Week at a Glance
Plenty of this year's haves were last year's have-nots
Posted: Wednesday October 13, 2004 8:29PM; Updated: Wednesday October 13, 2004 8:30PM
Through five weeks, there are 11 teams with .750 or better winning percentages. That ties 1998 and '99 for the second-most such teams at this point since 1970; there were 12 .750 teams in '96.
Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, the most new playoff teams from one season to the next were the eight of last season. There are presently eight teams at 3-2 or better that did not qualify for the playoffs in 2003 (see chart at right).
The Jets are one of three undefeated teams, including New England and Philadelphia -- collectively the Beasts of the East, for lack of a better phrase. On the flip side, each division has at least two teams at .500 or worse, with the NFC South sporting three teams below .500: New Orleans (2-3), Carolina (1-3) and Tampa Bay (1-4).
And while the AFC East has two of the league's unbeatens, the division also has the NFL's only two winless teams -- Buffalo and Miami, who will square off Sunday in Buffalo.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are seeking their first 5-0 start in more than two decades. Not since the 1981 squad started 6-0 en route to a 10-6 record and a Wild Card playoff appearance has a Philadelphia team began a season with such success. And not only are the Eagles winning -- thanks in large part to the potent combination of QB Donovan McNabb and WR Terrell Owens -- but they are doing so in convincing fashion.
Philadelphia has won each of its four games by at least 10 points, with an average margin of victory of 13.0 points. With a 10-point victory against Carolina on Sunday, the Eagles will become only the sixth team in 70 years with five consecutive victories by double digits to start a season (see chart at left).
The play of McNabb and Owens has been a big factor for Philadelphia. McNabb is off to the best start of his career, completing 68.1 percent of his attempts (98 of 144), tossing nine touchdown passes against only one interception and compiling a sterling 110.5 passer rating.
Owens is off to a career-best scoring pace, posting six TD receptions, second-most in the NFL (Randy Moss, 7). His 87 career TD catches are seventh all-time, tied with Andre Reed and one behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Maynard.
Only three games this week have teams at .500 or better playing each other ...
San Diego at Atlanta, 1 p.m. EDT Sunday
Chargers QB Drew Brees ranks third in the AFC with a 100.0 passer rating and eight TDs. His 126.6 fourth-quarter rating is second in the conference. ... San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson has 638 scrimmage yards (337 receiving, 301 rushing) and six TDs in the past three games against NFC opponents. ... Falcons RB Warrick Dunn is tied for the NFL lead with six rushing TDs, and needs two to tie his career high. ... Atlanta's Alge Crumpler is second among NFC TEs with 274 receiving yards.
Seattle at New England, 1 p.m. EDT Sunday
Seahawks WR Darrell Jackson has five-plus receptions and at least 85 receiving yards in six consecutive games against AFC foes. ... Seattle S Michael Boulware is tied for the rookie lead with two INTs. ... The Patriots are 12-3 in the past 15 games vs. the NFC under head coach Bill Belichick, including Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII. ... New England TE Daniel Graham leads the AFC with five receiving TDs (12 catches).
Pittsburgh at Dallas, 4:15 p.m. EDT Sunday
The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger seeks his fourth consecutive win to begin his career and tie Phil Simms for the second-longest such streak. ... Piitsburgh RB Duce Staley has 100-plus yards in three consecutive games for the longest 100-yard game streak of his career. ... The Cowboys are one of two teams (Colts) that have three WRs with 200-plus yards (Terry Glenn, 254; Antonio Bryant, 244; Keyshawn Johnson, 234). ... Dallas is holding foes to a 17.7 ick-return average, fourth lowest in the league.
Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer is 4-0 against Atlanta. ... The Falcons' offense leads the NFL in rushing (158.0 yards per game), while the defense allows 70.4 ypg, fewest in NFL. ... RB Leonard Henry leads the Dolphins with 136 rushing yards. ... Bills rookie WR Lee Evans has a 40-plus yard catch in his past three games ... Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs is 25-4 against NFC North opponents. ... The Bears are 10-5 following a bye week. ...
