NFL

Stats Perform's NFL Friday Facts: Veterans Belichick and Carroll do battle in Week 2

By Sports Desk September 18, 2020

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks were among the most impressive teams in Week 1 - now they meet at CenturyLink Field on Sunday Night Football.

Cam Newton, Tom Brady's replacement at quarterback, led New England to a 21-11 victory over the Miami Dolphins, while Russell Wilson put on a passing clinic when completing 31 of his 35 attempts in Seattle's 38-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

A repeat of Super Bowl XLIX is the standout game of Sunday's slate, though there are plenty more mouth-watering encounters, including the Baltimore Ravens facing the Houston Texans.

Here we break down the big matchups using Stats Perform data.

 

FEATURE GAME

Patriots at Seahawks - Sunday, 8.20pm (all times Eastern)

- This will be the first game in NFL history in which both teams will have a head coach aged 68 or older. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is 69, while Patriots coach Bill Belichick is 68.

- Newton led the Patriots with 75 yards rushing on a game-high 15 carries in his Pats debut last week. Should he finish as New England's leading rusher again in Seattle, Newton will be his team's leading rusher for a 37th time - a new record for the most such games by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

- New England have won eight straight games against NFC opponents, including their Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams, dating back to a loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 3 of the 2018 season.

OTHER KEY GAMES

Rams at Eagles - Sunday, 1pm

- The Eagles have won the last six meetings between these teams, including one-score wins in Los Angeles in 2017 (43-35) and 2018 (30-23). They have averaged 32.2 points during the win streak, with at least 30 points in each of the last five meetings.

Broncos at Steelers - Sunday, 1pm

- The Broncos have won four of the last five games against the Steelers, including two playoff wins. Four of those five games were decided by seven points or fewer.

Chiefs at Chargers - Sunday, 4.25pm

- After starting last season 6-4, Kansas City have won 10 straight games - regular season and playoffs. The streak began last November with a win over the Chargers in Mexico City. Each of the last seven victories have come by a double-digit margin; since 2000, only the 2007 Patriots (eight games) have had a longer streak of wins by 10 or more points.

Ravens at Texans - Sunday, 4.25pm

- The Ravens have gone 12 straight regular-season games without trailing in the second half, the longest streak by any NFL team since the Chicago Bears had a 12-game streak from 1933-34. The last team to have a streak longer than 12 games was the Green Bay Packers from 1929-30 (18).

Saints at Raiders - Monday, 4.15pm

- Josh Jacobs had three rushing touchdowns in Week 1, becoming the first Raider to do so since Latavius Murray, who is now with New Orleans, had three in Week 9 of 2016. Only two Raiders have rushed for three touchdowns more than once – Marcus Allen (five times) and Pete Banaszak (twice).

ELSEWHERE...

Falcons at Cowboys - Sunday, 1pm

- Dak Prescott has not been intercepted in his last 223 pass attempts going back to last November, the longest streak in Cowboys history. Troy Aikman held the previous mark at 216 passes in 1999.

Lions at Packers - Sunday, 1pm

- Green Bay have won seven straight home openers since a 30-22 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. That is the second-longest active streak of its kind, behind the Seahawks (11 straight).

Related items

  • Antonio Brown reportedly agrees to one-year deal with Buccaneers Antonio Brown reportedly agrees to one-year deal with Buccaneers

    Antonio Brown is set to join Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal.

    Brown, 32, is suspended until Week 9 of this season after "multiple violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy".

    The seven-time Pro Bowler was released by the New England Patriots in September last year amid sexual assault allegations he denied.

    Multiple teams were linked with Brown, but ESPN reported on Friday that the wide receiver had agreed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.

    The report said Brown was likely to make his Buccaneers debut against the New Orleans Saints in Week 9.

    Brown starred during nine seasons with the Steelers before being traded by Pittsburgh in early 2019.

    In 131 regular-season games, Brown has 11,263 receiving yards and 75 touchdowns.

    Brown has scored 10 or more touchdowns in four seasons, including 15 in 2018.

    Led by Brady, the Buccaneers hold a 4-2 record this season and top the NFC South.

  • Garoppolo appreciates Belichick ahead of first game against Patriots Garoppolo appreciates Belichick ahead of first game against Patriots

    Jimmy Garoppolo spoke of his appreciation for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick ahead of his first game against his old team.

    The San Francisco 49ers quarterback was traded away by New England almost three years ago in a move that prompted debate despite Tom Brady being entrenched as the starter.

    Garoppolo will take on the Patriots for the first time since that move on Sunday as his 3-3 Niners travel to Foxborough to face a team now led by Cam Newton.

    Despite only starting two games due to the presence of Brady, Garoppolo remembers his spell with the Patriots (2-3), which included two Super Bowl wins, fondly.

    "It set me up for everything here, made the transition a lot easier," he said about his time under Belichick.

    "Initially I could remember the first OTAs and training camp. It was rough going from college to the NFL. That is why when you see these guys who come in and start right away, it is impressive.

    "It is an exciting week. I get to go back to where it all started for my NFL career. I feel like I have come a long way, so I cannot wait for Sunday."

    Asked about Belichick, Garoppolo added: "He was just very honest.

    "Really never beat around the bush. He is very black and white with everything they did. That is kind of how I am. I really appreciate that from him.

    "Whether it was my first day there or when I got traded, he always shot me straight and when you are talking about just man to man, that is all you could really ask for at the end of the day."

