Andy Reid streak on the line in Chiefs-Browns rematch...need-to-know facts for NFL Week 1
The Browns will be looking for revenge in Week 1 of the NFL season, but history is on the side of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
It is a remarkable appetiser to the main course of Week 1, which sees 14 more games on Sunday and another on Monday between the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.
There is a mouth-watering playoff rematch to behold at Arrowhead Stadium, while a clutch of rookie quarterbacks will attempt to make sure their first steps in the league are successful ones.
Ahead of what should be an enthralling opening week, Stats Perform looks at some of the most interesting facts from Sunday's biggest games.
Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs
Revenge will be on the minds of the Browns in the most enticing matchup of the opening week, Cleveland aiming to upset the odds after falling short against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round of last season's playoffs.
History, though, is firmly against Cleveland. The Chiefs have won three straight games against the Browns dating back to 2013, while Andy Reid is 7-0 in his career as a head coach versus the Browns, one of three teams he is undefeated against. The others are the Chiefs (3-0) and his former team the Philadelphia Eagles (2-0).
Kevin Stefanski led the Browns to an 11-5 record in 2020, his first year as an NFL head coach. It was the most wins in a season by the Browns since 1994 (also 11 wins). The last time the Browns won at least 10 games in back-to-back seasons was 1986 to 1988 (three straight).
The Chiefs set a franchise record with 14 wins in 2020 and played in the Super Bowl for the second straight season, with Kansas City the favourites to be the AFC's representative in the February showpiece yet again. Only three teams have ever made the Super Bowl in three straight seasons – the Buffalo Bills (four, 1990-93), New England Patriots (three, 2016-18) and Miami Dolphins (three, 1971-73).
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills were a game away from the Super Bowl last season and enter this clash between a new AFC heavyweight and a seemingly fading force on a regular-season winning streak.
In a campaign that saw them go 13-3 and post their best record since 1991, the Bills finished the regular season with six straight wins averaging an NFL-best 38.2 points during that span.
Pittsburgh began last season 11-0, then dropped four of their last five games, finishing with an opening-round exit to the Browns in the playoffs. The Steelers were the first team to start 11-0 since the 2015 Carolina Panthers.
And the Steelers will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat to the Bills, who made it two successive wins over Pittsburgh with last season's 26-15 victory in Week 14. The Steelers had won nine of the previous 10 meetings dating back to 1993.
If it’s ok with Yinz, I’d like to stay a while!! LETS GO PITTSBURGH!!!! pic.twitter.com/itjnF7XNLd— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) September 9, 2021
Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints
The Drew Brees era is over for the Saints, who have selected Jameis Winston as his successor at quarterback. The Packers have a talented defense but the often-erratic Winston's past form suggests he should move the ball against them. Winston has averaged 12.62 yards per completion over his career, the highest mark by any QB who has debuted in the past 30 years (minimum 1,500 completions).
Two perennial NFC powers, games between New Orleans and Green Bay have been consistently high-scoring affairs. The Saints and Packers have combined to average 52.0 points per game in their 26 all-time meetings, the highest average between any two NFL teams who have met at least 20 times.
Green Bay won 13 games in each of the last two seasons but failed to make the Super Bowl in either one. The Packers joined the 2018-19 Saints as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to win 13+ games in back-to-back seasons but miss the Super Bowl in both.
It will be a season partially defined by the performance of the rookie quarterbacks, with four of the five drafted in the first round seemingly set to feature in Week 1.
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with their first-ever number one overall pick. When he lines up against the Houston Texans, Lawrence will be the eighth different QB to start a season opener for the Jaguars since 2010, tied for second most in the NFL behind the Browns (nine).
Second overall pick Zach Wilson is set to become the 49th starting quarterback in New York Jets history when they face the Carolina Panthers and his predecessor Sam Darnold. No Jets quarterback has started every game of a season since Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015, which happens to be the last time the Jets had a winning record (10-6).
Trey Lance will likely see sporadic action for the San Francisco 49ers versus the Detroit Lions. However, if Jimmy Garoppolo's spotty injury history continues in 2021, Lance could soon become the undisputed starter. Garoppolo was limited to six games last season. In three of the games, Garoppolo passed for multiple touchdowns with no interceptions. In the other three, Garoppolo had no touchdown passes and at least one interception.
The New England Patriots have used just four starting quarterbacks in their season openers since 2000, with Mac Jones poised to be the fifth as he looks to become the long-term successor to Tom Brady. Only the Packers (two) and Saints (three) have had fewer season-opening starters in that span – the NFL average in that time is 7.5 quarterbacks.
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