Twist. Pop. Guzzle. Guzzle, guzzle, guzzle.
Those are the sights and sounds coming from Don Shula and friends, who no doubt enjoyed some Dom Perignon last Sunday after Atlanta was grounded in the Superdome. Another season will come and go with the 1972 Dolphins still the only team in NFL history to complete an entire campaign undefeated.
The Falcons, however, weren’t the lone NFC powerhouse to take an ‘L’ in Week 10. In fact, despite their setback, they a lost just one half of a game combined in the standings to their nearest contenders for home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs (Chicago and New York lost while San Francisco tied St. Louis).
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Things are beginning to tighten up, and a salivating second half of the season could be a result. Will the trend continue in Week 11? Let’s consult some numbers to see what may be in store (all odds provided by Sportsbook.ag).
0 – Three-and-outs for the Colts’ offense last Sunday in a 27-10 road thrashing of Jacksonville. Yes, the Jaguars are the Jaguars, but who cares? Any way you slice it, Andrew Luck and company are rolling. The rookie sensation rushed for two more touchdowns, giving him five — a single-season franchise record. Indy is a +9 underdog at New England in Week 11.
9 – Combined number of games this season (exactly half of their 18 in total) for the Ravens and Steelers that have been decided by four points or fewer, including eight by three points or fewer. In this enticing head-to-head matchup, six of their last 10 encounters dating back to the start of the 2008 season have been decided by a field goal, and the margin of two others was no more than a touchdown. Pittsburgh is a +3.5 home underdog with Byron Leftwich starting in place of Ben Roethlisberger.
14.4 – Average number of points per game this season being allowed by the 49ers (14.1) and Bears (14.8). That puts them in first and second in the NFL, respectively, heading into Monday night’s crucial NFC showdown in San Fran. Chicago has not allowed more than 23 points in any 2012 contest, while San Francisco has allowed a mere 12 points total in its last four victories. The spread is currently off due to the statuses of both teams’ quarterbacks.
16 – Points by which Houston is favored over visiting Jacksonville this weekend. It is the largest spread of the season and also the largest in the history of the Texans franchise. Houston has won four in a row in the series (3-0-1 ATS), including a 27-7 Week 2 drubbing in Jacksonville. Five of the Jaguars’ eight losses have come by at least 17 points.
35 – Unanswered points scored by Denver in its 35-24 comeback victory at San Diego on Oct. 15. The Chargers led 24-0 halftime, but Philip Rivers threw three of his four interceptions after the intermission and the Broncos scored twice on defense (also returned a fumbled for a touchdown). Peyton Manning was 13-for-14 with three TDs in the second half. This time around, the Broncos are -7.5 home faves over the Chargers.
46 – Consecutive games played by the Falcons since they last lost two in a row (Dec. 13, 2009). They are coming off their first setback of this season, a 31-27 Week 10 decision at New Orleans that dropped them to 8-1. Atlanta, which is 30-7 in the Georgia Dome under head coach Mike Smith, is a -9.5 home favorite over Arizona in Week 11.
87.8 – Millions of dollars grossed by “Skyfall” in its opening weekend in the United States, a record for Bond movies. In fact, it is No. 1 by some margin in that department. But it’s just barely greater than Ryan Fitzpatrick’s passer rating this season (87.5). The Bills’ signal-caller has thrown only three interceptions (compared to five TDs) in five outings since his disastrous four-pick performance vs. New England in Week 4. Buffalo is a -2.5 home favorite on Thursday night against Miami.
28-9 – The Packers record against NFC North foes since Mike McCarthy became head coach prior to the 2006 season. They are currently riding an eight-game winning streak against division foes since a Week 14 loss to the Lions in 2010. Green Bay and Detroit are facing each other for the first time this year on Sunday, with the Packers coming in as -3.5 road favorites.
-20 – Kansas City’s turnover differential this season (worst in the league) going into a Week 11 matchup vs. Cincinnati. Its 30 giveaways is last in the NFL and nine more than those of any other team.
8 – Combined losing streak for Philadelphia (five) and Washington (three) heading into Sunday’s NFC East collision. They are a combined 2-6 ATS in those contests.
9 – Games, out of nine, in which New Orleans has allowed more than 400 yards of offense. The Saints have won four of five, but they still on pace to surrender the most yards in NFL history.
13 – League-leading number of interceptions thrown by Tony Romo this season heading into Sunday’s home date with Cleveland. But he has none in his last two games.
33 – Ranking (dead last among qualifying quarterbacks) in completion percentage (52.0 percent) for Mark Sanchez, who visits St. Louis on Sunday. Now whom are the Jets players calling “terrible”????