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HBO SPORTS AND NFL FILMS RETURN WITH HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES, CHRONICLING THE PRESEASON OF THE CHARGERS AND RAMS

HBO SPORTS® AND NFL FILMS RETURN WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED EDITION OF TELEVISION’S MOST ACCLAIMED SPORTS REALITY FRANCHISE

WHEN HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES,

CHRONICLING THE PRESEASON OF THE CHARGERS AND RAMS

DEBUTS AUGUST 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

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HBO Sports, NFL Media And NFL Films 

Announce Multi-Year Renewal Of The Franchise

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HBO Sports, NFL Films and the two Los Angeles-based NFL franchises are teaming up for an unprecedented and unfiltered all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES kicks off its five-episode season this summer. One of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV, the 15th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy®-winning series debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series debuting subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale.

HARD KNOCKS will have encore plays Wednesday nights and will be available to stream on HBO via HBO Max and partners’ platforms.

In an unprecedented programming move, the 2020 edition of the venerable series will spotlight both Los Angeles NFL teams: The Los Angeles Chargers of the AFC West and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC West. The two franchises are set to share the spectacular new 70,000-seat SoFi stadium that is nearing completion in Inglewood, California.​

The arrival of HARD KNOCKS each August is a unique NFL tradition and NFL FILMS and HBO Sports are making plans for an all-new season of the most acclaimed serialized sports series on television. 

One of sports television’s most successful and enduring partnerships, HBO Sports, NFL Media and NFL Films have reached agreement on a multi-year extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise. 

“The HARD KNOCKS franchise continues to excel as the preeminent sports reality series,” says Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports.  “Our partnership with NFL Films, which dates back to 1977, consistently produces groundbreaking television programming. We are grateful to the Chargers and Rams organizations to be able to present the 2020 training camp experience.”

“NFL Films cherishes the relationship we’ve had with HBO for over four decades, and specifically with the HARD KNOCKS franchise since 2001,” says NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “To be able to announce this extension as we embark on an unprecedented two team series this summer brings us incredible pride and only heightens our excitement for the return of football.”

Camera crews will head to southern California in the next few weeks to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinéma vérité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches.

Under fourth-year head coach Sean McVay, the Rams are just a season removed from a Super Bowl appearance and have a roster featuring an intriguing mix of high-profile players, established veterans, and free-agent acquisitions. 

After an injury-plagued 2019 campaign, the Los Angeles Chargers are looking for a return to the winning formula that helped them finish tied for the AFC’s best record in 2018. Led by fourth-year head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers overhauled roster features young, rising stars on both sides of the ball, a new quarterback behind center and an influx of veteran talent added this offseason.

Both franchises will also be debuting new logos and uniforms when they open their new, state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium home later this year. 

Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn said, “Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it. There’s a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you’re going to do a show, do it right. You can’t fake it. We didn’t have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year’s show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn’t something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I’m glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer.”

“We are looking forward to having Hard Knocks in our camp this year,” said Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay.  “Hard Knocks always offers a rare opportunity for our fans to see our players’ hard work to prepare for the season, as well as gives them a peek behind the curtain to observe these guys off the field, too.  This year will be special because the show will also get an unprecedented look at SoFi Stadium, Stan Kroenke’s vision for professional football in L.A.”

Dedicated NFL Films production crews will be in both southern California training camps, shooting more than 2,300 hours of footage over the course of the series, offering an inside look at the daily rigors of an NFL training camp. With access to players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields, HARD KNOCKS will document hours of conditioning practices and meetings, chronicling players as they compete for a roster spot and bond off the field.

HBO has aired 72 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 14 seasons.  No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS. Episodes have averaged four million viewers over the past four years. 

Winner of 18 Sports Emmy® Awards to date, HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, subsequently spotlighting the Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014), Houston Texans (2015) and Los Angeles Rams (2016). The 2017 edition chronicled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and captured the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Serialized Documentary. The widely acclaimed 2018 series with the Cleveland Browns earned two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. HARD KNOCKS has won a Sports Emmy® every year it has aired since 2008.​

Eight of the last ten teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. The Cleveland Browns launched the transformation of their organization on HBO and went from a winless 2017 season to coming within half a game (7-8-1) of a .500 campaign.  The 2019 season saw the Raiders improve their record to 7-9 from the previous year’s 4-12 mark.  The series featuring the iconic Raider franchise averaged 4.3 million viewers per episode, generating the highest viewership for the show since 2015 and the second-best viewership numbers for HARD KNOCKS in the past ten years.

Washington Post wrote, “Turning football players into people is what HBO’s HARD KNOCKS series does so well. The massive scope, meticulous editing and time-hopping special effects that highlight a production under massive time constraints are all impressive, but it’s the film crew’s access to NFL players that makes the program special.”  USA Todaysaid, “Players’ lives and their hopes and dreams play out each NFL preseason on HARD KNOCKS. It’s that month-long human drama that makes the show so profoundly compelling.”

Winner of 129 Sports Emmy® Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.

HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES will be narrated by Liev Schreiber, marking his 14th season with the show.

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS​​

NEW FACES ON CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKENDThe NFL will have a new Super Bowl Champion for a 15th consecutive season as four teams vie to secure their place in Super Bowl LIV. In the AFC Championship Game, presented by Intuit TurboTax, the TENNESSEE TITANS (11-7) take on the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (13-4), while the GREEN BAY PACKERS (14-3) travel to Levi’s Stadium to take on the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (14-3) in the NFC Championship Game, presented by Intuit TurboTax. 

Of the teams appearing on Championship Sunday, three teams – Green Bay, San Francisco and Tennessee – missed the postseason in 2018, marking the sixth time that at least three teams have advanced to the Championship games after failing to make the postseason the previous year since the NFL instituted the 12-team playoff format in 1990 and the second time in the past three seasons.

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —

ON THE ROAD AGAINWith a 28-12 victory over the No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, the TENNESSEE TITANS (11-7) became the sixth No. 6 seed to advance to a Conference Championship since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990 and first since the GREEN BAY PACKERS and NEW YORK JETS in 2010. 

With a win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday (3:05 PM ET, CBS), Tennessee would join the 2010 GREEN BAY PACKERS and the 2005 PITTSBURGH STEELERS as the only No. 6 seeds to appear in the Super Bowl since 1990 when the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format. Both the Packers and Steelers would go on to win the Super Bowl in those seasons.

The No. 6 seeds to reach the Super Bowl since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990:

SEASONTEAMCONFERENCEADVANCED TO
2010Green BayNFCWon Super Bowl XLV
2005PittsburghAFCWon Super Bowl XL
    
2019TennesseeAFC??

Additionally, Tennessee could also join the 2010 Green Bay Packers and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers as the only teams to defeat each of the top three seeds in their conference in a single postseason since 1990. 

