Week two is coming up, half the teams are undefeated, half the teams are winless. And already pundits are breaking out some obscure stats about how a team's week one performance effectively sets the tone for the rest of the season. Here's my favorite stat nugget about opening weekend: the 45 Super Bowl winners have a 37-7-1 record in the kickoff weekend games of their title seasons. Now how about that! Should the winless teams declare the season over already? But there's more.
Since the move to a 16-game schedule in 1978, of the 474 teams which won their openers, 251 made the playoffs. Of the 474 losing teams, only 111 made the playoffs. Of course, we here don't believe in funny numbers like that. The only thing we know for sure right now is which 16 teams have lost the chance to go 16-0. But wait, there's even more.
At the end of week two, no more than 12 teams will be able to claim a perfect 2-0 record, leaving at least 20 clubs at 1-1 or 0-2. But there's no need to panic for those teams. Since realignment in 2002, 62 of the 108 playoff teams (57.4 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2.
People come up with the strangest stats. Having said that, after the break we take a stab at predicting this weekend's game outcomes. Gotta narrow down that list of potential 16-0 teams. Oh, and a little shocker right up front: this week we're taking the Cowboys unanimously.
Last week was a spotty affair for the BTB panel. Tom Ryle, our newbie, had to pay his dues: in his first try, Tom came in last in our pick 'em. But he's an RKG and determined to improve: "OK, picking on how much I like the cheerleaders' uniforms didn't work. I have never been really good at this, but let's see if I can get off dead last."
KD had a rough start and long looked like the sure loser after only garnering four wins in the first 13 games, but he finished strong, correctly predicting both Monday night games and the Jets win (hrrmpf!) to edge past Tom.
Brandon was so disappointed in his picks he went and got himself a new profile pic.
Rabblerousr, the defending champion, again had a strong showing this week, but hasn't spoken to me since I triumphantly sent him the results of our week one predictions.
Dave was a very stoic 8-8 for the first week. Beaten by someone called Consensus - who he didn't even know wrote for BTB - he hopes his bold, lone pick of the Dolphins over the Texans will vault him to first place.
Opening weekend is notoriously tricky to predict. Let's see if the panel has a better does a little better this weekend. Here are our week 2, 2011 picks: