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|To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s ATLANTA FALCONS–NEW ORLEANS SAINTS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest is a nod to the momentous 2006 Saints home-opener, when the team sparked the resurgence of a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In an electrifying moment at the Superdome on September 25, 2006, STEVE GLEASON blocked a first-quarter punt and CURTIS DELOATCH recovered the ball in the end zone, an uplifting initial score in the city’s first regular-season game since December 26, 2004. Buoyed by the win, the 3-0 Saints advanced to the NFC Championship game, and three years later won the Super Bowl. The game also marked the first home contest in the New Orleans career of the NFL’s all-time passing-yards leader, DREW BREES.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: Through the first nine weeks of the 2019 season, four teams – the BUFFALO BILLS (6-2), GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-2), MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-3) and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-0) – are in playoff position after missing the postseason a year ago. From 1990-2018 – a streak of 29 consecutive years – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. In 2018, seven of the 12 playoff teams missed the postseason the year before.
DIVISION-WINNING REBOUNDS: The NFL in 2002 expanded to 32 teams and realigned into eight divisions. Since that time, at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 15 of the past 16 years. Heading into Week 10, two teams – GREEN BAY in the NFC North and SAN FRANCISCO in the NFC West – lead their respective divisions after missing the postseason in 2018.
Teams to win their divisions a season after missing the playoffs over the last 16 seasons:
SEVEN-WIN SUPERLATIVES: Entering Week 10, five teams – the GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-2), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-1), NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-1), SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-0) and SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (7-2) – have at least seven wins, the most through the first nine weeks since the 1990 season (five teams). In total, 10 teams have at least six victories, the most through the first nine weeks of a season since 1986 (11 teams).
NINERS REMAIN UNBLEMISHED, SEAHAWKS UP NEXT: For the first time in NFL history, the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-0) are the league’s last remaining undefeated team at least eight games into a season. San Francisco, which finished last season 4-12 and selected DL NICK BOSA with the second-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is off to its best start since opening 10-0 in 1990. This week, the 49ers host a divisional contest with key playoff implications against the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (7-2) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).
The divisions with the best overall winning percentages since 2012:
AFTER THE BYE: A season-high six NFL teams are on byes during Week 10, and every club will have taken its week off by the end of Week 12. On Sunday, two teams coming off their byes meet in an NFC South clash when the ATLANTA FALCONS travel to play the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Since the beginning of the 2011 season, only the BALTIMORE RAVENS, fresh off a post-bye win over the Patriots in Week 9, have a better record after the bye.
The NFL teams with the best winning percentages in the game following the bye since 2011:
ANOTHER ROOKIE QUARTERBACK MAKES STARTING DEBUT: On Sunday when the BALTIMORE RAVENS meet the CINCINNATI BENGALS (1:00 PM ET, CBS), the Ravens (6-2) have an opportunity to match their best start in franchise history (7-2 in both 2006 and 2012). On the other sideline, quarterback RYAN FINLEY will make his first NFL start. Finley will become the sixth rookie to make his starting debut this season, joining Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY, Jacksonville’s GARDNER MINSHEW, Pittsburgh’s DEVLIN HODGES, the New York Giants’ DANIEL JONES and Washington’s DWAYNE HASKINS.
Through the first nine weeks, 110 of 135 overall games (81.5 percent) have featured at least one quarterback under the age of 27, the most at this point in a season in league history. In total, quarterbacks under age 27 have started 146 games and recorded 76 wins (52.1 percent), both the most starts and wins by quarterbacks under the age of 27 through the first nine weeks of a season since at least 1970.
NFL SCHEDULE, NOVEMBER 7, 10-11
(All times Eastern)