Matter of Facts: Week 15 Statistical Onslaught

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 12, 2013



You can tell things are starting to wind down in the NFL.

That’s because the chase for the playoffs is just starting to wind up.

The Indianapolis Colts have clinched the AFC South and both the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos have secured postseason berths. All three of those teams were in the playoffs in 2012.

But what clubs are going to take the remaining nine spots? Many of those can be wrapped up this week. But as we all know, the final Sunday of the season will still have plenty of intrigue.

Onward…

Thursday Night, Dec. 12

San Diego (6-7) at Denver (11-2): There was a time when San Diego was a four-letter word to quarterback Peyton Manning as the Bolts always seemed to thwart his Colts. But since arriving in Denver last season, the prolific passer has won three straight in this series, throwing 10 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in those victories, including three or more scores in each contest. But Philip Rivers has also enjoyed his own success against the Broncos and given the state of both defensive units, it figures to be a very busy night for the scoreboard operator…

Sunday, Dec. 15

Arizona (8-5) at Tennessee (5-8): The surprising Cardinals are one victory away from their first winning season since 2009. And is it any wonder this team is a perfect 3-0 vs. the AFC South in 2013 considering head coach Bruce Arians spent last season in Indianapolis? The Titans squandered a 21-10 lead at Denver last Sunday and when it was all said and done Mike Munchak’s team allowed 51 points and his defense was on the field for 91 plays. And talk about hot and cold? Tennessee has allowed 79 points in five wins and given up 239 points in eight losses…

Buffalo (4-9) at Jacksonville (4-9): Number nine! Number nine! Make it nine losses for the Bills in 2013 and nine consecutive losing seasons for the franchise from Orchard Park, which can’t get out of its own way when it comes to stopping the run. Give head coach Gus Bradley credit as the once-winless Jaguars are 4-1 in their last five outings after a very forgettable 0-8 start this season and have prevailed in their last three games, the club’s longest winning streak since 2010. After spitting their first four games, the Bills are 2-7 in their last nine outings…

Chicago (7-6) at Cleveland (4-9): Thanks to Monday night’s humbling of the Cowboys, Marc Trestman’s team is back tied atop the NFC North. On the other hand, the Browns are one setback away from a sixth straight season of double-digit losses. But what really bears watching is a battle between arguably the two hottest wide receivers in the league in the form of talented second-year pros in Josh Gordon (1,400) and Alshon Jeffery (1,193), which are currently ranked first and fifth, respectively, in the league in receiving yards. Let the aerial circus begin…

Green Bay (6-6-1) at Dallas (7-6): On principal alone, I’m including a clip from the fabled “Ice Bowl” in this paragraph because it’s the Packers and the Cowboys and its December. And besides, the last time Green Bay visited Dallas was Super Bowl XLV and everyone knows what the weather was like that week. More importantly, both teams find themselves on the outside looking in at the moment when it comes to the playoffs. And even more important may be the realization that neither one of these team’s defenses can stop the opposing offense…

Houston (2-11) at Indianapolis (8-5): Last season, the Colts finished with 11 victories one season after going 2-14 in 2011. And perhaps that’s something the Texans can ponder this offseason. Meanwhile, Houston continues to slip deeper into the AFC South basement courtesy of their 11th straight loss last Thursday night at Jacksonville, a setback that proved to be the last game for head coach Gary Kubiak. And now it is Wade Phillips’ club that heads to Indianapolis, where the Texans are winless (0-11). But who can predict what Chuck Pagano’s erratic team will do?

Kansas City (10-3) at Oakland (4-9): Three straight losses were enough for Andy Reid and the Chiefs, who got a big effort from its offense and special teams in a 45-10 dismantling of the dysfunctional Redskins. Speaking of being taken apart, the Silver and Black couldn’t keep pace with the Jets in New Jersey, meaning the Raiders will finish with a losing season for the ninth time in the last 11 years. Oakland is riding a three-game losing streak and when these teams met nine weeks ago, then-starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor was sacked nine times. Just sayin’…

New England (10-3) at Miami (7-6): Make it 11 consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins for the Patriots, who pulled another Bullwinkle on Sunday against the startled Cleveland Browns. Now Bill Belichick’s club looks to wrap up a division title for a fifth consecutive season. But it won’t be easy against a suddenly-confident Miami team that comes off consecutive road wins as well as a season-high 181 yards rushing last week in a victory at Pittsburgh. It’s also worth noting that the Pats have allowed at least 24 points in each of their last five contests…

