So you think the Patriots are getting a breather this week after their tough schedule over the last several weeks? Be careful. Detroit isn’t the pushover that you are used to. New England should win, but it’s worth tuning in!
As I mentioned last week, when you see “passing ratings”, I don’t use the NFL’s rating. What I’m using is basically net passing yards above or below the league average adjusted up for touchdowns and down for interceptions. There are some other adjustments to make the numbers easier to compare as well.
Enjoy the game and Happy Thankgiving! I’m thankful for all of you that take the time to read my work.
* - Don’t panic. The Lions have scored first in three of their last four Thanksgiving Day games, but ended up losing all three by more than 10 points.
* - New England has allowed 37 total points in their last two fourth quarters. That’s the most such points allowed in two consecutive wins in the NFL since at least 1997. The closest: 35 allowed in consecutive wins by the 2006 Bears.
* - The Patriots allowed 78.6 percent conversions on third downs last week (11-for-14), the highest single game percentage by any NFL team since Week 16 of the 2008 season and the first time that the Pats have allowed greater than 72 percent conversions in any game since they began tracking the stat in 1991.
* - The Pats have allowed nine fourth quarter touchdown passes this season through 10 games. That’s more than they allowed in the fourth quarter in any other FULL SEASON except one since 2000. (2005)
* - Detroit converted nine first downs via passing on third-and-7 or fewer yards to go in last week’s game, the most by any team in the NFL this season and only the fifth time it’s happened since 2003. Nobody has had more than nine since 2003.
* - The Patriots allowed 396 passing yards to Peyton Manning and the Colts last Sunday, their most allowed in 229 games (413 in 1996). In between, they allowed an average of 214 passing yards per game.
* - The Lions are on their way to their 10th straight year allowing 10 or more first half points per game as they are at 12.6 so far in 2010. The Patriots have allowed an average of 10 or more such points exactly ONCE in the last 10 years and are at 9.0 this season.
* - New England (Tom Brady) boasts the league’s second best passing rating on third downs (+8.16), while Detroit’s (Stafford/Hill) ranks a surprisingly strong fifth (+7.72). Having said that, Detroit’s recent (over the last four weeks) third down pass DEFENSE has been the NFL’s worst (+9.80). New England’s third down defense in that span? 20th (+7.19).
* - Detroit went 10-for-18 (56 percent) on third downs last Sunday. It was just their second time over 50 percent in their last 20 games.
* - New England forced three turnovers on Sunday and it was their 42nd consecutive win when forcing three or more miscues. Nobody else is even close (SD has won 20 of their last 21 such games). Here’s the CRAZY thing: Detroit has LOST their last nine games when they have FORCED three or more turnovers!
* - Last Sunday was New England’s sixth turnover-free game this season, their fourth season since 1990 with six such games, joining 1997, 2001, and 2007 (they’ve never had seven such games in that span). The NFL record in a season is nine, by the 2008 Giants.
* - In the last four games, the Patriots have attempted 17 passes in the red zone without giving up a sack. In the five games prior to that, they tried 28 red zone pass plays and were sacked eight times.
* - On third down and seven yards or less to go, the Patriots have completed 28 passes and 27 of them got the first down (96 percent), the highest percentage in the league.
* - Detroit has managed only one pass play of 25 or more yards on first down all season, the fewest in the league:
1 - Lions
3 - Browns
3 - Panthers
The Patriots have allowed nine such plays on first down.
* - New England has allowed 22 passing first downs in each of their last two games. They hadn’t allowed 22 or more such first downs in any previous game since they began tracking the stat in 1991. The last team to allow 22+ in consecutive games: The 2004 Raiders. So what are the odds of continuing the streak to three games? Well, Detroit hasn’t managed even 20 passing first downs in their last 56 games.
* - New England is the only team that hasn’t taken a first quarter sack this season and their “sack-free” first quarter streak is now at 20 games. Since 2003, the longest such streak is 26, by the Titans in 2007-2008.
* - The Pats allowed 467 yards last week, the fourth straight game allowing 400 or more. Since 1990, they’ve never allowed 400+ in more than four in a row. Only Washington (4,111) and Houston (4,088) have allowed more total yards this season than New England (3,984).
* - The Lions have won just 2-of-48 since 2007 when they’ve trailed at some point during the game.
* - 16 different times already this season, Detroit has completed a pass on third-and-8+ to get the first down. That doesn’t sound like a crazy-high number, but it’s just one fewer such passing first downs than they had in ALL of last season and MORE than they managed in 2006, 2007, or 2008.
* - For the season, opponents have completed 71 percent of their passes against the Patriots, the highest in the league:
71% - Patriots
68% - Jaguars
68% - Steelers
* - Detroit’s 46 receptions by running backs behind the line of scrimmage leads the league, followed by New Orleans (44) and San Diego (42). Note: This stat does not include Week 11 results.
* - Since the start of the 2000 season, the Patriots are +140 in first quarter scoring margin in road games, the best mark in the NFL:
+140 - Patriots
+101 - Eagles
+48 - Packers
* - The Pats converted 7-of-11 third downs last Sunday (64 percent), their best mark since Week 1. They had gone just 6-of-21 over the last two weeks (28 percent).
* - The Lions have rushed for 100 or more yards in just three games all season.
* - For the fourth week in a row, the Patriots allowed a reception by an opposing running back to gain 25 or more yards. The Patriots had allowed just two such receptions during each of the last two seasons. If the streak reaches five on Thursday, it would tie the longest such streak in the NFL since at least 2003.