Monthly Archives: November, 2011

How many regular season wins does an NFL team need to make the playoffs?

The Green Bay Packers at the San Francisco 49e...

Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

As the Green Bay Packers continue their quest for perfection (or, let me be the first to coin the phrase… PACKfection), the other 31 teams are trying to figure out how many wins they’ll need to secure a spot in the playoffs. Well… I have an answer for those teams.

Since 1990, when the NFL went to six teams from each conference making the playoffs, there have been 252 teams that have played in the NFL playoffs. Here’s a breakdown of the number of regular season wins by each of those teams.

7 wins: 1 team (Seattle in 2010)

8 wins: 8 teams

9 wins: 40 teams

10 wins: 63 teams

11 wins: 54 wins

12 wins: 40 teams

13 wins: 30 teams

14 wins: 13 teams

15 wins: 2 teams (Minnesota in 1998; Piitsburgh in 2004)

16 wins: 1 team (New England in 2007)

Here’s a few more interesting stats:

* Of the 252 playoff teams, the average number of regular season wins was 10.9.

* 96.2% of the teams that won 10 or more games since 1990 made the playoffs.

* New England is the only team since 1990 to win 11 games in the regular season and not make the playoffs.

Here’s a breakdown of how many teams with 8 or more wins in the regular season since 1990 have made the playoffs.

8 wins: 76 teams won 8 games; 8 made the playoffs; 68 did not… 10.5%

9 wins: 77 teams won 9 games; 40 made the playoffs; 37 did not… 51.9%

10 wins: 70 teams won 10 games; 63 made the playoffs; 7 did not… 90.0%

11 wins: 55 teams won 11 games; 54 made the playoffs; 1 did not… 98.2%

12 wins: 40 teams won 12 games; 40 teams made the playoffs… 100%

13 wins: 30 teams won 13 games; 30 teams made the playoffs… 100%

14 wins: 13 teams won 14 games; 13 teams made the playoffs… 100%

15 wins: 2 teams won 15 games; 2 teams made the playoffs… 100%

16 wins: 1 team won 16 games; 1 team made the playoffs… 100%

You want a sure thing? It looks like 12 wins is that sure thing. You’ve got a great chance with 10 or 11 wins. Nine wins? You’ve got about a 50-50 chance.


Can NFL teams win by scoring less than 10 points in a game?

Manning in a huddle against the Jaguars

The Colts have won 8 games since 1987 when they scored under 10 points... Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

Since the beginning of the 1987 NFL season (the last 25 NFL seasons) there have been 73 occasions when a team has won a game by scoring less than 10 points. In this season, it has happened only once: the Cleveland Browns defeated the Seattle Seahawks 6-3 on October 23.

Following are the number of games each NFL team has won since 1987 when they scored less than 10 points.

8 games: Indianapolis

5 games: Buffalo, Cleveland

4 games: New England, Oakland, Pittsburgh

3 games: Detroit, Green Bay, Jacksonville, New York Giants, New York Jets, Washington

2 games: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee

1 game: Arizona, Baltimore, Carolina, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia

0 games: Cincinnati, Houston, San Diego, St. Louis

Note: Of the four teams with o, the Chargers did win a game in 1986 with less than 10 points; the Rams won a 1979 playoff game with less than 10 points; and Cincinnati and Houston have never won a game when they scored less than 10 points.

BONUS: The New York Giants were 6-2 at the halfway point of the NFL season, giving them eight straight years they have been above .500 at the halfway point… the longest current streak in the NFL. Following are the teams that have the longest active streaks of seasons above .500 at the halfway point.

8 seasons: New York Giants

6 seasons: New England

5 seasons: Pittsburgh

4 seasons: Atlanta

3 seasons: New Orleans

2 seasons: Baltimore, Chicago, Green Bay, New York Jets

SIX STATS you might not know about… Wisconsin vs. Penn State

Logo of Big Ten Conference.

Image via Wikipedia

“SIX STATS …” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.

Penn State and Wisconsin meet tomorrow in Madison, WI to see who advances to the Big Ten Conference Championship Game against Michigan State.

1. Penn State and Wisconsin have met 12 times in Big Ten Conference play since the Nittany Lions joined the conference in 1993. The two teams have each won six games in the series since ’93. Each team is 3-3 in home games. If there is good news for the Badgers, it’s that they have won both November home games in the series: 24-3 on Nov. 21, 1998 and 13-3 on Nov. 4, 2006.

2. Penn State lost both games to ranked teams this year, losing to Alabama (ranked #3) and Nebraska (ranked #19), Wisconsin is 1-1 versus ranked teams this year, winning against #8 Nebraska and losing to #16 Michigan State. Penn State and Wisconsin have played each other four times in the series where both teams were ranked in the Top 25. Penn State won three of the four games.

