By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports
Each week I’ll bring you this week’s NFL schedule with my predictions followed by some great notes and stats directly from the National Football League Communications Department.
Our Sports Animal NFL programming for Week 2:
(Sun) 10am – 12:30pm: The NFL Report with John Wilkerson and two rotating Sports Animal hosts
(Sun) 12:30pm – Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
(Sun) Noon – Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (NewsTalk 98.7)
WEEK 2 NFL SCHEDULE
THURSDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 20-21
(All times Eastern)
Thursday, September 17
Cincinnati at Cleveland, 8:20 PM (NFLN)
Sunday, September 20
Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Denver at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM (CBS)
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM (FOX)
New York Giants at Chicago, 1:00 PM (CBS)
Atlanta at Dallas, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Detroit at Green Bay, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1:00 PM (CBS)
San Francisco at New York Jets, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Minnesota at Indianapolis, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Buffalo at Miami, 1:00 PM (CBS)
Washington at Arizona, 4:05 PM (FOX)
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 PM (CBS)
Baltimore at Houston, 4:25 PM (CBS)
New England at Seattle, 8:20 PM (NBC)
Monday, September 21
New Orleans at Las Vegas, 8:15 PM (ESPN)
Vince’s View on Week 2:This is reality and panic week for some teams. There were a number of surprise teams to start 0-1 like San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas that should all bounce back this week. If not, let the panic begin. Other surprise 1-0 teams like Washington and Jacksonville could hit reality the other way by dropping to 1-1. If not, then we have some big stories of unexpected 2-0 teams on our hands. The game of the week is probably the Sunday night game with New England at Seattle.
Week 1 Prediction Record: 9-7
NFL’s 100TH BIRTHDAY KICKS OFF WEEK 2 ACTION
The NFL marks its centennial birthday this Thursday, September 17. There’s no better place to mark the occasion than Northeast Ohio, where the league took its first breaths on September 17, 1920, at an organizational meeting held at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio. Approximately 60 miles north of that location on Thursday, the 15,771st game in league history will feature the CINCINNATI BENGALS and CLEVELAND BROWNS (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), the NFL’s two current Ohio franchises.
Pro Football Hall of Famer PAUL BROWN, one of 467 individuals to have served as an NFL head coach, was instrumental in the formation of the two proud franchises meeting Thursday. Brown literally left his name on his first NFL team, the Cleveland Browns. Then after shaping the Browns into a perennial contender, he started another Ohio franchise, the Bengals, who’ve made two Super Bowl appearances and now play at Paul Brown Stadium.
That Cincinnati venue and Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium, host of Thursday’s matchup, are two of 187 stadiums to host an NFL game. Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, which will bookend Week 2 action by hosting its first game Monday, will become No. 188.
Additionally, Week 2 will feature four games between franchises with some of the richest histories in all of sports. Each game – the NEW YORK GIANTS at the CHICAGO BEARS (1:00 PM ET, CBS), the DETROIT LIONS at the GREEN BAY PACKERS (1:00 PM ET, FOX), the LOS ANGELES RAMS at the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1:00 PM ET, FOX) and the WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM at the ARIZONA CARDINALS (4:05 PM ET, FOX) – includes two franchises each with NFL roots dating back 83 years or longer. Those eight teams have accounted for 48 of the NFL’s 100 world championships and 159 combined Pro Football Hall of Famers.
|MATCHUP||FIRST NFL SEASON||WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS||PRIMARY PRO FOOTBALL
HALL OF FAMERS
|New York Giants||1925||8||21|
|at Green Bay||1921||13||26|
|Los Angeles Rams||1937||3||19|
MOST OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS IN KICKOFF-WEEKEND HISTORY: NFL teams combined to score 87 offensive touchdowns (passing and rushing combined) on Kickoff Weekend, the most Week 1 offensive touchdowns in NFL history.
