Matter of Facts: Cardinals and Jets Have Six Fewer Points than Patriots ... Combined

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 29, 2012



We’ve Got Your Numbers: A Matter of Facts (Week 13, 2012)

By Russell S. Baxter

Cold Hard Football Facts' Fact-Faction Leader

And down the stretch they go…

While the playoff chase is just getting warmed up, there could be a lot solved in the AFC this weekend, where the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos can all wrap up division titles in Week 13 and the Houston Texans can secure a playoff berth.

In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons can secure a postseason berth with a victory over the rival Saints on Thursday night and some help on Sunday.

So let’s not waste any time and get to an interesting slate in which half of this week’s slate features those always-intense divisional match-ups…

Week 13

Thursday, Nov. 29

New Orleans (5-6) at Atlanta (10-1): Three weeks ago, the Saints ended the Falcons’ plans (if they had any) of a perfect season with a 31-27 victory, their 11th win in the last 13 meetings (all with quarterback Drew Brees at the helm) with their longtime rival. Now Mike Smith’s team hopes to wrap up a playoff berth and/or the NFC South by weekend’s end and maybe put the defending division champs out of their 2012 misery. But the Saints have been anything but gracious guests, winners in three straight and five of their last six appearances at the Georgia Dome…

Sunday, Dec. 2

Arizona (4-7) at N.Y. Jets (4-7): The last time we saw Rex Ryan’s team, they were in a hurry to give up touchdowns and wound up allowing 49 points in a 30-point basting by the Patriots on Thanksgiving night. But that’s nothing compared to the last time the Cardinals visited the Jets, taken apart for 56 points by the Green and White in 2008. But let us return to the present, where Arizona’s losing streak has now reached seven straight following a 4-0 start. And let it be noted that the Cards (180) and Jets (221) have combined for 401 points, six fewer than the Patriots…

Carolina (3-8) at Kansas City (1-10): You could make a case that the Panthers and Chiefs are each the most disappointing teams in their respective conferences--although Cam Newton and company are coming off a Monday night win at Philadelphia. Kansas City’s losing streak has reached eight in a row and come off a tough 17-9 loss to the Broncos, the team’s seventh straight loss at Arrowhead Stadium as well as the seventh consecutive game in which Romeo Crennel’s team had scored 16 or fewer points. That’s a lot of very bad streaking (huh?)…

Cincinnati (6-5) at San Diego (4-7): Make it three straight wins for the Bengals and now three straight games in which Andy Dalton has not thrown an interception, throwing for nine scores in those contests. For the first time since opening week, the Chargers didn’t commit a turnover in last Sunday’s overtime battle with the Ravens. Of course, there’s this little matter of 4th-and-29 late in the game which led to that tie in regulation and eventually, the team’s seventh loss in their last nine games. Can Cincinnati stay within shouting distance in the AFC North?...

Cleveland (3-8) at Oakland (3-8): Far from an offensive juggernaut, the Browns have put 20 points on the board each of the last two weeks and last week it paid off last Sunday vs. Pittsburgh (with an assist via eight Steelers’ turnovers). Still, Pat Shurmur’s team takes aim at an Oakland club that has allowed a league-high 356 points, with 169 of those coming in the last four games. But let’s take it a step further: Cleveland has totaled just 209 points in 11 games this season, while the Silver and Black has given up 203 in the second half alone this season…

Houston (10-1) at Tennessee (4-7): Fortunately Gary Kubiak’s (on the second leg of a three-game road trip) had more than a week to recover from 10 quarters of football over a span of five days. And while the usually-sturdy Houston defense gave up 983 total yards and 68 points, the Texans’ offense rolled up a gaudy 1,154 yards and scored 77 points. And scoring on Mike Munchak’s club doesn’t figure to be an issue as Tennessee has given up 335 points, 18 more than they allowed all of last season. The Texans wrap up the AFC South with a victory here…

Indianapolis (7-4) at Detroit (4-7): Not to throw cold water on what has been a sensational story in Indianapolis, but there are times quarterback Andrew Luck does look like a rookie, as evidenced by his 18 turnovers in 11 games this season (13 interceptions, 5 lost fumbles). Of course, he and fellow freshman T.Y. Hilton have also combined for 11 of the Colts’ 24 total touchdowns this season. The Lions’ second three-game losing streak of 2012 has put the team’s return to the playoffs in peril and Jim Schwartz’s club has totaled only 12 takeaways in their 11 outings…

Jacksonville (2-9) at Buffalo (4-7): Who would have thought that we would have been seeing an offensive revival in Jacksonville as Mike Mularkey’s team (led mainly by quarterback Chad Henne) has totaled 37 and 24 points, respectively, in their last two games--their two best scoring performances in 2012 and nearly one-third of the Jaguars’ point total (188) this season? The Bills, off a tough 20-13 loss to the Colts, continue to disappoint even when the defense plays better. Can Jaguars’ wideout Cecil Shorts go long (20.8 yards per catch) go long again?...

