FOX Sports South takes a whimsical and diverse look at 15 star-driven factoids for NFL Week 3 -- a gallery that might help shape fantasy-league decisions and/or inspire more real-world and barstool debates, among friends and kind strangers. (Photos: Bob Donnan/Troy Taormina/Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)
It's Deja Vu All Over Again
FUN FACT #1: The Broncos and Seahawks, last year's Super Bowl combatants, will tangle in Seattle on Sunday. Seventeen years have passed since the last Super Bowl rematch for the following regular season. In 1997, the Packers -- who outlasted New England in Super Bowl XXX that previous January -- rolled over the Patriots in Foxboro, 28-10. (Photos: Jake Roth/Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
DeMarco The Destroyer
FUN FACT #2: It's a short sample size, granted. But Cowboys tailback DeMarco Murray (above) is an excellent bet for supreme yardage this week. In two career outings against the Rams, Murray boasts absurd averages of 228 total yards and one touchdown. Speaking of the Dallas backfield ... by my count, QB Tony Romo (457 yards passing, two TDs this year) has started at least one road game against 27 different NFL franchises; but he's never opened a regular-season tilt at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Dome Sweet Dome
FUN FACT #3: Drew Brees has a remarkable streak in his favor: Twelve straight home outings of 300 yards passing and/or three touchdown passes. And during this prolific stretch, the Saints quarterback boasts supreme per-game averages of 342 yards passing and 3.4 TDs at the Superdome.
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Tough Road To Ho
FUN FACT #4: The Buccaneers -- the NFL's only team with back-to-back home tilts to open and close the 2014 season -- will have just four home games (Raymond James Stadium) from Weeks 3-15. Which brings us to this: It's hard to remember the last club to have separate stretches of three straight roadies (Weeks 3-5 -- Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans) and also four road outings over five Sundays (Weeks 11-15 -- @ Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Carolina). Perhaps QB Josh McCown or head coach Lovie Smith (above) angered the league's schedule-maker during the offseason.
FUN FACT #5: Charting his last five complete games (dating back to last season), Texans tailback Arian Foster has averaged 24.6 carries and 151.4 total yards in that span -- elite-level numbers for a rusher, even if the yards-per-carry tallies have dipped in recent years. Here's one more thing to appreciate: Of his five career outings against the NFC East, Foster holds rock-solid averages of 104 total yards and 0.4 touchdowns -- and that includes a 2010 clunker against the Giants (27 total yards).
The 23-Year Itch
FUN FACT #6: The Packers hold a commanding 96-66-7 advantage in their long-standing history with the Lions, so much that it's been 23 years since Detroit has trumped Green Bay in back-to-back games. The last occurrence: The Lions swept the Packers during the 1991 season -- capped by a December defeat in blustery Wisconsin. On that day, Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (middle) accounted for 98 yards, Green Bay quarterback Mike Tomczak (right) passed for 207 yards and one touchdown ... and Brett Favre (left) was riding the pine in the Atlanta Falcons' easy home win over the Seattle Seahawks. (Photos: Assorted Images)
FUN FACT #7: The Falcons defense has incredibly allowed the opposition to rush for 100-plus team rushing yards in 15 straight games, dating back to last season. That's a staggering figure, but one that mixes well with the following: Atlanta, uh, boasts the NFL's only defense to surrender averages of 150 team rushing yards AND 300 team passing yards through two games. That bodes well on Thursday for Bucs QB Josh McCown (362 yards passing, two TDs), running back Doug Martin (assuming reasonable health) or Bobby Rainey (above), who rolled for 174 total yards on Sunday. He also fleeced the Falcons for 167 total yards (163 rushing) and two TDs last year (Week 11).
Good News Comes In Threes
FUN FACT #8: Bears QB Jay Cutler (above) hasn't tossed three or more touchdown passes in consecutive games since 2010, when he rolled up 3/3 against Vikings and Jets (this week's opponent). Of course, over the first two weeks of the 2014 campaign, Cutler (525 yards passing) has already totaled six TD passes (2/4).
Comings And Goings
FUN FACT #9: The 0-2 Saints may be saddled with the NFL's worst passing defense through two games (324 yards per outing) ... but there is only a minimal chance of Vikings QB Matt Cassel matching or eclipsing that parenthetical figure. He has seven 300-yard passing games in his career -- but only one with Minnesota. And not that it matters ... but Adrian Peterson (deactivated indefinitely) had averaged 99 total yards and 1.3 touchdowns in his last three matchups with the Saints (including the postseason).
FUN FACT #10: Citing a number of metrics over the last 5-10 years, the Raiders have been bad, pure and simple. But the franchise has been especially wretched when traveling to the other coast, dropping their last 13 games played in the Eastern Time Zone -- dating back to December 2009 and preceding Dennis Allen's tenure as head coach (middle). The average margin of defeat during the 13-loss streak: 14.6 points. In case you're wondering ... Bruce Gradkowski (left/right) was the last Raiders QB to claim victory in the Eastern Time Zone, leading the team to an upset over Pittsburgh -- his current club.
FUN FACT #11: In 2011, Cam Newton became the first rookie in history to pass for more than 400 yards in each of his first two NFL starts. But ay the rub: The Panthers quarterback has surpassed the 300-yard passing threshold only four times since that amazing two-outing launch of his career. In fact, Newton's completion tally against the Packers in Week 2 of the 2011 campaign (28) still stands as his career high in that category. Thankfully, Newton remains a strong annual bet for 4,000 total yards and 27-30 touchdowns.
Easier Said Than Done
FUN FACT #12: The Bengals and Titans/Houston Oilers -- former division rivals in the AFC Central -- have faced one another 73 times, with Tennessee/Houston holding a 39-33-1 lifetime edge. Here's one key to victory that applies to both franchises: From 1968-2011, covering all 73 matchups, the team that held the opposition to single-digit points won all 17 occasions. One last thing: In the Andy Dalton/A.J. Green era (above -- 2011-14), the Bengals have been held to single digits only three times.
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Less Is Apparently More
FUN FACT #13: Counting the playoffs and citing Pro Football Reference, Patriots QB Tom Brady has endured six consecutive games without a 300-yard passing day -- his longest drought since the 2005-06 seasons (spillover). But Captain America probably doesn't care much about such fantasy-friendly trivialities: Within this recent "slump," the Pats boast a 4-2 record and robust average of 31 points.
Battle Of The Beatens
FUN FACT #14: Here's some dire news for the Colts and Jaguars: In the 12-year history of the AFC South, post-radical realignment (2002-13), an 0-2 club has never rallied to carry the division championship that same season. Of course, if receiver T.Y. Hilton (above) had done more to sell the obvious illegal-contact penalty from Monday's loss to the Eagles -- aside from, you know, being dragged to the ground -- perhaps Indy would be staring at 1-1 record for Week 3. Instead, the Colts and Jaguars are on the precipice of a relative must-win Sunday in Jacksonville.
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50 Years In The Making
FUN FACT #15: In his last three outings against AFC West foes, tailback C.J. Spiller holds scintillating averages of 154.3 total yards and one touchdown. And the Bills will likely need similar production to knock off the Chargers this Sunday, in hopes of fostering their first 3-0 start since 2011. Incidentally, Buffalo hasn't toppled San Diego in consecutive meetings since December 1964 -- upon clinching the first American Football League championship in franchise history. (How's this for weird: In '64, Buffalo beat San Diego three times -- on the 26th day of September, November and December.)