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More division wins than non-division wins

by Chase Stuart on April 5, 2013

in Checkdowns, Data Dump

The Rams finished with the best division record in the NFC West last year at 4-1-1, but St. Louis went only 3-7 in games against non-NFC West opponents. The Jaguars were 0-10 in non-division games last season, but beat both the Colts and Titans to finish 2-4 against the AFC South. Since the merger, three teams have won six more games against division rivals than against non-division opponents. Two of those teams did so in 1998, when the Cowboys went 10-6 thanks to a 8-0 record against the NFC East and a 2-6 mark against the rest of the league (in the playoffs that year, Dallas lost to an NFC East team, a choke that was presumably not Tony Romo’s fault). Over in the AFC, the Titans finished 7-1 against the AFC Central and 1-7 against the rest of the NFL. Technically, the ’82 Dolphins went 7-1 against the AFC East and 0-1 against Tampa Bay during the strike-shortened season, so they fit the criteria, too.

In the new eight-division, four-teams-per-division format, each team plays six games against division opponents and 10 games against non-division opponents. The table below shows all teams since 2002 that won more at least 1.5 more games against division rivals than non-division opponents:

Year
Tm
Division
DIV W
NDIV W
Diff
2010OAKAFC West624
2008ARINFC West633
2006ARINFC West413
2008SDGAFC West532
2012JAXAFC South202
2011PHINFC East532
2011INDAFC South202
2010SFONFC West422
2009SFONFC West532
2009CINAFC North642
2008GNBNFC North422
2008SEANFC West312
2008KANAFC West202
2006CARNFC South532
2006GNBNFC North532
2004SFONFC West202
2002MINNFC North422
2004STLNFC West532
2012STLNFC West4.531.5
2002PITAFC North64.51.5

Last year, the Falcons pulled off the reverse feat. They went 10-0 in non-division games but only 3-3 (and were outscored) in games against their NFC South foes. Both the Seahawks and 49ers also lost more games in the division than out of it, a sign of how strong the NFC West was last year. The table below shows all teams since 20002 with more losses against non-division opponents than against division rivals:

Year
Tm
Division
DIV L
NDIV L
Diff
2012ATLNFC South303
2007JAXAFC South413
2009HOUAFC South523
2008BUFAFC East633
2006INDAFC South312
2010KANAFC West422
2007HOUAFC South532
2005PHINFC East642
2008PHINFC East42.51.5
2009NORNFC South211
2009NYJAFC East431
2012SEANFC West321
2007GNBNFC North211
2004PITAFC North101
2011CINAFC North431
2009PITAFC North431
2008TENAFC South211
2008ATLNFC South321
2007DALNFC East211
2006DALNFC East431
2004JAXAFC South431
2002MIAAFC East431
2002CARNFC South541
2002WASNFC East541
2012SFONFC West2.520.5

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