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Sunday, November 14, 2010
Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats

By Mike Reiss

Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:

1. The Patriots' struggles on third down defensively, where opponents are converting 48 percent of the time, has contributed to them being on the field too long. The Patriots' average time of possession this season is 26:51. Only Arizona (25:54), Seattle (26:45) and Carolina (26:48) possess the ball less.

2. Since 2003, the Patriots are 24-2 in games following a regular-season loss. They don't lose two in a row often, the last two times coming in 2009 (New Orleans, Miami) and 2006 (Colts, Jets).

3. The Falcons' 26-21 win over the Ravens on Thursday night was their signature victory of the season, and also the defining game of quarterback Matt Ryan's NFL career to this point.  Terrific game, terrific performance from Ryan, the former Boston College signal-caller.

4. If the 0-8 Bills don't get their first win today, at home against 2-6 Detroit, talk of a potential winless season figures to intensify. The Bills' remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Steelers, at Vikings, vs. Browns, at Dolphins, vs. Patriots and at the Jets.

5. Steelers receiver Mike Wallace was drafted in the 2009 third round (84th overall) and he's put up big numbers in his first two years in the league. Scouts knew Wallace could fly coming out of Mississippi, but there were questions about whether he could become an all-around receiver. Unlike former Patriots Tony Simmons (2nd round, 1998) and Bethel Johnson (2nd round, 2003) -- both burners coming out of college -- Wallace has proven to be more than just a one-trick pony.

6. Something unexpected entering Week 10 of the NFL season: The Tennessee Titans, with Vince Young/Kerry Collins at quarterback, lead the league in scoring. And now they add Randy Moss.

7. Five teams received a tough draw from the NFL this season by having to play three straight road games at one point of the schedule -- Cleveland, Denver, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and St. Louis. The Steelers' game against the Patriots tonight comes after three straight road contests, at Miami, New Orleans and Cincinnati.

8. What do the Falcons, Chiefs, Colts, Ravens and Patriots have in common? They are the only teams in the NFL to be undefeated at home this season.

9. There have been 11 overtime games this season, and in 10 of those games, both teams have had at least one possession. Makes one wonder if owners now realize they rushed into passing the overtime rule change for the playoffs which ensures both teams will get at least one possession.

10. The coin toss hasn't been good to the Patriots. In eight games this season, the Patriots have lost seven opening coin tosses. They also lost the opening toss of overtime against the Ravens.