Some notes about how NFL teams have done on the first drive of each half this season: in my mind, the first drive of each game goes to how coaches prepare for their opponent each week.
First drive of the second half goes to halftime adjustments, as much as can be done in 10-12 minutes. Through seven weeks, here is some information:
13) Dallas Cowboys, in six games, have three TDs, two FGs and a missed FG on their first drive of the game, averaging 66.7 yards/drive, by far the best in the NFL thru seven weeks.
12) Three teams have yet to score on their first drive of a game: Arizona, Jacksonville and the Giants, who have only 79 yards on 27 plays on the first drive of their seven games.
11) Saints/Chargers both have four TDs on their first drive, though Saints did that in six games and Chargers seven; New Orleans averages 54.2 yards/first drive, San Diego 47.1.
10) Most surprising that I’ve found so far: Denver has allowed four TDs and a FG on opponents’ first drive of a game- their 31 points allowed on the first drive is 2nd-worst in the NFL.
9) Less surprising is Cleveland’s defense allowing five TDs on its seven game opening drives, with foes gaining an average of 55.9 yards/drive.
8) Giants have been outscored 30-3 on each team’s first drive of each half; Jets have been outscored 35-16. For the Giants, 66 plays, 210 yards (3.2 yards/play) on the first drive of their 14 halves is very poor.
On to the NFL’s top 7 for this week:
7) Chiefs— Andy Reid is this generation’s Chuck Knox— very good coach, wins a lot of games, just not any Super Bowls. Nothing wrong with winning a lot of games.
6) Raiders— 4-0 on the road and all four games were east of Mississippi; this week is #5.
5) Seahawks— Lost 9-3 in LA, tied 6-6 at Arizona, their two games on grass. Won the other four games. Not sure how bad Wilson’s leg injuries are, but if he doesn’t start running around soon, I’ll lose faith in Seattle.
Related point; NBC’s Cris Collinsworth actually grouped Wilson with Brady and Roethlisberger as a pocket passer during Sunday night’s game. Um, no. Not even close.
4) Cowboys— Is it easier for a rookie QB to be without Dez Bryant and not have him calling for the ball all the time? What Jason Garrett has done in the first six games is tremendous- their offensive line is just super.
3) Broncos— Little queasy about having them at #3, but they’re the defending champs and they’re 5-2. I wouldn’t bet your money on them on win the Super Bowl this year.
2) Vikings— Sam Bradford began his NFL career with the Rams, so pardon me if I’m skeptical he can lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl. He just doesn’t stay healthy.
1) Patriots— They head into heir bye week with an actual revenge game this week; Bills beat them in Foxboro in Week 4, the last week of Brady’s suspension and also in all probability, the last NFL action Jacoby Brissett will ever see.