There will be unfamiliar sights for fans of the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, as their teams begin regular-season games without Eli Manning and Drew Brees respectively.
Manning has been benched as the Giants’ starting QB, with Daniel Jones called up in his place, while a thumb injury has ruled out Saints veteran Brees.
The New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins have, like the Giants, begun the season with back-to-back defeats and each face stern tests in Week 3.
We look at some of the key Opta facts for seven of Sunday’s games.
New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With rookie Jones’ promotion, the Giants will start a quarterback other than Manning for just the second time since the start of the 2005 season. Manning has made a franchise-record 232 starts and missed only one game at Oakland on December 3, 2017. The Giants have won six of the last seven meetings with the Buccaneers, including a 38-35 home victory on November 18, 2018. Saquon Barkley rushed for 142 yards and totalled three TDs in that game.
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
For just the fourth time in the last 14 seasons, the Saints will play a game in which Brees does not start under center – two of the previous three were Week 17 contests in which Brees was rested in anticipation of the postseason. Anticipated starter Teddy Bridgewater (17-12 career record) will look to become the first Saints QB other than Brees to win a game since 2005. The Seahawks are 2-0 for the first time since 2013, when they won their first four games en route to a victory at Super Bowl XLVIII.
Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
The beleaguered Dolphins have been outscored by 92 points across their first two games (102-10), the worst points differential through two contests since the New Orleans Saints in 1973 (also -92). This weekend they face an unbeaten Cowboys side who are gaining 7.62 yards per play in 2019, the best in the NFL. Dallas have also won five of their last six games against Miami, including the most recent three.
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs
This will be the first game in the Super Bowl era featuring two teams averaging 30+ points and 450+ yards per game (a minimum of two games into the season). The Chiefs have scored at least 25 points in an NFL-record 23 straight games, while Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson last week became the first player in NFL history with 250+ passing yards and 120+ rushing yards in the same regular-season game, achieving the feat against the Arizona Cardinals.
Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are 14-2 all-time against the Falcons, the best record by any active franchise against a single opponent (with a minimum of 15 games played). However, this will be the first meeting between the two sides since 2011, when the Falcons won 31-7 in Indianapolis. Atlanta have lost 10 of their last 11 games against AFC teams, including their Super Bowl LI collapse against the New England Patriots.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
The Jets have lost 10 consecutive games at New England, the longest road losing streak in Jets’ history. Overall, the Patriots are 14-2 against the Jets since 2011, the best record by any team in a divisional match-up. Since Week 15 of the 2006 season, Tom Brady is an incredible 64-2 in regular-season home games against AFC opponents.
Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
Carolina are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2010, the year before Cam Newton was drafted. Newton is out of this game with a foot injury, meaning Kyle Allen will start at quarterback. The Cardinals are 1-7-1 at home since the start of last season. Kyler Murray has joined Newton and Kirk Cousins as the only active QBs to throw for 300+ yards in each of his first two NFL starts. No quarterback in the Super Bowl era has thrown for 300+ yards in each of his first three career starts.