When the 2012 schedule was first announced the Thursday night games in general, and this one in particular looked putrid. A year ago the Colts were the worst team in the league with a 2-14 record while the 5-11 Jaguars appeared destined to be one of the worst teams in the league in 2012 (and still do, though the Chiefs seem to be steamrolling their way to the number one pick next April).
Lo and behold the Colts are 5-3 and rank 5th in the league in passing yards, so the NFLN has lucked out (I know, bad pun) with what may turn out to be a watchable game. I realize the NFL wants to give the networks decent games since they are paying so much for the broadcast rights, but since the first bye week the slate of Thursday games has been pretty bad if you base it on those team’s 2011 records:
Week 10: 2-14 Colts at 5-11 Jaguars
Week 9: 7-9 Chiefs at 8-8 Chargers
Week 8: 4-12 Buccaneers at 3-13 Vikings
Week 7: 7-9 Seahawks at 13-3 49ers
Week 6: 12-4 Steelers at 9-7 Titans
Week 5: 8-8 Cardinals at 2-14 Rams
Week 4: 4-12 Browns at 12-4 Ravens
Last spring a game between Tampa Bay and Minnesota did not sound enticing at all and that turned out to be a very good game; hopefully the same thing will happen tonight.
5-3 Indianapolis Colts at 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars
8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network
Colts Offense: 19.9 points per game (23rd), 391 yards per game (4th)
285 passing yards per game (6th), 106 rushing yards per game (19th)
Jaguars Offense: 14.6 points per game (32nd), 254 yards per game (32nd)
170 passing yards per game (32nd), 84 rushing yards per game (28th)
Colts Defense: 23.9 points per game (23rd), 352 yards per game (18th)
222 passing yards per game (11th), 131 rushing yards per game (25th)
Jaguars Defense: 27.4 points per game (26th), 393 yards per game (27th)
256 passing yards per game (25th), 137 rushing yards per game (27th)
Odds: The Colts are listed as as 3½ point favorites; it is the first time this season that they have been favored to win on the road. Most places have a point total of 43; both numbers have remained steady this week.
Although it is extremely difficult to come up with a reason why Jacksonville should do well, I think that the Colts are ripe for a letdown after beating Miami last week. Indy will be without both starting corners, Vontae Davis and Jerraud Powers, which will give Blaine Gabbert the help he needs to complete some passes to Cecil Shorts. The Colts are also without pass rusher Robert Mathis, so Gabbert should be comfortable in the pocket. I think the Colts have been been playing well on ‘Chuck Strong‘ emotion and sooner or later they’re due for a letdown; a road game on a very short week is as likely a place as any for that to happen.
Prediction: Jaguars 23, Colts 21
One unit on the Jaguars plus 3½ points.
– final score: Colts 27, Jaguars 10
This Day In Patriots History
November 8, 1970:
St. Louis Cardinals 31, Boston Patriots 0 at Busch Stadium
MacArthur Lane rushed for three touchdowns for the Cardinals, who improved to 6-2. The Pats turned the ball over four times in the first-ever game between these two franchises, falling to 1-7. Charley Frazier, the former Oiler playing his final season of pro football, led the Patriots with five receptions for 54 yards. MacArthur Lane? Wow, that name’s a true blast from the past…
November 8, 1981:
Miami Dolphins 30, New England Patriots 27 in OT at Schaefer Stadium
The Pats jumped out to a 17-3 lead over the heavily favored Dolphins but were unable to hang on. Stanley Morgan started things off with a 76-yard highlight reel touchdown from Steve Grogan, and finished with 5 receptions for 182 yards. Grogan threw for 355 yards on the day but his four interceptions helped Miami get back in the game. Tony Collins had a touchdown and 90 yards rushing. The win improved Miami’s record to 7-2-1 while the Pats fell to 2-8.
November 8, 1987:
New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 10 at the Meadowlands
The Patriots defense forced three turnovers but the offense could not capitalize. Ed Reynolds intercepted two passes and Andre Tippett picked off another for the Pats; the only touchdown for New England came in the 2nd quarter on a 15-yard pass from Steve Grogan to TE Greg Baty.
With this game Grogan had now played every other team in the NFL.
November 8, 1992:
New Orleans Saints 31, New England Patriots 14 at Foxboro
Bobby Hebert threw three touchdowns as the Saints improved to 7-2 while the Patriots lost their ninth straight game. Highlight of the game for the Pats was an interception that linebacker Vincent Brown returned 49 yards for a touchdown; the other score came on an 8-yard run by Leonard Russell.
November 8, 1998:
Atlanta Falcons 41, New England Patriots 10
The Falcons scored two touchdowns in the first six minutes and cruised from there, improving to 7-2 for their best start in franchise history. At this point Atlanta still had plenty of doubters but they would end up going 14-2, before losing to Denver in the Super Bowl.
At the time of the game the Patriots were considered to be the better team, coming off a 10-6 season and being in the Super Bowl themselves the year before that, but they were overwhelmed and fell out of first place, slumping to 5-4 with their third loss in four games.
The Pats had a chance to get back in the game midway through the second quarter with a fourth-and-2 at the Atlanta 13-yard line and the score 21-3. Pete Carroll went for a first down rather than a field goal but Drew Bledsoe fumbled, and DE Chuck Smith not only recovered but returned the ball 71 yards for a touchdown to give Atlanta a 28-3 halftime lead.
The Patriots struggled with key offensive players sidelined, including three wide receivers. Vincent Brisby missed his fourth straight game, and Terry Glenn and Troy Brown sat out their third game in a row; in addition the Pats also missed the blocking of fullback Tony Carter, who was recovering from knee surgery.
Adam Vinatieri‘s 40-yard field goal after Ty Law‘s sixth interception of the season cut the lead to 14-3, but RB Jamal Anderson‘s second touchdown run made the score 21-3. On the ensuing drive the Pats turned the ball over on the ill-fated fourth down play and the game was essentially over at that point. Tony Simmons led the Patriots with four receptions for 95 yards, and Shawn Jefferson had a pair of catches for 61 yards.
November 8, 2009:
New England Patriots 27, Miami Dolphins 17 at Gillette Stadium
Randy Moss caught a short pass over the middle, shoved Vontae Davis aside with a stiff-arm, and ran 71 yards for the winning touchdown. That play (and 2-point conversion to Moss) put the Pats up 24-17 with 3:15 remaining in the 3rd quarter but Miami never moved the ball inside the Pats’ 40-yard line for the rest of the game.
On the Patriots’ second possession of the game Moss made a one-handed catch against Davis for a 36-yard gain, down to the 1-yard line; Laurence Maroney ran for the TD on the next play to put the Pats up 7-3.
Miami came back with two touchdowns in which they used the Wildcat (which they first used the previous season) almost exclusively. The second TD came on RB Ronnie Brown‘s 1-yard pass, giving the Dolphins a 17-16 lead, capping off a 16-play drive which consumed 10:09 off the clock. The Pats responded with two plays that gained nine yards and then the touchdown to Moss.
Maroney carried the ball 20 times for 82 yards; in the previous seven games of the ’09 season he had never run more than 16 times and only once previously had he run for more than 43 yards. Moss led the Pats with 147 yards receiving and Wes Welker had nine receptions for 84 yards; Tom Brady finished with 332 yards, going 25-for-37 on the day.
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November 8, 1949:
Bonnie Raitt was born in Burbank
November 8, 1958:
The soundtrack of South Pacific became the number one album; it would stay at number one for seven months, which is the 4th longest run ever.
November 8, 1971:
Led Zeppelin released their fourth album
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