Sports | December 21, 2022 11:47 am

Think NFL Games Have Been Closer This Season? You’re Right.

Through 15 weeks, the NFL has had more one-possession games than ever before

Harrison Butker of the Chiefs kicks a field goal in OT against the Texans.
Plenty NFL games are coming down to field goals this season.
Bob Levey/Getty

With three weeks left to play in the National Football League’s regular season, only six of the league’s 14 postseason spots have been locked up and just three of the league’s eight divisions have been clinched.

There is much left to be decided this season and odds are things are going to come down to the wire…the same way they have throughout the season as NFL games haven been closer than ever before in what has been the most competitive campaign in league history.

That’s not just hyperbole. The NFL has seen 133 games decided by eight points or fewer so far this season, the most one-possession games through 15 weeks in league history. So far, the Vikings, who pulled off the biggest comeback in league history in Week 15 against the Colts, have been the kings of close as Minnesota is a league-best 10-0 in one-possession contests. The Vikes are just the third team ever to win 10 games within a single season by eight points or fewer.

Minnesota came back from 33 points to beat Indy in Week 15 before both the Bengals and Jaguars rallied from 17 points down to beat the Bucs and Cowboys, respectively. Never in a single week in the 103-year history of the NFL had three teams come back from deficits of 17-or-more points to win.

This season, no lead is safe in the NFL as games are closer than ever before. If you’re still not convinced, these numbers prove it:

  • 71: Games this season in which a team has come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter, the most through the first 15 weeks of a season all-time.
  • 56: Games this season decided by a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, the most through the first 15 weeks of a season all-time.
  • 44: Games this season in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win or tie, the most through the first 15 weeks of a season all-time.
  • 7: Teams last week that recorded a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, tied for the most in a single week all-time.
  • 6: Teams last week that won after erasing fourth-quarter deficits.

As those numbers bear out, parity is running rampant this season and fans of the “any given Sunday” theory should be pleasantly surprised as it appears the Super Bowl is truly up for grabs, again. Fans of placing wagers should also be pleased as underdogs have been busting books since Week 1. That didn’t stop in Week 15.

Bring on Week 16.