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NFL Week 14

   by Larry Ness - 12/10/2004

Coming off the highest-scoring week of the season (Week 13 games averaged 49.3 PPG), Week 14 still offers playoff-hope for all of the NFC's six, 5-7 teams. History tells us that three teams have made the playoffs after having 5-7 records since 1990!...

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With mediocrity reigning supreme in the NFC this year, it seems almost certain one of the NFC's wild card teams will qualify with an 8-8 record. The Eagles are the only team that has already clinched their division but the Colts, Falcons, Patriots and Steelers could all clinch division titles this week. For that to happen, those teams all need to win this week plus get some help....

The high-scoring games are producing more blow-outs as the number of games being decided by seven points or less is down significantly from the previous three years. Of the 760 regular season games played from 2001 through 2003, 371 or 48.8 percent, were decided by seven points or less. After 192 games this year, just 82 games or 42.7 percent, have been decided by seven points or less....

The last time the NFL has seen so few games decided by seven points or less was back in 1992, when just 39.3 percent were. Overtime games have become a thing of the past. In 2002, there were 25 overtime games, the most in any one season all-time! There were 23 overtime games last year but through Week 13 of 2004, there have been just EIGHT!...

Since the NFL expanded its season to a 16-game schedule in 1978 (and not counting the nine-game strike-shortened 1982 season), there have been fewer than 10 overtime games in just FOUR of the previous 25 seasons!

The difference in the HAVES and HAVE-NOTS are also showing up in the Week 14 point spreads. Using the opening numbers from the Stardust, four teams opened as double-digit favorites (including the Colts as 10 1/2-point road favorites!) while three other teams just missed, opening as 9 1/2-point favorites (including the Eagles as a road favorite). Three other teams opened as 7-point or 7 1/2-point favorites on Sunday meaning that 10 of the 15 Sunday games have a point spread margin of seven points or more!...

Each week it seems as if there is another passing record set. Eleven different QBs threw for three TDs or more last Sunday, a new NFL record. Donovan McNabb's five-TD performance was the 10th time that's happened in 2004, a new single-season mark. And of course, Peyton Manning has 44 TD passes on the season, just FOUR shy of Dan Marino's single-season record of 48 (set in 1984)....

Despite all these records (or records-to-be), teams with QBs that pass for 300 yards in a game are just 27-34 SU and a pathetic 22-37-2 ATS. Conversely, teams with 100-yard rushers are 104-27 SU and 97-31-3 ATS. There have been 17 players top 100 yards rushing in a game for the first time in their careers this season, after Steven Jackson, Larry Johnson and Chester Taylor did it last week. AJ Feeley had his first career 300-yard passing game last week (303 vs Buffalo), making him the seventh player to get his first career 300-yard game in 2004....

RECORD BREAKERS?....The Colts are the league's highest scoring team with 431 points, an average of 35.9 PPG. They became just the third team in NFL-history last week, to score 40 points or more in four consecutive games. They are on pace to score 574 points, which would break the single-season mark of 556 points, scored by the 1998 Minnesota Vikings....

Those lovable New Orleans Saints are also poised to set a record in 2004 . The Saints have allowed 5,002 yards through twelve games, an average of 416.8 per game. At this pace the Saints would allow 6,669 yards, just 24 yards shy of the NFL single-season record held by the Baltimore Colts in 1981!




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