Stats and storylines to know for the 2017 NFL Season

Tom Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl LI title, but how will he fare at age 40? AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The 2017 NFL season opens on Thursday with the defending champion New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. We take a look at some of the top stats and storylines of the upcoming season.

When will Andrew Luck return to the field?

Luck has been ruled out for Week 1, and there are no indications as to when he will play next. Luck posted a career-best 71.2 Total QBR last season, seventh in the NFL, but he was sacked 41 times last season -- tied for second-most in the NFL. His backup, Scott Tolzien, has a Total QBR of 28.0 for his career.

How will Tom Brady fare at age 40?

Brady is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as he went 11-1 and posted the best TD-Int ratio in NFL history at 28 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions en route to leading the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory.

However, QBs have not had much success in the NFL once they've turned 40:

-- No 40-year-old QB has started a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning, at 39 years, 320 days, is the oldest to have started (and won) when he did so in Super Bowl 50.

-- Brett Favre is the only 40-year-old QB to start a playoff game in the Super Bowl era. He went 1-1 in 2009, losing in the NFC Championship Game to the Saints.

-- Only three QBs started 10 games in a season after turning 40: Warren Moon (twice), Favre (twice) and Vinny Testaverde in 2004.

When will we see the rookie QBs?

There were three quarterbacks picked in the first round of the NFL draft, and all three will open the season on the bench. Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes were all taken in the Top 12, all by teams trading up to get them. It was the first time in the common draft era (since 1967) that three different teams traded up on draft day for a quarterback in the first round.

Can Matthew Stafford play to his record-setting contract?

This offseason, Stafford signed a five-year, $135 million contract with the Detroit Lions. The guaranteed money ($92M), signing bonus ($50M) and average annual value ($27M) are all the most all-time.

Last season, Stafford ranked eighth in the NFL, with a career-best 70.5 Total QBR, the first time he has finished among the top 10 in that category. Since Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator in Week 8 of the 2015 season, Stafford ranks in the top 10 in completion percentage and TD-INT ratio.

Where will Frank Gore end up on the all-time rushing list?

Gore is 34 years old this season for the Indianapolis Colts and enters the year eighth on the all-time rushing yards list. He is 194 yards behind Eric Dickerson for seventh and can conceivably get as high as fourth, needing 1,036 yards to pass Curtis Martin for that spot. Gore rushed for 1,025 yards last season.

Can Adrian Peterson regain his form?

Peterson managed just 1.9 yards per rush last season in three games thanks to a torn meniscus in his right knee. He joins a Saints offense that has run the ball by design 34.8 percent of the time over the past five seasons, which ranks 29th in the NFL.

Peterson is the active leader in rushing touchdowns, with 97, which ranks 10th all-time. With double-digit rushing touchdowns this season, he would climb all the way to fifth, passing Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shaun Alexander, John Riggins and Jim Brown along the way.