NFL Week 12 Predictions, Obscure QB Records and Writing Recap

Three games down, 13 to go with no more bye weeks. All three road teams won on Thanksgiving Thursday, which has never happened before. But this 2012 season has been full of things happening for the first time, so it fits.

If it looks like I’m running out of steam for these intros, it’s because I am after usually writing 15,000-20,000 words on the NFL during the week. There’s only so much more you can say.

This Week’s Articles

Captain Comeback Week 11: Houston Texans Lead Overtime Drama – Cold, Hard Football Facts

After no comebacks or game-winning drives in Week 10, we had five this week, including three overtime games. Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans had one of the most prolific offensive performances in NFL history, and that is the Drive of the Week. Also: a bizarre comeback with six turnovers by the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay’s wild comeback in Carolina, Tony Romo ties Roger Staubach in Dallas, and even the Packers do something they have never done before under Mike McCarthy: win a game after trailing after each of the first three quarters.

Tony Romo: Reality vs. Perception Check For Dallas Cowboys’ Quarterback – Bleacher Report

Updating the Tony Romo saga. With a 15-23 (.395) record at fourth-quarter comeback opportunities, Romo now has the same record as Roger Staubach did. But why such the huge difference in clutch perception? Find that out, plus more, including a comparison of Romo’s comebacks to Staubach’s.

Why Are the Lions Always Turkeys on Thanksgiving?NBC Sports

A look at Thursday and Thanksgiving football in the NFL. The home team was 7-3 on Thursday this season heading into the week, but went a record-first 0-3. Detroit faced the team with the best record in football for the fourth time in the last five years. I saw CBS steal the graphic I used in the table for this article. Thanks, CBS.

Following a Legend: Andrew Luck Week 11 at New England Patriots – Colts Authority

It was a rough four-turnover day for Luck in New England, but not all was bad as he threw for over 300 yards for the record-setting 5th time as a rookie.

The Thinking Man’s Guide: NFL Week 12 Predictions – Bleacher Report

This week we take a detailed look at the three Thanksgiving games, Cleveland’s Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick going from one extreme to another in terms of defense, and picks for all Week 12 games.

Tom Brady and Other Quarterbacks on Pace to Break Obscure NFL Records – Cold, Hard Football Facts

You know about the record streaks for counting stats like consecutive games with a touchdown pass or 300-yards passing, but what about the pass efficiency streaks for roughly league-average marks like 60.0 percent completions, 7.00 yards per attempt and a 90.0 passer rating? You will be surprised to learn no one has been able to do any of those things for all 16 games in a season. Find out if anyone is on pace this season, and who has come the closest in the past.

2012 NFL Week 12 Predictions

I had Houston, Dallas and New England on Thursday, so I start the week 2-1. A lot of road picks this week.

Winners in bold:

  • Bills at Colts
  • Broncos at Chiefs
  • Falcons at Buccaneers
  • Raiders at Bengals
  • Seahawks at Dolphins
  • Steelers at Browns
  • Titans at Jaguars
  • Vikings at Bears
  • Ravens at Chargers
  • 49ers at Saints
  • Rams at Cardinals
  • Packers at Giants
  • Panthers at Eagles

Season results:

  • Week 1: 12-4
  • Week 2: 11-5
  • Week 3: 4-12
  • Week 4: 10-5
  • Week 5: 10-4
  • Week 6: 5-9
  • Week 7: 12-1
  • Week 8: 10-4
  • Week 9: 11-3
  • Week 10: 9-4-1
  • Week 11: 11-3
  • Season: 105-54-1 (.659)
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NFL Week 11 Predictions, Backup Quarterbacks, 4th Down Failure and Writing Recap

Thought about sending in the backup to write this one, but I’m okay to start Week 11, which will hopefully feature more clutch wins and fourth-down attempts. After all, it is Colts/Patriots week.

This Week’s Articles

Captain Comeback Week 10: “Epic Comeback Failure” Limited Edition – Cold, Hard Football Facts

Find out how a game-winning punt return touchdown, rare overtime tie, and non-offensive game-winning field goal capped a bizarre week without a single fourth-quarter comeback win or game-winning drive. That has not happened since Week 13 of the 1973 season. But don’t worry, this one-shot edition covers the rarity in great detail.

