1. Teddy Two-Gloves in the Spin-Cycle
Dwight Freeney joined the Cardinals a month into the season and saved himself for most of the game, to give us all an example of what he used to could – and it was magnificent. Forget the discussions about the play-call, or the decision to eschew the field goal, or the fact the Vikes actually had a chance to tie the game – a game they had little chance to compete in the first place, with injuries and limitations – be impressed on how they stood toe-to-toe with the now NFC West Champs. The problem now for the Vikes is it seems the wheels are falling off and may not make the playoffs.
Peterson scores 100th touchdown in the NFL
Adrian Peterson’s first-quarter touchdown on Thursday was the 100th of his career and 95th of the rushing variety. Peterson, who has played in 117 regular-season games, is the 23rd player in NFL history to reach 100 career touchdowns. Of the first 22 players to do so, only eight reached that mark in 120 or fewer games. LaDainian Tomlinson was the quickest to reach 100 touchdowns, doing so in his 89th game in November 2006 (in a matchup with the Broncos in which he scored four touchdowns, three on rushes).
After rushing for 69 yards on Thursday, Peterson has 11,441 career rushing yards in the NFL. Only three other players in NFL history reached 100 total touchdowns and 10,000 rushing yards within their first 120 career games: Jim Brown (reached both of those marks in his 98th game), Emmitt Smith (106th game), and Tomlinson (106th game).
Brown with another big gain
John Brown had a 65-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Carson Palmer to give the Cardinals an early 10-7 lead over the Vikings on Thursday. If that seems familiar, that’s because Palmer connected with Brown on a 68-yard pass this past Sunday in their 27-3 victory over the Rams. Over the last five seasons (since 2011), only three other players had a reception of at least 65 yards in consecutive games: Pierre Garcon of the Colts (Weeks 4 and 5 of 2011 season), the Giants’Victor Cruz (Weeks 16 and 17 in 2011), and the Browns’ Josh Gordon (Weeks 13 and 14 in 2013). The last player to do so for the Cardinals was Hall-of-Famer Jackie Smith late in the 1967 season. Smith finished that season with 1205 receiving yards, ranking third in that category.
Brown has three receptions for 65 or more yards in his two seasons in the NFL. Since the start of the 2014 season, only two players have more receptions of this length: Odell Beckham and Martavis Bryant, each with four.
Palmer passes Warner for most TD passes for a Cardinals QB in one season
Carson Palmer tossed two touchdown passes in the Cardinals’ 23-20 victory over the Vikings, giving him 31 passing TD’s on the season and overtaking Kurt Warner (30 in 2008) for the most in a season in the Cardinals’ 95-year history. Palmer did not throw any interceptions in Thursday’s game, marking the fifth time this season that he had a game with at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions. OnlyTom Brady (seven), Aaron Rodgers (six), and Andy Dalton (six) have more games of this type in the current season. That ties the most such games for Palmer in one season in his career, having also had five in 2005. (h/t Elias Sports Bureau)
2. ‘Cause Knowing Is Half The Battle
#NFL week 14 trends
The NFC East is a raging dumpster fire as each team has a losing record. The Cowboy, Eagles, Giants and Redskins are a combined 10-20 straight-up outside the division and 11-18-1 against-the-spread. All four teams play non-division opponents in Week 14.
- Games Matching this Criteria: Cowboys (+7) at Packers, Giants (Pick’em) at Dolphins, Eagles (-1) vs. Bills and Redskins (+3) at Bears.
Carolina has become the sixth team in the last ten years to start the season 12-0. The other five squads all won their next game and went 4-1 against-the-spread.
- Games Matching this Criteria: Panthers (-7.5) at Falcons.
Cleveland is in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft after losing seven games in a row. All-time, teams with that long of a losing streak have covered the spread in the next game 57% of the time (64-48-2).
- Games Matching this Criteria: Browns (-1.5) vs. 49ers.
- ATL +7.5 @ CAR The Falcons’ playoff hopes are fading each week. In Matt Ryan’s career, as a touchdown or greater underdog he is 1-12 straight-up.
