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What to Look For - Week 9

What to Look For - Week 9

11/08/2020
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For years, the National Football League has worked to create league-wide parity.

“Worst to first” not only is more possible in the NFL than any other sports league, but it also occurs almost every season in at least one division — thanks to the draft, salary cap rules, free agency and scheduling all playing roles in helping narrow the gap between the strong and the weak from year to year.

So, it’s unusual for as many teams to reach Week 9 of the season with two or fewer losses as we see in 2020 (11, with a record of 12 in 1996). And only a handful of times in the 50 years since the AFL-NFL merger has there been three games on the same weekend this late in the season featuring a pair of teams with no more than two losses.

For a look at these marquee matchups and other things to watch for starting tonight, read on ... 


MEETINGS OF LEAGUE ELITES: The 2020 NFL season continues to be the highest scoring in league history, as the marks for total points (5,996) and touchdowns (692) are the most ever through eight weeks. The 50.4 points per game (both teams combined) is the highest total through Week 8 since 1970 while five teams are averaging at least 30 points per game, also the most at this point of a season since 1970.

Additionally, half of the league (16 teams) has a record above .500 entering Week 9. A total of 11 teams have two-or-fewer losses, tied for the second-most such teams through eight weeks in NFL history.

The seasons with the most teams with two-or-fewer losses after eight weeks in NFL history:​

SEASON

TEAMS

1996

12

2020

11

1993

11

 

 
Three games in Week 9 will feature teams with two-or-fewer losses: the 6-1 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS traveling to face the 6-2 BUFFALO BILLS (1:00 PM ET, FOX), the 5-2 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS hosting the 5-2 BALTIMORE RAVENS (1:00 PM ET, CBS) and an NFC South showdown on Sunday Night Football featuring the 5-2 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS and 6-2 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS in Tampa (8:20 PM ET, NBC).

This will mark the fifth week since 1970 in which there are at least three games between teams with two-or-fewer losses in Week 9 or later.

The weeks featuring at least three games between teams with two-or-fewer losses in Week 9 or later since 1970:​

WEEK

GAMES

Week 9, 2020

Seattle (6-1) at Buffalo (6-2)

Baltimore (5-2) at Indianapolis (5-2)

New Orleans (5-2) at Tampa Bay (6-2)

Week 9, 1999

St. Louis Rams (6-1) at Detroit (5-2)

Kansas City (5-2) at Indianapolis (5-2)

Tennessee (6-1) at Miami (6-1)

Week 9, 1997

Green Bay (5-2) at New England (5-2)

Jacksonville (5-2) at Pittsburgh (5-2)

Minnesota (5-2) at Tampa Bay (5-2)

Week 9, 1996

Kansas City (5-2) at Denver (6-1)

San Francisco (5-2) at Houston Oilers (5-2)

Carolina (5-2) at Philadelphia (5-2)

Indianapolis (5-2) at Washington (6-1)

Week 9, 1993

Kansas City (5-1) at Miami (5-1)

Detroit (5-2) at Minnesota (4-2)

Dallas (4-2) at Philadelphia (4-2)

 
 
PUTTING UP POINTS: The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (34.3) lead the NFL in points per game, while the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (30.1) rank fifth. They are the only two teams in the league that have scored at least 25 points in each of their first seven games this season.   
 
If Seattle scores at least 25 points at Buffalo (1:00 PM ET, CBS) and Pittsburgh scores at least 25 points at Dallas (4:25 PM ET, CBS), they will become the sixth and seventh teams to score at least 25 points in each of their first eight games of a season in NFL history. This would be the first season in league annals in which two teams accomplished the feat.
 

The teams to score at least 25 points in the most consecutive games to begin a season in NFL history:

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES

Kansas City Chiefs

2018

16

Denver Broncos

2013

13

New England Patriots

2015

9

New England Patriots

2007

8

St. Louis Rams

2000

8

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

2020

7*

Seattle Seahawks

2020

7*

*Active streak

 

 

 
 
MOVING ON UP: Last week, Indianapolis quarterback PHILIP RIVERS passed for 262 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions in the Colts’ victory and has 1,860 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes this season. In his 17-year career, Rivers has 61,131 passing yards, the sixth-most in NFL history.
 

With at least 231 passing yards on Sunday against Baltimore (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Rivers will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (61,361) for the fifth-most passing yards all-time.

The players with the most passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

PASSING YARDS

Drew Brees

San Diego Chargers, New Orleans

79,314

Tom Brady

New England, Tampa Bay

76,760

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis, Denver

71,940

Brett FavreHOF

Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota

71,838

Dan MarinoHOF

Miami

61,361

Philip Rivers

San Diego/L.A. Chargers, Indianapolis

61,131*

*Entering Week 9

 
 
100 IN A HURRY: Last week, Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES set season highs in passing yards (416) and touchdown passes (five). In 39 career games, Mahomes has 11,727 passing yards and 97 touchdown passes, both the most by a player in his first 40 career games in NFL history.
 
