NFL games continued to be thisclose this past weekend, as the last seven games of week 9 were all decided in the final minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime. So far in 2011, 66.2 percent of games played (86 of 130) have been within seven points in the fourth quarter, which is tied for the fourth-most of any season in NFL history through week 9. Remarkably, all three seasons with a higher percentage of close games have come in the last decade (2010, 2007, 2004).
And here's some good news for teams like the Cowboys with a .500 record: Since 2000, 28 teams have reached the halfway point of the season with a .500 or lower winning percentage and still made the playoffs. In four of the past five seasons, at least three teams started 4-4 or worse and rebounded to make the playoffs. And that includes the 2006 Cowboys, who were 4-4 after eight games and garnered a wild-card spot with a 9-7 record for the season.
There’s a lot of football left to be played, and if the second half is anything like the first, expect close games, comeback wins and exciting finishes. Entering week 10, there are 20 teams with a .500+ record. That’s two shy of the most in NFL history through the first nine weeks (22 in 1997).
Lots of teams still have realistic playoff chances. After the break, we pick the winners and losers for week 10, and maybe whittle down that list of playoff contenders a little bit more.
Week nine was a great week for away teams, as they went 10-4. This week, Vegas only likes four out of sixteen away teams. Kegbearer (9 away teams picked to win) and KD (8) are hoping Vegas is waaaay off and believe the away teams will come through again this week. We'll see soon how that turns out.
Here are our week 10, 2011 picks: