Something new here. We’d figure we’d give you some more meat and potatoes-style stuff to chew on as the weather gets colder here in New York. Something that will stick to your ribs.
Here are some facts, figures and observations we’ve culled from Rich Hribar of Rotoworld along with our take on what they could mean.
Item: The Chicago Bears are the only team in the NFL to run an offensive play with the lead in every game this season.
Observation: Not sure what this means other than they jump out to early leads and stay there most games. They do have three losses however, but they led at some point in those games as well. Chicago lost, 24-23, in Week 1 against Green Bay on late Aaron Rodgers-Davante Adams hookup. They lost to the Dolphins in overtime, 31-28, after leading most of the game. They also dropped a 38-31 contest to New England after leading, 24-21 in the third quarter.
Item: The Giants have run an offensive play with the lead in just four games this season, tied with the Jets for the fewest in the league.
Observation: True. They were awful early on, getting behind in the first half and constantly playing catch-up. The Giants didn’t have a lead in a game until Week 3 in Houston, a game they won, 27-22. The only other game in the first half of the season where they took snaps while they had the lead was against New Orleans, a game they lost, 33-16. They’ve recently turned that around in the second half by playing better football and taking snaps while in the lead in two of the three games they’ve played since their Week 9 bye.
Fact: The Bears allow 2.5 red zone opportunities per game, the fewest in the league.
Observation: Getting into the red zone is the main battle against the Bears. Once teams get there however, they score 60% of the time. That’s 21st in the NFL. Also, the figure over the last three games has risen to 4.0 opportunities per game. The Bears won all three of those games (two vs. Detroit and one vs. Minnesota) and Khalil Mack was still feeling the effects of an ankle injury. The Giants averaged 3.7 red zone opportunities over their last three games with a 63% success rate. They had been struggling before that, scoring on just 47% of time.
Item: Eli Manning leads the league in third down completion percentage (74 percent), yet ranks 17th in first down rate on third down pass attempts (41.4 percent).
Observation: You all know the answer to this one. It’s the biggest pet peeve of every Giant fan from Canarsie to Moonachie. Those dreaded routes that are run short of the sticks combined with the check downs have killed many a drive this season. It’s been so frustrating to watch and my Twitter account explodes every time Manning throws a three-yard pass on 3rd-and-7. The best bet for the Giants is stay out of third down situations and they’ve been doing that, averaging just 11 thirds downs over the past three games. Their 37% conversion rate ranks 25th in the NFL but have been better since the bye week (42%).