- Seven teams came back to win after trailing in the fourth quarter on Kickoff Weekend – Arizona, Chicago, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee and Washington – the most fourth-quarter comeback victories on Kickoff Weekend since 2016 (nine teams) and tied for the third-most in Week 1 in NFL history. Five of those teams this past weekend came back to win on the road.
- Eleven of the 16 season-opening games were within one score in the fourth quarter.
RAIDERS, CHARGERS PLAY FIRST HOME GAMES IN NEW DIGS: A quartet of 1-0 teams will showcase the NFL’s newest venues in Week 2. First, the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS play their first game in SoFi Stadium, hosting the defending Super Bowl champion KANSAS CITY CHIEFS on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Then, the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS close the week by hosting the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS in the inaugural game at Allegiant Stadium, on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN). Including the Rams’ victory over the Cowboys at SoFi Stadium in Week 1, teams hosting their first regular-season games in newly constructed stadiums have won three in a row.
The last five NFL games featuring a team hosting its first regular-season contest in a newly constructed stadium:
|Las Vegas Raiders||Allegiant Stadium||New Orleans Saints||9/21/2020||???|
|Los Angeles Chargers||SoFi Stadium||Kansas City Chiefs||9/20/2020||???|
|Los Angeles Rams||SoFi Stadium||Dallas Cowboys||9/13/2020||W, 20-17|
|Atlanta Falcons||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||Green Bay Packers||9/17/2017||W, 34-23|
|Minnesota Vikings||U.S. Bank Stadium||Green Bay Packers||9/18/2016||W, 17-14|
SCHEDULE PARITY: Every team that traveled to open the season in Week 1 is home for Week 2. Every team that hosted its season-opener in Week 1 is traveling for Week 2. Since the NFL merged with the American Football League in 1970, this is the first league schedule in which no team will have played two home games or two road games through Week 2 of the season.
SUNDAY MATINEE MARQUIS: Two quarterbacks age 25 or younger, LAMAR JACKSON and DESHAUN WATSON, square off Sunday when the BALTIMORE RAVENS travel to play to the HOUSTON TEXANS (4:25 PM ET, CBS). In the Ravens’ Week 1 victory over Cleveland last week, Jackson completed 20 of 25 passes (80 percent) for 275 yards and three TDs, with no interceptions, for a 152.1 rating. He also rushed for 45 yards against the Browns, his third-career game with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 150-or-higher (minimum 10 attempts), the most such games by a quarterback in his first three seasons in NFL history. Watson last week against Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City completed 20 of 32 passes (62.5 percent) for 253 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for his 15th career touchdown last week, and is one of three quarterbacks (JOSH ALLEN, DAK PRESCOTT) with at least 15 rushing touchdowns since the beginning of the 2017 campaign.
SUPER BOWL REMATCH: Sunday Night Football features a rematch of one the most exciting Super Bowls in NFL history as the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS host the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8:20 PM ET, NBC). New England edged Seattle, 28-24, in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015, on a last-second interception by MALCOLM BUTLER at the goal line. Since that game (2015-2020), Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON leads the NFL with 159 touchdown passes, including four last week in a season-opening win at Atlanta. Patriots wide receiver JULIAN EDELMAN helped New England capture that Super Bowl with nine receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown. In NFL postseason history, only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (159 receptions) has more career postseason catches than Edelman (109). Edelman also had five catches for 57 yards in his first game with new quarterback CAM NEWTON, a Week 1 victory over Miami.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 2
NO NEED TO PANIC: Since realignment in 2002, 131 of the 216 playoff teams (60.6 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including five teams last season and three division champions – HOUSTON (AFC South), NEW ORLEANS (NFC South) and PHILADELPHIA (NFC East).
Last season, seven playoff teams began the year by winning their first two games, the most in a single season since 2006 (seven teams).
