As the NFL enters October and closes the first quarter of the 2020 season, teams are scoring points and touchdowns at unprecedented levels. Translation: NFL teams are never out of games.
Last week, three teams overcame deficits of at least 10 points to win: the CHICAGO BEARS (16 points), PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11 points) and TENNESSEE TITANS (12 points). In 10 of 48 games this season, a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win, tied with the 1987 season (10) for the second-most such games through the first three weeks in NFL history. Only the 2011 season (11) had more.
In 18 games this season, teams have come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter. And on three occasions, a team has come back to win after trailing by at least 17 points at any point. That’s one game per week on average. So, looking ahead to Week 4, in which game will a team erase a deficit of at least 17 points? Stay tuned.
Through the first three weeks, NFL teams have combined to score 281 total touchdowns, 273 offensive touchdowns (passing and rushing combined) and 2,446 total points, all the most in NFL history through Week 3.
Five of those 281 touchdowns belong to AARON JONES, who has helped the GREEN BAY PACKERS (40.7 points per game) establish the NFL’s most prolific offense through three weeks. Five other teams are averaging at least 30 points per game: the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (37.0), BUFFALO BILLS (31.0), BALTIMORE RAVENS (30.3), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (30.3) and ATLANTA FALCONS (30.0).
Aaron Jones creates his own running lanes. #GoPackGo
— NFL (@NFL) September 28, 2020
Two of those clubs meet on Monday Night Football in Week 4 when the Falcons travel to Green Bay (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).
Buffalo, meanwhile, faces an early season road test Sunday at Las Vegas (4:25 PM ET, FOX). Bills quarterback JOSH ALLEN, the first player with at least 10 touchdown passes (10) and two rushing touchdowns (two) in his team’s first three games of a season in NFL history, has Buffalo off to a 3-0 start for a second straight season. With a win this week, the Bills will be 4-0 for the first time since 2008.
JOSH ALLEN FADEAWAY IN A BUCKET pic.twitter.com/51BwMmteNc
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 27, 2020
In Seattle, RUSSELL WILSON leads the NFL with 14 touchdown passes in 2020 and surpassed PATRICK MAHOMES (13 in 2018) for the most by a player through his team’s first three games of a season in league annals. The Seahawks – winners of nine consecutive games in the Eastern Time Zone – head to Miami this week to face the Dolphins Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Wilson needs three touchdown passes against the Dolphins to surpass Denver’s PEYTON MANNING (16 in 2013) for the most touchdown passes through a team’s first four games of a season in NFL history.
RUSSELL WILSON IS UNSTOPPABLE.
5 TDS AND THE LEAD.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 27, 2020
Points don’t go on the board – and more importantly, teams don’t win games – without clutch kicking. Tennessee kicker STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI connected on a 55-yard field goal with 1:44 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Titans a 31-30 win at Minnesota in Week 3. Gostkowski, who kicked a game-winning field goal with 25 seconds remaining in Week 1 and a 49-yard game-winning field goal with 1:36 remaining in Week 2, is the first kicker to convert a game-winning field goal in the final two minutes of regulation in each of his team’s first three games of a season since the 1970 merger.
AFC UNBEATENS SQUARE OFF IN NASHVILLE
Gostkowski’s TENNESSEE TITANS (3-0) host the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-0) in another AFC Showdown this week (1:00 PM ET Sunday, CBS). Last year’s Comeback Player of the Year RYAN TANNEHILL meets potential 2020 Comeback Player of the Year candidate BEN ROETHLISBERGER, who can help the Steelers match the best start in franchise history and give Pittsburgh its first 4-0 record since 1979. In fact, the Steelers have followed up each of their last two 4-0 starts – 1978 and 1979 – with Super Bowl victories. Pittsburgh also began 4-0 in 1973. The Titans bid for a 4-0 start for only the second time in franchise history (2008).
Almost a decade later but still the same Ben Roethlisberger.
— Daniel Valente (@StatsGuyDaniel) September 22, 2020
Don’t underestimate the importance of any early season intraconference game. The NFL shifted this season to a 14-team playoff format, with an extra Wild Card berth in each conference. Prior to 2020, there were two first-round byes in each conference. Now, there’s only one.
ON IN OCTOBER
The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, who travel to Detroit and meet the Lions on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), have won 12 consecutive games in the month of October. The last time they lost a game in the month was Week 7 of the 2016 season (Oct. 23, 2016).
The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who visit the Chiefs in an AFC showdown Sunday (4:25 PM, CBS), also carry a 12-game October winning streak into Week 4. Since the NFL merged with the American Football League in 1970, only three other teams have had October winning streaks longer than 12 games.
