Points at a premium
The San Francisco 49ers-Seattle Seahawks showdown on "Sunday Night Football" features the NFL's two best scoring defenses. Amazingly, the two teams are separated by only one point allowed over 14 games, with the 49ers surrendering 218 points to the Seahawks' 219.
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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw four touchdown passes in his team's 41-34 win over the New England Patriots in Week 14. That four-touchdown game came in Kaepernick's fifth career NFL start; in 75 career starts, Alex Smith never threw for four touchdowns in a game.
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A fight to the finish
The Cincinnati Bengals finish the season with games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. This does not bode well for the Bengals' playoff aspirations. Cincinnati has lost nine consecutive games to Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is 0-6 against those two teams in his brief career, while posting a 17-7 record against all other teams.
Finding it better to establish the run
Adrian Peterson has had at least 75 more rushing yards than the Minnesota Vikings had passing yards five times this season, including in each of the last three games. The only other players in NFL history with four-plus games of this kind in a season are O.J. Simpson (six times for the 1973 Buffalo Bills) and Walter Payton (four times for the 1977 Chicago Bears).
Tale of two quarterbacks
Since Week 1 of the 2011 season, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has played in a total of 30 games and committed 50 giveaways. By comparison, it has taken New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a total of 76 games to commit 50 giveaways, a period dating back to October of 2007.
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Follow the leaders
The dynamic duo of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady has led the New England Patriots to nine playoff appearances. The Patriots went in as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed six times, and reached the Super Bowl in five of those instances. In the three instances that the Patriots were seeded lower than No. 2, the Patriots have not reached the Super Bowl.
The Patriots have yet to win a Super Bowl since installing artificial turf in Gillette Stadium.
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Red zone = score zone
Since becoming the full-time starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 102 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the red zone. That includes 18 touchdowns and no interceptions in the red zone in 2012.
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How's that for starters?
With Kirk Cousins' Week 15 win against the Cleveland Browns and Robert Griffin III's win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, the Washington Redskins became the first team in a non-strike season to have two different rookie quarterbacks win their first career starts in the same season since 1983. In that year, both John Elway and Gary Kubiak were rookies, and each won their starting debuts for the Denver Broncos.
In Cousins' debut win, he threw for more yards (329) than RG3 has thrown for in any of his 13 starts. Cousins also has more 300-yard passing games (1) than the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson (0).
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This is Watt's up
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt leads in the NFL in passes batted down at the line (14), quarterback knockdowns (41.5) and stuffs (17.5), and is tied for the league lead in sacks (19.5).
(Stuffs are tackles of rushers for a loss of yardage.)
National Football League
'The Bears are what we thought they were'
In the last meeting between the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium (on Oct. 16, 2006), it resulted in the infamous Dennis Green postgame tirade.
The Cardinals took a 23-3 lead with 1:47 left in the third quarter, but the Bears stormed back into the game with 21 unanswered points (all coming via defense and special teams). Despite four interceptions thrown by Rex Grossman, the Bears prevailed 24-23 to improve to 6-0.
After the game, Green went on an epic rant, saying, "the Bears are what we thought they were. ... The Bears are who we thought they were. That's why we took the damn field. Now if you want to crown them, then crown their ass! But they are who we thought they were. And we let 'em off the hook!"