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —

KING HENRY CONTINUES HIS REIGN: Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for a postseason franchise-record 195 yards in the Titans’ Divisional Playoff win last week. After rushing for 182 yards and a touchdown on Wild Card Weekend against New England, Henry became the first player with at least 180 rushing yards in consecutive postseason games in NFL history.  

With at least 150 rushing yards on Sunday, Henry would join Pro Football Hall of Famer TERRELL DAVIS (1998-99) as the only players with at least 150 rushing yards in three consecutive postseason games in NFL history.

With at least 123 rushing yards on Sunday against Kansas City (3:05 PM ET, CBS), Henry would join Pro Football Hall of Famers JOHN RIGGINS (610 rushing yards in 1982) and TERRELL DAVIS (581 in 1997) as the only players with at least 500 rushing yards in a single postseason in NFL history.  

The players with the most rushing yards in a single postseason in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRUSHING YARDS
John RigginsHOFWashington1982610
Terrell DavisHOFDenver1997581
Terrell DavisHOFDenver1998468
Marcus AllenHOFLA Raiders1983466
Eddie GeorgeTennessee1999449
    
Derrick HenryTennessee2019377*
*Entering Sunday

Henry has 561 rushing yards in four career postseason games. With at least 112 rushing yards on Sunday, he would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer TERRELL DAVIS (672 yards) for the most rushing yards through a player’s first five career postseason games in NFL history. 

Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards in the regular season in 2019. With a win on Sunday, Henry would join Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRELL DAVIS (1998) and EMMITT SMITH (1992-93, 1995), as well as SHAUN ALEXANDER (2005) as the only single-season rushing leaders to reach the Super Bowl in the same season. 

The single-season rushing leaders to reach the Super Bowl in the same season:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRUSHING YARDSSUPER BOWL
Shaun AlexanderSeattle20051,880XL
Terrell DavisHOFDenver19982,008XXXIII
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas19951,773XXX
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas19931,486XXVIII
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas19921,713XXVII


— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —

AFC GOES THROUGH CHIEFS KINGDOMThe KANSAS CITY CHIEFS advanced to their second consecutive AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history with a 51-31 win over Houston in the Divisional Playoffs. In the victory, Kansas City became the first team to win a game by at least 20 points after trailing by at least 20 points in the same game in NFL history. 

Kansas City’s comeback in the Divisional Playoffs marked the second comeback of at least 16 points in the postseason this year after the HOUSTON TEXANS erased a 16-point deficit in an overtime win over Buffalo on Wild Card Weekend. This marks the second time in which there have been two comebacks of at least 16 points in a single postseason in NFL history (2002).

Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES led the comeback with 321 passing yards and five touchdowns without an interception for a 134.6 passer rating and added 53 yards on the ground, becoming the first player with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdown passes, and 50 rushing yards in a single postseason game in NFL history. 

If Mahomes, who has eight touchdown passes in three career postseason games, has at least three touchdown passes on Sunday against Tennessee (3:05 PM ET, CBS), he would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (11) for the most touchdown passes through a player’s first four career postseason games in NFL history. 

The quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in their first four postseason games in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMTOUCHDOWN PASSES 
Kurt WarnerHOFSt. Louis Rams11 
Dan MarinoHOFMiami10 
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay10 
Alex SmithSan Francisco, Kansas City10 
    
Patrick MahomesKansas City8* 
*In three games

Additionally, with at least four touchdown passes, Mahomes would become the first player with at least four touchdown passes in consecutive postseason games in NFL history. 

Chiefs tight end TRAVIS KELCE recorded postseason career-highs in receptions (10), receiving yards (134) and receiving touchdowns (three) last week, becoming the third tight end with at least three touchdown receptions in a single postseason game in the Super Bowl era. 

If Kelce, who has three career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards, has at least 100 receiving yards against Tennessee (3:05 PM ET, CBS), he would tie for the most such career postseason games by a tight end in NFL history. 

The tight ends with the most career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMGAMES WITH 100+ RECEIVING YARDS
Vernon DavisSan Francisco4
Rob GronkowskiNew England4
Keith JacksonPhiladelphia, Miami, Green Bay4
Dallas ClarkIndianapolis3
Travis KelceKansas City3*
Greg OlsenChicago, Carolina3
*Entering Sunday

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —

HUNTING MORE TITLES IN TITLETOWN: The GREEN BAY PACKERS advanced to their first Conference Championship since 2016 with a 28-23 victory over Seattle in the Divisional Playoffs. With the victory, Green Bay tied the DALLAS COWBOYS (35 wins) for the third-most postseason victories in NFL history. 

With a win against the 49ers, who rank fifth on the all-time list with 31 postseason wins, on Sunday (6:40 PM ET, FOX), the Packers would tie the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (36 wins) for the second-most postseason victories in NFL history. 

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAMWINSSUPER BOWL WINS
New England376
Pittsburgh366
Dallas355
Green Bay354
San Francisco315


Green Bay head coach MATT LAFLEUR became the first head coach to reach a Conference Championship in his first season since JIM HARBAUGH led San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game in 2011. 

With a win on Sunday, LaFleur would become the sixth rookie head coach to appear in the Super Bowl.

The rookie head coaches to appear in the Super Bowl:

HEAD COACHTEAMSEASONRESULT
Don McCaffertyBaltimore Colts1970W 16-13, Super Bowl V
Red MillerDenver1977L 27-10, Super Bowl XII
George SeifertSan Francisco1989W 55-10, Super Bowl XXIV
Bill CallahanOakland2002L 48-21, Super Bowl XXXVII
Jim CaldwellIndianapolis2009L 31-17, Super Bowl XLIV
    
Matt LaFleurGreen Bay2019??


With LaFleur (40 years, 66 days old) and San Francisco head coach KYLE SHANAHAN (40 years, 36 days old), Sunday’s NFC Championship Game will be the first Conference Championship Game featuring two head coaches under the age of 41 since 1970.

Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns without an interception for a 113.7 passer rating last week, marking Rodgers’ sixth consecutive postseason game with at least two touchdown passes. 

With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday, Rodgers would tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW (seven games) and JOE MONTANA (seven), as well as DREW BREES (seven), for the second-longest streak of postseason games with at least two touchdown passes in NFL history. Only JOE FLACCO (eight games) had a longer such streak in league history. 

Additionally, with two touchdown passes, Rodgers would tie PEYTON MANNING (40) for the fourth-most career postseason touchdown passes in NFL history. 

The players with the most career postseason touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Tom BradyNew England73
Joe MontanaHOFSan Francisco, Kansas City45
Brett FavreHOFGreen Bay, Minnesota44
Peyton ManningIndianapolis, Denver40
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay38*
*Entering Sunday  

Rodgers, who has 4,700 passing yards in 17 career postseason starts, needs at least 300 passing yards on Sunday to become the sixth player with at least 5,000 career postseason passing yards in NFL history, joining TOM BRADY (11,388), PEYTON MANNING (7,339), Pro Football Hall of Famers BRETT FAVRE (5,855) and JOE MONTANA (5,772), and BEN ROETHLISBERGER (5,256).

— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —

NEW GOLDEN ERA: With a 27-10 win over Minnesota in the Divisional Playoffs, the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS became the fifth team since 1990 to advance to a Championship Game after winning four-or-fewer games the previous season, and the second team in three years, joining the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS in 2017.

With a victory on Sunday against Green Bay (6:40 PM ET, FOX), San Francisco head coach KYLE SHANAHAN, whose father – MIKE SHANAHAN – won Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII as head coach of the DENVER BRONCOS, would become the first father-son duo to each appear in a Super Bowl as a head coach in NFL history. 

In their Divisional Playoff victory, the 49ers defense tallied six team sacks, tied for the second-most in a single postseason game in franchise history. 

With at least six sacks on Sunday against Green Bay, the 2019 San Francisco 49ers would join the 1984 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS as the only teams with at least six sacks in two consecutive postseason games in the Super Bowl era. 

49ers rookie defensive lineman NICK BOSA recorded two sacks in his postseason debut last week. With at least two sacks on Sunday, Bosa would join LAMARR WOODLEY as the only players with at least two sacks in each of their first two postseason games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Bosa would also become the first rookie to accomplish the feat since 1982. 

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign LB Ukeme Eligwe; Place T Trent Brown on IR

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Ukeme Eligwe, the club announced Thursday.

Eligwe, a 6-foot-2, 239-pound linebacker, joins the Raiders after spending the season on the Tennessee Titans’ and most recently the New York Jets’ practice squad. Originally a fifth-round selection (183rd overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2017 NFL Draft, Eligwe spent his first two seasons with the club and has appeared in 24 games and made one start, totaling 10 tackles (seven solo), one sack and one pass defensed. 

Eligwe was a standout linebacker throughout his 25 appearances at both Florida State and Georgia Southern, compiling 134 stops (83), 4.5 sacks, one interception, three passes defensed, three forced fumble and one fumble recovery. As a senior in 2016, he started in 11 games and earned All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention and Sun Belt All-Newcomer Team honors after leading the program in tackles (104), tackles for loss (11) and forced fumbles (three).

In a corresponding move, the Raiders placed T Trent Brown on the Reserve/Injured List.

In Brown’s first season with the Silver and Black, he started in 11 contests and helped pave the way for the first rookie 1,000-yard rusher in team history en route to earning his first career Pro Bowl nod.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

WEEK 16 PAIRS PACKERS, VIKINGS IN NFC NORTH BATTLE 

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 BILLSGREEN 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:

DATEDIVISIONTEAMSRESULTSEASON RESULT
12/13/2018AFC WestL.A. Chargers (10-3)LAC, 29-28Advanced to AFC Divisional
at Kansas City (11-2)Advanced to AFC Championship
1/1/2017AFC EastNew England (13-2)NE, 35-14Won Super Bowl LI
at Miami (10-5)Advanced to AFC Wild Card
1/3/2016NFC NorthMinnesota (10-5)MIN, 20-13Advanced to NFC Wild Card
at Green Bay (10-5)Advanced to NFC Divisional
12/28/2014AFC NorthCincinnati (10-4-1)PIT, 27-17Advanced to AFC Wild Card
at Pittsburgh (10-5)Advanced to AFC Wild Card
12/28/2014NFC NorthDetroit (11-4)GB, 30-20Advanced 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:

COACH, TEAMWLTPCTSEASON
Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis1420.8752009
George Seifert, San Francisco1420.8751989
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco1330.8132011
Steve Mariucci, San Francisco1330.8131997
John MaddenHOF, Oakland1211.8931969
Matt Nagy, Chicago1240.7502018
Barry Switzer, Dallas1240.7501994
Red Miller, Denver1220.8571977
Chuck Knox, L.A. Rams1220.8571973

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:

SEASONRUSHING TOUCHDOWNS BY QUARTERBACKS 
201973
200273
201871
201766
201266
201166

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 SCHEDULEDECEMBER 21-23

(All times Eastern)

SaturdaySunday (cont.)
Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00 PMNFLNNew Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans1:00 PMFOX
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots 4:30 PMNFLNNew York Giants at Washington Redskins1:00 PMFOX
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers8:15 PMNFLNDetroit Lions at Denver Broncos4:05 PMCBS
SundayOakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers4:05 PMCBS
Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons1:00 PMFOXDallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles4:25 PMFOX
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns1:00 PMCBSArizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks4:25 PMFOX
Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts1:00 PMFOXKansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears8:20 PMNBC
Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins1:00 PMCBSMonday
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets1:00 PMCBSGreen Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings8:15 PMESPN

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

Winner to be Announced at NFL Honors the Night Before Super Bowl LIV

The NFL announced today the 32 nominees for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. Representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each player was selected as his team’s Man of the Year and is now eligible to win the national award. Considered one of the league’s most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON.

“Every day, in cities and towns across America, NFL players give of themselves to make our communities better. This year, as we celebrate our 100th season and the 50th year of the Walter Payton NFL Man of Year Award, NFL players have continued to raise the bar on community engagement and impact,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “The 32 nominees for this year’s award are the best of the best and truly embody the spirit of Walter and his legacy of leaving the world better than he found it.”

For the second year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIV.

The 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl LIV on FOX. NFL Honors will be at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.

All 32 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide. 

“Nationwide congratulates this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees,” said Nationwide’s Chief Marketing Officer RAMON JONES. “Year after year, we’re amazed at the amount of time, talent and resources the NFL players give to their communities. This year’s best of the best from each team—these 32 men—recognized a need, took action and energized those around them to do more. It’s our privilege to help share their stories  about making positive differences for  others.” 

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 5th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee’s last name. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 12 and Jan. 12 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.

Beginning in 2017, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette came to life in uniform elements to further recognize past award winners and current nominees. The six current players who have won the award—DREW BREES, THOMAS DAVIS, LARRY FITZGERALD, JASON WITTEN, ELI MANNING and J.J. WATT—continue to wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and to their communities. All 2019 nominees will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal beginning Week 15 and continuing through the end of the season in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field.

For more information on the nominees and the award, visit NFL.com/manoftheyear.

