NFL Week 15: Making You the Smartest Fan in the Room

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Week 14 Stats to Discuss During Week 15

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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 face 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 last week, as the most useful statistics are the most recent statistics.

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.

How important is the big play? Is it important when a team scores or just that they do score? Those questions, and many more, are answered in the upcoming slides in an effort to supply you with knowledge that almost nobody else has.

Looking for more of my work? My fantasy articles and NBA picks against the spread are published routinely and I’m always fielding questions @unSOPable23

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5. Penalties

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Kim Klement - USATODAY Sports

Team’s with the most penalties went 1-13 during Week 14.

With parity at its finest (25 teams are fighting for nine playoff spots), it is more important now than ever to play clean football and not beat yourself. State this fact when a team commits a critical penalty that results in a new set of downs.

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4. Running Wild

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Stan Liu - USATODAY Sports

If a team had more rushing touchdowns than their opponent, they had a 76.9 percent chance of winning the game.

With the rules as they are on the perimeter, passing has become the best way to gain chunks of yards but running the ball into the end zone has as much value as ever. The popularity of the aerial attack spreads the defense thin, thus allowing teams that run the ball in the red zone to succeed at a high level.

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3. Winners Dig The Short Score

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Rick Osentoski - USATODAY Sports

The team with the longest touchdown in a given game won only six times.

The best offenses rely on moving the chains, and while the big play will occasionally occur they don’t rely on it. Many bad teams will take repeated shots down the field hoping to connect on enough to keep the game competitive. I’m not suggesting that the game-breaking play is a bad thing, but it isn’t essential.

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2. Shelf Life of Running Backs

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Kyle Terada - USATODAY Sports

Only a quarter of the games last week saw both teams have the running back that started their season atop the depth chart lead them in rushing yards.

In fact, there were instances (five) in which a team was led by a non-running back. Even with the focus on safety, the running back position is a brutal one that takes a beating over the course of a 16-game season. Backup quarterbacks are important (just ask Green Bay Packers fans), but having multiple running backs is necessary.

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1. Better Late Than... Early?

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Chris Humphreys - USATODAY Sports

14 of the 16 winners last week scored in the final 3:24 of the first and/or second half.

Still think the impact of the two-minute drill is overrated? Obviously it is important to score in the other 51 minutes of the game, but there is something to be said for going into the locker room with momentum.


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