Tag:NFL Playoffs
Posted on: January 15, 2010 3:36 am
Edited on: January 15, 2010 3:39 am
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Projections of NFL playoffs, Divisional Round

Using the formula I've used for the power rankings and ratings all year proves problematic in the playoffs, as some of the results can be misleading due to some teams resting their starters for the last two games, or other teams playing the other teams backups because they were resting starters.  Despite these factors, there's very little impact one or two games at the most have on the overall rating, so these should continue to reasonably reflect projected outcomes.  Note the ratings below include playoff games already played.

That being said, on with the analyses and projections . . .

Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

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  • Rk     Team              Pow Rat     Off Rat     Def Rat     Pow HFA     Off HFA     Def HFA
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    02     Colts            8.33         5.85         -2.48        -1.64        -2.22        -0.58
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    07    Ravens           6.72         1.53         -5.19        2.30         1.51         -0.79
  • Record Index:  The Colts were the top team in the NFL in this category, with a gross index of 14/16 - 0.5 = 0.38, with a strength of schedule adjustment of -0.02 reducing this to 0.36.  The Ravens were only 9th, with a net index of 0.10 (0.09 gross + 0.01 SOS).  The Colts were 1.90 standard deviations above average, the Ravens only 0.53 (still good, but the Colts were excellent).  Indy might just barely win, but they still win, bottom line.
  • Margin Index:  The Ravens enjoy a perhaps surprising advantage here, and were 3rd in the NFL with a net index of 8.72 (8.76 gross - 0.04 SOS).  The Colts penchant for winning close games (as well as losing a couple of blowouts with their backups) haunts them here, they only hold a 5.93 net index (6.81 gross - 0.88 SOS), 8th in the NFL.  Baltimore is 1.20 StDev's above average, the Colts 0.82.  Somewhat contrary to the Colts' pattern, Baltimore tends to blow out weaker opposition (New England notwithstanding) while losing narrowly to superior opponents.  It is extremely rare for a team with such a high margin differential to have a relatively mediocre record.
  • Trended Record Index:  The Colts' resting starters hurts them here, but not by that much; they are still 2nd in the NFL with a net index of 0.29 (0.27 gross + 0.02 SOS).  The Ravens' net index of 0.12 (0.11 gross + 0.01 SOS) was 9th in the NFL.  This is another Colt advantage, with Indy 1.48 StDev's above average, and the Ravens 0.59 StDev's.  These can be attributed to Indy's now infamous decision, and the Ravens playing more or less at the same level from the beginning of the season to the end.
  • Trended Margin Index:  Here the Ravens' strength coincides with the Colts' weakness.  Baltimore (ranked 2nd) has a net index of 10.00 (9.64 gross + 0.36 SOS) compared to only a net of 2.54 (2.87 gross - 0.33 SOS) for the Colts (ranked 12th).  The StDev's are 1.34 for Baltimore, 0.34 for Indianapolis.
  • Indianapolis averages 1.13 StDev's among the four scores, with Baltimore averaging 0.91 - good, solid teams, but not ranking among the all-time teams (at least not just yet.)  By way of comparison, the 1985 Chicago Bears, the top team in the modern era by this rating system, were 2.76 StDev's.
  • Projected score (retaining fractions) is Indianapolis 22.13, Ravens 17.30, or favoring the Colts to win 63.85% of the time.

New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

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    Rk     Team              Pow Rat     Off Rat     Def Rat     Pow HFA     Off HFA     Def HFA
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    01     Chargers        10.27        7.93         -2.34        -3.82        -1.41        2.41
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    05     Jets              7.92         0.92         -7.01        -7.07        -4.56        2.51
  • Record Index:  The Chargers are #2 behind the Colts in this category with a net index of 0.28 (0.31 gross - 0.03 SOS); the Jets are #8 with a net index of 0.13 (0.09 gross + 0.04 SOS).  These translate to 1.49 StDev's for the Bolts, and 0.70 for the Jets - a clear Charger superiority.
  • Margin Index:  While the Chargers have the advantage in gross index here, the Jets actually hold the advantage in net index due to their strength of schedule adjustment.  New York (#4) has a net of 8.45 (7.18 gross + 1.27 SOS) compared to San Diego's (#8) 6.76 (8.38 gross - 1.62 SOS).  The Jets win this category with 1.17 StDev's to the Chargers' 0.93, in a comparison somewhat similar to the Indy - Baltimore comparison.
  • Trended Record Index:  The Chargers are tops in the NFL in this category, with a net of 0.38 (0.42 gross - 0.04 SOS).  The Jets, however, are at a somewhat surprising #5 with a net of 0.19 (0.13 gross + 0.06 SOS).  Regardless, the Chargers are almost a full StDev ahead, 1.95 to 0.98.  Keep in mind, though, that the Chargers won their last despite giving time to their backups, while the Jets were aided greatly by at least one opponent giving time to theirs.
  • Trended Margin Index:  Here the Jets are #1 in the NFL with an index of 10.90 (9.27 gross + 1.63 SOS), the Chargers nipping at their heels at a #3 index of 9.05 (10.60 gross - 9.05 SOS).  The Jets narrowly win the StDev comparison here, at 1.46 to 1.21.
  • Overall, San Diego averages 1.40 StDev's to New York's 1.08, coinciding with the Chargers #1 ranking as mentioned above.  However . . .
  • . . . the cumulative home field adjustments above are enough to give the Jets the projected win over the Chargers, 25.89 to 19.91, or New York winning 66.52% of the time.  Again, the Jets were aided by the Colts and the Bengals conceding lopsided wins to the Jets, so consider yourself duly warned before considering this a guarantee.  It should, however, indicate that a Charger win might not be as much a lock as some may think.

