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Sunday, December 26, 2010
Cards' dramatic win an NFC West exception

By Mike Sando

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:
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.