NFL Week 9: Making You the Smartest Fan in the Room

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Week 8 Stats To Discuss During Week 9

Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

Admit it, no matter where you watch football on Sundays, you’d love to be the smartest fan in the room, especially if you watch the games with people who claim to be “experts.” Just once, you’d love to see the look on their faces when you spit out a random, but accurate statistic in the middle of an average conversation. Luckily, you’re not the only one. My girlfriend lives for these moments, and I know she’s not alone. So instead of searching the internet for a trend or a tidbit that you may or may not ever find, allow me to lay out a handful of stats that even the most astute NFL fan would find interesting and enlightening.

These stats are easy to remember, but they are numbers/trends that your football friends likely failed to notice. This set of data is strictly from Week 8 as the most useful statistics are the most recent statistics. By no means am I saying that these trends will hold for every week of the season, but these are all true statements from the week that was, thus making them relevant when watching this week's games. That’s right, I’m making you the most interesting fan in the world. Do what you want with this knowledge, but you will have the opportunity to contribute some impressive tidbits to any football conversation. Some perceived trends were disproved last week, thus giving you the chance to back your arguments with some cold, hard data.

Is ball control important? Which quarter is the home-field advantage at its greatest? Those answers and more are about to be added to your football knowledge.

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5. First-Quarter Success

Mark Zerof - USATODAY Sporta

Winning teams averaged 31.1 points during Week 8 and scored 11 first-quarter touchdowns. Losing teams averaged 15.6 points, managing only two first-quarter touchdowns.

In other words, it does matter how you start. Use this trend to argue with the fan who ignores the first half of the game, claiming that "it's not how you start, but rather how you finish". This is also a nice stat if you're daring enough to argue with a family member/significant other as to why you need to watch the entire game.

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4. Time of Possesion ... or lack thereof

Nelson Chenault - USATODAY Sports

Subtract the Green Bay Packers' dominating effort over the Minnesota Vikings, and winning teams held the ball for 366 minutes and 10 seconds (slightly less than 30 minutes and 31 seconds per game) while losing teams possessed the ball for 353 minutes 50 seconds (roughly 29 minutes and 29 seconds). The Seattle Seahawks had the ball for less than 22 minutes in their win over the St. Louis Rams.

Bleeding the clock is a lost art. Some teams dominate the ball, but it is far from a requirement to be successful in the NFL today.

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3. Home-Field Advantage

Ron Chenoy - USATODAY Sports

Subtract the two winless teams that played at home, and teams that played at their home stadium won or tied the fourth quarter in nine of 11 games.

If your team is on the road, you want to have a big advantage before the final stanza. On the other hand, if you're pulling for a home team, don't turn off the TV until the game clock reads 00:00.

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2. Running the Ball

Ed Szczepanski - USATODAY Sports

Teams with a single rusher who had more carries than their quarterback had completions won five of seven games.

Passing the ball may be more fun to watch, but the running game continues to have its place in winning football. Speaking of the passing game, don't go crazy if your team isn't tossing the ball into the end zone.

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1. Passing Touchdowns

Bob Martin - USATODAY Sports

Terrelle Pryor, Colin Kaepernick, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Matthew Stafford went a combined 5-0 last Sunday while reaching paydirt more often via their legs (four) than their golden arms (three). The same quintet accounted for 64 passing touchdowns and only 10 rushing scores in victories last season.

There are plenty of ways to win football games today, so don't give up if your quarterback isn't racking up the fantasy points.