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Several single-season records may fall on Sunday

Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, AP

With the NFL season coming to a close on Sunday, several players are on the verge of earning top spots in the NFL Record and Fact Book for their performances in 2012. Let’s take a moment to appreciate some record-setting performances this season.

First, here are some single-season records that have already been broken this year:

Most receiving yards: Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has 1,892 yards this season, topping the old record of 1,848, set by Jerry Rice in 1995. On Sunday we’ll see whether Johnson can be the first player in NFL history to top 2,000 receiving yards.

Most 50-yard field goals: Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh broke the NFL record previously owned by Morten Andersen and Jason Hanson, with nine 50-yard field goals this season.

Most punts inside the 20: Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt got his 42nd punt inside the 20 on Sunday, tying an NFL record. That was only the record for a few hours before Cardinals punter Dave Zastudil broke it by landing six punts inside the 20-yard line on Sunday against the Bears, upping his season total to a new NFL record of 44. Zastudil may add to his record on Sunday, or Colquitt may surpass him, giving us a reason to watch two good punters on two bad teams on Sunday.

Most passing yards, rookie: Andrew Luck has 4,183 passing yards this season, topping Cam Newton’s year-old record of 4,053.

Most passing attempts, rookie: Luck owns this record, too, with 599 attempts this season, topping Sam Bradford’s two-year-old record of 590.

Here are the single-season records that could be broken on Sunday:

Highest passer rating, rookie: Ben Roethlisberger owns this record at the moment, with a 98.1 rating in 2004. But Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is currently on pace to break that record, with a 104.1 rating, while Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is at 98.0 and could break it as well.

Highest completion percentage, rookie: Roethlisberger owns this record, too, at 66.44 percent, and Griffin is right behind him, at 66.40 percent.

Lowest percentage, passes had intercepted, rookie: Charlie Batch owns this record, with 1.98 percent of his passes intercepted (six interceptions on 303 attempts) as a Lions rookie in 1998. Griffin has thrown interceptions on just 1.33 percent of his passes this season (five interceptions on 375 attempts), so this record will belong to Griffin unless he throws at least three interceptions against the Cowboys on Sunday.

Most touchdown passes, rookie: Wilson has 25 touchdown passes this season, one away from Peyton Manning’s record of 26. Have you noticed there are some pretty good rookie quarterbacks this year?

Most completions, rookie: Luck has 325 completions this season, putting him third all time. He needs just two completions on Sunday to pass Peyton Manning for second place all time (326) and needs 30 completions to break Sam Bradford’s record of 354.

Most sacks: Houston’s J.J. Watt has 20.5 and San Francisco’s Aldon Smith has 19.5, putting them both in striking distance of Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5.

Most 100-yard receiving games: In addition to breaking the single-season yardage record, Calvin Johnson has tied the single-season 100-yard game record. Johnson has 11 games of at least 100 receiving yards this season, equaling Michael Irvin’s NFL record, and Megatron can get the record all to himself with a 12th 100-yard game on Sunday.

Most pass attempts: Detroit’s Matthew Stafford has 685 attempts this season, putting him seven passes away from breaking Drew Bledsoe’s single-season record of 691.

Highest net punting average: Saints punter Thomas Morstead is currently averaging 44.4 net yards per punt. He’s well on his way to breaking the all-time record, which the 49ers’ Andy Lee set last year when he averaged 43.99 yards per punt.

Most fair catches: Jets punt returner Jeremy Kerley has fair caught 33 punt returns this season, tying the all-time record set by Brian Mitchell of the Eagles in 2000. Mitchell is the NFL’s all-time leader for most punt returns and most punt return yards, and he probably wouldn’t mind giving up an unimportant record like most fair catches in a season — the kind of weird record it would make sense for someone on this weird Jets team to own.

Most interception return touchdowns: Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins has three interception return touchdowns this season, tying Hall of Famers Lem Barney and Ronnie Lott for the most ever by a rookie. If Jenkins has another pick-six on Sunday, he’ll have the rookie record all to himself and a share of the all-time record of four in a season.

Most rushing yards: This is the big one. Peterson has 1,898 yards this season, putting him 208 away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105, set in 1984. According to NFL information man Randall Liu, the NFL single-season records for rushing yards and receiving yards have only been set in the same season once, and that was in 1932 — the first year the NFL began recording single-season statistical records, when by definition every record was set. With Johnson already having the receiving record and Peterson having a shot at the rushing record, this could be the year that those records are set simultaneously once again.

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Matthews fined for leading with helmet on Hoyer

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27:  Inside linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 27, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has been fined $18,231 for roughing the passer in last Thursday’s win over the Bears, per multiple reporters.

