Friday, December 7, 2012
Final Word: NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
Five nuggets of knowledge about the Week 14 games:
Magic number: The Falcons have won their past five games against the Panthers. But the amazing thing is Atlanta’s point total has been either 30 or 31 in each of those games, including a 30-28 victory against Carolina in Week 4.
Matt Ryan, who faces the Panthers in Carolina on Sunday, boasts the best Total QBR in road games this season.
Better on the road: One of the knocks against quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons is that they’re not as good outdoors. Well, this season’s numbers dispute that. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Ryan has an NFL-best 87.5 Total QBR in road games this season. He also has thrown 15 touchdown passes with four interceptions on the road. At home, Ryan’s Total QBR is 53.5, and he’s thrown seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Bouncing back? After a rough start, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has been pretty solid recently. In the first seven games of the season, Newton turned the ball over 11 times. In the past five games, he’s had only two turnovers. Newton also has been more effective on downfield passes recently. In his past two games, Newton has completed six of 10 throws of more than 20 yards.
A record they don’t want: The Buccaneers are on pace to become an unflattering part of history. Through 12 games, they’ve allowed an average of 309.4 passing yards. The NFL record is 299.8 yards per game by the 2011 Green Bay Packers.
Giants are Brees’ favorite team: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has struggled recently, throwing seven interceptions in the past two games. But there might be some good news on the horizon. Brees has been stellar when facing the Giants in the past. He is 4-0 against New York and has thrown 11 touchdown passes with no interceptions. That ties him with Drew Bledsoe (against the Cardinals) for the most touchdown passes without an interception against one opponent in NFL history.