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NFL 2013: After Further Thought (Week 17 and Season Review)

Yahoo Contributor Network

Some thoughts and some numbers regarding Week 17 of the 2013 season, as well as the National Football League's 94th campaign…

--Talk about a rough profession? So far this offseason, there have been six head-coaching dismissals and all are worth reviewing in terms of how quickly things can changes. Leslie Frazier (Vikings), Mike Shanahan (Redskins) and Gary Kubiak (Texans) all lost at least 10 games just one year after making the playoffs and all three are now unemployed. Two years ago, the Lions were 10-6 and in the postseason. But Jim Schwartz was let go after an 11-21 mark the last two seasons. And while Rob Chudzinski was one year and out in Cleveland, Greg Schiano was two years and out in Tampa…

--There were plenty of points going around in the NFL this season and we saw a pair of records set on both sides of the ball. A league-record 11 teams scored at least 400 points this season, which includes the Denver Broncos' NFL-record 606 points in 2013. But there were also 10 teams that surrendered at least 400 points this year, the most in a season in league history…

--It was long ago that the AFC South had three straight rushing champions in Tennessee's Chris Johnson (2009), Houston's Arian Foster (2010) and Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew (2011). Now this division, which posted the fewest combined wins (24) in the league this season, is on another dubious streak. The Texans finished 2-14 in 2013, matching the "feats" of the 2011 Indianapolis Colts and 2012 Jaguars…

--With the Baltimore Ravens being eliminated from the playoffs in 2013, the second straight year that the defending Super Bowl champion failed to reach the postseason (Giants in 2012), the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers own the league's longest current playoff streak at five straight years. The Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals are next in line with three straight appearances. And in the case of the Bengals, it's the first time in the franchise's history that they have managed such a streak…

--Back to the 49ers for a second or two. Jim Harbaugh's club has won at least 11 games each of the last three seasons and their 12-4 record in 2013 is actually one-half game better (11-4-1) than their Super Bowl season of 2012. Now the Niners will try and accomplish something that hasn't been done in more than 40 seasons. The last time a team lost the Super Bowl and rebounded to win the Lombardi Trophy the following year was the perfect 1972 Miami Dolphins, who lost Super Bowl VI to the Dallas Cowboys and then defeated the Washington Redskins one year later…

--While turnover differential remains a key stat when it comes to NFL teams, it's actually the number of turnovers that a team doesn't commit that's a better gauge when it comes to success. In 2012, eight teams committed fewer than 20 turnovers and all reached the playoffs, led by Redskins' NFL-low total of 14 turnovers. This past season, seven clubs coughed up the ball less than 20 times; the Indianapolis Colts (14), Kansas City Chiefs (18), 49ers (18), Seattle Seahawks (19), Philadelphia Eagles (19), Carolina Panthers (19) and New Orleans Saints (19) and all have extended their 2013 seasons…

--When the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs take the field this weekend in the Wild Card Playoffs, they will both look to end long playoff droughts in terms of wins. And they also have something else in common. The Bengals haven't won a postseason game since 1990 and the Chiefs since 1993. And both franchises were able to beat the same team in their respective years. That would be the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans); the Bengals' win coming at since-demolished Riverfront Stadium in a wild-card game and the Chiefs' victory at the Astrodome in the Divisional Playoffs…

--For the first time since 2008, a team was able to overcome a 0-2 start to not only make the playoffs but actually win a division title. Ron Rivera's Carolina Panthers dropped their first two games this season to the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. But quarterback Cam Newton and company rebounded to finish 12-4 and capture the NFC South. From 2009-12, there were 30 instances in which a team opened the season with two straight losses and none of those clubs managed to reach the playoffs…

--You can blame it on head coach Jason Garrett and/or Tony Romo if you want to, but it's hard to ignore the fact that the Dallas Cowboys have been a mediocre football team for nearly two decades. Off their third straight 8-8 season in 2013, Jerry Jones' squad is now a combined 136-136 in the regular season dating back to 1997. Over that span, the Cowboys have had four 10-plus win seasons, six 10-plus loss campaigns, own a 1-6 playoff record and started 15 different starting quarterbacks…

Russell S. Baxter has been covering the NFL for 30-plus years on all platforms. He is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com, writes for numerous websites and publications across the country and is blessed with an encyclopedic memory. Ready to talk NFL? Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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