We’re just ten days away from knowing who the 2010 NFL Champion is.
Last week, I looked at the final four teams from the defensive standpoint. Despite the Jets and the Bears no longer being in contention for the NFL title, I still want to include them in today’s offensive analysis.
Unlike the defensive commonalities that I found last week among the four remaining teams, it’s interesting to report that the offensive similarities aren’t so striking.
In fact, by looking at the offensive production of the Steelers, Packers, Jets, and Bears, it would be easy to conclude that a strong defense and a mediocre offense are all that’s needed to make a long playoff run.
Last week, I reported the following:
“When the regular season ended, not one of the four teams finished worse than 6th in total defense. The Steelers were 1st, allowing just 14.5 points per game, the Packers were 2nd, the Bears were 4th, and the Jets were 6th. As we know the Broncos gave up 29.4 points per game which put them dead last in total defense.
The next interesting fact was that whether or not a team was strong in pass defense or rush defense, no team was ranked worse than 5th in their particular area of strength.”
As far as offense goes, the final four teams were all over the board. The Packers did the best ranking 10th in points per game with an average of 24.3. The Steelers were ranked 12th, the Jets 14th, and the Bears 21st. In fact, the Broncos were two spots better than the Bears in this category.
The rankings in rushing and passing are even more scattered.
Pittsburgh Steelers – 11th rushing/14th in passing
Green Bay Packers – 24th in rushing/5th in passing
New York Jets – 4th in rushing/22nd in passing
Chicago Bears – 22nd in rushing/28th in passing
To compare, the Broncos finished the regular season 26th in rushing and 7th in passing.
Even when looking at third down completion percentage, the four teams rank anywhere from 6th (Steelers) to 27th (Bears). The Broncos came in at 28th completing just 32.4% of the time on third down.
It appears that in 2010 season, a strong defense was the thing to make or break a team. The Patriots were first in total offense, yet they got ousted in their first playoff game. The Chargers were 2nd in total points per game, 2nd in passing offense, and 15th in rushing offense, yet they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs.
While a lot of attention is on the QBs, RBs, and WR’s because they’re typically the ones dancing into the painted area, maybe we should swing our focus over to the defensive linemen, linebackers, and secondary because they’re the ones that help their team dance into postseason play.
Ask the Steelers and the Packers who both have decent offenses yet heavy-duty and mighty defenses.
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