Back in November, I created a metric to determine who the Super Bowl favorites might be. I went back to it today to see if it offered any help for predicting the conference title games this Sunday.
I looked at the 78 Super Bowl contestants and found that using only points scored and points allowed could help predict the eventual champion. I found that approximately 75% of NFL champs were ranked in the top ten in both scoring offense and defense.
The second point I found was that scoring defense was the better determinant than scoring offense. Only two NFL champs ever had a defense ranked lower than 11th in scoring.
What do this year's numbers show? Nothing but mud. Mull over these stats:
1. Seattle 28.2 points per game;
7. Denver 24.7 ppg;
8. Carolina 24.4 ppg;
9. Pittsburgh 24.3 ppg;
3. Pittsburgh 16.1 ppg;
3. Denver 16.1 ppg;
5. Carolina 16.2 ppg;
7. Seattle 16.9 ppg;
No edge that I can see, except that Seattle has a slight advantage in scoring offense. All four teams rank in the top ten in offense and defense. Their points allowed stats are amazingly similar, as are the offensive numbers of Denver, Pittsburgh and Carolina.
You can pull names out of hat and have as much luck as a fine-grained analysis of offense, defense and special teams. Playoff parity has worked. We have four clones fighting for the title.