What goes into a win in the NFL?
Obviously, the simple answer is the team that scores the most points wins, but what about at a deeper statistical level like number of sacks, field goal percentage, passing attempts, etc.
We decided to take a look at every regular season and playoff game in the NFL since 2002 and compare the stats from the winners and losers to see if we could gain some insights into what it takes to win and to a further extent, lose.
After breaking down over 2,500 games or 5,000 winners and losers since 2002 we found some very interesting comparisons.
As noted, score is really the only thing that matters once the final whistle blows. In analyzing every game we saw the following in terms of points scored by the winner and losers:
On the offensive side of the ball, as one would imagine, the winning consistently outperformed their opponents from Total Yards to Field Goal Percentage. But there were a few suprises in terms of what statistics really didn't differ that much between winners and losers.
Below is a table of offensive statistics broken down by winners and losers and differential:
|OFFENSIVE STATISTICS||Winners||Losers||Differential||% Difference|
|Passing Completion %||63.17||57.10||6.07||10.62%|
|Average Passing Yards/Comp.||7.68||6.28||1.40||22.35%|
|Rushing Yards Per Attempt||4.17||4.03||0.14||3.51%|
|Field Goal Percentage||76.95||62.20||14.74||23.70%|
Defense wins championships is an oft quoted statement in the world of football with great examples like Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70's, the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens who shutout four opponents during the regular season.
And while this article is looking at every game played since 2002 there is clear dominance on the defensive end of the ball by winning teams:
|DEFENSIVE STATISTICS||Winners||Losers||Differential||% Difference|
In breaking down over 2,500 games since 2002, there isn't anything overly groundbreaking when it comes to looking at the average statistics on offense and defense between winners and losers.
But we do have some concrete numbers behind the magnitude of the difference between the statistics of each.