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MOMENTUM KEY FOR TEAMS HEADING TO POSTSEASON

Posted Dec 19, 2012

Momentum is key for teams heading to the postseason.

AFC NOTES

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:

 

TEAM

YEAR

CONSECUTIVE WINS

PLAYOFF RESULT

New England Patriots

2007

16*

Advanced to Super Bowl XLII

Miami Dolphins

1972

14*

Won Super Bowl VII

Pittsburgh Steelers

2004

14

Advanced to AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots

2003

12

Won Super Bowl XXXVIII

Houston Oilers

1993

11

Advanced to Divisional

San Diego Chargers

2009

11

Advanced to Divisional

*Undefeated in regular season

 

 

 

 

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:

 

TEAM

W-L RECORD

WIN PERCENT

Indianapolis Colts

13-1

.929

New England Patriots

12-2

.857

Pittsburgh Steelers

10-3

.769

Green Bay Packers

10-4

.714

San Diego Chargers

10-4

.714

 

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:

 

TEAM

OVERALL

CONFERENCE

Baltimore*

9-5

8-3

Indianapolis

9-5

6-4

Cincinnati

8-6

5-5

Pittsburgh

7-7

4-6

Miami

6-8

4-6

                                       *Baltimore has already clinched a playoff berth and currently leads the AFC North

                                   


NFC NOTES

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE WITH TWO WEEKS TO GO

 

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, 11 NFC teams are still in contention for a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on February 3.

 

NFC DIVISIONS

 

The NFC South (Atlanta) and NFC North (Green Bay) have been decided. But the NFC East and NFC West winners have yet to be determined.

 

A breakdown of the NFC division races:

 

NFC EAST: Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants remain in contention for the NFC East division title. Both the Redskins and Cowboys, who meet in Week 17, are in control in the division race.

 

TEAM

OVERALL

DIVISION

CONFERENCE

STRENGTH OF VICTORY

STRENGTH OF SCHED.

Washington

8-6

3-1

6-4

.482

.513

Dallas

8-6

3-2

5-5

.420

.515

New York Giants

8-6

2-3

7-4

.522

.538

 

NFC NORTH: Green Bay has clinched the NFC North division title.

 

NFC SOUTH: Atlanta has clinched the NFC South division title.

 

NFC WEST: San Francisco and Seattle remain in contention for the NFC West division title. The 49ers are in control in the division race.

 

TEAM

OVERALL

DIVISION

CONFERENCE

STRENGTH OF VICTORY

STRENGTH OF SCHED.

San Francisco

10-3-1

2-1-1

6-3-1

.491

.500

Seattle

9-5

1-3

6-4

.516

.495

 

 

NFC WILD CARDS

 

Nine teams remain in contention for a Wild Card spot. San Francisco has already clinched a playoff berth and currently leads the NFC West. Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are currently tied for the lead in the NFC East.

 

A breakdown of the NFC Wild Card race:

 

TEAM

OVERALL

CONFERENCE

STRENGTH OF VICTORY

STRENGTH OF SCHED.

San Francisco*

10-3-1

6-3-1

.491

.500

Seattle

9-5

6-4

.516

.495

Washington**

8-6

6-4

.482

.513

Dallas**

8-6

5-5

.420

.515

New York Giants**

8-6

7-4

.522

.538

Minnesota

8-6

6-5

.402

.485

Chicago

8-6

5-5

.424

.546

St. Louis

6-7-1

5-4-1

.525

.536

New Orleans

6-8

4-6

.440

.528

   * San Francisco has already clinched a playoff berth and currently leads the NFC West

   ** Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are currently tied for the lead in the NFC East

 

Seattle, Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are each in control for at least a playoff berth.

 

 

NFC HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE AND FIRST-ROUND BYE

 

Three teams remain in contention for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Atlanta, which has the conference’s best record at 12-2, is in control for home-field advantage.

 

TEAM

OVERALL

CONFERENCE

STRENGTH OF VICTORY

STRENGTH OF SCHED.

Atlanta

12-2

8-2

.429

.423

San Francisco

10-3-1

6-3-1

.491

.500

Green Bay

10-4

8-3

.454

.510

 

Four teams remain in contention for a first-round bye. Atlanta and San Francisco are each in control for one of the top two seeds in the NFC and a first-round bye.

 

TEAM

OVERALL

CONFERENCE

STRENGTH OF VICTORY

STRENGTH OF SCHED.

Atlanta

12-2

8-2

.429

.423

San Francisco

10-3-1

6-3-1

.491

.500

Green Bay

10-4

8-3

.454

.510

Seattle

9-5

6-4

.516

.495

 

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