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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 10:45 AM

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to crunch some numbers from last week's NFL action here in the NOTEBOOK. Our first preview of the new football week will run tomorrow when we crunch the numbers in Philadelphia/Seattle and talk more in general about the Eagles stunning collapse this year. We'll run six conference championship previews in the colleges Friday and Saturday (3 write-ups per day). Be sure you're with us in the NOTEBOOK every day so you know what's really happening in the world of sports!

Here are some stat keys you might have missed this past week in pro football. Games are presented in rotation order...

  • Has it almost been a week since Green Bay ran away from Detroit? Green Bay's defense is playing soft between the 20's this year, and with big they're not a boxscore juggernaut even though they can seemingly turn things on and off when they want. Key here was a 0-3 turnover advantage, and 6.6 yards-per-play against a highly respected defense. Aaron Rodgers passed for almost 300 yards with only 11 incomplete passes and no giveaways. Detroit didn't do much until they had fallen way behind, which put some air in the Lions numbers. The final score of Green Bay 27-15 probably told this story better than the boxscore stats did.

  • Dallas was very lucky to get out of Dodge with a win. Miami not only led the game very late...they won total yardage 352-203, rushing yardage 89-85, yards-per-play 5.8 to 5.2, and turnovers 1-2. Dallas didn't win any stats! This is a bad sign for the Super Bowl hopes of the Cowboys, who remain in great shape in their NFC East because of their remaining schedule. Powers should win the boxscore at home against Miami.

  • Alex Smith finally turned into a he couldn't do much of anything once Baltimore took away San Francisco's running game. At least he wasn't a smashed pumpkin who turned the ball over all night (that was the old Alex Smith). Baltimore win total yardage 253-170, yards-per-play 4.4 to 3.1, and third downs 46% to 16%. Classic old school squash for the physical hosts. Yes, we got pumpkin and squash into the final Thanksgiving Day write-up!

  • Arizona was much more dominant in St. Louis than the 23-20 final score made it sound. The Cards won total yardage 374-272, rushing yardage by an astonishing 268-86, Drive Points 16-3 (those scored and allowed on drives of 60 yards or more), and yards-per-play 5.8 to 4.8. If they had a real quarterback, they would have won the game 30-10. John Skelton is nowhere near being a real quarterback, so it was a struggle. Sam Bradford's stock continues to go down with each passing week.

  • You'd have to say the right team won the Jets-Bills game because New York won so many of the right indicator stats. The Jets take Drive Points 21-7, rushing yardage 138-86, yards-per-play 5.5 to 4.8, and third downs 45% to 40%. The 0-2 loss in the turnover category made it a nailbiter.

  • Cincinnati over Cleveland was similar to Arizona over St. Louis in that the winner had a bigger stat edge than you would have imagined from the 23-20 final score. Cincinnati won yardage 389-274, yards-per-play 6.0 to 4.2, and passing yardage 257-140. They took a bit of a hit when a long drive ended on a fourth and goal failure at the one-yard-line. Andy Dalton continues to impress...but he needs to aim for more consistency so yardage edges turn into scoreboard edges.

  • Houston jumped to a 20-10 halftime lead, so some of you may be thinking they had a good offensive day. That's not the case at all. Houston gained just 215 yards and was a woeful 2 of 15 on third down tires. The vaunted rushing game couldn't reach 100 yards. The team as a whole managed just 3.6 yards-per-play. Yes, they were dealing with a very awkward quarterback situation. Just be aware that the first half hid a lot of sluggishness from scoreboard watchers. We're guessing you didn't watch much of this game. Be sure you know what happened!

  • Would you have guessed Curtis Painter would end with more passing yardage than Cam Newton? Indy won the passing line 218-176, but had two interceptions. Carolina won our classic indicator stats, with a 50% to 11% edge on third downs, a 201-105 edge on the ground, and a 21-13 edge in Drive Points. So, the right team won...though the right team had to sweat the ending more than those stats would have suggested.

