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Feb 06

The Predicting Power of the Four Postseason Factors

As expected, the superstar second-year quarterback Russell Wilson and dominant Legion of Boom defense worked together to lead the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory. Their 43-8 triumph caps what can be argued as one of the best teams of the Super Bowl era. In fact, our very own Adam Dobrowolski detailed what makes the 2013 Seahawks one of the best Super Bowl champions ever in an extensive article for Cold, Hard Football Facts two days ago. They clearly had all the makings of a champion.

However, the Seahawks weren’t the only dominant force this postseason. Here at TABMathletics, we used four factors to pick each postseason game. We correctly predicted 10 of those 11 games. Thus, the “Four Postseason Factors” were born. Check them out below:

  1. Team balance: We looked in depth at relevant efficiency statistics to determine the quality of a team in each key area of the game. We look at stats to paint a picture for six key areas: pass offense, pass defense, rush offense, rush defense, scoring efficiency and battle-tested quality play. The first four areas are quite simple to understand. The last two are a bit more complex. Special teams is heavily considered for scoring efficiency. Strength of schedule is heavily considered for battle-tested quality play.
  2. Coaching quality: We analyze the capabilities of each team’s head coach. We want to answer some key questions. First, does this coach successfully guide his team to play disciplined football? Second, does this coach motivate his players to step up the quality of play in big games? Third, does this coach strategically and schematically take advantage of the opponent’s weaknesses? Finally, does this coach have playoff experience that help the team to win these hard-fought games?
  3. TABRankings: We use these rankings merely a loose guideline to determine each team’s overall quality of play. Don’t look to split hairs here. Only give the advantage to a team that owns a notable advantage in the points total.
  4. Playoff team precedence: We’re looking for precedent-based qualities of a champion. Perhaps there’s a well-balanced and well-coached team that doesn’t fit the profile of other champions in previously unmentioned areas like quarterbacking experience or late-season play. We want to consider those qualities as well, because there might be some red flags in took down previous Super Bowl contenders. We’ll discuss this factor in a “Super Bowl Super Study” later in the month.

Understanding each of the four factors will help you to what makes a playoff team a true Super Bowl contender. However, the postseason ultimately boils down to match-ups, so we used the factors in the context of each postseason game. This process worked beautifully.

Table 1: Match-up Advantages (Four Postseason Factors)

Match-Up Balance Coaching TABRank Precedence Prediction
Chiefs at Colts Colts Push Push Colts Colts
Saints at Eagles Saints Saints Saints Saints Saints
Chargers at Bengals Bengals Push Push Push Bengals
49ers at Packers 49ers Push 49ers 49ers 49ers
Saints at Seahawks Push Push Push Seahawks Seahawks
Colts at Patriots Push Patriots Push Patriots Patriots
49ers at Panthers Push 49ers Push 49ers 49ers
Chargers at Broncos Push Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos
Patriots at Broncos Patriots Push Broncos Broncos Broncos
49ers at Seahawks Seahawks 49ers Push Push Seahawks^
Broncos v. Seahawks Seahawks Push Push Push Seahawks

NOTE(^): If the two teams are equal in the four factors, the winner will be selected upon our discretion.

Now that we know this system works, we will focus our attention of these factors in more detail next year during the postseason. Also, perhaps next year, we will examine the history of the “Four Postseason Factors” through the years.

Until then, use the offseason to keep an eye on how teams build themselves to be proficient in these four key factors.

Russell Wilson celebrates the Seattle Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. (photo rights to the Associated Press)

Russell Wilson celebrates the Seattle Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. (photo rights to the Associated Press)

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