NFL

Dominant Bills head to Miami, Patriots look to extend Ravens dominance

By Sports Desk September 23, 2022

Two weeks down in the NFL and the action has been sensational so far.

Late comebacks were the name of the game last week and Week 3 promises to bring even more excitement.

Sunday sees the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins battle it out to remain undefeated, the Baltimore Ravens will aim to respond to a Week 2 defeat against the New England Patriots, while the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans fight to pick up a first win of the season.

There's plenty more on the agenda and Stats Perform has used Opta data to preview the action.

Buffalo Bills (2-0) @ Miami Dolphins (2-0)

The Bills travel to Florida having won their past seven games against the Dolphins, outscoring them by better than a two-to-one margin (258-123). That marks Buffalo's longest winning streak against Miami, beating a run of six consecutive victories from 1987 to 1989.

Buffalo have outscored their opponents 72-17 so far this season to stand 2-0, with the +55-point differential their second-best through the first two games of a season. In 1981, they won their opening two matches by a combined score of 66-3 (+63 points).

The Dolphins overcame a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit (35-14) in last week's 42-39 win at Baltimore, marking the sixth time since 1925 that an NFL team has won a game in regulation time after trailing by such a margin in the fourth quarter. The last such comeback win was in 2010, when the Eagles beat the Giants 38-31 in Week 16, having trailed 31-10.

Tua Tagovailoa threw six touchdown passes, including four in the fourth quarter, against the Ravens last week. Since 2001, the only other player to throw four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter of an NFL game was Sage Rosenfels for the Texans against the Titans in Week 7 of the 2007 season, though Houston lost 38-36.

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ New England Patriots (1-1)

The Patriots have a 9-2 record against the Ravens in the regular season, the best record by any team against Baltimore in their history – though they have split four postseason matches.

Lamar Jackson became the first player in NFL history to have a 75+ yard passing touchdown and a 75+ rushing touchdown in the same game during last weekend's defeat to the Dolphins.

In week 2, the Patriots beat the Steelers 17-14. Since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000, the Patriots are 42-23 in games decided by three of fewer points, the best such record in the NFL.

Nelson Agholor recorded 110 receiving yards in Week 2, becoming the first Patriot with a 100-yard game since Jakobi Meyers in Week 15, 2020. That brought an end to a 20-game streak without a 100-yard receiver for the Patriots, which was the longest spell in the Belichick era.

Las Vegas Raiders (0-2) @ Tennessee Titans (0-2)

The Raiders have won their past three games on the road against the Titans. The last time the Raiders won four straight road games against a single opponent was a six-game streak against the Chiefs from 2007 to 2012.

An 29-23 overtime loss to the Cardinals in Week 2 came despite them holding a 23-7 lead in the fourth quarter, marking the biggest fourth-quarter blown lead for a loss in franchise history.

The Titans are 0-2 for the first time since 2012 and last started a season 0-3 in 2009. The 41-7 loss to the Bills last week was the largest defeat suffered by the Titans under Mike Vrabel.

Both the Raiders and Titans are 0-2 this season after making the playoffs a season ago. Neither franchise has ever started a season with two defeats and rallied to make the playoffs, while the last NFL teams to do so being the Texans and Seahawks in 2018.

Elsewhere…

Chicago host the Texans with just 432 offensive yards to their name so far this season, the worst in the NFL and the fewest yards the Bears have gained in the opening two weeks of a campaign since they had 335 net yards at the same stage in 2003.

Patrick Mahomes rallied the Chiefs offence to a 27-24 victory against the Chargers last week, overcoming a 17-7 second-half deficit, and are eyeing a third-straight win this season against the Colts. Since his first NFL season (2018), the Chiefs have more comeback victories after trailing in the second half (17) than any other NFL side.

The Saints travel to Carolina on the back of a 20-10 home defeat to the Buccaneers last week. Dating back to last season, New Orleans have scored 17 or fewer points in five of their past nine games (1-4). When they have scored 18 or more, they stand at 4-0.

The Cincinnati Bengals have plenty to do offensively against the Jets, with Joe Burrow having been sacked 13 times so far this season and thrown four interceptions. The last QB to be sacked that many times while throwing as many picks in the opening two weeks of a season was Danny White of the Cowboys in 1987.

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  • Howe taking plenty of positives despite frustrating Newcastle campaign Howe taking plenty of positives despite frustrating Newcastle campaign

    Eddie Howe was keen to look at the positives after Newcastle United secured seventh place in the Premier League on Sunday.

    Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes were among the goalscorers as Newcastle won 4-2 at Brentford to finish their Premier League campaign.

    The victory ensured a seventh-place finish, and a Manchester City victory over Manchester United in next Saturday's FA Cup final will confirm Newcastle's place in next season's Europa Conference League.

