There are many ways to look at the NFL, but the easiest - and most tedious – method to figure out what is going on is by examining the numbers.
Here is a numerical look at the league heading into Week 15:
0 – Punts by the Chicago Bears during a 45-28 victory against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. The Bears scored on their first eight possessions. The only reason it was not nine is because they had the ball for just one play to end the game. Chicago amassed 490 offensive yards against Dallas’ putrid defense.
3 – Consecutive victories by the Jacksonville Jaguars after beginning this season 0-8. Jacksonville has won four of its past five games.
4 – Amount of touchdowns thrown by Denver’s Peyton Manning and New Orleans’ Drew Brees with zero interceptions in Week 14. It marked the 29th time Manning accomplished threw four or more touchdown passes in a game, extending his current league record, while Brees (24) surpassed Brett Favre for the second-most such games in NFL history.
5 – Touchdowns scored by San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis in the past six games. Davis has caught a touchdown pass in the 49ers’ past four games.
6 – The rank of Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense. Dallas, the team that fired Ryan after last season, has the NFL's worst ranked defense. Ryan's current defense is giving up 313.6 yards per game, while his former team is allowing 426.8 yards under Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. More importantly, New Orleans is 10-3 and likely headed to the playoffs, while Dallas is 7-6 and its postseason hopes are fading.
10 – Regular season wins by the New England Patriots for the 11th consecutive season. The Patriots join the San Francisco 49ers (1983-1998; 16 seasons) as the only teams in NFL history to record 11 consecutive 10-win seasons. Indianapolis is third with nine consecutive 10-win seasons between 2002 and 2010.
11 – Touchdown receptions by Denver’s Julius Thomas this season, breaking Shannon Sharpe’s record for most touchdown receptions in a season by a Broncos tight end. Sharpe had 10 touchdowns twice in Denver (1996 and 1998).
15 – Turnovers by the Detroit Lions over their past four games. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown seven interceptions during that time span, while the team has lost eight fumbles. Detroit is 1-3 during that stretch.
50 – Points or more scored by the Denver Broncos this season. Denver recently defeated the Tennessee Titans, 51-18, scored 52 points against Philadelphia and 51 versus Dallas.
104 – Touchdowns were scored in Week 14, the most in a single week in NFL history. Ninety of those touchdowns were scored on Sunday, the most in a single day in NFL history.
1999 – The last time the Buffalo Bills made a playoff appearance. Buffalo currently has the NFL’s longest playoff drought. The Bills (4-9) have enjoyed only one winning season (9-7 in 2004) since 1999.
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This weekend marked the beginning of a funny ritual in the NFL.
When the calendar gets to December, players will go out in short sleeves in below-zero temperatures and tell everyone who will listen they're not cold and they're not intimidated by the weather, like everyone will be fooled into thinking that minus-12 wind chill isn't cold.
It's cold. We all know. And it makes playing football very difficult.
At kickoff of Monday night's game in Chicago, the temperature was 9 degrees with a wind chill of minus-8. It got so cold that ESPN found equipment managers holding water bottles up to the sideline heaters because the water inside was freezing up. During one timeout, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo didn't stop to talk to the coaches, he went right to the heater, pushing teammates out of the way like George Costanza fleeing a fire.
Monday night was the second-coldest game in Cowboys history. The coldest, obviously, was the "Ice Bowl," the NFL championship game at the end of the 1967 season at Lambeau Field. Monday was the coldest Bears home game this season, and pretty close to the coldest Bears home game ever. That record is 2 degrees, set for a Dec. 22, 2008 game against the Packers.
But did that matter to either team? No way!
"I don’t think the weather was too much of a factor," Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said.
"I don’t know what the weather was to be honest," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "The field was good. It was cold, but it seemed like everyone handled the ball pretty well."
"Other than not being able to feel my toes, that’s about it for me," Bears quarterback Josh McCown said, when asked if he was affected. "Little windy at times, but we did a good job."
Sure, fellas. At least Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was honest, saying "I just felt like a popsicle the whole time." That we can believe.
There will be plenty of games like this over the next couple months in the NFL, maybe even the Super Bowl in New Jersey. The frozen ball will feel like a rock, it'll be hard to run on a field that feels like a skating rink and even the water for the players on the sideline won't be safe.
Players will be miserable out of the field for three hours, playing in conditions that aren't conducive to showing off their elite athleticism. But they'll say it felt just great out there.
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It was a record setting Sunday in the National Football League, and with week 14 officially in the books, the playoff race is shaping up. Check out my Thoughts on the NFL this week, and be sure to drop a few of your own in the comment section.
The NFL has decided to flex the week 16 matchup between the Bears and the Eagles to the primetime slot, replacing Patriots-Ravens.
The Chicago Bears won 45-28 last night against the visiting Dallas Cowboys, and their offense continues to look like one of the league's best. Through 13 games they are on pace for their highest passing yards in team history.
Chicago Bears Week 14: Bears-Cowboys game reports and news
The Bears beat the Cowboys last night, and we're breaking down how they did it with our notes and other minutiae.
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