Matter of Facts: Packers Have Won Seven Straight at Lambeau

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 12, 2013

By Russell S. Baxter 
Cold Hard Football Facts Factologist (@BaxFootballGuru)

Yes, Week 1 of NFL 2013 is in the books.

You have heard it in various corners over the last few days.  A total of 16 fan bases have their teams going undefeated. The other 16 have their club vying for the number-one pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

We’re just having some fun. But you know that there will be an air of desperation for some if their favorite club drops to 0-2. We have seen teams drop their first two games a total of 30 times since 2009 and none of those squads rebounded to make the playoffs.

How many of the 16 clubs will be looking for their first win in Week 3? The answers could lie below…

Thursday Night, Sept. 12

N.Y. Jets (1-0) at New England (1-0): This rivalry has not been much of a rivalry as of late as the Patriots have taken the last four meetings since being stunned by the Jets at home in the 2010 AFC Divisional Playoffs. Both of these clubs are coming off narrow wins thanks to late field goals but Bill Belichick’s team sustained their share of injuries in the victory over the Bills. Perhaps this game should be moved south to Philadelphia since it is Geno (Smith) vs. Pats, which means there will be a lot at “steak” in this always-interesting matchup…

Sunday, Sept. 15

Carolina (0-1) at Buffalo (0-1): Well, so much for the Panthers getting the league to cancel the first 10 games of the season. Off consecutive 2-8 starts in 2011 and ‘12, Carolina was stifled last week by the talented Seahawks.

The Bills rookie class of 2013 made a strong showing last week versus the Patriots but the Buffalo defense was on the field for 89 plays and eventually succumbed in the fourth quarter.

An intriguing battle of sorts could be the duel of young linebackers Luke Kuechly (Panthers) and Kiko Alonso (Bills) and who gets to double digit tackles first ...

Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (0-1): Quote the Ravens: What the @*#$ happened last week at Denver? After giving up seven offensive touchdowns during their four-game championship run in 2012, John Harbaugh’s team gave up seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning in an opening-night 22-point loss (49-27).

Still, the good news for Baltimore is that every team in the AFC North lost in Week 1. The better news for the Ravens is the arrival of the Browns, who have not beaten their division rival (0-10) since Harbaugh’s arrival in 2008 …

Dallas (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0): How ‘bout them opportunistic Cowboys? Six takeaways on Sunday night were a major factor in the victory over the Giants. And how ‘bout them Chiefs as head coach Andy Reid’s debut with the team saw Kansas City score 28 points (surpassing any game total from 2012) and play turnover-free football.

Speaking of Reid, is it possible that he could be looking ahead to his Week 3 return to Philadelphia? Doubt it? More importantly, can Chiefs’ left tackle Branden Albert block Cowboys’ defensive end DeMarcus Ware?

Denver (1-0) at N.Y. Giants (0-1): Fans of Eli Manning are always quick to point out that he has the 2-1 edge over Peyton in terms of Super Bowl rings.

But others are even faster to point out that older brother is 2-0 in head-to-head meetings with younger brother. In any case, this should be fun considering that Peyton (462) and Eli (450) had the two-highest passing yardage totals in Week 1.

Of course, there were those seven touchdown passes by the Broncos’ quarterback, which means someone will state that he’s on pace for a record 112 aerial scores in 2013…

Detroit (1-0) at Arizona (0-1): It’s the battle of franchises that time forgot in terms of NFL titles. The Lions haven’t won a championship since 1957, the Cardinals since 1947. Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is appealing his latest fine from the league, this one for $100,000 dollars, but for the sake of a clever headline it would interesting to see “Suh to Sue.”

Back to the field, where Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who scored four touchdowns last season, is happy to have quarterback Carson Palmer, who threw him a pair of touchdown passes last Sunday…

Jacksonville (0-1) at Oakland (0-1): Already coming off their worst season in the franchise’s history, the Jaguars opted to acknowledge last year’s 2-14 showing by scoring only two points in a 26-point home loss to the Chiefs. Speaking of No. 2, Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor had his moments both running and passing against the Colts but did make two crucial mistakes in the final minutes of the game.

The Jacksonville defense will get a full dose of the Oakland ground game and it could be another long day for Gus Bradley’s team …

Miami (1-0) at Indianapolis (1-0): A week ago, the Dolphins’ emerging defense picked up where it left off last season as the Miami defensive line harassed Browns’ quarterback Brandon Weeden into three interceptions while sacking him six times.

