Seven for Sunday: Rivalry rematches, J.J. watch, QBs feel heat

Week 17 is unique in that every game is a division rematch game. That means every game is between teams that played each other earlier in the year.

Over the past two years in Week 17, there have been 14 splits between teams and 18 sweeps. What it says is that winning the first time around doesn't necessarily mean a victory the second time. Be careful this weekend not to conclude that the winner of the first matchup will sweep the series.

There's a 44 percent chance the first-time loser rebounds this time around.

Watt watch

J.J. Watt has 20½ sacks and can secure the NFL record with 2½ sacks this week against the Colts. Indianapolis offensive tackle Winston Justice has first responsibility to stop Watt from the record.

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Andrew Luck has been sacked once every 17 pass plays at home and was sacked eight times in his past two home games, which gives Watt a shot at the record. The Watt watch is on and I think he will make it.

Quarterbacks feeling the heat

There's a lot of pressure on all the quarterbacks trying to get their teams in the playoffs or even to just move up in seeding. There's also pressure on QBs trying to just hold on to a starting job for next year or get a contract extension.

The four quarterbacks with the most pressure on them and possible changing how history will see them for years to come: 1) Tony Romo; 2) Joe Flacco; 3) Matt Ryan; 4) Jay Cutler; 5) Ryan Fitzpatrick; 6) Mark Sanchez.

AP climbs the hill

Adrian Peterson is closing in on the all-time rushing record, needing 208 yards to claim the single-season mark. He faces the Green Bay Packers at home. Both teams have reasons to play their best with playoff scenarios on the line. The last time these teams met AP rushed 21 times for 210 yards; a repeat of that performance would give him the record.

The hurdles in the way are many:

 The Packers don't want to be the team that surrenders the record, and A.J. Hawk and Co. will overplay the run.

 AP has played 45 games at home in his career and averaged 100 yards rushing, but he only has one game over 200.

 The Packers score fast and the Vikings might be forced to play from behind. We'll see what happens, and I'm cheering for AP to break the record.

Perception and reality

I mention RG3 and not only do you know I mean Robert Griffin III, but you think great running quarterback who can lead the Redskins into the playoffs with a win.

The reality of RG3 is that he is becoming a great passer. RG3 hasn't rushed for a touchdown in eight games. RG3 hasn't run for a first down in two games. RG3 has a good running game with Alfred Morris, and the passer known as RG3 is what will get the Skins into the playoffs.

Volatile coach situations

If you listen to the media and hear the boos from the stands you would think at least 16 head coaches deserve to be fired Monday.

There will be a number of firings on "Black Monday," and a number of coaches have one more chance to prove to ownership that they should come back in 2013.

I don't think any owner with a head coach with two or less years of service should be fired. As Bill Cowher said, "If you hire a rookie head coach, you need to give him three years minimum."

Get ready to see at least six head coaches fired Monday morning, and after that it might slow down because there just aren't that many quality head coach candidates.

It's not as many as you think

In 2010, 91 quarterbacks threw at least one pass in the regular season. That is almost three QBs per team. In 2011, 83 quarterbacks threw the ball. This year even though it feels like a hundred guys have been under center, there have only been 71 signal callers who have flipped a ball in a game.

It may be a sign that the measures to protect the QB the league has taken are working. Maybe it's a sign there are more quarterbacks with escape skills. Maybe it's a combination of both.

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