WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15
STAYIN’ ALIVE: With three weeks to play in the regular season, 24 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl XLVII. That ties for the fifth-most teams remaining in contention with three weeks to play since the NFL instituted the 16-game schedule in 1978.
ROOKIE RECORDS: Three rookie quarterbacks – Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON, Washington’s ROBERT GRIFFIN III and Indianapolis’ ANDREW LUCK – can move up the NFL’s all-time rookie touchdown pass list in Week 15.
Wilson has thrown 20 touchdown passes this season. With three touchdown passes this Sunday against Buffalo, Wilson can surpass CAM NEWTON (21 in 2011) and CHARLIE CONERLY (22 in 1948) for the second-most TD passes by a rookie in NFL history.
Griffin (18) and Luck (18) can each move into the top five with at least two touchdown passes Sunday at Cleveland and at Houston, respectively.
LUCKY ROOKIE: Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK has passed for 3,792 yards this season and surpassed PEYTON MANNING (3,739 in 1998) last week for the second-most by a rookie in NFL history.
Luck needs 260 passing yards this Sunday against Houston to surpass CAM NEWTON (4,051 in 2011) for the rookie record for passing yards in a season.
YARD WORK: Three quarterbacks – Dallas’ TONY ROMO (3,928), New England’s TOM BRADY (3,833) and Denver’s PEYTON MANNING (3,812) – can reach the 4,000-yard mark in Week 15.
Manning has passed for 4,000 yards in an NFL-record 11 seasons. With 188 passing yards against Baltimore, he can extend his record to 12 4,000-yard passing seasons.
Brady has four seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards. With 167 passing yards against San Francisco, Brady will become the fifth quarterback with at least five such seasons. Brady can also join Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO, DREW BREES and MATTHEW STAFFORD as the only players to pass for at least 4,000 yards following a 5,000 yard season.
Romo (three) can reach the 4,000-yard mark with 72 passing yards this Sunday against Pittsburgh.
COLTSTRONG: The Indianapolis Colts (9-4) can clinch a playoff spot this weekend and still have a chance to win the AFC South division. They face division rival Houston in two of their last three games.
With a win against Houston this weekend, the Colts can reach 10 wins following last season’s 2-14 record and become the fourth team in NFL history to win 10 or more games following a season with two or fewer victories.
DECEMBER TO REMEMBER: The New England Patriots have won 13 consecutive regular-season games in December, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history (Dallas Cowboys, 13 from 1968-1972).
With a win on Sunday Night Football over the San Francisco 49ers, the Patriots can surpass the Cowboys for the second-most consecutive wins in the month.
New England has won 20 consecutive home games in December, the longest streak in NFL history.
GOLD RUSH: San Francisco linebacker ALDON SMITH leads the league with 19.5 sacks and has 33.5 career sacks, the most by a player in his first two NFL seasons since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.
With two sacks, he can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers LAWRENCE TAYLOR (20.5), CHARLES DOLEMAN (21) and REGGIE WHITE (21) for the fourth-most sacks in a season since 1982.
Source: NFL Media