1. Tip of the cap to the NFL’s research department here, but what a singular playoff field we might have coalescing. Only four teams in the league have never reached the Super Bowl: The Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars. If the season ended today – it doesn’t – the entire quartet would qualify for the postseason.
1a. This is the first time all four of those clubs have had a winning record this late in a season.
2. The Lions, who have never won the NFC North crown nor ever hosted a playoff game at Ford Field, are 8-2 to start a season for the first time since 1962. This is the first time since 1969 that both Detroit and Cleveland are at least 7-3 or better to launch a season – and the futility is much more acute in those proud cities given their franchises each won four league championships prior to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, all of those titles also obviously predating the Super Bowl era, which began in 1966.
3. The Texans and Jags have existed for a combined 51 seasons, though Houston’s pain extends to the days when it was home to the Oilers, who won the AFL’s first two crowns in 1960 and ’61. The Texans have never reached the AFC title game, a round that’s seen Jacksonville vanquished three times since its inaugural season in 1995.