RECORDS & AWARDS
December 19, 2012Richmond High School
Two weeks remain in the NFL regular season and eight AFC teams are still in contention for a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The AFC late-season playoff push features one division title (AFC North), two Wild Card spots and home-field advantage still on the line entering Week 16. With every game of vital importance, momentum is essential as teams look to the postseason.
“Everyone wants to have the best record, win the division and play at home for the playoffs, but in my opinion, the team that is playing the best has the best opportunity,” says NFL Network analyst and former NFL MVP quarterback KURT WARNER. “This game is always about confidence and momentum. If you have it, you’re tough to beat, nobody wants to play you and it gives you a distinct advantage. It starts in the regular season and you want to be playing well down the stretch.”
The Denver Broncos (11-3), who own the NFL’s longest active winning streak (nine games), aim to sustain their momentum in the final two weeks of the regular season. Denver clinched the AFC West for the second consecutive season and has hopes of securing a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Broncos will host the Cleveland Browns (CBS, 4:05 PM ET) in Week 16.
“If you want to play well in the playoffs, you need to finish the regular season on a high note,” says Denver veteran wide receiver BRANDON STOKLEY. “We want to continue to get better and we haven’t played our best football yet. I think everybody understands that once you get in the playoffs, you need to bring you’re A-game every week.”
The most consecutive wins to end a regular season since 1970:
The Pittsburgh Steelers face a must-win scenario against divisional foe Cincinnati on Sunday at Heinz Field (CBS, 1:00 PM ET). The Steelers defeated Cincinnati, 24-17 in Week 7. Since 2008, Pittsburgh has a 10-3 record in the second meeting of a season against divisional opponents, third-best in the NFL during that span. The Steelers conclude their season at home against division rival Cleveland in Week 17.
“We win the last two, we’re in the tournament, but we’ve got to get it going and got to get it going fast,” says Steelers wide receiver MIKE WALLACE. “We’ve got to win two at home. The good thing is it’s the same as it was before we came here. We control our own destiny.”
The best win percentage against divisional opponents in the second meeting of a season since 2008:
A breakdown of the AFC division races:
AFC EAST: New England (10-4) has clinched the AFC East division title.
AFC NORTH: Baltimore (9-5), Cincinnati (8-6) and Pittsburgh (7-7) remain in contention for the AFC North division title.
AFC SOUTH: Houston (12-2) has clinched the AFC South division title.
AFC WEST: Denver (11-3) has clinched the AFC West division title.
The following teams are in AFC Wild Card contention:
*Baltimore has already clinched a playoff berth and currently leads the AFC North