Cold, Hard Football Facts Keeper of All That Is Right
The old quote about the only sure things in life being death and taxes might have to be amended to include the Patriots and Colts. They're 1-2 in your friendly neighborhood Power Rankings as midseason nears, and there's just something satisfying about that.
Since 2001, they are 1-2 in the league overall, and it's not even close when you look at the top five.
New England: 113-38
Green Bay: 91-56
What do those five franchises have in common?
- They're all in the top nine of this year's rankings.
- They're not on the West Coast or in the South.
- They've all had great coaching stability.
- They've all had (or have) franchise quarterbacks.
- They've all been in the league for 50+ seasons.
- They're all parity-proof.
Ah, parity. The NFL's scheduling system is great for teams trying to move from the bottom to the middle, but the cream always rises to the top. And no one is creamier than the Patriots and Colts. Mark your calendar for Nov. 21.
1. NEW ENGLAND (6-1)
Last week: 28-18 win vs. Minnesota
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Patriots are 26th in net yards, meaning they're losing the battles. But they're definitely winning the wars -- second in net points. And, of course, first in wins, which is a pretty important stat itself.
2. INDIANAPOLIS (5-2)
Last week: 30-17 win vs. Houston
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Dwight Freeney ended a four-game sackless streak Sunday, the longest since the start of the 2006 season; in 2008 and 2009, he had at least one sack in 16 of his 23 starts.
3. N.Y. GIANTS (5-2)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Despite a career yards-per-carry average of 5.2, Ahmad Bradshaw has never had 25 carries in a game – and prior to this year, had lugged the ball more than 15 carries in a game only once.
4. PITTSBURGH (5-2)
Last week: 20-10 loss at New Orleans
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Pittsburgh's schedule has been brutal. Opponents have a record of 29-16 in non-Steelers games, four of them are in our "Dominant Dozen" and four of the games were on the road.
5. N.Y. JETS (5-2)
Last week: 9-0 loss vs. Green Bay
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Jets are outrushing their opponents by an average of 153-89 this year (+64), best in the league but not quite back to last year (172-99, +73)
6. GREEN BAY (5-3)
Last week: 9-0 win at N.Y. Jets
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Eight different Packers have interceptions thus far; the average team has only 7.5 interceptions total.
7. BALTIMORE (5-2)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Fourteen Ravens will be at least 30 years old by the end of the season, and they also have 14 players on this week's injury list. Will this team still be firing come January?
8. KANSAS CITY (5-2)
Last week: 13-10 win vs. Buffalo
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: A hidden edge for the Chiefs – their kick coverage unit. They allow only 18.1 yards a return, best in the league.
9. PHILADELPHIA (4-3)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Including playoffs, the Eagles have had 300+ yards of offense in 15 of their last 16 games.
10. ATLANTA (5-2)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Since the expansion to 16 games in 1978, Atlanta has fielded 14 teams with 10+ losses and five teams with 10+ wins.
11. TENNESSEE (5-3)
Last week: 33-25 loss at San Diego
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Titans' final eight games are all against teams that currently have records of .500 or better.
12. NEW ORLEANS (5-3)
Last week: 20-10 win vs. Pittsburgh
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Drew Brees is on pace to throw 662 passes this year, which would be a personal high and give him three of the six highest season totals in NFL history. Sean Payton, give that poor right arm a break!
13. SAN DIEGO (3-5)
Last week: 33-25 win vs. Tennessee
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Chargers lead the league at 13.4 yards per catch, and in this 50th anniversary season of the AFL it's good to see the AFC West going old school – the division's teams are 1, 2, 4 and 13 in yards per catch.
14. MIAMI (4-3)
Last week: 22-14 win at Cincinnati
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: During the Dan Marino era, the Dolphins never finished worse than 17th in scoring. Their average finish in the 10 years that followed was 19th. They're 23rd in 2010.
15. CHICAGO (4-3)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: In 1932, the Bears and Portsmouth Spartans played a one-game playoff to determine the NFL champ. It was played indoors on an 80-yard field and the Bears won 9-0. The following year, the league instituted a championship playoff for the first time, and Chicago beat the Giants, 23-21. In other news, those Bears teams probably knew how to block.
