Data Points: Fish out of water

When you look at the teams with the best road record in the NFL over the last three seasons, it’s no surprise that most of them are perennial playoff squads. Most of them. So what gives with the Miami Dolphins?

Data Points: Not so awesome without Asomugha

With all the big passing numbers that have been produced through the first two weeks of the 2011 season, it’s difficult to get a gauge on which teams are going to thrive in pass defense.

Data Points: Chances grow slimmer for 0-2 teams

Before Week 1, we told you about how important it is to a team’s playoff hopes to start 1-0. Well, go figure: Your playoff chances improve with a 2-0 start. Perhaps more importantly, an 0-2 start is particularly difficult to overcome. Here’s what the numbers look like since 1990:

Data Points: Marino’s yardage mark in jeopardy

Every year, it seems, there’s a quarterback who makes a run at Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single season. After two Sunday’s of the 2011 campaign, it appears there might be a few guys capable of threatening the mark.

Data Points: Peterson’s September success

After he gained gained 98 rush yards on 16 carries against San Diego last week, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson now has rushed for 1,650 yards in 15 career games in the month of September. Peterson averages 110.0 rush yards per game in the month, which is the second-highest average in September in NFL history (minimum 10 games), behind only Hall of Famer Jim Brown. And when you consider the other names on this list, September success is impressive indeed.

Data Points: Gonzo closing in on T.O.

Eagles fans will be rooting hard this weekend against the Falcons — their team’s opponent on Sunday. But they may cheer for Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez if he catches at least five passes. That will move Gonzalez past Terrell Owens — not a fan favorite in Philly — for fifth place on the all-time NFL receptions list.

Data Points: Brees in impressive company

Buried slightly among all the passing feats of Week 1 is the fact that Saints QB Drew Brees has now thrown at least one TD pass in 28 consecutive games. That puts him two games shy of the third-longest such streak in NFL history, the spot currently held by Hall of Famer Dan Marino. If Brees keeps his streak alive haflway through the season, he’ll reach Brett Favre‘s 36-game streak, which is second-best.

Data Points: Shanahan’s Week 1 success

Washington’s 28-14 win over the Giants on Sunday was notable for a few reasons, not least of which is the impressive company in which it puts Redskins coach Mike Shanahan. When it comes to winning games on the season’s opening weekend, Shanahan was already ranked among some all-time great coaches. His 14th such win moved him past one Hall of Famer (George Halas) and tied him with another (Chuck Noll).

Data Points: Newton’s big number

Couple of interesting notes about Cam Newton‘s record-setting NFL debut. His 422 yards Sunday against the Cardinals ties him for the best single-game yardage total by a rookie. And it’s worth noting that of the six best yardage totals by a rookie, four of those games have involved the Cardinals — two for and two against.

Data Points: Top Week 1 rushing performances

While quarterbacks took center stage Thursday night, it’s time — especially for fantasy owners — to turn their attention to the running backs as we get set for a full slate of Sunday games. And it’s easy to understand why owners of Texans RB Adrian Foster are worried about his injury status. Foster’s season-opening performance last year was the second-best Week 1 rushing game ever.

Data Points: Importance of a good start

The 2011 kickoff is finally here, as the Saints and Packers begin the season Thursday night in Green Bay. Seems like a good time to remind everyone the importance of winning the first game of the season. More to the point: the importance of not losing the first game.

Data Points: Marshall trending downward

There are 21 days until the 2011 NFL season kicks off — and 21 is also the NFL single-game record for receptions. Brandon Marshall, then with the Broncos, set the mark in Week 14 of the 2009 season.

Data Points: Steel Curtain still going strong

There are 22 days until the 2011 NFL season kicks off –- and 22 is also the number of touchdowns allowed by the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, the lowest such total in the league.

Data Points: Longest winning streaks

We’re down to 23 days until the 2011 NFL season begins, and 23 also happens to be the longest regular-season winning streak in league history. By winning the final nine games of the 2008 season and starting the 2009 season with 14 consecutive victories, the Indianapolis Colts broke the record that had just been set a year earlier by their rivals, the New England Patriots.

Data Points: McNabb hits on 24 straight

We’re at T-minus 24 days until the 2011 season begins with the Saints visiting the Packers. And 24 also happens to be the number of consecutive passes completed by Donovan McNabb over a two-game stretch during the 2004 season — the longest streak of completions in NFL history.

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