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BY THE NUMBERS: Opening Weekend

We take a look at a few numbers for kickoff weekend, for the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL, and the league's history.

John Grieshop

At its simplest, we can break down the Cincinnati Bengals franchise into four distinct eras: The Paul Brown era, The Sam Wyche era, The Mike Brown era and the Marvin Lewis era. The Mike Brown era is a bit tricky because he's been an executive with general manager duties since the very beginning and he continues with a significant role today. For our purposes, the Mike Brown era was during the "Lost Decade", the "Age of Helplessness" or whatever you want to label it. Something distinct resides within each generation and obviously, we're in the Marvin Lewis era -- which itself can be broken down into two eras... the Carson Palmer era and the Andy Dalton era. Again, both eras are unique from each other, one was self-absorbed, the other epitomized "team".

Either way, its hard not to be somewhat fanatical about this era that we're in -- three consecutive postseason berths, a realistic shot at winning it all... superstars that want to stay and an infrastructure that could keep Cincinnati near the top for a long time. Enjoy the era. Absorb it. For all we know it could end tomorrow in a way that we never expected.

Winning the first game of the regular season doesn't automatically improve your chances at winning the Super Bowl... at least directly. Winning a game improves a team's confidence to win the next, and eventually momentum is built. It's simple. Despite that, of the 48 Super Bowl winners in NFL history, those teams have a combined 39-8-1 record during kickoff weekend.

Since the league adopted a 16-game schedule, teams that have won their regular season opener are "twice as likely to reach the playoffs". Per the NFL:

  • Of the 523 teams that won their opener, 274 went to the playoffs and 164 won their division.
  • Of the 524 teams that lost their opener, 124 went to the playoffs and 70 won their division.

Again. Not directly connected, but you should probably win your first game.

Younger fans may think Cincinnati's history is nothing but a massive failure. Not true -- the 90s were rough but there were great teams in the 70s and 80s, along with the Marvin Lewis era clearly reinvigorating the fan base (well, except for actual ticket sales). The Bengals are 20-26 during kickoff weekend and have been outscored 967-894. They are 7-15 on the road. During the Marvin Lewis era, the Bengals are 4-7 in week one and 3-5 on the road.

More indirect information here.

  • Bengals have gone to the playoffs 12 times... in eight of those seasons, the Bengals won the opening game.
  • Bengals have had 16 winning seasons (over .500 winning percentage). During 10 of those seasons, the Bengals won the opening game.
  • Combined seasons in which the Bengals won their first game, Cincinnati is 163-150-1. When they've lost their first game, the combined seasons are 153-240-1.
  • The Denver Broncos are 40-13-1 during home openers -- the best winning percentage (.755) in NFL history. The Baltimore Ravens rank second at 13-5 (.722).
  • The New England Patriots have won 10 straight kickoff weekend games, the longest streak in the NFL. With a win, New England will tie the Miami Dolphins, who won 11 straight weekend openers (1992-02), for second. The all-time season opener winning streak is held by Dallas, who won 17 straight week one games from 1965-81.
  • With 395 yards passing this weekend, Drew Brees (51,081) can surpass John Elway (51,475) for fourth place for most yards passing in a career.
  • Tom Brady (49,149) can surpass Hall of Famer Warren Moon (49,325) with 177 yards passing this weekend.
  • The Chicago Bears need three victories to become the first team in NFL history with 750 wins. Chicago's all-time record is 747-552-42.
  • The Green Bay Packers need two wins to become the second team with 700 all-time wins.
  • The following teams can reach 600 wins this season: Washington (needs 12 wins).
  • The following teams can reach 500 wins this season: Dallas (needs three wins) and Indianapolis (needs five wins).
  • The following teams can reach 400 wins this season: Buffalo (needs 11 wins) and Tennessee (needs one win).

The teams with the most wins on Kickoff Weekend:



Chicago Bears


Green Bay Packers


New York Giants


Detroit Lions


Pittsburgh Steelers


Washington Redskins


The teams with the best winning percentage on Kickoff Weekend:



Dallas Cowboys

36-17-1 .679

Denver Broncos

34-19-1 .642

Chicago Bears

54-35-5 .607

New York Giants

49-35-5 .583

Houston Texans

7-5-0 .583

Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.

The teams that have won their divisions in the 12 seasons since realignment in 2002:

New England 10 10
Indianapolis 8 11
Green Bay 7 9
Philadelphia 6 8
Seattle 6 8
Pittsburgh 5 7
San Diego 5 6
Baltimore 4 7
Denver 4 6
Atlanta 3 6
New York Giants 3 6
Cincinnati 3 5
New Orleans 3 5
Carolina 3 4
San Francisco 3 4
Chicago 3 3
Tampa Bay 3 3
Dallas 2 4
Kansas City 2 4
Minnesota 2 4
Tennessee 2 4
Arizona 2 2
Houston 2 2
New York Jets 1 5
Washington 1 3
St. Louis 1 2
Miami 1 1
Oakland 1 1