Jacksonville Jaguars: Heading into Week 15 action, no running back in the AFC
has broken more tackles than Fred Taylor. While averaging 4.9 yards per carry
this season, the 31-year old running back has been credited with 19 broken
tackles on his runs — five more than any other running back in the AFC.
Cleveland's Jamal Lewis and Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch are second at 14.
Indianapolis Colts: Running back Joseph Addai has more carries in the red
zone (51) than any other rusher in the NFL. He also has a league-leading 11
touchdown runs from inside the red zone. Tennessee's LenDale White is second in
carries with 45 while Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew has been entrusted with
that duty 44 times. White has scored seven times while Jones-Drew has six to his
Houston Texans: Although he's been in the league since 2003, wide receiver
Kevin Walter had never caught more than 19 passes in a season and had started in
just four games during his first four seasons. Now, with 12 starts under his
belt this season, he has 58 catches for a career-best 12.1 yards per catch. The
former 7th-round draft pick out of Eastern Michigan was originally selected by
the Giants, but played his first three seasons with in Cincinnati before joining
the Texans in 2006.
Tennessee Titans: Tennessee's defense has been flagged a league-leading five
times for roughing the passer this year. Three of the five infractions have been
by defensive end Antwan Odom. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and defensive
end Kyle Vanden Bosch have each been flagged once. Odom's three incidents are
the most by a single player in the NFL this year.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have had more downs than ups this season, but
kicker Sebastian Janikowski has done his part on kickoffs to help his team's
coverage units and defense. He's kicked an NFL-best 35.1 percent of his kickoffs
for touchbacks versus a league average of just 13.6 percent. Out of 57 kickoffs,
20 have been touchbacks while 28 kicks have reached the end zone.
Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen mauls Oakland quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
Greg Trott/Getty Images
Kansas City Chiefs: Defensive end Jared Allen is currently second in the AFC
in quarterback knockdowns with 21.5 on the season. The next-best thing to a
sack, the knockdowns are an indicator of the amount of time Allen spends harassing the
quarterback in addition to his career-best 11.5 sacks he's accumulated already
San Diego Chargers: One of the reasons San Diego has had to fight to stay in
playoff contention is quarterback Philip Rivers' generous nature. He's tallied
an AFC-leading 20 giveaways so far with 15 interceptions and 5 fumbles lost.
With 18 giveaways each, Cincinnati's Carson Palmer and Tennessee's Vince Young
are second in the conference.
Denver Broncos: Oddly enough, the AFC's leader in defensive holding penalties
isn't a defensive back. That dishonor belongs to defensive tackle Alvin McKinley, who's been called for the penalty three times this season. Only Green
Bay cornerback Charles Woodson has been called for it more often with
Cincinnati Bengals: First-round draft pick Leon Hall has been tested mightily
and frequently this season by opposing quarterbacks. And out of the 31
cornerbacks in the league who have been targeted at least 75 times this year,
Hall is tied for the worst burned rate in the league at 68.0 percent with San
Francisco's Nate Clements. But Hall has allowed more touchdowns (9) than any of
the the 31 players in that peer group. Teammate Johnathan Joseph has the
ninth-highest burned rate at 62.7 percent.
Cleveland Browns: Kicker Phil Dawson has been called on more often than any
other AFC kicker to kick a game-tying or game-winning field goal attempt. Out of
his five opportunities, he's made three (25, 33, 51 yards), missed one (52
yards) and had a 40-yard attempt blocked.
Pittsburgh's Willie Parker is the AFC's 100-yard games leader.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Willie Parker has rushed for 100 yards seven times
this season, almost twice as many times as any running back in the AFC. Seven
AFC rushers, including San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, Indianapolis' Joseph
Addai, Baltimore's Willis McGahee, Miami's Ronnie Brown, Oakland's Justin Fargas,
New York's Thomas Jones and Tennessee's LenDale White have rushed for 100 yards
four times this year.
Baltimore Ravens: Wide receiver Derrick Mason has been the team's favorite
target during first quarter action this season. Mason has had 36 balls thrown to
his area, more than anyone else in the NFL during the first period of play. He's
caught 20 of the passes for 164 yards and 1 touchdown.
New England Patriots: QB Tom Brady's performance this season has been
astonishing. But so far he's averaging a completion rate of 59.5 percent in
December after two games. While that's still a healthy result, it's continuing a
steady monthly decline from 79.5 percent in September to 71.5 percent in October,
and 68.8 percent in November. Meanwhile, Brady's two toughest competitors,
Dallas' Tony Romo and Indianapolis' Peyton Manning have completed 79.5 percent
and 71.7 percent of their passes so far in December. Brady should boost his completion rate in the next two games against the Jets and the Dolphins. But if he doesn't, it could be a reason for some concern for New England as they head into the postseason.
New York Jets: When the Jets play the Patriots this weekend, two of the
AFC's top takeaway artists will be doing their best to make a big play for their
respective teams. Jets safety Kerry Rhodes is currently tied for third in the
AFC with six takeaways (5 INTs, 1 fumble recovery) along with New England
conerback Asante Samuel (6 INTs).
Buffalo Bills: Primarily on the strength of Roscoe Parrish's 22 punt returns,
the Bills as a team have averaged a league-best 16.8-yard average on punt
returns this season. And coincidentally, they also lead the league in covering
punt returns. Against a league average of 9.3 yards per return, Buffalo
has held their opponents to just 5.5 yards per return.
Miami Dolphins: One of the reasons the Dolphins are struggling this season is
their inability to stop teams from scoring touchdowns once they enter the red
zone. Miami is last in the league in the category, preventing a red zone touchdown just 34.9 percent of the time versus a league average of 47.9 percent.
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