Playoff Scoreability & Bendability Index

Just like I stated in my earlier posts, one of my favorite stat that measure teams’ efficiency is Scoreability and Bendability Index. I already posted Final 2011 Scoreability & Bendability Index for regular season, this time I put up a table of both stats for the 2011 playoffs. With only Super Bowl left to be played here’s a table for 2011 playoffs, it’s no coincidence that both AFC and NFC champions did exceptionally well especially on Bendability Index.

Seems like that teams that do better on Bendability Index are more successful in the playoffs. Last year’s Super Bowl champs Packers finished No.1 on Bendability Index after regular season, this year’s No.1 49ers came very close to get to the Super Bowl.

If we take into account only playoff games, then the New England Patriots are No.1 on Scoreability Index. They’ve been very efficient on offense, as they’ve been all season long, the Giants aren’t bad either, but their mayor strength is on defense. They are No.1 playoff team in Bendability Index, Patriots too have played very efficient on defensive side of the ball, giving up yards, but not so many points. It will be another interesting Super Bowl between those two teams.The Patriots were higher ranked on Bendability Index after regular season, but in the playoffs, its New York who’s been playing most efficient on defense.

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Playoff picks – Championship games

Final four teams still have a change to advance to this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Here are my picks for AFC and NFC Championship game.

Baltimore Ravens (13-4) @ New England Patriots (14-3), Sunday 3:00 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Patriots (3rd) over Ravens (12th)
Scoring Defense: Ravens (3rd) over Patriots (15th)
Scoreability Index: Patriots (4th) over Ravens (8th)
Bendability Index: Patriots (2nd) over Ravens (8th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Patriots (4th) over Ravens (8th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Ravens (4th) over Patriots (7th)

Prediction 

This should be a great game between the No.1 seed New England Patriots who have outstanding offense and No.2 seed Baltimore Ravens with a great defense. The last time this two teams met in the playoffs was in 2009 season in a Wild Card playoff game, Baltimore won that game 33-14. Last weekend Patriots really impressed with a convincing win over the Broncos in divisional round, not so much the Ravens who had a lot more problems with Texans, but they managed to take advantage of Houston’s turnovers. This game could also come down to turnover battle, who wins that battle probably wins this one. It will be interesting to see how will Baltimore try to defend New England’s air-attack. They have the pass rush abilities to disrupt Tom Brady but I don’t think that they can completely shut down Patriots’ passing game. On the other hand Patriots have been opportunistic on defense and I can see them having success against Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Ravens will have success running the ball against New England’s but in the end it won’t be enough, Patriots advance to Super Bowl for the first time since 2007 season.

Moneyline: Patriots 27-24
Against The Spread: Ravens (+7.5)
Over/Under: Over 50.5




New York Giants (11-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (14-3), Sunday 6:30 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Giants (9th) over 49ers (11th)
Scoring Defense: 49ers (2nd) over Giants (25th)
Scoreability Index: 49ers (2nd) over Giants (18th)
Bendability Index: 49ers (1st) over Giants (21st)
Passer Rating Diff.: 49ers (6th) over Giants (12th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: 49ers (1st) over Giants (13th)

Prediction 

San Francisco 49ers will be playing in a NFC championship game for the first time since 1997 season. For the Giants this will be their first championship game after their 2007 Super Bowl season.  New York Giants travel to San Francisco for the second time this season, in Week 10 of the regular season, 49ers defense managed to stop the Giants’ offense late in the 4th quarter. But since then the Giants improved on both sides of the ball, especially on defense where they got some key players back from their injuries. Unlike the Saints, New York Giants are used to play in bad-weather conditions and it could be rainy and muddy at the ‘Stick this weekend. That’s why I think this game could end up being a defensive battle. Niners have a better all-around defense, but the Giants also proved they can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Like many other games, this one will again be decided at the line of scrimmage. Hopefully 49ers D-line can slow down QB Eli Manning and his wide receivers, especially Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. It will be difficult for the 49ers to come up with a win, but again I have no intention to pick against my favorite team. 

Moneyline: 49ers 24-20
Against The Spread: 49ers (-2.5)
Over/Under: Over 41.5

Playoff picks – Divisional Playoffs, Sunday games

On Saturday we saw how important it is to have a home-field advantage. So far in the playoffs home teams won all 6 games. Here are my picks for Sunday Divisional Playoffs games.

Houston Texans (11-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (12-4), Sunday 1:00 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Texans (10th) over Ravens (12th)
Scoring Defense: Ravens (3rd) over Texans (4th)
Scoreability Index: Ravens (8th) over Texans (17th)
Bendability Index: Ravens (8th) over Texans (12th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Texans (3rd) over Ravens (8th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Ravens (4th) over Texans (6th)

Prediction 

Ravens,the No.3 and Texans, No.4 scoring defense will battle for the right to advance to AFC Championship game. This two teams have already played in Week 6 of the regular season, Ravens won that game 29-14 despite losing the turnover battle. Week 6 seems so far away now and a lot has changed since then, mainly in Houston. Due to injuries the Texans are left with 3rd string quarterback. Even dough Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco hasn’t played great I still think he is experienced enough in playoff type atmosphere to  lead the Ravens to victory against Texans. If Texans fall behind early it will be difficult for them to rally back with T.J. Yates leading the way. Ravens will put pressure on young quarterback and force him to make mistakes. Houston can slow down their pass rush with solid running game, but unfortunately for Texans, Ravens have been solid at stopping the opposing running game too. Baltimore gets the win at home and advance to conference championship game.

Moneyline: Ravens 24-17
Against The Spread: Texans (+7.5)
Over/Under: Over 36.5




New York Giants (10-7) @ Green Bay Packers (15-1), Sunday 4:30 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Packers (1st) over Giants (9th)
Scoring Defense: Packers (19th) over Giants (25th)
Scoreability Index: Packers (1st) over Giants (18th)
Bendability Index: Packers (4th) over Giants (21st)
Passer Rating Diff.: Packers (1st) over Giants (12th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Giants (13th) over Packers (16th)

Prediction 

This too will be a game of two teams who already met in the regular season. Packers won that game but the Giants kept it close till the end. New York Giants improved since then, they got healthier on defense and are playing better each week on offense, especially on the ground. I was surprised to see Giants run all over the Falcons last week in Wild Card game. They ended up with over 170 yards on the ground with 5.5 yards per carry. If Giants can continue to run the ball the way they did against Atlanta then they can cause big problems for Green Bay, who on other hand, had their share of problems on defense. Good news for Packers is they can score on offense and with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback they will be too much for good Giants’ team. This will be Rodgers’ first home playoff game and he’ll make sure that Packers will get a chance to defend their NFC title against San Francisco 49ers.

Moneyline: Packers 28-23
Against The Spread: Giants (+7.5)
Over/Under: Under 54.5

Playoff picks – Divisional Playoffs, Saturday games

After Wild Card weekend there’s only 8 teams left in the hunt for Lombardy trophy, 4 of those teams will advance to Conference Championships. First, here are my picks for Saturday Divisional Playoffs games.

New Orleans Saints (14-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (13-3), Saturday 4:30 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Saints (2nd) over 49ers (11th)
Scoring Defense: 49ers (2nd) over Saints (13th)
Scoreability Index: 49ers (2nd) over Saints (6th)
Bendability Index: 49ers (1st) over Saints (7th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Saints (2nd) over 49ers (6th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: 49ers (1st) over Saints (8th)

Prediction 

Drew Brees and his high-power offense comes to San Francisco to face one of the best defenses in the league. Saints have scored exactly 45 points in each of their last 3 games and it seems like nobody can stop them. For the 49ers, this will be their first playoff game in a while and Candlestick Park will be packed with fans hungry for playoff football. Niners will try to run the ball as much as possible in order to keep Drew Brees off the field. If they’ll fail to do so it will a long day for QB Alex Smith against blitz-happy New Orleans’ defense. Teams didn’t play each other in regular season and it will be interesting to see who will win the battle at the line of scrimmage. Saints have a great offensive line who protected Brees and opened up running lanes for RB Darren Sproles and lately RB Pierre Thomas, I think stopping Sproles will be key. Hopefully 49ers D-line can stuff Saints’ running game and make their offense a bit more one-dimensional. I picked 49ers to win in all their regular season games and I have no intention to do any different here when they face their toughest challenge so far.

Moneyline: 49ers 26-24
Against The Spread: 49ers (+3.5)
Over/Under: Over 47.5




Denver Broncos (9-8) @ New England Patriots (13-3), Saturday 8:00 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Patriots (3rd) over Broncos (25th)
Scoring Defense: Patriots (15th) over Broncos (24th)
Scoreability Index: Patriots (4th) over Broncos (21st)
Bendability Index: Patriots (2nd) over Broncos (24th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Patriots (4th) over Broncos (28th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Patriots (7th) over Broncos (18th)

Prediction 

It was Tebow Time at Mile High all day last Sunday. After their surprising win in overtime against heavily favorites Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver has to travel to meet the Patriots in the AFC Divisional playoffs. Both teams have already played in regular season, with Patriots winning that game comfortably 41-23 in Week 15. Patriots did what they had to do, exploit weak pass defense of the Broncos and limit the production of Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow probably can’t keep pace with QB Tom Brady and his air-attack, so I expect from Patriots to do the same in this game. They’ll use all of their weapons again to exploit Denver’s defense through the air. Statistically, Patriots didn’t have a great regular season on defense, especially their  pass defense was horrible, 31st in the league, but they registered 34 takeaways, 1st in the AFC, and they played good red-zone defense. They will force Broncos to settle for field goals which should be enough for another convincing win.

Moneyline: Patriots 33-20
Against The Spread: Broncos (+13.5)
Over/Under: Over 50.5

Playoff Picks Review

Wild Card games

Bengals @ Texans
Picks: Texans 23-16, Against The Spread: Texans (-3.5), Over/Under: Over 38.5
Result: Texans 31-10

Lions @ Saints
Picks: Saints 34-24, Against The Spread: Lions (+11.5), Over/Under: Under 59.5
Result: 45-28

Falcons @ Giants
Picks: Falcons 27-23, Against The Spread: Falcons (+3.5), Over/Under: Over 46.5
Result: Giants 24-2

Steelers @ Broncos
Picks: Steelers 20-9, Against The Spread: Steelers (-8.5), Over/Under: Under: 34.5
Result: Broncos 29-23 OT

Divisional Playoffs games

Saints @ 49ers
Picks: 49ers 26-24, Against The Spread: 49ers (+3.5), Over/Under: Over 47.5
Result: 49ers 36-32

Broncos @ Patriots
Picks: Patriots 33-20, Against The Spread: Broncos (+13.5), Over/Under: Over 50.5
Result: 45-10 Patriots

Texans @ Ravens
Picks: Ravens 24-17, Against The Spread: Texans (+7.5), Over/Under: Over 36.5
Result: Ravens 20-13

Giants @ Packers
Picks: Packers 28-23, Against The Spread: Giants (+7.5), Over/Under: Under: 54.5
Result: Giants 37-20

Conference Championship games

Ravens @ Patriots
Picks: Patriots 27-24, Against The Spread: Ravens (+7.5), Over/Under: Over 50.5
Result: Patriots 23-20

Giants @ 49ers
Picks: 49ers 24-20, Against The Spread: 49ers (-2.5), Over/Under: Over 41.5
Result: Giants 20-17 OT

Super Bowl XLVI

Patriots vs Giants
Picks: Patriots 27-24, Against The Spread: Patriots (-2.5), Over/Under: Under 53.5
Result: Giants 21-17

Playoff picks:
Straight-up: 6-5,
Against The Spread: 5-6,
Over/Under: 4-7

Playoff picks – Wild Card Weekend, Sunday games

First two Wild Card games are in the books, here are my picks for Sunday Wild Card games.

Atlanta Falcons (10-6) @ New York Giants (9-7), Sunday 1:00 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Falcons (7th) over Giants (9th)
Scoring Defense: Falcons (18th) over Giants (25th)
Scoreability Index: Falcons (10th) over Giants (18th)
Bendability Index: Falcons (18th) over Giants (21st)
Passer Rating Diff.: Falcons (11th) over Giants (12th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Falcons (12th) over Giants (13th)

Prediction 

New York Giants finished regular season with two solid performances in a must win situations against Jets and Cowboys. Now they are favorites to win against Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan who is 0-2 in the playoffs. Seems like 2007 season all over again for the Giants who finally found their pass-rush abilities. The difference to their last Super Bowl season? Almost non-existent running game, Giants rank dead last in yards per carry with 3.5 average. This gives Falcons a chance to focus on pass defense and try to disturb Eli Manning and his wide receivers. Atlanta is more balanced team on offense and if Giants will get to Ryan then Falcons can still turn to their ground attack in order to slow down Gaints’ pass rushers. I think Falcons will get a win but it will be close game decided in the last minutes of the game.