Evaluating the Backup QB Plans – NBC Sports

With four injured starters, it was a good time to take a team-by-team look at the primary backup quarterback. Let’s just say the crop is not very strong when Matt Hasselbeck, Kyle Orton and Matt Moore might be your top three options. Hasselbeck has more starts than 22 backups combined.

Pittsburgh Steelers Cannot Win AFC North without Ben Roethlisberger – Bleacher Report

Without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers can forget about winning their division, which should require at least a split with the Ravens. Find out how they can still make the playoffs with Byron Leftwich (hint: Ohio).

Following a Legend: Andrew Luck Week 10 at Jacksonville Jaguars – Colts Authority

In a game that felt like ages ago, Andrew Luck made his prime time debut and played a decent game. But despite all the praise from people likely seeing him play a full, live game in the NFL for the first time, find out why it was no better than his fifth best performance of the season.

The Thinking Man’s Guide: NFL Week 11 Predictions – Bleacher Report

Colts vs. Patriots is always interesting. Detroit might find themselves a fourth-quarter comeback against Green Bay. It should be another record-setting day for Peyton Manning against San Diego. Byron Leftwich has not won a NFL start since October 8, 2006. Find out some quarterbacks who went longer between NFL wins as starters, as well as picks for every game.

NFL Coaches Are More Gutless Than Ever on Fourth Down – Cold, Hard Football Facts

Did you know teams are converting on fourth down 55.0 percent in 2012 (highest since 1991)? Now did you know they are going for it on fourth down the lowest percentage of time since 1991 as well? A breakdown of the recent increase in risk-adverse, gutless coaching, including a distribution of when teams go for it on fourth down, and the most common decision (4th and 1), which makes up 89.4 percent of all fourth-down attempts since 2000.

2012 NFL Week 11 Predictions

A week near and dear to my heart, as we have Colts/Patriots and Ravens/Steelers. But it won’t be the same without Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger involved, which also impacts the pick.

Winners in bold:

  • Cardinals at Falcons
  • Buccaneers at Panthers
  • Browns at Cowboys
  • Packers at Lions
  • Jaguars at Texans
  • Bengals at Chiefs
  • Jets at Rams
  • Eagles at Redskins
  • Saints at Raiders
  • Chargers at Broncos
  • Colts at Patriots
  • Ravens at Steelers
  • Bears at 49ers

Season results:

  • Week 1: 12-4
  • Week 2: 11-5
  • Week 3: 4-12
  • Week 4: 10-5
  • Week 5: 10-4
  • Week 6: 5-9
  • Week 7: 12-1
  • Week 8: 10-4
  • Week 9: 11-3
  • Week 10: 9-4-1
  • Season: 94-51-1

NFL Week 10 Predictions, Midseason Review and Award Predictions

In writing a NFL midseason review, it takes a lot of work to come up with something for all 32 teams. I learned that this week, passing the milestone of having written 200 articles (all but eight of them done since mid-July 2011).

But even after making playoff predictions and second-half predictions for the teams, one thing I did not write anywhere were my picks for the individual awards, so here they are. The picks are based on who I think has deserved it in the first half, and not necessarily who willl win the award at the end of the season.

First-Half Awards

  • MVP: Matt Ryan
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
  • Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chandler Jones
  • Coach of the Year: Mike Smith
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Peyton Manning

This Week’s Articles

Captain Comeback Week 9: New York Giants Shell-Shocked by Pittsburgh Steelers – Cold, Hard Football Facts

Pittsburgh came back on the road from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win for the third time in the Ben Roethlisberger era. Andrew Luck led his fourth game-winning drive in just his eighth game. Matt Ryan (27 years, 171 days) became the youngest QB to reach 20 game-winning drives. Also included is a review of how each team’s offense has done in 4QC/GWD opportunities this season. Only Houston and San Francisco has yet to face one.

NFL Midseason Report – NBC Sports

This is one of three articles I did for NBC Sports this week as part of a midseason review special, and this is the central piece that looks at all 32 teams: where they have been this year, and where they are headed.