Matthews led with the crown of his helmet on the hit that ended the season of Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, who broke his left arm.

Matthews is battling a hamstring injury and trying to get healthy enough to play Sunday at Atlanta. He was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday, and the Packers list him as questionable.

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Owa Odighizuwa fined for fake photo touchdown celebration

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 21:  An attendee tries out a Polaroid Land Camera at the second annual Hipster Olympics on July 21, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. With events such as the "Horn-Rimmed Glasses Throw," "Skinny Jeans Tug-O-War," "Vinyl Record Spinning Contest" and "Cloth Tote Sack Race," the Hipster Olympics both mocks and celebrates the Hipster subculture, which some critics claim could never be accurately defined and others that it never existed in the first place. The imprecise nature of determining what makes one a member means that the symptomatic elements of adherants to the group vary in each country, but the archetype of the version in Berlin, one of the more popular locations for those following its lifestyle, along with London and Brooklyn, includes a penchant for canvas tote bags, the carbonated yerba mate drink Club Mate, analogue film cameras, asymmetrical haircuts, 80s neon fashion, and, allegedly, a heavy dose of irony. To some in Berlin, members of the hipster "movement" have replaced a former unwanted identity in gentrifying neighborhoods, the Yuppie, for targets of criticism, as landlords raise rents in the areas to which they relocate, particularly the up-and-coming neighborhood of Neukoelln.  (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Jaguars were in London earlier this year, their quarterback Blake Bortles punted a ball to celebrate a touchdown.

Bortles wasn’t fined for the act because the ball didn’t land in the stands. It’s a good thing he didn’t pretend to take a picture of the ball falling short or he’d be out a nice chunk of change.

Giants defensive end Owa Odighizuwa learned that lesson during his own trip to London to face the Rams last Sunday. Odighizuwa whipped out an imaginary camera to take a picture of Giants safety Landon Collins while Collins was in the end zone after a 44-yard interception return that saw Collins weave through the Rams and across the field on one of the more exciting scoring runs of the year.

He was penalized during the game and, per multiple reports, has been fined $12,154 by the league for his faux-Kodak moment. And here you thought a picture was only worth 1,000 words.

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Broncos place C.J. Anderson on IR

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24:  Running back C.J. Anderson #22 of the Denver Broncos rushes for 19 yards and is tackled by free safety Andre Hal #29 of the Houston Texans in the third quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos have decided to place running back C.J. Anderson on their injured-reserve list, meaning Anderson will miss at the least next eight weeks.

Anderson had arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday, and the Broncos waited to evaluate his knee and their options before choosing to place him on IR. Teams can designate one player per season to return from IR, so placing Anderson on IR now gives the Broncos the option of bringing him back for a potential postseason run if Anderson’s knee heals.

Rookie Devontae Booker will replace Anderson as the Broncos’ No. 1 running back.

Anderson has run for 437 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

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Seahawks will be without Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor this week

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 20:   Michael Bennett #72 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on prior to their game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks didn’t come out of last week’s tie with the Cardinals unscathed.

The team just announced that defensive end Michael Bennett was out for Sunday’s game against the Saints, with a knee injury. Safety Kam Chancellor (groin) is also out, taking two key defensive playmakers off the field for what would have been a challenge anyway.

Bennett’s initial knee problem came during the Falcons game, but he and the rest of the Seahawks defense had a heavy workload, and he logged 81 snaps last week.

After playing 75 minutes against the Cardinals last Sunday night, the Seahawks get to fly across country to New Orleans for an early game.

Quarterback Russell Wilson was limited earlier this week because of his growing list of problems (pectoral, knee, ankle), but he’s not even listed on today’s report with a designation for the game, so he’s clear to play.


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NFL pits Eagles-Cowboys against Indians-Cubs

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Before Thursday football became Thursday Night Football, one of the limited occasions for having two teams square off against each other on a short week came during the World Series, when the NFL avoided scheduling a game against the World Series, either due to courtesy or strategy.

That ended in 2010, when the NFL scheduled a Steelers-Saints game on the same night that Game Four of the Fall Classic was due to unfold. Back then, the NFL won in a showdown with the Rangers and the Giants, 11.8 vs. 10.4.

Six years later, with NFL prime-time ratings down sharply, a more-compelling-than-usual game between the Eagles and Cowboys will kick off roughly 15 minutes after the first pitch in Game Five of Indians-Cubs. Depending on what happens over the next two nights, Game Five could be the deciding game, and if the Cubs win the next two the prospect of the home team clinching in Chicago its first World Series in however-many-years it’s been will surely increase interest in the baseball game.

