By the Numbers: A Comparison Week to Week of the 2015 and 2016 NFL Seasons

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This Sunday means more than just football. It is the fifteenth anniversary of the infamous September 11th tragedy across the United States. However, as we Americans band together for the competitive events that will pit our favorite teams against each other, we also look to the future as well as the past.

Let’s take a retrospective glance back at Week One of the 2015 NFL regular season and compare it to the games that have been fought thus far this year. As there are still several being played and some that won’t be over until Monday night rolls around, this post will be amended and edited a little over the span of the next few days.

Between the dates of September 10 and September 14, 2015, sixteen regular season games were played, beginning with a tense matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots on Thursday.The Patriots won that matchup by a touchdown.

Sunday saw some close games decided by a touchdown or less as the Dolphins bested the Redskins by 7, the Chiefs beat the Texans by a touchdown, the Rams outlasted the Seahawks by a field goal, the Chargers held on for a five point win over the Lions, the future Super Bowl 50 champions in Denver beat the Ravens by 6, Dallas held their ground against the Giants and came out on top by 1, and the Falcons beat the Eagles by 2 on Monday.

The first week also saw some one-sided matchups such as the Bills blitzing the Colts 27-14, Jets hammering the Browns 31-10, Panthers over the Jaguars 20-9, Packers over the Bears 31-23, Cardinals beating the Saints 31-19, Bengals steaming the Raiders by 20 points, the 49ers holding the Vikings to only 3 points, and the Marcus Mariota roadshow taking off for 42 points in a 28 point margin over the Buccaneers.

Now let’s flash forward to the present, where several games are still being played and a couple more have yet to transpire.

On September 8, 2016 the reigning Super Bowl champions in Denver managed to eek out a 1 point victory over the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl 50 rematch. With that competitive start it is no surprise that several other games have been close as well. The Packers only held on to beat Jacksonville by 4. The Chiefs made a successful fourth quarter and overtime comeback to beat the Chargers by 6. The Oakland Raiders made their fourth quarter comeback to win on a two point conversion against the Saints by 1. The Bengals used AJ Green and Jets mishaps to hold on for a 23-22 victory. The Ravens engaged the Bills and held on fort a 13-7 defensive win.

There have also been a few higher scoring games to throw in the mix as well. Carson Wentz made his debut and led the Eagles to a 29-10 victory over the Browns. The Vikings’ defense led the way to a 25-16 victory over the Titans. Houston beat Chicago 23-14. Jameis Winston led the Buccaneers to a similar finish to the one Marcus Mariota had against the Bucs last season, this week against the Falcons with four touchdowns in a 31-24 win.

As of right now, the Pats and Cardinals have yet to play, and Monday will see the Steelers v Redskins and Rams v 49ers. The Seahawks and Dolphins have thus far been unimpressive and the Lions are demolishing the Colts. The Giants and Cowboys make their week one rematch and are thus far in close contention for the W.

EDIT 9/15/16:

Wow. What a first week back. Now that we’ve come to the second week of NFL-level football play, let’s go ahead and round out Week One’s discussion.

The Patriots proved they could still swim and not sink against one of the best returning teams from last season, even without all of their usual firepower in Brady, Gronk, and other players. They outlasted the Cardinals 23-21 on Sunday night. Monday was not daunted by the tight games of the weekend and ushered in two high scoring, one-sided affairs. The Steelers took a big win home against the Redskins largely thanks to the work in the air with Antonio Brown and on the ground with Deangelo Williams, winning 38-16. Meanwhile the 49ers won the grudge match and shutout the new LA Rams 28-0.

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