Five Biggest Surprises of 2012 NFL Season – NBC Sports

Which surprises continue to amaze us halfway through the season? A look at Peyton Manning’s comeback in Denver, Andrew Luck and the Colts’ quick rebuild, the five rookie quarterbacks, the disappointment of the New Orleans Saints, and the recent dominance of Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin.

Are These NFL Teams Pretenders or Contenders? – NBC Sports

Finally, I take a look at some playoff hopefuls and just how legit their chances are, focusing on the remaining schedule and conference playoff races. Teams included: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, San Diego, Miami, NY Giants, Seattle, Minnesota, Detroit, and Tampa Bay. I conclude with a prediction for the 12 playoff seeds when it’s all said and done.

Andrew Luck: Midseason Review for Colts’ Rising Star – Bleacher Report

How good has Andrew Luck been so far? I break down his first eight games by the numbers and find all the records he’s already set or is on pace for. Hint: there are a lot of them.

Following a Legend: Andrew Luck Week 9 vs. Miami Dolphins – Colts Authority

My traditional Luck column, breaking down his record-setting performance by Miami where he passed for 433 yards and converted 12 of 17 third-down opportunities.

The Thinking Man’s Guide: NFL Week 10 Predictions – Bleacher Report

You voted for change? Well, not really, but change has come. Not only did I give a marquee preview of Texans/Bears, followed by Colts/Jags, Chargers/Bucs and Falcons/Saints, but I picked every game this week, and will continue to do s.

Predicting the Second Half of a NFL Season Using the First Half – Cold, Hard Football Facts – Cold, Hard Football Facts

Is the second half of the season just a repeat of the first half? Not quite, but we can learn some things from it. Since 2002, 71.3 percent of teams leading their division through eight games go on to win the division. Also some interesting results on the sustainability of offense versus defense, and more playoff predictions.

2012 NFL Week 10 Predictions

Dallas didn’t quite come through last week, marking the first time I picked against Atlanta this season. I am doing it again this week, but promise to only do it one more time at most going forward (regular season at least).

Winners in bold:

  • Raiders at Ravens
  • Broncos at Panthers
  • Giants at Bengals
  • Titans at Dolphins
  • Lions at Vikings
  • Bills at Patriots
  • Falcons at Saints
  • Chargers at Buccaneers
  • Jets at Seahawks
  • Cowboys at Eagles
  • Rams at 49ers
  • Texans at Bears
  • Chiefs at Steelers

Season results:

  • Week 1: 12-4
  • Week 2: 11-5
  • Week 3: 4-12
  • Week 4: 10-5
  • Week 5: 10-4
  • Week 6: 5-9
  • Week 7: 12-1
  • Week 8: 10-4
  • Week 9: 11-3
  • Season: 85-47

NFL Week 9 Predictions, Adjusted 4QC Records and Writing Recap

Only five articles this week, but that just means a bonanza next week when we officially hit the midpoint of the NFL’s regular season.

This Week’s Articles

Captain Comeback Week 8: Eli Manning Out-Clutches Tony Romo in Dallas – Cold, Hard Football Facts

Stat of the week: Eli Manning has produced just as many 4QC/GWD (3) in new Cowboys Stadium as Tony Romo. Only problem is Manning’s played there four times compared to 23 starts for Romo. Also: Cam Newton bounces around from Superman to Scam in Chicago, Matthew Stafford comes up big again, and Andrew Luck gets to 3 game-winning drives in just seven games. We also find that Betty White scores more in Cleveland than Philip Rivers.

Breaking Down What Went Wrong with Redskins’ Receivers in Loss to Steelers – Bleacher Report

Just how many passes did the Redskins drop in Pittsburgh on Sunday? Depends on which site you look at. I went through every incompletion and offered a look at each. Robert Griffin III’s stats were definitely impacted, but most of the plays weren’t as harmful to Washington’s cause as you might have expected.

Following a Legend: Andrew Luck Week 8 at Tennessee Titans – Colts Authority

Oh we have a logo now, and Andrew Luck has his second comeback and third GWD already with his best game of the season. Despite being pressured so frequently, Luck was very efficient and was at his best late in the game: 10/12 for 115 yards, TD and both incompletions were dropped. The Colts had a different gameplan this week, and I have the data to back it up.

