The Starting 11 — Third-year quarterbacks star as NFL enters fourth quarter of 2022 season

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Joe Burrow
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Four quarterbacks selected in the 2020 NFL Draft – Cincinnati’s JOE BURROW (No. 1 overall), Miami’s TUA TAGOVAILOA (No. 5), the Los Angeles Chargers’ JUSTIN HERBERT (No. 6) and Philadelphia’s JALEN HURTS (No. 53) – have shined in starting roles this season and each enter Week 14 ranked among the NFL’s top 10 in touchdown passes.

Only two draft classes over the last four decades have finished a season with four-or-more quarterbacks ranked among the top 10 in touchdown passes: The quarterback draft class of 1983 (Pro Football Hall of Famers JOHN ELWAY, JIM KELLY and DAN MARINO, and TONY EASON and KEN O’BRIEN in 1986), and the class of 2004 (ELI MANNING, PHILIP RIVERS, BEN ROETHLISBERGER and MATT SCHAUB in 2009).

Burrow, who ranks second in the league in passing yards (3,446) and tied for second in touchdown passes (25), looks to secure his second-consecutive winning season as the CINCINNATI BENGALS (8-4) host the CLEVELAND BROWNS (5-7) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

Herbert and the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-6) host Tagovailoa, the NFL’s leader in passer rating (112.0), and the MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-4) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC). Tagovailoa, who is 24 years old, is bidding to become the second-youngest qualified player ever to lead the league in passer rating, behind Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO, who was 23 years old in 1984.

Herbert, who ranks fourth with 3,339 passing yards in 2022 and has 12,689 career passing yards, can break the NFL record held by ANDREW LUCK (12,957) for the most passing yards by a player in his first three seasons. Only PATRICK MAHOMES (13,387) and TOM BRADY (13,281) have more passing yards than Herbert over the past three seasons.

Hurts and the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (11-1) look to secure their second-consecutive playoff berth under head coach NICK SIRIANNI when they visit the NEW YORK GIANTS (7-4-1) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), the first game of a three-game road trip for the Eagles. Kansas City (Weeks 13-15) and Miami (Weeks 13-15) are also in the midst of three-game road trips, three of the four to occur during the 2022 schedule (Green Bay – Weeks 7-9).

The Starting 11 entering Week 14…

1. BOUNCE-BACK TEAMS: In each conference, three teams that failed to make the playoffs last season enter this week in postseason position. In the AFC, BALTIMORE (8-4), MIAMI (8-4) and the NEW YORK JETS (7-5) would make the playoffs if the season ended today. Meanwhile, in the NFC, MINNESOTA (10-2), the NEW YORK GIANTS (7-4-1) and SEATTLE (7-5) would be playoff teams. Since 1990 – a streak of 32 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

2. NUMBER OF THE WEEK – 205: On the West Coast Sunday at 4:25 PM ET, the NFL will kick off the 205th game of the regular-season schedule, marking the beginning of the season’s fourth quarter.
o The last six teams have their 2022 byes this week. Other than the period from 1999-2001, when the NFL had 31 teams and at least one club had a bye each week, Week 14 is tied for the latest bye weeks in league history (along with 2021). After this week, every team will have played 13 games, with four games remaining. The regular season ends in 33 days.

3. PHILLY FACES GIANT OBSTACLES: Two of the Eagles’ final five games are against the NEW YORK GIANTS (7-4-1), starting Sunday at MetLife Stadium (1:00 PM ET, FOX). PHILADELPHIA (11-1) can clinch a playoff berth for the second-consecutive season with a win. Sunday marks the first time the Eagles and Giants have faced off with each team having at least seven wins since Dec. 19, 2010.

4. SPOTLIGHT – INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: Raiders wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS this week sees Rams cornerback JALEN RAMSEY across the line of scrimmage on Thursday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, Prime Video). LAS VEGAS (5-7), looking for its fourth straight win, travels to SoFi Stadium to face the LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-9). Adams, who has registered seven touchdown receptions over his last five games, is tied for the NFL lead with 12 touchdown catches this season. Ramsey is a five-time Pro Bowler.

5. SPOTLIGHT – TEAM MATCHUP: Since the beginning of the 2020 season, the Bills rank first in points scored (29.3 per game) while also allowing the NFL’s fewest points (19.4 per game).
o This week, BUFFALO (9-3) hosts the NEW YORK JETS (7-5) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). It’s the first time the teams have met with each team having at least seven wins since the end of the 2015 season. It’s also the 125th all-time meeting in the series (Buffalo leads, 67-57, including one postseason game, the Bills’ 1981 Wild Card playoff win over the Jets at Shea Stadium).
o Jets rookie wide receiver GARRETT WILSON leads all NFL players since the beginning of Week 12 with 257 receiving yards while rookie running back ZONOVAN KNIGHT, who has at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of the past two weeks, joined PHILLIP LINDSAY (2018) as the only undrafted players in the common-draft era with at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of their first two career games.

