What Is Causing All These NFL Upsets & Is It A Good Thing? [Poll]
In the National Football League in 2021, anyone can beat anyone any week (except for the Detroit Lions, but even they've come close a couple times!). It's a fact we've been reminded of week in and week out this season, with the latest example coming last night in the first game of week 10, as the Miami Dolphins stunned the Baltimore Ravens by a 22-10 final score.
Since the start of week seven alone there have been 18 betting upsets among the 43 games played. That means that 42% of the time, the underdog has come out victorious. We are literally approaching a coinflip proposition when it comes to picking NFL games.
So why is this the case? Has the league finally mastered what it's always wanted - parity across the board? While that may be the easy answer, there are a few other factors at play.
If you've watched games closely this season, you may have noticed an uptick in the yellow hankies on the field. According to a New York Times article published Wednesday, officials are calling 0.56 roughing the passer calls per game, the highest clip in league history. Often times, these calls can be drive-altering and give a team a second wind.
Defensive pass interference is also being called at a record pace to the tune of 1.18 times per game. Plus, the league has cracked down on taunting penalties this season, which has given the refs another opportunity to punish teams for seemingly minor infractions.
One other reason that could be contributing to the surprising scores is that teams now attempt fourth down conversions almost three times more than they did just five years ago (1.42 per game in 2021 to 0.57 per game in 2017).
And of course, playing a season with the presence of COVID-19 on a week-to-week basis can also act as the greatest equalizer, should teams lose a crucial player in the days leading up to a game.
Whatever the case may be, are you enjoying the upset-filled Sunday's?