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Nuggetpalooza: Turkey day stats nuggets on Patriots-Jets!

Here are some numbers that I found interesting as the Patriots travel to New York to meet the Jets on Thanksgiving night:

* – Now that the byes are all over for this year, all teams have played 42 games since the start of the 2010 season and the Patriots own the best record in the league over that span:

34-8 – Patriots
32-10 – Falcons
32-10 – Ravens
32-10 – Packers
30-12 – Steelers

The worst record in the league in that span belongs to the Panthers (10-32).

Note this: New England’s 15-6 road record is also the NFL’s best in that span, just ahead of Atlanta (14-7) and Pittsburgh (14-7).

* – The Patriots are averaging a league high 35.8 points per game through 10 games this season, which would be the third-highest average in the NFL since 1960 if it holds up:

36.8 – Patriots, 2007
36.6 – Oilers, 1961
35.8 – Patriots, 2012
35.0 – Packers, 2011
34.8 – Vikings, 1998

* – On Sunday the Patriots scored in the third quarter for the 19th consecutive game, extending the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1997.

* – Be sure to turn the game on at the start as these two defenses have allowed LOTS of points on their opponents’ first possession of the game. The Jets have allowed 34 points (four touchdowns, two field goals) on their opponents’ 10 opening drives, while the Patriots have allowed 30 (three touchdowns, three field goals).

* – New England  has scored a first-quarter touchdown in each of its last eight road games, the longest streak in the league since at least 1997:

8 – Patriots (2011-12)
7 – Titans (2004-05)
6 – Five times

* – New England leads the NFL with 14 recoveries of opponent fumbles, its most in any full season since falling on 16 in 2004. Since the merger in 1970, the Patriots have never led the league outright in fumble recoveries. The closest they’ve come was in 1976, when they recovered a club-record 27 fumbles, tying the Saints for the most in the NFL that season.

* – Through 10 games, the Patriots lead the league in first downs, averaging 28.4 per game. That’s on pace to shatter the NFL record (since 1970):

28.4* – Patriots, 2012
26.0   – Saints, 2011
24.9   – Patriots, 2011
24.9   – Chiefs, 2004
24.6   – Patriots, 2007

* – Stevan Ridley has lost yardage on 17 first-down rushes, the most in the league this season:

17 – Stevan Ridley, Patriots
16 – Arian Foster, Texans
15 – Jamaal Charles [1], Chiefs

In fact, the Patriots have rushed for negative yardage on first down 12 times in their last three games, the most in the league in that span. But the Jets defense has managed to stop its opponents just twice for negative yardage rushes over the last three games (after getting 14 such stops over the first seven games).

* – Only 193 of the Jets’ 321 pass attempts (60.1 percent) this season have been ruled as “catchable,” the lowest percentage in the league:

60.1 percent – Jets
61.0 percent – Cardinals
61.2 percent – Panthers
62.1 percent – Buccaneers [2]

* – The Patriots have converted over 50 percent of their third-down tries in each of their last four games, matching their longest such streak (set in 2007) since they began tracking the stat in 1991. The league record streak is five consecutive games, set by the 2005 Colts, 2002-2003 Vikings, and 1998 Vikings.

Note this: The Jets have allowed greater than 50 percent conversions just once in their last seven games and that one was against the Patriots on Oct. 21 in Foxboro. Here’s the thing, though: In their last 19 home games, they’ve allowed over 40 percent conversions just twice.

* – New England’s opponents have completed 4-of-6 “bombs” this season (i.e. passes thrown more than 40 yards in the air), the most such completions against any defense in the league this year and one shy of the club record (since 1991), set in 1996 and 2004. Here’s the thing, though: Neither the Patriots or the Jets have completed such a pass in a long time. The Patriots have no such completions in their last 24 games (0-for-11) while the Jets have gone 33 games (0-for-15) without one.

* – On completed passes thrown 10 or more yards downfield, the Jets have allowed an average of 2.40 yards after those catches, the lowest average in the league (through Week 10):

2.40 – Jets
2.66 – Vikings
2.88 – Panthers

* – New York’s passing offense is on track for one of its worst seasons since 1991 against blitzes. The Jets have completed just 47.9 percent of their passes when their opponent brings extra rushers, which would be their second-lowest/worst percentage since the stat has been tracked:

46.5 percent – 1994
47.9 percent – 2012
48.2 percent – 2005

Note this: Since the start of the 2010 season, the Jets have completed 68 percent against Patriots blitzes (23-of-34), their highest such completion percentage against any of their 15 opponents where they’ve attempted at least 10 such passes in that span.

* – Each of the Patriots’ last 201 rushes against the Jets have gone for fewer than 20 yards, dating back to a 20-yard run by Kevin Faulk [3] back in November 2008. That’s the longest streak by the Jets defense against any opponent since at least 2006:

201 – vs. Patriots (2008-current)
139 – vs. Patriots (2006-2008)
121 – vs. Dolphins (2008-2010)
111 – vs. Dolphins (2006-2008)

To put that in perspective, in the Patriots’ 10 games this season, their longest streak without a 20-yard rushing play has been 73 rushes.

* – Many of you probably had a feeling about this one: Only 30 percent of the Patriots’ passing yardage has come on plays gaining 20 or more yards, the third-lowest percentage in the NFL:

25.9 percent – Vikings
29.8 percent – Cardinals
30.4 percent – Patriots

But this is a fairly big departure from the Patriots of last year, when 43 percent of their passing yards came on 20-plus yard plays (12th-highest percentage), or 2010 (41 percent, also 12th).

Note this: 49.2 percent of passing yards against the Patriots defense [4] has come on gains of 20-plus yards this season, the highest percentage in the NFL, more than two percentage points higher than the Chiefs, who rank second highest. The Patriots ranked 30th last season (45.2 percent).

NFL note: These teams have created the highest percentage of their total passing yards via gains of 20-plus yards this season:

51.0 percent – Buccaneers
48.2 percent – Ravens
46.0 percent – Panthers
45.1 percent – Redskins
43.8 percent – Broncos [5]

* – Both the Patriots and Jets have scored five return touchdowns this season. Each has returned two interceptions, one punt, one kickoff and one fumble for scores.

* – The Patriots lead the league in red zone drives by a wide margin with 49 (no other team has more than 41) and are averaging 5.4 points on those drives, the second-highest average in the league (New Orleans, 5.6). On top of that, the Jets defense has ALLOWED an average of 5.4 points on red zone drives, which is the fifth-highest/worst mark in the league. Only the Bills (5.9), Chargers (5.6), Broncos (5.5) and Colts (5.5) have been worse in the red zone this season.

Note this: Since ranking third best in 2009 by allowing 4.1 points per red zone drive, the Jets have ranked in the bottom half of the league in all three seasons since.

* – So far in 2012, Jets opponents have started 17 drives on New York’s side of the 50-yard-line. Only three teams (Buffalo, Oakland, Kansas City) have allowed more. That’s an average of almost one such drive per game more than New England’s opponents have gotten (8). In terms of points allowed, the Jets have allowed 65 points on those drives while the Patriots have allowed only 34, an average difference of just over three points per game.

Everyone have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!