NFL Week 12: Making You the Smartest Fan in the Room

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The Smartest Fan in the Room

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Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

Admit it, no matter where you watch football on Sundays you’d love to be the smartest fan in the room, especially if you watch the games with people who claim to be “experts.” Just once, you’d love to see the look on their face when you spit out a random but accurate statistic in the middle of an average conversation. Luckily, you’re not the only one. My girlfriend lives for these moments, and I know she’s not alone. So, instead of searching the internet for a trend or a tidbit that you may or may not ever find, allow me to lay out a handful of stats that even the most astute NFL fan would find interesting and enlightening.

These stats are easy to remember, but they are numbers/trends that your football friends likely failed to notice. This set of data is strictly from last week, as the most useful statistics are the most recent statistics.

That’s right, I’m making you the most interesting fan in the world. Do what you want with this knowledge, but you will have the opportunity to contribute some impressive tidbits to any football conversation. Some perceived trends were disproved last week, thus giving you the chance to back your arguments with some cold, hard data.

Leading in what statistical category gave you a 71 percent chance of winning last week? Which category didn’t you want your team to lead in? What does it mean to be a “starting” running back? Those answers and more will get you ready to be the smartest fan in the room during the Week 12 action that kicks off tonight.

Looking for more of my work? My fantasy articles and NBA picks against the spread are published routinely and I’m always fielding questions @unSOPable23

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5. Sacks

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John Geliebter - USATODAY Sports

Teams that recorded more sacks than their opponent were 10-4 last week.

We often label the NFL as a pass happy league but fail to acknowledge the importance of getting after the quarterback. Defenses that can generate a pass rush, whether it is with a solid front four or via the blitz, force the offense to have a high level of communication, something that teams without an elite level quarterback often struggle with. Drop this nugget if your team is struggling to score but is getting after the quarterback on the other end.

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4. D/ST Touchdowns

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Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

They say the best offense is a good defense. Never was that more true than last week as nine non-offensive touchdowns were scored.

As the weather worsens, the ability to create turnovers is going to become more important. On the flip side, offenses that avoid the big mistake are going to be successful. Insert this piece of knowledge when your team elects to go with a draw play on third-and-16 instead of taking the risk on a dangerous shot down the field.

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3. 2nd Quarter Scoring

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Kevin Jairaj - USATODAY Sports

In eight of the 15 games played last week, the game's highest scoring quarter by a single team was the second quarter. Furthermore, nine games saw a team score ten-plus points and four games saw a team score 20-plus points in the game's second stanza.

An odd stat, but a nice tidbit to throw out there if your team is trailing after the first 15 minutes. Many games were won/lost in the second quarter this past weekend, so if a team is going to make a comeback they had better do it in the first half.

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2. Secondary Rushers

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CharlesL LeClaire - USATODAY Sports

Nine teams were led in rushing by a player other than their starting running back.

These teams only won four games, proving that having a workhorse back still has value in today's NFL. I'm not sold on the "running back by committee" routine that these teams employ as it seems that RBs getting a consistent workload are the ones who succeed at icing games down the stretch.

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1. Net Yards

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Derick Hingle - USATODAY Sports

Shocking stat of the week: teams that led the game in net yards were a mere 6-9.

In the NFL it is quality over quantity when it comes to yardage. Converting a short field into six points is always going to be more valuable than an impressive 90-yard drive that stalls at the five-yard line and results in a field goal. Part of this stat has to do with the D/ST touchdowns, but the general idea holds. Use this stat if your team is getting dominated from a yardage standpoint but keeping the game close.


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