FOX Sports South takes a whimsical and diverse look at 15 star-driven factoids for NFL Week 4 -- 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)
The Stud Among Stars
FUN FACT #1: Drew Brees has carved out a Hall of Fame-worthy career over the last nine seasons with offensive guru/head coach Sean Payton, with the Saints quarterback's best work coming against the often-beleaguered Cowboys defense. In his time with New Orleans (2006-14), Brees boasts stellar per-game averages of 375 yards passing and 2.8 touchdowns. The lone caveat: Of its first three outings this season, Dallas has twice held the opposition to less than 240 yards passing.
Odds & Ends
FUN FACT #2: The Jaguars have been a hot mess this season, surrendering a staggering average of 40 points through three games. Plus, four quarterbacks from the Eagles, Redskins and Colts (Nick Foles, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Andrew Luck) hold combined per-outing averages of 370 yards passing and 2.7 TDs against Jacksonville. And yet, not a single pass-catcher from the above clubs has notched 100-plus receiving yards against the Jaguars, heading into Week 4. (Redskins tight end Niles Paul, above, barely missed the mark, collecting eight catches, 99 yards and one TD in Week 2.)
New To The Big Apple
FUN FACT #3: Remember all those 'china doll' references to Matthew Stafford in the early days of his NFL career? Well, since a 2010 home loss to the Jets (shoulder injury), the Lions quarterback and annual threat for 4,800 yards passing/30 TDs hasn't missed a single start with Detroit. Which brings us to this: In his six-year career, Stafford has never played at the Meadowlands area -- either old Giants Stadium or new MetLife Stadium.
FUN FACT #4: Matt Forte has endured a (relatively) slow start to the season (281 total yards, zero TDs), but good tidings may be on the way for the Bears tailback, who has averaged 131 total yards and 0.7 TDs in his last six meetings with the Packers. Incidentally, in Forte's NFL tenure (2008-14), Chicago has never knocked off Green Bay in consecutive outings.
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Going Nowhere Fast
FUN FACT #5: Perhaps Darren McFadden should take a break on Sunday. In three lifetime outings against the Dolphins, the Raiders tailback has averaged a paltry 40 total yards, with nary a visit to the end zone. In fairness to DMC, he has collected only 33 total touches against Miami.
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FUN FACT #6: The NFL will once again stretch its byes to cover Weeks 4-12, but here's a wrinkle to that process: There will be five two-team byes (Weeks 4, 5, 7, 8, 12). Here's another nugget: As part of the new partnership involving CBS and NFL Network for Thursday nights, covering Weeks 2-8 (including Giants @ Redskins for Week 4), all seven matchups are intra-division games. Isn't that exciting? (Photos: Robert Deutsch/Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
A Spectrum Of Emotions
FUN FACT #7: The Giants and Redskins share the NFL records for "most combined points in a single game" (113 in 1966) and "fewest combined points in a single game" (zero in 1932). In modern times, here's something else to consider: In 17 career outings against Washington, QB Eli Manning -- say hello to back-to-back Eli slides! -- has only once accounted for multiple touchdowns in a single game (2009).
Revenge On The Brain
FUN FACT #8: Perhaps you've heard that combustible Ravens wideout Steve Smith draws his old team -- the Panthers -- on Sunday? Well, the 35-year-old has gotten off to a great start with his new club (18 catches, 290 yards, one TD) -- one that rivals the four best three-game starts of his distinguished career: 1) 23 catches/342 yards/4 TDs (2005) ... 2) 16 catches/349 yards/2 TDs (2011) ... 3) 16 catches/281 yards/4 TDs (2007) ... 4) 14 catches/296 yards/0 TDs (2012). (Photos: Bob Donnan/Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)
First Time For Everything
FUN FACT #9: Chiefs QB Alex Smith (above) has accounted for nearly 20,000 yards passing and 113 total touchdowns in 10 NFL seasons. But of his 93 pro starts ... Smith has never faced the Patriots (this Monday's opponent). So, what to make of this unfamiliarity with New England? For starters, it's hard to envision Smith snapping his regular-season drought of 23 straight games without a 300-yard passing day. (To be fair, there's a lot of 280-plus outings in that span.)
FUN FACT #10: Peyton Manning's Broncos have a bye this week. It's the earliest bye week for a Peyton-led club since 2000 ... when the Colts enjoyed a Week 3 break.
The Red Menace
FUN FACT #11: We fully acknowledge Frank Gore, at age 31, is no spring chicken and that rookie Carlos Hyde (two TDs in 2014) could be the heir apparent in San Francisco. That said, check out Gore's recent production immediately after collecting single-digit carries the previous outing: Four games ... with sterling averages of 122 total yards/0.5 TDs. Those numbers align well with Gore's last effort against the Eagles -- 139 total yards and one TD (2011).
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The Buck Stops Here
FUN FACT #12: The Lions have come a long way since their 0-16 flameout in 2008 -- particularly the defense. Heading into Week 4, Detroit stands as the only NFL team with top-3 rankings for per-game rushing yards allowed (2nd -- 64 yards) and per-outing passing yards allowed (3rd -- 181 yards).
FUN FACT #13: It's been 23 years since the Falcons and Vikings met outdoors during the regular season. For that Week 2 clash during the 1991 campaign (old Fulton County Stadium), Minnesota's Herschel Walker (above) ran for 125 yards ... and Atlanta wideout George Thomas -- who? -- posted the only 100-yard receiving game of his four-year NFL career. (Photo: Assorted Images)
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The Workload Is Its Own Reward
FUN FACT #14: You can probably bet the "under" on Donald Brown (above) replicating last week's stunning tally of 36 touches -- the result of key injuries to Chargers tailbacks Ryan Mathews (Week 2) and Danny Woodhead (Week 3). That said, Brown (89 total yards last week) is a good bet for mundo touches and sizable yardage against the Jaguars -- who rank dead-last against the rush (160 yards per outing). In fact, of its last five games (dating back to last year), Jacksonville has surrendered 140-plus team rushing yards to the opposition four times.
Accentuate The Positive
FUN FACT #15: It's a small sample size, for sure, but Tampa Bay has never won at Pittsburgh -- an 0-3 downturn that dates back to 1976. The upside to this: Since that infamous expansion campaign in '76, when the 0-14 Buccaneers were manhandled by Hall of Famers Jack Lambert (left), 'Mean' Joe Greene (right) and the Steelers by a 42-0 count -- the same Steel Curtain defense which tallied five shutouts that year -- the Bucs have scored at least once in the next eight games against the Steelers. (Photos: Assorted Images)