NFL Efficiency Ratings- Championship0 Round Predictions
2-2 last week and once again very happy that the numbers proved wrong on the Jets. Packers were the other loss, but that also came with the disclaimer that the game was theirs to lose and all it took was a good game from them to win as there would be nothing Atlanta could do to beat a more focused Packers team. Lets look at todays games.
Green Bay Packers (2nd Overall, 6th Scoring, 1st Defense, 6th Overall Away) vs. Chicago Bears (11th Overall, 20th Scoring, 3rd Defense, 18th Overall Home)
It's questionable if the Packers would be such a big favorite this week if they did not beat the Falcons so badly last week, but they clearly should be favored to win this football game. The Packers have played great defense all season long, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense has been very hit or miss for most the season, specifically on the road. I think people completely forget that Green Bay only averaged 18 points a game away from home and their most impressive game may have actually been with a backup in the game against the Patriots. Overall they were below average offensively. The Packers have totally changed their fortunes these last two games and begun to play offense the way they have at home, where they average nearly 31 points a game and are far above average. That combination makes them far and away the best team in the NFL. If someone could look into a crystal ball and say the Packers will continue this for two more weeks they should be a double digit favorite in the Super Bowl. They are that powerful.
Chicago has two things in their favor. They had a joke of an opponent last week and are essentially coming off another bye week. They also have a field that can play very slow and slippery in the cold. That's about it. On the season they have been a below average offense at home and more or less and average defense at home. Nothing that happened last week would lead anyone to think any differently either. They basically played right to the numbers against a bad Seattle team. They didn't make a statement and they did not make anyone believe they can win this week. If things play to form expect the Bears to lose by about a touchdown. Call it 21-14. If the Packers continue to play offense this week, you can add another touchdown onto it for a 14 point win.
New York Jets (6th Overall, 12th Scoring, 5th Defense, 16th Overall Away) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (3rd Overall, 8th Scoring, 2nd Defense, 4th Overall Home)
Like the Packers the Jets have taken a unit that had only played well at home and somehow translated that into playing well on the road. The Jets had allowed teams to score nearly 9% more points per game at home than normal during the regular season while being absolutely dominant at home and holding teams to nearly 36% below their road scoring output. They have held the Pats and Colts to 40% below the average. So just like with the Packers the question is can they keep that pace up or not? Because of how well they play at home the talent is there, but can they keep it up? Offensively the team is pretty much doing as expected. There is nothing that says that they can do anything special against the Steelers this week, but there is also nothing that says that they should blow the game against the Steelers. The question really is what defense shows up. Is it the one that played the last two weeks or the one that played the previous 8 road games. Unlike the Packers, who can absorb a normalized effort by the offense this week, the Jets need the dominant defense to win.
Pittsburgh did not play well last week and the offense was a mess. They were the recipient of bad turnovers by the Ravens as well as horrible coaching. The defense was ok, specifically on the short field, but you do have to wonder if the Ravens played a bit smarter and could catch the football how well they would have looked. On average the Steelers are winning by about 9.5 points a game at home this year. Both units normally play above average and the offenses numbers are dragged down by the two non-Roethlisgerger games early in the year, so this is a very good home team. One the year the Steeler defense has played at the level the Jets are playing at right now so it is going to be very hard to score points against them. The one negative for the team is that every time they have faced a good team at home they had fallen short with the exception of last week. If the game plays to form the Steelers should win 24-16. If the Jets defense plays at their current level it basically becomes a dead heat game.