NFC West: Terrell Davis

Five of 15 modern-era finalists for 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement have ties to teams currently in the NFC West.

Their names are shaded in the chart below: Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Aeneas Williams, Jerome Bettis and Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

The first two men listed qualify as seniors candidates. Their enshrinement does not affect the maximum five slots available to modern-era candidates.

San Francisco 49ers great Roger Craig was among the 12 semifinalists not making the reduction to 15 this year. The others were: Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, John Lynch, Karl Mecklenburg, Paul Tagliabue, Steve Tasker and George Young.

The next round of voting begins and ends one day before the Super Bowl. I'm one of the voters and will have a tough time reducing to five on the final ballot, as usual. It's a select group that makes it in the end. Strong cases can be made for each of the four players eligible for the first time. Adding them to the list makes it tougher for some of the holdovers.

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks hold a 20-17 lead over the Minnesota Viking at halftime thanks to three touchdown passes from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

Adrian Peterson's rushing for Minnesota has stood out the most to this point in the game. Peterson has 144 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. The score is close, so he should get plenty of opportunities after halftime.

The 144 yards are tied for the 32nd-highest single-game total against Seattle in the Seahawks' franchise history, which dates to 1976. Peterson needs 40 yards to move into the top 10.

The chart shows the five highest single-game totals against Seattle.

The Seahawks' previously stout run defense has struggled against Frank Gore and Peterson in recent weeks. Some of the runs Peterson has made appear nearly impossible to stop. He has beaten good initial run defense on a couple occasions. Peterson has broken through arm tackles in other cases. His 74-yard run on the Vikings' first possession accounts for more than half his yardage.

Mike Sando's MVP Watch

October, 31, 2012
ManningAP Photo/Greg TrottDenver quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown three touchdown passes in four consecutive games.
Let's just say some were a bit skeptical upon seeing Peyton Manning atop the MVP Watch list a week ago.

"I totally disagree," wrote a colleague who shall remain nameless.

Looks like Manning might be staying awhile in the No. 1 spot.

The Denver Broncos' 36-year-old quarterback posted another statistical gem Sunday with 305 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions during a 34-14 victory over New Orleans. He leads the NFL in Total QBR (82.5) and NFL passer rating (109.0).

Manning thus became the second player in NFL history to reach 300 yards passing and three touchdowns in four consecutive games during one season. Steve Young did it five consecutive games during the 1998 season. That info comes from Elias Sports Bureau.

Terrell Davis won MVP honors for his 2,008-yard season back in 1998, a reminder that a few strong weeks in a row does not secure the hardware automatically. But with Manning and the current Broncos facing the NFL easiest schedule from this point forward, we have a midseason favorite, at least.

Note: ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this item.

Three ways the 49ers are making history

October, 31, 2011
A few San Francisco 49ers notes from Elias Sports Bureau via Frederick P. Soft:
  • The 49ers are the first team in 91 years to score, but not allow, a rushing touchdown in each of their first seven games of a season. The Buffalo All-Americans accomplished the feat in 1920 against a schedule featuring nonleague teams.
  • Frank Gore joins Larry Johnson, O.J. Simpson and Terrell Davis as the only players since 1970 to reach at least 125 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. Johnson (2005) and Simpson (1975) made it five games. Davis (1998) and Gore (2011) are at four.
  • The 49ers, at 6-1, have tied the best record through seven games for a team that lost at least 10 games the previous season. The New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers were the last teams to accomplish the feat, both in 2004.

The 49ers have matched their 2010 total for victories. Last season, they claimed their sixth victory in a Week 17 game played Jan. 2 of this year. They are 64 days ahead of schedule.

Mike Sando's MVP Watch

September, 8, 2010
Chris Johnson is up, Brett Favre is down and Donovan McNabb is out since the final MVP Watch from last season.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswirePeyton Manning has thrown for 4,000 yards in 10 of his 12 NFL seasons.
The initial list for 2010 overlooks defense entirely, with good reason. Lawrence Taylor was the last defensive player to win the award and that was 24 years ago. Some of the leading defensive candidates from last season -- Elvis Dumervil and Darren Sharper come to mind -- are dealing with injuries.

Peyton Manning could win the award every season. There isn't a surer bet in the league. He's reached 4,000 yards passing nine times in the past 10 seasons and his teams have averaged 12.7 victories over the past seven. What more could anyone want from an MVP candidate?

Answer: another 2,000-yard rushing season from Johnson, this time with a winning record for the Tennessee Titans.

Johnson was the sixth player in NFL history to reach the milestone, but the first to do so for a team with a non-winning record. O.J. Simpson (1973), Barry Sanders (1997) Terrell Davis (1998) won MVP awards (Sanders shared his with Favre). Eric Dickerson (1984) lost out to Dan Marino. Jamal Lewis (2003) watched Manning and Steve McNair share the award. Manning beat out Johnson last season.

A look at some of the favorites heading into the 2010 season ...

Final Word: NFC West

January, 1, 2010
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 17:

[+] EnlargeAlex Smith
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireAlex Smith can't afford a letdown against the Rams.
Eyes on the Vikings. The Cardinals' approach to their Week 17 game against the Packers could change if the Vikings beat the Giants earlier in the day. If the Vikings win, the Cardinals can no longer compete for the No. 2 seed in the NFC and the first-round playoff bye that comes with it. Every scenario featuring a Vikings victory over the Giants produces a Packers-Cardinals wild-card game at University of Phoenix Stadium. The No. 3 seed could still be at stake for Arizona.

Back on track at home. The Cardinals have rebounded after losing three of their first four home games of the season. It's all about matchups. Arizona struggled early against the 49ers and Colts, teams set up to play them tough. The Cardinals have scored 30 or 31 points in each of their past three home games, winning by double digits against the Seahawks, Vikings and Rams. That trend could continue against Green Bay in part because the Packers have little to gain in terms of playoff seeding. The Packers have allowed at least 30 points five times this season, although only once in their past seven games.

Huge stakes in St. Louis. Say what? The Rams are 1-14 and the 49ers are 7-8, but imagine how the offseason storyline in San Francisco might change if Alex Smith has a rough game and the 49ers lose to the Rams. The Rams do not have the offensive firepower to beat the 49ers if both teams play well. They have allowed at least 407 yards in each of their past three games. St. Louis did make the Texans sweat out a 16-13 victory in the Edward Jones Dome two weeks ago, however, and Houston was battling for a playoff spot at the time. Entering the season, I thought the Rams would win at least one division game. The 49ers cannot afford to let it happen against them. For San Francisco, anything less than their first non-losing season since 2002 is unacceptable.

Charitable contributions. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has eight interceptions in his past two games. Week 17 opponent Tennessee has eight interceptions in three games against the NFC West this season (five against the Rams, three against the 49ers). The Titans' general manager, Mike Reinfeldt, was a high-ranking member of the Seahawks' front office when Seattle acquired Hasselbeck from the Packers in 2001. He might not recognize the quarterback he sees Sunday. A bounceback performance by Hasselbeck might ease the sting of a painful season.

History in the remaking? The Titans' Chris Johnson needs 128 yards rushing against Seattle to reach 2,000 for the season.The Seahawks have been on the wrong side of history before when trying to stop elite running backs. In 1998, the Broncos' Terrell Davis rushed for 208 yards against Seattle in the final regular-season game, giving him 2,008 for the season. The Seahawks fired coach Dennis Erickson a short time later. In 2002, Emmitt Smith passed Walter Payton as the NFL's all-time rushing leader with a 109-yard performance against Seattle. The Titans' Johnson has eight games this season with at least 128 yards.