Week 8 notes and trends

With the help of NFL Network’s George “Puddin’ Pie” Li, here are some numbers that tell a story of previous weeks that could provide a hint of what’s to come this week:

  • Dallas better start fast because Tampa Bay almost certainly will. The Buccaneers have not trailed at halftime yet this season, outscoring their opponents 94-35 in the first half.
  • Either Terrell Owens is getting old before our eyes or the Cowboys are not getting him the ball enough. But with 25 receptions, Owens is third on the Cowboys in catches. He has yet to lead the Cowboys in receiving in any game this season. And dating back to last season, Owens has been held to under 100 yards receiving in 10 straight games.
  • The only Cowboys receiver putting up any big numbers is Roy Williams, who signed a contract with $26,608,500 in guaranteed money. Including the $391,000 in termination pay, Williams is assured of collecting an impressive $27 million by the end of the 2010 season. Now he has to go out and earn it.
  • Arizona is in rarefied territory it has not visited in year. Should the Cardinals upset the Panthers, Arizona would have its first three-game winning streak since 2002 and a 5-2 start that would be its best seven-game beginning since 1976, when the team also was 5-2. And get this: the Cardinals lead the NFL in points per game, averaging a whopping 29.5 despite the fact that the Cardinals are averaging a league-worst 3.2 yards per carry.
  • Nearly midway through the season, Bills running back Marshawn Lynch still does not have a 100-yard game this year. But there is hope. In his last game versus the Dolphins, Lynch ran for 107 yards. The player who really has gotten it done in Buffalo is wide receiver Lee Evans, who has a touchdown reception in three straight games.
  • Expect big things if the Bills start 6-1. In the seven previous seasons they have started 6-1 or better, the Bills have won the AFL/AFC Championship five times:
    1993: started 6-1, finished 12-4; AFC Champions
    1991: started 6-1, finished 13-3; AFC Champions
    1990: started 6-1, finished 13-3; AFC Champions
    1988: started 6-1, finished 12-4; AFC Runner-up
    1974: started 6-1, finished 9-5; Lost in Divisional playoffs
    1965: started 6-1, finished 10-3-1; AFL Champions
    1964: started 7-0, finished 12-2; AFL Champions
  • Bad news for Matt Ryan and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons. There is no worse time to be getting the Eagles than after their bye week, when Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid has a 9-0 record.
  • What the Falcons have going for them is wide receiver Roddy White, who in his past four games, is averaging 113.3 yards per game to go along with the three touchdowns he has scored. White’s biggest score will be his next contract; his current one is scheduled to expire after next season.
  • As tough as the Giants are on the road, the Steelers are just as tough at home, making Sunday’s 4:15 p.m. ET kickoff must-see TV. In their past 10 home games, the Steelers are 9-1. They have won nine straight home games against NFC teams.
  • Neither the Colts nor their quarterback Peyton Manning have been the same this season. Manning’s 60.7 completion percentage, his 6.8 yards per pass attempt, and his 80.0 passer rating are his lowest figures since his rookie season in 1998.
  • How’s this for parity? Six of the eight divisions are led by teams that failed to win that division last year.
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