The hardest-working man in the NFL might be Scott Hanson. (Who!?) He’s the host of NFL Network’s RedZone, the channel that tracks every score from every game. If his head didn’t explode last week, it never will.
The 104 touchdowns and 859 points overall set all-time NFL records last week. For the season, the 1,096 TDs scored entering Week 15 are a record pace, as are the 662 scoring passes. The 701.8 yards per game in total offense also would set a record if the average holds.
King Sport has never been more offensive, and three words explain it:
Peyton Manning’s Broncos.
Denver entered Thursday night’s game vs. San Diego with 515 points scored in 13 games, projecting to a season total of 634. That would shatter the 16-game record of 589 set by New England in 2007.
The Broncos also were on track (pace, 81) to break the record of 75 touchdowns scored and within range (465.6) of breaking the average yards mark of 467.1 set by New Orleans in 2011. Meanwhile, Manning was on pace to set individual records for most TD passes and passing yards.
Most remarkable of all, to me, is how far the Broncos offense stands apart from the crowd.
Denver’s average per game was 39.62 points entering Thursday. The No.2 Bears are at 28.31. That gulf of 11.31 points would be the greatest between first and second place in NFL history.
Mile High. It’s both the name of the Broncos stadium and the distance between this offense and everybody else’s.
The NFL likes to say 25 teams still are in contention for the nine remaining available playoff spots, but that is the broadest possible definition of “mathematically alive.” Here’s the real playoff picture entering Week 15:
• AFC: In — Broncos and Colts. All but in — Chiefs, Patriots and Bengals. Fight for No. 6 seed — Ravens and Dolphins, both at 1-1 (even) odds. Still alive but no practical shot — Chargers, Jets, Steelers and Titans. Technically alive but flat-lining — Bills, Browns, Jaguars and Raiders. Officially out — Texans.
• NFC: In — Seahawks. All but in — Saints, 49ers and Panthers. Fight for remaining two spots — Eagles 67.0 percent likelihood (via makenflplayoffs.com), Lions 48.0 percent, Cowboys 38.9 percent, Bears 30.4 percent, Cardinals 28.7 percent and Packers 22.3 percent. Officially out — Other six.
• The Super Bowl betting favorite is now a tossup, with Bovada having Broncos and Seahawks both 11-4, then the Saints and 49ers both 8-1, then the Patriots at 10-1.
• Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy leads the NFL in interceptions with six. No LB has ever led for a season since the 1970 merger.
• Old Cane Andre Johnson last week tied Jerry Rice’s record with a 10th career game of at least 10 catches and 150 yards.
• NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy (1,305 yards) would be first Eagle to lead league since Steve Van Buren in 1949.
• Browns’ Josh Gordon has 125-plus receiving yards in four consecutive games. Record is five in a row by Pat Studstill in 1966 and Calvin Johnson last year.
• Seattle’s Russell Wilson is fourth QB to have 20-plus TDs each of first two seasons, after Dan Marino (1983-84), Manning (1998-99) and Andy Dalton (2011-12).
• Big reason why Miami hasn’t won a playoff game in ages: This is Patriots’ 13th consecutive winning season, longest streak since 49ers went 16 in a row from 1983 to ’98.