Within the N.F.L. playoffs, groups are as evenly matched as they are going to have been all season.
With opponents on the lookout for no matter scant benefit exists, there are a number of statistical traits value monitoring. Dropped passes, penalty yards, field-position differentials and fourth-quarter surges can all have a significant impression on the outcomes of this weekend’s elimination video games.
Tom Brady’s Fourth-Quarter Surges
Brady’s patented comebacks are nonetheless massive. It’s the remainder of his sport that has grown smaller.
His Buccaneers (8-9) overcame fourth-quarter deficits in 4 of their victories. Tampa Bay beat again a 13-6 fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Los Angeles Rams, 16-13, in Week 9. Brady overcame a 16-3 deficit to beat the New Orleans Saints, 17-16, in Week 13. Brady additionally led the Buccaneers again from trailing by 16-6 to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 19-16, in extra time in Week 16, after which the following week they trailed by 21-10 earlier than defeating the Carolina Panthers, 30-24, to clinch the N.F.C. South.
In these comebacks, the Buccaneers trailed by a mixed 66-22 rating within the fourth quarter, towards opponents who ended the season with shedding information. That doesn’t precisely encourage confidence.
Throughout the primary, second and third quarters of regular-season video games, Brady threw simply 12 touchdowns, fewer than the Bears’ Justin Fields and the Texans’ Davis Mills (13 every), beleaguered younger quarterbacks whose groups mixed for a 6-27-1 document and earned the fitting to the highest two picks within the 2023 draft. Brady then threw 13 fourth-quarter touchdowns, seven of them whereas trailing within the closing 4 minutes, typically (although not all the time) throughout heroic comebacks.
Brady’s sorcery will in all probability not be sufficient to advance the Buccaneers via the playoffs, however his knack for fourth-quarter touchdowns is cause for opponents to not give the ball again if they will keep away from it.
Dak Prescott’s Interception Fee
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott tied for the league lead with 15 interceptions and had the worst interception fee (3.8 p.c) of any starter through the common season. In every of his final seven video games, he has thrown a minimum of one interception and three of them have been returned for touchdowns.
Prescott has been a tremendous quarterback except for the interceptions, which isn’t fairly like claiming that Sunday dinner was scrumptious aside from the salmonella. Prescott completed the season tied for fourth within the N.F.L. in landing fee (5.8 p.c). He usually Houdinis his manner out of the predicaments he helps trigger, main comeback victories towards Houston in Week 14 and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16.
Prescott additionally isn’t getting a lot help from teammates; his extra time interception towards the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15, for instance, was tipped within the air by his personal receiver.
A excessive interception fee doesn’t preclude a Tremendous Bowl victory: Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford tied for the N.F.L. lead with 17 interceptions in 2021, then threw three extra within the postseason. Nonetheless, the Cowboys have an extended and hilarious historical past of postseason pratfalls and can be significantly better off if they don’t hand their opponent any simple alternatives. Particularly since their opponent on Monday evening is led by Tom Brady.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ and Los Angeles Chargers’ Dropped Passes
Saturday’s sport between the Chargers and Jaguars guarantees to be a showdown of Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence, two of the N.F.L.’s most promising younger star quarterbacks. It may flip right into a irritating blooper reel, nevertheless: The Jaguars led the league with 41 dropped passes, in accordance with Professional Soccer Reference, whereas the Chargers ranked second with 40 drops.
Zay Jones led the Jaguars with 13 drops, whereas Christian Kirk dropped seven passes; Marvin Jones and the previous Giants tight finish Evan Engram added 5 every. Operating again Austin Ekeler and tight finish Gerald Everett led the Chargers with 9 drops every, whereas the highest receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who had been injured for a lot of the yr, mixed to drop three passes. Herbert due to this fact holds the benefit: He has two dependable targets at his disposal, whereas Lawrence has none.
The San Francisco 49ers’ Common Beginning Subject Place
The 49ers start their common offensive drive at their very own 30.9-yard line, the perfect beginning area place within the N.F.L., in accordance with Soccer Outsiders. Their opponents, in contrast, are caught beginning their drives at their very own 25.6-yard line, the worst beginning area place within the league. The 49ers due to this fact internet a league-high 5.24 yards per sequence, basically tilting the sphere of their favor and muscling opponents again towards their very own objective line.
The 49ers additionally led the N.F.L. in turnover differential, with 13 extra takeaways than giveaways. Their protection usually provides the rookie quarterback Brock Purdy and his many playmakers the ball inside simple hanging distance of the top zone.
The 49ers scored touchdowns on brief drives after turnovers in every of their two regular-season victories over the Seattle Seahawks, a division rival they’ll face once more on Saturday. Even when the Seahawks handle to play turnover-free soccer, nevertheless, they might discover themselves climbing uphill all afternoon.
The Minnesota Vikings’ Penalty Differential
The Minnesota Vikings dedicated 88 penalties for simply 689 yards within the common season, in accordance with nflpenalties.com. Their opponents dedicated 111 penalties for 926 yards. Their +237-yard penalty differential was the best determine within the N.F.L., and it contributed to the sense that the usually unimpressive Vikings had been profitable lots of their video games primarily based although sheer luck.
A number of the Vikings’ penalty edge stemmed from the workforce’s strengths. For instance, opponents dedicated 11 defensive go interference penalties for 158 yards of their determined effort to cowl receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. A number of the benefit might have come from expertise and sound teaching: The Vikings dedicated simply 12 offensive holding penalties, the second-lowest determine within the N.F.L.
The remainder of the differential might certainly have been the results of the workforce’s purported probability-warping superpowers: Opponents had been flagged a league-high six instances for ineligible downfield receivers, a really random infraction.
The Giants should decrease their penalties towards the Vikings on Sunday, particularly since they can not depend on their passing sport to bail them out of bother.
Daniel Jones’s Common Depth of Goal
The Giants rely closely on brief passing. A bit too closely. Daniel Jones’s common depth of goal of 6.4 yards tied for thirty first amongst beginning quarterbacks, in accordance with Professional Soccer Reference. For comparability’s sake, the Payments’ Josh Allen averaged 9.2 air yards per goal, and Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins — not precisely famend as a mad bomber — averaged 7.5.
On account of all their micro-passing, the Giants generated simply 28 passing performs of 20 or extra yards within the common season, the bottom complete within the league.
Regardless of the dearth of huge performs, Jones managed to steer the Giants on 4 fourth-quarter comebacks, the identical quantity as Brady and Kansas Metropolis’s Patrick Mahomes. Sadly, Cousins led the Vikings on eight fourth-quarter comebacks, tying the trendy document.
So the Giants can not depend on late-game magic. As an alternative, they and different groups hope that some statistical traits will begin to reverse themselves this weekend.
Leave a Reply