Monday, January 15, 2007

NFL Playoff Fever

If you've been inclined to watch, the NFL playoff games have been excellent, thus far, and it seems likely this coming weekend will be no different.

In fact, the wild card and divisional playoff games this year boast the smallest margin of victory in at least the past five playoffs at just 7.25 points per game (I didn't look back any further than 2002). And the average margin of victory in this past weekend's divisional games was just over 4 points.

To compare, last year's average margin of victory in the first two rounds was 13, while in 2004 the margin was 14. And in the divisional rounds, when the competition is supposed to get tighter, the average margins in those years were 8.75 and 15.75, respectively.

Although conventional wisdom is that the real Super Bowl is being played this weekend in the AFC Championship game between New England and Indianapolis, based on what was displayed this regular season and in the playoffs up to this point, the showdown set for Dolphin Stadium next month is really anyone's game.

And, as it turns out, the last time playoff games were this close was in 2003, when the average margin of victory was 9.75 points per game in the wild card and divisional rounds. That also happens to be the only time the NFC team won the Super Bowl in the last six contests.

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