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News » NFL HOT READS


NFL HOT READS


NFL HOT READS
Red hot Peppers


Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, who was abysmal last year with only 2 1/2 sacks, now has seven sacks and has turned back into the disruptive force

the Panthers envisioned when they made him the second overall pick in 2002.

He leads the NFL with four forced fumbles. Not only that, but Peppers is in the last year of his contract and figures to get a huge payday to stay with Carolina.

Titans aim for rare feat

The Titans are the 23rd team to start a season at 9-0, but they'd better beware of today's matchup against the AFC South rival Jaguars. After all, five of those 23 teams lost in their 10th games. Of the 23, four finished the regular season unbeaten and untied: the 1934 and 1942 Bears, the 1972 Dolphins and the 2007 Patriots.

This is the fourth straight year in which a team has reached 9-0, the longest streak in NFL history.

Hot Stover league

If Ravens veteran kicker Matt Stover converts his next PAT, he'll set the NFL record for most consecutive extra points made, breaking a tie with Jason Elam (1993-2002) and Jeff Wilkins (1999-2007), who had 371.

It's almost a cinch that Stover will set the record. Consider: Kickers have converted extra points on 96.2 percent of all tries this season.

Field-goal conversions also are remarkably consistent. Kkickers have

made an astounding 85.1 percent of all field-goal attempts this season. That's an all-time high through 10 weeks.

Rookie coach/QB combos soaring

The Falcons and Ravens have plenty in common this season: Both are 6-3 and in the hunt for divisional titles. Both are led by rookie head coaches (Mike Smith in Atlanta and John Harbaugh in Baltimore). Both are winning with rookie quarterbacks (Matt Ryan in Atlanta and Joe Flacco in Baltimore).

In fact, both teams are only one victory from tying the 1995 Panthers (Dom Capers and Kerry Collins) for the most wins with a first-time head coach and a rookie quarterback since the Super Bowl era began in 1966.

Kerry's good luck song

Now that the Titans are 9-0, they're starting to get a little superstitious. Take quarterback Kerry Collins. He started listening to country music star Alan Jackson's "Good Time" on his way to work when the streak started, so now he can't stop. Even though he's sick of the song.

"Literally, it's been playing over and over and over in my car," he told reporters. "I have every word of every song memorized. Sometimes I have to turn it down. As much as I'd like to, I can't stop."

Home cookin' in NFC South

The four NFC South teams have a combined home record of 17-1 (.944) so far. If the Panthers (5-0 at home), Buccaneers (4-0), Falcons (4-0) and Saints (4-1) keep up that pace, they'll surpass the combined home records of the 2003 NFC West (.813) for the highest combined home winning percentage of any division since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. (One of the Saints' "home" wins was their 37-32 win over the Chargers at London's Wembley Stadium.)

Big Ben scuffling

Ben Roethlisberger has a Super Bowl championship on his resume, but things haven't gone so well lately. In his last three games, Roethlisberger has thrown one touchdown pass and eight interceptions. His passer rating has fallen below 80, and he has thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdown passes (10).

Roethlisberger has some company. Bills quarterback Trent Edwards' play has fallen off precipitously in recent weeks. In his first six games, Edwards threw for 1,209 yards, five TDs and two INTs and had two lost fumbles. In his last three games, he has only two TDs, five INTs, two lost fumbles and a safety.

Cowher power

As the Browns continue to struggle in yet another disappointing season, there is a groundswell of support among fans for team owner Randy Lerner to hire former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who has been out of Football the last two years.

Two fans recently started a Web site called Cower09.com, and the site has

attracted a horde of fans signing a petition to give to Lerner. The goal is to have 73,200 people - capacity at Cleveland Stadium - sign the petition.

"Now retired, 'The Chin' is enjoying learning piano and relaxing down in North Carolina," the site reads. "We can all appreciate this blissful walk into the sunset. However, Cowher has said on several occasions that he still has a strong itch to coach again. His youngest daughter will be leaving for college next fall and he will have an empty nest. Restlessness will set in. If you don't think the headstrong, psychopathic, adrenaline-filled man's man is dreaming about coming back, then you, my friend, are crazy."

Beautiful.

A lot about nothing

You could say that opponents are zeroing in on the Jaguars.

Two weeks ago, they played the 0-8 Bengals in Cincinnati and lost.

Last week, they faced the 0-8 Lions in Detroit and won.

This week, they host the 9-0 Titans.

"Goliath is coming to town," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "We'll see if we

can't find a few nice-sized pebbles and load up our slingshots."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 16, 2008

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Mark Clayton Name: Mark Clayton
#89
Position: WR
Age: 26
Experience: 4 years
College: Oklahoma
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