Minnesota (6-5) at Green Bay (7-4): Leslie Frazier’s team is in the midst of a three-game stretch vs. the Bears, Packers and Bears again and it got off to a rough start with a 28-10 loss in Chicago. Speaking of setbacks, red-hot Green Bay was cooled off considerably by the defending Super Bowl champion Giants as quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times in a 38-10 defeat. The Packers’ signal-caller has thrown 19 touchdown passes and just 3 interceptions in eight meetings vs. the Purple Gang but has also been sacked 28 times (12.5 by Jared Allen)…

New England (8-3) at Miami (5-6): What the Patriots have done as of late has been simply amazing as their defense and special teams have scored five touchdowns over the last two games and Bill Belichick’s club has put an astounding 219 points on the board in their last five outings--all wins. To put that in perspective, Joe Philbin’s second-place Dolphins have scored 211 points in 11 games this season. And in the fact that quarterback Tom Brady owns a 14-6 lifetime record vs. Miami and in last year’s visit to South Florida he threw for 517 yards and, well…

Pittsburgh (6-5) at Baltimore (9-2): It’s been a rough few weeks for the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers, who gave up the ball eight times in last week’s loss at Cleveland and have committed 11 turnovers in their last two games. It’s been a long time since the Ravens lost a game at home (Week 13 of 2010 to the Steelers) and they’ve now beaten Pittsburgh three straight times. While we’re not sure whether we’ll see Big Ben, we should see a very close games as 8 of last 11 meetings between these foes (including playoffs) have been decided by 4 points or less…

San Francisco (8-2-1) at St. Louis (4-6-1): Jim Harbaugh made his decision and he’ll go with the hot hand in second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who looked sharp at New Orleans last Sunday and got an assist from his opportunistic defensive unit. Speaking of returning two interceptions for touchdowns, Janoris Jenkins victimized fellow rookie Ryan Lindley last week at Arizona as the Rams completed a sweep of the Cardinals. While Jeff Fisher’s team is four games out of first place, it’s worth noting that his team owns a 3-0-1 mark vs. their NFC West rivals…

Seattle (6-5) at Chicago (8-3): Perhaps Pete Carroll and the Seahawks can charter a few extra planes and bring the 12th man on the road as Seattle slipped to 1-5 on the road with a last-second loss at Miami. After a pair of consecutive losses to the powerhouse Texans and 49ers, Lovie Smith’s team righted the ship with their usual win over the Vikings in Chicago. Fortunately for Carroll, his star-studded secondary will be intact this week and faces wideout Brandon Marshall, who has 81 of the team’s 200 catches and eight of the Bears’ 14 scoring receptions…

Tampa Bay (6-5) at Denver (8-3): The Broncos own the NFL’s longest current winning streak (6), very convenient considering their AFC West neighbors (Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs) have combined to lose 15 games in a row. With 26 touchdown passes, Peyton Manning is now one scoring toss short of tying the Broncos’ franchise record, co-owned by John Elway (1997) and Jake Plummer (2004). And Manning takes aim at the improved Bucs, who’ve committed just 11 turnovers this season (NFL-high 40 turnovers in 2011) but is dead last vs. the pass…

Sunday Night

Philadelphia (3-8) at Dallas (5-6): On Tuesday, the Eagles released former Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin, who totaled 18.0 sacks in 2011 but totaled just 5.5 sacks this season. It’s also interesting to note that the Eagles as a team have totaled just 18 sacks in 11 games this year. Once again, the Cowboys fell behind at home at halftime and dug themselves too big of a hole in the Turkey Day loss to the Redskins. Since returning from the off week, the Birds have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five games, 38 of those to Dallas three weeks ago…

Monday, Dec. 3

N.Y. Giants (7-4) at Washington (5-6): The defending Super Bowl champs continue to perplex. They were the last club to lose to the Eagles, needed a late touchdown to beat the Redskins, blew a 23-point lead at Dallas before rallying for a win and recently fell to the Steelers and Bengals. But they also smoked the 49ers (26-3) and Packers (38-10) by a combined 64-13. Speaking of Washington, the ‘Skins are just two games out of the NFC East lead and Robert Griffin III has as many touchdown passes in his last two games (8) as he did in his first nine outings…


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