Matter of Facts: Bears Hoping For a Repeat of 1985 Against 49ers

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 15, 2012



We’ve Got Your Numbers: A Matter of Facts (Week 11, 2012)

By Russell S. Baxter

Cold Hard Football Facts' Fact-Generator

There’s seven weeks to go but when it comes to drama, it’s going to be hard to top what we saw last Sunday and Monday alone in the NFL.

There’s no longer an undefeated team as the Falcons lost for the first time in 2012, we saw the first tie in the league since 2008 as the 49ers and Rams took five quarters to solve nothing. And last but certainly not least, a number of starting quarterbacks went down and many won’t be available this week.

They say this league is a battle of attrition. And while for most of the season we’ve seen teams keep their field general on the field, we’re about to see a handful of somewhat new faces this weekend.

And down the stretch we come…

Week 11

Thursday Night, Nov. 15

Miami (4-5) at Buffalo (3-6): It’s been a rough November for Joe Philbin’s team, who lost a heartbreaker at Indianapolis then returned home last week and lost 37-3 to a Titans’ team that had given up 308 points in its first nine games. Chan Gailey’s team squandered a couple of fourth-quarter opportunities in their 37-31 loss at Foxborough and the defense continues to be an issue. A bigger problem for the Bills is the fact that they’ve lost eight straight games to any of their AFC East rivals and the Dolphins have won the last two seasons in Buffalo…

Sunday, Nov. 18

Arizona (4-5) at Atlanta (8-1): Both these teams flirted with perfect seasons in 2012. But while the Falcons are coming off their first setback of the year, the Cardinals have lost five straight games after opening 4-0. Atlanta’s biggest issue continues to be its run defense, ranked 25th in the NFL, but it remains to be seen if the league’s worst running attack can take advantage of the situation. Cardinals’ quarterbacks John Skelton (2) and Kevin Kolb have combined to throw 10 touchdown passes this season, half of what Matt Ryan (20) has managed in nine games…

Cincinnati (4-5) at Kansas City (1-8): Call this the battle of consistency. Bengals’ second-year wide receiver A.J. Green has scored at least one touchdown in eight consecutive games. Meanwhile, Romeo Crennel’s club has committed at least one turnover in all nine contests this season, three or more miscues in seven outings in 2012. Despite that recent four-game losing streak, Marvin Lewis’ club is only a win away from getting back to the .500 mark. And you have to figure the Chiefs will eventually end their six-game losing streak at Arrowhead Stadium…

Cleveland (2-7) at Dallas (4-5): The numbers are never encouraging for the Browns, who are one loss away from a 12th non-winning campaign in the 14 seasons since the franchise was resurrected in 1999. To say that this is a crucial stretch for the Cowboys, who play their next three games at home, would be an understatement. But the Pokes haven’t won two games in a row since last November and in their three previous home games this season Jason Garrett’s club is 1-2, committing 14 turnovers in those contests, a dozen by quarterback Tony Romo…

Green Bay (6-3) at Detroit (4-5): The well-rested Packers are undermanned as Mike McCarthy’s team will now be without tackle Bryan Bulaga the rest of the season and minus team sack leader Clay Matthews at least this week. Green Bay is 6-2 in its last eight visits to the Motor City and when you consider that Packers’ quarterbacks have thrown 22 touchdown passes in their last eight games vs. the Lions (16 by Aaron Rodgers in seven games), it may not bode well for a Detroit team that has scored 121 of its 216 points in the fourth quarter and overtime…

Indianapolis (6-3) at New England (6-3): Well, lookie here. In what was supposed to be one of the ultimate rebuilding years, the Colts have parlayed a four-game winning streak and now stand with the same record as the Patriots, who got out of the gates slow but have prevailed in their last three games. Besides the play of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, Indianapolis’ defense has tightened things up against the run, allowing only 72.0 yards per game rushing in their last four games. New England’s Steven Ridley (814 rushing yards) will test those figures…