Moneyline: Falcons 27-23
Against The Spread: Falcons (+3.5)
Over/Under: Over 46.5




Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) @ Denver Broncos (8-8), Sunday 4:30 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Steelers (21st) over Broncos (25th)
Scoring Defense: Steelers (1st) over Broncos (24th)
Scoreability Index: Broncos (21st) over Steelers (27th)
Bendability Index: Steelers (3rd) over Broncos (24th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Steelers (5th) over Broncos (28th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Steelers (10th) over Broncos (18th)

Prediction 

Just like the Falcons, Steelers (12-4) have to play on the road, despite of better regular season record, and travel to Denver Broncos (8-8) who will host their first playoff game @ Mile High since 2005 season. Broncos won AFC West division and as a reward they get a home-field advantage in a Wild Card playoff game. That pretty much will be the only advantage the Broncos will have against a Pittsburgh team. Even dough Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger isn’t 100% health wise, he and the rest of the offense should have plenty of success against Denver’s pass defense. In the last few weeks in regular season it was evident that teams have cracked the code of Tebow Magic. Tebow will be running for his life on Sunday when he’ll face one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Moneyline: Steelers 20-9
Against The Spread: Steelers (-8.5)
Over/Under: Under 34.5

Playoff picks – Wild Card Weekend, Saturday games

Regular season is over and it’s time for the playoffs, 4 teams earned first-round bye ( New England, Baltimore in the AFC and Green Bay, San Francisco in the NFC). The other 8 teams making the playoff will try to advance to Divisional Playoff round through Wild Card playoff games. First, here are my picks for Saturday Wild Card games.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) @ Houston Texans (10-6), Saturday 4:30 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Texans (10th) over Bengals (18th)
Scoring Defense: Texans (4th) over Bengals (9th)
Scoreability Index: Bengals (9th) over Texans (17th)
Bendability Index: Texans (12th) over Bengals (17th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Texans (3rd) over Bengals (18th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Texans (6th) over Bengals (23rd)

Prediction 

After failing to reach the playoffs in each of its first 9 seasons, Houston Texans will face the Cincinnati Bengals in their first playoff game ever. Teams already met in Week 14 of 2011 regular season, Texans edged the Bengals in Cincinnati 20-19 with a last seconds TD pass from rookie QB T.J.Yates. Bengals too have a rookie player at quarterback. QB Andy Dalton played above any expectations in regular season, but the question is how he’ll perform under pressure in a playoff game. I expect a nervous start from both teams on offense with their rookie quarterbacks leading the way and with their defense being the better unit. In the last 6 games in regular season both, Texans and Bengals, scored exactly 18 points per game. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if this game turns out to be another low-scoring game. All in all, I think Texans hold the edge over the Bengals simply because they have the better defense and they’ll play in front of the home crowd who will finally get a taste of a playoff game.

Moneyline: Texans 23-16
Against The Spread: Texans (-3.5)
Over/Under: Over 38.5




Detroit Lions (10-6) @ New Orleans Saints (13-3), Saturday 8:00 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Saints (2nd) over Lions (4th)
Scoring Defense: Saints (13th) over Lions (23rd)
Scoreability Index: Lions (5th) over Saints (6th)
Bendability Index: Saints (7th) over Lions (20th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Saints (2nd) over Lions (7th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Saints (8th) over Lions (20th)

Prediction 

The Saints will take on the Lions in Superdome again after Week 13 regular season game in which Saints cruised to a 31-17 win.  In that game Lions won the battle in useless total offense stat category, with 466 total yards over Saints’ 438. But they also had a ton of penalty yards. The Saints are a lot more disciplined team and it seems that they are peaking at the right time. They won the last  8 games of the regular season and 4 of those came against playoff teams. Lions on the other hand managed to win only 1 game against playoff teams all season. With their poor ground attack Lions have slim chances of cooling down Brees and the rest of the Saints’ offense. Despite all the hype surrounding Saints’ passing game, their running game has been outstanding too. Saints’ offensive line is one of the best in the league and they will handle Lions’ D-line. Saints get the win and earn a trip to San Francisco for a Divisional Playoff clash.

Moneyline: Saints 34-24
Against The Spread: Lions (+11.5)
Over/Under: Under 59.5