Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have been fast starters to the NFL season.
The defending-champion Chiefs head into their opener Thursday night at home against Detroit having won eight straight regular-season openers, which is tied for the fifth longest streak of the Super Bowl era.
Kansas City last lost in Week 1 back in 2014 with Alex Smith at quarterback when they fell 26-10 to Tennessee in a game played before Mahomes had even made his college debut at Texas Tech.
They won the next three openers with Smith at QB and then all five since Mahomes became the starter, scoring at least 33 points in the last seven Week 1 games.
They have a long way to go to catch the longest streak ever as the Cowboys won 17 straight openers between 1965-81. The last team to win more than eight straight was the New England Patriots, who won 10 in a row from 2004-13.
Mahomes has been particularly sharp to start the season, throwing at least three TD passes in all five season-opening starts in his career for the longest streak ever. The only QBs to have more than five career Week 1 games with at least three TD passes are Tom Brady (nine), Dan Marino (seven) and Drew Brees (six).
In fact, only nine teams other than the Chiefs have had five Week 1 games with at least three TD passes in the last 20 seasons. The Bengals have the longest drought of that kind with none since Boomer Esiason did it in 1988.
On the other end of the Week 1 dominance is the Indianapolis Colts, who ended a eight-game losing streak in season openers with a 20-20 tie vs Houston last year. The only team that has a longer streak without winning a season opener in NFL history is the Browns, who went 0-16-1 from 2005-21 before beating Carolina 26-24 last year.
The Colts open the season at home against Jacksonville on Sunday.
Another season, another Week 1 starting QB in Washington and Indianapolis.
The Commanders and Colts are set to become the fourth and fifth teams in the Super Bowl era to have a different starting QB in seven straight season openers.
Sam Howell will join Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carson Wentz to start in Week 1 for Washington since 2017.
Rookie Anthony Richardson follows Matt Ryan, Wentz, Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck and Scott Tolzien to do it in Indianapolis.
The only other teams with seven Week 1 starting QBs in seven seasons are Cleveland (2013-19), Baltimore (1997-2003) and Chargers (1987-93).
With Derek Carr having left Las Vegas for New Orleans and Aaron Rodgers with the Jets after starting 15 straight openers in Green Bay, Dak Prescott will have the longest after streak of Week 1 starts at QB with the same team when he makes his eighth straight start in the season opener.
Baker Mayfield has been a well-traveled quarterback during his short time in the NFL.
Mayfield is set to start for his fourth team since being picked first overall by Cleveland in 2018. He also spent time in Carolina and with the Los Angeles Rams last season.
Mayfield is set to start the opener for his fourth team of his career, Tampa Bay on Sunday against Minnesota. No other top pick QB in the common draft era since 1967 started for more than two teams in his first six seasons.
Mayfield will be the sixth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to start the season opener for three franchises in three seasons after doing it in Cleveland in 2021 and Carolina in 2022. He will join Carson Wentz (2020-22), Donovan McNabb (2009-11), Brett Favre (2007-09), Kurt Warner (2003-05) and Jim Harbaugh (1997-99).
DO IT AGAIN
The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to pull off the rare NFC East repeat.
Philadelphia is trying to become the first repeat division winner in the NFC East since the Eagles won it from 2002-04 in the first years of the current division format.
The Eagles are also looking to become the fourth team to win the Super Bowl the year after losing the title game, joining the 1971 Dallas Cowboys, the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2018 New England Patriots.
The only other Super Bowl losers even to make it back to the big game are the 1974 Minnesota Vikings, 1987 Denver Broncos, 1991-93 Buffalo Bills.
Seven teams made the playoffs last season after missing the postseason in 2021, marking the 33rd straight season when at least four teams pulled off the trick.
Four teams that are prime candidates to fall out of playoff position are the teams that made it last season despite getting outscored: Minnesota, the Giants, Tampa Bay and Miami.
The last nine teams to make the playoffs despite being outscored missed the postseason the following year with the 2015 Carolina Panthers the last to make it.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl