NFL matchups and other notes

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has struggled in his second NFL year. (Chris Keane/Reuters)

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has struggled in his second NFL year. (Chris Keane/Reuters)

John Kryk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET

THE 3 BIG MATCHUPS

CAM NEWTON vs. ALL HOPE

Last year’s rookie phenom quarterback and his team, the Carolina Panthers, are struggling mightily at 1-5 and desperately need a breakout victory. It’s highly unlikely to happen Sunday at 5-1 Chicago. The Bears’ defence is rock solid in every phase. It would take Superman to make some plays – hmmmm.

 

DREW BREES vs. JOHN ELWAY

Well, kinda anyway. With two touchdown passes in Denver on Sunday night, Brees would pass Elway – the retired Broncos legend and now front-office big-wig – with 301 career TD passes, sixth most in NFL history. Meantime, Mr. Commercials quarterbacks the Broncos now. You know who I mean.

 

LUCK vs TITANS PASS DEFENCE

How to pad your passing stats? Play the awful Tennessee Titans’ pass defence. That’s good news for Andrew Luck and the Indy Colts, who could double their 2011 win total by getting their fourth of 2012 in Nashville on Sunday. The Titans allow an NFL-worst 73% completion rate (seriously), and they’re tied for league worst in TD passes allowed (16).

 

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(SUNDAY BRUNCH)

Quick-hit breakfast items to whet your Week 8 appetite:

 

Amazing, but a Buffalo Bills defensive player actually ranks among the NFL leaders – in a good way.

Rookie cornerback Stephon Gilmore has 10 pass breakups. That’s tied for second in the league. Only Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman has more, with 11.

Team-wise, however, the Bills defence continues to languish at or near the bottom in almost all relevant statistics.

 

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After suffocating Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions on Monday night, the Chicago Bears defence for a livin’ fact is among the best in the league.

Probably THE best so far.

The Bears have allowed the fewest points per game (13), fewest rushing yards per game (71), third fewest rushing first downs (24) and fourth fewest third-down conversions (29.2%).

It doesn’t hurt that the Bears also are the least penalized team in the league so far, with only 24 flagged infractions through six games.

 

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Three punters are averaging more than 50 yards per boot: Thomas Morstead of New Orleans (51.2), Brandon Fields of Miami (51.0) and Jon Ryan of Seattle (50.4).

Mike Scifres of San Diego is close enough to warrant mention, with a 49.9 average.

For perspective, Oakland Raiders great Ray Guy averaged 42.4 yards in his career from 1973-86, and in his best season (1973) he averaged 45.3 yards per punt.

Nineteen punters this year are besting that. Nineteen!

 

 

 

THE BIG NUMBER

24

Number of sacks registered by the Green Bay Packers so far, to lead the league. They had 29 all of last season.

 

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THIS JUST IN

Saturday's news updates:

 

Unless you hear otherwise from me, please use TSN

 

 


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