Originally posted: September 8, 2016
Cam Newton hasn’t fared well against Denver, but can he get revenge in the Super Bowl rematch? See what the numbers say with these mind-blowing stats for Week 1.
Super Bowl rematch
The first game of the 2016 regular season between the Broncos and Panthers marks just the 2nd time in NFL history that the teams who faced off in the previous Super Bowl end up meeting again in Week 1 of the following season. The only other occurrence was in 1969-1970, when the Chiefs beat (23-7) the Vikings in the Super Bowl, but lost to Minnesota in Week 1, 1970 (27-10).
Cam Newton has not fared well against Denver, going 0-2 including playoffs. In those games, Newton has been sacked 13 times (7 times in Week 10, 2012; 6 times in Super Bowl 50) and has more INTs (3) than TD passes (2).
First time in a long time
Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first start since December of 2013 vs Towson, when he was the quarterback at Eastern Illinois. Garoppolo went 23-22 in his EIU career and became the highest-drafted quarterback ever by Bill Belichick (62nd overall in 2014).
Rookies in the backfield
QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott are expected to start in the backfield for the Cowboys in Week 1. The last time rookies started at QB and RB for Dallas in Week 1 was 1969, when QB Roger Staubach and RB Calvin Hill took on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cream of the crop
Cream of the crop
NFL fans get a marquee WR-CB matchup in Week 1 when Antonio Brown and Josh Norman square off in Washington. The matchup features the NFL’s most productive receiver – with the most receptions (265) and receiving yards (3,532) since 2014 — against the NFL’s highest-paid defensive back ($15M per season). Both were also 2015 first-team All-Pro selections. Josh Norman will get a chance to prove his worth right out of the gate. In the first 3 games of the 2016 season, the Redskins will face the Steelers (Antonio Brown), Cowboys (Dez Bryant) and Giants (Odell Beckham Jr.).
Thomas Rawls is taking over for Marshawn Lynch this season, which might actually be an upgrade based on 2015 production. Last season, Lynch averaged 3.8 yards/carry to rank 32nd among all running backs with at least 110 carries. Rawls averaged 5.7 yards/carry, best in the NFL.
Worth the wait?
After a long standoff, the Jets re-signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year, $12M fully-guaranteed contract. Fitzpatrick led the Jets to their best total offense in franchise history (370.3 YPG) and their first Top 10 total offense ranking since 1998, when they were coached by Bill Parcells and featured QB Vinny Testaverde, RB Curtis Martin and WR Keyshawn Johnson.
Odell Beckham Jr. has put up jaw-dropping numbers in his first two NFL seasons, including 15 games with 100 receiving yards in his first 27 contests. Two-time Pro Bowler WR Dez Bryant also has 15 career 100-yard games, but that is over an 86-game sample size (including playoffs).
Quarterbacks in Cleveland
When Robert Griffin III takes the field in Week 1, he’ll be the 25th different starting QB for the Browns since they moved back to Cleveland in 1999, the most of any team in that span. Only 1 of those 24 Browns starting QBs since 1999 had a winning record with the team: Brian Hoyer, who went 10-6 between 2013 and 14.
Elite passer ratings?
In 2015, Tyrod Taylor (drafted by Ravens in 2011) had a higher passer rating (99.4) than Joe Flacco has ever had in a season with the Ravens. Flacco’s career best is 93.6 in 2010.
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