Cards' dramatic win an NFC West exception

ST. LOUIS -- Let there be no doubt about the 2010 Seattle Seahawks.

Their final scores this season average an NFL-high 17.7-point differential. That includes 13.7 points per game when they win and a league-high 20.8 points per game when they lose.

That comes as no surprise to anyone following the NFC West closely this season. All four teams in the division rank among the NFL's top 15 in average differential regardless of outcome, even though Arizona pulled out a one-point victory against Dallas on Saturday.

The Cardinals rank eighth in average outcome differential at 13.7 points per game. The San Francisco 49ers are ninth at 13.0 points per game. The St. Louis Rams are 15th with an 11.2-point differential on average.

The chart ranks every team in the league by average point differential regardless of outcome. It also shows the average margins for victories and defeats. A few notes:

  • San Diego (21.4), Tennessee (18.3), Oakland (17.0), Green Bay (16.6) and the New York Giants (16.1) own the largest average margins of victory. All but the Titans have posted lopsided victories against an NFC West team this season.

  • Washington (4.0), Carolina (5.0), Cincinnati (6.7), Miami (7.4), Buffalo (7.5) and Tampa Bay (7.5) own the smallest average margins of victory even though the Bucs won by 21 against the 49ers.

  • Seattle (20.8), Jacksonville (18.8), New England (17.0), Arizona (16.0) and Carolina (15.5) own the largest average margins of defeat.

  • Green Bay (3.3), Baltimore (4.0), Cleveland (6.6), San Diego (7.2) and Indianapolis (7.2) own the smallest average margins of defeat.

  • Average margin of victory by division: AFC West 16.4, NFC North 12.5, NFC West 11.2, AFC South 11.2, NFC East 11.1, AFC East 10.6, AFC North 10.0, NFC South 9.8.

  • Average margin of defeat by division: NFC West 15.6, NFC South 12.9, AFC West 12.9, AFC East 11.9, AFC South 11.1, NFC East 10.5, NFC North 9.1, AFC North 7.4.

I calculated the numbers by doing what most people only wish they were doing Christmas night: exporting to Excel game scores available on Pro Football Reference. I then checked several teams' scores by hand to make sure the numbers checked out. They did.

Note: Chicago's average overall margins were slightly higher than overall margins for the three teams listed immediately beneath them on the chart. All four numbers rounded to 10.6.

2010 NFL Average Scoring Margins: Through Dec. 25