Below is a list of the 2019 nominees:

TEAMNOMINEE
Arizona CardinalsDavid Johnson
Atlanta FalconsRicardo Allen
Baltimore RavensBrandon Carr
Buffalo BillsLorenzo Alexander
Carolina PanthersCam Newton
Chicago BearsAllen Robinson II
Cincinnati BengalsGiovani Bernard
Cleveland BrownsJarvis Landry
Dallas CowboysTravis Frederick 
Denver BroncosJustin Simmons
Detroit LionsDevon Kennard
Green Bay PackersBlake Martinez
Houston TexansD.J. Reader
Indianapolis ColtsPierre Desir
Jacksonville JaguarsCalais Campbell
Kansas City ChiefsDustin Colquitt
Los Angeles ChargersUchenna Nwosu
Los Angeles RamsAndrew Whitworth
Miami DolphinsDavon Godchaux
Minnesota VikingsKyle Rudolph
New England PatriotsKyle Van Noy
New Orleans SaintsTerron Armstead
New York GiantsNate Solder
New York JetsJonotthan Harrison
Oakland RaidersTahir Whitehead
Philadelphia EaglesMalcolm Jenkins
Pittsburgh SteelersMaurkice Pouncey
San Francisco 49ersRichard Sherman
Seattle SeahawksBobby Wagner
Tampa Bay BuccaneersMike Evans
Tennessee TitansBen Jones
Washington RedskinsNick Sundberg

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

PASSING HISTORIC MILESTONES: Both New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES and New England quarterback TOM BRADY – who rank first and second in career passing yards in NFL history, respectively – can reach another historic milestone in Week 15.  

If Brady has four touchdown passes on Sunday against Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET, CBS) or Brees has three touchdown passes against Indianapolis on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), they would surpass PEYTON MANNING (539 touchdowns) for the most career touchdown passes in NFL history.

The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Peyton ManningIndianapolis, Denver539
Drew BreesSan Diego, New Orleans537
Tom BradyNew England536
Brett FavreHOFGreen Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota508
Dan MarinoHOFMiami420


Additionally, if Brady – who has 19 touchdown passes in 2019 – has at least one touchdown pass on Sunday, he would surpass Manning (16 seasons) for the most seasons with at least 20 touchdown passes in NFL history. With three touchdown passes on Monday, Brees will also reach 20 for the season, tying Manning with 16 such seasons in his career.  

The players with the most seasons with at least 20 touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)SEASONS WITH 20+ TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Tom BradyNew England16*
Peyton ManningIndianapolis, Denver16
Drew BreesSan Diego, New Orleans15#
Brett FavreHOFGreen Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota15
*Has 19 touchdown passes in 2019
#Has 17 touchdown passes in 2019

— NFL —

PETERSON CONTINUES TO CLIMB: Last week, Washington running back ADRIAN PETERSON rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown, becoming the sixth player in NFL history with at least 14,000 career rushing yards (14,036) and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers EMMITT SMITH and WALTER PAYTON as the only players with at least 14,000 rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns (109) in NFL history.

If Peterson has at least 66 rushing yards on Sunday against Philadelphia (1:00 PM ET, FOX), he would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer CURTIS MARTIN (14,101) for the fifth-most career rushing yards in NFL history. 

The players with the most career rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)RUSHING YARDS
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas, Arizona18,355
Walter PaytonHOFChicago16,726
Frank GoreSan Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo15,306*
Barry SandersHOFDetroit15,269
Curtis MartinHOFNew England, New York Jets14,101
Adrian PetersonMinnesota, New Orleans, Arizona, Washington14,036*
*Active

Additionally, Peterson needs one rushing touchdown on Sunday to tie Payton (110) for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in NFL history. 

The players with the most career rushing touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)RUSHING TDs 
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas, Arizona164 
LaDainian TomlinsonHOFSan Diego, New York Jets145 
Marcus AllenHOFLos Angeles Raiders, Kansas City123 
Walter PaytonHOFChicago110 
Adrian PetersonMinnesota, New Orleans, Arizona, Washington109* 
*Entering Sunday

— NFL —

STACKING WINS IN SEATTLESince entering the NFL in 2012, Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON has led the Seahawks to at least nine wins in each of his eight seasons under center, becoming the first quarterback to accomplish the feat in NFL history. 

With a win at Carolina on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Wilson would tie TOM BRADY (86 wins) for the most regular-season wins through a quarterback’s first eight seasons in NFL history.  

The quarterbacks with the most regular-season wins through their first eight seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMWINS
Tom BradyNew England86
Russell WilsonSeattle85*
*In eighth season

— NFL —

JACK OF ALL TRADESIn addition to leading the NFL with 28 touchdown passes in 2019, Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON leads all quarterbacks with 1,017 rushing yards, becoming the second quarterback to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a single season in NFL history.

With 23 rushing yards on Thursday Night Football against the New York Jets (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon), Jackson would surpass MICHAEL VICK (1,039 in 2006) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. 

Additionally, the 22-year-old quarterback has 3,878 passing yards and 1,712 rushing yards in 29 career games since entering the league in 2018. 

If Jackson has at least 122 passing yards on Thursday, he would become the first player with at least 4,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in his first 30 career games in NFL history.

— NFL —

GOLDEN GAROPPOLOSan Francisco quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO completed 26 of 35 attempts (74.3 percent) for 349 passing yards and four touchdowns with one interception for a 131.7 passer rating in a 48-46 win over New Orleans in Week 14. That marked Garoppolo’s fourth consecutive game completing at least 70 percent of his pass attempts with a passer rating of 110 or higher. 

By completing at least 70 percent of his pass attempts and having a passer rating of 110 or higher on Sunday against Atlanta (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Garoppolo would tie for the longest such streak of games in a single season in NFL history (min. 10 attempts). 

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive games completing at least 70 percent of their passes and a passer rating of 110 or higher in a single season in NFL history (min. 10 attempts):

PLAYERTEAMSEASONCONSECUTIVE GAMES
Patrick Mahomes#Kansas City20185
Russell WilsonSeattle20155
    
Jimmy GaroppoloSan Francisco20194*
*Active streak 
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player 

— NFL —

DUCK HUNTING FOR WINSIn Week 14, Pittsburgh rookie quarterback DEVLIN HODGES led the Steelers to a 23-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals, marking his third-career win in his third-career start.   

With a win against Buffalo on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Hodges would tie VIRGIL CARTER (four wins in 1968) and PHIL SIMMS (four in 1979) for the third-longest streak of wins by a rookie quarterback to begin a career in the Super Bowl era (1966-present). 

The rookie quarterbacks with the most consecutive wins to begin their careers in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONCONSECUTIVE WINS 
Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh200413 
Mike KruczekPittsburgh19766 
Virgil CarterChicago19684 
Phil SimmsNew York Giants19794 
     
Devlin HodgesPittsburgh20193* 
*Active streak

Additionally, with a win, Hodges would become the first undrafted rookie quarterback to win each of his first four starts in the common draft era (1967-present).

