchez’s Last Stand?
The Monday Nighter was a disaster for both teams and for Mark Sanchez it may have been his last game as a starter for the New York Jets as his performance has led to the Jets naming Greg McElroy the starter next week likely ending Sanchez’s time as a starter

The Super Bowl Preview
The game between the 49ers and Patriots lived up to its billing as the Super Bowl preview with a great game showing off what many consider to be the best two teams in the league as the top defence of the Niners won out against the top offence of the Patriots

 

NFL Standings 

American Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. z-Houston Texans (.857)
2. z-Denver Broncos (.786)
3. z-New England Patriots (.714)
4. y-Baltimore Ravens (.643)
Wild Card:
5. Indianapolis Colts (.643)
6. Cincinnati Bengals (.571)
In the Hunt:
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (.500)
8. New York Jets (.429)
9. Miami Dolphins (.429)
Out of the Running:
10. Cleveland Browns (.357)
11. San Diego Chargers (.357)
12. Tennessee Titans (.357)
12. Buffalo Bills (.357)
13. Oakland Raiders (.286)
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (.143)
15. Kansas City Chiefs (.143)

 

National Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. z-Atlanta Falcons (.857)
2. y-San Francisco 49ers (.750)
3. z-Green Bay Packers (.714)
4. Washington Redskins (.571)
Wild Card:
5. Seattle Seahawks (.643)
6. Minnesota Vikings (.571)
In the Hunt:
7. Chicago Bears (.571)
8. Dallas Cowboys (.571)
9. New York Giants (.571)
10. St. Louis Rams (.464)
11. New Orleans Saints (.429)
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.429)
Out of the Running:
13. Carolina Panthers (.357)
14. Arizona Cardinals (.357)
15. Detroit Lions (.286)
16. Philadelphia Eagles (.286)

z-Clinched Division
y-Clinched Playoff Spot

 

Key Scores:
Green Bay Packers 21 – 13 Chicago Bears
– The Packers were banged up but they still seemed to have the Bears’ number as they once again put pressure on Cutler forcing multiple mistakes and winning the game giving them the NFC North Title and pushing the Bears out of the playoffs

 

Houston Texans 29 – 17 Indianapolis Colts
– The Texans recovered from a terrible performance against the Patriots as even the superstar rookie Andrew Luck could not lead a comeback against the Texans defence as the Texans clinched their division

 

Dallas Cowboys 27 – 24 Pittsburgh Steelers (OT)
– The Cowboys and Steelers would fight it out on Sunday as both teams would be looking to stay in the playoff hunt and after regulation would solve nothing the Cowboys would win in overtime staying in the playoff hunt and pushing Pittsburgh out of the wild card

 

San Francisco 49ers 41 – 34 New England Patriots
– In a game that many saw as a preview of the Super Bowl the Patriots and Niners would go all out to prove who was the favorite and after the Niners got out to an early lead the Pats came up just short as the Niners would win

 

Next Week:
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles (December 23rd; 1:00 pm EST)
– The Redskins are in the middle of a race for the NFC East and a win against a division opponent will go a long way to helping them win the division as Robert Griffin returns to lead the Skins against the Eagles

 

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (December 23rd; 1:00 pm EST)
– The Bengals are looking to stay in the wild card spot while the Steelers are trying to get back in as both teams face off in a very important game for both teams as the loser will likely see themselves out of the playoffs this year

 

New York Giants vs. Baltimore Ravens (December 23rd; 4:25 pm EST)
– The Giants and the Ravens are both coming off of a bad loss but both had a different results with the Giants losing their division lead and the Ravens clinching their division as they face off with the Giants needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt

 

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks (December 24th; 8:20 pm EST)
– The Seahawks are one of the best teams heading into the playoffs and now they have the NFC South division crown in sight as they take on division leaders in the San Francisco 49ers who are looking to clinch the division with a win over the Seahawks

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