Jay Cutler struggles against Packers, Capers' D

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 12, 2012



By Russell S. Baxter
Cold Hard Football Facts' Fact-Producer

Last week, we pointed out the significance of losing your first game of the season and what it meant in terms of a championship. And many were surprised to realize that five of the last 11 Super Bowl champions were losers in Week 1.

This week, 16 clubs have a chance of opening 2-0, which virtually guarantees that we’ll see one of those unbeaten in New Orleans in February. In the 46-year history of the Super Bowl, either one or both teams have opened 2-0 or better, the lone exception being 1987 when the 1-1 Redskins and 1-0-1 Broncos squared off in Super Bowl XXII (a season interrupted by a strike and a three-week stint by replacement players).

On the other side of the ledger, it’s interesting to note that three teams in 2008 (Miami, Minnesota and San Diego) all reached the playoffs after a 0-2 start. The bad news is that over the past three seasons (2009-11), we have seen 24 instances where a club opened 0-2 or worse and none reached the postseason.

Food for thought as you chomp on your chicken wings. Onward…

Week 2

Thursday Night

Chicago (1-0) at Green Bay (0-1): Not so long ago in the land of cheese, the Packers allowed 240 points in the 2010 season and that kind of defense helped Mike McCarthy’s team win a Super Bowl. But in Green Bay’s last three outings, the Lions (41), the Giants in the playoffs (37) and 49ers (30) combined to put 108 points on the board, all of those games at Lambeau Field. Still, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has thrown twice as many interceptions (12) as touchdown passes (6) in his six meetings with Dom Capers’ defense since both arrived at their current jobs in 2009.

Sunday

Arizona (1-0) at New England (1-0): Many will remember the last time the Cardinals flew north to Foxborough. A 47-7 loss in the snow to the Matt Cassel-led Patriots, who finished 11-5 that season and missed the playoffs, was a low point for Ken Whisenhunt’s club. But they caught fire late and wound up in the Super Bowl.

Maligned all summer, Kevin Kolb came off the bench last week to rescue the Cardinals vs. the Seahawks. But keep in mind that including their five Super Bowl appearances, the Patriots are a stunning 41-8 vs. NFC  teams dating back to 2001…

Baltimore (1-0) at Philadelphia (1-0): The Eagles have now won five straight games dating back to last season. But five was a four-letter word in Cleveland as in number of turnovers, including four interceptions by Michael Vick. Remember, this was a Philly team that gave up the ball 38 times a year ago. Speaking of easy, it looked that way for the Ravens just when the Bengals were making it interesting on Monday night and they enter this game on a 27-0 scoring roll. But including last season’s AFC title game loss, Baltimore was a mere 4-5 on the road a year ago…

Cleveland (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1): Although the Bengals won five more games than their cross-state rivals last season, including a pair over the Browns, both of these clubs haven’t varied much in terms of what plagued them last season. Cleveland’s 17-16 loss to the Eagles marked the sixth straight game and the 20th time in their last 22 contests (since Week 13 of 2010) that they totaled 17 points or less. Including playoffs, Marvin Lewis’ club is 3-7 in its last 10 games after last season’s 6-2 start, all losses to the Ravens (3), Steelers (2) and Texans (2). Meaning?...

Dallas (1-0) at Seattle (0-1): Ever since Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo bobbled that snap in the ’06 NFC Wild Card Game he’s been making the Seahawks pay, no matter who’s coaching the team. In three meetings vs. the Seahawks since ’08 (all wins by a combined 95-39 score), Romo has thrown for 866 yards, eight scores and just one interception. And Seattle rookie Russell Wilson must deal with a well-rested Dallas’ defense that limited the Giants to 269 total yards over a week ago in their upset of the defending Super Bowl champions…

Houston (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1): Including playoffs, the Texans have limited 11 of their last 19 opponents to 14 points or less since defensive coordinator Wade Phillips arrived last season--quite a contrast considering the franchise held only a dozen foes to that mark from 2007-10. Two of those 11 instances came in last season’s sweep of the Jaguars, who let one slip away from them at Minnesota last week. In last season’s second-meeting, Blaine Gabbert was sacked six times and the Jacksonville offense failed to score a touchdown…

Kansas City (0-1) at Buffalo (0-1): The Chiefs (40) and Bills (48) gave up a combined 88 points in their opening-week losses, which really had to be bothersome if you’re Chan Gailey and you remember your team ending the 2011 season by giving up 49 straight points at Foxborough. But Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has also picked up where he dropped off, having now thrown 23 interceptions in his last 14 outings, including three more last week vs. the Jets. But if it makes anyone feel any better, Matt Cassel comes off a hat-trick turnover wise vs. the Falcons…

Minnesota (1-0) at Indianapolis (0-1): Second-year quarterback Christian Ponder didn’t throw a touchdown pass or interception last week (but did lose a fumble) and completed 20-of-27 throws for 270 yards. He also came up big late in the overtime win over Jacksonville.