- AZ -7.5 vs. MIN When Carson Palmer starts, the Cardinals as home favorites are 9-3-1 against-the-spread.
- BAL +6 vs. SEA In his career, Matt Schaub is 2-7 straight-up and 4-4-1 ATS as a home underdog.
- BUF +1 @ PHI The Bills are 6-3-1 against-the-spread in Buffalo’s last ten games as road dogs.
- CAR -7.5 vs. ATL Will the Panthers go to 13-0? In Cam Newton’s career, as a touchdown favorite against the NFC South, Carolina is 5-0 straight-up.
- CHI -3 vs. WAS The Bears are 2-6-2 against-the-spread in Chicago’s last ten games as home favorites.
- CIN -3 vs. PIT In the Andy Dalton era, the Bengals are 3-6 straight-up and against-the-spread in games against Pittsburgh.
- CLE -1.5 vs. SF In the last five years, the Browns as home favorites are 5-12-1 ATS.
- DAL +7 @ GB All-time, the Cowboys are 15-8 straight-up and 15-8 against-the-spread against the Green Bay Packers.
- DEN -7.5 vs. OAK The Broncos are often overvalued at home vs. division rivals. In the last twenty such games Denver is 7-12-1 ATS.
- DET +1 @ STL Following a game on Thursday night and as a road underdog the next week, Detroit has lost 12 straight.
- GB -7 vs. DAL Aaron Rodgers doesn’t lose very often as a home favorite of a touchdown or more, he is 31-6 straight-up and 21-15-1 ATS.
- HOU +3 vs. NE In the Tom Brady era, teams facing the Patriots coming off a loss are 16-33 ATS in the next game.
- IND Pick’em @ JAX The Colts usually beat the Jags. In their last ten games, Indy is 8-2 straight-up and 7-3 against-the-spread.
- JAX Pick’em vs. IND The Jags are 3-7 against-the-spread in their last ten home games against the Colts.
- KC -10 vs. SD All-time, Andy Reid coached teams in December are 40-32-2 against-the-spread.
- MIA +1.5 vs. NYG The Dolphins aren’t very good in prime time. In their last ten appearances on Monday Night Football Miami is 2-8 ATS.
- MIN +7.5 @ AZ All-time, touchdown or greater underdogs against the Cardinals are 20-10-1 against-the-spread.
- NE -3 @ HOU This is just the eighth time in Tom Brady’s career that the Patriots have lost two games in a row. New England went 6-1 straight-up in the next game the previous seven times.
- NO +3.5 @ TB The Saints are 2-8 straight-up in their last ten games as road underdogs against NFC South rivals.
- NYG -1.5 @ MIA Eli Manning and the Giants have failed to cover in five of their last six games on Monday Night Football.
- NYJ -7 vs. TEN This is the first time the Jets have been touchdown or greater favorites since 2011. New York is 5-1 ATS in their last six such games.
- OAK +7.5 @ DEN The Raiders have failed to cover in eight straight games against the Broncos.
- PHI -1 vs. BUF In the last five years, the Eagles as home favorites are 12-21-1 (36%) against-the-spread.
- PIT +3 @ CIN Big Ben owns the Bengals in Cincinnati. In his career, Roethlisberger is 10-2 straight-up and against-the-spread in the Queen City.
- SD +10 @ KC The Chargers have covered five straight as double-digit underdogs winning two of the games outright.
- SEA -6 @ BAL Seattle needs to keep winning, it is currently the 6th seed in the NFC. Russell Wilson is 13-7 straight-up in his career as a road favorite.
- SF +1.5 @ CLE In their last ten road games as underdogs the 49ers are 2-6-2 against-the-spread.
- STL -1 vs. DET Since their last playoff appearance (2004), the Rams as home favorites are 12-20 against-the-spread.
- TB -3.5 vs. NO In their last ten games as home favorites against the NFC South, the Buccaneers are 6-3-1 against-the-spread.
- TEN +7 @ NYJ The Titans have been underdogs on the road in 13 straight games. Tennessee is 4-9 ATS in those games.
- WAS +3 @ CHI The Redskins are 3-7 ATS in their last ten games following an appearance on Monday Night Football.
(h/t Trend Machine)