    While this season did not quite live up to the heroics of last term, which saw the Magpies finish in the Champions League spots, Howe still feels it has been a successful campaign.

    "It summed up our season," Howe told BBC Sport. "We weren't totally secure at the back, but great credit to the players. They've done their job - now we wait and see.

    "We anticipated after losing against Manchester United that our control of the [European] situation had gone. It's never a nice situation, but whatever happens, happens.

    "We have issues to solve defensively. If we can do that, next season could be another season of really strong performances. This was a season that could have been better, but a good season overall.

    "We're a really united club. I think we're still moving forward, so there's a lot to be positive about."

  • Postecoglou will not settle until Tottenham hit his 'lofty ambitions' Postecoglou will not settle until Tottenham hit his 'lofty ambitions'

    Ange Postecoglou warned Tottenham he will not settle until the club hits the "lofty ambitions" targeted in his mind.

    Spurs were 3-0 victors over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday, ending their Premier League season with a convincing win to finish fifth in the table.

    Postecoglou voiced his frustrations after Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Manchester City ended their hopes of Champions League football next term.

    The Spurs head coach was far more relaxed after his side performed well in Sheffield, with Dejan Kulusevski twice on target, along with a goal for Pedro Porro against the relegated Blades.

    Yet Postecoglou insisted his ambitions remain high as the Australian attempts to take Tottenham to the next level.

    "Contrary to my general demeanour, I have loved every minute of it," former Celtic boss Postecoglou said of his first season in charge of Tottenham.

    "It is a great challenge in the Premier League and taking over a big club that didn't have a great year last year. You understand it is not going to run smoothly, but I have enjoyed the whole season.

    "I have got some lofty ambitions for the football club and until we reach that point I am not going to be smiling too much.

    "As I said, all any manager wants is maximum effort and I have got that from everyone involved. I have enjoyed it and looking forward to pushing on from here."

    Asked to summarise his first campaign in England's top league, Postecoglou continued: "It's been good, it's been eventful, it's had a bit of everything.

    "I am obviously not delighted with the way we finished the season but in fairness to the players and staff we have been in the top five all season, in a year where there was a fair bit of upheaval.

    "We finished eighth last year, player turnover, different football, different way of training, it is not easy to maintain a level when you are trying to do that.

    "Even in our tough periods this year we have still been competitive for the most part."

    Kulusevski scored his seventh and eighth Premier League goals of the season (36 outings), more than he managed in his first two league campaigns with Tottenham combined (seven across 48 games).

    Only in the 2019-20 season with Parma has the Sweden winger scored more times in a league season (10 in Serie A), and Postecoglou hailed Kulusevski's returns.

    He added: "I thought Deki was good. He's worked awfully hard this year without a lot of reward in the front third.

    "We thought playing him through middle today would help us with his mobility and ability to run in behind. He did well.

    "He always works hard but it's that sort of final third where we need him to get rewards and he got them today so he did well."

  • Walker: Man City driven on by creating history Walker: Man City driven on by creating history

    Kyle Walker believes Manchester City were spurred on by creating history to a fourth straight Premier League title.

    A Phil Foden double and a Rodri strike saw City beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday as they claimed a fourth consecutive Premier League crown, finishing two points above Arsenal.

    In doing so, City became the first team ever to win England's top division four times in a row, and Walker feels that was one of the key motivations behind the team finishing top of the Premier League pile yet again.

    When asked if creating history had driven him and his team-mates on, Walker told Sky Sports: "I think so, I think so. We went out of the Champions League, got into the FA Cup final, but to do this, make it four in a row, it made it something special.

    "It has been spoken about all year what we can achieve and the history we can make. But it is about the finer details. It was down to just one game and that game was West Ham United. We get past that then we make history, but more importantly we claim the Premier League again.

    "It is a very, very tough league to win. I looked at the Italian league, German league, Spanish league, the winners are 10, 15 points clear. Fair play to Arsenal and Liverpool for what they have done throughout the season, making sure they push us right to the limit."

    Walker turns 34 later this month but has shown little signs of slowing down, playing an integral role again this season on his way to a sixth Premier League title of his decorated career.

    Walker still feels he is capable of playing at the top level, saying: "I feel young. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I feel young, I feel great, I still have my pace.

    "I come to training every day wanting to learn. Once that goes then it is probably time to pack up, but this group of lads keeps you on your toes. They keep on you to keep improving every day."

    Walker has been City's captain this season, making his 300th appearance for the club in the title-securing win over West Ham.

    The defender was keen to emphasise that it has been a collective effort this term, though, explaining: "I am the man at the front and I wear the armband, but I don't put myself above anyone else. We are a team.

    "There are four captains including myself, and we all pull our weight. I am just the man they've picked to wear the armband which I am very grateful for. To be able to lift the trophy in this scenario, the four in a row, it is a dream come true."

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