NEW YORK – A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30, the 17th week of the 2018 season.
NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle. Should Indianapolis defeat Tennessee on Sunday Night Football, that number would increase to seven.
Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.
WORST-TO-FIRST: Both the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons.
PLAYOFF SEEDING: The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS won the NFC South and finished as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Saints will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The LOS ANGELES RAMS, who defeated San Francisco 48-32 and won the NFC West, are the No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.
The CHICAGO BEARS, who defeated Minnesota 24-10 and won the NFC North, are the No. 3 seed and will host Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. ThePHILADELPHIA EAGLES defeated Washington, 24-0, and combined with Minnesota’s loss to Chicago, clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season.
The DALLAS COWBOYS, who defeated the New York Giants 36-35 and won the NFC East, are the No. 4 seed and will host Seattle in the Wild Card round.
In the AFC, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS defeated Oakland, 35-3, and clinched the AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who defeated the New York Jets, 38-3, are the AFC’s No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
The HOUSTON TEXANS, who defeated Jacksonville 20-3 and are the No. 3 seed,clinched the AFC South division title and will host a game on Wild Card weekend.
The Texans completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround after finishing tied for last place in the division in 2017. Houston is the sixth team in NFL history to make the postseason after beginning the season 0-3 and joined the 1992 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS as theonly teams in league annals to win their division following an 0-3 start to a season.
The BALTIMORE RAVENS defeated Cleveland, 26-24, and clinched the AFC North division title for the first time since 2012. Baltimore, the AFC’s No. 4 seed, will host the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round.
Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 281 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a 109.9 rating in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win over Oakland.
Mahomes has 50 touchdown passes this season and joined PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.
Chiefs wide receiver TYREEK HILL had five receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard touchdown reception, against Oakland and had a 15-yard touchdown run.
Hill has 16 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards and tied Pro Football Hall of FamerGALE SAYERS (16) for the most touchdowns of at least 50 yards by a player in his first three seasons.
Hill has 1,479 receiving yards in 2018 and surpassed DERRICK ALEXANDER (1,391 receiving yards in 2000) for the most receiving yards in a single season in franchise history.
New England quarterback TOM BRADY completed 24 of 33 attempts (72.7 percent) for 250 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 133.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 17 win against the New York Jets.
Brady has 6,004 career regular-season completions and is the fourth player in NFL history with at least 6,000 career regular-season completions, joining DREW BREES(6,586), Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (6,300) and PEYTON MANNING(6,125).
Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD passed for 376 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the Browns’ Week 17 loss at Baltimore.
Mayfield has 27 touchdown passes this season, surpassing PEYTON MANNING (26 touchdown passes in 1998) and RUSSELL WILSON (26 in 2012) for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in the common draft era.
San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE had nine receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 17 loss.
Kittle, who has 1,377 receiving yards this season, and Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE (1,336 receiving yards in 2018) both surpassed ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,327 in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.
Houston defensive end J.J. WATT had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the Texans’ Week 17 win over Jacksonville.
Watt has 16 sacks in 2018 and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (five seasons) as the only players since 1982 with four seasons of at least 15 sacks.
Three non-quarterbacks – Atlanta wide receiver MOHAMED SANU, Detroit kickerMATT PRATER and Miami wide receiver KENNY STILLS – threw touchdown passes in Week 17.
In total, there have been 13 touchdown passes thrown by non-quarterbacks in 2018, the most in a single-season since 1983 (15 touchdowns).
Quarterbacks RYAN TANNEHILL of the Dolphins and MATT RYAN of the Falcons both had touchdown catches in Week 17, marking the first week in the Super Bowl era in which multiple quarterbacks recorded a touchdown reception.
Other notable performances from Sunday include:
Eagles quarterback NICK FOLES recorded 25 consecutive completions against Washington, tied with Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS (Week 12 vs. Arizona) for the most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history.
New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had 142 scrimmage yards (109 rushing, 33 receiving) and one rushing touchdown in the Giants’ Week 17 loss.
Barkley has 2,028 scrimmage yards and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and EDGERRIN JAMES (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.
Barkley, who had four catches against the Cowboys, has 91 receptions this season and surpassed REGGIE BUSH (88 catches in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.
Buffalo rookie quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 224 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 42-17 win against Miami.
Allen is the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to record three touchdowns passes and two rushing touchdowns in the same game, joining Miami’s DAVID WOODLEY, who had three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams on November 9, 1980.
Allen has eight rushing touchdowns this season and joins CAM NEWTON, who had 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011, as the only rookie quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with at least eight rushing touchdowns.