FFL Statbook: Wild Card Game by Game
Originally Published: January 5, 2005By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Games Fantasy Edge
The NFL Playoffs are upon us, kicking off with four wild-card games this Saturday and Sunday. Each week, we'll take a look at each of the postseason matchups, in order to give fantasy owners an edge in their playoff pools. Before getting to the games, however, let's address the difference between regular-season and postseason football: Defense reigns supreme in the playoffs. I put together a quick study of the past four postseasons, analyzing the 12 yearly entrants on both offense and defense by their rankings against each other in points per game and total yards per game. The formula's a little complex, so I won't get into the specifics here, but suffice to say that it assigns teams a rating from 0-10, with zero representing a team ranking dead last in both points and yards per game, and 10 a team leading the field in both departments. For example, the Colts enter the 2004 playoffs rated 10.0 on offense and the Steelers 10.0 on defense, because they were the leaders in both categories among the 12 entrants. The results are telling: In the 44 postseason games played from 2000-03, the higher-rated defensive team won 32 times (72.7 percent); the better-rated offense won just 20 times (45.5). And in the 14 games in which one team was rated higher on both offense AND defense, the better team won 11 times (78.6), with two of those three "upsets" pulled out by the 2001 Patriots in their incredible run to the title in Super Bowl XXXVI.
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