Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Colts face biggest game in a decade
By Russell Baxter
• While the 4-2 Indianapolis Colts have reached the playoffs eight straight years, and over that span have appeared in a pair of Super Bowls, next Monday's meeting vs the Houston Texans may be the team's biggest game in nearly a decade. Racked by injuries and already 0-2 in the division (including a loss at Houston in Week 1), a sweep at the hands of Houston may put QB Peyton Manning and company in a very big hole in a very competitive division.
• A year ago, the New Orleans Saints were one of the league's most opportunistic teams en route to their first Super Bowl title. After seven games last season (7-0), Sean Payton's club had totaled 21 takeaways. This season, the 4-3 Saints have forced nine turnovers in seven games. And when it comes to taking care of the football, QB Drew Brees has thrown numerous mind-numbing interceptions reminiscent of a young Brett Favre. Brees threw six picks through seven games last year and 11 all season. He has thrown 10 in seven games this season, which is tied with Favre for second in the NFL.
• Last season the Saints (13-3) and Colts (14-2) were a combined 27-5. This season, they’re a combined 8-5. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) have already surpassed last season’s win total (3-13).
• Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden has totaled 557 yards rushing and run for four touchdowns in five games this season. The former fourth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft had totaled 856 yards rushing and five TD in the first 25 games of his career entering 2010.
• Speaking of reclamation projects, how about Seattle Seahawks WR Mike Williams? Selected 10th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, the former Southern Cal star has totaled a team-high 32 catches for 348 yards and a score in six games in 2010. It’s worth noting that Williams totaled 44 receptions for 539 yards and two TD in 30 games with the Detroit Lions, Raiders and Tennessee Titans from 2005-07.
• I’ll try and be fair to Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz but the following numbers are a little disturbing. Take a look at his last three seasons as the Lions (2006-07) and San Francisco 49ers (2008) offensive coordinator, and where the Bears are headed. His numbers as head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2000-05 were somewhat similar.
• The Kansas City Chiefs ran for 236 yards in their 42-20 win over Jacksonville and are now averaging an NFL-high 176.5 yards per game on the ground. It must be the Thomas Jones effect. Last season, the well-traveled running back was the leading rusher on the league’s best running team -- the New York Jets.
• There were nine interception returns for touchdowns in Sunday's 13 games. In the first six weeks of the season combined, there were just 12 interceptions returned for scores.