Browns head coach Butch Davis' first victory came against Cincinnati (Sept. 15, 2002), and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis' first win came against Cleveland (Sept. 28, 2003). ... Cincy RB Rudi Johnson is on pace for 1,420 rushing yards; the club-record is 1,435 (Corey Dillon, 2000). ... Cleveland looks to start 3-0 at home for the first time since 1973. ... Packers K Ryan Longwell has scored in 117 consecutive games, the longest active streak in NFL. ... The Lions are 6-1 when QB Joey Harrington completes at least 60 percent of his passes. ...
Broncos K Jason Elam leads the NFL with 45 points. ... Raiders P Shane Lechler leads the league with a 49.9-yard average; no punter has ever averaged 50.0 for a season. ... Minnesota has 300-plus yards of offense in an NFL record 33 consecutive games. ... Saints QB Aaron Brooks has seven career 300-yard passing games, secondnd-most in team history (Archie Manning, 9). ... Bucs WR Tim Brown has a catch in 177 consecutive games and needs one to pass Steve Largent for the third-longest streak in history. ... St. Louis' Marshall Faulk needs 10 catches to become only the second RB in NFL history with 700 (Larry Centers, 808). ...
Chiefs RB Priest Holmes, who is tied for the AFC lead with six TDs, has outscored kickers on 12 of 16 AFC teams. ... Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich has a TD pass in 10 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in team history (Mark Brunell, 14). ... The Seahawks' defense has not allowed a first-quarter point. ... The Patriots' defense has allowed only 16 second-half points, including just seven in the fourth quarter. ...
Last week against Arizona, 49ers QB Tim Rattay had a franchise record 38 completions in 57 attempts, tied for second-most in team history. ... In five career starts against an NFC opponent, Jets QB Chad Pennington has a 115.6 passer rating (111-of-157 for 1,237 with 14 TDs and three INTs) ... Carolina's defense is allowing 167.8 passing yards per game, fourth-best in the league. ... Since 2001, the Eagles' Donovan McNabb has a 95.1 passer rating (82-of-143 for 1,013 yards with eight TDs and one INT) in the fourth quarter when the game is within seven points, best among starting QBs. ...
G Chester Pitts has played on every offensive play in Texans history (2,209 plays). ... Titans RB Chris Brown leads the AFC with 556 rushing yards -- and had reached 100 yards before halftime three times this season. ... Pittsburgh vs. Dallas features the NFL's only rookie starting QB against its oldest: Ben Roethlisberger (23) and Vinny Testaverde (40). ... The Steelers' offense is the league's best inside the red zone with 11 TDs in 14 trips. ... Testaverde needs one TD to pass Sonny Jurgensen (255) for ninth-most in league history. ...
Bye, bye ...
Through five games, Cards RB Emmitt Smith's 353 rushing yards and four TDs are his most since 1999 (435, 5). ... The Ravens' defense is allowing an AFC-low 3.40 rushing yards per carry. ... Indy has the league's top scoring offense (31.8 points per game) and has allowed only three sacks, tied for fewest in the NFL (Den., G.B.). ... Giants RB Tiki Barber is tied for the NFL lead with five runs of 20-plus yards.
Greg Kellogg's Snap, Crackle and Pop is a weekly column that reviews the major injuries (Snap) and then projects both busts (Crackle) and sleepers (Pop) for the coming week. Looking ahead, Kellogg notes Buffalo WR Eric Moulds will have to face a Miami defense that has shut down every QB it has faced this season. Miami brings pressure and has the type of corners that excel in bump-and-run, man-to-man coverage. With the immobile and often-hit Drew Bledsoe at quarterback, Moulds will have trouble having the time to get open downfield against the Dolphins. And be sure to read our other fantasy columnists.
B. Duane Cross is a senior producer for SI.com.