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Old 09-27-2009, 10:08 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default For some NFL teams, being young bodes well for the future

For some NFL teams, being young bodes well for the future
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...r.36ff722.html
05:00 PM CDT on Saturday, September 26, 2009

By RICK GOSSELIN / The Dallas Morning News
rgosselin@dallasnews.com

The Houston Texans looked very young in a stunning 24-7 opening-day home loss to the New York Jets. Then they looked very talented in an equally stunning 34-31 road upset of the Tennessee Titans in Week 2.

Turns out, the Texans are both young and talented. And that gives them a terrific-looking future.

Houston isn't the youngest team in the NFL Green Bay holds that distinction but the Texans have the youngest starting lineup. The average age of the Houston roster is 26.47 years, making the Texans the 15th-youngest team in the league.
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But based on the NFL's opening-day lineups, the average age of Houston's 22 starters is 26.04 years. The Texans only have three players over the age of 30 in the starting lineup SS Nick Ferguson (34), WR Andre Davis (30) and G Chester Pitts (30), who is out for the season.

The Packers have the youngest roster in the NFL for the fourth consecutive year at 25.7 years. But Green Bay hasn't made the same commitment to putting that youth on the field as Houston. With an average age of 27.81 in their lineup, the Packers have the 10th-oldest set of starters in the league.

The Philadelphia Eagles, surprisingly, have the second-youngest lineup at 26.50 years of age. But the Eagles shed a pair of 30-something offensive tackles (Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan) this season to whittle the average age down from 27.0 a year ago.

The Tennessee Titans have the oldest lineup at an average age of 29.09 years also the oldest in the league since the 2005 Kansas City Chiefs (29.22 years). The Titans have eight starters over the age of 30.

The Washington Redskins (28.59) and Cowboys (28.36) rank among the five-oldest starting lineups in the NFL. Dallas has eight starters in their 30s, including all five blockers along the offensive line.

The Denver Broncos have a league-high 11 starters in their 30s, and Buffalo and Tampa Bay share the league-low along with Houston at three. The Minnesota Vikings have the NFL's oldest starter in 39-year-old QB Brett Favre and the Detroit Lions have the youngest in 21-year-old QB Matthew Stafford.

YOUNG AT HEART

Here's the roll call of NFL starting lineups, listing the average age and the number of starters over the age of 30:

Teams Age 30s
Houston 26.04 3
Philadelphia 26.50 4
Jacksonville 26.54 6
Kansas City 26.63 4
Buffalo 26.68 3
Oakland 26.81 5
Detroit 26.95 6
San Diego 26.95 5
St. Louis 26.95 4
Cincinnati 27.04 4
Atlanta 27.09 5
NY Giants 27.13 6
Tampa Bay 27.13 3
Indianapolis 27.18 6
New Orleans 27.22 5
Baltimore 27.40 6
Chicago 27.45 7
Seattle 27.45 5
San Francisco 27.54 4
Arizona 27.68 5
Carolina 27.72 7
Miami 27.77 7
Green Bay 27.81 4
NY Jets 27.81 8
Cleveland 27.90 10
Pittsburgh 28.18 7
Denver 28.22 11
Minnesota 28.27 7
Dallas 28.36 8
Washington 28.59 9
New England 28.95 10
Tennessee 29.09 8

OBSERVATION DECK

Pass happy

New Orleans QB Drew Brees has four 300-yard passing games in a row dating back to December. He'll attempt to extend his streak to five today against the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense the Buffalo Bills. Peyton Manning is the only other NFL quarterback to post back-to-back 300-yard games to open this season.

Hard feelings

Cleveland fans loathe Art Modell for moving the Browns to Baltimore in 1996, where they became the Ravens. Their passion was inflamed when the Ravens won a Super Bowl in 2000. The Browns are one of only five franchises that have never been to the Super Bowl. Modell no longer owns the Ravens, but there's lingering bitterness in Cleveland with the Baltimore franchise. The Ravens annually stoke that bitterness, winning 13 of the 20 games the two teams have played. Baltimore is a double-digit favorite to beat the Browns at home today.

Pats rule over NFC

The New England Patriots have won 15 of their last 16 games against NFC opponents. The only loss was that stunning 17-14 Super Bowl upset to the New York Giants in 2008. The last time the Patriots lost to an NFC team in the regular season was to the Panthers in Carolina in September 2005. The Patriots host the Atlanta Falcons today. Patriots QB Tom Brady is 27-5 against the NFC.

Oh-and-2

The Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers all opened the 2008 season 0-2 but all went on to capture division titles. The 2007 New York Giants started 0-2 and won the Super Bowl. So there is still hope for Carolina, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Tennessee, who all take 0-2 records into the third week of the season.The Detroit Lions gave their fans reason for holiday cheer with a 25-23 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 23, 2007. But it's been 19 lumps of coal since then. That's the extent of Detroit's franchise-record losing streak. But it ends Sunday. The 0-2 Lions, with their rookie head coach (Jim Schwartz) and rookie quarterback (Matthew Stafford), host the Washington Redskins. The Redskins failed to score a touchdown at home last week but still squeaked by the St. Louis Rams, 9-7. On paper, the Lions are better than the Rams. Detroit is a 61/2-point underdog. Go with the Lions.
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