Final NFL Efficiency & Wildcard Weekend Predictions
Well the season is now complete and I have the final rankings at the bottom of the page. 9 of the top 10 squads made the playoffs with the Eagles being the exception. The Giants, who have risen considerably the last two weeks, are 11. The Bengals finished just behind the Jets, who completely collapsed for the 2nd time in the last 4 years, but rode an easy schedule into the playoffs. Denver finished at 25.
The best teams at scoring the football this year were the Saints, Packers, and Patriots all within 1.3% of each other. There was a big drop to the next two teams of Detroit and Baltimore and another big one to the Giants who came in at 6, scoring 15.29% more than their schedules norm. The Jets finished 14th. The worst team was the Chiefs at a -45%, which is pretty awful.
The best defensive team in the NFL was a close contest between the 49'ers and Steelers, won by San Francisco by about 1%. That puts them a notch below the top teams of the last 2 years which were the 2010 Packers, 2010 Steelers, and 2009 Jets. Baltimore was the only other team to hold squads to at least 20% below their norms. Houston, Miami, and Chicago rounded out the top 6. Normally there is no carryover for defense from year to year except with Pittsburgh and to a much lesser extent Baltimore. The Jets fell all the way to number 20 and were below average for the first time under Rex Ryan. They went from -30.87 to -12.45 to 0.29%. They need a shakeup. The Colts were the worst defense in the NFL by a good margin.
The playoffs look to be pretty exciting based on the stats. There is no clearcut number 1 choice. The Saints are a slight 1 point favorite over Green Bay and New England a 1 point favorite over the Ravens to get to the Super Bowl. Atlanta/NY, Balt/Hou, NE/Pitts, and NO/SF all look to be decided by 4 points or less. So it's a fun one once we escape round 1. My predictions for the year ended up going 168-89 straight up and 148-109 against the spread, for which I used my efficiency rankings for 13 out of the 17 weeks. So here are this weeks predictions:
TEXANS (-3) over Bengals- Both squads kind of limped into the playoffs with the young Bengals hitting a bit of a wall and the Texans dealing with ineffective QB play. Somewhere lost in the stories of the season, though, has been just how good this Houston defense is. That will make it difficult for Cincy in this rematch game. Texans 23 Bengals 17
Lions (+10.5) over SAINTS-Detroit actually hung with this team earlier in the year before the wheels fell off late and that would be my one worry in this game as well. Detroit is young and may be overwhelmed by the playoffs and the atmosphere inside the dome. My guess this time is a backdoor cover. Saints 34 Lions 28
Falcons (+3) over GIANTS- Close game and the Giants have been so hot the last two weeks that they have the potential to be a "throw the stats out the window" team these next few weeks. It all comes down to defense for them. If the defense plays well New York will win. If they play the way they have most of the year, the Falcons offense is too good for what the Giants will do offensively. Falcons outright. Falcons 27 Giants 24
Steelers (-8.5) over BRONCOS- Nobody would have ever though Seattle would win last season, so maybe that is some consolation for Denver, but this just looks like a massacre waiting to happen. The Steelers defense is so good and the Broncos offense so bad I just cant see an upset. If I plugged in just the Tebow numbers the offense would probably be far worse. Worst game of the first round and the entire playoffs. Steelers 24 Broncos 10
NFL Efficiency Rankings, 2011 Final
|Rank||Change||Team||Off Eff||Def Eff||Total Eff|
|1||+1||New Orleans Saints||45.74%||-4.60%||50.33%|
|3||+1||Green Bay Packers||44.74%||-1.93%||46.67%|
|4||+1||New England Patriots||44.53%||0.29%||44.24%|
|5||-2||San Francisco 49ers||10.81%||-30.23%||41.03%|
|11||+6||New York Giants||15.29%||7.09%||8.21%|
|13||-||New York Jets||5.98%||0.29%||5.68%|
|15||+1||San Diego Chargers||11.87%||6.26%||5.61%|
|29||-||Kansas City Chiefs||-45.15%||-10.83%||-34.32%|
|30||-||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-24.65%||17.04%||-41.69%|
|31||+1||St. Louis Rams||-40.04%||11.94%||-51.97%|