The big divisional round plaoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons is almost here. One of the things I like to do before playoff games is to look back at my advanced analysis rankings and compare the teams. This time, I thought I’d show you what I’m looking at.
Before we get to the number, I should tell you that I’ve eliminated a lot of the stuff that could have been in this table. For instance, the “offense” index is a composite of 4 offensive stats. The same is true for defense. The special teams index is the product of 8 different stats. Everything is weighted when combined based on the correlation the stat has to winning.
I also threw out a couple where the 2 teams were completely equal, just to keep this short. Lets take a look.
Def 3rd Down %
* Lower number is better for defense, since it means the defense gives up less yards per play.
What you can see is that Seattle is better in almost every way. They have the better offense, the better defense, and the better special teams.
In fact, looking at the numbers I was a little surprised to see the Falcons in the top 10. Their defense gives up more yards than their offense, and their special teams are bad. As a team, they are clearly being held up by their +13 turnover differential (which is the same as Seattle’s) and their 3rd down efficiency.
It’s that 3rd down efficiency where the Falcons have their only real advantage over the Seahawks. Their difference (offensive % – defense %) is +4.6, which is 8th in the NFL. In comparison, Seattle’s is only 1.8, which is 13th in the league. It might not seems like it, but that’s a big difference.
I’m still working on tuning the “power” number in my model so that it indicates what the score should be, (There’s just so much variance. I need another decade or 2 worth’s of data I think) but in it’s current form it suggests that the Seahawks should win this by about a touchdown if the game was on a neutral field. Home field sways that number by a field goal.
So the math roughly predicts the Seahawks will win by 4. I’ll take it.