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NFL (Week 6)

   by Larry Ness - 10/14/2006

Home teams have made a huge comeback the last two weeks in the NFL, as have overall favorites. Home teams went just 21-25 SU and ATS over the season's first three weeks but in Weeks 4 and 5 went 22-6 SU and 21-7 ATS. In Week 5 alone, home teams went 12-2 SU and 11-3 ATS, with both road team wins coming by identical 23-20 scores. Favorites (either home or away) followed a 10-4 Week 4 by going 11-3 in Week 5 and I now have them seven games over .500 on the season.

Scoring dropped dramatically in Week 5, as after game averages of 41.6 PPG in Week 3 and a season-high 46.4 PPG in Week 4, Week 5 games averaged just 38.6 PPG. However over/under bettors saw a break-even week, with seven games going over and seven going under. There have been 35 overs, 37 unders and two pushes on the season-to-date. Four games were decided by seven points or less (all four were actually decided by three points or less), leaving those season-long numbers at 33 games (of 74 played) decided by seven points or less (44.6 percent) and 19 decided by three points or less (25.7 percent).

Those percentages are quite normal, as this decade the percentage of games decided by seven points or less has ranged from a low of 44.0 percent in 2000 to a high of 49.2 in 2002. As for games being decided by three points or less, the range at the low-end this decade was 23.4 percent in 2005 and at the high-end was 25.0 percent in 2001. The all-time high of games being decided by seven points or less (since the '70 merger) came in 1994 (51.3) with the all-time low coming in 1970 (32.4). As for games being decided by three points or less, the high came in 1997 (27.9) and the low in 1973 (15.4).

Teams with the most rushing yards in a game are now 52-21 SU on the year (one game ended with both teams having the same amount of yards) and 50-23 ATS (.685). Teams with the most rushing attempts in a game are 59-14 SU (again there was one game that ended with the same number of attempts by both teams) and an even more impressive 55-18 mark ATS (.753).

Teams with 100-yard rushers have picked up these last two weeks, as Week 5 saw 12 players top 100 yards (the most of any week this year), although their teams went just 7-5 SU and 8-4 ATS. There were seven players this past week that topped 100 yards for the first time this season, including two (Noah Herron of Green Bay and Leon Washington of the NY Jets) who topped 100 yards for the first time in their careers. Teams with 100-yard rushers are now 28-14 SU and 29-13 ATS on the year.

After five weeks, 15 teams in the league own records of better than .500, 14 are under .500 and three teams (Dallas, KC and the NY Giants) are at .500 (2-2). Chicago and Indy are the only unbeatens left and are a combined 10-0 SU and 7-3 ATS. However, while the Bears have outscored opponents by a whopping 156-36, the Colts have seen four of their five games decided by seven points or less.

Four teams remain winless, with Detroit and Tennessee sitting at 0-5 and Oakland and Tampa Bay at 0-4. Only Oakland was out of its game last week, as Detroit, Tampa Bay and Tennessee all blew fourth-quarter leads. The four teams are a combined 0-18 and 5-13 ATS.

Turnovers play a huge role in a team's success (or lack thereof), and it will come as no surprise that the Rams and Bears (a combined 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS) sit at the top of the league's turnover margin category at plus-12 and plus-10, respectively. The teams are tied for the league-lead with 15 takeaways and head a group of 11 teams with positive turnover margins on the year. The 2-3 Washington Redskins are the lone team with a positive turnover margin (at just plus-one), to have a losing record.

Conversely, of the 17 teams with a minus turnover margin (four are even), only the 3-1 Seahawks (minus-one), the 3-2 Vikings (also minus-one) and the 3-1 Broncos (minus-three) own winning records. Again it will come as no surprise to learn that the NFL's four winless teams are a combined minus-23 in the turnover margin department. The 1-4 Browns sit at the bottom of the barrel, with a league-high 14 giveaways, as well as a league-worst minus-nine margin.

Week 6 highlights include the Eagles at the Saints (both 4-1), the Seahawks (3-1) at the Rams (4-1) and the Panthers (3-2) at the Ravens (4-1). The Colts own the league's longest active winning streak at six straight games (3-3 ATS) but are off this week (six teams have a bye, leaving us with just 13 games!), while the 5-0 Bears (4-1 ATS) will play the Cardinals in Arizona on Monday night.

The Raiders, who own the league's longest active losing streak at 10 straight (also 0-10 ATS!) will play in Denver on Sunday night. Interestingly, the Broncos are tied with the Seahawks for the NFL's longest active home winning streak with 12 straight regular season home wins (7-4-1 ATS). The Titans, with eight straight losses (3-5 ATS), own the second-longest active losing streak and will face the Redskins in Washington.

The Titans also own the league's second-longest road losing streak (also eight straight, going 2-6 ATS). They are one loss behind the Texans, who have lost nine straight road games (but are 5-4 ATS) entering their game in Dallas with the Cowboys. Detroit is tied with Oakland for the longest active home losing streak at five straight home losses (Lions are 1-4 ATS) and while the Raiders can't extend that streak because they are in Denver, the Lions can, as they host the Bills (good thing this game wasn't scheduled in Buffalo!).

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