With at least three touchdown passes in his 40th career game on Sunday against Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Mahomes would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (44 games) as the fastest player to reach 100 career touchdown passes in NFL history.
 
The fastest players to reach 100 career touchdown passes in NFL history:
 

PLAYER

TEAM

GAMES

Dan MarinoHOF

Miami

44

Kurt WarnerHOF

St. Louis Rams

50

Johnny UnitasHOF

Baltimore Colts

53

 

 

 

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

39*

*Has 97 touchdown passes

 

Last week marked Mahomes’ 18th career game with at least three touchdown passes. With three touchdown passes against Carolina, Mahomes would also surpass Marino (18 games) for the most games with at least three touchdown passes in a player’s first 40 career games in NFL history.


AMONG THE GREATS: Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON leads the league with 26 touchdown passes this season, trailing only TOM BRADY (27 touchdown passes in 2007) for the most by a player through his team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history. Wilson, currently in his ninth season, has 253 career touchdown passes and has had at least 30 touchdown passes in each of the past three seasons.

With at least four touchdown passes on Sunday at Buffalo (1:00 PM, CBS), Wilson would join DREW BREES (nine consecutive seasons) and Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (five consecutive seasons) as the only players with 30-or-more touchdown passes in at least four consecutive seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive seasons with at least 30 touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

Drew Brees

New Orleans

9 (2008-16)

Brett FavreHOF

Green Bay

5 (1994-98)

 

 

 

Russell Wilson

Seattle

3* (2017-19)

*Has 26 touchdown passes in 2020

 

PAIR OF PLAYMAKERS: Arizona quarterback KYLER MURRAY leads all quarterbacks with 437 rushing yards this season, while Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON ranks second (411). This marks the first time in league history that two quarterbacks each have at least 400 rushing yards entering Week 9.

Last season, Murray joined CAM NEWTON (2011) as the only rookie quarterbacks to record at least 3,500 passing yards (3,722) and 500 rushing yards (544) in NFL history. With at least 63 rushing yards on Sunday against Miami (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Murray will become the fourth quarterback to rush for at least 500 yards in each of his first two seasons in NFL history, joining JOSH ALLEN (2018-19), Jackson (2018-19) and Newton (2011-12).

With at least 89 rushing yards on Sunday at Indianapolis (1:00 PM, CBS), Jackson will join Newton (first five seasons) as the only quarterbacks to rush for at least 500 yards in each of their first three seasons.


DOUBLE TROUBLE: Entering Week 9, New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA leads the NFL with 987 scrimmage yards (556 receiving, 431 rushing). He also leads all running backs in receiving yards and receptions (55).

With at least 69 rushing yards at Tampa Bay on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Kamara can become the first player with at least 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons in NFL history.

He will also become the sixth running back with four-or-more consecutive seasons with at least 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the Super Bowl era.

The running backs with the most consecutive seasons with at least 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS

Marshall FaulkHOF

Indianapolis, St. Louis Rams

5 (1998-2002)

Lydell Mitchell

Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

5 (1974-78)

Charlie Garner

San Francisco, Oakland Raiders

4 (1999-2002)

Thurman ThomasHOF

Buffalo

4 (1989-92)

Brian Westbrook

Philadelphia

4 (2004-07)

 

 

 

Alvin Kamara

New Orleans

3 (2017-19)*

*Has 556 receiving yards and 431 rushing yards in 2020

 

HOPKINS CATCHING HISTORY: Arizona wide receiver DEANDRE HOPKINS leads the NFL with 57 receptions and 704 receiving yards this season. Hopkins, who will be 28 years and 155 days old on Sunday, has 689 receptions for 9,306 yards in his eight-year career.

With at least 11 receptions against Miami (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Hopkins will surpass current teammate LARRY FITZGERALD (29 years, 23 days) as the youngest player to reach 700 career receptions in NFL history. Hopkins will also become the fifth player to reach 700 receptions in his first eight seasons in league annals. ​

The youngest players to reach 700 career receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

AGE

Larry Fitzgerald

Arizona

29 years, 23 days

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

29 years, 129 days

Brandon Marshall

Denver, Miami, Chicago

29 years, 267 days

 

 

 

DeAndre Hopkins

Houston, Arizona

28 years, 155 days*

*On Sunday

 

The players with at least 700 receptions in their first eight seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

RECEPTIONS

Marvin HarrisonHOF

Indianapolis

759

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

733

Torry Holt

St. Louis Rams

712

Brandon Marshall

Denver, Miami, Chicago

712

 

 

 

DeAndre Hopkins

Houston, Arizona

689*

*In eighth season

 

 

 

With at least 96 receiving yards, Hopkins can join GARY CLARK (1985-92) as the only players with at least 50 receptions and 800 receiving yards in each of their first eight seasons in NFL history.

 
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