We are just a couple of days away from Super Bowl 51 and the end of the 2016 NFL season. Many people are choosing sides hoping for either the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons to come out victorious, while others really don’t care who wins… they just hope for a good game.
Will it be a close game? If history has anything to say about it, then we can expect a tight contest. In six of the last nine Super Bowls, the game was decided by eight points or less… a one-score game.
Looking at the last 10 years of NFL playoff contests, there is a very distinct pattern when it comes to how close games are from the Wild Card games through the Super Bowl. Here’s a breakdown of margin of victory for all playoff rounds from 2007-2016 (obviously the 2016 Super Bowl is not included in these numbers).
|8 points or less||9-19 points||20 pts or more||Ave. margin of win|
|Wild Card games||37.5%||42.5%||20.0%||12.0|
As you can see, playoff games in the last 10 years have an average margin of victory that goes down with each round of the playoffs; the numbers of close games increase as we go from the Wild Card games to the Super Bowl; and blowouts (margin of victory of 20 points or more) happened more frequently in the early round versus the last two rounds.
One note: In this year’s championship games, the Patriots and Falcons both won their games by more than 15 points (New England defeated Pittsburgh 36-17, a 19-point win and the Falcons won by 23 over the Green Bay Packers, 44-21). It was the first time that both championship games in a season were decided by 15 or more points since 2005 when Pittsburgh beat Denver 34-17 and Seattle beat Carolina 34-14.
Yes, we all hope for a good, close game. Now that we have the numbers in front of us, watch, it will be a blowout.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
The playoffs for the 2016 NFL season will begin next weekend. While some games will be held in domed stadiums and weather will not be a factor, there will be games where weather conditions could affect play and potentially the outcome of the game.
Let’s take a look at the history of NFL playoff games in the Super Bowl era (since 1966). Specifically, we’ll note the NFL playoff games since 1966 that were played in “extreme” temperatures… those under 20 degrees, and those games that were played in temperatures above 70 degrees.
- There have been 28 NFL playoff games that have been played since 1966 in temperature under 20 degrees.
- The last playoff game played under 20 degrees was last season when the Minnesota Vikings hosted the Seattle Seahawks in a games that was played with a temperature of six below. The game was played on January 10, 2016.
- There have been four games played in temperatures below zero. In addition to the aforementioned Vikings-Seahawks battle last season, the other three: 1967, Dallas at Green Bay (13 degrees below zero); 1981, San Diego @ Cleveland (nine degrees below zero); and 2007, New York Giants @ Green Bay (one degree below zero).
- Of the 28 games, three teams hosted more than half of those games. The Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers have each hosted five playoff games under 20 degrees since 1966. Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City and Philadelphia have each hosted two of those games, while Buffalo, Cincinnati and New England have each hosted one game.
- The home team is 19-9 in these games, although in the eight playoff games played since 2000 that were played in temperatures under 20 degrees, the home team is only 3-5.
- There have been 14 NFL playoff games that have been played since 1966 in temperatures of 70 degrees and above.
- The last playoff game played at 70 degrees or above was after the 2008 season when on January 4, 2009 the Baltimore Ravens played in Miami. Temperature for that game was 78 degrees.
- The home team is 9-5 in these “warm” games.
- Thirteen of the 14 NFL playoff games since 1966 played in temperatures 70 degrees and above have been hosted by the Miami Dolphins. The other game was hosted by the Tampa Bay Bucs.
- Five of these games were played in temperatures of 75 degrees and above. The highest was previously-mentioned games between the Dolphins and Ravens (78 degrees). The others: 1978, Houston @ Miami (77 degrees); San Diego @ Miami (76 degrees); Buffalo @ Miami (75 degrees); and 1990, Kansas City @ Miami (75 degrees).
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Winners of the four NFL playoff games this coming weekend will face off on Sunday January 20 to see who goes to the Super Bowl. Here’s a look at a few stats that may help decide who has the advantage in this weekend’s four contests.
Baltimore vs. Denver (Saturday)
1. The Ravens lead the all-time series, 6-4, although Denver has won three of the last four.
2. The Broncos are 3-1 in games at home against the Ravens.
3. Baltimore won the only playoff game between the two franchises, 21-3, in Baltimore in 2000.
4. The Ravens are 11-7 all-time in post-season games. They have won six of their last 10 playoff games. They have a 7-5 record in road playoff contests.
5. Denver has a 18-16 playoff record. They have lost five of their last seven playoff games. They are 13-3 in home playoff games in their history.
Green Bay vs. San Francisco (Saturday)
1. Green Bay leads the all-time series with the 49ers, 34-27-1, and they have won four of five against San Francisco in the playoffs.
2. The Packers have won 13 of the last 15 games against the 49ers, and they have scored 20 or more points in 17 straight games against the 49ers.
3. The 49ers are 1-6 in the last seven games versus the Packers in games in San Francisco.
4. The Packers are 28-16 in playoff games. They are 8-7 since 2000. They are 9-11 in road playoff games, but have won three of the last four playoff games on the road.
5. San Francisco has a 27-19 playoff record. They are 2-3 since 2000. The 49ers are 20-9 in home playoff games and have won five of their last seven playoff games as the home team.
Seattle vs. Atlanta (Sunday)
1. The Seahawks lead the all-time series against the Falcons, 8-5. This is the first meeting of the two franchises in the playoffs.
2. Atlanta has won three straight against Seattle, scoring 108 points in those three contests.
3. The Falcons have won only two of the last six games as the home team against Seattle; five of the last six games played between the two teams have been decided by six points or less.
4. Seattle has won nine of the 20 playoff games in their history. They have won six of their last 10 post-season contests. They are 2-8 on the road in the playoffs, having won their second road playoff game last weekend in Washington.
5. The Falcons are only 6-11 in playoff games. They have lost four straight playoff games. They are 3-2 as the home team in playoff games.
Houston vs. New England (Sunday)
1. This is only the fifth time these two franchises have faced each other. The Patriots hold a 3-1 advantage. This is their first playoff meeting.
2. New England is 2-0 in home games against the Texans. The Pats have scored 132 points in the four games against Houston.
3. In the two games where New England was the home team, they defeated Houston by 33 and 28 points.
4. Houston has a 2-1 record in the playoffs. They are 0-1 as a road playoff team.
5. The Patriots are 23-16 in playoff games; they are 16-6 in the playoffs since 2000. They are 13-3 as the home team in the playoffs.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp