5 NFL Facts to Know for Week 12
The Packers have scored at least 38 points in four of their last six games, and they've posted 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history.
Meanwhile, since their Week 4 loss to the Chiefs, the Patriots have won six games in a row and have scored at least 37 points in each of those contests.
Though we still have to wait another week before these two teams clash on the gridiron, let’s start this week’s article by looking at these two offensive behemoths.
Lighting Up the Scoreboard
Thanks to the offensive surges of the Patriots and Packers, both teams rank in the top five of the league in total touchdowns scored. The Broncos top the league not only with the most offensive touchdowns in the league (37), but the most passing touchdowns as well (30). The Packers are second in the league with 36 total touchdowns and have scored 28 times through the air. The Colts, Patriots, and Saints round out the top five in offensive touchdowns.
The Saints are the only team within that group to also rank in the top five in rushing touchdowns. The team's 12 ground scores are third most in the league behind the Seahawks (14) and Chiefs (16). All this scoring lines up fairly well with the numberFire power rankings, too.
From the rushing side, the Seahawks have the best rushing attack according to our Adjusted Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) numbers, and are third in the league in rushing touchdowns. The Chiefs are the opposite; while they have the most rushing touchdowns, the rank third in Adjust Rushing NEP. Surprisingly, the New York Jets rank only 13th in number of rushing touchdowns, but have the second-best rushing unit when looking at our metrics.
The top five teams in numberFire's Adjusted Passing NEP are nearly identical to the five teams that have the most touchdowns. The only exception is the Chargers, as they rank as the fifth-best passing offense, but are seventh in passing touchdowns.
Learning to Rebound, Part 1
Two teams that have struggled all year offensively, especially in the passing game, are the Bengals and Bears. The Bengals come into Week 12 as the 17th-best passing offense, while the Bears are near the bottom at 23rd. However, both team's quarterbacks had big rebound games after dismal Week 10 performances.
Andy Dalton had a little extra rest and it proved to pay off. In Week 10 against the Browns' 18th-best defense, Dalton's Passing NEP of -21.31 was the worst in the league - even Austin Davis fared a little better.
Week 11 proved to be a night and day difference though, as Dalton got to face the Saints' second-worst defense in the league. Dalton led the Bengals to victory, amassing just 280 yards and 3 touchdowns. According to our Passing NEP data, Dalton contributed 22.56 points to the Bengals. This was a 43.87-point difference from Week 10, the best Week 11 quarterback total, and 1.18 points better than Aaron Rodgers' score.
Jay Cutler had a 25.97 Passing NEP turnaround himself after struggling in Week 10 against the Packers. Against the Vikings' 15th-ranked defense, Cutler still threw two interceptions, but threw two touchdowns to Brandon Marshall and one touchdown to Alshon Jeffery in a rout. Cutler's 12.08 Passing NEP was the sixth best in Week 11.
Growing Up Quickly
The best performance of Week 11 at the receiver position did not belong to Antonio Brown or Randall Cobb. It belonged to rookie Mike Evans of the Buccaneers. In fact, it was his big game that helped the Bucs defeat the Redskins. Evans' two touchdown receptions and 209 receiving yards all helped his 17.20 Target NEP for Week 11, which happened to be the third-highest of the season so far.
Evans has learned the game quickly, and has caught at least four passes in each game he's played. Week 11 was his second two-touchdown game and his third game in a row with 100 or more receiving yards. Evans has also contributed positively towards his Target NEP each week aside from Week 1 (-0.51 Target NEP), and leads all rookies in Target NEP (42.48). He's also second in Reception NEP (69.40) and Reception per target (0.98) among rookies. The sky is the limit for the young receiver.
Learning to Rebound, Part 2
I'd like to take this time to recognize A.J. Green and Michael Floyd, as they became relevant once again in Week 11. Welcome back, guys! Both players were to be big assets to their respective teams, but neither have been as reliable as hoped in 2014.
Green hurt his toe in Week 2, which later resulted in missing additional games from Week 6 through Week 8. Green finally saw the field again in Week 9, but his 3.48 Target NEP against the Jaguars was pretty much nullified with his -3.57 Target NEP against the Browns a week later. Green made up for it all in Week 11 against the Saints with his 127 receiving yards and touchdown score, posting an 11.51 Target NEP, the second-best total from last week.
Floyd's season has been even worse than Green's, and it was discussed in depth by our own Matt Goodwin last week. If we look at numberFire's Target NEP, Floyd has had three straight weeks of negative contributions on the field, and five of his nine games have been below expectation when looking at Target NEP.
That all finally changed in Week 11. Floyd hooked up with backup quarterback Drew Stanton for 54 yards and scored the only two touchdowns of the game, resulting in a 6.18 Target NEP. It may have only been the eighth-best total of Week 10, but it was Floyd's third-best total of the season. If he keeps cashing in for the Cardinals, they will only get better as a team.
All Over the Place
Can you name this quarterback? He's had more multi-touchdown games (six) than multi-interception games (three). He also has five games playing above expectation to go along with five games of playing below expectation according to our Passing NEP data.
If you guessed Eli Manning, you'd be on the money!
Eli Manning may be the most volatile quarterback in the NFL right now. Manning's best game came in Week 4 against the Redskins, as he contributed 18.88 Passing NEP, the fifth best of that week. He followed that up with a top-10 Passing NEP total in Week 5 (8.47 points versus the Falcons).
As good as Weeks 4 and 5 were for the younger Manning, he's had some terrible weeks as well. In a Week 6 shutout to the Philadelphia Eagles, Manning posted a -9.96 Passing NEP. But that wasn't even his worst game to date. In Week 11 against the 49ers, Manning completed less than half of his passes and threw five interceptions. That was good for a -11.83 Passing NEP score.
At least Manning went to bed Sunday evening realizing he was only the second-worst quarterback in Week 11, as Robert Griffin III posted a -14.95 Passing NEP against the fifth-worst defense in the league according to numberFire's power rankings. Ouch.