Colts, Saints try for rare playoff appearance

• The New Orleans Saints wrapped up a playoff berth Monday night with their win at Atlanta, meaning we are on the verge of something that hasn’t happened in quite some time. A Colts win (or Jaguars loss) Sunday means Indianapolis is also in the playoffs, marking the first time since 2000 (Rams and Titans) that both teams that reached the Super Bowl the previous season went back to the playoffs.

Joe Webb

Webb• Tuesday night, Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Joe Webb was the 60th different quarterback to start a game this season, the second time in four years that the league reached that number for the season (64 in 2007).

Webb was also the eighth different rookie quarterback to start a game in 2010, and seven of them have won at least one contest.

• The Carolina Panthers have had a dismal season and would like to avoid one more negative distinction. John Fox’s club has scored a league-low 186 points and should they fail to score at least 14 points this week, it would mark the 14th time a team failed to score at least 200 points in a 16-game season. The dubious 16-game record still belongs to the 1992 Seahawks (140).

• The New England Patriots have not committed a turnover in seven straight games and have just nine turnovers all season. The league record for fewest turnovers in ANY season is 12 by the 1982 Chiefs during the nine-game strike-shortened season. The Patriots’ nine miscues are more amazing when you consider that the Buffalo Bills committed seven turnovers Sunday alone.

• The New York Jets reached the playoffs despite the loss at Chicago, but the bigger question continues to be their defense. Rex Ryan’s team has allowed 24 touchdown passes in 15 games this season, after allowing an NFL-low eight in 16 games in 2009. In fact, the Jets’ defensive unit only gave up 19 touchdowns total (fewest in the league) last season.

• The St. Louis Rams were 6-42 from 2007-09 and are 7-8 this season. The Kansas City Chiefs were 10-38 from 2007-09 and are 10-5 (and AFC West champions) in 2010.

• The Indianapolis Colts have spent much of the year with the league’s worst rushing attack, while Jacksonville and Oakland have been amongst the NFL’s best at running the ball all season. So in the last two games, Indianapolis has out-rushed the Jaguars and Raiders by a combined 346-135. The once-struggling Colts need a win over the Tennessee Titans Sunday to make their ninth straight playoff appearance, tying the NFL record set by the Dallas Cowboys (1975-83).

• The Seattle Seahawks have outscored opponents 170-88 in their six wins, while being outscored 313-124 in their nine setbacks this season. All told, win or lose, 13 of Seattle’s 15 games have been decided by double-digits.