3. Watch for the Badgers running game as an indicator of whether or not they will win… Wisconsin has averaged 265 yards per game in their nine wins this season with an average of four TDs per game. In their two losses, the Badgers have averaged only 154 yards per game rushing and 1.5 rushing TDs.

4. Wisconsin has scored first in nine of their 11 games this year; Penn State has scored first in six of their 11 games. Wisconsin has held opponents scoreless in the first quarter in seven of the 11 games; Penn State has held opponents scoreless in the first quarter in six of their 11 games. The Badgers have committed only seven turnovers this season; the Nittany Lions have committed 18.

5. Penn State is 4-0 in away games this year. Wisconsin is 6-0 in home games in 2011. Something has to give!

6. Wisconsin and Penn State have played five common opponents this season:

* Nebraska: Wisconsin won by 31; Penn State lost by three.

* Indiana: Wisconsin won by 52; Penn State won by six.

* Ohio State: Wisconsin lost by four; Penn State won by six.

* Purdue: Wisconsin won by 45; Penn State won by five

Illinois: Wisconsin won by 11; Penn State won by three.

10 facts you might not know about Green Bay’s last 10-0 team: 1962 Packers

Green Bay Packers helmet

Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

In honor of this year’s Packers‘ team that is off to a 10-0 start, here’s a look back at the last Green Bay team that started a season 10-0… the 1962 Packers.

1. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way… in 1962 the 10-0 Packers lost Game #11 to the Detroit Lions 26-14 in a Thanksgiving Day game. (With this year’s 10-0 Pack also playing the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, we’ll see if history repeats itself.) The ’62 Packers finished the season 13-1 and won the NFL Championship by defeating the New York Giants.

2. The Packers led the league in scoring with 415 points (29.6 pts/per game) and led the league by allowing only 148 points. They were first in the NFL in takeaways. They were averaging 30.9 points per game going into that Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions. (This year’s Pack is averaging 35.5 points per game going into Thursday’s contest.)

3. The 1962 Packers won all six of their preseason games that year.

4. After the loss to the Lions ended their winning streak, the Packers trounced the Los Angeles Rams the next week 41-10.

5. The 1962 Packers led the league with 31 interceptions (this year’s team leads the NFL with 19 interceptions). The ’62 defense held opposing quarterbacks to a league-low passer rating of 43.3.

6. Quarterback Bart Starr led the league with 2,438 passing yards. Running back Jim Taylor led the league with 1,474 rushing yards. Teammates have not led the league in passing yards and rushing yards since that season.

7. The 1962 team was one of four Green Bay teams to win 13 games in a season. The others: 1996 team (the Super Bowl champs), 1997 team (lost in the Super Bowl) and the 2007 team (lost to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game).

8. The ’62 Pack scored 36 TDs rushing and 14 via passes. (This year’s team has 31 TDs via pass, eight rushing touchdowns. This will be the 23rd consecutive year that the Packers have scored more TDs by passes than rushing in a season.) The 1962 defense allowed only four rushing touchdowns.

9. The Sporting News in early 2011 selected the “NFL’s 10 Greatest Teams” in the league’s history. The 1962 Packers were ranked fifth.

10. The only blemish to the 1962 season was the 26-14 loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. In some circles (more than likely in Detroit) that game is also known as “The Turkey Day Massacre.” The Pack trailed at halftime 23-0. In the loss, the offense only gained 122 total yards. They committed five turnovers. Quarterback Bart Starr was sacked 11 times in the game, eight in the first half.

Bears challenge NFL record for ‘return’ TDs

Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears

Chicago's Devin Hester... Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

Last Sunday the Chicago Bears offense watched as the defense and special teams put up three TDs on the scoreboard in their 37-13 win over the Lions. (Devin Hester returned a punt for TD; Major Wright and  Charles Tillman each returned interceptions for a touchdown.) The three return touchdowns upped the Bears total for the season to seven, tops in the NFL. It also put them on pace to challenge for the all-time record of return TDs in a season, 13, set by the 1998 Seattle Seahawks.

Following are the number of return TDs for each NFL team this season:

7:     Chicago

5:     Green Bay

4:     Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York Jets

3:     Arizona, Buffalo, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tennessee

2:     Indianpolis, Kansas City

1:     Atlanta, Dallas, Minnesota, New England, New York Giants, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington

0:     Carolina, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Miami

The 1998 Seahawks, who went 8-8 that season, scored eight TDs via interceptions, two by punt return, two by fumble recovery return and one by kickoff return. Last year’s Arizona Cardinals team had 12 return TDs putting them second all-time in this category.

Following are the teams that scored the most TDs via interception, fumble recovery, punt return, kickoff return, blocked kick or missed field goal return in an NFL season.

Team, Season… Return TDs

Seattle-1998… 13

Arizona-2010… 12

St. Louis-1999, Kansas City-1999, Kansas City-1992… 11

Buffalo-2004, New Orleans-1998, Denver-1997, San Diego-1997, Kansas City-1986, Denver-1976… 10