Blowout week, but not for the Steelers. Do they play down to the competition? Also: bad Foles, Bridgewater's debut, and did J.J. Watt just end EJ Manuel's career in Buffalo?
25 Jan 2010
by Aaron Schatz
I realize that I forgot to run the DVOA ratings for the championship games at the bottom of Audibles as promised, so I hereby present the shortest DVOA analysis article ever.
I expected the Colts win to come out with a much higher DVOA than the Saints win -- enough to get rid of whatever weighted DVOA difference remained between them -- so these results were a bit of a surprise. The Colts' win is higher without opponent adjustments, but even there, the difference is almost nil.
Here's a look at both games, trying to figure out why the Colts win didn't score higher and why the Saints win didn't score lower.
COLTS-JETS: It sure felt like the Colts dominated this game in the second half, right? Well, they didn't in the first half, and that keeps the numbers close for the whole game. Remember, the Jets actually had the lead going into halftime. The Colts had 7.1 yards per play to the Jets' 6.5 yards per play, and the Jets were much more efficient on third down. (Without opponent adjustments, the Colts had a negative VOA on third down, -10.8%, while the Jets had an awesome 85.8% VOA.) All in all, this game wasn't quite as impressive as it seemed at the time -- a phrase which has described a lot of Colts wins this year. Then again, all those games have been wins, haven't they?
SAINTS-VIKINGS: Yes, the Vikings had an advantage of more than 200 net yards, but they also had a lot more plays. Minnesota ended up with a smaller advantage in yards per play, 5.8 to New Orleans' 4.7. Yards per play (and DVOA) say more about a team's future performance than total yards. The difference between the Vikings' per-play performance and the Saints' per-play performance gets made up by three things:
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