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NFL 2016: New NFL Season Brings Hope
Many close games and great comeback victories ... new teams making the playoffs and winning divisions ... records falling ... and so much more.
The NFL 2015 season was full of excitement, but that should be no surprise. Unpredictability is the norm in today's NFL.
Many close games and great comeback victories ... new teams making the playoffs and winning divisions ... records falling ... and so much more. "What people love about the NFL," says Saints Saints Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees, "is that every game, every week, no matter who is playing, anything can happen. So many games come down to that last possession."
The NFL is never short on surprises and the 2015 season was no different.
The 2015 season featured many exciting games with close finishes, as nearly 55 percent were decided by one score -- 140 of 256 games were decided by eight or fewer points, the most of any season since the NFL adopted the two-point conversion in 1994.
Comeback victories were also a trend. In 2015, there were 67 games in which the winning team trailed at some point in the fourth quarter, tied for the third-most such games in a single season in NFL history.
The 2016 season promises more of the same. Every team enters the new year with hope.
Four teams that missed the postseason in 2014 -- Chiefs (11-5), Vikings (10-5), Houston (9-7) and Washington (9-7) -- advanced to the 2015 playoffs. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.
The Redskins rebounded to win the NFC East division title after finishing in last place in 2014, which marked the 12th time in the past 13 seasons that one or more teams went from last or tied for last place to a division championship the following year.
NFL teams since 1990 to make the playoffs season after failing to qualify
|Season||Playoff Teams Not In Previous Season's Playoffs|
|1990||7 (Bengals, Bears, Chiefs, Raiders, Miami, Saints, Washington)|
|1991||5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Lions, Jets)|
|1992||6 (Miami, Vikings, Eagles, Steelers, San Diego, 49ers)|
|1993||5 (Denver, Lions, Packers, Raiders, Giants)|
|1994||5 (Bears, Browns, Miami, Patriots, San Diego)|
|1995||4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Colts, Eagles)|
|1996||5 (Carolina, Denver, Jaguars, Vikings, Patriots)|
|1997||5 (Lions, Chiefs, Miami, Giants, Tampa Bay)|
|1998||5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, Jets)|
|1999||7 (Lions, Colts, Rams, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Titans, Washington)|
|2000||6 (Ravens, Denver, Saints, Giants, Oakland, Eagles)|
|2001||6 (Bears, Packers, Patriots, Jets, Steelers, 49ers)|
|2002||5 (Atlanta, Browns, Colts, Giants, Titans)|
|2003||8 (Ravens, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Chiefs, Patriots, Rams, Seattle)|
|2004||5 (Atlanta, Vikings, Jets, Steelers, San Diego)|
|2005||7 (Carolina, Bears, Bengals, Jaguars, Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)|
|2006||7 (Ravens, Dallas, Chiefs, Saints, Jets, Eagles, San Diego)|
|2007||6 (Packers, Jaguars, Steelers, Tampa Bay, Titans, Washington)|
|2008||7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Ravens, Carolina, Miami, Vikings, Eagles)|
|2009||6 (Bengals, Dallas, Packers, Patriots, Saints, Jets)|
|2010||5 (Atlanta, Bears, Chiefs, Steelers, Seattle)|
|2011||6 (Bengals, Denver, Lions, Houston, Giants, 49ers)|
|2012||4 (Colts, Vikings, Seattle, Washington)|
|2013||5 (Carolina, Chiefs, Saints, Eagles, San Diego)|
|2014||5 (Arizona, Ravens, Dallas, Lions, Steelers)|
|2015||4 (Houston, Chiefs, Vikings, Washington)|
The NFL is So Unpredictable
Nothing exhibits the unpredictability of the NFL more than close games.
Games continued to be thisclose. In 2015, 131 of 256 games (51.2 percent) were decided by seven points or fewer, the most of any season in NFL history.
Most Games Decided By Seven or Fewer Points
Last season, 140 of 256 games (54.7 percent) were decided by eight points or fewer, the most since the NFL adopted the two-point conversion in 1994.
Games Decided By One Score In 2015
|8 or Fewer||140 of 256||54.7%|
|7 or Fewer||131 of 256||51.2%|
|3 or Fewer||59 of 256||23.0%|
Sixty-eight percent of games (174 of 256) in 2015 were within one score in the fourth quarter. The 174 such games are tied for the third-most of any season in NFL history.
Most Games Within One Score In Fourth Quarter