As the NFL enters Week 12, there are 22 teams within two games of a playoff spot. And with six weeks to play, nothing has been settled. Week 12 begins on Thursday with a Thanksgiving tripleheader for the sixth consecutive year. Traditional competitors Detroit and Dallas will host games during the day followed by a primetime nightcap on NFL Network featuring the first game between head coach brothers – JIM and JOHN HARBAUGH – in NFL history.
For the first time since 1998, every team that will play on Thanksgiving won its preceding game. The six teams have combined for a 42-18 (.700) mark, the best combined mark for the Thanksgiving teams since 1975 (28-12, .700). Four of the six participating teams – Baltimore, Dallas, Green Bay and San Francisco – own at least a share of first place. And two of the three games – Green Bay at Detroit (17-3, .850) and San Francisco at Baltimore (16-4, .800) – will feature teams with a combined winning percentage of .800 or better.
"On one hand, you’re really focused on the job," says John Harbaugh. "But the other side of it is that it’s an amazing thing. It’s an historic thing. It’s very special. I couldn’t be more proud for our parents or for Jim. I think it’s really neat."
The 49ers have won eight in a row and lead the NFC West with a 9-1 record, the club’s best start since 1997. San Francisco can clinch the division title this weekend with a win at Baltimore and a Seattle loss to Washington. Last week, the 49ers defeated Arizona 23-7. The defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 32 consecutive games – the longest current streak in the NFL – and the 49ers have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season. San Francisco is the first team in the NFL to not allow a rushing touchdown in its first 10 games since the 1997 49ers.
The Ravens are a perfect 5-0 at home this year and currently tie for the best record in the AFC at 7-3. Baltimore knocked off Cincinnati last week in a key AFC North clash led by wide receiver TORREY SMITH (six catches, 165 yards, one touchdown). Smith joined KEN BURROW (two in 1971) and RANDY MOSS (three in 1998) as the only rookies to have multiple games with at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch since 1970.