Josh Allen’s Cold-Weather Issue And One Stat To Know For Every NFL Playoff Team

Numbers never lie ... or do they?

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Some people — very smart people even — say stats are for losers. Others caution against paralysis by analysis.

Yet, when it comes to handicapping the NFL, you more often than not need at least some sort of data to review before making picks. When it comes to the playoffs, and lines are sharper and we’ve got a full season’s worth of information to consider, it makes even more sense to dig into the numbers.

Which numbers, though? Therein lies the problem.

There’s so much data out there now that you can always find what you’re looking for and spin a narrative that way. However, we’ve done our best to find one key stat for each playoff team, using Sportradar’s robust database, for you to consider before making your playoff picks.

Here’s what we found:

AFC

1. Tennessee Titans
Odds to win conference: +330
Odds to win Super Bowl: +850

One stat to know: Ryan Tannehill averaged 7.69 yards per dropback on play-action in 2021
This might seem slightly random, but Tannehill’s 9.3 yards per dropback last season ranked second behind Tom Brady. The difference, of course, is the loss of Derrick Henry. Prior to his injury, Tannehill’s 9.1 yards per dropback was in line with last year’s mark. Getting Henry back would be huge.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Odds to win conference: +175
Odds to win Super Bowl: +450

One stat to know: Kansas City had the highest percentage of rushing yards before contact (68.5%)
You can interpret this stat one of two ways. The first is the Chiefs don’t really break tackles. Consider KC finished middle of the pack in rushing yards, though, and the second interpretation might make more sense: The Chiefs are pretty darn good at opening holes up front. That’s likely the result of heady play-calling and solid offensive line play. Regardless, that’s a strong recipe for success in the playoffs when you’re trying to preserve and ice a lead late in the game.

3. Buffalo Bills
Odds to win conference: +350
Odds to win Super Bowl: +800

One stat to know: Josh Allen has a career 54.3 passer rating when the temperature is 32 degrees or colder
The Bills quarterback played his college ball at Wyoming and has spent his entire NFL career in Buffalo, so you’d think he’d know a thing or two about playing in frigid temperatures. In fact, it’s been the opposite, as he has completed just a tick above half of his pass attempts, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. Of all the quarterbacks in the playoffs with at least 65 cold-weather dropbacks, Allen’s passer rating is by far the worst. Somehow, Buffalo is 3-1 in those games and will seek another victory Saturday night versus the Patriots with temperatures hovering around zero.

4. Cincinnati Bengals
Odds to win conference: +700
Odds to win Super Bowl: +1800

One stat to know: Cincinnati had the highest number of QB miscues (71) of any playoff team
Quarterback miscues is technically just a way to quantify the sum of every sack, interception and fumble at the position. Despite his standing as an MVP candidate, Joe Burrow was prone to negative plays. That the Bengals still ranked seventh in points scored speaks to their relative explosiveness, but it’s something to watch, especially when Cincinnati opens against a strong pass rush in the Raiders.

5. Las Vegas Raiders
Odds to win conference: +2000
Odds to win Super Bowl: +6000

One stat to know: The Raiders ranked seventh in QB pressure rate despite blitzing less than any other team
The path to any Raiders upset is pretty clear, and it starts with the defense creating all sorts of pass-rush havoc. While Vegas also generated the highest pressure rate when blitzing, the Raiders only brought the extra man a handful of times per game. That’s because they have game-wreckers like Maxx Crosby, who tied for fourth in QB hits, in the front seven.