New Orleans (10-3) at St. Louis (5-8): Kudos to head coach Sean Payton and his squad for bouncing back from that debacle in Seattle and cooling off the red-hot Panthers at the Superdome. Even if Jeff Fisher’s team wins the game runs the table, the Rams will fall short of a winning season for the 10th consecutive year. After a brief spurt which saw them score a combined 80 points in two games, St. Louis has totaled 23 points in its last two outings. Want a comparison? Drew Brees has thrown 33 touchdown passes while the Rams have scored 32 total touchdowns…

N.Y. Jets (6-7) at Carolina (9-4): There have been references here in the past to cheese steaks (Geno’s) due to the name of the Jets’ rookie quarterback. But it’s Ron Rivera’s team that finds itself with a very interesting opponent sandwiched between Sunday night’s 31-13 loss to the Superdome and next Sunday’s rematch with the Saints at Carolina. But the reality is that no team in the league has allowed fewer points than the Panthers (188) and only Jacksonville has scored fewer points than Rex Ryan’s team (206), that despite last week’s 37-point outburst…

Philadelphia (8-5) at Minnesota (3-9-1): From 3-5 and questions about head coach Chip Kelly to five straight wins and the outright lead in the NFC East. The Eagles are getting it done on all sides of the ball these days. Has any team had a more interesting last three weeks than the Vikings, who after playing back-to-back overtime games came up on the short end of a 29-26 decision in Baltimore in which the two teams combined for 42 points in the fourth quarter? Minnesota is one setback away from following up a 10-win season with a 10-loss campaign…

San Francisco (9-4) at Tampa Bay (4-9): While these teams are at the opposite ends of the spectrum, this figures to be an intriguing matchup for Niners’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who will face a defense that appears to be getting its act together. Speaking of which, guess which team suddenly leads the NFL with 29 takeaways? Yes, it’s the Buccaneers, who have forced 15 turnovers in their last four games, including a dozen interceptions. Greg Schiano’s team isn’t headed to the playoffs but is more than capable of playing spoiler this Sunday afternoon…

Seattle (11-2) at N.Y. Giants (5-8): Although the Seahawks saw their seven-game winning streak snapped at San Francisco last Sunday, head coach Pete Carroll has to like his team’s chances this week all the way across the country. The Giants won’t be headed to the playoffs for the second straight year and the fourth time in five seasons as Tom Coughlin’s team has now turned over the ball 34 times in 13 games. And when you consider that only the Buccaneers (29) have totaled more takeaways than the Seahawks (28), anyone can do that math…

Washington (3-10) at Atlanta (3-10): After RG3 added up to III wins in 2013, head coach Mike Shanahan has opted to sit down last season’s NFL Rookie of the Year and is giving second-year pro Kirk Cousins the start this week. Mike Smith’s team missed its chance to have its first two-game winning streak of the season after falling a point short at Lambeau Field last Sunday. To think these teams both captured division titles this season and have now combined for just six victories this season, not exactly what this version of Mike & Mike was hoping for in 2013…

Sunday Night

Cincinnati (9-4) at Pittsburgh (5-8): If the Bengals didn’t already have distain for the Browns, they certainly did last week after their intrastate rivals blew a late lead to the Patriots and spoiled Cincinnati’s chance (for now) of grabbing the AFC’s second seed. The Steelers have put the foot in football the last two weeks thanks to the sideline straddling of Mike Tomlin and Antonio Brown, respectively, in losses to the Ravens and Dolphins. Marvin Lewis’ team is on the verge of their first division title since 2009 and a team-record third straight playoff appearance…

Monday Night, Dec. 16

Baltimore (7-6) at Detroit (7-6): Fortunately for both the Ravens and Lions, each of these clubs got an extra day to thaw out after last week’s performances in the elements. But while these teams will meet Monday night in the Motor City, they also appear to be headed in opposite directions. John Harbaugh’s club has won three straight after opening 4-6, while Jim Schwartz’s squad is 1-3 in their last four contests. Of course, when you fumble 14 times (losing 8) and commit a total of 15 turnovers in those four outings, there is certainly reason for concern…


From our partners




Must See Videos
NFL Draft Changing Cities, Moving Out Of New York City | FootballNation.com
2014 NFL Draft: No Dunking In Football
2014 NFL Combine Winners

Team Pages
AFC East NFC
South
North
West

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...
Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.




The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2014 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI