Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/1/12
Miami @ IndianapolisWhy Should I Care? The 4-3 Dolphins currently hold the fifth seed in the AFC. The 4-3 Colts, by way of what I bet is a very complex tie breaker, hold the sixth seed in the conference. These two teams have suddenly emerged as dark-horse playoff contenders. This matchup will decide who is able to hold on to that coveted playoff spot for at least one more week.By The Numbers!The Dolphins defense has emerged, yet again, as one of the leagues’ best. They are allowing a stingy 3.5 yards per rushing attempt to opposing offenses. The Miami defense is top-ten material in virtually every defensive rushing category. They rank third in rushing yards allowed with 574. That’s pretty impressive after 7 games. The Dolphins have not been quite as successful against the pass. They’ve allowed nearly 2000 yards through the air. Nonetheless, they are keeping opponents out of the end zone. They’ve allowed only 126 points - fifth in the league.Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense may not be too worried about the Miami defense. Luck has thrown for nearly 2000 yards himself. Ranked fourth in pass attempts, I see no reason why Luck won’t be airing it out against the Dolphins defense.  The Colts must continue to keep turnovers to a minimum. In (4) games that they have won: a combined total of three turnovers. In (3) games they have lost: 10. It wouldn’t hurt if the defense managed a takeaway sometime soon, either. The last turnover the Colts created was in week 5 against the Packers. The defense ranks dead last in turnovers created… Not good for any team that hopes to win consistently.Chicago @ TennesseeWhy Should I Care? Because you are a fan of the Chicago Bears. In case you are not a fan of the Bears, keep a close eye on your 3-5 Titans this week. The Titans are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the Colts. I expect that they will play good football against the 6-1 Bears.By The Numbers!The Titans struggled to run the ball early in the season. They currently rank 31st in total rush yards this year. That number, however, is not indicative of their more recent success. In the last three games the Titans have rushed for 403 yards. The Bears, on the other hand, have only allowed 100+ yards rushing twice this season. They’ve been pretty soft in the last two weeks though. Detroit gained 97 yards in week 7 and Carolina gained 119 in week 8. The way that Chris Johnson has looked over the last weeks, paired with the performance of the Bears over that same stretch might mean big things for the Titan offense this week.The Bear offense has hardly been spectacular this season. They’ve had three impressive games. One against the Colts with 41 points and 428 total yards. They gained 501 yards against the Jaguars. And they scored 34 with 360 yards on the Cowboys. The interesting thing though, is that they’ve only scored 36 points in their last two games combined. Also note an underwhelming 506 yards of total, combined offense. The Carolina and Detroit defenses aren’t exactly the best in the league, either.I’m telling you. Keep an eye out for a Titan upset of the Bears.  Buffalo @ HoustonWhy Should I Care? Why wouldn’t you care?! The Texans are back after a long bye week break. They will look to flex their muscle and remind everyone of their dominance. They have a prime opportunity to do so against Buffalo (they are coming off a bye, too.)By The Numbers!The Houston Texans. Let me tell you about them. They’ve managed to get the run game on track. The ground game was impressive against the Ravens in week 7. The team gained 181 yards on 37 carries – 4.89 yards per attempt. Pretty solid numbers. Their season YPA is up to 4.0. I don’t expect it to go down against the Bills.Buffalo carries the league’s WORST rush defense. No matter how you like to look at it, yards, touchdowns, or yards per attempt. They are ranked good ole no. 32 in all the aforementioned categories.“What’s up, Mario Williams?” – All Of Houston.The Bills are not much better on offense. We all know of the inconsistencies of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo offense. Their turnover total in each game thus far looks like this. 4, 0, 1, 6, 2, 2, 2. O.k. So I lied. They’ve been pretty consistent over the last three games. Their total turnover differential is -6.Things aren’t going to get any better when they face the Texan defense. Houston has allowed 0 rushing touchdowns this year. Probably one of their most impressive statistics. They’ve held every team, with the exception of Tennessee in week 4, to less than 100 yards rushing. Houston is also home to the leagues’ sixth-best scoring defense. Buffalo won’t have an easy trip to the red zone this week. Detroit @ JacksonvilleWhy Should I Care? I don’t know. That’s why I saved this one for last. The most interesting story has to be the fact that Mike Thomas was traded from Jacksonville to Detroit in the last week. Apparently Detroit and there underperforming offense needed an additional peace to compliment their aerial attack. Seriously though, let me give you the run-down on the trade.WR Mike Thomas was traded to Detroit for a fifth-round pick in 2014. I expect that Mike Thomas will expose the Jaguars’ entire offensive game plan to Detroit and make this a no-contest game.  Well, not really. I do expect a no-contest, but you know why!By The Numbers!For an offense that has been “struggling” (basically a bunch of fantasy owners whining about Calvin Johnson) the Lions are pretty solid. They lead the league in passing attempts, and are second in passing yards with 2,173 on the season.Detroit is still home to a powerful offense. They were shut out by the Chicago Bears in week 7 on Monday Night Football, but in weeks 6 and 8, they looked solid. 26 points against the Eagles, and 28 against the Seahawks ( a pair of pretty good defenses, particularly Seattle.) I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions offense opens up in Jacksonville this week.The Jaguars are home to the 27th ranked scoring defense in the league. They rank no higher than 21st in ANY defensive category. That’s pretty ugly. Against Oakland they surrendered 24 points. Green Bay, 26 points. Chicago in week 5, 41 points. Alright, alright. You get the point?If you are a fantasy owner, let me tell you that Maurice Jones-Drew is not coming back any time soon. I heard at least another 4 weeks or so for him. In a worst-case scenario the foot injury, unfortunately, could last an entire season.In the meantime, the Jaguars are hoping that this season will not last an entire season. They have scored fewer points than any other team in the league. They have fewer yards than any other team in the league. This offense is not good, and it doesn’t look to be improving any time soon. 
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