Of the 18 teams with multiple Super Bowl appearances, the San Francisco 49ers are the only team never to have lost in the Super Bowl, going 5-0.
Joe Flacco’s first three games of the 2012 play-offs for the Baltimore Ravens have produced eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He also has eight play-off wins compared to Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick had the NFL’s best rating on passing attempts of 21-plus yards through the air (minimum of 10 attempts). He was the only player with at least 10 attempts to complete more than 50 percent of his passes that far downfield.
Since Jim Caldwell took over play-calling duties in Week 15, Ravens running back Bernard Pierce has more rushing yards (401) than Ray Rice (397).
Frank Gore had 23 rushes for 119 yards against the Green Bay Packers for the 49ers in the divisional play-off round and 21 rushes for 90 yards against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.
San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers is tied for the third-worst regular-season field goal percentage for a kicker entering the Super Bowl since 1990.
You might have heard that it's the Super Bowl this weekend. Amid all the boasting about how much the ads cost (yawn) the best story so far is of PepsiCo using the equivalent fee of $20m to fund community projects. 'Aaah, bravo,' you might have said, before they admitted it wasn't strictly for the thrill of philanthropy, it was just to promote the brand in a better way than a 30 second ad could.
Anyway, back to the sport, because the NFL's definitely not about exploitative commercialisation. Pittsburgh Steelers take on Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
The total points market is always one of interest and this year promises to be no different with Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger occupying the quarterback positions. The total points spread for Sunday’s titanic game is somewhere around 43-46. The highest total over the past eight years is 69 points, when Tampa Bay destroyed the Oakland Raiders in 2003.
In the past eight Bowls the average total is 48 points. One factor that will be worth bearing in mind is that the Packers and Steelers have two of the most feared defences in the NFL.
With so much hype and pressure around the Super Bowl, the grand finale often starts slowly, opening up a potential trading opportunity. Only twice in eight years (2010 and 2007) has there been more than six points scored in the opening quarter. The average first quarter points total during that period is just 5.1 points.
Plenty to get your teeth into this Saturday and Sunday. And we haven't even mentioned the Ashes!...
England v South Africa. Eng/SA supremacy 4-7
The ‘seasonable’ weather could play a pivotal role when England takes on South Africa at Twickenham. Colder conditions can equate to lower scoring games, and this match could see the effects of the big freeze, despite the fact that all but the most recent of the Springboks last nine games have seen more than 40 points. The last time SA ventured to Twickers after defeat at Murrayfield, they lost 53-3.
Hennessy Gold Cup.
Has been won by a 6-9 year old in each of the last 20 renewals, while nine of the past ten winners had a top 2 finish in at least one of their previous two runs.
Chelsea v Newcastle. Che/New supremacy 0.7-0.9
Chelsea enter the weekend with the league’s best attacking record, averaging two and a half goals per game. Newcastle’s defence is decidedly average, allowing an average of just over one and a half goals per game on the road.
San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts. Total points 50-53
This Sunday Peyton Manning’s Colts take on a San Diego side which has improved of late. The Chargers started the season poorly, but Philip Rivers has helped his team turn it around. With the Colts coming off the back of a heart-breaking fourth quarter loss to the Patriots, both teams will be champing at the bit to get a win. Both teams also boast high powered passing attacks, making a high scoring game a strong possibility.
Carl Froch v Arthur Abraham. Fight minutes 27-29
Arthur Abraham has been boasting in the press that he is the more intelligent fighter. Reading between the lines this could mean that he’s looking to outlast the Nottingham man, coaxing Froch into making a mistake and then pouncing in the final rounds. A long fight is therefore a possibility, with neither man likely to go for it in the opening rounds. The Cobra's last four fights have gone to a final round.
The UK’s NFL fans get one game a year on English soil and many will be a little disappointed that two of the worst performing franchises have made the trip across the Atlantic for Sunday’s match-up. The Denver Broncos (with a 2-5 record) meet the San Francisco 49ers (1-6). Disappointing considering the past few seasons when UK fans have been able to catch some of NFL’s top teams, including New Orleans and the New York Giants.
As expected, a lot of the build-up has concentrated on the decision by 49ers coach Mike Singletary to go with Troy Smith ahead of the more experienced David Carr at QB. This gamble could go either way for San Fran, and it's presumably why the Den / SF pass yards supremacy is set at 100-115.
In Smith's first start in three years, he could be a little rusty after only a short time to reacquaint himself with the playbook. He will, though, fancy his chances of putting up some numbers against a side who somehow gave up 59 points to the Oakland Raiders last weekend.
The 49ers’ defense is hardly reliable though, and Broncos’ Kyle Orton will be looking to capitalise using his wide receiving core. Particularly at a strange venue, Denver's aerial ability makes a buy of their supremacy at 2 fairly tempting.
Punters are faced with a tricky decision on total points, set at 40-43. Defensive frailties point to a big score, but working against that is the weather - rain is forecast - and this trend... Only twice in the regular season has either team scored more than 20 points.