Which NFL games this season have been the most competitive?
The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets, 27-25, in an AFC East contest last night. Thursday Night Football finally got another close game after five straight weeks of blowouts on Thursday nights.
Through the first six weeks of the 2014 NFL season, there have been 91 games played with 39 of them (42.9%) decided by one score (eight points or less). The average margin of victory in these 91 games has been 12.9 points.
Which games, however, have the closest?
Let’s break the 91 games down into five categories: Games played between two NFC teams within their division; games played between two AFC teams within their division; games played between two NFC teams outside their division; games played between two AFC teams outside their division; and games played outside the conference (games between AFC and NFC teams).
Based on the first six weeks (91 games) the most competitive games have been the AFC vs. NFC contests. There have been 26 such games played, with the average margin of victory being 11.0 points.
Here’s a look at the average margin of victory in the five categories.
Type of game, average margin of victory
AFC vs. NFC….. 11.0
Two NFC teams playing outside their division….. 11.8
Two AFC teams playing within division….. 12.0
Two AFC teams playing outside their division….. 14.5
Two NFC teams playing within their division….. 16.9
As noted above, there have been 39 “close” games (decided by eight points or less) so far this season. The highest percentage of those games have been played in the AFC vs. NFC matchups; 14 of the 26 games (53.8%) were decided by eight points or less. Next were games played by two AFC teams within their division (seven of the 14 games, 50%). The other matchups: Two AFC teams playing outside their division (seven of 18, 38.9%); two NFC teams playing outside their division (seven of 20, 35%); and two NFC teams playing within their division (four of 13, 30.8%).
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp