ESPN NFL Research Coordinator Russell Baxter’s Top Five Things to Know as heard this morning on Mike & Mike in the Morning
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has thrown 31 touchdown passes (14 to tight ends and running backs, second-most in the NFL). Last season, Brady threw 28 touchdown passes the whole season (eight to tight ends and running backs). This week, he'll look to pad that total against a Buffalo Bills team that the Patriots have beaten 14 times in a row.
The Green Bay Packers have allowed 13 sacks in their last three games, after giving up just 21 sacks in their first 11 games. The Packers recent struggles are reminiscent of last season, when they gave up a league-high 51 sacks. The Giants rank second in the NFL with 42 sacks. It will be their first opportunity to come after likely starter Aaron Rodgers.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is 7-2 against the Atlanta Falcons dating back to 2006, with 19 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He's thrown for at least 300 yards in five of those nine games. But if the Falcons rush 50 times for 202 yards as they did in this year’s first meeting, a 27-24 Atlanta win, that may limit his opportunities.
The Oakland Raiders have scored 110 points in the first quarter in 2010, after scoring 197 total points in 2009. Oakland’s offense has produced 33 touchdowns this season, almost double its 2009 total (17). The 156-point increase from last season to this season is the largest in team history for a pair of non-strike years.
The New York Jets have allowed 21 touchdown passes this season, after allowing an NFL-low eight in 2009. The Jets 30 total touchdowns allowed are significantly more than their league-low 19 offensive touchdowns allowed in 2009.