The return of the race as the NFL season reaches its midpoint

MEXICO CITY.- As the schedule heads into November, close games and resurgent teams have stood out in the first two months of the 2022 season. This year’s average final point margin (9.52) is the lowest ever. through the first eight weeks of a season since 1970, and 55 games were decided by a touchdown (six points or fewer), the most such performances through the eighth week in NFL history.

Entering week nine, each conference has four teams currently in playoff spots having missed the postseason a year ago: BALTIMORE (5-3), LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-3), MIAMI (5-3) and NEW YORK JETS (5-3) in the AFC, and ATLANTA (4-4), MINNESOTA (6-1), NEW YORK GIANTS (6-2) and SEATTLE (5-3) in the NFC.

Seventeen teams are .500 or better and 26 teams have at least three wins this season, tying the 2018 season for the fourth-most teams with at least three wins through the first eight weeks of a season in the history. Only in 2017 (27 teams), 2016 (27) and 2012 (27) did they have more.

All 11 starters entering Week 8…

1. SUCCESSFUL HAULING. The 2022 season has the highest average rushing yards per attempt (4.54) through the eighth week since 1970, and there has been an average of 240.7 rushing yards per game, the most through the first eight weeks for a season since 1987 (243.7). Since 1970, there have been 17 times a player has averaged more than six yards per rush attempt (minimum 75 attempts) through the first eight weeks of a season, four of which are in 2022: LAMAR JACKSON, from Baltimore (7.37 yards per carry attempt); TONY POLLARD, of Dallas (6.25); TRAVIS ETIENNE, of Jacksonville (6.21); and KHALIL HERBERT, from Chicago (6.19). Of the players with at least 75 rushing attempts, Jackson’s 7.37 yards per rushing attempt is the highest average through the eighth week since the merger.

CHICAGO BEARS leads the league with 188.4 rushing yards per game this season, the third-highest average rushing yards by a team through its first eight games of a season since 1990, behind only the ATLANTA FALCONS in 2006 (205.1 rushing yards per game). game) and BALTIMORE RAVENS in 2019 (204.9).

The Bears can join the 1976 PITTSBURGH STEELERS (weeks 7-10) as the only teams in the Super Bowl era with at least 225 rushing yards in four straight games, and the first team since the 1978 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (weeks 12-10). 15) with at least 200 rushing yards in four straight games.

2. WEEK NUMBER – 136. The Monday Night Football classic between BALTIMORE (5-3) and NEW ORLEANS (3-5) will be the 136th game played this season, officially marking the midpoint of the schedule. of the 2022 NFL.

3. NOTE THAT IT MATTER. Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY has 99,836 career passing yards, including postseason, and needs 164 to become the first player in NFL history with 100,000 career passing yards. Brady has the most regular season passing yards (86,787) and postseason passing yards (13,049) in history, and has led the NFL in passing yards four times (2005, 2007, 2017 and 2021) during his 23 years. of race.

The meeting between LOS ANGELES RAMS (Super Bowl LVI champion) and TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (Super Bowl LV champion) on Sunday marks the 27th time in the Super Bowl era, and the eighth time in the past 20 seasons, that the two Most recent Super Bowl winners are in the regular season. The team that won the most recent Super Bowl won six of the previous seven matchups.

4. UNDER THE SPOTLIGHTS – INDIVIDUAL CONFRONTATION. MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-3), a winner of two straight games, is led by wide receivers TYREEK HILL and JAYLEN WADDLE, who have set a historic pace through the first eight weeks. Hill, who leads the league this season in both receptions (69) and receiving yards (961), and Waddle, who ranks fourth in receiving yards (727), combined for the most receiving yards (1,688) by a pair of teammates through their first eight games of a season in the Super Bowl era.

Hill and Waddle each have four games with at least 100 receiving yards this season, including three games in which they both topped the 100-yard mark. On Sunday in Chicago, the duo can overtake Hall of Famer ISAAC BRUCE and the 2000 St. Louis Rams’ TORRY HOLT (1,878 receiving yards) for the most combined receiving yards by teammates throughout of his team’s first nine games in a season in the Super Bowl era.

Hill, who has at least 150 receiving yards in four games this season, can surpass Bruce (1,073 receiving yards in 1995) for the most receiving yards by a player in his team’s first nine games of a season in the It was from the Super Bowl. Hill and Waddle can also become the sixth pair of teammates with each receiving at least 800 yards in their team’s first nine games in history.

5. UNDER THE SPOTLIGHTS – TEAM SHOWDOWN. The TENNESSEE TITANS (5-2) visit the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-2) in the Sunday Night Football classic in a matchup between teams that lead their respective divisions.