A look at how playoff clubs in 2019 and 2018 began their seasons:
|Team||After 2 games||Playoff Result||Team||After 2 games||Playoff Result|
|Baltimore||2-0||Advanced to Divisional||Baltimore||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card|
|Buffalo||2-0||Advanced to Wild Card||Chicago||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card|
|Green Bay||2-0||Advanced to NFC Champ||Dallas||1-1||Advanced to Divisional|
|Houston||1-1||Advanced to Divisional||Houston||0-2||Advanced to Wild Card|
|Kansas City||2-0||Won Super Bowl LIV||Indianapolis||1-1||Advanced to Divisional|
|Minnesota||1-1||Advanced to Divisional||Kansas City||2-0||Advanced to AFC Champ|
|New England||2-0||Advanced to Wild Card||L.A. Chargers||1-1||Advanced to Divisional|
|New Orleans||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card||L.A. Rams||2-0||Advanced to Super Bowl LIII|
|Philadelphia||1-1||Advanced to Wild Card||New England||1-1||Won Super Bowl LIII|
|San Francisco||2-0||Advanced Super Bowl LIV||New Orleans||1-1||Advanced to NFC Champ|
|Seattle||2-0||Advanced to Divisional||Philadelphia||1-1||Advanced to Divisional|
|Tennessee||1-1||Advanced to AFC Champ||Seattle||0-2||Advanced to Wild Card|
— NFL —
MAHOMES MILESTONES: Last season, Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES became the fastest player to reach 70 career touchdown passes (27 games) in NFL history, and he can continue to rewrite the record books in 2020.
Entering Week 2, Mahomes has 9,623 passing yards in 32 career games. On Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers (4:25 PM ET, CBS), he can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (36 games) as the fastest player to reach 10,000 career passing yards in league history.
The fastest players to reach 10,000 career passing yards in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||GAMES TO REACH 10,000 PASSING YARDS|
|Kurt WarnerHOF||St. Louis Rams||36|
|Marc Bulger||St. Louis Rams||38|
|Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City||32*|
|*Has 9,623 passing yards in 32 career games|
Last week in the Chiefs’ season-opening win, Mahomes passed for three touchdowns versus zero interceptions for a 123.3 passer rating, his 16th career game with at least three touchdown passes.
With at least three touchdown passes in Week 2, Mahomes will surpass PEYTON MANNING (16 games) and DAK PRESCOTT (16) for the third-most such games in a player’s first four seasons in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (27) and KURT WARNER (21).
The players with the most games with at least three touchdown passes in their first four seasons in NFL history:
|Kurt WarnerHOF||St. Louis Rams||21|
|Patrick Mahomes*||Kansas City||16|
|*In fourth season|
— NFL —
DUAL-THREAT DAK: Since entering the NFL in 2016, Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT has 98 touchdown passes and 21 rushing touchdowns, the most among quarterbacks.
With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday against Atlanta (1:00 PM, ET), Prescott will become the third quarterback to record at least 100 touchdown passes and 20 rushing touchdowns in his first five seasons in NFL history, joining JEFF GARCIA and CAM NEWTON.
The players with at least 100 touchdown passes and 20 rushing touchdowns in their first five seasons in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||TD PASSES||RUSHING TDS|
|Jeff Garcia||San Francisco||113||21|
|*In fifth season|
— NFL —
GURLEY AMONG GREATS: In his first game with Atlanta last week, running back TODD GURLEY rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown, the 71st scrimmage touchdown of his career.
Gurley, appearing in his 75th career game on Sunday at Dallas (1:00 PM ET, FOX), needs one scrimmage touchdown to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH (72 scrimmage touchdowns) for the third-most scrimmage touchdowns by a player through his first 75 career games in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN (79) and LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (79) have more.
The players with the most scrimmage touchdowns in their first 75 career games in NFL history:
|LaDainian TomlinsonHOF||San Diego Chargers||79|
|Todd Gurley||St. Louis/L.A. Rams, Atlanta||71*|
|*Entering 75th career game on Sunday|
— NFL –
GIANT NUMBERS: Last week, New York Giants running back SAQUON BARKELY recorded six receptions for 60 yards, his 12th-career game with at least five catches. Since entering the NFL in 2018, his 149 receptions and 1,219 receiving yards each rank fifth among running backs.
