We are now down to the final four of the NFL and every year at this time, everyone tries to come up with the reasons why these four teams made it, why your team didn’t make it, and make sweeping conclusions about a very small data set.
This year, these best four teams are all ranked in the top 5 of OVOA (Offense-adjusted Value Over Average….how they come up with this value I do not know. Although I love the effort and sure some smart people are figuring this out, the lack of transparency of any statistical value is one I do not trust) and all have very successful quarterbacks.
Therefore, offense wins titles.
Last year the final four teams were: Vikings, Eagles, Patriots, Jaguars.
Two of these teams were in the OVOA top 5. Three of these four teams had a different starting quarterback at the beginning of the next season. Also three of these four teams had top 5 defenses.
Therefore, defense must win titles.
The point is that there is not one way of winning in the NFL. Having a great QB does not guarantee success (see Aaron Rodgers). Having a great defense does not always ensure playoff success (see the 2018 Bears, the 1999-2001 Tampa Bay Bucs, see the 2014 Cincinnati Bengals, etc). Honestly, the only thing that you can etch in stone in the NFL is that the Patriots are very good, probably due to Belichick understanding that there are many ways to win.
There has been a lot of talk around the Seattle area about the Hawks and their commitment to running the ball. In other words, they run too much.
This may be true, and there is a fantastic article about it on 538 (see the link here) .
But there is this growing idea in the NFL that there is only one way to win: by passing.
Yes, all NFL new rules help passing, and we know that passing translates to yards.
But it really is not passing that is winning these games. It is controlling the line of scrimmage.
That is the one thing that all four teams this season and last season do: block on offense and are hard to block on defense.
I say this all the time, so please this weekend ignore QB talk, ignore flashy throws and catches. Watch to see who does what they want to do on a given down; run, pass, or whatever. If it works, ask why.
I bet if you focus on the line, you will have your answer.