Matter of Facts: Week 6 Statistical Onslaught

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 10, 2013

By Russell S. Baxter
Cold Hard Football Facts Fact-Master (@BaxFootballGuru)

Ten days into October and it’s time to get some important things done. No procrastination is a CHFF motto (I think).

What are you wearing for Halloween?

What kind of candy will you be giving to the trick-or-treaters (make sure you buy extra of your own favorite)?

The holiday is exactly three weeks from Thursday so don’t wait until the last minute.

That goes for four NFL teams waiting to get their first win of 2013. For the Giants, Jaguars, Steelers and Buccaneers, there’s nothing like the present.

Present? That’s Christmas. Let’s not rush things.

On to Week 6…

Thursday Night, Oct. 10

N.Y. Giants (0-5) at Chicago (3-2): Let’s see. The New York Football Giants have already turned over the football 20 times in five games and are off to their worst start since 1987. The Bears have dropped two games in a row after a 3-0 start and despite 14 takeaways this season Marc Trestman’s team did not force a turnover in last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints. The reeling Giants have lost seven straight on the road by a combined 220-81 score. And rumor has it if they’re losing at the half this week at Soldier Field that they will resort to a change in footwear

Sunday, Oct. 13

Arizona (3-2) at San Francisco (3-2): At this time a year ago the Cardinals were coming off their first loss of the season following a 4-0 start. Who knew it would be the first of 11 setbacks in their final 12 games? Apparently the magic number for San Francisco is not 49 but 34. As in 34 or more points in each of their three wins this season, compared to a combined 10 points in a pair of losses. Arizona looks like an improved team but quarterback Carson Palmer has already been sacked a dozen times and committed 10 turnovers in five games this season…

Carolina (1-3) at Minnesota (1-3): Apparently the Panthers refuse to get out of their own way during the months of September and October and half of November. In their first 10 games the last three seasons dating back to 2011 (under head coach Ron Rivera), Carolina apparently doesn’t have football on its mind, going a combined 5-19 over that span. On the other hand, Leslie Frazier’s club returns from its mini-vacation and is coming off its first victory of the season. But the Vikings have also allowed at least 27 points in each game they’ve played in 2013…

Cincinnati (3-2) at Buffalo (2-3): So far the 2013 Bengals resemble the early 2012 Seattle Seahawks, winning at home (3-0) and winless on the road (0-2). But for the most part, Cincinnati’s defense has been fairly staunch, allowing a combined 23 points the last two weeks. It will be Thaddeus Lewis behind center (for injured EJ Manuel) for Doug Marrone’s Bills, who are obviously an improved team but we just haven’t seen it in back-to-back weeks. Let’s see how much time defensive end Mario Williams spends in the Bengals’ backfield on Sunday?

Detroit (3-2) at Cleveland (3-2): Bobby Layne vs. Otto Graham? Not quite but not bad either as both the Lions and Browns are both off to good starts in 2013. Detroit is one win away from matching last season’s total and Cleveland is two victories away from doing the same. Running back Reggie Bush has done wonders for the Lions offense, which hopes to have wideout Calvin Johnson back this week. Speaking of pass catchers, Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is having a terrific 2013 to date and we’ll see if he can abuse the Detroit linebackers…

Green Bay (2-2) at Baltimore (3-2): Although the Packers did what they usually did last week in beating the Lions at Lambeau Field, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and company only found the end zone once last Sunday in their 22-9 win. And given what we’ve seen from the Ravens at home this season, the Pack doesn’t figure to be back scoring touchdowns on Sunday. All kidding aside, the Green Bay offensive front had better be as efficient as they were last week. Led by outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (7.0), Baltimore’s defense has totaled 19 sacks in five games…

Jacksonville (0-5) at Denver (5-0): We could do this so many ways but first things first and let’s give the Broncos a big hand for their amazing start. Denver has already scored 230 points in five games, including 51 points last week. The Jaguars have scored 51 points this season and just 306 points in their last 21 games (2-19) dating back to the start of 2012. It’s hard to imagine Gus Bradley’s team keeping pace here but the Jaguars did score 20 points last week at St. Louis and the Broncos have allowed 20-plus points in all five of their outings this season…

