Sep 30, 2020 - Sports

NFL games are higher-scoring than ever

Chart: Axios Visuals
Chart: Axios Visuals

NFL teams have scored a combined 51 points per game through Week 3 (2,446 total points), demolishing the previous record of 47.7 ppg (2,287 total points) set in 2012.

By the numbers: Teams are also on pace to set the record for field goals made (1.70 per game, current record: 1.69), two-point conversions (0.30 attempts and 0.14 conversions per game, current records: 0.25 and 0.13) and receiving touch downs (1.79 per game, current record: 1.65).

Of note: Of the 33 weeks outlined in the chart above (Weeks 1–3 since 2010), Week 2 and Week 3 of this season are the only two to cross the 800 point threshold, with 853 and 835 points, respectively.

What they're saying: Possible reasons for this season's surge in points, according to former NFL GM and current XFL executive Randy Mueller:

  • Lack of crowd noise: With fans either prohibited or severely limited, QB's haven't had to rely on silent counts to communicate with their offensive tackles. Better protection = better offense.
  • Less holding: Through three weeks, there have been half as many offensive holding penalties (75) as the average across Weeks 1–3 in the past three years (156).
  • Offense ahead of defense: Teams were limited to seven-on-seven all summer, which benefited offenses — and the passing game, in particular — more than defenses. With no preseason reps, defensive units are mostly learning on the job.

The bottom line: The most points ever scored in a season was 11,987 in 2013. Through the first three weeks that year, teams put up 2,171 points. Through the first three weeks this year? 2,446 points.

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