TheSTN – NFL: Interconference Showdowns On Tap For Week 9

When it comes to AFC versus NFC, have things finally changed? The 16 NFC teams certainly hope so.
National Football Conference clubs have captured four of the past five Super Bowl titles, including each of the past three. And 2011 marked the first season since 1995 in which the NFC won more interconference games than the AFC (33-31, .516).

That turned around an AFC streak that lasted more than a decade with the AFC winning the interconference season series 15 years in a row (1996-2010). During that run, AFC teams posted a combined 515-418-3 (.552) record against the NFC.

Continuing their momentum of 2011, NFC clubs have posted a 20-12 record in interconference games this season, outscoring their AFC opponents by an 868-677 margin while maintaining a +21 turnover differential in those contests.

“You’ve just seen a switch in consistent play from the NFC, especially on defense,” says NFL Network analyst WILLIE  MC GINEST, who spent his entire career in the AFC with the New England Patriots (1994-2005) and Cleveland Browns (2006-08). “Being a defensive guy, it was always known for the AFC to be pretty physical, and now we’re seeing the NFC as a whole running the ball well and playing great defense.”

NFC clubs have indeed been effective running the football this season as the NFL’s top three rushing leaders all reside in the conference – ADRIAN PETERSON (775 yards) of Minnesota, MARSHAWN LYNCH (757) of Seattle and rookie ALFRED MORRIS (717) of Washington.

“It’s definitely been a surprise when you look at the past at how much the AFC had dominated the NFC, and now to see how much that has shifted,” says NFL Network analyst and former New York Giants center SHAUN O’HARA. “When you look at the conferences, the NFC seems to have a lot more high-powered offenses. It certainly seems to have transferred to wins.”

This season, five of the top seven teams in total yards per game are from the NFC

TEAM

YARDS/GAME

  TEAM

YARDS/GAME

New England

440.8

  New Orleans

388.6

Detroit

407.6

  Washington

387.4

Denver

405.4

  Dallas

383.3

N.Y. Giants

396.8

   

 

Week 9 will feature four interconference matchups, highlighted by the Giants (6-2) hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) on Sunday afternoon:

NFC TEAM AFC TEAM
Detroit Lions JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Chicago Bears TENNESSEE TITANS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers OAKLAND RAIDERS
NEW YORK GIANTS Pittsburgh Steelers

                                                Home team in CAPS

The Giants or the Steelers have appeared in five of the past seven Super Bowls, combining for four NFL championships during that span.

New York is 16-9 against the AFC during the regular season since 2006, the second-best mark among NFC clubs. Additionally, the Giants are 2-0 in Super Bowls against the AFC during that span, defeating New England in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

The NFC teams with the best interconference records since 2006:

TEAM RECORD WIN PCT.
Atlanta Falcons

19-9-0

.679

New York Giants*     

16-9-0

.640

New Orleans Saints   

16-11-0

.593

Chicago Bears*

15-11-0

.577

Philadelphia Eagles

15-11-1

.574

* Interconference game in Week 9
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