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NFL 2014: What To Look For Week 9
Still In The Mix
History shows that a losing record at this point in the season does not negate a team's chances of making the playoffs.
Since 2000, 34 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and proceeded to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.
Of those 34 clubs, five have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including the 2001 New England Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI.
Manning vs Brady XVI
For the 16th time of their storied careers including the postseason, quarterbacks TOM BRADY and PEYTON MANNING will face off as New England hosts Denver on Sunday afternoon.
Brady (129.1) & Manning (127.4) ranked ranked first and second, respectively, among NFL quarterbacks in passer rating for October, as each player threw 14 touchdowns apiece, marking the first calendar month in NFL history in which two different players passed for at least 14 touchdowns.
Brady, who will make his 200th career regular-season start this week, has already won more games (154) than any other starting quarterback in NFL history through his first 200 starts.
The most wins by starting quarterbacks through 200 regular-season starts in NFL history:
|Source: NFL *199 career starts|
The NFL season enters November on Sunday and three active quarterbacks -- Dallas' TONY ROMO, New England's TOM BRADY and Baltimore's JOE FLACCO -- are among the best in November in terms of winning percentages for the month amongst starting QBs in the Super Bowl era (since 1966, minimum 20 starts).
Romo, who ranks first among the group with an .828 November winning percentage, and the Cowboys will host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Brady's (.761) and Flacco's (.741) November winning percentages currently rank fourth and fifth, respectively. Brady will aim to improve his November mark on Sunday afternoon against Denver. Flacco and the Ravens will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on Sunday Night Football.
The quarterbacks with the best records in November in the Super Bowl era (minimum 20 starts):
|Source: NFL *Active|
Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.
Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK has passed for at least 300 yards in each of his past six games, surpassing PEYTON MANNING (five games in 2009) for the longest streak in Colts history.
With at least 300 passing yards against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, Luck can tie Manning, who passed for 300+ yards in seven consecutive games with Denver in 2012-13, for the third-longest such streak in NFL history.
The players with the most consecutive 300-yard passing games in NFL history:
|Source: NFL *Active streak|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2011-12||9|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2013||9|
|Steve Young||San Francisco||1998||6|
|Kurt Warner||St. Louis||2000||6|
Luck leads the NFL with 2,731 passing yards this season. With at least 269 passing yards on Monday night, Luck can join TOM BRADY, DREW BREES (twice) and Manning as the only players in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards in their team's first nine games to begin a season.
The quarterbacks with the most passing yards through their team's first nine games to begin a season:
|Source: NFL *Through eight games|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2013||3,064|
|Tom Brady||New England||2011||3,032|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2011||3,004|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2008||2,985|
Tighten Up I
Since entering the NFL in 2010, New England tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI leads all NFL players with 49 touchdown catches during that span.
Gronkowski, who will play in his 59th career game on Sunday, needs one touchdown reception against Denver to tie RANDY MOSS for the second-fewest games to reach 50 career TD catches in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer LANCE ALWORTH (54 games) is the fastest player in NFL annals to reach the milestone.
Gronkowski can also far surpass the record for fewest games by a tight end to reach 50 career touchdown catches, (ANTONIO GATES, 92 games).
The players to reach 50 touchdown catches in the fewest games in NFL history:
|Source: NFL *49 career TD catches|
Tighten Up II
A pair of AFC tight ends -- San Diego's ANTONIO GATES and Denver's JULIUS THOMAS -- are currently tied for the NFL lead in total touchdowns with nine TD catches apiece this season.
With one touchdown catch against Miami on Sunday, Gates can become the first tight end in NFL history with four seasons with at least 10 TD receptions. He is currently tied with TONY GONZALEZ (three) and New England's ROB GRONKOWSKI (three) for the most such seasons by a tight end in NFL annals.
Thomas, whose Broncos travel to New England on Sunday, needs one more touchdown to join Pro Football Hall of Famer SHANNON SHARPE (1996, 1998) as the only tight ends in franchise history with multiple 10-touchdown seasons. He would be the ninth tight end in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 10 receiving touchdowns:
|Tight End||Seasons||10+ TD Seasons|
|Source: NFL *Nine TD catches in 2014|
|Antonio Gates*||2004-05, 2010||3|
|Tony Gonzalez||1999, 2003, 2008||3|
|Dallas Clark||2007, 2009||2|
|Vernon Davis||2009, 2013||2|
|Jimmy Graham||2011, 2013||2|
|Shannon Sharpe||1996, 1998||2|
|Wesley Walls||1996, 1999||2|
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- Brady vs Luck: Who Has the Upper Hand in Sunday Night Showdown?
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- NFL Power Rankings for Week 11
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- Brady, Luck Faceoff and Other NFL Week 11 Games to Watch
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- Week 10 Thursday Night Football Preview
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- AFC Midseason Projections
- NFC Midseason Projections
- Teams Plot Ways to Beat Peyton Manning
- Fantasy Football Trades to Make Before Deadline
- Most Important Games of the Second Half of NFL Season
- Elite NFL Players on the Decline
- Can Colts Make Super Bowl Run on Passing Game Alone?
- 7-1 Means the Arizona Cardinals Are the NFL's Best, Right?
- Are the New England Patriots Now the AFC's Top Team?
- Are the San Francisco 49ers Done?
- Who to Play in Fantasy Football's Week 10
- Why the Cowboys Are Fake Pretenders
- Week 9: Great Slate in Store
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- Manning vs Brady XVI
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- Bengals, Browns, Chargers: Are They Who We Thought They Were?
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- Matt Ryan & Joe Flacco
- Philip Rivers' Record-Breaking Streak
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- Best 2-Minute QB's Without a Super Bowl Win
- NFL Games to Watch Week 7
- Lions' Defense Sets Team Apart This Year
- Who Is the Dirtiest Player in the NFL?
- Matthew Stafford Approaches Dan Marino Record
- Why Cardinals Will Dethrone Seahawks in NFC West
- Are the Cowboys the NFL's Best Team?
- Which Season-Ending Injury Hurts the Most?
- Most NFL Fans Think Goodell Should Keep Job
- The Most Underutilized NFL Players
- Tight Ends On Record-Breaking Pace
- A Look at Aaron Rodgers
- NFL's Best Young QB
- The Great Football Debate
- Most Likely to Go 0-16
- Rex Ryan's Return Unlikely
- Will 49ers Part Ways with Jim Harbaugh?
- De Marco Murray Rushing Into The Record Books
- What's Wrong with the Patriots?
- How Many Turnovers Are Too Many for a Young QB?
- Why Philip Rivers Is the MVP Frontrunner
- Are the Cowboys the Best Team in the NFC East?
- QBs Off to Efficient Start
- Cardinals & Eagles Flying High
- NFL Predictions Turned Bad
- Will New NFL Conduct Policy Exact Real Change?
- Packers Need a Sense of Urgency
- Contenders and Pretenders
- Cardinals Rise, 49ers Demise
- Key Matchups On Tap For Week 3
- Special Teams Game-Changers
- NFL Comeback Wins
- Goodell Digs Himself Deeper
- Did Roger Goodell's Press Conference Do Enough?
- Death Of The NFL?
- Is This the End for RGIII?
- RGIII's Future in Cousins' Hands
- Richard Sherman Not a 'Shutdown Corner'
- Quarterbacks Take Center Stage
- Is Derek Carr the Answer in Oakland?
- Emmitt Smith on the Running Back's Changing Role
- Who Will Win Super Bowl XLIX
- Super Bowl Follow-Ups
- Best NFL Records, Past 10 Years
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NFL 2014 - What To Look For Week 9