Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Super Bowl Breakdown: Behind the Numbers

The following numbers are NFL Regular Season stats:

Total Offense:
Arizona: (4th) 365.8 ypg
Pittsburgh: (22nd) 311.8 ypg

Scoring Offense:
Arizona (4th) 26.7 ppg
Pittsburgh: (20th) 21.7 ppg

Total Defense:
Pittsburgh: (1st) 237.2 ypg
Arizona (19th) 331 ypg

Scoring Defense:
Pittsburgh: (1st) 13.9 ppg
Arizona (28th) 26.6 ppg

Now, the offensive numbers may seem to be a bit of a cause for alarm. But let's dig a little deeper.

The defenses the Steelers faced this year, when aggregated together, averaged giving up 310.41 ypg and 19.96 ppg. This means the Steelers offensive success rates (defined as Average Yards/Points per Game divided by the Average Yards/Points Against per Game of all your opponents) are: 1.01 ypg and 1.09 ppg

This means that, on average, the Steelers gained about 1% more yards than the typical yards allowed by the defense they were facing that game and scored 9% more points than their opponents were typically allowing.

Arizona, on the other hand, had offensive success rates of 1.12 ypg and 1.20 ppg.

If the offensive numbers are good indicators of the game, the game will turn out something like this:
For Pittsburgh:
Arizona allows 331 ypg --- 331 x 1.01 = 334 yds
Arizona allows 26.6 ppg --- 26.6 x 1.09 = 29 points

For Arizona:
Pittsburgh allows 237.2 ypg --- 237.2 x 1.12 = 266 yards
Pittsburgh allows 13.9 ppg --- 13.9 x 1.20 = 17 points

By the offensive numbers (remember we haven't factored defense into this), the final score would be Pittsburgh 29, Arizona 17 with Pittsburgh gaining 334 yards on offense to Arizona's 266.

I'm not going to go as far as to say this will be the result of the game, but statistically, things are looking encouraging.

Go Steelers!!

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