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Thursday, September 5, 2013
Top things to know: Ravens at Broncos

By ESPN Stats & Information


Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsJohn Harbaugh and the Ravens open their defense of the Super Bowl title in Denver.
The 94th NFL season kicks off tonight with the Denver Broncos hosting the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. We take a look at five key stats heading into the game.

1. The Ravens are seeking to become the ninth team to repeat as Super Bowl champions and first since the 2003-04 Patriots. However, the last seven defending Super Bowl champs have failed to win a single playoff game in the next season, going a combined 0-4 in the postseason.

2. Eight starters from Super Bowl XLVII are no longer on the Ravens roster, not including 2012 sacks leader Paul Kruger, who didn’t start in the Super Bowl.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous record for Super Bowl starters lost by a defending champ is five, shared by the 2008 Giants, 2007 Colts, 2001 Ravens, 1996 Cowboys and 1994 Cowboys.

3. How important is Week 1? Since the postseason expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 54 percent of teams to start 1-0 reached the postseason while 25 percent of teams starting 0-1 made the playoffs.

Of the 272 teams to reach the playoffs since 1990, 189 started the season with a win (68 percent).

4. Defending Super Bowl champs are 12-1 in season openers dating back to 2000, with the only loss coming from the 2012 Giants.

The Ravens have won a franchise-record five straight season openers. They have the second-longest active win streak in season openers behind the Patriots (9).

Because of a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles, the Ravens are the first defending Super Bowl champs to open the season on the road since the 2003 Buccaneers, who beat the Eagles 17-0 in Philadelphia.

5. Broncos linebacker Von Miller is suspended for the first six games of the season. Miller has 30 sacks in two NFL seasons, tied for the third most by any player through two seasons since sacks became an official stat in 1982.

Last season, the Broncos allowed 4.5 yards per play with Miller on the field and 5.1 yards per play with him off the field.