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‘NFL’ Articles

NFL London games announced for 2018; Seahawks, Eagles and Titans make debuts in UK



NEW TOTTENHAM STADIUM 2015 artist rendering By Source WP NFCC #4, Fair use, https



The National Football League today announced the schedule of London Games for 2018, featuring a series of firsts, including a debut at a new stadium and three teams playing a regular-season game in London for the first time.


The 2018 London Games schedule:


Week Date Visiting Team Home Team Site
6 10/14/18 Seattle Seahawks Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur
7 or 8 10/21/18 or 10/28/18 Philadelphia Eagles Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium
7or 8 10/21/18 or 10/28/18 Tennessee Titans Los Angeles Chargers Wembley Stadium


English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks.  The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Tottenham for their first game in London. Tottenham’s new stadium becomes the third venue to stage a regular-season game in the UK, joining Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium.

The following two weeks, October 21 and 28, two additional teams will make their London debuts as visiting teams. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams, while the Tennessee Titans will face the Los Angeles Chargers. The order of the games, along with all kickoff times, will be confirmed at a later date.

“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the UK,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year. A key feature of our success is playing in iconic, world-renowned venues like Wembley and Twickenham, and we look forward to playing in what will be another incredible setting for NFL football at Tottenham’s new stadium.”

Mayor of London SADIQ KHAN said: “London is the international home of the NFL and I am really excited to welcome the world’s best American football stars and their thousands of fans from around the globe back to our city.

“I’m delighted Tottenham Hotspur’s fantastic new stadium is joining the line-up of world-class sports arenas in our great city. Spurs’ new ground will stage one game in its first year of opening and in 2019 we look forward to going back to staging at least four NFL games in London. Once again, London has shown why it is the sporting capital of the world and open to the very best sports events.”

By the end of the 2018 season, the NFL will have played 24 regular-season games in London, with 29 of 32 teams having participated.

“This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the UK,” said NFL Executive Vice President of International and Events MARK WALLER.

“By playing games on three consecutive weeks we will learn a lot, both from the fans buying tickets and attending games, and from a logistics and organizational standpoint.

“We are very excited about playing our first game at Tottenham’s magnificent new stadium and will follow our usual pattern of playing one game in our first season at a new venue, as we did at Wembley and Twickenham in previous years. This enables us to achieve important learnings relating to the fans’ preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two per year, to make up for this.”

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur announced in 2015 that they had reached agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played during a 10-year partnership. The state-of-the-art stadium, due to open this summer, will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It will also have customized features such as locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.

“This is a milestone year for the club as we look ahead to the opening of our new stadium and all that it will bring to the area of Tottenham,” said Tottenham Hotspur chairman DANIEL LEVY.

“The announcement of the first game of the NFL’s 2018 London Games to take place at our new home heralds the commencement of our 10-year partnership. This is one of the cornerstones of our vision for creating a world-class sports and leisure destination that will make Tottenham a hive of activity 365 days a year and drive the regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London. The NFL will bring a whole new audience to the local area, showcase Tottenham and bring further economic and social benefits with truly global coverage and attraction.”

The NFL kicked off its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on their way to winning the Super Bowl. The home of English football has now hosted 18 NFL games, with almost 1.5 million fans in attendance.

“The NFL holds huge value and importance to Wembley Stadium. We are proud to have hosted games under the arch for the past decade and to have played a key role in the growth of the sport,” said MARTIN GLENN, Chief Executive of the Football Association.

“NFL games bring people to the stadium from all over the world, provide a boost to the local economy, and are among the highlights of the Wembley events calendar. Working closely together, we have been able to share knowledge and expertise with the NFL, and continue to learn a great deal from their events and the activation of their games. We are very excited to be welcoming some outstanding playoff teams to the stadium in 2018 and hope our strong partnership will continue for years to come.”

Three of the six teams playing in London in 2018 have made the playoffs this season (Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Tennessee), while two more finished the season with winning records (Seattle, LA Chargers).

All four winning teams in the NFL’s 2017 London Games went on to win their divisions: Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South), New Orleans Saints (NFC South), Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota Vikings (NFC North).

Ticketing details will be announced by NFL UK on January 18. Anyone interested in registering their interest in attending any of the games can do so at to ensure they receive all the latest information.


NEW TOTTENHAM STADIUM under construction July 2017 photo By Hzh - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https











NFL’s Elite Eight teams do battle this weekend in Divisional Playoffs

And then there were eight. The NFL heads into the Divisional Playoffs with a slate of four key games on tap.

On Saturday, January 13, the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3), who won the NFC East and secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC, will host the Atlanta Falcons (11-6) at Lincoln Financial Field to kick off the weekend (NBC, 4:35 PM ET). That night in primetime (CBS, 8:15 PM ET), the New England Patriots (13-3), who won the AFC East and own the No. 1 seed in the AFC, will host the Tennessee Titans (10-7) at Gillette Stadium.

On Sunday, January 14, the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3), the AFC North champions, will welcome the AFC South-champion Jacksonville Jaguars (11-6) to Heinz Field (CBS, 1:05 PM ET) and the Minnesota Vikings (13-3), who won the NFC North, will host the New Orleans Saints (12-5) at U.S. Bank Stadium (FOX, 4:40 PM ET), the home of Super Bowl LII.


Saturday, January 13
NFC Atlanta at Philadelphia 4:35 PM ET NBC
AFC Tennessee at New England 8:15 PM ET CBS
Sunday, January 14
AFC Jacksonville at Pittsburgh 1:05 PM ET CBS
NFC New Orleans at Minnesota 4:40 PM ET FOX


Among the final eight are the Eagles and Jaguars, who both completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons. Half of the remaining eight clubs – Eagles, Vikings, Saints and Jaguars – finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year. And, with the addition of the Titans, five of the final eight clubs are new teams in this year’s playoff field.


ATLANTA FALCONS (11-6) at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (13-3) (Saturday, NBC, 4:35 PM ET)


  • This is the fourth postseason meeting between the teams and the first since 2004 when the Eagles defeated the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game 27-10 (January 23, 2005) to advance to Super Bowl XXXIX. The Eagles lead the all-time series 18-14-1, including the postseason. Philadelphia won the last meeting 24-15 in Week 10, 2016 (November 13).
  • The Falcons defeated the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 last week to advance to the Divisional Playoffs. Quarterback MATT RYAN threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver JULIO JONES and posted a 101.8 passer rating. Ryan has registered a passer rating of at least 100 in five consecutive playoff games, tied for the second-longest streak in the Super Bowl era. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (eight) owns a longer streak.
  • Ryan has a 102.4 career postseason passer rating, the third-best mark in NFL history (minimum 150 attempts). Only Pro Football Hall of Famers BART STARR (104.8) and KURT WARNER (102.8) have a higher mark.
  • Atlanta had two players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: wide receiver Jones and center ALEX MACK.
  • The Eagles tied a franchise record with 13 wins (2004) and earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the fourth time since 2002. Philadelphia had six players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: guard BRANDON BROOKS, defensive tackle FLETCHER COX, tight end ZACH ERTZ, safety MALCOLM JENKINS, tackle LANE JOHNSON and quarterback CARSON WENTZ.
  • Three Eagles had at least eight touchdown receptions this season: wide receivers ALSHON JEFFERY (nine) and NELSON AGHOLOR (eight) and tight end Ertz (eight).


TENNESSEE TITANS (10-7) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-3) (Saturday, CBS, 8:15 PM ET)


  • This is the third postseason meeting between the teams and the first since the 2003 AFC Divisional Playoff (January 10, 2004) which New England won 17-14. The Patriots lead the all-time series 24-16-1, including the playoffs, and have won six in a row. The teams last met in Week 15, 2015 (December 20) with the Patriots coming out on top with a 33-16 victory.


  • The Titans earned their first postseason win since 2003 (January 3, 2004 at Baltimore in the Wild Card round) with last week’s 22-21 come-from-behind win at Kansas City. Tennessee erased a 21-3 halftime deficit and joined the 1957 Detroit Lions as the only teams to overcome an 18+ point deficit to win a road playoff game.
  • Quarterback MARCUS MARIOTA threw two touchdown passes in the Wild Card victory, including a six-yard touchdown pass to himself. He is the only player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass to himself in a postseason game. Running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 156 yards, including a 35-yard TD, against the Chiefs and joined EDDIE GEORGE (162 yards on January 16, 2000) as the only players in club history to rush for at least 150 yards in a playoff game.
  • Tennessee had three players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: defensive tackle JURRELL CASEY, punter BRETT KERN and tackle TAYLOR LEWAN.
  • New England won its ninth consecutive division title, the longest streak in NFL history. The Patriots are the only team to win 14 division titles in a 15-year span. New England has won at least 12 games in eight consecutive seasons, the longest streak in league annals.
  • Quarterback TOM BRADY, who led the NFL with 4,577 passing yards this season, has 25 career playoff wins, the most in NFL history. Brady is also the NFL postseason leader in career completions (831), attempts (1,325), passing yards (9,094) and touchdown passes (63).
  • The Patriots had four players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: quarterback Brady, fullback JAMES DEVELIN, tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI and special teamer MATTHEW SLATER.




