15 Star-Driven Fun Facts to ponder for NFL Week 8
FOX Sports South takes a whimsical and diverse look at 15 star-driven factoids for NFL Week 8 -- a piece that might help shape fantasy-league decisions and/or inspire more real-world and barstool debates, among friends and kind strangers.
15. Let's start with an absurd stat that might not matter anymore:
Of his three career appearances against the Bills, Jets running back Chris Johnson boasts amazing averages of 196 total yards and two touchdowns.
Why the skepticism in the present day? Well, Johnson (320 total yards, two TDs) has eclipsed 85 total yards only once this season (Week 1).
14. There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes ... and Broncos QB Peyton Manning carving up opponents when playing at home.
Of his past eight games at Sports Authority Field, including the playoffs, Manning claims stellar averages of 328 yards and three TDs. However, he'll work on short rest Thursday against the Chargers in a battle for first in the AFC West.
13. It's hard to get upset about the occasional drop from Falcons wideout Julio Jones. In his past 18 games, dating to 2012, Jones has caught at least half of the passes thrown toward him 15 times.
And in that 18-outing span, Jones (49 catches, 676 yards, three TDs in 2014) collected eight or more targets 16 times.
The Falcons face the Lions in London on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET on FOX.
12. Charting his past nine outings against NFC foes, dating to 2012, Chiefs tailback Jamaal Charles (345 total yards, four TDs) is averaging 133 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns. The Chiefs host the Rams on Sunday.
11. Until last Sunday, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had never completed four straight games of three or more touchdown passes and zero interceptions. (All told, Rodgers notched 977 yards and 13 TDs from Weeks 4-7.)
Rodgers faces Drew Brees and the Saints on Sunday for the fourth time. Check out these per-game averages:
10. In the past eight NFL regular-season games played in London -- aka The International Series -- the winning quarterback is averaging 258 yards and 2.5 TDs.
We had to exclude the first-ever London clash from 2007, when the Giants clipped the Dolphins in a waterlogged, painful-to-watch 13-10 affair. On that day, Eli Manning notched only eight completions and 59 yards. On the plus side, he scored a rushing touchdown.
9. Since relocating from Los Angeles to St. Louis, the Rams have not beaten the Chiefs in five meetings. In fact, in that 17-year span, Kansas City claims an average final score of 38-19.
On the flip side, the L.A. Rams fell just once to the Chiefs -- a curious 1991 defeat in which Jim Everett (329 yards, three TDs), tailback Robert Delpino (139 total yards) and receiver Henry Ellard (8 catches, 160 yards, one TD) all tallied superb numbers.
8. Check out this good news/bad news proposition:
Steelers wideout Antonio Brown (50 catches, 719 yards, 6 total TDs) has logged double-digit targets in his past six games.
Now for the bad part: Brown, who threw a 3-yard touchdown pass against the Texans on Monday, has never caught a TD against an AFC South foe (eight career chances). The Steelers host the Colts on Sunday.
7. Texans tailback Arian Foster is enjoying a scintillating fantasy campaign (759 total yards, 6 TDs), so much so that he's a no-brainer weekly start in every scoring format -- regardless of opponent.
But here's one Week 8 cause for pause: Of his past six encounters with the rival Titans, who he faces Sunday, Foster's per-game average of 105 yards/1 TD has been greatly enhanced by one monster outing against Tennessee: 234 total yards and three scores, circa 2011.
6. Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who has averaged 285 yards and 2.5 TDs since Week 4, offers an interesting damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't scenario for fantasy owners this week.
As in ... which stat carries greater stock?
a) Of his five career games at Cincy's Paul Brown Stadium, where he plays Sunday, Flacco has deflating averages of 131 yards and 0.8 TDs.
b) Flacco, who has attempted 112 passes in his past two games vs. Cincinnati, threw for 345 yards and one TD against the Bengals in Week 1 (at home).
5. Well, so much for Miami's Lamar Miller being a bottom-rung workhorse back in fantasy. In his six games this season, Miller has tallied 90 total yards and/or one or more touchdowns five times.
Since Week 3, Miller holds stellar averages of 94 total yards and one score. Miami visits Jacksonville on Sunday.
4. Jay Cutler may be an abomination at Soldier Field this season, but there are still plenty of reasons to ride Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery against the Patriots.
In his past six games against New England, Marshall holds rock-solid averages of six catches and 95 yards.
And in his past eight roadies (dating to last year), Jeffery averages seven catches and 114 yards.
3. It should blow your mind to learn the Buccaneers own a six-game winning streak over the Vikings -- with four of the victories coming by 10 or more points.
Here's another thing worth mentioning in advance of their Sunday showdown: Doug Martin's absurd 2012 rookie campaign (1,926 total yards, 12 TDs) didn't really start cranking up until a Week 7 shakedown of the Vikings -- rolling for 214 total yards (135 rushing) and two touchdowns.
The following week, Martin ravaged the Raiders for 273 total yards (251 rushing) and four TDs -- an Al Bundy game.
Wishful thinking on Martin's 2014 prospects? Probably. He has only 194 total yards this season.
2. So much for the NFL being a passing league:
In their past 20 games, the Falcons defense has surrendered 100-plus rushing yards 19 times. And yet, Atlanta ranks only 27th against the run this season, allowing 139 yards per outing.
It's surprising that so many teams look putrid against the rush. As such, there's no explanation for Jags tailback Denard Robinson, a former QB at Michigan, burning the Browns for 127 rushing yards last week. Ugh.
And last but not least ...
1. Since their Super Bowl XX beatdown in January 1986 (36-point spread), the Bears have knocked off the Patriots just once (December 2000).
Care to guess Chicago's quarterback for that day? Shane Freaking Matthews, who completed 22 of 27 passes for 239 yards and two TDs.
Can you guess the other 11 Bears to attempt at least one pass against the Patriots in that 26-year span?
Here's the list: Jim McMahon, Mike Tomczak, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Walsh, Rick Mirer, Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Rex Grossman, Jay Cutler, receiver Marty Booker and journeyman tailback Leon Johnson.
Jay Clemons, the 2008 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year (Fantasy Sports Writers Association), can be reached via Twitter, day or night, at @FOX_JayClemons.