The Colts got all they could handle from the Silver and Black but second-year pro Andrew Luck would take matters into his own hands and legs, throwing for two scores and running for another in a 21-17 win. And Chuck Pagano’s talented quarterback did not commit a turnover, a bad sign for the rest of the league…

Minnesota (0-1) at Chicago (1-0): Leslie Frazier’s club got off to a rough start in the Motor City last Sunday. And while most will point to quarterback Christian Ponder and his three-interception outing, the Vikings’ defense couldn’t catch up with Lions running back Reggie Bush, who totaled 191 yards from scrimmage.

Meanwhile, you had to like what you saw from the Bears on offense as quarterback Jay Cutler was not sacked versus the Bengals, a pretty impressive feat. And keep in mind that the Vikings have lost 5 straight at Soldier Field. Ouch…

New Orleans (1-0) at Tampa Bay (0-1): The New Orleans Saints playing respectable defense? Give credit where credit is due as Rob Ryan’s unit “limited” the Falcons to just 367 total yards on Sunday.

While that’s not exactly a cause for celebration it would have been their second-best performance during a forgettable 2012. Greg Schiano’s Buccaneers not only lost an ugly 18-17 game to the Jets last week but there appears to be a little disharmony surrounding the team and a recent election. Better get that straightened out in a hurry with Drew Brees in town.

St. Louis (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1): Talk about consistency. In last year’s playoffs, the Falcons blew a 20-0 lead to Seattle and a 17-0 lead to San Francisco, winning the first game and losing the second. Last Sunday at New Orleans, Mike Smith’s club opened up a 10-0 first-quarter advantage only to drop a 23-17 decision.

Speaking of consistency, the Rams continued to excel against NFC West rivals by rallying to beat the Cardinals. But Jeff Fisher’s club was 3-7 outside the division last season and will have to deal with former teammate/running back Steven Jackson

San Diego (0-1) at Philadelphia (1-0): Talk about being on opposite ends of how to protect a big lead? Chip Kelly’s debut with the Eagles saw his club roll up 53 plays and 322 yards in the first half alone. And when it was all said and done, hold on for a six-point win after jumping out to a 33-7 lead.

Mike McCoy’s first contest with the Bolts was going well as his team opened up a 28-7 lead over the Texans. But by game’s end, Houston had no problem coming all the way back for a 31-28 victory. At the very least, it will be a very entertaining year in Philly…

Tennessee (1-0) at Houston (1-0): This once-lopsided series in favor of the Titans has now gone the way of the Texans, who are 6-3 in the clubs’ last nine meetings. Last Monday night, Gary Kubiak’s club rallied from a 28-7 deficit with 24 unanswered points.

Meanwhile, Tennessee’s victory at Pittsburgh should have garnered a little more attention as Mike Munchak’s club totaled 42 rushing attempts. Can the Titans’ new-look offensive line keep quarterback Jake Locker away from relentless defensive end J.J. Watt?

Washington (0-1) at Green Bay (0-1): Both of these defending division champions dropped a pair of six-point decisions last week. But Mike Shanahan’s club now travels on a short week to Lambeau Field, where the Packers have won seven games in a row.

Redskins’ quarterback RG3 had two of his club’s three turnovers in the loss to the Eagles, bad news for a club that coughed up the ball only 14 times in 2012.

And Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers has now thrown 87 touchdown passes and only 15 interceptions in his last 32 regular-season games …

Sunday Night

San Francisco (1-0) at Seattle (1-0): Kudos to Jim Harbaugh, who knew the Packers would be ready for the spread option this time around and opted to turn Colin Kaepernick into Peyton Manning for the afternoon. But lost in Kaepernick’s 412-yard performance was the play of Russell Wilson, who threw for 320 yards and a score in a road win at Carolina. Seattle’s defense looked a little vulnerable to the run last week, while the Niners continue to have some issues in the secondary. And keep in mind that the Seahawks were the only team to go 8-0 at home in 2012…

Monday Night, Sept. 16

Pittsburgh (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1): Unfortunately for head coach Mike Tomlin, his Steelers picked up where they not only left off in a winless preseason but late last year as well as the Steelers have now dropped six of their last eight games following their 6-3 start in 2012. Last week, a team finally managed to score more than 20 points against the Bengals while Cincinnati’s pass rush was shut out at Chicago. Pittsburgh hasn’t opened 0-2 since ’02 and they love going to the Queen City, where they’re 11-1 in their last 12 visits (including playoffs) since 2002…

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