The Thinking Man’s Guide: NFL Week 9 Predictions – Bleacher Report

This week we look at the 37 teams to start 7-0 since 1940. Tony Romo is the only QB in NFL history to defeat two undefeated teams who were 7-0 or better (9-0 Colts in 2006, 13-0 Saints in 2009). When Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger meet on Sunday, it will only be the 9th time a pair of quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl rings face each other (as active owners of 2+ rings). It is the 7th time the Steelers are involved in such a game, and the third year in a row for Roethlisberger. We also have a potential first meeting of rookies with winning records this late into the season with Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill. Finally, some perspective on how great Drew Brees has been in the Superdome in prime time, and how the Eagles and Michael Vick will try and save their season with a road win.

Best and Worst Quarterback Records In the Clutch Adjusted for Strength of Schedule – Cold, Hard Football Facts

I compiled over 800 fourth-quarter comeback opportunities for 25 active starting quarterbacks and broke them down for strength of schedule (SOS), looking at strength of victory, and the records against teams .500 or better and teams with a losing record. Some individual notes on all 25 quarterbacks included. Definitely some interesting results.

2012 NFL Week 9 Predictions

Originally I picked Atlanta to go 8-0, but doesn’t it seem like the stars are aligning for a Dallas upset? The Falcons are hardly dominant, even though they are hard to beat in that dome. The Cowboys have upset two undefeated teams in recent years, have a good  matchup here, and let’s not forget Tony Romo is Mr. November with a 19-2 record in the month. After all the criticism this week for the loss to the Giants, this is actually the perfect opportunity for the Cowboys to show up and deliver a big win.

Or, they will fall flat on their faces as the Falcons’ undefeated march continues. But I think I’m going to roll the dice and go with the upset.

Winners in bold:

  • Broncos at Bengals
  • Ravens at Browns
  • Cardinals at Packers
  • Bills at Texans
  • Dolphins at Colts
  • Lions at Jaguars
  • Bears at Titans
  • Panthers at Redskins
  • Buccaneers at Raiders
  • Vikings at Seahawks
  • Steelers at Giants
  • Cowboys at Falcons
  • Eagles at Saints

Season results:

  • Week 1: 12-4
  • Week 2: 11-5
  • Week 3: 4-12
  • Week 4: 10-5
  • Week 5: 10-4
  • Week 6: 5-9
  • Week 7: 12-1
  • Week 8: 10-4
  • Season: 74-44

The Whistleblower No. 4 – Mike Mayock, the 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers and the Worst Example Ever

Since we haven’t heard from The Whisteblower in a while, here was a little gold from right before the kickoff of Thursday Night Football on NFL Network.

Mike Mayock was talking about Kansas City’s awful turnover differential (-13; it was actually -18), and said this line in regards to it:

“I don’t care if you’re the 79 Steelers, you are not winning football games turning the ball over.”

That’s fine, except Mayock could not have picked a worse example than the 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 1979 Steelers turned the ball over 52 times (worst in the league), and still went 12-4 in the regular season. They even led the league in scoring as well (416 points). Their turnover differential was -10, so it’s not like the defense balanced things out that much.

In the playoffs, the Steelers continued turning the ball over, with 8 giveaways in the three games. They still won the Super Bowl. Terry Bradshaw was Super Bowl MVP despite still throwing three interceptions in the game.

Everyone gets it. “Turnovers are bad, mmkay?” But Mayock could not have picked a worse example to make his point.

This is probably going to be the highlight of the night watching this awful game between San Diego and Kansas City.

Update 8:57 P.M.: Mayock is in a battle with the Chiefs, who just turned the ball over again, to see who can have the worst night. After the Chiefs fumbled on a third-down screen, Mayock said it wouldn’t have mattered as they would have turned the ball over on downs. No, not even thinking it was fourth down, but thinking it was third down.

Wow. What ever happened to the punt and better field position?

Update 11:01 P.M.: After a pick six by the Chiefs, Mayock went to the well for the third time on the 79 Steelers.