Fans Of Losing Teams Should Have Faith

Even teams with a losing record at this point have a chance for glory

Not that many teams are out of the playoff chase, given NFL history.

Yeah, the Buccaneers and Jaguars should be happy to finally be in the win column, and playing in January is a pipe dream for them. Atlanta, Houston and Minnesota with their two wins apiece can forget about the postseason, too.

Otherwise, keep the faith.

Last season at this time, the Redskins were 3-6, as they are now. They beat the Eagles, the first of seven straight victories to close the season, earning Washington the NFC East crown. Do that again in the muddled division and the Redskins likely will have run away with the title.

A year ago, Cincinnati was 4-5. It surged to 10-6 and earned a wild-card berth.

Not just in 2012 were such comebacks occurring. Two of the most impressive ones were in 1996 and 2009.

In '96, the Jaguars, in their second season of life, went from 3-6 to 9-7, then got to the AFC championship game, losing to New England. And in '09, the Jets soared from 4-5 to a wild-card, then got to the conference title match, losing to Indianapolis.

Perhaps most memorable, along with Washington's run last year, was San Diego winning its final seven games after a 4-5 start in 1992.

DIVISIONAL SHAKEUP
— Only one team that won its division in 2012 is on top through Week 10 this season: the Patriots. New England is 7-2 and has a two-game lead on the Jets in the AFC East.

Otherwise, it's been topsy-turvy, nowhere more so than in the AFC West, where Kansas City (9-0) is the league's only unbeaten team. The Chiefs went 2-14 last season and wound up with the top pick in the draft.

Denver led the division a year ago and is right behind KC at 8-1, with the Broncos hosting the Chiefs on Sunday night.

Baltimore, the eventual Super Bowl winner, led the AFC North a year ago. Now, it's Cincinnati (6-4). Houston was on top in the AFC South, but Indianapolis (6-3) owns first place now.

Seattle (9-1) leads the NFC West, ahead of San Francisco (6-3), last season's division leader. Detroit is in front in the NFC North at 6-3; Green Bay led in 2012. New Orleans (7-2) sets the pace in the NFC South, where Atlanta was on top a year ago. And Dallas is tied with Philadelphia at 5-5 atop the NFC East, where Washington was the winner in 2012.

GREEN-TRIPLE DIGITS:
A.J. Green has 100 yards receiving in each of his last five games, a Bengals record. He has six 100-yard games this season, another club record.

When the Bengals took him with the fourth overall pick in 2011, they thought he was good enough to set some records. He's doing it in only his third season.

"He's got a lot more in him," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We need him to keep playing better and better and better and better.

"He's got to play great. We've got to keep pushing him to play great."

After 10 games, Green leads the NFL with 1,013 yards receiving and is second with 65 catches. His record-setting stretch of 100-yard games gets tested on Sunday against the Browns, who limited him to seven catches for 51 yards.

"I'm not worried about that," Green said. "Maybe after the season is over I can reflect better."

He caught a tipped desperation pass in the end zone last Sunday in Baltimore, sending the game to overtime where the Bengals lost 20-17. Whenever Cincinnati needs a big play, Green seems to be able to pull it off.

"He makes the unconventional type of play so often," Lewis said.

NICKTOONS FOR EVERYONE:
The Emmy-nominated animated series "NFL Rush Zone: Season Of The Guardians" will now be available to football fans of every age on DVD.

The show, based on the tales of four heroes, the Guardians, who fight evil and protect the "Megacore" of each NFL team, has been a TV staple for kids for the last year. The DVDs will provide more than two hours of adventures.

Each episode features past and present NFL players and coaches voicing their animated personas, including Drew Brees, Rob Gronkowski, Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, Rex Ryan, and DeMarcus Ware. The NFL stars and Guardians work together to ward off villains "Wild Card" and "Drop Kick."

DEACON JONES' LEGACY:
Artifacts and memorabilia from the collection of Pro Football Hall of Famer Deacon Jones is being auctioned online.

Jones, who died in June at age 74, is considered one of football's greatest and most intimidating players. He coined the term sack and was the leader of the Los Angeles Rams' Fearsome Foursome defensive line.

Among the items being auctioned: Jones' 1980 Hall of Fame ring; a 1966-67 Rams defensive playbook with strategies designed by Hall of Fame coach George Allen; and his 1968 and 1969 team MVP trophies. There's a total of 24 artifacts from the Deacon Jones collection registered for the auction, which continues through Dec. 9 — what would have been his 75th birthday.

A portion of the proceeds are earmarked for the Deacon Jones Foundation, which assists inner-city communities and develops future leaders.

Items are available at http://auction.steinersports.com

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