NFC East champion will win their division with a less-than-champion-like record
With three weeks remaining in the 2019 NFL season, one thing is for certain: Whichever team wins the NFC East will have a less-than-stellar regular season record. The Dallas Cowboys are sitting atop the NFC East with a losing record at 6-7. The Eagles are a game back with a 5-8 mark.
Even if the Cowboys win out in their three remaining contests, they would win the division with a 9-7 record, just a game above .500.
But there’s an even more interesting scenario that could play out that would certainly be an embarrassment to the league: The NFC East champion could end the season with a 6-10 record. Think about that: An NFC East champion with a 6-10 record could host a first-round playoff game against a Wild Card team that won 10 or more games in the regular season. Crazy, huh?
Here’s how that could happen:
* Dallas, 6-7, could lose their three remaining games against the Rams, Eagles and Redskins and finish 6-10
* Philadelphia, 5-8, could lose to the Redskins, beat the Cowboys, lose to the Giants and finish 6-10.
* Washington, now 3-10, is still, believe it or not, in the race to win the division… they could defeat the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys in their last three games and finish 6-10.
There it is, a three-way tie for the NFC East with Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington all ending the season with a record of 6-10.
Enough of the “could happens.” Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, there have been 27 division champions that ended the regular season with a winning percentage under .600 (that usually meant winning the division with less than 10 wins… which will happen in the NFC East this season). In fact, there have been five teams since 1970 (not counting the 1982 strike season) that won their division with a .500 or below winning percentage. The five:
1985: Cleveland 8-8 .500
2008: San Diego, 8-8 .500
2010: Seattle, 7-9 .438
2011: Denver, 8-8, .500
2014: Carolina, 7-8-1, .469
As you can see, the Cowboys will have to win three straight to avoid this list, and if we end the year with a three-way with the Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins at 6-10, it will set a new mark for futility for division champions.
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Ron Rivera’s mid-season dismissal as Carolina coach a rarity for Panthers franchise
Ron Rivera became the second NFL coach to be fired this year when Carolina let him go as coach of the Panthers this week after compiling a 5-7 record this season. He had been the Panthers head coach since 2011, a run of eight-plus years.
Jay Gruden was fired as the Washington coach after Week #5 and an 0-5 start for the Redskins. He had been the ‘Skins head coach since 2014.
In season (or mid-season) firings are not all that common in the NFL, especially when you consider that most NFL teams wait to make coaching changes until after the regular season is over. In many cases, that first Monday after the end of the regular season has been affectionately known as “Black Monday” as teams that are not in the playoffs get a head start on finding a new coach by firing their current coach on the first day after the end of the season.
For Carolina, this is the first time they fired a head coach mid-season since they became an NFL expansion team starting with the 1995 campaign. For the record, I looked back to 1970, the AFL-NFL merger, to see how prevalent it has been for NFL teams to fire a head coach in the middle of the season. Using data collected from Pro Football Reference.com, there have been 85 mid-season firings in the last 50 years… about 1.7 per season. In addition, that works out to about 2.7 mid-season head coaching changes per team in that same timeframe.
Here’s a snapshot of how many mid-season head coaching changes each franchise has made since 1970. Also noted in parenthesis is the last season each franchise made a mid-season head coaching change. Note: Current city for each franchise is listed.
6: New Orleans (2012)
5: Atlanta (2007), Buffalo (2016), Cleveland (2018), Indianapolis (1991). L.A. Chargers (1998), Tennessee (2015)
4: Detroit (2005), New England (1984)
3: Arizona (2000), Cincinnati (2000), L.A. Rams (2016), Miami (2015), Oakland (2014), Philadelphia (2015), San Francisco (2010)
2: Denver (2010), Jacksonville (2016), Kansas City (2011), Minnesota (2010), N.Y. Giants (2017), N.Y. Jets (1976), Washington (2019)
1: Carolina (2019), Dallas (2010), Green Bay (2018), Houston (2013), Seattle (1982), Tampa Bay (1990)
0: Baltimore, Chicago (mid-season coaching change in 1942), Pittsburgh (mid-season coaching change in 1941)
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PACKERSTATS-Game #11-2019 season
Here are some of the numbers that helped define the Packers 37-8 road loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, November 24.
- The loss in a Sunday night game was the fifth defeat in their last seven games on Sunday night. The Packers are 6-10 since 2014 in Sunday night games.
- Green Bay has now lost five of their last seven games against the 49ers, including losing three of their last four road contests against the Niners.
- This was the 19th game since 2000 that the Pack scored less than 10 points in a game. That’s the fourth fewest in the league, The Packers are 3-16 in those games. New England has the fewest games with less than 10 points since 2000 with 12. NFL teams are 43-1026-2 (a .041 winning percentage) since 2000 in games when they score less than 10 points.
- The Packers allowed 35 or more points for the 18th time since the 2010 season. The team is 6-12 in those games. In fact, the six wins is tied for the most (with New Orleans) wins by a team since 2010 in games where they allow 35 or more points. NFL teams are 45-530-2 (.080) since 2010 in games where they allow 35 or more points.
- Green Bay allowed San Francisco to put 10 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter. They are 11-27 (.289) since 2000 in games where they allow the opposition to score 10 or more points in the first quarter. They are 5-20 (.200) in road games since 2000 when the opponents tally 10 or more points in the first quarter.
- San Francisco had a 23-0 lead at halftime. Green Bay is now 6-17 (.230) since 2000 in games when they do not score in the first half… that includes being 1-10 in those games on the road.
- Aaron Rodgers yards per attempt in the game was 3.15. That is the lowest of his career in a game. The Packers are 0-8 in games when Rodgers’ yards per attempt is under 5.0 for a game.
- It was the 23rd game in Rodgers’ career that he was sacked five or more times. Green Bay is 5-18 (.217) in those games.
- The Packers were 1-for-15 in third down conversion attempts, 6.7%. That is the second lowest third down conversion percentage in a game since 1991. The lowest was on October 17, 1999 when Green Bay was 0-for-8 in third down plays against the Broncos. Green Bay has not won a game since 1991 when their third down conversion percentage was under 14% in a contest.
- Rodgers had 104 yards passing in the game. That was the sixth lowest in his career in a game he started. Green Bay is 1-11 in games when Rodgers starts and has less than 170 yards passing in the game.
- The Pack had 198 total yards in the game. NFL teams are 21-181 (.104) since 2010 in games when they have less than 200 total yards. Green Bay is 0-6 since ’10 in these games.
- The Packers had only 81 yards passing in the contest. It was the eighth game with less than 100 yards passing since 2000. The Packers are 2-6 in those games.
- Green Bay’s yards per play in the game was 2.83. That was only the fifth time since 1990 that the Packers offense had a yards per play average under three yards. The lowest since 1990 was 2.5 against the New England Patriots on November 19, 2006.
- The Pack “controlled” the ball with 35:16 Time of Possession (TOP) to San Francisco’s 24:44. Usually that’s good news for the Packers. They are now 18-4-1 in games since 2010 when they have a TOP of 35 minutes or more. In fact, NFL teams since 2010 are 575-159-10 (.780) when they have 35 minutes or more TOP in a game.
- This was only the sixth time in NFL history that a team had 35 or more minutes TOP and less than 200 total yards in the same game. The last time was in 2006 when Carolina had 41:47 TOP in a game versus Atlanta when they tallied only 194 total yards. The Packers also accomplished this rare feat in 1991 in a game versus Minnesota when they had 36:19 TOP and 188 total yards. The Pack won that game 27-7.
Will eight wins after 10 games get your team into the Super Bowl this season?
If history is any indication, this year’s Super Bowl teams may have already been narrowed down to six teams. The six? In the AFC, either Baltimore or New England. In the NFC, a four-team race between Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle.
Over the past five seasons, seven of the 10 teams that played in the Super Bowl had at least eight wins after their first 10 games played. Baltimore, Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle are each 8-2 after playing 10 games this season, while the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers are both 9-1 after their first 10 games played.
Of course, that leaves three teams over the past five Super Bowl opponents that had less than eight wins after 10 games. One team was 7-3 while a pair of Super Bowl teams over the past five campaigns had a 6-4 record after 10 games. The 2014 Seattle Seahawks and the 2016 Atlanta Falcons were each 6-4 after 10 games in those seasons and reached the Super Bowl… both teams lost in that title contest. In 2018, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots were 7-3 after 10 games and went on the win the title that year.