The NFL’s longest October winning streaks since 1970:
|New England Patriots||12*||2017-present|
|New Orleans Saints||12*||2016-present|
BELICHICK VS. REID, EPISODE XI
When the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS meet the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), two of the top six winningest coaches in NFL history will be on opposite sidelines. New England’s BILL BELICHICK and Kansas City’s ANDY REID rank third and sixth, respectively, on the league’s all-time wins list, including postseason.
Bill Belichick: "No player is in the building more than Cam Newton" pic.twitter.com/CpXaBW2vbB
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) October 2, 2020
The coaches with the most wins in league history, including postseason:
|1||Don ShulaHOF||Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins||33||347||173||6||.666|
|2||George HalasHOF||Chicago Bears||40||324||151||31||.682|
|3||Bill Belichick||Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots||26||306||140||0||.686|
|4||Tom LandryHOF||Dallas Cowboys||29||270||178||6||.603|
|5||Curly LambeauHOF||Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cardinals, Washington Redskins||33||229||134||22||.631|
|6||Andy Reid||Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs||22||225||142||1||.613|
Belichick and Reid first met on Sept. 14, 2003, when the Patriots defeated the Eagles, 31-10, at Lincoln Financial Field.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) September 30, 2020
- While Belichick owns a 7-3 advantage in the head-to-head series, including a 24-21 win over Reid’s Eagles in Super Bowl XXIX, Reid has won three of the six meetings since taking the reins of the Chiefs.
- In their last meeting (Week 14, 2019), Kansas City secured a 23-16 victory at New England en route to a Super Bowl LIV title.
- In recent memory, Belichick has narrowly defeated Reid’s Chiefs in two postseason thrillers, a 27-20 win in the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs and a 37-31 overtime triumph in the 2018 AFC Championship game, before New England won Super Bowl LIII.
- Within the exclusive company of the six coaches who’ve won the most games in NFL history, only Pro Football Hall of Famers GEORGE HALAS and CURLY LAMBEAU (49) have more meetings than Belichick and Reid (10).
The most head-to-head meetings among the six coaches with the most wins in league history, including postseason:
|George HalasHOF vs. Curly LambeauHOF||Halas led, 30-16-3 (1921-53)||49|
|Bill Belichick vs. Andy Reid||Belichick leads, 7-3-0 (2003-present)||10|
|Don ShulaHOF vs. George HalasHOF||Shula led, 5-4-0 (1963-67)||9|
|Don ShulaHOF vs. Tom LandryHOF||Shula led, 5-3-0 (1967-87)||8|
|George HalasHOF vs. Tom LandryHOF||Halas led, 2-1-0 (1960-64)||3|
|Don ShulaHOF vs. Bill Belichick||Shula led, 2-0-0 (1992-93)||2|
BELTWAY GAME ON TAP THIS WEEKEND
The BALTIMORE RAVENS this week make the 45-mile trek to FedExField for a Sunday matchup with the WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (1:00 PM ET, CBS).
- NFL franchises from the two cities have been meeting since 1953, when the Baltimore Colts secured a 27-17 win over Washington at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.
- In each of the two seasons the Ravens have won the Super Bowl (2000 and 2012), one of their losses was in Washington. On Dec. 9, 2012, Baltimore lost at Washington, 31-28 in overtime, before defeating San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII. Twelve years earlier, on Oct. 15, 2000, Baltimore lost at Washington, 10-3, before defeating the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.
- Baltimore’s JOHN HARBAUGH (130) and Washington’s RON RIVERA (80) are two of nine active head coaches with 80-or-more career victories. Each coach is a former assistant under ANDY REID.
WEEK 4 NFL SCHEDULE
THURSDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 4-5
(All times Eastern)
Thursday, October 1
Sunday, October 4 (cont’d)
|Denver at New York Jets, 8:20 PM (NFLN)||Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM (CBS)|
|Sunday, October 4||Baltimore at Washington, 1:00 PM (CBS)|
|Arizona at Carolina, 1:00 PM (FOX)||New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 PM (FOX)|
|Indianapolis at Chicago, 1:00 PM (CBS)||New England at Kansas City, 4:25 PM (CBS)|
|Jacksonville at Cincinnati, 1:00 PM (CBS)||Buffalo at Las Vegas, 4:25 PM (CBS)|
|Cleveland at Dallas, 1:00 PM (FOX)||Philadelphia at San Francisco, 8:20 PM (NBC)|
|New Orleans at Detroit, 1:00 PM (FOX)|
|Minnesota at Houston, 1:00 PM (FOX)||Monday, October 5|
|Seattle at Miami, 1:00 PM (FOX)||Atlanta at Green Bay, 8:15 PM (ESPN)|