It's time to get "Back to Football."
Kickoff Weekend begins on Thursday, September 5 in primetime on NBC when the defending-champion Baltimore Ravens play the AFC West-winning Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in a rematch of last season's double-overtime AFC Divisional Playoff matchup. It's when things start to count.
Some clubs have excelled in openers. Here is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:
The Super Bowl XLVII-champion BALTIMORE RAVENS, who play at Denver in the spotlight Kickoff 2013 game on Thursday night, have the second-longest active winning streak in season openers (five). The Ravens, who also own the second-longest active winning streak in home openers (seven) and the third-highest all-time winning percentage (.706, 12-5) in such games, can improve those totals when hosting Cleveland in Week 2.
The AFC West champion DENVER BRONCOS, who host Baltimore on Thursday night of Kickoff Weekend, own the second-best winning percentage in season openers (.635, 33-19-1) in the NFL and the top winning percentage in home openers (.750, 39-13-1).
The DALLAS COWBOYS, who start the season on Sunday Night Football at home against the New York Giants, have posted a 35-17-1 (.673) record on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the NFL, including wins in a record 17 consecutive openers from 1965-81. When the Cowboys play at Kansas City in Week 2, they can improve their league-best .623 winning percentage (33-20) in road openers.
The NEW YORK GIANTS begin the year at Dallas on Sunday Night Football with the second-highest winning percentage (.590, 49-34-5) and the second-most wins (49) in road openers. With a victory, the Giants will be one of only two teams to win 50 or more road openers (Green Bay, 53). If the Giants defeat Denver in Week 2 at MetLife Stadium, they will reach 50 wins in home openers. With a 2-0 start, the Giants will reach 50 wins in both home openers and road openers, a feat that has not yet been accomplished (see Green Bay Packers).
The CHICAGO BEARS, who host Cincinnati on Kickoff Weekend, have 53 wins on Kickoff Weekend, the most in league history. The Bears have 64 wins in home openers, the most all-time, and boast a .719 winning percentage (64-25-4), the top mark among NFC teams. Chicago, which visits Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football in Week 3, has 43 wins in road openers, the third-most in NFL annals.
The NFC North champion GREEN BAY PACKERS, who open the season in San Francisco, have 52 wins on Kickoff Weekend, the second-most in league history. The Packers are 53-37-2 (.596) in road openers, the most wins and third-best winning percentage in the NFL, after winning six of the past seven such contests. When Green Bay hosts Washington in Week 2, the Packers (49) can become one of three NFL teams with 50 or more wins in home openers and will reach 50 wins in both home openers and road openers, a feat that has not yet been accomplished (see New York Giants).
The PITTSBURGH STEELERS, who host Tennessee on Kickoff Weekend, have won 40 openers, the most among AFC teams. The Steelers have won eight of their past 10 openers. Pittsburgh has won 10 consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league.
The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, who host Kansas City to open the 2013 campaign, are 11-7 (.611) on Kickoff Weekend, the third-best mark in the NFL.
The NEW YORK JETS open the season at home against Tampa Bay, marking just the 16th time in the past 54 openers the Jets have started the year at home.
The HOUSTON TEXANS and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES start the season on the road at San Diego and Washington, respectively, during a Monday Night Football doubleheader. Both teams have won four consecutive road openers, sharing the longest active such streak in the league.
HOME SWEET HOME
The DETROIT LIONS, who host Minnesota on Kickoff Weekend, have 50 wins in home openers, the second-most in NFL history … the SAN DIEGO CHARGERS, who host Houston on Monday Night Football to begin the year, have won 13 of their past 20 openers at home … the NFC West champion SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, who host Green Bay to start the season, have won 15 of their past 20 home openers … and the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, who host San Francisco in Week 2, have won nine of their past 10 home openers.
Washington's MIKE SHANAHAN is 15-4 (.789) on Kickoff Weekend and his 15 wins are the most among active head coaches … Shanahan and New England's BILL BELICHICK (12-6; .667) are the only active coaches that have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games and own an opening weekend winning percentage above .600 … the New York Giants' TOM COUGHLIN (10-7, .588) and St. Louis' JEFF FISHER (10-7, .588) join Shanahan and Belichick as the only active head coaches with 10 or more Kickoff Weekend victories … brothers JOHN HARBAUGH (5-0) of the Ravens and JIM HARBAUGH (2-0) of the 49ers and GREG SCHIANO (1-0) of the Buccaneers are the only active coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend … Seven coaches -- Arizona's BRUCE ARIANS, Jacksonville's GUS BRADLEY, Cleveland's ROB CHUDZINSKI, Philadelphia's CHIP KELLY, Buffalo's DOUG MARRONE, San Diego's MIKE MC COY and Chicago's MARC TRESTMAN -- make their Kickoff Weekend debuts in 2013.