Regardless of the stakes, a loss by the NFL in the head-to-head contest will be pooh-poohed by Park Avenue because of the rare circumstances. Regardless of those rare circumstances, it will be interesting to see what one of the most compelling NFL regular-season games will do when pitted against a compelling offering from a sport the NFL has dominated in recents years.

With Thursday Night Football now a weekly phenomenon, the NFL is now locked in to playing a prime-time game against the World Series. Unless the NFL would start playing the game on a Tuesday night.

Which I suppose could then become the next portion of the pizza into which the league would be tempted to cram cheese on a regular basis.

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McNary not fined for unnecessary roughness on Walker

joshmcnary AP

Colts linebacker Josh McNary was not fined for his hit on Titans tight end Delanie Walker last Sunday that resulted in an unnecessary roughness call and negated an interception by Colts cornerback Patrick Robinson.

Walker was helped off the field after being blindsided by McNary while running a pass route late in the third quarter. He returned to the game a few plays later and caught a touchdown pass to finish the drive.

Via social media, McNary offered an apology to Walker earlier this week, writing that he believed the ball was coming Walker’s direction and that it was too late to stop his momentum by the time he realized it wasn’t. The call was costly to the Colts at the time, but they won the game and McNary avoided a fine.

Colts linebacker Akeem Ayers was also not fined for his unnecessary roughness penalty earlier in the game.

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Bills promote Gerald Christian

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 01:  Tight end Gerald Christian #83 of the Arizona Cardinals arrives during the team training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills promoted tight end Gerald Christian from their practice squad Friday.

Christian has previously spent time on the team’s practice squad and active roster this season. He was a seventh-round pick of the Cardinals in 2015.

The Bills released wide receiver Ed Eagan and tight end Manasseh Garner, who was promoted from the practice squad last Friday. Eagan was promoted earlier this week.

With wide receiver Marquise Goodwin out due to a concussion, the Bills releasing Eagan is a sign that wide receiver Robert Woods, who is listed as questionable with a foot injury, will be able to play Sunday vs. the Patriots.

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Za’Darius Smith fined for roughing Ryan Fitzpatrick

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23:  Za'Darius Smith #90 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates blocking a pass in the second half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 24-16.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

The most memorable hit on a quarterback during last Sunday’s game between the Jets and Ravens was the one Ravens linebacker Matt Judon delivered to Jets quarterback Geno Smith.

Judon dragged Smith down for a sack and Smith had to leave the game with a knee injury that further examination found was a season-ending torn ACL. There was nothing for the league to look at regarding a fine for that play, but Judon’s teammate Za’Darius Smith wasn’t so lucky.

Smith was penalized for roughing Smith’s replacement Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter of the game. The extra yards didn’t help the Jets put any points on the board, but it allowed them to get a first down on a 2nd-and-19 play and eat a little more time the Ravens could have used in a 24-16 loss.

Smith has started the last two games for the Ravens, who were without outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs against the Jets because of injuries.

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Anquan Boldin fined for throwing game-winning TD ball into stands

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Anquan Boldin #80 of the Detroit Lions and his teammates celebrate Boldin's game  winning touchdown against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on October 23, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Redskins 20-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

Lions receiver Anquan Boldin probably won’t mind this week’s fine too much.

Boldin got his paycheck docked $6,076 this week because he threw the ball into the stands during the game. Boldin did it in an exuberant celebration after scoring the game-winning touchdown, so he likely feels OK about losing some money under those circumstances.

The NFL does not fine players for handing footballs to fans, but it does fine players for throwing footballs into the stands. The league is concerned about crowd control and safety if large numbers of fans are climbing over each other trying to catch a thrown football.

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Jarvis Landry fined $24,309 for block on Aaron Williams

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 09:  Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins rushes during a game against the Tennessee Titans on October 9, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

During an interview for Friday’s edition of PFT Live, Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry told Mike Florio that he had not received notice of a fine from the league resulting from the high block he delivered to Bills safety Aaron Williams during last week’s game.

Landry has either since learned that he was fined or he’ll be finding out about it sometime soon because PFT has confirmed with the league that Landry has been fined. Landry was penalized for unnecessary roughness on the play and he has been fined $24,309 for the infraction.

Landry apologized after the game for a hit that several members of the Bills deemed to be a dirty one. Williams left the game and his playing future is in doubt after his father told the Associated Press that his son will decide about continuing to play in the offseason. Williams made a similar decision after a previous neck injury limited him to three games last season.

Dolphins defensive lineman Jason Jones was not fined for an unnecessary roughness penalty he received in the fourth quarter and Bills linebacker Jerry Hughes was not fined after being penalized for grabbing Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi’s facemask.

