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Around the NFL – Week 8

10.29.10 at 2:36 pm ET
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Here’s your weekly collection of statistical observations regarding each game and every team around the NFL:



* – If you thought that there were lots of points being scored last weekend, you were right. There was an average of 26.32 points per team last week, the second highest average since at least 1970:

27.18 – Week 7, 1983
26.32 – Week 7, 2010
26.29 – Week 6, 1987


Dolphins at Bengals

* – The 22 points in the third quarter last week by the Bengals was the most in the NFL since 2003 and the most ever by the Bengals.

* – Over the last four weeks, the Bengals have allowed 13-of-14 conversions on third down and three yards or fewer (93 percent; ranked last). In that same span, Miami’s offense has converted just 46 percent of those tries (28th).

* – 63 percent of the Dolphins pass plays from inside their opponents’ 30-yard-line have been either incomplete, intercepted, or resulted in a sack. In other words, they’ve ended badly. That’s the highest percentage in the league.

* – Miami remains the only team without a touchdown pass of more than 21 air yards this season.

* – The Dolphins have been hit with the fewest penalties in the league (24). Shoot, the Raiders have more penalties than that on both their offense AND their defense. Miami is on pace for 64 penalties for the season, which is within shouting distance of New England’s post-1982 record of just 58 flags in 2008.


Buccaneers at Cardinals

* – Tampa Bay has scored a touchdown in the first quarter in just one of their last 12 games. Which leads to…

* – The Bucs have trailed at the half in seven of their last eight wins, dating back to 2008.

* – Arizona is averaging 14.2 first downs per game, last in the league.

* – The Cardinals have more fumbles (19) than any team in the league and their 11 lost fumbles ranks second (San Diego, 12).

* – Tampa Bay has allowed only two first downs via penalty this season, fewest in the league. Arizona has ALLOWED a whopping 19 such first downs, tied with Detroit for the most.

* – The Bucs have allowed six touchdowns on passes of 21 or more air yards this season, tied for the most in the NFL. But Arizona has completed only three such passes (touchdown or not) all season (31st).


Jaguars at Cowboys

* – Last Monday, Dallas became the first team in the last 46 NFL weeks (Week 11, 2007) to lose a game despite receiving five turnovers (or more). It was the first time since 2002 that Dallas has lost despite that many takeaways.

* – Jacksonville has allowed 14 or more points in their last 40 games, by far the longest current streak in the league:

40 – Jaguars
17 – Raiders
11 – Broncos

* – The Jags opponents have scored in the second quarter in their last 27 straight games.

* – Jacksonville has gone for it a league-high 13 times on fourth down this season, but Dallas’ opponents have tried on fourth down just twice, tied for the fewest in the NFL.

* – The Jaguars have allowed an NFL-high 28 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Can John Kitna exploit this? (He’s a man. He’s forty-ish.)

* – These two seem like strange bedfellows: Dallas’ rushers have been stuffed (lost yardage) only nine times, the fewest in the league. But only 41 percent of their rushing yardage has come following contact, ranked 27th. Sounds like there’s a fine line.

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Peter King on D&H: The Brett Favre situation, and Bill Belichick’s phenomenal season

10.29.10 at 1:54 pm ET
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Peter King of and NBC Sports joined the Dale & Holley Show on Friday to discuss the state of the NFL, including the league-changing impact of special teams this year, the struggles of the Cowboys, Saints and Broncos, as well as the looming contract situation with Peyton Manning and the Colts.

He also rebutted the suggestion that the Vikings have been looking for an opportunity to turn over the offense to Tavaris Jackson. King said that the only thing that might keep Brett Favre away from Monday’s game against the Patriots would be his health, and that “unequivocally,” Vikings coach Brad Childress is not looking for a chance to move away from Favre.

King also praised the coaching job being done by the Patriots in getting a number of young players — primarily rookies — to be effective contributors on both sides of the ball. He suggested that, to this point, Tom Brady and Manning would be his MVPs.

A transcript of the interview is below. To listen to it, click here.

On the league this week:

What’€™s interesting is that Randy Moss comes back to town for you guys and that’€™s hardly the story. ‘€¦ It just seems this week, as so many weeks have [been] in the past, it’€™s all Favre, all the time.

You’€™ve got something special you’€™re working on for Monday’€¦

I really don’€™t. I’€™m actually doing a story for the magazine for the story next week about special teams and their impact on the first half of this season. It just seems every week, there are two or three plays, I think special teams have been a huge impact. And it’€™s one of those things that you barely ever, ever think about in the offseason. When’€™s the last time someone called your show in May and said, ‘€˜I wonder who the Patriots gunner is going to be.’€™ Ask the San Diego Chargers if they care. They have lost four games this year, lost, because of special teams.

