The NFL has never quite seen a conference like this year's AFC. Heading into December, only four teams in the conference have losing records, with the 12 teams at .500 or better the most for a conference through 12 weeks since the merger. There have been three seasons when 11 teams in a conference didn't have losing records at this juncture, having happened previously in the AFC in 2014 and 1980, and the NFC in 2008.
Now that the San Francisco 49ers have won three straight games to get back into the playoff race, they will need to deal with the absence of two key players for at least one week. Do-everything receiver Deebo Samuel will likely miss one or two games after injuring his groin and linebacker Fred Warner also will miss a game with a hamstring injury after both got hurt in the 34-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. “It was just a strain and strains are usually anywhere from one to two weeks, which I think was very good news considering what it could have been,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.