Fear the Ravens

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 03, 2007



Baltimore is the team to beat in the postseason.
 
That's the lesson we learned by looking at the cumulative results of our year-end Quality Stats.
 
It's an important finding: As we reported at the start of the season, each of our proprietary stats are "Quality Stats" because each has a direct correlation to winning football games. Proof was provided throughout the course of the 2006 season: You could have picked the winner of any NFL game better than 50 percent of the time simply by looking at any one of our individual Quality Stats – completely in a vacuum. That is, by taking NO OTHER FACTORS into account, other than a single Quality Stat.
 
That's powerful stuff.
 
Our Scoreability Index, for example, which measures a team's efficiency at scoring points, predicted winners with better than 58 percent accuracy, tops among all of our individual Quality Stats. This spreadsheet here breaks down how each Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stat fared predicting winners over the course of the season. As we said, all topped 50 percent, and most topped 60 percent in home games.
 
Below is a look at how each playoff team stacks up based upon their average ranking in our six Quality Stats. If you want to see how all 32 teams stack up, you can peruse this sortable Excel spreadsheet here.
 
2006 playoff team rankings in each Quality Stat
Team
Avg.
Baltimore
1
8
1
7
7
1
4.2
New England
2
12
2
4
4
4
4.7
San Diego
11
6
13
1
1
5
6.2
Chicago
3
14
3
2
15(t)
9
7.7
Philadelphia
6
3
12
14
8(t)
18
10.2
New Orleans
23
2
17
13
5(t)
16
12.7
Dallas
20
4
24
3
15(t)
11
12.8
Indianapolis
15
1
23
5
11(t)
29(t)
14.0
N.Y. Jets
12
16
4
15
22
19(t)
14.7
Kansas City
18
13
8
17
19
19(t)
15.7
N.Y. Giants
14
23
19
10
8
21(t)
15.8
Seattle
26
25
15
12
25(t)
22
20.8
 
This chart offers a few important findings:
 
Baltimore is scary tough
The Ravens are way down in the Hype-O-Meter. But fear not, our fine-feathered friends in Baltimore. Your team is No. 1 in exactly half of our six Quality Stats. We'd trade the Hype-O-Meter for our Quality Stats any day of the week.
 
And the best part? Baltimore ranks no worse than eighth in any one of our stats. 
 
This is a HUGE factor in Baltimore's favor. As the Cold, Hard Football Facts have long noted, it's not necessarily important in the NFL to be strong in one area. It's more important to have no weaknesses. And the Ravens define a team with no weaknesses.
 
New England continues to make fools of the "pundits"
The gloom and doom about the Patriots that plagued the Boston media this season looks foolish ... as usual. Again, the Patriots fielded a team that is incredibly strong across the board – a situation you might expect for an organization that posted the stingiest defense (14.8 PPG), second-greatest scoring differential (+148) and third-most wins (12) in 47 seasons of franchise history. But the Patriots are only slightly above average in Passing Yards Per Attempt ... adding some fuel to the foolish fire that you need wide receivers to win football games.
 
We'll wait for the New England passing game to collapse in a playoff game before we declare it an Achilles' heel. You know ... we'll wait for some evidence before pulling a Mike Nifong and jumping to a verdict.
 
The NFC West is the biggest punch line in a joke of a conference
Seattle ranks well within the lower half of four of our six Quality Stats, and barely cracked the top half in the other two categories. The fact that this 9-7 squad found its way into the postseason is a tribute to the gridiron-God-awful futility of the NFC and, in particular, of the NFC West.
 
We're more afraid of the SEC West.
 
The Chiefs, Giants and Seahawks are pathetic postseason cannon fodder
As we stated in our early looks at both the AFC and the NFC, these teams simply do not stack up as solid postseason contenders. One, and likely all, will suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of a true postseason power before it's all said and done. And it will probably be all said and done for each team this weekend.

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