Looking for a sure thing when it comes to picking the winner of the Super Bowl? I wish I had some magical formula I could give you (or use myself), but there just doesn’t seem to be such a thing out there.
I can, however, give you a look at some stats that may help you when it comes time to choose the team that will win the Super Bowl.
I’ve looked at 15 regular season stats from the past 47 Super Bowl champions. In some cases, there is a strong case for a particular team winning based on how they performed in the regular season. In other cases, the regular season stats don’t reveal much.
Following are 15 regular season stats that may help determine who will win the next Super Bowl.
1. Wins. Thirty-nine of the 47 Super Bowl champs won 11 or more games in the regular season. (This stat will increase to 40 of 48 as both of this year’s Super Bowl teams won 13 regular season games in 2013.) Only three times in Super Bowl history did a team with less than 10 regular season victories win the Super Bowl: The first two were in 1967, when the Packers were 9-4-1, and 1982 when the 8-1 Washington Redskins won the title in that strike-shortened season. In case you don’t remember, the 2011 champion New York Giants became the third team in this stat when they defeated the New England Patriots. The Giants only had nine regular-season wins in 2011; they became the first team with less than 10 wins from a 16-game NFL season to ever win a Super Bowl.
2. Turnover Ratio. Forty-one of the 47 Super Bowl champs had a positive turnover ratio; 21 of the 47 had a +10 or more turnover ratio in the regular season. While the Broncos turnover differential was 0, the Seahawks led the NFL with a +20 turnover ratio.
3. Offensive rank by points. Forty of the 47 were in the Top 10 in offense based on points. Denver ranked number one in the league; Seattle was eighth.
4. Offensive rank based on yards. Thirty-six of the 47 were in the Top 10 in offense based on total yards. The Broncos were again ranked first in the league in this category; the Seahawks ranked 17th.
5. Defensive Rank by Points. Thirty-five of the 47 were in the Top 10 in defense based on points. The lowest ranked defense (by points) to win a Super Bowl were the 2011 Giants, who were ranked 25th that year on their way to a title. Seattle was ranked number one, the Broncos were 22nd.
6. Defensive rank based on yards. Thirty-eight of the 47 ranked in the Top 10 in defense based on total yards allowed. The Giants in 2011 established a new “low” in this stat as they won the Super Bowl with a “D” that was ranked 27th in yards allowed. Again, Seattle ranked first in the league in this stat, the Broncos were ranked 19th.
7. Offensive yards per play. Thirty-eight of the 47 Super Bowl champs averaged 5.0 or more yards per play during the regular season. Twenty-two of the 47 averaged 5.5 or more yards per play. This past year in the regular season both Seattle and Denver averaged above 5.5 (Seattle 5.6; Denver 6.3).
8. Three-game losing streak. Only five teams that lost three straight games during the regular season went on to win a Super Bowl that year: Baltimore in 2000, Pittsburgh in 2005, New Orleans in 2009 and the Giants last year. The Ravens did lose three straight in 2012 and became the fifth team in this category. Three of the last four Super Bowl champs lost three straight regular-season games in the year they won the Super Bowl. Both Seattle and Denver had three one-game losing streaks this season.
9. Winning streak to start season. Thirteen of the 47 won five straight games to start the season; 22 won three straight games to start the season; 30 of the 47 won their first two games. Baltimore in 2012 won their season-opener, but lost the following week. Denver won six straight to start the 2013 season; Seattle won four straight.
10. Away wins. Forty-six of the 47 won four or more games on the road in the regular season. The 2011 Green Bay Packers are the only team to win a Super Bowl and win three or fewer games on the road that regular season. Thirty-six of the 47 lost none, one or two away games during the regular season of their Super Bowl year. Baltimore went 4-4 in away games last season. This year’s Super Bowl teams each won six road games.
11. 1,000-yard rusher. Twenty-eight of the 47 had a 1,000-yard rusher during the regular season. Both teams in this year’s Super Bowl had a 1,000-yard rusher in the 2013 season.
12. 1,000-yard receiver. Twenty-five of the 47 had a 1,000-yard receiver during the regular season. The Seahawks did not have a 1,000-yard receiver in 2013; Denver had a pair.
13. More passing TDs than running TDs. Thirty-four of the 47 had more passing TDs than running TDs for the regular season. The last time a team that had more rushing TDs than passing in the regular season won a Super Bowl were the 1995 Dallas Cowboys. Both Denver and Seattle had more passing TDs than running TDs.
14. Losses by eight points or less. Forty of the 47 lost half or more of their defeats by one score (eight points or less). Both Denver and Seattle lost three games in ’13; both lost all of their games by seven points or less.
15. Point differential rank. Thirty-eight of the 47 ranked in the Top 3 in point differential in the regular season. Denver ranked number one in this category, while the Seahawks ranked second. Only three teams have ranked outside the Top 10 in point differential and won the Super Bowl: the New York Giants of 2007 ranked 13th in point differential when they won the Super Bowl later that year; last year the Giants ranked 17th in point differential in the regular season and won last year’s championship; this past year’s Super Bowl champs, the Ravens, ranked 11th in this category in the 2012 regular season.
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