NFL ENTERS WEEK 8 AS 2018 SEASON APPROACHES MIDPOINT

As the season approaches the halfway point, the standings remain tight throughout the league as teams close out the month of October. Entering Week 8, there are 18 teams with a .500 or better winning percentage and 14 clubs with a winning record. Since 1990, 297 of the league’s 336 playoff teams (88 percent) had a winning record through seven games.

Through the first seven weeks of the season, 25 teams have at least three wins. Five teams – KANSAS CITY (6-1), the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-2), the LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-0), NEW ENGLAND (5-2) and NEW ORLEANS (5-1) – have at least five wins this season. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 80 percent (205 of 256) of the previous teams to start 5-2 or better advanced to the postseason, including eight of the nine teams to begin the season 5-2 or better in 2017.

A slow start, however, does not mean that hope is gone. There have been 39 teams since 1990 with a .500 or lower record after seven games to advance to the postseason.

The Rams, who are 7-0 for the first time since 1985, lead the league in point differential (+107), rank third averaging 33.6 points per game and fourth in points allowed per game (18.3). Los Angeles running back TODD GURLEY, who scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in Week 7, leads the NFL with 14 touchdowns this season and is the third different player in NFL history with at least 14 touchdowns in his team’s first seven games to start a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN (15 in 1958) and PRIEST HOLMES (14 in 2002 and 14 in 2004). Defensively, Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD leads the league with eight sacks and is one of three players in the NFL with at least 10 tackles for loss in 2018 (10).

The NFL enters Week 8 following another exciting weekend of action. Through the first seven weeks of the season, 61 games have been decided by one score, the second-most in NFL history through Week 7 (62 games in 2012), including seven such games last week. Thirty-three of those games have been decided by three or fewer points, the second-most in NFL history through Week 7 (39 games in 1999), including five such games last week. At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first seven weeks of the 2018 season, marking the first time since the regular-season overtime rule was instituted