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NFL: History? There ain't no stinkin' history

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  • The best thing I can say about the NFL is that it's totally unpredictable on a week-to-week basis. Coming into Week 15, there were three constants of the NFL season: that the Packers were unbeatable, that the Colts were a train-wreck, and that Tim Tebow was either the football equivalent of a magician or the messiah. So what happened this week? The Packers lost, the Colts won, and Tim Tebow got his brains beat out. On the Tebow side of things, I don't want the story to go away on any level; I'll be crushed if the half-assing San Diego Chargers sneak into the playoffs on the last day of the year, as they always seem to do. But I'm glad the Colts and Packers finally got the '0' out of their records. Neither was historically-great or historically-awful, and for another batch of teams to do what the 2007 Patriots and 2008 Lions did, not even five years later, would've really devalued what it meant to go 0-16 and 16-0. So my hat goes off to the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans for restoring order to the universe.
  • If there's one thing to come from the Packers' first loss of the year, it's that maybe it opens up a few more MVP votes for Drew Brees. Admittedly, I'd vote for Rodgers in a pretend-scenario where my opinion matters, and I expect him to come close to winning it unanimously. But Brees is going to finish with probably the greatest overlooked season in the history of the NFL. He's going to break multiple records, and may not even crack double-digits in MVP voting. Brees needs only 305 passing yards over his final two games to break Dan Marino's 27-year, single-season record of 5,084. He needs only 34 completions to break Peyton Manning's record for completions in a season (450). He has thrown for 300 yards an NFL-record 11 times this season, and has at least one touchdown in 41 straight games. And if the season ended today, he'd finish with the highest completion percentage (71.6%) in the history of the league. And yet, despite having one of the five-to-six greatest statistical seasons ever, Brees won't even come close to winning the MVP. That's how good Aaron Rodgers has been.
  • Here's an interest nugget courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau: Sunday marked just the fourth occurrence in NFL history in which a team with a double-digit winning streak lost and a team with a double-digit losing streak won. The last time it happened was in 1984, when the Buffalo Bills snapped a 13-game losing streak and the Miami Dolphins -- lead by Dan Marino -- snapped a 16-game winning streak, the same Dan Marino who would finish the season with 5,084 passing yards, the record that's about to broken by Drew Brees. Isn't history fun?
  • After stifling Rashard Mendenhall and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the San Francisco 49ers are the first team to go its first 14 games without allowing a single rushing touchdown. Yeah, yeah, they play in the horrifying NFC West (which magically has only one team under .500), and yeah they've had an east schedule. But I think it's time to consider the 49ers defense on a Baltimore-Ravens-with-Trent Dilfer, Chicago-Bears-with-Rex-Grossman level. It's great enough that they don't need to rely on Alex Smith to put up a lot of points for them in order to win. Now will that act work against a high-powered offense like the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints? Maybe not. That might be the game where they'll actually need Smith to put up some touchdowns. But until they meet one of those teams, there's no reason to think they won't go far in the postseason.
  • I briefly mentioned the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers now as an astounding 23-2 career record in December as a starting quarterback. Inconsistency is the only thing keeping Rivers out of the Elite Quarterbacks Club, because if he played the way he plays in December for a full season, the Chargers would never have to struggle to get in the playoffs like they are now.