My five cents
1 Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo has seven sacks in his past six games, giving him 10 for the year. It is his most since his rookie season of 2009. That helps the former Texas star in his bid for a mega-deal in the off-season when he becomes a free agent. He could get something in the range of the five-year, $41 million deal that Paul Kruger signed with the Cleveland Browns this past off-season.
2 Ben Tate will end his Houston Texans’ career on injured reserve. Tate, who spent his entire rookie season on IR, had 1,992 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per rush, in his three seasons as Arian Foster’s backup. He becomes a free agent in the off-season and will command more as an every-down back than the Texans can pay for a backup with Foster returning to the starting lineup next season.
3 Jim Schwartz is under fire as the Detroit Lions have given away the divisional title. Detroit, the only team in the NFC North to start the same quarterback all season, has blown the division lead with a 1-4 slide that now has the Lions needing help to make the playoffs. Schwartz can expect a pink slip if the Lions miss the postseason.
4 Mike Wallace hasn’t yet validated the $60 million the Miami Dolphins gave him in the off-season, but his relationship with Ryan Tannehill is improving. Wallace has 20 receptions for 333 yards and three touchdowns in his past four games and is on pace for his third 1,000-yard season.
5 Peyton Manning is on pace to set NFL records for passing yards in a season and touchdown passes in a season, and the Denver Broncos are on pace to break the league scoring record. The only other season that compares was Tom Brady in 2007 when he threw for 50 touchdowns and the Patriots set the scoring record (589) on their way to a 16-0 regular season. But Manning needs to do what the Patriots couldn’t do — win the Super Bowl — to make it truly the greatest quarterbacking season in NFL history.