13) Over last three years, Carolina Panthers (3, all on special teams) have scored the least amount of touchdowns on defense/special teams; they’ve allowed 18. By way of contrast, Bears/Vikings lead NFL with 18 such TD’s over last three years.
12) Hard to believe, but Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t scored a special teams TD in last three seasons; Giants-Rams haven’t scored one in last two years. Giants also have only one defensive TD the last two seasons- they have won a Super Bowl during that time, though.
11) Houston Texans allowed 9.3 ppg less LY than in 2010; hope they gave DC Wade Phillips a raise. Part of reason is that their two games with Indy got lot simpler with Peyton Manning out of action, but Mario Williams also missed 11 games for the Texans.
10) Arizona Cardinals ran 32 plays inside opponents’ 5-yard LY; none of them were completed passes (0-3). Detroit Lions completed eight passes inside the 5, just to Calvin Johnson.
8) Should be noted that former Fordham Ram John Skelton was 6-2 as starting QB of the Cardinals LY. San Diego State rookie QB Lindley is getting solid reviews with the Redbirds this summer. Kevin Kolb? No solid reviews yet this month.
I hesitate to do this, but the Cardinals had some kind of a team meeting this week, after their first preseason game. They're playing Oakland at home on Friday, with Raiders on a very short week. If Arizona can't drill the Raiders in this game, you wonder about them. Sounds like they'll give an effort.
7) Over the last two seasons, Chicago RB Matt Forte has carried ball 15 times on plays that started 5 or less yards from the goal line; he scored only one touchdown.
6) Lot of reasons why teams improve dramatically, but the Lions scored seven defensive TD’s LY, after scoring a total of one the previous two seasons. That and a healthy Matthew Stafford spelled a huge improvement.
5) My dad is 82, and since he is in ICU at the hospital I figure I would share this; he HATES IT when teams throw the ball near the goal line. He’s old school, wants team to run the ball in.
I hesitate to tell him that the 15-1 Packers threw the ball on 24 of 29 plays inside the opponents’ 5-yard line, and scored 19 TD’s on those 29 plays. I hesitate, but I will tell him when I see him in the hospital tomorrow.
4) Fantasy Football note: Atlanta WR Roddy White had 179 passes thrown his way LY, more than anyone in the NFL; new OC Dirk Koetter (former Arizona State HC) is supposed to have a more wide-open approach, so we’ll see what that means for the Falcons.
3) Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman threw only six INTs in 2010; he threw 22 LY, and now he has a new coach. Those facts are not unrelated.
2) I’m still skeptical of the 49ers; they had a +28 turnover ratio LY, and didn’t allow a TD on defense/special teams- they had two special teams TD’s in Week 1. Breaks of the game aren’t always going to go their way. In the seven seasons before LY, the Niners were -54 in turnovers.
1) Patriots are an elite team for many reasons, one of which is superior special teams. Over last two years, NE scored 13 TD’s on defense/ST’s, while allowing only two, both of which were given up by the offense. They don’t beat themselves. Plus they spy on teams. :-)
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