Jacksonville (1-8) at Houston (8-1):
The Jaguars have had a little extra time to prepare for the team now tied with the Falcons for the best record in the league. The Texans have won the last 4 meetings, including a 27-7 victory back in Week 2, and continue to flex their defensive muscles around the league, having not allowed a touchdown in their last two games. Under coordinator Wade Phillips, Houston has surrendered just 421 points in 25 regular-season games (16.8 PPG) dating back to ’11. The year prior to his arrival, the Texans gave up 427 points in 2010…

New Orleans (4-5) at Oakland (3-6): This won’t exactly be a great study of exceptional defense. The Saints, winners of four of their last five games following that 0-4 start, have allowed 400-plus yards of total offense in all nine games this season, including 500-plus yards in three outings. Dennis Allen’s Raiders have given up an astounding 97 points in consecutive losses to the Buccaneers (42) and Ravens (55). But here’s a surprise. Drew Brees leads the NFL with 2,847 passing yards and Oakland’s Carson Palmer is third in the league (2,723) in the same category…

N.Y. Jets (3-6) at St. Louis (3-5-1): Who is this Ann Nonymous person who plays for the Jets? In any case, the Green and White has looked a little black and blue since pounding the Colts a few weeks back, Rex Ryan’s team losers of three straight by a combined score of 87-42. The Rams were probably fit to be tied last week after squandering a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead at San Francisco and that’s exactly how it turned out after five quarters. We’ll see if Mark Sanchez can regroup after throwing an interception and losing a fumble in each of his last three games…

Philadelphia (3-6) at Washington (3-6): Four weeks into the season, Andy Reid’s club was coming off a Sunday night win over the Giants and sat in first place alone in the NFC East. Five straight losses later, the Birds have obviously not won since and now sit with Washington tied at the bottom of the division. Last season, the Eagles (38) and Redskins (35) combined for 73 turnovers. But while Mike Shanahan’s club has cleaned up its act (9) thanks in part to Robert Griffin III, it’s been “Bye, Eagles, Bye” in terms of the ball courtesy of 21 Philadelphia turnovers…

San Diego (4-5) at Denver (6-3): Whatever you do, don’t turn off the television or whatever device you’re using to watch this game if the Chargers jump out to a big lead. Five weeks ago, Philip Rivers suffered through a forgettable evening when he turned over the ball six times and the Bolts turned a 24-0 advantage into a 35-24 loss to the visiting Broncos. Now Rivers and company head to Denver, where the Chargers 4-1 since 2007, including three straight wins. But red-hot Peyton Manning has thrown for 300-plus yards in six of his last seven outings…

Tampa Bay (5-4) at Carolina (2-7): Back on opening weekend in Tampa, we may have gotten a hint of where both teams might have been headed as an improved Buccaneers’ defense limited Carolina to a shocking 10 yards rushing. While the disappointing Panthers have scored only 163 points in 9 games this season, Greg Schiano’s revived squad has put 178 points on the board the last five weeks, including 28 or more in each contest. And let’s not forget that it’s Tampa Bay and not New Orleans that is actually in second place in the NFC South…

Baltimore (7-2) at Pittsburgh (6-3): Many feel that this is currently the best rivalry in the league and obviously someone agrees as these teams meet in primetime for the sixth straight year. Dating back to 2008, the Ravens and Steelers are both 51-22 during the regular season and have taken turns winning the division the previous two seasons. A year ago, the Ravens swept this series for the first time since 2006. But it’s impossible to bury the lead here as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out, making the task for Mike Tomlin’s team that much tougher. The Steelers have won 7 straight home games, their last loss at Heinz Field to (you guessed it) the Ravens…

Monday Night, Nov. 19

Chicago (7-2) at San Francisco (6-2-1): This battle of NFC divisional frontrunners could be interesting due to both club’s quarterback situations as both Jay Cutler and Alex Smith were knocked out of their games last week and it added up to a loss and a tie vs. the Texans and Rams, respectively. The last time the Bears won in San Francisco was 1985 when the 49ers were defending NFL champions and Chicago was a few months from shuffling to the Super Bowl. Lovie Smith’s team hopes to add to its 30 takeaways against a Niners’ team with just 9 turnovers…

Off this week: Minnesota, N.Y. Giants, Seattle and Tennessee


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