Not all records are how they appear. Some teams are lucky, others not so much. This is true for any sport. As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2022 and play the final two weeks of the regular season, let’s take a look at lucky - and unlucky - NFL teams.
Atlanta - The Falcons have a 7-8 won-loss record, but have been outscored by 122 points over the course of this season. That point differential is on par with the 2-12-1 Lions, whom Atlanta just defeated last week by a score of 20-16. Such a result is emblematic of how the Falcons’ season has gone. All seven wins have been by eight points or less. Six of their eight losses have been by 13 points or more. So when the Falcons win it’s close. When they lose, it’s a blowout. Having a 7-2 record in games decided by one possession is “lucky.” The Falcons’ overall record should be a lot worse than it is.
Pittsburgh - The Steelers are another team with zero wins by more than eight points. Four of their seven losses have been by double digits. So things aren’t quite as zany here as they are with the Falcons, but having a -70 point differential, Pittsburgh should feel quite “lucky” to still be in playoff contention in what is surely Ben Roethlisberger’s final season.
Las Vegas - Most bettors won’t be as lucky in Sin City as the Raiders have been in their second year residing here. The Silver and Black have the league’s best overtime mark at 3-0 and their last three wins have come by a total of eight points. Las Vegas has taken two ugly losses at the hands of the Chiefs, leaving them with the unusual distinction of being 8-7, but having a -71 point differential. It would be strange for a team that’s been outscored like that to make the playoffs.
Green Bay - For the second time in three seasons, the Packers have thrived in close games. They are 6-2 when the final score is eight points or less. Two of those close wins have come in the last two weeks, though it should be pointed out they were in control most of the way in both games. But still, we think it’s worth noting how the Packers’ season point differential of +59 is vastly inferior to the other division leaders in the NFC. They also have the best turnover differential in the NFL at +16.
Tennessee - The Titans have five wins by three points or less. It must be mentioned how their point differential of +31 is drastically inferior to that of the Colts (who are +104), but Tennessee is quite likely to win the AFC South because they swept the season series. If the Titans do end up winning the division and getting a high seed, they should feel quite “lucky.”
Seattle - The Seahawks are only 5-10 on the year, which is terribly unlucky when you consider they’ve scored 306 points and only given up 307. They have two overtime losses. The fact Seattle is being outgained by about 80 yards/game is somewhat misleading as they average more yards per play than their opponents.
Philadelphia - Most people would not consider the Eagles, who are 8-7 on the year, unlucky. We do. While no one expected them to be above .500 with a shot to make the playoffs, it would be a shame if they failed to get into the postseason. Seven of their eight wins this year have come by double digits. They have a better point differential than the Packers! Philadelphia should have a better record, at least based on point differential.
Denver - The Broncos have an outstanding defense. They are tied with the Patriots for fewest points allowed this season. But while New England making the playoffs is all but assured, Denver is highly unlikely to get there. This is because of a terrible offense … and some bad luck. The Broncos are just 1-3 in their last four games, despite allowing an average of just 16.0 points. The last two games were both close losses, by five to Cincinnati and by three to Las Vegas.