The Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins are each 7-8 and are hopeful for a win to finish the year 8-8. For the Packers, the motivation to finish with a win is a little stronger considering they have not had a losing season since 2008, the third longest stretch in the NFL.
Topping of this list are the New England Patriots who have not finished below .500 since 2000. They are followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers who have not finished below .500 since 2003. The Packers are next at 2008. The team that was next on the list, the Denver Broncos, will finish this year below .500, the first time since 2010.
Following is a look at the last season each of the 32 NFL teams finished the season with a losing record (under .500).
2000: New England
2008: Green Bay
2012: Kansas City
2014: Atlanta, Minnesota, Washington
2015: Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Tennessee
2016: Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, L.A. Chargers, L.A. Rams, New Orleans, Philadelphia
2017: Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland, San Francisco, Tampa Bay
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That having been said, it is interesting to look at teams (especially those who missed the playoffs) that might not have won many games this year, but were competitive… and with a few breaks in the game, might have put a “W” on the board.
First, let’s look at the teams that had the most one-score losses (losses by eight points or less). The Tampa Bay Bucs top this category; of their 11 losses in 2017, they have lost seven games by less than eight points.
Here’s a look at the number of one-score losses for each team this season (total losses are noted in parenthesis).
7: Tampa Bay (11)
6: Indianapolis (12); Chicago (10); N.Y. Jets (10)
5: Cleveland (15); N.Y. Giants (13); Houston (11); San Francisco (10); L.A. Chargers (7); Kansas City (6); Seattle (6)
4: Cincinnati (9); Detroit (7); Tennessee (7); Atlanta (6); Baltimore (6)
3: Oakland (9); L.A. Rams (4)
2: Denver (10); Miami (9); Arizona (8); Green Bay (8); Washington(8); Buffalo (7); Dallas (7); Jacksonville (5); New Orleans (4); Minnesota (3); New England (3); Pittsburgh (3)
1: Carolina (4); Philadelphia (2)
Let’s take this stat one step further. Through Week #16 (15 games for each team in the season), there have been 52 games that were decided by three points or less. The San Francisco 49ers has played in the most of those games with five.
Following are the number of losses for each team this season by three points or less.
5: San Francisco
4: Cleveland, L.A. Chargers, Tampa Bay
3: Baltimore, Chicago, Indianapolis
2: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, N.Y. Giants, Oakland, Seattle
1: Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Miami, New England, New Orleans, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Washington
0: Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Dallas, L.A. Rams, Minnesota, Philadelphia
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I think we can all agree that defense is really important in the NFL. This season, NFL teams have compiled a 161-32 (.834 winning percentage) record when they hold their opponents to under 20 points. That is higher than the winning percentage of .793 of this stat from 2000-16.
Thirteen teams have an unbeaten record this year when they hold their opponents under 20 points. They are:
9-0 Jacksonville, New England, Pittsburgh
8-0 Baltimore, Dallas, New Orleans
5-0 Arizona, Washington
4-0 Denver, Detroit, Miami
Only two teams are under .500 when they hold the opposition under 20 points, Indianapolis (1-2) and Cleveland (0-4).
The Minnesota Vikings have the most games this season when they hold their opponents under 20 points with 11; they are 10-1 in those games. They are followed by Seattle with 10 games (8-2), and Jacksonville, New England and Pittsburgh, all with nine games (all 9-0).
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With 28 points in the Bucks’ loss to the Chicago Bulls on December 26, Giannis Antetokunmpo has now scored 20 or more points in 22 straight games. This is the sixth longest streak in team history. Not only does Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hold the franchise record with 20 or more points in 71 consecutive games, but he also holds the top five spots in this stat. He had streaks of 71, 70, 39, 29 and 27 straight games with 20 or more points during his career with Milwaukee.
Giannis is one of only three players to have a streak of 20-plus games in a row with 20 or more points; in addition to Jabbar, Terry Cummings had a streak of 20 games in his career with the Bucks.
Nine different Bucks players had streaks of 10 or more games with 20 or more points. Jabbar had 14 such streaks in his time with the Bucks to top the list. Here are the Bucks players who had consecutive game streaks of 10 games or more with 20+ points. (The number of times in their career that they had such streaks in noted in parenthesis.)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 14 times
Marques Johnson, 5
Glenn Robinson, 5
Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2
Terry Cummings, 2
Michael Redd, 2
Sidney Moncrief, 1
Ricky Pierce, 1
Flynn Robinson, 1
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Here are some of the numbers that helped define the Packers 16-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on December 23.
- Games at Lambeau Field in December against division opponents are normally a certain win for the Packers. Prior to Saturday night’s game, the Packers since 2000 had been 14-1 in December games at Lambeau against NFC North opponents. They had also won nine straight of those contests.
- Since 2000, the Packers have played the most games in the league under 20 degrees, 16. They are now 9-6-1 in those games. The Bears are second in this category with 10 games played below 20 degrees since the start of this century. Seven teams have not played a regular season game below 20 degrees since 2000: Arizona, Baltimore, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington.
- The Vikings scored first in the game (and were obviously the only team to score in the game). Green Bay is 10-8 since 2010 in games at Lambeau when their opponents score first. They have now lost six of the last nine of those games.
- Minnesota held a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Since 2006, the Packers are 1-4 in games at Lambeau when the opposition tallies 10 or more points in the first quarter.
- Green Bay was behind by 10 points at halftime, 10-0. Since 2000, the Pack is now 6-34 in games where they are behind by 10 or more points at half.
- Minnesota held a 13-0 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Packers are 1-33-1 since 2000 in games where they are behind by 13 or more points heading into the fourth quarter.
- Both the Packers and Vikings were 4-for-15 in third down attempts in the game. Green Bay certainly did not help themselves by going 0-for-4 in fourth down attempts in the game.
- Quarterback Brett Hundley had two interceptions and no TD passes in the game. It was his second career game with zero TD passes and two or more interceptions in the same game. Brett Favre tops this stat for the Packers with 22 games where he had no TD passes and two or more interceptions in the same contest. He is followed by Bart Starr with 17 games, Tobin Rote with 13 and Lynn Dickey with 12. Aaron Rodgers has only one career regular season games where he had no TD passes and two or more interceptions.
- The Packers will not make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, a run of eight consecutive years making the playoffs. That ranks as the second longest streak in league history, tied with Dallas (1966-73), the L.A. Rams (1973-80), Pittsburgh (1972-79) and San Francisco (1983-90). Three teams, the 1975-83 Dallas Cowboys, the 2002-10 Indianapolis Colts and the 2009-17 New England Patriots are tied for the NFL’s longest streak of playoff appearances with nine consecutive seasons. The Patriots will go for the record next year, hoping for a tenth consecutive playoff appearance.
- Green Bay was shutout at Lambeau for the second time this season, the first year that has happened since 2006.
- Green Bay had zero points at halftime and are now 13-69-2 (.167 winning percentage) since 1966. They were held scoreless at halftime in three games this season, the most since 2006 when they were held scoreless at halftime in four games.
- The Packers defense allowed under 17 points in the game. It was their first loss in a game where they held the opponents under 17 points since they lost 14-12 to Seattle in 2012. Since 2006, Green Bay is 57-4 in games where they hold the opposition under 17 points in a game. This was the first since 2004 that the Packers lost a game at Lambeau when they hold the opponents under 17 points (Green Bay lost that game 14-7 to the New York Giants). The Packers had won 41 straight at Lambeau when they held opponents under 17.