— NFL —

TEN AGAIN: New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS – who leads the NFL with 121 receptions and 1,424 receiving yards this season – had 11 receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown in Week 14, marking his seventh game with at least 10 receptions in 2019.

With at least 10 receptions against Indianapolis on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Thomas would surpass ANDRE JOHNSON (seven games in 2008) and WES WELKER (seven in 2009) for the most games with at least 10 receptions in a season in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least 10 receptions in a season in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONGAMES
Andre JohnsonHouston20087
Michael ThomasNew Orleans20197*
Wes WelkerNew England20097
*Entering Sunday 

— NFL 

GURLEY AMONG GREATS: Los Angeles Rams running back TODD GURLEY has 10 total touchdowns this season (nine rushing, one receiving), having rushed for a touchdown in each of his past two games. Gurley, who is in his fifth NFL season, leads the NFL with 66 touchdowns since entering the league in 2015.

With a touchdown on Sunday at Dallas (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Gurley would tie ADRIAN PETERSON (67 touchdowns) for the fifth-most touchdowns through a player’s first five seasons in NFL history. 

The players with the most total touchdowns in their first five seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONSTOUCHDOWNS
LaDainian TomlinsonHOFSan Diego2001-0580
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas1990-9475
Shaun AlexanderSeattle2000-0472
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco1985-8970
Adrian PetersonMinnesota2007-1167
    
Todd GurleySt. Louis/Los Angeles Rams2015-1966*
*In fifth season 

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS TO COMPETE FOR A SPOT IN THE NFL INTERNATIONAL PLAYER PATHWAY PROGRAM

Nine athletes from eight countries will compete for a spot in the 2020 International Player Pathway Program, the NFL announced today. 

Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

The league has identified top athletes from eight countries that will compete for a place in the program. Given the program’s success to date, the NFL widened its search for international talent, hosting a Combine in Germany this past October with players from 18 countries participating.  

Isaac Alarcon (Mexico), Otavio Amorim (Brazil), David Bada (Germany), Leo Krafft (Norway), Boqiao Li (China), Chris Mulumba (Finland), Sandro Platzgummer (Austria), Antoni Podgorski (Poland) and Bernhard Seikovits (Austria) will begin training in the United States next month and will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to NFL club scouts in March in hopes of being signed as a free agent or being selected for a practice squad position for next season through the International Player Pathway Program.  

One of the NFL’s eight divisions, to be chosen at random, will receive the international players selected for the 2020 program should they not be signed to free agent contracts.  At the conclusion of training camp, each player will be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption with his assigned team.  This provides the assigned team an eleventh practice squad member who is ineligible to be activated during the season.   

Players will train alongside NFL veterans and draft hopefuls in Florida. 

“The International Player Pathway program is an important part of our ongoing efforts to grow the game globally and provide pathways for international players to make it to the NFL,” said Damani Leech, NFL Chief Operating Officer of International.  “We are excited to have players from around the world competing for a spot in the 2020 program, including eight players who were selected after participating in the International Combine in Germany this past October.” 

Players taking part in the program:​

PlayerCountryCurrent Team
Isaac AlarconMexicoTec Monterrey Borregos
Otavio AmorimBrazilTimbo-Rex
David BadaGermanySchwabisch Hall Unicorns
Leo KrafftNorwayEidsvoll 1814s
Boqiao LiChinan/a
Chris MulumbaFinlandn/a
Sandro PlatzgummerAustriaSwarco Raiders Tirol
Antoni PodgorskiPolandWarsaw Mets
Bernhard SeikovitsAustriaDacia Vienna Vikings

Notable International Player Pathway Program Participants Currently on NFL Rosters:

Moritz Böhringer, Tight End (Germany), Cincinnati Bengals

Currently in his second season as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad.  In 2016, Böhringer was selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the first player to be drafted directly from European football.  He spent the 2016 season on the Vikings practice squad.  

Jakob Johnson, Fullback (Germany), New England Patriots

Johnson began his football career during his youth in his hometown of Stuttgart, Germany. It was there where Johnson played for the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League before moving to Jacksonville, Florida.  He played one season of high school football in the United States and was recruited to continue his career at the University of Tennessee. Johnson returned to the Scorpions in 2018. He then assigned to the New England Patriots through the International Player Pathway Program. The Patriots signed Jakob Johnson to their active roster on September 21.  During the season, teams can carry an International Pathway Program player as an extra 11th member of the practice squad, but because of the roster exemption, clubs cannot promote the player to the active roster during the season. In the case of Johnson, the Patriots elected to forgo that option and make him a regular member of their 10-man practice squad, which gave them the option of promoting him.  Johnson’s NFL debut came in a Week 3 win against the New York Jets. His first NFL start came the following week in Buffalo where he contributed as a lead blocker. In Week 5 he made his first career reception for five yards against the Washington Redskins

Jordan Mailata, Tackle (Australia), Philadelphia Eagles

In 2017, Mailata participated in the International Player Pathway program and trained at IMG Academy.  The Samoan-born Australian former professional rugby league player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs was then drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles (thereby making him ineligible for the International Player Pathway Program).  Converted to football full-time early in 2018, he impressed NFL scouts at various workouts with his strength, footwork and athleticism, and continued his football journey with the Eagles during the 2018 season as the youngest player on their roster. He is currently on injured reserve. 

Efe Obada, Defensive End (UK), Carolina Panthers

Obada was raised in London after arriving from the Netherlands at age 10.  He signed as a free agent for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 after playing only five games of amateur football with the London Warriors. He played in the preseason for the Cowboys and spent part of the 2015 season on the club’s practice squad. He has since had spells on the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons before joining the Carolina Panthers practice squad as part of the 2017 International Player Pathway Program. In 2018, Obada become the first player from the NFL International Pathway program to make a 53-man roster.  In Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Obada played his first regular season game, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his one-sack, one-interception performance. Obada has continued to make an impact with the Panthers. After recording eight total tackles (solo + assisted) in 2018, he has surpassed the mark with a total of 16 tackles through Week 13 in 2019.

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: NEW YORK JETS (5-8) AT BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-2)​

Week 15 of the NFL’s 100th season kicks off on Thursday, December 12 (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime), as the New York Jets travel to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens hold the all-time series advantage, 8-2, with the Jets winning the last meeting, 24-16, in Week 7 of the 2016 season. Each team enters Thursday night coming off a win in Week 14, with Baltimore clinching a playoff berth for the second-consecutive season – the first time the club has accomplished the feat since appearing in five consecutive postseasons from 2008-12. 

