Rated R: Romo, RG3 and Russell
The Dallas Cowboys visit the Washington Redskins on Sunday night with the NFC East title at stake. Cowboys QB Tony Romo and Redskins QB Robert Griffin III are two of the NFL's three highest-rated passers since Week 9. Only the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson has been better in that span.
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The San Francisco 49ers have allowed 30-plus points in back-to-back weeks (beat New England Patriots, 41-34, in Week 15, lost to Seattle Seahawks, 42-13, in Week 16). Since taking a 31-3 lead in the third quarterback of their win over over the Patriots, the 49ers have been outscored by 50 points, 73-23. In the team's first 29 games under coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers had never allowed more than 27 points in a game.
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Lucky 13 for Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have allowed 13 or fewer points seven times this season -- all victories. Three teams -- the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles -- have allowed more than 13 points in every game this season.
AP’s average something to Ponder
Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder's longest pass this season is 54 yards. Adrian Peterson has five runs longer than 54 yards. Amazingly, Peterson's 6.0-yards-per-carry average isn't even the league leader (among those with at least 100 carries). Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is averaging 6.6 yards per carry, followed closely by Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller at 6.5. Peterson is third.
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Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson needs 108 yards against Chicago this week to become the first NFL player with 2,000 yards receiving in a season. In the Lions' 13-7 Week 7 loss to the Chicago Bears, Johnson had just three receptions for 34 yards, his lowest yardage total of the season.
Young and hungry
QB Brandon Weeden, RB Trent Richardson and WR Josh Gordon are the 5-10 Cleveland Browns' leaders in passing, rushing and receiving yards. It has been 44 years since rookie teammates led their team in each of those categories. The last were Dan Darragh, Max Anderson and Haven Moses of the Buffalo Bills in 1968. That 1968 Bills team finished 1-12-1 and had the first pick in the 1969 NFL Draft, which was used to select O.J. Simpson.
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Steelers’ demise: Turnovers
The 7-8 Pittsburgh Steelers have lost three consecutive games. They were eliminated from playoff contention with their Week 16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, highlighted by Ben Roethlisberger's late INT. The Steelers have more turnovers since Week 11 (21) than the Seahawks (3), Panthers (4), Redskins (5), and Giants (5) combined. Pittsburgh's 21 turnovers in the last six games are more than eight NFL teams have all season.
Broncos winning big
The 2012 Denver Broncos are one of four teams in NFL history to win 10 consecutive games by at least seven points. Of the three modern-day teams that have accomplished this feat, two were quarterbacked by Manning (2005 Indianapolis Colts). The 1997 San Francisco 49ers were led by Steve Young for the final nine games of a 10-game winning streak. The quarterback in the first game of the streak -- Jim Druckenmiller.
The pick after the pick
The Oakland Raiders, currently in the No. 3 position in the 2013 NFL Draft order heading into the regular-season finale, have missed on multiple top draft picks, a fact highlighted by the player selected with the pick following theirs in the first round. Between 2004 and 2007, the “next” pick after the Raiders’ selection has been Larry Fitzgerald (2004), Aaron Rodgers (2005), Donte Whitner (2006) and Calvin Johnson (2007). The Philadelphia Eagles currently are slotted No. 4 behind the Raiders.
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The Houston Texans have been outscored by at least 17 points in each of their three losses this season (42-24 vs. the Green Bay in Week 6; 42-14 at New England in Week 14; 23-6 vs. Minnesota in Week 16). Those three losses have come by a combined 63 points; by comparison, the Patriots’ four losses this season have been by a combined 11 points.