New Orleans (5-0) at New England (4-1): Yep, this was supposed to be the week that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was supposed to tie Drew Brees record streak of 54 straight games with at least one touchdown pass. But the king of Foxborough got crowned in the Queen City, hence so much for a little statistical irony. Both of these clubs have made their bones this season on defense, the Pats allowing just 14.0 points per game and the Saints 14.6. But wouldn’t it be nice to see a Rob Gronkowski/Jimmy Graham duel this day at Gillette Stadium?

Oakland (2-3) at Kansas City (5-0): Dennis Allen’s team picked up a real nice victory last week over the mistake-prone San Diego Chargers as the Silver and Black forced five turnovers, two more than they managed in their first four games of the season. Andy Reid’s club continues to roll along thanks to a defense that continues to make the most of opponents’ miscues. The Chiefs have limited all five of their opponents to 17 points or less this season, quite a reversal of fortune considering the 2012 edition managed that feat just four times in 16 contests…

Philadelphia (2-3) at Tampa Bay (0-4): Here’s what we know about Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles so far. They know how to beat the teams in their own division, hence road wins over the Redskins and Giants. We also know that the Birds’ defense has its share of issues this season. But Philly has beaten only one non-divisional opponent since opening 3-1 in 2012 and that’s the Buccaneers, who are 1-9 in their last 10 games after a 6-4 start under Greg Schiano. Hence, the Eagles are indeed the intelligent choice here and the brains at CHFF certainly agree…

Pittsburgh (0-4) at N.Y. Jets (3-2): The year 1968 means very different things to these clubs. For the Steelers, it marks the last time the team opened 0-4. For the Green and White, it was the franchise’s lone appearance in the Super Bowl, a 16-7 win over the Colts. On head coach Don Shula’s staff in Baltimore that season was an assistant named Chuck Noll. In 1969, he became the Steelers’ head coach and the rest is history. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes look like in 2013. But these new-look Jets have become very intriguing…

St. Louis (2-3) at Houston (2-3): Jeff Fisher returns once again to Houston, where he began his head-coaching career in the middle of the 1994 season when Jack Pardee was fired by the Oilers. Of course, Fisher knows the Texans well and amassed a 13-5 record vs. his former AFC South rival from 2002-10 while with the Titans. Houston quarterback Matt Schaub has had his issues and last week in San Francisco made it four straight games that he threw an interception that was taken back for a touchdown. Will the bleeding stop this week for the Texans?

Tennessee (3-2) at Seattle (4-1): Mike Munchak’s finally committed a few turnovers last week and they proved quite costly in a home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Speaking of turnovers, second-year Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has piled up his share of miscues this season. Pete Carroll’s club comes off his first loss of the season but are back home, where they have won 10 straight games dating back to 2012 by a combined score of 317-115. That’s easy math if you’re looking for a per-game average. And a lot easier than the task awaiting the Titans…

Sunday Night

Washington (1-3) at Dallas (2-3): The Redskins have not only had two weeks to savor their first win of the season but for quarterback Robert Griffin III to get a bit healthier. Meanwhile, the Cowboys and their fans have had a few days to forget all of quarterback Tony Romo’s 25 completions vs. the Denver Broncos (for 506 yards and 5 touchdowns) and focus on that interception. But has anyone noticed that Jason Garrett’s club has blown double-digit leads each of the last two weeks and allowed a total of 81 points? Funny how that happens…

Monday Night, Oct. 14

Indianapolis (4-1) at San Diego (2-3): Chuck Pagano’s club has won three straight games since that loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, including victories over the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. A year ago, the Colts were outscored by 30 points in finishing 11-5. This season, the club is already +60 in scoring differential and is allowing only 15.8 points per contest. Pagano’s team is also learning to take away the football, bad news for a perplexing Chargers’ team that coughed it up five times in their late-night loss to the Raiders last week…

Off this week: Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins

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