Final 2010 NFL Efficiency Ratings and 2010 Playoff Preview
With the season over I'll take one last look at the regular season numbers and then use the efficiency numbers to try to project the playoffs each week. How did the regular season projections work out in week 13? Not too great. The Chargers and Jaguars were both misses. Jacksonville was probably hurt somewhat by injuries, but the Colts did what they had to do by winning some tough games against the Titans. In the NFC it was a bit better though I had the Bears and Packers switched as the division winner and wildcard team. Of the 12 teams in the playoffs 10 of the top 11 rated teams made it. The Chargers were the lone miss and they are the one team whose efficiency rating is wildly skewed by their home and away splits. San Diego They were the third best home team in the NFL with a 52.08% rating but ranked 15th on the road with a 4.32% rating. Kansas City is the worst of the real playoff teams with a number 16 ranking. Much like the Miami Dolphins a few years ago they took advantage of a very easy schedule and to their credit never slipped up the way the Chargers did. It is hard to imagine that a worse team will ever make the playoffs than the winner of the NFC West. The good stories of the year were the Raiders and Lions who sprung from 30 and 31 in 2009 to 13 and 15. As for the yearly projections I ended with a 12-4 record both SU and ATS. The final yearly record was 148-108 straight up and 128-128 against the spread using the efficiency ratings to project the games.
Onto the playoffs:
New Orleans Saints (9th Overall, 9th Scoring, 14th Defense, 7th Overall Away) vs. Seattle Seahawks (30th Overall, 24th Scoring, 30th Defense, 26th Overall Home)
This is really a joke of a game. This has to be the worst team to ever make it into the playoffs. I am not one of those people who believes they should get rid of the divisions or reseed, but its just sad to see Seattle in here. Both the 49'ers and Rams were better teams and just had some tougher losses. Saints are most definitely not the machine they were last season but should win pretty easily. Seattle is a tough trip and the Seahawks will at least put up a fight, but it would be a stunner to see the Saints lose. They should win the game by a score of something like 30-17.
New York Jets (6th Overall, 12th Scoring, 5th Defense, 16th Overall Away) vs. Indianapolis Colts (10th Overall, 5th Scoring, 19th Defense, 9th Overall Home)
The rematch of last years AFC Championship will present an interesting dynamic again. The Jets have played better football overall for the season much like last year, but the question is can the Jets good defense overcome the Colts good offense. Last year they were unable to do so. The one difference this year is that the Jets have not been a good road team and the Colts are an improved home team in 2010 than they were in 2009. The Jets offense has improved slightly from a year ago while the Colts defense has taken a step back which will likely give the Jets a slightly better chance this time around. Though the Jets defense is also not as good as they were last season they can not play much worse than they did in last years title game when Peyton Manning carved them up in the second half as if they were not even there. On a neutral field the game would favor the Jets, however in Indianapolis it looks like this should be a close loss for New York say something like 27-24 or 26-24.
Baltimore Ravens (8th Overall, 16th Scoring, 4th Defense, 5th Overall Away) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (16th Overall, 19th Scoring, 10th Defense, 8th Overall Home)
This was a great draw for the Ravens, similar to how a few years ago they got the great draw by heading into Miami. While the Ravens are not an elite team this season they are a different class of team than the Chiefs. While the Ravens are somewhat offensively challenged so are the Chiefs and the Ravens are a better defensive club as well. The Ravens are a good road team which will help neutralize the home field for Kansas City. The one thing that helps the Chiefs is the margin of victory they have had at home this year which has been slightly over 9 points. That does indicate that they take care of business at home against an easy schedule. They also play very well defensively at home where they rank 4th, holding teams to about 25% below their usual score. That does give them a chance. If the Chiefs can completely control the tempo of the game they will win, but most likely this will be a low scoring slugfest with the Ravens winning something like 19-16. The Chiefs are the least likely team in the AFC to make any noise.
Green Bay Packers (2nd Overall, 6th Scoring, 1st Defense, 6th Overall Away) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (7th Overall, 2nd Scoring, 21st Defense, 13th Overall Home)
Green Bay is the one team that nobody wanted to see in the playoffs but they were able to get by the Bears and sneak in as a 6 seed. Green Bay is in every game they play and has the best defense in the NFL. If you want to get an idea of how good the defense is they are statistically better than last seasons Jets, who many considered the best defense in the last 7 or 8 years. Nobody notices it because all the hype surrounds the offense. The defense is at its best away from home, holding teams to about 38% below their average score. That is domination. Philadelphia is strictly an offensive team whose fate lies in the arms and legs of QB Mike Vick. If you contain him, and a blueprint has been shown on how to do it, the Eagles don't have a chance to win. The Eagles are somewhat limping right now. Though the media has somehow already placed them in the NFC Championship game they have lost their last two games and should have lost their final 3 if not for a historic miracle against the Giants. They may have peaked too early. Expect the Packers to win by about 4 points. Call it 17-13
The rest of the field:
New England Patriots (1st Overall, 1st Scoring, 11th Defense, 1st Overall Home)
If there is one runaway team in the NFL it's the Patriots. Their offense is more deadly than last seasons Saints team and they are just crushing teams at home this season. They are great on the road as well but that will never come into play. Their turnaround has been remarkable and it was all facilitated by the trade of WR Randy Moss. The one prediction I would make about them is that they will fall drastically next year. I think teams spent all offseason preparing for something that totally disappeared after week 4. Teams will be better prepared next season. That means nothing for this season though as they are the clear favorites. Their potential round 1 matchups are the Ravens, Chiefs, and Jets and all should be comfortable margins of victory. They would look to beat the Ravens by about 9, the Chiefs by about 17 and the Jets by 12. When it comes to a potential title game against the Colts or Steelers the Steelers are the one team that could at least put a scare in them. Unless Manning was to play his mind out they would lose by double digits, but if the Steelers defense shows up to play they can keep the game within a 4 points and you never know what happens in such a situation. It would be very surprising to see the Patriots knocked off.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3rd Overall, 8th Scoring, 2nd Defense, 4th Overall Home, 2nd Overall Away)
Like the Packers, The Steelers also have a defense that tracks slightly better than the Jets 2009 defense which is going to make them one of the favorites this year. They have a great balance, with the big negative being that they have to go into New England if they want to win it al. Can they be upset in round 2? Its possible. They have not always played up to their stats this season and will be facing the Colts, Chiefs, or Ravens in this round. The Colts would be about a TD underdog, the Ravens a 4 or 5 point dog, and the Chiefs would look to have no chance and should lose by at least 2 touchdowns. If they advance to the championship they could host the Jets, who beat them a few weeks ago, or travel to meet New England, who also beat them this season. The Steelers would be a 4 point or so underdog to New England and would be favored in a rematch with NY by about a touchdown.
Atlanta Falcons (4th Overall, 3rd Scoring, 8th Defense, 6th Overall Home)
For the longest time the Falcons were considered the favorite in the NFC, but a loss to the Saints in week 16 seemed to dampen that feeling for some point. They are definitely one of the elite teams in the NFL and have home field throughout. Their first game will either be against the Seahawks, Saints, or Packers so its likely they will get a tough draw for their first game. The Saints have beaten each of those teams this season. If Seattle was to somehow advance the Falcons would be a 20 point favorite and cruise to the title game. The other two games are certainly trickier. New Orleans already won in Atlanta, but would be a very slight underdog in this spot. Atlanta should win something like a 23-21 type game. Green Bay lost a close game in Atlanta and would look to lose a close game again, say 16-14. If they advance to the title round they would face either the Eagles or the Bears. They would prefer the Bears who don't have the offense to win the game. Still they would only be favored by about 3 points in a low scoring game. The Eagles would be favored by a point over the Falcons in what would look to be a 31-30 type shootout. Atlanta has to be considered the favorite in the NFC, but they don't hold a distinct advantage in any matchup unless they get the Seahawks.
Chicago Bears (11th Overall, 20th Scoring, 3rd Defense, 18th Overall Home, 9th Overall Away)
This is the team nobody believes in and to some extent that is probably fair because the offense is not good and they do not play well at home. Though the defense ranks 3rd in the league it is not an elite squad and the dropoff from the Steelers to the Bears is huge. They did earn a bye week which should at least give them some advantage. Their potential divisional matchups would be the Eagles, Seahawks, or Saints. The only game they would be favored in would be the Seahawk game, where they would be favored by about 13 points. They would be a 4 or 5 point underdog against the Eagles and a touchdown underdog against the Saints. They would also be about a 5 point underdog against the Packers. Its going to be tough to see this team making it.
Final 2010 NFL Efficiency Ratings,
|Rank||Team||Scoring Efficiency||Defensive Efficiency||Overall Efficiency|
|1.||New England Patriots||55.82||7.24||63.06|
|2.||Green Bay Packers||11.82||31.95||43.77|
|5.||San Diego Chargers||15.61||11.91||27.52|
|6.||New York Jets||6.22||12.46||18.68|
|9.||New Orleans Saints||10.01||3.04||13.05|
|12.||New York Giants||4.87||2.17||7.04|
|16.||Kansas City Chiefs||-5.24||7.91||2.67|
|17.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-1.25||1.03||-0.22|
|24.||San Francisco 49'ers||-15.70||-1.10||-16.80|
|27.||Saint Louis Rams||-25.51||-1.58||-27.09|