The Titans enter Week 9 on a five-game winning streak, the longest active winning streak in the AFC, after starting the season 0-2. Last week, running back DERRICK HENRY posted his sixth career game with at least 200 rushing yards, tying ADRIAN PETERSON (six) and Hall of Famer OJ SIMPSON (six) for the most such performances. in NFL history. Including postseason play, he has 557 rushing yards (111.4 per game) and six rushing touchdowns in his five career games against Kansas City.

Chiefs are coming off a week eight bye having won three of their last four games, with those four opposing teams reaching the postseason in 2021. Head coach ANDY REID is 20-3 in his career after the week of his team’s bye, and Kansas City has won nine straight in November since Week 11 of the 2019 season. Quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL this season with 20 touchdown passes and ranks second in passing yards per game (308.4). and passer rating (109.5).

6. TALKING STREAKS. Philadelphia quarterback JALEN HURTS, who turned 24 in August, has won each of his last 10 games as the starting quarterback, including his last three starts of the 2021 season, and is the seventh-youngest QB in the Super Bowl era to win 10 consecutive starts.

With a victory in the Thursday Night Football classic in Houston, he can match Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (11-game winning streak in 1999) and DAK PRESCOTT (11 in 2016) for the third-longest winning streak of a starting quarterback under 25 since 1990, trailing only BEN ROETHLISBERGER (15-game winning streak from 2004-05) and LAMAR JACKSON (13-game winning streak in 2019-20).

Hurts can also become the third quarterback under 25 to start and win each of his team’s first eight games of a season since 1950, joining Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (1984 with Miami) and JARED GOFF (2018 with Los Angeles Rams).

7. DID YOU KNOW? Through seven games this season, Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN has totaled 2,198 passing yards and 306 rushing yards, leading all players with 357.7 combined passing and rushing yards per game. His 2,504 combined passing and rushing yards in 2022 are second only to Hall of Famers PEYTON MANNING (2,542 combined yards in 2013) and DREW BREES (2,512 in 2011) for most combined yards by a quarterback. in their first seven games of a season. BUFFALO BILLS (6-1) travels to MetLife Stadium on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to face the NEW YORK JETS (5-3).

8. HISTORY UNDER THE RADAR. There are three head coaches in their first season with a team — Miami’s MIKE MCDANIEL; KEVIN O’CONNELL of Minnesota; and BRIAN DABOLL of the New York Giants – and four head coaches in their second year – ARTHUR SMITH of Atlanta; BRANDON STALEY of the Los Angeles Chargers; ROBERT SALEH of the New York Jets and NICK SIRIANNI of Philadelphia – who currently have their club in playoff position.

There have only been two seasons in which three first-year head coaches qualified for the postseason in the same year – 2008 (JOHN HARBAUGH, MIKE SMITH and TONY SPARANO) and 1992 (Hall of Famers BILL COWHER, DANNY GREEN and BOBBY ROSS) – while the most first- and second-year head coaches to make the playoffs in the same season is five, set in 2008 (MIKE TOMLIN and KEN WHISENHUNT in their second seasons).

When the Vikings visit the Washington Commanders on Sunday, O’Connell can become the fifth head coach since 2000 to win seven of his first eight games, joining JIM CALDWELL (2009), JIM HARBAUGH (2011), MATT LAFLEUR (2019 ) and MIKE MARTZ (2000).

9. TREND. There have been 55 games this season with a lead change in the third period or later, including at least four games in each of the first eight weeks. There were 37 games in which a team came back to win or draw from trailing in the final period in 2022, tying with 2021 (37) and 1989 (37) for the third-most such performances through the eighth week in NFL history, trailing only 2016 (38) and 2012 (38).

10. THIS WEEK IN NFL HISTORY. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-4-1) visit the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (4-4) on Sunday. The two clubs met in the ninth week in four consecutive seasons in the 2005-08 span, with the Colts earning three prime-time wins and the Patriots’ only win during their undefeated 2007 regular season. Monday Night Football of the ninth week of the 2005 season, the Hall of Fame trio of PEYTON MANNING (321 yards and three touchdown passes), EDGERRIN JAMES (104 rushing yards and one touchdown) and MARVIN HARRISON (nine receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns), as well as REGGIE WAYNE (nine receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown) all had standout performances.

11. AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST. The BALTIMORE RAVENS have led by at least 10 points in each of their first eight games of the season. In the Monday Night Football Classic, in New Orleans, they can become the fifth team in the Super Bowl era to lead by 10 points in each of their first nine games of the season, joining GREEN 2011 BAY PACKERS, 2009 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 1989 NEW YORK GIANTS and 1984 MIAMI DOLPHINS.



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The return of the race as the NFL season reaches its midpoint