Matter of Facts: Steelers and Giants Historic Clash

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 01, 2012



We’ve Got Your Numbers: A Matter of Facts (Week 9, 2012)

By Russell S. Baxter

Cold Hard Football Facts Fact-Generator

First and most important this week, well wishes to those affected by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.

By the end of Week 9, every team will have played in at least eight games. And while predicting who will make the playoffs and who can start making plans for daily tee times in January are a long ways away, we can at least see a pattern when it comes to performance.

When it comes to winning, no team has been steadier this season than Atlanta. And if the Falcons get by the Cowboys on Sunday night, the whispers of Mike Smith’s team running the table may begin.

In any case, Matt Ryan and company are certainly in the early running for the league’s best record in 2012. Of course, that may not be a good thing given recent history. Two years ago, the Falcons were the NFC’s top seed and were knocked out of the playoffs in the Divisional Round by the eventual champion Packers.

And it’s also worth a mention that the team with the best record in the entire NFL has not won the Super Bowl each of the last eight seasons.

It’s going to be an interesting second half to what has already been an intriguing eight weeks to date.

Enjoy.

Week 9

Thursday Night, Nov. 1

Kansas City (1-6) at San Diego (3-4): Here’s a sobering thought. Last season, the 49ers (10) and Packers (14) combined for only 24 turnovers all season, and Romeo’s Crennel’s team has already given up the football 25 times in seven games in 2012. The Chargers haven’t exactly been the poster child when it comes to ball security and the team’s 1-3 start has been wiped out by a three-game losing streak. Five weeks ago at Kansas City, the Bolts totaled six takeaways in a 37-20 win--the Bolts eighth victory in their last 10 meetings with this AFC West rival…

Sunday, Nov. 4

Arizona (4-4) at Green Bay (5-3): Some may consider what’s happened to Arizona the last four weeks to be a Cardinal sin as Ken Whisenhunt’s club has scored a total of 36 points and a 4-0 start has turned into a battle for survival. But the bottom line is that the Cardinals’ offense has produced only a dozen touchdowns in eight games this season. Meanwhile, red-hot Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his last three games. And these teams are tied for the league lead with 26 sacks apiece…

Baltimore (5-2) at Cleveland (2-6): The Ravens have had a few weeks to mull over one of the team’s worst losses in recent memory as John Harbaugh’s club was mauled by the Texans in their last outing. Meanwhile, the Browns come off a victory over San Diego and now take aim at the league’s 30th-ranked run defense, one that has already given up 1,000 yards on the ground in only seven games. Still, keep in mind that Baltimore has won nine straight meetings in this series and has held the Browns to 17 points or less in the last seven encounters…

Buffalo (3-4) at Houston (6-1): Both of these clubs are coming off their midseason vacations but the Texans may be a bit more relaxed. Chan Gailey’s defense continues to be a huge disappointment and in the ultimate example of feast or famine, the Bills have allowed 47 points in three wins and a whopping 180 points in four losses. Houston has its own good news, bad news thing going as well, allowing only seven offensive touchdowns in six wins and six touchdowns in the loss to the Packers. And will it be a happy “homecoming” for Mario Williams (3.5 sacks)?...

Carolina (1-6) at Washington (3-5): On the verge of an upset win at Chicago, the Panthers found a way to lose their fifth straight game, the last four by five points or less. For the first time in 12 games dating back to last season, not only didn’t the Redskins run for 120-plus yards, they didn’t reach the century mark as Mike Shanahan’s club ran for only 86 yards in getting 86ed in Pittsburgh. Quarterbacks Robert Griffin III (476) and Cam Newton (310) have run for a combined 786 yards and nine scores. The only problem is that the latter is leading his team in rushing…

Chicago (6-1) at Tennessee (3-5): Lovie Smith’s team pulled a Harry Houdini last week vs. the Panthers, rallying from a 19-7 fourth-quarter deficit to take a lead, falling behind again in the final two-plus minutes, then getting a Robbie Gould 41-yarder for the 23-22 win. Mike Munchak’s team finally held a team to less than 20 points in a game this season, and it still wasn’t enough to avoid an overtime loss to the Colts. Matt Hasselbeck has thrown six touchdown passes this season, while the Bears have returned six interceptions for scores. Symmetry…

