NFL Notebook: What to look for in Week 3

Hines Ward (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

A 60-second spin around the National Football League's more notable Week 3 notes.

SLIMMEST OF MARGINS

Since 2005, the NFL has played six primetime games in the first two weeks of the season. In 2009, these games have been closer than ever. The margin of victory in the six primetime games to date is only 3.3 points per game (20 total points), by far the slimmest margin in the past five years. All six games were decided by six points or fewer. The next closest margin is 9.2 points per game (2005).

Close games have been a theme for the league overall after two weeks of play, as 15 of the 32 games have been decided by six points or fewer, the second highest total in league history (17 in 2000).

DOWN BUT NOT OUT

History shows that 0-2 teams advance to the playoffs more often than people might think. Since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, 22 teams started 0-2 and still qualified for the postseason.

The 1993 Dallas Cowboys started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XXVIII. The 0-2 New England Patriots of 1996 played in Super Bowl XXXI, and in 2001, the 0-2 Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI. Most recently, the 2007 New York Giants started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XLII.

MVP MATCHUP

Super Bowl XLI MVP and reigning AP NFL MVP PEYTON MANNING (three-time winner; 2003-04, 2008) of the Indianapolis Colts will face Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and two-time AP NFL MVP KURT WARNER (1999, 2001) of the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night. It marks the first-ever meeting of multiple-regular-season MVP and Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks in NFL history. This game will also mark just the fourth instance of multiple-MVP quarterbacks facing off in NFL history.

EL REY DE NUEVA YORK

With a win on Sunday against Tennessee, New York Jets rookie quarterback MARK SANCHEZ would become the first rookie quarterback to start and win his team's first three games of a season. Sanchez is only the fourth quarterback in the past 40 years to win his first two starts of a season, and the second in as many years (JOE FLACCO, Baltimore).

The Jets are seeking their second consecutive win against Tennessee, who started 10-0 in 2008 until the Jets earned a 34-13 win at LP Field in Week 12.

This meeting will mark just the fifth game since 1970 in which a club that handed a 10-0 or better team its first defeat of a season will face them again in the subsequent season.

UNDRAFTED BUT NOT UNDERAPPRECIATED

Pittsburgh Steelers running back WILLIE PARKER went undrafted out of North Carolina but has rushed for over 5,000 yards, good for third in Steelers' history. With 84 rushing yards at Cincinnati on Sunday, Parker will move into third-place all-time among undrafted NFL rushers. Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE PERRY is the all-time leader in rushing yards for an undrafted player with 8,378 yards.

HINES CATCH-UP

Steelers wide receiver HINES WARD (9,940) needs 60 receiving yards on Sunday to join the exclusive 10,000 receiving yards club. Ward, who has 814 career receptions, would become just the 21st player in NFL history to record 800 receptions and 10,000 receiving yards in a career.

ODOM-ETER HITS 7

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end ANTWAN ODOM leads the league in sacks with seven, powered by a two-sack effort on Kickoff Weekend against the Broncos and a franchise-record five-sack output in Green Bay. Odom needs 1.5 sacks on Sunday against the Steelers to set the NFL record for most sacks through a team's first three games of a season. The Bengals franchise record for sacks in a season is 13 (EDDIE EDWARDS, 1983).

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