Matter of Facts: Week 10 Statistical Onslaught

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 07, 2013



Now that every team in the league has played at least half of its schedule, it’s safe to say that we can finally assume some things when it comes to this NFL season.

Really?

The more we see of the league, the less apparently we know. It’s been a year of streakiness and inconsistencies in many ways.

For instance, did you know that 13 players ran for at least 100 yards in the 13 games played last week? That was certainly a surprise considering we saw only 32 such performances in the first eight weeks of the season.

There are a number of other strange trends as well. And if you’re looking for numbers, you’ve come to the right place.

Really!

Thursday Night, Nov. 7

Washington (3-5) at Minnesota (1-7): Both the Redskins and Vikings finished with 10-6 records and made unexpected playoff appearances last season. That doesn’t look to be the case in 2013, although Mike Shanahan’s club is far from out of it in the NFC East. The difference here could be quarterback. The Redskins have RG3 and the Vikings WEUSED3, as in Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman. We do have the top two rushing leaders in the NFL from 2012 in Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris, who rank fourth and fifth this season, respectively…

Sunday, Nov. 10

Buffalo (3-6) at Pittsburgh (2-6): Who would have guessed that midway through the season that the Bills and Steelers would be tied in the loss column? And talk about two different defensive directions? Last week, Buffalo held the Kansas City offense out of the end zone despite a 23-13 loss. Meanwhile, the only Patriots that didn’t score last week were Stanley Morgan and Sam Cunningham as Pittsburgh gave up team records in terms of points (55) and total yards (610) in a humbling loss at Foxborough. And which Steeler is going to block Mario Williams?

Carolina (5-3) at San Francisco (6-2): Simply put, two of the hottest teams in the league collide in the Bay Area this weekend. It will be interesting to see if the well-rested 49ers, winners of five straight games while scoring at least 31 points in each of those contests, can pick up where they left off in London two weeks ago. In any case, they’ll be facing a Panthers team that has won four in a row and a defensive unit that has allowed only nine touchdowns in eight games this season. This game is worth the price of admission just to watch the linebacker play alone…

Cincinnati (6-3) at Baltimore (3-5): The Bengals still own a two-game advantage in the loss column over both the Browns and Ravens, although last Thursday night’s setback at Miami had to sting in more ways than one. The loss of two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins for the season casts a big shadow over the team’s Super Bowl hopes but this is a very deep defensive unit. Deep is the hole the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens are digging these days, losers of three straight games and in danger of falling out of the playoff race if not careful…

Denver (7-1) at San Diego (4-4): Who could forget the last time Peyton Manning and company came to San Diego? Last season’s 35-24 Monday night win saw the Broncos rally from a 24-0 deficit and Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers implode for six turnovers. Both quarterbacks are at the top of their games at the moment, although the last time we saw Manning he was throwing four touchdown passes and committing four turnovers in a win over the Redskins. Can San Diego’s offensive line hold off the likes of Von Miller as well as former teammate Shaun Phillips?

Detroit (5-3) at Chicago (5-3): Six weeks ago, the Lions handed the Bears their first loss of the season. While Jim Schwartz’s club comes off its mini-vacation, it was a short week for Marc Trestman’s team, albeit it resulted in a successful Monday night at Lambeau Field. In the team’s first meeting this season, the Chicago defense couldn’t get a handle on Detroit’s Reggie Bush while the Bears’ offensive line couldn’t protect Jay Cutler. Josh McCown performed well against the Packers and having Brandon Marshall and rising Alshon Jeffery sure doesn’t hurt but Cutler is back for this rematch...

Houston (2-6) at Arizona (4-4): You could be witness to a good game of Hot Potato in the desert this Sunday. The Texans (16) and Cardinals (18) have combined for 34 turnovers this season. But the big difference here is while Houston has a problem getting takeaways (5), Bruce Arians’ team is amongst the league leaders when it comes to forcing mistakes (19). The fun here will be seeing two of the great wide receivers in the game in Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. It’s a pair of third-place teams that appear to be headed in opposite directions…

Jacksonville (0-8) at Tennessee (4-4): It is really remarkable when you consider that both the Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs both finished 2-14 last season. While the Chiefs are in pursuit of the Patriots perfect 16-0 mark in 2007, the Jaguars are halfway home when it comes to matching the Lions’ 0-16 record in 2008. In any case, they won’t get any sympathy from the Titans, who managed to get back to the .500 mark for the season last week and stay within shouting distance of the Colts. Does anyone remember when these teams both ruled in 1999?

Oakland (3-5) at N.Y. Giants (2-6): It’s too bad this game isn’t in Oakland, which apparently is the place these days to see record performances. One week after Terrelle Pryor scampered 93 yards for a touchdown against the Steelers, Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles did his best Peyton Manning impression and riddled the Oakland secondary for seven touchdowns. The well-rested Giants have won their last two games following that forgettable start. But the G-Men still lead the league with 25 turnovers and haven’t played a mistake-free game yet in 2013…


Philadelphia
(4-5) at Green Bay (5-3): More scores thanks to seven touchdown passes a week ago, Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles became the second player in nine weeks this season to tie that NFL record. That’s the kind of performance you would expect from Packers’ signal-caller Aaron Rodgers, who won’t be available this week after fracturing his collarbone early in Monday night’s loss to the Chicago Bears. The Birds find themselves just one game out of first place in the NFC East and fortunately for them, this game in not in Philadelphia…

St. Louis (3-6) at Indianapolis (6-2): Ah, the days of Jeff Fisher’s clashes with the Colts. The one-time Tennessee Titans coach just fell to his former employer last week and now takes on his former divisional rival. The Rams now have a running game thanks to rookie Zac Stacy, who has totaled 261 yards on the ground the last two weeks. Unfortunately, that hasn’t translated into wins as St. Louis has dropped three straight. Speaking of which, it was three straight touchdown passes from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton that rescued the Colts last Sunday at Houston…

Seattle (8-1) at Atlanta (2-6): Roughly a year ago, the Seahawks’ 2012 season ended at the Georgia Dome. Nine weeks and two victories into 2013, it’s the Falcons’ season that already may be over. Seattle’s defense has had its problems against the run the last two weeks but that’s no problem here considering Atlanta boasts the worst rushing attack in the league. And it’s too bad that Falcons’ wideouts Julio Jones and Roddy White won’t be around to battle the “Legion of Boom” and the likes of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner...

Sunday Night

Dallas (5-4) at New Orleans (6-2): Last Sunday at home against the game Vikings, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo orchestrated a long drive to beat the Purple Gang. And he didn’t even need a “Hail Mary” pass. All kidding aside, the Dallas defense continues to be a liability, although that could change this week if defensive end DeMarcus Ware is able to give it a go. Speaking of liabilities, that Saints’ run defense isn’t doing the team any favors. But it’s also safe to say that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan may know a thing or two about the Cowboys…

Monday Night, Nov. 11

Miami (4-4) at Tampa Bay (0-8): For the second straight week, the Dolphins find themselves in a prime time setting. Unfortunately, the organization has been in the spotlight for the last few days via the sad Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito saga. But back to the field, where the Buccaneers have failed to win a game and last week were privy to the greatest comeback in Seattle Seahawks history. Miami’s pass rush, in particular defensive end Cameron Wake, hope to make it a manic Monday for Buccaneers’ rookie quarterback Mike Glennon…

Off this week: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and the New York Jets


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