Matter of Facts: Week 13 Statistical Onslaught

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 26, 2013



It’s that time of the year.

November is about to disappear. But not before we all give thanks for our families and friends and the gifts we receive on a daily basis.

But while we are dining this Thursday afternoon and evening, we will also be feasting on three pivotal games on the NFL schedule that all have postseason ramifications.

And after a Sunday full of pigskin, our holiday dessert comes in the form of an epic Monday night showdown in the Pacific Northwest.

Take a little time to digest all of that…and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Week 13

Thanksgiving

Green Bay (5-5-1) at Detroit (6-5): Imagine this. The Packers have played nearly four straight games without quarterback Aaron Rodgers (injured in Week 9 vs. the Bears), are 0-3-1 over that stretch and are just a half-a-game out of first in the NFC North. Now they head to the Motor City to face suddenly-reeling Detroit, which has dropped two straight yet remain atop of the division. However, the Lions have been roasted nine consecutive years on Thanksgiving, outscored a combined 319-144 in those losses…

Oakland (4-7) at Dallas (6-5): While some may argue that the Silver and Black is the lone team playing on Thanksgiving Day, you may want to take a look at the NFL standings, especially in the AFC. Still, Dennis Allen’s team lost a heartbreaker at home on Sunday to the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys come off their first sweep of the Giants since 2007 and are a pristine 4-0 within the AFC East this season. Of course, Dallas is also 0-3 vs. the AFC West this season and outscored a combined 98-85 in those losses…

Thanksgiving Night:

Pittsburgh (5-6) at Baltimore (5-6): Remember when the Steelers and Ravens played grind-it-out football, especially against each other? This season, only two teams in the league have run for fewer yards this season than Mike Tomlin’s club and Baltimore isn’t far behind, ranking 27th in the NFL in rushing. But the Black and Gold have suddenly risen to the occasion and completing a sweep of the defending Super Bowl champions could make for an interesting December in the Steel City…

Sunday, Dec. 1

Arizona (7-4) at Philadelphia (6-5): Both of these Birds are soaring these days and with five weeks to play, the Cardinals and Eagles have each won two more games than they did all of last season. Arizona has won four straight games and Carson Palmer has thrown at least two touchdown passes in each of those victories. The Eagles have won three in a row thanks mainly to young quarterback Nick Foles and running back LeSean McCoy. But the latter could be stifled by the league’s second-best run defense…

Atlanta (2-9) vs. Buffalo (4-7) at Toronto: I thought birds flew south for the winter? Pun intended, the Falcons’ season went south a long time ago and less than one season after sharing the NFL’s best record and owning the top seed in the NFC, Atlanta has the conference’s worst win-loss mark and is tied for the league’s worst record. Meanwhile, the well-rested Bills have had their moments this season and come off a 37-14 rout of the visiting Jets two weeks ago. Buffalo’s ground attack should have a field day…

Chicago (6-5) at Minnesota (2-8-1): Chicago’s once-heralded defense has become simply unbearable. Marc Trestman’s club has allowed 20 or more points in each of their 11 games this season and allowed 40-plus points in three of their last eight outings. The Purple Gang was obviously fitted to be tied last week and that’s exactly what wound up happening at Lambeau Field. By the way, the Vikings have done the Bears three better, as in giving up a minimum of 23 points in each of their 11 contests in 2013….

