History shows that a losing record at this point in the season does not negate a team’s chances of making the playoffs. Since the current playoff system (12 teams) was instituted in 1990, 22 teams have rebounded from a losing record after four weeks to qualify for the postseason. Four of those clubs advanced to their Conference Championship Games, including the 2001 New England Patriots (1-3) en route to their Super Bowl XXXVI victory.
Since 1990, teams that started 1-3 or worse and made the playoffs:
|1990||New Orleans||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
|1990||Philadelphia||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
|1991||NY Jets||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
|1992||San Diego||0-4||Divisional Playoffs|
|1993||Green Bay||1-3||Divisional Playoffs|
|1995||Detroit||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
|1997||NY Giants||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
|1998||Buffalo||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
|2000||New Orleans||1-3||Divisional Playoffs|
|2001||New England||1-3||Won Super Bowl XXXVI|
|2002||NY Jets||1-3||Divisional Playoffs|
|2004||Green Bay||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
|2007||San Diego||1-3||Championship Game|
|2008||Minnesota||1-3||Wild Card Playoffs|
RAISING THE BAR: There have been eight individual 400-yard passing performances so far in 2011, the most ever through the first four weeks of a season. In addition to being a record through Week 4, the eight individual 400-yard passing games are already the most through the first five weeks of any NFL season and tie for the fourth-most in a single season.
The most individual 400-yard passing games through Week 5 and for a season in NFL history:
|THROUGH WEEK 5||FULL SEASON|
|YEAR||IND. 400-YARD PASS. GAMES||YEAR||IND. 400-YARD PASS. GAMES|
*Through four weeks *Including 2011
THE CHAMP IS HERE: Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS leads the NFL with a 124.6 passer rating this season. Rodgers has posted a 100+ passer rating in the first four games (132.1, 119.9, 111.4, 134.5). With a 100+ passer rating on Sunday night at Atlanta, Rodgers will become only the fifth player to record a 100+ passer rating in each of a team’s first five games of a season since 1970.
|PLAYER||YEAR||TEAM||CONSECUTIVE GAMES W/ 100+ RATING TO START SEASON|
|Tom Brady||2007||New England Patriots||8|
|Carson Palmer||2005||Cincinnati Bengals||6|
|Roger Staubach||1976||Dallas Cowboys||5|
|John Hadl||1973||Los Angeles Rams||5|
AIMING FOR NO. 1 SPOT: Last week, Philadelphia quarterback MICHAEL VICK became the first player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards (416) and 75 rushing yards in a game. Vick, who now has 4,858 career rushing yards, needs 71 rush yards to surpass former Eagles quarterback RANDALL CUNNINGHAM (4,928) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history.
|QUARTERBACK||MOST CAREER RUSH YARDS|
WILD WILD WES: Through Week 4, New England Patriots wide receiver WES WELKER leads the NFL in receptions (40) and receiving yards (616).
With eight receptions and 89 receiving yards on Sunday against the New York Jets, Welker can record the most receptions and receiving yards through a team’s first five games of a season:
|PLAYER||TEAM||YEAR||MOST RECEPTIONS THROUGH 1ST 5 GAMES|
|T.J. Houshmandzadeh||Cincinnati Bengals||2007||47|
|J.T. Smith||Phoenix Cardinals||1989||44|
|Marvin Harrison||Indianapolis Colts||2002||44|
|Derrick Mason||Baltimore Ravens||2007||44|
|Wes Welker||New England Patriots||2011||40*|
*Through four games
|PLAYER||TEAM||YEAR||MOST REC. YARDS THROUGH 1ST 5 GAMES|
|Charley Hennigan||Houston Oilers||1961||704|
|Bob Boyd||Los Angeles Rams||1954||686|
|Crazy Legs Hirsch||Los Angeles Rams||1951||663|
|Mark Duper||Miami Dolphins||1984||649|
|Henry Ellard||Los Angeles Rams||1989||636|
|Terry Glenn||New England Patriots||1999||636|
|Wes Welker||New England Patriots||2011||616*|
*Through four games
NFC NORTH DOMINANCE: The two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL reside in the NFC North. The Detroit Lions (4-0) will host their first game on Monday night since October 8, 2001 against the Bears. The defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers (4-0) will visit the Falcons on Sunday night.
A win by both Detroit and Green Bay would mark the second time since realignment in 2002 that two teams in the same division started 5-0, joining the AFC East’s New York Jets and New England Patriots in 2004.
HOME SWEET HOME: The New England Patriots will host the New York Jets on Sunday in a key AFC East matchup. The Patriots have won 18 consecutive regular-season games at home. With a win, New England can tie the San Francisco 49ers (1996-1999) for the fifth-most consecutive regular-season wins at home all-time.
The most consecutive regular-season home games won all-time:
|Green Bay Packers||1995-1998||25|
|Green Bay Packers||1929-1932||20|
|San Francisco 49ers||1996-1999||19|
|New England Patriots||2008-present||18*|