  • There were NINE turnovers in the Tampa Bay/Tennessee game, which gives you a sense of the wet conditions in Nashville. The Titans ruled our favorite stats with a 202-122 edge on the ground and a 41% to 20% edge on third downs. It was still a nailbiter though because cheap points were always just a play away. Note that this one finishes 16-10 if you take away non-offensive scores. The Bucs have really taken a big step back this year, which isn't a good sign for the young quarterback and head coach.

  • Atlanta was mostly in control of Minnesota all day, except for a quick cat nap early in the second half that almost proved very costly. Atlanta won Drive Points 21-7, third downs 50% to 30%, and yards-per-play 5.2 to 4.3. Can Atlanta play 60 good minutes against a playoff team in January?

  • Oakland was actually dominated pretty badly in our key stats against Chicago, but used a 1-3 edge in turnovers to get the win. And, we should note that a garbage time score for the Bears helped boost their numbers. Still, Chicago won rushing yardage 172-73 and third downs 42% to 20%...and those weren't polluted by garbage time. If Caleb Hanie can stop throwing interceptions (always a dicey proposition for backup quarterbacks), the Bears will have a chance to claim a Wildcard. Oakland is in great shape in the AFC West race...but they have a knack for making every game interesting.

  • The 2011 Washington Redskins finally showed up! It's been weeks since they looked like they could walk and chew gum. But, the edges in Seattle were clear and persuasive. The Redskins won total yardage 416-250, Drive Points 14-7, and yards-per-play 6.4 to 4.0. It wasn't all peaches and cream because they converted only 30% of third down tries and lost the turnover battle 2-1. Considering the home field edge Seattle usually enjoys in the Pacific Northwest...this was a strong performance from Washington. We're not revving up the bandwagon or anything...but we've at least turned down the siren on the ambulance for the time being.

  • New England had FIVE different touchdown drives of 60 yards or more, winning Drive Points by a whopping 35-17. They also won third downs 54% to 30%. The Eagles did a lot of damage between the 20's with Vince Young firing away nearly 50 times. Mostly hot air in the numbers though. It was 38-13 late on the scoreboard until Philly scored a last second TD (which probably happened after CBS switched you over to Denver-San Diego!).

  • Speaking of which...the stats were very even here, fitting of an overtime game. It's interesting that San Diego managed 159 yards on 36 passes, while Denver had 141 on just 18. That shows you how unimpressive Philip Rivers has become this year. He just looks awful in the pocket. You get the sense Norv Turner's days are numbered. Same song, new verse for Tim Tebow. He'll find a way to win if the team is still hanging around in the last five minutes. Scary to think Denver's a playoff contender with him at the helm. Could they score any points in an actual playoff game?

  • Not much to be impressed with in the Pittsburgh/Kansas City game. The Steelers play ugly games like this every so often. Their 2-4 edge in turnovers turned out to be the difference maker. You get the sense they took the week off mentally figuring the win would be easy. No harm, no foul as they move to 8-3.

  • Monster offensive game for New Orleans in the Monday Nighter, as the Saints rolled up 577 total yards and matched New England with 35 Drive Points. The Saints' defense was a bit soft with the lead, which kept this from being a yardage slaughter (the Giants gained 465 yards, keyed by a second half that was nothing but garbage time (21-3 score at the break). We mentioned in our preview of this game that the Giants were behind the eight-ball in terms of recent form and their remaining schedule. They have the look of a playoff caliber team about once a month. That's not going to cut it.

Back with you Thursday to preview Philadelphia/Seattle, and to look more closely at the Eagles collapse of this season. They already have seven losses, which means they have no chance of finishing 10-6! Can 9-7 make the playoffs? Probably we'll consider it an early post-mortem on a nightmare season for the Dream Team.

In basketball, the Big Ten-ACC challenge continues tonight with six more games including Wisconsin at North Carolina (see yesterday's NOTEBOOK for preview briefs). BIG JUICY WINNERS are available from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK right here at the website. If you'd like details on combination packages, call our office at 1-800-323-4453.

After today, there's no more we move on to THE DOLLARS OF DECEMBER!

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