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Jaguars rack up fines from loss to Raiders

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 11: Malik Jackson #90 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in action against the New York Jets during the first quarter of an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

Not only are the Jaguars smarting from an embarrassing loss to the Titans last night, but three of them are short in the wallet from last week’s game against the Raiders.

Defensive tackle Malik Jackson was fined $24,309 for unsportsmanlike conduct after being ejected, cornerback Jalen Ramsey was fined $9,115 for fighting and wide receiver Marqise Lee was fined $12,154 after being flagged for using a racial slur.

That’s a costly week for the individuals involved, but it also speaks to some of the problems the team as a whole is dealing with.

Owner Shad Khan had a meeting with players and coaches wondering why they aren’t winning, and he’s reportedly upset about the rash of penalties. Coach Gus Bradley had to address the issue again today, which makes it reasonable to wonder why it’s a consistent problem.

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Dez Bryant listed as questionable to face Eagles

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a touchdown in the first quarter during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant ruled himself in for Week Eight while the Cowboys were on a bye last week, but the team hasn’t quite guaranteed that he’ll be playing against the Eagles on Sunday night.

Bryant got in a third straight day of practice as a limited participant and also worked with the team during Monday’s return from the bye, which gave him extra time to recover from the hairline fracture in his knee that’s kept him out for the last three games. The Cowboys have gone with a questionable designation for their NFC East clash, but the signs point to Bryant’s return.

It also looks like the Cowboys will have a good chance of getting cornerback Morris Claiborne on the field. He’s listed as questionable, but was a full participant all three days after suffering a concussion in Week Six. Left tackle Tyron Smith is also questionable as he continues to deal with a back issue.

Quarterback Tony Romo sat out Friday after returning for a limited practice on Thursday and he’s been ruled out again this week with a broken bone in his back. Defensive end Ryan Davis will also sit out this weekend.

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Browns’ cornerbacks listed as questionable, expected to play

Joe Haden AP

The Browns list starting cornerbacks Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Jets, but Browns coach Hue Jackson said Friday he expects both to play.

Haden has missed the last two games with a groin injury.

Taylor was added to the injury and participation report Thursday with a groin injury. He was a limited participant both Thursday and Friday.

As expected, Browns rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman is out. He returned to practice this week for the first time in more than a month but is still recovering from a broken hand. Jackson previously announced that Josh McCown will start at quarterback Sunday and that rookie quarterback Cody Kessler has not been cleared to play after suffering a concussion last week.

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Bowles gets testy when pressed on Hackenberg and Petty

File - In this May 6, 2016, file photo, New York Jets second-round draft pick Christian Hackenberg throws a pass during NFL football rookie minicamp in Florham Park, N.J. Hackenberg currently sits fourth on the Jets' depth chart, behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File) AP

The Jets will start Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback on Sunday, but they’re declining to say whether Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty is the No. 2 quarterback. And coach Todd Bowles is tired of being asked about it.

Asked by reporters today if Hackenberg or Petty would be next in line should Fitzpatrick go down, Bowles refused to answer.

“No offense, but if I’m not going to tell you who it is, why are we having this discussion? It’s really a waste of time,” Bowles said. “I’m not going to tell you anything. It’s not open for discussion. Guys, let it ride.”

When he got a follow-up to that question, Bowles wasn’t in the mood to answer.

“Can we move on from here? Let’s move on please. It’s not happening,” Bowles said.

Bowles did say that both players practiced well this week, and that Hackenberg has gained ground on Petty because Petty missed several weeks of practice with an injury.

“They looked fine. Both of them are ready to play,” Bowles said. “Before the injury, they weren’t on equal footing. Petty was clearly ahead of him. He’s been hurt for a month, so the other guy got a lot of reps.”

Whether those reps are enough to move Hackenberg ahead of Petty, we don’t yet know. The Jets would prefer not to find out, as they’re sticking with Fitzpatrick for now. Eventually, however, the Jets are likely to fall out of playoff contention and decide to see what one of the young guys can do. And that’s when Bowles will have to say for certain which of the young guys is next in line.

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Robert Ayers, Gerald McCoy questionable for Bucs

The Buccaneers may get defensive end Robert Ayers back in the lineup for the first time since Week Two.

Ayers has been sidelined by an ankle injury, but was able to progress to a full practice on Friday after getting in limited sessions the first two days of the week. While Ayers spent the week trending toward a return to action, things went a different way for defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

McCoy wasn’t on the injury report on Wednesday, but was listed as a limited participant the last two days with a calf injury. He’s questionable to play against the Raiders on Sunday and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald will miss his third straight game, so Ayers’ return would be all the more welcome up front.

Running back Doug Martin is also out. His hamstring injury has now kept him out of five straight games and leaves Jacquizz Rodgers as the top running back again this week.

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