NFL Week 17, What To Look For

PLAYOFF PUSHAll 16 games are divisional contests in Week 17 and there are still 18 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LV. There hasn’t been more teams still alive for postseason berths entering the league’s final week since 2006 (20 teams).

Six division titles have been secured, three of which feature a team that did not win their division in 2019 – the AFC East  (BUFFALO BILLS), AFC North (PITTSBURGH STEELERS) and NFC West (SEATTLE SEAHAWKS).

Both the AFC South, coming down to the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS or TENNESSEE TITANS, and NFC East, with the DALLAS COWBOYSNEW YORK GIANTS and WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM each still in contention for the division crown, are guaranteed to also have new winners in 2020.

The five new division winners this season will be the most in a season since 2017 (five).

Additionally, Pittsburgh won their division after missing the postseason in 2019, while two other division titles – AFC South (Indianapolis) and NFC East (Dallas, N.Y. Giants or Washington) – can be won by a team that missed the playoffs last season. At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 years.

Should Washington win the NFC East, they would complete the “worst-to-first” turnaround. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 17 seasons.

The ARIZONA CARDINALS and MIAMI DOLPHINS can also qualify for the postseason this year after finishing in last place in their division last season.

Since 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before.

For the Week 17 playoff scenarios, click here.

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HIGHEST SCORING SEASON: The 2020 season has seen some of the most prolific offensive play in league history and in Week 17 will secure its spot as the highest scoring season ever. ​

There have been 1,373 touchdowns scored in 2020, the most in a single season in NFL history, and on Sunday, the 2020 season will surpass the 2013 season for the most points scored in a single season in NFL history.

Three teams – GREEN BAY (31.6 points per game), KANSAS CITY (30.1) and TENNESSEE (30.0) – are each averaging at least 30 points per game this season while NEW ORLEANS (29.9), TAMPA BAY (29.9) and BUFFALO (29.7) each average at least 29 points per game.

2020 can join 2011 (three teams) and 2018 (three teams) as the only seasons in which at least three teams averaged at least 30 points per game since 1950. No season has seen four teams each score at least 30 points per game.

PLENTY OF PASSING: The 2020 season has had a total of 812 touchdown passes this season and can surpass the 2018 season (847 touchdown passes) for the most in a single season in league annals.

Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON has 265 touchdown passes in his nine-year career and needs two touchdown passes against San Francisco on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX, in Arizona), to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (266 touchdown passes) for the second-most touchdown passes by a player in his first nine seasons in NFL history. Only PEYTON MANNING (275) has more.

Three quarterbacks under the age of 26 – Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES (38 touchdown passes, age 25), Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN (34 touchdown passes, age 24) and Houston’s DESHAUN WATSON (30 touchdown passes, age 25) – each have at least 30 touchdown passes this season, while Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT (age 22) has 28 touchdown passes, the most by a rookie in NFL history.

With at least two touchdown passes from Herbert against Kansas City on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), 2020 would become the first season in league history with four quarterbacks under the age of 26 to each throw at least 30 touchdown passes in the same season.

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RODGERS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Entering Week 17, Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS leads the NFL with 44 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 119.4 (among qualified passers), a mark that would rank as the third-highest single-season passer rating in NFL history.

Rodgers, who led the league in passer rating in 2011 (122.5) and 2012 (108.0), can become the fifth quarterback to lead the NFL in passer rating in three different seasons since 1970.

Rodgers, who has 13 games with a passer rating of 100-or-higher in 2020, can become the first quarterback in NFL history with a passer rating of 100-or-higher in 14 games within a single season in NFL history.

Rodgers has 11 games with at least three touchdown passes this season and can tie TOM BRADY (12 games in 2007) for the most such games in a single season in NFL history.

KING OF KC: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce leads all tight ends with 105 receptions and has 1,416 receiving yards, the most by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

With at least six receptions on Sunday, Kelce can surpass JASON WITTEN (110 receptions in 2012) for the second-most receptions by a tight end in a single season in league annals.

MINNESOTA PLAYMAKERS: Minnesota running back DALVIN COOK ranks tied for second in the NFL with 17 scrimmage touchdowns (16 rushing, one receiving), while Vikings wide receiver ADAM THIELEN ranks third in the league with 14 touchdown receptions.

With a touchdown catch from Thielen on Sunday at Detroit (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Minnesota can join the 1961 HOUSTON OILERS [BILL GROMAN (18 touchdowns); BILL CANNON (15)] as the only teams to have two players record at least 15 touchdowns each in a single season in NFL history.

Minnesota rookie wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON leads all rookies with 1,267 receiving yards this season.

With at least 111 receiving yards in Week 17, Jefferson can surpass ANQUAN BOLDIN (1,377 receiving yards in 2003) for the most receiving yards by a rookie in the Super Bowl era.

1K MILESTONES: Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON leads all quarterbacks with 908 rushing yards this season.

With at least 92 rushing yards at Cincinnati on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Jackson – who rushed for 1,206 yards in 2019 – can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards in multiple seasons.

Tampa Bay wide receiver MIKE EVANS recorded a season-high 10 receptions for 181 receiving yards and two touchdowns last week. He now has 960 receiving yards in 2020.

With at least 40 receiving yards against Atlanta on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Evans will become the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first seven seasons.


Posted in NFL