16. OAKLAND (4-4)
Last week: 33-3 win vs. Seattle
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: One more win and the Raiders will match their best win total in any of the last eight season. Yes, they've been that bad.
17. ST. LOUIS (4-4)
Last week: 20-10 win vs. Carolina
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Sam Bradford continues to get all the credit for the Rams' success despite the team's No. 29 rank in scoring offense (17.5 PPG). How about some love for the D? They're sixth in points allowed (17.6 PPG), and they've allowed 20+ points only once in that outlier vs. Detroit.
18. HOUSTON (4-3)
Last week: 30-17 loss at Indianapolis
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Texans' defense has allowed 24, 27, 27, 24, 31, 31 and 30. Now that's consistency.
19. TAMPA BAY (5-2)
Last week: 38-35 win at Arizona
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Why is Tampa ranked so low when they're the self-proclaimed "best team in the NFC?" Their wins are against teams ranked 17th, 24th, 27th, 30th and 31st. But rookie WR Mike Williams is on pace for 1,074 yards and nine TDs – only 14 rookie wideouts have had 1,000 yards and 10 TDs, most recently Michael Clayton of Tampa in 2004 ... the player Williams basically replaced. Whew! That's a lot of Tampa talk.
20. MINNESOTA (2-5)
Last week: 28-18 loss at New England
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: If his 2010 pace holds, Adrian Peterson would have 6,258 career yards by the end of his fourth season. That would be the third most ever in four years, behind only Eric Dickerson (6,968) and Earl Campbell (6,457).
21. SEATTLE (4-3)
Last week: 33-3 loss at Oakland
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Three years, three different coaches, but one thing hasn't changed – the Seahawks haven't won more than two in a row since 2007.
22. WASHINGTON (4-4)
Last week: 37-25 loss at Detroit
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Donovan McNabb debate is getting the attention, but the defense is the real problem. The Redskins are on pace to allow opponents 6,292 yards of offense, which would be the eighth most of all time. The record is held by the dreadful 1981 Colts, who went 2-14 while surrendering 6,793 yards.
23. DETROIT (2-5)
Last week: 37-25 win vs. Washington
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Looks like the bust talk about TE Brandon Pettigrew was a bust in itself – he's on pace to catch 80 passes this year.
24. CINCINNATI (2-5)
Last week: 22-14 loss vs. Miami
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Including playoffs, the Bengals are 5-11 over their past 16 games.
25. JACKSONVILLE (4-4)
Last week: 35-17 win at Dallas
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Jaguars' running game isn't breaking the big ones like it has in previous years, but is always going forward. They have 61 first downs to only 17 negative runs, one of the best ratios in the league.
26. CLEVELAND (2-5)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Eric Mangini's teams have always struggled to gain yards; with the Jets and Browns his teams have ranked in total offense 25th, 26th, 16th, 32nd and 28th this year.
27. DENVER (2-6)
Last week: 24-16 loss "at" San Francisco (in London)
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Broncos are 0-1 all time when the pre-game meal is bangers and mash.
28. DALLAS (1-6)
Last week: 35-17 loss vs. Jacksonville
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Marion Barber has picked up first downs on a higher percentage of his runs than any other RB in the league (33.8 percent). He's also fifth in avoiding negative runs. Maybe the Cowboys might want to consider running the ball more than 22 times per game (31st of 32 teams). Or firing their coach. Or both.
29. SAN FRANCISCO (2-6)
Last week: 24-16 win vs. Denver (in London)
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: There are some signs of optimism in San Fran, but the fact remains that they have scored more than 24 points only once in their last 16 games.
30. ARIZONA (3-4)
Last week: 38-35 loss at Tampa Bay
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Cardinals have turned it over 23 times in seven games and are -10 in turnover differential on the year. That's the eighth-worst turnover margin at this stage of the season since 2001 (tied with the 2010 Jags, among others).
31. CAROLINA (1-6)
Last week: 20-10 loss at St. Louis
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Seven of Carolina's last nine are against teams with winning records, and five are on the road. If you had "two" in the Panthers' win pool, you might be a millionaire!
32. BUFFALO (0-7)
Last week: 13-10 loss at Kansas City
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Yes, they're playing tough football, but when you've allowed 15 touchdown passes and have only one interception you're bound to lose in the end.