GREAT NIGHT OUT: Primetime games this season have heightened the excitement of the national viewing audience as seven of the eight contests have been decided by eight points or fewer. The combined point differential of all primetime games heading into Week 4 is a mere 57 points (7.1 points per game).
In Week 4, Chicago, which defeated NFC North rival Green Bay 20-17 at home last Monday night, heads to New York to play the Giants on NBC's Sunday Night Football (8:20 ET). In South Florida, Miami hosts its second consecutive primetime AFC East contest as New England comes to town for Monday Night Football (8:30 ET) on ESPN.
If the margin of victory in at least one of the games is eight points or fewer, it will mark the only time since at least 1995 that eight or more of a season's first 10 night games are decided by one score. Last season, the winners of seven of the first 10 primetime games were determined by eight or fewer points (72 combined points in all 10 games).
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A QUICK SIX: Entering Week 4, NFL clubs have totaled six kickoff-return touchdowns, tying the most (1970, 2002) recorded through the first three weeks of a season since 1970.
With one kickoff return touchdown this week, 2010 would mark the first time since 1970 that at least one kickoff-return touchdown has been registered in each of the first four weeks of a season.
The most kickoff return touchdowns through four weeks of a season is seven, which was achieved in 2007.
Four of the six kickoff-return touchdowns posted to date have occurred on the opening kick of the first or second half, including the first of Seahawks running back-kick returner LEON WASHINGTON's two scores on kickoff returns during a 27-20 victory over San Diego last Sunday.
A look at the six touchdowns scored on kickoff returns this year:
RETURN YARDS FOR TD
*Occurred at opening of first or second half
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PASSING INSPECTION: In 2010, NFL quarterbacks have topped 400 yards passing five times, the most through a season's first three weeks in NFL history.
Four starting quarterbacks – PHILIP RIVERS of San Diego, KYLE ORTON of Denver, PEYTON MANNING of Indianapolis and TONY ROMO of Dallas – are each averaging over 300 passing yards per game and are within striking distance of accruing more than 1,200 passing yards through their first four contests this year. The 2010 season marks only the fifth time in NFL history in which four or more quarterbacks have passed for at least 900 yards through a season's first three games. The league benchmark was set at five players in 2002.
If the passing proficiency continues in Week 4, three individual quarterbacks could accrue more than 1,200 passing yards in their first four games to open the season for the sixth time in league annals.
Never in the same year have four quarterbacks each averaged at least 300 yards per game through their first four tilts to begin a season.
PASS YARDS PER GAME
TOTAL PASS YARDS
YARDS SHY OF 1,200
Philip Rivers, Chargers
Kyle Orton, Broncos
Peyton Manning, Colts
Tony Romo, Cowboys*
*Dallas has a bye in Week 4
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GROUND AND AIR: Houston Texans running back ARIAN FOSTER has rushed for an NFL-best 406 yards with three touchdowns and added eight receptions for 96 yards to lead the league in scrimmage yards (502).
With 94 rushing yards and four receiving yards at Oakland this Sunday, Foster would become the third running back in NFL history to total more than 500 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the first four games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH and BILLY SIMS.
Vikings running back ADRIAN PETERSON, whose team has a bye this week, is also on pace to accomplish the feat. Peterson has posted an NFC-best 392 rushing yards and 85 receiving yards in three games.
Nine running backs since 1970 have amassed 500 rushing yards through their club's first four games of a season.
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NINETY-NINE FOR No. 199: Since being selected by the Patriots in the sixth round (No. 199 overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft, New England's TOM BRADY has established himself as one the league's elite quarterbacks.
Brady (99-31, .762) earned his 99th regular-season win last week in the Patriots' 38-30 victory over the Bills. This Monday night, he can become the 22nd quarterback in NFL history to win 100 games, reaching the milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among quarterbacks who began their careers in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
The fastest quarterbacks to 100 wins:
**STARTS TO REACH 100 WINS
- 99 career wins
**In the Super Bowl era (since 1966)
NFL SUPPORTS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH WITH "A CRUCIAL CATCH" CAMPAIGN
The NFL and NFL Players will support October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their largest on-field presence and a national screening reminder and fundraising campaign. In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the initiative, called "A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives," encourages annual mammograms for women over 40.
Beginning on October 3 and continuing throughout the month, NFL Breast Cancer Awareness games will feature footballs with pink ribbon decals, on-field pink ribbon stencils, and many pink items, including cleats, wristbands, gloves, chin straps, sideline caps, pins, helmet decals, eye shield decals, captains' patches, sideline towels and quarterback towels.
This weekend nine home teams – Buffalo, Cleveland, Green Bay, Jacksonville, the NY Giants, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tennessee – will host unique team-specific events in conjunction with the initiative that include on-field recognition for breast cancer survivors, distribution of pamphlets regarding regular screenings and on-site fundraising campaigns.
To learn more about the campaign, go to www.NFL.com/pink.