Numbers Crunching: Divisional Round
Each week, Football Outsiders takes a look at every game on the NFL schedule, with a mix of interesting numbers and in-depth statistical analysis. Much of the analysis is based on DVOA, which takes every single play during the season and compares it to the league average based on situation and opponent. DVOA and Football Outsiders' other advanced stats are explained here. Unless listed otherwise, all rankings are of league-wide DVOA.
Some of this data, such as formations, blitzes and play-action tendencies, comes from the Football Outsiders' game-charting project. Please be aware this data is unofficial and is missing a handful of games that are not charted yet.
All times ET
Ravens at Titans, Saturday 4:30 p.m.
The Titans defense tends to let up once the team has a lead. Tennessee ranks 23rd in defensive DVOA when winning by more than a touchdown, even though they are fifth overall. However, the Titans also get even better when it really matters, with the best defensive DVOA in the league in late and close situations (second half, score within a touchdown).
Although both of these teams like to run the ball, there's a significant difference when it comes to picking up those important short-yardage runs. Baltimore converted these situations 78 percent of the time, third in the NFL, while Tennessee converted just 61 percent, which ranked 26th.
The experts at Football Outsiders take an in-depth look at the numbers for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Insider
Cardinals at Panthers, Saturday 8:15 p.m.
A preview of the NFC Divisional playoff matchup between the Cardinals and the Panthers.
If this game stays close, don't be surprised to see the Panthers come from behind. The Panthers' offense ranks second in DVOA when tied or losing, but 14th when winning by a touchdown or less, and 24th when winning by more than a touchdown. Arizona's defense is above-average when the Cardinals are tied or losing, but 24th when the Cardinals are winning by a touchdown or less, and the worst in the league with a lead of more than a touchdown.
Eagles at Giants, Sunday 1:00 p.m.
|Yards Per Pass/Scramble | Frequency of Pass Plays|
|Rush 4||Rush 5||Rush 6+||Rush 4||Rush 5||Rush 6+|
|NYG OFF||6.7||5.8||4.4||56 %||25 %||14 %|
|PHI DEF||6.0||3.6||4.2||59 %||20 %||18 %|
|NFL AVG||6.3||6.3||5.5||64 %||21 %||9 %|
In the first two games between these teams, our charters marked nine plays in which the Eagles rushed six or more against Manning. One of those plays came on the goal line, and Manning hit Kevin Boss for a touchdown. The other eight passes were incomplete.
Another example of how well the Philadelphia blitz packages work: In the Football Outsiders' game-charting project, we mark sacks in four categories: overall pressure, rusher untouched, blown block or quarterback fault (for example, the quarterback slips on the grass on his own). Philadelphia leads the NFL in sacks marked as "overall pressure," and only Buffalo had more sacks marked as "rusher untouched."
The Eagles and Giants have a very clear weakness in one specific down-and-distance situation -- but it is the same one for both teams. The Giants had the worst defense in the NFL on second-and-short, but in the same situation, only the Bengals had a worse offense than the Eagles did.
Chargers at Steelers, Sunday 4:45 p.m.
A preview of the AFC Divisional Playoff matchup between the Chargers and the Steelers.
Pittsburgh's offense and San Diego's defense both get much better after halftime. The Steelers were 29th in offensive DVOA before halftime, 12th afterward. The Chargers were 27th in defensive DVOA before halftime, 12th afterward.
Aaron Schatz is president of Football Outsiders Inc. and the lead author of "Pro Football Prospectus 2008," on sale online and in bookstores.
2008 NFL Playoffs
The road to Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009, began Jan. 3 with the wild-card playoff round. Will the Steelers or Cardinals replace the Giants as champs?
Championship Game results: NFC | AFC
COLUMNS/FEATURES• Wojciechowski: May the bitter team win
• Chadiha: McNabb lets good times roll
• Football Outsiders: Numbers Crunching
• Sunday Countdown: Predictions and more
• Clayton: First and Goal
• Garber: This Philly Story seeks proper ending
• Clayton: Peaking Steelers should advance
• Chadiha: Eagles will soar in desert
• Wojciechowski: Book Eagles for Tampa
• Football Outsiders: Any Given Sunday
• Football Outsiders: Quick Reads
CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (Jan. 18)
Steelers 23, Ravens 14• Polamalu's INT return secures win
• Playoff page | AFC North blog
Cardinals 32, Eagles 25• Fitzgerald leads Cardinals to first Super Bowl
• Playoff page | NFC West blog ... East
DIVISIONAL ROUND (Jan. 10-11)
Steelers 35, Chargers 24• Walker: The Bus sparks Parker
• Williamson: Bolts need season-long urgency
• Recap: Steelers knock out Chargers
• More | AFC West blog ... AFC North
Ravens 13, Titans 10• Graham: Battered Ravens pass physical
• Kuharsky: Titans failed to answer critics
• Recap: Turnovers doom Titans
• Zoom Gallery
• Fleming: Can anyone stop the Ravens?
• More | AFC North blog ... AFC South
Cardinals 33, Panthers 13• Sando: Desert bloom for Arizona's faithful
• Sando: No denying Cards' makeover
• Yasinskas: Carolina's big plans fall apart
• Recap: Delhomme's 5 INTs doom Panthers
• Zoom Gallery
• More | NFC West blog ... NFC South
Eagles 23, Giants 11• Wojciechowski: Book Eagles for Tampa
• Mosley: Giants lost to better team
• Recap: Defense smothers Giants
• Zoom gallery
• Chadiha: Eagles' defense hitting stride
• More | NFC East blog
WILD-CARD ROUND (Jan. 3-4)
Ravens 27, Dolphins 9• Wojciechowski: Scary Ravens' D
• Recap: Ravens' defense overpowers Dolphins
• More | AFC North blog ... AFC East
Eagles 26, Vikings 14• Mosley: Eagles' run continues
• Recap: Westbrook, big plays carry Eagles
• More | NFC East blog... NFC North
Cardinals 30, Falcons 24• Sando: Cards' winning identity
• Recap: Strong second half powers Cards
• More | NFC South blog ... NFC West
Chargers 23, Colts 17• Williamson: 5-6 Sproles comes up big
• Recap: Chargers shock Manning, Colts in OT
• More | AFC South blog ... AFC West