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NFL

NFL Week 16: Making You the Smartest Fan in the Room

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Stats To Discuss This Weekend

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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.

The importance of pass catching running backs, big yardage quarterbacks, and back-to-back scores are all discussed here among much, much more.

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. Pass Catching Rushers

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Cary Edmondson - USATODAY Sports

Teams that saw their running back catch a touchdown pass won five of six games.

The rules of the game today dictate a pass heavy offense, making the short swing pass the equivalent to a running play. Running backs who can catch the ball add yet another dimension to the offense and spread the defense even thinner. The potential impact of such a skill set was on full display in Oakland as Jamaal Charles took three screen passes to the house on a day where he was inactive as a rusher (eight rushes for 20 yards).

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4. The 14-point Plateau

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Matthew Emmons - USATODAY Sports

Teams that scored 14-plus points in a single quarter went 12-3 in Week 15.

This may sound obvious, but five losing teams scored exactly 13 points in a single quarter. Use this statistic if your team has already scored seven points and is knocking on the door for a second touchdown.

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3. Backup Fantasy Studs

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Don McPeak - USATODAY Sports

Four quarterbacks who didn't start this season atop the depth chart threw for at least 381 yards last week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kirk Cousins, Matt Cassel, and Nick Foles all filled up the box score as it is obvious that the belief in backups has changed. Instead of limiting the offense and attempting to bleed the clock, offenses are employing more of a "what do we have to lose" philosophy.

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2. Stat Stuffing Losers

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Jeff Curry - USATODAY Sports

Six quarterbacks threw for at least 350 yards and lost!

In those six games, the winning quarterback averaged 273 passing yards while the loser averaged 380. Filling up the stat sheet is nice, but it isn't directly correlated with team success. Drew Brees was a good example this week, as his struggles early resulted in a deficit that forced the Saints to continue to throw the ball. Use this stat if a quarterback is racking up the fantasy points, but the real scoreboard isn't changing much.

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1. Back-to-Back Scores

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Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

The first team to record back-to-back scores won 13 of 16 games.

Notice it says "the first" and not "the only". Back-to-back scores could result in 4-16 points, but no matter how big or small, scoring twice in a row seems to greatly impact the confidence of a team. Many games saw both teams record unanswered scores, but the team that did so first won a much higher percentage of games. This is good news if your team settles for two field goals before the opponent scores.