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NFL trends: Scoring at record clip; close games are the norm

Packers wide receiver Davante Adams makes a touchdown

Packers wide receiver Davante Adams makes a touchdown reception against 49ers cornerback Greg Mabin during a game Monday in Green Bay, Wis. Credit: AP/Mike Roemer

Giants fans might want to turn away from these stats, but NFL offenses are generally performing at historic levels through six weeks of the 2018 season.

The 1-5 Giants have struggled to score points, but most of the rest of the league is getting into the end zone with remarkable regularity. Some of the numbers:

  • Games are averaging 48.3 points, the highest in NFL history. Last year at this point, games averaged 44.4 points.
  •  The 4,489 points scored are the most ever through six weeks.
  •  Same with the 504 touchdowns scored and the 328 touchdown passes thrown.

Not only are most offenses scoring at a healthy clip, but games have been remarkably close.

  • 54 games have been decided by eight points or fewer – tied for the most in NFL history through six weeks.
  • 47 games have been decided by seven points or fewer, tied for the third-most in league history.
  • 28 games have been decided by three points or fewer, second-most ever.
  • 69 percent of all games have been within one score in the fourth quarter.

“People want to watch and attend close games,” NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said Tuesday after briefing NFL owners on the scoring trends this season.

McKay said several factors are at work with increased scoring.

“I think that the [increase in] illegal contact, defensive holding and the adjustments to the use of the head have put offenses in better position,” he said. “I think the way the young quarterbacks have played is different than the way we’re used to seeing. There are so many of them playing at such a high level that that’s probably added to [the scoring].”

McKay is also encouraged that NFL kickoffs won’t be eliminated anytime soon. Some NFL officials have expressed concern in recent months about the injury risk on kickoffs, and have raised the possibility of eliminating the play in future seasons.

The league saw a 13-percent reduction of concussions in the preseason, and no players suffered concussions during preseason games, down from three last season.

“I think kickoffs have been an integral part of the game and I think we need to keep them in the game if we can,” he said. “To me, it shouldn’t be about the elimination of plays, it should be about finding ways to keep them and make them safer, and I think we can do that.”

New York Sports