Entering Championship Sunday, much is made about the makeup of the NFL’s Final Four. That’s the trend though, every year in every sport. Everything is Copy-Cat—because that’s what’s worked. It even made a strong appearance in head coaching hires (Packers included) with the hot trend being a Sean McVay-type, young and innovative. However, the phrase “Defense wins championships” has always rung true to me with the idea that when looking at champions, it’s usually the defense that wins in the playoffs. Yet we judge Quarterbacks by championships (at least I do) because they’re the constant as no one team can keep the same 11 defenders for the same stretch as they can 1 QB, although maybe they should. Let’s look at the make-up of each team, shall we?
|Team||Off. Rank||Def. rank|
Obviously this shows the top 4 scoring teams in the NFL this year are in the Championship games for their respective conferences. While that doesn’t jive with the “Defense Wins Championships” slogan, what it does show is offense does win games in the regular season and home field advantage is so paramount in the playoffs. While defenses “travel” (meaning they don’t get hot at the right time, they’re just good), home field advantage has been the better indicator of whom advances in the postseason, especially those teams that have a 1st round bye. Since the 2013 season, every Super Bowl participant will have had a 1st round bye, and all would have been the 1 seed except for the 2016 Falcons. While anything can happen, and any team can beat another, of course, recent odds/trends show that the home teams will prevail on Championship Sunday- which would make many fans happy, considering the Patriots actually did not earn the 1 seed this year.
Following that trend, let’s take a look at those Super Bowl Matchups:
As you can see by the graph above, the better ranked defense bested the opposition in 4 of the last 5 Super Bowl matchups. So it’s safe to say, the best way to win the Super Bowl is to have the 1 seed and to have the better ranked defense in the Super Bowl…or Tom Brady, whatever is easier.
For the interest in most of the people reading this (if you still are), where does that leave the Packers? We’ll take a closer look come Super Bowl week.
In the meantime, hopefully these should be some great games!