To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated the OAKLAND RAIDERS-LOS ANGELES CHARGERSmatchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest recognizes two original AFL teams, each with ties to late Pro Football Hall of Famer AL DAVIS. From 1957-60, Davis served as the line coach at the University of Southern California before Sid Gillman tabbed him as the Los Angeles Chargers’ offensive ends coach. After helping the Chargers to two division titles in three seasons, Davis had the opportunity to lead his own team in 1963. That’s when he took over the Oakland Raiders and changed the team colors to silver and black, then personified the rival league’s exciting new image by developing the vertical passing game. The upstart AFL finalized a formal merger with the NFL later in the decade and began playing as one league in 1970.
AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME: Seventeen teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV. Two playoff berths in each conference are up for grabs. Welcome to late December in the NFL.
The BUFFALO BILLS, GREEN BAY PACKERS and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS have each qualified for the postseason after missing the playoffs last season. From 1990-2018 – a streak of 29 consecutive years – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.
The MINNESOTA VIKINGS can join that group with a win on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN) at home against the Packers. Something significant will happen on Monday night. Either the Packers will clinch the division for the first time since 2016, or the Vikings will clinch a playoff berth.
It’s also a division clash featuring teams with 10-or-more wins. That has happened just three times since the beginning of the 2015 season, and for the second time the game is featuring the Packers and Vikings.
The last five games that featured teams with 10-or-more wins from the same division during the regular season:
|12/13/2018||AFC West||L.A. Chargers (10-3)||LAC, 29-28||Advanced to AFC Divisional|
|at Kansas City (11-2)||Advanced to AFC Championship|
|1/1/2017||AFC East||New England (13-2)||NE, 35-14||Won Super Bowl LI|
|at Miami (10-5)||Advanced to AFC Wild Card|
|1/3/2016||NFC North||Minnesota (10-5)||MIN, 20-13||Advanced to NFC Wild Card|
|at Green Bay (10-5)||Advanced to NFC Divisional|
|12/28/2014||AFC North||Cincinnati (10-4-1)||PIT, 27-17||Advanced to AFC Wild Card|
|at Pittsburgh (10-5)||Advanced to AFC Wild Card|
|12/28/2014||NFC North||Detroit (11-4)||GB, 30-20||Advanced to NFC Wild Card|
|at Green Bay (11-4)||Advanced to NFC Championship|
Green Bay head coach MATT LAFLEUR has an opportunity to become the 10th rookie head coach in NFL history to win at least 12 games in a season.
The rookie head coaches who have won at least 12 games in NFL history, by wins:
|Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis||14||2||0||.875||2009|
|George Seifert, San Francisco||14||2||0||.875||1989|
|Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco||13||3||0||.813||2011|
|Steve Mariucci, San Francisco||13||3||0||.813||1997|
|John MaddenHOF, Oakland||12||1||1||.893||1969|
|Matt Nagy, Chicago||12||4||0||.750||2018|
|Barry Switzer, Dallas||12||4||0||.750||1994|
|Red Miller, Denver||12||2||0||.857||1977|
|Chuck Knox, L.A. Rams||12||2||0||.857||1973|
IN THE NFC EAST: The DALLAS COWBOYS can clinch the NFC East division title with a road win over the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field (4:25 PM ET, FOX). Winning a division has proven significant this decade as the last team to advance to the Super Bowl without winning a division title was the 2010 GREEN BAY PACKERS, who won Super Bowl XLV. Since, all 16 teams to appear in the Super Bowl have won their divisions.
IN THE AFC EAST: On Saturday (4:30 PM ET, NFL Network), the BUFFALO BILLS and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS meet with the AFC East division title on the line. With a win, the Patriots (11-3) would take the division for an 11th year in a row. They also would reach 12 wins in a season for the 13th time and match the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (13 seasons) for the most seasons of 12-or-more wins since the 1970 merger. The DALLAS COWBOYS also have 12 seasons of at least 12 victories since 1970.
Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY (538) can surpass No. 2 PEYTON MANNING (539) on the NFL’s career passing touchdowns list. And with four touchdown passes, Brady would eclipse No. 1 DREW BREES (541) and hold the record for at least 21 hours, when Brees and the Saints meet the Titans on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX).
Buffalo, meanwhile, has already clinched a playoff berth and can still win its first division title since 1995. The Bills’ bid for the division is spearheaded by quarterback JOSH ALLEN, who leads NFL quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns. In fact, the 2019 season has tied the single-season NFL record for the most rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks.
The seasons with the most rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks in NFL history:
|SEASON||RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS BY QUARTERBACKS|
IN THE NFC SOUTH: The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-3), who clinched the division on Thanksgiving night, travel to play the TENNESSEE TITANS (8-6) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Including New Orleans, four NFC teams share the best record in the conference. This year marks just the second time since the NFL adopted the 16-game schedule in 1978 that four NFC clubs are tied for the conference’s best record with two-or-fewer weeks to play. It also happened in 2014, when five NFC teams were 11-4 heading into the final week.
Overall, six NFL teams have won at least 11 games, making the 2019 season just the second since 1978 in which six-or-more NFL clubs have won 11-plus through 14 games. It also happened in 2004, when six teams had at least 11 wins heading into the final two weeks.
DREW BREES, who surpassed PEYTON MANNING’s career passing touchdowns record to close Week 15 on Monday night, also recorded his 36th career game of four-or-more touchdown passes, breaking Manning’s NFL record of 35. Brees (10,093) also needs 77 pass attempts to become the all-time leader in that category; the record is held by Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (10,169).
IN THE AFC SOUTH: The HOUSTON TEXANS need a win Saturday at Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET, NFL Network) to clinch their division for a second straight season, and for the fourth time in the last five years. Houston would join New England and Kansas City as the only NFL teams with four-or-more division titles since 2015.
NFL SCHEDULE, DECEMBER 21-23
(All times Eastern)
|Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1:00 PM||NFLN||New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots||4:30 PM||NFLN||New York Giants at Washington Redskins||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers||8:15 PM||NFLN||Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos||4:05 PM||CBS|
|Sunday||Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers||4:05 PM||CBS|
|Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons||1:00 PM||FOX||Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns||1:00 PM||CBS||Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM||FOX||Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears||8:20 PM||NBC|
|Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM||CBS||Monday|
|Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets||1:00 PM||CBS||Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings||8:15 PM||ESPN|
Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations