Hsppy Holidays to all.
With one game on tap for this evening, I thought it would be worthwhile to switch up the format just a bit. I’ve scoured the internet and my memory for meaningful minutae that may inform your picks for the weekend. I hope this helps. But first — the Friday Night (Christmas Day) Special…
The San Diego Chargers (11-3) travel to Nashville to meet the resurgent Tennessee Titans (7-7). A funny thing happened a few weeks ago. I noticed that home teams started to win more games unless they were playing against offensive powerhouses. I think it started around Week 10 or 11. It seemed like earlier in the season, road teams had a great chance of winning whether they brought a dominant offense to the party or not. Now, I think we’re seeing something different.
The Chargers bring a lot of offense to the party. They can score in bunches and they can score with many different types of players from all over the field. Quarterback Philip Rivers has as many weapons as anyone in the league. And, his weapons are taller and bigger than everyone else in the league. No team can match the size of the Charger wideouts. At 6’5″, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd pose a stout challenge for any secondary. The Titans, though, have all the right personnel to match on the corners. The problem for Tennessee may very well be the season-ending injury to the heart and soul of the defense: Keith Bullock. I like the Titans to give the Chargers a fight and capitalize on the cross-country holiday blues. Vince Young continues his magic carpet ride: Tennessee 31, San Diego 19.
And now…Did you know:
- Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes is automatic vs. the Baltimore Ravens. He has scored a touchdown in every single game (including playoffs) vs. his arch rivals since his rookie campaign in 2006.
- Peyton Manning has thrown 10 interceptions in his past six games. Last year, he threw 9 picks in just 6 games. The year before, he threw 10 in 6 games, including a 6 INT debacle at San Diego (the Colts won anyway). Manning seems to hit these rough patches every year — but they never topple the team.
- Eli Manning is ranked 4th in touchdown passes with 26, but 16th in completion percentage at 61.2%.
- The Dallas Cowboys have surrendered the fewest points in the NFC on defense. They held the Philadelphia Eagles to 16 points in Philadelphia. They held the New Orleans Saints to 17 points in New Orleans.
- The Cowboys have lost only 3 conference games: 2 to the Giants and one to the Packers. At Green Bay, Dallas ran only 14 times.
- Neither Ike Taylor nor William Gay has interepted a pass all season. No Steeler cornerback has intercepted a pass all season long.
- The New Orleans Saints are ranked 6th in rushing attempts. The Colts are ranked 29th.
- Maurice Jones-Drew has 11 red zone rushing touchdowns. The Eagles tandem of L & L (Weaver and McCoy) have four.
- The Arizona Cardinals must be driving Ken Whisenhunt crazy. The team is 2nd in the league with 29 fumbles.
- New Orleans (5) and Tennessee (4) are the only teams with more than two interception returns for touchdowns.
- The Houston Texans (7-7) are solidly mediocre again, but QB Matt Schaub is 2nd in pass completions, 2nd in yards, and tied with Philip Rivers for touchdowns with 26.
- The AFC South has undefeated team and three teams with 7-7 records. The division has a whopping 35 wins. The NFC East has 31 wins and the powerful AFC North has only 27.
- Adrian Peterson hasn’t had a run longer than 19 yards since a game two months ago vs. the Detroit Lions. Against Arizona and Carolina, his longest run was for 11 yards.
- Brett Favre has played 3 consecutive games with a rating under 80.
- Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez have each thrown 20 interceptions.
- Four rookie wide receivers rank in the Top 10 in yards per catch: Hakeem Nicks (NYG), Mike Wallace (PIT), Mohamed Massaquoi (CLE), and Kenny Britt (TN).
- Vince Young is averaging more yards per completion than Drew Brees.
Enjoy…Picks will be up before the games on Sunday.