Baltimore currently holds the top seed in the AFC and with a win on Thursday will clinch the AFC North division title. In Week 14, the Ravens won their ninth consecutive game, the longest active streak in the league, defeating the Bills on the road, 24-17. Quarterback LAMAR JACKSON passed for three touchdowns and a 102.5 rating, while rushing for 40 yards. Jackson now has 1,017 rushing yards in 2019, joining MICHAEL VICK (1,039 rushing yards in 2006) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. With 23 rushing yards against the Jets, Jackson will surpass Vick for the all-time single-season rushing title among quarterbacks. The second-year quarterback has 21 touchdowns (17 passing, four rushing) and one interception for a 130.3 rating in his past six games and looks to improve to 4-0 in his career as a starter in primetime games. The Ravens, with Jackson and running back MARK INGRAM (807 rushing yards in 2019), have the leading rushing attack in the league, averaging 200.9 yards on the ground per game.  

Tight end MARK ANDREWS aims for his third home game in a row with a touchdown reception, and his seven touchdown catches in 2019 tie for the league lead among tight ends. Baltimore tight ends NICK BOYLE and HAYDEN HURST each recorded touchdowns last week, and the Ravens tight end trio is the only tight end group in the league with three players each recording multiple touchdown receptions this season. On the defensive side of the ball, safety EARL THOMAS had a sack and his first forced fumble of the season in Week 14, and has an interception in two his past three career games against the AFC East. His 30 career interceptions are the most among active safeties since entering the league in 2010. 

The Jets enter Thursday night as winners of four of their past five after defeating the Dolphins last week, 22-21, on a game-winning 44-yard field goal by SAM FICKEN as time expired. Quarterback SAM DARNOLD passed for 270 yards, connecting with wide receiver ROBBY ANDERSON for 116 yards and a touchdown reception. Over the past three games, Anderson has 303 receiving yards (101 per game) and two touchdowns. Running back LE’VEON BELL aims for his fourth consecutive game against Baltimore with at least 125 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. Overall, Bell has 10 touchdowns (seven rushing, three receiving) in nine career games against Baltimore, the most touchdowns he has against any opponent in his career. Safety JAMAL ADAMS has 6.5 this season, the most among all defensive backs in 2019 and the most in a season by a defensive back since ROMAN HARPER registered 7.5 sacks in 2011. Linebacker JORDAN JENKINS registered two sacks last week, and has three sacks and two forced fumbles in two career games on Thursday Night Football.

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

NFL ENTERS FINAL QUARTER WITH KEY GAMES ON TAP

Week 14 NFL Preview

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 Sunday’s CINCINNATI BENGALS-CLEVELAND BROWNS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest includes the teams closest to the birthplace of the NFL. In 1920, the NFL formed in Northeast Ohio, where CANTON BULLDOGS owner RALPH HAY organized the first meeting of fellow owners. Four years later, at nearby Massillon Washington High School, quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer PAUL BROWN discovered the sport that would shape his life. By 1946, as the first coach of the Cleveland franchise when it launched as part of the All-American Football Conference, Brown was so synonymous with success that by popular demand he became the team’s namesake, despite his humble objections. After entering the NFL in 1950, Brown’s team won three league championships (1950, 1954-55). When the AFL placed an expansion franchise in Cincinnati during the mid-1960s, Brown joined the team as general manager and head coach, then named his new team the Bengals in time for the club’s inaugural 1968 season. One of Brown’s first Cincinnati assistant coaches was Pro Football Hall of Famer BILL WALSH.  

BRADY, BREES IN RACE FOR HALLOWED MARK: As NFL teams jockey for position in the 2019 playoff race, New England quarterback TOM BRADY and New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES have one of the league’s most significant all-time records in their sights: Most career touchdown passes, currently held by PEYTON MANNING (539). Entering Week 14, Brady (535) and Brees (532) have Manning on their radar screens.

The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:​

PLAYER, TEAM(S)YEARSTD PASSES
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis-Denver1998-2015539
Tom Brady, New England2000-535
Drew Brees, S.D. Chargers-New Orleans2001-532
Brett FavreHOF, Atlanta-Green Bay-N.Y. Jets-Minnesota1991-2010508
Dan MarinoHOF, Miami1983-99420
Philip Rivers, S.D./L.A. Chargers2004-391
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh2004-363
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants2004-362
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay2005-360
Fran TarkentonHOF, Minnesota-N.Y. Giants1961-78342

Brady, whose Patriots host the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), is 47-12 (.797) during his career in starts following a regular-season loss. 

EASTERN ILLINOIS CONNECTIONS IN THE BIG EASY: When the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS travel to meet the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX) in a matchup of 10-win teams, one former Eastern Illinois quarterback, the 49ers’ JIMMY GAROPPOLO, will square off against another former Eastern Illinois field general, Saints head coach SEAN PAYTON. Also, the father of 49ers head coach KYLE SHANAHAN, former Raiders, Broncos and Redskins head coach MIKE SHANAHAN, also played at Eastern Illinois, where a serious injury ended his playing career but helped him discover his passion for coaching. The school also produced former Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO.

  • If San Francisco this week clinches a playoff berth, the 49ers would become the first NFL club that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season to earn a postseason invitation. In every season since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR’S NIGHTMARE: In one of Week 14’s premier games, the BALTIMORE RAVENS put the league’s longest winning streak, eight games, on the line when they face the BUFFALO BILLS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The contest not only matches two of the AFC’s best teams, it also matches two of the NFL’s best dual-threat quarterbacks. Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON, whose 977 net rushing yards are more than five NFL teams this year, also ranks fourth in the NFL with a 109.6 passer rating. Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN, who ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 430 rushing yards, has a fourth-quarter passer rating of 114.0.

  • Sunday’s game will have more combined rushing yards (1,407) by starting quarterbacks than any contest in NFL history.
  • Additionally, Jackson needs 23 rushing yards to become the second quarterback in NFL history with a 1,000-yard rushing season, and 63 to post the most rushing yards in a single season by an NFL quarterback, surpassing MICHAEL VICK, who had 1,039 in 2006. 

  • As a team, the Ravens are on pace for one of the most prolific rushing campaigns in the NFL’s 100 seasons. Since the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, Baltimore’s 207.8 net rushing yards per game are on pace to finish 10 yards better than any other team in that span.

The teams with the most net rushing yards per game since 1978:

TEAMSEASONGMATTYARDSYDS/GM
Baltimore Ravens2019124452,494207.8
New England Patriots1978166713,165197.8
Kansas City Chiefs1978166632,986186.6
Chicago Bears1984166742,974185.9
Atlanta Falcons2006165372,939183.7

​​

THE FOURTH QUARTER: As the NFL makes its final turn toward the regular-season finish line, each club has just four games remaining, and 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV. Two of those teams, the TENNESSEE TITANS and OAKLAND RAIDERS, battle in a key AFC contest Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS).

