Final Quarter Starts with AFC Playoffs in Sight
NFL 2012 Regular Season
Four weeks remain in the NFL regular season and wins are increasingly tough to come by, with every game of vital importance in the race to the AFC playoffs.
"We've got the last quarter of the season coming up," says Denver head coach JOHN FOX, whose club clinched the AFC West title last week with a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay. "We always say, 'people remember what you do in December,' so that's what we have ahead of us. I think everybody's going to be fighting for home-field advantage, for a first round bye. All those things are things people are competing for at this point."
Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK understands what's required down the stretch. Since 2007, New England has posted a 19-1 (.950) record in the final four games of a season, the highest winning percentage in the NFL. Belichick and the Patriots will host the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8:30 PM ET) in Week 14.
"We all know that the fewer games there are, the more important they become," says Belichick. "With each game, we play one less and each one becomes bigger. There aren't many left."
The best records in the final four games of a season since 2007:
|Team||W-L Record||Win Pct|
|New England Patriots||19-1||.950|
|San Diego Chargers||18-2||.900|
Houston wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON certainly has a sense of urgency as the final quarter of the season approaches. The Texans (11-1), who have the best record in the AFC, aim to clinch the AFC South title and secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC postseason.
"We're learning as we go through this experience, but we know every game gets bigger and we have a chance to fight to be at the top of the AFC," says Johnson. "We know how big that could be for us if we're able to get that accomplished. Every game gets bigger and is going to continue to get bigger."
The Indianapolis Colts (8-4), who have won six of their past seven games, are in a position to make a postseason run. The Colts, who are 5-1 at home this season, host Tennessee in Week 14 (CBS, 1:00 PM ET). Indianapolis has been led by rookie Andrew Luck, who has the most wins by a rookie quarterback drafted number one overall in the Super Bowl era.
"This is a team that won two games last season," says NBC Sports analyst and former Indianapolis head coach TONY DUNGY. "They are going to be in the playoffs this year because of Andrew Luck. They believe in this guy. This is what they did not have last year, faith that they could win these games."
The best division records in December since 2002:
|Team||W-L Record||Win Pct|
|New England Patriots||17-4||.810|
|Green Bay Packers||14-5||.737|
- 49ers Suspend Brandon Jacobs for Remainder of Season
- Tom Brady Throws Four Scoring Strikes as Patriots Rout Texans
- Ravens Can Coordinator Cam Cameron, Promote Jim Caldwell
- Cowboys Owner, Tackle Ratliff Have Heated Confrontation
- Linebacker's Death Puts Spotlight on NFL Drug, Alcohol Problem
- Packers Tame Lions, Close in on NFC North Title
- Rookies Propel Browns to Rout of Chiefs
- Cam Newton Carries Panthers to Upset Win Over Falcons
- Cowboys Brent Charged with Manslaughter in Teammate Jerry Brown's death
- Browns Special Teamers Reject Plan to Eliminate Kickoff
- Cardinals Deck Dockett with $200,000 Fine
- Ailing Giants: Nicks and Phillips doubtful against Saints
- Chiefs Running Back Hillis Shrugs Off Comment by Ex-Browns Teammate
- Manning and Moreno Lead Broncos to Eighth Straight Victory
- Vikings Greenway Backtracks After Calling for 'Super-Duper Drunk' Fans
- Quarterback for Now: Sanchez to Start for Jets vs Jaguars
- Injured Linebacker Suggs Game-Time Decision for Ravens
- With Four Games Remaining, NFL Enters Final Quarter
- Final Quarter Starts with AFC Playoffs in Sight
- 2012 NFL Playoff Scenarios for Week 14
- Bears Linebacker Urlacher Out Three Games with Hamstring Strain
- Eagles Tab Foles as Starting QB for Rest of Season
- Bob Costas Draws Criticism for Halftime Gun Control Commentary
- Police Say Belcher Legally Owned Gun Used in Murder-Suicide
- RG3 Carries Redskins Past Giants, NFC East Race Tightens
- Rookies Dazzle in Browns Win Over Raiders
- Tony Romo's Three TD Strikes Help Cowboys Down Eagles
- Andrew Luck's Last-Second Scoring Strike Lifts Colts Past Lions
- Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis to Return December 16 vs Broncos
- Bryant's Crucial Field Goals Lift Falcons Over Saints
- Former LSU Star Tyrann Mathieu Enters 2013 NFL Draft
- RGIII Tops NFL Jersey Sales List After Strong Sales Week
- Playoff Races Intensify as NFL Enters Final Month
- NFL 2012 Week 13 Preview: Seahawks vs Bears
- Atlanta Falcons Host the New Orleans Saints
- Eagles QB Michael Vick to Wear Special Skull Cap
- AFC Playoff Picture Taking Shape
- NFC Playoff Races in Full Swing
- Sacked: Eagles Release Defensive End Jason Babin
- Jets Superfan 'Fireman Ed' Retires from Role
- Cam Newton Stars as Panthers Ground Eagles
- Eli Manning Throws Three Scoring Strikes as Giants Crush Packers
- Trent Richardson Carries Browns Over Steelers
- Tom Brady Leads Patriots to Easy Win over Jets
- Jets Quarterback Tim Tebow Playing with Fractured Ribs
- RG3 throws Four Scoring Strikes, Redskins Topple Cowboys
- Graham OT Field Goal Helps Texans Escape Lions
- Giants Safety Kenny Phillips Wins Appeal on Fine
- NFL to Revise In-Season Part of Challenge Rule
- Balance on Offense Leads to Success for Texans
- Peyton Manning Finding Comfort in Denver
- Ex-Bears Great Mike Ditka Calls Minor Stroke 'No Big Deal'
- NFL Retirement Board Claims Sport Caused Brain Injuries of 3 Players
- Glazer's Edge: Give Tebow a shot
- Boomer Esiason 'Not a Fan' of Tim Tebow
- Blame NFL for QB concussions
- Roger Goodell Says Football will Evolve
- The End of Football as We Know It?
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