6. STREAK SPEAK: The Chiefs have won 13 straight over the Broncos, the NFL’s second-longest active winning streak by one team over another (the Patriots have won their last 14 meetings with the Jets).
o When KANSAS CITY (9-3) visits DENVER (3-9) on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS), PATRICK MAHOMES will return to the site of his first NFL start. Since that day, the 2017 regular-season finale, Mahomes leads the NFL with 22,799 passing yards and 181 touchdown passes.
o With a Chiefs victory, ANDY REID will become the third head coach in NFL history to record at least 10 regular-season wins in eight consecutive seasons, joining BILL BELICHICK (17 consecutive seasons from 2003-19) and GEORGE SEIFERT (eight consecutive seasons from 1989-96).
o A Kansas City victory combined with a Los Angeles Chargers loss would clinch a seventh-consecutive AFC West division title for the Chiefs.
o The CLEVELAND BROWNS (5-7) draw the CINCINNATI BENGALS (8-4) in the latest installment of the Battle of Ohio on Sunday at Paycor Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS). Since head coach KEVIN STEFANSKI took the Cleveland reins, the Browns have won five straight over their in-state division rival, Cleveland’s longest series winning streak in the series since a seven-game stretch from 1992-95, when BILL BELICHICK was the Browns’ head coach.

7. DID YOU KNOW?: The BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-4) have an opportunity to win the AFC North after finishing last in the division last year. In 2021, Cincinnati completed a worst-to-first turnaround, winning its division the year after finishing in last place. In 17 of the past 19 seasons (2003-21), at least one team has captured its division title the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

8. UNDER-THE-RADAR STORYLINE: The MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-2) can clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie at DETROIT (5-7) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). But another significant story could be developing in the other locker room. Head coach DAN CAMPBELL has his Lions in a position this season to become the first team since the NFL expanded the playoffs in 1990 to make the postseason after a 1-6 start. The Lions have won four of their last five and remain in the NFC hunt. This week could be key for Detroit, considering the history of 5-7 teams.
o At least one team with a 6-7 record after 13 games has qualified for the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, including two such teams in each of the past two years.
o Another 5-7 team, PITTSBURGH, has won three of its past four after opening 2-6. Only one team since 1990, Washington in 2020, has made the playoffs after beginning a season 2-6. The Steelers host BALTIMORE (8-4) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

9. TREND TIME: Since Week 7, when quarterback DAK PRESCOTT returned from injury, the Cowboys are 5-1 and lead the league with 37.2 points per game over the past seven weeks. The Cowboys also rank second in total offense (411 yards per game) over that span, trailing only Kansas City (464.2). This week, DALLAS (9-3) hosts HOUSTON (1-10-1), on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). The Lonestar State teams have split their last two games, with each decided on an overtime field goal.

10. THIS WEEK IN NFL HISTORY: Dec. 12, 1982 (40 years ago) – On a frozen, snow-covered field at Schaefer Stadium, New England takes a timeout with 4:45 remaining in the fourth quarter. Snowplow driver Mark Henderson clears a path for STEVE GROGAN, who then holds for a 33-yard field goal by JOHN SMITH that gives the Patriots a 3-0 win over the Dolphins. The contest, immortalized in Patriots lore as the Snowplow Game, doesn’t end up derailing the Dolphins, who go on to earn a berth in Super Bowl XVII. NEW ENGLAND (6-6) travels to ARIZONA (4-8) this week for a Monday Night Football contest (8:15 PM ET, ESPN). While the Phoenix area has received snow as recently as 1998, there’s no snow in the forecast for State Farm Stadium this week.

11. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: TOM BRADY grew up in San Mateo, Calif, and graduated from Junipero Serra High School, 17 miles south of Candlestick Park. When Brady was a toddler in 1979, the 49ers hired Pro Football Hall of Famer BILL WALSH, who then selected Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA in the third round (82nd overall) of Walsh’s first draft. San Francisco was a combined 8-24 from 1979-80 before winning four of the next nine Super Bowls from 1981-89. Since Brady was born, the quarterback and the 49ers franchise have combined to appear in 17 Super Bowls, with 12 victories. … Brady and TAMPA BAY (6-6) face SAN FRANCISCO (8-4) on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium (4:25 PM ET, FOX).

WEEK 14 NFL SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern)

Thursday, December 8
Las Vegas at Los Angeles Rams Prime Video 8:15

Sunday, December 11
New York Jets at Buffalo CBS 1:00
Cleveland at Cincinnati CBS 1:00
Houston at Dallas FOX 1:00
Minnesota at Detroit FOX 1:00
Philadelphia at New York Giants FOX 1:00
Baltimore at Pittsburgh CBS 1:00
Jacksonville at Tennessee CBS 1:00
Kansas City at Denver CBS 4:05
Tampa Bay at San Francisco FOX 4:25
Carolina at Seattle FOX 4:25
Miami at Los Angeles Chargers NBC 8:20

Monday, December 12
New England at Arizona ESPN 8:15

Bye week: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Washington

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