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NFL – WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 3

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COMEBACKS ARE EN VOGUE: The season’s first two weeks have proven that insurance points are important. Fans, coaches and players, if your team is down, help yourself to a slice of hope. In 32 games to date, 11 have featured a team coming from behind in the second half to win, including seven teams that trailed at halftime. Six of those games have seen a team win after erasing a fourth-quarter deficit. The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS have overcome a second-half deficit in each of their two victories. And those numbers don’t include the exciting Week 1 comebacks by the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS and ARIZONA CARDINALS, who sent their respective games to overtime. Eight games have had teams come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter.

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MILESTONE FRANCHISE WINS: Three clubs can reach milestone victories in their franchise histories this week. Both the DENVER BRONCOS and the MINNESOTA VIKINGS can record their 500th wins, including postseason. Among the original eight franchises that launched the American Football League in 1960, Denver would become the second to reach 500 wins, as only the Boston/New England Patriots (539) have eclipsed that landmark. The CAROLINA PANTHERS, who began in 1995, bid for the 200th win in franchise history, including postseason.

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PROLIFIC POINT DIFFERENTIAL: The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS enter Week 3 having outscored opponents by 73 points, 76-3. With a point-differential of at least 24 points this week, their season-opening point-differential would reach comparisons to teams as old as the NFL itself. Defensively speaking, should the Patriots allow nine or fewer points, they’d also establish the fewest points allowed over a season’s initial three games in the Super Bowl era.

The highest point-differentials by a team through a season’s first three games in NFL history:

TEAM SEASON POINTS SCORED POINTS ALLOWED POINT DIFF
Rock Island Independents 1920 119 0 +119
Buffalo All-Americans 1921 110 0 +110
Dallas Cowboys 1968 132 33 +99
Buffalo All-Americans 1920 111 13 +98
Canton Bulldogs 1920 97 0 +97

The fewest points allowed through a season’s first three games during the Super Bowl era (1966-present):

TEAM SEASON POINTS ALLOWED SEASON RESULT
Denver Broncos 2009 16 Missed playoffs
Indianapolis Colts 2005 16 AFC Divisional playoffs
Seattle Seahawks 2004 13 NFC Wild Card playoffs
Green Bay Packers 2001 13 NFC Divisional playoffs
Philadelphia Eagles 1980 16 Lost Super Bowl XV

 

— NFL —

 

TOUCHDOWN MAKER: Cleveland quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD needs a touchdown pass on Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams (8:20 PM ET, NBC) to reach historic company. He enters the week having thrown for a touchdown in each of his first 15 NFL starts, tied with BRAD JOHNSON for the second-longest streak to begin a career (since at least 1950). Only Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER authored a longer career-opening streak, throwing for a touchdown in his first 23 NFL starts.

 

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SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE: In the Super Bowl era, only two players over the first two games of a season have started with at least seven TD passes, no interceptions and a completion percentage of 70 or higher. Those two players, LAMAR JACKSON and PATRICK MAHOMES, meet on Sunday (BALTIMORE at KANSAS CITY, 1:00 PM ET, CBS). With three more TD passes and no interceptions against the Ravens, Mahomes can join even more elite company.

 

The players with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in each of their team’s first three games to begin a season in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM SEASON
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City 2018
Peyton Manning Indianapolis 2010
     
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City 2019*
*Entering Week 3

 

MAHOMES REACHES 20 GAMES AT HISTORIC PACE: PATRICK MAHOMES plays his 20th NFL game on Sunday. No player has ever had more passing yards (6,202) or passing touchdowns (57), or a higher passer rating (114.5, minimum 100 attempts) over his first 20 games – and Mahomes has established those marks in just 19 contests. With 300 yards this week, he can break Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER’s mark of most 300-yard passing games over a player’s first 20 games.

 

The players with the most games of at least 300 pass yards in their first 20 career games in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM SEASON(S) GAMES WITH 300+ PASS YARDS
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City 2017-2019 12*
Kurt WarnerHOF St. Louis Rams 1999-2000 12
*In 19 career games

 

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PRESCOTT EYES HISTORIC FOURTH STRAIGHT START: Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT has picked up where he left off last season and has authored two impressive efforts to lead the Cowboys to a 2-0 start. This week at home vs. Miami in the NFL100 Game of the Week (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Prescott can do something only two players have ever done: Record at least four consecutive games with three-plus touchdown passes and a 120-or-better passer rating.

