NO NEED TO PANIC: Since realignment in 2002, 116 of the 192 playoff teams (60.4 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including eight teams last season and six division champions – Jacksonville (AFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota (NFC North), New England (AFC East), New Orleans (NFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East).
Last season, the New Orleans Saints began the season 0-2 and advanced to the playoffs after becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to win eight consecutive games following an 0-2 start.
A look at how playoff clubs in 2016 and 2017 began their seasons:
|Team||After 2 games||Playoff Result||Team||After 2 games||Playoff Result|
|Atlanta||1-1||Advanced to Super Bowl LI||Atlanta||2-0||Advanced to Divisional|
|Dallas||1-1||Advanced to Divisional||Buffalo||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card|
|Detroit||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card||Carolina||2-0||Advanced to Wild Card|
|Green Bay||1-1||Advanced to NFC Champ||Jacksonville||1-1||Advanced to AFC Champ|
|Houston||2-0||Advanced to Divisional||Kansas City||2-0||Advanced to Wild Card|
|Kansas City||1-1||Advanced to Divisional||Los Angeles Rams||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card|
|Miami||0-2||Advanced to Wild Card||Minnesota||1-1||Advanced to NFC Champ|
|New England||2-0||Won Super Bowl LI||New England||1-1||Advanced to Super Bowl LII|
|New York Giants||2-0||Advanced to Wild Card||New Orleans||0-2||Advanced to Divisional|
|Pittsburgh||2-0||Advanced to AFC Champ||Philadelphia||1-1||Won Super Bowl LII|
|Oakland||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card||Pittsburgh||2-0||Advanced to Divisional|
|Seattle||1-1||Advanced to Divisional||Tennessee||1-1||Advanced to Divisional|
— NFL —
MOVING UP THE RANKS: Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER has 51,400 career passing yards in his 15-year NFL career.
With 76 passing yards on Sunday against Kansas City (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Roethlisberger will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY (51,475) for the seventh-most passing yards in NFL history.
The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:
|Peyton Manning||Indianapolis, Denver||71,940|
|Brett Favre^||Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota||71,838|
|Drew Brees||San Diego, New Orleans||70,884*|
|Tom Brady||New England||66,436*|
|Eli Manning||New York Giants||51,906*|
|^Pro Football Hall of Famer|
— NFL —
PROLIFIC PASSERS: Three quarterbacks – New Orleans’ DREW BREES (439 passing yards), Los Angeles Chargers’ PHILIP RIVERS (424) and Tampa Bay’s RYAN FITZPATRICK (417) – each threw for at least 400 yards on Kickoff Weekend.
With 400 passing yard performances in Week 2, Brees, Rivers and Fitzpatrick can join TOM BRADY (2011) and CAM NEWTON (2011) as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least 400 yards in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history.
The players to throw for at least 400 yards in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:
|PLAYER||SEASON||TEAM||GAME 1 PASSING YARDS||GAME 2 PASSING YARDS|
|Tom Brady||2011||New England||517||423|
|Drew Brees||2018||New Orleans||439||???|
|Philip Rivers||2018||Los Angeles Chargers||424||???|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||2018||Tampa Bay||417||???|
Two quarterbacks – Fitzpatrick and Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES – each threw four touchdown passes in Week 1.
With four touchdown passes in Week 2, Fitzpatrick and Mahomes would join DREW BLEDSOE (1997) as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history.
The players to throw for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:
|PLAYER||SEASON||TEAM||GAME 1 PASSING TDS||GAME 2 PASSING TDS|
|Drew Bledsoe||1997||New England||4||4|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||2018||Tampa Bay||4||???|
|Patrick Mahomes||2018||Kansas City||4||???|
— NFL —
BURSTING ONTO THE SCENE: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY rushed for 106 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown, in his NFL debut last week.
With another 100-yard performance in Week 2 against the Cowboys (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Barkley can become the first rookie since 2005 (CADILLAC WILLIAMS) with at least 100 rushing yards in each of his team’s first two games of the season.
The rookies with at least 100 rushing yards in each of his team’s first two games of the season since 1970:
|Cadillac Williams||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2005|
|Edgerrin James||Indianapolis Colts||1999|
|Marshall Faulk^||Indianapolis Colts||1994|
|Billy Sims||Detroit Lions||1980|
|Ottis Anderson||St. Louis Cardinals||1979|
|William Andrews||Atlanta Falcons||1979|
|Earl Campbell^||Houston Oilers||1978|
|^Pro Football Hall of Famer|
— NFL —
LIKE MIKE: New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS recorded a career-high 16 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, the most by a player on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.
With 11 receptions on Sunday against Cleveland (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Thomas can surpass ANDRE RISON (26) for the most receptions by a player in his team’s first two games to start a season in NFL history.
The players with the most receptions in his team’s first two games of the season in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||SEASON||RECEPTIONS IN TEAM’S 1ST 2 GAMES|
|Julian Edelman||New England||2015||22|
|Michael Thomas||New Orleans||2018||16*|
|*Through Week 1|