Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?
03 Feb 2006
DVOA Preview by Aaron Schatz, with additional analysis by Michael David Smith
Rundown by Mike Tanier
Key matchups by Michael David Smith
This year's Super Bowl preview is available on FOXSports.com. Don't worry, it is the same complex FO preview you know and love. Even the colorful week-to-week DVOA charts are there -- in fact, this week you get four of them, as each team is separated into offense and defense.
No, I have no idea what the FOXSports.com headline "BARELY THERE" is referring to.
Also up is Mike Tanier's Super Bowl XL Rundown -- a different view of the game, with fewer numbers and more jokes. (After re-reading this, I realize I was low on the jokes this week. I think the well has dried up.) Mike and I agree that this one is a close matchup, but we disagree on which team should be the favorite.
But wait, there's more! If you order now, we'll also include this revolutionary Michael David Smith look at key matchups absolutely free! So sharp, you can cut a tin can with it, plus it makes delicious omlettes.
The article on FOXSports.com doesn't have total DVOA ratings, just splits by unit, so for those curious, here they are, through the postseason and not including Seattle's meaningless Week 17 game:
PIT: TOTAL 33.9% (3), WEIGHTED DVOA 39.2% (2)
SEA: TOTAL 34.7% (2), WEIGHTED DVOA 43.1% (1)
PIT, BEN GAMES ONLY: TOTAL 41.1%, WEIGHTED 42.2%
(The Jacksonville game finally goes bye-bye from the weighted formula just in time for the Super Bowl, which is why Pittsburgh's WEIGHTED DVOA is much greater than TOTAL DVOA with all quarterbacks, but about the same without the Ben-less games.)
A note on context: one paragraph in the preview is a direct rebuttal to the WhatIfSports.com Super Bowl simulation that has Willie Parker gaining 146 yards on 14 carries, including two runs over 40 yards and two runs of 16 yards. Here's the paragraph again:
People just do not understand how good Seattle's run defense is. The Seahawks only gave up two runs over 40 yards all season. They only gave up 10 runs over 15 yards â€” and that includes scrambles by Michael Vick and Mark Brunell, plus an end-around by Jacksonville receiver Matt Jones. Over the past two months, the Seahawks have allowed just two runs of more than 11 yards, both of which came in the fourth quarter of games that Seattle was winning by at least three touchdowns. By the way, Parker ran for more than 15 yards only 12 times this year, including the postseason.
I understand why FOX edited out the sentence criticizing another article on the site, but I wanted to make it clear to you guys just why I talked about runs against Seattle for 16+ and 40+ yards. I have no complaint about the result of the simulation -- Pittsburgh winning by a field goal -- because I do think the game is close to an even matchup that either team could win. But Seattle has only given up seven running back carries over 15 yards all season, and now Parker is supposed to get four in one game? That's silly.
This weekend we'll have up a link to in-game discussion of the Super Bowl, for those of you who aren't going to a massive Super Bowl party with a bunch of people who aren't sure how many yards you need to get a first down.
One more thing which has nothing to do with the Super Bowl: I forgot to stick the voting for the first-ever inductees to the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame on the FO 2006 Awards ballot (see big blue banner above). We're going to stick that onto the free agents contest page (coming next week) instead.
208 comments, Last at 08 Feb 2006, 12:11pm by JMM