NFL | What To Look For In Week Fifteen

NFLCommunications have shared what YOU need to be on the lookout for heading into Week Fifteen!

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST:

Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO BEARS (9-4), DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5), HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-2), and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4).

For the 2018 NFL Playoff Scenarios for Week 15, click here.

As the league enters Week 15, there are 20 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

HISTORY IS BEING MADE IN KC:

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Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 43 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime), Mahomes would tie DREW BREES (46 touchdown passes in 2011) for the fifth-most passing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Peyton Manning# Denver 2013 55
Tom Brady# New England 2007 50
Peyton Manning# Indianapolis 2004 49
Dan Marino^# Miami 1984 48
Drew Brees New Orleans 2011 46
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City 2018 43*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player
*Entering Week 15

 

HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU, ROOKIE:

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Denver rookie linebacker BRADLEY CHUBB leads all rookies and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 12 sacks this season.

With a sack against Cleveland on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), Chubb would tie DWIGHT FREENEY (13 sacks in 2002) for the third-most sacks by a rookie in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The rookies with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER TEAM YEAR SACKS
Jevon Kearse# Tennessee 1999 14.5
Aldon Smith San Francisco 2011 14
Dwight Freeney Indianapolis 2002 13
Bradley Chubb Denver 2018 12*
#Named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

FALCONS MAY BE FALLING, BUT JULIO’S ON THE RISE:

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Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season. In Week 13, Jones became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons.

Jones, who had 1,593 receiving yards in 2014 and 1,871 receiving yards in 2015, needs 71 receiving yards on Sunday against Arizona (1:00 PM ET, FOX), to become the fifth player in NFL history with three career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards.

The players with the most career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM SEASONS WITH 1,500+ RECEIVING YARDS
Jerry Rice^ San Francisco 4
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh 3
Marvin Harrison^ Indianapolis 3
Andre Johnson Houston 3
Julio Jones Atlanta 2*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 1,429 receiving yards this season

STARS FROM SCRIMMAGE:

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Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT leads the NFL with 1,262 rushing yards this season.

Elliott, who has 3,876 rushing yards and 1,134 receiving yards since entering the league in 2016, needs 124 rushing yards on Sunday at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, FOX) to become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons.

The players with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM SEASONS RUSHING YARDS RECEIVING YARDS
Chris Johnson Tennessee 2008-2010 4,598 1,008
LaDainian Tomlinson^ San Diego 2001-2003 4,564 1,581
Ottis Anderson St. Louis Cardinals 1979-1981 4,333 1,003
Barry Sanders Detroit 1989-1991 4,322 1,069
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas 2016-2018 3,876* 1,134*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In third season

 

BRILLIANT BARKLEY:

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New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 1,753 scrimmage yards and has 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving) this season.

With 147 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against Tennessee (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Barkley, can become the fifth rookie with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

The rookies with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM SEASON SCRIMMAGE YARDS TOUCHDOWNS
Eric Dickerson^# Los Angeles Rams 1983 2,212 20
Edgerrin James# Indianapolis 1999 2,139 17
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas 2016 1,994 16
Billy Sims# Detroit 1980 1,924 16
Saquon Barkley New York Giants 2018 1,753* 13*
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION:

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New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,384 scrimmage yards this season.

Kamara, who had 1,554 scrimmage yards as a rookie in 2017, needs 83 receiving yards at Carolina on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), to join HERSCHEL WALKER (1986-87) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history.

The players with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history:

PLAYER TEAM SEASONS RUSHING YARDS RECEIVING YARDS
Herschel Walker Dallas 1986-87 1,628 1,552
Alvin Kamara New Orleans 2017-18 1,521* 1,417*
*In second season

SUPERCAM:

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Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 473 rushing yards this season. Newton has rushed for at least 500 rushing yards in six of his first seven seasons in the league.

With 27 rushing yards against New Orleans on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in seven seasons.

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 500 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM(S) SEASONS WITH 500+ RUSHING YARDS
Randall Cunningham Philadelphia 6
Cam Newton Carolina 6*
Michael Vick Atlanta, Philadelphia 6
*Has 473 rushing yards this season

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Nick

Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1