  • This is the second postseason meeting between the teams. The Jaguars defeated the Steelers 31-29 in the 2007 AFC Wild Card Playoffs (January 5, 2008). Jacksonville leads the all-time series 13-11, including the postseason, and defeated Pittsburgh earlier this season, knocking off the Steelers 30-9 in Week 5 (October 8) at Heinz Field.
  • The Jaguars defeated Buffalo 10-3 last week as the team earned its first home playoff win since 1999 (January 15, 2000 vs. Miami in the Divisional round). Quarterback BLAKE BORTLES connected with tight end BEN KOYACK for the game’s only touchdown.
  • In Jacksonville’s Week 5 win at Pittsburgh, the Jaguars recorded five interceptions – returning two for touchdowns – and rookie running back LEONARD FOURNETTE rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
  • The Jaguars had four players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: cornerbacks A.J. BOUYE and JALEN RAMSEY, defensive end CALAIS CAMPBELLand defensive tackle MALIK JACKSON.


  • Pittsburgh won the AFC North for the second consecutive year, the team’s eighth division title since realignment in 2002. The Steelers have 36 postseason victories, the most in NFL history.
  • Steelers wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN led the league with 1,533 receiving yards and is the only player in franchise history to lead the NFL in receiving yards multiple times. Brown has 582 receptions and 7,848 receiving yards over the past five seasons, the most in NFL history over any five-year span for both categories.
  • The Steelers had an NFL-best eight players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: running back LE’VEON BELL, kicker CHRIS BOSWELL, wide receiver Brown, guard DAVID DE CASTRO, center MAURKICE POUNCEY, quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER, linebacker RYAN SHAZIER and tackle ALEJANDRO VILLANUEVA.




  • The teams will meet in the playoffs for the fourth time with Minnesota holding a 2-1 advantage. In their last postseason meeting, the Saints defeated the Vikings 31-28 in overtime in the 2009 NFC Championship Game (January 24, 2010) en route to winning Super Bowl XLIV. Minnesota, which leads the all-time series 21-11 (including the playoffs), defeated New Orleans earlier this season, knocking off the Saints 29-19 on Kickoff Weekend (September 11).
  • The Saints recorded a 31-26 victory over Carolina in last week’s Wild Card showdown, the team’s first playoff win since 2013 (January 4, 2014 at Philadelphia in the Wild Card round). Quarterback DREW BREES passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns and wide receivers MICHAEL THOMAS (131 yards) and TED GINN, JR. (115) each recorded 100 yards.
  • Brees has seven career 300-yard passing games in the postseason, the third-most in NFL history. He has passed for at least 300 yards in seven of his 12 career playoff games.
  • New Orleans had six players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: quarterback Brees, running backs MARK INGRAM and ALVIN KAMARA, defensive end CAMERON JORDAN, cornerback MARSHON LATTIMORE and wide receiver Thomas.


  • Minnesota captured the NFC North for the second time in the past three seasons and earned a first-round bye for the first time since 2009. The team’s 13 regular-season wins are the most since 1998 when the club went 15-1.
  • Quarterback CASE KEENUM, who played in 15 games and made 14 starts, set career-highs in attempts (481), completions (325), completion percentage (67.6), yards (3,547), touchdowns (22) and passer rating (98.3). Keenum posted a passer rating of at least 100 in eight games this season and the Vikings were a perfect 8-0 in those contests.
  • The Vikings had four players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: linebacker ANTHONY BARR, defensive end EVERSONGRIFFEN, cornerback XAVIER RHODES and wide receiver ADAM THIELEN.




NFL Divisional Playoffs: What To Look For

FROM “WORST TO FIRST”: The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES and JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS both advanced to the Divisional Playoffs after completing “worst-to-first” turnarounds this season. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

In the previous 14 seasons, four teams that went from “worst-to-first” in their divisions have advanced to the conference championship game and two earned Super Bowl berths – the 2003 Carolina Panthers (Super Bowl XXXVIII) and the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who won Super Bowl XLIV.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their divisions and advance to at least the conference championship game since 2003:

2003 Carolina 11-5 7-9 Super Bowl XXXVIII
2004 Atlanta 11-5 5-11 NFC Championship
2006 New Orleans 10-6 3-13 NFC Championship
2009 New Orleans 13-3 8-8 Won Super Bowl XLIV
2017 Jacksonville 10-6 3-13 ???
2017 Philadelphia 13-3 7-9 ???