Cincinnati (7-4) at San Diego (5-6): The well-rested Bengals own a two-game lead in the AFC North with five games to go. They also play their share of playoff contenders in the final five weeks, including a showdown with the Colts in Week 14 that could (could) go a long way toward playoff seeding in the conference. First things first and that means continuing to close in on the team’s first division title since 2009. However, rejuvenated quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers have their own playoff plans…

Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (9-2): One week after the first showdown between these longtime AFC West rivals, both the Broncos and Chiefs came up short despite putting 31 and 38 points on the board, respectively. If you’re trying to figure out which loss hurt more, don’t waste your time.  What is worth discussing is that since Peyton Manning arrived in Denver in 2012, his team has scored at least 21 points in 27-of-28 contests (including playoffs), the lone exception being last season’s clash at Kansas City…

Jacksonville (2-9) at Cleveland (4-7): The good news for Gus Bradley’s team is that his Jaguars have suddenly won two of their last three games, both on the road. The bad news is that the Browns aren’t a member of the AFC South, which happens to be the only teams that Jacksonville has been able to beat since the start of 2012. It’s hard to believe either one of these clubs will be lighting up the scoreboard this Sunday consider they’ve combined for 345 points--84 points fewer than the Denver Broncos (429)…

Miami (5-6) at N.Y. Jets (5-6): On the verge of another home win and the chance to get above the .500 mark, the Dolphins let the Panthers off the hook by squandering a 16-3 second-quarter advantage. Three more turnovers by Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith gives him 23 for the season, the fourth time in five seasons that a Jets’ signal-caller (yes, Mark Sanchez did it three times) has coughed up ball at least that many times. It’s hard to believe that this is the first meeting of the season between these rivals…

New England (8-3) at Houston (2-9): When these teams met during the regular season a year ago on a Monday night at Foxborough, the Texans boasted the league’s best record at 11-1. Gary Kubiak’s team didn’t win that evening and hasn’t won much since, going a combined 4-13 in their last 17 outings, including a playoff loss to these Patriots. And we haven’t even brought up the fact that Tom Brady and company put a combined 83 points on the board in their two wins over Houston in 2012. Yikes…

St. Louis (5-6) at San Francisco (7-4): The silence of Jeff Fisher’s Rams has officially ended as wide receiver Tavon Austin and his teammates have put a combined 80 points on the board in their last 2 outings. The Niners were back on their game Monday night as their swarming defense kept the Washington Redskins out of the end zone all evening. And now Jim Harbaugh’s team is on the verge of getting back its top pass-catcher from a year ago. A slew of terrific pass-rushers in this tilt…

Tampa Bay (3-8) at Carolina (8-3): Three of the four teams in the NFC South have won at least three straight games and the Panthers currently own the league’s top streak with seven consecutive victories. One of those was a 31-13 Thursday night handling of the Buccaneers in Tampa, one of the poorer efforts of the season by Greg Schiano’s team. But quarterback Mike Glennon and company are humming now. It may some surprise some that both of these clubs are an impressive plus-10 in turnover differential…

Tennessee (5-6) at Indianapolis (7-4): How maddening are the Tennessee Titans? Mike Munchak’s team opened at 3-1, proceeded to drop five of their next six games. But after rallying to win at Oakland on Sunday, this club is suddenly the front-runner when it comes to the final AFC playoff spot. Front-running is certainly something the Colts can’t be accused of as of late. Chuck Pagano’s team has split its last four games and trailed by 14 or more points in each contest. But do these Titans have enough on defense?

Sunday Night

N.Y. Giants (4-7) at Washington (3-8): For the third consecutive season, the Giants have lost seven games. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this time, Tom Coughlin’s club needs to run the table to finish 9-7. Unfortunately for Mike Shanahan, the three in Robert Griffin III stands for the number of wins in 2013, quite a falloff for the defending NFC East champions. New York has yet to play turnover-free football in any game this season and the ‘Skins have managed that feat just once in 2013…

Monday Night, Dec. 2

New Orleans (9-2) at Seattle (10-1): The National Football League must do a better job of getting some matchups where the teams are more evenly matched. The Seahawks have scored 306 points this season and the Saints just 305. New Orleans’ run defense is a respectable 15th in the league and Seattle is only 16th. Pete Carroll’s defenders rank second in the NFL against the pass and Sean Payton’s club is third. At least both teams are 7-0 in the conference. Oh well, hopefully it turns out to be a pretty good game…


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