What’€™s your guess: will Favre play on Monday, and if not, is it because of health or because Brad Childress doesn’€™t want him as a quarterback?

My guess is yes, and the answer to the second question is absolutely not. I’€™ll tell you sort of what I know. Here’€™s exactly what’€™s going on. You can take what I’€™m about to say to the bank. Brad Childress has not made a decision yet about what he’€™s going to do. Starting here in a little while, when the Minnesota Vikings take the practice field in Eden Prairie, Minn., he is going to judge Brett Favre’€™s readiness based on about an hour and 15 minutes of practice today and then how he comes back from that tomorrow in the walk-through ‘€“ how nimble he is today and whether he’€™s OK in the walk-through. That, and only that, is what is going to be used to judge whether Brett Favre plays [Monday] against the Patriots.

There have been stories written overnight and a lot of things have been said publicly that I’€™ve heard. But I think I know what’€™s going on with this story well, and what’€™s going on is that if Favre looks good in practice, moves around and can basically prepare himself in the eyes of Brad Childress, he definitely will play on Monday. And if he can’€™t, he won’€™t. I have looked into this week whether Brad Childress would be using this as an excuse to transition away from Brett Favre and towards Tavaris Jackson, because he quite frankly is unhappy with a lot of the decisions that Favre have been making in games, and everybody knows that.

I have been told that the answer is absolutely, unequivocally not. This is going to be a decision based solely on how he looks in practice and whether he’€™s healthy enough to play.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, brad childress, Brett Favre, jennifer sterger

Brett Favre practices, looks ‘ok’

10.29.10 at 1:23 pm ET
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Brett Favre returned to practice on Friday in Minnesota and was throwing the ball to jogging receivers, according to the twitter page of Judd Zulgad, a blogger and reporter covering Vikings practice.

Zulgad reported that “Favre is on the practice field and was doing some light throwing. Looked to be moving OK.”

On Thursday, several media outlets reported that Vikings coach Brad Childress was leaning toward sitting Favre because of his limited mobility due to broken bones in his ankle. Favre enters Sunday’s game in Foxboro against the Patriots having started 291 straight games, the longest consecutive games-played streak in NFL history.

Read More: brad childress, Brett Favre, minnesota vikings, New England Patriots

Pats practice Friday: Taylor, Page and Jenkins absent

10.29.10 at 12:21 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Running back Fred Taylor, safety Jarrad Page and practice squad receiver Darnell Jenkins were the only players missing from Patriots practice on Friday on the main stadium field at Gillette Stadium.

The team practiced in sweats and shells in ideal conditions as they made final preparations for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon in Foxboro. Taylor injured his toe during the Sept. 26 win over the Bills at Gillette while Page injured his calf last weekend in San Diego. Jenkins has been at practice this week until missing Friday.

Belichick said during his Friday briefing that Taylor is making progress off the field in his effort to return from a toe injury that has forced him to miss the last three games.

Read More: darnell jenkins, Fred Taylor, Jarrad Page, minnesota vikings

Bill Belichick as JFK

10.29.10 at 11:31 am ET
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FOXBORO — In one of his most animated and colorful media briefings of the season, Bill Belichick turned the tables on reporters, asking questions ranging from Halloween costumes and candy to what reporters would feel like if they were constantly asked when they would return to work if they weren’t feeling well.

Belichick immediately showed that Friday would be an animated session when he opened with:

“Got your Halloween costume ready?”

Then the Patriots head coach was asked if he was going to dress up.

“Yeah, I’€™ll be a ghost,” he quipped. “Got your candy ready? What are we giving out this year? Remember when you were a kid and you went back to the house that had good candy twice? And then they threw you out like, ‘€˜Hey, you’€™ve been here. Get out of here.’€™ Or you hope that everybody didn’€™t show up at your house and there was some left over. Those were the days.”

What about his all-time favorite costume of all-time?

“I kind of lucked into it. It was John Kennedy.” said Belichick of his 1962 outfit. “It was easy. You dress up and you put on the mask. But it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis as it turned out. I think I won the prize there. Everybody was really impressed that the president was able to break away from the Cuban Missile Crisis to attend a Halloween party ‘€“ a school Halloween party. Yeah, Joe Bellino. Those were the days.”

Does he have a Randy Moss mask?

“I don’€™t. I bet there will be some this weekend, though. There will be some. What could be a better holiday than costumes and candy? How can you go wrong? Whoever came up with that ‘€“ that was brilliant.”

