September 10, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
The Road to Super Bowl 50 begins tonight when the New England Patriots hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers to kickoff of the 2015 NFL Season at 8:30 PM EST. With Tom Brady able to play in Week 1 tonight, the Patriots are -7 points favorites to beat the Steelers in front of a Gillette Stadium crowd. Below are some things to know ahead of time before tonight’s show down between two AFC rivals.
New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – 3 Things to Look For
- 1.SUPER STARTERS: History indicates that the best way for a team to start its drive toward a Super Bowl championship is to win in Week 1.
The 49 Super Bowl winners have a 39-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl XLIX-champion NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who host Pittsburgh in the spotlight Kickoff 2015 game on Thursday night, have a 15-1 regular-season record at Gillette Stadium over the past two seasons. New England has won 11 of its past 12 Kickoff Weekend games.
Since 1978, when the NFL adopted the 16-game schedule, and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, teams that are victorious in their season opener are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs as losers of their opening game:
- Of the 538 teams which won openers…281 went to the playoffs (168 won division titles).
- Of the 539 teams which lost openers…129 went to the playoffs (74 won division titles).
Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.
2. SUCCESSFUL OPENING: New England’s TOM BRADY has an 11-2 (.846) career record in season-opening games, the best among quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era (minimum 10 starts). Denver’s PEYTON MANNING is 12-4 (.750) in season-openers, which is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers JOHN ELWAY (12-4, .750) and DAN FOUTS (9-3, .750) for the second-highest during that span.
The quarterbacks with the best records in season-opening games in the Super Bowl era (minimum 10 starts):
|PLAYER||BEST RECORD IN SEASON OPENERS||WIN PCT.|
3. TEAMS OF THE DECADE: The 2015 season-opening Thursday night game between the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS and PITTSBURGH STEELERS features two of the three winningest teams over the past 10 seasons (2005-2014). New England (122-38, .763) owns the best regular-season winning percentage in the NFL during that span, while Pittsburgh ranks third (101-59, .631).
The Patriots and Steelers have combined for 15 playoff berths, six AFC Championships and three Super Bowl titles over the past decade.
The teams with the best regular-season records over the past 10 seasons (2005-14):
|TEAM||W||L||T||PCT.||PLAYOFF BERTHS||SUPER BOWL BERTHS||SUPER BOWL WINS|