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints

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    Rk     Team              Pow Rat     Off Rat     Def Rat     Pow HFA     Off HFA     Def HFA
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    03     Saints           8.10         9.06         0.96         -0.33        -0.84        -0.52
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    15     Cardinals      1.75         3.01         1.27         -4.12        0.03         4.15
  • Record Index:  The Saints are #3 in the NFL with a net index of 0.27 (0.31 gross - 0.04 SOS), while the Cardinals are only #12 with a net of 0.08 (0.15 gross - 0.07 SOS).  The Saints win this one going away with 1.40 StDev's compared to a "decent" 0.41 StDev's for the Cardinals.
  • Margin Index:  By far the biggest advantage in the playoffs.  The Saints are tops in the NFL with a net margin index of 10.58 (10.56 gross + 0.02 SOS); the #17 Cardinals are only average with a 0.49 net (3.29 gross - 2.80 SOS).  StDev's are thus lopsided, the Saints standing pretty at 1.46 StDev's, Arizona lagging behind at only 0.07.
  • Trended Record Index:  Here Arizona's strength collides with New Orleans' weakness, but it's still a narrow Saints advantage.  The late New Orleans slump gives them only a 0.14 (0.17 gross - 0.03 SOS), while Arizona lags due to an easier schedule at a 0.10 net (0.17 gross - 0.07 SOS).  The Saints are at 0.69 StDev's (#8), the Cardinals at 0.49 (#12)
  • Trended Margin Index:  The Saints are #9 with a net index of 6.42 (5.95 gross + 0.47 SOS).  Oddly, despite Arizona's relatively high trended record index, Arizona's main weakness is this index of -0.18 (2.78 gross - 2.96 SOS), indicating they've won plenty of squeakers but suffered a few major blowouts.  StDev's here are 0.86 for New Orleans, -0.02 for Arizona.
  • New Orleans averages 1.10 StDev's compared to Arizona's 0.24 - New Orleans is a very good team, while Arizona is basically middling despite gaudy numbers.
  • The projected score is Saints 28.25, Cardinals 23.77, equating to New Orleans winning 62.50% of the matchups with current trends.

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

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    Rk     Team              Pow Rat     Off Rat     Def Rat     Pow HFA     Off HFA     Def HFA
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    04     Cowboys         7.99         -0.01        -8.00        3.93         3.40         -0.53
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    08     Vikings         5.73         5.37         -0.36        5.94         2.09         -3.84
  • Record Index:  Despite the Vikings' superior record, Dallas actually holds the advantage when SOS factors in.  The Cowboys have a net of 0.20 (0.21 gross - 0.01 SOS) to Minny's 0.16 (0.25 gross - 0.09 SOS).  Dallas has 1.06 StDev's (#4) to Minnesota's 0.85 (#5), a slight Cowboy advantage.
  • Margin Index:  Again, SOS swings an index to Dallas's favor.  Dallas's net of 8.05 (7.71 gross + 0.34 SOS) clips the Vikings' 7.28 (9.88 gross - 2.60 SOS).  Dallas's 1.11 StDev's is #5 in the NFL, Minnesota's 1.00 StDev's is #6.
  • Trended Record Index:  Dallas's biggest advantage is here, with a net of 0.21 (0.24 - 0.03 SOS) to Minnesota's net of 0.06 (0.15 gross - 0.09 SOS), thanks largely to the Vikings' semi-tumble at the end.  Dallas's 1.06 StDev's are #3 in the league, the Vikings' 0.31 StDev's only #15.  Here, the perceived Cowboy "hot streak" is largely negated by the fact that their foes after the Charger game were trending downward, giving a lower-than-expected SOS adjustment.
  • Trended Margin Index:  The Cowboys complete the four-criteria sweep, with a net of 8.30 (9.08 gross - 0.78 SOS).  The Vikings have a net of 7.12 (9.53 gross - 2.41 SOS), again being victimized in the ratings by an easy schedule.  Dallas's StDev's of 1.11 is #6 in the league, the Vikings' 0.95 StDev's are #8.
  • Dallas's average of 1.09 StDev's is a result of an extremely consistent 1.06, 1.11, 1.06, 1.11, indicating that Dallas has been just as formidable in the early part of their schedule as in the latter.  Minnesota's average of 0.78 StDev's is largely hindered by a late-season swoon.
  • Despite the measurable (if slight) Dallas advantage in ratings, the combined HFA's of both teams point to a huge Minnesota net home field advantage, overcoming the Dallas advantage in base rating for a projection of Vikings 22.90, Cowboys 12.74, or judging the Vikings to have an 80.19% chance to win.
 
 
 
 
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