Numbers Game: Road Warriors and Playoff Pursuit

Numbers game, Tremaine Hill

A Giant Fall

As we watch the Giants begin to melt down in the second half of the season, I want you to remember what team we’re talking about here.  In the last 8 years, the Giants have played small in the season’s second half.  They were 4-4 in their last 8 games last year, and 3-5 the previous year.  Dating back to 2004 (Tom Coughlin’s first season in NY), the Giants are a combined 47-17 in their first 8 games of the season and are just 24-35 in their final 8 games.  This year, the Giants have started the second half of their season 0-3 and things don’t look to be getting any better.  The Giants only have 1 team left on their schedule with a losing record, and they’ll face 2 teams who currently are division leaders.

Giants 2nd half meltdowns under Tom Coughlin:

First Half of the season   |     2nd Half of the season

2011       6-2                                          0-3

2010       6-2                                          4-4

2009       5-3                                          3-5

2008       7-1                                          5-3

2007       6-2                                          4-4* (went on to win Super Bowl)

2006       6-2                                          2-6

2005       6-2                                          5-3

2004       5-3                                          1-7

TOTAL   47-17                                     24-35

Something to keep an eye on down the stretch

Arian Foster (AP)

As we come down the stretch of the 92nd NFL season, keep an eye on a few teams that could break significant playoff droughts.  Currently the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and Houston Texans all lead their respective divisions.  The Raiders and 49ers have not been to the playoffs since 2002 and the Texans haven’t gone since their franchise came into existence in 2002. If this holds true till the end of the season we can knock the Raiders, 49ers and Texans off the playoff drought list.

NFL Teams with the Longest Current Playoff Droughts 

Last Time made playoffs:    

Buffalo Bills                         1999

Detroit Lions                      1999

Oakland Raiders               2002

Houston Texans*             2002

San Francisco 49ers        2002

Cleveland Browns           2002

St. Louis Rams                   2004

Denver Broncos                2005

*Never made the playoffs

The Northeast Monster

Foxboro Stadium (AP)

If you read the headline, you would think I was talking about some mystical creature in a fairytale.  Well, it is mystical and it is somewhat of a fairytale.  What am I talking about, you ask?  It is Tom Brady, and the beast is what we Northeasterners like to call “Winter.”  Now to take a line from one of my favorite songs, “It never rains in sunny California.”  I wish I could say the same about the Northeast and its winters.  The farther up the Coastline you go on the East Coast, the worse the winters get. There’s rain, sleet, hail, dropping temperatures and snow.  So, where does Tom Brady come into this story?  It’s December now, and Northeastern teams with outdoor stadiums are out in the open elements.  For some reason that crisp air and cold winter chill seems to bring out the Beast in Tom Brady.  For his career, Tom Brady is 19-1 at home in the month of December.  If you told me that Tom Brady, a California boy, would lose just 1 career game in those elements, I would say that’s all a fairytale.  Now if that’s not mystical I don’t know what it is.

Road Warriors

Matthew Stafford (AP)

This season the Detroit Lions are 4-1 on the road.  That’s right people, 4-1.  They’ve lost 2 of their last 6 overall, but 3 of those 4 losses were at home.  The fact that the Lions are 4-1 on the road is quite astonishing considering that they combined for 4 wins on the road in the last 4 seasons!  The Lions were so bad on the road that during that 4 year span, they had lost 25 straight games before they got their 3rd win.  Eventually their losing ways would have to end, and the 2011 season was as good as any with so much hype and anticipation surrounding this team.

With 3 of their final 5 games on the road against teams leading their Divisions, the Lions have their hands full.  I believe the Lions are up to it considering they’re averaging 29 points per game on the road, which is more than they are averaging at home (28.5).  Matthew Stafford has thrown 11 TDs on the road, which is tied for fourth most in the NFL, and “Megatron” has 7 of his league-leading 12 touchdowns on the road.  If the Lions are to make the playoffs in 2011, they’ll need to be road warriors over the final 5 weeks.

Tremaine Hill is the lead Researcher for NFL Playbook.  Watch NFL Playbook: Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm ET only on NFL Network.

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