By the eye test and quantifiable means we are deep enough into this NFL season to marvel at the prolific nature of the Broncos offense and the ineptitude of the Giants defense. And also to wonder whether Denver might challenge to be the highest-scoring team in history, while New York threatens to allow the most points ever.
The 230 points Peyton Manning has put up are the most ever in a team’s first five games, snapping the mark of 217 set by the 2000 Rams. Denver’s 46-point average can’t possibly hold up, but it gives the Broncos a good start on breaking the long-standing NFL season record.
The top five season scoring averages in history:
1. 38.83 by the 1950 L.A. Rams (466 points, 12 games).
2. 36.81 by the 2007 Patriots (589 points, 16 games).
3. 36.64 by the 1961 Oilers (AFL; 513 points, 14 games).
4. 36.00 by the 1941 Bears (396 points, 11 games).
5. 35.00 by the 2011 Packers (560 points, 16 games).
Defensively, and oppositely, the Giants had allowed a league-most 182 points in five games entering Thursday night, a 36.4 average. Record pace? Almost.
The worst five defensive scoring averages in history:
1. 38.50 by 1950 Baltimore Colts (462 points, 12 games).
2. 36.00 by 1954 Redskins (432 points, 12 games).
3. 35.79 by 1966 Giants (501 points, 14 games).
4. 35.58 by 1952 Dallas Texans (427 points, 12 games).
5. 33.92 by 1948 Lions (407 points, 12 games).
• Denver’s opening 28-point betting line over visiting Jacksonville tied the NFL point-spread record set by the Baltimore Colts over expansion Atlanta in 1966. Predictionmachine.com computers played the game 50,000 times and found the Broncos 95.8 percent likely to win outright. It would still be 85.8 percent even if backup Brock Osweiler started in place of Manning. But Denver would be only 54.3 percent win-likely if, just for fun, you swapped QBs and Manning started for Jax and Chad Henne for Denver.
• In the era of the current 12-team playoff format, 83 percent of teams that reached the postseason (229 of 276) had winning records after five games. Of the 47 exceptions, 41 were 2-3 and six were 1-4. No 0-5 team has done it yet.
• Packers’ Randall Cobb last week joined Hall of Famer Gale Sayers as the only players with a 60-yards-plus run, 60-plus catch, 100-plus kick return and 80-plus punt return in first three seasons. (Who keeps track of this stuff!?)
• The 13 400-yard passing games are most ever at this point. The 47 300-yard games are second most.
• Raider Charles Woodson’s 13th career defensive TD last week tied Darren Sharper and Rod Woodson for most.
• Indy’s old Cane Reggie Wayne (996) could become the ninth player to 1,000 catches on Monday night.
• Colts’ Robert Mathis leads league with 9 1/2 sacks though five games. Record for first six games is 12 by Viking Keith Millard in 1989.
• Tight ends have caught 765 passes for 8,992 yards and 76 TDs — all records for the position at this point in a season.
• With Denver’s win over Jacksonville assumed, if Kansas City also wins Sunday, one NFL division will have two 6-0 teams for first time since 1934.
• The Broncos’ record spurt has the league-wide scoring average at 46.31 points per game. Season record is 46.48 in 1948.
• Dolphins local TV ratings still lag relative to rest of league. Example: Miami market had a 17.5 rating for the Ravens game last week. In Baltimore it was 31.4.
• Updated Super Bowl odds entering Week 6 (via Bovada) have Broncos on top at 5-2, then Seahawks 11-2, Saints 13-2 and 49ers 9-1. Miami is tied for 15th at 66-1, down from 50-1.