We’ve been largely devoted to the baseball offseason, but with the NFL playoffs beginning on Saturday, a football cameo seemed in order for this week’s post.
All season long we’ve been keeping track of our player value stat, Total Points, on a team level to create a power ranking of sorts.
A brief primer on Total Points
Total Points takes nearly everything that SIS measures about a play and uses it to evaluate each player on a scale that allows you to compare them more easily across positions.
It’s always useful to be able to understand the different ways in which players can be valuable. Does he break a lot of tackles? Does he get a lot of yards after the catch? Does he make the best out of a poor offensive line?
Total Points offers the opportunity to take all of those elements and get a quick picture of how well a player is performing overall. It gives you a perspective on team performance too.
The No. 1 team in Total Points when evaluating teams on a per-play basis is the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has the most complete team, with the No. 1 ranked offense and No. 4 ranked defense. On offense, the Buccaneers rank in the Top 3 in both passing and blocking. On defense, their strength is their pass coverage, which ranks No. 4 among teams.
If our power rankings hold up, we’re looking at a potential Super Bowl rematch. The Chiefs are the No. 2 team in our rankings. They rank No. 3 in offense and No. 12 in defense. Patrick Mahomes ranked No. 3 among quarterbacks in Total Points behind Justin Herbert of the Chargers and Tom Brady of the Buccaneers.
If you’re looking for potential Wild Card teams to ride, the Patriots rank No. 6 overall, but are Top 8 in both offense and defense. And the 49ers rank No. 8 overall and rank No. 8 in offense and No. 9 in defense.
Neither of these teams has a Top 10 quarterback. They’ve found other ways to win. The 49ers rank No. 1 in receiving, run defense, and pass rush. The Patriots rank in the top half of the league in every offensive and defensive area we measure (passing, rushing, receiving, blocking, run defense, pass rush, and pass coverage).
The heavyweight clash this weekend will be between the division rival Rams and Cardinals. They rank No. 3 and No. 5 overall, respectively. The Rams’ No. 4 offense will be tested by the Cardinals’ No. 3 defense.
The biggest disparity between NFL playoff seeding and our power rankings is with the AFC No. 1 seed Titans. Tennessee ranks No. 18 overall in Total Points, even trailing five teams that didn’t make the playoffs (Broncos, Saints, Colts, Chargers and Seahawks).
The Titans rank No. 20 on offense and No. 7 on defense. Ryan Tannehill ranked 16th among quarterbacks and star running back Derrick Henry was limited to eight games due to injury. The Titans can compensate for this with strong run defense and pass coverage units (each of which ranks in the Top 8) but their pass rush ranks No. 24. Nonetheless, they’ll have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
We’ll close by noting that it was a tough year to be a New York football fan. The Jets and Giants ranked No. 31 and No. 32 in Total Points in 2021.
NFL Playoff Teams – As Ranked By Total Points
In Order of Seed