 

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 120 or higher in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM SEASON(S) GAMES WITH 3+ TD PASSES & 120+ RATING
Russell Wilson Seattle 2015 5
Andrew Luck Indianapolis 2018 4
       
Dak Prescott Dallas 2018-19 3*
*Active streak

 

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RIVERS REMAINS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS (55,282) last week became just the eighth player in NFL history to reach 55,000 career passing yards. This week, he can climb another prestigious list in NFL history. With 300 yards passing at home vs. Houston (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Rivers (63) will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (63) for sole possession of fourth on the NFL’s all-time list of 300-yard passing games, trailing only DREW BREES (116), PEYTON MANNING (93) and TOM BRADY (88).

 

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MILESTONE COACHING WINS: Kansas City head coach ANDY REID this week leads the Chiefs into their home-opener against 2-0 Baltimore Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). Reid (209-138-1) needs a victory to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer CHUCK NOLL (209-156-1) for sole possession of sixth place on the NFL’s all-time wins list, including postseason.

 

The most wins by an NFL head coach, all-time, including postseason:

 

RK COACH TEAM(S) W L T *PCT
1 Don ShulaHOF Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins 347 173 6 .666
2 George HalasHOF Chicago Bears 324 151 31 .682
3 Bill Belichick# Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots 294 134 0 .687
4 Tom LandryHOF Dallas Cowboys 270 178 6 .603
5 Earl (Curly) LambeauHOF Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cardinals, Washington Redskins 229 134 22 .631
6 Chuck NollHOF Pittsburgh Steelers 209 156 1 .572
  Andy Reid# Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs 209 138 1 .602
8 Marty Schottenheimer Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers 205 139 1 .596
9 Dan Reeves Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons 201 174 2 .536
10 Chuck Knox Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks 193 158 1 .550

    #Active    *From 1920-71, tie games were not included in winning percentage.

 

Last week, Seattle’s PETE CARROLL earned his 100th win with the Seahawks and became just the fifth active head coach to achieve that mark with his current club. He joined BILL BELICHICK (257 with New England), MIKE TOMLIN (133 with Pittsburgh), SEAN PAYTON (127 with New Orleans) and JOHN HARBAUGH (116 with Baltimore).

 

Finally, Oakland’s JON GRUDEN has an opportunity Sunday to improve his regular-season record against Minnesota to 5-0 and become just the second active head coach with an undefeated record against a single opponent (minimum five games). Over his career, ANDY REID has a 7-0 mark against the Cleveland Browns.

 

The best regular-season records among active head coaches against a single opponent, minimum five games:

 

COACH TEAM(S) OPPONENT W L T PCT
Andy Reid Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs Cleveland Browns 7 0 0 1.000
Bill Belichick Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots Houston Texans 8 1 0 .889
Bill Belichick Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots Oakland Raiders 7 1 0 .875
John Harbaugh Baltimore Ravens Miami Dolphins 7 1 0 .875
John Harbaugh Baltimore Ravens Cleveland Browns 19 3 0 .864

 

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RARIFIED AIR: Arizona’s LARRY FITZGERALD (1,316) needs 10 receptions on Sunday against Carolina (4:05 PM ET, FOX) to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ for second on the NFL’s all-time list of career receptions. Fitzgerald also owns the league’s longest active streak of games with a reception (229).

 

The players with the most career receptions in NFL history:

 

RK PLAYER TEAM(S) SEASONS RECEPTIONS
1 Jerry RiceHOF San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle 1985-2004 1,549
2 Tony GonzalezHOF Kansas City, Atlanta 1997-2013 1,325
3 Larry Fitzgerald# Arizona 2004-19 1,316
4 Jason Witten# Dallas Cowboys 2003-19 1,159
5 Marvin HarrisonHOF Indianapolis 1996-2008 1,102
6 Cris CarterHOF Minnesota, Philadelphia, Miami 1987-2002 1,101
7 Tim BrownHOF Oakland, Tampa Bay 1988-2004 1,094
8 Terrell OwensHOF San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati 1996-2010 1,078
9 Anquan Boldin Arizona, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco, Detroit 2003-16 1,076
10 Reggie Wayne Indianapolis 2001-14 1,070

             #Active

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DEFENSIVE STALWARTS & THE CENTURY MARK: Three players entered this season nearing their 100th career sacks. Tennessee’s CAMERON WAKE, who now owns 100.5 sacks, was the first to reach the mark in Week 1. Denver’s VON MILLER (98) needs just two more, and Houston’s J.J. WATT (92) stands eight away. Arizona’s TERRELL SUGGS (134.5) leads all active players, while Washington’s RYAN KERRIGAN (85.5), the Los Angeles Rams’ CLAY MATTHEWS (85.5) and Jacksonville’s CALAIS CAMPBELL (81.5) also are within striking distance of the 100 mark this season.

 

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SAQUON WITHIN SIGHT OF 2,500: New York Giants running back SAQUON BARKLEY (18 games) stands just 198 scrimmage yards from the 2,500 plateau, and he could become among the fastest in NFL history to get there. Barkley enters the week with 2,302 scrimmage yards (1,534 rushing, 768 receiving). Barkley also needs at least 100 scrimmage yards in the Giants’ game at Tampa Bay (4:05 PM ET, FOX) to match the NFL’s most games of 100-plus scrimmage yards over a player’s first 20 games (EDGERRIN JAMES, 16 games) – and Barkley has played only 18 games entering this week.

 

The players to reach 2,500 scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM GAMES
Eric DickersonHOF Los Angeles Rams 19
Edgerrin James Indianapolis 19
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas 20
Ottis Anderson St. Louis Cardinals 21
Billy Sims Detroit 21
     
Saquon Barkley New York Giants 18*
*Has 2,302 scrimmage yards

 

The players with the most games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in their first 20 career games in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM SEASONS GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS  
Edgerrin James Indianapolis 1999-2000 16  
Saquon Barkley New York Giants 2018-19 15*  
Eric DickersonHOF Los Angeles Rams 1983-84 15  
*In 18 career games

 

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COMPLIMENTS TO THE COOK: Vikings running back DALVIN COOK is off to a resounding start this season. When Minnesota hosts Oakland on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Cook can continue his climb up a prestigious chart in NFL history.

 

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 110 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to begin a season in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM SEASON GAMES WITH 110+ RUSH YARDS & RUSH TD
Jim BrownHOF Cleveland 1958 6
O.J. SimpsonHOF Buffalo 1975 5
Emmitt SmithHOF Dallas 1995 4
Curtis MartinHOF New York Jets 2004 3
       
Dalvin Cook Minnesota 2019 2*
*Entering Week 3

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HARD TO KEEP UP WITH THIS JONES: Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES stands just 132 receiving yards from 11,000 during his career. Over his first 113 NFL games, he’s established a blistering pace and could shatter the record for fastest player to 11,000 receiving yards in NFL history when the Falcons travel to Indianapolis Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). And with triple-digit receiving yards Sunday, Jones would notch his 51st career 100-yard receiving game, which would tie ANDRE JOHNSON, STEVE SMITH and Pro Football Hall of Famer TERRELL OWENS for fourth in NFL annals.

The players to reach 11,000 career receiving yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM GAMES
Calvin Johnson Detroit 127
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh 129
Torry Holt St. Louis 131
Jerry RiceHOF San Francisco 133
Andre Johnson Houston 136
     
Julio Jones Atlanta 113*
*Has 10,868 receiving yards

 

The players with the most career games of at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:

 

PLAYER GAMES WITH 100+ RECEIVING YARDS
Jerry RiceHOF 76
Randy MossHOF 64
Marvin HarrisonHOF 59
Andre Johnson 51
Terrell OwensHOF 51
Steve Smith 51
   
Julio Jones 50

 

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NO DOUBTING MICHAEL THOMAS: New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS is expected to play his 50th NFL game on Sunday when the Saints travel to Seattle (4:25 PM ET, CBS). With 1 receiving yard in his 50th game, Thomas would join ODELL BECKHAM JR. and ANQUAN BOLDIN as the only players in NFL history with at least 300 catches and 4,000 receiving yards in their first 50 games.

The players with at least 300 receptions and 4,000 receiving yards in their first 50 games in NFL history:

 

PLAYER TEAM RECEPTIONS RECEIVING YARDS
Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants 337 4,695
Anquan Boldin Arizona 314 4,150
       
Michael Thomas* New Orleans 341# 3,999
*In 49 career games
#Most receptions by a player in his first 50 career games

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