Then the presser moved onto the more traditional. He was asked if he put any stock in the reports that Vikings head coach Brad Childress is leaning toward holding out injured quarterback Brett Favre because of two broken bones in his ankle.

“None,” Belichick said. “I don’€™t put any stock in their reports. They don’€™t know. We’€™ll prepare for all the players. The ones that play, we’€™ll try to defend. The ones that don’€™t, we won’€™t. It’€™s fairly straight forward, really. It’€™s the same media reports that said Terrell Owens wasn’€™t going to play in the Super Bowl. Are those the ones you’€™re talking about?”

If Favre doesn’t start and play, his consecutive games streak will end at 291.

“Like the great ones, [Cal] Ripken, [Lou] Gehrig, all the great ones,” Belichick said, adding his perspective. “Hard to make it thru 16-game season. Says a lot about his durability.”

One of his own players, Belichick said, is making progress off the field. Fred Taylor has been out since injuring a toe during the Sept. 26 Bills game at Gillette Stadium.

“Fred’s definitely made a lot of progress,” Belichick said. “Now that he’s back doing things, he’s making progress.”

Then he turned the tables on reporters.

“Next time you get a cold, I’ll ask you exactly what date you’ll be feeling better, how would you like that?”

As long as the questions keep coming, most of the media wouldn’t mind at all.

Read More: Bill Belichick, brad childress, Brett Favre, Cal Ripken

Adam Schefter on D&C: Brett Favre, Brad Childress dynamic not just about the injury

10.29.10 at 9:47 am ET
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Appearing on the Dennis & Callahan Show, ESPN’s Adam Schefter talked about the decision Vikings coach Brad Childress is faced with in regard to deciding if an injured Brett Favre will get the start Sunday against the Patriots. Schefter said that while he didn’t know if it would be Favre or Tavaris Jackson in the Minnesota starting lineup, he did say that the quarterback situation went beyond just determining whether or not Favre’s injured ankle was OK.

“The bottom line to all of this, is that there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye,” Schefter said. “It’s really intriguing how it’s going to unfold, and I don’t have an answer to how it’s going to unfold.”

Here is the rest of the Schefter interview (to listen to the segment click here):

“I think where this story is at right now is that I think there’s a part of Brad Childress that wants to start Tavaris Jackson, period, as his quarterback. Partly due to health, partly due to performance, not just health. The question I have is not whether Brett Favre is going to be tough enough to fight through this injury and play, the question is whether or not Brad Childress has the fortitude, the courage, the bravado to go and bench Brett Favre.”

(Childress caring about breaking Favre’s starting streak) “I don’t think he cares at this point. Here’s the thing. We’re going to get the answer on Sunday. That’s what is so intriguing about it. Whether he feels like, ‘You know what? I don’t care. I’m going to do what I want. We’re going to go with the quarterback I want to play.’ You’ll know when that game is kicking off what Brad Childress has decided.”

(What if Childress starts Favre and then takes him out?) “All that does is delay that question for another week, although Tavaris comes in and struggles against the Patriots’ defense, and if that’s the case then it’s easy next week. But if he comes in and plays well what does he do next week?”

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Nuggetpalooza’s Gameday Preview – Vikings vs. Patriots

10.29.10 at 8:54 am ET
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So just about the entire country will be tuning in to Foxboro at 4:15 on Sunday to see Brett Favre meet Tom Brady, er, the Vikings and the Patriots. Patriots, play some defense and rush the passer and you SHOULD be okay.


* – Over the last 12 regular season home games for New England: 12-0. 23 or more points scored in each. 27 touchdown passes vs. just five interceptions.


* – Tom Brady vs. Brett Favre: Catchable balls: Brady 74.2 percent (ranked first); Favre 65.4 percent (ranked 19th).


* – The Patriots have scored 14 or more points in their last 20 games, the second longest current streak in the league (San Diego, 29).


* – In each of the last seven seasons, the Patriots have held at least three opponents to fewer than 10 points, the longest such streak in the league since at least 1990. That streak is in serious jeopardy as they have no such games yet this season. The Vikings haven’t had even one such season since 1998. Detroit’s last season holding three or more opponents under 10 points? 1983.


* – The last two NFL teams to win and score 23 or more points DESPITE fewer than 190 total yards were: The Vikings (a 24-21
win over Dallas in Week 6) and the Patriots (their 23-20 win at San Diego last Sunday). New England is just the second team to accomplish that in a road game since the end of the 2006 season.


* – The Patriots have only six turnovers this season, tied for the third fewest in the league. The Bears had six turnovers just last Sunday alone.

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