  • The game features several of the NFL’s top rookies. Oakland’s JOSH JACOBS leads all NFL rookies in rushing yards (1,061), rushing touchdowns (seven) and scrimmage yards (1,207). Tennessee wide receiver A.J. BROWN leads AFC rookies with 626 receiving yards. On defense, Oakland’s MAXX CROSBY (7.5) and CLELIN FERRELL (3.5) are the NFL’s only pair of rookie teammates with three-or-more sacks each.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS CONTINUE TO WIN GAMES: Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, leads the ARIZONA CARDINALS at home against the PITTSBURGH STEELERS on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Murray and the Steelers’ DEVLIN HODGES, an undrafted rookie, are two of the six rookie quarterbacks to win a game this season. Last week, Denver’s DREW LOCKjoined a group that includes Washington’s DWAYNE HASKINS, the Giants’ DANIEL JONES and Jacksonville’s GARDNER MINSHEW. That group of six represents the second-highest number of rookie quarterbacks to win an NFL start in league history, trailing only the 1987 season (seven). Detroit’s DAVID BLOUGH, who plays at Minnesota Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), gives the 2019 rookies an opportunity to tie the single-season league record. ​

BATTLE OF OHIO: When the CINCINNATI BENGALS make the cross-state trip to play the CLEVELAND BROWNS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), the teams will meet for a 92nd time. Sunday marks the first Bengals-Browns game in 35 years in which each club has a first-year head coach. Cincinnati’s ZAC TAYLOR and Cleveland’s FREDDIE KITCHENS are the first rookie head-coaching pair in the series since December 2, 1984, when the Bengals’ SAM WYCHE beat the Browns’ MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER on an overtime field goal, 20-17.

NFL SCHEDULEDECEMBER 5, 8-9

(All times Eastern)​

ThursdaySunday (cont.)
Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears8:20 PMFOX/NFLNAMAZONMiami Dolphins at New York Jets1:00 PMCBS
Sunday  Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00 PMCBS
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons1:00 PMFOXLos Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars4:05 PMFOX
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills1:00 PMCBSPittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals4:25 PMCBS
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns1:00 PMCBSKansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots4:25 PMCBS
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers1:00 PMFOXTennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders4:25 PMCBS
Denver Broncos at Houston Texans1:00 PMCBSSeattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams8:20 PMNBC
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings1:00 PMFOXMonday  
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints1:00 PMFOX New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles8:15 PMESPN

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

WEEK 12 RAIDERS AT JETS BY THE NUMBERS

By Shawn Jonas

Game Preview – Oakland Raiders at New York Jets

Visiting Team:Oakland Raiders (6-4)
Home Team:New York Jets (3-7)
Date:Sunday, November 24, 2019, 1:00 PM EST
Place:MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Weather Forecast:Possible Light Rain, 45°F
Series History:Oakland leads series, 25-19-2
Team StatsRaidersJETS
Points Per Game22.516.4
Points Allowed Per Game25.025.5
Total Yards381.2274.0
Yards Passing253.0201.9
Yards Rushing128.272.1
Yards Allowed387.6349.5
Pass Yards Allowed281.7270.4
Rush Yards Allowed105.979.1

POINT SPREAD

RAIDERSJETS
6-43-7



SPREAD CONSENSUS PICK
-3.5SPREAD+3.5
-175MONEY LINE+155
OVER/UNDER 46
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Photo by Shawn Jonas of Derek Carr during post game interview with Erin Andrews 11/07/2019
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Photo of Derek Carr by Shawn Jonas at NRG Stadium 10/27/19

Season Leaders

PASSING YARDS

OAK Derek Carr 224-310, 2494 YDS, 15 TD, 5 INT

NYJ Sam Darnold 148-234, 1600 YDS, 11 TD, 10 INT

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Photo of Josh Jacobs by Shawn Jonas at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum 11/07/2019
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Photo of Raiders FB Alec Ingold 11/07/2019 by Shawn Jonas

RUSHING YARDS

OAK Josh Jacobs 191 CAR, 923 YDS, 4.83 AVG PER ATT, 7 TD

NYJ Le’Veon Bell 161 CAR, 508 YDS, 3.16 AVG PER ATT, 3 TD

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Photo of Darren Waller at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum 11/07/2019 by Shawn Jonas
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Photo of Tyrell Williams by Shawn Jonas at NRG Stadium 10/27/19

RECEIVING YARDS

OAK Darren Waller 56 REC, 666 YDS, 3 TD

NYJ Jamison Crowder 53 REC, 562 YDS, 3 TD

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Photo of Maxx Crosy by Shawn Jonas at NRG Stadium 10/27/19
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Photo of Erik Harris’ Interception of Phillip Rivers 11/07/2019 by Shawn Jonas
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Photo of Raider DE Clelin Ferrell Sacking Phillip Rivers on 11/07/2019 by Shawn Jonas
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Photo by Shawn Jonas

Offensive Stat Comparison

StatOAKNYJ
Yards/Play6.1 4.3
Points/Play0.368 0.285
Rush Play %46.32% 38.37%
Pass Play %53.68% 61.63%
Completion %72.20% 63.06%
3D Conv %47.62% 25.40%
RZ Scoring %59.46% 61.11%
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Photo by Shawn Jonas of Arden Key and Maxx Crosby at NRG Stadium Houston, TX 10/27/2019

Defensive Stat Comparison

StatOAKNYJ
Opp Yards/Play6.0 5.0
Opp Points/Play0.404 0.383
Opp Completion %63.77% 63.83%
Opp 3D Conv %42.98% 44.22%
Opp RZ Scoring %65.62% 64.52%

The following is a preview of the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Oakland Raiders to be played on November 17, 2019. Statistics and rankings below include all games played prior to Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season.Team Records (Through Week 11)

Team Records (Through Week 11)

 Oakland RaidersNew York Jets
Overall Record6-43-7
Home Record5-12-3
Away Record1-31-4
Division Record2-10-4
Conference Record4-20-6
Inter-conference Record2-23-1
Strength of Victory20-40-1 (.336)9-21 (.300)
Strength of Schedule49-53-1 (.481)49-51 (.490)
Vs. Common Opponents0-00-0
StreakW3W2
Turnover Margin+2-6

Statistical Comparison (Through Week 11)

