In the Broncos’ 51-48 victory over the Cowboys, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning combined for a “record book” game. Their performances placed them in a tie for third-most combined passing yards in a single game. The Jets’ Ken O’Brien and the Dolphins’ Dan Marino, each members of the famed 1983 quarterback draft class, combined for 884 passing yards on a Monday night in 1986. The Jets won that game 51-45 in overtime.
The Broncos and Cowboys combined for 99 points, making it the highest scoring game since 2004 when the Bengals and Browns combined for 106 points in a 58-48 Bengal win. The highest scoring game of all-time was 113 combined points when the Redskins beat the Giants 72-41 in 1966. The Giants had their worst season in franchise history that year, finishing 1-12-1. They allowed a franchise-high 501 points, allowing 35.7 points a game. (Almost as bad as the 2013 Giants, who after five games are allowing 36.4 points a game, and are on pace to become the team’s worst ever).
Speaking of highest points and the Broncos, they are favored by 28 points this Sunday over the winless Jaguars. My research found that this is the highest published NFL point spread of all time. To my knowledge, the previous highest was the 26-point spread set for the 1976 game between the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers were 8-4 coming into the game and the Buccaneers were 0-12 on their way to a 0-14 season. Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw had been out injured for a month and came back for this game. The spread was justified as Rocky Bleier ran for three touchdowns and Bradshaw connected with Lynn Swann for two. The Steelers scored on consecutive drives at the start of the third quarter and led 42-0 for the rest of the contest.
Under the Radar Players for Week Six
Jay Cutler— Bears vs. Giants
Cutler has a 10:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2013. He has completed more than 65% of his passes and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four of five games. As we know, the G-Men are on pace to have their worst defense in franchise history. They are ranked 25th against the pass, allowing 280 passing yards a game, and have surrendered twelve scoring passes. They have allowed multiple touchdown passes in every game and perhaps the most surprising and telling stat—they have just five sacks for the season.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis— Bengals at Bills
Green-Ellis faces the 24th ranked run defense in the Bills. They have allowed 116 yards per game on the ground, and only four teams have more rushing attempts against them. The Bills’ opponents have averaged 29 rushing attempts a game. Green-Ellis has scored a touchdown in three of five games this year, and for his career he has either a touchdown or rushed for 100 yards in four of the five games that he has seen the Bills. He has received almost all of the Bengal goal line carries and with Giovanni Bernard having a key fumble last week, you can be sure Green-Ellis will continue to be the short yardage back.
Ben Tate—Texans vs. Rams
Tate has averaged 6.2 yards a carry in 2013. The Rams are tied for 26th against the run, allowing 126 rushing yards a game, 4.5 yards per carry, and are giving up one touchdown run each game. With Houston having trouble at quarterback, they should try and run on 40-to-50 of their snaps Sunday. Even with Tate having to share carries with Arian Foster, he is a solid play this week.
Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts— Jaguars at Broncos
Blackmon and Shorts combined for 10 receptions, 210 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against the Rams. Even had they not scored the touchdowns, they would still be here. The Broncos have not been able to stop the pass and only the Cowboys and Eagles have had more passes attempted against them. The Broncos are last against the pass allowing 347 passing yards a game and have given up 11 scoring passes. Chad Henne gets the start at quarterback this week for the Jaguars, and if the game goes as scripted, the Jaguars will have to give up on the run before halftime. Blackmon and Shorts should pile up fantasy points as they try and keep pace with Peyton Manning.
Greg Olsen— Panthers at Vikings
Olsen is averaging four receptions and 54.2 receiving yards a game with one touchdown so far in 2013. Those stats do not grab your attention but the fact that the Vikings allow 326 passing yards a game does. What sets this match-up apart for Olsen is that the Vikings have allowed ten scoring throws; six of those have been to the tight end. No team in football has allowed more scoring throws to that spot than the Vikings and that trend should continue Sunday.