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Ness Notes -- NFL Week 7

   by Larry Ness - 10/23/2004


The success of road teams continues to be one of the major storylines of the 2004 NFL season. Home teams are just barely over .500 for the year at 46-42 SU giving road teams a winning percentage of .477. Road teams however, have CASHED 60 percent of the time ATS with a record of 51-34-3....

Big favorites (seven points or more) are 13-6 SU but just 7-11-1 ATS. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise as 48.9 percent of the games (43-of-88) have been decided by seven points or less. It's amazing how consistent the numbers have been over the last few years of games being decided by a TD or less. In 2001 the figure was 48.8 percent, in 2002 it was 49.2 percent and last year it was 48.4 percent!...

The single-season high came in 1994, when 51.3 percent of the games were decided by seven points or less. The fewest percentage of games decided by seven points or less came in the first year of the merger, 32.4 percent of the games in 1970!...

Three Dog Night sang "One is the loneliest number" and the number one can represent both good and bad when it comes to football statistics. For instance, the New York Giants lead the NFL by having thrown just ONE interception. The Giants are 4-1 SU and ATS. In contrast Carolina, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami and San Francisco all have just ONE fumble recovery this year by their respective defenses. Those teams are a combined 5-22 SU and 10-17 ATS....

While ONE may be the loneliest number, ZERO is a very likely the most DEFINING number! The Eagles, Jets and Patriots all have ZERO losses while the Dolphins are the only NFL team with ZERO wins! The Jets will travel to Foxboro on Sunday where they will take on the Patriots. It will be only the fourth time in NFL history that unbeaten teams with at least five victories have met during the regular season. The last time it happened was in 1973! The other two happened in the 1920's!...

As almost everyone knows, the Pats have won 17 straight regular season games, going an amazing 15-1-1 ATS as well! They also own the longest current regular season home winning streak at 12 straight (11-0-1 ATS). The league's other unbeaten team, Philadelphia, has the second-longest current regular season winning streak at six straight games (6-0 ATS) and the Eagles will play at Cleveland. The Eagles current eight-game road winning streak (8-0 ATS) is one game better than New England's current seven-game road winning streak!...

The 0-6 (1-5 ATS) Dolphins own the league's longest current losing streak at six games, as well as the league's longest current home losing streak at three (0-3 ATS). They will have a chance to end BOTH of those streaks when they host the Rams on Sunday....

Through six weeks (approximately one-third of the 17-week season), big surprises other than the obvious ones with the Jets (5-0), Steelers (5-1) and Giants (4-1) are three teams that are all 3-3. The Browns, Chargers and Texans were a combined 14-34 in 2003 and 21-27 ATS. In 2004 they are 9-9 SU and 10-7-1 ATS....

Let's not forget the 3-2 Lions, although they have been outscored by a margin of 88-110, not a good sign. The 4-2 Jaguars are the only other winning team that's allowed more points (102) than they've scored (95). No losing team has scored more points than they've allowed but the 1-4 Cardinals are close, having scored and allowed exactly 87 points....

The league's major disappointments are easy to identify. The Panthers made a courageous run all the way to the Super Bowl last year but are in big trouble at 1-4. The KC Chiefs owned the league's second-best record in 2003 at 13-3 but enter Week 7 at 1-4, including 0-2 at home where they had won 13 straight regular season games heading into this season! Three more 2003 playoff teams are in big trouble just six weeks in, the 2-3 Cowboys and the Packers and Titans, both at 2-4....

The saying goes that defense wins championships. A look at the top-four teams in points allowed makes a strong case that statement is true. The Eagles are allowing 12.6 PPG and are 5-0. The Broncos are second in the league, allowing 12.8 PPG and are 4-1. The Falcons are third at 14.3 PPG allowed and are 5-1 while the Giants are fourth-best, allowing 14.4 PPG and are 4-1....

It's not a bad thing to be at the top of the league in points scored, either! The 4-1 Colts average 31.8 PPG, the 4-1 Vikings average 30.0 PPG, the 5-0 Eagles average 27.4 PPG and the 5-0 Patriots average 27.0 PPG. The Eagles are on both lists! Maybe that's the 'ticket'?...

CLOSING NOTE....Daunte Culpepper of the Minnesota Vikings has thrown five TD passes in a game in three of his first five games in 20004! Since 1970, his 18 TD passes is the most of any QB through a season's first five games and for those of you who subscribe to these type of things, he's ON PACE to throw 57 TD passes and to pass for 5,651 yards. The all-time single-season record for TD passes in a season and passing yards in a season are held by Dan Marino. In 1984, Marino threw 48 TD passes and for 5,084 yards....

ONE LAST ONE....The Vikings have scored 19 TDs in 2004, 18 on Culpepper passes. The team's LONE rushing TD belongs to, DAUNTE CULPEPPER!...
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