Denver (4-3) at Cincinnati (3-4): Oh yes, they call it the streak. But for the Broncos and Bengals, that means two totally different things these days. Quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his last four games and has thrown for 300-plus yards in five consecutive outings. Meanwhile, Marvin Lewis’ team followed up a three-game winning streak with three straight losses, including two in a row at home. Still, there’s good news as second-year wideout A.J. Green has scored at least one touchdown in his last six outings…

Detroit (3-4) at Jacksonville (1-6): After throwing only five touchdown passes in his first six games this season, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had one of those afternoons against the Seattle defense, throwing for three scores and running for another in 28-24 win. Speaking of 24, that’s the number of points Jacksonville also gave up last week but unfortunately for Mike Mularkey’s team, it’s a figure his club has yet to reach this season. Looking for balance? The Jaguars have totaled nine takeaways, committed nine turnovers and scored nine touchdowns…

Miami (4-3) at Indianapolis (4-3): Raise your hand if you had either the Dolphins or Colts (barring a tie) at 5-3 at their midway point in 2012. With the exception of the Week 1 loss at Houston, Joe Philbin’s team has been solid and has won three straight, including last week’s victory over the Jets in which the Dolphins put the special in special teams. It’s taken more than (Andrew) Luck for Indianapolis to double its win total from a season ago and it’s been fun watching the rookie team up with Reggie Wayne, who leads the NFL with 757 receiving yards…

Minnesota (5-3) at Seattle (4-4): The Vikings’ defense is still trying to get the license number of the Doug Martin truck that him that last week at the Metrodome as Leslie Frazier’s team was drubbed at home by the Buccaneers and their rookie runner. From 4-2 to two straight narrow losses, the Seahawks picked a bad time to give up not giving up touchdowns, allowing a season-high 28 points in a heartbreaking setback at Detroit. But Ponder this fact: All of the second-year quarterback’s seven interceptions this season have come in his last four contests…

Pittsburgh (4-3) at N.Y. Giants (6-2): Two proud franchises that have seen one or the other appear in five of the past seven Super Bowls, with each club winning a pair of titles. Ben Roethlisberger has enjoyed a solid season, throwing only three interceptions while nine of his 14 touchdown passes going to tight ends and running backs. Per usual, the Giants are 6-2 in their first eight contests and are currently riding a four-game winning streak in which they’ve come up with 16 takeaways. But Pittsburgh has coughed it up just six times in seven games…

Tampa Bay (3-4) at Oakland (3-4): Dating back to the start of 2011, the only other place the Buccaneers have won outside of Tampa has been Minnesota (2-0), where last week running back Doug Martin enjoyed a huge evening as a dual threat. Speaking of two wins, that’s the Silver and Black’s current winning streak, the latest a 26-16 victory at Kansas City. When last these teams met, it proved to be the final game for Buccaneers’ head coach Jon Gruden (2008), who defeated the Raiders six years earlier in Super Bowl XXXVII a season after leaving Oakland. Got it?...

Sunday Night

Dallas (3-4) at Atlanta (7-0): Think the Cowboys are happy to take a trip out of town? In three home games this season, Jason Garrett’s team is 1-2, averaged less than 20 points per game and committed 14 turnovers, 12 of those by Tony Romo. The Falcons continue to add to their best start in franchise history number and last week’s 30-17 win at Philadelphia was one of their most complete performances of the season. In the first quarter this season, the Pokes have been outscored 33-14, Atlanta has outdone the opposition a combined 47-13…

Monday Night, Nov. 5

Philadelphia (3-4) at New Orleans (2-5): Give credit where credit is due. The Eagles did not commit a turnover in last week’s 30-17 loss to the Falcons, instead allowing Atlanta to score on each of its first six possessions of the game. Perhaps overlooked in the 34-14 loss at Denver on Sunday night was the fact that the Saints were outgained by nearly 300 yards (530-252). There are rumblings in Philadelphia but Michael Vick gets the nod for the Birds, and he takes aim at the league’s worst defense and a team that allowed at least 24 points in each game this season…

Off this week: New England, N.Y. Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco


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