TURNAROUND TEAMS: Hope springs eternal in the NFL. Through the first five weeks of the 2010 season, seven of the eight divisions have at least one new team either in first place or tied for the top spot. If that holds, it will be the most new division winners in a single season.
Two teams that started 0-5 or worse in 2009, Kansas City and Tampa Bay, are sitting at or near the top of their respective divisions with 3-1 records. If the Chiefs and Buccaneers both win this Sunday, this season would be the first in NFL history featuring two teams with 4-1 records that started 0-5 or worse the previous year
Four teams since 1990 have rebounded from an 0-5 or worse start to a 4-1 or better record the following season. All four finished10-6 or better and advanced to the playoffs:
|TEAM||WINLESS START||NEXT SEASON THROUGH FIVE GAMES||NEXT SEASON’S FINAL RECORD|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0-5 in 1996||5-0 in 1997||10-6|
|Atlanta Falcons||0-5 in 1997||4-1 in 1998||14-2|
|Washington Redskins||0-7 in 1998||4-1 in 1999||10-6|
|Cincinnati Bengals||0-8 in 2008||4-1 in 2009||10-6|
|Kansas City Chiefs||0-5 in 2009||3-1 in 2010*||??|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0-7 in 2009||3-1 in 2010*||??|
|* Through four games|
Two teams – St. Louis and Tampa Bay – have already matched or exceeded their 2009 win totals and three more clubs – Detroit, Kansas City and Washington – can do so this weekend:
|TEAM||2009 RECORD||2010 RECORD||WEEK 6 OPPONENT|
|St. Louis||1-15||2-3||vs. San Diego|
|Tampa Bay||3-13||3-1||vs. New Orleans|
|Detroit||2-14||1-4||at N.Y. Giants|
|Kansas City||4-12||3-1||at Houston|
— NFL —
CLIMBING BACK: Teams off to a slow start are justified in believing that they can turn it around.
Since the current playoff system (12 teams) was instituted in 1990, 11 teams have rebounded from being at least three games under .500 after the season’s first five weeks or later to qualify for the postseason. That includes five 1-4 teams that ultimately won their division.
Since 1990, teams that were three or more games below .500 after Week 5 or later and made the playoffs:
|YEAR||TEAM||RECORD||ADVANCED TO||ADDITIONAL NOTES|
|1990||New Orleans Saints||2-5||Wild Card||Finished second in NFC West|
|1992||San Diego Chargers||1-4||Divisional||Won AFC West|
|1993||Houston Oilers||1-4||Divisional||Won AFC Central|
|1994||New England Patriots||3-6||Wild Card||Finished 10-6 (tied for best in division)|
|1995||Detroit Lions||2-5, 3-6||Wild Card||Finished 10-6|
|1995||San Diego Chargers||4-7||Wild Card||Finished 9-7|
|1996||Jacksonville Jaguars||3-6, 4-7||Championship Game||Won two playoff games|
|2002||Tennessee Titans||1-4||Championship Game||Won AFC South|
|2002||New York Jets||1-4, 2-5||Divisional||Won AFC East|
|2004||Green Bay Packers||1-4||Wild Card||Won NFC North|
|2008||San Diego Chargers||4-7, 4-8, 5-8||Divisional||Won AFC West|
WHO’S ON (IN?) FIRST?: Through Week 5, 13 NFL teams have at least a share of first place in their respective divisions – the most in NFL history at this point in the season.
The current crop of 13 includes all four AFC South teams – Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee – clustered at 3-2. The four-way tie is almost certain to be broken this week as the Jaguars host the Titans on Monday Night Football.
— NFL —
Several players and teams will put impressive streaks on the line in Week 6. Here’s a look at some of the most notable…
GREAT GATES: San Diego tight end ANTONIO GATES leads the NFL with seven touchdown receptions this season and has caught at least one TD in each of his past nine regular-season games, the longest streak in NFL history by a tight end.
If Gates extends his streak to 10 games this Sunday at St. Louis, he would be the sixth player in NFL annals to accomplish the feat. Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver JERRY RICE (13 consecutive games) holds the all-time record.
Players with the most consecutive games with a touchdown reception:
|Jerry Rice||San Francisco||1986-87||13|
|Elroy (Crazylegs) Hirsch||L.A. Rams||1950-51||11|
|Antonio Gates||San Diego||2009-10||9*|
|* Active Streak|
— NFL —
HANDLE WITH CARE: With only one turnover through their first five games, the New York Jets can become the first team in history to commit one or fewer turnovers in the first six games of a season. New York hasn’t turned the ball over since Week 1, a streak of four consecutive turnover-free games.
The Jets are only the fourth team since 1933 with one or fewer turnovers in the first five games of a season. The other three clubs to accomplish the feat were the 1960 Cleveland Browns (one), 1998 Cincinnati Bengals (one) and 2008 Washington Redskins (one).
Teams to commit the fewest turnovers through a season’s first five games since 1933:
|TEAM||TURNOVERS THROUGH FIVE GAMES||SIXTH GAME|
|1960 Cleveland Browns||1||3 turnovers|
|1998 Cincinnati Bengals||1||1 turnover|
|2008 Washington Redskins||1||3 turnovers|
|2010 New York Jets||1||???|
— NFL —
ROLLING HILLIS: Cleveland running back PEYTON HILLIS has scored a touchdown in each of the Browns’ first five games since being acquired via trade this offseason.
Hillis is one of five players to score a touchdown in five consecutive games to start a season after joining a new team since 1970 (rookies and veterans). With a touchdown this weekend at Pittsburgh, Hillis can tie former New England running back ROBERT EDWARDS for the longest such streak since the AFL-NFL merger.
The five players to score a touchdown in each of their new teams’ first five games to begin a season (since 1970):
|PLAYER||NEW TEAM||YEAR||TD STREAK|
|Robert Edwards||New England||1998||6|
|Gary Anderson||Tampa Bay||1990||5|
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: New England Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY has won 22 consecutive games as a starter in the regular season at Gillette Stadium. With a win against Baltimore, Brady can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY for the second-most consecutive regular-season home wins as a starting quarterback.
The most consecutive regular-season home games won as a starting quarterback:
|Brett Favre||Green Bay||1995-98||25|
|Tom Brady||New England||2006-present||22*|
|* Active streak|
— NFL —
DRIVE FOR FIVE: Denver quarterback KYLE ORTON has passed for at least 300 yards in four consecutive games, tying BRIAN GRIESE’s franchise record. With another 300-yard performance in Week 6 against the New York Jets, Orton would tie for the fourth-longest streak in history.
The NFL quarterbacks with the most consecutive 300-yard passing games:
|Steve Young||San Francisco||1998||6|
|Kurt Warner||St. Louis||2000||6|
|Joe Montana||San Francisco||1982||5|
|Kerry Collins||N.Y. Giants||2001-02||5|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans||2006||5|
|Tom Brady||New England||2009||5|
|* Active streak|
— NFL —
BLINK 182: Pittsburgh wide receiver HINES WARD has caught a pass in 182 consecutive games dating back to 1998 – the fifth-longest streak in NFL history. With a reception against Cleveland this weekend, Ward would tie ART MONK (183 games) for the fourth-longest such streak.
The players with the most consecutive games with a reception:
|Jerry Rice||San Francisco, Oakland||1985-2004||274|
|Terrell Owens||San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas,Buffalo||1996-2009||185|
|Art Monk||Washington, N.Y. Jets, Philadelphia||1983-1995||183|
|* Active streak|