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Sunday NFL Thoughts: Quarterback Records, Saints a Disaster, Cardinals for Real?

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The NFL is off to a blazing start with multiple quarterbacks setting franchise records to start the season.

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1. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is off to a fantastic start, but his 119.6 passer rating, second best in franchise history, is pretty far behind his 2007 pace through three games. The LocationGate Patriots quarterback posted an astounding 141.8 passer rating through three games, which is the best start in NFL history.

There are five quarterbacks that have set franchise records for passer rating through three seasons, and they may or may not be a surprise.

Tyrod Taylor (116.1) edged out Bills legend Jim Kelly (113.9), while rookie Marcus Mariota (109.2) set the Titans record by passing Chris Chandler (103.8), and Raiders sophomore Derek Carr (102.4) surpassed Rich Gannon (100.0)

Aaron Rodgers (135.4) just set the Packers all time mark through three games, passing Brett Favre (122.0). I'm more surprised that Rodgers didn't already have the record. Prior to the season, Rodgers only had two of the Packers top nine starts of all time. Rodgers' start is 4th best in NFL history.

Carson Palmer (117.8) just beat out Kurt Warner (111.7) for the Cardinals record, showing that teams that recycle can be successful. Warner posted his record in 2008, so maybe there's some magic happening in Arizona.

Andy Dalton (121.0) is off to a fantastic start, but he doesn't have the Bengals record. He's just a hair behind Ken Anderson (122.2).

2. The Chiefs completed their first touchdown pass to a wide receiver in 632 days, dating back to their wild card loss to the Colts on January 4th, 2014. Over that time frame, Tom Brady has thrown 24 touchdowns to wide receivers:

Brandon LaFell (9)

Julian Edelman (8)

Danny Amendola (5)

Keshawn Martin (1)

Brian Tyms (1)

It's interesting to see the high concentration in totals, and I was expecting to see at least one Aaron Dobson score. Rob Gronkowski has scored 19 touchdowns over this time frame.

3. Former Saints tight end Jimmy Graham seemed pretty excited to see new Patriots defensive lineman Akiem Hicks get out of New Orleans.

It's crazy how much of the shine around the Saints organization has disappeared lately. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season and the team crumbled to a 7-9 finish. The 2013 Saints finished 11-5 with Payton at the helm, but followed that with another 7-9 season in 2014.

New Orleans is off to an 0-3 start in 2015 and they're struggling with the salary, trying to implement a new offense, and the defense is both injured and not-functional as Rob Ryan has really struggled as defensive coordinator.

While the Saints will remain close franchise friends to the Patriots, and Payton will be friends with head coach Bill Belichick, one has to wonder how much long Payton will be head coach. Payton is still a great coach and he's dealing with questionable talent on the roster, but if the front office gets removed and the team accepts that there's a full rebuild on the horizon, it's very possible that Payton might not be a part of the future plans. New regimes like to bring in their own guys and Payton might not want to be a lame duck a la Rex Ryan in his final season with the Jets.

4. The Steelers have fired kicker Josh Scobee after he missed two field goals against the Ravens. Scobee also missed two field goals in the opener against the Patriots, and those misses changed the landscape of the game. It's not out of the question that the Steelers could have been 4-0 if Scobee makes all of those kicks (he also missed an extra point against the 49ers).

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, who helped the Ravens beat the Steelers with a last second field goal to force overtime, and then won it with an overtime field goal. He's due for a new contract this offseason and he wants to be the highest paid kicker in the league.

So the fact that Stephen Gostkowski has completed all 21 of his kicks this season (14 extra points, 7 field goals) can't be understated. He's so valuable to the Patriots and they have him locked up through 2018.  The Patriots made sure to sign Gostkowski before Tucker signed his contract. Don't ever let him go, Bill. Don't ever let him go.

5. The Cardinals absolutely spanked the 49ers last week and head coach Bruce Arians is reported to have told his players during halftime, "If you relax, I'll be looking for new people. Put your foot on their throat." I'm going to go ahead and say that the Cardinals might be winning the NFC West this season and they could have a date against the Packers in the NFC Championship.

Arizona hasn't had a tough schedule (they've beaten the 0-3 Saints, the 0-3 Bears, and the 1-2 49ers), but they're dominating the bad teams, which is exactly what they should be doing. They're going to be fun to watch.