That certainly gives hope for such teams as Buffalo and Minnesota (they were 7-3 after 10 games) and Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, the Rams and Oakland, each 6-4 after 10 games.
Of the 18 teams that were at least 8-2 after 10 games over the past five seasons, all made the playoffs that year. On the flip side, teams that were 3-7 or worse after 10 games in a season did not made playoffs over the past five years. Note: One team, the 2014 Carolina Panthers, made the playoffs that year after starting the season 3-6-1 in their first 10 games. They ended the regular season with a 7-8-1 record that season.
For the record, 47 of the 62 teams (75.8%) that had six or more wins after 10 games in the last five seasons went on to play in the post-season that year.
Here’s a breakdown of how many teams made the playoffs over the past five seasons based on their record in the first 10 games.
Started the season… # of teams Made playoffs
0-10 3 0
1-9 3 0
2-8 12 0
3-7 15 0
3-6-1 3 1
4-6 31 3 (9.7%)
4-5-1 2 0
5-5 28 9 (32.1%)
5-4-1 1 0
6-4 22 12 (54.5%)
6-3-1 2 1
7-3 18 15 (83.3%
7-2-1 2 1
8-2 10 10 (100%)
9-1 6 6 (100%)
10-0 2 2 (100%)
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Packers idle during Week #11, but Colin Kaepernick will be throwing passes this weekend!
The Packers will finally get their bye weekend after starting the season 8-2 over the first 10 weeks of the season. While things may be quiet for most Packers fans this weekend, football fans have been tossed a little gridiron appetizer as the league will hold a workout for embattled QB Colin Kaepernick. The workout will take place Saturday in Atlanta.
Whether you are on the side of those who think Kaepernick should still be playing in the league or those who think he should not be in the NFL (or you could care less), Kaepernick did have six seasons in the league and led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013 after the 2012 season. He was in the league from 2011-16 playing in 69 games with 58 starts.
It will be interesting to see what transpires with this workout and if any team signs him for the remainder of the season. For what it’s worth, and with no pretense in support or against Kaepernick’s journey to get back into the NFL, here are several stats you may not know about Kaepernick’s career.
- Kaepernick had a career 28-30 record (.483 winning percentage) in the 58 starts in his career. He was 17-6 in his first 23 starts over the 2012 and 2013 season, but in the three years after his Super Bowl appearance, he went 11-24 in his last 35 starts, including 3-16 in 2015 and 2016.
- He had 72 career TD and 30 career interceptions. Of the 94 QBs who had 100 or more passing attempts from 2011-16, his TD percentage rate of 4.3 ranked 30th of 94 quarterbacks. His 1.8 interception rate ranked as the 10th lowest of the 94 QBs that qualified for this stat during his career.
- Of the 184 quarterbacks who have attempted 1,600 or more career regular season passes, Kaepernick’s completion rate of 59.8% ranks 51st.
- Kaepernick has a career Passer Rating of 88.9. Of the 193 NFL QBs who have started 50 or more career games and have attempted 500 or more career passes, Colin’s 88.9 PR ranks 21st .
- In Kaep’s last two seasons in the NFL, 2015-16, his completion percentage was 59%, he had 22 TD passes and nine interceptions, and had a Passer Rating of 85.5.
- After reaching the Super Bowl with the 49ers after the 2012 campaign, the 49ers reached the NFC Conference Championship Game the following year losing to the Seattle Seahawks. After that 2014 playoff run, Kaepernick and the 49ers did not play a post-season game during the remainder of Kaepernick’s career. He had 33 starts for the 49ers from 2014-16 with the team going 15-33.
- Kaepernick’s 72 career TD passes ranked tied for 23rd of all QBs who played during the Kaepernick-era (2011-16)… his 7.3 career yards per pass attempt ranked 29th of all QBs… his 88.9 Passer Rating from 2011-16 ranked 22nd of all QBs during that timeframe.
- When Kaepernick had a game with a Passer Rating of 108 or above in his career, the 49ers were 15-1. When his Passer Rating was below 80.0 in a game, San Francisco was only 2-16.
- His last NFL start was on January 1, 2017 against the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers lost 25-23. He had a 122.3 Passer Rating in his last NFL game, with was the seventh best PR of his career, and he completed 17 of 22 passes in the contest, 77.3%. That completion rate in the game was the third-highest of his career.
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