Five of the remaining eight clubs – the Eagles, Saints and Vikings in the NFC and the Jaguars and Titans in the AFC – missed the postseason in 2016, marking the fifth time since 1990 – and the first since 2000 – that five teams advanced to the Divisional Playoffs after missing the postseason in the previous year.

The seasons which had five teams advance to the Divisional Playoffs after missing the postseason in the previous season since 1990:

1990 5 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, Washington)
1992 5 (Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1999 5 (Indianapolis, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 5 (Baltimore, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2017 5 (Jacksonville, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)


TOP BILLING: New England’s BILL BELICHICK has appeared in 36 postseason games as a head coach and has 26 career playoff wins, the most wins all-time by a head coach.

Belichick, who coaches against Tennessee on Saturday night, will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers TOM LANDRY (36) and DON SHULA (36) for the most postseason games as a head coach in league history.

The most postseason games as a head coach in NFL history:

Bill Belichick Cleveland, New England 36  
Tom Landry^ Dallas 36  
Don Shula^ Baltimore Colts, Miami 36  
Joe Gibbs^ Washington 24  
Mike Holmgren Green Bay, Seattle 24  
Chuck Noll^ Pittsburgh 24  
Andy Reid Philadelphia, Kansas City 24  
^Pro Football Hall of Famer



WHEN IT COUNTS: New England quarterback TOM BRADY has 25 career postseason victories, the most playoff wins all-time by a starting quarterback, while Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER is tied for sixth with 13 career postseason wins.

Roethlisberger, who plays against Jacksonville on Sunday, can tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW and JOHN ELWAY and PEYTON MANNING for the third-most playoff victories by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Brady can also extend his NFL record on Saturday.

The starting quarterbacks with the most career playoff wins in NFL history:

Tom Brady New England 25  
Joe Montana^ San Francisco, Kansas City 16  
Terry Bradshaw^ Pittsburgh 14  
John Elway^ Denver 14  
Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 14  
Brett Favre^ Green Bay, Minnesota 13  
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh 13  
^Pro Football Hall of Famer


AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: New England’s TOM BRADY (40 years, 163 days old on Saturday) and Tennessee’s MARCUS MARIOTA (24 years, 75 days old) will face off in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday.

Brady and Mariota have an age difference of 16 years and 88 days, the largest age difference between opposing starting quarterbacks in a playoff game in NFL history. ​

The largest age differences between opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game:

January 13, 2018 Tom Brady (New England) Marcus Mariota (Tennessee) 16 years, 88 days ???  
December 28, 1991 Steve DeBerg (Kansas City) Todd Marinovich (LA Raiders) 15 years, 166 days Kansas City, 10-6  
December 31, 1972 Earl Morrall (Miami) Terry Bradshaw^ (Pittsburgh) 14 years, 108 days Miami, 21-17  
January 3, 2009 Kurt Warner^ (Arizona) Matt Ryan (Atlanta) 13 years, 329 days Arizona, 30-24  
December 24, 1972 Earl Morrall (Miami) Mike Phipps (Cleveland) 13 years, 186 days Miami, 20-14  
^Pro Football Hall of Famer


MATTY ICE IN THE POSTSEASON: Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN completed 21 of 30 passes (70 percent) for 218 yards and a touchdown for a 101.8 passer rating in the Falcons’ 26-13 win at the Los Angeles Rams on Wild Card Weekend.

Ryan, who plays at Philadelphia on Saturday, has recorded a passer rating of at least 100 in five consecutive postseason games, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (eight) has a longer such streak.

The most consecutive postseason games with a 100+ passer rating:

Joe Montana^ San Francisco 1988-1990 8
Matt Ryan Atlanta 2012, 2016-17 5*
Joe Flacco Baltimore 2012, 2014 5
Troy Aikman^ Dallas 1992-93 5
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Ryan has completed at least 70 percent of his passes in five consecutive postseason games and can tie Pro Football Hall of Famer TROY AIKMAN (six) for the longest streak in postseason annals.

​The most consecutive postseason games with a 70+ completion percentage:

Troy Aikman^ Dallas 1992-94 6
Matt Ryan Atlanta 2012, 2016-17 5*
Warren Moon^ Houston Oilers 1991-93 4
Joe Montana^ San Francisco 1989-1990 4
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer


BIG-GAME BREES: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns for a 115.2 passer rating in the Saints’ 31-26 Wild Card Weekend win over Carolina.

Brees, who plays at Minnesota on Sunday, has thrown for at least 375 yards in four career postseason games and can tie PEYTON MANNING (five) for the most such games in NFL history.

The players with the most career postseason games with at least 375 passing yards:

Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 5
Drew Brees New Orleans 4
Kurt Warner^ St. Louis, Arizona 4
^Pro Football Hall of Famer


HUSTLING HENRY: Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown in the Titans’ 22-21 win at Kansas City on Wild Card Weekend. Henry, who will appear in his second career postseason game on Saturday, can join some elite company with another strong performance.

The players with the most rushing yards in their first two postseason games:

Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh 2016 337  
Arian Foster Houston 2011 285  
Duane Thomas Dallas 1970 278  
Terrell Davis^ Denver 1996-97 275  
Eddie George Tennessee 1999 268  
Derrick Henry Tennessee 2017 156*  
*Entering second game

^Pro Football Hall of Famer



Joint statement released by NFL-NFLPA on Tom Savage Concussion Protocol

The NFL and NFLPA have completed their joint review of the application of the Concussion Protocol involving Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage during Houston’s game against the San Francisco 49ers on December 10. As de​tailed below, the parties have both concluded that while the medical staff followed the Protocol, the outcome was unacceptable and therefore further improvements in the Protocol are necessary.

The review showed that following a hard tackle, Mr. Savage was immediately removed from the game and evaluated for a concussion.  The Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (“UNC”) and team physician reviewed the initial broadcast video, saw the play and Mr. Savage’s response and followed the Protocol by performing a complete sideline concussion evaluation on Mr. Savage, which he passed. The slow-motion video, which focused more directly on the fencing posture, was not broadcast until after the doctors had begun the sideline evaluation and thus was not seen by the medical staff prior to the evaluation. The Texans medical staff continued to monitor Mr. Savage after the initial evaluation and shortly after his return to the game, identified symptoms that had not been present during the sideline evaluation and took him to the locker room for further evaluation.

The NFL and NFLPA recognize that Mr. Savage’s return to the game did not reflect the expected outcome of the Protocol. As such, the parties have agreed that no discipline will be assessed, but have already implemented several improvements to the Protocol to prevent such an unacceptable outcome in the future. Working in conjunction with the NFL’s independent Head, Neck and Spine Committee, these improvements include:

  • Implemented a pilot program utilizing a centralized UNC based at the league office to monitor the broadcast feeds of all games. The UNC will contact the team medical staff on the sideline should they observe any signs or symptoms warranting further evaluation.
  • Defined impact seizure and fencing responses as independent signs of potential loss of consciousness, representing “No-Go” criteria under the current Protocol. Players who display either of these signs at any time shall be removed from play and may not return to the game.
  • Require a locker room concussion evaluation for all players demonstrating gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand).
  • Officials, teammates, and coaching staffs have been instructed to take an injured player directly to a member of the medical team for appropriate evaluation, including a concussion assessment, if warranted.
  • Require all players who undergo any concussion evaluation on game day to have a follow-up evaluation conducted the following day by a member of the medical staff.
  • Added a third UNC to all playoff games and the Super Bowl to serve as a backup who can step in immediately should one of the original two UNCs be absent from the sideline for a time to attend to a more severely injured player.

In addition to implementing these changes to the Concussion Protocol, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer and NFLPA’s Medical Director have hosted conference calls with every Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant, Booth ATC Spotter and relevant team medical staff members to review the changes to the Protocol and the signs and symptoms of concussion. The NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, NFL and NFLPA will conduct a comprehensive off-season review of all aspects of the protocol with an emphasis toward continued improvement in detection and diagnosis.




Recapping records, milestones achieved Week 16 in the NFL


TERRIFIC TURNAROUNDS: The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS clinched the AFC South division title and joined the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (NFC East, home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs) as teams to go from “worst-to-first” this season. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

If the CAROLINA PANTHERS, who have already clinched a playoff berth, win the NFC South, 2017 would tie the 2005 and 2006 seasons for the most such “worst-to-first” clubs in NFL history.

The PANTHERS (playoff berth), LOS ANGELES RAMS (NFC West), MINNESOTA VIKINGS (NFC North) and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS(playoff berth) have clinched at least a playoff berth. All four teams finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year and missed the postseason.

Entering Week 17, five of the eight divisions have a team either in or tied for first place that finished in third or fourth place in the division last season.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. This season, six teams – Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans and Philadelphia – have all qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason last year.

This weekend, four clubs – the BALTIMORE RAVENSBUFFALO BILLSLOS ANGELES CHARGERS and TENNESSEE TITANS – are vying for the final two playoff spots in the AFC. In total, eight teams will clinch a playoff spot after not qualifying for the postseason in 2016, tied with the 2003 season for the most such teams since 1990.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

1990 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 6 (Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 8* (Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia)
*Two of Baltimore, Buffalo, Los Angeles Chargers & Tennessee will qualify for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2016

– NFL –

GURLEY DOES IT ALL: Los Angeles Rams running back TODD GURLEY totaled a career-high 276 scrimmage yards (158 receiving yards, 118 rushing yards) and had two touchdown receptions in the team’s 27-23 win over Tennessee in Week 16.

Gurley is the third player in NFL history to have at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer OLLIE MATSON (November 28, 1954) and HERSCHEL WALKER (December 14, 1986).

The players with at least 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a single game in NFL history:

Todd Gurley LA Rams December 24, 2017 118 158
Herschel Walker Dallas December 14, 1986 122 170
Ollie Matson^ Chicago Cardinals November 28, 1954 115 161
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Gurley, who has 2,093 scrimmage yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and six receiving touchdowns this season, is the third different player in NFL history to have at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five touchdown catches in a single season. The other two players to accomplish the feat are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: O.J. SIMPSON (1975) and MARSHALL FAULK(2000 and 2001).

The players with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five touchdown catches in a single season in NFL history:

Todd Gurley LA Rams 2017* 2,093 13 6  
Marshall Faulk^ St. Louis Rams 2001 2,147 12 9  
Marshall Faulk^ St. Louis Rams 2000 2,189 18 8  
O.J. Simpson^ Buffalo 1975 2,243 16 7  
*Through Week 16
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

PROLIFIC PASSERS: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 239 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 23-13 win over Atlanta last week.

Brees, who has 70,200 career passing yards, joined PEYTON MANNING (71,940) and Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (71,838) as the only players in NFL history with at least 70,000 career passing yards.

Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 71,940
Brett Favre^ Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota 71,838
Drew Brees San Diego, New Orleans 70,200*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brees, who ranks fifth in the NFL with 4,089 passing yards, extended his NFL-record streak to 12 consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards.

Detroit quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD, who leads the NFC with 4,123 passing yards, surpassed 4,000 passing yards for the seventh consecutive season, the second-longest streak in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

Drew Brees New Orleans 2006-17 12*
Matthew Stafford Detroit 2011-17 7*
Peyton Manning Indianapolis 1999-2004 6
Matt Ryan Atlanta 2011-16 6*
*Active streak (Ryan has 3,778 yards in 2017)

Ryan, who has 3,778 passing yards this season, has recorded at least 4,000 passing yards in each of the past six seasons and can extend his streak to seven consecutive seasons with 222 passing yards against Carolina in Week 17.

– NFL –

PHENOMENAL FITZ: Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD had nine receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals’ 23-0 win over the New York Giants in Week 16.

Fitzgerald, who ties for second in the league with 101 receptions, has five career seasons with at least 100 catches, tied for the second-most in NFL history. Only BRANDON MARSHALL (six) has more such seasons.

The players with the most 100-catch seasons in NFL history:

Brandon Marshall Denver, Chicago, New York Jets 6
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh 5
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona 5
Andre Johnson Houston 5
Wes Welker New England 5


Fitzgerald, who ranks fourth in the NFC with 1,101 receiving yards, registered his ninth season with at least 1,000 receiving yards, tied for the third-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (14) and RANDY MOSS (10) have more such seasons.

The players with the most seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history:​

Jerry Rice^ San Francisco, Oakland 14
Randy Moss Minnesota, Oakland, New England 10
Tim Brown^ Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders 9
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona 9
Terrell Owens San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas 9
Jimmy Smith Jacksonville 9
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

– NFL –

LUCKY NUMBER 13: Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith passed for 304 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ 29-13 victory over Miami last week.

Smith, a 13-year NFL veteran, has a career-high 4,024 passing yards and is the third quarterback in NFL history to reach 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career in his 13th season or later.

The players to record their first season with at least 4,000 passing yards in their 13th career season or later:

Alex Smith Kansas City 2017 13 4,024*
Rich Gannon Oakland 2002 15 4,689
Steve Beuerlein Carolina 1999 13 4,436
*Through Week 16 ​​



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