    Garoppolo won his first five starts with the Niners in 2017 and after the following season was curtailed by a knee injury in Week 3, he led the team to last year's Super Bowl with a 13-3 record.

    But that late Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and a disappointing start to 2020, not helped by an ankle injury, has Garoppolo under the spotlight ahead of the Pats game.

    While he bounced back with three passing touchdowns in the Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Rams, his 63.6 per cent completion percentage is 6.2 per cent below expectation, per the NFL's NextGen stats. 

    That is 35th out of 38 qualifying QBs this year, a metric he was ninth in last season with a positive rate of 1.7 per cent above expectation.

    Still, apart from a forgettable two-interception first-half showing in a loss to the Miami Dolphins that saw him taken out of the game, he has not thrown a pick. 

    "The tough game our whole team had versus Miami with him getting taken out there in that game – yes, it was tough, but the way he came into work on Monday, you could not tell," Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said.

    "He is very mentally strong, that is one of the most impressive things about Jimmy."

    Ahead of their meeting, Belichick was similarly warm when reflecting about his time with Garoppolo.

    "Everybody here had a lot of confidence in him," the Patriots coach said. "It is one of those situations where you are not able to keep all the players, based on the system that is set up, which is understandable. 

    "I am glad that it has worked out for him and San Francisco. I hope it doesn't work out on Sunday.

    "But otherwise, I am happy he has the opportunity to play for a great coach and a great organisation and play on a great team. He deserves that."

  • Stats Perform's NFL Friday Facts: Murray takes on Wilson, two 5-0 teams in Tennessee Stats Perform's NFL Friday Facts: Murray takes on Wilson, two 5-0 teams in Tennessee

    Two of the NFL's leading quarterbacks go head-to-head in Sunday's NFC West divisional match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks.

    The 5-0 Seahawks are coming off a bye week and have QB Russell Wilson putting together an MVP year, although he has struggled against the Cardinals in the past.

    Meanwhile, Kyler Murray is impressing in an Arizona team that beat Seattle when they last met in December 2019.

    We use Stats Perform data to look at that game and the rest of the Week 7 slate.
     

    FEATURE GAME

    Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals - Sunday, 8.20pm (all times Eastern)

    - The Seahawks are 6-1 (.857) in games after a bye week since 2013, which is the best record in the NFL. The lone loss during this span came against the Cardinals in 2015 (39-32).

    - Since 2018, Wilson is averaging 183.3 passing yards and has three passing touchdowns to one interception over four games against Arizona. Against all other opponents in this span, Wilson is averaging 252.3 passing yards and has an 82/14 TD-INT ratio (33 games).

    - Murray completed a career-low nine passes in the win over the Cowboys, but still finished with 188 passing yards. The last player to rack up that many yards through the air on fewer than 10 completions was Brian Hoyer on October 12, 2014 (217 yards on eight completions versus Pittsburgh).

    OTHER KEY GAMES

    Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans - Sunday, 1pm

    - This is just the sixth game in the Super Bowl era between two teams entering the game at 5-0 or better. Each of the previous five were won by a team that went on to make the Super Bowl (1973 Vikings, 2004 Patriots, 2007 Patriots twice, 2015 Broncos). Both franchises are 5-0 for the second time in their history. Pittsburgh started 7-0 in 1978 and went on to go 14-2 and win the Super Bowl, while Tennessee were 10-0 in 2008.

    San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots - Sunday, 4.25pm

    - Sunday's game will be played 6,566 days since the last time the Patriots took the field on or after October 1 with a sub-.500 record. This last occurred on November 3, 2002, when New England travelled to Buffalo to face – just as this week, with the 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo – a former Patriots QB. They defeated Drew Bledsoe and the Bills 38-7.

    Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos - Sunday, 4.25pm

    - Patrick Mahomes is the third quarterback in NFL history to have at least 15 TD passes and no more than one interception over his team's first six games of a season, along with Aaron Rodgers in 2014 and Tom Brady in 2015.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders - Sunday, 4.05pm

    - After going down 10-0 in the first quarter, Tampa Bay ripped off 38 unanswered points to defeat the Packers last week, the second-longest unanswered scoring run in franchise history. The longest came in a 41-0 win over Chicago back on September 10, 2000. Tampa Bay's defense held Green Bay QB Rodgers to a 35.4 passer rating in last week's win, the third-lowest of his career. The Buccaneers have now caused two of Rodgers' three career pick sixes after Jamel Dean took one to the house in the second quarter.

    Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams - Monday, 8.15pm

    - The Bears improved to 5-1 with a 23-16 win over the Panthers in Week 6, their best start since going 5-1 in 2012. Chicago's average margin of victory is just 4.0 points this season compared to 19.4 points during the 2012 start.

    ELSEWHERE...

    Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team - Sunday, 1pm

    - Washington lost to the Giants 20-19 in the Meadowlands last week, their first one-point defeat since a 24-23 decision against the Cowboys in Week 16, 2013. Sunday was the eighth time since 2018 that Washington have had at least two fourth-down conversions, tied for third-most in the league (0-8 in those games).

    Buffalo Bills at New York Jets - Sunday, 1pm

    - The Jets are 0-6 for just the second time in franchise history after starting 0-6 in 1996 (finished 1-15). They rank last in scoring offense (12.5 PPG) and point differential (-18.3). That is their second-worst point differential through six games in franchise history ahead of the 1976 Jets (-20.3).

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