Signal-caller Andrew Luck lived up to being a rookie making his first start. He was sacked three times while committing four turnovers in the Windy City against the tough Bears. What would have been Brett Favre vs. Peyton Manning two years ago is now Ponder vs. Luck.

Since the start of 2011, the teams have combined for six wins…

New Orleans (0-1) at Carolina (0-1): The Saints managed 32 points last week, but offset that by giving up the 32nd-most yards in the league in the eight-point loss to the Redskins. Ron Rivera’s team also brought new meaning to the aspect of a balanced attack as the Panthers scored only 10 points while gaining 10 yards rushing against a Buccaneers’ team that was dead last in the NFL against the run a season ago. We’ll go out on a limb and suggest that Cam Newton and company improve somewhat on at least one of those figures…

N.Y. Jets (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1): From implosion to explosion, the Jets’ team that seemingly took the summer off kicked off the season with a vengeance as the offense (4), defense (1) and special teams (1) all scored touchdowns during last week’s 48-28 win over the Bills.

Mike Tomlin’s team played a good game at Denver until the wheels came off a bit late and is hoping recent history repeats itself. Last season, the Steelers gave up 35 points in Week 1 and still gave up the fewest points in the NFL.

Including playoffs, Jets are 1-8 lifetime at Pittsburgh…

Oakland (0-1) at Miami (0-1): It was last season’s trip to South Florida that proved to be the turning point for the Silver and Black as they arrived in Miami with a 7-4 mark and left 20-point losers. On Monday night, Oakland runners and pass-catchers touched the ball 52 times, 28 by running back Darren McFadden, and managed just one touchdown against the Chargers. Take away the second quarter at Houston last week when the Texans scored 24 points and the Dolphins win a 10-6 game. Of course, that would be against the rules…

Tampa Bay (1-0) at N.Y. Giants (0-1): Last season, no team in the NFL gave up more rushing yards per game than the Bucs, while no club in the league ran for fewer yards than the G-Men. But last week, while the defending champions were totaling just 82 yards on the ground in the loss to the Cowboys, Greg Schiano’s defense was holding the Panthers to a mere 10 yards rushing. The Giants were the only NFC East team to lose last week, but the last time they lost their first two games was 2007--when they won Super Bowl XLII...

Tennessee (0-1) at San Diego (1-0): Hard to explain why teams continue to beat teams even though the personnel and coaches change. But the last time the Chargers lost a game to this franchise, they were the Houston Oilers at the Astrodome in 1992. Including playoffs, the Bolts have taken eight straight in this series, which is twice as many rushing yards as Titans’ running back Chris Johnson had last Sunday against the Patriots - on 11 carries at that. Meanwhile, San Diego’s defense gave up only 45 yards on the ground on Monday night to the Raiders, so…

Washington (1-0) at St. Louis (0-1): Yes, the Redskins’ surprising win at New Orleans saw the team put 40 points on the board--the franchise’s biggest scoring output since 2005. But did you know it was the first time Mike Shanahan’s club played turnover-free football since Week 2 of 2010?

Jeff Fisher’s Rams picked off Matthew Stafford three times last week but still couldn’t stop the Lions’ passing attack. You have to go all the way back to 2011 to find the last time Washington opened 2-0 (they finished 5-11)…

Sunday Night

Detroit (1-0) at San Francisco (1-0): How’s this for perspective. The last time the Lions won a game in San Francisco, there were 26 teams in the league and each played only 14 games during the regular season. Then again, the last time Detroit won a game in this series, quarterback Scott Mitchell was busy beating Hall of Famer Steve Young at the Silverdome in 1995. Yes, it’s been a long time.

But not so long ago, Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz were sharing a moment last season (Week 6) at Ford Field. Should be quite the reunion…

Monday Night

Denver (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0): Denver’s primetime tour continues at the Georgia Dome against a Falcons’ team that put 40 points on the board last week at Kansas City. And former Saints’-turned- Broncos’ cornerback Tracy Porter should have fun renewing acquaintances with the Atlanta wideouts. But are you ready for some Peyton Manning? During his time with the Colts, the man-ning with 401 regular-season touchdown passes threw for 29 scores and just 12 interceptions in 14 appearances on Monday Night Football


From our partners




Team Pages
AFC East NFC
South
North
West

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...
Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.




The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2014 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI