21 Oct 2007
With their 49-28 win today over Miami, the Pats have now won their first seven games by 17 points or more. Has any team in NFL history ever had a streak like this?
As far as I know, the answer is no. We have a database with the score of each game going back to 1983. No team in that database has seven straight wins of 17+ points. I went back and looked at some of the best NFL teams in history prior to 1983. None of those teams had seven straight wins of 17+ points.
Only four teams since 1983 had won even FIVE games in a row by 17+ points. Surprisingly, two of the four streaks include the postseason.
The 1986 Giants, for example, had five straight wins by 17+ points that ended up with a Super Bowl title.
Week 15: 27-7 over Arizona
Week 16: 55-24 over Green Bay
Playoffs Round 2: 49-3 over San Francisco
NFC Championship: 17-0 over Washington
Super Bowl: 39-20 over Denver
The 1996 Packers are another team that took their winning streak into the playoffs.
Week 15: 41-6 over Denver
Week 16: 31-3 over Detroit
Week 17: 38-10 over Minnesota
Playoffs Round 2: 35-14 over San Francisco
NFC Championship: 30-13 over Carolina
The 1999 Rams are the one team with six straight, and those wins also started the season.
Week 1: 27-10 over Baltimore
Week 3: 35-7 over Atlanta
Week 4: 38-10 over Cincinnati
Week 5: 42-20 over San Francisco
Week 6: 41-13 over Atlanta
Week 7: 34-3 over Cleveland
Finally, the 2005 Colts. This is the streak that famously "broke" the DVOA ratings because the Colts had such an easy schedule before their bye week.
Week 4: 31-10 over Tennessee
Week 5: 28-3 over San Francisco
Week 6: 45-28 over St. Louis
Week 7: 38-20 over Houston
Week 9: 40-21 over New England
ADDED 8:00pm EDT: Someone in the comments expressed the idea that "17" is an arbitrary number chosen to make the current Patriots look good. I suppose it is, so I went back and did this again, looking for teams winning by 14 or more points instead of 17.
The Patriots are the only team since 1983 to win seven straight games by 14+ points. The 2005 Colts, 1999 Rams, and 1996 Packers all have streaks of six wins by 14+ points.
Looking for teams with streaks of five wins by 14+ points, we add on the 1993 49ers (Weeks 8-13, and Week 14 they won by 13 points), the 1984 Dolphins (Weeks 6-10), and the 1984 Redskins (Weeks 3-7).
There are two teams since 1983 with EIGHT straight wins of 10+ points, the 1998 Vikings (Week 11-17, plus the second round of the playoffs) and the 1996 Packers (Week 13 through the Super Bowl). The Patriots are one of five teams with seven straight wins of 10+ points, along with those two, the 1999 Rams, and the 1997 Packers. Amazingly, no team from 1983-1995 had seven straight wins of 10+ points.
ADDED 11:30pm EDT: Chris "Mr. Data Parsing" Povirk did some scraping off NFL.com and I now have the scores prior to 1983. I can now look at all teams from 1970-1982.
No team from 1970-1982 has a seven-game streak of wins of 10 points or more, which of course also means no team from 1970-1982 has a seven-game streak of wins of 14 or 17. Add it to the previous data, and it means that no team from 1970-1995 managed seven straight wins of 10+ points, but five teams have done it since 1996.
No team from 1970-1982 has a six-game streak of wins of 17 or more. Only one team has a six-game streak of wins of 14 or more, the 1976 Baltimore Colts (Weeks 4-9).
49 comments, Last at 24 Oct 2007, 4:06am by Alex
One of the NFL's best receivers notched a -2.3% DVOA last year. Does a target-by-target breakdown show he was better than that?