Luck can come in different versions in an NFL game. Completing a game-winning Hail Mary into triple coverage takes a lot of luck but getting into position to get the ball off and throw the ball accurately takes a lot of skill.

That type of luck can change games, as can the results of fumbles and field goals. We looked at the teams that had been impacted both on the positive and negative side of fumble and field goal luck earlier in the season and it’s time to take an updated look at how that stands through 10 weeks of the 2020 NFL season.

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Fumble Recovery


  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Arizona Cardinals


  • Washington Football Team
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Tennessee Titans

When we last looked at fumble recovery luck, the Baltimore Ravens had the most fumble recoveries over expectation. Through 10 weeks they’re still among the best, ranked second. The Ravens have been among the luckiest offenses with just 5-of-17 fumbles recovered by opposing defenses, though many of those fumbles aren’t in high leverage situations in the open field. Fumbles as the result of bad snaps or failed QB-RB exchanges can more easily be recovered by the offense than the defense with fewer defenders around.

That reasoning can also help explain how good the Ravens are at recovering fumbles on defense. No defense has created more fumbles on defense than Baltimore’s 18 and they have recovered 10. When we last checked in on the Ravens, they had recovered five of six defensive fumbles so while the recovery rate has significantly dropped from 83.3% to 55.6% on the season, the Ravens are still a big plus because of the high volume of opportunities they create.

There hasn’t been a lot that has gone right for the Philadelphia Eagles this season, but fumble recoveries have been something that have gone their way. A lot has broken their way, especially on offense where they’re tied for the league-lead in fumbles with 18. However, they’ve lost just five of those fumbles which is three better than expected considering the league average fumble recovery rate. Five fumbles and recoveries have been on the quarterbacks. Carson Wentz has recovered three of his own fumbles and Jalen Hurts has two of his own.

On defense, the Eagles have been highly successful recovering 7-of-12 fumbles. That is another case where the defense has created them in high leverage areas in the open field and strip sacks from the likes of Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat

The Bills are a team that has greatly improved in fumble luck over the season on both sides of the ball. In our first look at this, Buffalo ranked 28th in net recoveries over expectation and now rank 16th with almost a completely neutral recovery rate. The “net” is important here because Buffalo has a huge split between the offense, where the Bills have recovered just 2-of-6 fumbles, and defense, where they’ve recovered 10-of-15. 

Field Goal Luck


  • Miami Dolphins
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • New York Giants
  • Houston Texans
  • Denver Broncos


  • Washington Football Team
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Philadelphia Eagles

Miami’s special teams unit has been able to make some splash plays with blocked punts and return touchdowns but no team has benefitted more on field goals than the Dolphins this season. Jason Sanders has been excellent in 2020 and the success of the 2018 seventh-round pick is an example of the volatility in kicker performance. Last season, Sanders hit on just 76.7% of his field goals but he’s 20-of-21 in 2020 with five hits on attempts of 50 or more yards. His lone miss was a 47-yard attempt against the Los Angeles Chargers this past week.

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins have benefitted from some iffy kicker play. Opponents have hit just 5-of-9 field goals against Miami with misses of 45, 48, 49, and 55 yards. They did have a 55-yard field goal convert against them in Week 4 but every other conversion has been within 40 yards.

As we noted when we looked at this earlier in the season, the ability to convert on field goals can be much more of a kicker skill and less reliant on luck. That’s why the Ravens continue to be among the best in converted field goals over expectation, thanks to Justin Tucker.

The Broncos are also a team to point out here after we highlighted them early in the year. Brandon McManus has still been great with just one miss on 19 field goal attempts this season. But Denver has not continued its luck with missed field goals against them. They got the gift of an erratic Stephon Gostowski in the season’s opening week but no other kicker has missed a field goal against the Broncos on 21 other attempts.

Detroit Lions games have featured self-inflicted wounds for years and that’s been no different on special teams. The Lions have one of the biggest splits among field goals for and against where they’ve been one of the luckiest teams on opposing field goal attempts (and while there are only two misses against them, they were short 43- and 32-yard kicks) and they haven’t been able to convert points themselves with six missed on 23 attempts. Three of those misses from Matt Prater were between 40-49 yards, though he did just hit a 59-yard game-winner as time expired against Washington in Week 10.

Washington has experienced its own field goal issues this season. Dustin Hopkins has missed 5-of-17 attempts with four coming inside of 50 yards. Meanwhile, only one field goal has been missed against Washington this year, a 53-yard attempt from Philadelphia’s Jake Elliott. The Washington defense, though, hasn’t allowed a lot of long field goal attempts. They’re ninth in both three-and-outs and punts forced per drive. A lot of those field goal attempts have come from good defense near their end zone with six attempts within 35 yards.