The NFL got “Back to Football” with a thrilling Kickoff Weekend. There were close games, standout performances and stars rising to the occasion.
“It’s a good start,” says Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN, who passed for 448 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 37-34 overtime win over New Orleans. “We’ve still got a long way to go. You can’t get too high or too low after Week 1.”
Everybody wants to get off to a good start as history has shown that teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game. But that doesn’t mean an 0-1 start is impossible to overcome as nearly 25 percent of teams that lost the opener went to the playoffs.
Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule (and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982):
Of the 523 teams which won openers… 274 went to the playoffs (164 won division titles)
Of the 524 teams which lost openers… 124 went to the playoffs (70 won division titles)
(Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact that the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.)
Week 2 kicks off on Thursday night with an AFC North matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens (CBS/NFLN, 8:25 PM ET). The contest will kick off the inaugural partnership between CBS and NFL Network in broadcasting Thursday Night Football, which features the most marquee match-ups ever on Thursday night, including 14 divisional rivalries. The schedule will feature games in Weeks 2-8 and Week 16 (Saturday) broadcast on CBS that also will be simulcast on NFL Network. The Thursday night contests in Weeks 9-12 and Weeks 14-16 will be televised on NFL Network and simulcast on over-the-air stations in the teams’ primary markets.
There will be 14 games on Sunday, capped by the first regular-season game played at Levi’s Stadium when the San Francisco 49ers host the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football (NBC, 8:30 PM ET). Week 2 concludes on Monday night when the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8:30 PM ET).
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