Appearing in his 31st career game on Sunday at Chicago (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Barkley needs one reception to tie HERSCHEL WALKER (31 games) as the fourth-fastest running back to reach 150 career receptions in NFL history.
The fastest running backs to record 150 career receptions in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||GAMES TO REACH 150 RECEPTIONS|
|Reggie Bush||New Orleans||26|
|Alvin Kamara||New Orleans||29|
|Saquon Barkley||N.Y. Giants||30*|
|*Has 149 receptions in 30 career games|
— NFL —
HOME ON THE ROAD: Running back ADRIAN PETERSON rushed for 93 yards last week in his first game with Detroit, and he enters Week 2 ranking fourth on the NFL’s all-time list of rushing touchdowns (111) and fifth in rushing yards (14,309).
Entering Sunday’s divisional matchup at Green Bay (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Peterson has rushed for a touchdown in each of his past eight games at Lambeau Field, a streak spanning 12 seasons (2008-19) and two teams (Minnesota and Washington).
With a rushing touchdown this week, Peterson will extend his streak of scoring a touchdown at Lambeau Field to nine games, the second-longest streak of scoring a touchdown at a visiting stadium in the Super Bowl era. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (10 consecutive games at the Oakland Coliseum) has a longer such streak.
The players with the most consecutive games scoring a touchdown at a stadium as a visitor:
|PLAYER||OPPOSING TEAM||STADIUM||SEASONS||CONSECUTIVE GAMES|
|LaDainian TomlinsonHOF||Oakland Raiders||Oakland Coliseum||2001-2011||10|
|Adrian Peterson||Green Bay Packers||Lambeau Field||2008-present||8*|
|Neal Anderson||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tampa Stadium||1987-1993||7|
|Haywood Jeffires||Cincinnati Bengals||Riverfront Stadium||1990-95||6|
|Joey Galloway||Oakland Raiders||Oakland Coliseum||1995-2001||6|
— NFL —
NEW TEAM, SAME HOP: Arizona wide receiver DEANDRE HOPKINS came to the Cardinals this offseason after recording 632 receptions in seven seasons with Houston, tied for the second-most receptions by a player through his first seven seasons in NFL history. In his debut with Arizona last week, he led the team with a career-high 14 receptions for 151 yards in its season-opening victory.
With at least six catches on Sunday against Washington (4:05 PM ET, FOX), Hopkins will surpass EARL COOPER (19 receptions in his first two games with San Francisco in 1980) and ERIK METCALF (19 receptions in his first two games with Atlanta in 1995) for the most receptions by a player in their first two games with a team in NFL history.
The players with the most receptions in their first two games with a team in NFL history:
|Earl Cooper||San Francisco||1980||19|
|Jamison Crowder||N.Y. Jets||2019||18|
|*14 receptions in Week 1|
— NFL –
SCHUSTER & LADDERS: Pittsburgh wide receiver JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER recorded six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns last week in the Steelers’ season-opening victory. In 43 career games, the fourth-year receiver has 2,964 receiving yards and 19 receiving touchdowns.
Smith-Schuster, who will be 23 years and 303 days old on Sunday vs. Denver (1:00 PM ET, CBS), needs 36 receiving yards and a touchdown reception to surpass ODELL BECKHAM JR. (23 years, 325 days) as the fourth-youngest player in NFL history to reach 3,000 career receiving yards and 20 career receiving touchdowns.
The youngest players to reach 3,000 career receiving yards and 20 career receiving touchdowns in NFL history:
|Mike Evans||Tampa Bay||23 years, 74 days|
|Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona||23 years, 108 days|
|Randy MossHOF||Minnesota||23 years, 231 days|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||N.Y. Giants||23 years, 325 days|
|Hakeem Nicks||N.Y. Giants||23 years, 352 days|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster||Pittsburgh||23 years, 303 days*|
— NFL —