Get your turduckens ready!

Steve Brownlee

Gobble, gobble!

I had a few ideas for today’s column, but I’ll stick with the numbers today, especially since they include the Minnesota Vikings.

That’s the same team I said just a couple weeks ago that no one pays attention to.

Now they’re getting all kinds of good attention like last week’s win at Buffalo and bad attention as in the lambasting they took at the hands of Dallas three days ago.

There’s an interesting statistic you can find in any set of NFL standings.

Minnesota is tied for the second-best record in the NFL at 8-2, yet they’ve scored two fewer points, 229, than they’ve given up, 231.

On the other side of this is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are a paltry 3-7, which only three teams are worse than. Yet, the Jags have outscored their opponents by 11 points, 216-205.

Now that’s odd!

For Minnesota, no matter how close you make it, you’re always picking up points in the “Points For-Points Against” columns when you win.

And for Jacksonville, now matter if you lose by a single point, you’re still losing ground in those same two columns.

So I took a look at these teams game by game. Minnesota’s two losses are by a total of 54 points, 24-7 at Philly and 40-3 at home vs. Dallas.

So their eight wins should come by a total of two less than that, or 52.

And they do. It’s an average of about 6 1/2 points per victory, ranging from a trio of 3-point wins to 16 points over Green Bay to open the season.

Actually that doesn’t seem overly strange.

Now for Jacksonville, their three wins are by a total of 59 points, 24-0 over Indianapolis and 38-10 over the L.A. Chargers in weeks 2 and 3 (the Jaguars were 2-1 at the end of September) and 27-20 over Las Vegas.

Even with their plus-11 differential, they only needed 48 points total in their seven losses, just short of 7 points per contest.

And that’s what I found with their losses ranging from four to 10 points — the others are two 6’s, a pair of 7’s and an 8.

All very interesting, but seeing these numbers, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. Or at least get noticed more often.

Now onto a full set of games to celebrate the holiday:


Thursday, 12:30 p.m.

Buffalo at Detroit — The leadoff game every year for Turkey Day. It’s been a turkey for quite awhile, and this year may be no different. But at least now it’s because the Bills are still considered the best team in the league by many.

Despite the Lions’ penchant for playing well on this day and their three-game win streak, remember who’s played at Ford Field more recently — that answer is Buffalo, just three days ago. Bills, 31-26.


Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

New York Giants at Dallas — While the Cowboys exposed how good they can take advantage of a pass-oriented offense, this New York team really loves to run the ball. Mostly because they’re at home on a short week, Cowboys, 27-25.


Thursday, 8:20 p.m.

New England at Minnesota — I just don’t see the plodding Pats being able to keep up with a Minnesota bunch that just got embarrassed in their own stadium. Again with the short week at home, Vikings, 33-20.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

Denver at Carolina — A pair of three-win teams, though Carolina is one of the few worse than Jacksonville at 3-8. Still, Panthers, 28-23.


Tampa Bay at Cleveland — It should be cold enough for a bunch of Floridians — and 45-year-old transplant Tom Brady — to be affected by the weather. Browns, 20-16.


Baltimore at Jacksonville — I don’t see this as a massive blowout win for the Jags. That only leaves them with a close loss. Ravens, 29-27.


Houston at Miami — Oops, I see why this game wasn’t pivoted (or whatever they call it) to Sunday night. Dolphins, 39-10.


Chicago at New York Jets — I’m hoping Jets head coach and Northern Michigan University graduate Robert Saleh just has to say “New England” and that’ll embarrass his troops enough to beat a Bears team that knows how to do everything but win. Sound familiar, Detroit fans? Jets, 23-20.


Cincinnati at Tennessee — I like ball control with the Titans and maybe a lack of it with Cincy if Tennessee gets to quarterback Joe Burrow. Titans, 30-21.


Atlanta at Washington — Is Washington management kicking itself for not jettisoning their old nickname sooner? Heck, every time you go through a couple rough years, just change your moniker to reinvent yourself. Commanders, 27-19.


Sunday, 4 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona — Short week for the Cardinals, plus the Chargers should finally be getting at least a little bit healthier. Chargers, 24-18.


Las Vegas at Seattle — It took everything for the Raiders to get past the disorganized Broncos. Won’t work this week. Seahawks, 33-24.


Los Angeles Rams at Kansas City — This one might be worse than Texans-Dolphins. Chiefs, 40-13.


New Orleans at San Francisco — If any team is going to go on a long winning streak late in the season, it should be San Fran, since their record needs to catch up to what everyone thinks they should be by playoff time. 49ers, 31-22.


Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Green Bay at Philadelphia — Is there a silver lining for the Packers? These Eagles have a point differential of minus-10 the last two weeks with an 11-point loss and one-point win.

Naw, me thinks that Philly is just going to be angry about that. And you don’t want to see Jalen Hurts when he’s angry … Eagles, 34-17.


Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis — This seems like an interesting matchup, even if their playing styles will make it look like they’re playing in mud — at Indy’s indoor stadium. Steelers, 23-17.


Last week — 8-6, 57 percent. Season — 93-70-1, 57 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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