OFFENSE
 RaidersJets
TOTAL POINTS SCORED225164
Total Touchdowns2820
Rushing105
Passing1611
Returns24
Field Goals10/137/12
Extra Points27/2815/17
FIRST DOWNS200150
Rushing6934
Passing12293
Penalty923
Third Down Conversions60-126 (47.6%)32-126 (25.4%)
Fourth Down Conversions8-11 (72.7%)6-13 (46.2%)
TOTAL YARDS GAINED3,7172,482
Rushing Yards1,282721
Rushing Yards Per Game128.272.1
Rushing Attempts283221
Rushing Average4.533.26
Passing Yards (Net)2,4351,761
Attempts-Completions-Pct313-226 (72.2%)314-198 (63.1%)
Times Sacked – Yards Lost15-9541-258
Had Intercepted513
Punts4159
Average Yards46.846.3
Kickoff Returns1720
Kickoff Return Yards458459
Kickoff Return Average26.9422.95
Touchdowns00
Punt Returns1614
Punt Return Yards113125
Punt Return Average7.068.93
Touchdowns00
Penalties-Yards88-77983-737
Fumbles-Lost12-512-6

Oakland vs NY Jets Overall

OAKValue (rank)Value (rank)NYJ
Points/Game22.5 (#17)25.5 (#24)OPG
Yards/Game371.7 (#11)332.4 (#13)OYG
Points/Play0.368 (#14)0.383 (#22)OPP
Yards/Play6.1 (#4)5.0 (#7)OYP
3D Conversion %47.62% (#3)44.22% (#26)O3D
4D Conversion %72.73% (#2)22.22% (#2)O4D
RZ Scoring % (TD)59.46% (#16)64.52% (#29)O RZ
TDs/Game2.8 (#11)3.0 (#22)OTG

NY Jets vs Oakland Overall

NYJValue (rank)Value (rank)OAK
Points/Game16.4 (#29)25.0 (#21)OPG
Yards/Game248.2 (#32)370.0 (#23)OYG
Points/Play0.285 (#27)0.404 (#26)OPP
Yards/Play4.3 (#32)6.0 (#27)OYP
3D Conversion %25.40% (#32)42.98% (#23)O3D
4D Conversion %46.15% (#18)70.00% (#31)O4D
RZ Scoring % (TD)61.11% (#11)65.62% (#30)O RZ
TDs/Game2.0 (#26)3.1 (#26)OTG

Offensive Rankings (Through Week 11)

 RaidersJets
Total Yardage11th (371.7 YPG)32nd (248.2 YPG)
Points Scored18th (22.5 PPG)29th (16.4 PPG)
Rushing Yardage9th (128.2 YPG)31st (72.1 YPG)
Passing Yardage13th (243.5 YPG)31st (176.1 YPG)
OFFENSE
 Raiders Jets
TOTAL POINTS SCORED225164
Total Touchdowns2820
Rushing105
Passing1611
Returns24
Field Goals10/137/12
Extra Points27/2815/17
FIRST DOWNS200150
Rushing6934
Passing12293
Penalty923
Third Down Conversions60-126 (47.6%)32-126 (25.4%)
Fourth Down Conversions8-11 (72.7%)6-13 (46.2%)
TOTAL YARDS GAINED3,7172,482
Rushing Yards1,282721
Rushing Yards Per Game128.272.1
Rushing Attempts283221
Rushing Average4.533.26
Passing Yards (Net)2,4351,761
Attempts-Completions-Pct313-226 (72.2%)314-198 (63.1%)
Times Sacked – Yards Lost15-9541-258
Had Intercepted513
Punts4159
Average Yards46.846.3
Kickoff Returns1720
Kickoff Return Yards458459
Kickoff Return Average26.9422.95
Touchdowns00
Punt Returns1614
Punt Return Yards113125
Punt Return Average7.068.93
Touchdowns00
Penalties-Yards88-77983-737
Fumbles-Lost12-512-6

Defensive Rankings (Through Week 11)

 RaidersJets
Total Yardage Allowed20th (368.1 YPG)13th (332.4 YPG)
Points Allowed21st (25.0 PPG)24th (25.5 PPG)
Rushing Yardage Allowed17th (105.9 YPG)1st (79.1 YPG)
Passing Yardage Allowed27th (262.2 YPG)21st (253.3 YPG)
DEFENSE
  RaidersJets
OPPONENT POINTS SCORED250255
Total Touchdowns3130
Rushing710
Passing2418
Returns02
Field Goals11/1415/18
Extra Points31/3122/25
OPPONENT FIRST DOWNS221196
Rushing5845
Passing128122
Penalty3529
Third Down Conversions52-121 (43.0%)65-147 (44.2%)
Fourth Down Conversions7-10 (70.0%)2-9 (22.2%)
OPPONENT YARDS GAINED3,6813,324
Opponent Rushing Yards1,059791
Rushing Yards Per Game105.979.1
Rushing Attempts249265
Rushing Average4.252.98
Opponent Passing Yards (Net)2,6222,533
Attempts-Completions-Pct345-220 (63.8%)376-240 (63.8%)
Sacks – Opponent Yards Lost25-19525-171
Intercepted by86
Opponent Punts3651
Average Yards45.844.3
Opponent Kickoff Returns2118
Kickoff Return Yards441368
Kickoff Return Average21.0020.44
Touchdowns00
Opponent Punt Returns2433
Punt Return Yards259230
Punt Return Average10.796.97
Touchdowns00
Opponent Penalties-Yards64-54281-695
Opponent Fumbles-Recovered9-416-7

Injury Report

Here’s a look at the players listed on the Oakland Raiders’ Week 12 injury report:

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OAKLAND RAIDERS

NAMEPOSDATESTATUSCOMMENT
David SharpeOTNov 22OutSharpe (calf) has been declared out for Sunday’s game against the Jets
Lamarcus JoynerSNov 22QuestionableJoyner (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Jets

Here’s a look at the players listed on the NEW YORK JETS’ Week 12 injury report:

NEW YORK JETS

NAMEPOSDATESTATUSCOMMENT
Chuma EdogaOTNov 22QuestionableEdoga (ankle) is questionable to play Sunday against Oakland
Kelvin BeachumOTNov 22QuestionableBeachum (ankle) has been deemed questionable ahead of Sunday’s game versus the Raiders
Steve McLendonDTNov 22QuestionableMcLendon (neck) is questionable to play Sunday versus the Raiders
Paul WorrilowLBNov 22DoubtfulWorrilow (quadriceps) is considered doubtful to play Sunday against Oakland, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports.
Matthias FarleySNov 22DoubtfulFarley (quadriceps) is doubtful for Sunday’s contest versus the Raiders
Demaryius ThomasWRNov 22QuestionableThomas (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Raiders after practicing in a limited fashion all week
Darryl RobertsCBNov 22DoubtfulRoberts (calf) is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Raiders
Brandon CopelandLBNov 20Questionable
Neville HewittLBNov 20Questionable
Alex LewisGNov 20Questionable
Henry AndersonDENov 20Questionable
C.J. MosleyLBNov 20OutMosley (groin) is unlikely to return this season