Curiously, for the first time in NFL history, all 16 games are division matchups.
This unprecedented move appears to have worked as a good majority of games this week find teams with a plethora of playoff implications inside the matchups. And because, for all intents and purposes, division games take on a double-importance both in the standings and in NFL tiebreakers, this week’s games certainly take on a whole new stratagem.
That being the case, here are some notes of interest from our powerful database in games played in the past involving division pairings in regular season finales. Please note all results are Against The Spread (ATS) and since 1980, unless noted otherwise…
The point-spread is a string barometer when it comes to season ending division games.
That’s because favorites of nine or more points are 20-12, while favorites of less than three points are 12-20-1.
.666 or greater teams laying nine or more points are 17-5, while favorites of less then three points are only 6-14-1 when facing .500 or greater opponents.
Teams off ATS spread margins at opposite ends of the ladder have performed accordingly.
Those entering off a spread loss of 25 or more points are 15-10-1, including 9-3 versus and opponent off an ATS win.
On the flip side, those off a spread loss of 25 or more points are 7-13, including 2-9 versus a foe off a win.
Simply put, there is no disguising bad teams in season ending division finales.
Those who were dogs of nine or more points the previous week are 9-17 in these contests, including 3-11 when taking seven or more points this week.
Worse, put these seven-plus point dogs at home and they vanish into thin air, going 0-7.
One and done
Put a team in a season ending division finale off one win-exact and they tend to dissolve faster than a patty melt at an over-eaters luncheon.
Teams in this role are 7-20 when playing off a win of 16 or more points, including 1-15 when favored.
There you have it, a quick glimpse at some of the more intriguing situations surrounding this week’s season ending NFL card. Divvy them up and enjoy the feast.