6. New England Patriots
Odds to win conference: +1000
Odds to win Super Bowl: +2200

One stat to know: The Patriots were 8-0 with an average margin of victory of 25.9 when winning the turnover battle
This kind of tells us a couple of things. It certainly reinforces the notion the Patriots took care of business when playing lesser teams. But it also highlights the point that teams who play just a solid, responsible game vs. New England have a chance to win, as illustrated by the Patriots’ 2-7 record when losing or tying the turnover battle.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Odds to win conference: +3500
Odds to win Super Bowl: +9000

One stat to know: Only two playoff teams since 2008 averaged fewer yards per play than the 2021 Steelers (4.82)
When it comes to recent playoff teams, the Steelers have been historically bad. Of the 172 playoff teams in that span, only the 2017 Buffalo Bills (4.79 yards per play) and 2016 Houston Texans (4.7 yards per play) were worse per play.

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers
Odds to win conference: +160
Odds to win Super Bowl: +380

One stat to know: The Packers were 11-0 when forcing at least one turnover
Only the Colts and Cowboys had better turnover differentials than the Packers this season, which is largely because Green Bay tied for the fewest giveaways. While the defense wasn’t especially opportunistic, when it did take the ball away, the Packers obviously won and did so by an average margin of 9 points per victory.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Odds to win conference: +350
Odds to win Super Bowl: +800

One stat to know: No team threw the ball more often than the Bucs, who registered 76% of their total yards through the air
Are you willing to bet against Tom Brady? Of course not. But do keep in mind, as the injuries have piled up, that Brady and the Bucs lean on the passing game more than any other team in football. If that’s disrupted, how do they ultimately adjust?

3. Dallas Cowboys
Odds to win conference: +600
Odds to win Super Bowl: +1200

One stat to know: Dallas has a team passer rating difference of 28.1, highest in the NFL
Everyone knows the NFL largely is a passing league, and no team was cumulatively better on both sides of the ball in the passing game than the Cowboys, who had a team passer rating of 104.8 compared to a defensive rate of 76.6. At his best, Dak Prescott is an elite QB, which typically plays this time of year. Defensively, the ball-hawking Cowboys secondary led the league with 26 interceptions.

4. Los Angeles Rams
Odds to win conference: +450
Odds to win Super Bowl: +1000

One stat to know: Matthew Stafford had the NFL’s best fourth-quarter passer rating (126.4)
When Stafford is bad, he’s pretty awful, but even so, he finds a way to finish strong. It’s pretty surprising to see him be the NFL’s best fourth-quarter QB this season, but he was nails, throwing for 12 touchdowns without an interception. It wasn’t just front-running, either, as he orchestrated four fourth-quarter comebacks. If anything, it’s a reminder LA is never dead.

5. Arizona Cardinals
Odds to win conference: +1200
Odds to win Super Bowl: +2500

One stat to know: Arizona allowed 2.45 points per drive from Weeks 8 through 18 (only the Jets and Raiders were worse)
At the risk of overstating the importance of one aging veteran to an entire defense, there’s a very clear line of change with the Cardinals’ defense after J.J. Watt got hurt. In Weeks 1 through 7, the Cardinals allowed 1.3 points per drive, which was best in the NFL. They then struggled without him. The good news? Watt might be back for the playoffs.

6. San Francisco 49ers
Odds to win conference: +1000
Odds to win Super Bowl: +2000

One stat to know: Only Cleveland averaged more yards per rush facing eight men in the box
When you game plan for the 49ers, you know they’re going to try to run the ball. Naturally, teams load up the box to not only take away the run but force Jimmy Garoppolo to beat them. When that happens, though, the Niners rushed for an average of 4.4 yards per carry; when teams knew it was coming, they still struggled to stop the run. And Garoppolo performed well, averaging more than 7 yards per throw with a passer rating north of 107.

7. Philadelphia Eagles
Odds to win conference: +3000
Odds to win Super Bowl: +6000

One stat to know: Philadelphia tied for the lowest average third-down-to-go (6.1 yards)
No team ran the ball more than the Eagles this season. In fact, no team ran the ball more than 50% of the time other than Philly. That the Birds still finished the season with a negative time-of-possession differential does illustrate the slim margin for error, especially against teams that can stop the run (like first-round opponent Tampa Bay).

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