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Last year’s decision to increase the NFL playoff field to seven teams in each conference created an increased level of competition for the final spots and positioning. This year it seems to be building even bigger, as only three teams from each conference have little or no hope to reach the postseason. Furthermore, 13 AFC teams have from seven to 10 wins, as do eight in the NFC. Simply put, a lot is left to be determined in the final three weeks.
So what will separate the teams and clarify the playoff picture? It could be the same-season rematch games that will be played between divisional foes, so let’s examine some key trends and betting systems you should consider as you analyze these final three weeks.
Like any situational form of analysis, certain teams perform better than others in same-season rematches. And certain teams and coaches are better or worse at adjusting to opponents the second time around. Look at this chart, which details the same-season rematch records of all NFL teams from 2011 through Week 14.
Unsurprisingly, the teams that have generally been among the best in football over the last decade, such as the Patriots, Chiefs and Saints, are shown with the best records. Teams like the Jets, Jaguars and Browns have struggled in rematches the most. Use the chart and your own discretion over the next few weeks to spot opportunities to take advantage of these team tendencies.
In addition, I’ll point out some of the best information I found from my analysis of the rematch data. Here are 10 key tidbits I uncovered.
New Orleans is 19-6 ATS in its last 25 same-season rematch games.
Unfortunately, I didn’t write this report last week, when the Saints, who have been effective the second time around, took down the Buccaneers in dominant fashion Sunday night. This is really a feather in the cap of coach Sean Payton, who has led the franchise for the entire 25-game stretch. New Orleans will have games against Carolina in Week 17 and Atlanta in Week 18. If the Saints win both, it could lead to another playoff berth.
Las Vegas is 6-12 ATS in its last 18 same-season rematches on the road, outscored 26.8-13.7, but is 5-2 ATS in its last seven such contests at home.